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On the Moral Objection to Coercion
Philosophy & Public Affairs  (IF2),  Pub Date : 2017-06-01, DOI: 10.1111/papa.12098
Stephen J. White

Suppose Green threatens Brown: “Stay out of Malibu, or you’ll be sorry.” And Brown has every reason to believe he will indeed be sorry if he shows up in Malibu again. And so Brown stays out of Malibu. Most of us will think that, prima facie, Green has done something wrong. There is perhaps some background we could fill in that would make it permissible for Green to issue the threat. But in the absence of some special justification, this type of coercion is objectionable. But what exactly has Green done to Brown, so far, that one might object to? Of course, it would be wrong for Green to carry out her threat and, say, beat up Brown. But Green hasn’t done that yet and, in fact, won’t do that, because Brown, we can suppose, will stay out of Malibu. In the literature on the topic, we find an interesting divergence of emphasis. Different accounts focus attention on different aspects of