Res Publica

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 223–248 | Cite as

Privacy and Justification*

  • Alexandra Couto


In this paper, I aim to demonstrate the importance of liberal engagement in public debate, in the face of Nagel’s claim that respect for privacy requires liberals to withdraw from their ‘control of the culture’. The paper starts by outlining a pluralist conception of privacy. I then proceed to examine whether there really is liberal cultural control, as Nagel affirms it, and whether such control truly involves a violation of privacy. Moreover, I argue that Nagel’s desire to leave the social and cultural space radically neutral is incompatible with Rawls’ conception of public reason and clashes with the need to justify liberal institutions.

Key words

cultural control cultural war freedom of thought and expression justification of the basic structure liberal institutions privacy public reason social sanction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lincoln CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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