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Summary There are four philosophical issues surrounding toleration: (1) What is it? (2) What does it require? (3) When is it required? and (4) Why is it of value?  The first two are conceptual questions and often--perhaps entirely, in contemporary work--conflated.  It is now assumed that whatever its complete definition, toleration requires non-interference.  That was not always the case.  The third question is of paramount importance in normative political work.  Disagreements about how to answer this question divide liberals and other moral and political thinkers into different camps.  The fourth question seems to many today to be unnecessary since everyone proclaims to think toleration important.  There are good arguments that defenses of toleration are still needed; historically, of course, they were extremely important. 
Key works Historically, the most important figures discussing toleration are, arguably: Saint Augustine (Letters), Baruch Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus), Pierre Bayle (A Philosophical Commentary), John Locke (Letters Concerning Toleration), and John Stuart Mill (On Liberty).  For a recent conceptual analysis of toleration, see Cohen 2004. For a collection with a good indication of various recent debates, see Williams & Waldron 2008.
Introductions Rainer Forst, Toleration
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  1. Peter Balint (forthcoming). Acts of Tolerance: A Political and Descriptive Account. European Journal of Political Theory:1474885113492729.
    Almost all philosophical understandings of tolerance as forbearance require that the reasons for objection and/or the reasons for withholding the power to negatively interfere must be of the morally right kind. In this paper, I instead put forward a descriptive account of an act of tolerance and argue that in the political context, at least, it has several important advantages over the standard more moralised accounts. These advantages include that it better addresses instances of intolerance and that it is able (...)
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  2. John E. Boodin (1908). Philosophical Tolerance. A Winter Revery. The Monist 18 (2):298-306.
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  3. Paul Bou-habib (2006). A Theory of Religious Accommodation. Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (1):109–126.
  4. Emanuela Ceva & Federico Zuolo (2013). A Matter of Respect: On Majority‐Minority Relations in a Liberal Democracy. Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (3):239-253.
    In this article, we engage critically with the understanding of majority-minority relations in a liberal democracy as relations of toleration. We make two main claims: first, that appeals to toleration are unable to capture the procedural problems concerning the unequal socio-political participation of minorities, and, second, that they do not offer any critical tool to establish what judgements the majority is entitled to consider valid reasons for action with respect to some minority. We suggest supplementing the reference to toleration with (...)
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  5. Greg Conti (forthcoming). Lockean Toleration and the Victim's Perspective. European Journal of Political Theory:1474885114523940.
    According to Jeremy Waldron, John Locke's argument for the instrumental irrationality of persecution is fatally flawed. In this paper, I offer evidence that Waldron has misread Locke, and that Locke's views about why persecution generally proves inefficacious have greater plausibility than Waldron allowed. Locke's argument for the irrationality of intolerance does not, as has been thought, rest on a tendentious ontological distinction between ‘the will’ and ‘the understanding’, but on an account of the adverse psychological reaction of victims of persecution (...)
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  6. Jakob De Roover & S. N. Balagangadhara (2008). John Locke, Christian Liberty, and the Predicament of Liberal Toleration. Political Theory 36 (4):523-549.
    Recently, scholars have disputed whether Locke's political theory should be read as the groundwork of secular liberalism or as a Protestant political theology. Focusing on Locke's mature theory of toleration, the article raises a central question: What if these two readings are compatible? That is, what would be the consequences if Locke's political philosophy has theological foundations, but has also given shape to secular liberalism? Examining Locke's theory in the Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), the article argues that this is indeed (...)
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  7. Jakob De Roover & S. N. Balagangadhara (2008). John Locke, Christian Liberty, and the Predicament of Liberal Toleration. Political Theory 36 (4):523-549.
  8. S. I. M. Du Plessis (1975). Dialogue and Bigotry: Inaugural Lecture Delivered in the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, on 21 May 1975. University of Natal Press.
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  9. Rainer Forst (2014). Toleration and Democracy. Journal of Social Philosophy 45 (1):65-75.
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  10. Thomas K. Hearn (1970). On Tolerance. Southern Journal of Philosophy 8 (2-3):223-231.
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  11. Ramin Jahanbegloo (2007). The Clash of Intolerances. Har-Anand Publications.
