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Maxime Lepoutre [13]Maxime Charles Lepoutre [2]Maxime C. Lepoutre [2]
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Maxime C. Lepoutre
University of Reading
  1. Counterspeech.Bianca Cepollaro, Maxime Lepoutre & Robert Mark Simpson - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 18 (1):e12890.
    Counterspeech is communication that tries to counteract potential harm brought about by other speech. Theoretical interest in counterspeech partly derives from a libertarian ideal – as captured in the claim that the solution to bad speech is more speech – and partly from a recognition that well-meaning attempts to counteract harm through speech can easily misfire or backfire. Here we survey recent work on the question of what makes counterspeech effective at remedying or preventing harm, in those cases where it (...)
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  2. Democratic Speech in Divided Times.Maxime Lepoutre - 2021 - OUP: Oxford University Press.
    In an ideal democracy, people from all walks of life would come together to talk meaningfully and respectfully about politics. But we do not live in an ideal democracy. In contemporary democracies, which are marked by deep social divisions, different groups for the most part avoid talking to each other. And when they do talk to each other, their speech often seems to be little more than a vehicle for rage, hatred, and deception. -/- Democratic Speech in Divided Times argues (...)
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  3. Hate Speech in Public Discourse: A Pessimistic Defense of Counterspeech.Maxime Lepoutre - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (4):851-883.
    Jeremy Waldron, among others, has forcefully argued that public hate speech assaults the dignity of its targets. Without denying this claim, I contend that it fails to establish that bans, rather than counterspeech, are the appropriate response. By articulating a more refined understanding of counterspeech, I suggest that counterspeech constitutes a better way of blocking hate speech’s dignitarian harm. In turn, I address two objections: according to the first, which draws on contemporary philosophy of language, counterspeech does not block enough (...)
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  4.  94
    Rage inside the machine: Defending the place of anger in democratic speech.Maxime Lepoutre - 2018 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 17 (4):398-426.
    According to an influential objection, which Martha Nussbaum has powerfully restated, expressing anger in democratic public discourse is counterproductive from the standpoint of justice. To resist this challenge, this article articulates a crucial yet underappreciated sense in which angry discourse is epistemically productive. Drawing on recent developments in the philosophy of emotion, which emphasize the distinctive phenomenology of emotion, I argue that conveying anger to one’s listeners is epistemically valuable in two respects: first, it can direct listeners’ attention to elusive (...)
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  5.  91
    Democratic Group Cognition.Maxime Lepoutre - 2020 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (1):40-78.
    Philosophy &Public Affairs, Volume 48, Issue 1, Page 40-78, Winter 2020.
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  6. The Red Mist.Maxime Charles Lepoutre - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 24 (1).
    An influential critique of anger holds that anger comes at an important epistemic cost. In particular, feeling angry typically makes risk less visible to us. This is anger’s ‘red mist.’ These epistemic costs, critics suggest, arguably outweigh the epistemic benefits commonly ascribed to anger. This essay argues that the epistemic critique of anger is importantly misleading. This is not because it underestimates anger’s epistemic benefits, but rather because it overlooks the fact that anger’s red mist performs a crucial moral function. (...)
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  7.  8
    Democratic speech in divided times: An introduction.Maxime Lepoutre - 2023 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 22 (3):290-293.
    This is the introduction to the symposium on Maxime Lepoutre, Democratic Speech in Divided Times (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021). The symposium contains articles by Paul Billingham, Rachel Fraser, and Michael Hannon, and a response by the author.
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  8.  54
    Can 'More Speech' Counter Ignorant Speech?Maxime Charles Lepoutre - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (3).
    Ignorant speech, which spreads falsehoods about people and policies, is pervasive in public discourse. A popular response to this problem recommends countering ignorant speech with more speech, rather than legal regulations. However, Mary Kate McGowan has influentially argued that this ‘counterspeech’ response is flawed, as it overlooks the asymmetric pliability of conversational norms: the phenomenon whereby some conversational norms are easier to enact than subsequently to reverse. After demonstrating that this conversational ‘stickiness’ is an even broader concern for counterspeech than (...)
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  9.  97
    Political Understanding.Maxime C. Lepoutre - 2022 - British Journal of Political Science 1 (1).
    Public opinion research has shown that voters accept many falsehoods about politics. This observation is widely considered troubling for democracy—and especially participatory ideals of democracy. I argue that this influential narrative is nevertheless flawed, because it misunderstands the nature of political understanding. Drawing on philosophical examinations of scientific modelling, I demonstrate that accepting falsehoods within one’s model of political reality is compatible with—and indeed can positively enhance—one’s understanding of that reality. Thus, the observation that voters accept many political falsehoods does (...)
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  10.  28
    Hate Speech in Public Discourse.Maxime Lepoutre - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (4):851-883.
    Jeremy Waldron, among others, has forcefully argued that public hate speech assaults the dignity of its targets. Without denying this claim, I contend that it fails to establish that bans, rather than counterspeech, are the appropriate response. By articulating a more refined understanding of counterspeech, I suggest that counterspeech constitutes a better way of blocking hate speech’s dignitarian harm. In turn, I address two objections: according to the first, which draws on contemporary philosophy of language, counterspeech does not block enough (...)
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  11.  33
    Hateful Counterspeech.Maxime Lepoutre - 2023 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 26 (4):533-554.
    Faced with hate speech, oppressed groups can use their own speech to respond to their verbal oppressors. This “counterspeech,” however, sometimes itself takes on a hateful form. This paper explores the moral standing of such “hateful counterspeech.” Is there a fundamental moral asymmetry between hateful counterspeech, and the hateful utterances of dominant or oppressive groups? Or are claims that such an asymmetry exists indefensible? I argue for an intermediate position. There _is_ a key moral asymmetry between these two forms of (...)
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  12.  39
    Hate Speech Laws: Expressive Power is Not the Answer.Maxime Lepoutre - 2019 - Legal Theory 25 (4):272-296.
    According to the influential “expressive” argument for hate speech laws, legal restrictions on hate speech are justified, in significant part, because they powerfully express opposition to hate speech. Yet the expressive argument faces a challenge: why couldn't we communicate opposition to hate speech via counterspeech, rather than bans? I argue that the expressive argument cannot address this challenge satisfactorily. Specifically, I examine three considerations that purport to explain bans’ expressive distinctiveness: considerations of strength; considerations of directness; and considerations of complicity. (...)
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  13. What is hate speech? The case for a corpus approach.Maxime Lepoutre, Sara Vilar-Lluch, Emma Borg & Nat Hansen - forthcoming - Criminal Law and Philosophy:1-34.
    Contemporary public discourse is saturated with speech that vilifies and incites hatred or violence against vulnerable groups. The term “hate speech” has emerged in legal circles and in ordinary language to refer to these communicative acts. But legal theorists and philosophers disagree over how to define this term. This paper makes the case for, and subsequently develops, the first corpus-based analysis of the ordinary meaning of “hate speech.” We begin by demonstrating that key interpretive and moral disputes surrounding hate speech (...)
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  14.  75
    Narrative Counterspeech.Maxime C. Lepoutre - forthcoming - Political Studies.
    The proliferation of conspiracy theories poses a significant threat to democratic decision-making. To counter this threat, many political theorists advocate countering conspiracy theories with ‘more speech’ (or ‘counterspeech’). Yet conspiracy theories are notoriously resistant to counterspeech. This article aims to conceptualise and defend a novel form of counterspeech – narrative counterspeech – that is singularly well-placed to overcome this resistance. My argument proceeds in three steps. First, I argue that conspiracy theories pose a special problem for counterspeech for three interconnected (...)
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  15.  31
    Immigration Controls: Why the Self‐Determination Argument Is Self‐Defeating.Maxime Lepoutre - 2016 - Journal of Social Philosophy 47 (3):309-331.
    In philosophical debates about immigration, one of the most prominent arguments asserts that a state’s citizenry has a right to unilaterally control its territorial borders by virtue of its right to self-determination. This is the self-determination argument. The present article demonstrates that this argument is internally undermined by the Coercion Principle, according to which all persons subjected to coercive political power are entitled to an equal say in exercising that power. First, whichever way the self-determination argument identifies the relevant self-determining (...)
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  16.  13
    Discursive optimism defended.Maxime Lepoutre - 2023 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 22 (3):357-374.
    This article defends the democratic ideal of inclusive public discourse, as articulated in Democratic Speech in Divided Times, against the critiques offered by Billingham, Fraser, and Hannon. Specifically, it considers and responds to three core challenges. The first challenge argues, notably, that the “shared reasons” constraint should either apply everywhere or not at all, and that, if this constraint is to apply in divided circumstances, its justificatory constituency must be idealized. The second challenge contends that the resistance of hate speech (...)
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  17.  17
    Teaching & Learning Guide for: Counterspeech.Bianca Cepollaro, Maxime Lepoutre & Robert Simpson - 2023 - Philosophy Compass 18 (2):e12904.
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