The Cunning of Geist

064 - Free Speech & Society: the Internet Age & Hegel

December 17, 2022 Gregory Novak
The Cunning of Geist
064 - Free Speech & Society: the Internet Age & Hegel
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Free speech is of course linked to freedom.  And freedom is the cornerstone of Hegel's philosophy.  

Today free speech is an issue with respect to social media platforms, which are used by literally billions of people over the world.  Yes billions.  And who exactly controls what can be said on these platforms?  Up to now it has been a handful of executives.  And some claim that free speech has been curtailed to a degree favoring the views of these executives.  

Most nation-states have laws that govern the limits of free speech, such as libel, fraud, incitement, and sedition.  Do these laws apply the Internet?  

Hegel had things to say about free speech.  In his Elements of the Philosophy of Right he discusses it, and notes that it is the state that gives freedom to individuals, and if the state is destroyed, so is freedom, including free speech.  But he saw the problems inherent in democracies of competing factions.  And these problems are still being worked out some 200 years later.

This episode explores the issues surrounding free speech from an historical, philosophical, and Hegelian point of view, in light of the new Internet environment. 

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(Cont.) 064 - Free Speech & Society: the Internet Age & Hegel