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Toleration and Political Change

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Abstract

This chapter explores the relationship between toleration and political change. On one understanding, toleration threatens to stifle political change. Not only is toleration often understood as involving reluctance to try to change others’ behavior, but several thinkers argue that ideas and practices of toleration can work to prop up entrenched powers and stymie revolutionary change. Similarly, in the international arena, toleration is often invoked to block international actors from opposing (alleged) injustice in foreign societies. However, on another understanding, toleration is not an obstacle to political change, but rather is necessary to create spaces in which political change can be pursued – though it may or may not be pursued successfully. On a third understanding, a closer examination of the moral reasons in favor of toleration, or of toleration itself, may actually support pursuing certain kinds of political change. Given this variation, the chapter raises several questions and sketches some possible avenues of future research. For example, why does toleration appear to have such an ambivalent relationship to political change? Is there a fundamental tension within the ideal of toleration itself between encouraging and discouraging political change, or is the appearance of this tension simply a reflection of differences in the other moral commitments of those who write on toleration? If there is such a tension, how should our political and social institutions navigate it?

Keywords

  • Toleration
  • Tolerance
  • Pluralism
  • Repressive tolerance
  • Liberating tolerance
  • Revolution
  • Identity
  • International toleration
  • Lorde
  • Wolff (RP)
  • Marcuse
  • Rawls
  • Walzer

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-42121-2_57
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Correspondence to Lucia M. Rafanelli .

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Rafanelli, L.M. (2022). Toleration and Political Change. In: Sardoč, M. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42121-2_57

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