Duty

Duty (from "due" meaning "that which is owing"; Old French: deu, did, past participle of devoir; Latin: debere, debitum, whence "debt") is a term that conveys a sense of moral commitment or obligation to someone or something. The moral commitment should result in action; it is not a matter of passive feeling or mere recognition. When someone recognizes a duty, that person theoretically commits themself to its fulfillment without considering their own self-interest. This is not to suggest that living a life of duty entirely precludes a life of leisure; however, its fulfilment generally involves some sacrifice of immediate self-interest. Typically, "the demands of justice, honor, and reputation are deeply bound up" with duty.

Cicero, an early philosopher who discusses duty in his work “On Duty", suggests that duties can come from four different sources:

  1. as result of being human
  2. as a result of one's particular place in life (one's family, one's country, one's job)
  3. as a result of one's character
  4. as a result of one's own moral expectations for oneself

Various derivative uses of the word have sprung from the root idea of obligation, a concept involved in the notion of duty; thus it is used in the services performed by a minister of a church, by a soldier, or by any employee or servant.

Many schools of thought have debated the idea of duty. While many assert mankind's duty on their own terms, some philosophers have absolutely rejected a sense of duty.

Duty has to be accepted and understood on the basis of one's foundation of sense and knowledge. Therefore, duty and its manifestations vary with values from culture to culture.

Read more about Duty:  Civic Duty, Filial Duty, Duty in Various Cultures

Famous quotes containing the word duty:

    To-day there is hardly a woman of intelligence in all America ... who is not definitely and actively concerned in some social interest, who does not recognize some duty besides those incident to her own blood relationship.
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935)

    an age of unscrupulous and shameless book-making, it is a duty to give notice of the rubbish that cumbers the ground. There is no credit, no real power required for this task. It is the work of an intellectual scavenger, and far from being specially honourable.
    Richard Holt Hutton (1826–1897)

    If there is ANY THING which it is the duty of the WHOLE PEOPLE to never entrust to any hands but their own, that thing is the preservation and perpetuity, of their own liberties, and institutions.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)