Advertisement

Privacy: A Genealogy in the East and the West

  • Chih-hsing HoEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Economics, Law, and Institutions in Asia Pacific book series (ELIAP)

Abstract

Although a general term used frequently in ordinary language, as well as legal and philosophical discourses, privacy remains an elusive notion. In modern legal discussions, it has been argued that privacy is an integral part of intimacy and autonomy, and goes to the essence of individual dignity, and thus ought to be protected through the creation of a sphere free from outside interference. This normative account of privacy, as Warren and Brandeis proposed in the late nineteenth century, provides moral grounds for the later development of privacy protection in American law. Such recognition of the private sphere, based on the public and private distinction, can be traced up to Aristotle’s distinction between the polis and oikos, which refers to a private domain consisting of the family household that can be thought separate from public interference. However, the question arises: is there an equivalent notion of privacy in the very different context of Chinese culture, and if so, to what extent is it valued and preserved? This chapter discusses the notion of privacy by digging into its rich genealogical origins in ancient Chinese and Western thoughts. This approach is intended to offer a comparative perspective for the analysis and re-examination of notions of privacy, and to further explore the consequential implications of the public/private binary in the later legal developments when privacy came gradually to be recognised not only as a value to be respected, but in modern legal discourses as a right to be protected.

Keywords

Privacy Gong and si Public/private dichotomy Right to privacy Genealogy East and West 

References

  1. Arendt H (1958) The human condition. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  2. Aristotle (Benjamin Jowett trans) (1999) Politics. Batoche Books, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  3. Axel H, Hans J (eds) Jeremy, G. and Jones, Doris L. (trans). (1991) Communicative action: essays on Jürgen Habermas’s the theory of communicative action. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  4. Boas F (1896) The limitations of the comparative method of anthropology. Sci News Ser 4(103):901–908Google Scholar
  5. Brindley E (2013) The polarization of the concepts Si (private interest) and Gong (public interest) in early Chinese thought. Asia Major 26(2):1–31Google Scholar
  6. Eisenstadt SN, Schluchter W (1998) Introduction: paths to early modernities: a comparative view. Daedalus 127(3):1–18Google Scholar
  7. Ewald W (1995) Comparative jurisprudence (II): the logic of legal transplants. Am J Comp Law 43(4):489–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Feuchtwang S (eds) (2002) Reflections on privacy in China. In: McDougall BS, Anders H (eds) Chinese concepts of privacy. Brill, Leiden, pp 211–230Google Scholar
  9. Gavison R (1995) Feminism and the public/private distinction. Stanford Law Rev 41(1):1–45Google Scholar
  10. Gillespie J (2001) Globalisation and legal transplantation: lessons from the past. Deakin Law Rev 6(2):286–311Google Scholar
  11. Goldin P (2005) Han Fei’s doctrine of self-interest. In: Goldin PR (ed) After confucius: studies in early Chinese philosophy. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, pp 58–65Google Scholar
  12. Gross H (1967) The concept of privacy. New York Univ Law Rev 1(42):34–54Google Scholar
  13. Hobbes T (1651) LeviathanGoogle Scholar
  14. Huang Z (2001) MingYi Dai Fang Lu [明夷待訪錄] (Waiting for the Dawn). San Min Book co. Ltd, TaipeiGoogle Scholar
  15. Khayutina M (2002) Studying the private sphere of the ancient Chinese nobility through the inscriptions on bronze ritual vessels. In: McDougall BS, Anders H (eds) Chinese concept of privacy. Brill, Leiden, pp 81–94Google Scholar
  16. Legrand P (1997) Impossibility of legal transplants. Maastricht J Eur Comp Law 4(2):111–124Google Scholar
  17. McDougall BS (2002) Particulars and universals: studies on Chinese privacy. In: McDougall BS, Anders H (eds) Chinese concept of privacy. Brill, Leiden, pp 3–24Google Scholar
  18. Milton RK (1996) Privacy and the law: a philosophical prelude. Law Contemp Probl 31(2):272–280Google Scholar
  19. Nelken D, Feest J (2001) Adapting legal cultures. Hart publishing, Oxford/PortlandGoogle Scholar
  20. Parent WA (1983) Recent work on the concept of privacy. Am Philos Q 20(4):341–355Google Scholar
  21. Polanyi K (1944) The great transformation. Beacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  22. Post RC (2000–2001) Three concepts of privacy. Georgetown Law J 89(6):2087–2098Google Scholar
  23. Prosser W (1960) Privacy. Calif Law Rev 48(3):383–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rosen L (2008) Law as culture: an invitation. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  25. Solove DJ (2008) Understanding privacy. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  26. Stocking GW Jr (1995) After Tylor, British social anthropology, 1888–1951. University of Wisconsin, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  27. Swanson JA (1992) The public and the private in Aristotle’s political philosophy. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  28. Tylor EB (1871) Primitive culture: researches into the development of mythology, philosophy, religion, art, and custom. John Murray Ltd., LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Wakeman F Jr (1993) The civil society and public sphere debate: western reflections on Chinese political culture. Mod China 19(2):108–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wakeman F Jr (1998) Boundaries of the public sphere in Ming and Qing China. Daedalus 127(3):167–189Google Scholar
  31. Warren SD, Brandeis LD (1890) The right to privacy. Harv Law Rev 4(5):193–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Weintraub J (1997) The theory and politics of the public/private distinction. In: Weintraub J, Kumar K (eds) Public and private in thought and practice – perspectives on a grand dichotomy, 1st edn. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 1–38Google Scholar
  33. Xu S (2005) Shuowen Jiezi [說文解字] (explaining graphs and analyzing characters). Tianjin Ancient Books Publishing House, TianjinGoogle Scholar
  34. Zarrow P (2002) The origins of modern Chinese concepts of privacy: notes on social structure and moral discourse. In: McDougall BS, Anders H (eds) Chinese concept of privacy. Brill, Leiden, pp 121–146Google Scholar
  35. Zimmerman DL (1989) False light invasion of privacy: the light that failed. 64 New York Univ Law Rev 64:364Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of European and American Studies, Academia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations