The Instigator
chsTG
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Ore_Ele
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points

Resolved: A unicorn has one horn.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,659 times Debate No: 10849
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (4)

 

chsTG

Con

I'm going to allow the first space to be for introductions.

This topic has, of course, nothing to do with unicorns. Rather it is essentially the question of can there be truth value to a proposition about something which does not exist?

This is similar to "The toothfairy has 2 wings" or "Santa Clause ought eat fewer cookies" etc.

In any case, please keep this agument relevant as it has the potential to be extremely educational. And if you do something stupid like quote a fictional source... I swear to god I will kritik you so many different ways your brain will be sore. haha. :) ENJOY!
Ore_Ele

Pro

I will go ahead and try this out, because it sounds like a lot of fun (though I expect that I'll probably run out of things to say after round 3).

I'll challenge this based on the etymology of the word "unicorn." From its Latin roots "uni" (meaning "one") and "cornus" (meaning "horn") suggests that anything with one horn is by definition a unicorn, not strictly the mythical creature. [1]

[1] http://www.etymonline.com...
Debate Round No. 1
chsTG

Con

I'll start by refuting your definition. There is no warrant as to why etymology of words is key to understanding their meaning. I argue that common use is more acceptable since the common use of a word offers greater ground for debate and doesn't skew ground. Additionally, interpreting words using a Latin etymology is an extension of the Neo-Colonialist mindset that puts Anglo-Saxon Whites superior to all other races. If you pursue this definition this argument will become crucial to the debate. Finally, I am the crafter of the resolution and know the intent of the word Unicorn was indeed about a mythical creature. As EXPLICITLY stated in the ground rules for the debate our arguments are supposed to center on the truth value of a proposition concerning a non-existent being. If my opponent refuses to address the debate on these grounds I should get the win because A) He is unfairly morphing the debate. B) His interpretation destroys educational value in that we could just interpret resolutions to take the path of least resistance for our side making debates mundane burdens arguments like this one which miss the point. And C) His interpretation destroys education because I have offered an opportunity for young adults like ourselves to engage in a timeless debate considered of great importance and he is trying to cheapen it.

My counter definition is "a mythical creature resembling a horse, with a single horn in the center of its forehead: often symbolic of chastity or purity." ( "Unicorn." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 15 Jan. 2010. http://dictionary.reference.com...;. )

My thesis is that it is not true that a Unicorn has one horn because Unicorns do not exist.

I. Truth requires a relationship to reality.

The common definitions of truth are:
1. the true or actual state of a matter
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity
3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like
4. the state or character of being true.
5. actuality or actual existence.
From the same source.

All of these definitions require that that which is true have its basis in what is real or verifiable. By definition, then, propositions cannot be true because they are neither verifiable nor do they have a basis in what exists.

II. Accepting the truth value of propositions which concern nonexistent subjects leads to irrational conclusions.

If, as the resolution suggests, we can indeed offer true propositions concerning nonexistent subjects then language is inherently useless. For all that it takes to form an intelligible sentence in the world of the affirmative is to have the requisite parts. However, this is nonsensical sense language is a medium of communication not merely a tool for mental/lingual masturbation. For example, the purpose of saying "I think, therefore I am." is to convey a message. No matter what translation the speaker is conveying to the audience that his thoughts are what confirms his own existence. However if the speaker said " I hotchpotch therefore I tinkle." he conveys no message. This isn't simply because we aren't clued in to his vocabulary it is because the words which he uses make no reference to things which exist. In the world of the affirmative the speaker would simply scoff at us and tell us how useless we are and how obviously by definition if I hotchpotch I must also tinkle! But even if he were to in limited terms 'define' this words the speaker fundamentally misses the point of language as a universal tool to convey messages, not simple a toy to invent new meaning.
Therefore, because language is a tool for communication and is not simply malleable at will, we cannot propose the truth value of a resolution concerning a nonexistent subject. Therefore we must negate on face.

There is so much more to this debate however I reserve the right to bring up new arguments in the next 2 rounds. Thank you to my opponent for accepting. This promises to be interesting.
Ore_Ele

Pro

Con brings up an interesting point in "Accepting the truth value of propositions which concern nonexistent subjects leads to irrational conclusions."

In that something must be based in reality in order to have words and meaning for it. "because language is a tool for communication and is not simply malleable at will, we cannot propose the truth value of a resolution concerning a nonexistent subject."

