Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 50, 2008

Social and Political Philosophy

M. Lorenz Moises J. Festin
Pages 171-176

Making Sense of Common Good in Contemporary Society

The main purpose of the paper is to investigate the relevance and significance of the concept of common good in contemporary society. First, I make a brief historical remark about the philosophical concept of common good. I will argue that the concept is rooted in the ancient Greek philosophical understanding of society, namely as polis, whereby human being is thought to have an end that is not merely individual but also collective. I then discuss how societies have significantly changed over the years and how the current global order resembles the situation during the time of Alexander the Great, whose vision it was to establish a cosmopolis, literally a global city. In the end, I consider whether the notion of common good in itself has lost its relevance in the face of the manifold social changes. I bring my discussion to a close with a note on the universality and naturality of the common good of humankind.