Volume 13, Issue 1, Spring 2013
Critiques of the New Natural Law Theory
On the Transcendence of the Political Common Good
Aquinas versus the New Natural Law Theory
The article aims to articulate and defend St. Thomas Aquinas’s understanding of the transcendence of the political common good and argues against the new natural law theory’s view of the common good as limited, instrumental, and ordered toward the private good of families and individuals. After a summary of John Finnis’s explanation of the common good in Aquinas: Moral, Political, and Legal Theory, the article presents an analysis of the political common good in Aquinas’s Summa theologiae and De regno. This analysis shows, contrary to Finnis, that for Aquinas the political common good transcends the private good of individuals and families, that it consists in the virtuous life of the political multitude, and that the family is insufficient to lead men to virtue apart from the civitas. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 13.1 (Spring 2013): 133–155.