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DEBATE SIMPLIFIED

Narciso G Reyes Jr., AB


PolSci

It is better to debate a question without


settling it than to settle it without debating it.
-Joubert

WHY DO WE NEED TO
DEBATE?
- to express ourselves.
- to help us how to think critically.
- to improve our ability to make choices.
- to influence other people.
- TOLERANCE for DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW.
- to seek the truth.

WHY IS THERE A DEBATE?


Life is a but a series of unsettled questions.
Everyday, you decide whether you spend our time at work or at play,
be yourself or with others, planning for the future or thinking of the
past.

In order to answer lifes questions, one must look for choices. These
choices are scarce, and they need to be researched as they simply
dont exist in a vacuum. Many considerations will be made, and these
choices will be reduced into two: either a yes or a no

LIFE IS BUT A SERIES OF QUESTIONS

Debate. Is an organized argumentation. It starts with


a question which comes from an issue of fact or an
issue of law.

EVERYDAY, YOU DECIDE


WHETHER YOU SPEND OUR TIME
AT WORK OR AT PLAY, BE
YOURSELF OR WITH OTHERS,
PLANNING
FOR
THE
FUTURE
OR
Proposition. Topic. Controversy. Stated in the affirmative, constitutes a
complete statement. OF THE PAST.
THINKING
Ex: LIBRT death penalty should imposed.

Kinds:

Ex:

1. Proposition of Fact:
China.

Philippines wants war with

2. Proposition of Explanation:
China because it is a

The Philippines wants war with


sovereign state.

3. Proposition of Value:

Filipinos are brave.

4. Proposition of Policy (mixed)


against

LIBRT Philippines should declare war


China

Burden of proof. It means the duty to convince a person to accept the


proposition. The affirmative team carries the burden of proof. In theory,
the affirmative side is the one who gave the proposition, and it is the
negative side who stand to oppose it.
This explains why the affirmative side goes first in the order of debate
proper. They have the burden to prove their claim, subject to the
opposition of the opposing side.
What happens if the affirmative side failed to successfully fulfil its
burden of proof?
Ans: The negative side wins.
Ratio: Essentially, the affirmative side wants a change in the current
situation (status quo). For example, in the proposition LIBRT
Philippines shifts from a democratic form f government into a
communist form of government. The affirmative has the obligation to
prove that indeed the Philippines should make the necessary shifting.
It has the burden to answer the question, why does the Philippines
needs to change?

To answer this question the affirmative side has to


point that there is a problem in the current situation,
democracy, and that the alternative it suggests is the
solution to that answer, and therefore, it should be
adopted.
Failing to carry its burden of proof means that it
failed to show that there is a problem with the current
situation, and that there must be something to
change. And if there is no problem, it follows that
there is no need to change a thing. If there is no
need to change it, the proposition, owned by the
affirmative side, fails.

IN ORDER TO ANSWER LIFES QUESTIONS,


ONE MUST LOOK FOR CHOICES. THESE
CHOICES ARE SCARCE, AND THEY NEED TO
BE RESEARCHED AS THEY SIMPLY DONT
EXIST IN A VACUUM. MANY CONSIDERATIONS
WILL BE MADE, AND THESE CHOICES WILL
BE REDUCED INTO TWO: EITHER A YES OR A
NO
Affirmative Side. For the proposition.

Negative Side. Against the proposition.

WHAT IS THE BASIC SKILL OF


A DEBATER?
Ability to take either sides.
(personal beliefs v. debate)
The ability to set aside your personal stand in a
particular issue and substitute it to your assigned
side, and argue against ones belief.

HOW DO WE DEBATE?
1. UNDERSTAND AND
ANALYSE THE PROPOSITION.
2. MAKE ARGUMENTS, AND
EVALUATE IT

PART 1. ANALYSING THE


PROPOSITION
1. Define terms in the proposition.
Sources: dictionaries general or legal, textbooks, encyclopedias, laws, etc.
2. Understand the context of the question.

It may be social, political, economic, historical, etc.


Ex: LIBRT religious activism be banned in governmental affairs.
Break down the terms:
Religious activism- will this include rallies? Will this include church sermons?
Banned- will it be a total ban? Will it be mere regulation?
Governmental affairs- will it be confined to political issues? Government
policy?