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  12. De Roover Jakob (2008). John Locke, Christian Liberty, and the Predicament of Liberal Toleration. Political Theory 36 (4).
  13. Susan Mendus (2013). Book Review: Why Tolerate Religion? By Brian Leiter. [REVIEW] Political Theory 41 (5):766-769.
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  14. Michael S. Merry (2005). Should Educators Accommodate Intolerance? Mark Halstead,1 Homosexuality, and the Islamic Case. Journal of Moral Education 34 (1):19-36.
    The ideological interface between Muslims and liberal educators undoubtedly is strained in the realm of sex education, and perhaps on no topic more so than homosexuality. Mark Halstead argues that schools should not try to ?undermine the faith? of Muslims, who object to teaching homosexuality as an ?acceptable alternative lifestyle?. In this article, I will argue against his monolithic presentation of Islam. Furthermore, I will argue that because Halstead presents a narrow view of Islam he is neglectful of gay and (...)
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  15. Jan-Werner Müller (2005). Toleration in Contexts. European Journal of Political Theory 4 (4):467-470.
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  16. P. Ricour (1996). To Think Tolerance. Diogenes 44 (176):25-26.
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  17. Jakob De Roover & S. N. Balagangadhara (2008). John Locke, Christian Liberty, and the Predicament of Liberal Toleration. Political Theory 36 (4):523 - 549.
    Recently, scholars have disputed whether Locke's political theory should be read as the groundwork of secular liberalism or as a Protestant political theology. Focusing on Locke's mature theory of toleration, the article raises a central question: What if these two readings are compatible? That is, what would be the consequences if Locke's political philosophy has theological foundations, but has also given shape to secular liberalism? Examining Locke's theory in the "Letter Concerning Toleration" (1689), the article argues that this is indeed (...)
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  18. Michael Ruiter (2013). “Alfonso X of Castile: Alfonso the Tolerant?”. Constellations 4 (2).
    Mediaeval Iberia was rife with inter-religious conflict between Christians, Jews, and Muslims that incited forced conversions and culminated in mass expulsions. Yet, in the midst of such a harrowing time in the peninsula’s history, there were occasional elements of harmony between these three groups, made all the more impressive in their rarity. King Alfonso X, the Wise, was a man whose rule exhibited a relative tranquility in inter-religious relations some have even suggested is deserving of altering his sobriquet to Alfonso (...)
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  19. R. Sala (2013). The Place of Unreasonable People Beyond Rawls. European Journal of Political Theory 12 (3):253-270.
    In this article I look for an alternative way in which ‘unreasonable’ people may be included in a liberal society. Differing from Rawls, whose reasonable hope is for unreasonable people gradually to adhere to liberal institutions so that, over time, an overlapping consensus is reached, I propose the alternative way of them supporting these institutions as a special modus vivendi, which does not require them to renounce their non-reasonableness. First I detail the Rawlsian notion of reasonableness and unreasonableness; second, I (...)
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  20. Andrew Schaap (2004). The Culture of Toleration in Diverse Societies: Reasonable Tolerance. Contemporary Political Theory 3 (2):224.
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  21. Lars Tønder (2013). Spinoza and the Theory of Active Tolerance. Political Theory 41 (5):687-709.
    This paper considers the politics of tolerance through the lens of Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence. The contention is that Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence provides us with a better conceptualization of the relationship between tolerance and power, and that it in so doing reinvigorates a theory of active tolerance that, for the most part, has been lost in contemporary democratic theory. Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence does so because it animates a sensorial orientation to politics, one that heightens our attention to the (...)
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  22. Federico Zuolo (2013). Frontiers of Toleration and Respect: Non-Moral Approaches and Groups' Relations. European Journal of Political Theory 12 (3):219-222.
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The Concept of Toleration
  1. Joseph Agassi, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom: Popper's Popular Critics.
    Two suggestions are at the back of the present talk. First, toleration is obligatory, not criticism. So do not try to make people critically-minded: do not force them in any way to try to offer or accept criticism, to learn to participate effectively in the game of critical discussion. If they refuse, then they are within their right. Also, they will easily ad vance excuses for their refusal; admittedly some of these are unreasonable, but not all. Instead of trying to (...)
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  2. K. C. Anyanwu (1985). Cultural Philosophy as a Philosophy of Integration and Tolerance. International Philosophical Quarterly 25 (3):271-287.
