The Instigator
Kescarte_DeJudica
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
lighth0us3
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

"S" is not Harry Truman's middle initial

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Kescarte_DeJudica
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2016 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 568 times Debate No: 98043
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

Kescarte_DeJudica

Pro

In this debate, I will attempt to prove that, contrary to popular belief, "S" is not Harry Truman's middle initial. This will require disproving any and all books, monuments and government documents that read "Harry S. Truman".

Why am I doing this? Does it really matter whether or not S is his middle initial? No, not really, but I am a little worn out on traditional debates and wanted to do something different.

Here are the rules:

1. No Forfeiting.
2. Follow the Outlined Debate Structure
3. All BOP is on Pro.

Either party who breaks the rules automatically loses the debate.

Here is the debate structure:

1. First Round is acceptance only.
2. Second Round is for arguments, and only arguments. This where you sell the audience your position beyond a shadow of a doubt, regardless to your opponent's argument.
3. Third Round is for rebuttals. This is where you point out fallacies in your opponent's arguments.
4. Fourth and Final Round is for defense and closing statements. This is where you defend your argument against your opponent's Round Three attacks.

This should be an interesting debate. I look forward to it, and thank my opponent in advance for joining.
lighth0us3

Con

(1) Yes I accept, mostly because I am curious on how you will attempt to argue this
(2) What does BOP stand for - BOP - Balance of power(?)
(3) Thanks for this debate, I look forward to hearing your arguments
Debate Round No. 1
Kescarte_DeJudica

Pro

Thank you Con for accepting the opposing position to this debate. Allow me to present my argument.

Harry Truman is often referred to as "Harry S. Truman". Then is not so unusual, many president are referred to historically along with their middle initial (John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush, etc.)

But, "S" is not Harry Truman's middle initial. Though it is written in almost every history book across the land, even though it says plainly on his own commerative library "Harry S. Truman", all these sources, collectively, are wrong.

Then, what is his middle initial?

The answer is simple: He has no middle initial.

His middle name is one letter: S. This is because his parents couldn't decide on a middle name, and went with the letter "S" to honor his paternal grandfather, whose name was Shippe, and his maternal one, whose name was Solomon (1).

"But then his initial is 'S'" some might argue. But it is not grammatically correct to say that. An initial is the first letter of a proper name (2), and it not the first letter in Truman's case, it is the only letter. If ones full name is: Rachel Abigail Wilson, you don't write "Rachel Abigail. Wilson" Why? Because "Abigail" is not an abbreviation, it is the entire name.

So, in all technical correctness, everything with Harry Truman's name spelled: "Harry S. Truman" should be changed to "Harry S Truman" as this the correct way for it to be written.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. A short, simple and to-the-point argument on why S is not Truman's middle initial.

I have enjoyed making this argument. I heartily await my opponent to make their argument. I would also like to remind my opponent to please be sure and restrain from making any rebuttals until Round Three.

Thank you.

Source:
1. http://gizmodo.com...
2. http://www.dictionary.com...
lighth0us3

Con

My argument will support the idea that the "S" is Harry Truman"s middle initial.

The middle initial is defined as the first initial of a middle name.

The 33rd president of the United States is commonly known as Harry S. Truman or Harry S Truman. From the mostly unanimous approval of this concept, it can be agreed upon that "S" can be regarded as the middle between his first name and last name.

Truman was not given a middle name longer than S. His Full given names were "Harry" and "S" and "Truman". This was given in acknowledgement of his two grandfathers "Anderson Shipp Truman" and "Solomon Young".

The ultimate question would be this:

Can a name be only one letter? That would of course depend on the country and state in question.

The US has few laws that restrict the provision of names, mainly thanks to the 14th amendment that declares freedom of speech. Names in the forms of pictographs and numbers are disqualified in few states for practical reasons; others ban the use of obscene language in naming. (1) However, no such law exists among the 50 states in America that invalidate the idea of a name being a single letter. Hence by default, "S" can be nationally and globally considered as Harry Truman"s middle name.

The subsidiary question would be this:

Can an initial and a name be the same thing? The initial is defined as the first letter of a name.

(2) As the first letter of the name (that cannot be rejected in the US) "S" is "S", I rest my case that the middle initial of Harry Truman"s name is "S". (e.g. Just because my given first name is Truman and my family name is Truman, does not mean that "Truman" is not my first name nor my last name. Instead this qualifies "Truman" to be both my first name and my last name)

Sources:
https://www.merriam-webster.com...
https://www.merriam-webster.com...
https://www.nps.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
Kescarte_DeJudica

Pro

Thank you Con for presenting your argument. I will proceed to write my rebuttal.

I will attempt to address Con's various arguments one at a time, pointing out any fallacies which I believe to be present.

"The middle initial is defined as the first initial of a middle name."

This is a simple grammatical error, and a small one at that. However, due to the subject at hand, it can be confusing. I believe what Con meant to say was: "The middle initial is defined as the first letter of a middle name." Because by the definition of "initial" (1), there is no "first initial of a middle name", there is only one initial of a middle name.

