Julian Baggini’s recently published book “How the world thinks” is a history of global philosophy, looking at how thinking has developed in different places and times. In the introduction he highlights the importance of not just seeing something from another’s perspective, but trying to see what they are seeing as well. As he puts it:…

When I first started getting seriously interested in mediation over ten years ago, the thought struck me that ‘Shades of Grey’ might be a good name for an organisation involved in this field. Thankfully, given a subsequent publication and film, I didn’t pursue it any further – although if I’d registered the domain name it…

A good friend of mine was recently surprised to see a robot cutting the grass around a well-known landmark in Edinburgh. Coincidentally this was around the same time as I came across a speech given by Adair Turner in April this year entitled “Capitalism in the age of robots: work, income and wealth in the…

The International Association of Mediators conference in Edinburgh last month provided a great opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned from the application of a principled negotiation approach, as set out in ‘Getting to Yes’. The conference benefited from the experience of over a hundred leading mediators from around twenty countries, along with policy makers…

One way of describing mediation is as a process that seeks to convert what is apparently a zero or negative sum game into a positive-sum game. This is to use the language of game theory, which analyses strategies that rational players take to secure the best outcomes in interactive, interdependent ‘games’; where the outcome for…

In 1933 Alfred Korzybski wrote: “A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” More recently (2006), James Robertson wrote (to reference him once again, this time from ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack’): “We trust in maps because when we…

James Robertson’s novel ‘To be continued…’ introduces us to a character who goes by the name of Mungo Forth Mungo. Mungo is somewhat far fetched, not least because he is a talking toad. In this capacity he engages in many thoughtful and reflective conversations with the main character in the book – Murray Findhorn Elder…

The story of the blindfolded men who each approach an elephant from different angles (at the tusk it’s described as a spear, at the tail a rope, at the leg a tree etc.) is a good example of how multiple truths can exist depending on the perspective you take. Different views can often be the…

On the face of it clarity and certainty would always appear to be preferable to ambiguity, in order that people know where they stand and can plan and act accordingly. However, in a recent article Fintan O’Toole reflected on the position of Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations and concluded: “…stopping the violence meant creating…