Loyalty to Loyalty: Josiah Royce and the Genuine Moral Life

By Mathew A. Foust | Go to book overview
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THREE
LOYALTY TO LOYALTY

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 a loyalty to loyalty, that is, is an aid and a furtherance of
loyalty in my fellows. It is an evil cause in so far as, despite the loyalty
that it arouses in me, it is destructive of loyalty in the world of my fel-
lows. My cause, is, indeed, always such as to involve some loyalty to
loyalty, because, if I am loyal to any cause at all, I have fellow-servants
whose loyalty mine supports. But in so far as my cause is a predatory
cause, which lives by overthrowing the loyalties of others, it is an evil
cause, because it involves disloyalty to the very cause of loyalty itself.1

In this passage, Royce reveals that loyalty to loyalty demands that one’s loyalty be an aid and a furtherance of loyalty in one’s fellows. Royce admits,

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