Recent Work on the Ethics of Consent

December 2, 2020
University of Oxford

High Street
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • ERC Project Roots of Responsibility (project ID: 789270)


Oxford University
Lancaster University


Oxford University

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The first of a two-part Workshop on Consent, organised by Karamvir Chadha (Durham) and Maximilian Kiener (Oxford, Roots of Responsibility). About this Event

This two-part workshop gathers scholars working on consent to discuss their recent work. It is organised by Karamvir Chadha (Durham) and Maximilian Kiener (Oxford, Roots of Responsibility).

The first part will be held 16.30-19.30 (UK time) on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

The second part of the Workshop will be held in early 2021, and will involve papers from Mollie Gerver (Essex) and Karamvir Chadha (Durham).

This workshop is sponsored by the Roots of Responsibility ERC project, to which Maximilian Kiener belongs as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.



*All times in UK time

Wednesday 2 December 2020

16.30–17.50. Maximilian Kiener, “When Do Nudges Undermine Voluntary Consent?”

17.50–18.10. Break

18.10–19.30. Neil Manson, “A Partial Map? What the Philosophy of Consent Leaves Out”

19.30. Social Time (at SpacialChat)

Maximilian Kiener's paper will be circulated to the participants about two weeks in advance of the workshop. Neil Manson will present his paper at the workshop. Handouts may be circulated just before the event.

*For abstracts for the talks, see below.



We encourage colleagues and especially postgraduate students to attend. Please spread the word. All are welcome, but registration is essential. The link to the Zoom meeting location will be emailed to the registered participants.

Some of the papers will be distributed approximately two weeks in advance. Participants are expected to attend the workshop having read these papers.

As the registration is free, not everyone who registers comes to the event. To make sure we have a full house, we may allocate more tickets than there are places. Please note, therefore, that registering does not guarantee you a place; the Zoom meeting location will be open throughout the workshop, and the registered participants will be admitted to individual sessions on a first-come-first-served basis.

Enquiries about the workshop can be submitted via the message form on the Roots of Responsibility website.


Abstracts Maximilian Kiener (Oxford), “When Do Nudges Undermine Voluntary Consent?” (pre-read)

Abstract. The permissibility of nudging in public policy is often assessed in terms of the conditions of transparency, rationality, and easy resistibility. This debate has produced important resources for any ethical inquiry into nudging, but it has also often neglected a different yet very important question, namely: when do nudges undermine a patient’s voluntary consent to a medical procedure? In this paper, I take on this further question and, more precisely, I ask to which extent the three conditions of transparency, rationality, and easy resistibility can be applied to the assessment of voluntary consent too. I claim that, suitably modified, the three conditions can remain significant in the assessment of voluntary consent, but the needed modifications are very substantial and result in a rather complicated view. To propose a tidier solution, I argue that nudging undermines voluntary consent if and only if it cannot be ‘interpersonally justified’ to the patient.

Neil Manson (Lancaster), “A Partial Map? What the Philosophy of Consent Leaves Out” (presentation)

Abstract. The philosophy of consent has tended to focus upon consent in specific contexts - the legal philosophy of sexual consent; biomedical ethics; political philosophy. But consent is a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives - and we can spend large parts of our lives without engaging in sexual relations, seeking medical treatment or participating in medical research, and, in terms of consent to be governed, either such consent is tacit, or something that is exercised infrequently (e.g, by voting). Although this broad terrain of everyday consent makes an appearance in the philosophy of consent, it tends to do so by way of illustration or analogy, without being a region of study in its own right. In this (informal) talk, the aim is to outline some broad features of the terrain of everyday consent.

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December 1, 2020, 4:00am BST

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