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Rorty, the First Amendment and Antirealism: Is Reliance upon Truth Viewpoint-Based Speech Regulation?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the implications of anti-realism, as characterized by Richard Rorty, for First Amendment jurisprudence under the United States Constitution. It is hoped that the implications have more universal application. The first section outlines Rorty's 'pragmatic anti-realism'. The second section, investigates some effects of the elimination of the concept of truth for First Amendment jurisprudence. The third section argues for the conclusion that given the antirealist stance, the Supreme Court's usage of the true/false fact distinction is actually an uncritical allowance of viewpoint based discrimination into speech protection that has potentially far reaching and restrictive results for important speech. Finally, the fourth section discusses Rorty's anti-realism, which is combined with various traditional models of First Amendment analysis. The clear implication of the combination of the anti-realism with the emphasis upon the constitutive nature of language is the very high importance of freedom of speech.

Keywords: anti-realism; First Amendment analysis; Richard Rorty; speech protection; Supreme Court; United States



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