IS THERE A NEED FOR


CHANGING THE STATUS
QUO?
Speaker Roles:
Affirmative
1st Speaker:

Necessity

2nd Speaker:

Practicability

3rd Speaker:
beneficiality

Beneficiality

v.

Negative
Non- necessity
Non- practicabiity
Non-

NECESSITY V. NONST
NECESSITY (1 SPEAKER)
Why is it necessary to change the status
quo?
The need argument is the most important role in the debate because it
is the foundation for other issues. If the proposition is not needed,
affirmative surely losses the debate. It is inconceivable for a man to do
something that he does not need. And if a thing is not needed, it
follows that it will not be beneficial and it will not be practicable.
You need to prove the change you want to introduce (fact, explanation,
value or policy) is better than the present. How do you do that?
1. Identify the problem
2. Explain why the status quo is not enough.
3. Convince why change of status quo must be done, and how it is
better with the present.

Problem seeker/ evaluator. The affirmative need speaker must point


out with clarity what is the problem, what are we presently doing, and
present the alternative solution and state why such proposed solution
is better with the status quo, and therefore should be adopted. What
are the existing evils?
Comparative analyser. Compare the present with the proposed
solution and state the difference it will make if the proposition will be
carried.
It must answer the question: Is the present policy achieving certain
desired goals or are the established goals being met under the status
quo? The answer must be no, for if it be otherwise there is no point in
debating. It must be supported by evidence such as the statistics,
studies, etc.
The evil must be significant or constitute a serious problem. You can
also use potential and/or actual evils.

NON-NECESSITY
1. Identify the problem

2. Explain why the status quo is not enough.


3. Convince why change of status quo must be done, and how it is better with the
present.

There is no problem.
Status quo is enough. Attribute the defect on other factors
than the status quo.
The present is the better view. If there is no problem with the
present then why change?
*Note: For better understanding, relate it to a romantic

The non negative speaker must establish a clash. He must directly


address the points raised by the need speaker. To do this, he must first
list the reasons cited, and disprove them using intrinsic evidence and
extrinsic evidence.
Intrinsic evidence pertains to errors or fallacies within the arguments of
the opposing speaker. This may be inconsistencies, jumping into
conclusions, hasty generalizations.

Extrinsic evidence pertains to errors or fallacies outside the arguments


of the opposing sides. This may be done by presenting contrary
evidence.
1. The present policy is effectively achieving its desired goals.
2. Minor flaws could be eliminated by minor changes.
3. Certain obstacles would prevent the affirmative policy fro being
implemented.

4. The affirmative policy would not eliminate the cause of the present
problem if such problem exists (hypothetical admissions).

PRACTICABILITY V. NON
PRACTICABILITY
Would the affirmative plan meet the need?
After proving that a serious problem exists, the affirmative now tries to
solve it, its solution being the affirmative policy. A true solution
eliminates evil by eliminating its cause. Wrong identification of problem
leads to wrong solution. There must be a connection between the
problem and its proposed solution. Otherwise, there will be a
mismatch, which is also a fault which if pointed out by the opposing
sides will weaken its case. If the need has been successfully carried,
the practicability speaker will have a little trouble showing its plan. This
covers workability and desirability.

The practicability speaker must offer a clear, concrete or realistic


program to solve the evil. The plan must not be purely visionary
considering only abstraction and ignorance of reality. Otherwise, the
opposing side may point out it being purely visionary.
Plans must be thoroughly explained, and its workability shown.
Plans must be directly related to the proposed policy, and its must be
distinctively different with the mechanisms of the status quo.
Otherwise, the negative will point out that there should only be minor
repairs, usually in the execution of the policy, and not total change.
Practicability need not only go to solve the problem, it may also show
a plan for additional advantages.

NON PRACTICABILITY
1. Certain insurmountable obstacles would prevent the affirmative plan
from coming into existence or it would not be available.
2. It could not be implemented due to impossibility (factual or legal).

3. The plan would not address the problem if there is such a problem
(hypothetical)
4. The plan will do more harm than good.

