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The act of free speech – and its parents ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ – is being increasingly scrutinized. Most recently, the notion of free speech in times of disinformation (Links to an external site.- https://www.npr.org/2020/10/20/925869066/free-speech-in-the-age-of-disinformation) was added to the list of challenges to free speech, probing the extent to which free speech is in fact a possibility in today’s unchecked internet and information landscape. Political philosopher, Brian Leitner, takes this a step further by all together questioning the assumption that free speech is inherently a good thing. In an article, with interview, the arguments behind Leitner’s call ‘against free speech’ are laid out in some detail.

1. Read the article on “A philosopher makes the case against free speech (Links to an external site.)” by S. Illing (2019), March 19. [https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2019/3/4/18197209/free-speech-philosophy-politics-brian-leiter]

2. Identify and explain the main objections and skepticisms that Leitner raises regarding free speech. How convincing do you find these objections? Give an example that illustrates Leitner’s objections.

3. Discuss the reasons ‘for and against free speech’ within the framework of either the liberal or conservative state. Draw conclusions on the limits and possibilities of liberty and freedom in the context of the state.

Please only use the links of the text above. When writing about conservative states please use the text of edmond burke

Free speech
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