Free Speech
Free Speech

Freedom of speech is never very far away from political controversy. In recent years, the rise of populism, the ‘cancel culture’ phenomenon, and online hate attacks are among the developments that have kept it at the forefront of both public and academic discussion.

In this new introduction to the subject, Matteo Bonotti and Jonathan Seglow offer an accessible analysis of debates around freedom of speech. They introduce and critically examine three major philosophical arguments for freedom of speech that are based on the values of truth, autonomy, and democracy. They apply these arguments to issues including hate speech, offensive speech, and pornography, and also tackle pressing current issues such as ‘fake news’ and public shaming.

This book will be essential for anyone wishing to understand the contemporary significance and philosophical roots of free speech, and how it relates to debates about democracy, feminism and multiculturalism.

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  • July 2021
  • 180 pages
  • 140 x 214 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $59.95
  • 9781509526444
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509526451
  • Open eBook $48.00
  • 9781509526482
Table of Contents

1. Theories of Free Speech

2. Hate speech

3. Holocaust denial

4. Offensive speech

5. Pornography

6. Contemporary Challenges




About the Author
Matteo Bonotti is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Monash University.
Jonathan Seglow is Reader in Political Theory at Royal Holloway, University of London.
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‘Where libertarians see restrictions on politically pernicious speech as a betrayal of liberalism, Bonotti and Seglow demonstrate – clearly, methodically, fair-mindedly – how such restrictions can actually be motivated by a liberal political morality.’
Robert Simpson, University College, London

Free Speech applies the traditional justifications for free speech to hate speech, Holocaust denial, offensive speech, and pornography.  It does not come down on one side or the other on these issues, [but] it does offer a framework for constructively thinking through them.’
Mary Kate McGowan, Wellesley College

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