In liberal democracies committed to tolerating diversity as well as disagreement, the loss of civility in the public sphere seems critical. But is civility really a virtue, or a demand for conformity that silences dissent? Teresa Bejan looks at early modern debates about religious toleration for answers about what a civil society should look like.
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About the Author
Teresa M. Bejan is Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Oriel College.
Table of Contents
Citations and Abbreviations ix
Introduction: Wars of Words 1
1 "Persecution of the Tongue": Toleration and the Rise of Religious Insult 20
2 "Silver Alarums": Roger Williams's Mere Civility 50
3 "If It Be without Contention": Hobbes and Civil Silence 82
4 "A Bond of Mutual Charity": Locke and the Quest for Concord 112
Conclusion: The Virtue of Mere Civility 144
Epilogue: Free Speech Fundamentalism 167