International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 165-183

First online:

Judicial Epistemology of Free Speech Through Ancient Lenses

  • Uladzislau BelavusauAffiliated withLaw Department, European University InstituteUniversity of California at Berkeley Email author 

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The article is the author’s endeavor to reconstruct the semiotic conflict in the transatlantic legal appraisal of hate speech (between the USA and Europe) through Ancient Greek concepts of παρρησία (parrhēsia) and ισηγορία (isēgoria). The US Supreme Court case law on the First Amendment to American Constitution is, therefore, counter-balanced vis-à-vis la jurisprudence de Strasbourg on Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The author suggests that an adequate comprehension of the contemporary constitutional concepts of the right to free speech in Western democracies is deceptive without a thorough analysis of its genealogy in the Ancient rhetorical cradle.


Freedom of expression Hate speech U.S. Supreme Court European Court of Human Rights Parrhēsia Isēgoria