|dc.description.abstract||This essay begins with the assumption that a liberal political morality is grounded
upon two core ideals one, that the freedom to shape one's own life in accordance with
one's reasonable beliefs about the good is constitutive of the ideal human life; and two, that
the state ought to be in the business of securing this life-shaping freedom for its citizens.
I argue that the endorsement of these ideals has perfectionist implications for a political
morality. My central claim is that if the liberal state is committed to securing its citizens'
life-shaping freedom, then it must actively and intentionally promote a definitive ideal of
human flourishing. Accordingly, a liberal political morality is perfectionist insofar as it
promotes an ideal of human flourishing; it is liberal insofar as that ideal is a distinctively
My argument proceeds in four stages. In Chapter II, I argue that a liberal political
morality cannot remain neutral in the way that many liberals claim it must be. The consequence
of this is that a liberal morality must be grounded upon a non-neutral moral ideal.
In Chapter III, I argue that this non-neutral ideal must take citizens' positive liberty or
what I am calling their life-shaping capabilities ÃÂÃÂseriously if it is to achieve its end of
securing its citizens' life-shaping freedom. In Chapter IV, I present a theoretical framework
intended to support the perfectionist element of my account. To do this, I propose a
capabilities approach to well-being, which enables us to determine which capabilities are
necessary for life-shaping freedom. In Chapter V, I address the inevitable worry that the
state's enforcement of perfectionist political principles is likely to unjustifiably infringe upon its citizens'ÃÂÃÂ freedom. To alleviate this concern, I argue that any paternalistic interference
justified by a capabilities approach actually enhances citizens' long-term freedom
by preventing them from permanently forfeiting the necessary conditions of their freedom.
Once this obstacle has been overcome, we will be free to embrace the perfectionist
implications of our commitment to life-shaping freedom.||en_US