Why should we be tolerant? What does it mean to ‘live and let live’? What ought to be tolerated and what not? Catriona McKinnon presents a comprehensive, yet accessible introduction to toleration in her new book. Divided into two parts, the first clearly introduces and assesses the major theoretical accounts of toleration, examining it in light of challenges from scepticism, value pluralism and reasonableness. The second part applies the theories of toleration to contemporary debates such as female circumcision, French Headscarves, (...) artistic freedom, pornography and censorship, and holocaust denial. Drawing on the work of philosophers, such as Locke, Mill and Rawls, whose theories are central to toleration, the book provides a solid theoretical base to those who value toleration, whilst considering the challenges toleration faces in practice. It is the ideal starting point for those coming to the topic for the first time, as well as anyone interested in the challenges facing toleration today. (shrink)
Climate change creates unprecedented problems of intergenerational justice. What do members of the current generation owe to future generations in virtue of the contribution they are making to climate change? Providing important new insights within the theoretical framework of political liberalism, Climate Change and Future Justice presents arguments in three key areas: Mitigation: the current generation ought to adopt a strong precautionary principle in formulating climate change policy in order to minimise the risks of serious harm from climate change imposed (...) on future generations Adaptation: the current generation ought to create a fund to which members of future generations may apply for compensation if the risks of climate change harm imposed on them by the current generation ripen into harms Triage: future generations ought to keep alive hope for a return to the framework of justice for the social cooperation of future people less burdened by climate change harms. This work presents agenda-setting applications of important principles of democratic equality to the most serious set of political challenges ever faced by human society. It should be required reading for political theorists and environmental philosophers. (shrink)
From the paper's conclusion: "In conclusion, I have distinguished between two Rawlsian arguments for the SPP [strong precautionary principle] with respect to CCCs [climate change catastrophes]. Although both are persuasive, ultimately the “unbear-able strains” argument provides the most powerful categorical grounds for takingprecautionary action against CCCs. Overall, I have argued that the nature of CCCs requires us to take drastic precautions against further CC that could lead us to passthe tipping points that cause them. This is the case notwithstanding the (...) fact that weare in a state of strong uncertainty with respect to these events; indeed, our stronguncertainty with respect to them—given their nature—makes the case for action toprevent them even more persuasive, from the point of view of justice. Some peopletranslate the strong uncertainty of CCCs into weak uncertainty in order to justifytaking precautionary action using risk assessment.59My argument is complemen-tary to theirs. If divergent approaches to the uncertainty of CCCs neverthelessconverge on the PP, then we have what Cass Sunstein calls an “incompletelytheorized agreement” on a policy, that is, an agreement to which parties divided byoften deep theoretical differences can nevertheless give their assent,60which isall to the good from a political point of view. In the specific case of CC and itspossible catastrophes, the fact that such an agreement has emerged provides asliver of hope in the face of the increasingly dismal prospects for the planetuncovered by CC science as it progresses. At the level of principle, we are agreed,whatever justificatory reasons we advance. What is needed now—in the immedi-ate present—is policy to promote our principles, and the political will to enact it.". (shrink)
In the face of accelerating climate change and the parlous state of its politics, despair is tempting. This paper analyses two manifestations of despair about climate change related to (1) the inefficacy of personal emissions reductions, and (2) the inability to make a difference to climate change through personal emissions reductions. On the back of an analysis of despair as a loss of hope, the paper argues that the judgements grounding each form of despair are unsound. The paper concludes with (...) consideration of the instrumental value of hope in effective agency to tackle climate change. Overall, the paper’s assessment of personal despair about climate change as philosophically unjustified provides a fresh perspective on aspects of the debate about how to frame climate change in public debate. (shrink)
In this 2002 book, Anna Elisabetta Galeotti examines the most intractable problems which toleration encounters and argues that what is really at stake is not religious or moral disagreement but the unequal status of different social groups. Liberal theories of toleration fail to grasp this and consequently come up with normative solutions that are inadequate when confronted with controversial cases. Galeotti proposes, as an alternative, toleration as recognition, which addresses the problem of according equal respect to groups as well as (...) equal liberty to individuals. She offers an interpretation that is both a revision and an expansion of liberal theory, in which toleration constitutes an important component not only of a theory of justice, but also of the politics of identity. Her study will appeal to a wide range of readers in political philosophy, political theory, and law. (shrink)
Why should I let the toad work Squat on my life? Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork And drive the brute off? Six days of the week it soils With its sickening poison — Just for paying a few bills! That's out of proportion. From Philip Larkin, ‘Toads’. ABSTRACT This paper mounts a Rawlsian argument for unconditional basic income on the grounds that it maximins the distribution of income and wealth understood as a social basis of self‐respect. The (...) most important objection to this argument available to Rawlsians is that basic income violates the demands of reciprocity, where reciprocity in any scheme of distribution is a requirement of justice. The second half of the paper addresses this objection. It is argued there that even if the objection can be made successfully by Rawlsians (and this is not clear), it is not sufficient to divest them of a commitment to basic income, given some practical considerations about the implementation of alternatives to basic income. (shrink)
Contemporary liberal political justification is often accused of preaching to the converted: liberal principles are acceptable only to people already committed to liberal values. Catriona McKinnon addresses this important criticism by arguing that self-respect and its social conditions should be placed at the heart of the liberal approach to justification. A commitment to self-respect delivers a commitment to the liberal values of toleration and public reason, but self-respect itself is not an exclusively liberal value.
