Privacy and justification

Res Publica 12 (3):223-248 (2006)

Alexandra Couto
Oxford University
In this paper, I aim to demonstrate the importance of liberal engagement in public debate, in the face of Nagel’s claim that respect for privacy requires liberals to withdraw from their ‘control of the culture’. The paper starts by outlining a pluralist conception of privacy. I then proceed to examine whether there really is liberal cultural control, as Nagel affirms it, and whether such control truly involves a violation of privacy. Moreover, I argue that Nagel’s desire to leave the social and cultural space radically neutral is incompatible with Rawls’ conception of public reason and clashes with the need to justify liberal institutions.
Keywords cultural control  cultural war  freedom of thought and expression  justification of the basic structure  liberal institutions  privacy  public reason  social sanction
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-006-9007-6
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