On Liberalism, Liberty of Conscience, and Toleration: some historical and theoretical reflections

Hutchinson, Mark A ORCID: 0000-0003-1413-6382 and Stanton, Timothy ORCID: 0000-0002-8282-9570 (2022) On Liberalism, Liberty of Conscience, and Toleration: some historical and theoretical reflections. In: Toleration and the Challenges to Liberalism. Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy . Routledge, pp. 53-76. ISBN 9780367612511

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This chapter offers some historical and theoretical reflections on the relationship between liberalism and toleration. It is shown that the terms of that relationship as assumed in the minds of liberal commentators were established quite early, in the eighteenth century, and reproduced down to the present day in multiple versions of a grand narrative in which the liberal tradition originates in conscientious Protestant resistance to Catholic and Catholic-style persecution which, in 1688, would deliver limited government and religious liberty to all. A habitual equation between toleration and liberty of conscience is shown to be operative, legitimated by a reading of Locke which presents him as the intellectual mastermind of 1688, a founder of the liberal tradition, and an exponent of liberty of conscience. It is suggested that hidden within the folds of this reading is an old idea, that progressive thinkers like Locke educate elites who in their turn restrain and re-educate the popular instinct to persecute. History is used to problematize the equation of toleration and liberty of conscience and to give grounds for thinking that the old idea is alive and well in Rawlsian writing about liberalism, its history, and its relation to toleration.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Mark Hutchinson
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2023 11:46
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2023 12:00
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/13269

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