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James Q. Wilson gives a lecture - Pepperdine University

This two-day conference will honor the legacy of James Q. Wilson and focus on his historic book, The Moral Sense
, and his emphasis on the rediscovery of character as valid concerns of policy education in a democracy.

Character and the Moral Sense: James Q. Wilson and the Future of Public Policy

February 28 - March 1, 2014
Wilburn Auditorium
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA


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.

"James Q. Wilson ... was unquestionably the preeminent political scientist of the last 50 years." – New York Times Editorial

Conference Agenda and Speakers


Conference Accommodations


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 For additional information, please contact the Pepperdine School of Public Policy at 310.506.7490.


View James Q. Wilson Resources