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Kent Greenawalt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756162.001.0001

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Insults and Epithets

Insults and Epithets

Are They Protected Speech?*

(p.387) Chapter 19 Insults and Epithets
From the Bottom Up

Kent Greenawalt

Oxford University Press

“Insults and Epithets: Are They Protected Speech?”, addresses the troublesome issues of how far people should be protected when what they say is either intended or highly likely to cause harm to others. This is a particular kind of speech for which the United States provides more protection than other liberal democracies. The essay first outlines the reasons why free speech should be protected and then considers concerns about harm, such as violent responses, wounding the feelings of listeners, and encouraging antagonism toward unpopular groups. Given these concerns, people can reasonably disagree about just how far such speech should be protected.

Keywords:   Insults, Epithets, Violent Responses, Wounded Feelings, Encouraging Antagonism

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