Privacy and lack of knowledge

Episteme 10 (2):153-166 (2013)
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Two sorts of connections between privacy and knowledge (or lack thereof) have been suggested in the philosophical literature. First, Alvin Goldman has suggested that protecting privacy typically leads to less knowledge being acquired. Second, several other philosophers (e.g. Parent, Matheson, Blaauw and Peels) have claimed that lack of knowledge is definitive of having privacy. In other words, someone not knowing something is necessary and sufficient for someone else having privacy about that thing. Or equivalently, someone knowing something is necessary and sufficient for someone else losing privacy about that thing. In this paper, I argue that both of these suggestions are incorrect. I begin by arguing, contra Goldman, that protecting privacy often leads to more knowledge being acquired. I argue in the remainder of the paper, contra the defenders of the knowledge account of privacy, that someone knowing something is not necessary for someone else losing privacy about that thing



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Don Fallis
Northeastern University

References found in this work

A causal theory of knowing.Alvin I. Goldman - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (12):357-372.
Epistemology.Richard Feldman - 2003 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (2):429-429.
The right to privacy.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (4):295-314.
Privacy, morality, and the law.W. A. Parent - 1983 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 12 (4):269-288.
Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology.Marie McGinn & Jonathan Dancy - 1986 - Philosophical Quarterly 36 (145):574.

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