Logical Foundations of Negotiation: Outcome, Concession, and Adaptation

Thomas Meyer, Norman Foo, Rex Kwok, and Dongmo Zhang

This paper provides a logical framework for negotiation between agents that are assumed to be rational, cooperative and truthful. We present a characterisation of the permissible outcomes of a process of negotiation in terms of a set of rationality postulates, as well as a method for constructing exactly the rational outcomes. The framework is extended by describing two modes of negotiation from which an outcome can be reached. In the concessionary mode, agents are required to weaken their demands in order to accommodate the demands of others. In the adaptationist mode, agents are required to adapt to the demands of others in some appropriate fashion. Both concession and adaptation are characterised in terms of rationality postulates. We also provide methods for constructing exactly the rational concessions, as well as the rational adaptations. The central result of the paper is the observation that the outcomes obtained from the concessionary and adaptationist modes both correspond to the rational outcomes. We conclude by pointing out the links between negotiation and AGM belief change, and providing a glimpse of how this may be used to define a notion of preference-based negotiation.

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