Alexandre Lefebvre, "Liberalism as a Way of Life" (Princeton UP, 2024)


In political philosophy, “liberalism” is not the name of a particular social platform. Rather, it refers to a framework for thinking about politics. It is the way of thinking according to which the state, its laws, and its institutions all stand in need of justification, and that the justification of the state must be addressed to those who live within its territory. In this way, liberalism as a philosophical stance affirms the moral equality of persons and prioritizes the liberty of each, “taken one by one,” as it were. The idea of liberalism as a way of life thus may seem curious. According to many traditional liberal thinkers, liberalism is distinguished from other approaches by the denial that it is a “way of life.” On these views, a liberal political order establishes the conditions under which each individual can “seek their own good in their own way,” as John Stuart Mill put it.

In Liberalism as a Way of Life (Princeton University Press 2024), Alexandre Lefebvre argues that liberalism currently informs our cultural sensibilities. What’s more, he argues that liberalism is a worthwhile way of life.

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Robert Talisse

Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

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