No Platforming

In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Academic Freedom. Oxford University Press. pp. 186-209 (2018)
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Abstract

This paper explains how the practice of ‘no platforming’ can be reconciled with a liberal politics. While opponents say that no platforming flouts ideals of open public discourse, and defenders see it as a justifiable harm-prevention measure, both sides mistakenly treat the debate like a run-of-the-mill free speech conflict, rather than an issue of academic freedom specifically. Content-based restrictions on speech in universities are ubiquitous. And this is no affront to a liberal conception of academic freedom, whose purpose isn’t just to protect the speech of academics, but also to give them the prerogative to determine which views and speakers have sufficient disciplinary credentials to receive a hearing in academic contexts. No platforming should therefore be acceptable to liberals, in principle, in cases where it is used to support a university culture that maintains rigorous disciplinary standards, by denying attention and credibility to speakers without appropriate disciplinary credentials.

Author Profiles

Robert Mark Simpson
University College London
Amia Srinivasan
Oxford University

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