Epistemic rights and responsibilities in the age of the patriot act


It has been more than seven years since the events of the September 11 terrorist attacks have changed the way in which American citizens live on a daily basis. Some of us have become anxious while traveling, some more guarded in what we choose to discuss in public and with whom we associate, some more suspicious of other races and religions, some more suspicious of our own government. All American citizens-whether or not they were victims of racial profiling post September I I-have had to change the way in which they obtain information and understand their rights to privacy and knowledge. In my thesis, I explore how the enactment of the Patriot Act and the affiliated surveillance of American citizens (as well as foreign nationals) have not only violated our constitutional rights to free expression, but have also violated our intellectual and privacy rights. Specifically, I am concerned with the negative impact of the Patriot Act on the ability and willingness of American citizens to obtain information and to express their opinions about politically sensitive topics. This fear of being labeled a threat to national security or a potential terrorist has created a nation in which many citizens are increasingly complacent about violations of their intellectual rights, negligent about upholding their epistemic responsibilities, and increasingly ignorant about their own nation's policies, as well as global events In order to eradicate the negative influence of the Patriot Act on the epistemic rights and responsibilities of American citizens, I propose that the American public cultivate the epistemological virtues necessary to educate themselves on domestic as well as global matters. I suggest that this would enhance our national security, in addition to preserving our civil liberties and enlarging our intellectual understanding of global events and relationships.


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Thesis Completion





Park, Shelly M.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program



Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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