In Praise of Evil Thoughts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Freedom of thought means freedom from social tyranny, the capacity to think for oneself, to encounter even shocking ideas without shrinking away from them. That aspiration is a core concern of the free speech tradition. It is not specifically concerned with law, but it explains some familiar aspects of the First Amendment law we actually have - aspects that the most prevalent theories of free speech fail to capture. It explains the prohibition of compelled speech, and can clarify the perennial puzzle of why freedom of speech extends to art and literature. It also tells us something about the limits of legal regulation, and about the ethical obligations of private actors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-71
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Philosophy and Policy
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Keywords

  • First Amendment
  • freedom of speech
  • freedom of thought
  • John Milton
  • John Stuart Mill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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