An inaugural lecture from Professor James Arthur, Professor of Education and Civic Engagement in the School of Education.
There have been many calls from politicians and others for the renewal of public and private virtues. We appear to want to change people for the better and so improve the quality of public life. The study of moral character has been of enduring interest to ethical theorists, the major proponent of character as a core moral concept was the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
By contrast with most modern moral theories and theorists, Aristotle conceived moral development as the development of more than just reason. This lecture will ask whether it is it the job of a school to teach moral values at all? Should this not rather be the task of parents, or of society broadly defined? Should we avoid inculcation of values, and leave students to develop these for themselves?