"The ultimate question would be this:

Can a name be only one letter?"

It is not a question of whether or not someone can have a name consisting of only one letter, the question is whether or not that letter counts as an initial. By definition, an initial is the first letter of a person's name. But if that letter is the first, last, and only letter, then it is not an initial, it is the entire name. Therefore, it is not appropriate to abbreviate it, as is the purpose of an initial.

"Can an initial and a name be the same thing? The initial is defined as the first letter of a name.

(2) As the first letter of the name (that cannot be rejected in the US) "S" is "S", I rest my case that the middle initial of Harry Truman"s name is "S". (e.g. Just because my given first name is Truman and my family name is Truman, does not mean that "Truman" is not my first name nor my last name. Instead this qualifies "Truman" to be both my first name and my last name)"

True, but you are not putting a period after "Truman" in this scenario. Neither your first nor your last name is spelled "Truman." Why? Because a period signifies an abbreviation. And while it is true that an initial is not technically defined as an abbreviation, that is it's purpose, and what it is commonly used for, at least in the USA.

So, if "S" is not an abbreviation, then it does not need a period after it. In fact, a period implies abbreviation, which is false. Thus, "S" is not an initial, in Harry Truman's case.

This concludes my rebuttal. I look forward to hearing my opponent's rebuttal.

Sources:
1. http://www.dictionary.com...
lighth0us3

Con

Thank you pro for your speedy reply!

"He has no middle initial. His middle name is one letter: S." "it is not grammatically correct to say that "S" is his initial. An initial is the first letter of a proper name, and it not the first letter in Truman's case, it is the only letter."

Pro is arguing that Truman has a middle name and it is possible for his middle name to have no initial. It is not possible for a middle name with at least one letter to be without an initial. (e.g. you can claim that you have an only child but you cannot ignore the idea that they are your first child=they are both true.)

"But if that letter is the first, last, and only letter, then it is not an initial, it is the entire name. Therefore, it is not appropriate to abbreviate it, as is the purpose of an initial."

Pro is arguing that the "S" is not an initial as it is not abbreviated, which initials are used for. As you have stated yourself an initial does not require to be an abbreviation. The definition of an initial itself is that it is the first letter of a name or word, irrespective of if there was a full stop following the letter in question. Whilst it is certainly true that you do not add a full stop after "Abigail" in "Rachel Abigail Wilson", this does not contribute to any ideas as to why a full stop is needed after an initial to verify its existence.

Additionally, there are a vast array of abbreviations that for the most part do not have their initials acknowledged with full stops (like NASA, ATM, LOL, YOLO and BBC). The argument that initials need full stops present is tedious and inconvenient. This undermines the purpose of abbreviations in the first place, which is to provide convenience to words.

Likewise, whilst the "S" in Harry S Truman does not require any form of abbreviating like initials are known to do (as "S" does not stand for anything and it is the full name) and "Harry S Truman" is an accurate way of acknowledging him, this does not undermine the definition of an initial being the first letter of a name.

Sources: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Kescarte_DeJudica

Pro

Thank you Con for making a rebuttal. I will now address it with my defense.

"Pro is arguing that Truman has a middle name and it is possible for his middle name to have no initial. It is not possible for a middle name with at least one letter to be without an initial. (e.g. you can claim that you have an only child but you cannot ignore the idea that they are your first child=they are both true.)"

While Con is, by dictionary definition (1), technically correct, there is a problem with her reasoning that must be addressed. First off, we must ask ourselves: What is the purpose of the use of initials in the English language? Well, the purpose is abbreviation. Saving time and space by abbreviating the word down to one letter. Now while it is true that this is not found in the dictionary, it can very well be assumed that this is the purpose of an initial. Because if not for the sake of abbreviation, why would anyone use an initial?

So, if we can agree that the purpose of an initial is to abbreviate, we can look at a middle name with only one letter, as in Harry Truman's case. If we put a period after "S", and call it an initial, are we abbreviating his middle name? Not at all! In fact, by adding a period, we are increasing the length of it! So, if the purpose of an initial is to abbreviate, then it does not apply to Truman's middle name does it? For there, it's purpose would not be attained.

As for the part about "first child versus only child", we are looking at an example of what is technically correct, but does not apply in our case at hand. Plus, this is a case of real life, which is (thankfully) less complicated than the technicalities of the English language.

"Pro is arguing that the 'S' is not an initial as it is not abbreviated, which initials are used for. As you have stated yourself an initial does not require to be an abbreviation. The definition of an initial itself is that it is the first letter of a name or word, irrespective of if there was a full stop following the letter in question. Whilst it is certainly true that you do not add a full stop after 'Abigail' in 'Rachel Abigail Wilson', this does not contribute to any ideas as to why a full stop is needed after an initial to verify its existence."

