Entitlement and the Common Good

JHI Working Group active in 2019-2020


Our group began its work in 2018-2019 with an examination of what entitlement means, in both linguistic and cultural terms. The initial meaning of the word, a provision made in accordance with the legal framework of a society and based on principals oriented to social equality or enfranchisement, competes with a sense of unsupported belief that one is inherently deserving of special privileges or treatment. Our work in the past year on the writings of philosopher Aaron James, Argentinian author Eduardo Sacheri, and psychologist Paul Bloom, led us to the conclusion that the tension is not between entitlement and individual rights, but the common good, which is attainable only by the community but shared by individuals. In the coming year we will explore the dichotomy between entitlement and the common good, with attention to how the language of common good is articulated and justified. We will construct a reading list from relevant texts, from Spanish-speaking colonial discourse to contemporary narrative and film, to build a methodology for analyzing the language of entitlement.


  • Laura Colantoni, FAS Spanish & Portuguese
  • Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux, FAS Spanish & Portuguese and Cognitive Science program

Faculty, University of Toronto

  • Naomi Nagy, FAS Linguistics
  • Victor Rivas, FAS Latin American Studies program
  • Nathan Sanders, FAS Linguistics
  • Jeffrey Steele, FAS French

Community Professionals

  • B. Forrest, Affordable Housing East Non-Profit Housing Corporation
  • M. Hadzis, Prison Fellowship Canada
  • M.A. Lonardi, Consul of Argentina
  • E. Trotter, Archdioceses of Toronto
  • M.J. Zatarain, Kintore College
  • G. McConnell, psychotherapist
  • R. John, mediator

Graduate Students, University of Toronto

  • Yadira Alvarez, Spanish & Portuguese
  • Ailen Cruz, Spanish & Portuguese
  • Paula Karger, Comparative Literature
  • Ruth Maddeux, Linguistics