He graduated from the University of Bucharest's Faculty of Philosophy in 1965, and from Faculty of Classical Languages in 1973. He earned a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Bucharest in 1976.
Between 1965 and 1975, Liiceanu was a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy, and between 1975 and 1989 at the Institute of Art History. He received a fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation between 1982 and 1984.
He is the manager of Humanitas publishing house since 1990. He is the professor at the University of Bucharest's Faculty of Philosophy since 1992.
Liiceanu is also a founding member of the Group for Social Dialogue (1990), President of the Romanian Publishers' Association (since 2000), and member of the scientific council of New Europe College. Between 1998 and 2001, he was a member of the Romanian National Television's Administrative Board.
He was greatly influenced by his mentor, Constantin Noica, especially during the time spent at Păltiniş (experience that he evokes in his famous "Jurnalul de la Păltiniş" - "The Păltiniş Diary"). Noica, a Romanian philosopher known abroad as well as in the country, used to take his most valuable students and followers to his small house at Păltiniş, where he would teach them what they afterwards called "not philosophy lessons, but spiritual experiences". Another Noica follower that was invited to Păltiniş was Andrei Pleşu (Liiceanu and Pleşu are still friends today). Liiceanu refers to that experience in his books as to the "Păltiniş School" and the term began to be widely accepted and used in Romanian, as well as European philosophy.
Gabriel Andreescu considers that Liiceanu is a facilitator of extremism, since he promoted through his publishing house the interbellic Romanian nationalists and irrationalists, who were "ideologues of right-wing extremism".