David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Business Ethics Quarterly 10 (3):593-622 (2000)
One so-called paradox of blackmail concerns the fact that “two legal whites together make a black.” That is, it is licit to threaten to reveal a person’s secret, and it is separately lawful to ask him for money; but when both are undertaken at once, together, this act iscalled blackmail and is prohibited. A second so-called paradox is that if the blackmailer initiates the act, this is seen by jurists asblackmail and illicit, while if the blackmailee (the person blackmailed) originates the contract, this is commonly interpreted as bribery and is not illicit.But these are paradoxes only for legal theorists innocent of libertarian theory. The authors use that perspective to reject the claim thatblackmail should be unlawful. If this act were legalized, then both paradoxes would disappear, precisely their contention
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