Is J.S. Mill's Account of Free Speech Sustainable in the Age of Social Media?


  • Nevin Chellappah



In this paper, I examine whether John Stuart Mill’s account of free speech can survive three main challenges posed by social media. First, I consider the problem of social media failing to distinguish between emotive and factual language. Second, I look at the problem of algorithms creating moralism. I then turn to a potential objection to my first two challenges. The objection elucidates the benefits of social media’s emotional and algorithmic character, amplifying arguments and increasing public engagement. However, I take issue with this objection on consequentialist terms. I finally return to the third challenge, where I focus on how anonymity removes the consequences to our words; I contend that this final failure is the ultimate reason why Mill’s account cannot persist in the modern age. In conclusion, I argue that Mill’s account cannot withstand the problems posed by social media.




How to Cite

Chellappah, N. (2022). Is J.S. Mill’s Account of Free Speech Sustainable in the Age of Social Media?. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal, 15(1), 44–55.