Skip to:Content
Cover image for New French thought : political philosophy
New French thought : political philosophy
Lilla, Mark.

Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1994.
Physical Description:
xii, 239 p. ; 25 cm.
New French thought
Series Title:
New French thought
General Note:
Previously published in French as separate essays.
Added Author:


Material Type
Item Barcode
Call Number
Shelf Location
Item Holds
Book BILKUTUP0192715 JA84.F8 N49 1994 Central Campus Library

On Order



The past fifteen years in France have seen a remarkable flourishing of new work in political philosophy. This anthology brings into English for the first time essays by some of the best young French political thinkers writing today, including Marcel Gauchet, Pierre Manent, Luc Ferry, and Alain Renaut. The central theme of these essays is liberal democracy: its nature, its development, its problems, its fundamental legitimacy. Although these themes are familiar to American and British readers, the French approach to them--which is profoundly historical and rooted in the tradition of continental philosophy--is quite different from our customary one.

Included in this collection is a series of reconsiderations of French critics of liberal society (Lévi-Strauss, Foucault, Bourdieu) and of classical European liberals (Kant, Constant, Tocqueville). The continuing controversies over the nature of the modern era and the place of religion within it play a central role throughout the collection. The book includes a debate on the foundations of human rights and on the nature of a liberal political order. The concluding section presents some of the new sociological writing on modern individualism, its pleasures and its discontents. An introduction by Mark Lilla provides the historical background to the revival of French political thought about liberalism, and offers an analysis of what American and English readers might learn from it.

Originally published in 1994.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Legitimacy of the Liberal Agep. 3
Ch. 1 Levi-Straussp. 38
Ch. 2 Foucaultp. 54
Ch. 3 Bourdieup. 63
Ch. 4 Kant and Fichtep. 74
Ch. 5 Constantp. 82
Ch. 6 Tocquevillep. 91
Ch. 7 Primitive Religion and the Origins of the Statep. 116
Ch. 8 The Modern Statep. 123
Ch. 9 Ancient, Modern, and Contemporaryp. 134
Ch. 10 How to Think about Rightsp. 148
Ch. 11 Rights and Natural Lawp. 155
Ch. 12 Rights and Modern Lawp. 164
Ch. 13 The Contest for Commandp. 178
Ch. 14 On Legitimacy and Political Deliberationp. 186
Ch. 15 Modernization and Consensusp. 201
Ch. 16 May '68, or the Rise of Transpolitical Individualismp. 212
Ch. 17 The End of Alienation?p. 220
Ch. 18 The Rebirth of Voluntary Servitudep. 226
Notes on the Authorsp. 233
Selected Bibliographyp. 235
Go to:Top of Page