The Faces of Tolerance and the Question of its Limits


One of the most passionate critiques of the liberal idea of tolerance has been performed recently put forward by Slavoj Žižek who maintains that it is self-contradictory in its assumptions and consequences in social practice. Yet, if we take a closer look at Žižek’s line of arguing argumentation it appears that it leads to similar aporias and contradictions that he recognizes in this idea. What is more, his objections are very similar in their “leftist” assumptions to those formulated by right oriented Polish philosopher, Ryszard Legutko, who maintains that the liberal tolerant attitude leads to uncritical acceptance of any all form of otherness. In the article we ask the question about the validity of the critical arguing of both, Žižek’s and Legutko’s arguments, while pointing to the anthropological assumptions of the liberal concept of tolerance that they misrecognize. For it is the concept of the free, autonomous and self-critical human being that is at the basis of this concept and is inherently linked to the origins of the liberal-democratic state.



English (en)


Paweł DybelUniversity of Warsaw / Polish Academy of Sciences


Orbis Idearum Volume 2, Issue 1 (2014), pp. 97–111
Toleration and Tolerance