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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.

Open Access (free)
Reasonable tolerance
Catriona McKinnon
Dario Castiglione

, takes a less sanguine position on the way in which the application of the principle of reasonableness may solve real-life conflicts. By exploring the way in which the rules of social order and coexistence work in a liberal society, so as to guarantee that there are no direct conflicts between people pursuing different life styles (compossibility principle), and so that those very same rules do not prevent the pursuit of a life style with a reasonable degree of success (adequacy principle), Waldron concludes that in some real-life conflicts, it is unclear on whom the

in The culture of toleration in diverse societies