Speech Regulation and the Marketplace of Ideas

Alvin I. Goldman

in Knowledge in a Social World

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238201
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597527 | DOI:
 Speech Regulation and the Marketplace of Ideas

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A classical rationale for the freedom of speech, traceable to John Milton and John Stuart Mill, is the argument that truth will emerge in an open marketplace of ideas. Given an economic twist, it is claimed that the competitive market for speech will maximize truth just as competitive markets in other goods are best in economic terms. If government does not interfere with this market, knowledge will be maximized. Is economic theory sustaining this argument? No, this chapter traces the reasons why no such simple formula for the (non‐) regulation of speech is implied by economic theory, especially when market failures are taken into account.

Keywords: free speech; marketplace of ideas; John Stuart Mill; John Milton; speech regulation

Chapter.  14065 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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