Accommodating toleration: on Balint’s classical liberal response to the multiculturalism challenge

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Peter Balint identifies three challenges to toleration, one of which is the multiculturalism challenge. This is the charge that liberal toleration fails to accommodate minorities adequately, which requires positive recognition rather than negative toleration. I discuss his response to the multiculturalism challenge and its connection to a classical liberal view of toleration. This involves Balint’s claim that liberal neutrality should be understood as reflective and ‘difference-sensitive’, which should be realised by the state being ‘hands-off’ in the sense of withdrawing support for privileged ways of life. I argue that Balint’s classical liberal view that the state needs to be ‘hands-off’ is in need of specification and that it does not fit well with his claim that neutrality needs to be reflective and difference-sensitive.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophyon 25 Apr 2019, available online:”


  • Toleration
  • Liberalism
  • neutrality
  • Multiculturalism
  • Accommodation

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