Fall 2020 Colloquium Series - 25 September 2020
Quill Kukla, Gerogetown University :: A Nonideal Theory of Sexual Consent
Friday, September 25, 2020
Abstract: 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.