Tolerating the Conditionally Tolerant

The Uneasy Case of Salvation Religions

in Democratic Theory
View More View Less
  • 1 Georgia State University, USA wedmundson@gsu.edu
Restricted access

Abstract

How can a tolerant, liberal political culture tolerate the presence of only conditionally tolerant illiberal sub-cultures while remaining true to its principles of tolerance? The problem falls within the intersection of two developments in the thinking of two of the leading anglophone philosophers of the last half-century, Bernard Williams and John Rawls. Rawls, particularly, struggled with the problem of how a liberal society might stably survive the clash of plural sub-cultures that a liberal society – unless it is oppressively coercive – must itself foster and allow to flourish. And he separately struggled with the problem of how liberal peoples might peacefully share the planet with illiberal, but “decent” peoples elsewhere. This article shows that Rawls's two solutions do not easily mix, and argues that state-approved early education must do more than merely to inform children that losing their faith will not land them in jail.

Contributor Notes

William A Edmundson is Regents’ Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University. E-mail: wedmundson@gsu.edu

Democratic Theory

An Interdisciplinary Journal

  • Brudney, Daniel. 2014. The young Marx and the middle-aged Rawls. In Jon Mandle and David A. Reidy, eds. A Companion to Rawls. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 45071.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dreben, Burton. 2003. On Rawls and political liberalism. In Samuel Freeman, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Rawls, pp. 31646. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Joyce, James. 1914. Dubliners. London: Grant Richards.

  • Laden, Anthony Simon. 2003. The house that Jack built: Thirty years of reading Rawls. Ethics 113: 36790.

  • Nozick, Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books.

  • Rawls, John. 1996. Political Liberalism, paperback ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Rawls, John. 1999a. A Theory of Justice, revised ed. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Rawls, John. 1999b. Collected Papers. Samuel Freeman, ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Rawls, John. 1999c. The Law of Peoples. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Rawls, John. 2001. Justice as Fairness: A Restatement. Erin Kelly, ed. Cambridge MA: Belknap/Harvard.

  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1993 [1762]. Émile, B. Foxley, trans. London: Everyman.

  • Weithman, Paul. 2015. Legitimacy and the project of Political Liberalism. In Thom Brooks and Martha C. Nussbaum, eds. Rawls's Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Williams, Bernard. 2002. Truth and Truthfulness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Williams, Bernard. 2005. In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 104 104 35
Full Text Views 81 81 1
PDF Downloads 53 53 0