Philosophy 324, Fall 2018
Argue for a position on the scope of free speech – what is the justification for the
right to free speech, and how expansive should this right be?
Apply your position to at least one of the cases we’ve discussed related to hate
speech (Collin v Smith, R.A.V. v City of St Paul) – should the court’s ruling be
changed, in light of your position on free speech? Why or why not?
The primary goal of your paper is to provide convincing answers to the prompt above.
With that said, a good paper requires more than convincing answers; it will include
exposition that provides background for the reader and makes the structure of paper
clear. In particular, your papers should do the following three things (in addition to
providing convincing answers!):
1) Include a brief introduction, where you explain what you’ll do in the paper. Be
sure to state the thesis that you’ll argue for (for example, “In this paper I argue
that Mill’s position on the scope of free speech is superior to those of Meiklejohn,
Redish, and Emerson”).
2) The prompt requires you to argue for your preferred position on the scope of
free speech. Before you argue for your preferred position, you must explain each
of the four positions on the scope of free speech that we’ve covered in class
(Mill, Meiklejohn, Redish, Emerson). In particular, this requires that you
a. Explain how the law can limit speech
b. Compare and contrast each position; for instance, what value(s) is the
freedom of speech meant to serve, according to each author?
3) The prompt requires you to apply your preferred position on the scope of free
speech to one of the cases we’ve covered related to hate speech. Before you
apply your position to one of the cases we’ve discussed, you should briefly
describe (1) the nature of hate speech and (2) some details of the case you will
consider. In particular, this requires that you
a. Explain what hate speech is, and what it is not (for instance, speech that
merely makes someone angry is not hate speech). You are not required to
discuss Waldron’s view on hate speech here, but if it helps you make the
discussion clearer, then you are welcome to do so.
b. Summarize the facts of the case you will consider
c. Explain the court’s ruling in that case
Just as before, there are not strict formatting requirements for the essay, nor is there a
particular citation style required. Nevertheless, citations of some style are required (both intext,
and a bibliography), and you must be consistent with whatever citation style you
choose. A good rule of thumb for in-text citation is to provide the author’s last name
and the page number of the relevant quotation.