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Tolerance project (2016-21)

Tolerance, Intolerance and Discrimination Regarding Religion
(funded by the SNSF, hosted 2016-21 at the University of Lausanne, Philosophy Department)

This research project investigated the debates on tolerance, intolerance and discrimination regarding religion. It was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation from August 2016 – April 2021 and hosted by the Philosophy Department at the University of Lausanne.

It was in philosophy as the main discipline, and it included collaboration with other disciplines, such as history, theology, religious studies, literary studies, and law.

There were three subprojects in the history of philosophy, analysing central arguments for and against tolerance from rarely studied early modern Reformed sources at the intersection of philosophy and theology. They concerned:

  • the Genevan theologian and philosopher Jean-Alphonse Turrettini (1671-1737) – Donna Delacoste (Doctoral student);
  • debates on tolerance in seventeenth-century Scottish philosophy, with a particular focus on the philosopher James Dundas (c.1620-1679) – Giovanni Gellera (Post-Doc);
  • debates on tolerance in eighteenth-century Scotland and England, including the reception of Turrettini’s writings – Christian Maurer (PI).

One systematic subproject explored the connections between the well established philosophical concepts of tolerance and intolerance on the one hand, and the more recent notion of discrimination, which is primarily rooted in legal studies, on the other hand – Christian Maurer (PI).

The historical and the systematic projects were interconnected: clear concepts are crucial for analysing and evaluating arguments in the history of philosophy, and an awareness of historical dimensions and cultural contexts is required for an appropriate discussion of systematic contemporary questions about tolerance, intolerance and discrimination.