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The Limitations of the Open Mind$
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Jeremy Fantl

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198807957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198807957.001.0001

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On Inviting Problematic Speakers to Campus

On Inviting Problematic Speakers to Campus

(p.177) 8 On Inviting Problematic Speakers to Campus
The Limitations of the Open Mind

Jeremy Fantl

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that it is often impermissible to invite problematic speakers to campus. Opponents of campus speech codes often argue that it is important to invite problematic speakers in order to teach students resilience. On the contrary, I argue, if you know that their past or future behavior is both wrong and reflects accurately on their current attitudes or dispositions, it is impermissible to invite them. To do so can require you to stand in solidarity with the problematic speaker and thereby stand against—to betray—those who have been or will be victimized by their speech or behavior. Inviting a speaker to campus comes with obligations to the speaker—obligations of politeness and respect. Because it is impermissible to satisfy those obligations to certain kinds of problematic speakers, it is impermissible to invite them in the first place.

Keywords:   resilience, speech codes, freedom of expression, academia, solidarity

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