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Alexander, Larry, Hurd, Heidi, Westen, Peter. Consent Does Not Require Communication: A Reply to Dougherty
2016, Law and Philosophy. 35: 655-660.
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Added by: Emma Holmes, David MacDonald, Yichi Zhang, and Samuel Dando-Moore
Abstract: Tom Dougherty argues that consenting, like promising, requires both an appropriate mental attitude and a communication of that attitude.Thus, just as a promise is not a promise unless it is communicated to the promisee, consent is not consent unless it is communicated to the relevant party or parties. And those like us, who believe consent is just the attitude, and that it can exist without its being communicated, are in error. Or so Dougherty argues. We, however, are unpersuaded. We believe Dougherty is right about promises, but wrong about consent. Although each of us gives a slightly different account of the attitude that constitutes consent, we all agree that consent is constituted by that attitude and need not be communicated in order to alter the morality of another’s conduct.

Comment: The authors argue that consent is an attitude, rather than an act of communication. They give two examples to support this view where the communication of consent doesn’t occur or goes wrong somehow, but nonetheless (they claim) it is intuitively a consensual interaction.

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Jenkins Ichikawa, Jonathan. Presupposition and Consent
2020, Feminist Philosophy Quarterly. 6(4).
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Added by: Emma Holmes, David MacDonald, Yichi Zhang, and Samuel Dando-Moore
Abstract: I argue that “consent” language presupposes that the contemplated action is or would be at someone else’s behest. When one does something for another reason—for example, when one elects independently to do something, or when one accepts an invitation to do something—it is linguistically inappropriate to describe the actor as “consenting” to it; but it is also inappropriate to describe them as “not consenting” to it. A consequence of this idea is that “consent” is poorly suited to play its canonical central role in contemporary sexual ethics. But this does not mean that nonconsensual sex can be morally permissible. Consent language, I’ll suggest, carries the conventional presupposition that that which is or might be consented to is at someone else’s behest. One implication will be a new kind of support for feminist critiques of consent theory in sexual ethics.

Comment: Here Ichikawa argues that the language of "consent" to sex presupposes that there is a 'requester' who asks for sex and a 'consenter' who then replies yes or no. Ichikawa argues that this reinforces sexist norms of how sex works.

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Kukla, Quill R.. A Nonideal Theory of Sexual Consent
2021, Ethics, 131(2): 270-292.
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Added by: Emma Holmes, David MacDonald, Yichi Zhang, and Samuel Dando-Moore
Abstract: Our autonomy can be compromised by limitations in our capacities, or by the power relationships within which we are embedded. If we insist that real consent requires full autonomy, then virtually no sex will turn out to be consensual. I argue that under conditions of compromised autonomy, consent must be socially and interpersonally scaffolded. To understand consent as an ethically crucial but nonideal concept, we need to think about how it is related to other requirements for ethical sex, such as the ability to exit a situation, trust, safety, broader social support, epistemic standing in the community, and more.

Comment: Kukla uses this paper to describe a view of consent which is relational. This means that rather than asking questions about what each person individually consented to or not, the question is how the people having sex communicated. If they communicate sufficiently well then the sex is consensual, and if they do not it is not. We can use this to challenge a view of consent which has been implicit in most of the readings so far. This paper is used to discuss blameworthiness and responsibility for wrongful sex, and to ask questions about what the real world obligations of agents are, given their lack of complete information

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Liberto, Hallie. The Problem with Sexual Promises
2017, Ethics, 127(2): 383-414.
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Added by: Emma Holmes, David MacDonald, Yichi Zhang, and Samuel Dando-Moore
Abstract: I first distinguish promises with positive sexual content (e.g., promises to perform sexual acts) and promises with negative sexual content (e.g., promises to refrain from sexual acts—as one does when making monogamy promises). I argue that sexual content—even positive sexual content—does not cause a promise to misfire. However, the content of some successful promises is such that a promisee ought not to accept the promise, and, if she does accept, she ought then to release her promisor from the promise. I argue that both positive and negative sexual promises have content of this kind.

Comment: Liberto argues that promises to have sex, and promises not to have sex, are a special type of promise that it is morally wrong to make. She does this by first arguing why promises to have sex are “overextensive”. This means that sexual promises promise something too important: sex. After she concludes that promises to have sex are overextensive she spends the second half of the paper arguing why promises not to have sex (i.e. monogmany promises) are not disanalogous to promises to have sex, and thus are also overextensive.

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Tilton, Emily, Jenkins Ichikawa, Jonathan. Not What I Agreed To: Content and Consent
2021, Ethics, 132(1): 127-154.
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Added by: Emma Holmes, David MacDonald, Yichi Zhang, and Samuel Dando-Moore
Abstract: Deception sometimes results in nonconsensual sex. A recent body of literature diagnoses such violations as invalidating consent: the agreement is not morally transformative, which is why the sexual contact is a rights violation. We pursue a different explanation for the wrongs in question: there is valid consent, but it is not consent to the sex act that happened. Semantic conventions play a key role in distinguishing deceptions that result in nonconsensual sex (like stealth condom removal) from those that don’t (like white lies). Our framework is also applicable to more controversial cases, like those implicated in so-called “gender fraud” complaints.

Comment: Tilton and Ichikawa attempt to work out what goes wrong in certain deception cases but not in others. This is useful as a reply to Dougherty's argument that sex from deception is always morally serious and it engages with the issues Fischel raises around gender deception.

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