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Philosophy for Lunch (on Zoom) - September 17, 2020 – “Conspiracy Theories vs. Free Speech”

September 17, 2020, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location To receive the Zoom link, simply email <> (Get the link automatically each week by joining the e-list.)
SponsorDepartment of PhilosophyCostFreeMore Informationhttps:/‌/‌‌P4LPosted InCollege of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Encouraging free speech is supposed to help us arrive at the truth. The philosopher John Stuart Mill was a prominent defender of free speech who believed that we must support the airing of even false opinions. His reasoning is that an open consideration of false opinions gives us “the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error” (On Liberty, chpt 2). But what about conspiracy theories? Are conspiracy theories simply false opinions that we should welcome into our public discourse? Maybe not. In his 2018 book, How Fascism Works, the philosopher Jason Stanley argues that conspiracy theories can “undermine the basic background set of presuppositions about the world” (chpt 4). His concern is that conspiracy theories can break-down the shared conception of reality which is required for open dialogue to yield positive results. Join us at this P4L to read and discuss passages by Mill and Stanley. (Image: Arsh Raziuddin)

• Where?
P4L is now a virtual event on Zoom. To receive the Zoom link, simply email  <

• When?
11:30AM EST–12:30PM—every Thursday. We will open the meetings at 11:15AM—come early!

• Join the E-List
If you would like to be added to the P4L e-list, please email <> You will automatically receive the Zoom link for each session.

• What is P4L?
Students, professors, and other philosophy enthusiasts close-read and discuss a few great passages of philosophy.

• Who’s invited?
No preparation or previous knowledge of philosophy is needed. Everyone is welcome!

• Should I bring anything?
Bring a beverage, and if you’re hungry, bring your actual lunch.