Thursday, June 17, 2021

In Praise of Evil Thoughts

Andrew Koppelman

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.

I elaborate in an article just published in Social Philosophy and Policy.  The print version is paywalled, but I have posted the typescript at SSRN, here.

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