Res Publica

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 265–270 | Cite as

Legalising Toleration: a Reply to Balint



I re-present my account of how a liberal democratic society can be tolerant and do so in a way designed to meet Peter Balint’s objections. In particular, I explain how toleration can be approached from a third-party perspective, which is that of neither tolerator nor tolerated but of rule-makers providing for the toleration that the citizens of a society are to extend to one another. Constructing a regime of toleration should not be confused with engaging in toleration. Negative appraisal and power remain ‘possibility conditions’ of toleration but they are not necessary features of either a regime of toleration or the sponsors of such a regime.


Toleration Intolerance Religious toleration Liberal democracy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy, School of Geography, Politics and SociologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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