The primacy of civic virtue in Aristotle’s politics and its educational implications

Kristján Kristjánsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The relationship between character education and civic or citizenship education continues to be marked by tensions, although both forms tend to draw historically on Aristotle’s corpus. The aim of this article is to unpack the association between the civic and the moral (characterological) in Aristotle’s writings, with a special focus on his Politics, and to draw some relevant lessons about how the tensions in question could be alleviated. The article delineates different kinds of primacy in Aristotelian virtue ethics and shows how the civic is (teleo)logically prior to the moral, while secondary in a developmental and analytical sense. A subsidiary aim is to shed light on the relationship between phronesis and the civic virtues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-636
Number of pages30
JournalHistory of Political Thought
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022, Imprint Academic. All rights reserved.


  • Aristotle
  • character education versus civic education
  • civic phronesis
  • moral versus civic virtue
  • political constitutions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


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