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The Scope of Tolerance

Studies on the Costs of Free Expression and Freedom of the Press

The Scope of Tolerance by Raphael Cohen-Almagor
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One of the dangers in any political system is that the principles that underlie and characterize it may, through their application, bring about its destruction. Liberal democracy is no exception. Moreover, because democracy is relatively a young phenomenon, it lacks experience in dealing with pitfalls involved in the working of the system - the ‘catch’ of democracy.

This is an interdisciplinary study concerned with the limits of tolerance, this ‘democratic catch’, and the costs of freedom of expression. Rights are costly, and someone must pay for them. We can and should ask about the justification for bearing the costs, weighing them against the harms inflicted upon society as a result of a wide scope of tolerance. While recognizing that we have the need to express ourselves, we should also inquire about the justifications for tolerating the damaging speech and whether these are weighty enough.

This book combines theory and practice, examining issues of contention from philosophical, legal and media perspectives and covers such issues as:

  • media invasion into one’s privacy
  • offensive speech
  • incitement
  • hate speech
  • holocaust denial
  • media coverage of terrorism.

This book is essential reading for anyone who has research interests in political theory, extremism, and free speech.

Taylor and Francis; December 2005
240 pages; ISBN 9781134247349
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Title: The Scope of Tolerance
Author: Raphael Cohen-Almagor