• Pelle
    26
    When discussing tolerance, it's inevitable to stumble upon this paradox. What if we get so tolerant that we tolerate the intolerant and in turn our civilization crumbles? The philosopher Karl Popper was first to point it out and explains it at length below:

    Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. — Karl Popper

    What do you think? How can we come to a properly justified solution?
  • andrewk
    2k
    There is no dilemma. Unlimited tolerance equates to complete indifference - to being an immobile lump. Nobody that has thought about it advocates unlimited tolerance. The debate will always be about what behaviours we extend tolerance to. The result is negotiated between parties that want to ban vs those that want to allow certain behaviours, and will vary between jurisdictions. But no jutisdiction has a blanket tolerance for murder (the word blanket is crucial there!).
  • ssu
    997
    Tolerance isn't submission.

    In tolerance there is the part of resisting, to putting up with. Just like in engineering, tolerance is about the permissible limits of variation in an object.

    Hence unlimited tolerance is an oxymoron. Or as andrewk said above, complete indifference.
  • tim wood
    2k
    Unlimited tolerance.... — Karl Popper
    And if 200 feet tall hippopotami roamed our streets....

    At least the giant hippopotami would be well-defined, but what in the world is "unlimited tolerance"?
  • DingoJones
    538


    ...that there is no limit to what will be tolerated...
  • Crazy Diamond
    6
    Popper's excellent discussion is related to the concept of discrimination. We should of course discriminate at all times between right and wrong, good and evil, abuse and decency, and we should only make sure that we are not applying false discrimination, such as between skin colours as if they were good and bad. Voltaire's famous quote, "I disagree with what you say but I will fight for your right to say it", should be infamous. In England at the moment huge numbers of newspaper editors, politicians and other public figures are getting away with serious abuse crime, incitement to hatred and driving desperate people to suicide, then posturing about claiming free speech and the freedom of the press. The freedom of the press has only ever meant freedom from control by abusive power, it doesn't mean freedom to incite racist violence, which should be prosecuted. If you are saying foul things, then my quote is "I disagree with what you say, and I will fight to have you put in a cage where you can no longer hurt people".
  • tim wood
    2k
    ...that there is no limit to what will be tolerated...DingoJones
    I actually do understand the words. Allow me to try this: does "unlimited tolerance" imply absolute - or even any - intolerance (as something itself to be tolerated)?

    My point is that it is not too difficult to create monstrous, even impossible, verbal creations. A square circle is poster-child of such things. Now work out the geometry of square circles: a fool's errand, isn't it! So with such things as "unlimited tolerance." Or so I say. That's why I ask what it means - to find out if it's the nonsense I think it is, or if I'm missing something.
  • tim wood
    2k

    Pleasant thoughts. But insubstantial and wrong thinking. For example:
    We should of course discriminateCrazy Diamond
    No should about it. That which makes no discrimination at all is dead, displaying the active discernment of a stone. Your application is a moral one, which really has nothing to do with discrimination qua.

    And:
    Voltaire's famous quote, "I disagree with what you say but I will fight for your right to say it", should be infamous.Crazy Diamond
    Mis-attributed, instead by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, as her paraphrase/summary of a piece of Voltaire's thinking. I, myself, am not smart enough to know this. But smart enough to suspect that maybe Voltaire did not, and would not have, said it, and apparently he did not.

    The freedom of the press has only ever meant freedom from control by abusive power,Crazy Diamond
    Freedom of the press is not simple. Indeed, it means different things in England and America, and for all I know, even different things in different countries, so that there are as many differing claims of freedom of the press as there are countries. I'm partial to the American model, though it's not perfect - and perhaps freedom of the press is imperfectible, and finds its perfection in the lack of it. A discrimination to be made here is between your model, which implicitly allows control by non-abusive power, and the American, which, within the bounds defined as free, is protected from any control. And there are, even in America, things that, if you say them, can put you in the way of criminal and civil penalties.

    Apparently "hate speech" is speech you would control. How? And at what cost? I gather that in England part of the control is through prior restraint: mere publishing can be a crime. In America publish away and take your chances!

    But I agree with you on the moral dimension. There are things that shouldn't be.
  • Inis
    243
    Apparently "hate speech" is speech you would control. How? And at what cost? I gather that in England part of the control is through prior restraint: mere publishing can be a crime. In America publish away and take your chances!tim wood

    I think you might be underestimating the situation in England, where hate-crimes are defined by the criterion that someone perceives your motivation to have been hatred towards a protected group. That your motivation were not motivated by hatred is irrelevant. And note, that the person who perceives the hate, may be a third party.

    I have read that several police forces, particularly the Metropolitan police, that operates in London, has in the order of a thousand officers dedicated to patrolling social media, and make daily arrests.

