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Professors and politicians warn that we face a crisis of civility today. But is civility really a virtue, and how much civility do we really need? Those questions are addressed by my guest today is Teresa Bejan, in her book Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration, published in 2017. Teresa is an associate professor of political theory at the University of Oxford.
Mere Civility critiques early modern debates about civility and how much disagreement we should tolerate, analyzing the views of two well-known thinkers, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, as well as Roger Williams, the founder of the colony of Rhode Island. She encourages us to follow Roger Williams in allowing all kinds of disagreement, including expressions of contempt, but to avoid physical violence.
Here is a transcript of this episode.
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