21.08.2020, 18:32

ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOLERANCE


Prof. Ilham Mammadzade
Director of the Institute of Philosophy, ANAS

The problem of tolerance in the modern epoch has become one of the urgency in public and political life. In different regions of the world much violence, many wars occur and that is why its actuality is recognized by most social scientists at all variety of estimations as far as a phenomenon itself. Some researchers perceive tolerance as a political phenomenon, standard of political and legal life. At the same time this standard, in our opinion, includes clearly expressed ethical aspect which is treated also as an individual’s attitude to the standard, and also that why he observes or breaks it, taking in himself relation to the other as criterion of morals and morality as well. It is also clear that the positions and motives of those who demand and substantiate the necessity of submitting to it are differed from those of the ones who infringe this standard. Naturally, the whole of this theme forms a part of philosophy and ethics of tolerance. As it seems to us, comprehension of the problems of its philosophy will be useful not only for philosophy, but also for the experts in other disciplines, for public and political men. It is clear that their researches, reflections, experience in this sphere are of interest for philosophers.
In the beginning on that what forms a field of philosophy and ethics of tolerance. Philosophers very often consider that content of this notion was formulated in the Age of Enlightenment, while was tolerance itself treated as toleration between various sects of Christianity in Europe(it will be to the point to mention two treatises by J.Locke “Message on toleration ”, “An experience of tolerance”). Note that in such case one shouldn’t also ignore that tolerance between sects was established for quite long period and took in manifestation of intolerance as well. The same M.Luther (reformation) in most points was exclusively intolerant in relation to the Catholics, Jews and so on. Reflecting on tolerance one must not also leave behind that tolerance as nonadmittance of violation was known long before the age of the enlighteners. Its traces may be found in the world religions, affirmations of the Prophets and great moralists, in the ancient Greek philosophy and etc. Socrates called to restricting passions, Aristotle wrote on “golden mean”. In principle “the golden rule of morals”, later on formulated by Kant as a categorical imperative, just so sounded: “Don’t do the other what you don’t wish the others do for you”. In such case, like some dissonance appears the assertion of the biologists on that tolerance-patience as a term has become actual for designation of lack or weakening immunological response to the grafted alien tissues (introduced by the English immunologist P.Medawar in 1953). Certainly, tolerance is an ethical, philosophical category having its prehistory, history of philosophy and, perhaps, the representatives of the natural sciences shouldn’t feel shy to confess that they use the notions from philosophy and ethics, attaching to them a new content. At least, this fact, alongside with that an old notion acquired actuality in a new century, once again conditions for us the necessity of addressing to philosophy of this notion. As well to the interdisciplinary investigations of this question, and to that philosophy is significant for similar researches, if only so it was historically interdisciplinary one by fact of its birth as science.
It includes several discussion subjects or issues, namely, first of all, what is behind changeability of the notion’s content, in our case, of tolerance. Is philosophical response to the problem, somewhat influencing upon understanding itself of phenomenon, making clear the content and significance of the notions? And what do we lose when ignoring the historical and philosophic and ethical context and the concepts of this notion. Secondly, in our opinion, at all times an individual, how tolerant he would be, possesses a freedom to break consciously this standard, protecting himself, his relatives, own country. There most depends on that how much consciously he determines the bounds of the admissible violation action. The situation for estimation turns to be more complicated, when the point is the defenders of a country during conflicts, wars, collective opposing to violation, but even at that time individual attitude is significant for a personality. There exists a problem also in how scientist defends his position in a debate, discussions, competition and struggle for the projects. The conflicts are possible between responsibility and ethics of scientist and his interest, scientist and collective and so on. In the third place, it becomes theoretically necessary to analyze the links between notions adjacent to tolerance. For instance tolerance and intolerance, tolerance and freedom, violation, the same and law and etc. Let’s pay attention to that tolerance as philosophical and ethical notion strongly differs from tolerance as political and legal phenomenon. Along with this, morality and individuality always and now manifest themselves in the cultural, political and legal area, that is, one cannot neglect morality, individual morals in these spheres. The question we rise in such case, acquires also such a ring, not disciplinary approach of a scientist should be of priority but how much these or those disciplines can ignore information from the other sphere, how much the representatives of different disciplines are competent in information from the other discipline. In the fourth place, contemporaneity demonstrates many socio-cultural, philosophic and moral, political and legal traditions and orders, their number being more and more increased. How much tolerance as morals of the ordinary people to live in harmony with those who have the other way of thinking, values can be effective. Attention to it has increased, but there are factors which weaken its influence. In different practices, languages it is understood differently. There is philosophy and ethics of tolerance in the Moslem world, it is not so known to the European consciousness, it exists in the Christian tradition, they don’t know or have poor knowledge of it in the rest part of the world and etc. In the world, as we think, comprehension of the opposite between globalization and national identity has been affirmed what complicates an attitude and