Essays Definitions Loyalty

It is to this shared professional commitment that the lawyer is ultimately committed, not as a matter of mere sentiment but of deliberated choice.Posing the issue as one of either “practical disposition” or “sentiment” is probably too stark.

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But it is not clear what any such explanatory account shows.

What “loyalty” may have begun as (defense of the group against threat) and what it has come to be for reflective beings need not be the same.

The strong feelings and devotion often associated with loyalty have led some to assert that loyalty is only or primarily a feeling or sentiment—an affective bondedness that may express itself in deeds, the latter more as an epiphenomenon than as its core.

As Ewin puts it, it is an “instinct to sociability” (Ewin, 1990, 4; cf. But feelings of loyalty are probably not constitutive of loyalty, even if it is unusual to find loyalty that is affectless.

Some evolutionary biologists/psychologists see loyalty as a genetically transmitted adaptive mechanism, a felt attachment to others that has survival value (Wilson, 23).

Given what is often seen as the self-sacrificial character of individual loyalty, such loyalty is taken to be directed primarily to group survival (West, 218).Arguably, the test of loyalty is conduct rather than intensity of feeling, primarily a certain “stickingness” or perseverance—the loyal person acts for or stays with or remains committed to the object of loyalty even when it is likely to be disadvantageous or costly to the loyal person to do so.Those who focus on loyalty as a sentiment often intend to deny that loyalty might be rationally motivated.Loyalty is usually seen as a virtue, albeit a problematic one.It is constituted centrally by perseverance in an association to which a person has become intrinsically committed as a matter of his or her identity.This is implicit in the working definition’s reference to “intrinsically valued associational attachments.” Intrinsically valued associational attachments are usually those to which we have developed a form of social identification.We have come to value the associational bond for its own sake (whatever may have originally motivated it).Although our primary loyalties tend to be associations or groupings that are socially valued, such that loyalty may seem to be an important practical disposition, this need not be the case.For in theory, any association can become intrinsically important to us, whether or not it is generally valued, and it may do so even if it is socially despised.To characterize it they tended to use the language of (un)faithfulness, though nowadays we might be inclined to use the more restricted language of (in)fidelity, which has regard to specific commitments.In medieval to early modern uses of the term, loyalty came to be affirmed primarily in the oath or pledge of fealty or allegiance sworn by a vassal to his lord.


Comments Essays Definitions Loyalty

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