Freedom of Speech and Religion

Andrew Altman

in The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284238
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Freedom of Speech and Religion

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Freedom of speech and religion are among the central values of modern constitutional democracies. Efforts to understand what these freedoms mean and why they are important, and to translate them into enduring institutional arrangements, constitute a major part of the history of such democracies. As the twenty-first century begins, the political and theoretical debates over these values are not the same as they were in the past. Although centuries of philosophical controversy and institutional experimentation have settled some issues, others have been raised, with some surprising twists. Constitutional democracies rest on the principle that all citizens are to be treated as free and equal persons under the law. The principle is the settled starting point for all reasonable debate about freedom of speech and religion, and it entails that the law must secure for each citizen an equal and extensive scheme of basic liberties, including the liberties of speech and religion.

Keywords: freedom of speech; freedom of religion; constitutional democracies; institutional experimentation; theoretical debates; liberties

Article.  13007 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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