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Privacy and Philosophy

New Media and Affective Protocol


Andrew McStay

What can philosophy tell us about privacy? Quite a lot as it turns out. With Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol Andrew McStay draws on an array of philosophers to offer a refreshingly novel approach to privacy matters. Against the backdrop and scrutiny of Arendt, Aristotle, Bentham, Brentano, Deleuze, Engels, Heidegger, Hume, Husserl, James, Kant, Latour, Locke, Marx, Mill, Plato, Rorty, Ryle, Sartre, Skinner, Spinoza, Whitehead and Wittgenstein, among others, McStay advances a wealth of new ideas and terminology, from affective breaches to zombie media. Theorizing privacy as an affective principle of interaction between human and non-human actors, McStay progresses to make unique arguments on transparency, the publicness of subjectivity, our contemporary techno-social condition and the nature of empathic media in an age of intentional machines.
Reconstructing our most basic assumptions about privacy, this book is a must-read for theoreticians, empirical analysts, students, those contributing to policy and anyone interested in the steering philosophical ideas that inform their own orientation and thinking about privacy.
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Chapter Six: Heidegger (Part 1): Concerning a-historical being and events

← 62 | 63 → CHAPTER SIX


In the preceding chapters I have addressed some of the ethical dimensions of privacy in relation to philosophy. This was done by means of considering the arrangements by which we live together, the formal character of privacy, and the consequences of moral and political systems for privacy theorizing; and by promoting a broadly liberal and pragmatic view, albeit with warnings and caveats. We now proceed into the second section of the book cautiously open to dynamic privacy protocol, and driven by a strong sense of the need for true consent in a mediated setting and that privacy is neither an artificial barrier nor a moral truffle. Instead by means of the broad background depicted, we see that privacy lies at the heart of the most basic principles of interaction and it is in this observation that a dynamic, systemic and protocol-based approach finds its origins.

If privacy is about managing insights, information, access and perceptions between a multitude of human and non-human actors (e.g. technical systems), what can philosophy tell us about the state and conditions of knowledge in these arrangements? Moreover, what of the understanding, being and experience of privacy itself? These are all points of investigation for the next seven chapters and we begin these by considering Heideggerian philosophy in this chapter and the next. Extended treatment of Heidegger is warranted because of the diversity of his writing and the multiple ways in which he is relevant to privacy and media matters. This chapter accounts for...

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