18 articles from

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Director, Center for Democratic Studies,
and Professor at the Department of Communication,
University of Haifa, Mount Carmel,
Haifa 31905, Israel.


Senior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and Lecturer
at the School for Advanced Studies
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MARYLAND USA (2003-2004).

More information about the author can be found on his website



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I wish to bring to your attention that my newest book was just published

The Scope of Tolerance: Studies on the Costs of Free Expression
and Freedom of the Press


R. Cohen-Almagor

(London: Routledge, 2006)


Infra please find the publisher's blurb:


The Scope of Tolerance

One of the dangers in any political system is that the principles that underlie and characterise it may, through their application, bring about its destruction. Liberal democracy is no exception. Moreover, because democracy is relatively young phenomenon, it lacks experience in dealing with pitfalls involved in the working of the system - the “catch” of democracy.

The Scope of Tolerance is an interdisciplinary study concerned with the limits of tolerance, this “democratic catch”, and the costs of freedom of expression. Rights are costly, and someone must pay for them. We can and should ask about the justification for bearing the costs, weighing them against the harms inflicted upon society as a result of a wide scope of tolerance. While recognising that we have the need to express ourselves, we should also inquire about the justifications for tolerating the damaging speech and whether these are weighty enough.

This book combines theory and practice, examining issues of contention from philosophical, legal and media perspectives and covers such issues as:

This book is essential reading for anyone who has research interests in political theory, extremism, media ethics, and free speech.


Raphael Cohen-Almagor (D. Phil., Oxon) is the founder and director of the Center for Democratic Studies, University of Haifa. He is the author of The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance (1994), The Right to Die with Dignity (2001), Speech, Media and Ethics (2001, 2005),Euthanasia in the Netherlands (2004) and two poetry books in Hebrew. In 1999-2000 he was the Fulbright-Yitzhak Rabin Professor at UCLA School of Law and Department of Communication, and in 2003-2004 he was Senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, and Visiting Professor at the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.


Raphael Cohen-Almagor in this thoughtful and sensitive study tackles the most complex and controversial of all constitutional guarantees: The free speech principle. Following the footsteps of John Stuart Mill he probes dilemmas and offers guidelines that political theorists, politicians, judges and journalists will have good reason to ponder.

Geoffrey Marshall, former Provost of Queen's College, Oxford

Wide-ranging and provocative, this work sets out arguments which are of vital importance to policy-makers as well as to academics.

Roger Eatwell and Cas Mudde
Bath University and Antwerp University



From the same autor


R. Cohen-Almagor

Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The Policy and Practice of Mercy Killing

(Dordrecht: Kluwer, July 2004), ISBN 1-4020-2250-6, Hard cover,

I started working on this book in 1994 when I was a Fellow at the Hastings Center in New York. The data was available but I could not figure out what to make of it as the interpretations are so contradictory: some said that the Dutch serve as a model for the world; other said that we should deduce from the Dutch way all the reasons why euthanasia should never become legal. Baffled and confused I did not write a word about the issue and delayed publication of my previous book, The Right to Die with Dignity until having the opportunity to visit Holland and have a more confirmed opinion. In 1999 I went to the Netherlands for the first time for research purposes, visited hospitals and research centers across the country, and interviewed some 30 people, the cream de la cream of the policy makers, the movers and shakers of Dutch euthanasia. I repeated this research trip twice, in 2000 and 2002. The book is largely based on the interviews.

This is my tenth book and it is special to me for several reasons: It is the first book I write that is based largely on interviews; like all my books it is based on some ten years of thinking and research, but unlike my other books the actual writing of the book was like an eruption: the first draft was written in less than 4 months; the book was attacked and criticized even before it was published: it thought me great and painful lesson about academic freedom (before I retire I will probably write a book on this intriguing subject); I changed my mind as a result of my research: from pro-euthanasia advocate I became an anti-euthanasia campaigner, although I still support physician-assisted suicide.

Infra please find two assessments of the book by two learned authorities, Professors Winslade and van Leeuwen:

Professor William R. Winslade, Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas:

Euthanasia in the Netherlands is an excellent book on an important topic. It succeeds in giving an even-handed appraisal of Dutch euthanasia practices, providing a better understanding and valuable insights of the Dutch experience with euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Cohen-Almagor analyses clearly and accurately the weaknesses of the policy and offers recommendations for correcting the deficiencies and developing a sounder policy. He combines an overview of the literature with analyses and interpretations of the intriguing interviews he conducted with key people in the Netherlands. Cohen-Almagor's book is critical but judicious. He gives a balanced account of the views with which he disagrees and he carefully explains the basis for his disagreement. His style of writing is straightforward, clear, easy to follow, logical, and coherent. Bioethicists and other scholars in medicine, public health, and law will be interested in this book. College teachers of medical ethics will also find it valuable, and educated general readers with a special interest in euthanasia will find it helpful. 

Prof. Evert van Leeuwen, Faculteit der Geneeskunde, Section Philosophy and Medical Ethics, Free University of Amsterdam.

Writing a book on the Dutch experience with euthanasia is not an easy matter. Several reasons can explain the difficulty. First of all the ethics of the present palliative and terminal care has not been spelled out in detail until recent years. The difficulties every physician meets more than once in his career when confronted with a sincere wish of the patient to die in a humane way in a situation of unbearable suffering, are still puzzling for moral and legal thinking. Secondly, our ways of legal and public thinking are still not adapted to the situation in which death is a part of life, not so much as a natural fact but as a process that can be controlled. The goals of medicine to uphold human dignity and to alleviate suffering are at stake in this process. The Dutch policy to aim at a system of both legal clarity and control is perhaps at this moment the most articulated answer to the difficulties, but will almost certainly not be the last word in the issues of death and dying.

Rafi Cohen-Almagor has contributed much to the ongoing discussions by interviewing all the prominent legal, moral, political and medical people involved in the development of the Dutch legal ruling. His analysis of the interviews is based on clear, lucid thinking and argument. Unlike some others he tries to stay with the facts without entangling them with moral or political prejudice. Instead he tries to develop a view according to best standards of academic thinking. In the end he gives his own conclusion based on his experiences. One does not need to subscribe them in order to appreciate the work Prof. Cohen-Almagor has done. This book will certainly be helpful in every discussion on the legal and moral principles of assistance in dying, in traditions of legal philosophy such as the schools of Dworkin, Rawls and Kelsen. It can help physicians, nurses and others engaged in palliative care to sharpen their views in the ethics of palliative care as well in the forms of public and legal control that are needed in the burdensome but rewarding work of assistance in dying.

I'd be much obliged if you order the book to your library and review itin your journal. Further information is available at http://www.wkap.nl/prod/b/1-4020-2250-6

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