David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Applied Philosophy 12 (1):95-100 (1995)
ABSTRACT In the course of her defence of German protesters against Peter Singer's lectures, Jenny Teichman claims that the right to make use of a public platform is not covered by the principle of freedom of expression. I argue that this view is mistaken, and that she is also wrong to focus on whether Singer deserved a public platform. Instead I suggest that what matters is whether there was an attempt to prevent communication between a speaker and willing hearers. But I agree with Teichman that there are some relevant differences between speaking from a public platform and speaking privately. In particular I argue that protesters have a right, though not one based on freedom of expression, to interrupt a public speaker. Such a right is on a par with the speaker's freedom to draw public attention to the fact that she has opinions which she thinks worthy of a hearing, and in exercising it a protester must not prevent those who wish to hear the speech from doing so. Finally I offer an argument against the view that disrupting Singer's lectures could be seen as a justified interference with freedom of expression
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