    If you're not the member of a protected group, the criteria are different.
  • Pelle
    26


    There is no dilemma. Unlimited tolerance equates to complete indifference - to being an immobile lump. Nobody that has thought about it advocates unlimited tolerance.andrewk

    Well, how would you explain the likes of the hypertolerant post-modernists? They sure as hell aren't "immobile lumps"
    .
  • Valentinus
    308


    The limit of what should be tolerated is a function of how and why the permission is given and by whom. For instance, Popper calls for a limit that is not identical to the one Marcuse argued for. Marcuse puts it this way:

    Within the affluent democracy, the affluent discussion prevails, and within the established framework, it is tolerant to a large extent. All points of view can be heard: the Communist and the Fascist, the Left and the Right, the white and the Negro, the crusaders for armament and for disarmament. Moreover, in endlessly dragging debates over the media, the stupid opinion is treated with the same respect as the intelligent one, the misinformed may talk as long as the informed, and propaganda rides along with education, truth with falsehood. This pure toleration of sense and nonsense is justified by the democratic argument that nobody, neither group nor individual, is in possession of the truth and capable of defining what is right and wrong, good and bad. Therefore, all contesting opinions must be submitted to 'the people' for its deliberation and choice. But I have already suggested that the democratic argument implies a necessary condition, namely, that the people must be capable of deliberating and choosing on the basis of knowledge, that they must have access to authentic information, and that, on this. basis, their evaluation must be the result of autonomous thought.

    The discussion for both Popper and Marcuse revolves around what is possible for a future society.
  • DingoJones
    538
    I actually do understand the words. Allow me to try this: does "unlimited tolerance" imply absolute - or even any - intolerance (as something itself to be tolerated)?tim wood

    Thats what I would take the phrase to mean, that you wouod tolerate intolerance. You would be tolerating everything, nothing excluded.
    I do not think it is a monstrous creation of language as you describe, though I know what you mean.
    I think the phrase is coherent, but probably not very wise. That kind of tolerence seems foolish.
  • andrewk
    2k
    Even if they advocate unlimited tolerance, they do not practice it. Indeed, some of them are quite temperamental.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    Being pro tolerance, even of the intolerant, doesn't imply that you'll follow suit and be intolerant or that you'll stop promoting tolerance. This would only be a "paradox" if one were to believe that intolerance is contagious and tolerance is not.
  • khaled
    398
    the problem is that tolerance prevents you from defending yourself, Intolerance doesn’t. So yes one is contagious and one is not.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    the problem is that tolerance prevents you from defending yourself,khaled

    You'd defend tolerance if you're pro tolerance. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense to say that you're pro tolerance. If you don't defend tolerance you're not pro tolerance, you're just apathetic.
  • khaled
    398
    not it wouldn't make sense to defend tolerance if you're pro tolerance because that would mean you're not tolerant towards the intolerant which makes YOU intolerant. It's like a Jedi vs Sith thing. The Sith keep winning because the Jedi code forbids you from killing people. A warmonger will always beat a pacifist. If the pacifist defends himself he's not a pacifist
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    not it wouldn't make sense to defend tolerance if you're pro tolerance because that would mean you're not tolerant towards the intolerant which makes YOU intolerant.khaled

    I don't agree with that. Maybe if you tell me the definition of tolerance that you're using.
  • khaled
    398
    tolerance is tolerating any and all opinions and acts without opposing them. No matter how much you disagree with them. That's at least the extreme version proposed here
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    That sounds like apathy, not tolerance. Tolerance doesn't conventionally amount to not having and expressing your own opinion.
  • khaled
    398
    expressing your opinion is fine but trying to force it on someone else is not. Because that would mean you don't tolerate their beliefs and want to change them
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    expressing your opinion is fine but trying to force it on someone else is not. Because that would mean you don't tolerate their beliefs and want to change themkhaled

    Defending tolerance doesn't at all amount to forcing anything on anyone.
  • khaled
    398
    ok cool so since you can't force your beliefs on others that is identical to not being able to defend yourself is it not? If someone attacks you you can't stop him because that would be forcing your belief "I should live" on him. That's what's described in the original post
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    ok cool so since you can't force your beliefs on others that is identical to not being able to defend yourself is it not?khaled

    No, of course not. I just said that defending something doesn't at all amount to forcing anything on anyone. Think of a defense lawyer. They defend their clients. They don't--and can't --force beliefs on anyone.

    Re a physical attack, you'd be conflating beliefs and actions. They're not the same thing.
  • khaled
    398
    you would be forcing your attacker not to attack you. The defense lawyer IS trying to force his belief "my client is innocent" on others. That's intolerant
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    It's not even possible to "force a belief" (and I just said that). The whole idea of that is nonsensical.
  • khaled
    398
    Ok then you define tolerance
  • khaled
    398
    the way I see it trying to convince someone to change what they think or what they do In any way falls under Intolerant. You don't tolerate their beliefs and want to change them
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    Here's a conventional definition of "tolerant":

    "showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with."
  • khaled
    398
    now when you take that to the extreme as is done in the post it turns from "showing willingness" to "always" and when that happens you can't defend yourself
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    Tolerance is never about letting people initiate physical attacks, murdering others, etc.

    I don't know if you're an Aspie or not, but you can't approach topics like an Aspie (without it just amounting to inanity).
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