Fearless Speech

“(Thus) parrhesia is a kind of verbal activity where the speaker has a specific relation to truth through frankness, a certain relationship to his own life through danger, a certain type of relation to himself and others through criticism… and a specific relation to moral law through freedom and duty. More precisely, parrhesias is a verbal activity in which a speaker recognises truth-telling as a duty to improve or help other people (as well as himself). In parrhesia, the speaker uses his freedom and chooses frankness instead of persuasion, truth instead of falsehood or silence, the risk of death instead of life and security, criticism instead of flattery, and moral duty instead of self-interest and moral apathy. That, then, quite generally, is the positive meaning of the word parrhesiasin most of the Greek texts where it occurs from fifth century BC to the fifth century A.D.”

Foucault, M. (2001)

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