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Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin permission-, permissio, from permittere


  • 1: the act of permitting
  • 2: formal consent : authorization
  • 3: A license or freedom to do something; the granting of such freedom; (Publishing) an authorization given to a publisher to quote or reproduce material from a copyright work.


Permission, in philosophy, is the attribute of a person whose performance of a specific action, otherwise ethically wrong, would thereby involve no ethical fault. The term "permission" is more commonly used to refer to consent. Consent is the legal embodiment of the concept, in which approval is given to another party. Permissions depend on norms or institutions.

Many permissions and obligations are complementary to each other, and deontic logic is a tool sometimes used in reasoning about such relationships.

Further reading

Alexy, Robert, Theorie der Grundrechte, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M.: 1985. Translation: A theory of constitutional rights, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 2002. Raz, Joseph, Practical reason and norms, Oxford University, Oxford: 1975. von Wright, G. H., Norm and action. A logical enquiry, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London: 1963.