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Technical Question

Ren
Posts: 7,102
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1/9/2012 5:43:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
In a debate, official or otherwise, can a refutation stand as it's own argument?

For example.

Person A presents an argument with supporting information. Person B refutes that claim, then presents his or her own information as supporting evidence. Can the information and/or argument presented by Person B be considered it's own, independent argument to be considered as part of his overall defense of his stance regarding the debate resolution (pro/con)?

I realized that I wasn't sure, so I thought I'd ask you guys. Let me know, or perhaps, lets discuss. Thanks. :)
Hardcore.Pwnography
Posts: 4,720
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1/9/2012 6:48:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/9/2012 5:43:00 PM, Ren wrote:
In a debate, official or otherwise, can a refutation stand as it's own argument?

For example.

Person A presents an argument with supporting information. Person B refutes that claim, then presents his or her own information as supporting evidence. Can the information and/or argument presented by Person B be considered it's own, independent argument to be considered as part of his overall defense of his stance regarding the debate resolution (pro/con)?

I realized that I wasn't sure, so I thought I'd ask you guys. Let me know, or perhaps, lets discuss. Thanks. :)

The way I see it is that each round there are up to 3 stages: arguments (where you present arguments to prove your BOP), refutation (attack opponent's arguments), rebuilding (defend your arguments from opponent's refutation).

I believe refutations should not be able to stand as an argument.

Like if you refute all of your opponent's arguments, but don't really present any arguments, then you haven't really proven your side of the case. All you did was prove that your opponent's arguments are flawed, so as a result, it should be, in technical terms, a tie.
Raisor
Posts: 4,459
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1/9/2012 7:32:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This is sort of a hard question to answer in the way youve framed it.

I think a better way to look at the issue is in terms of offensive and defensive arguments. Offensive arguments serve to advance your position while defensive arguments serve to mitigate your opponent's offense. In order to win a debate, you need your offensive arguments to be stronger than the opponents; and so it follows you cannot win with only defensive arguments.

Refutations can be either defensive or offensive.

For example: Pro says "The U.S. should invade Iran because they are trying to get nukes"
If Con responds "Iran isnt trying to get nukes"- this is defensive. It casts doubt on Pro's position, but in the absence of other arguments (for example, invading Iran will cause a lot of people to die) it doesnt really give us a reason NOT to invade Iran. At best it makes the statement "We should invade Iran" neutral- theres no reason to invade but Con has given a reason NOT to invade either.

Alternatively, Con could respond "Invading Iran would destabilize the country and lead to nuclear materials to fall into non-state actors." This is an offensive argument because it provides a reason NOT to invade Iran. It can also be seen as a refutation of the fundamental structure of Pro's argument "We should invade Iran to prevent nuclear proliferation." Con's argument says "invading Iran actually makes nuclear proliferation MORE likely (or equally likely)."

So refutations can function differently. It really depends on the type of debate, how the burden is shared, a variety of things.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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1/9/2012 11:51:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Raisor pretty much nailed it. When I vote I don't consider whether the argument was made first or was a response, whatever resulting concept that comes out of it is all that matters. If all one side does is create doubt in the other sides arguments, then there is really no reason to vote for them. In that case it really comes down to how the judges view the BoP.
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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1/10/2012 4:52:36 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Thank you, to everyone that responded. I think that makes it pretty clear for me:

If a rebuttal is presented in such a way that it can also serve as a counter-argument, then it can be considered a counter-argument when determining the strength in each participant's argumentation.

Again, thanks, I appreciate it!