Artifactual Speech

42 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2001


The article explores two competing conceptions of the meaning of "speech" under the First Amendment, and the principal (sub)variants on each of the general conceptions. The two basic models are: speech as a communicative stimulant - an artifact given meaning by one or more audiences; and speech as a human act of free will, engaged in a social or transactional setting. The practical, jurisprudential, historical and textual, and communicative implications of the two principal views and their basic subvariants are analyzed. Specific attention (by way of illustration) is given to the Supreme Court's recent opinion in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, which the author claims is a confused mixture of both artifactual and human liberty-based ideas.

Keywords: free speech, communication, free will, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale

Suggested Citation

Bezanson, Randall P., Artifactual Speech. Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 3, May 2001, Available at SSRN: or

Randall P. Bezanson (Contact Author)

University of Iowa College of Law ( email )

Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States
319-335-9171 (Phone)
319-335-9098 (Fax)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics