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State Responses to Incongruence: Toleration and Transformation

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on toleration in relation to “incongruent practices,” which are in tension with liberal egalitarian norms and principles. It identifies three responses to these practices, two of which deny that the liberal state should tolerate them (but for opposite reasons), but the third of which does claim to tolerate them. This third response can take the form of “transformative liberalism,” according to which the state should permit various incongruent practices but should also seek to transform them through the use of its expressive and noncoercive powers. The rest of the chapter explores the relationship between transformative liberalism and toleration in more detail, with the aim of learning about both of them: to see what looking at transformative liberalism through the lens of toleration tells us about that approach and also to see what this can teach us about the nature of toleration itself. It suggests that the forms of interference involved in some transformative liberal policies might be considered intolerant, even if less intolerant than outright prohibition. This might even be the case with respect to state speech, in the light of the particular meaning and force of state condemnation. In considering these issues, the chapter examines several recent debates concerning how toleration is best conceptualized.

Keywords

  • Transformative liberalism
  • Incongruent practices
  • Religion
  • Conceptual analysis
  • Degrees of toleration
  • State speech
  • Toleration and speech
  • Neutrality objection
  • Objection component
  • Acceptance component

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-42121-2_58
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Acknowledgments

I owe thanks to Tom Parr, Élise Rouméas, Mitja Sardoč, and Anthony Taylor for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.

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Correspondence to Paul Billingham .

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Billingham, P. (2022). State Responses to Incongruence: Toleration and Transformation. In: Sardoč, M. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42121-2_58

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