RC 514: Constructing the Common Good

Home / Modules / Rc-514-constructing-the-common-good

Module Level

9 (postgraduate) STL Reading Course


Two papers and a presentation

Module Aims

To examine the concept of the common good from within the Christian tradition and to provide an indepth analysis of the concept. Students will be expected to evaluate key social documents of the Church, as well as engage with the thinking of leading commentators in this area. By the end of this Reading Course, students will have gained a comprehensive understanding of the meaning and useage of the concept, and be able to apply it to contemporary public debates.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • The common good in the social encyclicals of the Catholic Church
  • The contributions of leading experts such as Hollenbach, Sandel, Riordan, and Maritan
  • A critique of the idea of intellectual solidarity as used by Hollenbach
  • Civic virtue and the common good
  • The common good and its application to the capabilities debate
  • The common good and climate justice
  • Identity and the common good


  • David Hollenbach, Claims in Conflict, (New York : Paulist Press, 1979).
  • ______________ , The Common Good and Christian Ethics, (Cambridge, CUP, 2002).
  • ______________ , The Global Face of Public Faith, (Washington : Georgetown University Press, 2003).
  • Jacques Maritain, The Person and the Common Good, (University of Notre Dame Press, 1973).
  • Martha Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities : The Human Development Approach, (Harvard University Press, 2011).
  • Ethna Regan, Theology and the Boundary Discourse of Human Rights, (Washington : Georgetown University Press, 2010).
  • Patrick Riordan, A Grammer of the Common Good : Speaking of Globalization, (London : Continuum, 2008).
  • Michael Sandel, Justice : What’s the Right Thing To Do ? (New York : Farrer Straus and Giroux, 2009).