This page features a collection of the best resources on free speech. To get started, simply choose the type of resource that best suits your learning style.
If you want a comprehensive overview of the idea of free speech:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Freedom of Speech. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 11,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of free speech:
“The topic of free speech is one of the most contentious issues in liberal societies. If liberty of expression is not highly valued, as has often been the case, there is no problem; freedom of expression is simply curtailed in favor of other values. It becomes a volatile issue when it is highly valued because only then do the limitations placed upon it become controversial. The first thing to note in any sensible discussion of freedom of speech is that it will have to be limited. Every society places some limits on the exercise of speech because it always takes place within a context of competing values…”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
If you’d like to read a short passage from a classic work of philosophy:
- Read The Harm of Silencing Minority Opinions: A short reading from ‘On Liberty’ by John Stuart Mill [2200 words]
The Daily Idea collects and organizes the best philosophy resources from across the internet to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible. You can find an organized collection of introductory readings and free philosophy resources here. Or get started below by signing up for a free philosophy quote delivered to your inbox each day!