Perception as the Goddess of Intellect — Aristotle’s Notions on Education
Wendy Buchholz
3101

As usual, interesting and well presented. You do have the present education systems, its aims and practices in the gun. Just off hand, criticising the present system does not mean that a better system with the same goals, can be developed, that could be adequate to the purposes of what such a system, is meant to do

It’s the notion of purpose that troubles you and character development, the striving for goodness, and learning to lead a flourishing life, that you propose as your answer to it.

What makes you think that the Aristotelian pursuit of goodness, as defined by him, will lead to a happy life? By definition? There are plenty of other notions dealing with happiness and the good life, that make no reference to Aristotle’s theory of virtue and character development. What makes his conception so special?

A more serious matter, is whether in the present postindustrial society, the electronic revolution firing it, the existing labour market, the decline of manufacturing and the emphasis on the service economy the state can afford an education system can afford to adopt such a view as you suggest. One could maintain that it is its responsibility to provide an education, that promotes happiness, by making its graduates employable in such a society

The argument of a critic of your views could plausibly argue that to make ends meet, students have to be taught the abilities that enables them to maximise their employment opportunities. The information processing and the development of a mindset that facilitates processing , are primary ends, and that whatever form of flourishing that can be incorporated in the syllabus and curriculum of the system will have to meet those ends. Such a system would be geared to meeting the basic needs of Maslow’s hierarchy. After all, you can’t flourish or find happiness in poverty

My point is that what you suggest is suited to particular socioeconomic groups, groups whose members are educated, and in full time and well paid employment. The parents and children of these groups, can worry about the happiness of their children, and act to further the development of their character. After all, Aristotle supposes, that you have time, to reflect on the what, why and how of seeking the goodness of a life well lived. Aristotle’s view was not for the slaves of Athens but rather its patrician citizens