Attitudinal Analyses of Toleration and Respect, and the Problem of Institutional Applicability

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According to the standard analyses of respect and toleration, these kinds of relations involve specific attitudes to difference; respect involves a positive attitude and toleration a negative one. The question is whether states can be respectful or tolerant, i.e. whether respect and toleration can have a sufficiently similar meaning when applied to institutions such as the state as to individual persons? The paper presents the standard analyses and explains in what sense they are attitudinal and why the attitudinal component is necessary. It then presents the problem of institutional applicability that the attitudinal component brings about: the ascription of the requisite attitudes to institutions in general and the state in particular is problematic since institutions arguably cannot have attitudes of the required kind. This problem is distinguished from other problems, including the problem of making sense of political toleration raised by
Glen Newey, and some possible responses to the problem are considered, including Peter Jones’ disaggregative response to Newey, all of which are found inadequate. The paper instead proposes that the analysis of institutional toleration and respect should not be solely agentcentred (as in the ascription of attitudes) or patient-centred (as in explanations of the good of toleration or respect in terms of the effects of being tolerated or respected). The proposal is that we can describe institutions as tolerant or respectful in a sense relevantly similar to the standard analyses if we focus on the public features of the relation between institutions and citizens or groups, without ascribing attitudes in the problematic sense.
TidsskriftRESPECT Project Working Paper Series
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)1-22
Antal sider22
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2010


  • tolerance
  • respekt
  • institutioner
  • stat

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