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Defining 'Speech': Subtraction, Addition, and Division

Simpson, RM; (2016) Defining 'Speech': Subtraction, Addition, and Division. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence , 29 (2) pp. 457-494. 10.1017/cjlj.2016.20. Green open access

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Abstract

In free speech theory 'speech' has to be defined as a special term of art. I argue that much free speech discourse comes with a tacit commitment to a 'Subtractive Approach' to defining speech. As an initial default, all communicative acts are assumed to qualify as speech, before exceptions are made to 'subtract' those acts that don't warrant the special legal protections owed to 'speech'. I examine how different versions of the Subtractive Approach operate, and criticize them in terms of their ability to yield a substantive definition of speech which covers all and only those forms of communicative action that-so our arguments for free speech indicate-really do merit special legal protection. In exploring alternative definitional approaches, I argue that what ultimately compromises definitional adequacy in this arena is a theoretical commitment to the significance of a single unified class of privileged communicative acts. I then propose an approach to free speech theory that eschews this theoretical commitment.

Type: Article
Title: Defining 'Speech': Subtraction, Addition, and Division
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/cjlj.2016.20
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1017/cjlj.2016.20
Language: English
Additional information: © Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 2016. This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10042902
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