Clearing Up the Egoist Difficulty with Loyalty

Journal of Business Ethics 63 (1):75-87 (2006)
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Abstract

This paper seeks to analyze and to motivate a trend toward virtue ethics and away from deontology in the business ethics account of organizational loyalty. Prevailing authors appeal to “transcendent” values (deontology), skepticism (there is no loyalty), or Aristotelianism (loyalty is seeking mutual self-interest). I argue that the “Aristotelian” view clears up the “egoist” difficulty with loyalty. Briefly, critics feel we must “transcend,” “replace,” “overcome” and most especially sacrifice self-interest on the altar of ethics and loyalty. I argue that few things can be more ethical than loyalty to shared values. When a company and I both pursue the same value X, there becomes no difference between my seeking my best interest and my seeking the best interest of the company (and vice versa). Hence, the way out of the egoist difficulty with loyalty is seeing a company’s interests as my own (Aristotle’s third stage of friendship).

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James Stieb
Drexel University

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Business Ethics: A Kantian Perspective.Norman E. Bowie - 1982 - New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Philosophy of Loyalty.Josiah Royce - 1908 - New York: Hafner Pub. Co..
Loyalties.Andrew Oldenquist - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):173-193.

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