Political Theory

James Q. Wilson on Human Nature, Liberty, and Choice


This conference explored the works of James Q. Wilson throughout his career as a scholar, from his early public policy work on policing to The Moral Sense. The primary themes used to tie the conference readings together were human nature and rationality, with special attention paid to the limits placed on human rationality.


Conference Readings

Banfield, Edward C. and James Q. Wilson. City Politics. New York: Vintage Books (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.), 1966.

Wilson, James Q. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York: Basic Books, 1989.

Wilson, James Q. Thinking About Crime [Revised Edition]. New York: Vintage Books, 1985.

Wilson, James Q. On Character: Essays by James Q. Wilson [Expanded Edition]. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1995.

Wilson, James Q. The Moral Sense. New York: The Free Press, 1993.

Wilson, James Q. Varieties of Police Behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978.

Wilson, James Q. “Against the Legalization of Drugs.” Commentary (February 1990): 1-10.

Wilson, James Q. “Legalizing Drugs Makes Matters Worse.” Slate (September 2000): 1-3.

Wilson, James Q. Political Organizations. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Wilson, James Q. and Richard J. Herrnstein. Crime & Human Nature: The Definitive Study of the Causes of Crime. New York: The Free Press, 1985.