The Instigator
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
gizmo1650
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Debaters shouldnt have to define the words they are using in their debate

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/6/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,459 times Debate No: 11987
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

CogitoErgoCogitoSum

Pro

I think its absurd that every debate starts with one arguer defining the words he is using. It makes no sense.

If someone doesnt know the words meaning, he should just look it up in a dictionary. That is what they are for. And if that person is still too stupid to understand the argument he has no business taking a position.

You arent defining. You are redefining. If I redefine the words Im using, each and every one of them, then who is anyone to say my position is wrong? I might as well make up random noises with definition. Its not right to make people filter through not only your arguments, but each redefinition you choose to give.

English isnt that hard. If youre not fluent enough to pose an argument then dont waste my time. If you are fluent enough, you ought not need me to tell you what everything means.

Now there is context too. Some words can be ambiguous in meaning, but a lot can be gathered from context. Again, the reader ought to be intelligent enough to read a debate on whole and recognize its intended meaning BEFORE formulating rebuttal. Which would be both non-partisan and intelligent on the side of the reader.

And yes, a position could still seem ambiguous... but that would be the fault of the writer and his sentence structure and syntax, and has nothing to do with the definitions of the words being used.

I tell you what... if you need any word here defined for you, feel free to google it. By "Google" I mean search on a popular, respectable search engine. By "it" Im referring to the word youre confused about. By "word" I mean a sequence of letters that form a concept you should already know. By "letters" Im talking about those little figures that get strung together in text. By "confused" I mean... By "a" I mean... By "the" I mean... By "I mean" I mean... Do you need me to define "define" too? What is written under the word "dictionary" in a dictionary? Ad absurdum... gimme a break. I dont remember Plato or Descartes being faced with this sort of modern "intellectual stupidity."

Asking for definition is what ignorant small-minded people do to escape from the obligation of formulating a defence for their position when a counter-position offends them. Its much easier not reading an argument, not trying to understand an argument, not rebuting... and simply insist "oh, youre too ambiguous for me to comprehend"... "my ignorance and fear and prejudice and resentfulness is your fault".
gizmo1650

Con

by absurd, i assume you mean WordNet-Onlines second definition "completely devoid of wisdom or good sense" <http://www.wordnet-online.com...;
given this definition it is your burden to prove that there is no wisdom what so ever in posting the definitions of words
Debate Round No. 1
CogitoErgoCogitoSum

Pro

The burden rests with con. If it is necessary to define each and every word we use then why leave it at only debates? Why not in casual conversation as well? We all can admit that even casual conversation can be ambiguous. In fact, it is casual conversation which is often times the most guilty of this... and yet we all manage to understand one another just fine. If ever we are confused, we ask for elaboration. Providing unsolicited elaboration "just in case someone might be confused" is excessive and redundant, to say the least.

If we are to provide definitions in debate, then how are we to decide which words need be defined? Why not all of them? Is there some rule of thumb as to which words will confused you and which wont? How am I to know before my opponent explicitly asks? Am I supposed to be psychic?

Should I then define EVERY word I use? Reading this post from first word of the first sentence, I suppose need to defined "the", "burden", "rests", "with", and "con". Then I suppose I should define each word used in those definitions as well. In the end, Id might as well copy and paste the entire dictionary.

Where do you draw the line? You could simply "declare" or assert that there is a line, but what criteria sets the position of that line? What words sit on this side and what words sit on the other, which words must necessarily be defined and which need not? I cannot know what will and what will not confuse my readers, and therefore I cannot know what to and what not to define. All I can do is use the English that I know and hope that those who would converse intelligently with me can swallow their pride enough to ask when confused about something. Isnt that all we can do in society when faced with our own ignorance?

I say the burden rests with con because if the contrary were true, and we default to a "lets define everything mentality", then it can be taken to absurd extremes which are perfectly justified since my opposition cannot provide an explicit and reasonable standard. Absent of a standard, all any of us can do is use the language we know, educate ourselves on the language we dont know; and above all quit faulting our oppositions for failure to define simple English words when it is our own fault for not understanding. Especially since words are easy to look up... words that, if they truly do stump you, then you truly have no business responding with a rebuttal in the first place.

By the way, "its your burden" is yet another "get out of jail free" "relinquish myself of the need to provide intelligent rebuttal" fallacy that many are guilty of.

I need not have concise language to be understood. I write with simple to understand vocabulary and provide redundant examples and explanations to ensure that I communicate my intended meaning. Failure to understand me, regardless of any misuse of precise definition, is hardly a fault of mine I would think. Since I quite clear at my point. Faulting me for it is not a legitimate criticism but an escape from the obligation to argue.

If you have no dictionary or the will to use it, and you lack the inclination to explicitly ask for elaboration when confused, AND lack the mental faculties to grasp my meaning in 5000 words of text which comprise primarily of reiterations of the same point in a variety of ways... then I say the fault lies with you. Why then do very very clear argument get tossed aside with quickies like "your burden" and "please define"?
gizmo1650

Con

I will respond to Pros arguments by numbering the paragraph i respond to and ask that he numbers his arguments next round to make reading the debate easier for the gallery.

1. I asserted it is Pros burden of proof, and seeing as he disagrees i will explain why. His statement is an absolute "its absurd that every debate starts with one arguer defining the words he is using" absurd as i defined in the previous round is clearly a complete extreme and if i can provide a single scenario where their is the slightest bit of wisdom to defining words his argument is negated. if pro wants we can leave it at that and avoid a semantic debate over the word burden.

2. Debate is an art, through experience we learn what types of words will be the subject of semantic disagreement. If we do not define words that are of semantic significance than we risk spending rounds arguing over what we actually agree on.

