Should teachers use Platonic or Aristotelian dialogues for the moral education of young people?

Journal of Philosophy of Education 57 (3):748-761 (2023)
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Is a neo-Platonic theory of moral education better than a neo-Aristotelian one, because the former offers a dialogue method that teachers can use in universities to induce epiphanies in students, in order to jump-start the moral development of those with a rather vicious character? In this paper, this claim, put forward by Jonas and Nakazawa in their book A Platonic Theory of Moral Education, is evaluated. Admittedly, the Nicomachean Ethics, which came to us in the form of a collection of edited lecture notes, gives the impression that Aristotle was not interested in dialogue. But by looking at the dialogical form of the Ethics and by consulting some of his ideas on logic, I show that Aristotle’s oeuvre does include valuable ideas about how teachers may conduct dialogues with their students. These dialogues may not yield epiphanies and will not convert vicious adults, but they are suitable for reaching most students and can appeal to their emotions and practical wisdom. While Jonas and Nakazawa argue that Plato and Aristotle only agree on the centrality of habituation, imitation, and role-modelling in their accounts of moral education, I conclude that dialogue should be added to that list.



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Rhetoric. Aristotle & C. D. C. Reeve - 2018 - Hackett Publishing Company.
The Fragility of Goodness.Martha Nussbaum - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.
Truth and Method.Hans-Georg Gadamer, Garrett Barden, John Cumming & David E. Linge - 1977 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (1):67-72.

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