Free Speech and Moral Harm | Newberry

Free Speech and Moral Harm

Friday, December 4, 2015

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Led by Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern University
Full, wait list available
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

“If we accept the unprovable assumption that a complete education requires the reading of certain books, and the well nigh universal belief that good books, plays, and art lift the spirit, improve the mind, enrich the human personality, and develop character,” the Supreme Court declared in 1973, then a legislature reasonably can assume that some other books “have a tendency to exert a corrupting and debasing impact leading to antisocial behavior.” We will take this notion of moral harm seriously, and consider why free speech might reasonably extend its protection to speech that is worthless and harmful. Issues that will be considered will include, not only First Amendment law, but the related question of what happens when we read texts, and the importance for the ideal of free speech of critical reading skills.

Note: Due to popular demand, an additional session of this seminar has been scheduled.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Teachers’ Consortium members may register for this seminar through their designated membership contact as space permits. Non-member educators may register for this seminar by purchasing an individual membership at the time of registration. Registration for all NTC seminars opens Wednesday, September 2, 2015. For more information about NTC membership, please contact Charlotte Ross, Teacher Programs Manager, at

The seminar will be followed by a catered lunch. Registrants should RSVP for lunch to assist Teacher Programs staff in reducing waste.

A link to the assigned pre-readings for this seminar will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff.

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