The Purposes of Privacy: A Response

52 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2001

See all articles by Jeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey Rosen

The George Washington School of Law


In this essay, Jeffrey Rosen responds to eight articles about his recent book, The Unwanted Gaze, published as part of a special symposium issue of the Georgetown Law Journal. The eight contributors to the symposium were Professors Anita Allen, Julie Cohen, Rosa Ehrenreich, Lawrence Lessig, Sanford Levinson, Robert Post, Jed Rubenfeld and Nadine Strossen. Rosen defends his argument that privacy protects against the dangers of being judged out of context, insisting that invasions of privacy can lead to social misinterpretations that constitute an injury distinct from injuries to dignity or autonomy. He expands on his claim that some of the indignities currently defined as gender discrimination under sexual harassment law are better conceived as invasions of privacy, and he explores the distinction between offenses against honor and offenses against dignity. Finally, he discusses the tensions between privacy and free speech, insisting that the most appropriate remedies for social misunderstanding are often social rather than legal.

Suggested Citation

Rosen, Jeffrey, The Purposes of Privacy: A Response. Available at SSRN: or

Jeffrey Rosen (Contact Author)

The George Washington School of Law ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-9399 (Phone)
202-994-5614 (Fax)

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