The Business of Liberty: Freedom and Information in Ethics, Politics, and Law

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2022)
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What makes political freedom valuable to us? Two well-known arguments are that freedom contributes to our desire satisfaction and to our personal responsibility. Here, Boudewijn de Bruin argues that freedom is valuable when it is accompanied by knowledge. He offers an original and systematic account of the relationship between freedom and knowledge and defends two original normative ideals of known freedom and acknowledged freedom. By combining psychological perspectives on choice and philosophical views on the value of knowledge, he shows how known freedom is crucial to satisfy our desires and assume responsibility. Known freedom is compromised when salespeople deploy consumer-obfuscation, or when news outlets use contextual framing techniques to steer the way their audiences process information. Conversely, carefully developed consumer protection and information disclosure regulation can foster known freedom. Acknowledged freedom, from ethical and economic perspectives, offers protection and makes our freedoms more stable. It embodies an ideal of mutual recognition that underlies informed consent and the ethics of communication, and can also contribute to a flourishing corporate culture. This book integrates and extends cutting-edge research from philosophy, economics, psychology, and law to reorient debates on privacy, neuromarketing, sustainable finance, corporate culture, consumer protection, media violence, and freedom of speech. An original account of the relation between freedom and knowledge, integrating cutting-edge research from philosophy, economics, psychology, and law; defends the ideals of known and acknowledged freedom; offers new perspectives on debates surrounding privacy, corporate culture, consumer protection, freedom of speech, and more Introduction: Why Freedom is Not Enough 1:From Choice Overload to Discrimination: Arguments for Freedom 2:From Brainwashing to Neuromarketing: Freedom of Belief 3:From the Value of Knowledge to Skills and Stereotypes: The Individual Ideal of Known Freedom 4:From Common Knowledge to the Ethics of Communication: The Social Ideal of Acknowledged Freedom 5:Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investors 6:Ethics Management and Informed Stakeholders 7:Freedom of Speech and Consumer Autonomy 8:Liberal Privacy and Legal Protection Conclusion: How Freedom Can Be Sufficient



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Boudewijn de Bruin
University of Groningen

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