Talk:Paradox of tolerance

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Social and political philosophy


There doesn't seem to be anything in this article that isn't already covered in Toleration. It's definitely a noteworthy issue, but I'm not sure it necessarily needs to stand alone. If it does, this definitely needs to be expanded to warrant its own article. Eldamorie (talk) 15:44, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

I see what you mean about the article being somewhat empty. I would much prefer that the article were expanded than deleted. I made a start, but I know very little about the topic. The other references may have more to build on, so I am hopeful the article can be improved. Chogg (talk) 11:40, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Regarding your caveat "This article appears to contain material copied from" please note that text borrowed from my article (Tolerating the Intolerant: Homophily, Intolerance, and Segregation in Social Balanced Networks) is part of its abstract and therefore DO NOT constitute a violation of Wikipedia's copyright policies. The Journal of Conflict Resolution gives permission to contributors "At any time, circulate or post on any repository or website the version of the article that you submitted to the journal (i.e. the version before peer-review) or an abstract of the article". Parravano (talk) 20:38, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

...under the terms of our license? I think not. MER-C 11:05, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Maybe it would be stronger if it considered possible resolutions? Set into a separate section? This is actually in partial accord with the comment (below) about definitions. For example, you can argue for broad tolerance of everything, which basically fails per the Popper citation in the article. At the other extreme, you can argue for the specific exclusion of intolerance itself, with everything else to be tolerated. This usually founders because of such cases as trying to defend a tolerance of child pornography. The real world is mired in mixed exclusions, which is to say that some forms of intolerance should be tolerated, generally including the intolerance of intolerance itself as a specific case. Shanen (talk) 17:36, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Introductory Wording[edit]

The tolerance paradox arises from a problem that a tolerant person might be antagonistic toward intolerance, hence intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance.
Should be worded like this:
The tolerance paradox arises when a tolerant person holds antagonistic views towards intolerance, and hence is intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance.
hence: as a consequence; for this reason.
I didn't want to say "is a problem that arises" as that would not be from a NPOV.

How to be tolerant towards intolerance according to the bible[edit]

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" Can I add this to this page? Also does anybody else know other ways to be tolerant towards intolerance that could be added?

No, it has nothing to do with the subject of this page, which is about the paradox of the apparent need to be intolerant of intolerance. -- (talk) 15:26, 18 August 2017 (UTC)


As far as I can tell, Mendis' post on BigThink is just a blog post. Since he's not a recognized expert in the field, that means it fails WP:RS. I also feel that including his opinion is WP:UNDUE; there's nothing to indicate that his personal opinion here is particularly noteworthy. The purpose of an encyclopedia article is to cover the essential mainstream viewpoints on the subject -- we can't include the personal opinions of random bloggers just because an editor agrees with them or thinks that they're well-articulated. --Aquillion (talk) 08:43, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

I disagree. I'm sorry you don't like it, but nevertheless, this is a referenceable source. We live in the 21st century; a lot of material these days is published electronically.Geoffrey.landis (talk) 19:36, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
The issue isn't that it was published electronically. The issue is that I don't feel BigThink passes WP:RS; there's no indication of any significant editorial controls, nor does it have a reputation for fact-checking or accuracy or anything along those lines. Even if it did pass RS, I feel that putting his opinion here is WP:UNDUE; our role as an encyclopedia is to cover the mainstream viewpoints on a subject in accordance with their prominence in reliable sources. Mendis' blog post doesn't seem to have any prominence whatsoever -- it's just his personal musings. Therefore, putting them here is giving his opinions undue weight. You can't put a random blog post in the article simply because you like what it says -- you need proof that his words are significant in some way (eg. prominent secondary sources covering and discussing them.) --Aquillion (talk) 19:53, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Since you re-added it, I'll reiterate what I said again. I don't feel that BigThink passes our guidelines for a reliable source or WP:DUE weight; it's essentially just a blog that highlights the random musings that its owner finds interesting. If this essay, and Mendis' personal musings on the topic, are worth including, it should be easy to find references to them in other publications - but please do not restore it without a reliable secondary reference outside of BigThink itself. --Aquillion (talk) 15:32, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with not liking it, or being referenceable. -- (talk) 15:30, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