If words are only to express what is real, then how do we express our thoughts? Since it is real and true that we can have thoughts outside of the realm of reality, how would one convey those thoughts to another individual? How would one express ideas that they believed to be true but had yet to prove? namely science? If we limit ourselves to only having words that express what we currently know to be reality, then we prevent the growth of knowledges. Since an individual may be able to test for future knowledge, without words to go with it, the communication of those tests to other scientists will stop almost every endeavor.

But it still remains true that unicorns do exist, in the form of books, thoughts, movies, and various other means. The purpose of words is communication, as my opponent pointed out. the definition for communication is...

1 : an act or instance of transmitting
2 a : information communicated b : a verbal or written message
3 a : a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior ; also : exchange of information b : personal rapport
4 plural a : a system (as of telephones) for communicating b : a system of routes for moving troops, supplies, and vehicles c : personnel engaged in communicating
5 plural but sing or plural in constr a : a technique for expressing ideas effectively (as in speech) b : the technology of the transmission of information (as by print or telecommunication) [1]

A unicorn does not have one horn because real unicorn truly have one horn. They have one horn because humans, as a means to make communication more efficient, have defined it that way and have accepted that as it's definition. It is much faster to say that then "a mystical horse with one horn." After all, the definition of a word is only what people cn agree it to mean. And that is the truth aspect of it, that we agree that is what it means, not that the actual word is true.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 2
chsTG

Con

chsTG forfeited this round.
Ore_Ele

Pro

I am going to give my opponent the benefit of the doubt that something caused him to miss his argument. To keep things even, I will pass this round and wish my opponent the best of luck. Also, as to whatever caused him missing this, I hope that it is not serious and that everything is okay for him.
Debate Round No. 3
chsTG

Con

chsTG forfeited this round.
Ore_Ele

Pro

I am faced with a conundrum. On one hand I need to post my arguments and can't let them fall behind and risk being incomplete. On the other hand, I don't want to give myself an advantage over my opponent because of the missed posts.

So I'll take this time to restate my arguments so far.

non-real things, such as unicorns and the tooth fairy (though I still think the evidence for TF is rather great, as seeing there is a movie about the TF, and hollywood wouldn't lie, would it?) can have truth in them. This is because the truth is not in the actual thing in question, but because there is truth in the definition of the word. We, as a society, have come to agree that "unicorn" means a "one-horned horse" for the sake of communication ease. Just as we in society have agreed to the definition of the word "rock" to mean "that hard thing that hurts when you are hit in the head with it." "Rock" doesn't have any true meaning, only what we in society assign to it.
Debate Round No. 4
chsTG

Con

chsTG forfeited this round.
Ore_Ele

Pro

I will now allow this to go to votes. I am sorry that we were unable to get a full debate out of it, but I hope that it was acceptable to those that liked the debate.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by PowerPikachu21 1 year ago
PowerPikachu21
Con failure! (NEVER forfeit a debate. Install an app or something to remind yourself that the debate exists and requires attention!)
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
"Yeah I have extensive LD background."

Yeah, okay.
Posted by EHS_Debate 7 years ago
EHS_Debate
same
Posted by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
OreEle = winner
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
dang, I think I should get some handicap points, lol.
Posted by chsTG 7 years ago
chsTG
Yeah I have extensive LD background. I debated ona somewhat amall circuit but went to a national camp and did well at NATs and CATNATS. But unfortunately never got to go to bid tournaments or make it to the TOC... my sister qualled this year though in PFD! :D
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
darn it, now that I read over it, I should have spent that last hour of time spell checking.
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
Who? Me? I've never done any "debating" other then yelling at people on online forums. But no debating in high school (my high school didn't even have a debate team). I've only done one debate that was any format and that was back in 7th grade and I had to argue that school uniforms ought to be required by schools... and the judges were the other students, so naturally I lost (though I got the teacher's vote).
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
Best debate ever.
Posted by Cherymenthol 7 years ago
Cherymenthol
Way to throw a t-shell in there :D. and the fact that your debating a topic of philosophical nature leads one to believe you have some LD experience? No?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
chsTGOre_EleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
chsTGOre_EleTied
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Vote Placed by EHS_Debate 7 years ago
EHS_Debate
chsTGOre_EleTied
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Vote Placed by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
chsTGOre_EleTied
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