Free speech

Metaphilosophy 27 (4):339-355 (1996)

David Weissman
City College of New York
Recognition of the harms done by free speech is a function of the social ontology presupposed. An atomist ontology implies that the harms suffered are restricted to individual people. This paper suggests an alternate ontology—one that describes systems established by the causal reciprocities of their proper parts. It proposes a consequentialist moral theory, and considers the harms suffered by these systems when speech exposes their internal, otherwise private, behaviors or features, when speech is malicious and false, and when speech is monopolistic. Does the proposed ontology have objectionable implications for public policy? Alternative answers are considered briefly
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.1996.tb00215.x
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