Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 1095–1123

Toleration and the Design of Norms

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11948-014-9589-x

Cite this article as:
Floridi, L. Sci Eng Ethics (2015) 21: 1095. doi:10.1007/s11948-014-9589-x


One of the pressing challenges we face today—in a post-Westphalian order (emergence of the state as the modern, political information agent) and post-Bretton Woods world (emergence of non-state multiagent systems or MASs as “hyperhistorical” players in the global economy and politics)—is how to design the right kind of MAS that can take full advantage of the socio-economic and political progress made so far, while dealing successfully with the new global challenges that are undermining the best legacy of that very progress. This is the topic of the article. In it, I argue that (i) in order to design the right kind of MAS, we need to design the right kind of norms that constitute them; (ii) in order to design the right kind of constitutive norms, we need to identify and adopt the right kind of principles of normative design; (iii) toleration is one of those principles; (iv) unfortunately, its role as a foundation for the design of norms has been undermined by the “paradox of toleration”; (v) however, the paradox can be solved; (vi) so toleration can be re-instated as the right kind of foundational principle for the design of the right kind of norms that can constitute the right kind of MAS that can operate across cultures, societies and states, to help us to tackle the new global challenges facing us.


Justice Kant Multiagent systems Toleration Rawls Westphalian order 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Internet InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations