Philosophy Colloquium: David Boonin, "Consent and Third-Party Coercion"

When

Oct. 11, 2019, 3pm to 5pm

Campus Location

Office/Remote Location

Room 113

Description

Department of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder

—Suppose Al threatens to beat Betty if she doesn’t agree to give him the money in her pocket, that Al’s threat is credible and sincere, that Betty knows this, and that Betty has no way to get Al to withdraw his threat. It’s clear that if Betty says yes in response to Al’s threat in this case, the consent she gives to let Al take control of her money isn’t valid: the fact that she said yes does not make it permissible for Al to take her money. Now suppose Al threatens to beat Betty if she doesn’t agree to give the money in her pocket to Charles, that Al’s threat is credible and sincere, that Betty and Charles both know this, and that neither Betty nor Charles have a way to get Al to withdraw his threat. It seems natural to suppose that if Betty says yes in response to Al’s threat in this case, the consent she gives to let Charles take control of her money isn’t valid either and that, more generally, if consent is invalid in cases of two-party coercion, it is also invalid in cases of third-party coercion. I will argue in this talk, however, that this is a mistake. While consent is invalid in cases of two-party coercion, it is nonetheless valid in cases of third-party coercion. This has important theoretical consequences for our understanding of what makes consent invalid in standard two-party cases and important practical consequences in such areas as sexual ethics and medical ethics, where instances of third-party coercion can and do occur.

Admission Information

This event is free and and open to the public.

Contact Information

Philosophy Department

Event Sponsor

Philosophy Department