Privacy, separation and control

Stephen Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Defining privacy is problematic because the condition of privacy appears simultaneously to require separation from others, and the possibility of choosing not to be separate. This latter feature expresses the inherent normative dimension of privacy: the capacity to control the perceptual and informational spaces surrounding one's person. Clearly the features of separation and control as just described are in tension because one may easily enough choose to give up all barriers between oneself and the public space. How could the capacity for privacy give rise to its absence? Yet both the separation and control features of privacy do seem indispensable to any sensible understanding of it. In this paper I set out an approach to defining privacy that keeps these features and avoids the tension between them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-150
Number of pages21
JournalThe Monist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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