Lucas Swaine

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Government

Curriculum Vitae
230 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
B.A. (Hons.), M.A. University of Manitoba
D.Phil., University of Sussex
A.M., Ph.D., Brown University

Selected Publications

The Liberal Conscience: Politics and Principle in a World of Religious Pluralism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006; paperback edition, 2008).

“Freedom of Thought as a Basic Liberty,” Political Theory, Vol. 46, No. 3 (2018), pp. 405-25. Available at:

“Can Islam Transform Liberalism?” Politics, Religion & Ideology, Vol. 19, No. 3 (2018), pp. 285-304. Available at:

“Legal Exemptions for Religious Feelings,” in Religious Exemptions, ed. Kevin Vallier and Michael Weber (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 74-96.

“The Origins of Autonomy,” History of Political Thought, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2016): 216-37.

Works in Progress

Ethical Autonomy (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2020): This book reconsiders the importance of personal autonomy for democratic citizenship and for good lives. It charts the evolution of autonomy and examines the proliferation of autonomy in free societies. The book pinpoints serious deficiencies in received ideals and practices of personal autonomy. It elaborates an argument in favor of ethical autonomy, an alternative kind of autonomy that integrates individual self-rule with moral character. Ethical autonomy includes important restraints on an autonomous individual’s imagination, deliberation, and will. It supports central liberal commitments, it fits with reasonable pluralism, it enhances active and astute forms of democratic citizenship, and it is grounded in fundamental principles of liberty of conscience. This novel understanding enriches the values of freedom, toleration, respect, individual rights, limited government, and the rightful rule of law.