Aristotle on the Preparatory Role of Habits in Education

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Baker, Joseph Lyall




Aristotle claims that habituation is a necessary first step in moral education. In this thesis we ask why he says this and what this statement means. We find that good habits are a special class of motivations which prepare for the acquisition and exercise of virtue. We define good habits as the non-rational love of what is noble, the desire to take pride in what is expansive and difficult. We suggest that this desire is at the root of all the reasoning and motivation involved in moral virtue. The rational wish for happiness as the ultimate good, the prudent choice of individual excellent actions, and the obedience of non-rational desires and feelings to this rational choice all develop and function on the basis of non-rational noble motivations. This is why habituation, which cultivates the love of the noble, is a first and necessary step in moral education.


Psychology - Developmental
Education - Philosophy of




Carleton University

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Master of Arts: 

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Theses and Dissertations

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