Tolerance pt ii

the importance of tolerance, robert paul wolff, the context and principle of it, its difficulties. how tolerance is applied.

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what is important about tolerance?

*Robert Paul Wolff: political philosopher, uni of Massachusetts

societies becoming more complex+ diverse.

Wolff - tolerance =that state of mind +condition of society which enable a pluralist democracy to function well + to realise the idea of pluralism


many religions in Uk e.g. Catholics, Muslims, Scientologists. religion often linked to morals, sexual orientation, lifestyle +disagreements withinreligion. e.g. Muslims -'traditionalists' -Taliban of Afghanistanfavours tradition +authority. Liberal Muslims-modernise society +politics

tolerance not only answer. with disputed of whats right, some cling to certainties/absolutes - ''truth, not tolerance'' -minority view

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Principle of tolerance

Forst -tolerance ='normatively dependent concept'-not virtue in itself. R.P. Wolff -tolerance = virtue of pluralist democracy. minorities hould have opp. to become majorities -conceptual connection -democracy+ tolerance

liberalism: individuals enjoy good life. justifies tolerance in principle. empiricist -'experiments in living' +pluralist

2 justifications of tolerance:

  • individuals rights to hold, pursure values might be opposed.
  • acceptance +encouragement of choice +diversity

or necessary evil? just better than reject/crit/supression. maintains civility. avoids conflict. Satre -our freedom to choose is experience in anguish

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can tolerance be justified in principle? (impossib

Rawls-minimilist conceptionof gd life. neutral to contested issue e.g. religion +morality. favours autonomy, choice, self-creation. freedom to choose necessary for gd life.BUT intolerant towards society with unquestioned obedience..(they impossible to have gd life?)

not clearpeople restricted in cultures with restricted sexual orientation rules, can be happy -should it be tolerated. would they prefer liberalism?

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difficulties of tolerance

* paradoxes of toleration -contradiction in trying to reconcile reasons for objecting, accepting+ rejecting diff. views. e.g. MP only accepting women in Parliament to look gd. 'looks more tolerant' -expresses moral approval but has unjust, unacceptable beliefs

  • one's reasons for tolerance must be rational. overcome sexism.
  • reasons for objection +reason for accept =morally sound= paradox of moral intolerance. -morally right to tolerate what's morally wrong
  • chief Justice who disagrees gays has moral duty to uphold states law allowing gay adoption e.g. if 1 state allows homosexual adoption.
  • need hierarchy of moral reasons e.g. 'law of nature' (God) over law of state
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Tolerance & Intolerance

rejection component -what is tolerable. if gays abnormal =intolerable, rejected. BUT -drawing line what is tolerable could be act of intolerance. should we tolerate gays? -question puts gays negatively. instead -should we tolerate intolerance towards gays?

what is intolerance?

intolerant =can't tolerant any infringement of norms. or -those don't accept value of tolerance.

-those refuse accept belief/practice not intolerant but see tolerance less value. -must be rational commitment to their norm. not arbitrary /irrational prejudice.

e.g. need to tolerate Christian views, gays undermine social order. -has all 3 components: rejection, views practiced intolerable.

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tolerance & intolerance 2

refusing to tolerate those rejecting toleration become intolerant ourselves. BUT - as concept of tolerance implies limit, intolerance should be included in views that are beyond toleration.

Karl Popper - 'unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance'

Popper more concerned with tolerant societythan individual. 'unwise' to suppress intolerant attitudes. should 'counter them by rational argument' but 'right' as society to suppress attitudes if won't listen, won't explain/could persecute others. so unchecked intolerance -violence. loose free, tolerant society

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Rawls and liberalism

Rawls -liberalism ='political' position, nothing absolute. doesn't favour political views.

competing value systems can't be decided on political principles.

but- should 'respect limits imposed by the principles of political justice'

illiberal values can be tolerated if compatible with diverse free, tolerant, liberal society.

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