The non practicability speaker must establish a clash. He must first


show the errors committed by the opposing speaker. Mere discussion
of an alternative plan, without first attacking the arguments of the other
side will result to a mere discussion and not debate. Remember that
your duty is to make a clash of arguments. To do this you must first
establish why the other side should not be favoured before going into
your counter-plans.
Note: do not contradict a plan that is not mentioned by the
practicability speaker. Your arguments against him must always
pertain to what he have stated in his speech. Otherwise, the opponent
will point out that there was no mention of such issue in his speech,
and so, all of your arguments attacking such assumed issue fails.
A new plan may be ideal, but it may not be realistic. This is the thrust
of the non practicability speaker.

Where to get evidence of non practicability?


- Intrinsic evidence.
- Unconstitutionality.
- Cost analysis.
- Enforceability.
- Customs and ingrained behaviour.

-Popular opinion pursuant to rule of majority principle.


- Sanctions
-Undesirability.

-Disadvantages which outweighs advantages

BENEFICIALITY V. NON
BENEFICIALITY
The roles of these speakers are easy if their first two speakers have
well established their burdens. For some teams, they put their best
debater as the first speaker because it will set the tone of the debate
and critical of the teams fate. This portion is to point out the benefits
or non- benefits or their sides. In short what will be presented here are
end-results. The speaker must be able to relate the arguments of their
first two speakers. This means that he should have the grasps of the
arguments of their teammates. Failed to do this would warrant
inconsistencies in the debate will can be pointed out by the opposing
speakers, to the discredit of the erring team.
At this point, it is necessary to state that there must be coherence in
the arguments of all speakers in a team. There must be oneness.
Open communication is a must in order to avoid being embarrassed in
the debate proper as there are misunderstandings and opposing
arguments amongst team members.

The role of the beneficiality speaker is to harvest the fruit of their


labour by claiming desired advantages that it proposes to be accepted
by the judges and the audience.
Another role, is to wrap up the discussions made by his teammates
and point out the errors committed by all of the opposing speakers.
One of the qualities necessary if that he must be able to look at the
bigger picture. He must be able to summarize lengthy arguments and
contradict it. Thus, he is required to be observant all throughout the
debate proper to hear the arguments very clearly to be able to be
responsive in giving his contradicting arguments.

SPEECHES
1. Constructive
2. Interpellation
3. Rebuttal

TEAMWORK
Debate is all about teamwork. No matter how good an individual speaker is,
if the whole team fails to present arguments which support each others, it
will still be a sure fail. Thus, the team must:
1. Establish a close association to know each others abilities, fields of
knowledge and weaknesses. Ex: eating lunch together regularly.
2. Develop a friendly intimacy and understanding because debate in itself
create tensions and misunderstandings.
3. Work on arguments and divisions together.

4. Help each other overcome weaknesses and always be courteous in


pointing out possible defects or errors in arguments of another.
5.Do not avoid disagreements. Avoid it during debate.

LANGUAGE
1. Use simple language to express. Do not impress by using highfaluting
words. You will not be understood. Your goal bridge information, and make
people side in you. You must be persuasive. Debate is not a show of mental
prowess. Language as we know is not a end, but a means to an end. You will
not be believed because of the use of legal jargons. On the contrary, you
might create an impression of being very authoritative and boastful. You will
be believed because you were able to put across your message, and made
them realize that you have a better arguments.

2. Speak as if you are conversing with your audience and not lecturing at
them.
The goal is to win with honor and not to win at all costs.

MANNER
Appearance- should be neat, presentable and most of all, comfortable.
Posture will initially make an impression with the judges and the audience.
Standing straight will show confidence and firmness.

Gestures- hand gestures can be used to emphasize a point. Use it as


momentarily. Dont overuse it as it will look so animated.
Voice- modulate your voice. Deep, but not monotonous. Dont start by being
high-pitched.

PART 2. HOW TO MAKE


ARGUMENTS
Claim
Warrant
Data

One unavoidable consequence of everyone having the freedom to choose


is that others may make different choices- choices we would not make for
ourselves, choices we may disapprove of, even choices that may shock,
offend or anger us. However, choices are not to be legally prohibited merely
because they are different, and the right to disagree and debate about
important questions of public policy is a core value protected by our Bill of
Rights. Indeed, our democracy is built on genuine recognition of, and
respect for, diversity and difference in opinion.
-Justice Mariano del Castillo, Ang Ladlad v. Comelec