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Toleration in Conflict
Past and Present


Part of Ideas in Context

  • Author: Rainer Forst, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316621677

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About the Authors
  • The concept of toleration plays a central role in pluralistic societies. It designates a stance which permits conflicts over beliefs and practices to persist while at the same time defusing them, because it is based on reasons for coexistence in conflict - that is, in continuing dissension. A critical examination of the concept makes clear, however, that its content and evaluation are profoundly contested matters and thus that the concept itself stands in conflict. For some, toleration was and is an expression of mutual respect in spite of far-reaching differences, for others, a condescending, potentially repressive attitude and practice. Rainer Forst analyses these conflicts by reconstructing the philosophical and political discourse of toleration since antiquity. He demonstrates the diversity of the justifications and practices of toleration from the Stoics and early Christians to the present day and develops a systematic theory which he tests in discussions of contemporary conflicts over toleration.

    • A unique and comprehensive study of the concept of toleration from one of the world's leading political philosophers
    • Develops a free-standing theory of toleration that can be applied across politics, philosophy and history
    • Addresses both historic and contemporary ethical and political conflicts, applying the theory to a number of key case studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… simply the most impressive philosophical work specifically on toleration that I have ever read …' John Horton, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

    'From the Bible through the Church Fathers and the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, and into modernity, Forst demonstrates how efforts to theorize toleration turn into their opposite: the same conceptual resources that advanced toleration are later employed to advance intolerance.' Vincent Lloyd, Studies in Christian Ethics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316621677
    • length: 664 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 34 mm
    • weight: 1.13kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Between Power and Morality: The Historical Discourse of Toleration:
    1. Toleration: concept and conceptions
    2. More than a prehistory: Antiquity and the Middle Age
    3. Reconciliation, schism, peace: humanism and the Reformation
    4. Toleration and sovereignty: political and individual
    5. Natural law, toleration and revolution: the rise of liberalism and the aporias of freedom of conscience
    6. The Enlightenment - for and against toleration
    7. Toleration in the modern era
    8. Routes to toleration
    Part II. A Theory of Toleration:
    9. The justification of toleration
    10. The finitude of reason
    11. The virtue of tolerance
    12. The tolerant society.

  • Author

    Rainer Forst, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
    Rainer Forst is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In addition, he is Co-Director of the interdisciplinary Research Cluster 'Formation of Normative Orders' and a Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Goethe University. He has also taught at the Free University in Berlin, the New School for Social Research in New York and Dartmouth College, and has been offered a full professorship at the University of Chicago and a visiting professorship at Harvard University, Massachusetts; he has also been invited to join the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin as a Fellow. In 2012, he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the highest honour awarded German researchers.

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