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Conceptual Issues in Prohibiting "Hate Speech"

Dwight D Murphey

Published: 2003/03/01

Abstract

"Hate speech," variously defined, is now prohibited in several countries and - despite the U.S. Supreme Court's sweeping support for free speech - is the subject of campus speech codes on many American university campuses. The author is among those who see the prohibition as a threat to serious scholarship in particular and freedom of speech in general. Unless "hate speech" is defined narrowly as virtually equivalent to what the U.S. Supreme Court calls "fighting words," he maintains, it is a concept that is in a number of ways profoundly flawed.