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Title: The power of consent
Author: Healey, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 7287
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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In both everyday morality and law it is generally assumed that individuals are able to waive rights by giving consent. However, a detailed understanding of why consent has normative significance is often lacking. On a popular view about rights, rights are grounded in the interests of agents. In this thesis I consider whether we can also appeal to the interests of agents in order to explain the normative significance of consent. Ultimately, I argue that we can. The central claim of the thesis is that consent has normative significance because it provides a means through which agents can interact whilst relating to one another in a morally decent and valuable way, by recognising one another as bearers of interests worthy of protection. Specifically, by relying on consent to manage their interactions, agents recognise one another as having significant interests in having control over the central aspects of their own lives. After addressing some preliminaries in Chapter 1, in Chapters 2 and 3 I consider and reject a number of interest-based theories of consent. In Chapter 4 I articulate a relational version of the interest theory of rights, according to which rights establish a normative framework that allows agents to recognise that they accord one another's interests the appropriate role within their practical deliberations. In Chapter 5 I argue for the relational theory of consent. According to the relational theory, consent allows agents to interact in valuable ways whilst recognising one another as having legitimate control over the spheres or domains protected by their rights. In Chapter 6 I show how this theory can be relied upon to provide useful insights into debates regarding the role that can be played by sexual consent in a world marked by entrenched gender injustice.
Supervisor: Viehoff, Daniel ; Bennett, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available