The Logical Structure of Intentional Anonymity

Main Article Content

Michał Barcz
Jarek Gryz
Adam Wierzbicki


It has been noticed by several authors that the colloquial understanding of anonymity as mere unknownness is insufficient. This common sense notion of anonymity does not recognize the role of the goal for which the anonymity is sought. Starting with the distinction between intentional and unintentional anonymity (which are usually taken to be the same) and the general concept of the non-coordinatability of traits, we offer a logical analysis of anonymity and identification (understood as de-anonymization). In our enquiry, we focus on the intentional aspect of anonymity and develop a metaphor of an “anonymity game” between “perpetrator” and “detective”. Starting from common sense intuitions, we provide a formalized, critical notion of anonymity.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Barcz, Michał, Jarek Gryz, and Adam Wierzbicki. 2018. “The Logical Structure of Intentional Anonymity”. Diametros 16 (60):1-17.
Author Biographies

Michał Barcz, University of Warsaw

Michał BarczUniversity of WarsawInstitute of PhilosophyKrakowskie Przedmieście 3PL-00-927 Warszawa


Jarek Gryz, York University

Jarek Gryz Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceYork University 2049 Lassonde Building4700 Keele Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3


Adam Wierzbicki, University of Warsaw

Adam WierzbickiUniversity of WarsawInstitute of PhilosophyKrakowskie Przedmieście 3PL-00-927 Warszawa


Share |


Anscombe G.E. (1957), Intention, Blackwell, Oxford.

Boer S.E., Lycan W.G. (1975). “Knowing Who,” Philosophical Studies 28 (5): 299–344. DOI:

Davidson D. (1980), Actions and Events, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Dennett D. (1982), “Beyond Belief,” [in:] Thought and Object, A. Woodfield (ed), Clarendon, Oxford.

Donnellan K. (1966), “Reference and Definite Descriptions,” Philosophical Review 75: 281–304. DOI:

Forsyth F. (1971), The Day of the Jackal, The Viking Press, New York.

Frankfurt H. (1978), “The Problem of Action,” American Philosophical Quarterly 15: 157–162.

Kaplan D. (1968), “Quantifying In,” Synthese 19 (1–2): 178–214. DOI:

Matthews S. (2010), “Anonymity and the Social Self,” American Philosophical Quarterly 47: 351–363.

Nissenbaum H. (1999), “The Meaning of Anonymity in an Information Age,” The Information Society 15: 141–144. DOI:

Ohm P. (2010), “Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization,” UCLA Law Review 57: 1701–1777.

Ponesse J. (2013), “Navigating the Unknown: Towards a Positive Conception of Anonymity,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (3): 320–344. DOI:

Quine W.V. (1956), “Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes,” Journal of Philosophy 53 (5): 177–187. DOI:

Sajjad T. (2013), Transitional Justice in South Asia: A Study of Afghanistan and Nepal, Routledge, London and New York. DOI:

Sosa E. (1970), “Propositional Attitudes De Dicto and De Re,” Journal of Philosophy 67 (21): 883–896. DOI:

Wallace K.A. (1999), “Anonymity,” Ethics and Information Technology 1 (1): 23–35. DOI: