Digital Whoness

Identity, Privacy and Freedom in the Cyberworld

Rafael Capurro, Michael Eldred & Daniel Nagel

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e-book cover: Digital Whoness at Googlee-book cover: Digital Whoness
Available from  de Gruyter/ontos verlag Frankfurt, Germany and online bookstores, such as Amazon, where parts can be read, under the title Digital Whoness: Identity, Privacy and Freedom in the Cyberworld ontos, Frankfurt 312 pp. 2013 ISBN 978-3-86838-176-4 and also as a downloadable e-book. Also at  Google Book Search where extensive parts can be previewed. The authors were engaged 2011-2013 as phenomenological ethicists in the project, A Culture of Privacy and Trust for the Internet of acatech, the National Academy of Science and Engineering, Berlin. An abridged version of the book is available under the title 'IT and Privacy from an Ethical Perspective Digital Whoness: Identity, Privacy and Freedom in the Cyberworld' in Buchmann, Johannes (ed.) Internet Privacy - Eine multidisziplinäre Bestandsaufnahme / A Multidisciplinary Analysis Springer, Berlin pp. 63-141 ISBN 978-3-642-31942-6 eISBN 978-3-642-31943-6. 
"Digital Whoness is a significant exploration of the notions of privacy and publicness in our increasingly digitized world. It is an original contribution to the philosophy of information and communication as well as a way mark for all who believe privacy is an essential component of a democratic society. [...] Eldred, Capurro and Nagel are posing timely questions about the control of our freedoms in an increasingly digitized world and they deserve our full attention." John Holgate's review 'From Classical Ontology to WHO Magazine' in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine Dec. 2013 pp. 6-7. 
Sola autem nos philosophia excitabit,
sola somnum excutiet gravem.
But only philosophy will wake us up,
only it will shake off the heavy sleep.
Seneca Epistulae ad Lucilium Ep. LIII


The first aim, employing the phenomenological method, is to provide well-articulated concepts by thinking through elementary phenomena of today's world, focusing on privacy and the digital, to clarify who we are in the cyberworld hence a phenomenology of digital whoness. The second aim, employing the hermeneutic method, is to engage critically with older and current literature on privacy, including in today's emerging cyberworld, whose most important results are the critique of merely informational privacy as well as of the autonomous subject vis-à-vis an objective, reified world, as opposed to a self engaged in ongoing social power-plays. Phenomenological results include concepts of i) self-identity through interplay with the world, ii) personal privacy in contradistinction to the privacy of private property, iii) the cyberworld as an artificial, digital dimension in order to discuss iv) what freedom in the cyberworld can mean, whilst not neglecting v) intercultural aspects and vi) the EU context. The concluding chapter indicates why it is worthwhile laying a theoretical foundation through a phenomenology of digital whoness.

The authors 

Rafael Capurro is Prof. emeritus, founder of the International Center for Information Ethics, Karlsruhe and editor-in-chief of the International Review of Information Ethics. His work has concentrated on a phenomenological approach to information ethics in which he has innumerable publications in many languages. Books include: Information: Ein Beitrag zur etymologischen und ideengeschichtlichen Begründung des Informationsbegriffs 1978, Hermeneutik der Fachinformation 1986, Leben im Informationszeitalter 1995 and Messages and Messengers. Angeletics as an Approach to the Phenomenology of Communication 2011 (co-edited with John Holgate). 

Michael Eldred trained as a mathematician at Sydney University, then gaining a doctorate in philosophy, where he has numerous publications in several languages in the areas of phenomenology and socio-political philosophy. Books include Critique of Competitive Freedom and the Bourgeois-Democratic State: Outline of a Form-Analytic Extension of Marx's Uncompleted System 1984, Phänomenologie der Männlichkeit 1999, Capital and Technology: Marx and Heidegger 2000, Social Ontology: Recasting Political Philosophy Through a Phenomenology of Whoness 2008 and The Digital Cast of Being: Metaphysics, Mathematics, Cartesianism, Cybernetics, Capitalism, Communication 2009.

Daniel Nagel is a solicitor in Stuttgart whose work focuses on legal issues around the internet and digital technologies. He is a member of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence, University of Leeds and studied law at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Innsbruck and at Leeds University. Recent publications include 'Beware of the Virtual Doll: ISPs and the Protection of Personal Data of Minors' 2011 and 'IPv 6 and Data Protection: Personalized Surfing with its Dangers for the Private Sphere' 2011 (in German). 

Copyright (c) 2011-2013 by Rafael Capurro, Michael Eldred & Daniel Nagel, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.
Last modified: 03-Apr-2015
First put on site 22-Nov-2012

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