Loyalty to Loyalty: Josiah Royce and the Genuine Moral Life

Loyalty to Loyalty: Josiah Royce and the Genuine Moral Life

Douglas R. Anderson
Jude Jones
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Loyalty to Loyalty: Josiah Royce and the Genuine Moral Life
    Book Description:

    As a virtue, loyalty has an ambiguous place in our thinking about moral judgments. We lauded the loyalty of firefighters who risked their lives to save others on 9/11 while condemning the loyalty of those who perpetrated the catastrophe. Responding to such uneasiness and confusion, Loyalty to Loyalty contributes to ongoing conversation about how we should respond to conflicts in loyalty in a pluralistic world. The lone philosopher to base an ethical theory on the virtue of loyalty is Josiah Royce. Loyalty to Loyalty engages Royce's moral theory, revealing how loyalty, rather than being just one virtue among others, is central to living a genuinely moral and meaningful life. Mathew A. Foust shows how the theory of loyalty Royce advances can be brought to bear on issues such as the partiality/impartiality debate in ethical theory, the role of loyalty in liberatory struggle, and the ethics of whistleblowing and disaster response.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4664-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: The Treachery and Ambivalence of Loyalty
    (pp. 1-9)

    John J. McDermott opens his introduction to Josiah Royce’sThe Philosophy of Loyaltywith the question “Is there a more treacherous and ambivalent virtue than that of loyalty?”¹ The question is rhetorical, however, for it is at once a confrontation and a declaration. There is, for McDermott, no more treacherous and ambivalent virtue than that of loyalty. Whether or not we find ourselves in agreement with McDermott, undoubtedly our tendency is to bristle at the suggestion of treachery and to be unnerved by the presence of ambivalence. Thus, we hardly need further provocation to consider the eight lectures of Royce’s...

  5. ONE LOYALTY, JUSTICE, VIRTUE: Contemporary Debates
    (pp. 10-25)

    One ongoing debate in contemporary moral and social philosophy involves how to negotiate the competing claims of partiality and impartiality. Participants in this debate often cite Alasdair MacIntyre as articulating this problem in his essay “Is Patriotism a Virtue?” Therein, he contrasts “liberal morality” with “the morality of patriotism.” Liberal morality is a morality of universal, impersonal, and impartial principles while the morality of patriotism is a morality of particularist ties and solidarities. According to MacIntyre, these moralities are deeply and systematically incompatible. For instance, if each of two communities require the same natural resource in order to survive and...

    (pp. 26-50)

    The natural way of beginning a sustained reflection on loyalty is to indicate why we should do so. Accordingly, that was the task of the previous chapter. The next thing to do, however, is to attain a clear notion of what loyalty is. Because our primary focus will be on Royce’s philosophy of loyalty, we will also want to establish what Royce conceives loyalty to be, should his conception differ from other accounts. Further, we need to understand why Royce chooses “loyalty” instead of related terms, such as “faithfulness,” “commitment,” or “devotion.” One might think such words to be interchangeable,...

    (pp. 51-81)

    In the previous chapter, we saw that for Royce, the object of loyalty is always a cause. What we did not see, however, is what makes a cause worthy. Related to this, we are presently unclear as to how to adjudicate between or among what appear to be conflicting worthy causes. Royce’s principle of loyalty to loyalty—without which we have caught only a glimpse of Royce’s view—furnishes a reply to these questions:

    A cause is good, not only for me, but for mankind, in so far as it is essentially aloyalty to loyalty, that is, is an...

    (pp. 82-109)

    In a recent book dealing with Royce’s moral philosophy, Dwayne A. Tunstall asserts: “The serious problem with Royce’s ethics is that it neglects the origins of ethical experience. Instead, he conceives of ethics as the rational inquiry into how we ought to live.”¹ Tunstall goes on to call the failure to describe the origins of ethical experience “a noticeable and damning oversight on Royce’s part”² and states that Royce’s conception of ethics is “dangerous” because it “seems to consider a person as having moral worth only to the extent that we rationally recognize them as persons.”³ “Even when we encounter...

    (pp. 110-135)

    In a recent book-length examination of the relationship between virtue ethics and liberatory struggle, Lisa Tessman discusses several “burdened virtues,” virtues that are costly to those bearing them—particularly, those who are engaged in liberatory struggle. Given the supposedly eudaimonistic nature of virtues—embodying them is thought to be conducive to the well-being of the moral agent¹—the notion of virtues engendering burden for those bearing them is problematic. Among these burdened virtues is that of loyalty. According to Tessman, while loyalty is a virtue that is praised in oppositional movements, it is also heavily burdened. Because loyalty forbids actions...

    (pp. 136-156)

    In preceding chapters, I have considered the nature of loyalty, the principle of loyalty to loyalty, how to learn loyalty, and how to be loyal in the context of community. In this chapter, I focus on disloyalty. While one may be tempted to describe disloyalty as simply the antonym of loyalty, the discussion of the loyal traitor in chapter 5 suggests that distinguishing between loyalty and disloyalty may not be so tidy an affair. I will here focus for some length on the account of disloyalty given recently by Simon Keller, who holds that “it is possible to say what...

    (pp. 157-168)

    In the introduction, I described the terrorist attacks on America of September 11, 2001, as particularly illustrative of the ambivalence and treachery of loyalty and so particularly illustrative of the need for critical, sustained reflection on the meaning and value of loyalty. Perhaps what makes 9/11 so illustrative is its disastrous nature. Consisting of events far removed from the quotidian and quite calamitous in their detail, 9/11 stirred us to a collective acute alertness of the ambivalence and treachery of loyalty. Scant attention has been paid in philosophical literature to ethics in time of disaster, but in her recent book,...

    (pp. 169-172)

    I have just discussed, in the previous chapter, two contemporary applications of Royce’s philosophy of loyalty, as I have presented and advocated it in this book. The problems addressed by these applications were first introduced in the introduction, and following all that has transpired since, I felt it appropriate to address them anew. These are surely not the only problems in which loyalty figures prominently. My hope is that what I have done in the way of clarifying the nature of loyalty and its place in the moral life can help to guide us through myriad moral perplexities surrounding loyalty...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 173-202)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 203-208)
  15. Index
    (pp. 209-212)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 213-218)