In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor

James R. Flynn
University of Otago, New Zealand

Product Details
16 Sep 2019
Emerald Publishing Limited
290 pages - 138 x 216mm


The good university is one that teaches students the intellectual skills they need to be intelligently critical - of their own beliefs and of the narratives presented by politicians and the media. Freedom to debate is essential to the development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is restricted for fear of causing offence. 
In Defense of Free Speech surveys the underlying factors that circumscribe the ideas tolerated in our institutions of learning. James Flynn critically examines the way universities censor their teaching, how student activism tends to censor the opposing side and how academics censor themselves, and suggests that few, if any, universities can truly be seen as 'good'.  
In an age marred by fake news and social and political polarization, In Defense of Free Speech makes an impassioned argument for a return to critical thought.
1. Introduction 
Part 1: Knowledge and right opinion 
2. John Stuart Mill and the mission of the university 
3. Middlebury and my mind 
Part 2: What others do to academics 
4. Era of conservative oppression 
5. The transition 
6. Era of radical oppression 
7. The struggle for control 
8. Chicago and Yale and Harvard 
Part 3: What academics do to themselves 
9. Black Studies 1
10. Women's Studies 
11. The Walden Codes 
Part 4: What academics do to students 
12. The teaching of teachers 
13. The whole man: Critical skills 
14. The whole man: Critical minds 
Part 5: Justification and advice 
15. In praise of autonomy 
16. The three frogs
James R. Flynn is Emeritus Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Politics at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is one of the most influential figures in contemporary psychology. His most famous works focus on the continued year-after-year increase of IQ scores throughout the world, now referred to as the Flynn Effect. He is the author of 17 books including Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, 2011) and Where have all the liberals gone? (Cambridge, 2008).
Flynn demolishes all possible arguments against free speech. He shows from his own career how writers and works that today are anathema to the left made important contributions to his growth as a scientist and philosopher and how they helped him to refute right-wing ideas that he was already inclined to oppose. - Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan

This is a bold, brilliant and courageous book…I don’t agree with some of Flynn’s arguments, but he made it clear to me that I had better get to work and gather evidence to support my case or change my mind. This outcome is at the core how scholarly arguments should proceed. - Thomas J. Bouchard Jr, University of Minnesota, USA

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