Richard Healey, stagiaire postdoctoral au CRÉ, nous offrira une présentation intitulée « A Relational Theory of Consent ».
The power of consent plays a central role in the management of interpersonal normative relationships. By giving my consent I can, for example, release a surgeon from a duty not to operate upon me, make it permissible for a colleague to borrow a book from my office, or give my partner permission to have sex with me. In so doing I make it the case that these agents will no longer wrong me by acting in these ways, and so by giving my consent I can make permissible a range of actions that were previously impermissible.
What value, or combination of values, justifies our ability to waive our claim-rights and their correlative directed duties by giving our consent? On a widely held view the answer is straightforward: the power of consent is grounded in the value of personal autonomy. In this talk I argue that a sole focus on personal autonomy misses something important from a theory of consent. Specifically, I argue that consent does not simply promote individual autonomy, but plays a central role in sustaining a valuable form of relationship between agents, in which individuals mutually recognise one another as the bearers of interests worthy of protection. On this picture, the power of consent is valuable in large part because it helps agents to sustain a valuable moral relationship between them, a relationship I refer to as “mutual recognition,” which is partly constituted by relations of right.