In Praise of Evil Thoughts
37 Social Philosophy & Policy 52 (2020)
24 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 15, 2021
Freedom of thought means freedom from social tyranny, the capacity to think for oneself, to encounter even shocking ideas without shrinking away from them. That aspiration is a core concern of the free speech tradition. It is not specifically concerned with law, but it explains some familiar aspects of the First Amendment law we actually have – aspects that the most prevalent theories of free speech fail to capture. It explains the prohibition of compelled speech, and can clarify the perennial puzzle of why freedom of speech extends to art and literature. It also tells us something about the limits of legal regulation, and about the ethical obligations of private actors.
Keywords: First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, FreedomFirst Amendment, Freed of Thought, John Stuart Mill, John Milton
JEL Classification: k10, k19, k30, k39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation