Aristotelian Character Friendship as a ‘Method’ of Moral Education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


The aim of this article is to make a case for Aristotelian friendship as a ‘method’ of moral education qua mutual character development. After setting out some Aristotelian assumptions about friendship and education (and revising some of those) in the “Aristotle and Beyond: Some Basics about Character Friendship and Education”section , I devote the “Role-Model Moral Education Contrasted with Learning from Character Friends” section to role modelling and how it differs from the idea of cultivating character through friendships. “The Mechanisms of Learning from Character Friends” section then explores the mechanisms of Aristotelian friendship education directly: those identified by him and those which can be elicited more obliquely from his texts. I end in the “Concluding Remarks and Classroom Applications” section with some reflections on how this model of friendship as a moral method could be applied in current educational contexts. While the idea of character friendship as an educational method comes with many assets, it also imports various liabilities that may lead to painful friendship terminations. I have put the spotlight on those liabilities in two previous articles. In contrast, the goal here is to impart a new edge and added force to the idea that a certain Aristotle-defined type of deep friendships may have a unique role to play in facilitating moral growth, above and beyond other developmental learning mechanisms.


Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Philosophy and Education
Early online date19 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Mar 2020


  • Friendship as an educational method, Aristotle, Character friendships, Role models, Mechanisms of friendship education