Public/Private: Negotiating a Distinction

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As impressions grow that privacy is under increasing threat, the sphere of private life has needed to reassert itself, yet efforts to this end are beset with numerous difficulties, including the ways in which the private sphere has for centuries been understood and misunderstood. While Public/Private takes up a broadly liberal perspective, it endeavors to reach beyond an audience of liberal theorists to include other political orientations and philosophical traditions. Fairfield examines the ethical-political significance as well as the policy implications of a right to privacy. Discussing the different applications of privacy laws, technology, property, relationships, Fairfield writes in a style accessible to specialists and students alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Tom Rockmore
Paul Fairfield provides a multidimensional analysis of the venerable distinction between the public and the private. His skillful defense of the right of privacy is thoughtful, well-informed, and well-argued in this important book.
G.B. Madison
The debate over the proper relation between the public and the private spheres of life has a long and complex history and is today at the heart of a number of heated debates. Paul Fairfield's clearly written and well-argued book, Public/Private, is an important and welcome addition to the literature on the subject. Through his historically informed and refreshingly sober analysis of the many complex issues surrounding the public/private controversy in today's world, Fairfield has managed to set out a well-articulated, well-balanced, and much needed defense of the moral right to personal privacy—to difference, plurality, and self-realization—in an age when everything seems to conspire against it.
Calvin O. Schrag
With a seldom achieved compelling clarity, Paul Fairfield's straightforward account of the distinction between the public and the private demonstrates for all to see how it is possible to keep the distinction within the conversation of humankind without having it solidify into an ideologically charged dichotomy. The contribution of Fairfield's analysis to an understanding of the role of privacy rights in the realm of public policy extends across the disciplines of philosophy, political theory, psychology, and religion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742549579
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Fairfield is assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy, Queens University, Canada.

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Table of Contents

1 Negotiating a distinction 1
2 Privacy in an age of information 35
3 Political philosophy in the bedroom 65
4 Property and the private sphere 101
5 Revelation 135
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