Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience) is the freedom of an individual to hold a viewpoint, or thought, regardless of anyone else's view. The suppression of freedom of thought is a prominent characteristic of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, while freedom of thought is one of the fundamental principles of most democracies. Freedom of thought can be limited in several ways — through censorship, arrests, book burning, or, more subtly, through propaganda.
Freedom of thought can also be stifled without institutional interference when the views of the majority become so widely accepted that other ways of thinking are repressed. For this reason, some condemn political correctness as a form of limiting freedom of thought. For instance, 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 (french fries to freedom fries) is a form of restricting freedom of thought.
Freedom of thought is closely related to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is listed under Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- Dictionary of the History of Ideas: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-02 Academic Freedom
Last updated: 05-02-2005 20:18:26
Last updated: 05-06-2005 01:27:49