Toleration

Front Cover
University of Alabama Press, 1992 - Philosophy - 204 pages
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Most regard toleration as an unattractive fallback position of compromise and so tend to overlook it in favor of such active concepts as freedom, equality, and justice. Fotion and Elfstrom argue that toleration offers us the useful possibility of responding to a difficult situation with a degree of flexibility not possible with the dichotomous concepts of good-bad, right-wrong, ethical-unethical, Right-Left. Tolerating saturates ordinary human life and infuses public discussions of religion, morality, and politics. It forms a major strand in the history of Western European thought. Yet the word "toleration" and similar terms are rarely used. Unnoticed and unremarked, they are like the air that surrounds us, vitally important yet invisible. The authors seek to address this oversight in several ways. They begin with a thorough conceptual analysis of toleration and its kindred concepts. They are convinced that an appreciation of the importance of the family of toleration concepts must be founded on an understanding of the various ways in which they function in our language and our lives. In addition, they examine the historical development of the concept of toleration and canvass the major arguments people have employed either to urge toleration or to disparage it. They examine the role of toleration in liberal political philosophy and respond to the major critics of liberal toleration. The authors also discuss a number of factors that cause toleration to be overlooked in political debate and personal reflection and offer evidence to support the view that this omission is unfortunate. In particular, they argue that toleration has the crucial role of helping people live with one anotherwith respect and dignity in the fractious and contentious world we inhabit.

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Contents

Tolerating Tolerance and Intolerance
3
Roles of the Toleration Concepts
17
Toleration and Reason Giving
31
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (1992)

Nicholas Fotion is Professor of Philosophy at Emory University, GA. He has published widely on the ethics of military action. He is also the author of John Searle in Acumen's Philosophy Now series.

Elfstrom is professor of philosophy at Auburn University.

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