Canadian Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):473 - 504 (1998)

Sam Black
Simon Fraser University
It is a noteworthy achievement of Western liberal democracies that they have largely relinquished the use of force against citizens whose lifestyles offend their members’ sensibilities, or alternatively which violate their members’ sense of truth. Toleration has become a central virtue in our public institutions. Powerful majorities are given over to restraint. They do not, by and large, expect the state to crush eccentrics, nonconformists, and other uncongenial minorities in their midst. What precipitated this remarkable evolution in our political culture?The road to toleration originates in the debates provoked by religious dissent in the early modem period. This road was paved in part by a grudging appreciation of the necessity for pragmaticaccommodation. The wars of religion that had devastated the Continent educated the political classes about the costs of persecution. A policy of state-imposed religious intolerance was widely understood to be imprudent.In the early modem period there occurs, however, a shift in the arguments adduced in support of the duty of toleration.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0045-5091
DOI 10.1080/00455091.1998.10715982
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Science and Moral Skepticism in Hobbes.Sam Black - 1997 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):173 - 207.

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