tribe/m

Loyalty - the Philosophy & Ethics of

ScreamBrian Fri, September 6, 2013 - 1:02 PM by ScreamB...

Hi everyone! This is the topic of our monthly gathering in Santa Monica (this Sunday, 9-8-13; see the event listing nearby on this tribe page). I hope to see you there! Whether or not you come to Sunday's meeting, feel free to carry on a discussion by posting your own ideas here, either before or after Sunday's meeting.

The topic for this Sunday is:


LOYALTY: if loyalty is a defining aspect of good character and a good life (as most people hold), then what are its limits? When, if ever, should loyalty override moral principles like fairness, impartiality, justice? Do we owe more to our families, friends or fellow citizens than to other people? If so, what justifies that? Why is loyalty an important part of life, if it is? In the end, is loyalty truly a virtue or is it the glorified label we give to our desires to favor the people we happen to like and care about, or the people we find it convenient to favor over others? If it is a virtue to be loyal, what kinds of things should we be loyal to; that is, to particular people, to groups and organizations, or/and to abstract principles?


Re: Loyalty - the Philosophy & Ethics of

ScreamBrian Fri, September 6, 2013 - 5:08 PM by ScreamB...

Don't hesitate to post anything relevant to the topic in this thread. You can make your postings very short and simple or very long, complex and academic. Or anything in between. Tell us what you think!
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READINGS – This month, I have two readings (a 4-page article and a 14-page article) and an audio program for you. You will have more to contribute to our discussion if you read this stuff! Give this topic some thought ahead of time.

1. plato.stanford.edu/entries/loyalty/
The SEP (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) entry on "Loyalty" is exactly on our topic. It's less jargon-laden than most SEP articles. Written by philosopher John Kleinig, an expert on the topic, this entry is about 14 pages long. FYI, there is no charge to print this article or copy and paste it to a Word document. You can also sign up for the SEP for $10 per year and download up to five articles per day as Acrobat (.pdf) files.

2. opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/201...7594
"The Myth of Universal Love" is a 4-page opinion piece from The Stone, a New York Times series that "features the writing of contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless." This piece deals with the ethics of loyalty and the question of how far we can or should expand our "circle of care" to people beyond our immediate friends and family. Should we allow love, loyalty, gratitude and empathy to bias our moral actions and preferences towards our family and friends? Or should we be impartial and fair, treating all people the same? The author is Stephen t. Asma, a fellow of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture at Columbia College Chicago, and author of, most recently, “Against Fairness.”

3. www.philosophytalk.org/shows/loyalty-0
The Philosophy Talk radio show has a good episode on our topic - "Loyalty" - a 50-minute audio program on the nature of, and ethics of, Loyalty. You can subscribe (free) at their website for all upcoming episodes, or you can stream or download this (or any) episode to your computer or iPod/mp3 player for a mere $1.99. This week, the two hosts, Stanford philosophers John Perry and Ken Taylor, interview and debate with Philosophy Professor Troy Jollimore, author of a book on the philosophy of loyalty.
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Here are the full vote-by-email results for the month:

1) Categories: What Role Should Categories & Category-Systems Play In Philosophy (05.75 votes)
2) Loyalty: What Are Its Limits? Why Is It An Important Part Of Life? (25.75 votes)
3) Gay Marriage: Arguments Pro And Con (11.00 votes)
4) Are You Responsible For Your Unconscious Biases And Prejudices? (11.50 votes)
5) The Paradox Of Suspense (or, Should We Ignore Spoiler Alerts?) (09.50 votes)

Each topic stays on the list until it wins or consistently receives a paltry number of votes for three months or more. Votes do not come in whole numbers because each of you receives one vote for your top choice, a half vote for your 2nd choice (if you have one), a quarter vote for your 3rd choice, and so on. Recent, regular participants at our gatherings or website discussion board have their vote doubled.


Re: Loyalty - the Philosophy & Ethics of

ScreamBrian Sun, September 8, 2013 - 1:49 PM by ScreamB...

Another reading, this one short enough to post here. It's an argument against loyalty, or at least for strongly curtailing loyalty in the light of most any ethical principles we have. Though the author didn't write this piece with the intent of arguing for or against loyalty, it's relevant to the issue:


www.philosophypress.co.uk/

Ideas of the century: Saving a child – easily

Written by: Peter Singer | Appears in: Issue 50
Posted by: TPM ⋅ January 3, 2011


Our series on the best ideas of the century is continued by Peter Singer

Imagine you come across a small child who has fallen into a pond and is in danger of drowning. You know that you can easily and safely rescue him, but you are wearing an expensive pair of shoes that will be ruined if you do. It would be wrong – monstrous, in fact – to walk on past the pond, leaving the child to drown, because you don’t want to have to buy a new pair of shoes. You can’t compare a child’s life with a pair of shoes!

