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Aquinas, Aristotle, and the Promise of the Common Good


  • Page extent: 270 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.502 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320.01/1
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: JC330.15 .K49 2006
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Common good
    • Thomas,--Aquinas, Saint,--1225?-1274--Political and social views
    • Aristotle--Political and social views

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521864732 | ISBN-10: 0521864739)

Aquinas, Aristotle, and the Promise of the Common Good, first published in 2006, claims that contemporary theory and practice have much to gain from engaging Aquinas's normative concept of the common good and his way of reconciling religion, philosophy, and politics. Examining the relationship between personal and common goods, and the relation of virtue and law to both, Mary M. Keys shows why Aquinas should be read in addition to Aristotle on these perennial questions. She focuses on Aquinas's Commentaries as mediating statements between Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Politics and Aquinas's own Summa Theologiae, showing how this serves as the missing link for grasping Aquinas's understanding of Aristotle's thought. Keys argues provocatively that Aquinas's Christian faith opens up new panoramas and possibilities for philosophical inquiry and insights into ethics and politics. Her book shows how religious faith can assist sound philosophical inquiry into the foundation and proper purposes of society and politics.

• First major book by a political theorist on Aquinas's thought since Harry V. Jaffa's Thomism and Aristotelianism • Advances a political understanding of Aquinas's natural law and virtue theories with reference to today's ethical, social, and political issues • Interdisciplinary approach and scope that integrates politics, social and political theory, philosophy, ethics, legal theory, and theology


Part I. Virtue, Law and the Problem of the Common Good: 1. Why Aquinas? Reconsidering and receiving the common good; 2. Contemporary responses to the problem of the common good: three Anglo-American theories; Part II. Aquinas's Social and Civic Foundations: 3. Unearthing and appropriating Aristotle's foundations: from three Anglo-American theorists back to Thomas Aquinas; 4. Reinforcing the foundations: Aquinas on the problem of political virtue and regime-centered political science; 5. Finishing the foundations and beginning to build: Aquinas on human action and excellence as social, civic, and religious; Part III. Moral Virtues at the Nexus of Personal and Common Goods: 6. Remodeling the moral edifice (I): Aquinas and Aristotelian magnanimity; 7. Remodeling the moral edifice (II): Aquinas and Aristotelian legal justice; Part IV. Politics, Human Law, and Transpolitical Virtue: 8. Aquinas's two pedagogies: human law and the good of moral virtue; 9. Theological virtue and Thomisitic political theory.


'Key's book is valuable for two reasons. It makes visible and vivid the difference between the outlooks of Aquinas and Aristotle and it initiates a welcome dialogue between Aquinas and contemporary political philosophers on the relevance of the common good.' British Journal for the History of Philosophy

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