Undoing bad upbringing through contemplation : an Aristotelian reconstruction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this article is to reconstruct two counter-intuitive Aristotelian theses—about contemplation as the culmination of the good life and about the impossibility of undoing bad upbringing—to bring them into line with current empirical research, as well as with the essentials of an overall Aristotelian approach to moral education. I start by rehearsing those essentials. I then illustrate the two theses and their counter-intuitive ramifications by dint of three life stories of imaginary persons. Subsequently, I offer a reconstruction of Aristotle’s theses which, while going beyond the textual evidence, remains faithful to core elements of his moral and educational theory. I finally bring some considerations from the current literature on self-change to bear on this Aristotelian reconstruction, arguing that the effects of bad upbringing can be undone through contemplative activity. I also elicit some implications of the proposed argument for contemporary moral education and schooling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-483
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Issue number4
Early online date14 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aristotle
  • early-years determinism
  • phronesis
  • contemplation
  • radical self-change


Dive into the research topics of 'Undoing bad upbringing through contemplation : an Aristotelian reconstruction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this