Elena Irrera

Comparing tolerances. Contemporary visions and Demostene's «Against Meidias»

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Demosthenes; Toleration; Respect; Public Reason.

One of the key issues revolving around the value of toleration is that of its limits, i.e. that of the boundaries beyond which the reasons to practice it lose their ground of accountability. In this paper the Author tries to restate an ancient paradigm of toleration and its limits by teasing out the principles that inform the acceptance of morally reproachable attitudes. By focusing on Demosthenes' oration "Against Meidias", it is argued that the «public reason» to which the author resorts throughout his discussion is a substantive one, grounded in the values of honor and in the avoidance of "hybris". It is also suggested that the limit of toleration is reached when the whole political community, the laws and the gods are damaged by acts of insolence. Finally, it is contended that, besides their differences, ancient and contemporary approaches to toleration betray a shared endorsement of the idea of «respectability».

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