Privacy and Limited Democracy: The Moral Centrality of Persons

Social Philosophy and Policy 17 (2):120 (2000)
Of all the moral concerns regarding privacy in its various meanings, this essay selects only one: the right to be left alone by others, in particular, by government. Because moral controversies in pluralist societies tend to be interminable, and surely controversies regarding privacy are no exception, I approach the right to privacy in terms of the centrality of persons. When there are foundational disputes about which content-full moral view should govern, it is not possible to resolve such controversies without begging the question or conceding at the outset crucial moral premises. This observation is not to affirm a moral skepticism or relativism. At worst, it involves an epistemic skepticism, a skepticism about the possibility of resolving controversies by sound rational argument without begging the question or engaging in an infinite regress
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DOI 10.1017/S0265052500002132
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