In the Anthropocene, human beings are capable of bringing about globally catastrophic outcomes that could damage conditions for present and future human life on Earth in unprecedented ways. This paper argues that the scale and severity of these dangers justifies a new international criminal offence of ‘postericide’ that would protect present and future people against wrongfully created dangers of near extinction. Postericide is committed by intentional or reckless systematic conduct that is fit to bring about near human extinction. The paper (...) argues that a proper understanding of the moral imperatives embodied in international criminal law shows that it ought to be expanded to incorporate a new law of postericide. (shrink)
A key reason for pessimism with respect to greenhouse gas emissions reduction relates to the ?motivation problem?, whereby those who could make the biggest difference prima facie have the least incentive to act because they are most able to adapt: how can we motivate such people (and thereby everyone else) to accept, indeed to initiate, the changes to their lifestyles that are required for effective emissions reductions? This paper offers an account inspired by Rawls of the good of membership of (...) ?intergenerational cooperative union? to achieve justice that provides a solution to the motivation problem. (shrink)
This paper argues that the direct, vertical toleration of certain types of citizen by the Rawlsian liberal state is appropriate and required in circumstances in which these types of citizen pose a threat to the stability of the state. By countering the claim that vertical toleration is redundant given a commitment to the Rawlsian version of the liberal democratic ideal, and by articulating a version of that ideal that shows this claim to be false, the paper reaffirms the centrality of (...) vertical toleration in the Rawlsian liberal account of state-citizen relations. (shrink)
This is a unique political theory textbook that invites students to apply the concepts they encounter to real world politics. Each chapter includes a 2,000 word case study to highlight the theories that have been discussed.
Holocaust denial (HD) is the activity of denying the occurrence of key events and processes which constitute the Holocaust. Should it be tolerated? HD brings into particularly sharp focus many difficult questions faced by defenders of content-neutral liberal principles protecting freedom of expression. I argue that there are insufficient grounds for the legal prohibition of HD, but that society has the right and the duty to expel and exclude deniers from the Academy.
This book brings together a group of international scholars, many of whom have already contributed to the debate on toleration, and who are offering fresh thoughts and approaches to it. The essays of this collection are written from a variety of perspectives: historical, analytical, normative, and legal. Yet, all authors share a concern with the sharpening of our understanding of the reasons for toleration as well as with making them relevant to the way in which we live with others in (...) our modern and diverse societies. (shrink)
In this paper I comment on a recent “letter” by Burleigh Wilkins addressed to nascent egalitarian democracies which offers advice on the achievement of religious toleration. I argue that while Wilkins’ advice is sound as far as it goes, it is nevertheless underdeveloped insofar as his letter fails to distinguish two competing conceptions of toleration – liberal-pluralist and republican-secularist – both of which are consistent with the advice he offers, but each of which yields very different policy recommendations (as can (...) be seen by consideration of The United States v. Lee in America and, I’affaire du foulard in France). I argue that a democratic society of equals must be committed to liberal-pluralist rather than republican-secularist toleration. (shrink)
A major collection of innovative new work by emerging and established scholars on the critical topic of ethics for climate governance, offering a wholly original proposal for reform to climate governance.
In the face of limited time and escalating impacts, some scientists and politicians are talking about attempting "grand technological interventions" into the Earth’s basic physical and biological systems ("geoengineering") to combat global warming. Early ideas include spraying particles into the stratosphere to block some incoming sunlight, or "enhancing" natural biological systems to withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a higher rate. Such technologies are highly speculative and scientific development of them has barely begun. -/- Nevertheless, it is widely recognized (...) that geoengineering raises critical questions about who will control planetary interventions, and what responsibilities they will have. Central to these questions are issues of justice and political legitimacy. For instance, while some claim that climate risks are so severe that geoengineering must be attempted, others insist that the current global order is so unjust that interventions are highly likely to be illegitimate and exacerbate injustice. Such concerns are rarely discussed in the policy arena in any depth, or with academic rigor. Hence, this book gathers contributions from leading voices and rising stars in political philosophy to respond. It is essential reading for anyone puzzled about how geoengineering might promote or thwart the ends of justice in a dramatically changing world. (shrink)
Although tolerance is widely regarded as a virtue of both individuals and groups that modern democratic and multiculturalist societies cannot do without, there is still much disagreement among political thinkers as to what tolerance demands, or what can be done to create and sustain a culture of tolerance. The philosophical literature on toleration contains three main strands. (1) An agreement that a tolerant society is more than a modus vivendi; (2) discussion of the proper object(s) of toleration; (3) debate about (...) whether there is a ‘paradox’ of toleration and, if so, how it might be solved. This Introduction outlines how each of the subsequent papers addresses problems in the theory and practice of toleration, in the light of these three strands in the existing literature. (shrink)