3. The Philosophy of Free Speech

In this episode of Intellectual downpour, I discuss the philosophy of Free Speech.  In the first segment, I provide a characterization of the current political climate in America (which is arguably undermining free speech), and then define the term ‘speech’, say a few words about the history of free speech and the First Amendment, and compare and contrast the freedom of speech with the freedom of press and then freedom of religion.  In the second segment, I explain why free speech is valuable in the first place, and then consider when and if speech should ever be regulated, which involves a long exploration of the views of John Stuart Mill and his Balancing of Harms approach to speech regulation.  Finally, in the third segment, I consider how the Internet might be amplifying the harms associated with problematic speech, before introducing the concept of a speech act and explaining how the concept is relevant to discussions about free speech.

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