The Instigator
baus
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Burncastle
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

In debating, understanding the other side is far more important than understanding one's own side.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Burncastle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,058 times Debate No: 55472
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

baus

Pro

First round is for acceptance.

The term 'side' must refer to side of debate and nothing trollish like side of a triangle.
Burncastle

Con

I accept this debate.

To clarify: BoP is on Pro to demonstrate that understanding the opponent's position (OP, for 'opponent's position') is indeed far more important than understanding your own position (MP, for 'my position'). Concluding that OP is just as important as MP (or less) will be a victory for me.

Giving the fact that 'importance' is very hard to quantify (in this case at least), I will concede victory to my opponent if the audience concludes that OP is slightly more important than MP.

I hope for a stimulating debate!

P.S. A debate on which side of a triangle is more important would have been quite funny, I might try that someday.
Debate Round No. 1
baus

Pro

The better one understands their opponent, the better they can find flaws form the inside of the case, looking out, rather than the outside , looking in. Once they have entered the frame of mind their opponent is in, they gain a new viewpoint of their own side of the debate and see its flaws and where it seems most threatening. Thus, to truly understand the other side enables both the debater to tear that case apart thoroughly but also to see how their own can be torn apart and cover all weaknesses with strong defenses before the opponent can even think of coming up with them.

I will now explain how offense and defense work. Offensive debating is the style by which one presents their points and attack the flaws of the other side, defensive debating is the style by which one protects against the offense of the opposition.

Both of these styles are immensely improved in one's ability within a debate if that individual understands the other side.

I shall now explain why:

1. If one doesn't understand what they are attacking, offensive debating becomes inefficient.
2. If one doesn't understand how, within the mindset of the opponent's side, their own side looks, they will fail to defend effectively and always have an uphill battle the next round.
3. If one sees the opponent's side fully, and has observed their own through the filtered eyes of the opposing side's views, they will not only identify which attacks of their side are worth putting on the offense and which are too risky and should be left out but also can see the offense of the opponent coming before they have even been presented and the defense to the opponent's offense can occur the round before the offense has even been presented.
4. Until one has fully understood the other side, they will never be able to angle their own side into a suitable format designed for attacking the other. They will be presenting a standardized version of their side whereas they stand a much better chance of winning if they tailor the wording of their arguments to both attack the other side at the same time as defending their own.

Here is an example of someone who understands their own side:

"Abortion is wrong because the baby's life matters and it's murder. Murder is illegal and therefore so should abortion be."

Here is an example of someone who understands the other side:

"While it would be true to say that he mother's will, and freedom of choice over her own body, matter very much in the case of human rights, ti is inevitably more important to say that protecting the young of the generation is objectively a superior aim of the law than protecting the generation that has had more of a chance to prove itself to the world."

The fundamental difference between someone who understands their own side and someone who understands the other side is that the one who understand their own side is attacking the opponent's case from the outside-in whereas the other person is pulling the opponent's case apart from the inside-out. It is strategically more difficult to recover from the inside-out destruction than outward-in destruction and additionally it is harder to guarantee that a person has penetrated to the core of a case as it ebbs away at it as opposed to ensuring is pulled the case apart entirely when it begins at he cores and draws people out of believing in it.

On a final note, understanding one's own side of the debate is actually inevitable if they understand the other side. The reason for this at by understanding the other side, they merely have to backtrack all the thinking of the other side to formulate a combined offensive and defensive strategy to their arguments as opposed to going offensive to a side they have not real clue about and then defending in reaction as oppose dot proactive defense that occurs the round before the offense of the opposition has even been presented.

In conclusion, it is strategically and stylistically better for a debater to put their entire effort into understanding the opponent's case rather than their own.
Burncastle

Con

Just to be clear, I won't be rebutting my opponent's arguments in this round. I will be addressing two kinds of debate, those where the BoP is shared, and those where it isn't.

In debates where the burden is only on one side of the argument, it is important to understand the side where the burden lies, since all of the arguments are going to come from there. Since most debate are one-on-one, you have a 50% chance of having to understand your opponent's position and 50% chance of having to understand your own. In other words, it is (on average) equally important to understand your own position as it is to understand your opponent's position.

In debates where the burden is shared, both debaters have to attack their opponent's position and they both have to defend their own. While it is crucial to make sure that you shake the ground on which your opponent's stands (metaphorically) in order to turn the audience's attention to you, it will all be for nothing if you are unable to adequately defend your own position, much less if you can't even present it with precision. In public debates, prestance is just as important (if not more important) than the actual arguments you present, and prestance is usually more "striking" when presenting your own arguments, making this part of the debate extremely important.

