Flourishing as the aim of education: towards an extended, ‘enchanted’ Aristotelian account

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Flourishing, understood along Aristotelian or quasi-Aristotelian lines as objective eudaimonic well-being, is re-emerging as a paradigm for the ideal aim of education in the 21st century. This paper aims to venture beyond the current accounts and Aristotle’s own, by arguing that both suffer from a kind of ‘flatness’ or ‘disenchantedness’ in failing to pay heed to the satisfaction of certain impulses that have been proven to give fullness to our lives: impulses having to do with awe-inspiring emotional attachments to transpersonal ideals. I thus argue that while Aristotelian flourishing is a necessary place to begin, it is not a sufficient one to conclude, a study of human flourishing, either generally or in classroom contexts; it needs to be extended and ‘enchanted’ in order to do so. That venture does not necessitate an embrace of supernaturalism, however.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-720
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number6
Early online date11 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • flourishing, Aristotle, education, enchantment, supernaturalism