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Toleration and the Law

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Abstract

The merits, drawbacks, and paradoxes of toleration have been studied extensively in political theory. By contrast, we know comparatively little about the salience of toleration to the law. This chapter aims to address this gap in our knowledge by mapping what we do know about “legal toleration,” examining how the law relates to three central dichotomies: toleration/tolerance, toleration/neutrality, and toleration/respect. Throughout the chapter, two descriptive claims are made. First, the conceptualization of toleration is (even) murkier – and certainly looser – in law than it is in political theory. Second, the more pragmatic approach of the law enables state practices of toleration to persist in practice, even in the face of conceptually more coherent and normatively more desirable ideals such as neutrality and respect.

Keywords

  • Toleration
  • Neutrality
  • Respect
  • Constitutional law
  • Legal toleration
  • Vertical toleration
  • Horizontal tolerance
  • Religious freedom
  • Religious exemptions
  • Pragmatic reasons
  • Deontological reasons

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-42121-2_56
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Correspondence to Stijn Smet .

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Smet, S. (2022). Toleration and the Law. In: Sardoč, M. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42121-2_56

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