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Seminario "A Nonideal Theory of Sexual Consent"

27 maggio

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Seminario "A Nonideal Theory of Sexual Consent

Prof.ssa Rebecca Kukla (Georgetown University, Kennedy Institute of Ethics) 

Lunedì 27 maggio 2019, ore 16:00, presso la Sala del Camino, P.zza Vittoria 15, Pavia

A Non-Ideal Theory of Sexual Consent

Most of the literature on sexual consent presupposes that consent requires autonomy, and proceeds as though autonomy is a roughly digital property: you either have it or you don’t, and if you don’t have it then you can’t legitimately consent to sexual activity. But in fact, autonomy is a continuum, and our autonomy is almost always partial. 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. Accepting this consequent would either make the notion of consent useless, or it would turn most sex into rape, and neither is a helpful outcome. I argue that under conditions of compromised autonomy, consent must be socially and interpersonally scaffolded. To understand consent as an ethically crucial but non-ideal 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.