Yet while we all say that it would be wrong to walk past the child there are other children whose lives we could save just as easily – and yet we don’t. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, estimates that nearly 9 million children under 5 die each year from causes related to poverty. That’s 24,000 a day – a football stadium full of young children, dying every day (along with thousands of older children and adults who die from poverty every day as well). Some die because they don’t have enough to eat or clean water to drink. More die from measles, malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia – diseases that don’t exist in developed nations, or if they do, are easily cured and rarely fatal.

Describing a case in Ghana, a man told a researcher from the World Bank: “Take the death of this small boy this morning, for example. The boy died of measles. We all know he could have been cured at the hospital. But the parents had no money and so the boy died a slow and painful death, not of measles but out of poverty.”

Many organisations are working to reduce poverty and provide clean water and basic health care. If people donated more to these organisations, they could save more lives. Most people living in affluent nations have money to spare, money that they spend on luxuries like clothes they don’t need, vacations in exotic places, even bottled water when the water that comes out of the tap is safe to drink. Instead of spending money on these things, we could give the money to an organisation that would use it to reduce poverty, and quite possibly to save a child’s life.
Of course, the situation in which you can rescue the child in the pond is not exactly the same as that in which you can donate to an aid organisation to save a child’s life. There is only one child in the pond, and once we have saved him, we have solved the problem and need not think more about it. But there are millions of children in poverty, and saving one of them does not solve the problem. Often this feeling – that whatever we do will be merely “drops in the ocean” – makes us feel that trying to do anything at all is futile. But that is a mistake. Saving one child is not less important because there are other children we cannot save. We have still saved a life, and saved the child’s parents from the grief that the parents of that boy in Ghana had to suffer.

Saving a child drowning in a shallow pond is a simple thing to do, whereas reducing global poverty is complex. But some aspects of saving human life are not so complex. We know that providing clean water and sanitation saves lives, and often saves women hours each day that they previously spent fetching water, and then boiling it. We know that providing bed nets reduces malaria, and immunising children stops them getting measles. We know that educating girls helps them to control their fertility, and leads them to have fewer children.

In The Life You Can Save I explore this argument in more depth, and consider objections. I discuss whether aid is effective, and how we can be confident that our donations are making a difference. I also propose a realistic scale for giving. (You can also find that at www.thelifeyoucansave.com.)

As people with more than enough, we have a moral obligation to help those who, through no fault of their own, are living in extreme poverty. It’s not hard to do.

Further reading
The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty (US: Random House, UK: Picador, 2009)
Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University


Re: Loyalty - the Philosophy & Ethics of

nobody Tue, September 10, 2013 - 10:10 PM by nobody

Josiah Royce, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, advanced as a postulate for meta-ethics , the notion also of fostering 'loyalty to loyalty ' itself .

An interesting proposal .


Thoughts on Loyalty

Robert Thu, September 19, 2013 - 7:39 PM by Robert

As with any good topic of philosophy the first question is "what is it?" [the metaphysical question. The other two are the epistemic question: "how do/can we know anything about it?" and the ethical: "is it good or bad" -- what should we do about it?"

In light of the readings, some useful things can be said about loyalty, even if there is reasonable disagreement about where loyalty ends and fidelity, say, or commitment, etc., begin. (These all overlap and yet are distinction in certain ways.) Without trying to settle the loyalty vs. fidelity, etc. issues, we can come up with some telling characteristics about loyalty.

WHAT IS LOYALTY?

When we thing of examples of loyalty certain characteristics emerge. A legendary case is that of Greyfriars Bobby, a Scottish dog that steadfastly remained posted (like a London bobby) at the grave of his master for 14 years (when he finally died), or American revolutionary Patrick Henry who, about to be hanged, expressed regret that he had but one life to give to his country.

Loyalty seem to involve a feeling -- love or good will or beneficence -- as well as an attitude towards some object: a preference for or dedication to a person, institution, idea or concept or such. More than that, along with this feeling or attitude seems be an associated action -- one who is loyal *acts* in a certain way in certain circumstances. (Last night in the TV series "Survivor" contestants and their paired love ones were asked to vote out someone. One woman was voted out and her husband (Rupert -- a fan favorite) volunteered to take her place, diminishing his chance at of winning a million dollars (a modern version of the Damon and Pythias legend of ancient Greece).)

