On Wrongs and Crimes : Does Consent Require Only an Attempt to Communicate?

Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (3):409-423 (2019)
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In Wrongs and Crimes, Victor Tadros clarifies the debate about whether consent needs to be communicated by separating the question of whether consent requires expressive behaviour from the question of whether it requires “uptake” in the form of comprehension by the consent-receiver. Once this distinction is drawn, Tadros argues both that consent does not require uptake and that consent does not require expressive behaviour that provides evidence to the consent-receiver. As a result, Tadros takes the view that consent requires an attempt to communicate, but nothing more. While I have found Tadros’s arguments for this conclusion intriguing and challenging, I am yet to be persuaded by them. In this essay, I try to say why.

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Tom Dougherty
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


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