more from Michael J. Sandel

Single Idea 22268

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / c. Free speech]

Full Idea

For persons who understand themselves as defined by the ethnic or religious group to which they belong, an insult to the group can inflict a harm as real and as damaging as some physical harms.

Gist of Idea

If persons define themselves by a group membership, insults to that group are a real harm


Michael J. Sandel (The Limits of Communitarianism [1998], 'Free speech')

Book Reference

Sandel,Michael J.: 'Public Philosophy: Essays' [Harvard 2005], p.258

A Reaction

In Britain many people fully define themselves by their allegiance to a football club. Really! They usually learn to laugh off an insult to their club, but it hurts. Laughing off an insult is an essential modern skill - up to a point.

Related Idea

Idea 22267 In the liberal view an insult to my group doesn't hurt me, since I'm defined by choices not groups [Sandel]