II—The Value of Duty



The obligations we owe to those with whom we share a valuable relationship (like friendship) cannot be reduced to the obligations we owe to others simply as fellow persons (e.g. the duty to reciprocate benefits received). Wallace suggests that this is because such valuable relationships are loving relationships. I instead propose that it is because, unlike general moral obligations, such valuable relationships (and their constitutive obligations) serve our normative interests. Part of what makes friendship good for us is that it involves bonds of loyalty. Our lives go better if we are bound to others in this way.