Arguments for tolerance

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  • Created by: ella2424
  • Created on: 16-04-14 14:43


  • We are all fallibile, we can all make mistakes and be mistaken. This applies to institutions, governments and societies, not just individuals.
  • We do not always know the truth about morality, religion and the generally the right way of living, the 'good' life, so to fail to be tolerant to others ways of life is to assume your own fallibility.
  • Even if you believe that someone elses view is completley wrong, they might have a little bit of correctness which you may need so you need to tolerate.

Coexistance conception

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  • It is practical to tolerate because for every to not tolerate anything makes no sense.
  • Adopting an attitude of tolerance outweighs the consequences of being intolerant e.g. trying to change someones deep seated religious beliefs would be futile.
  • By not being tolerant can have negative economic consequences, e.g. France lost a highly skilled and industrious pool of labour when it persectued the Huguenots.

Coexistance conception

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Coercion is ineffective

  • Coercion is ineffective, especially in religion, but also lifestyle.
  • People are not going to change their beliefs just because you won't tolerate it and threaten them etc, so you might as well just tolerate them.

Coexistance conception

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The threat posed by strife

  • There is always going to be disagreements about beliefs and lifestyles so the alternative to tolerance is conflict.
  • Strife will most often rise conflict which will affect the well-being of all of us.
  • Tolerance is the alternative to strife.

Coexistance conception

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The value of autonomy

  • Autonomy of individuals leads to freedom and liberty in a society which is a good thing and is essential to a liberal society.
  • John Stuart Mill said 'the free developement of individuality is one of the leading essentials of well-being'.
  • Autonomous, self-ruling individuals are good for the developement of society as a whole.
  • Only limit is the harm principle.

Respect conception

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The value of diversity

  • A diverse society could suggest new ways of living and new ideas which would enable the society as a whole to progress.
  • Some new ways may not be as successful as others but new, better ones will not be discovered unless you try.
  • New ways will be tolerated as long as of course, there is no harm to others.
  • Diversity promotes genius, flair and innovation, people who don't tolerate diversity cannot improve as they have nothing to draw inspiration from.

Respect/esteem conception

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The greatest happiness of the greatest number

  • Utilitarian argument
  • Higher numbers of individuals seeking out their own way lay of life will lead to greater happiness of greater numbers.
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