Agreement as the convergence of will: A consensualistic approach to negotiation

New Ideas in Psychology 37:24-32 (2015)
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Negotiation is often treated as an attempt to reconcile conflicting interests. Instead, I define negotiation as an attempt to produce a convergence of will. Based on a distinction initially made by Rawls (1955), I draw attention away from summary rules that are introduced during negotiation, including win-win interest prescriptions, and put the emphasis on the practice rules that are validated by the final agreement. The term convergence of will refers to the co-adoption of practice rules that define the interaction that is the subject of negotiation. It essentially refers to the negotiating parties establishing the normative or “ought” standards of the interaction they are negotiating about. Moving from the subjective view of Kant to the intersubjective view of Habermas, I offer an approach that examines how agreement validates the “ought” requirements of that interaction, going beyond underlying interests.

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Alexios Arvanitis
University of Crete


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