If we look at Free Will (self-determination) as a process: awareness, sensation, perception, meaning making (noematization), assessment, judgment, willing and finally acting, there is in the assessment / judgment stage a place for "reasons" or justifications" -- "rules" as it were. Thus in general when we act according to our will we go through a "process". Briefly, awareness, sensation and perception all have to do with you "apprehending" what is going on -- with an eye to intentional action. You must be generally aware of things (a rock and a coma patient are not aware, while you think, therefore you are aware of yourself and other things); you must be able to sense things: this is hot, that is near, those three things are big; you must be able to perceive things: this is a cow that is a bull; you must be able to make meaning of the things you perceive: the cow will give milk, the bull will give trouble. In noematization / assessment / judgment you assign values to things: this is *my* jacket but your mittens the cow is safe, the bull dangerous; in judgment you decide options for acting: you can pet the cow or milk it, you can keep away from the bull or wave a cape in front of it; in willing you make a commitment to act: you will milk the cow and flee the bull; and in acting you *do* milk the cow and flee the bull. This account is rough and may need refinement but it parses out intentional (free will) action in a coherent and logical way: something like this happens when I (or my cat) *acts*. What is significant for our discussion of loyalty as intentional action is that acts of loyalty (and a lot of other action) are done for *reasons* -- they are not impulses (even if as in the case of Rupert it seemed like an impulse -- he did not sweat over the decision for a second) but deliberated acts based on justifications: values, principles, even rules (personal or social codes of conduct).

So in the "Survivor" case, while *all* individuals (even spouses friends and close kin) compete against each other, Rupert feels and exhibits loyal to his wife. He takes up her burden (lovingly named "Exile Island") of isolation and additional challenges but he is loyal to her, even in a game where they are competing against each other, and acts accordingly. He does so in this case by foregoing his own advancement and taking on additional risks and burdens. Other players showed loyalty by not voting out their own "kin:" at the council (elimination) meeting. In general a key part of "Survivor" is the formation of loyalties ("alliances") to prevent one been voted out. Failing to form strong alliances -- worse, *betraying* an alliance (disloyalty) is fatal -- one *cannot* win without strong loyalties.

A classic case in "Survivor" was that of Russell -- known among "Survivor{" fans as" the Anti-Rupert". Rupert, as his most recent sacrifice for his wife illustrated, was in three seasons as close to a knight or gentleman or hero as we get in modern times in ordinary everyday situations. He was congenial, compassionate, hard-working and faithful and loyal to a fault. While he lost the game he was voted "fan-favorite". Russell, on the other hand, played the game as Othello's Iago would have. He exhibited *zero* loyalty to his team mates, he plotted, manipulated, connived and betrayed with a consistency, zeal and outright glee that would have appalled Machiavelli and Mephistopheles. As a result, in the first two (of three) seasons he slashed and stabbed his way to the top (the final three) both times. Alas, to win you had to receive the most votes from the jury -- those very players who had been eliminated *by you*. "Survivor" winners have to earn the respect of their opponents -- in two seasons he managed to climb to the top (over the bodies of his opponents) and did not receive *one vote* ( a series record) from his colleagues. Russell never saw the value of loyalty -- or even the realpolitik appearance of loyalty -- to the game. (In his third try he learned nothing, but the other players did -- Russell's reputation preceded him, and he was voted out very early on in a pre-emptive strike.) To this day Russell boasts he is "the greatest "Survivor" player of all time" when he is in fact the most reviled -- and a three time loser.

LOYALTY AS AN ACTION GUIDE, AND PART OF BEING

At any rate, loyalty seems to fit into general ethics in this way:

Whatever else ethics is -- conformity with God's plan, a manifestation of The Good, a social contract, personal whim -- ethics seems to be about human be-ing. A rock is what it is due to externally applied laws of nature. People, on the other hand, seem to be -- at least in part -- the authors of their own being. We "cause" ourselves to be as we are. Thus Rupert is a virtue ethicist: in Rupert's "action process" -- his own "awareness, sensation, perception, meaning making (noematization), assessment, judgment, willing and finally acting: he relies in a store of principles ("rules") he adopted at some time in his life that shape the "meaning making (noematization), assessment, judgment" phase of his actions. And so he steps in when a fellow player is injured, or to build a hut, or collect firewood. His rules are like "we need water, I'll get the bucket". Rupert's rules are "how can I prey up the weak (in one case: "the dumb females")" -- and he acts accordingly. Rupert is magnanimous, while Russell's philosophy is like Satan's in "Paradise Lost": "better to rule in hell than serve in heaven." Over time ones being accumulates -- one has habits, a reputation, a repertoire of handy preset/default rules that one uses in acting.

