David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Res Publica 7 (3):315-336 (2001)
Democratic politicians face pressures unknown to the prerogative rulers of the early modern period when toleration was first formulated as a political ideal. These pressures are less often expressed as demands by groups or individuals for the permission of practices they dislike than for their restraint or outright prohibition; tolerant dispositions are less politically clamorous. The executive structure of toleration as a virtue, together with the ‘fact of reasonable pluralism’, make conflicts over toleration peculiarly intractable. Political conflicts are apt to take the form of mutual allegations ofintolerance; indeed, the problem of ‘tolerating the intolerant’, far from being a marginal case, is central to the theory and practice of toleration. Toleration thus exemplifies a category mistake committed in much contemporary political theory, particularly in its contractualist versions: the threshold of the political lies precisely where rational agreement proves impossible. The main prospects for democratic toleration are thus pre-emptive. The main way in which this can happen is by cultivating executive dispositions: in other words, encouraging people to detach themselves from strong evaluative commitments, so that toleration does not become politically contentious to start with. But this involves losses as well as gains. The gains in civil harmony and peace are obvious. The cost for tolerant political actors is alienation from what they have good reason to value.
|Keywords||contractualism democracy executive virtues politics public reason toleration|
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Citations of this work BETA
Sune Lægaard (2013). Attitudinal Analyses of Toleration and Respect and the Problem of Institutional Applicability. European Journal of Philosophy 23 (1).
Emanuela Ceva (2012). Why Toleration Is Not the Appropriate Response to Dissenting Minorities' Claims. European Journal of Philosophy 23 (1).
Peter Balint (2012). Not yet Making Sense of Political Toleration. Res Publica 18 (3):259-264.
Sune Lægaard (2013). Toleration Out of Respect? Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (4):520-536.
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