The Individual Consequences of Hate Speech: a Comparison of Defamation and Hate Speech

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There is a general consensus on the importance of having
laws against individual-related defamation (usually called defamation)
while at the same time there is an ongoing discussion about whether to
hold on to the laws against group-related defamation (usually called hate
speech or group libel). In Europe the discussion concerns whether to
abrogate the hate speech laws that have been enforced for decades,
while in the USA the question is rather about whether one should pass
laws against hate speech at all (since the USA has never had such a
law). The main difference between defamation against individuals and
defamation against groups is that in the first case the defamation is
targeted against one named individual, while in the second case it is
targeted against multiple unnamed individuals who belong to the same
minority group. I hold that the consequences of defamatory speech are
very similar in both cases and that the speech likewise is harmful in both
cases. Thus, I argue that if one passes laws against defamation,
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-134
Number of pages21
JournalSofia Philosophical Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Defamation
  • Hate Speech
  • Group libel
  • Harm
  • Consequenses
  • USA
  • Europe


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