Rainer Forst in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers
Author: Rainer Forst

Rainer Forst's Toleration in Conflict (published in English 2013) is the most important historical and philosophical analysis of toleration of the past several decades. Reconstructing the entire history of the concept, it provides a forceful account of the tensions and dilemmas that pervade the discourse of toleration. In his lead essay for this volume, Forst revisits his work on toleration and situates it in relation to both the concept of political liberty and his wider project of a critical theory of justification. Interlocutors Teresa M. Bejan, Chandran Kukathas, John Horton, Daniel Weinstock, Melissa S. Williams, Patchen Markell and David Owen then critically examine Forst's reconstruction of toleration, his account of political liberty and the form of critical theory that he articulates in his work on such political concepts. The volume concludes with Forst’s reply to his critics.

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Rainer Forst and the history of toleration
Teresa M. Bejan

historical achievement lay precisely in the ability of historical actors (including Martin Luther, Sebastian Castellio, the Levellers and Pierre Bayle) to radically transcend their own contexts of justification and engage in revolutionary forms of critique. 11 What Forst refers to with all due modesty as his ‘toleration book’ was anything but modest. What began as Forst’s Habilitationsschrift in Frankfurt first appeared in German as Toleranz im Konflikt: Geschichte, Gehalt, and Gegenwart in 2003, and the slightly abridged 2013 English version, Toleration in

in Toleration, power and the right to justification
S.J. Barnett

should the dismissal of such putative causal links be the occasion to dismiss the general politico-religious background we have identified, for, in conjunction with other events, existing traditions or trends in thought can serve to hamper or aid the development of new trends. England, above all, saw a proliferation of various varieties of vicious anticlerical diatribes, 51 The Enlightenment and religion which, as we will see, could seem remarkably like the anticlericalism of philosophes. John Toland, Pierre Bayle and the problem of influence If it cannot be asserted

in The Enlightenment and religion
Patchen Markell

something powerful, indeed something pleasing, in Forst’s unyielding inhabitation of the register of justification. In other hands, the impulse to construct an overarching account of critical theory in which everything centres in the end upon the right to justification might come across not just as narrow, but as narrow-minded. In Forst’s case, by contrast, this impulse gives his writing and thinking focus, drive and fire. Indeed, it can make Forst sound, in his own way, like those fierce ‘pioneers of emancipation’ he rightly admires, such as Pierre Bayle or the radical

in Toleration, power and the right to justification
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Extending the reach of Baylean (and Forstian) toleration
Chandran Kukathas

Tis pleasant enough, and very glorious to the Christian Name, to compare the Griefs of the Orthodox, and their Complaints against the Pagan and Arian Persecutions, with their Apologys for persecuting the Donatists. When one reflects on all this impartially, he’l find it amount to this rare Principle; I have the Truth on my side, therefore my Violences are good Works: Such a one is in an Error, therefore his Violences are criminal. Pierre Bayle 1 ‘Shut up!’, he explained. Ring Lardner In The Right to Justification Rainer Forst tells us that

in Toleration, power and the right to justification
Open Access (free)
The revolt of democratic Christianity and the rise of public opinion
S.J. Barnett

an attempt to bring together the various strands and integrate them into a critique of their role. Albeit slowly, from the mid 1960s a revision of the status of Pierre Bayle as a Calvinist fideist (discussed in earlier chapters) rather than an early philosophe has gradually gained acceptance.2 Again rather slowly and mostly from the 1980s, there have been efforts to demonstrate that Christianity occupied a more important place in the development of the French Enlightenment than had hitherto been accepted.3 In particular there has been increased recognition of the

in The Enlightenment and religion
Rachel Hammersley

1698–99 and again in 1703–4. His associates there included the English Quaker Benjamin Furly, but also Dutch figures such as John Van Twedde and Huguenots including Pierre Bayle. Shaftesbury also offered protection and financial support to Huguenots based in London – not least the influential biographer and journalist Pierre Desmaizeaux.9 Similarly, Shaftesbury’s friend and protégé John Toland had studied at Leiden University, and made several trips to the continent in the early eighteenth century. He too had close connections with both Dutch and French figures, and

in The English republican tradition and eighteenth-century France
W. J. McCormack

it is a commonplace in Leiden, Dou and his niece lived by a canal. There are no references to Rotterdam, which was not a place of great artistic significance anyhow. It was, on the other hand, a very important Huguenot ‘refuge’ in the second half of the seventeeth century where, even before the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Pierre Bayle held a chair of philosophy. Bayle

in Dissolute characters
S.J. Barnett

thinkers such as Ernst Cassirer, Paul Hazard, Frank E. Manuel, G. R. Cragg and Peter Gay. In his The Philosophy of the Enlightenment (1932), Ernst Cassirer writes of the ‘extraordinary effect’ that the English ‘deistic movement’ had on the Enlightenment, and quotes the late-seventeenth-century Huguenot Pierre Bayle describing his age as ‘full of freethinkers and deists’.18 In his ‘Christianity not Mysterious and the Enlightenment’ (1997), McGuinness has asserted that deism was ‘very influential in Germany’, but his authority is Manuel’s The Eighteenth Century Confronts

in The Enlightenment and religion
Rainer Forst

Huguenot Pierre Bayle, who recognised and avoided the problems of Locke’s approach – in a critique of the late Augustine, not of Locke’s theory – and formulated the logic of the respect conception of toleration. 23 If both parties to the conflicts in France of his time, Catholics and Protestants, insisted that their ideas should apply to everyone and accordingly be dominant, then according to Bayle any crime could in principle be portrayed in the name of religion as a pious deed. Whoever accepts this moral truth makes a correct use of reason – as raison universelle

in Toleration, power and the right to justification