The Instigator
Shakespeare
Pro (for)
Losing
17 Points
The Contender
Sky_ace25
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

Making a word definition a reference in a debate turns it into an argument over semantics.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,800 times Debate No: 10862
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (10)

 

Shakespeare

Pro

Making a word definition a reference in a debate turns it into an argument over semantics.

Definitions are imperfect. Connotations and interpretations of words are ubiquitous. Once Merriam Webster joins a debate, it turns into an argument over the precision of the wording of a definition, and the concept of the argument is lost. Do not get me wrong. Know what the words mean, but also know what you mean.
Sky_ace25

Con

Thank you for the interesting topic; I just have one question case I'm a little bit confused. Can you just define semantics for me? I dunno what that means. I'll make my argument after that if you don't mind.
Debate Round No. 1
Shakespeare

Pro

As I have said before, know what the words mean, but also know what you mean. I am not arguing a narrow vocabulary.

Let me just ask (once you choose one of the many definitions of semantics) what your interpretation of semantics is?

You have given a great example of how definitions are simply attempts to derail the focus of a debate. Playing with words gets the actual debate nowhere.

P.S. I am pretty sure that you are capable of finding a definition of semantics on your own.

Thank You Sky_ace25.
Sky_ace25

Con

I will make three arguments and then you may refute them as you wish, thank you in advance for your time

C1: Their are many debates that can happen where both people understand the main argument such as scientific debates. People may make word definitions many times just for simple clarification or just to emphasize their point. Many times these an just be used in a way that benefits both people.

C2: Their are debates sometimes where one side does not give a definition in a constructive argument and thus the opposing side can propose a definition which is instantly accepted. Thus their is no argument over definition, because essentially the opponent has "dropped" the definition. So in this scenario a reference can be made without semantics.

C3: This is obviously pointless unless I offer up a definition to prove my point so I offer up the following definition; I define PRO (which my opponent is) as:
(–noun
2. a proponent of an issue; a person who upholds the affirmative in a debate.)
http://dictionary.reference.com...

a. If my opponent agrees with this definition then it's clear we can have a debate where we are not arguing over the Semantics.

b. If my opponent contends this definition as being false or not that meaning then she is basically contradicting herself by not accepting that she is upholding the affirmative of this resolution; hence it could be interpreted that she has changed her mind and decided to also be Con.

Thank you for your time and I am looking forward to seeing my opponents refutes.
Debate Round No. 2
Shakespeare

Pro

Sky_ace25 has proposed the totally rad new concept of "dropped," or "instantly accepted" definitions! Hey, I have an idea! Let's run with that, and come up with the "instantly accepted" argument! That way, we can just get rid of debating altogether, and spend time nibbling at our instant oatmeal!

The recent debate, 'Labeling children as any religious denomination is wrong,' is a great example of the distractions, and confusion that definition references provide. Debaters claimed that "this is not a semantic debate," but in the same breath, kept going back and forth, criticizing each others' word choices.

Sky_ace25 said: "If my opponent agrees with this definition then it's clear we can have a debate where we are not arguing over the Semantics." This contradictory statement makes clear that in his constant references to word definitions, Sky_ace25 has turned this into a semantic debate, for his argument is rooted within my agreement or disagreement with his definitions of words.

Debate about words if you want to debate about words. That is what Linguistics is for. But a topic worth debating should be sturdy enough to handle simply staying on that topic. When debaters become preoccupied with their dogmatic word-choices, the words become the only things that matter anymore.

Thank You. My first debate on debate.org has been quite enjoyable.
Sky_ace25

Con

So first I would like to thank my opponent for this interesting debate and I will refute my opponents case paragraph by paragraph.

1. So my opponent doesn't necessarily refute my argument, but just seems to go along with it and then propose that somehow we will be leading up to "instantly accepted" arguments. However, I'd like to point out that their are many debates where definitions are required to be in the constructive, such as LD, or else the opponent may go with their own definition. Thus the idea that a word reference turns a debate into an argument over a meaning is negated, because when an argument is dropped their is no allowance for such an argument. Thus a reference can be made here without an argument over semantics and the debate can move on.

2. My opponent provides a random debate topic without any clear link, so this isn't necessarily acceptable as evidence. Further more one debate does not justify the idea that all debates get into an argument over semantics; further more as my opponent has stated "Debater(s) claimed that 'this is not a semantic debate" thus it can be seen that the majority of people did not think it was a semantic debate, my opponents own opinion can be not be prioritized over a majority. Everybody's opinion matters.

3. I don't see how this is contradictory, I'm making a point that a definition can be made in a debate without argument over the meaning. My opponent has not refuted or argued against my definition so basically a word reference can be made without an argument over definitions. My opponent may argue against the morality of the argument, but she still has not proved that this turned the debate into one over semantics. I argue that all I did was I made a valid definitional use to prove my point and my opinion is just as reliable as my opponents is.

