Whose good is the common good?

Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (7):665-684 (2012)
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Reference to the common good has increased in recent political discourse, not only on the right but also on the left. This development partly reflects genuine limitations in the liberal model of politics, and thus should not be dismissed as mere rhetoric. However, appeals to the common good face four difficulties: its social referent; its temporal horizon; its substantive content; and its authoritative identification. The article concludes with a modest suggestion for understanding the common good in complex societies



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