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.
pain in the rational pursuit of their own interests. Only individuals could
know what was considered best for them, not the state. Utilitarians declared
that democracy was the best means of securing ‘the greatest happiness
for the greatest number’ in society. This doctrine substantially
influenced liberalthought and practical measures, although it was open to
that it subordinated individual human rights to the
Parish and William G. Naphy (eds), Religion and Superstition in Reformation Europe
9 An excellent example of this can be found in Wolfgang Behringer’s account of the
‘Bavarian witchcraft war’ of 1766–70: Behringer, Witchcraft Persecutions, pp. 359–87.
10 For an overview and references see Roy Porter, ‘Witchcraft and Magic in Enlightenment, Romantic and LiberalThought’, in Gijswijt-Hofstra, Levack and Porter,
Witchcraft and Magic, pp. 191–283.
11 Gustav Henningsen, ‘Witch Persecution after the Era of the Witch Trials’, ARV.
Science, self-control and human freedom:
a naturalistic approach
Gilberto Corbellini and Elisabetta Sirgiovanni
A recurring assumption among political philosophers is that freedom as
the ancients conceived it was different from the kind of freedom experienced
in the modern world. On 13 February 1819, in his famous lecture on The
Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns held at the
Athénée Royal in Paris, Benjamin-Henri Constant de Rebecque gave one
of the most brilliant formulations of liberalthought. Constant affirmed
that modern men
finally, that women’s
use of force was inherently defensive. The first of these arguments overlapped with liberal theory, which did not define individual citizenship
in this manner. The latter two arguments are perhaps more specifically feminist in nature, although they were of course influenced by the
feminist movement’s grounding in liberalthought.
Miss Lydia Becker (1827–90) published a response to Stephen in the
Women’s Suffrage Journal (WSJ) in 1874, based on the first argument
about the role of force in citizenship.15 Taking Stephen’s fundamental
in traditional Asian values can be rather problematic. For example,
in searching for the roots of liberalthoughts in Confucianism, Goldman (1994) concludes that the basic tenets of
Confucianism are not necessarily incongruent with concepts
of human rights. This may indeed be true, and Sen (1997)
has argued forcefully against the Asian values concept as
a justification for authoritarianism. But in some respects,
searching for the roots of contemporary authoritarianism or
contemporary democracy in The Analects is akin to searching for the roots of democracy in
, order and justice.
Freedom of opinion and expression
Most advocates of liberty believe that
academic, religious and political opinions should be allowed to compete
freely in order for society to solve its problems, to make progress and to
function in a healthy way. Freedom of expression is a central tenet of
liberalthought: without it no other freedom can exist. Freedom of opinion
is associated with
Centuries , eds.Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark (Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 95–189; Roy Porter,
‘Witchcraft and magic in enlightenment,romantic and liberalthought’, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth and
Nineteenth Centuries , 191–282.
E.g. Hugh Trevor-Roper, The European Witch
Maandblad tegen de Kwakzalverij (hereafter
MtK ), 14 May 1894.
J. E. Enklaar, Het bijgeloof in vroegeren en lateren
tijd en de middelen om het te bestrijden (Amsterdam, 1889), p. 30. See
Roy Porter, ‘Witchcraft and Magic in Enlightenment, Romantic and LiberalThought’, in Clark and Ankarloo, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe , pp.
Formation of a Sikh “Diaspora”
( Durham, NC : Duke University Press , 2001 ); Uday Singh
Mehta , Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth Century British
LiberalThought ( Chicago,
IL : University of Chicago Press ,
1999 ); and Michel-Rolph
Trouillot , Silencing the Past: Power and the Production