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Deliberative toleration

Political Theory 31 (6):757-779 (2003)
Political liberals now defend what Rawls calls the "inclusive view" of public reason with the appropriate ideal of reasonable pluralism. Against the application of such a liberal conception of toleration to deliberative democracy "the open view of toleration is with no constraints" is the only regime of toleration that can be democratically justified. Recent debates about the public or nonpublic character of religious reasons provide a good test case and show why liberal deliberative theories are intolerant and fail to live up to democratic obligations to provide justifications to all members of the deliberative community. In a deliberative democracy, accommodations to religious minorities must be based on transformations in the current reflective equilibrium among the norms that make up the complex democratic ideal. This is not merely a conceptual enterprise of commensuration, since the need for any such transformation in standards of justification is due to changes in the nature of the polity itself, changes that in turn modify its regime of toleration
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