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Zephyr Institute, Inc.

560 College Ave

Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA

(650) 667-1160 |

© 2014-2019 by Zephyr Institute, Inc. 

All Rights Reserved

Fridays, September 29 - October 20, 2017
Zephyr Institute

What is Free Speech?

Four sessions on free speech with Molly Oshatz, Ph.D.

Time & Location

Fridays, September 29 - October 20, 2017
Zephyr Institute
560 College Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA


What is Free Speech? 

Free speech has become the campus issue of our day. In the 1960s, student radicals protested to gain free speech; today, student radicals on various campuses protest—often violently—to shut down speech on political grounds. How is it that free speech has become so controversial? Is it worth defending? Are there valid limits to free speech, and if so, what are they? Is free speech essential to the purpose of the university? With readings from John Stuart Mill, Catherine MacKinnon, Stanley Fish, and John Henry Newman, this seminar will explore the meaning, value, and purpose of free speech, particularly for the university.


Molly Oshatz, Ph.D.

First Principles Program Director

Event Details

Session 1: Friday, September 29th, 2017

Session 2: Friday, October 6th, 2017

Session 3: Friday, October 13th, 2017

Session 4: Friday, October 20th, 2017



5:30-7:00 PM. Dinner included.


The Zephyr Institute

560 College Avenue

Palo Alto, CA 94127


First Week's Reading 9/29/2017

J.S. Mill, On Liberty, chapter 2, “On The Liberty of Thought and Discussion," pages 18-34, 49-52,%20On%20Liberty.pdf


Second Week's Reading, 10/6/2017:

Catharine MacKinnon, Only Words (Harvard University Press, 1993). Chapter 3, “Equality and Speech,” pages 70-110.


Third Week's Reading, 10/13/2017:

Stanley Fish, There is No Such Thing as Free Speech and It’s a Good Thing, Too (Oxford University Press, 1994). Chapter 8, pages 102-119


Fourth Week's Reading, 10/20/2017:

John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University (1852). Discourse V, “Knowledge Its Own End,” sections 1, 2, 4, 6, 9; Discourse VI, “Knowledge Viewed in Relation to Learning,” sections 5, 6; Discourse VII, “Knowledge Viewed in Relation to Professional Skill,” sections 1, 2, 5, 6.




First Principles Program Director & Senior Fellow

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