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15.12.2017 13:00 Alter: 35 days

Tolerance and its Limits

Call for Publications

Theme: Tolerance and its Limits
Publication: Balkan Journal of Philosophy
Date: Special Issue (2019)
Deadline: 30.11.2018

Different people often have different opinions about which actions,
beliefs, and practices are appropriate, and when they have to live
together, their ideas of what is right or wrong may clash. Tolerance
is an attitude of acceptance of – or at least non-interference in –
other people’s attitudes and actions. The person or group exercising
tolerance refrains from interfering and constraining even when they
deem a practice wrong. But tolerance has limits: some practices are
such that the reasons for interference seem stronger than the reasons
for acceptance. Where does the boundary lie between practices and
beliefs that one deems wrong but is willing to accept, and practices
and beliefs that one rejects and takes action against?

Concrete instantiations of this question have recently been the
subject of public debate in a number of European countries. Typically
issues get media attention when practices that are deemed intolerable
are outlawed. A court in the United Kingdom has ruled against
gender-segregated education in religious schools. Austria and certain
Swiss cantons enforce a burka ban for Muslim women. France implements
secularity by banning teachers in public schools from wearing
religious symbols, and many private companies enforce the same
policy. The Hungarian government decided not to tolerate charities
that receive support from abroad. The list could be continued.

These measures raise questions. In each concrete case one can ask
whether the decision taken is the right one. But these specific
questions point to a larger issue: on what grounds should certain
practices be deemed intolerable? Are there principled ways to draw
the boundary between what is tolerable and what is not? At what point
is the transition from “informal” rejection at a personal level to
prohibition by law justified? In dealing with these questions, a
particular feature of a shared public practice of toleration plays a
pivotal role: when organized through the state, tolerance is often
supposed to be reciprocal. This supposition seems to imply that one
cannot tolerate those who are intolerant. If this supposition is
correct, does it give liberals a blanket licence to clamp down on
intolerant ideologies like Neo-Nazism and Islamism? If it is
incorrect, does it mean that movements displaying a persistent lack
of tolerance while themselves benefitting from others’ forbearance
have to be tolerated? This special issue aims to bring together
papers that reflect on these issues.

Submitted papers should not exceed 8,000 words (including references,
a short abstract of about 150 words, and a short list of keywords).
Papers should be sent to the journal’s email address at:

The deadline for papers is November 30, 2018.

This special issue will appear in 2019.