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Freedom of Speech

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Freedom of Speech




Alexander, L. (2015). The Misconceived Search for the Meaning of “Speech” in Freedom of Speech. Open Journal Of Philosophy, 05(01), 39-42. doi:10.4236/ojpp.2015.51005

Larry Alexander addresses the concept of freedom of speech by exploring what is arguably the most important word in the phrase, speech. He provides an elaborate hypothesis into the understanding of the term ‘speech’ that serve in appreciating the importance of freedom of expression.  He views that speech is symbolic in all aspects such that it reflects on a letter, syllable or word.

The author attempts to establish the controversy surrounding the freedom of speech. While it is a provision of the law, freedom can be misinterpreted to suit individual situations.  The law does not clearly define the individual words contained in the phrase ‘’freedom of speech’’. The symbolic approach to understanding speech helps to internalize the underlying controversy between the public and governments. The author questions how the law would administer cases where people were misusing the different communication cues in the name of exercising freedom of speech.

The article evaluates the meaning of speech by assessing different ways that people employ to express their thoughts whether verbally or non-verbally.  The article establishes the importance of intent in conceptualizing the freedom of speech. Intent refers to the purpose of communication (Alexander, 2015). Free speech can only be understood if the government is involved in the process. The upshot refers to the course of controlling what people say or how they say it.


There are numerous scholarly works and researches on what constitutes ‘’speech’’ in freedom of speech.  All the studies are united by a common goal of establishing the different approaches to speech and how they relate to the constitutional provisions of the freedom of speech. The arguments are based on the fact that speech is expressed in different ways including non-verbal cues.  Written communication also counts as communication particularly when done deliberately. Non-verbal cues including facial expression and gesture supplements spoken words. However, they can be used separately to convey the meaning of different emotions or opinions.

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