•  36
    The Enforcement Approach to Coercion
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 5 (1): 1-31. 2010.
    This essay differentiates two approaches to understanding the concept of coercion, and argues for the relative merits of the one currently out of fashion. The approach currently dominant in the philosophical literature treats threats as essential to coercion, and understands coercion in terms of the way threats alter the costs and benefits of an agent’s actions; I call this the “pressure” approach. It has largely superseded the “enforcement approach,” which focuses on the powers and actions of t…Read more
  •  72
    Comment on 'Is prostitution harmful?'
    Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (2): 82-83. 2014.
    There are few participants in academic or policy debates over prostitution who would disagree that steps should be taken to improve conditions for those working in prostitution; so Moen1 is in good and plentiful company with respect to his recommendations.I will focus here on the analysis leading up to his conclusions, and with whether it helps us understand why prostitution is so commonly harmful and what it would take to mitigate those harms.i On these matters I am dubious. The question of whe…Read more
  •  32
    The Coercer’s Role in Coercion
    American Journal of Bioethics 19 (9): 39-41. 2019.
    Volume 19, Issue 9, September 2019, Page 39-41.
  • Coercion, Agents, and Ethics
    Dissertation, The University of Chicago. 2002.
    Whether for good purposes or bad, coercion is one extremely important and effective means of getting someone to do something. Unfortunately, recent philosophical discussions of the concept have lost sight of how agents use it, as well as what makes it possible to use it or be subject to it. After an introductory chapter, Chapter 2 of this dissertation shows that, beginning with Robert Nozick's seminal essay "Coercion" , philosophers have tended to psychologize the concept. By focusing on its psy…Read more
  •  290
    Privacy Without the Right to Privacy
    The Monist 91 (1): 81-107. 2008.
  •  95
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2011.
  •  145
    On the immorality of threatening
    Ratio 24 (3): 229-242. 2011.
    A plausible explanation of the wrongfulness of threatening, advanced most explicitly by Mitchell Berman, is that the wrongfulness of threatening derives from the wrongfulness of the act threatened. This essay argues that this explanation is inadequate. We can learn something important about the wrongfulness of threatening (with implications for thinking about coercion) by comparing credible threats to some other claims of impending harm. A credible bluff threat to do harm is likely to be more an…Read more
  •  1176
    How Did There Come To Be Two Kinds of Coercion?
    In David A. Reidy & Walter J. Riker (eds.), Coercion and the State, Springer Verlag. pp. 17-29. 2008.
  •  1636
    Sex under pressure: Jerks, boorish behavior, and gender hierarchy (review)
    Res Publica 11 (4): 349-369. 2005.
    Pressuring someone into having sex would seem to differ in significant ways from pressuring someone into investing in one’s business or buying an expensive bauble. In affirming this claim, I take issue with a recent essay by Sarah Conly (‘Seduction, Rape, and Coercion’, Ethics, October 2004), who thinks that pressuring into sex can be helpfully evaluated by analogy to these other instances of using pressure. Drawing upon work by Alan Wertheimer, the leading theorist of coercion, she argues that …Read more
  •  82
    This essay provides a positive account of coercion that avoids significant difficulties that have confronted most other recent accounts. It enters this territory by noting a dispute over whether coercion has to manipulate the will of the coercee, or whether direct force inhibiting action (such as manhandling or imprisoning) is itself coercive. Though this dispute may at first seem a mere matter of taxonomic categorization, I argue that this dispute reflects an important divergence in thought abo…Read more
  • The traditional understanding of coercion as exemplified by the use of force and violence to constrain the actions of agents has been challenged by theories that describe coercion instead in terms of the pressure it puts on some agents to act or refrain from acting. Building on earlier work defending the traditional understanding and rejecting the ‘pressure’ accounts of coercion, I argue in this paper that the traditional understanding of coercion, which I dub ‘coercion as enforcement’, provide…Read more
  •  447
    Of Theories of Coercion, Two Axes, and the Importance of the Coercer
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (3): 394-422. 2008.
    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 co…Read more
  •  28
    Many recent theories of coercion broaden the scope of the concept coercion by encompassing interactions in which one agent pressures another to act, subject to some further qualifications. I have argued previously that this way of conceptualizing coercion undermines its suitability for theoretical use in politics and ethics. I have also explicated a narrower, more traditional approach—“the enforcement approach to coercion”—and argued for its superiority. In this essay, I consider the prospects f…Read more
  •  644
    Conceptualizing Rape as Coerced Sex
    Ethics 127 (1): 50-87. 2016.
  •  302
    On Sexual Obligation and Sexual Autonomy
    Hypatia 28 (1): 122-141. 2013.
    In this paper, I try to make sense of the possibility of several forms of voluntarily undertaken “sexual obligation.” The claim that there can be sexual obligations is liable to generate worries with respect to concerns for gender justice, sexual freedom, and autonomy, especially if such obligations arise in a context of unjust background conditions. This paper takes such concerns seriously but holds that, despite unjust background circumstances, some practices that give rise to ethical sexual o…Read more
  •  103
    Coercive Wage Offers
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Blackwell. pp. 847-850. 2013.