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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S011-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved March 17, 2018, from

Article Summary

A concept of central importance in moral, political and legal philosophy, consent is widely recognized as justifying or legitimating acts, arrangements or expectations. In standard cases, a person’s consent to another person’s acts removes moral or legal objections to or liability for the performance of those acts. Thus, in medical practice the informed consent of a patient to a procedure can justify the physician’s actions. In law, the maxim ‘volenti non fit injuria’ (the willing person is not wronged) governs a wide range of acts and transactions, from the economic to the sexual. And in politics, it is often supposed that it is ‘the consent of the governed’ that justifies or makes permissible both governmental policies and the use of official coercion to compel obedience to law. Consent may be given in a variety of more and less direct forms, but its binding force always rests on the satisfaction of conditions of knowledge, intention, competence, voluntariness and acceptability of content.

Citing this article:
Simmons, A. John. Consent, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S011-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2018 Routledge.

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