Hypothetical consent is puzzling. On the one hand, it seems to make a moral difference across a wide range of cases. On the other hand, there seem to be principled reasons to think that it cannot. In this article I put forward reasonably precise formulations of these general suspicions regarding hypothetical consent; I draw several distinctions regarding the ways in which hypothetical consent may make a moral difference; I distinguish between two autonomy-related concerns, nonalienation and sovereignty; and, utilizing these distinctions, I show that – and in a preliminary way, when – the objections to the moral significance of hypothetical consent fail.
David Enoch, ‘Hypothetical Consent and the Value(s) of Autonomy’, Ethics 128, no 1 (October 2017): 6-36, https://doi.org/10.1086/692939.