Final Take-Home Exam
Phil 237, Winter 2020
Write a short response (about one large paragraph) to each of the following
What is Dougherty’s “argument from the chihuahua” and what does he take it to show
about sexual consent?
In his paper, Dougherty claims to be against the lenient theory, he believes that
deceiving another person into sex is entirely wrong and there is no valid reasoning
behind deception. The chihuahua argument is used to explain why those who are
deceived do not consent to any sexual activities. The example used in his paper states
that Aisha wants to bring her chihuahua into her friend’s apartment, Aisha knows this
friend hates chihuahua’s, so she says her dog is a Great Dane. Aisha’s defense claims that
this friend consented to the arrangement by agreeing to the Great Dane, but in reality,
Aisha has trespassed onto the property by claiming her chihuahua was a Great Dane.
Dougherty admits that there are some superficial differences in the chihuahua argument
if compared to sexual consent; a home versus a body and a dog versus sexual contact.
Nonetheless, it is clear through this argument that Dougherty believes any deception
causes invalid moral consent from the other person who is involved. From this
argument, Dougherty has clearly rejected the notion that someone consents to sex
when deceived by run of the mill deception. Moreover, knowing about one’s deal
breakers should be enough to emphasize the absence of consent between partners.
However, one issue is that knowledge of these deal breakers can be extremely hard to
come by for several reasons. For starters, we aren’t always aware of the exact reason we
choose to have sex with someone. Despite this, Dougherty argues that if there is
deception on the basis that there is a possibility of rejection, there is still no consensual
sex that has been agreed upon between the two partners involved. In Aisha’s case, she
lied about her dog being a chihuahua in case her friend didn’t like this breed of dog, thus
she still does not have the valid, moral consent of her friend here. To put this in terms of
sexual consent, if someone deceives a partner with the goal of avoiding any deal
breakers impeding on the sexual activities, then there is clearly no valid moral consent
between these partners.
What is Liberto’s thrift-store analogy and what does she take it to show about sexual