Religion, hate speech, and non-domination

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In this paper, I argue that one way of explaining what is wrong with hate speech is by critically assessing what kind of freedom free speech involves and, relatedly, what kind of freedom hate speech undermines. More specifically, I argue that the main arguments for freedom of speech (e.g. from truth, autonomy and democracy) rely on a ‘positive’ conception of freedom intended as autonomy and self-mastery or as collective self-government, and can only partially help us to understand what is wrong with hate speech. In order to fully grasp the wrongness of hate speech and to justify hate speech legislation, I claim, we need to rely instead on the republican idea of freedom as ‘non-domination’. I conclude that the hate speech used by religious citizens, even though it is a manifestation of their religious freedom, should be subject to the same restrictions that apply to other citizens’ hate speech, because republicans should be concerned with the undominated (i.e. robustly secured) religious freedom of all religious citizens and, more generally, with the undominated freedoms of all citizens, including those who are victims of religious hate speech.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259–274
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Free speech
  • hate speech
  • non-domination
  • republicanism

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