THE NATURE OF LOYALTY
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, but as McDermott observes, “for Josiah Royce, however, none but the word loyalty will do. He resists substitutes at every turn and, for reasons perhaps personal, sometimes philosophical, but frankly, mostly unclear, he clings to that word loyalty and to that word, alone.”1 It is evident that Royce believes that no concept other than “loyalty” can adequately serve his purposes of clarifying and simplifying the moral life. While McDermott finds the reasons for Royce’s preference “mostly unclear,” our analysis of the term and Royce’s usage of it will suggest good reason for Royce’s deliberate choice to articulate and defend a philosophy of loyalty.