The academic betrayal of free speech

Social Philosophy and Policy 21 (2):48-80 (2004)
“ 'Free speech' is just the name we give to verbal behavior that serves the substantive agendas we wish to advance”—or so literary theorist and professor of law Stanley Fish has claimed. This cynical dictum is one of several skeptical challenges to freedom of speech that have been extremely influential in the American academy. I will follow the skeptics' lead by distinguishing between two broad styles of critique: the progressive and the postmodern. Fish's dictum, however, like many of the bluntest charges, belongs to neither class exclusively. As an initial characterization of the distinction between these critiques, progressive skepticism claims that freedom of speech is a bad thing, while postmodernist skepticism claims it to be conceptually impossible. Both forms of skepticism hold the classical liberal endorsement of free speech and condemnation of censorship to be both naive and reactionary. Skepticism about free speech flourishes at universities in the United States and is especially well represented among professors at the country's most prestigious law schools. As legal scholar Robert Post approvingly observes: “Liberated from traditional inhibitions against official suppression of speech, the left has mobilized to pursue a rich variety of political agendas.”
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0265052504212031
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,824
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Hatred, Hostility, and Defamation.J. K. Miles - 2011 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (1):25-32.
Whither Academic Freedom?E. R. Klein - 2002 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 16 (1):41-53.
Censorship and Freedom of Speech.Robert Sparrow - 2004 - In Justin Healy (ed.), Censorship and Free Speech. The Spinney Press. pp. 1-4.
Free Speech and Illocution.Rae Langton & Jennifer Hornsby - 1998 - Legal Theory 4 (1):21-37.
The Free Speech Argument Against Pornography.Caroline West - 2003 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):391 - 422.
What is Free Speech?David Braddon-Mitchell & Caroline West - 2004 - Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (4):437-460.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

39 ( #134,054 of 2,178,148 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #73,172 of 2,178,148 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums