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Toleration: An Elusive Virtue

David Heyd (Princeton University Press: July 1998), 280 pages.

If we are to understand the concept of toleration in terms of everyday life, we must address a key philosophical and political tension: the call for restraint when encountering apparently wrong beliefs and actions versus the good reasons for interfering with the lives of the subjects of these beliefs and actions. This collection contains original contributions to the ongoing debate on the nature of toleration, including its definition, historical development, justification, and limits. In exploring the issues surrounding toleration, the essays address a variety of provocative questions. Is toleration a moral virtue of individuals or rather a pragmatic political compromise? Is it an intrinsically good principle or only a "second best-solution" to the dangers of fanaticism to be superseded one day by the full acceptance of others? Does the value of toleration lie in respect to individuals and their autonomy, or rather in the recognition of the right of minority groups to maintain their communal identity? Throughout, the contributors point to the inherent indeterminacy of the concept and to the difficulty in locating it between intolerant absolutism and skeptical pluralism. Religion, sex, speech, and education are major areas requiring toleration in liberal societies. By applying theoretical analysis, these essays show the differences in the argument for toleration and its scope in each of these realms. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • List of Contributors
    • Introduction    3
    • 1    Toleration: An Impossible Virtue?    18
    • 2    Toleration as a Virtue    28
    • 3    Tolerance, Pluralism, and Relativism    44
    • 4    Pluralism and the Community of Moral Judgment    60
    • 5    Two Models of Pluralism and Tolerance    81
    • 6    Autonomy, Toleration, and Group Rights: A Response to Will Kymlicka    106
    • 7    The Boundaries of Justifiable Tolerance: A Liberal Perspective    114
    • 8    Toleration and the Struggle against Prejudice    127
    • 9    The Ring: On Religious Pluralism    147
    • 10    The Instability of Tolerance    158
    • 11    Freedom of Expression    173
    • 12    The Difficulty of Tolerance    226
    • Index of Names and Cases    241