Tolerance and pain

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (3):405-419 (2011)
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It is often thought that tolerance must be painful; the absence of pain is taken as an indication of indifference, an indication that the agent does not really disapprove of the object of her professed tolerance. This article challenges that view by arguing that the association of tolerance and pain depends ultimately upon the contentious assumption that inner conflict is a form of dysfunction. By unsettling that assumption, it is possible to unsettle the idea that one?s tolerance of others must be painful. More positively, coming to recognize the normality of inner conflict might actually serve to reinforce the disposition to tolerate, as the agent realizes that she must strive to contain and perpetuate the conflicts and tensions which form a necessary feature of her life. If this is right, then the emphasis often placed upon the etymological association of tolerance with patience and suffering could be unhelpful. It might be fruitful to devote more attention to the neglected notion of calmly abiding the behaviour of those of whom we disapprove



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Democracy and disagreement.Amy Gutmann - 1996 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Edited by Dennis F. Thompson.
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