Negotiation as Practical Argumentation

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This paper defends negotiation as a way of rationally overcoming disagreements. Negotiation is a type of dialogue where the parties begin with a conflict and a need for cooperation, and their main goal is to make a deal as reported (Walton and Krabbe 1995, p 72). It has been discussed whether differences of opinion can be shifted from persuasion to negotiation dialogue. If two parties disagree, is it reasonable to overcome their disagreement by employing negotiation? Van Laar and Krabbe (2018a) argue that negotiation is the correct way to settle disagreements when the parties arrive at a stalemate. Godden and Casey (2020) deny this. They argue that the goal of persuasion dialogue (to resolve a conflict by verbal means) can never be replaced by a bargaining procedure. This paper claims that shifts to negotiation are reasonable, but only if the shift meets two conditions. The practical condition requires the disagreement to be practical rather than theoretical, and the sacrifice condition requires that the parties freely agree to shift the dialogue to negotiation. When the parties do not meet these conditions, they commit fallacies such as ad consequentiam, ad baculum or the fallacy of middle ground. Finally, I argue that negotiation arises in practical argumentation when the parties assign different relative values to their goals. When this process occurs, we see negotiation as a small step within the practical argumentation process. Persuasion, deliberation and negotiation dialogue are, then, deeply intertwined and are sometimes indistinguishable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-527
Number of pages31
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Deliberation
  • Dialectical shifts
  • Dialogue types
  • Fallacies
  • Negotiation
  • Persuasion
  • Practical argumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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