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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 Fourteen: Community facts

← 150 | 151 → CHAPTER FOURTEEN


Clearly this has been a wide-ranging book that has tried-for-size very different ethical and epistemological approaches to philosophy, privacy and media. As highlighted in the introduction, other approaches and philosophers might have been broached and it is quite possible the reader might have chosen a different line-up if tasked with outlining a book that explores privacy and media by means of philosophy. However, each approach selected in its own way contributed to the two meta-principles that lay at the center of my own arguments. While I began writing the book with views about privacy and experience of the topic, these principles also emerged in a somewhat iterative and recursive fashion out of dialogue with philosophical literature that broaches privacy matters (directly and indirectly). To restate, these propositions are: 1) privacy should be conceived in terms of affective events; 2) privacy is an emergent protocol that contributes to the governance of interaction among people and objects. As to specific philosophers and traditions broached, these include Greek dualistic accounts because border-based narratives of privacy continue to permeate discourse on privacy, particularly in Aristotle’s (1995 [350 BC]) Politics. While to an extent Chapter 2 engaged in a degree of ground clearance so to allow for less rigid (binary) and more emergent approaches to privacy, this basic inside/outside or interior/exterior observation is linguistically difficult to escape. However, the limits of this conception is highlighted in later chapters that problematize ideas of private minds and public language ← 151 | 152 → (as what is deemed private is...

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