Hypothetical consent is puzzling.Onthe one hand, it seems tomake amoral difference across a wide range of cases. On the other hand, there seem to be principled reasons to think that it cannot. In this article I put forward reasonably precise formulations of these general suspicions regarding hypothetical consent; I draw several distinctions regarding the ways in which hypothetical consent may make a moral difference; I distinguish between two autonomy-related concerns, nonalienation and sovereignty; and, utilizing these distinctions, I show that-and in a preliminary way, when-the objections to the moral significance of hypothetical consent fail.
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* I presented earlier versions of this article in philosophy departments and law schools at Rutgers, Toronto, Ohio, the Hebrew University, Cambridge, Michigan, Harvard, UNAM, and University of Pennsylvania. I thank the audiences for the helpful discussions. For comments and conversations I especially thank Dani Attas, Selim Berker, Sarah Buss, Meir Buzaglo, Daniel Cook, Chris Cowie, Leora Dahan Katz, Tom Dougherty, Ruti Gavison, Daniel Goldstick, Kerah Gordon-Solmon, Abner Greene, Alex Guerrero, Scott Hershovits, David Heyd, Tom Hurka, Eric MacGilvray, Damian Melamedoff, Tristram McPherson, Sarah Moss, Peter Railton, Ram Rivlin, Amelie Rorty, Giorgio Sbardolini, Andrew Sepielli, Sergio Tenenbaum, Piers Turner, Peter Vallentyne, Alec Walen, Ben Zipursky, and several readers and editors for Ethics. My research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, Grant 439/15.
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