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Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction by Nigel Warburton
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“Preserving freedom of speech maximizes the chance of truth emerging from its collision with error and half-truth.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Even if I believe my opinion to be true, and am highly confident about its truth, unless it is ‘fully, frequently and fearlessly’ discussed, I will end up holding it as a dead dogma, a formulaic and unthinking response.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Human knowledge progresses when people recognize that they may be wrong even on issues that seem certain to them. Wisdom involves openness to those who disagree with us. It is only when our ideas have been subjected to criticism and all objections considered—if necessary seeking these objections out—that we have any right to think of our judgement as better than another’s.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Central to Mill’s approach throughout On Liberty is his ‘Harm Principle’, the idea that individual adults should be free to do whatever they wish up to the point where they harm another person in the process. Mill’s principle is apparently straightforward: the only justification for interference with someone’s freedom to live their life as they choose is if they risk harming other people.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Free speech does indeed cause hurt—but there is nothing wrong in this. Knowledge advances through the destruction of bad ideas. Mockery”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Free speech is one of the core values in a democracy and it should be championed with a vengeance.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Mill is particularly concerned that minority opinions should not be silenced just because they are held by very few people. Unfashionable ideas have potential value for the whole of humanity, even if only held by one person: If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“One reason why false and offensive speech is permitted in most liberal democracies is precisely because the best answer to bad speech is good speech, rather than censorship.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Mill sets out several related arguments for protecting freedom of speech, not just from oppressive government intervention, but also from social pressures. Underlying them all are the assumptions that (a) truth is valuable, and (b) no matter how certain someone is that they know the truth, their judgement is still fallible: they might still be wrong.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“If the view is correct, then humanity misses the opportunity to exchange truth for error. If, however, the view is misguided, then we forfeit an opportunity to reinforce truth through its collision with error. Every opinion has value for us either because it is true, or else because, though false, it reinforces the truth and contributes to its emergence.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Anyone who silences someone else because they believe the other person’s opinion is false assumes infallibility. They must be absolutely certain that they are correct on the matter.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“If you only know your own side of a case, then your belief is likely to be inadequate. You need to be able to refute counter-arguments to your position otherwise you aren’t justified in your belief even if it happens to be true.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“If we silence those who utter falsehoods, we run the risk of becoming dogmatic, of believing without understanding, or feeling passionate about the evidence supporting our beliefs. We also run the risk that such false beliefs will be given greater credence by the very fact that they are suppressed rather than openly refuted.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“The idea that religious beliefs but not others should receive special protection is bizarre: all types of belief should be open to scrutiny, criticism, parody, and potentially ridicule in a free society. Indeed,”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“In a civilized society freedom to offend should be protected, but”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“minority opinions should not be silenced just because they are held by very few people. Unfashionable ideas have potential value for the whole of humanity, even if only held by one person: If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“Without free expression humankind may be robbed of ideas that would otherwise have contributed to its development. Preserving freedom of speech maximizes the chance of truth emerging from its collision with error and half-truth. It also reinvigorates the beliefs of those who would otherwise be at risk of holding views as dead dogma.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“The object of this essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is that the sole end for which mankind are warranted individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise or even right.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
“For Mill, the acknowledgment of his or her own fallibility is part of what makes someone a serious thinker. Human knowledge progresses when people recognize that they may be wrong even on issues that seem certain to them. Wisdom involves openness to those who disagree with us. It is only when our ideas have been subjected to criticism and all objections considered—if necessary seeking these objections out—that we have any right to think of our judgement as better than another’s.”
Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction