Questions of character

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Questions of character

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Does the new report from Demos raise more questions than it answers?

To some ears, the word ‘character’ no doubt still evokes cold showers and a stiff upper lip. But these familiar associations are both too old-fashioned and not old-fashioned enough. Not old-fashioned enough because the proper development of character is at the centre of a line of ethical thought that goes back to Aristotle. Too old-fashioned, because character is becoming an increasingly prominent theme in public policy discussions—see for instance the work of the Studio Schools Trust on developing character capabilities or The Foundation Years, the report by Frank Field MP on parenting as an instrument for combating social deprivation (click here to hear Field discussing the study).

This growing list is now joined by a new Demos report, The Character Inquiry, launched this week. Here Aristotle rubs shoulders with attachment theory and the Social and Emotional Aspects

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Edward Harcourt

Edward Harcourt is a lecturer in philosophy at Oxford University 

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