Monthly Webinar Series

May: “Caring for Valid Consent”

May 22, 7 p.m. PT.  Register here.

Join Eli Benjamin Israel as he describes the Trust Condition of consent and how care is an essential part of negotiating sexual encounters.

When philosophers consider factors compromising autonomy in consent, they often focus solely on the consent-giver’s agential capacities, overlooking the impact of the consent-receiver’s conduct on the consensual character of the activity. In this paper, I argue that valid consent requires justified trust in the consent-receiver to act only within the scope of consent. I call this the Trust Condition (TC), drawing on Katherine Hawley’s commitment account of trust. TC constitutes a belief that the consent-receiver is capable and willing to act as we expect from them. If such trust is not warranted, I argue, consent lacks the appropriate normative grounds. After establishing TC, I explore its application in the sexual arena, asserting that due to the non-contractual dimensions of sexual activity — such as the dynamic nature of sexual desires and the absence of external factors effectively binding sexual partners to the terms of consent—trust is warranted in sexual consent by means of care. I define care as a special sensitivity and attention toward the partner’s will and discuss how this approach leads to safer intimate relationships in practice.

Eli Benjamin is a philosophy Ph.D. student at Temple University, focusing on ethics, moral psychology, Kantian philosophy, and the philosophy of sex. Prior to joining Temple, he completed his M.A. and B.A. degrees in the Department of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Eli is interested in the nature of autonomy and agency, and how individuals can confidently align their actions with their will. Additionally, he has a scholarly-activist interest in sexual ethics, sharing his insights on consent and the fundamental role of consent-receivers in making consent valid with relevant communities, and incorporating their experiences into his work.

 

 

 

 

 

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