2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

The Impact of the Common Good on Ockham's Political Thought
David J. Clark
Dr. Patricia Burton, Faculty Mentor

Public goods present a unique problem for society. While they offer an opportunity to promote the general welfare, they can be at odds with individual or minority group desires. Political Scientists, philosophers, and lawmakers have sought to determine to what degree society should place an emphasis on public and private goods. This issue has been dealt with throughout history, under the more commonly known guise the common good. A major contributor to this discussion is William of Ockham. His three propositions for natural law give rise to a normative system for human action. While this permeates his discussions on Franciscan poverty and fullness of power, it also plays a prominent role in his development of criteria for good government. Ockham undermines the traditional power of canon law and increases the scope of secular law through his insistence that the common good should always be the chief aim of the law.

Keywords: William of Ockham, Common Good, Political Theory, Natural Law, Public Goods, Fullness of Power, Franciscan Poverty

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion
Medieval Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 208-5
Location: MG 1000
Time: 10:30

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