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Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics Paperback – September 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0271027012 ISBN-10: 0271027010 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271027010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271027012
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In sum, Norms of Liberty is a significant addition to the philosophical literature of liberty, and it will surely be an influential work for years to come." --The Independent Review

"Rasmussen and Den Uyl have produced a work of political philosophy that no one who wishes to discuss liberalism can afford to bypass."  
--Philosophy of the Social Sciences

"Norms of Liberty . . . provides a seminal contribution to liberal political thought that will be of significant interest to Thomists as well as other classically trained Aristotelians and natural law theorists."
--The Thomist

"The book gives a very interesting and well articulated defence of liberalism."
--Political Studies Review


"The book is well written, drawing on a wide range of contemporary literature. Its controversial claims will be of keen interest to graduate students and scholars, and accessible to advanced undergraduates."
--Choice

“It is a work of classic stature that everyone interested in political philosophy needs to study.”

—David Gordon, Mises Review



“The book gives a very interesting and well-articulated defense of liberalism.”

—Ronald Tinnevelt, Political Studies Review



“[A] work of political philosophy that no one who wishes to discuss liberalism can afford to bypass.”

—Tibor R. Machan, Philosophy of the Social Sciences

About the Author

Douglas B. Rasmussen is Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University in New York City.



Douglas J. Den Uyl is Vice President of Educational Programs at Liberty Fund in Indianapolis.


More About the Author


Douglas B. Rasmussen is Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University. He received his B.A. from the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. from Marquette University. He has served on the Steering Committee of the Ayn Rand Society and the Executive Council of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from the National Endowment to the Humanities and the Earhart Foundation and has been a Visiting Research Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, on three occasions. His areas of research interest are epistemology, ontology, ethics, and political philosophy as well as the moral foundations of capitalism. He has authored numerous articles in such journals as American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, American Philosophical Quarterly, International Philosophical Quarterly, The New Scholasticism, The Personalist, Public Affairs Quarterly, Social Philosophy & Policy, The Review of Metaphysics, and The Thomist, and in many scholarly anthologies. He guest edited TELEOLOGY & THE FOUNDATION OF VALUE--the January 1992 (Volume 75, No. 1) issue of The Monist. He is coauthor (with Douglas J. Den Uyl) of Liberty and Nature: An Aristotelian Defense of Liberal Order (1991); Liberalism Defended: The Challenge of Post-Modernity (1997); and Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics (2005). Finally, he is coeditor (with Den Uyl) of The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand (1984).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Mertens on April 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great work on human flourishing (individualist perfectionism), individual rights and providing a moral foundation for classical liberalism (non-perfectionist politics). This is one of the best books I have read and I give it my highest recommendation.

Rasmussen and Den Uyl begin by defining liberalism’s problem as: “What are the principles by which to establish a political and legal order whose structure will allow for the possibility that different individuals might be able to flourish and realize virtue in very different ways?”

They provide a solid background on the nature of liberalism and the natural rights tradition. The book then moves on to an initial discussion of individual rights with a very important discussion of the natural right to private property.

Two of my favorite chapters cover “Individualistic Perfectionism”. This is the part of the book where they discuss human flourishing or self-perfection. They provide an account of a perfectionist ethics that has 6 interrelated features:
• Objective
• Inclusive
• Individualized
• Agent-relative
• Self-directed
• Social

They point out that “flourishing is a continuous process of living well”. One of the most powerful parts of this discussion for me is their detailed discussion that flourishing must be directed by each individual and be applied in the context of their unique individual circumstances. While ethics can provide the general abstract principles, these principles need to be applied in the context of each individual’s life – therefore, they see practical wisdom as the central integrating virtue of their ethics.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ellen R. Leighton on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Norms of Liberty is one of the most important works on liberalism in recent years. The fact that individuals have different views of the good life poses a fundamental dilemma for modern political philosophy. Liberals frequently adopt a stance of moral neutrality, suggestive of relativism, subjectivism, or skepticism, while their opponents advocate a substantive moral view at the expense of individual freedom. Rasmussen and Den Uyl present a brilliant solution by distinguishing between normative principles guiding individual moral conduct and metanormative principles that concern legislation. They argue compellingly that neo-Aristotelian perfectionist ethics can support liberal non-perfectionist politics." -Fred D. Miller Jr., Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University

"This is a fine piece of work in several dimensions. First, it is among the most comprehensive surveys of modern liberalism of which I am aware. Virtually every major contributor to thought on liberalism, for and against, from the 17th century forward is discussed in illuminating and intelligent ways. Second, the authors have a well-developed point of view about the liberal tradition, what it is and what it is not, how they think it can best be articulated and defended. There is no doubt that it is a major, significant contribution to the political philosophy of the liberal tradition. Here is a work that both synthesizes a wide range of the literature, offers original views of the subject, and provokes renewed discussion of just what the character of liberal thought is." -Timothy Fuller, Colorado College
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