Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 28 14:23:16 UTC 2010

At 12:11 AM -0400 4/28/10, Herb Stahlke wrote:
>On today's Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan has a piece on "tolerance"
>in which quotes, and seems to accept, the claim that the act of
>tolerating entails disapproval of what one tolerates.  I've heard this
>claim before, but I don't find this sense in either the OED Online or
>Merriam-Webster Online, although MW does allow that inference.  I
>wonder if the sense of entailed disapproval comes from the use of
>"tolerate" with negation.  "We won't tolerate such behavior" obviously
>implies disapproval of the behavior.
I would agree disapproval is ordinarily implied (or, as Grice would
say, implicated) by positive "tolerate", but it's not entailed.  If
you tell me that I tolerate certain behavior X and I respond "I not
only tolerate X, I wholeheartedly support it" there's no
contradiction, which there would have to be if entailment were
involved.  As far as the role of the corresponding negation goes, do
you feel the same way about, say, "endorse" or "approve of"?  "I
don't endorse/approve of Goldman Sachs's actions in this matter"
certainly imply disapproval, but "I endorse/approve of Goldman
Sachs's actions in this matter" don't seem to convey the same
suggestion of disapproval that "tolerate" does.


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