Consent by residence: A defense

European Journal of Political Theory 20 (3):529-546 (2021)
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The traditional view according to which we adults tacitly consent to a state’s lawful actions just by living within its borders—the residence theory—is now widely rejected by political philosophers. According to the critics, this theory fails because consent must be (i) intentional, (ii) informed, and (iii) voluntary, whereas one’s continued residence within a state is typically none of these things. Few people intend to remain within the state in which they find themselves, and few realize that by remaining they are consenting to the state’s lawful actions. In addition, the various obstacles standing in the way of us leaving the state render our remaining involuntary. Thus, the critics conclude, few if any people can be considered to have consented through their residence. I argue that these objections fail and that the residence theory remains a viable option, at least for those who are not committed incompatibilists.

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Stephen Puryear
North Carolina State University

Citations of this work

Political legitimacy.Fabienne Peter - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Tacit consent and political legitimacy.Matej Cibik - forthcoming - European Journal of Political Theory.

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References found in this work

Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Freedom Within Reason.Susan R. Wolf - 1990 - New York: Oup Usa.
Who Knew?: Responsiblity Without Awareness.George Sher - 2009 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.

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