Consent and its Cousins
William A. Edmundson
Georgia State University College of Law
Ethics, Vol. 121, 2011
Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-08
Consent theories of political obligation draw upon the unique powers consent exhibits in everyday dealings, but they are frustrated by the "problem of massive nonconsent." Expansions of what is counted as consent, such as tacit or hypothetical consent, have seemed untrue to the core concept of giving willing consent. David Estlund proposes a novel conception, "normative consent," to address the problem of massive nonconsent while being true to "the idiom of consent." This comment details consent’s virtues and shows that consent theories cannot claim enough of them to vindicate political obligation.
Keywords: political obligation, consent, normative consent, nonconsent, obligation
JEL Classification: K00
Date posted: April 26, 2011 ; Last revised: May 2, 2011
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