Why Justice Is Not Enough: Mercy, Love-Caritas, and the Common Good

  • Mary M. Keys
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 23)


In the Western tradition of political thought at least since Plato and Aristotle wrote in ancient Athens, there has been a tendency to equate the notions of justice and common good. In Aristotle’s words, “the political good is justice,” which is “the common advantage” (Politics III.12). Few would take issue with the analogous but not identical claim that Augustine of Hippo would make centuries later, that where there is no true, common theory and practice of justice or right there can be no real res publica, no common-weal or community of shared goods and hence no genuine, lasting peace (see City of God IV.4 and XIX). Yet one may still wonder whether justice suffices for fully human common goods to subsist and for the persons, families, and other societies sharing in these common goods to flourish. Is attention to the truth of justice and its implications enough? If not, what other important sources and aspects of the common good should be understood, stressed, and supported?


Common Good Filial Piety Divine Attribute Perfect Goodness Rational Soul 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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