Recently, there has been a notable rise in interest in the idea of "toleration", a rise that Ingrid Creppell argues comes more from distressing political developments than positive ones, and almost all of them are related to issues of identity: rampant genocide in the 20th Century, the resurgence of religious fundamentalism around the world; and ethnic-religious wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In Toleration and Identity, Creppell argues that a contemporary ethic of toleration must include recognition of identity issues, and that the traditional liberal ideal of toleration is not sufficiently understood if we define it strictly as one of individual rights and freedom beliefs. Moving back and forth between contemporary debates and the foundational writings of Bodin, Montaigne, Lock, and Defoe, Toleration and Identity provides a fresh perspective on two key ideas deeply connected to current philosophical debates and political issues.
"Ingrid Creppell is an accomplished and serious scholar of the history of political thought as well as being--something much rarer-an original thinker. In Toleration and Identity, she addresses a problem of perennial and recently renewed importance. She demonstrates vividly how much we can learn by turning anew to the great thinkers of post-Reformation Europe who forged the ideas that enabled continual violence over religious differences to give way, eventually, to toleration. This is a very important book." -- Susan Okin, Martha Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society, Stanford University
"A very scholarly and engaging reconsideration of the foundations of the Western, Liberal tradition of toleration. Creppell argues that in an age of terrible conflicts around identity and fundamentalisms we need to tie the concept and practice of toleration much more closely to the complexities of overlapping and contested identities and the possibilities of accommodation than the prevailing liberal account of toleration allows. She rediscovers in Bodin, Montaigne, Locke and Defoe a rich and complex analysis of toleration in relation to identity, selfhood and accommodation in the context of conflicts, not unlike those of our time, that provides the basis for rethinking the possibility of global toleration today." -- James Tully, Jackman Professor of Philosophical Studies, University of Toronto
"The origins of the idea of religious toleration in early modern thought remain a puzzle. What sort of transformation was necessary in the way people thought of themselves, in order to allow them to say that matters of religion were no business of government, and that they should live in peace alongside those who they conceived as being wrong on the most important matters on which it was possible to be right or wrong? How was this transformation-as much a transformation in people's sense of identity as in their theories of government-brought about? Ingrid Creppell has added immensely to our understanding of toleration by asking exactly these questions." -- Jeremy Waldron, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law and Philosophy, Columbia University
"Ingrid Creppell argues that people can accept toleration as a moral ideal only after they have developed tolerant selves. Through central works of Montaigne, Bodin, Locke, and Defoe, Creppell traces the origins of tolerant identities in Western culture. No topic is currently more important than how tolerance can be inculcated; to our understanding of this subject Creppell makes a vital contribution." -- George Klosko, Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia