Victimless Conduct and the Volenti Maxim: How Consent Works
Michelle Madden Dempsey
Villanova University School of Law
Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2013
Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-3038
This article examines the normative force of consent, explaining how consent works its moral magic in transforming the moral quality of conduct that would otherwise constitute a wrong against the consenting person. Dempsey offers an original account of the normative force of consent, according to which consent (when valid) creates an exclusionary permission. When this permission is taken up, the moral quality of the consented-to conduct is transformed, such that it no longer constitutes a wrong against the consenting person. Building on this account of how consent works, Dempsey identifies two sets of cases in which consent fails to transform the moral quality of one¹s conduct: cases in which one is consent-insensitive to the rational force of another¹s consent, and cases in which one acts for sadistic reasons.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: Consent, moral conduct
Date posted: May 7, 2013 ; Last revised: May 11, 2013
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