Standard rigid designator accounts of a name’s meaning have trouble accommodating what I will call a descriptive name’s “shifty” character -- its tendency to shift its referent over time in response to a discovery that the conventional referent of that name does not satisfy the description with which that name was introduced. I offer a variant of Kripke’s historical semantic theory of how names function, a variant that can accommodate the character of descriptive names while maintaining rigidity for (...) proper names. A descriptive name’s shiftiness calls for a semantic account of names that makes their semantic values bipartite, containing both traditional semantic contents and what I call "modes of introduction." Both parts of a name's semantic value are derived from the way a name gets introduced into discourse -- from what I refer to as its "context of introduction." Making a name's semantic value bipartite in this way allows for a definite description to be a part of proper name's meaning without thereby sacrificing that name’s status as a rigid designator. On my view, a definite description is part of descriptive name’s mode of introduction. That is, it is part of what determines the content assigned to that name. As it turns out, making a definite description part of a descriptive name’s mode of introduction allows for that definite description to play the role of a mere reference-fixer regarding that name’s content, as Kripke would have it. However, my account allows a definite description to fix a descriptive name’s content actively over time, thereby explaining its inherent shiftiness. (shrink)
This paper observes that P. F. Strawson’s distinction between descriptive and revisionary metaphysics is a baffling one from the perspective of traditional metaphysics. If one thinks of metaphysics as the study of the fundamental nature of reality, it is bewildering to divide up metaphysics in this way. The paper then tries to show how the distinction is no longer bewildering if we deny that such study is possible.
This article explores Gareth Evans’s idea that there are such things as descriptive names, i.e. referring expressions introduced by a definite description which have, unlike ordinary names, a descriptive content. Several ignored semantic and modal aspects of this idea are spelled out, including a hitherto little explored notion of rigidity, super-rigidity. The claim that descriptive names are (rigidified) descriptions, or abbreviations thereof, is rejected. It is then shown that Evans’s theory leads to certain puzzles concerning the referential (...) status of descriptive names and the evaluation of identity statements containing them. A tentative solution to these puzzles is suggested, which centres on the treatment of definite descriptions as referring expressions. (shrink)
This work will focus on some aspects of descriptive names. The New Theory of Reference, in line with Kripke, takes descriptive names to be proper names. I will argue in this paper that descriptive names and certain theory in reference to them, even when it disagrees with the New Theory of Reference, can shed light on our understanding of (some) non-existence statements. I define the concept of descriptive name for hypothesised object (DNHO). My thesis being that (...) DNHOs are, as I will specify, descriptions: a proposition expressed by the utterance ‘n is F’, where ‘n’ is a DNHO, is not singular at all; it is a descriptive proposition. To sum up, concerning proper names, the truth lies closer to the New Theory of Reference, but descriptivism is not altogether false. As for DNHOs descriptivism is, in some cases, the right fit. (shrink)
Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) is a method for exploring inner experience. DES subjects carry a random beeper in natural environments; when the beep sounds, they capture their inner experience, jot down notes about it, and report it to an investigator in a subsequent expositional interview. DES is a fundamentally idiographic method, describing faithfully the pristine inner experiences of persons. Subsequently, DES can be used in a nomothetic way to describe the characteristics of groups of people who share some common (...) characteristic. This paper describes DES and compares it to Petitmengin’s [Phenomenol Cogn Sci, this issue] second-person interview method. (shrink)
What do Ross’s The Right and the Good; Chisholm’s Theory of Knowledge; Kripke’s Naming and Necessity; and Audi’s The Architecture of Reason have in common? They all advance important philosophical positions, but not so much via analytic arguments as via formal schemas, distinctions, examples, and analogies. They use such formal schemas, etc, to describe the world so as to make some aspect of it manifest. That is, they simply try to ‘tell it like it is’. This ‘method of descriptive (...) manifestation’ is less commonly recognized than it should be given its divergence from the self-image of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Diversity in society can be viewed from two perspectives, normative and descriptive, both of which define how we think, discuss, and live. Normatively we are called to be responsible. This notion ideally depicts the vision of people of various backgrounds and beliefs living with an attitude of tolerance, respect, and the desire for justice. Descriptively, it is to recognize that people of diverse ethnic, social, economic, and philosophical backgrounds come together to live in various geographic locations, often resulting in (...) heated tension and turmoil. Cultural backgrounds are a primary source of identity for many and serve as a foundation for a great deal of self-definition, expression, and sense of individual identity and group belonging. