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T.H. Green: the common good society

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This much is clear about the idea of the common good: ‘it is absolutely central to Green's theory’. The object of the present essay is to show that this is so because, at bottom, the idea of the common good is about ‘some sort of society’ which lies at the heart of Green's social morality. But what sort of society? The sort that is constituted by the relation of mutual interest (or social mutuality) in which each recognizes the equal status of others as persons and one's dependence on others as ‘alter ego’. Green calls this kind of society ‘social union’. Crucially, the common good prescribes, negatively, that no one should gain by the loss of another and, positively, that the pursuit of the good by one must promote the good of others too. If institutions and individuals adhere to this guidance, the common good obtains: an ideal of social union which excludes no one; that is to say, it is in the interest of all and all are interested in it.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: College of William and Mary.

Publication date: 1993-02-01

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