Talk:Toleration

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Tolerance of Volumetric flask leads to this article[edit]

One small issue: the "tolerance" link on the page "Volumetric flask" leads to this page, but this page has nothing to do with chemistry or volumetric flasks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Willy1106 (talkcontribs) 21:18, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

doesn't seem like an encyclopedia article to me[edit]

This reads, to me at least, like an essay promoting the concept of toleration. Now people being tolerant is fine by me, but the encyclopedia article on the subject should describe it factually and neutrally, attribute statements where appropriate, and so on, not be a persuasive essay trying to convince people it is a virtue and refute those who claim otherwise. --Delirium 08:56, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Delirium. The 'Why Tolerate?' section is not neutral at all. Another problem is in the Popular Misconceptions section, when the article claims that an earlier quotation is misquoted. If it were misquoted, then it should be fixed earlier in the text rather than made reference to afterwards in the same article. All in all, this article is very awkward and needs to be removed or heavily revised. --Mechanismatic 2:35, 27 June 2006 (PST)

Agreeing. This article is essentially an essay, and does not seek to describe and fairly represent major views on the subject of toleration. In its present state, this article is not responsible intellectual history. ThaddeusFrye

Merged[edit]

I've gone ahead and merged this page with "Tolerance," which included a more objective account of toleration. I've modified the original article from "tolerance" a bit, and kept the list of references from this article however, which will be a very useful addition to article I've moved from "tolerance."

"Toleration" is, I think the more usual heading under which these issues are discussed, and it really doesn't make sense to have two articles on the same subject, when one is much more of an encyclopedic article and the other is an (interesting) essay that isn't really in the format a Wikipedia article need to be in. Hopefully these changes will be acceptable to most. ThaddeusFrye 23:56, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Mischief to be undone[edit]

I started the "Toleration" page while trying to finish a study program and was hoping that someone would tidy it up until I had time to get back to it. Instead, ThaddeusFrye recently deleted the quasi-totality of "Toleration" and replaced it with the content of "Tolerance" plus my "references and further reading" section. (I should have checked in sooner.)

The resultant article has no references cited in the resultant reference section, as far as I can tell. It does, however, move toward its conceptual ideal of being "free of... insightful efforts." Unfortunately.

My original page was based on the work done by Budziszewski and especially Mendus and Nicholson, all three listed in the reference section. Mendus is at the University of York (UK), as was Nicholson, before he retired. Nicholson was my supervisor for the MA programme in "Political Philosophy (The Idea of Toleration)" at York. Mendus supervised my PhD thesis on another topic in Political Philosophy. The works listed are standard references on the concept and as uncontroversial as you'll find. My page summarized their conclusions, albeit in popular terms. The subsequent edits take no account of this scholarship. (See also Cohen (2004) "What Toleration Is" Ethics 115: 68-95, which I have added to the list.)

Concerning previous edits:

My claim that toleration cannot be based in skepticism is not controversial to scholarly discussions. (If you would like to present a cogent argument otherwise, I can guarantee you that it will be published.)

To the idea that I was promoting toleration, I can only claim that nothing in the original piece comes down one way or another on what should or should not be tolerated. I was treating it as a concept in Political Philosophy. (Mendus and I, for example, would have very different views on what should be tolerated.)Kamadden 22:36, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Kamadden criticizes as "mischief" my consolidation of this article, complaining that the revised version "does...move toward its conceptual ideal of being 'free of... insightful efforts.' Unfortunately." I note however that Wikipedia articles are not the proper forum to express insights, but are rather encyclopedic statements of consensus positions (see the relevant Wikipedia guidelines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:NOT#OTHOUGHT ).
Kamadden's claim about skepticism and toleration ("toleration cannot be based in skepticism is not controversial to scholarly discussions") is ill-founded, and is presumably his own, and certainly at odds with that of his doctoral adviser (whose work Kamadden feels I overlook). Mendus writes in her introduction to "Justifying Toleration" (1988):
[I]f we believe toleration to be an important moral and political value...[there are] two central questions which must be addressed. They are:
1. What are the grounds of toleration? and
2. What are the limits of toleration.
The first question prompts two distinct responses: firstly, that toleration is rooted in moral or religious skepticism. The second is that toleration is rooted in respect for persons. In the papers gathered here a recurring theme is the traditional link between toleration and moral and religious skepticism..."
Mendus situates her own view against the traditional one that emphasized the importance of skepticism in the development of toleration--a traditional view that remains quite widespread. Kamadden or others interested to become acquainted with this question will find a useful starting point in Alan Levine's 1999 _Early Modern Skepticism and the Origins of Religious Toleration_.
In short, the previous version of this article violated Wikipedia guidelines with respect to presenting "insight," and did not provide an adequate overview of the subject it described. The present article (most of which was not written by me) has much room for improvement, but is nonetheless more encyclopedic than the previous version which appeared here under the heading of toleration.

