Defining the Common Good: Empire, Religion and Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Review of Metaphysics 49 (4):936-938 (1996)

Abstract

The subtitle of this work better indicates its content than the lead title itself. The author is more interested in those social and political structures which promote the common good than he is in the concept itself, although the text is not lacking in philosophical analysis. In a first chapter Cicero is allowed to frame the issues which Miller subsequently explores in the thought of Pitt, Abercromby, Pownall, Rutherforth, Brown, Priestley, Locke, Hume, Price, and in the thought of many others. Liberty, law, security, patriotism, colonization, toleration, and the role of religion in promoting the common good are topics frequently addressed by the eighteenth century authors considered. The level of political discourse in eighteenth century Britain is shown to be serious, achieving a depth rivaling ancient Rome itself.

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