Brandeis University, Philosophy Department
Spring 2007

Brandeis University Web Stite

Philosophy 22B

Philosophy of Law

Professor Andreas Teuber
Prof. Teuber



Kitty Genovese


Privacy and Freedom of Speech

- You're the Judge -


"Both privacy and speech are values of great importance, and people typically embrace both of them. Louis Brandeis, the co-author of the most famous article on privacy ever written, was also the author of some of the greatest prose ever written about free speech." - Paul Gewirtz, Professor of Constitutional Law, Yale Law School


"You already have zero privacy. Get over it." - Scott McNealy, CEO, Sun Microsystems


"In this new world of electronic monitoring, your refrigerator and coffee maker can talk to your television and all can be monitored from your office computer. The incessant information by these gossiping appliances might, of course, generate detailed records of the most intimate details of your daily life." - Jeffrey Rosen, "The Eroded Self," New York Times Sunday Magazine


Drawing on the reading, the law, past precedent and an interpretive strategy as well as your own considered good judgment and opinion, argue for or against some restriction of free speech to protect privacy in the cases set forth on the following pages.

Think of the arguments that might be made against your arguments, and respond to them.

In defending your position, offer what you believe are the most principled arguments you can make.

In thinking of objections to your opinion, think of the best possible objections that someone on the other side might come up with, i. e., give yourself a hard time. If you can respond to the other side at its strongest rather than at its weakest point, that can only help to strengthen your own opinion and make it that much more persuasive.

In the course of bringing what you believe is the best defense for your own position explicitly to light, provide the clearest expression to how the competing rights and/or interests of free speech and privacy might best be balanced and that best supports your opinion in each of the cases as well as makes the best sense of your striking the balance in the way that you do.

Papers should be six to seven (6-7) pages in length or longer, if you prefer, and double-spaced

Please number pages.

We would like to have two copies, marked COPY ONE and COPY TWO.

Papers should be stapled, not held together by
Paper CLIP, Elmer's GLUE, Dentyne GUM,
SPIT, James BOND or Origami FOLD.

Drafts and/or outlines are due by Wednesday before the break, that is, by March 28th. Drafts with comments will be handed back on the first day of class after break. Final papers are due, in class, on Wednesday, April the 20th.