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Fridays, September 29 - October 20, 2017
Zephyr Institute

What is Free Speech?

A seminar on free speech with Dr. Molly Oshatz
What is Free Speech?

Time & Location

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


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.



John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

Chapter 2, “On The Liberty of Thought and Discussion," pages 18-34, 49-52



Catharine MacKinnon, Only Words (Harvard University Press, 1993)

Chapter 3, “Equality and Speech,” pages 70-110



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



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 

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Who Should Apply?

Required Information

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Senior Fellow & Director of High School Programs

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