Toleration as sedition

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (3):363-384 (2011)
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This paper examines and criticizes the defence of toleration due to John Rawls in Political Liberalism, and similar strategies mobilized in defence of toleration. It argues that the notion of the burdens of judgement, used by Rawls to defend his doctrine of reasonable pluralism, faces incoherence: schematically, either disagreement succumbs to reason, or vice versa. On similar grounds, reasonable disagreement defences of neutrality fail because of a double-mindedness about the relation between private judgements and public reason. This problem arises, it is argued, from an attempt to make private judgements determinative in the formation of political and legal outcomes, even while subjecting the latter’s justification to norms of public reason. Deference to private judgements in political justification tends to countenance sedition, and this applies also to modern liberal attempts such as Rawls’s to ground toleration in private judgements.



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Glen Newey
PhD: University of York; Last affiliation: Leiden University

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Equality and Partiality.Thomas Nagel - 1991 - New York, US: OUP Usa. Edited by Louis P. Pojman & Robert Westmoreland.
Justice as impartiality.Brian Barry - 1995 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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