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The Nature of Debate

Ren
Posts: 7,102
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1/10/2012 4:10:53 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Does the nature of this site as it is currently prevent its members from interacting with those they agree with the most?

I mean, think about it -- what would be the purpose of debating with people with whom you agree? From what I can tell, interaction between those who agree is limited between "I agree with so-and-so," the odd and slightly uncomfortable out-of-place compliment every now and then, and distinction award elections.

What do you guys think?
wierdman
Posts: 721
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1/10/2012 4:55:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/10/2012 4:10:53 AM, Ren wrote:
Does the nature of this site as it is currently prevent its members from interacting with those they agree with the most?

I mean, think about it -- what would be the purpose of debating with people with whom you agree? From what I can tell, interaction between those who agree is limited between "I agree with so-and-so," the odd and slightly uncomfortable out-of-place compliment every now and then, and distinction award elections.

What do you guys think?

It might work or fail at the same time. Why do I say this? The fact is that this site simply isn't structured in such a way that its debaters are accustomed to seeing a "one sided" debate. Even I thinking about it now would care less as well.....I'll find no use or no interest in reading the debate. My safest bet is that you make a forum. Not only will it provoke the fastest and most response, but you will be able to debate with someone on the difference in terms of levels that you both agree on (agree Vs strongly agree)
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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1/10/2012 1:21:28 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Conversations > Debates.

You have to choose conversations with people who you have some common ground with otherwise it never works. What's key is the ability to honestly reflect on your ideas and admit when mistakes have been made. Debates are hyper-confrontation and tend to cement stances.
Raisor
Posts: 4,466
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1/10/2012 2:00:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I dont think debate really serves as a positive force if everyone just defends positions they believe in. In order to challenge your own ideas you need to be willing to put yourself in your opponent's position and see how the issue looks from the other side. This is achieved by defending positions you disagree with in debates- for example if you think the death penalty is wrong, take up debates where you defend the use of the death penalty.

When I debate I defend whichever side is most convenient for my opponent, irrespective of my own views. This doesnt mean I dont have opinions, it just means that I acknowledge that it is beneficial to constantly challenge my own views.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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1/10/2012 2:43:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/10/2012 2:00:47 PM, Raisor wrote:
I dont think debate really serves as a positive force if everyone just defends positions they believe in. In order to challenge your own ideas you need to be willing to put yourself in your opponent's position and see how the issue looks from the other side. This is achieved by defending positions you disagree with in debates- for example if you think the death penalty is wrong, take up debates where you defend the use of the death penalty.

When I debate I defend whichever side is most convenient for my opponent, irrespective of my own views. This doesnt mean I dont have opinions, it just means that I acknowledge that it is beneficial to constantly challenge my own views.

Funny, I find debating to be fun and interesting only when I fully agree with the position I am defending. Understanding the opposite side is one of the best things debating can accomplish, but the best way to do this is to understand myself. I love when I fully believe something and my opponent makes a counter argument I have never heard before. The interesting thing is that when I read it, I get this feeling that their argument is wrong but I don't know why. That feeling is coming from the core reasons why I believe what I do, and figuring it out is the fun part. Its how I learn what my beliefs are based on, and whether I should rethink my position.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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1/10/2012 3:10:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/10/2012 1:21:28 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Conversations > Debates.

You have to choose conversations with people who you have some common ground with otherwise it never works. What's key is the ability to honestly reflect on your ideas and admit when mistakes have been made. Debates are hyper-confrontation and tend to cement stances.

Well thats true OMG, but conversations invite intellectual laziness/dishonesty, where one really had no desire to hear truth, but rather champion his own ideology. Conversations also lack commitment and formality that make the discourse a little more powerful. I'd say a conversation is a variant of intellectual exchange suitable for different people and different cases, not really comparable to debate.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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1/10/2012 4:05:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Those are some very interesting perspectives.

@ Raisor: playing Devil's Advocate can certainly help you to sharpen your persuasive prowess, but unless you're liable to change your mind about an issue while you research it (while applying further and more rigorous research than you did before you established a personal position on a premise), then I doubt it would help you to better understand the other side of the issue. I think, instead, it likely causes you to find a way to outsmart your opponent rather than reach a resolution upon which you can both agree.

@ Double_R: that seems to be a more functional position, but it still makes debate less a means to find truth and more a practice in persuasion and wit.

@ OMG: it appears we're in complete agreement.

@ 000ike: you're right; however, discourse can conceivably function better for the participants in the interest of learning than debate does. I think debate can be informative and educational only for spectators, but almost never for participants. Discourse, on the other hand, is likely quite revealing for everyone involved.