Res Publica 23 (2):227-244 (2017)

In recent years, neuroscience has been making dramatic progress. The discipline holds great promise but also raises a number of important ethical concerns. Among these is the concern that, some day in the distant future, we will have brain scanners capable of reading our minds, thus making our inner thoughts transparent to others. There are at least two reasons why we might regret our resulting loss of privacy. One is, so the argument goes, that this would undermine our ability to form intimate relations. Another is that the omnipresent gaze of others would render an authentic inner life impossible. I argue that both of these concerns are exaggerated. First, intimacy might flourish through the differential acknowledgement of knowledge as common knowledge; for example, even if I know that both a friend and my taxi driver know that I have kinky sexual fantasies, I might only acknowledge this as common knowledge and, thus, an admissible piece of conversation with my friend, and this differential acknowledgement might be enforced by norms of social interaction. Second, the gaze of others would become much less oppressive if everyone’s inner lives were transparent to everyone else. I also argue that our minds are already partly transparent to others through the use of non-neuroscience-assisted mindreading techniques and, thus, that the latter offer no distinct threat to mind privacy. I offer an additional argument for this conclusion; to wit, that our minds extend beyond our brains.
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-016-9344-z
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References found in this work BETA

The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st Century.Neil Levy - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Why Privacy is Important.James Rachels - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (4):323-333.
The Right to Privacy.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (4):295-314.
Privacy, Morality, and the Law.W. A. Parent - 1983 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 12 (4):269-288.

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Citations of this work BETA

Privacy rights and ‘naked’ statistical evidence.Lauritz Aastrup Munch - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3777-3795.

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