Elusive Consent

Public Affairs Quarterly 34 (2021)
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Deception, like coercion, can invalidate the moral force of consent. In the sexual domain, when someone is deceived about some feature of their partner, knowledge of which would be dispositive of their decision to have sex – a dealbreaker – the moral validity of their consent is undermined. I argue that in order to determine whether someone has discharged their duties of disclosure in the sexual domain, we should ask whether, upon receiving a token of consent to sex, they have a justified belief that their partner would consent to the sexual encounter given all the features that it has. I argue that whether an agent has a justified belief in this proposition is a function of the agent’s body of evidence and which alternatives uneliminated.


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