1st Edition

The Right to Know Epistemic Rights and Why We Need Them

By Lani Watson Copyright 2021
    126 Pages
    by Routledge

    126 Pages
    by Routledge

    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?

    This book provides the first comprehensive examination of the right to know and other epistemic rights: rights to goods such as information, knowledge and truth. These rights play a prominent role in our information-centric society and yet they often go unnoticed, disregarded and unprotected. As such, those who control what we know, or think we know, exert an influence on our lives that is often as dangerous as it is imperceptible.

    Beginning with a rigorous but accessible philosophical account of epistemic rights, Lani Watson examines the harms caused by epistemic rights violations, drawing on case studies across medical, political and legal contexts. She investigates who has the right to what information, who is responsible for the quality and circulation of information and what epistemic duties we have towards each other. This book is essential reading for philosophers, legal theorists and anyone concerned with the protection and promotion of information, knowledge and truth.



    1. What Are Epistemic Rights?

    2. Who Has Epistemic Rights?

    3. When Are Epistemic Rights Violated?

    4. Who Gets Hurt?

    5. Why do We Need Epistemic Rights?


    Lani Watson is Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK.

    "Watson makes a powerful and timely case for the adoption of a rights framework to understand and address the wrongs resulting from doubt mongering and misinformation campaigns. Written in a lucid and accessible style this book provides a defence of citizens’ right to know and of institutions and corporations’ duty to inform. It lays the groundwork for what promises to be a whole new area of inquiry." - Alessandra Tanesini, Cardiff University, UK