SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Hate speech: between regulation and counterspeech
(Ethics, English)

The aim of this paper is to identify the proper countermeasure to curb hate speech. The literature proposes two opposing solutions to do this. Specifically, some scholars propose coercive measures, such as regulation, while others propose to respond with so-called "more speech", such as counterspeech, a non-coercive tool that consists of responding directly to hate speech by attempting to delegitimize it. However, both of these countermeasures, when attempting to curb hate speech, individually face several problems and prove to be an ineffective response. On one hand, counterspeech addresses problems in the immediate term, such as radicalization of hate and reinforcement of erroneous beliefs through backfire effect, failure to recognize authority, and social pressure. On the other, regulation is effective in the present but not sufficient in the long term, because hate returns in new forms, with new haters and new target groups. Therefore, neither coercive measures nor non-coercive are sufficient individually. For this reason, I propose to unify regulation and counterspeech. This combined model may be a more effective and satisfactory solution. Regulation is the best solution to curb hate speech in the immediate term. While counterspeech represents the best solution to do so in the long run, preventing future demands and promoting a climate open to pluralism and tolerance. Therefore, unifying these two measures represents a promising strategy to curb hate speech definitively, avoiding running into all the undesirable effects and issues that individual strategies encounter. To substantiate my argument, firstly, I emphasize the strengths of regulation in the immediate term, and I prove that we should allow and justify restrictions to free speech when the speech is hate speech. Secondly, I point out the importance of the role of counterspeech in order to defuse the climate of hate and to reduce the demands of hate speeches.

Chair: Felix Danowski
Time: 15:20-15:50, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005

Linda Priano 
(University of Milan, Italy)

Testability and Meaning deco