Spinoza and ‘no platforming’: Enlightenment thinker would have seen it as motivated by ambition rather than fear

Press/Media: Articles in 'The Conversation'

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The recent “no-platforming” of social historian Selina Todd and former Conservative MP Amber Rudd has reignited the debate about protecting free speech in universities. Both had their invited lectures cancelled at the last minute on the grounds of previous public statements with which the organisers disagreed.

Many people have interpreted these acts as hostile behaviour aimed at silencing certain views. But is this primarily about free speech?

The debate about no-platforming and “cancel culture” has largely revolved around free speech and the question of whether it is ever right to deny it. The suggestion is that those who cancel such events want to deny the freedom of speech of individuals who they take to be objectionable.

Period11 Mar 2020

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