Book Chapter

Public Reason and the Burdens of Citizenship A Case for Toleration



Baumeister A (2020) Public Reason and the Burdens of Citizenship A Case for Toleration. In: Drerup J & Schweiger G (eds.) Toleration and the Challenges to Liberalism. London: Routledge, pp. 129-145.

In the face of recent debates regarding the relevance of traditional conceptions of political toleration in a value-neutral liberal polity, this chapter argues that the burdens of citizenship associated with the liberal commitment to justificatory neutrality provide distinctive grounds for acts of toleration, conceived as legal exemptions from generally applicable laws. Although it is the state which secures toleration by granting legal exemptions, such acts of toleration are ultimately grounded in the relationship between free and equal citizens committed to the practice of justifying political power to one another. Toleration thus assumes a distinctive political role. By offering redress for the difficulties and limitation inherent in the search for a common evaluative standard, toleration affirms the equal standing of citizens and helps to facilitate continued political engagement among citizens in the face of the plurality of conscientious commitments that characterize the modern liberal polity.

Toleration; Public Reason; Citizenship

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online20/10/2020
Place of publicationLondon

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Dr Andrea Baumeister

Dr Andrea Baumeister

Senior Lecturer, Politics