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It is to this shared professional commitment that the lawyer is ultimately committed, not as a matter of mere sentiment but of deliberated choice.Posing the issue as one of either “practical disposition” or “sentiment” is probably too stark.
Our loyalties are not just to any groups that may exist, or even to any group with which we have some association, but only to those to which we are sufficiently closely bound to call country, not yours, unless yours are also mine.
In such identifications, the fate or well-being of the objects of loyalty become bound up with one’s own. We will take extra risks or bear special burdens for them.
For the most part, an association that we come to value for its own sake is also one with which we come to identify (as ).
The nature of loyal attachment is a matter of debate.
To characterize it they tended to use the language of (un)faithfulness, though nowadays we might be inclined to use the more restricted language of (in)fidelity, which has regard to specific commitments.
In medieval to early modern uses of the term, loyalty came to be affirmed primarily in the oath or pledge of fealty or allegiance sworn by a vassal to his lord.
The strong feelings and devotion often associated with loyalty have led some to assert that loyalty is only or primarily a feeling or sentiment—an affective bondedness that may express itself in deeds, the latter more as an epiphenomenon than as its core.
As Ewin puts it, it is an “instinct to sociability” (Ewin, 1990, 4; cf. But feelings of loyalty are probably not constitutive of loyalty, even if it is unusual to find loyalty that is affectless.
Although our primary loyalties tend to be associations or groupings that are socially valued, such that loyalty may seem to be an important practical disposition, this need not be the case.
For in theory, any association can become intrinsically important to us, whether or not it is generally valued, and it may do so even if it is socially despised.