No Platforming and Academic Freedom

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 10 (2023)
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Abstract

Much of the popular debate that surrounds no platforming centres on its putatively corrosive impact on free speech. This is apt to give a misleading picture of the particular puzzle that no platforming presents. Focusing on the university specifically, I contend that no platforming is distinctively objectionable not because it necessarily runs counter to general free speech values but when and because it is inconsistent with principles of academic freedom. This is because it conflicts with the status of members of the academy as those with the legitimacy to determine the appropriate bounds of free inquiry within the university. No platforming is objectionable insofar as it undercuts the authority of academic faculty in determining which speech, and by whom, is consistent with its purpose as an academic institution. Existing debates over no platforming have been too focused on which views are (or are not) given a platform and insufficiently attentive to the question of who decides who or what to platform. On the view defended here, no platforming by students is objectionable because, under principles of academic freedom, they should not be included in the constituency with the right to constrain the platforming of others.

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Gideon Elford
University of Oxford

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References found in this work

No-Platforming and Higher-Order Evidence, or Anti-Anti-No-Platforming.Neil Levy - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (4):487-502.
No Platforming.Robert Mark Simpson & Amia Srinivasan - 2018 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Academic Freedom. Oxford, UK: pp. 186-209.
A Measure of Freedom.Ian Carter - 2001 - Law and Philosophy 20 (5):531-540.
Individual Liberty.Hillel Steiner - 1975 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 75:33 - 50.

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