Education as Soulcraft: Exemplary Intellectual Practice and the Cardinal Virtues
Gilbert Meilaender argues that universities should eschew efforts to improve students’ moral character. I show that Meilaender’s arguments fail to offer any cogent reason for shunning university-based moral education. I then look to Thomas Aquinas in order to explain the connection between moral virtue and the practices common in university life. Using Aquinas as a guide, I argue that exemplary intellectual practice requires virtues that are subsidiary habits of the cardinal moral virtues themselves. The implication of this argument is as follows: students require scrupulous moral training if they are to engage in exemplary intellectual practice.