Toleration and Democracy: Topic of Nov. 5 Lecture Hosted by Rice's Boniuk Institute

Rice University News

Dr. Rainer Forst

By Jeff Falk, Rice University News

HOUSTON – (Oct. 23, 2015) – German philosopher and author Rainer Forst will discuss the intersections of religious and racial tolerance and democracy at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance Nov. 5.

Co-sponsored by Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; Program on Politics, Law and Social Thought; Department of Philosophy; and the German Consulate General in Houston, the event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Who: Rainer Forst, a professor of political theory and philosophy at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.

What: A lecture titled “Toleration and Democracy.”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.

Where: Rice University, Baker Hall, 6100 Main St.

Religious and racial intolerance are severe social vices, but does that mean that tolerance is a virtue? For some, toleration is essential for a flourishing pluralistic democracy; for others, it is a predemocratic attitude and practice — in Goethe’s famous words, “an insult,” according to Forst. In his lecture, he will explain this ambivalence and argue for a particular democratic notion of tolerance.

The Boniuk Institute was founded in 2013 with a gift from Houston philanthropists Dr. Milton and Laurie Boniuk. It is an expansion of the Boniuk Center that was created at Rice in 2004. The Boniuk Center was dedicated to fostering tolerance among people of all and no faiths and to studying the conditions in which tolerance and intolerance flourish. The Boniuk Institute’s expanded mission focuses on research, education and community engagement. For more information about the institute’s activities and events, visit