Authority and the Common Good in the Social and Political Philosophy of Yves R. Simon

Dissertation, The Catholic University of America (1985)

This dissertation seeks to clarify the intrinsic relationship between authority and the common good in the thought of Yves Simon, a prominent contemporary philosopher whose works have been cited as important in the history of social and political philosophy. ;The dissertation examines the status of authority as a means to the common good and concludes that if authority is to be a means to the common good as Simon claims, then it must be understood as a common good. ;The method of study is by textual analysis of Simon's works. Chapter One focuses upon the problem of authority as defined by Simon and addresses the issues of necessity, definition and the origin of authority. Chapter Two gives the analysis of the metaphysical foundations of authority in Simon's thought. Practical judgment, freedom and law are seen to be the matrix of all forms of authority. Chapter Three analyzes the kinds and functions of authority proposed by Simon. ;Chapter Four is devoted to the question of the common good. Simon's distinction between a particular good, a common good and the common good are examined. The dissertation then argues that the common good is instantiated and experienced in a common good, and that the common good serves as a formal end for determining the goodness of any human action. Authority is here shown to be a common good. Chapter Five then proceeds to articulate the relationship between authority and the common good, the relationship being analogous to the intrinsic relationship between the particular and the universal, and by the relationship of means to end in Thomistic ethics. ;The dissertation then concludes by agreeing with Simon that the common good is the subsistent, normative base for all social and political actions, and that authority is a means to the common good. It further develops the notion of authority as a common good, arguing that if authority is to serve as a means to the common good, it is necessary that it be conceived as a common good.
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