You have decided to declare an edit war based on your personal belief that electronic publications are not reliable sources. Wikipedia, however, has no such policy-- this is just something you're making up. Please quit deleting citations. Geoffrey.landis (talk) 04:52, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

That is not what Aquillion is saying. Electronic sources can of course be reliable sources. However, there is no indication that BigThink in particular is reliable, or that Mendis' opinion is worth including in this article. /wiae /tlk 14:53, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
What, in your personal opinion, does it take for an electronic article "in particular" to be reliable? In my opinion it's as reliable as most of the citations on Wikipedia; and more reliable than quite a lot of them. Your opinion is more valid because? Geoffrey.landis (talk) 21:40, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
Whether a source is electronic isn't determinative of reliability. In general, I like to think of a reliable source as one with editorial oversight and a reputation for fact-checking, but of course you can read the whole story at WP:RS. Blogs rarely fall into the category of "reliable sources" on Wikipedia, although we (collectively) do accept some blog posts as sources when they are written by credentialed experts in the field. (This is detailed at WP:USERG, if you're interested.)
My opinion is that BigThink is probably not considered a "reliable source" in this context, at least not for Wikipedia's purposes. However, I'm just another editor; I don't run things here! So there's a noticeboard devoted to identifying reliable sources—WP:RS/N—where you can definitely open a post there to get the community's input on the matter. Thanks, /wiae /tlk 21:45, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
You have decided to declare an edit war based on your personal belief that electronic publications are not reliable sources. -- False charge, assumption of bad faith. -- (talk) 15:30, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Aquillion asserted that the Big Think is not a reliable source, and his only actual justification for this statement is it prints "the random musings that its owner finds interesting": which is unsupported by facts (what in the world does he mean by "random"? Is this site more random than, say, The New Yorker?)-- but in any case is irrelevant: all publications print things that the editors find interesting or amusing; that's what editors do, and how the editor selects what to print is not a part of Wikipedia's criteria for a reliable source.
His determination that the citation needs to be deleted because it is not a reliable source is not based on any criteria except that he says so. My statement stands. Geoffrey.landis (talk) 21:31, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
If you really think BigThink passes WP:RS, take it to WP:RSN; but I don't think you're going to get any more support there than you did here. It lacks editorial controls, so it's essentially a blog. Again (as someone else explained to you above) my issue isn't that it's electronic, it's that BigThink is self-published - comparable to trying to insert someone's opinion because they got it 'published' in a vanity press. Who are BigThink's editorial board, and how do they decide what ends up on the site? Who is Mendis - what is his area of expertise? Is he a recognized expert, and if so, can you demonstrate it? Without those things, you're trying to insert some random nobody's opinion because another person thought it sounded snappy and put it up on their personal website. Since anyone can create a personal website (just like anyone can publish something in a vanity press), that isn't enough to make them usable as a source or to establish relevance in an article like this. As far as BigThink being random - it is your responsibility, as the person who wants this material added, to show what BigThink's editorial controls are and to demonstrate that they pass our criteria. The New Yorker, by comparison, has a dedicated editorial board to vouch for the expertise of people it cites and the accuracy of the things it publishes; and these things are backed by a lengthy reputation for fact-checking and accuracy that allows it to pass WP:RS. --Aquillion (talk) 06:20, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Lead too short template[edit]

Hi, I noticed there was a {{lead too short}} on this article, so I've written a draft for a new (slightly) longer lead:

The paradox of tolerance, first described by Karl Popper in 1945, is a decision theory paradox. The paradox states that if a society is tolerant without limit, their ability to be tolerant will eventually be seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Popper came to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.

