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“Offensiphobia' is a red herring: on the problem of censorship and academic freedom

Citation

Cross, B and Richardson-Self, L, 'Offensiphobia' is a red herring: on the problem of censorship and academic freedom, The Journal of Ethics pp. 1-24. ISSN 1382-4554 (In Press) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10892...

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10892-019-09308-z

Abstract

In a recent article, J. Angelo Corlett criticises what he takes to be the ‘offensiphobic’ practices characteristic of many universities. The ‘offensiphobe’, according to Corlett, believes that offensive speech ought to be censured precisely because it offends. We argue that there are three serious problems with Corlett’s discussion. First, his criticism of ‘offensiphobia’ misrepresents the kinds of censorship practiced by universities; many universities may in some way censure speech which they regard as offensive, but this is seldom if ever a manifestation of ‘offensiphobia’. Second, we attempt to reconstruct Corlett’s criticism of ‘offensiphobia’ as a criticism of the practice of censuring hate speech, and show that this argument is unsuccessful. Third, we offer some brief reflections on how labelling universities as ‘offensiphobic’ is especially problematic in light of the current climate of political interference in university research and teaching.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:hate speech, offense, freedom of speech, academic freedom, censorship, oppression, harm, freedom of expression
Research Division:Studies in Human Society
Research Group:Political Science
Research Field:Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Objective Division:Cultural Understanding
Objective Group:Religion and Ethics
Objective Field:Workplace and Organisational Ethics
UTAS Author:Richardson-Self, L (Dr Louise Richardson-Self)
ID Code:135583
Year Published:In Press
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE190100719)
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-11-04
Last Modified:2019-12-05
Downloads:0

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