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Flourishing Lives
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Book description

This book elaborates, illuminates, and illustrates a confident and attractive account of social and political liberalism in light of a rich understanding of flourishing and fulfilment rooted in a version of natural law theory. Examining issues in ethics, law, and politics - including consumer responsibility, the assignment of grades by teachers, deception by lawyers, war and empire, and the use of victim-impact statements in parole decisions - Gary Chartier shows how natural law theory can effectively support pluralism, diversity, social equality, integrity, peace, and freedom.


'Most particularly in an age of illiberal populism, ‘liberalism' urgently needs redefinition, away from its bizarre US definition as yet another collectivism. Chartier's brilliant and wide-ranging book defends a new, and old, liberalism in detail. It is, as he says, ‘a confident reassertion of liberalism', but willing to listen to the other side, and to consider. His ‘radical' liberalism is in fact a modest and reasonable program for a flourishing world of natural-law equals.'

Deirdre N. McCloskey - University of Illinois, Chicago

‘This book is a rich exploration of two strands of natural law theory and how they contribute to flourishing for us all. Linking his preferred natural law view with the broad liberal tradition, Gary Chartier shows how ‘natural law liberalism' might shed new light on a wide range of issues.'

John Hagel - author of The Power of Pull

‘I can't name a higher intellectual priority than reframing and reviving liberalism. Chartier does just this in his humane, learned, and erudite manifesto. His liberalism seeks appealingly to foster the good life and universal ennoblement through voluntary means - in a way consistent with human rights and social harmonies. Read it. Believe it.'

Jeffrey A. Tucker - American Institute for Economic Research

‘This is a masterful work. Drawing on a version of Aristotelian natural law theory and Scottish Enlightenment insights into spontaneous order, Gary Chartier elaborates a natural law position that supports liberal social and political views. But Chartier takes his arguments in unexpected directions, and in so doing illuminates issues of genuine theoretical and practical significance. In each case, Chartier's analysis helps to elaborate and defend his theoretical framework. Flourishing Lives is philosophy at its best - advancing our understanding of natural law and drawing on this understanding to support timely and provocative conclusions.'

James Stacey Taylor - College of New Jersey

‘… a pleasure to read and a stimulating occasion for one’s own reflections … I doubt that many liberals will be persuaded to embrace natural law as a result of reading the book or that many traditional natural lawyers will be moved to endorse Chartier’s radical liberalism, but all will be better for the intellectual workout, and many of Chartier’s particular arguments deserve a hearing.’

V. Bradley Lewis Source: Ethics

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