Reasonable tolerance

The idea of toleration as the appropriate response to difference has been central to liberal thought since Locke. Although the subject has been widely and variously explored, there has been reluctance to acknowledge the new meaning that current debates offer on toleration. This book starts from a clear recognition of the new terms of the debate, reflecting the capacity of seeing the other's viewpoint, and the limited extent to which toleration can be granted. Theoretical statements on toleration posit at the same time its necessity in democratic societies, and its impossibility as a coherent ideal. There are several possible objections to, and ways of developing the ideal of, reasonable tolerance as advocated by John Rawls and by some other supporters of political liberalism. The first part of the book explores some of them. In some real-life conflicts, it is unclear on whom the burden of reasonableness may fall. This part discusses the reasonableness of pluralism, and general concept and various more specific conceptions of toleration. The forces of progressive politics have been divided into two camps: redistribution and recognition. The second part of the book is an attempt to explore the internal coherence of such a transformation when applied to different contexts. It argues that openness to others in discourse, and their treatment as free and equal, is part of a kind of reflexive toleration that pertains to public communication in the deliberative context. Social ethos, religious discrimination and education are discussed in connection with tolerance.

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Reasonable tolerance

MCKIN 1/10/2003 10:15 AM Page 1 Introduction: reasonable tolerance Catriona McKinnon and Dario Castiglione Theory and practice are often at odds. Yet there is something particularly strange in the way in which the received theory and the presumed practice of toleration in contemporary societies seem to go their separate ways. Theoretical statements on toleration posit at the same time its necessity in democratic societies, and its impossibility as a coherent ideal.1 In her introduction to a comprehensive collection on tolerance and intolerance in modern life

in The culture of toleration in diverse societies
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sociological functional analysis. In line with the pace of increasing scientific specialisation, he saw a need for a division of the university’s functions; but as an institution it had instead amassed even more functions. There was now considerable discrepancy between the idea of the university and the tasks that it actually performed. The various sectors developed their own goals, which were never merged into a common, coherent ideal for the university.51 When Schelsky himself endeavoured to formulate a vision for the contemporary university, he found inspiration in the

in Humboldt and the modern German university