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School of Public Policy Presents James Q. Wilson Conference on "Character and the Moral Sense"

Online Registration is now closed, however seating is available on a space-available basis by calling at (310) 506-7490.

"Character and the Moral Sense: James Q. Wilson and the Future of Public Policy" will honor the legacy of James Q. Wilson, who enjoyed a long storied career in the public policy arena and served as the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy until his passing in March 2012. The two-day conference will begin Friday, Feb. 28, at 8:15 a.m. on the Drescher Graduate Campus and continue until Saturday, Mar. 1.

The conference will focus on Wilson's historic book, The Moral Sense, emphasizing the rediscovery of character as valid concerns of policy education in democracy.

The current debate about the role of the humanities as well as the sometimes forgotten boundaries and limitations of what can finally be claimed by social science, provides a robust environment in which to revisit the legacy of James Q. Wilson. Even given his storied and complete allegiance to "the data," he had the courage to explore doggedly the most important questions related to human character, the moral sense, and this nation's continuing experiment in governance that is unarguably exceptional. Although absent from the formal curricula of many public policy and public administration programs, the unspoken and murky assumptions embedded in this search for a basic understanding of human nature demand to be acknowledged and explored with skill and integrity, and to instruct discussions of curricular reform.

From 1961 to 1987, Wilson taught political science at Harvard University, where he was the Shattuck Professor of Government. He was the James Collins Professor of Management and Public Policy at UCLA from 1985 until 1997 and has authored or coauthored 14 books throughout his career. In addition, he edited or contributed to books on urban problems, government regulation of business, and the prevention of delinquency among children. Many of his writings on morality and human character have been collected in On Character: Essays by James Q. Wilson. His textbook on American government is more widely used on University campuses than any other government textbook.

An editorial published in the New York Times refers to Wilson as "unquestionably the preeminent political
 scientist of the last 50 years."

To view the full calendar of events, visit the School of Public Policy website.


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