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The Common Good in Late Medieval Political Thought$
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M. S. Kempshall

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207160

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207160.001.0001

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Thomas Aquinas—Metaphysics and Hierarchy

Thomas Aquinas—Metaphysics and Hierarchy

(p.76) 3 Thomas Aquinas—Metaphysics and Hierarchy
The Common Good in Late Medieval Political Thought


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the central question which is posed by Thomas Aquinas's understanding of the individual and the common good on Albertus Magnus's exposition of the Ethics. It elucidates the extent of the correspondence between each of Albertus' metaphysical elements (analogy and participation, communication and hierarchy, intellectual apprehension and volition) and the model which Aquinas considered appropriate for the good of the political community. It explains that Neo-Thomist personalism presents the common good in God, the bonum in communi, and the common good of happiness as final causes, as ultimate goals for the individual human being, whereas it reduces the common good of the political community to acting as an efficient cause, to facilitating the means towards these ends, to being the arena in which those goods which are instrumental to the activity of virtue are provided.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Ethics, metaphysical elements, analogy, communication, volition, political community, Neo-Thomist personalism, God

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