History of development and suppression::Freedom of thought


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It is impossible to know with certainty what another person is thinking, making suppression difficult. The concept is developed throughout the Bible, most fully in the writings of Paul of Tarsus (e.g., "For why should my freedom [eleutheria] be judged by another's conscience [suneideseos]?" 1 Corinthians 10:29.).<ref>Eugene J. Cooper, "Man's Basic Freedom and Freedom of Conscience in the Bible : Reflections on 1 Corinthians 8-10", Irish Theological Quarterly Dec 1975</ref>

Bronze statue of Giordano Bruno, Campo de' Fiori, Rome

Although Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates had discussed Freedom of Thought minimally, the edicts of King Ashoka (3rd century BC) have been called the first decree respecting Freedom of Conscience.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> In European tradition, aside from the decree of religious toleration by Constantine I at Milan in 313, the philosophers Themistius, Michel de Montaigne, Baruch Spinoza, Locke, Voltaire, Alexandre Vinet, and John Stuart Mill have been considered major proponents of the idea of Freedom of Conscience.<ref>Luzzatti, p. 91.</ref>

Queen Elizabeth I revoked a thought censorship law in the late sixteenth century, because, according to Sir Francis Bacon, she did "not [like] to make windows into men's souls and secret thoughts".<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> During her reign, philosopher, mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer Giordano Bruno took refuge in England from the Italian Inquisition, where he published a number of his books regarding an infinite universe and other topics banned by the Catholic Church. After leaving the safety of England, Bruno was eventually burned as a heretic in Rome for refusing to recant his ideas. For this reason he is considered by some to be a martyr for free thought.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref>

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Saudi Arabian writer Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for 'insulting Islam'.

However, freedom of expression can be limited through censorship, arrests, book burning, or propaganda, and this tends to discourage freedom of thought. Examples of effective campaigns against freedom of expression are the Soviet suppression of genetics research in favor of a theory known as Lysenkoism, the book-burning campaigns of Nazi Germany, the radical anti-intellectualism enforced in Cambodia under Pol Pot, the strict limits on freedom of expression imposed by the Communist governments of the Peoples Republic of China and Cuba or by right-wing authoritarian dictatorships such as those of Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Francisco Franco in Spain.

Freedom of expression can also be stifled without institutional interference when majority views become so widely accepted that the entire culture represses dissenting views. For this reason, some condemn political correctness as a form of limiting freedom of thought. Although political correctness aims to give minority views equal representation, the majority view itself can be politically correct; for example, college student Max Karson was arrested following the Virginia Tech shootings for politically incorrect comments that authorities saw as "sympathetic to the killer". Karson's arrest raised important questions regarding freedom of thought and whether or not it applies in times of tragedy.

The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, which states that thought is inherently embedded in language, would support the claim that an effort to limit the use of words of language is actually a form of restricting freedom of thought.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} This was explored in George Orwell's novel 1984, with the idea of Newspeak, a stripped-down form of the English language lacking the capacity for metaphor and limiting expression of original ideas.

Freedom of thought sections
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History of development and suppression
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