Toleration, Respect and Recognition in Education

Toleration, Respect and Recognition in Education

Toleration, Respect and Recognition in Education

Toleration, Respect and Recognition in Education


Toleration, Respect and Recognition in Education brings together a collection of papers examining the complexity of different interpretations of toleration, respect and recognition in education.
  • Discusses different theories of toleration and shows how it lies at the centre of a liberal pluralistic society
  • Brings together the work of leading scholars from a range of disciplines
  • Examines how education can accommodate diversity and promote shared public values


The sum of all we drive at is that every man may enjoy the same rights that
are granted to others. (John Locke, ‘A Letter Concerning Toleration’,

Toleration is a central concept in education as Mitja Sardoc, the editor of this monograph, and his contributors so amply demonstrate. As Rainer Forst (2007) indicates, the concept itself has a history that occupies an important place in the philosophical discourse of religion that followed the Reformation in Europe although its original meanings are buried in ancient and classical sources. It is within the early Christian contexts that its meaning and applications became stabilized and entered permanently into political theory and the philosophical archive. Locke’s Letter was addressed to the question of the ‘mutual toleration of Christians in their different professions of religion’ and Locke took toleration to be the chief characteristic of the ‘true Church’. He argues:

The toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion is so
agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the genuine reason of mankind,
that it seems monstrous for men to be so blind as not to perceive the necessity
and advantage of it in so clear a light.

And he asserts the argument now well known:

The commonwealth seems to me to be a society of men constituted only for
the procuring, preserving, and advancing their own civil interests.

Religious tolerance laid some foundation for the application and civil development of the modern concept of tolerance with its limits and paradoxes. Forst (2007) embraces four dimensions or conceptions of tolerance: the permission conception—toleration is a relation between an authority and dissenting minority; the coexistence conception, where tolerance is seen as a means of avoiding conflict; the respect conception based on reciprocal respect; and, the esteem conception, based on a robust notion of mutual recognition. One can see the dimensions of all four of these dimensions in both the title—Tolerance, Respect and Recognition in Education—and the individual chapters that comprise it. Mitja Sardoc, as editor, has done a superb job in bringing these contributors together to fathom and reflect on such a significant theme and issue for the field of education.

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