The Concept of Public Interest
22 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2020 Last revised: 10 Dec 2020
Date Written: September 28, 2020
Public interest, in the words of Felix Frankfurter, is a “vague, impalpable but all-controlling consideration”. It carries legitimacy and justifies coercion; and it has done so ever since: ‘Salus populi suprema lex esto’ rings as maxim from Cicero’s De Legibus to Locke’s Two Treatises and beyond. Its vagueness, combined with its extensive range, entails the concept’s success just as it is responsible for its failings. This paper is dedicated to the analysis of the challenges inherent to the quest of those aspirations that (claim to) unite the political community.
Keywords: Public Interest, Common Good, European Consensus, Factional Interest, Private Interest
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