Course overview

Free Speech is used to criticise 'cancel culture' and harmful consequences of opinions are used to justify restricting free expression. Debates around free speech can get heated, especially online. Views about the role of women and peoples' right to political self-determination are examples of contested issues. This course is an opportunity to reflect and to examine the power of what we say (or communicate in other ways). Using philosophical ideas, we will consider the meaning, importance and limits of the freedom to speak your mind and the responsibilities we have in relation to this freedom.

Course description

This course uses philosophical ideas to examine language, power, freedom and responsibility. This course will cover:

1. What 'freedom of speech' means, why it is considered important and arguments for and against limiting it ( JS Mill and current approaches).

2. Language as a system of pre-existing meanings

3. Consequences of words

4. Language and power relations (for examples in the ideas of M Fricker)

5. Speaking, intention and responsibility, both individual and collective; unintended consequences (using ethical theories including J Habermas)

6. Arguments for and against prohibiting certain words, phrases or symbols.

A related course on the wider topic of tolerance and its limits will be offered after Easter

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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