David O. Brink

in Perfectionism and the Common Good

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780199266401
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600906 | DOI:

Series: Lines of Thought


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This chapter examines whether Green's conception of the common good is impartial in the sense that it demands an equal weighting of everyone's good. Green's views on the philosophical and political influence of utilitarian and Kantian conceptions of impartiality are considered. It is argued that partiality of variable weight is consistent with impartiality of universal scope. Moreover, it fits the common view that even if morality has universal scope, the demands that it imposes are a function not simply of the amount of benefit that one can confer but also of the nature of the relationship in which one stands to potential beneficiaries. If we fill in the details of Green's claims about the role of the common good in self-realization with the help of Aristotle's eudaimonist justification of virtues that aim at the common good, then it is hard to see how Green can avoid endorsing this sort of partiality.

Keywords: T. H. Green; Aristotle; common good; impartiality; utilitarian; Kant

Chapter.  1799 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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