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The Relevance of Royce$
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Kelly A. Parker and Jason Bell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823255283

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823255283.001.0001

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Josiah Royce and the Redemption of American Individualism

Josiah Royce and the Redemption of American Individualism

(p.203) Eleven Josiah Royce and the Redemption of American Individualism
The Relevance of Royce

Richard P. Mullin

Fordham University Press

According to Royce, the autonomous self is not something given, but rather, a task to be accomplished. The isolated human being is an arena of many opposing natural and social forces and lacks both autonomy and individuality. We achieve our selfhood through our social environment by imitation, and thereby develop the skills necessary to assert our individual autonomy. But to become more than a chaos of conflicting desires, we need loyalty to a cause that serves to integrate and justify our choices and behavior. Loyalty to a cause presents a particular problem for Americans, because from the beginning we have glorified the independent individual. Royce proposes a Doctrine of Life, derived from Christian thought, but not limited to it, which enables each individual to overcome isolation and achieve autonomous individuality through loyalty to the Great Community of Humankind.

Keywords:   American Individualism, autonomy, conflicting desires, doctrine of life, Great Community, loyalty

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