PoliSci Tutorial Questions Warburton Free Speech.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

Nigel Warburton, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 Chapter 1: Free Speech 1. Warburton mentions the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms relevant in this context?  A portion of the charter states that free speech is a right that every Canadian has and that that liberty will never be restricted  Essentially says the same thing as the first amendment 2. What are the two main questions addressed in this book?  What is the value of free speech?  What limits should we set to free speech? 3. What is the link between free speech and democracy?  Government without free speech would not be legitimate and should not be called ‘democratic’  Laws and policies are not legitimate unless they have been adopted through a democratic process, and a process is not democratic unless if government has prevented anyone from expressing about what those laws and policies should be 4. What counts as speech?  It can be anything expressing an idea  Includes not only the spoken word  Any expression such as writings, plays, cartoons, films, paintings, photos 5. Describe the distinction between negative freedom and positive freedom.  Negative freedom is the absence of constraint – free to do whatever you want in a negative sense  Positive freedom is the freedom actually to achieve what you want to do 6. What does Herbert Marcuse mean by “repressive tolerance”?  Lack of censorship does not mean that freedom will be exercised in any worthwhile way  In societies where the media is controlled free speech can be used as a way of censorship  The censorship of ‘regressive movements’ is intolerance in the name of tolerance 7. When should speech be limitedh?  There must be limits on free speech  One should not be able to slander others, mislead consumers with false advertising, release state secrets, child porn ect.  Copyright infringement, major intrusion in ones life, 8. Give examples of Warburton’s two types of argument -- instrumental and moral -- for free speech.  Instrumental arguments for free speech claim that it provides tangible benefits of some kind  Moral arguments claim that you are restricting what it is to be human, a restriction on someone’s dignity 9. What are the main facts in the two examples Warburton discusses (the Satanic Verses and the Danish cartoons)? Why does he describe these two cases?  A western publication offending Muslims  These two cases are extremes of when a publisher pushes the limits on free speech, goes into the grey zone of religion Chapter 2: A Free Market in Ideas? 1. What is the “harm principle” and on what grounds does Mill defend it?  That individuals should have the freedom to do whatever they want right up until they harm another person in the process  Mills justification is the belief that preserving individual freedoms are paramount and by tolerating diversity society would maximize happiness  This creates the best consequences, not the least 2. Briefly summarize the Millian arguments identified by Warburton: the infallibility argument, the dead dogma argument, and the partly true argument.  The infallibility argument is when one completely discounts someone else’s argument because they are completely certain they are correct. When one does this they assume a position of
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