Thanks to the Kern Family Foundation, students, alumni, faculty and staff at Milwaukee School of Engineering enjoyed a special presentation by James Davison Hunter, author of “The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil,” on Dec. 17.

In his book, Hunter traces the death of character to the disintegration of the moral and social conditions that make character possible in the first place. The dilemma he uncovers is especially acute in the realm of moral education, where society explicitly takes on the task of instilling enduring moral commitments and ideals within young people. The various strategies for accomplishing this task—psychological, communitarian and traditionalist—all operate, in the end, within a framework that renders the goal unachievable.