Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Professor Dustin Locke
In this paper, I will argue against Karen Frost-Arnold’s claim that internet anonymity has more epistemic benefit than epistemic harm for online communities. I will first outline her arguments that anonymity poses epistemic benefits for speakers of marginalized communities, who often rely on anonymity to share their experience and testimony without fear of repercussions, such as testimonial injustice, backlash, and even physical harm. I will then consider objections to Frost-Arnold’s account made by others, including the idea that anonymous testimony is not reliable. I will show how this objection alone is insufficient against Frost-Arnold’s claim. Then, I will offer my own objections to Frost-Arnold’s argument, highlighting how she severely understates the physical harms that anonymity poses off of the internet, and how these physical harms lead to epistemic harm. I will also argue that transparency may make society on and off the internet more inclusive. Finally, I will consider counter-arguments to my own argument, and offer my replies.
Selby, Sena, "Your Anonymous Words Matter: The Harms of Internet Anonymity and Its Inhibiting Effects on Producing Knowledge" (2024). CMC Senior Theses. 3440.