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The Ethics of ConsentTheory and Practice$
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Franklin Miller and Alan Wertheimer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335149.001.0001

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Hypothetical Consent

Hypothetical Consent

(p.131) 6 Hypothetical Consent
The Ethics of Consent

Arthur Kuflik

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the coherence and force of appeals to hypothetical consent—that to which a person would consent if he or she were in a position to do so. We might say it is permissible to perform surgery on an unconscious person because he or she would have consented had he or she been able to consent or arrange a person's posthumous affairs by reference to what he or she would have consented. Although the intuitive force of hypothetical consent is powerful, some philosophers have argued that such hypothetical consent not only is not real consent, but also that it can do no moral work. The chapter argues that this view is too quick.

Keywords:   hypothetical consent, moral philosophy, medical ethics

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