Consent to Sexual Relations (Book Review) - Stanford Law School

Consent to Sexual Relations (Book Review)

By Stanford Law School

  • Release Date - Published: 2005-12-01
  • Book Genre: Law
  • Author: Stanford Law School
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Consent to Sexual Relations (Book Review) Stanford Law School read online review & book description:

INTRODUCTION Reading Alan Wertheimer's work is always richly rewarding. He is never the least bit trivial or esoteric; his books invariably tackle vital conceptual issues with direct relevance to legal and social practice. He has for instance, in the past, provided us a cogent account of how to think about coercion (1) and illustrated clearly how distinct conceptions of what coercion is, how being coerced might be distinct from being constrained, or how coercion may not excuse the coerced party of responsibility, play out in a host of legal domains. He has analyzed what has long been (outside the unduly limited, and rather unpersuasive, Marxist tradition) the rather vague concept of exploitation (2) and demonstrated with extraordinary clarity how we can bring these analytical insights about exploitation to bear on questions about unconstitutional conditions, unconscionable contracts, or the propriety of sexual relationships between psychotherapists and their patients. In his most recent book, Consent to Sexual Relations, (3) Wertheimer once more addresses a set of unquestionably significant problems. Why should we legally prohibit or (merely) morally condemn sexual contacts between men and women (4) in cases where the woman has not given any token (in words or deeds) that she consents to the sexual contact? More significantly, when is the "morally transformative" capacity of the consent-token to legitimize the sexual contact compromised by the circumstances in which it is given? That is, when is she (unduly) coerced, deceived, or incompetent (most interestingly because of age, cognitive dysfunction, false beliefs, or intoxication)?

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