Kamadden responds:

Let me begin by owning that my shock at having my piece deleted and replaced with another does not justify the tone of my comments above. I'll try to bring it down a notch.

Now on to substance, beginning with the issue about "insight." When I wrote that the resultant piece moves toward the ideal of toleration as being free of insight, I was quoting from the article as it stands after the deletion of my contribution. The article includes in its description of toleration the criteria that criticism of the tolerated should be "free of... insightful efforts." Perhaps the writer here intended to say that to tolerate is not only to refrain from coercion, but also to refrain from inciting others to coercion? Hard to know. The word “insightful” means “exhibiting insight or clear and deep perception.” (wordnet.princeton.edu) I was making a play of words on this error.

As for the Wiki guidelines, the link cited above says “Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought.” ThaddeusFrye takes that as caution against including insight in this space. I do hope that that is not a proper interpretation of the guidelines.

Concerning skepticism, I do not dispute that skepticism may have played a role in the historical rise of toleration. (By the way, a section or better yet a separate article on the history of toleration would be welcome.) Nor do I dispute that many people today still hold the view that skepticism provides a basis for toleration. What I dispute is that this view has any validity. Here's why.

Although it is a popular idea, and a persistent one, it presents the following conceptual problem. To tolerate is to believe that some other party's action or belief is wrong, morally wrong, yet not to stop it. So toleration requires taking a moral stance both on the the action or belief in question, and also on what is the right thing to do about the perceived wrong. Just to the extent that one takes such a stance, one is not being skeptical about whatever reasons one has for such a stance.

Now that's a knock-down argument. It isn't mine and it isn't new. It's where scholarship on the concept of toleration stands today in political philosophy. Some questions are answered definitively, and I think that this is one.

What people mean when they claim that skepticism is a basis for toleration usually is that “skeptics” in the broad sense have sometimes accommodated a broader view of belief and action than others. But this is not properly speaking “toleration,” because such persons usually don't think that the actions and beliefs that they want to see accommodated are wrong , yet should be allowed. Rather, it is usually because they don't think that the actions and beliefs in question are wrong at all in the appropriate sense.

But again, if ThaddeusFrye or anyone else can provide a cogent argument to the contrary, then I would love to act as a co-author or scribe and get my name on the publication of the idea. Because such a publication would earn its authors a place in the history of toleration as a concept.

On the other hand, on the other hand, perhaps I should simply make suggestions for work yet to be done in the article as it stands and defer to those who have more time for this.

The use of “discrimination” in the definition is ambiguous, given that it concerns “those whose practices or group memberships may be disapproved of.” To disapprove is to have already made one or more kinds of discrimination.

I'd like to see “a more expansive critical theory of political toleration” unpacked. Does this just mean that the author wants to see more toleration, for example? Or is this a reference to the trajectory of the work of someone like Will Kymlicka? Please explain.

There's at least an apparent contradiction in the claims that authoritarianism is intolerant and also that intolerance leads to social instability. For example, it looks to me as if some of the most authoritarian societies in history, and today's world, have also been very stable, sadly.71.174.61.96 01:26, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

