Do we need toleration as a moral virtue?

Res Publica 7 (3):273-292 (2001)
In this essay, I reconstruct tolerance as a moral virtue, by critically analysing its definition, circumstances, justification and limits. I argues that, despite its paradoxical appearance, tolerance qualifies as a virtue, by means of a restriction of its proper object to differences that are chosen. Since this excludes the most important and divisive differences of contemporary pluralism from the scope of the virtue of tolerance, the moral model of toleration cannot constitute the micro-foundation of the corresponding political practice. However, if the political ideal of toleration must be founded on independent political reasons of justice, the moral model can bridge the gap between private morality and public reason, providing citizens with moral motives to supplement the political obligation to neutrality.
Keywords acquiescence  autonomy  chosen and ascriptive differences  indifference  paternalism  political ideal of toleration  respect for others  tolerance
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1012217012310
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