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to outline some recent progress in descriptive inner model theory, a branch of set theory which studies descriptive set theoretic and inner model theoretic objects using tools from both areas. There are several interlaced problems that lie on the border of these two areas of set theory, but one that has been rather central for almost two decades is the conjecture known as the Mouse Set Conjecture (MSC). One particular motivation for resolving (...) MSC is that it provides grounds for solving the inner model problem which dates back to 1960s. There have been some new partial results on MSC and the methods used to prove the new instances suggest a general program for solving the full conjecture. It is then our goal to communicate the ideas of this program to the community at large. (shrink)
Lautemann et al. (1995) gave a descriptive characterisation of the class of context-free languages, showing that a language is context-free iff it is definable as the set of words satisfying some sentence of a particular logic (fragment) over words. The present notes discuss how to specialise this result to the class of linear languages. Somewhat surprisingly, what would seem the most straightforward specialisation actually fails, due to the fact that linear grammars fail to admit a Greibach normal form. We (...) identify an alternative specialisation, based on an alternative characterisation of context-free languages, also noted by Lautemann et al. (1995). (shrink)
This paper investigates the actual use of truth as a criterion in the setting up of and choice between descriptive characterisations. The consideration for truth is often weighed against other considerations. This weighing character is illuminated through examples from everyday life, politics, law, and science. In everyday life the weighing character shows itself inter alia through the categories of `white lies' and `great questions', and in politics, inter alia through the categories of `personal character' versus `the party'. In law (...) there are numerous examples of norms that increase the probability of untrue characterisations being taken as a basis for the application of the law. This paper focuses on the categories of `exclusion of evidence', `burden of proof', and `adjusting of facts as a means to concretely reasonable and just results'. The paper concludes by showing that burden of proof considerations are also found in an area in which many people assume that the truth criterion is paramount, namely science. The method is thus casuistic. However, the aim is a certain representativity in relation to the problem aspects. (shrink)
Since psychiatry remains a descriptive discipline, it is essential for its practitioners to understand how the language of psychiatry came to be formed. This important book, written by a psychiatrist-historian, traces the genesis of the descriptive categories of psychopathology and examines their interaction with the psychological and philosophical context within which they arose. The author explores particularly the language and ideas that have characterised descriptive psychopathology from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. He presents a masterful (...) survey of the history of the main psychiatric symptoms, from the metaphysics of classical antiquity to the operational criteria of today. Tracing the evolution of concepts such as memory, consciousness, will and personality, and of symptoms ranging from catalepsy and aboulia to anxiety and self-harm, this book provides fascinating insights into the subjective nature of mental illness, and into the ideas of British, Continental and American authorities who sought to clarify and define it. (shrink)
Within the Pragma-Dialectical School of argumentation theory both a normative and a descriptive component are essential in order to account for a reconstruction of argumentative language use. This paper concentrates on the descriptive component and discusses the choice of the adjacency pair as a tool for the systematic description of the confrontation stage of argumentative conversations. First a structural description of confrontation in conversation is developed from the discourse analytical approach to argumentation of Jackson and Jacobs, within the (...) normative frame of the theory of argumentation of Van Eemeren and Grootendorst. Then the pro's and con's of the adjacency pair model for the analysis of conversation in general and for that of argumentative conversation in particular are discussed. Where the adjacency pair fails, alternative models like Edmondson's model for the analysis of spoken discourse (1981) are examined. Finally the description of confrontation in conversations in terms of the adjacency pair is shown to be in line with the rational model for describing the pragmatic aspects of conversational coherence proposed by Jackson and Jacobs in 1983 and with their current thinking on the status of adjacency pairs (1987). For the elaboration of Jackson and Jacobs' sketch of a rational model of conversational coherence the use of notions from Edmondson's model of interactional analysis is recommended. (shrink)
As its title indicates, this article shows animation to be the fundamental, essential, and properly descriptive concept to understandings of animate life. A critical and constructive path is taken toward an illumination of these threefold dimensions of animation. The article is critical in its attention to a central linguistic formulation in cognitive neuroscience, namely, enaction ; it is constructive in setting forth an analysis of affectivity as exemplar of a staple of animate life, elucidating its biological and existential foundations (...) in animation. (shrink)
