Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Evaluating neutrality in the information age : on the value of persons and access
Author: Thompson , Marcelo
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
Technological neutrality in law is, roughly, the idea that law should not pick technological winners and losers, that law should neither help nor hinder particular types of technological aItefacts. It has become an increasingly recognized principle in the international stage, adopted by courts, legislatures, governmental and inter-governmental organizations alike. The grounds on which the principle has been adopted, however, are yet to see more in-depth articulation. This thesis takes up the task of more rigorously questioning whether technological neutrality is a sound principle for law and policy making in the information age. It does so by asking both whether technological neutrality makes sense internally, as a coherent proposition of the institutional normative order, and externally, as an unsuspected manifestation of the much more established, if contested, idea of political neutrality. Internally, the thesis questions: i) the ability of the principle to itself enable law to survive technological change; ii) the coherence of excluding reasons concerning dimensions of technological altefacts beyond the utilitarian functions of these from incorporation by law; iii) the soundness of transforming an idea of vagueness into a general principle for law and policy making in the information age; iv) the extent to which technological neutrality fUlther exacerbates the already problematic idea of instrumentalism in law. Externally, after demonstrating the political contours of technological neutrality, the thesis questions: i) whether technological neutrality would be able to survive the challenges that have been levelled at political neutrality by authors of diverse theoretical affiliations; and ii) whether the normative articulation of new forms of authority in the background culture of the information environment calls on the state to protect personal autonomy in ways thl1t are incompatible with the exclusionary methodology of political neutrality. Technological neutrality, the thesis demonstrates, does not live up to these or other challenges that the thesis introduces.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Internet, Autonomy, Philosophy