Again, while it is true that an initial is not by dictionary definition required to be abbreviated, for it to fulfill its intended purpose, it must be abbreviated. Otherwise, there is no point in using an initial at all. And the reason a full stop (period) is put after an initial is very simple: to show that the letter is an initial; an abbreviation of a larger "word".

"Additionally, there are a vast array of abbreviations that for the most part do not have their initials acknowledged with full stops (like NASA, ATM, LOL, YOLO and BBC). The argument that initials need full stops present is tedious and inconvenient. This undermines the purpose of abbreviations in the first place, which is to provide convenience to words."

Here, Con appears to agree that the purpose of abbreviations is to provide convenience to words, and that initials are abbreviations. However, the examples of abbreviations listed by Con (NASA, LOL, etc.) are in fact, not initials, they are acronyms, which have entirely different rules, and definitions (2).

This concludes my defense for my argument for this debate. I very much enjoyed this debate, and would like to congratulate my opponent on a solid performance. I would also like to thank DDO for hosting the debate, and thank in advance anyone who votes on it.

Sources:
1. http://www.dictionary.com...
2. http://www.dictionary.com...
lighth0us3

Con

Thank you pro for this debate! I now have a lot of useless information about initials :P

"It is not a question of whether or not someone can have a name consisting of only one letter, the question is whether or not that letter counts as an initial"if that letter is the first, last, and only letter, then it is not an initial, it is the entire name. Therefore, it is not appropriate to abbreviate it, as is the purpose of an initial."

There is insufficient evidence to reject an initial being of one letter even if it does not serve as an abbreviation. Whilst I did admit that initials serve to provide convenience to words, this is not their only purpose. This is because an initial serves a greater purpose than simply abbreviating words. Initials are a symbol of formality, they are used as a signature and they are used for ratification of treaties, when witnessing etc. Initials are unique in that they represent names. This is proven in the dictionary where the verb "initialling" is to mark or sign with one"s name. It is especially useful being terse but not disrespectful when referring to a president with a lengthy name, such as FDR or JFK. This is what uniquely identifies initials, not abbreviation.

"So, if "S" is not an abbreviation, then it does not need a period after it. In fact, a period implies abbreviation, which is false. Thus, "S" is not an initial, in Harry Truman's case. (The period is) "to show that the letter is an initial; an abbreviation of a larger "word"."

Yes it is true that the "S" in Harry Truman"s middle name has no need for a full stop. This is because a full stop implies abbreviation. As previously said however, the full stop/abbreviation is no true indicator of an initial, as it fails to prove to be in the dictionary. The "S" is unlike most initials in that no full stop should follow if we were to be pettily accurate with Truman"s middle name. However, this does not disqualify the S of being an initial. Harry Truman after all is known as Harry S Truman, the S still is his middle name. Thus, to refer to Harry Truman by his middle initial would still be S. To fulfil its purpose of exuding formality, or distinguishing himself from others with the same first and last name, not just to abbreviate.

"Here, Con appears to agree that the purpose of abbreviations is to provide convenience to words, and that initials are abbreviations. However, the examples of abbreviations listed by Con (NASA, LOL, etc.) are in fact, not initials, they are acronyms, which have entirely different rules, and definitions (2)."

Whilst it is true that the examples used by Con are acronyms, in the dictionary definition 2, it is revealed that they can equally be considered as a set of initials, just as initials like JFK, JC can be considered to be acronyms.

Additionally, even if this were to be untrue, names such as JFK, JC, GRRM etc. are known without their full stops following their initials. A full stop indicates a pause, where no such pause exists in the spoken language (nor when read internally from paper).

Moreover, in the rest of the English speaking world, full stops have been known to have largely dropped between initials. Although it is still arguable that periods after initials are still relevant in the US, which is the location of this debate, it is still ironic if so then that in the name that stands for the United States of America, periods between its names in the form of "U.S.A." is rarely seen. Hence it is equally accurate to refer to initials with full stops as it is without.

Sources:
http://www.dictionary.com...
http://www.dictionary.com...
http://english.stackexchange.com...
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by lighth0us3 1 year ago
lighth0us3
Burden of proof is kind of a balance of power, a balance of power is not at all a burden of proof. (HAH)
Posted by PowerPikachu21 1 year ago
PowerPikachu21
Burden of Proof is sort of, but not exactly, a Balance of Power.
Posted by lighth0us3 1 year ago
lighth0us3
Thanks guys!
Posted by Kescarte_DeJudica 1 year ago
Kescarte_DeJudica
Yes Con, he is right, BOP does stand for burden of proof.
Posted by sboss18 1 year ago
sboss18
Con, BOP stands for "burden of proof."
Posted by sboss18 1 year ago
sboss18
jo154676 is correct.
Posted by jo154676 1 year ago
jo154676
His middle name is S
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cat47 1 year ago
Cat47
Kescarte_DeJudicalighth0us3Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: It seems that Con's arguments were basically stating that S is his middle initial because it is one letter, but as Pro pointed out, that is not grammatically correct.