Legal Theory 2 (2):121-146 (1996)

Abstract
We regularly wield powers that, upon close scrutiny, appear remarkably magical. By sheer exercise of will, we bring into existence things that have never existed before. With but a nod, we effect the disappearance of things that have long served as barriers to the actions of others. And, by mere resolve, we generate things that pose significant obstacles to others' exercise of liberty. What is the nature of these things that we create and destroy by our mere decision to do so? The answer: the rights and obligations of others. And by what seemingly magical means do we alter these rights and obligations? By making promises and issuing or revoking consent When we make promises, we generate obligations for ourselves, and when we give consent, we create rights for others. Since the rights and obligations that are affected by means of promising and consenting largely define the boundaries of permissible action, our exercise of these seemingly magical powers can significantly affect the lives and liberties of others.
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DOI 10.1017/S1352325200000434
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Content and Consciousness.N. J. H. Dent - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (81):403-404.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Symbolic-Consequences Argument in the Sex Robot Debate.John Danaher - 2017 - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Yes Means Yes: Consent as Communication.Tom Dougherty - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 43 (3):224-253.
Understanding, Communication, and Consent.Joseph Millum & Danielle Bromwich - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:45-68.
Moral Risk and Communicating Consent.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2019 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (2):179-207.
Bad Sex and Consent.Elise Woodard - forthcoming - In David Boonin (ed.), Handbook of Sexual Ethics. Palgrave.

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