By a logical theory I mean a formal system together with its semantics, meta-theory, and rules for translating ordinary language into its notation. Logical theories can be used descriptively (for example, to represent particular arguments or to depict the logical form of certain sentences). Here the logician uses the usual methods of empirical science to assess the correctness of his descriptions. However, the most important applications of logical theories are normative, and here, I argue, the epistemology is that of wide (...) reflective equilibrium. The result is that logic not only assesses our inferential practice but also changes it. I tie my discussion to Thagard's views concerning the relationship between psychology and logic, arguing against him that psychology has and should have only a peripheral role in normative (and most descriptive) applications of logic. (shrink)
Some philosophers think that normative properties are identical to descriptive properties. In this paper, I argue that this entails that it is possible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I argue that Frank Jackson's argument to show that this is possible fails, and that the objections to this argument show that it is impossible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I conclude that normative properties are not identical to (...) class='Hi'>descriptive properties. I then show that if we combine this conclusion with the conclusion of a different argument that Jackson has given to show that there are no irreducibly normative properties, it follows that there are no normative properties at all. (shrink)
This paper presents an 'internal' criticism of Winch's seminal 'Understanding a Primitive Society'. It distinguishes between two contrasting approaches to critical social understanding: (1) the metaphysical approach, central to the whole tradition of critical philosophy and critical social theory from Kant, through Marx to the Frankfurt School and contemporary theorists such as Habermas and Searle; (2) the descriptive approach, advocated by Winch, and which derives from Wittgenstein's critique of philosophical theory. It is argued, against a long tradition of 'critical (...) theory' depicting Wittgenstein's philosophy as irredeemably 'conservative', that the descriptive approach is perfectly apt for generating a critical understanding of central Western institutions. Rather than seeking to provide an explanatory theory through which to discern what allegedly is imperceptible to theoretically unaided perception (i.e. the metaphysical approach), the descriptive approach aims for a 'perspicuous presentation' of our everyday practices and institutions in such a way as to see their 'irrational' and 'alienating' dimensions. Winch's basic position in 'Understanding a Primitive Society' is endorsed, but it is argued that ultimately he fails in his descriptive intent. In place of the Christian prayer analogy that Winch invokes in order to make sense of Zande witchcraft, it is proposed that Western commodity production and exchange provide a more appropriate, instructive, and critical comparison. (shrink)
Descriptive semantic theories purport to characterize the meanings of the expressions of languages in whatever complexity they might have. Foundational semantics purports to identify the kind of considerations relevant to establish that a given descriptive semantics accurately characterizes the language used by a given individual or community. Foundational Semantics I presents three contrasting approaches to the foundational matters, and the main considerations relevant to appraise their merits. These approaches contend that we should look at the contents of speakers’ (...) intuitions; at the deep psychology of users and its evolutionary history, as revealed by our best empirical theories; or at the personal-level rational psychology of those subjects. Foundational Semantics II examines a fourth view, according to which we should look instead at norms enforced among speakers. The two papers aim to determine in addition the extent to which the approaches are really rival, or rather complementary. (shrink)
Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have recently provided an updated presentation and defense of a metaethical view that they call cognitivist expressivism. Expressivists claim that moral judgments express propositional attitudes that do not represent or describe the external world. Horgan and Timmons agree with this claim, but they also deny the traditional expressivist claim that moral judgments do not express beliefs. On their view, moral judgments are genuine, truth-apt beliefs, thus making their form of expressivism a cognitivist one. In this (...) essay, I argue that Horgan and Timmons have failed to demonstrate that moral judgments express sui generis, nondescriptive content by showing that at least some moral content is descriptive. In addition, I show how the descriptivist can account for those properties that Horgan and Timmons consider distinctive of moral belief. In doing so, I remove one of the expressivist's most important lines of motivation for positing nondescriptive moral content in the first place. At the end of the essay, I briefly sketch a view that I call partial or modest moral realism. (shrink)
