The Art of Debate

The Art of Debate
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24 videos in this collection

The Hidden Value of Debate
Find out what we mean when we talk about "debates," and how immersing yourself in the techniques of formal debate can have a dramatic impact on how you make decisions…
When and How to Use Debate
Debate gives you an honest assessment of an idea, and is therefore a powerful decision-making tool. Here, Professor Atchison walks you through the structure of a formal debate and explores…
The Proposition: Choosing What to Debate
Now that you know when to debate, shift your attention to what to debate. The "proposition" - the idea up for debate - is one of the most important concepts…
The Structure of Argument
The claim, the evidence, and the warrant: these three elements provide the structure of a strong argument. Unpack each of these elements by studying what they are, how they work,…
Using Evidence in Debate
Examine the strengths and weaknesses of three primary types of evidence: narrative evidence, empirical evidence, and evidence based on authority. As you review each type of evidence, you will see…
Fallacies in Your Opponent's Research
To be a great debater, you must not only learn to recognize argument fallacies, but you must also learn to combat them during the debate. This first in a two-part…
Fallacies in Your Opponent's Arguments
Continue your study of fallacies with a survey of fallacies that stem from the actual debate itself. To make their case, debaters often resort to false analogies, straw men, and…
Elements of a Good Case
No debate is won without consideration of the audience - of the ultimate decider or the judge. If you can't connect with this audience, you won't be able to win…
Arguing for the Affirmative
The affirmative side of a debate must do three things: stay relevant to the resolution, indict the status quo, and offer a proposal designed to solve the problems you have…
Building Affirmative Cases
Now that you know how to develop a strong affirmative argument, apply your skills to a specific debate. Taking a resolution about campus carry laws as an example, Professor Atchison…
Arguing for the Negative
A good critique is a necessary way of testing out an idea, but developing a good negative case requires immense creativity to disprove the affirmative argument. Delve into the key…
Building Negative Cases
The three-part attack from the previous lecture is an extremely effective way to challenge the affirmative proposal, but the arguments don't attack the affirmative case directly. Here, learn several approaches…
The Crucible of Cross-Examination
Once each case is built, it's time for a cross-examination - a chance to interrogate your opponents to better understand their arguments, identify holes in their reasoning, and keep the…
Asking and Answering Leading Questions
Continue your study of cross-examinations with a detailed look at "leading questions." Useful for identifying holes in an argument, leading questions also represent persuasive arguments in and of themselves. Learn…
Open-Ended Questions: Setting Traps
Round out your study of cross-examinations by turning to "open-ended questions." Designed to help you understand your opponents' arguments, open-ended questions give you the opportunity to shift your position, thus…
Essentials of a Persuasive Rebuttal
No plan survives contact with the enemy, which means no matter how well you've constructed your case, you will need to defend it. Fortunately, there are several straightforward elements of…
Dealing with the Unexpected in Debate
We all need to deal with the unexpected in our daily lives, so learning the secrets to navigating the unexpected in a debate has far-reaching applications. Here, see what it…
"Even If" Arguments: The Essential Weapon
Now that you have explored the ways to build and defend a strong case, it's time to move on to varsity-level debate skills, starting with "even if" arguments. By starting…
Debate Jujitsu: Flipping the Warrant
In many great debates, there is a devastating moment where one side clearly out-maneuvers the other. "Flipping the warrant," which requires the highest level of analytic argument, allows you to…
The Power of Concessions
The best debaters understand the need for strategic flexibility, and concessions are one of the most powerful strategic moves in the playbook. As you will find out in this lecture,…
Conditional Argumentation
Although they are two separate fields, the art of debate sometimes employs formal logic with great success. In this lecture, see how "conditional argumentation," a way of employing if-then statements…
Line-by-Line Refutation
Conclude your study of advanced debate techniques with a survey of line-by-line refutation. First, learn how to map out the "flow" of a debate using shorthand. By distilling key ideas,…
Judging Debates: The Art of the Decision
Debates aid decision-making, and you may one day find yourself in the role of a judge needing to make the big decision. Survey the best way to communicate your reasons…
Winning the Cocktail Party
Formal debates have clear structures, but we often debate ideas in informal settings - unpredictable, complicated, ambiguous conversations with blurred lines between judges and participants. Conclude your course with a…

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Judging Debates: The Art of the Decision
Part of the Series: The Art of Debate
Debates aid decision-making, and you may one day find yourself in the role of a judge needing to make the big decision. Survey the best way to communicate your reasons for a decision, starting with a short thesis statement followed by an explanation of your reasoning. As an example, consider…