The Philosophy Resource

Teaching resources for philosophy students and teachers

Tolerance in the curricula

The issues raised by this section of The Philosophy Resource fit into school curricula in two ways: in the sections devoted to the themes of liberty and rights, civil disobedience and protest; it also fits with the sections devoted to J.S. Mill’s On Liberty.

AQA GCE AS and A level specifications (AQA)

UNIT1 PHIL1 Key themes in Philosophy
Introduction: Mill’s On Liberty is core to contemporary defences of tolerance, which on the scheme presented here, is called instrumental. It is argued that this is not however the strongest or most convincing defence and an argument is put forward in favour of a defence found in the writings of Immanuel Kant. For Disobedience and dissent tolerance is identified as one of the values that is testes in dissent. Examination of the nature of tolerance and its possible limits helps address issues that arise in the context of this topic.

UNIT2 PHIL2 Intro to Phil2: Tolerance Tolerance is a value. But why is it a value? Should we value it? The section examines these questions focusing on how we justify what makes something valuable. We also examine what tolerance is and what it requires, the demands it makes of us. The approach we take is through debates about free speech. We look at historical and contemporary views which relate to different parts of the curriculum

UNIT3 PHIL3: Liberty and rights Tolerance is treated sometimes as a right, a right to free expression. The rights view of tolerance is one of the three types of justification discussed in this section: instrumental, rights based, and constitutive. Working through examples and texts in support of each it is possible to identify difficulties and weak points in each.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

The issues of this section of The Philosophy Resource ties into the IB curriculum in two places

Part 1: Themes
The themes 2, 5, and 7 address directly tolerance and also civil disobedience and protest. The treatment of these topics recommended by the International Baccalaureate fits the approach to the topic taken here: The material aims to deepen our thinking about tolerance, free speech by showing what commitments we make if we take tolerance to be a value and what follows from these commitments. Examples help illustrate the argument and also test our views on the matter of free speech. The aim is to help students to evaluate and also to construct arguments and thus gain great insight into the reasons for their own position in these debates.

Part 2: Texts
J.S. Mill’s On Liberty. Although as acknowledged previously, Mill is central to current debates, there is a broader and rich intellectual inheritance that is worth exploring for the resources it gives us to address and perhaps resolve issues that arise for instrumental conceptions and defences of tolerance.