4. I agree that when debaters become "preoccupied with their..word-choices, the words become the only things that matter", however then my opponent is basically stating that the debate is only about the word-choice. If debaters make the logical choice to argue over word definitions then yes the debate has become one over semantics. However, this resolution implies that in any debate a word definition leads to semantics which is not true. As I've proved their debates, such as this one, where definitions can be made without fear of a pointless semantics debate.

Voters:

1: My opponent never refuted my first contention

"C1: Their are many debates that can happen where both people understand the main argument such as scientific debates. People may make word definitions many times just for simple clarification or just to emphasize their point. Many times these an just be used in a way that benefits both people."

Thus my opponent has accepted the idea that their scientific debates where word definitions are easily accepted and can be used just for simple clarification. Thus we see here that the resolution is negated, because in these debates their is no argument over meaning but they just help to explain a term. Further more my opponent argues this is a negative principle, but as I've stated many times these can be used to benefit both debaters.

2. As I've used a definition in this round my opponent has not argued meaning of it in any way. Thus we see that their is no "argument" over meaning, because my opponent has not "argued" the meaning. Hence resolution negated, because a word definition can be made a reference without the debate turning into an "argument" (remember you need two people for an argument), over definition.

3. My opponent has not refuted the idea that their are many debates where definitions are "dropped" and thus their is no actual way for their to be an argument over semantics. Thus by default in these debates their are definitions instantly accepted and no argument over meaning, because the argument remember was "dropped". (easy example of this is LD format)

4. Generally, I understand my opponents point here, and although it may appear to have an actual standpoint; I stand firm behind the belief that we are all not just quibbling children and we can have a proper debate with definitions used only for clarification and little room for arguing.

Thus I welcome my opponent to debate.org, I hope she enjoys and she contributes in a positive manner, however for this debate I advise a strong vote for the Con. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Shakespeare 7 years ago
Shakespeare
Debates are for contentions, comments are for opinions.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
Sky_ace25: You are entirely correct. I will not contradict your points.
Posted by Sky_ace25 7 years ago
Sky_ace25
Sexylatina it seems very clear you vote from your own personal bias and not even from the skill in the debate. That a good voter does not make.
Posted by Sky_ace25 7 years ago
Sky_ace25
Shake the point is in a debate you have to respond to the contentions; you can't just post your opinion.
Posted by Shakespeare 7 years ago
Shakespeare
Aww, you guys just can't part with your definitions. I see how how close you've become. It's okay.

On disproportionate amounts of effort: there is something to be said about arguments that are short, sweet, and to the point. Plus, Sky_ace25, it wasn't about length, it was that you kept saying the same thing over and over again. Only in slightly different ways.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
Have a good day, sir.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
Sky_ace25: So I shouldn't have posited it as a general statement, or at the very least I should have prefaced it with "in most cases". In any event, the reason that I vote for the debater who I like more is that I like correctness, and I trust my perception better than my logic. If I perceive correctness then I will vote after it. I should have explained all of this. Most of the time my perception can be justified with logic, though. Additionally, I am going to have to tell you that you are wrong, because I cannot think of one time when people liking you better has decreased your win percentage; you must explain to me why there should be a negative correlation (as a neutral one would be impossible) between liking and winning. Though it is irrelevant, I will also point out that cockiness and likability are not exclusive traits.

For someone who touts logic, though, your line which is a mirror to this one does not make a whole lot of sense.
Posted by Sky_ace25 7 years ago
Sky_ace25
I disagree with that completely, their many debaters who are over-cocky people who are not necessarily friendly or agreeable. A debate is not based on whether people like you, but based on strength of arguments. I do not need to smooth talk you to win a debate, I need to prove to you how I've won. Notice how it is 3 points for the argument section and only 1 point for the conduct section.

Seriously...pay attention to the facts, sorry your RFD is not helpful in the least.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
Sky_ace25, logic is for those who cannot or do not want to escape it. Correctness, on the other hand, is for those who seek it at any cost and achieve it.

You'll win more if people like you better than your opponent, is one thing you can take from my RFD. That feedback is positive.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
This debate was reminiscent of http://www.debate.org... . Con's first round argument was fantastic! So much meaning packed in the one question... Pro's comment, "Know what the words mean, but also know what you mean." How can we communicate if "what the words mean" and "what you mean" are different?
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
ShakespeareSky_ace25Tied
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Vote Placed by bambiii 7 years ago
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ShakespeareSky_ace25Tied
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Vote Placed by daniel_t 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Cherymenthol 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Sky_ace25 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by True2GaGa 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Shakespeare 7 years ago
Shakespeare
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Vote Placed by SexyLatina 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Koopin 7 years ago
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