The Network

We are an interdisciplinary research network, founded in 2021, open to academics interested in understanding the legal, ethical, and philosophical aspects of the right to freedom of thought (as well as the related concepts of cognitive liberty and mental integrity). The network hosts informal workshops with substantial debates about the concept of freedom of thought from theoretical, historical, normative, and practical perspectives, as well as related empirical research.

We wish to create a forum that enables and encourages open dialogue between researchers and a space for individuals to test out new ideas, to receive feedback from others working in the field, to share and review recent research, and to strengthen multi- and inter-disciplinary collaborations.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • the scope and limits of the existing human right to freedom of thought;
  • relevant case law from jurisdictions around the world;
  • legal, philosophical and other relevant scholarship on the concept or right;
  • threats to freedom of thought, such as influences on thinking and decision-making;
  • mind-altering technologies, old and new;
  • the relation of freedom of thought to mental integrity and freedom of expression;
  • a workable distinction between permissible persuasion and impermissible manipulation;
  • the complexities of consent for psychiatric treatment;
  • sanctions for thoughts;
  • the value and supposedly absolute protection of the right to freedom of thought.

Virtual workshops will be once every two months loosely structured around a particular topic for discussion or a presentation (e.g., recently published research, draft papers, reports). We encourage network participants to propose workshop topics. We particularly welcome suggestions that will diversify perspectives and may include presentations or materials from the Global South, Eastern perspectives, underrepresented groups, and early-career researchers.

We hope that this network will build a community for everyone’s intellectual benefit. In that spirit, the norms of academic integrity shall be observed. Draft papers will be presented on the basis that they are not for wider circulation without permission unless otherwise stated, and due credit shall be given to fellow researchers (i.e. publication, peer-review, or conversation) in any future research. 

If you are interested in joining , wish to present research or  want to be added to the mailing list, please contact us at freedomofthoughtnetwork [ a ] 

We look forward to hearing from you! 
The network convenors

Jan Christoph Bublitz (Universität Hamburg)
Bethany Shiner (Middlesex University London; University of Oxford)
Kelly Amal Dhru (Universität Hamburg)