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Teaching Ethics


published on April 1, 2021

Tuomas Manninen

Reflections on Teaching Philosophy of Censorship

This paper describes a newly-developed course titled Philosophy of Censorship. Developed out of materials covered in an applied ethics course, this course seeks to improve the students’ understanding about the rights to free expression, and the ways in which these rights are—sometimes necessarily—curtailed in the contemporary society. In studying J. S. Mill’s prominent argument for freedom of thought and expression, the course analyzes the argument for its strength and applicability, when it comes to frequently challenged forms of expression, such as pornography and hate speech. Moreover, the course looks into alternative arguments that aim to safeguard individuals’ right to free speech, including non-consequentialist arguments. The course also strives to keep current with contemporary discussions of freedom of expression and censorship.

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