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Loyalty at a Crossroads: Roycean Resources for Liberatory Struggle

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Mathew Foust
Lander University
United States

Abstract:
While Josiah Royce championed loyalty as a way of life, recent feminist scholarship, such as that of Lisa Tessman in Burdened Virtues (2005), argues that in the face of such exigencies as oppression or violence, the need of loyalty is marginalized or else removed altogether, for “one cannot be said to be loyal to a group if one calls into question or undermines its basis for existence” (Tessman, 149). While the context of community would seem the natural setting for the flowering of loyalty, when community is strained by deep conflict or injustice, the role of loyalty is rendered unclear.
This essay furnishes a Roycean response to this difficulty, arguing that while loyalty may exist in the absence of burden, it is in its presence that loyalty is most needed and therefore most important. It is revealed that Royce’s thought about loyalty and community provides rich resources for those engaged in liberatory struggle.

 

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