Advertisement

Toleration and Compassion: A Conceptual Comparison

Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

  • 19 Downloads

Abstract

This chapter aims to explore a currently underdeveloped conceptual comparison between toleration and compassion. The chapter clarifies the meaning of toleration and compassion, highlights a few misconceptions regarding both concepts, and describes the often overlooked differences and similarities between them. As to toleration, it entails making adverse judgment about another, having reasons to harm another, and not acting on those reasons. As to compassion, it entails witnessing the suffering of another and acting in order to alleviate this suffering. Building on these definitions, we find that both toleration and compassion can result from the same state of mind and be justified behind the “veil of ignorance”; both can result in the same behavior – and be expressed simultaneously; both can be expressed by either acts or omissions; both can be exercised by the powerless; and both may be desirable under certain circumstances – yet both are not moral virtues, that is, they are not inherently morally valuable.

Keywords

Toleration Compassion Harm Power Moral virtue Empathy Sympathy Pity 

References

  1. Augenstein D (2010) Tolerance and liberal justice. Ratio Juris 23:437Google Scholar
  2. Balint P (2017) Respecting toleration: traditional liberalism & contemporary diversity. Oxford University press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandes SA (2017) Compassion and the rule of law. Int J Law Context 13(2):184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cohen AJ (2004) What toleration is. Ethics 115(1):68Google Scholar
  5. Del Mar M (2017) Imagining by feeling: a case for compassion in legal reasoning. Int J Law Context 13(2):143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Derrida J (2003) Autoimmunity: real and symbolic suicides. In: Borradori G (ed) Philosophy in a time of terror, vol 127. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  7. Diamantides M (2017) Law and compassion: between ethics and economy, philosophical speculation and archeology. Int J Law Context 13(2):197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Edyvane D (2017) Toleration and civility. Soc Theory Pract 43(3):449Google Scholar
  9. Feenan D (2017) Law and compassion. Int J Law Context 13(2):121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Forst R (2003) Toleration, justice and reason. In: Castiglione D, Mckinnon C (eds) The culture of toleration in diverse societies: reasonable toleration. Manchester University Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  11. Gerdy K (2008) Clients, empathy, and compassion: introducing first-year students to the “Heart” of lawyering. Nebraska Law Rev 87(1): 1Google Scholar
  12. Green L (2008) On being tolerated. In: Kramer M, Grant C, Colborn B, Hatzistavrou A (eds) The legacy of HLA hart: legal, political, and moral philosophy, vol 277. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Gu J, Cavanagh K et al (2017) An empirical examination of the factor structure of compassion. PLoS One 12(2):3Google Scholar
  14. Jazaieri H (2018) Compassionate education from preschool to graduate school: bringing a culture of compassion into the classroom. J Res Innov Teach Learn 11(1):22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Klimecki OM, Leiberg S, Ricard M, Singer T (2014) Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 9(6):873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nehushtan Y (2015) Intolerant religion in a tolerant-liberal democracy. Hart, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  17. Nicholson PP (1985) Toleration as a moral idea. In: Horton J, Mendus S (eds) Aspects of toleration, vol 169. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. Nussbaum M (1996) Compassion: the basic social emotion. Soc Philos Policy 13(1):27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Raphael DD (1988) The intolerable. In: Mendus S (ed) Justifying toleration: conceptual and historical perspectives. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Rawls J (1971) A theory of justice. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Raz J (1987) Autonomy, toleration and the harm principle. In: Gavison R (ed) Issues in contemporary legal philosophy, vol 313. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  22. Reilly R (2008) Ethics of Compassion: Bridging Ethical Theory and Religious Moral Discourse: Studies in Comparative Philosophy and Religion. Lexington Books, Lanham, 41Google Scholar
  23. Tailche K (2017) Toleration beyond superiority in the formation of non-violent identities: reflections from the Andalusian League (1933–1954). In: Tolerance (T Kalliokoski, D Huisjen Jr., and P V Paivansalo, eds., LIT Verlag Münster) 29Google Scholar
  24. Wilkinson I (2017) The controversy of compassion as an awakening to our conflicted social condition. Int J Law Context 13(2):212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Williams B (1999) Tolerating the intolerable. In: Mendus S (ed) The politics of toleration, vol 65. Edinburgh University Press, EdinburghGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Keele UniversityNewcastle-Under-LymeUK
  2. 2.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mitja Sardoč
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Educational Research InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Faculty of the Social SciencesUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

Personalised recommendations