Loyalty then seems to be a kind of being-making: one want to be such-and-such, and being loyal achieves that. Notice that this is separate and apart from *any* "outside consideration" -- approval from God or society, or conformity to some "law" such as a utilitarian or socialistic or egoistic end. One wants to *be* loyal, one feels own should *be* loyal, one desires to be true, faithful, fidel to some object. One could introspect, or ask any another to introspect what *reasons* one has for being loyal or faithful or true to some object. Ultimately the answer seems to lead back to ones own personal rules, values, justifications, desires, goals, ends. One can then ask why one holds to *these* rules, values, justifications, desires, goals, ends, and the and seems to be "because that is what I am, what I want to be, what I feel is right. I -- I -- I -- my be-ing. One can say of children, or sociopaths like Russell, that one *ought* to be loyal (and to such-and-such, but not some other such-and-such).

Raven Darkwood ["Mystique"], "X-Men's" shapely blue-skinned carrot-hair-topped polymorph is virulently loyal to Magneto (she is Trilby to his Svengali), and we can ask *why*, but then we have also to ask what we mean by *why*. We can come up with a psychological answer: as a child she was rejected by her own parents as a hideous freak and cast out of society, she sees Magneto as a parent and mentor, a source of approval, respect and love. Or we can see her choice (of the rebel Magneto over the more virtuous Dr. Xavier) as more liberating -- she gets to vent her hatred at non-mutant humanity at will. Or -- we can simply see her as being what she is -- a person with this set of rules, reasons, desires, values, feelings, hopes, hates, aspirations and goals and not some other set, just as a diamond and an ice cube have their different individual distinguishing properties that must be reckoned with.

CASE HISTORIES FROM SHAKESPEARE

For some reason when I first thought of loyalty as a philosophical issue Shakespeare comes to mind. He was a great humanist writer -- he had the full range of human traits in mind when he wrote. Some examples:

The Tempest: Good and Faithful (or Faithless) Servant.

In the Tempest, Prospero is a magician, but he relies upon the *loyalty* of his two servants. Ariel is zealously loyal (if occasionally mischievous), willing and able to do Prospero's bidding. (s)he is good-natured (Ariel is a he but is often played by and as a female, or androgynously) and his/her bond is due to a great debt: Prospero rescued Ariel from the evil witch Sycorax. Caliban, on the other hand, is an ungrateful beast who daily and openly resents his servitude. (It is what their own nature is and how they see their relationship to Prospero that make them loyalty-wise night and day.) When humans appear on the island, Caliban uses this opportunity to attempt to kill Prospero and rape his daughter, the sweet, innocent Miranda.

Timon of Athens: Fair-Weather Friends.

In Timon, the title character, a wealthy man, is magnanimous to a fault, buying gifts for his friends, paying off their debts, and treating them to lavish feasts. He is oblivious to the fact that he is buying their friendship and loyalty until he goes broke. When this happens they fade away, leaving him to his new poverty with as much as a byword or warm good-bye. He is now a pariah. The genial man turns misanthropic, and in a marvelous scene invites his former friends to a last feast where he serves "bowls of steam" -- the vapors rise up and quickly disappear, like their oft-professed "undying" loyalty to him.

Winter's Tale: The Faithful Wife.

In this little known but exquisite play a king -- for no rational reason -- comes to suspect his wife of cheating in him with his best and most loyal friend (a fellow king of another land). The wife and friend (along with the audience who knows better) are aghast -- there is no basis whatsoever for this insane suspicion, yet the jealous king banishes both, only to live in misery. The wife and friend however remain true to him -- for decades -- and eventually the king comes to his senses.

Othello: Orchestrated Disloyalty.

General Othello's aide-de-camp Iago is the paradigm of betrayal. His reason for this betrayal seems petty in light of the results of his treason: he is passed over for promotion. Iago, in a plot worthy of Caliban, proceeds to take advantage of his trust in Iago to frame his promoted rival and to inflame Othello with jealousy leading him to cruelly strangle his own utterly devoted, loyal and bewildered wife.

Coriolanus: Sunshine Patriot.

