In the United States privacy is a hot topic, not least because of the current administration's desire to have unbridled access to its citizens' overseas conversations. But in what follows I do not plan to deal directly with any legal or policy concerns. Instead, I am interested in the philosophical foundations,- if any there be, of privacy as something to which individuals and other groups may be entitled. Because much of the discussion of "privacy rights" has revolved around matters sexual, I shall key the discussion to individual access to sexually explicit publications and what limits, if any, moral reflection should place on such access. Specifically, I am going to discuss a view - perfectionism - which has notable proponents in moral, political, and legal philosophy, sketch its response to pornography as a test case, and then suggest an Aristotelian alternative which, I'll maintain, has all of the virtues and none of the vices associated with its perfectionist rival.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2007 Cambridge Scholars Publishing. This chapter first appeared in Freedom of Expression: Counting the Costs.

Please note that downloads of the book chapter are for private/personal use only.

Purchase online at Cambridge Scholars Publishing.