Department of Theoretical Philosophy
Integrative Compromise Formation and the Use of Coercive Strategies in Negotiations
Whether one is planning a nice Friday evening with one’s partner, one tries to find partners for a business venture, or one is a politician forming a coalition with another party, life is full of situations in which one has to negotiate compromises. Interestingly this wide spread phenomenon has not enjoyed much attention in argumentation theory, as well as political philosophy. Probably the biggest reason for this is that compromise formation is largely driven by self-interest, which makes it a highly subjective matter. Therefore compromise oriented negotiations do not meet the standards of objectivity that lie at the core of fact-based argumentation concerning the truth or falsity of a particular claim, or the search for a consensus in deliberative democracies.
Nevertheless, it seems odd to say that no argumentation takes place in compromise formation. Most of the time people bring forward reasons for why they want to go to this particular restaurant or why they do not want to travel to the Alps again. In doing so, they defend a particular standpoint in an argumentative fashion. In this article I try to present a way in which the alleged tension between objective argumentation and subjective negotiation strategies can be eased. I do this by introducing a model of integrative compromise formation which incorporates features of already wellestablished methodologies from dialogical argumentation theory and recent criticism in favor of integrating subjective reasons into theories of democratic deliberation. In addition to that I will address one of the most critically treated aspects of compromise formation, namely the frequent use of coercive strategies in order to force an opponent into cooperation. I will show that not all appeals to threat are illegitimate moves per se by discussing inner-, as well as extra-dialogical factors that justify common coercive strategies like for example going on strike.
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