Robert Post’s theory of freedom of speech

Philosophy and Social Criticism 40 (1):107-123 (2014)

Deliberative democracy’s approach with its emphasis on a multidimensional conception of freedom is very well suited to offer a sophisticated and critical account of freedom of speech in the democratic public sphere. Nevertheless, it has rarely engaged other competing free speech theories in order to offer a valuable social critique of other ways of thinking about freedom of expression. This article tries to fill this gap by critically engaging Robert Post’s theory of freedom of speech based on democratic self-government. On Post’s account, the key to effective democratic self-government is political autonomy, which he reduces to negative liberty and formal equality. I argue that this reduction creates serious problems. A purely procedural account of democracy makes it difficult to politicize new issues in the public sphere and also makes a dominant discourse resistant to contestation. Further, given his theory, Post does not have enough normative resources to offer an account of public justification, which would expand effective political liberty.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453713513788
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom of Expression.Joshua Cohen - 1993 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (3):207-263.
Freedom of Expression, Deliberation, Autonomy and Respect.Christian F. Rostbøll - 2011 - European Journal of Political Theory 10 (1):5-21.

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