It would be problematic for this article to discuss only what its editors consider to be the "valid" view of toleration. Wikipedia articles are not only supposed to summarize insights produced elsewhere (rather than themselves offer original insight), but they are also supposed to be neutral with regard to point of view (NPOV). In some instances, some POV's may be so eccentric or demonstrably false that they do not merit discussion, but the judgment to exclude viewpoints on this ground should be made with great hesitation, since it goes against the preferred Wikipedia policy of inclusivity. This holds especially true in matters of cultural and intellectual history, since there may often be wide disagreement about which views are "valid." Imagine what would happen to wikipedia articles about religion, if editors strove to insure that Wikipedia articles expressed only valid points on matters of religion. (Of course there's an irony in this discussion of validity and inclusion in an article about toleration).
So, it's important for the article to provide a non-prejudicial account of the main historical and contemporary views of the subject, including those with which some editors may not agree. Thus, even if the widely posited link between skepticism and toleration (the view that people with an absolute conviction of their own rightness are less likely to permit dissenting points of view) has become a minority opinion that has been shown to be flawed, it's still very important that this notion be discussed by the article.
That said, I also don't believe that the argument you present ("To tolerate is to believe that some other party's action or belief is wrong, morally wrong, yet not to stop it. So toleration requires taking a moral stance [. . .] to the extent that one takes such a stance, one is not being skeptical") demonstrates finally that there is no possible connection between skepticism and toleration, since it relies on definitions and assumptions that are not shared universally. Here you seem to imply that all forms of skepticism preclude belief that any actions are wrong. This strikes me as a very questionable claim, since there are more and less radical forms of skepticism, many of which rule out certain knowledge or justification, but nonetheless permit contingent or provisional varieties of belief. Most skeptical philosophers, I think, permit moral judgments of some kind to be made, but not on the basis of a universal moral code that is verifiably accessible through reason or revelation. In "weaker" forms of skepticism, a person may believe an action is wrong, but be open to the possibility that their judgment may be in error.
A second problem with your argument against the relation of skepticism and toleration is that the definition you offer of toleration is not universally accepted. It is unclear that the example of individual toleration it postulates can be extended to larger populations. If I watch someone litter (and consider littering morally wrong) but do not intercede to stop them, it is not clear that I have extended toleration to them. In its familiar usage toleration is extended by groups and governments, and as such it isn't clear that the ones extending toleration must necessarily consider an action or belief absolutely wrong in order to tolerate it. The views of those in the dominant group may vary somewhat as to the nature and extent of the wrongness of the group or action to be tolerated, in a way that problematizes the claim that tolerated acts or groups must be viewed as absolutely wrong by the granter of toleration.
For these reasons at least, I don't think that a connection between skepticism and toleration can be quite so easily dismissed, although I certainly take seriously Mendus's notion that respect for persons may offer a stronger basis for toleration. In any case, I hope that this article ends up itself fairly representing a variety of views on this subject, including some that are sometimes not judged to be valid. ThaddeusFrye 16:04, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
You doubt that my "argument... demonstrates finally that there no possible connection between skepticism and toleration...." Well and good. But my argument makes no such claim.
What I said originally was this: "Toleration can never be based in skepticism. Toleration is always based in what we believe, not in what we doubt." And above I say "toleration requires taking a moral stance both on the the action or belief in question, and also on what is the right thing to do about the perceived wrong. Just to the extent that one takes such a stance, one is not being skeptical about whatever reasons one has for such a stance."
Your comments do not refute this point. I did not say, and certainly do not mean to imply, that "all forms of skepticism preclude belief that any actions are wrong.” Nor does my argument depend on this claim.
Yes, of course, skepticism comes in many strengths. But, again, my point is that toleration cannot be positively and coherently based--based--on that about which we are skeptical.
You say: "In 'weaker' forms of skepticism, a person may believe an action is wrong, but be open to the possibility that their judgment may be in error." To be sure, we may be ambivalent about our own judgment that an action is wrong. But as I say, "to the extent" that we believe an action to be wrong, then we are not being skeptical with regard to that judgment. And "to the extent" that we are skeptical of a judgment concerning an action, we do not believe the action to be wrong. Take your pick. Your argument is based on equivocation concerning the skepticism in question.
Your second problem with my argument hinges on a similar equivocation, this time concerning toleration. You say that members of a group might have varied reasons for tolerating an action. Granted. But to the extent that we can speak of a group tolerating an action, the expression "group tolerating an action" implies some unity of judgment, does it not? And I don’t know what "tolerate" means if it doesn’t connote belief in the moral wrongness of what is "tolerated." So either the "group" is indeed tolerating the action it collectively believes to be wrong, or else the action allowed is not strictly speaking "tolerated" by the group qua group. So which is it?
Lastly, your comments about inclusivity seem to contradict what you did in your edit of January 2007 that started this side-discussion on skepticism to begin with. Your edit "removed a section on 'misconceptions' that dismissed out of hand (and without sources) important positions on toleration (re skepticism and pragmatic toleration)" Supposing that the section written by me inadequately represented the relationship between toleration and skepticism (and I do think that I could have said more and said it better), would not the more appropriate edit then have been to add your views and reasons rather than deleting mine? Irony indeed. Kamadden 22:59, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

external link to toleration park?[edit]

An external link to a proposal for a park and monument has occasionally been added to and deleted from this page (here is one of the project's several webpages: http://www.tolerancepark.org/ ). I see that there has also been some discussion at the Governor's Island talk page about whether this proposal has enough backing to warrant mentioning in that article (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Governors_Island ). Honestly, I'm not sure whether to leave this link in or not. The web pages linked to do have a pretty amateur appearance, and seem somewhat disorganized.

On the Governor's Island talk page, some have argued that these links promote a "movement" with very little existence outside of Wikipedia and a few web pages. For now however I've given the link the benefit of the doubt (the page I link to implies that the proposal has received support from some prominent individuals, including Hillary Clinton). So instead of deleting this link, I've pointed it to the clearest introduction I could find to the proposal, and clarified the text of the external link itself. If this external reference is indeed significant enough to keep however, a Wikipedia article regarding the sponsoring organization and its membership and officers, would seem to be a good idea. If the organization and movement isn't encyclopedic enough to be in Wikipedia, then I don't think that a link to its webpage should be included either. ThaddeusFrye 01:31, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Double Speak[edit]

I can't help but think that tolerance is often used by the politically correct as a form of double speak. I'm not sure if this idea could be tied into the tolerant of the intolerant section. It is my view that the people who claim to be the most tolerant are some of the most intolerant. Some people might find the article interesting:

Do we have the right to hate

To me hate is an emotion which we feel when we are not content. People that are always content are easy to control. The politically correct try to control our mind and police our thoughts by persecuting people who they don't agree with in an attempt to control language in a 1984 news speak like fashion. Let us not be fooled in mistaking the PC thought police for the tolerant.

04:36, 21 September 2007 (UTC)John Creighton

Huh? I just don't realise it. Doublespeak is not tolerated. I still don't get it why Tolerance is politically correct. Joe9320 of the Wikipedia Party | Contact Assembly of Jimbo Wales 06:39, 25 February 2009 (UTC)


This Article Is Misleading[edit]

Tolerance has nothing to do with race, efnic, religeon, belief. But rather it is about repressing rage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 114.77.203.166 (talk) 09:08, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

In Our Time[edit]

The BBC programme In Our Time presented by Melvyn Bragg has an episode which may be about this subject (if not moving this note to the appropriate talk page earns cookies). You can add it to "External links" by pasting {{In Our Time|Toleration|p004y288|Toleration}}.

Rich Farmbrough, 03:23, 16 September 2010 (UTC).

Intolerance on the page of Tolerance[edit]

Why was this correction of this page removed is it because the person who deleted it is intolerant? See below...

In general usage, tolerance is the ability to accept the existence of something while it is in error.

In Statistics or Mathematics the degree to which the error is an indication the level of tolerance. Tolerance is many times confused with other similar terms.

Mercy and Justice are the root of the confusion over tolerance. Those who are intolerant are usually do not feel they need any mercy. While those who decide to tolerate an error are feeling as though they are merciful. Justice refers to giving what is due because of the correctness of a statement. Some know that 2+2=4 while some may state it is 4.001. There may be a level of toleration to the error of .001, however that is not correct but it is accepted so as to not hurt the feelings of those in error.

-The reason given by Saddhihyama Budda is because it is too scientific and not philisophical. WHAT!!! How intolerant of other people. The truth is that he does not agree with the absolutes of philosophy which is why he is intolerant. Sounds like hypocrisy to me. What's your opinion on the talk page, at least??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.65.195.38 (talk) 22:37, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Your addition is original research. The main subject of this article is the development of tolerance regarding religious belief. Scientifically speaking no religion can be regarded more true than other religions, so there are no absolutes involved here, only differences in personal belief. Also could you please adjust your tone a bit, discuss the subject and refrain from personal attacks. Thanks. --Saddhiyama (talk) 08:11, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
173.65.195.38 Tolerance limits are defined here [[1]], but are a scientific term. This isn't the subject of the article. Tiiischiii (talk) 19:14, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Saddihama I have further revised "common usage" definition. Tiiischiii (talk) 19:14, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Why not more intolerance?[edit]

Hi there! As some guys wrote earlier: This Toleration page has problems. Some sort of section for criticism is needed. My English is not good enough so I can't do it. But read this, Slavoj Zizek has an excellent critic:

The Culturalization of Politics.

Why are today so many problems perceived as problems of intolerance, not as problems of inequality, exploitation, injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, not emancipation, political struggle, even armed struggle? The immediate answer is the liberal multiculturalist's basic ideological operation: the "culturalization of politics" - political differences, differences conditioned by political inequality, economic exploitation, etc., are naturalized/neutralized into "cultural" differences, different "ways of life," which are something given, something that cannot be overcome, but merely "tolerated." To this, of course, one should answer in Benjaminian terms: from culturalization of politics to politicization of culture. The cause of this culturalization is the retreat, failure, of direct political solutions (Welfare State, socialist projects, etc.).''

www.lacan.com/zizek-inquiry.html

Please, can some one add a critic section?! Tanks! --Utomsig (talk) 02:02, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Concerned[edit]

