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Emanuela Ceva Rossella De Bernardi

Abstract

Recent attempts at making sense of toleration as an ideal of political morality have focused on how liberal democratic institutions generate political arrangements that protect people’s freedom to “live their life as they see fit.” We show how these views rely on a one-dimensional interpretation of the liberal democratic political project. In so doing, they underestimate an important “interactive” dimension. This dimension concerns what it means for liberal democracies to realize toleration as a property inherent to their constitutive political processes. We illustrate this claim with reference to the liberal democratic decision-making process. Such a process realizes toleration as forbearance in itself. It does so because it establishes the participants in the process as political agents who recognize their mutual standing to share the political authority to make collectively binding decisions, despite their grounds for reciprocal objection.

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