I don't normally edit philosophy articles, so I've added my draft to the talk page for review before updating the article. Let me know what you think, thanks! Brubsby (talk) 22:26, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Hi there. I'm not that familiar with philosophy so I can't vouch as to the accuracy of your summary, but it seems like an improvement insofar as providing a little more background. —ajf (talk) 20:16, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll go ahead and put it in the article Brubsby (talk) 20:33, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure that the paradox of tolerance is usually cited in the context of decision theory, and I've never heard of it referred to as a "decision theory paradox". I'd think that this statement that it is a decision theory paradox requires a citation. Geoffrey.landis (talk) 20:33, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Good point, I wasn't sure what categorization of paradox it was, and saw that {{Decision theory paradoxes}} was linked at the bottom of the article, so chose to use that in the lead. Feel free to re-categorize if you think there is a better philosophical classification of this paradox. Brubsby (talk) 22:50, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
That looks like original research. Unless you can provide a reliable source categorizing it, there shouldn't be any such categorization in the lead. -- (talk) 15:35, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

I don't like the "Popper came to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance." -part. This is misquoting Popper since later in the article instead of must, reserve the right to is actually used. Including it here also indirectly implies that the paradox has a single straightforward solution. I've seen enough (yeah, an anecdote) arguments for intolerance of intolerance that use this article to back their argument as true. (talk) 15:13, 12 December 2017 (UTC)


The Paradox of tolerance mix tolerance with ignorance — Preceding unsigned comment added by ShalokShalom (talkcontribs) 05:30, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Citation for that claim? -- (talk) 15:36, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Homophily vs Intolerance[edit]

The current text of the example doesn't make sense to me.

The relation between homophily (a preference for interacting with those with similar traits) and intolerance is manifested when a tolerant person is faced with the dilemma of choosing between establishing a positive relationship with a tolerant individual of a dissimilar group, or establishing a positive relationship with an intolerant group member. In the first case, the intolerant in-group member disapproves the established link with an other-group individual, leading necessarily to a negative relationship with his tolerant equal; while in the second case, the negative relationship toward the other-group individual is endorsed by the intolerant in-group member and promotes a positive relationship between them.

Which is the "first case" and which "second case"? The example as I read it effectively says: "A tolerant person trying to establishing a positive relationship with a tolerant individual of a dissimilar group, the intolerant in-group member disapproves the established link with an other-group individual, leading necessarily to a negative relationship with his tolerant equal." This doesn't make sense - the groups dissimilar but both individuals are tolerant, where does the "intolerant in-group member" come from?

-- Isogolem 20:14, 18 May 2018 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by BitwiseMan (talkcontribs)

Needed: Definition of "intolerance".[edit]

Is it proper to refer to a person as being "intolerant", if he is merely not LIKING other people, or liking their ideas or speech? Or if he is expressing biased or even bigoted thoughts, without further hostile action? Assuming we live in a society where 'free speech' is ostensibly allowed, that should not be the case. Otherwise, Popper's quote implies that it is somehow okay to physically attack people who have and express unpopular ideas. Much of the difficulty of this article goes away if a precise definition of 'intolerance' is supplied and followed. Hal9009az (talk) 18:45, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

There is no "should"- we don't draw conclusions, perform valuations. Here, we summarize the page topic from published work- the only judgement being what is justifiably included.Mavigogun (talk) 14:02, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

motte and bailey argument[edit]

This concept is frequently used as a motte and bailey argument where the motte is that we should be intolerant of genocidal maniacs, and the bailey is that the only thing we're allowed to be disapprove of is disapproval itself, so anyone who disapproves of X should be treated like an enemy combatant in a total war. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2600:8801:20C:7500:90DA:A5B:C9A3:ACED (talk) 21:04, 12 January 2021 (UTC)

I agree with your conclusion, but I'm not sure that this has a place on the page, unless you want to add a criticism section with citations to sources voicing that criticism. JMM12345 (talk) 21:34, 19 April 2021 (UTC)JMM12345