September 23, 2022
What is Free Speech? Join us for a lecture from Agnes Callard, associate professor from the University of Chicago.
WHAT IS FREE SPEECH? In a country where one can be jailed for one's political opinions, one lacks freedom of speech. Freedom of speech entails the absence of coercive government interference in speech. But the absence of such interference is a merely necessary condition on free speech. What more needs to be the case in order for speech to be truly free? I explore a Socratic answer to this question, which rejects many of the standard liberal models of free speech—free speech as open debate; free speech as the marketplace of ideas; free speech as openness to persuasion—on the grounds that they fail to guard against the politicization of speech. I explain what politicization is; why it is coercive, i.e. unfree; and how Socrates' approach to conversation offers a way of avoiding it.