PRIVACY (Politics & Psychology) – Blog post 3   no comments

Posted at 7:12 pm in Politics,Psychology

PRIVACY (Politics & Psychology) – Blog post 3

So continuing on with my reading into two unfamiliar disciplines, it occurred to me this week that perhaps I may have been ‘jumping the gun’ somewhat by pre-empting the key areas within politics and psychology in relation to the issue of privacy, without obtaining a basic knowledge of what these two subjects are concerned with. Thus I have taken a step back from looking at the areas of ‘self’ within psychology and ‘security’ within politics and decided to read more about the basic underlying principles of each discipline instead.

For psychology I have been reading a number of books in order to gain an insight into the founding psychologists and the theories they presented.  In particular I have found the following helpful:

Psychology – Carlson, Martin & Buskist (2004)

Psychology: an integrated approach – Eysenck (1998)

Approaches to Psychology 2nd ed. – Glassman (1995)

Beginning at the philosophical roots of psychology, I have been acquiring information about different theories and who conceived them, such as: Rene Descarts (1596-1650) – Dualism (the belief that it is possible that all reality can be divided into two separate identities: mind & matter), John Locke (1632-1704) – Empiricism (the pursuit of truth through observation and experience), David Hume (1711-1776) – Positivism (the concept that all meaningful ideas can be defined by observable material) and Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753) – Idealism (the belief that knowledge of events in the world are not purely obtained from direct experience rather that knowledge is the outcome of inferences based on the accumulation of past experiences derived via the senses. Perhaps the most productive way to utilise all these concepts would be to correlate them and use them in a manner whereby they complement each other as it seems obvious to me that they all have basic similarities in that they are all concerned with the workings of the mind and the way in which individuals acquire knowledge.

Regarding politics, I have conducted similar research into the development of political ideologies and key theorists and resumed my reading of Political Thinkers: from Socrates to the present – David Boucher & Paul Kelly (2003). From here I have identified a number of important and influential schools of thought. Starting with the The Sophists, whose key ideas included moral and political issues and accepted a group way of thought such as justice being essential to society but also being beneficial to the individual, democracy being limited and justice being perceived as a convention as opposed to nature, which brings pleasure; law is unable to uphold justice thus it is better to be unjust wherever possible (Protagoras, Thrasymachus & Antiphon). Following on from the Sophists were the great thinkers Socrates (Elenchus – questions and answers leading to ignorance being admitted; Virtue – the basis of knowledge in conjunction with other virtues such as wisdom, courage, justice; Daimonion – the ‘inner voice’ which opposes active participation in politics; Techne – arts and crafts used as analogies for the basis of civil obedience) Plato (Forms – non- dynamic objects which are accessible to the mind but not the senses, providing reputable standards for good judgement and knowledge) and Aristotle (Human Nature – humans are social and political animas and in order to live a full life, require harmonious fellowship with others in a community) who collectively redefined a stronger case for justice. Already I am discovering that some theories have an underlying theme of human perception and also behaviour seems inherent as a recurrent theme.

The more I read into these two disciplines the more I am assuming that there may be some overlapping theories and concepts which can be applied to the issue of privacy and as such privacy on the Web. However I do not want to be too presumptuous or have too many pre-conceived notions without any evidence!

Written by Lisa Sugiura on November 9th, 2010

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