Why Toleration is Not the Appropriate Response to Dissenting Minorities’ Claims

Forthcoming in European Journal of Philosophy

30 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2013

See all articles by Emanuela Ceva

Emanuela Ceva

University of Pavia, Department of Political and Social Sciences

Date Written: August 7, 2012

Abstract

For many liberal democrats toleration has become a sort of pet-concept, to which appeal is made in the face of a myriad issues related to the treatment of minorities. Against the inflationary use of toleration, whether understood positively as recognition or negatively as forbearance, I argue that toleration may not provide the conceptual and normative tools to understand and address the claims for accommodation raised by at least one kind of significant minority: democratic dissenting minorities. These are individuals, or aggregates of them, who oppose, on principled grounds, the outcomes of the majoritarian decision-making process. I argue that democratic dissenting minorities’ claims are better understood as calls for respect for a person’s capacity for self-legislation. I view respect as the cornerstone of justice in a liberal democracy: all norms resulting in a constraint on a person’s conduct should be appropriately justified to her. I argue that the reconciliation of democratic dissenting minorities’ claims requires an enhancement of the justificatory strategies of democratic decisions by enhancing in turn citizens’ rights to political participation. This should be done both during decision making and after a provision is enacted by also securing space for contestation through such forms of illegal protest as civil disobedience and conscientious objection.

Suggested Citation

Ceva, Emanuela, Why Toleration is Not the Appropriate Response to Dissenting Minorities’ Claims (August 7, 2012). Forthcoming in European Journal of Philosophy, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2353252

Emanuela Ceva (Contact Author)

University of Pavia, Department of Political and Social Sciences ( email )

Corso Strada Nuova, 65
27100 Pavia, 27100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www-3.unipv.it/webdsps/en/docente.php?id=ceva

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