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Richard Healey

Postes occupés

2016-2017 à aujourd'hui Stagiaire postdoctoral-e,
2016-2017 à aujourd'hui Stagiaire postdoctoral-e,

Participations aux événements du CRÉ

14 novembre 2016 « A Relational Theory of Consent »


I recently received my PhD in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield (UK), where I wrote a thesis on the normative power of consent. Whilst individual consent plays a central role in contemporary moral, political, and legal thought, philosophers have said relatively about why consent should play such an important role in the management of our normative relationships. In my thesis I develop a theory of consent’s normative significance that aims to account for this fact. Very roughly, I argue that the power of consent allows individuals to interact in useful and valuable ways whilst (i) maintaining a sufficient measure of control over the central aspects of their own lives, and (ii) recognising one another as possessing legitimate control over these domains.

This account of consent rests on the more general claim that agents stand in a valuable kind of relationship – a relationship of mutual recognition ­– when they are each able to recognise that they give one another’s interests the appropriate role within their practical deliberations. It is this claim that I intend to further develop as a postdoctoral fellow at the CRE. The idea that we stand in a valuable relationship when we relate to one another in a certain way is common in contemporary moral philosophy, but quite what this amounts to is often unclear. I believe that one important dimension of such relations is the ability to concretely recognise that we regard one another as bearers of interests worthy of protection, a form of recognition that is often fostered by social practices, from informal conventions to authoritative law. If my characterization of this relationship and its value are on the right lines, I believe it can help to explain and justify a number of important elements within our moral, political, and legal practices.



“The Ontology of Consent: A Reply to Alexander,” Analytic Philosophy 56, No. 4 (2015).


David Owens, ‘Shaping the Normative Landscape’ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), in Journal of Moral Philosophy 12 (2015).