Chapter 10 - Disloyalty  pp. 200-217


By Simon Keller

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I have spent much of this book arguing that loyalty is not an important moral category. There are many different forms of loyalty, and their differences tend to be of more ethical interest than their similarities. For the purposes of moral philosophy, it is often important to treat different loyalties separately, and while some are of great value, others are positively undesirable. Loyalty, considered as a general proposition, is not a value or a virtue.

One reason to worry about this set of views is that in playing down the ethical significance of the notion of loyalty, we may also find ourselves playing down the ethical significance of the notion of disloyalty, and that would seem to be a serious mistake. Disloyalty appears to be a distinctive and profound kind of wrong, and the ideas with which it is associated – ideas of letting someone down, betrayal, abandonment, treason and treachery – are highly morally charged.

Suppose that you tell a friend something personal, something that you would not want shared with others, and later she blurts it out in company. It is one thing to express your displeasure by telling her that she was careless, thoughtless or inconsiderate.

Chapter 10

Reference Type: bibliography

Reference Type: bibliography

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