The Instigator
ClassicRobert
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
Cowboy0108
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Resolved: Fictional Literature Serves No Purpose

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
ClassicRobert
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,675 times Debate No: 34150
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

ClassicRobert

Con

In a recent forum, I noticed that the user Cowboy0108 said the following: "Fiction is meaningless." I would like to challenge that with the resolution that fictional literature serves no purpose. I, as Con, will accept burden of proof. In order to win this debate, I must prove that fictional literature serves a purpose. For Pro to win this debate, Cowboy0108 must prove me wrong.

Rules:
First round acceptance
No new arguments in the last round
8000 Character Limit
72 Hours to Post Argument
2 Week Voting Period
A forfeited round by one side will result in a 7 point gain for the opposing side.

Definitions:

Fictional Literature: "A literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact (1)."

Purpose: "practical result, effect or advantage (2)"

Sources:
1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
2. http://dictionary.reference.com...
Cowboy0108

Pro

I accept the debate.
Fictional Literature serves no purpose(except pure entertainment). Fictional literature should not be read in schools or for any other educational purpose.
I will give my opponent a chance to explain his talking points before I continue as he does have the Burden of Proof.
Debate Round No. 1
ClassicRobert

Con

Thank you Cowboy0108 for accepting this debate. In order to fulfill my burden of proof, I need only provide one example of how fictional literature serves a purpose. I will, however, provide more than just one.

Educational Purpose

Critical Thinking

The main purpose of fictional literature is for teaching critical thinking and analysis skills. Non-fiction books, while they are great for simply information, spell everything out for the reader. The point of non-fiction books is to educate the individual with facts. Fiction, on the other hand, does not necessarily do that. With fiction, there is more leeway for authors to explore literary techniques in order to truly evoke the feelings they want out of the reader. In fact, some authors of fictional literature delve so deeply into the story and technique that they are heralded for their complex styles. One book that is often taught in high schools for purpose of teaching analytical skills is The Sound and the Fury, by acclaimed author William Faulkner. In this book, chronological order is almost completely ignored, and there is little to no indication of when there are time shifts. When reading this book, students will have to determine which parts of the story are from what time by analyzing the text and searching for evidence in order to extrapolate what the differences between two sets of paragraphs (1)(2). By assigning this book for reading, students truly learn critical thinking skills.

More Critical Thinking

The idea of teaching critical thinking extends to Shakespeare's works. In Shakespeare's plays, the script follows complex, poetic Victorian language that doesn't always directly say what is happening, but often alludes to the events of the story and the emotions of the characters. When a student reads a play like Hamlet or Titus Andronicus, the student must use and improve his or her critical thinking skills to interpret the play, and understand its significance.

Why Critical Thinking is Important

Critical thinking is a skill that allows the individual to analyze facts and situations and decide for themselves what to believe and how to act, rather than keeping people as passive receptors of information. It aids in problem solving skills, which are necessary to just about any difficult situation (3). Essentially, promoting critical thinking is a practical purpose of fictional literature.


Everyday Purpose

Fosters Imagination

When a person reads a work of fictional literature, the person often has no pictures to base it on. It is instead necessary for the reader to imagine the world of the story in order to truly understand the literature. The Harry Potter series has actually been shown to promote creativity and imagination. Studies have actually shown that the portrayal of magic in the series "unleashes kids' creative thought (4)." One might say that imagination is not practical. However, imagination serves many practical purposes. It could be argued that imagination fuels progress. Take Albert Einstein as an example. He used thought experiment to solve complex problems. These led him to his theory of special relativity, the basic concepts of general relativity, and the idea that gravity and acceleration are the same (5). With these experiments, which were only tested with his imagination, he managed to spur a revolution in science. Einstein even went as far as saying "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand (6)." So, while it is unfair to say that fictional literature is the sole cause for imagination, it does encourage it, and isn't fictional literature encouraging imagination a purpose?

Conclusion

In conclusion, fictional literature does not just serve one purpose. It serves many. It hones critical thinking skills, and it refines the imagination. Fictional literature does serve a purpose.

I look forward to my opponent's response.