P.S. I apologize for this extremely short argument, I have to type it on my phone since my computer is being repaired. I should have it back by tomorrow so my next round will be much more detailed.
Debate Round No. 2
baus

Pro

baus forfeited this round.
Burncastle

Con

Even though my opponent has forfeited the last round, I will proceed to rebut his arguments.

'If one doesn't understand what they are attacking, offensive debating becomes inefficient.' I agree.

'If one doesn't understand how, within the mindset of the opponent's side, their own side looks, they will fail to defend effectively and always have an uphill battle the next round.' I'm not convinced that this actually counts as 'understanding your opponent's side'. The best way to counter every refutation that your opponent could come up with is to increase your understanding of your OWN position. Refutations of your own arguments are not considered to be part of the 'opponent's side', there are flaws of your own side.

'If one sees the opponent's side fully, and has observed their own through the filtered eyes of the opposing side's views, they will not only identify which attacks of their side are worth putting on the offense and which are too risky and should be left out' I'm not sure what my opponent means by 'worth putting on the offense', so I would ask for some clarification. Plus, the more you understand your own position, the less you need to 'leave out'.

'see the offense of the opponent coming before they have even been presented and the defense to the opponent's offense can occur the round before the offense has even been presented' Most debates are actually structured in a way that makes this relatively difficult: each speaker starts with their opening statements, then each rebut their opponent's opening and then each addresses the objection that their opponent has made. While it may be theoretically possible to address your opponent's points in your opening statement, it is extremely dangerous since your opponent could simply decide to NOT address this point and then call you out on a strawman fallacy. Plus, as I said earlier, understanding your own position is the best (and only) way to actually do this.

'they stand a much better chance of winning if they tailor the wording of their arguments to both attack the other side at the same time as defending their own' I agree with that, but I would like to remind my opponent that he is defending the thesis that understanding your opponent's position is MORE important than understanding your own, not that they are equal as this quote would suggest.

My opponent then gives an example of an argument from someone who understands their own side and from someone who understands the opponent's side. Although my opponent is trying to show that the latter is better, all it does is acknowledging the other side's argument and claiming that his own is better.

'The fundamental difference between someone who understands their own side and someone who understands the other side is that the one who understand their own side is attacking the opponent's case from the outside-in whereas the other person is pulling the opponent's case apart from the inside-out.' I, like many people, often compare debates with actual wars, where one side is trying to destroy the other while protecting themselves, but this analogy has its limits. For instance, the notions of 'inside-out' and 'outside-in' are meaningless in debates, they only apply in actual warfare. In a sense, every rebuttal you make is an 'inside-out' rebuttal, since it addresses your opponent's position directly, but even then I do not believe it applies perfectly.

Now my opponent may be tempted to say 'I did not bring up the war/debate analogy, you did', but I did so only to illustrate why the 'inside-out, outside-in' argument seems good, but is actually not.

'On a final note, understanding one's own side of the debate is actually inevitable if they understand the other side. The reason for this at by understanding the other side, they merely have to backtrack all the thinking of the other side to formulate a combined offensive and defensive strategy to their arguments as opposed to going offensive to a side they have not real clue about and then defending in reaction as oppose dot proactive defense that occurs the round before the offense of the opposition has even been presented.' I disagree; 'backtracking' would only work in debates where the two positions are directly opposed (for example, atheism and theism), otherwise it does not work (you can not 'backtrack' from republican to democrat or from biblical creation to evolution). Also, proactive defense (which requires that you learn the classical refutations to your position) is another one of those things that require a greater understanding of your OWN position rather than your opponent's.

In conclusion, although I fully grant that understanding your opponent's position is very important, I do not see any reason to believe that it is MORE important than understanding your own.

Debate Round No. 3
baus

Pro

baus forfeited this round.
Burncastle

Con

I extend my arguments and rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 4
baus

Pro

baus forfeited this round.
Burncastle

Con

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by ESocialBookworm 2 years ago
ESocialBookworm
I'm Pro as well.. though I do believe, it should be almost equal.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ajab 2 years ago
Ajab
bausBurncastleTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: As baus was most likely banned by now Burncastle efficiently tackled his arguments and laid his own.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
bausBurncastleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.
Vote Placed by Logical-Master 2 years ago
Logical-Master
bausBurncastleTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits aren't fun.