Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Is there a Universal Right to Identity?

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This paper considers whether there is a universal right to identity and, if so, whether it might engage with the various identity concerns and crises that are provoked by a range of emerging technologies.

Applying a Gewirthian approach, it is argued, first, that a defensible coherentist account of universal rights can be made out. Such rights demand respect for the ongoing generic needs of agents as well as the underlying (generic) agency commons.

Secondly, by way of a test case, the application of such rights is examined relative to the proposed introduction of ID cards and ID implants.

Thirdly, assuming a rights-respecting community, a number of identity-related concerns are analysed to see whether they plausibly engage a right to identity (universal or merely local).

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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