Thu Nov 8, 2018
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
Japa Pallikkathayil (University of Pittsburgh)
Free Speech and the Embodied Self
Democratic theories of free speech hold that the right to free speech is grounded in the nature of collective self-governance. Views of this kind might be thought to be in tension with hate speech regulation. If legitimate governance requires free public discussion of matters of public interest, it can be difficult to see how expression of even the most odious prejudice could be regulated. But I argue that the apparent tension between a democratic justification of the right to free speech and hate speech regulation is illusory. I do this by developing a Kantian democratic justification of the right to free speech. This account makes vivid the complex interaction between the right to free speech and bodily rights. I argue that bodily rights sometimes properly constrain the right to free speech in ways that can justify hate speech regulation. I thus show how hate speech regulation can be consistent with a democratic justification of the right to free speech.