Toleration and the Law
AOV of chapter published in Mitja Sardoč (ed), The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-03227-2_56-1
17 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2021
Date Written: 2021
The merits, drawbacks and paradoxes of toleration have been studied extensively in political theory. By contrast, we know comparatively little about the salience of toleration to the law. This chapter aims to address this gap in our knowledge by mapping what we do know about ‘legal toleration’, by examining how the law relates to three central dichotomies: toleration/tolerance, toleration/neutrality and toleration/respect. Throughout the chapter, two descriptive claims are made. First, the conceptualization of toleration is (even) murkier – and certainly looser – in law than it is in political theory. Second, the more pragmatic approach of the law enables state practices of toleration to persist in practice, even in the face of conceptually more coherent and normatively more desirable ideals such as neutrality and respect.
Keywords: toleration, neutrality, respect, constitutional law, legal toleration, vertical toleration, horizontal tolerance, religious freedom, religious exemptions, pragmatic reasons, deontological reasons
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