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Intellectual Freedom and Libraries: The Public Sphere and Theories of Intellectual Freedom

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Characterizations of Intellectual Freedom. IF Skeptics. Quiz #2. What is ... Some aspects of intellectual freedom may involve welfare rights (e.g., right to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Intellectual Freedom and Libraries: The Public Sphere and Theories of Intellectual Freedom


1
Intellectual Freedom and Libraries The Public
Sphere and Theories of Intellectual Freedom
2
Review and Overview
  • Review First Amendment, Limits, and ALA
  • Questions?
  • Overview
  • Ethical Theory
  • Characterizations of Intellectual Freedom
  • IF Skeptics

3
Quiz 2
  • What is the public sphere?
  • Explain the harm principle and the offense
    principle. Use an example to illustrate the
    difference.
  • What is the collectivist theory of free speech?
  • What does Fish mean when he says There is no
    such thing as free speech?
  • What does Marcuse mean by repressive tolerance?
    Give an example.

4
Ethical Theory
  • Utilitarianism and Rights Theory
  • Utilitarianism Weigh harms against benefits.
    Pick whatever has greater benefits over harms.
  • Rights Theory Do what respects the rights of
    those involved. Weighing of harms and benefits is
    inappropriate when someones rights are at stake.

5
Types of Rights
  • All rights impose duties on others.
  • Liberty Rights Freedoms from interference by the
    government. Free speech is understood as a
    liberty right--the government has a duty to
    refrain from interfering with my right to speak,
    write, publish, etc.
  • Welfare Rights Duty of the government to supply
    some good. Some aspects of intellectual freedom
    may involve welfare rights (e.g., right to
    publicly funded libraries).

6
Sources of Rights
  • Choice Theories A right is a protected choice.
    We are free beings capable of making our own
    decisions and should not be interfered with
    (e.g., who to marry, whether and how to worship).
  • Interest Theories A right is a protected
    interest. We are human beings with fundamental
    needs that should be respected (e.g., education,
    basic physical safety).

7
Right to Intellectual Freedom
  • What is intellectual freedom?
  • What is it freedom to do (liberty)?
  • What is it a right to be provided with (welfare)?

8
Features of IF
  • A right to communicate.
  • A right to not receive communication.
  • A right to seek out communications (and other
    information?).
  • Importance of Interpretation by the receiver I
    may not receive the message you want to send via
    your communication.
  • There is no one fixed meaning attached to an
    act of communication.

9
Why is IF so important?
  • Why should I be free to do these things,
    especially if there might be some inconvenience,
    cost, etc. to others?

10
Autonomy Argument
  • Information itself is morally neutral but, in
    the context of guided inquiry, it supports the
    development of personal autonomy and personal
    agency (Pierce and Alfino, 2001, 481).
  • Auto (self) Nomos (law or rule) to be autonomous
    is to be capable of ruling yourself. It is
    contrasted with heteronomy or being ruled by
    another.
  • In order to rule myself I must be able to (1)
    express my interests and concerns, (2) form my
    own plans, (3) have the basic information needed
    to carry out my plans.

11
Collectivist Argument
  • Marketplace of Ideas
  • J.S. Mill If we suppress speech we may suppress
    the truth, or we will fail to understand our
    reasons for our beliefs.
  • Ultimately this will also enhance autonomy by
    providing a broad range of ideas and experiments
    in living.
  • Democracy Argument--Public Sphere
  • Must have full access to information needed to
    make choices as a democratic citizen.
  • Our society depends on the ability of the public
    to discuss, communicate, and form a shared
    perspective.
  • Promotes our capacity to share in the formation
    of laws, policies, etc.

12
Balancing?
  • Arguments v. balancing IF against other
    interests.
  • Slippery Slope Once we start trading off IF
    agaisnt other goods, where will we stop?
  • MaximalismIF is so important that no other
    interest can ever be more important.
  • Minimalism Speech itself never causes harm, so
    it is simply pointless to suppress it. (Books
    dont kill people, people kill people.)
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