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The Metaphor of Vision in the Virtue of Tolerance

Applicant Maurer Christian
Number 198902
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Section de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.05.2021 - 30.04.2023
Approved amount 131'107.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Religious studies, Theology

Keywords (8)

Moral Psychology; Forgiveness; Tolerance; Moral Education; Virtue Ethics; Vision; Love; Moral Philosophy

Lay Summary (German)

Wenn Toleranz eine Tugend ist, wie repräsentieren wir uns dann diejenigen, gegenüber welchen wir die Haltung der Toleranz einnehmen?
Lay summary

In der zeitgenössischen Philosophie wird Toleranz meist als ein politisches Prinzip diskutiert. Das vorliegende Forschungsprojekt analysiert hingegen Toleranz als eine mögliche moralische Tugend

Insbesondere fokussiert es auf die Rolle der Blickmetapher in der Toleranz: Wenn wir in einem moralisch tugendhaften Sinne Toleranz ausüben, wie "blicken" wir dann auf diejenigen, gegenüber welchen wir die Haltung der Toleranz einnehmen, und wie "sehen" wir uns selbst, unsere Beziehungen und die Welt?Unser Blick auf die anderen und auf uns selbst, beziehungsweise unsere Repräsentationen beeinflussen wiederum unsere Einstellungen, Emotionen und Handlungen, und sie sind mit unseren Werthaltungen verknüpft. Zumindest ansatzweise können wir sie beeinflussen, beispielsweise indem wir unsere Aufmerksamkeit richten, uns in Empathie üben oder Vorurteile hinterfragen.

Im Projekt liegt der Fokus auf der moralisch mangelhaften Person, die um die Realisierung eines moralisch guten Charakters ringen muss, sowie auf den Verbindungen mit der zeitgenössischen Philosophie der Liebe und der Vergebung, in welcher die Blickmetapher bereits ausführlicher diskutiert wurde. Dies verspricht Erkenntnisse betreffend die allgemeine Struktur der Haltung der Toleranz, sowie spezifischer betreffend Erziehung zu Toleranz.


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 16.04.2021

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



Anmerkungen zum "toleranten Blick"
MaurerChristian, Anmerkungen zum "toleranten Blick", 1(2022).

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
163751 Tolerance, Intolerance and Discrimination Regarding Religion 01.08.2016 SNSF Professorships
163751 Tolerance, Intolerance and Discrimination Regarding Religion 01.08.2016 SNSF Professorships


Tolerance as a Moral Virtue: Tolerance can be understood as the enduring of deep differences in values, opinions and practices. In the early modern period, it was not uncommon to present tolerance as a morally virtuous character trait in the vicinity of, e.g., forbearance, charity, forgiveness and patience. Today, however, tolerance is mostly theorised as a political principle, despite the on-going revival of virtue ethics. The proposed extension offers a systematic analysis of tolerance as a moral virtue and of intolerance as the corresponding vice from a virtue ethical perspective. It examines how adopting a tolerant attitude to others can be one aspect of being virtuous. The Metaphor of Vision: The project focuses in particular on the metaphor of vision, i.e. on the questions of how we “see” others, ourselves and the world if we are tolerant. These representations influence our attitudes, emotions and actions, and they are connected to our values. In some strands of virtue ethics, especially in the vein of Iris Murdoch, the metaphor of vision is used to refer to such patterns of representation. These are typically thought to be to some extent in our power: we can at least partly influence how we see others, ourselves and the world, for example by directing our attention, by training empathy and by avoiding prejudices. Two Subprojects: The first subproject analyses more precisely the structural features of vision in tolerance, describing how we “see” others when we are tolerant (Subproject A (Post-Doc): Analysing the Structure of Vision in Tolerance). The second analyses how we can and should try to educate our vision if being tolerant is indeed one aspect of being virtuous (Subproject B (Principal Investigator): Self-Cultivation and Moral Education of Vision in Tolerance). The Paradigm of the Imperfect Person: The project adopts a “non-perfectionist” approach in virtue ethics by focusing not on the figures of the moral saint or sage, which are sometimes presented as exemplars to be emulated, but instead on the weak and imperfect human person. This latter has to make efforts to be virtuous and tolerant, and she sometimes fails. Such an approach results in a more fine-grained moral psychology and in more accurate analyses of the complex processes, efforts and risks involved in the virtue of tolerance.Learning from the Philosophy of Love and Forgiveness: Tolerance has sometimes been linked to notions such as forbearance, forgiveness and love - especially in some Christian traditions, where tolerance and forgiveness are presented as expressions of charity. With a focus on the theme of vision, the project will discuss these links in light of a non-perfectionist conception of the moral phenomena of tolerance, love and forgiveness.Main Outcomes: Research collaborations with national and international institutions (e.g. the Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice; researchers at Princeton Theological Seminary and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Geneva and Fribourg, etc.); journal articles; edited book or journal special issue; workshops in Lausanne and co-organised with partner institutions; “journal club”; seminars for students.