Let’s get radical
Extending the reach of Baylean (and Forstian) toleration
in Toleration, power and the right to justification
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Chandran Kukathas, in his response to the volume’s lead essay, focuses on Forst’s use of Bayle. He argues that Forst underestimates the power of Bayle’s challenge and the radical nature of its implications for our understanding of political order. Kukathas begins with an account of Bayle’s theory of toleration, drawing attention to its distinctiveness and reviewing the main objections that have been raised against it. He then turns to Forst’s account, showing how Forst has sought to incorporate Bayle’s thought into a deeper understanding of toleration. In the next section, he considers Forst’s theory of toleration more critically, arguing that he has not embraced Bayle to the extent necessary for the incorporation to be of any great consequence. The root of the problem lies with the subordination of toleration to justice; here Kukathas offers reasons for thinking that toleration is not a virtue of justice but supplies the foundations for justice. He then suggests that this requires thinking about justice in a very different way, one which gives it a much more modest place in our thinking about political order generally. Kukathas concludes with some wider reflections on where this leaves Rainer Forst’s conception of justice as the right to justification.

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