In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle grappled with the fundamental questions of human existence. There he argues that happiness is the reward of virtue; that the good life, the fulfilled life, is made possible by developing positive traits or strengths of character called virtues; and that discernment in these matters is easier to the extent that a person is virtuous.
These insights of the great pagan philosopher strengthened Newman’s understanding of the human person and orientated him in his educational endeavours.
By Aristotle’s criteria, Newman is eminently suited to advising on the conditions for human flourishing, particularly in its university setting, since he lived the virtues (both human and Christian) to an eminent degree.
Though students are exposed as never before to the self-destructive temptations of popular culture, only lip service is paid to the quaint idea of ‘pastoral wellbeing’. This is largely a consequence of a postmodern society where there are no longer shared values and a consensus of what it means to be a well-formed person.1