In its descriptive sense ethical language allows one to make assertions, which like other assertions may be true or not. “One should not torture,” descriptively, makes an assertion about torture - that it is an act that one should not do. While the peculiar force of ethical language comes from its overloading of different types of uses - descriptive, imperative, and emotive -, our concern here will be with the descriptive. Many of our assertions will focus on (...) the English word ʻshould,ʼ although mutatis mutandi they hold as well for other ethical terms, such as ʻjust.ʼ.. (shrink)
The biological sciences have become increasingly reliant on so-called 'model organisms'. I argue that in this domain, the concept of a descriptive model is essential for understanding scientific practice. Using a case study, I show how such a model was formulated in a preexplanatory context for subsequent use as a prototype from which explanations ultimately may be generated both within the immediate domain of the original model and in additional, related domains. To develop this concept of a descriptive (...) model, I focus on use of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the wiring diagrams that were developed as models of its neural structure. In addition, implications of the concept of a descriptive model, particularly its relevance for the data-phenomena distinction as well as its relation to long-standing debates on realism, are briefly examined. (shrink)
Hurlburt and Schwitzgebel’s groundbreaking book, Describing Inner Experience: Proponent Meets Skeptic, examines a research method called Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES). DES, which was developed by Hurlburt and collaborators, works roughly as follows. An investigator gives a subject a random beeper. During the day, as the subject hears a beep, she writes a description of her conscious experience just before the beep. The next day, the investigator interviews the subject, asks for more details, corrects any apparent mistakes made by the (...) subject, and draws conclusions about the subject’s mind. Throughout the book, Schwitzgebel challenges some of Hurlburt’s specific conclusions. Yet both agree – and so do I – that DES is a worthy method. (shrink)
While holism and atomism are often treated as mutually exclusive approaches to semantic theory, the apparent tension between the two usually results from running together distinct levels of semantic explanation. In particular, there is no reason why one can’t combine an atomistic conception of what the semantic values of our words are (one’s “descriptive semantics”), with a holistic explanation of why they have those values (one’s “foundational semantics”). Most objections to holism can be shown to apply only to holistic (...) version of descriptive semantics, and do not tell against any sorts of holistic foundational semantics. As Davidson’s work will be used to illustrate, by clearly distinguishing foundational and descriptive semantics, one can capture the most appealing features of both holism and atomism. (shrink)
There is good reason to suppose that our best physical theories, quantum mechanics and special relativity, are false if taken together and literally. If they are in fact false, then how should they count as providing knowledge of the physical world? One might imagine that, while strictly false, our best physical theories are nevertheless in some sense probably approximately true. This paper presents a notion of local probable approximate truth in terms of descriptive nesting relations between current and subsequent (...) theories. This notion helps explain how false physical theories might nevertheless provide physical knowledge of a variety that is particularly salient to diachronic empirical inquiry. (shrink)
A descriptive norm is a behavioral rule that individuals follow when their empirical expectations of others following the same rule are met. We aim to provide an account of the emergence of descriptive norms by ﬁrst looking at a simple case, that of the standing ovation. We examine the structure of a standing ovation, and show it can be generalized to describe the emergence of a wide range of descriptive norms.
The aim of this paper is to describe a methodology for revising logical principles in the light of empirical psychological findings. Historical philosophy of science and wide reflective equilibrium in ethics are considered as providing possible models for arguing from the descriptive to the normative. Neither is adequate for the psychology/logic case, and a new model is constructed, employing criteria for evaluating inferential systems. Once we have such criteria, the notion of reflective equilibrium becomes redundant.
One branch of Alvin Goldman's proposed "scientific epistemology" is devoted to the scientific study of how folk epistemic evaluators acquire and deploy the concepts of knowledge and justified belief. The author argues that such a "descriptive epistemology," as Goldman calls it, requires a more sophisticated theory of interpretation than is provided by the simulation theory Goldman adopts. The author also argues that any adequate account of folk epistemic concepts must reconstruct the intersubjective conceptual roles those concepts play in discursive (...) practices. In other words, descriptive epistemology also requires a theory of communicative action and an account of the practical abilities agents must have to engage in discursive practices. (shrink)
This paper presents an integrative, descriptive model of ethical decision making, with special attention given to issues of measurement. After building the model, hypotheses are developed from a portion of it. These hypotheses are tested in an exploratory analysis to determine if further research and testing of this model and the measurement instruments it employs are warranted.
