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The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil
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The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The Death of Character is a broad historical, sociological, and cultural inquiry into the moral life and moral education of young Americans based upon a huge empirical study of the children themselves. The children's thoughts and concerns-expressed here in their own words-shed a whole new light on what we can expect from moral education. Targeting new theories of education ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 18th 2001 by Basic Books (first published 2000)
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Jean
Aug 10, 2015 Jean rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Hunter has written a thorough explanation of the progression of the death of character. His detailed work helps the reader understand the difficulties the teacher will face in schools and the required character programs for which teachers are inevitably being held accountable for in the classroom. This is both a work of stunning proportions and a vital call to understand the ramifications for society.
Frank Roberts
Dec 30, 2010 Frank Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a broad consensus that having good character is important, though we rarely use that term anymore. We all desire our children (and ourselves) to be honest, responsible, compassionate, and prudent. But is that even possible in an age where our desire to be tolerant and inclusive has driven out all notions of evil?

We don't even speak of "character" anymore (good or bad); today the term is personality, and those are either attractive or unattractive, boring or interesting, but never somet
...more
Dawn
Jan 23, 2015 Dawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Hunter presents an interesting history of the driving forces behind American moral education and an evidence-driven skewering of the vacuous character training which public institutions currently serve up. Today's creed of tolerance deems it unacceptable to teach anything of the traditional moral frameworks societies have relied on to inspire selfless morality. Modern, psychology-based character training has failed. The reader is left here - contemplating the appearance of a dead-end. What emerg ...more
Daniel
Jul 05, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it
Hunter did a great job giving a brief history of moral education in America. He pointed out the philosophical underpinnings of the various approaches to moral education from the Puritans to modern day pedology. There are many things I learned in this book; the first being that the decline of moral education is not a recent phenomenon of the last sixty years, but rather a much deeper problem originating nearly at the birth of this nation. Secondly, it is pluralism and inclusiveness that have been ...more
Tony
Jan 21, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
Hunter rightly eviscerates the self-esteem fetish in American schools, and shows how modern character education programs are abject failures at positively influencing long-term behavior. His Protestant worldview, however, predisposes him to conclude that positive reinforcement -- teaching children that virtue should be pursued at least in part because it makes us feel good and whole -- is inherently flawed. In reality, it is entirely consistent with Christian dogma rightly understood, and with a ...more
Brad
Jul 27, 2014 Brad marked it as to-read
Art of Manliness - jeremiad rec
Tyler Hurst
Mar 25, 2016 Tyler Hurst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book but a brutal read

Hunter articulates the problem of of moral education extremely well, and with equal effort defends his position, but the depth and length make his text daunting. It's not surprising that most readers will be well educated, while lay people are probably not going to make it beyond chapter two.
Holli
Jan 11, 2008 Holli rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2005
Statistical and investigative data showing how moral education among children in America does not work. Read for a philosophy class.
Tyler Hurst
Not an easy read, but a very informative and challenging book on what our method of education says about our beliefs.
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“We want character but without unyielding conviction; we want strong morality but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame; we want virtue but without particular moral justifications that invariably offend; we want good without having to name evil; we want decency without the authority to insist upon it; we want more community without any limitations to personal freedom. In short, we want what we cannot possibly have on the terms that we want it.” 8 likes
“One cannot help but recognize already that there is something about the historical unfolding of our moral culture that resists all of those efforts to change it or finesse it or oppose it.” 0 likes
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