Consent: Its Nature and Normative Relevance

Conference at the Centre for Advanced Study in Bioethics

Consent can make the difference between visiting someone’s home and trespassing, between battery and surgery, and between rape and sex. A conference on 21–23 June 2017 will deal with some fundamental questions about consent.

The conference takes place at the Freiherr-von-Vincke-Haus. Participation is free, however, registration is required due to limited capacity. Please fill in our registration form and send it to our office at by 14 June 2017 latest.

"Consent: Its Nature and Normative Relevance"

By consenting to an agent’s action, we often seem to change its moral status, turning an action that is morally wrong into a permissible
one. Consent can, for instance, make the difference between visiting someone’s home and trespassing, between battery and surgery, and between rape and sex. Because of its relevance in cases like the ones just mentioned, consent plays an important role in, e.g., medical ethics and the philosophy of (criminal) law.

While it is uncontroversial that consent often does make a difference to the moral status of an action, this phenomenon also gives rise to a number of questions, such as: What exactly is consent? How does it affect the moral status of an action and the rights and obligations of the people involved in it? Why is consent morally relevant at all? What are the criteria for a person’s consent to be valid? The aim of this conference is to provide an occasion for discussing
these and other fundamental questions about consent.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017
9:15 Welcome & Introduction
9:30 – 10:50 The Normative Force of Consent in the Moral, Political, and Legal Realms
Michelle Dempsey (Villanova)
Coffee break
11:10 – 12:30 Triangulating Consent
Micha Gläser (Zürich)
01:30 – 02:50 Is Consent a Normative Power?
Tom Dougherty (Cambridge)
Coffee break
03:10 – 04:30 Directed Duties and the Power of Consent
Richard Healey (Montreal)
Coffee break
04:50 – 06:10 The Normative Basis of Consent
Andreas Müller (Bern)
Thursday, 22 June 2017
9:30 – 10:50 Addressing Proles, not Archangels:
Consent-Giving in the Context of Clinical Medicine
Bettina Schöne-Seifert (Münster)
Coffee break
11:10 – 12:30 The Significance of Consent:
Against the Metaphor of Transformation
Arudra Burra (Delhi)
01:30 – 02:50 Do Coercion, Deception, and Manipulation Invalidate Consent?
The Criterion and Paradox of Autonomous Decision
Christiane Turza (Münster)
Coffee break
03:10 – 04:30 Consent and Third Party Coercion
Mollie Gerver (Leeds)
Coffee break
04:50 – 06:10 Making Sense of Conditional Consent
Neil Manson (Lancaster)
Friday, 23 June 2017
10:00 – 11:20 Consent and the Right to Complain
Peter Schaber (Münster/Zürich)
Coffee break
11:40 – 01:00 Rights and Consent
David Owens (London)