Set in Ancient Rome, the general Coriolanus -- better in combat than PR -- is socially uncomfortable as, recently victorious in battle, he must obey the local custom by standing in the square and "parade himself" before the Roman people. This rite has a purpose -- it is a way for the civilian populace to 'bond' with the military -- building loyalties as it were -- but the shrinking violet general will have none of this, and he bolts and is chastised by his peers. This slight affair escalates to the point where the "proud defender of Rome" of Act I is by Act IV leading his troops *against* Rome in battle -- a cardinal sin and total betrayal of his people, his peers, his profession and office and the nation.

King Lear: Who Can You Trust?

In terms of general plot and the theme of loyalty this play is too complex to go into detail here -- it is a grand guignol "hellzapoppin" riot of loyalties and disloyalties worthy of close study. King Lear divides his rich kingdom among his three daughters, two of which know how to play the "who loves me most" game and a third daughter who *does* love her father, and enough to be sharply frank and honest with him about all this "retirement" nonsense (kings do not "retire" and keep there power, as the foolish Lear thinks he can). This third daughter -- Cordelia (as in "heartful" or"from the heart", e.g., "true in character") -- is banished without even her dowry. Lear's faithful knight / advisor Kent steps in not only to defend the virtuous Cordelia but to advise his king not to do anything he will regret -- is also banished, while the two greedy sisters, once in possession of their father's lands and wealth, dump Lear into the street.

Meanwhile, in a parallel plot, the Earl of Gloucester makes a similar fool of himself with his good and loyal son Edgar and his wicked son Edmund. Edmund plots to frame the innocent Edgar in a plot against the Earl, and now Edgar is on the lam. (Edmund then has the Earl's servants -- in sickening scene -- gouge out his father's eyes; an anonymous servant tries in vain to stop the others and is killed outright. CS Lewis said that it is this man who displays the greatest loyalty of all: he cannot succeed, he *knows* he cannot, yet he cannot stand by and let injustice prevail unchallenged.)

From here on this Shakespearian tragedy has more subplots and twists than "Midsummer's Night Dream" and "Comedy of Errors". The theme is the messy battle between unrewarded and often unsuccessful and futile loyalty and the easy horrible triumph of disloyalty and villainy. The tragedy ends -- as tragedy does -- with the moral chaos played out to the end and the players humbler but wiser.

The value of these plays -- and the "true crime" dramas we see in film and on TV, such as "Dateline" is that we see the *effect* of loyalty and disloyalty -- an aspect of the issue never shown in arid philosophical definitions and semantics and theory. Ethics, like physics, is *not* merely theoretical -- there is an empirical and applied side to it. A forensics ballistics expert can fire a hollow point bullet into a melon, but in doing so she does not observe the blood, the screams, the anguish a bullet causes when it passes through a human head the same size and shape.

RDB
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Re: Loyalty - the Philosophy & Ethics of

Mirav Sat, October 12, 2013 - 7:25 PM by Mirav

Generally speaking, I think it's fair to say that "loyalty" is considered to be a positive trait/ quality: "Being there" for someone, "having their back", showing/ indicating that you're unfailingly supportive of an individual/ group/ "cause", etc. In a love relationship, for example, I think it is very important to be loyal: Knowing that your loved one is committed to the relationship and to you, and that you both love, trust and respect one other, is crucial. Unfortunately, many relationships "end" because one partner (or, sometimes, both) "cheated"/ "looked elsewhere", lied, disrespected the other, etc. So, clearly, in this example, I would think that most would agree that "loyalty" (to one another, as well as to the relationship) is of the utmost importance.

However, depending upon the particular CONTEXT/ situation/ scenario, I believe that loyalty can also prove to be an unfavorable/ negative aspect. For instance, while some might argue to the contrary, I do not think that being "loyal" to someone (even a close friend, loved one, relative, colleague, etc.) is right/ moral IF it means that Person A would lie for Person B (if the latter commits a crime, for example) -- or otherwise does something to harm another/ others. This also applies to institutions/ organizations, in my view: A specific scenario that comes to mind at the moment is a religious organization that would go so far as to protect/ defend/ deny/ lie for any individual who has committed sexual abuse of minors in their care/ to whom they have been entrusted. Frankly, I think it is shameful and inexcusable that anyone/ any institution could be "loyal" to someone (a sexual "predator", in such a case) -- rather than expose him/ her, so that he/ she could be removed from the streets/ society (and so that others will not likely suffer in the future). While I am certainly not blaming "all" churches for the acts of a few, such instances have been reported in the news (more than once) over the years: NOT reporting/ filing charges against such cruel/ depraved behavior (where there clearly are unfortunate victims) only allows the perpetrator to remain "free" to continue hurting future children...

