The Possibility of Consent

Ratio, Forthcoming

24 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2010 Last revised: 18 Nov 2010

Date Written: August 29, 2010


Consenting, like promising and other exercises of normative power, raises the problem of how one can affect the rights and obligations of oneself and others by declaration. To see the problem, we must distinguish the power of consent from what I call the normative significance of choice. Choice has normative significance because we have an interest in controlling the non-normative aspects of our situation. By contrast, consent derives its significance from a normative interest, a permissive interest, an interest in certain deeds constituting wrongings of ourselves unless we declare otherwise.

Suggested Citation

Owens, David, The Possibility of Consent (August 29, 2010). Ratio, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

David Owens (Contact Author)

Kings College London ( email )

Philosophy Building
The Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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