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From Aristotle's Virtue Ethics to Contemporary Character Education
With the implementation of Grade 1-9 Curriculum, the previous formal subjects of "Life and Ethics", "Civics and Ethics' exist no longer and are replaced by the instruction and curriculum of ethics or morals infused in "Seven Learning Areas" or "Issue-based Education". Therefore, it is wondered whether the quality of moral education or ethical education is getting worse and worse, maintained or improved. Apart from this, each municipal/county government and schools at all levels carry out various activities of character education in accordance with "Guidelines for Facilitating Character and/or Moral Education Programs" advocated by Ministry of Education. However, many variations or even controversies can be found in these activities of character education. In view of the aforementioned observations, in the beginning, the problems and challenges faced by contemporary character education are discussed in this paper. Next, the vital ideas of Aristotle's virtue ethics are expounded. Then, the responses of Aristotle's virtue ethics to the problems and challenges faced by modern character education are presented. Finally, the inspirations from the above study for character education are elucidated. These inspirations are as follows: taking the fields of experiences which nearly everyone will encounter into consideration, to choose and help learners to cultivate the necessary good characters or virtues; sticking to the possible universal commonalities of human nature, to endow the aspects of desire, choice and action of each good character or virtue with adequate connotations; to combine habituation and rational teaching in the practical activities of teaching in character education; from the crucial viewpoints put forward by Aristotle's virtue ethics concerning the meaning of character, the relationship between character and human nature, the significance of character for ideal life or ideal society, to supply empirical studies with necessary foundational recognition and to make up for the deficiency of empirical studies in character education.
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