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Western University
Philosophy 1305F/G
Dean Proessel

Philosophy March 25 Freedom of Speech: John Stuart Mill- On Liberty, page 494  Limits of freedom- privacy, equality  In political philosophy, debate on whether it even makes sense that humans have freedom of speech  No “absolute” sense of freedom  Even having a conversation with another human being requires constraints on freedom  Human beings limit their freedom somewhat in regular dialogue, give the other person an option to say something  Nobody is infallible or in possession of full truth all of the time  Even if we are in possession of truth, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t find ourselves in collision with views contrary to what we believe  Mill: it is always good to find yourself confronted with someone whether their views are true or false The Harm Principle  There are limits on freedom  How do we determine what those limits should be?  Or should there be none?  The harm principle constitutes the limit on freedom  What kinds of speech are harmful?  Do you have the right to say things that offend others? Harm and Pornography  Consenting adults  Children*  Children are arguably harmed by pornography  Should not have pornography that children are able to view or involve children Paternalism  Laws against child pornography  It is illegal  Trying to protect children  Social conservatives  Want to make the case that the state paternalistically should legislate to protect adults from pornography as well 
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