Wisdom and the life of virtue: What should discipline be for in schools?’
MacAllister, James Willis
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This dissertation addresses the question: what should Discipline be for in Schools? It does so from a primarily philosophical and specifically neo-Aristotelian perspective. Indeed, the thesis would seem to be the first to try to derive an account of the possible purposes of modern day school discipline from Aristotle‘s works. The discussion also provides an original evaluation of the educational place and significance of Aristotle‘s intellectual virtues. The thesis proceeds from a conviction that: 1) recent policy and research concerning pupil behaviour in Scottish schools has not clearly enough articulated what discipline should be for; and 2) previous theoretical attempts to explain the purposes of school discipline have not been grounded upon sufficiently robust moral and/or epistemological foundations. The most relevant extant treatises of Aristotle are therefore explored in depth, in search of a more justifiable theory of school discipline. In this respect, particularly detailed scrutiny is given to the various traits of character (virtues) that Aristotle believed to comprise human flourishing. During this analysis and discussion, it is argued that educators should try to foster such virtuous habits of thinking, acting and feeling in pupils, in the course of seeking to instil discipline in their schools and classrooms. It is concluded that school discipline should promote pupil virtue and wisdom.