La tolleranza difficile

Francesco D'Agostino

It is a very widespread opinion that in pluralistic societies, only the principle of tolerance can guarantee social life. The author enumerates the various forms of pluralism and of tolerance, with the various arguments that support them. He then proceeds to examine these forms, showing how they depend upon particularly strong philosophical positions, which in turn are rooted in the unique dignity of the person. This uniqueness constitutes the platform for judging the degree of truth in the various world-views that are developed. However, the dignity of the person must not be understood in an abstract way, i.e. as a formulation which is valid once and for all, and from which any and every practical conclusion can be deduced. Rather, this dignity must be understood in a concrete way, that is, within the dialogue among the parties involved. The juridical order, in virtue of its dialogical nature, show itself to be the privileged place for combining tolerance and pluralism, even while each protagonist must always advert to the existence of a justice which is universally valid and which must therefore be safeguarded; a justice anchored in common personal dignity, and shown to be the indispensable presupposition of the existence of tolerance.