Esteem, Identifiability and the Internet

Geoffrey Brennan, Philip Pettit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


The desire for esteem, and the associated desire for good reputation, serve an important role in ordinary social life in disciplining interactions and supporting the operation of social norms. The fact t h a t many Internet relations are conducted under separate dedicated e-identities may encourage the view that Internet relations are not susceptible to these esteem-related incentives. We argue that this view is mistaken. Certainly, pseudonyms allow individuals to moderate the effects of disesteem—either by changing the pseudonym to avoid the negative reputation, or by partitioning various audiences according to different audience values. However, there is every reason to believe t h a t a good e-reputation is an object of desire for real agents. Further, although integrating one's reputation under a single identity has some esteem-enhancing features, those features are not necessarily decisive. We explore in the paper what some of the countervailing considerations might be, by appeal to various analogies with t h e Internet case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTrust and Community on the Internet
Subtitle of host publicationOpportunities and Restrictions for Online Cooperation
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783110508666
ISBN (Print)9783110514087
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


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