In these seventeen essays, distinguished senior scholars discuss
the conceptual issues surrounding the idea of freedom of inquiry
and scrutinize a variety of obstacles to such inquiry that they
have encountered in their personal and professional experience.
Their discussion of threats to freedom traverses a wide
disciplinary and institutional, political and economic range
covering specific restrictions linked to speech codes, the
interests of donors, institutional review board licensing,
political pressure groups, and government policy, as well as
phenomena of high generality, such as intellectual orthodoxy, where
coercion is barely visible and often self-imposed.
As the editors say in their introduction: "No freedom can be
taken for granted, even in the most well-functioning of formal
democracies. Exposing the tendencies that undermine freedom of
inquiry and their hidden sources and widespread implications is in
itself an exercise in and for democracy."
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