Think 15 (43):9-15 (2016)

Ursula Coope
Oxford University
If you kidnap or drug someone to prevent her from casting her vote, then you are responsible for her failure to cast her vote. There is nothing she can do about it. If you hypnotize a person to get her to assassinate your enemy, then you are responsible for the assassination. She cannot be blamed. Kidnapping, drugging and hypnosis are all methods of subjecting someone else to your will. But does persuading a person to do something count as a further method of controlling her, or subjecting her to your will? Intuitively, we want to say it does not. If you persuade me not to vote, then you get me to do what you want, but you do so in a way that leaves me in control. Having been persuaded does not exempt me from blame, as having been kidnapped, drugged or hypnotized would do. However, this intuitive view proves surprisingly difficult to justify. What makes being persuaded different? Why isn't persuading someone to do something simply a further way of controlling what she does?
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DOI 10.1017/s1477175616000014
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