Thursday, June 18, 2015

Two in a row, from Leiter. He's pathological. 
Disability rights activists want philosopher Peter Singer to lose his job...
...since, after all, if your views are offensive, you are not entitled to be employed, right? Peter Singer is, by my lights, a pernicious presence in philosophy, but my lights or the lights of disability activists are irrelevant to whether he should be employed. This is what academic freedom means: academics can hold views that you think are appalling, stupid, worthless. Maybe you are right, and maybe you are not. But the lifeblood of the academy is insulation from such outbursts of indignation. 
This latest outburst doesn't really matter, of course--Singer has weathered worse. But it is symptomatic of something dangerous. 
European Court of Human Rights upholds website owner liability for defamatory user-submitted comments
An important decision, striking a small blow for making cyberspace less of a cesspool than it presently is. See esp. page 44 of the opinion. As is so often the case, American law is an outlier here, providing the maximum protection for defamation and hate speech, including especially in cyberspace.

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