The Morality and Heuristics of Consent
In this chapter I comment on Andreas Suchanek's paper "What is Meant by Consent", published in the same volume. In this commentary I challenge Suchanek’s essay on two grounds. First I argue that his critique of the justificatory role of consent theory largely misses its target, and therefore does not invalidate justificatory consent theory in general. In addition I list some sceptical thoughts about the heuristic approach championed by Suchanek. The heuristics of implicit and hypothetical consent largely rehearse insights familiar from rational choice theory and game theory. However, I suggest that one might vindicate the heuristic approach by focussing on the idea of express consent because it serves an important signalling function under conditions of imperfect information and moral pluralism. In my view, contemporary democratic theory would do well to integrate this function in its analysis of consent theory.
Jurgen De Wispelaere. "The Morality and Heuristics of Consent" Deliberation and Decision: Economics, Constitutional Theory and Deliberative Democracy. Ed. Anne van Aaken, Christian List & Christoph Luetge. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004. 187-198.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dewispelaere/4