© 2020

The Three Ps of Liberty

Pragmatism, Pluralism, and Polycentricity


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Allen Mendenhall
    Pages 95-115
  3. Allen Mendenhall
    Pages 117-129
  4. Allen Mendenhall
    Pages 131-147
  5. Allen Mendenhall
    Pages 173-204
  6. Allen Mendenhall
    Pages 205-240
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 241-248

About this book


This book considers the “three Ps” of liberty: pragmatism, pluralism, and polycentricity.  These concepts enrich the complex tradition of classical liberal jurisprudence, providing workable solutions based on the decentralization, diffusion, and dispersal of power.


Libertarianism Pragmatism Pluralism Polycentricity Jefferson’s Laws of Nature Natural Law Polycentric Law Justice Holmes Pragmatic Conservatism Justice Brandeis

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Thomas Goode Jones School of LawFaulkner UniversityMontgomeryUSA

About the authors

Allen Mendenhall is associate dean at Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, USA, and executive director of the Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty, USA.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Three Ps of Liberty
  • Book Subtitle Pragmatism, Pluralism, and Polycentricity
  • Authors Allen Mendenhall
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-39604-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-39607-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-39605-3
  • Series ISSN 2662-6470
  • Series E-ISSN 2662-6489
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 248
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Economic Thought/Methodology
    Heterodox Economics
    Law and Economics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


“Allen Mendenhall's The Three Ps of Liberty: Pragmatism, Pluralism, and Polycentricity gives the best account to date of "libertarian jurisprudence." Mendenhall argues that libertarianism should be understood as pluralism, basing his account on a conception of individual liberty that not only allows scope for the development of individual identity but that integrates a robust conception of human virtue. Drawing on figures like Hume, Burke, Hayek, and Oakeshott, Mendenhall offers a compelling picture of decentralized jurisprudence that makes common cause between virtue and liberty, and that provides a framework for a just and humane society. Libertarians, conservatives, and their critics from across the political-economic spectrum should welcome this careful and thoughtful investigation.” (Jim Otteson, Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics, Professor of Economics, and Executive Director of the Eudaimonia Institute at Wake Forest University, USA)

“Professor Mendenhall offers a thorough defense of legal pluralism, with a novel and persuasive intellectual history of classical liberalism’s roots. In the book, he portrays a vision of civil society that leaves room for competing mores through polycentric governance. This is a refreshing departure from the trend of promoting legal reform designed to purge apostates and enforce ideological purity.” (Stephen C. Miller, Adams-Bibby Chair of Free Enterprise, Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University, USA)

“The emergence of Donald Trump as the titular head of American conservatism has shattered the fusion of libertarianism and traditionalism that has comprised the modern conservative project. While repairing the political breach may prove difficult, Allen Mendenhall offers libertarian pluralism as a path forward for a fusionist project in legal philosophy. Along the way, Mendenhall examines not only the legal theory of leading libertarian and conservative thinkers such as F.A. Hayek, Michael Oakeshott, and David Hume, but unlikely allies such as Thomas Jefferson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and even Louis Brandeis, and the modern Seasteading movement.” (Todd Zywicki, George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, USA,  and Senior Fellow, The Cato Institute, USA)