Separation, risk, and the necessity of privacy to well-being: A comment on Adam Moore's toward informational privacy rights
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Moore attempts to show that privacy, conceived as "control over access to oneself and to information about oneself" is "necessary" for human well-being. Moore grounds his argument in an analysis of the need for physical separation, which Moore suggests is universal among animal species. Moore notes, "One basic finding of animal studies is that virtually all animals seek periods of individual seclusion or small-group intimacy." Citing several studies involving rats and other animals, Moore points out that a lack of such separate space frequently results in threats to survival. Moore goes on to suggest, quite plausibly, that since we evolved from such animals, we share some need for separation. I argue such reasoning involves a conceptual mistake, as a need for physical space and separation is not obviously tantamount to a need for privacy of any kind - much less a need for information privacy.
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