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Keywords:

  • toleration;
  • recognition;
  • respect;
  • intolerance;
  • citizenship

Abstract

Generally we think it good to tolerate and to accord recognition. Yet both are complex phenomena and our teaching must acknowledge and cope with that complexity. We tolerate only what we object to, so our message to students cannot be simply, ‘promote the good and prevent the bad’. Much advocacy of toleration is not what it pretends to be. Nor is it entirely clear what sort of conduct should count as intolerant. Sometimes people are at fault for tolerating what they should not, or for tolerating what they should find unexceptionable. So virtue does not always lie with toleration. Tolerance can also seem condescending; should we therefore replace it with recognition? But recognition may not be able to coexist with the disapproval that makes toleration necessary. However, not everything about toleration and recognition is controversial; there are fixed points from which students can grapple with the issues presented by both.