Tolerance: The Glue That Binds Us: Empathy, Fairness and Reason


Rivka T. Witenberg, Ph.D.
Honorary fellow, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Victoria, Australia

Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY031000

Have you ever wondered why some people are more tolerant and accepting of difference than others? This is a ground-breaking book in its scope and in its examination of tolerance to human diversity. It is the first comprehensive publication about tolerance to human diversity which explores historical, philosophical (including the controversial relationship between freedom of speech and tolerance) and psychological aspects of tolerance as well as educational implications informed by theory and research.

Rivka Witenberg suggests a new direction in research and theory and proposes an alternative way of viewing tolerance as a concept in its own right, better placed within the moral domain and not simply the opposite of prejudice. When tolerance is placed within the moral domain pertaining to empathy, equality, fairness, justice and avoiding harm to others, it should be viewed as positive in nature rather than simply forbearance or “putting up with”. She argues that to be tolerant is a fundamental human quality or value as central to human existence as love, charity and goodwill and that tolerance like morality is possibly instinctive. Significantly, while tolerance and prejudice do coexist, tolerance should not be confounded and confused with prejudice.

Understanding more about the nature of tolerance to human diversity in today’s increasingly diverse and complex world could not be more important for harmonious, cooperative intergroup living. Witenberg reflects on the origin of tolerance and its deep historical roots, exemplified by the “Golden Rule”. Analysis of philosophical theories and her psychological research about tolerance to human diversity further expands our understanding of this important matter. This book brings a new outlook on the questions about what tolerance is, how it is conceptualised and its practical implications. Moving away from the idea that tolerance is simply “putting up with” and the antithesis to prejudice, this is a major interdisciplinary work that alters our understanding of tolerance to human diversity. This book is unique in its approach and subject matter and should be of value not only to educators and policy makers but also to anyone interested in understanding this important issue. It is written in approachable language which allows everybody to understand this important topic.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. The Golden Rule and Tolerance

Chapter 2. Philosophical Theories and Definitions about Tolerance

Chapter 3. Psychological Research about Tolerance to Human Diversity

Chapter 4. Psychological Theories Underlying Aspects of Tolerance

Chapter 5. The Relationship Between Freedom of Speech and Tolerance: The Subordination of Tolerance to Freedom of Speech

Chapter 6. Educational Implications: Teaching and Promoting Tolerance



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