Therefore, I believe that this is not a "black-and-white" issue -- and that "loyalty" is not intrinsically "good" or "bad": Depending upon the particular circumstance, being "loyal" to someone/ something can encourage either moral OR immoral behavior...


Loyalty as a Neutral Trait

Robert Thu, October 17, 2013 - 12:00 PM by Robert

Mirav makes a good point. "Loyalty" is often regarded as a virtue when it is really a neutral trait that can in different circumstances and contexts be a vice as much as a virtue, or simply a descriptive trait. Many "virtues" or "faults" are like this. We often say that a person is smart, intelligent -- even "brilliant" -- as if it were a good thing, but (as in recent times -- in the congress shut-down battle, or in war -- as well as in other political, legal or social contexts) people who are misguided, annoying, obnoxious, evil, loathsome and wicked are often dubbed "smart" or "brilliant by fawning admirers.

And there are other traits that cannot be so easily and universally labeled as virtues, or vices. One who is " short-tempered" may be better at calling a halt to bad behavior in others ( or to a bad situation) that a "long-suffering servant" or "patient saint" (see the Old Testament) would endure beyond all reason. There are many other examples (try making your own list!). Certainly loyalty can be a virtual or a vice depending on the situation and context.

RDB


Re: Loyalty: A Rebuttal

Richard Sat, June 7, 2014 - 2:00 PM by Richard

[Typographical note: This website does not accommodate italicization, for which I will substitute CAPITALIZATION.]

In his essay “The Myth of Universal Love” Stephen T. Asma rebuts the proposition that we ought to help all humanity. First he attacks Peter Singer’s argument that we should have equal concern for all, based (according to Singer) on an understanding that everyone is equally important. Asma simply replies that his kith and kin are more important than strangers. I concur with Singer that we are all equally important, only negatively, in that we are all intrinsically UNimportant; but I accept Asma’s retort, in that our kith and kin are more important TO US.

Then, taking on Jeremy Rifkin’s view that we should expand our domain of care and empathy to everyone, Asma counters that care and empathy are a finite emotional resource, of which we possess only enough to cover a limited number of our family and friends, and that our trying to further extend such sentiments would dilute them to ineffectiveness, and exhaust us to impotence. Expressing it positively, Asma notes that close family and friendship ties are the main ingredient in human happiness, in the good life. In which connection he quotes Cicero (“Society and human fellowship will be best served if we confer the most kindness on those with whom we are most closely associated”) and Graham Greene (“One can’t love humanity, one can only love people”).

While I agree with Asma’s observations; I disagree with their asserted consequence, thus. I, for one, favor global utilitarianism, not (as Asma conceives it) merely for the sake of others, but also for our own sake (enlightened self-interest). Broadly speaking, the self-serving conduct of the few has brought about such wealth disparity, overpopulation, and environmental destruction as to significantly degrade the well-being of the many. And to reverse the situation, what is called for is, not (as Asma supposes) individual direct action, like selling one’s luxury goods and sending the money to starving persons overseas, but rather collective action in large-scale projects. Such collective action, though, takes common effort (or at least agreement) by great numbers. Their motivation to so cooperate involves their expectation of a fair share of the benefit, which in turn requires our willingness and commitment to give it to them, and our encouraging them to apprehend that they will have it. (And because the plan is fair, it can be philosophically justified and advocated.) We are the one species able to so act; and, if we as a species are to survive and flourish, we MUST so act.

— Richard J. Eisner (6/7/2014; 1-818-343-0123; richard@richardeisner.com)


Re: Loyalty: A Rebuttal

Reveen Sat, June 7, 2014 - 4:25 PM by Reveen

Nowhere in your post do the words "loyal" or "loyalty" occur - I found that interesting, Richard.

My loyalty and my lack of it seem immediate, unconscious, and reciprocal, and therefore I don't spend too much time worrying about in any abstract philosophical or political sense. I don't think anyone with a healthy conscience, an ounce of self-respect, and a sturdy backbone needs any help in that regard at all.


Re: Loyalty: A Rebuttal

Richard Sat, June 7, 2014 - 7:00 PM by Richard

That’s a good observation about my above comment, Reveen. I posted it here because the essay of Asma’s to which it replies was one of the readings for this topic.

— Richard J. Eisner (6/7/14; 1-818-343-0123; richard@richardeisner.com)