Download Early French and German Defenses of Freedom of the Press by John Christian Laursen, Johan Zande Van Der PDF

By John Christian Laursen, Johan Zande Van Der

This quantity comprises English translations of 2 vital early French and German defences of freedom of the clicking. nearly unknown within the English-speaking international, those texts reveal that freedom of the click used to be an immense factor in different components of Europe within the early glossy interval, giving upward thrust to articulate theories. Elie Luzac's "Essay on Freedom of Expression" (1749) defended freedom of the clicking for atheists on ordinary legislation and different grounds. Carl Friedrich Bahrdt's "On Freedom of the clicking and its Limits" (1787) drew on usual legislation, spiritual rhetoric and political journalism to make the case for realizing freedom of the click as a human correct. jointly, those texts express that the French and German traditions incorporated their very own highbrow assets for protecting smooth rights, ahead of the yank invoice of Rights and the French statement of the Rights of guy.

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Additional resources for Early French and German Defenses of Freedom of the Press (Brill's Studies in Intellectual History, 113)

Sample text

For example, they would be harmful when a rogue exploits ideas on probity to dupe an upright man, or when a suitor uses ideas about the duty of keeping promises to take advantage 52   of a young lady. Well, if expressing ideas useful to the public can be harmful only insofar as others abuse them, it follows that this expression is not harmful in itself, but only in relation to those who misuse it. Since all ideas are subject to the same disadvantage, the result is either that all expression of ideas is harmful to society, or [32] that expression whose object is only useful ideas is not harmful.

In the following text we have added page numbers from the original in brackets. [1] AN ESSAY ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION FOREWORD If Pompey could suffer no equal, and Caesar no superior, is it not the same with all men, and from the greatest to the least do they not all claim [2] a certain superiority over each other? Gradation from inferiors to superiors is no less imperceptible among them than in physical kingdoms. We contemplate our own abilities only through microscopes and those of others through concave lenses.

And, in spite of the twist that Mr. Leibniz gave it, is it not still fought over, some being convinced of its strength, others of its weakness? And do not several good metaphysicians claim that the existence of a divinity has been [23] carried only to the highest degree of probability? Let us suppose for a moment that the existence of the divinity appears to us as evident as the simplest proposition of Euclid (as I claim that it appeared to me by the argument deduced from immutability). Does it follow from that, that another should find the same evidence for it?

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