Splitting a Difference of Opinion: The Shift to Negotiation

Jan Albert van Laar*, Erik C. W. Krabbe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
284 Downloads (Pure)


Negotiation is not only used to settle differences of interest but also to settle differences of opinion. Discussants who are unable to resolve their difference about the objective worth of a policy or action proposal may be willing to abandon their attempts to convince the other and search instead for a compromise that would, for each of them, though only a second choice yet be preferable to a lasting conflict. Our questions are: First, when is it sensible to enter into negotiations and when would this be unwarranted or even fallacious? Second, what is the nature of a compromise? What does it mean to settle instead of resolve a difference of opinion, and what might be the dialectical consequences of mistaking a compromise for a substantial resolution? Our main aim is to contribute to the theory of argumentation within the context of negotiation and compromise formation and to show how arguing disputants can shift to negotiation in a dialectically virtuous way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-350
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Early online date12-Dec-2017
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2018


  • Compromise
  • Fallacy of bargaining
  • Fallacy of middle ground
  • Mixed difference of opinion
  • Negotiation
  • Resolution

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