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The concept of ``force acting on a dislocation'' (or other imperfection) is intrinsically different from the concept of force as used in newtonian mechanics, and must be defined. A definition is given which preserves the basic property (1) that the direction of the resultant force gives the direction in which the imperfection will actually move if the atomic constraints do not prevent motion. For imperfections in an infinite crystal, and assuming linear elasticity, two further properties are established: (2) the parallelogram law of adding forces is valid, and (3) Newton's law of equal and opposite action and reaction is valid. A critical review of previous work relating to forces between crystal imperfections is given.