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  3. Bernard Bourgeois (2000). Philosophie Et Tolérance. Philosophica 65 (1):55-63.
  4. L. Bretherton (2004). Tolerance, Education and Hospitality: A Theological Proposal. Studies in Christian Ethics 17 (1):80-103.
    This article gives a critique of the notion of tolerance and the promotion of tolerance in education as a means of fostering respect for the ‘other’. In its place the theologically specified notion of hospitality is proposed. In the process of doing this, the article addresses three questions: is there an inherent contradiction between liberal philosophies of education and the promotion of tolerance? Is tolerance the best way to enable genuine respect for the ‘other’? And is tolerance something Christians should (...)
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  5. Walker Brian (1995). John Rawls, Mikhail Bakhtin, and the Praxis of Toleration. Political Theory 23 (1).
  6. Ian Carter (2013). Are Toleration and Respect Compatible? Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (3):195-208.
    Toleration and respect are often thought of as compatible, and indeed complementary, liberal democratic ideals. However, it has sometimes been said that toleration is disrespectful, because it necessarily involves a negative evaluation of the object of toleration. This article shows how toleration and respect are compatible as long as ‘respect’ is taken to mean (what some moral philosophers have called) recognition respect, as opposed to appraisal respect. But it also argues that recognition respect itself rules out certain kinds of evaluation (...)
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  7. Ian Carter & Maria Paola Ferretti (2013). Introduction. Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (3):191-194.
    In attempting to clarify both the concept of toleration and its role in contemporary society several authors have interpreted it as based on the notion of respect for persons. Persons are due respect as moral agents and as such should be allowed to make their own choices, even if the content of those choices meets with our disapproval. According to a classical understanding of toleration, one can be said to tolerate something if one disapproves of it (this is commonly called (...)
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  8. Dario Castiglione & Catriona McKinnon (2001). Introduction: Beyond Toleration? Res Publica 7 (3):223-230.
    Although tolerance is widely regarded as a virtue of both individuals and groups that modern democratic and multiculturalist societies cannot do without, there is still much disagreement among political thinkers as to what tolerance demands, or what can be done to create and sustain a culture of tolerance. The philosophical literature on toleration contains three main strands. (1) An agreement that a tolerant society is more than a modus vivendi; (2) discussion of the proper object(s) of toleration; (3) debate about (...)
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  9. Andrew Jason Cohen (2004). What Toleration Is. Ethics 115 (1):68-95.
    Attempting to settle various debates from recent literature regarding its precise nature, I offer a detailed conceptual analysis of toleration. I begin by isolating toleration from other notions; this provides us some guidance by introducing the eight definitional conditions of toleration that I then explicate and defend. Together, these eight conditions indicate that toleration is an agent’s intentional and principled refraining from interfering with an opposed other (or their behavior, etc.) in situations of diversity, where the agent believes she has (...)
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  10. Herman de Dijn (1994). Tolerance, Loyalty to Values and Respect for the Law. Ethical Perspectives 1 (1):27-32.
  11. Richard Dees (2002). Review of Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, Toleration As Recognition. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2002 (11).
  12. Richard H. Dees (2004). Trust and Toleration. Routledge.
    This book outlines the social, conceptual, and psychological preconditions for toleration.By looking closely at the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in France and England and at contemporary controversies about the rights of homosexuals, Richard Dees demonstrates how trust between the opposing parties is needed first, but in just these cases, distrust is all-too-rational. Ultimately, that distrust can only be overcome if the parties undergo a fundamental shift of values - a conversion. Only then can they accept some (...)
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  13. James J. Delaney & Jeffrey Dueck (2003). A Rethinking of Contemporary Religious Tolerance. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 77:73-82.
    In relating philosophy to intercultural understanding, one of the key problems that arises is that of the relationship between tolerance and religious belief.This paper challenges the common understanding of tolerance in contemporary debates over religious diversity. It argues that tolerance is overused and over-applied in these debates, and has wrongfully come to refer to tactlessness, harshness of condemnation, and even exclusivity of belief. In seeking to clarify the concept and ensure its appropriate usage, it proposes that religious tolerance should only (...)
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  14. Oyuna Dorzhiguishaeva (2008). Tolerance as the Basic Category of Buddhist Ethics. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 23:13-19.
