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Freedom of speech

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S008-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

Freedom of speech is one of the most widely accepted principles of modern political and social life. The three arguments most commonly offered in its defence are that it is essential for the pursuit of truth, that it is a fundamental constituent of democracy, and that it is a liberty crucial to human dignity and wellbeing. Its advocates also plead the dangers of allowing governments to control what may be said or heard. Yet there is also general agreement that speech should be subject to some limits. Most contemporary controversies about free speech concern those limits; some focus upon what should count as ’speech’, others upon the harms that speech may cause.

Citing this article:
Jones, Peter. Freedom of speech, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S008-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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