Privacy, Intimacy, and Isolation

Privacy, Intimacy, and Isolation

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In this book Julie Inness presents a powerful new theory of the nature and value of privacy, centred on the concept of intimacy. 'Intimate', Inness contends, describes acts and activities which draw their meaning from the individual's love, liking or care. The function of privacy is to provide the individual with control over intimate decisions, including intimate access to oneself and the dissemination of intimate information about oneself. On this account, privacy's value is neither that it promotes close relationships among people, nor that it respects persons as rational choosers. Rather privacy is valuable because it embodies our respect for persons as emotional beings.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 145 x 217.9 x 18.3mm | 368.26g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0195071484
  • 9780195071481

Back cover copy

Privacy is a puzzling concept. From the backyard to the bedroom, everyday life gives rise to an abundance of privacy claims. In the legal sphere, privacy is invoked with respect to issues including abortion, marriage, and homosexuality. Yet privacy is surrounded by a mire of theoretical debate. Certain philosophers argue that privacy is neither conceptually nor morally distinct from other interests, while numerous legal scholars argue that constitutional and tort privacy law protect merely a disparate melange of interests. Inness offers an escape from this mire. She suggests that intimacy is the core of privacy, including privacy appeals in tort and constitutional law. Conceptually, privacy's protection of intimate decisions distinguishes it from other legal interests, such as liberty from undue state intervention. Intimacy is also the source of privacy's distinctive value. Privacy embodies our respect for people as creators of their own plans of intimacy and of their own emotional destinies. By arguing that intimacy is the core of privacy, Inness undermines privacy skepticism, while also providing a new account of privacy that explains our everyday and legal privacy disagreements, including the controversial constitutional right to privacy.
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Review quote

'In her book, Inness pursues a very thorough exploration of the "chaotic" world of privacy, providing a clear definition of privacy and an explanation of its value that attempts to clarify and resolve existing conflicts. Julie Inness has written an impressive book. One of its greatest qualities if the extreme clarity with which all of the issues are canvassed, enabling the author to tackle a wide subject in a relatively small book. This work will be of great
value to lawyers and philosophers alike, at a time when, in the face of alleged intrusion from the press and the state, the concept of privacy remains fiercely contested.'
Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, King's College, London, Mind, Vol.102. No. 408, Oct '93
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