Education, Epistemic Virtues, and the Power of Toleration

Johannes Drerup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Toleration is usually regarded as a pivotal democratic virtue that should be cultivated in the educational systems of liberal democracies. The concept of toleration, however, is marked by deep ambivalence. Power-theoretical criticisms of toleration as a political and educational ideal have emphasized that discourses of toleration are entangled with societal power struggles, and tend to naturalize social hierarchies and reify individual and collective identities. Given this criticism, toleration refers not just to justificatory problems concerning the limits of political or pedagogical authority, or to the peaceful negotiation of conflicts that pervade pluralistic societies. On the contrary, toleration itself seems to create and perpetuate precisely those political conflicts that it is meant to contain. This contribution develops a defence of toleration as a coherent and sound aim of public education and as a democratic virtue against the power-theoretical critique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-131
Number of pages24
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number1
Early online date11 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • democratic virtue
  • education
  • epistemic virtues
  • power
  • Toleration


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