Communication and Collective Goods - Jeremy Waldron: The Harm in Hate Speech

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This lecture on the harm in hate speech was recorded in February 2024. The lecture was designed for students and faculty in the First-Year Studies program. This program, a multidisciplinary introduction to liberal learning, has been a cornerstone of the Lawrence curriculum since 1945.

The lecturer, Mark Phelan, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Lawrence. Professor Phelan joined the Lawrence faculty in 2011. In his lecture Professor Phelan discusses Jeremy Waldron’s book The Harm in Hate Speech. This is a book that provides a philosophical and legal framework for understanding the contemporary question of hate speech. One of the goals of a liberal arts education is to gain facility entering into close written argumentation about contemporary issues, and this work is a model of argument building. It also marks a turn in our approach to thinking about community. In this book, we examine a direct threat to any ideal community, and consider how words sometimes act more like bricks than as reasoned statements.