Toleration and cultural controversies

Res Publica 11 (3):275-299 (2005)
Abstract
Multicultural societies are far more likely than others to include minorities committed to the pursuit of practices that offend the majority, and treating the cultural commitments of all citizens fairly will require some set of guiding principles to distinguish tolerable ‘cultural controversies’ from intolerable ones. This paper does not directly address the moral question at stake here (i.e. demarcating the limits of toleration) but rather seeks to provide a politically justifiable normative argument to explain when tolerant restraint is necessary, permissible or prohibited. This argument emerges from a concern to treat the cultural commitments of all citizens fairly. In turn, the argument indicates a potential reconciliation of the ‘politics of toleration’ with the ‘politics of respect’.
Keywords fairness  liberalism  multiculturalism  pluralism  public justification  toleration
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