This rich book, the best I’ve read in consciousness studies, offers more at each encounter. It was a brilliant idea to evaluate Hurlburt’s Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) method through concrete sceptical enquiry by Schwitzgebel, whose role as open-minded but hard-nosed interlocutor makes the debate an intriguing, even gripping read. The radically different views about introspective reports held by the two authors (hereafter Russ and Eric, following the book’s informality) are put to the test in the concrete context of ‘an (...) examination, in unprecedented detail, of random moments of one person’s experience’ (p. 11).1 In addition to the ongoing central pursuit of the general question ‘Can we believe people’s reports about their inner experience?’, a raft of more specific issues (from the speed of an ‘inner voice’, through theories of emotion, to the indeterminacy of images) are addressed as they arise in the sampling interviews. The book’s excellent organization, using in-text boxes linked by detailed crossreferencing into indexed threads, reinforces the thrilling sense that our access to the inner life of one person, ‘Melanie’, is bringing real progress on a number of fronts at once. Eric’s robust scepticism remains, but is tempered somewhat by being forced to confront the real constraints and opportunities of gathering information from a live subject. By the end of the project, he accepts that Russ’s ‘beep-andinterview methods’ deserve a central role in introspective science (p. (shrink)
The immediate purpose of this note is to provide counterexamples to François Recanati’s claim in Direct Reference that descriptive names (a name whose reference is fixed by an attributive definite description) are created with the expectation that we will be able to think of the referent nondescriptively at some point in the future. The larger issue is how to reconcile the existence of descriptive names with the theoretical commitments Recanati takes direct reference to have. The point of the (...) claim about the expectation of future knowledge of the referent is to make it plausible that uses of descriptive names are not literal, since a literal use ought to express a singular proposition rather than one involving a descriptive mode of presentation; it is argued that this route to reconciliation will not work. (shrink)
Three experiments with preschool- and young school-aged children (N = 75 and 53) explored the kinds of relations children detect in samples of instances (descriptive problem) and how they generalize those relations to new instances (inferential problem). Each experiment initially presented a perfect biconditional relation between two features (e.g., all and only frogs are blue). Additional examples undermined one of the component conditional relations (not all frogs are blue) but supported another (only frogs are blue). Preschool-aged children did not (...) distinguish between supported and undermined relations. Older children did show the distinction, at least when the test instances were clearly drawn from the same population as the training instances. Results suggest that younger children’s difficulties may stem from the demands of using imperfect correlations for predictions. Older children seemed sensitive to the inferential problem of using samples to make predictions about populations. (shrink)
I discuss a strategy for grounding ethical naturalism propounded by Frank Jackson and more recently by Allan Gibbard: that the undisputed supervenience of the moral upon the natural (or descriptive) entails that moral properties are natural (or descriptive) properties. I show that this strategy falls foul of certain indubitable constraints governing natural kinds; and I then rebut some objections. The upshot is that no viable strategy for supporting ethical naturalism is to be found along these lines. This result (...) has additional consequences, both for Jackson's attempt to accommodate ethical discourse into the natural world, and for Gibbard's purported 'meta-ethical synthesis'. (shrink)
A descriptive norm is a behavioral rule that individuals follow when their empirical expectations of others following the same rule are met. We aim to provide an account of the emergence of descriptive norms by first looking at a simple case, that of the standing ovation. We examine the structure of a standing ovation, and show it can be generalized to describe the emergence of a wide range of descriptive norms.
