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Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in Announcements, Books, Philosophy | 4 comments

Notung on freedom of speech

I see that my Skeptic Ink Network colleague Notung is beginning a new series on freedom of speech. This is an important topic, so I look forward to seeing what he comes up with.

If your appetite for the topic is whetted, I have a long chapter on free speech in Freedom of Religion and the Secular State, which you might like to check out.  More books on free speech keep appearing, among them The Harm in Hate Speech, by Jeremy Waldron, which is sitting on a shelf here, waiting to be read. I’m actually planning to review this over the next few days(which means it will appear in, say, a couple of months) for Free Inquiry magazine. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting review of it by Nigel Warburton.

I also need to have a better look at Chris Berg’s new book on free speech – and I’ll doubtless be talking about it here and/or at Talking Philosophy. And I’m looking forward to Nick Cohen’s You Can’t Read This Book. There’s much to be done in defending freedom of speech (and/or in identifying principled exceptions to it).

Edit (24 January): Possible change of plans here. My copy of Ethics without Morals by Joel Marks has just turned up. I’m very interested in this book, so maybe that’s the one that will get reviewed in the next Free Inquiry. We’ll see.

  • Thanks – I’ll try not to disappoint! Did you see the first series I did? It was about defining free expression, and outlining what it does and doesn’t cover.

  • Ronlawhouston

    I’m looking forward to you addressing the issue considering the differing views of our respective countries. I’ve been an ACLU member in the past and tend to have the view that even hate speech should be allowed. Obviously, there is a line somewhere where hate speech becomes incitement, but I tend to believe that those who must draw the line should err on the side of free speech.

  • RussellBlackford

    I think I read it at the time – seem to recall enjoying it, but definitely can’t recall the detail now.

  • keddaw

    Incitement is way to broad a definition to start banning things.

    e.g. Terry Jones was obviously inciting Muslims (and would obviously cause death and harm of Americans) by burning the Qu’ran, yet many people, including me, were fully in support of his right to do so.

    I think I’d maybe allow incitement (are we not ultimately responsible for our own actions?) with possible exceptions for people in positions of power (e.g. an army sergeant ordering a subordinate to commit a borderline illegal act). The line for regular citizens might go so far as enticement for me, so as to catch mafia dons calling for people’s death or people attempting to hire assassins.

    Hate speech/hate crimes are obviously nonsense and any laws about them should be repealed forthwith.