Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Hate Speech and Self-Restraint

Thompson, Simon

Hate Speech and Self-Restraint Thumbnail


Simon Thompson
Associate Professor in Political Theory


© 2019, The Author(s). In this article, my aim is to consider under what circumstances, and for what reasons, individuals may freely choose not to speak hatefully about others. Even if not threatened with legal sanction, why might they decide not to say something which they think they have good reason to say? My suggestion will be that there are various pro tanto reasons for individuals to restrain themselves from saying what they wanted to say. To be specific, I shall argue that such reasons fall into three analytically distinct categories, which I shall describe as normative codes of civility, ethics and morality. Thus each of these codes may provide different sorts of reasons for not engaging in hate speech. My hope is that the results of this investigation may usefully inform a strategy which aims to combat such speech without resource to the law.


Thompson, S. (2019). Hate Speech and Self-Restraint. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 22(3), 657-671.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2019
Online Publication Date May 28, 2019
Publication Date 2019-06
Deposit Date Apr 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 29, 2020
Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Print ISSN 1386-2820
Electronic ISSN 1572-8447
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 3
Pages 657-671
Public URL
Publisher URL


Hate Speech and Self-Restraint (291 Kb)


Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a
link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations