This first section contains many of the most important and well-known statements of the moral and theoretical foundations of an open society.
From Socrates’s immortal defense of his right to pursue the truth unhindered by societal standards of piety, to the classical liberal defense of toleration and open inquiry in the writings of Locke, Hume, and Mill, to Tocqueville’s warning of the dangers of intellectual conformity, readers of this section will see how the greatest minds of the past viewed the vital importance of free speech and open inquiry for creating a rational and just society.
- John Milton, Areopagitica
- John Locke, Letters Concerning Toleration
- David Hume, “Of the Liberty of the Press”
- Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?”
- Alexis de Tocqueville, “Of the Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Effects” from Democracy in America
- John Stuart Mill, “Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion,” from On Liberty
- Frederick Douglass, “A Plea for Free Speech in Boston, 1860”