The Collapse of Freedom of Expression
Reconstructing the Ancient Roots of Modern Liberty
394 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268203962 | February 2023
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268203955 | February 2023
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268203986 | February 2023
This book offers a holistic account of the problems posed by freedom of expression in our current times and offers corrective measures to allow for a more genuine exchange of ideas within the global society.
The topic of free speech is rarely addressed from a historical, philosophical, or theological perspective. In The Collapse of Freedom of Expression, Jordi Pujol explores both the modern concept of the freedom of expression based on the European Enlightenment and the deficiencies inherent in this framework. Modernity has disregarded the traditional roots of the freedom of expression drawn from Christianity, Greek philosophy, and Roman law, which has left the door open to the various forms of abuse, censorship, and restrictions seen in contemporary public discourse. Pujol proposes that we rebuild the foundations of the freedom of expression by returning to older traditions and incorporating both the field of pragmatics of language and theological and ethical concepts on human intentionality as new, complementary disciplines.
Pujol examines emblematic cases such as Charlie Hebdo, free speech on campus, and online content moderation to elaborate on the tensions that arise within the modern concept of freedom of expression. The book explores the main criticisms of the contemporary liberal tradition by communitarians, libertarians, feminists, and critical race theorists, and analyzes the gaps and contradictions within these traditions. Pujol ultimately offers a reconstruction project that involves bridging the chasm between the secular and the sacred and recognizing that religion is a font of meaning for millions of people, and as such has an inescapable place in the construction of a pluralist public sphere.
Jordi Pujol is an associate professor of media ethics and media law at the School of Church Communications in the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome.
John Durham Peters is the Maria Rosa Menocal Professor of English and of Film and Media Studies at Yale University.
“Freedom of speech is under siege today. Unless we relearn its foundations, there is a serious risk that we will lose it. Jordi Pujol reminds us of these foundations and their crucial role in rehabilitating free speech in an age of official and unofficial censorship.” —Samuel Gregg, author of Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization
“Firmly rooted in venerable, even ancient, schools of philosophical and moral thought, The Collapse of Freedom of Expression looks to the future without nostalgia for what is irrevocably in the past. Jordi Pujol is fully open to the unprecedented newness of the historical and social context in which we find ourselves but remains confident that addressing these developments requires a renewal of foundational questions and principles. His book is well worth the attention of all of us who care about the past and the future of freedom of expression, and about the fundamental human goods that it aims to secure." —Paolo Carozza, co-editor of The Practice of Human Development and Dignity