The Social Character of Freedom of Expression

Richard Moon

Abstract


Freedom of expression protects the individual’s freedom to communicate with others. The right of the individual is to participate in an activity that is deeply social in character.  The value of freedom of expression rests on the social nature of individuals and the constitutive character of public discourse. This understanding of the freedom, however, has been inhibited by the individualism that dominates contemporary thinking about rights—its assumptions about the pre-social individual and the instrumental value of community life. While the social character of human agency is seldom mentioned in the different accounts of the freedom’s value, it is the unstated premise of each. Once we recognize that individual agency and identity emerge in the social relationship of communication, the traditional split between intrinsic and instrumental accounts (and between speaker and listener -based accounts) of the value of freedom of expression dissolves. 


Keywords


Freedom of Expression

Full Text:

HTML PDF




Copyright (c) 2009 Richard Moon

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Amsterdam Law Forum - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by the VU University Library.