The article analyses the distinction between the private and the public sphere from a conceptual and from a normative point of view. On the conceptual level, it is argued that the common dichotomous view is incomplete, giving rise to conceptual confusions which can be overcome by a careful distinction between the intimate and the private sphere. While the boundary between the private and the public is a conventional matter, the sphere of intimacy, including thoughts as well as a certain type of actions, is empirically delimited. On the normative level, a number of arguments for or against the extension or restriction of the private sphere as well as for or against the intervention of the state in its citizens’ spheres of intimacy is discussed from a liberal point of view.
© 2003 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart