Eristic Argument

the need to win

“Both disputants attain their object in well-conducted argument, though not in eristic, for both cannot be victorious.”– Aristotle

Eristic (e-RIS-tik) is defined by Dictionary.Com as arguing for the sole purpose of winning, regardless of the reason.  Eristic relates both to Eris, the Greek goddess of strife, as well as what Plato called eristic dialogue, a type of discourse with no reasonable goal beyond winning the argument.

I have made five different settlement proposals to opposing counsel and each one is rejected with no counteroffer. When I mention this to opposing counsel, I am told that my client is only moving from one untenable position to another while her client has the only possible reasonable position.

Meanwhile, more important settlement negotiations cannot go forward due to this impasse on a relatively minor, but preliminary issue.

I think this counsel has a win-lose negotiating style. The problem is that the lawyer wins and the client loses because legal fees are increased by eristic argument and the disputants do not attain their objective.

More on different negotiating styles.