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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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 liberal thought and practical measures, although it was open to the criticism that it subordinated individual human rights to the

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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Beyond the witch trials

Helen Parish and William G. Naphy (eds), Religion and Superstition in Reformation Europe (Manchester, 2002). 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 Liberal Thought’, 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. Scandinavian

in Beyond the witch trials

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 liberal thought. 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 assumption that

in ‘The truest form of patriotism’
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in traditional Asian values can be rather problematic. For example, in searching for the roots of liberal thoughts 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

in Democratization through the looking-glass
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civic loyalty What I propose to call laïcité C is undoubtedly the most difficult to grasp, because it is least amenable to liberal thought. The intuition behind it is best captured by the following statement by a contemporary republican philosopher – that ‘one cannot be laïque in France unless one accepts an important part of our national-republican heritage’.35 On this view, laïcité calls not so much for a neutral state respectful of religious difference, nor for a perfectionist state committed to the promotion of individual autonomy, but, rather, for a communitarian

in The culture of toleration in diverse societies
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were based on democracy’s core beliefs in the capacity of all people for rational political action and the belief in maximizing civic participation in public life, were in fact counterproductive to good government in industrial societies (Westbrook 1991: 281–2). The main articulation of this position was to be found in the work of Walter Lippmann and his two treatises against standard liberal thought, Public Opinion (1922) and The Phantom Public (1925). Within these works, Lippmann puts forward the idea that America had entered into the Great Society, which made the

in John Dewey
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An introduction

Formation of a Sikh “Diaspora” ( Durham, NC : Duke University Press , 2001 ); Uday Singh Mehta , Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth Century British Liberal Thought ( Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press , 1999 ); and Michel-Rolph Trouillot , Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History

in Subjects of modernity
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Identities and incitements

incisive examination by Uday Mehta of the focal presence of the Indian colony in the shaping of the very premises of dominant political thought in nineteenth-century Britain, revealing the significance of empire in structuring the “anthropological” propensities of liberal theory. At stake are liberal thought’s fundamental “strategies of exclusion,” resting on projections of the

in Subjects of modernity
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Nineteenth Centuries , eds.Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 95–189; Roy Porter, ‘Witchcraft and magic in enlightenment,romantic and liberal thought’, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries , 191–282. 31 E.g. Hugh Trevor-Roper, The European Witch

in Male witches in early modern Europe