In this week’s Philosophy Cafe students looked at the limits of freedom of expression after the Paris attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices.
Students from the First Form to the Sixth Form all had something to contribute to a mature and very sophisticated discussion. Staff were able to offer legal, religious, French and historical perspectives through their knowledge, backgrounds and disciplines.
Why is a picture of Muhammad offensive to some? What really motivated the killers? Does freedom of expression include the freedom to insult? There was much condemnation of the attacks but there was also much disagreement about whether the magazine was right to publish the first picture of Muhammad and even more disagreement over whether it was right to publish a second after the attacks. The room was very split on whether the magazine had endangered others unjustifiably with another picture or whether it was important not to 'give in' to violence.