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Reply to Gregory Beabout's 'The Primacy of Culture'

Kevin E. Schmiesing


I want to make only two points with respect to Professor Beabouts paper. The first is a quibble and the second is an idea to which reflection on the paper has given rise. The quibble has to do with Professor Beabouts discussion of the common good. I suspect that our difference on this point is one of language and is a matter of clarification rather than of disagreement. The way the paper states the relationship between the individual person and the common good is this: The common good is greater than individual interests, but the good of authentic personal development is greater than the common good. I worry that this formulation does not sufficiently nuance the relationship between the person and the common good. More precisely, I worry that this formulation could be interpreted in such a way that it could allow the following kind of reasoning: It is good to be concerned about the common good, but in those cases where the common good and the personal good come into conflict, it is better to choose the personal good, because it is, in the final analysis, the more important.

Kevin E. Schmiesing, "Reply to Gregory Beabout's 'The Primacy of Culture,'" Journal of Markets and Morality 4, no. 2 (Fall 2001): 351-352

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