Senin, 05 September 2011

How to Debate

From now on, I'll tell you how to debate as well. And, this is just the Index. I Hope I'll make you comfortable with this.


Introduction                                                                                        P.3.

Chapter One                                                                                       P.4.

Chapter Two                                                                                       P.7.
Hard/Soft Lines and Models.

Chapter Three                                                                                    P.10.
Search for a Super-Model

Chapter Four                                                                                      P.12.
Making Arguments from First Principles.                  

Chapter Five                                                                                      P.16.
Rebuttal from First Principles.

Chapter Six                                                                                        P.19.
Case Construction Tactics

Chapter Seven                                                                                   P.27.
Classic Aff Mistakes and Opp Tactics.

Chapter Eight                                                                                    P.30.
General Tactical Mistakes

Chapter Nine                                                                                     P.35.

Appendix One                                                                                   P.38.
First Principles Exercises

Appendix Two                                                                                   P.39.
Secret Topic Preparation

Appendix Three                                                                                P.41.
Surgical Strike Rebuttal

This is a guide to university debating, written ostensibly for young debaters, but along the way I think all but the most seasoned debaters and adjudicators should find something of interest in here. The aim is to publish an update before Australs, so your feedback is welcomed.

There are really two types of debaters. There are those who think debating is just a hobby, something that’s fun and looks good on a CV, but isn’t really very important in the grand scheme of things, and then there is another group.

The second group think debating is more than just trophies, travelling overseas or having the best matter files. To this second group, debating actually has some inherent meaning and importance – not because the outcome of any given debate ever really changes much, but because in its totality, debating changes everything. Unlike any other hobby or sport, debating – if done well – will shape your personality, your intellect and your beliefs. And if we ever want to live in a world where decisions are made on the basis of logic and persuasion, not force or intimidation, then we need to take things like debating seriously.

For that reason I think it’s critical that people learn to debate well. At debaters at DLSU (Philippines) have a motto – “make the game beautiful” – and while I doubt that my involvement ever made debating prettier, I’d like to think I always debated with integrity. Every debater needs to find their own style, and I certainly don’t want everyone trying to sound like me in debates, but I would like to think that most debaters will eventually realise the importance of what they are doing, and the skills that they’re learning.  I sincerely hope this guide will go some way towards that goal.

Before I let you get to the good stuff I’d like to issue a brief disclaimer. Although I’m happy to see this guide distributed widely, I’d like to request a few things. Firstly, that any reproductions of this work in any format carry a proper attribution of its source.

Secondly I’d ask that any copies (in part or whole) of this work that are distributed, be done so on a strictly not-for-profit basis. I don’t imagine that this will be much of a problem, since very few of us have ever made much money from debating (in fact in my experience its been quite the opposite) but I’m not seeking to profit from this work and so I’ll be damned if anyone else will!

And finally I should thank all the people, past and present, who helped me draft this guide and who helped me learn the skills. There were a great many people from whom I learned tricks, or discussed ideas over the years, and they each deserve a slice of the credit (or blame, as the case may be) for this work. So as not to offend anyone I might leave out I won’t name names, but I think all those former mentors, team-mates and foes know who they are.


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