Does privacy undermine community

Journal of Value Inquiry 35 (4):517-534 (2001)
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Does privacy--the condition of being invisible to public scrutiny--in so emphasizing individual rights, undermine community? One objection to privacy is that it is a license to engage in antisocial activity that undermines social norms. Another objection is that privacy encourages isolation and anonymity, also undermining community. Drawing on the political theory of Hegel, I argue that privacy can promote community. Some invasions of privacy can undermine a sort of autonomy essential for maintaining a community. I also discuss what we need to know before establishing whether privacy empirically promotes or undermines community.

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Mark Tunick
Florida Atlantic University


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