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Mediation in Philosophy

Recognizing reactions of parties and their thought process becomes essential for the momentum in mediation. Tarka/Nyaya sastras categorize possible reactions as:

  1. Samsya or Doubt: when one has two or more alternatives without any certainty, this leads to dithering without being able to come to a definite conclusion.  eg., “I am good at maths and physics and so maybe engineering will be the best choice but I think that physics may give me a chance to do research-----  .”.
  2. Proyajana or aim- without understanding the complete implications, projecting an idea which motivates the action-eg. emotionally reacting and asking for dissolution of partnership of the family business, when really it is  a feeling of being neglected/slighted.
  3. Drstanta or example- establishing an argument by using an example eg., Anil  gets drunk when his wife is not with him. As Anil is drunk, his wife must have left him. 
  4. Siddantha or doctrine- what is accepted as the undisputed truth either by experience, logic or undisputed reasoning, without any doubt, eg.  religious sanctions, “ being a catholic, I cannot agree for a divorce as our religion does not permit divorce “.
  5. Avyaya or constituents of inference- statements, reasons, example, universal proposition and conclusion, eg. winters are cold and so December must be cold in Chennai.
  6. Tarka or hypothetical argument- questioning and cross-questioning and offering hypothetical ideas and stifling confusion and misunderstanding by a deduction based on fallacy, eg. power corrupts, knowledge is power and so knowledge corrupts [Informal Logic]- Irving M. Copi, Keith, Burgess-Jackson
  7. Nirnaya or conclusion-  legitimate and recognised knowledge-eg. document of title establishes that Sunil has purchased the property in 1994 and so he is the owner.
  8. Badha or discussion- each explaining their position and reaching a solution by reasoning and logic, eg. either you take this amount offered or  invest 10% of the capital or join the business as a partner and take 20% profits.
  9. Jalpa or Wrangling- Each side with a prejudiced view tries to win without an attempt to get to the truth, eg, “I do not want to study engineering because I hate maths”, Ökay, then join the family business, as you have to take some responsibility in life”, No, I want to learn designing as I am creative and money does not matter”.
  10. Vitanda or Irrational reasoning- destructive criticism of the view of the opponent and arguing without establishing his own view  eg- “why should I give the balance sheet, he has been doing the correspondence and knows about the profits and in any event, he can get it from the auditor. He can settle without going through the balance sheets, but is purposely asking for it, to deny my claim.”
  11. Hetvabhasa or specious reasoning-irrational argument without any basis eg.  -“With today’s cost of living, I cannot accept anything less than Rs. 1 lakh per month. He must transfer the house and continue to pay the EMI as he is the one who has committed wrong and when I am right, why should I suffer”.
  12. Chala or unfair reply- statement meant to cheat someone, which is cause for misrepresentation/ misunderstanding –eg- “I have given a police complaint against his sister and if he does not agree, I am going to press for action on that complaint.”[there is no such complaint in fact]
  13. Jati or generality based on a false analogy- mis-directed conclusion without any reason- eg “he has no mind of his own and is controlled by his parents. If I take him away out of this country, he will be under my control and we will have a good life. I have 20 people working under my supervision and so it is easy for me to handle my husband once he is out of his parents clutches.”
  14. Nigrahasthana or grounds for defeat- when one admits defeat when he cannot put up a different argument-eg- “I have tried explaining to everyone, how I have suffered, but even my children do not want to support me. I have no work and so I will go back and suffer as I have no other way out”.

Prof Fog states that there is a trigger which activates a behaviour. Reactions are more often triggered by presumptions and attitudes and so for resolution of a conflict, we need to have a goal and understand the trigger behind the conflict and also the trigger that could lay the path for resolution. The process of mediation also involves defining the reasonable and unreasonable expectations. Maslowe’s Pyramid of needs defines the  hierarchy.   Whether it is business or a relationship conflict, each disputant wants to protect their ‘territory’ and be perceived as the winner. Satisfying self-esteem, reiterating the need to be ‘humane’ and enabling ability to respond, becomes the next stage in the advocacy of the mediator. The Mediator has to at the outset, understand the Self concept cycle  to enable parties to move from understand the parameters of the conflict.


*) Article by Uma Ramanathan May 2015 in

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The "European Mediation Academy" (emeac) was approved as an IMI Qualifying Assessment Program by the International Mediators Institute (IMI)  in January 2019. 

Victor Schachter, a well-known business mediator and distinguished ex-lawyer from the United States, a great partner Law Firm Fenwick & West LLP, Silicon Valley, California and President of the "Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives"  was spüeaking in Zagreb about the chance for attornes to see mediation as an opportunity. He made it interesting, attractive, straightforward and clear for Croatian lawyers how mediation can simultaneously increase the profitability and satisfaction of attorneys in everyday work.

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