European Journal of Political Theory 20 (3):529-546 (2021)

Stephen Puryear
North Carolina State University
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.
Keywords Consent  Political authority  Political obligation  Social Contract  Tacit Consent
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019, 2021
DOI 10.1177/1474885119833009
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Who Knew?: Responsiblity Without Awareness.George Sher - 2009 - Oxford University Press USA.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Tacit Consent Without Political Obligation.James Furner - 2010 - Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 57 (124):54-85.
Consent and Its Cousins.William A. Edmundson - 2011 - Ethics 121 (2):335-53.
The Authority of the State.Leslie Green - 1988 - Clarendon Press.
John Locke's Contractarian Theory of Political Obligation.Yoen-kyo Jung - 1992 - Dissertation, The University of Rochester
Unintentional Consent.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2015 - Kritike 9 (1):86-95.
Hobbes on Tacit Covenants.Mark C. Murphy - 1994 - Hobbes Studies 7 (1):69-94.
Locke, Simmons, and Consent.Michael Davis - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (4):667-690.
What is the Basis of Political Authority?Harry Beran - 1983 - The Monist 66 (4):487-499.
Obligation and Consent - II.Hannah Pitkin - 1966 - American Political Science Review 60:39-52.
Locke’s Social Theory: Contract or Consent?Maryam Lārijāni - 2008 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 9 (36):147-178.
Normative Consent and Authority.Daniel Koltonski - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (3):255-275.


Added to PP index

Total views
155 ( #74,387 of 2,498,146 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
59 ( #13,646 of 2,498,146 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes