Philosophy Talk: Working for the Common Good (in King 343)

Date, time, location

Friday, May 6, 2022
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

King Building, Room 343

10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH 44074

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Additional details

Free and Open to the Public

Jonny Thakkar will give a talk titled “Working for the Common Good.”


The idea that citizens ought to devote themselves to working for the common good goes back to Plato and echoes throughout the socialist tradition up to the present day. But what does the common good mean in this context, and what counts as working for it? My claim is that the common good ought to be understood in terms of the reasons a given group has for action given its constitutive activity, so that working for the common good is just acting on those reasons. This raises the question of how we can determine what those reasons amount to. The answer, I suggest, will depend on which type of group is at issue. From a practical perspective, then, what it means to work for the common good will vary depending on the type of group concerned. This has important implications regarding our obligations as participants in the global economy.

About the Speaker

Jonny Thakkar is an assistant professor of political science at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania as well as one of the founding editors of The Point. After earning his PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago in 2013, he spent 3 years at Princeton University as a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and then one year at the University of British Columbia as an assistant professor. 

His first book, Plato as Critical Theorist, was published by Harvard University Press in Spring 2018.