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Module 3: Anger: Hate Speech and Fighting Words




In this module we will examine the boundaries of free speech and then focus on the issue of hate speech, which is said to be motivated by the vice of anger. One of the key concepts will be what constitutes "fighting words" as this determination is at the center of several Supreme Court cases. Given the nature of this topic the readings will draw heavily from Supreme Court decisions which are not always written in "easy to read" language. These cases should be read with an eye on a general grasp of the issues in the case and not for a complete understanding of what the Justices are arguing. We begin by looking at the importance of free speech as argued by John Stuart Mill.