Choice, Community and Socialism
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The arguments of this book have considered the historical and conceptual foundations of toleration in liberal political theory. At the outset, three central questions were isolated: ‘What is toleration?’ ‘What is the justification of toleration?’ and ‘What are the limits of toleration?’ A distinction was drawn between the defence of toleration offered by Locke in his Letter on Toleration and the defence offered by Mill in On Liberty. Locke’s narrower and more pragmatic account is often unfavourably compared with Mill’s doctrine and it is frequently urged that whilst Mill captures the spirit of the liberal approach to politics, Locke’s account is philosophically dead. The arguments of the preceding chapters should, however, give us cause to wonder whether this is a fair assessment.
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