Title

An Aristotelian Theory of Family

Keywords

Applications of theory, family narratives, family theory, research methodology, qualitative research

Abstract

Our purpose is to apply Aristotelian theory to family studies. We introduce Aristotle’s work through his debate with Plato over the meaning of family and its role in society. We then explain key concepts in Aristotelian theory, including virtue, practical wisdom, telos, interpretation and evaluation, agency, and human development. We propose an Aristotelian conceptualization of family as a multigenerational institution of mutual responsibility, defined in part through narrative and oriented around developing virtue and helping members reach their potential. Finally, we identify family virtues and consider implications of Aristotelianism for social research, with particular attention to how Aristotle’s work provides an epistemological basis for narrative research in general and for case study research in particular.

Original Publication Citation

Goodsell, T., Whiting, J. B. (2016). An Aristotelian theory of family. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 8, 484-502. doi: 10.1111/jftr.12169

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2016-12-01

Publisher

Journal of Family Theory & Review

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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