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Mediation, Philosophical Counselling, Conflict Resolution, Dialogue


This paper will demonstrate how philosophical counselling would invaluably contribute to the arena of conflict resolution via mediation and civil justice generally. Mediation is a conflict resolution process that involves a third party who facilitates disputants in arriving at a self-determined resolution. This process is being incorporated into civil justice systems globally, but how mediation should be conducted to achieve truly just outcomes needs immediate and thoughtful attention. At its best, mediation empowers parties to co-create a just and fair resolution to their conflict through a dialogical exploration of their interests, needs, and relevant norms and values. This is dramatically different from the adjudicative process, where parties rely on legal frameworks and authoritative judicial decision-making to resolve conflict. In mediation, parties need to recognize and think critically about their worldviews and values. Philosophical counselling can provide mediators with an empathetic and dialogical method of helping parties think critically and rationally and to cultivate clarity, depth, and coherence in their worldview and value system. Enabling such deepened self-understanding would best empower participants to engage in authentic and critical dialogue, which, I argue, is essential to legitimate mediation that leads to just outcomes. This paper will demonstrate how several essential principles of philosophical counselling align precisely with the values, goals, and needs of just mediation (including deep self-understanding, critical awareness of worldviews/values, and propensity for rational dialogue). This paper lays an introductory foundation, ultimately calling for an interdisciplinary/interprofessional approach that would use the insights of philosophical counselling to bring significant benefits to the development of mediation programs and civil justice systems world-wide.