Law and Philosophy 3 (1):133 - 145 (1984)
AbstractIt is widely supposed that agreements made in response to coercion are entered into involuntarily for that reason. This paper argues that that supposition is false and that it has generated a good deal of avoidable confusion in the courts and among some legal commentators. Agreements entered into involuntarily of course, have no legal standing. But, on any plausible account of coercion, agreements entered into in response to coercion are an inevitability of social life. To prohibit them would be to prohibit many agreements we ought to and do enforce (e.g. labor agreements entered into under threat of strike). This is not to deny that agreements induced by certain uses of force or certain threats of force have and ought to have no standing. But here it is the type of force or threat that invalidates the agreement, not the use of coercion per se.
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