Journal of Ethics 24 (1):31-54 (2020)

Ben Cross
Wuhan University
Louise Richardson-Self
University of Tasmania
In a recent article, J. Angelo Corlett criticises what he takes to be the ‘offensiphobic’ practices characteristic of many universities. The ‘offensiphobe’, according to Corlett, believes that offensive speech ought to be censured precisely because it offends. We argue that there are three serious problems with Corlett’s discussion. First, his criticism of ‘offensiphobia’ misrepresents the kinds of censorship practiced by universities; many universities may in some way censure speech which they regard as offensive, but this is seldom if ever a manifestation of ‘offensiphobia’. Second, we attempt to reconstruct Corlett’s criticism of ‘offensiphobia’ as a criticism of the practice of censuring hate speech, and show that this argument is unsuccessful. Third, we offer some brief reflections on how labelling universities as ‘offensiphobic’ is especially problematic in light of the current climate of political interference in university research and teaching.
Keywords free speech  academic freedom  hate speech  offense
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DOI 10.1007/s10892-019-09308-z
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References found in this work BETA

What is Hate Speech? Part 1: The Myth of Hate.Alexander Brown - 2017 - Law and Philosophy 36 (4):419-468.
On Epistemic Appropriation.Emmalon Davis - 2018 - Ethics 128 (4):702-727.
Differentiating Hate Speech: A Systemic Discrimination Approach.Katharine Gelber - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-22.

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