Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration

Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration

by Teresa M. Bejan


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674545496
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/02/2017
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

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

Notes 177

References 243

Acknowledgments 265

Index 267

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