Empirical Foundations of the Common Good: What Theology Can Learn from Social Science

ISBN : 9780190670054

Daniel K. Finn
272 ページ
156 x 235 mm

What has social science learned about the common good? Can that knowledge improve the views of the common good held by philosophers and theologians? Would humanists ever even alter their definitions of the common good based on what social scientists say? Most view the assumptions undergirding social science as inadequate to a full understanding of human life. In this volume, six social scientists, with backgrounds in economics, political science, sociology, and policy analysis, speak about what their disciplines have to contribute to discussions within Catholic social thought about the common good. Two theologians then examine the insights of social science, including such challenging assertions as: that theology too often ignores the data of everyday life, that it is overly irenic, that it neither understands nor appreciates the unplanned order arising from individual interactions, and that it does not grasp how contention among self-interested nations and persons can be a more effective path to the common good than simply advocating cooperation and brotherly love. This volume's interplay of social scientific and religious views is a unique contribution to contemporary discussion of what constitutes "the common good."


Chapter 1 Contributions of Contemporary Political Science
to an Understanding of the Common Good
Matthew Carnes, S.J.
Chapter 2 What Can Economists Contribute to the Common Good Tradition?
Andrew M. Yuengert
Chapter 3 Public Policy and the Common Good
Mary Jo Bane
Chapter 4 The Contribution of Sociology to Catholic Social Thought and
The Common Good
Douglas V. Porpora
Chapter 5 Contributions of Economic Theory to an Understanding of the
Common Good in Catholic Social Thought
Charles K. Wilber
Chapter 6 Public Service, Public Goods, and the Common Good
Argentina as a Case Study
Gerardo Sanchis Munoz
Chapter 7 What Can Social Science Teach Catholic Social Thought
About the Common Good?
David Cloutier
Chapter 8 What Theology Should and Should Not Learn
from the Social Sciences about the Common Good
Mary L. Hirschfeld


Daniel K. Finn is Professor of Theology and Clemens Professor of Economics at St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He is a former president of the Society of Christian Ethics, the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the Association for Social Economics. His books include Christian Economic Ethics: History and Implications.