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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—Love, Justice, and the Life of Virtue

Thomas Aquinas—Love, Justice, and the Life of Virtue

(p.102) 4 Thomas Aquinas—Love, Justice, and the Life of Virtue
The Common Good in Late Medieval Political Thought


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Aquinas' application of the principles of superiority and identity to the human community. It notes that this application presents a complex combination of metaphysics and political thought. It explains that Aquinas' translation of a metaphysical analysis of the common good into political theory marks an attempt to accommodate the subordination of the individual good to the common good without making this subordination absolute and all-inclusive. Moreover, defined as the object of love and as the goal of virtue and justice in the human community, it stresses that Aquinas' theory of the common good has significant implications for some very concrete political questions. It identifies subjects such as correction, punishment, legislation, dispensation, taxation, obedience, resistance, and the exercise of political authority, which presuppose some kind of judgement being made on the relative weight which should be attached to the individual and the common good.

Keywords:   Aquinas, superiority, human community, metaphysics, political thought, common good, love, virtue, justice, judgement

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