Ethics Lecture Series - Mary Kate McGowan

Monday, February 19, 2018
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type
Academic Featured Event
Dr. Lara Denis
Philosophy Department

“Racist Speech in Public Places: A Case for Regulation”

Mary Kate McGowan, Professor of Philosophy, Wellesley College
Monday, February 19, 7 p.m., Evans Hall, Terrace Level, Rooms A, B, C

Racist speech is currently protected under U.S. law. As the courts see it, such utterances are exercises of the speaker's right to free speech; they express an opinion about an issue of public concern and are therefore political expression and thus highly protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. According to the standard liberal defense of such speech, any associated harms are merely the price we pay for freedom of expression. In this talk, Professor McGowan argues that, even within the strict speech protections of the U.S. context, a compelling case can be made for the regulation of some racist speech in public spaces.
Mary Kate McGowan is the Margaret Clapp '30 Distinguished Alumna Professor of Philosophy at Wellesley College. She works at the intersection of the philosophy of language, feminism, and the philosophy of law. Her work focuses on the philo-sophical foundations of free speech, speech act theory, silencing, and the various connections between speech and harm.

The Ethics Program gratefully acknowledges the James T. and Ella Rather Kirk Fund for its support of the Ethics Lecture Series. All events in the series are free and open to the public. The final event in the series is April 16, 7 p.m., Samantha Harris (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), "Freedom of Speech on Campus and Beyond."
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Ethics Lecture Series - Mary Kate McGowan

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