Developments in the theory of individual decision?making have been partly shaped by two criteria: a desire for models consistent with experimental evidence; and a pre?commitment to models built on normatively appealing axioms. This paper explores the compatibility of these two selection criteria. The paper reconstructs and scrutinises an argument due to Friedman and Savage asserting that the normative appeal of axioms provides a source of ?indirect? evidence. I judge their argument questionable and, at best, incomplete. As such it does not (...) provide a convincing rationale for normative appeal to be used as a criterion for selection among descriptive theories. (shrink)
In “Can Models of God Compete?”, J. R. Hustwit engages with fundamental questions regarding the epistemological foundations of modeling God. He argues that the approach of fallibilism best captures the criteria he employs to choose among different “models of God-modeling,” including one criterion that I call the Descriptive Criterion. I argue that Hustwit’s case for fallibilism should include both a stronger defense for the Descriptive Criterion and an explanation of the reasons that fallibilism does not run awry of (...) this criterion in virtue of its apparent inability to make sense of debates among models of God extant in religious communities. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
We have attempted to delineate various components of the researcher's participation in the reflection phase of descriptive psychology. The characteristic attitude or posture, operations for the comprehension of a particular event, and activities which achieve general knowledge have been touched upon. This presentation is a preliminary attempt to bring into view the complex process of analysis in descriptive research and is intended as an invitation to more faithful and detailed accounts of the process in the future.
Most papers in this issue carefully analyze normative and empirical methodologies. I shall argue that (a) there is no purely empirical nor purely normative methodology; (b) some terms escape the division of the normative and descriptive. (c) Most importantly, dialogues such as this one point to a form of integration that allows us to reflect on what it is that each approach presupposes in its study of business ethics. Thus we have made progress in recognizing the importance of each (...) methodology, how each is dependent on the other, and how neither is singularly The Approach to business ethics. (shrink)
This descriptive and cross-sectional study aims to evaluate academic dishonesty among university nursing students in Turkey. The study’s sample included 196 students. Two instruments were used for gathering data. The first instrument, a questionnaire, which included some socio-demographic variables (age, class, gender, education, family structure, parents’ attitude and educators’ attitude) formed the first part. The second part included the Academic Dishonesty Tendency Scale developed by Eminoğlu and Nartgün. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Kruskall Wallis, One-way (...) Anova, t- test and Mann-Whitney U test. It was found that academic dishonesty was at medium-level (2.60—3.39) in nursing students. (shrink)
Values are essentially interpretive: they can, even must be interpreted and can and should be understood as (somehow socially or personally standardized) interpretive constructs of a specific kind and according to different types to be distinguished and classified within an hierarchical typology. There is a special connection between values and actions as well as their characteristic of being related to their ascription to persons, goods, events etc. This connection is indeed covered, borne or carried out by interpretation. In fact, any (...) ascription of a value concept or predicate whatsoever is dependent on a structure and hierarchy of normative and in part descriptive schemes of at times conventional and dispositional scheme-interpretations. Generally speaking, the thesis is that the methodological model of interpretive constructs (scheme-interpretationism) can be thoroughly applied to the concept and usage of values. Social values are then in this sense socially originated, institutionally sanctioned or standardized interpretational constructs of a social character, notably for social comparisons in using and establishing preferences for a kind of (limited) uniformity and expectability and predictability of social behavior and actions. (shrink)
If we know that certain ways of making decisions are associated with real-life success, is this then how we should decide? In this paper the relationship between normative and descriptive theories of decision-making is examined. First, it is shown that the history of the decision sciences ensures that it is impossible to separate descriptive theories from normative ones. Second, recent psychological research implies new ways of arguing from the descriptive to the normative. The paper ends with an (...) evaluation of how this might affect normative theories of decision-making. (shrink)
This paper attempts to define the moral terrain attached to bullying, or work victimisation. Existing research on this problem tends to focus on the phenomenon as a personnel or organisational issue. Bullying is fairly endemic and harmful but not accorded the same priority as other forms of harassment and there is little protection in law. Much research has concentrated on the nature and extent of bullying and impact on its victims. The education sector in the United Kingdom provides fertile ground (...) for bullying given greatly increased work demands. A descriptive case narrative is used to develop a number of ethical themes: the extent to which rights and/or individual moral conscience offer the best source of protection against bullying; the moral position and culpability of stakeholders, including policymakers, and individual witnesses to the case; implications for the development of ethical attitudes in the education sector of a developed economy; and the potentially conflicting ethical demands between government policy and individual needs. The paper concludes that inclusion of the moral dimension is vital to understanding and development of effective anti-discrimination mechanisms, intrinsic to which will be future research into discovering real attitudes towards bullying in the context of greater work pressure. (shrink)
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 to makes sense of state acts of tolerance. (shrink)