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While the term free speech is generally easily defined based on the deconstruction of the two words that make up the term, free speech is actually a multilayered “right” that warrants considerable discussion. This entry focuses on the classification of free speech as a right, the philosophical defense of it, and a justification for limiting it. It is relevant to this encyclopedia because one’s right to privacy and a government’s interest in security in some cases justify limiting the exercise of free speech.

Right of Free Speech

The justification for the right of free speech consists of two values that it is deemed to promote. One is the cognitive value of truth: Free speech is indispensable in the quest for truth. A second is the political value ...

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