When all goes well, your consent will release someone from a duty that they owed to you. But if you consent only because they have put you under significant duress, then your consent leaves that duty in place. To capture these points, theories of consent standardly draw a binary distinction between valid and invalid consent. I refine this picture by introducing a middle category of "flawed consent," in order to account for the ways in which milder forms of duress can undermine your consent. When your consent to someone's action is flawed, they remain under a duty not to perform the action, but your consent downgrades the stringency of this duty—they would wrong you to a lesser degree by performing that action. The degree to which your consent is flawed determines the amount that this duty's stringency is downgraded. I propose that the category of flawed consent will be helpful for accounting for the full range of ways that people can wrongfully exercise power over others' sexual choices.
Moral Philosophy Seminar Convenors: Prof Jeff McMahan and Dr Tom Sinclair