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Elise Woodard (King’s College): ‘Mistreating Consent’

26 March, 2:00 pm3:30 pm


Consent plays an important role in our lives. Clearly, using someone’s body or property without their consent is typically wrong. However, there are various ways in which consent can be defective or non-ideal. In this paper, I focus on an under-explored way in which consent can be defective, namely in virtue of being moot. In cases of moot consent, agent A consents to B φ-ing, but if A hadn’t consented, B would have φ’d anyway. (Consider: Audrey consents to have sex with Brice, but if she hadn’t consented, he would have had sex with her anyway.) These cases are disturbing, but it is difficult to explain why while preserving morally relevant distinctions between cases. In this paper, I attempt to diagnose what’s troubling about cases of moot consent and what harms or wrongs agents like Audrey incur. In my view, moot consent is still valid consent, but the consent-receiver wrongs the agent by mistreating the consent. This is because the consent fails to play a proper role in their practical deliberation and reasons for action.

Elise Woodard is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at King’s College London, Dickson Poon School of Law. Elise’s primary interests lie in epistemology, ethics, and social & feminist philosophy (and their various intersections). Her current research focuses on fickleness, double-checking, evidence-gathering, and epistemic repair. She’s also interested in consent and gaslighting, among other things.

This event will take place in person on LSE’s campus. However, those unable to attend in person will have the option of taking part online.

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Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.


26 March
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


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