By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER, Published: October 21, 2013
These days, science and philosophy don’t seem to be the best of friends. Some prominent scientists dismiss philosophers as chasing vague concepts into “murky and inconsequential” rabbit holes, as the physicist Steven Weinberg once put it. And philosophers accuse scientists of imperial overreach in their attempts to claim ultimate authority on questions like consciousness, free will and the existence of God.
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This afternoon I was wondering about the boundary between the right to say or rather express one’s opinion and insulting someone. Could there be a situation where someone thinks that he or she is expressing his or her opinions but others consider this expression no less than an insult? Will such dispute be considered as an ethical or legal issue? Who decides, on what basis that a specific statement, symbol, utterance, act or generally ‘expression’ is an insult? What is an insult in any case?
The dictionary definition of insult is to speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse. Is there any thing called cultural or religious respect on the one hand and universal human respect on the other?