Legal Theory 19 (3):307-330 (2013)

Authors
Robert Mark Simpson
University College London
Abstract
The idea that human beings are intellectually self-governing plays two roles in free-speech theory. First, this idea is frequently called upon as part of the justification for free speech. Second, it plays a role in guiding the translation of free-speech principles into legal policy by underwriting the ascriptive framework through which responsibility for certain kinds of speech harms can be ascribed. After mapping out these relations, I ask what becomes of them once we acknowledge certain very general and profound limitations in people's capacity for intellectual self-governance. I argue that acknowledging these limitations drastically undermines the putative justifications for free speech of the type that I identify in the first part of the paper. I then show how we can reformulate an account of intellectual and doxastic responsibility on which we may still be held responsible for what we think or believe even though we lack agent-causal capacities in our thinking and believing. Then, in light of this ascriptive account of intellectual responsibility, I show how the key ideahave minds of their owncan (and should) still play a significant role in guiding the legislative outworkings of free speech
Keywords Free Speech  Thomas Scanlon  Intellectual Agency  Freedom of Thought  Liberalism
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DOI 10.1017/s1352325213000177
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References found in this work BETA

Responsibility for Believing.Pamela Hieronymi - 2008 - Synthese 161 (3):357-373.
Deciding to Believe.Bernard Williams - 1973 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136--51.
Doxastic Compatibilism and the Ethics of Belief.Sharon Ryan - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):47-79.
Free Speech and Illocution.Rae Langton & Jennifer Hornsby - 1998 - Legal Theory 4 (1):21-37.

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