Expression as Realization: Speakers' Interests in Freedom of Speech

Law and Philosophy 30 (5):517-539 (2011)
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I argue for the recognition of a particular kind of interest that one has in freedom of expression: an interest served by expressive activity in forming and discovering one’s own beliefs, desires, and commitments. In articulating that interest, I aim to contribute to a family of theories of freedom of expression that find its justification in the interests that speakers have in their own speech or thought, to be distinguished from whatever interests they may also have as audiences or third parties for speech. Although there are many differences among such speaker-centered theories, a core commitment that most share is that expressive liberty plays a fundamental role in securing or constituting some form of individual self-realization. My account is a defense and elaboration of what I take to be one specific way in which the nature of such self-realization should be understood. In my proposal, self-realization is sometimes internally related to the very activity of expression, viz, expressing ourselves is one way in which we come to form and know our own minds.

Author's Profile

Jonathan Gilmore
CUNY Graduate Center


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