Habituated reason:Aristotle and the ‘paradox of moral education’

Kristján Kristjánsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


R.S. Peters coined the term ‘paradox of moral education’. In this article, the author identifies two subordinate paradoxes: how habituated reason is psychologically possible and how heteronomously formed autonomy is morally/politically possible and justifiable. He sketches possible Aristotelian solutions of those paradoxes and argues that for Aristotle it is essentially an empirical fact, to be further explained by natural scientists, that habituated reason develops within an individual through successful upbringing into critical reason, and a heteronomously formed self becomes capable of taking autonomous decisions. Moreover, the moral and political justification of heteronomously formed autonomy will, according to the Aristotelian model, be provided by the specifically human substantive good of eudaimonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-122
Number of pages22
JournalTheory and Research in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

Other keywords

  • Aristotle
  • autonomy
  • habituation
  • moral education
  • phronesis


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