We speak of the “right to know” with relative ease. You have the right to know the results of a medical test or to be informed about the collection and use of personal data. But what exactly is the right to know, and who should we trust to safeguard it? In the so-called Information Age, those who control and influence what we know, or think we know, exert an influence on our lives that is often as dangerous as it is imperceptible. In this talk, I offer an outline of my recent book which seeks to provide a conceptual schema fit for purpose in an increasingly information-centric world, and a vocabulary with which to articulate a unified set of harms and wrongs. This schema derives from the central concept of epistemic rights. Put simply, these are rights concerning goods such as information, knowledge and truth. I argue that we stand to benefit from analysing, understanding and deploying the concept of epistemic rights in both legal and moral terms, whilst taking necessary heed of the risks associated with doing so.
Oxford Epistemology Group, 12.30pm-2pm. A weekly seminar of visiting speakers, work-in-progress talks, and discussion of recent work in epistemology, for faculty and graduate students. Please email Nick Hughes to be added to the mailing list.
Oxford Epistemology Group Convenor: Nick Hughes