The Politics of Toleration in Modern Life

The Politics of Toleration in Modern Life

Book Pages: 170 Illustrations: Published: January 2000

Politics > Political Theory, Religious Studies, Theory and Philosophy

In The Politics of Toleration in Modern Life Susan Mendus gathers a group of distinguished public figures—philosophers, historians, lawyers, and religious leaders—to reflect on a core issue within contemporary political debate. At the close of a century that will be remembered for its two world wars and its eruptions of genocide, the contributors examine the importance of an insistence on tolerance and the dangers of its lack, both historically and in the present day.
How can toleration be fostered in a contentious and tightly populated world? What situations and fears have historically fed attitudes of intolerance? When and how should states intervene? The authors of these essays seek answers to such questions and examine topics such as why certain national groups are especially vulnerable to intolerance and narcissistic fantasies and how the colonial view of intolerant exploitation as an acceptable norm of behavior has been replaced by a drive toward international solidarity. The essays address religious tolerance, the role of toleration in legal contexts, the philosophical justification of tolerance, and the concept of solidarity. Ethnic identity, nationalism, the “goods of conflict,” and the treatment of refugees seeking asylum are discussed as well. While one contributor argues that a moment of genuine tolerance is achieved only when there is a cost involved in the act of tolerating another person’s way of living, another stresses that rational, communal dialogue can only take place if the state is excluded from the discussion, if conflict is recognized as valuable, and if local communities come to consensus about what behavior and discourse is intolerable.
Offering an accessible and engaging commentary on the concept of tolerance, The Politics of Toleration in Modern Life will interest a wide range of readers of philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, and history.

Contributors. George Carey, Christopher Hill, Michael Ignatieff, Helena Kennedy, Alasdair MacIntyre, Susan Mendus, Julia Neuberger, Bernard Williams


“This collection is ideal for classroom use. The presentations, while substantive, are written in a free and easy style, and provide an excellent starting point for further discussion of the various issues raised.” — Nikolas K. Gvosdev , Journal of Church and State

“The combination of the idea of toleration, its application in different arenas of current political concern, and the personal views of significant opinion-formers makes for compelling reading.” — Ian Forbes, University of Nottingham

“This volume of diverse essays is extremely instructive about how to think of tolerance and intolerance. An excellent book.” — Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Susan Mendus is Professor of Politics and Director of the Morrell Studies in Toleration Programme at the University of York, England.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Notes on contributors xi

1. My brother's keeper: the politics of intolerance / Susan Mendus 1

2. Toleration or solidarity? / Garrett Fitzgerald 13

3. Toleration in seventeenth-century England: theory and practice / Christopher Hill 27

4. Tolerating religion / George Carey 45

5. Tolerating the intolerable / Bernard Williams 65

6. Nationalism and toleration / Michael Ignatieff 77

7. The politics of intolerance / Helena Kennedy 107

8. Religious toleration in the UK: is it feasible? / Julia Neuberger 119

9. Toleration and the goods of conflict / Alasdair MacIntyre 133

Index 157
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2498-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2462-1
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