Privacy: Its Meaning and Value
American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 40, pp. 215-227, July 2003
13 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2012 Last revised: 6 Mar 2018
Date Written: 2003
Bodily privacy, understood as a right to control access to one’s body, capacities, and powers, is one of our most cherished rights − a right enshrined in law and notions of common morality. Informational privacy, on the other hand, has yet to attain such a loftily status. As rational project pursuers, who operate and flourish in a world of material objects it is our ability control patterns of association and disassociation with our fellows that afford each of us the room to become distinct individuals. Privacy, whether physical or informational, is valuable for beings like us. Establishing the truth this claim will be the primary focus of this article. Providing reasons, evidence, and support for this claim will take us into the historical and cultural dimensions of privacy.
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