Propositional attitudes, harm and public hate speech situations: towards a maieutic approach

European Journal of Political Theory 20 (4):609-630 (2021)
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In this article, I provide an argument against the idea that public hate-speech events are harmful because they cause a discrete, traceable and harmful change in one’s propositional attitudes. To do so, I identify the essential conceptual architecture of public hate-speech situations, I assess existing arguments for the direct and indirect harm of public hate speech and I propose a novel way to approach public hate-speech situations: a maieutic approach. On this perspective, public hate-speech events do not cause changes in propositional attitudes, but rather, if successful, either such events bring a person’s latent propositional attitudes into clear consciousness, or they play with propositional attitudes speakers and their audience had prior to the public hate-speech situation.

Author's Profile

Corrado Fumagalli
Università degli Studi di Genova


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