Hate Speech in Public Discourse

Social Theory and Practice 43 (4):851-883 (2017)
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Abstract

Jeremy Waldron, among others, has forcefully argued that public hate speech assaults the dignity of its targets. Without denying this claim, I contend that it fails to establish that bans, rather than counterspeech, are the appropriate response. By articulating a more refined understanding of counterspeech, I suggest that counterspeech constitutes a better way of blocking hate speech’s dignitarian harm. In turn, I address two objections: according to the first, which draws on contemporary philosophy of language, counterspeech does not block enough hate speech; according to the second, counterspeech blocks too much speech. Although these objections should qualify our optimism regarding counterspeech, I demonstrate that each can be turned, with even greater force, against hate speech bans.

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Maxime C. Lepoutre
University of Reading

Citations of this work

Counterspeech.Bianca Cepollaro, Maxime Lepoutre & Robert Mark Simpson - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 18 (1):e12890.
Bending as Counterspeech.Laura Caponetto & Bianca Cepollaro - 2023 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 26 (4):577-593.
Artistic (Counter) Speech.Daisy Dixon - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (4):409-419.

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