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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E thics, political philosophy The inspection and restriction of the contents of publications, films, and performances by a religious or government office or some other body. There are generally two kinds of censorship. The first examines works for illegitimate or immoral contents, such as hard-core pornography ; the other concerns political and ideological content and seeks to prohibit or alter what is offensive to the government or other censoring body. Liberalism especially condemns political censorship on the grounds that such a practice violates the basic right of free speech. This gives rise to the problem of how and to what extent free speech must be protected. The prior restraint of publication or performance is considered more difficult to justify than providing penalties afterwards, but there is also the possibility that afterwards penalties will contribute to self-censorship. In some circumstances, such as wartime, there is a greater tolerance of censorship than in ordinary times. “If we recognise the general value of free expression, therefore, we should accept a presumption against censorship or prohibition of any activity when that activity even arguably expresses a conviction about how people should live or feel, or opposes established or popular convictions.” Dworkin, A Matter of Principle ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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