Toward a Political Philosophy of Information
Mathiesen, Kay.“Towards a Political Philosophy of Information,” Library Trends issue on Exploring Philosophies of Information, Vol. 63, No. 3, 2015: 427-447.
16 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2017
Date Written: January 25, 2015
Many of the most pressing issues in information ethics — informational privacy, surveillance, intellectual property, access to information, and the distribution of information resources — can only be addressed at the level of global politics. This paper develops an approach to theorizing about political questions of concern to information ethics. I begin by situating a political philosophy of information within the broader field of Ethics and defending a theoretical approach that is practical, person-centered, and pluralistic. The method of dialogic public reason, as articulated by John Rawls and supplemented with insights from Jurgen Habermas, is described and defended. It is argued that dialogic public reason provides a way to justify political principles in a diverse global context. The paper concludes by relating the idea of dialogic public reason to international human rights. The putative human right to intellectual property is criticized on the grounds that it does not pass the test of public reason.
Keywords: information ethics, political philosophy, privacy, access to information, human rights, global public reason, intellectual property
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