Speech and Harm: Controversies Over Free Speech

Paperback | May 31, 2012

EditorIshani Maitra, Mary Kate McGowan

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Most liberal societies are deeply committed to a principle of free speech. At the same time, however, there is evidence that some kinds of speech are harmful in ways that are detrimental to important liberal values, such as social equality. Might a genuine commitment to free speech requirethat we legally permit speech even when it is harmful, and even when doing so is in conflict with our commitment to values like equality? Even if such speech is to be legally permitted, does our commitment to free speech allow us to provide material and institutional support to those who wouldcontest such harmful speech? And finally, and perhaps most importantly, which kinds of speech are harmful in ways that merit response, either in the form of legal regulation or in some other form?This collection explores these and related questions. Drawing on expertise in philosophy, sociology, political science, feminist theory, and legal theory, the contributors to this book investigate these themes and questions. By exploring various categories of speech (including pornography, hatespeech, Holocaust denial literature, 'Whites Only' signs), and attending to the precise functioning of speech, the essays contained here shed light on these questions by clarifying the relationship between speech and harm. Understanding how speech functions can help us work out which kinds ofspeech are harmful, what those harms are, and how the speech in question brings them about. All of these issues are crucially important when it comes to deciding what ought to be done about allegedly harmful speech.

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Most liberal societies are deeply committed to a principle of free speech. At the same time, however, there is evidence that some kinds of speech are harmful in ways that are detrimental to important liberal values, such as social equality. Might a genuine commitment to free speech requirethat we legally permit speech even when it is...

Ishani Maitra is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, Newark and New Brunswick. She received her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She works in philosophy of language, feminist philosophy, and philosophy of law. Mary Kate McGowan is Professor of Philosophy at Welles...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pagesPublished:May 31, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199236275

ISBN - 13:9780199236275

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Table of Contents

ContentsCatharine MacKinnon: Foreword1. Ishani Maitra and Mary Kate McGowan: Introduction and Overview2. Andrew Altman: Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Law: The Case of Holocaust Denial3. Katharine Gelber: 'Speaking Back': The Likely Fate of Hate Speech Policy in the United States and Australia4. Ishani Maitra: Subordinating Speech5. Mary Kate McGowan: On 'Whites Only' Signs and Racist Hate Speech: Verbal Acts of Racial Discrimination6. Rae Langton: Beyond Belief: Pragmatics in Hate Speech and Pornography7. Laura Beth Nielsen: Power in Public: Reactions, Responses and Resistance to Offensive Public Speech8. Lynne Tirrell: Genocidal Language Games9. Caroline West: Words that Silence? Freedom of Expression and Racist Hate SpeechIndex