Sources:
1. http://edsitement.neh.gov...;
2. http://bzu.edu.pk...
3. http://www.wired.com...
4. http://blogs.babycenter.com...;
5. http://www.pbs.org...
6. http://quotationsbook.com...;
Cowboy0108

Pro

Critical Thinking:
For now, I will skip to why Critical Thinking is important, as your plan does not support this. How can reading fictional literature develop the ability to analyze facts? You can analyze facts better by reading the facts from nonfiction. After all, these books hand you the facts, but the facts still have to be interpreted. This interpretation of facts will build critical thinking, while also doubling as a method of gaining information. Besides, why would you need to analyze Hamlet. What career will that help you with?
Imagination:
There is a problem with your logic. While the person may see what is happening in the book, the person does not come up with anything on his or her own. When the book says Harry has black hair and a birthmark shaped like an N, all the people see are those things. Reading books allows you to see what is there, but nothing else. Thinking and daydreaming for yourself allows you to foster imagination, as anything can happen, as there are no rules. Fictional literature is not beneficial for imagination.
Conclusion:
As far as critical thinking goes, you can get the same amount of thinking skill from nonfiction, and you would also get facts. Facts will be necessary. Facts can be used to persuade people. Facts can be used to manipulate people. Fiction is of no use to anyone other than the pure entertainment from reading. Imagination can be learned by doing things other than witnessing the imagination of an author. Imagination can only be learned by thinking for yourself.
Debate Round No. 2
ClassicRobert

Con


Critical Thinking


It was made perfectly clear in the first argument how fictional literature develops critical thinking skills, but regardless, I will restate it. When reading books like The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner, the reader needs to analyze evidence not only within the story, but also within the writing style itself in order to determine the chronological shifts and to extrapolate meaning. Whether or not non-fiction books also help to develop critical thinking is irrelevant to the debate, as the resolution is “Fictional Literature Serves No Purpose,” not “Fictional Literature Serves No Unique Purpose.”


“Besides, why would you need to analyze Hamlet. What career will that help you with?”


Hamlet is an example of a play where an individual must use and improve his critical thinking skills in order to understand the play. As the language used in it is very distinct from modern day English, the reader must use his or her critical thinking skills to evaluate the evidence, read in between the lines, and determine the meaning of the non-colloquial words and sentence structures. The critical thinking skills developed will help in any decision-making career, as it will aid the individual in the leadership position in taking in all information present in order to make rational choices.


“While the person may see what is happening in the book, the person does not come up with anything on his or her own.”


While it is true that fictional literature is generally descriptive, the descriptions are not perfect. Few images are described in a way that leaves nothing to the imagination. The reader not only has to imagine what the author describes, but the reader also has to fill in the blanks in the description. Making the reader imagine what the author has described and what the author has not properly described is fostering the imagination of the readers. Fictional literature is effective in that regard.


“As far as critical thinking goes, you can get the same amount of thinking skill from non fiction, and you would also get facts.”


Pro just conceded that you can get critical thinking skills from fictional literature. I would like to remind the readers once again that the resolution is “Fictional Literature Serves No Purpose,” not “Fictional Literature Serves No Unique Purpose.” Whether or not non fiction also gives similar level of thinking skill is irrelevant to the debate.


Conclusion


I have shown that fictional literature aids in the development of imagination and critical thinking skills, thus showing that fictional literature serves a purpose. It was even conceded by Pro that critical thinking skills are acquired by reading fictional literature. I have fulfilled my burden of proof.


I look forward to my opponent’s response.



Cowboy0108

Pro

Cowboy0108 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
ClassicRobert

Con

It is unfortunate that Pro decided to forfeit the previous round. That being said, if you look at the first round under the rules section, you will see that there is a heavy punishment for forfeiture.

Extend all arguments.
Cowboy0108

Pro

Cowboy0108 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
I'm inclined to partially agree with Pro that fiction is over-emphasized in education compared to non-fiction, but nonetheless there is no chance that Shakespeare is going to be replaced by Wikipedia articles any time soon. The Shakespeare story lines are simply and could be presented as assertions of fact, but the presentation is what makes the lessons memorable.

The value of literature is clearest in fantasy and science fiction scenarios. How would humans deal with ___________ can be treated in fiction before the situation occurs in the real world.
Posted by Solomon_Grim 3 years ago
Solomon_Grim
Fiction also gives ideas to think about. The book "1984" is not just for entertainment, but to warn how corrupted society can be. It also improves writing skills as fiction tends to have many different styles that it can be written in. Also, fiction can help with philosophy ideas. I can just tell you a philosophy idea, but it would be much better if you could read a character in a story dealing with it. Cyborgs, time travel, and mind reading and easily open interest and knowledge in transhumanism, time paradoxes, and Jung's Shadow.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
ClassicRobertCowboy0108Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: FF but pro had already been defeated before the FF's
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
ClassicRobertCowboy0108Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's more compelling argument was that fiction stimulates the imagination. Learning requires active involvement of the student, and a good fiction author sets up dramatic situations where the reader attempts to think about what the outcome may be. Non-fiction can have an element of that, but fiction does it better. Pro loses conduct for forfeiting, and the forfeits left Con's arguments unrebutted.
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 3 years ago
ConservativePolitico
ClassicRobertCowboy0108Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF