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Of Theories of Coercion, Two Axes, and the Importance of the Coercer

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
Author: Scott Anderson
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Abstract

Recent accounts of coercion can be mapped onto two different axes: whether they focus on the situation of the coercee or the activities of the coercer; and whether or not they depend upon moral judgments in their analysis of coercion. Using this analysis, I suggest that almost no recent theories have seriously explored a non-moralized, coercer-focused approach to coercion. I offer some reasons to think that a theory in this underexplored quadrant offers some important advantages over theories confined to the other quadrants. In particular I suggest that much of our interest in coercion depends on facts about the coercer, such as the sorts of powers coercers must possess to be able to coerce, and on the coercer's intention in using those powers to constrain or alter the coercee's activities.

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