Consent as an act of commitment

Consent as an act of commitment
Robert E. Goodin
European Journal of Philosophy, 16 April 2023
Some say that consent is essentially just a state of mind. Others say it is essentially just a communication. Many say it is both. I say it is neither. Instead it is an act, or rather a pair of acts—an internal mental act in the first instance, an external performative act in the second. Each of those acts is an act of commitment, intrapersonally in the first case and interpersonally in the second. The content of the commitment is, familiarly enough, to give permission to someone else to do something that it would be wrong for them to do without your permission. The novelty lies in seeing consent as an act of commitment in those two dimensions and in seeing those as commitments that persist until and unless undone by an act of a similar sort.

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