The article contains much awkward phrasing, is practically incoherent in places, and appears to contain some irrelevant, unsourced and possibly non-notable material (who is McNair?). It also significantly overlaps a better-written article on Religious Toleration. I will be back to edit and will post specific changes here before making them. Jonathanwallace (talk) 02:13, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I second this. Article is a mess. Lots of original research and biases. JPTINS3000 (talk) 16:52, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Merge[edit]

I popose merging this article with Religious toleration. All examples given in the existing article are of religious toleration and I have added edits to the other article covering each of the writers and incidents mentioned here. I propose to expand the finished article with some coverage of toleration of homosexuality, political groupings and other non-religious instances. The final result will be entitled "Toleration" and "Religious toleration" will redirect to it. I will boldly implement these changes within a few weeks if no-one objects.Jonathanwallace (talk) 13:58, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Merge completed. For the discussions from the merged page, see Talk:Religious toleration. --Deryck C. 20:40, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

More Qur'an related views on religious toleration[edit]

"There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower." (Surah 2:256) <- Ref: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/002.qmt.html

"Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion."

(Surah 109:1-16)

http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/109.qmt.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 210.11.76.136 (talk) 05:36, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Definition: "tolerance" vs. "toleration"[edit]

The article cites a distinction between "tolerance" and "toleration", citing Merriam-Webster. This distinction is indeed used by some, mostly academics (being an academic myself, I freely admit we often use specialized definitions that are not in popular used). We academics sometimes work to get our definitions into dictionaries, hoping that this will then lead to our usage being more widely adopted.

There are other dictionaries that do not reflect the distinct definitions of these two words as stated by Merriam-Webster. I am concerned that readers of this article may think that the cited definitions are authoritative and in broad use. I prefer that the definitions be qualified as not necessarily reflecting established, broad, popular usage.

What is the best way to handle this in the body of the article? I want to find ways to come to a peaceful consensus on this, not ram my opinion down Wikipedia's throat.Pete unseth (talk) 17:18, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

My feeling is that it's fine as it is. Merriam-Webster, like all dictionaries, is descriptivist, so their definitions reflect popular usage. My personal experience is that they're correct and that this "specialized definition" is in fact in popular use. However, leaving personal experience, both yours and mine, out of it, what we have is an authoritative source, MW, stating that this distinction is in use. If you can find a source stating that it's not actually in popular use then we'll have something to talk about. If we're going to do anything, I'd like to take out the statement that this is some kind of recent usage. It also appears in the OED and the first attestation is 1765:

3. The action or practice of tolerating; toleration; the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others; freedom from bigotry or undue severity in judging the conduct of others; forbearance; catholicity of spirit.
1765 R. Lowth Let. to Warburton 13 It admits..of no tolerance, no intercommunity of various sentiments, not the least difference of opinion.
1809–10 S. T. Coleridge Friend (1865) 56 The only true spirit of tolerance consists in our conscientious toleration of each other's intolerance.
1841–8 F. Myers Catholic Thoughts II. iii. §5. 15 It may not accord with the undisciplined instincts of some to associate the tolerance of Imperfection in connection with the instrumentality of Perfection.
1868 A. Helps Realmah (1876) vi. 89 Tolerance, or to use a more Christian word, charity.
1902 C. Lennox James Chalmers (1905) xiv. 70/1 With the same large tolerance he satisfied the curiosity of the astonished black.

alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 17:54, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate the gentle, reasoned response. The quotes from the OED are interesting, but it is not adequately clear to me how they relate to the matter of two separate definitions starkly distinguishing "tolerance" from "toleration".Pete unseth (talk) 22:08, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
The definition of "toleration" in either the OED or MW fails to include this meaning. Maybe I'm missing your point. It's true that "tolerance" can also mean "toleration," but it has this other meaning in addition. My point was merely that this particular meaning of "tolerance," not shared by "toleration," is a normal usage of "tolerance" rather than technical academic jargon.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 22:20, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

In antiquity[edit]

The first two "in antiquity" examples (Cyrus and Alexandria) do not seem to be in agreement with the definition at the start of the article because there was no "disapproval" of Jews in either case (at least, none is mentioned and I don't see a reason why there would have been any). More like cases of "live and let live" than toleration. The definition seems to imply that you must first have a bias against, or other issue with, someone before you can be considered "tolerant" towards them. For example after prior religious intolerance in the way illustrated by the third example (where it would be nice to know to what extent the Christians also became more tolerant, or not). AlexFekken (talk) 03:58, 24 December 2013 (UTC)