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The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age

by

The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age Cover

 

 

Excerpt

<p><b>Chapter 3: </b><b><i>First Principles: Equal Respect for Conscience</i></b></p><p><b><i> </i></b><b></b></p><p><b> </b>How can we best address the current climate of fear? A good approach has three ingredients: good principles, an emphasis on non-narcissistic consistency, and a cultivation of the &ldquo;inner eyes,&rdquo; the capacity to see the world from the perspective of minority experience.</p><p> </p><p> Why principles? Given the distracting and distorting potential of fear, which can so easily render particular judgments self-serving and unreliable, it seems a good idea to approach these delicate and complicated issues armed with some general principles that we can cling to, as we attempt to avoid confusion and panic. If these principles are going to help us address fear&rsquo;s tendency to self-privileging, they should incorporate a focus on the good of others, correcting for fear&rsquo;s partiality. Supplying principles to guide democratic political practice has been a central purpose of political philosophy, which, ever since its (Western) start in ancient Athens, has seen its goal as practical, not merely theoretical. I&rsquo;ll argue that philosophy really does have the sort of practical important that the Greeks claimed for it, offering insight to every person who wants to think about these matters. So what does political philosophy have to say about religious difference and the anxieties it provokes? </p><p> </p><p> The tradition I shall map out is specifically Euro-American, but we&rsquo;d do well to bear in mind that similar thoughts can be found in the history of India, which developed policies of religious toleration earlier than did the West: at least by the third-second centuries BCE, when the emperor Ashoka, himself a convert to Buddhism from Hinduism, put up a series of edicts mandating toleration throughout his empire. These policies did not endure through the entire pre-modern period, but they were revived and further developed in the Moghul Empire of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly in the thought and practice of the Muslim emperor Akbar, who proclaimed toleration among all religions and created a state cult that included elements from all the major religions in his empire. Akbar was a famous figure in Europe, and his ideas had a significant influence on the development of European ideas of toleration &ndash; as did the ideas and laws of the Ottoman Empire. I shall say no more about this history here, but we should remember it: our goals are fairness and understanding, and we would be thrown off from the start if we were to think, mistakenly, that the ideas of mutual respect and toleration are exclusively Western. It&rsquo;s particularly important, perhaps, to be keenly aware that some of their most influential architects were observant Muslims. </p><p> </p>

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674065901
Author:
Nussbaum, Martha C
Publisher:
Belknap Press
Author:
Nussbaum, Martha C.
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Subject:
Social Science-Sociology of Religion
Subject:
PHILOSOPHY / Political
Subject:
History - United States - 21st Century
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Publication Date:
20120424
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Christianity » Social and Political Issues
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » Social and Political Issues
Religion » World Religions » Controversial Literature

The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age New Hardcover
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$26.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Belknap Press - English 9780674065901 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Drawing inspiration from philosophy, history, and literature, Martha C. Nussbaum takes us to task for our religious intolerance, identifies the fear behind it, and offers a way past fear toward a more equitable, imaginative, and free society, through the consistent application of universal principles of respect for conscience.
"Synopsis" by , A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2012
"Synopsis" by , A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
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