SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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Insuring an Indefinite Future: Sustainability as a Consequence of Royce's Moral Vision

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Josiah Royce’s philosophy of insurance, while primarily offered as a way of preventing international conflicts, also concerned the mitigation of natural calamities, such as the record-breaking drought currently affecting Royce’s native California. Rather than rehearsing the arguments of War and Insurance, this paper proposes reaching into some of Royce’s earlier works to situate his interest in environmental issues. In particular, his work on the metaphysics and ethics of communities grounds an inchoate commitment to sustaining said communities and their environments over time.

Section 1 sketches Royce’s argument that his idealism entails a specific conception of our relationship to Nature, while Section 2 shows how the principle of loyalty to loyalty entails a duty to promote the health of ourselves and others. Section 3 offers a suggestion as to how insurance functions as a community of expectation, and highlights Royce’s explicit interest in managing environmental risk.


Daniel Brunson    
Morgan State University
United States


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