Online Anonymity and the Kantian Publicity Principle: Can the Internet Solve the Paradox of Tyranny?
MetadataShow full item record
Immanuel Kant’s publicity maxim states that other-regarding actions are wrong if their maxim is not compatible with their being made public. This has the effect of forbidding dissent or rebellion against tyranny, since rebels cannot make their intentions and plans public. However, new internet technologies offer public speech from behind the “shield” of anonymity, allowing dissent to be public but preventing reprisals from tyrants. This thesis examines not only this possibility, but the value of internet-based discursive spaces for politics, their viability as a mode for political communication, and their implications for Classical and Enlightenment approaches to politics and intellectual virtue. Anonymous internet communications favour logos-based reasoning and discourse, which, in the liberal-democratic tradition, is preferable to phronesis and its attendant elitism and chauvinism. These technologies can open new vistas for liberal-democratic politics.