Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy is a PhD candidate in Political Science, specializing in political theory. He is interested in the political significance of the internet, especially with respect to controversies over the uses and abuses of information technology. The suspicion that the advent of the internet marks a qualitative change in the development of human affairs motivates much diagnosis but little instruction about the contemporary political moment. It is one thing to recognize new appearances to old problems, and another to regard technological change as potential guidance to different answers. Are there normative implications to recent advances in information technology? In his dissertation, Chris examines three ethical debates about the proper uses of the internet in a liberal democratic society. Each controversy reflects a basic disagreement about the appropriate domain of the public sphere: whether to accommodate electronic forms of civil disobedience, to treat digital information as intellectual property, or to sanction the act of leaking. For each issue, he engages with the work and writings of contemporary political activists—whose software development functions as a tool for political dissent—as well as canonical authors in the American political tradition, whose views about the maintenance of a liberal democratic society were tacitly shaped by their understanding of previous periods of technological change.

Gautam Chebrolu is a P’17 Alum

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