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Camden Philosophical Society Meeting

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 6:00 pm

At the Camden Philosophical Society’s next regularly scheduled meeting, on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 4 pm, we will be discussing “Surveillance, Privacy, Autonomy, and Personhood in the Digital Age,” another in our series of sessions on the meaning and significance of “freedom.”

While the philosophical society is now exploring hybrid alternatives for our gatherings, we continue for the time being to hold our discussions primarily online, via Zoom. All are welcome to participate. Let us know by emailing sarahmiller@usa.net and modmedia@earthlink.net if you wish to attend via Zoom. You will then receive an invitation on the morning of the meeting.  Click on the “Join Zoom Meeting” link in that invitation at the time of the event.

The Oct. 19 readings were selected and the discussion will be led by Jim Campbell. Jim lays out the readings and his thoughts about them: 

Here are a few things that would be useful as a context for a discussion of privacy – particularly informational privacy, autonomy, and personhood. Most are papers from legal journals but pretty much written in readable English nonetheless, and all are available online.

The paper that effectively began what became in the US a right to privacy is the Warren and Brandeis paper entitled “The Right to Privacy” from 1890. The most readable online version is at https://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/classes/6.805/articles/privacy/Privacy_brand_warr2.html . The paper itself is 9 pages. Clicking on any of the footnote notations takes one to another doc with pages and pages of footnotes – it is a legal paper, after all – for those who might be interested. This is the paper that brought the concept of privacy into US law and ultimately resulted in Griswold v Connecticut where Justice Stevens found a “penumbra of privacy” in the Constitution though the word does not appear anywhere in it, and then as the basis of Roe v Wade, which is very much with us today.

CHILLING EFFECTS: ONLINE SURVEILLANCE AND WIKIPEDIA USE is an interesting attempt to get at the fact that knowing we are being watched online affects what many are willing to look at. The whole paper is interesting but just reading the abstract is enough to get the gist and, in my mind, the importance. It’s at http://dx.doi.org/10.15779/Z38SS13

Julie Cohen’s “Examined Lives: Informational Privacy and the Subject as Object” includes a good bit of philosophical discussion amidst all the legal case reasoning. I’d suggest pages 1423-1447 to get a good sense of how she feels informational privacy relates to being an autonomous person. It’s at https://scholarship.la

And, for those who might be interested in a more recent look at some of this stuff, you can try Onsrud and Campbell, BEING HUMAN IN AN ALGORITHMICALLY CONTROLLED WORLD from 2020. Every word is a gem, of course, but you can get the gist by just looking at the Conclusion at https://umaine.edu/scis/beinghumanonsrudcampbellpreprint/

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Camden, ME 04843 United States