On the Necessity of Free Speech in Science

AuthorCristinel Munteanu
European Integration - Realities and Perspectives. Proceedings 2017
Interdisciplinary Dimensions of Communication Science
On the Necessity of Free Speech in Science
Cristinel Munteanu1
Abstract: In this paper we aim at developping, through both John Dewey and R.G. Collingwood’s work, o ne
of Eugenio Coseriu’s ideas regarding the necessity of free speech in science. In order to adequately approach
such a problem, I thought it proper to refer, first of all, to the relation between thought and speech and afterwards
to the relation between the freedom of thought and freedom of speech. Joh n Dewey accurately demonstrates
that there is no authentic freedom of thought in the absence of freedom of speech. Expression as such is
necessary, since, on the one hand, in order for us to clarify our own ideas, we have to verbalize them (either in
an oral or written form); on the other hand, we have to communicate them to the others, to deliver them to the
public debate, with a view to verifying the accuracy of these ideas, so as to correct, confirm or reject them, etc.
(When dealing with aesthetic issues, Collingwood has the same opinion.) Starting from the way Dewey
discussed about the relation between intuition and expression, Coseriu refers in a similar manner to the relation
between theory and inquiry of facts (as it happens in linguistics, for instance).
Keywords: John Dewey; R.G. Collingwood; Eugenio Coseriu; freedom of speech; freedom of thought;
intuition; expression
1. In an ample interview, given in Romanian, Eugenio Coseriu refers to an ethical issue of science which
he exposes as follows: “The professional duty of the one who knows something and who had some
(scientific) information is to pass it to everybody. Keeping a piece of information to oneself, so as not
to be found by one’s colleague, is not appropriate. (...) The man of culture, who has to be a moral being,
fully aware of the moral of culture, would immediately inform the others. He would say: «Here is what
I found. New ideas. Here it is! Read it! We will immediately multiply it, so that everybody can read it».
This is how I would do it, for example. (...) Especially when the information is scarce. Ideas are not lost
when shared. Science is a form of communication. If I have an idea and I share it with you, it is not the
same as giving you 100 lei and no longer having it.” (Coseriu, 2004, p. 61).
1.1. Where does the morality of such an attitude stem from, or, better said, what exactly justifies the
necessity to adopt such ethical behaviour? I assume there is no deontological code to include the
following rule: Scientists are obliged to share the others the valuable ideas which they acquired as a
result of their own study or from other sources. τne could say, for example: “Well, on the one hand, I
am in competition with others, and on the other hand, I do not trust the morality of some of my colleagues
(What if they steal my ideas?)... By no means should I share the important thoughts that trouble me to
the others, before publishing them in a book or an article!”
1 Senior Lecturer, PhD, Danubius University of Galati, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, Address: 3
Galati Boulevard, 800654 Galati, Romania, Tel.: +40.372.361.102, fax: +40.372.361.290, Corresponding author:

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