bringing up tolerance. The latter, in our opinion, should, therefore, include spreading knowledge on other cultures, ideals and value too. Fifthly, in our epoch, tolerance as a value, way of thinking has become dominating one, but how much our confidence may be in that it won’t lead to degeneration of human community that lives and develops in conditions of choice between violation and no violation. If there only tolerance is, what man and society will be without freedom of choice? In this context idea of tolerance in relation to the near and distant people, how they correlate their relations, presents interest. Then theoretical necessity emerges to find one’s position on differences between tolerance as reconciling and recognition of values of the other, different and so on. In the sixth place, in Azerbaijan the problem of tolerance has become urgent alongside with the issues of multiculturalism and dialogue of cultures. In our opinion, these problems are, in fact, interdependent. Most researchers think justly that moral practice of tolerant relation, dialogue of cultural laid the basis of multiculturalism. The joint book by the Azerbaijani, Russian, Kazakhstan scientists on tolerance as constituent culture of dialogue of cultures, is dedicated to these issues.This interdependence gives an impetus to investigations and comprehension of opposites in this sphere. For instance, if aggression is committed against Azerbaijan on side of Armenia, the territorial integrity is infringed, then how is tolerance to be understood in these conditions, where is its bound during wars, conflicts. How to cultivate tolerance among those who turned to be refugees in own country, lost the relatives, dwell and great deal of the other. This question, to the point, worries today not only us, but also the most living beyond the borders of Europe. It appears that tolerance, multiculturalism, dialogue are not possible or won’t be effective without similar ethical notions as consciousness, guilt, punishment and tolerance. And, at the same time when the matter is collisions, competitions of communities, how much it is possible to preserve humanity. I. Kant, for instance, preceded from that human consciousness is not blameless. Hegel wrote about it as well. The French philosopher A. Glucksmann, on the contrary, determined the longing for murder and violation as guiding anthropological feature of a man. J. Delez wrote on “loathsome mercy”, J. Bordrier considered that prohibition of violation causes an increase in hatred. (Glucksmann A, Philosophy of hatred. M., 2006, p.30, J.Bordrier “City and hatred” end etc.) Not agreeing with these theses, in some absolute sense of the word, nevertheless we’d like, to admit that they are to be understood. These ideas clash us with metaphysisics of morals and philosophy, complexity of valuations of not only modern world, but a modern man too. With search for answer to the questions, and not estimating the question how human morals and consciousness have formed in nature, how the radical turn took place in the development of the living, how publicity and morals correlate in different communities and times, are there in reality, mega culture and morals. In the seventh place, in the age of globalization the role of humanitarian factor has increased in the international relations, and, simultaneously, an impact of tolerance level on individual morals of man in the international relations. Its negative role in this influence plays also that information wars are waged (a notion of information safety is being actualized, the “double standards” are being used and in ordinary man an idea of international relations and international law as intolerant and unjust spheres, takes shape and this exerts, naturally, an influence negatively on his personality directives. In public consciousness of most countries a steady opinion has emerged that a “mild force” is used, first of all, for mean political purposes).
In conclusion tolerance is a value both for the world and a man. However, the ideas of tolerance differ in consciousness and societies; tolerance is estimated differently in relation to near and remote civilizations, neighbors, people. But there “a secret” lies in that knowledge on others lacks. At all debatableness of the given assertion, our morality, to a great extent, depends on reason, our rationality and hence, on our knowledge of the world, ourselves, much depends on us in confirmation of the principles and standard of tolerance. In our epoch of globalization it, surely, acquires the new shades, sounding, and that is why knowledge of tolerance should be spread in different civilizations and cultures, as well of that without tolerance the dialogue between peoples, societies and cultures, as well of that without tolerance the dialogue between peoples, societies and cultures is not possible. And, therefore, there is no alternative to tolerance as the principle and standard.
The philosophy of tolerance in Azerbaijan is connected with knowledge, enlightenment and reinterpretation of their spiritual heritage3. The epoch of modern in conditions of globalization makes for a need in comprehension of what was enlightenment in past and what it is now, what phenomenon of the enlighteners of the past lies in, what are differences and relations between modern, tolerance and enlightenment. This question makes also ponder over that how a phenomenon born in Europe in the certain and concrete geographical area, then becomes a part of entire world culture, how much our Azerbaijani culture, having preserved its links with the past, can be modernized and what is constituent of enlightenment in modernization. Taking into account that following the Age of Enlightenment, any renewal, bringing up to date, one way or another is related with comprehensibility and reinterpreting what is called Enlightenment, philosophy of that Age, it becomes clear that here the sense of this process is just hidden. This is not repealed also by that some ideologists of the western and Moslem civilizations write on «the conflict of civilizations», the others criticize the Age of the Enlightenment, proclaim the end of progress and history.
Bibliography
1. «Диалог культур и вызовы современной эпохи» М. «КАНОН-ПЛЮС» 2019 под ред. Н.М.Мамедова, А.Н.Чумакова
2. Glucksmann A., Philosophy of hatred M., 2006
3. Мамедзаде И.Р. Модерн и Азербайджанское Просвещение в контексте проблемы человека / В кн. «Диалог культур и вызовы современной эпохи» М. «КАНОН-ПЛЮС», 2019, с.23-32