    The concept of tolerance is one of the basic ethical categories of Buddhism. Showing conscious tolerance, you control a situation and do not allow feelings, such as anger or arrogance to take top above reason. Besides, the tolerance to other people and different situation shows your wide scope and common emancipation. The tolerance is one of qualities inherent to bodhisattvas - sacred Buddhists. These qualities are called paramita, and paramita of tolerance - kshanti-paramita. Kshanti-paramita is triple: tolerance to other alive (...)
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  15. Enrique Dussel (2004). Deconstruction of the Concept of "Tolerance": From Intolerance to Solidarity. Constellations 11 (3):326-333.
  16. Derek Edyvane (2011). Tolerance and Pain. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (3):405-419.
    It is often thought that tolerance must be painful; the absence of pain is taken as an indication of indifference, an indication that the agent does not really disapprove of the object of her professed tolerance. This article challenges that view by arguing that the association of tolerance and pain depends ultimately upon the contentious assumption that inner conflict is a form of dysfunction. By unsettling that assumption, it is possible to unsettle the idea that one?s tolerance of others must (...)
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  17. Adam Etinson (2014). On Shareable Reasons: A Comment on Forst. Journal of Social Philosophy 45 (1):76-88.
  18. Arnold Farr (2008). Diversity, Color-Blindness, and Other Hegemonic Discourses. Social Philosophy Today 24:91-105.
    In this paper I will examine the ways in which concepts and ideas that are used for emancipatory purposes eventually backfire and are used to perpetuate systems of domination. Part of my argument will be based on Herbert Marcuse’s essay “Repressive Tolerance.” In this essay, Marcuse examines the way in which the concept of tolerance, which has its origin in the struggle for liberation, is used by members of dominant social groups to advocate for tolerance of their oppressive views. Following (...)
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  19. Colin Farrelly, Neutrality, Toleration and Reasonable Agreement.
    It is widely agreed, claims John Horton, “that the core of the concept of toleration is the refusal, where one has the power to do so, to prohibit or seriously interfere with conduct one finds objectionable”.1 Liberals champion toleration as one of the main political virtues of a just society. The tolerant society is one which protects a diverse array of fundamental freedoms ranging from freedom of conscience and religion to freedom of expression and freedom of association. Secure in the (...)
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  20. Maria Paola Ferretti & Sune Lægaard (2013). A Multirelational Account of Toleration. Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (3):224-238.
    Toleration classically denotes a relation between two agents that is characterised by three components: objection, power, and acceptance overriding the objection. Against recent claims that classical toleration is not applicable in liberal democracies and that toleration must therefore either be understood purely attitudinally or purely politically, we argue that the components of classical toleration are crucial elements of contemporary cases of minority accommodation. The concept of toleration is applicable to, and is an important element of descriptions of such cases, provided (...)
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  21. Andrew Fiala (2005). Existentialism and Repressive Toleration. Studies in Practical Philosophy 5 (1):90-111.
  22. Andrew Fiala (2003). Stoic Tolerance. Res Publica 9 (2):149-168.
    This article considers the virtue of tolerance as it is found in Epictetus and MarcusAurelius. It defines the virtue of tolerance and links it to the Stoic idea of proper control of the passions in pursuit of both self-sufficiency and justice. It argues that Stoic tolerance is neither complete in difference nor a species of relativism. Finally, it discusses connections between the moral virtue of Stoic tolerance and the idea of political toleration found in modern liberalism.
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  23. George P. Fletcher (1993). The Commonality of Loyalty and Tolerance. Criminal Justice Ethics 12 (1):68-70.
  24. Rainer Forst, Toleration. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  25. R. G. Frey (1977). TOLERATION by Preston King. Philosophical Books 18 (2):87-87.
  26. Marek Fritzhand (1979). What Is the Meaning of Tolerance at a Time of Cultural Diversity? Dialectics and Humanism 6 (4):11-14.
  27. Ernesto Garzon Valdes (1997). Some Remarks on the Concept of Toleration. Ratio Juris 10 (2):127-138.
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  28. P. G. Gleis (1947). The Concept of Religious Tolerance in the Novels of Enrica Von Handel-Mazzetti. Thought 22 (3):530-532.
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