This day school explores the many complicated and sometimes emotive issues surrounding free speech. Almost everyone believes that there should be some restrictions on free speech. But where exactly should we draw the line?
There is increasing pressure across social media to silence certain voices. Is this unjustified censorship, or reasonable restrictions to protect vulnerable groups and individuals? Are universities and other institutions justified in ‘no-platforming’ certain speakers, and if so, when? Does causing deep offence to religious people justify placing legal limits on what can be said about their beliefs? Are accusations of, for example, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and transphobia being weaponised in order to shut down important debates? If someone feels that they are a victim of prejudice, does that guarantee that they are? Under what circumstances is someone guilty of ‘hate speech’, and what legal or other restrictions should be placed on such speech?
We will be unpacking and examining the philosophical and political arguments on either side.