Liberty of conscience, freedom of speech

July 23, 2017

A lecture by Dr Teresa Bejan, associate professor of political theory at the University of Oxford, recorded at The Academy 2017.

Today, many take for granted that the familiar slate of individual rights and liberties—of religion, speech, and association—belonging to citizens of modern liberal democracies go hand-in-hand.  And indeed, since John Stuart Mill, many liberals have assumed that the freedom of speech, in particular, is logically and historically inseparable from the liberty of conscience, the so-called ‘first freedom’ of early modernity from which all other modern liberties developed.  In this lecture, Teresa Bejan challenges this assumption and shows that the connection between the liberty of conscience and freedom of speech is more tenuous, both historically and philosophically, then we might assume—or hope.

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