Title: ‘Consent and the Question of Dynamics’
Abstract: In this paper, I first argue that “rights-waiving” is not an accurate, general description of the operation persons perform when they grant permissive consent. It fails to describe the change to the structure of the normative world that I call authority-retaining permissive consent. This is the kind of permissive consent we use in cases of sexual consent, medical consent, consent to a visitor in the home, consent to another reading one’s diary or manuscript – any type of consent wherein the consenting agent retains the normative power to withdraw consent throughout the event. “Rights-waiving” gets the operation wrong, obscuring the real dynamics of rights. Second, I argue that the inaccurate account of the operation of consent gives rise to a variety of other misconceptions about how consent works and what it means for an act to be nonconsensual, especially in the realm of sexual ethics.