3. Generally i just define words in my resolutions or major one line arguments, that risk being subject to misunderstanding, English is not a precise language, and in one context a word can mean two similar but critically different things.

4. Above i hope i have answered you rhetorical question. In response to your argument , words are defined to prevent people from using different definitions of the words.

5. I explained i position of the burden in point one. in response to your arguments, We would have to be using radically different definitions of the word absurd for my case to be define everything. Con appears to see only two possibilities, define everything or define nothing. I admit that defining words can be taken to the extreme, which i have seen, but so can repetition, which is your substitute provided in your second to last paragraph.
The standard is something that is acquired with experience, knowing the types of words that get you into a semantic debate. Once again one would rarely know if they do not understand a word because they do understand it, just differently, and it is that difference that debaters try to avoid.

6. under my understanding of the word absurd and your resolution "I think its absurd that every debate starts with one arguer defining the words he is using. It makes no sense." You have to prove that their is zero logic in defining words, all you have been arguing is that there is little logic.

7. wasn't shortening arguments your argument against defining words. Redundant examples feels like it would make your debate longer and give them even more to sift through.

8. How do i know what words to look up, or which dictionary to use. I guess we just need to define a dictionary in round 1, as well as a list of words to look up, or just look up all of them. I realize i just used your black and white logic, hoping to convince the gallery that that logic goes both ways, even though i disagree with it.
Is your last sentence a general argument, or a comment about my method in round 1
If it was referring act one:
Your first round was almost pure satire so i had no arguments to negate, and because your resolution clearly states their is zero logic. You are the absolute, and if you are the absolute, then you have the burden. so i can mount a purely defensive tactic, which requires something to defend against. This is not an attack on your style for opening the first round, i would ask you not to attack mine.

A. onto my own argument, as i have demonstrated above if there is any amount of logic to defining any word then Pros resolution is negated. Look at the actual debate found at http://www.debate.org... the two sides spend the entire time arguing about the definition of new. I admit that it was that hole in Pros logic that made con willing to accept the debate, but if not for that hole con would have had no argument. Therefore there would have been a slight bit of logic in pro defining 'new', and slight is very different than zero
Debate Round No. 2
CogitoErgoCogitoSum

Pro

CogitoErgoCogitoSum forfeited this round.
gizmo1650

Con

As pro forfeited this round i have no points to counter. I would however like to draw your attention to a diologe between pro, feverish and myself in the comments tag. This diologe begins with the earliest comment in the list. Feverish suggests that pro misused redundant and suggested using abundant. pro responded with "Suppose for a moment that I did mean 'abundant'. Doesnt the fact that you understood my meaning suggest that context was sufficient enough to override any obvious misuse..." then when i commented saying i thought he actually meant redundant he said "that is indeed what I meant. I started that response with 'suppose for a moment', positing the hypothetical..." this leaves the obvious problem of how is the voter supposed to know if he meant redundant or abundant. Clearly we were both sure of our positions, and it is by complete luck that this got cleared up definitively. I admit that defining redundant is the over-use i was talking about, and an insignificant detail that has minimal effect on the debate, however had it been a more important word than it would have been critical, and since i doubt pro realized he would be mis-understood, it is clearly logical to define all critical words. And it is therefore wise to do so.

Also a close reader would notice my last line in my previous paragraph is a direct reference to the definition i provided. Having a concrete definition in front of you can help make solid evidence that by the definition of the word something is correct or incorrect. This is very critical in theology debates, were you are working complete in the abstract.

In conclusion, in this debate i have demonstrated that there is clearly a measure of wisdom in defining words, therefore pro's resuloition "I think its absurd that every debate starts with one arguer defining the words he is using." is negated because by definition absurd means "completely devoid of wisdom" (wasn't defining absurd so wise here)
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by gizmo1650 6 years ago
gizmo1650
@CogitoErgoCogitoSum being redundant instead of defining words is a great way to save space, and so much easier to read through.
Posted by CogitoErgoCogitoSum 6 years ago
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
@gizmo... that is indeed what I meant. I started that response with "suppose for a moment", positing the hypothetical. Thank you for not doubting my use of the English language. I choose not to deliberately reinterpret peoples words to suit my agenda. Feverish chose to believe that I meant a different word, and then accused me of being vague
Posted by brittwaller 6 years ago
brittwaller
I wish I had taken this...
Posted by gizmo1650 6 years ago
gizmo1650
@CogitoErgoCogitoSum interesting, I actually thought you meant redundant, as in repeating pointless beyond what is required, because that is how your arguments sound
Posted by CogitoErgoCogitoSum 6 years ago
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
@feverish - Suppose for a moment that I did mean "abundant". Doesnt the fact that you understood my meaning suggest that context was sufficient enough to override any obvious misuse? The fact that you can, not only in the absence of my redefining, but in the blatant misuse of a word, you still managed to comprehend. Does this not prove beyond doubt that redefining my words is excessive? Had I used even the proper word without definition, you would be all the more inclined to understand. And you managed to do all that without definition AND improper word usage. Thanks for the perfect example of my point.
Posted by feverish 6 years ago
feverish
A dictionary can sometimes be useful Pro.

For example you should look up the meaning of "redundant". I think you meant to write "abundant" in your penultimate paragraph of round two. Redundant doesn't make much sense in this context.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by gizmo1650 6 years ago
gizmo1650
CogitoErgoCogitoSumgizmo1650Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Raziel 6 years ago
Raziel
CogitoErgoCogitoSumgizmo1650Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by Loserboi 6 years ago
Loserboi
CogitoErgoCogitoSumgizmo1650Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by CogitoErgoCogitoSum 6 years ago
CogitoErgoCogitoSum
CogitoErgoCogitoSumgizmo1650Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30