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Clearness vs. Rhetoric in Debate

ShabShoral
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8/22/2015 12:04:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
A question to judges: do you place more value on the logical strengths of the arguments given or on the presentation?

For example, my last debate was almost entirely style with barely any substance, written in order to try and persuade the reader through emotion alone. In a debate I'm currently doing with Zaradi, I've basically abandoned any attempt to write poetically so that the structure of my argument is as unambiguous as possible. As judges, do you put any weight on how an argument is laid out (independently of the logic behind it), or do you focus only on what makes sense?

Examples of what I mean:
Previous debate with FourTrouble: http://www.debate.org...

Current debate with Zaradi: http://www.debate.org...
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Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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8/22/2015 12:40:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I try to balance it when debating, because I'm trying to appeal to and bias several different types of judges, but I try to ignore rhetoric when judging.
tejretics
Posts: 6,094
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8/22/2015 2:39:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
While I wouldn't allow the structure to affect my decision, I would be more likely to vote on a debate that is divided into neat subheadings than one like your debate with FT. Though your structure in your debate with Zaradi was overdone. I'd say divide it like FT did in your debate -- with simple bolded subheadings. That would be perfect. But argumentation obviously has to be considered first.
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thett3
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8/22/2015 3:39:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Debate is about the art of persuasion and both rhetoric and logic are key in this. An argument won't be thrown out the window because it's purely logical, and there's something inherently persuasive about a logical proof, but it just isn't as effective.

Look, debate is all about convincing a judge to make a decision in your favor. To deny the effect of emotion on our decision making is just ignorant. As for which one more important logic has to win. You made a purely logical case and people will consider it. Against a competent opponent a purely rhetorical case would just get thrashed
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
tejretics
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8/22/2015 4:42:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/22/2015 3:39:20 PM, thett3 wrote:
Debate is about the art of persuasion and both rhetoric and logic are key in this. An argument won't be thrown out the window because it's purely logical, and there's something inherently persuasive about a logical proof, but it just isn't as effective.

Look, debate is all about convincing a judge to make a decision in your favor. To deny the effect of emotion on our decision making is just ignorant. As for which one more important logic has to win. You made a purely logical case and people will consider it. Against a competent opponent a purely rhetorical case would just get thrashed

+1
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
ShabShoral
Posts: 3,245
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8/22/2015 7:45:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/22/2015 3:39:20 PM, thett3 wrote:
Debate is about the art of persuasion and both rhetoric and logic are key in this. An argument won't be thrown out the window because it's purely logical, and there's something inherently persuasive about a logical proof, but it just isn't as effective.
Yeah, it's probably inefficient and unnecessary, but it's an interesting experiment nonetheless.
Look, debate is all about convincing a judge to make a decision in your favor. To deny the effect of emotion on our decision making is just ignorant. As for which one more important logic has to win. You made a purely logical case and people will consider it. Against a competent opponent a purely rhetorical case would just get thrashed

I agree, but do you think that judges should try to minimize the influence of emotion to the extent that they recognize it? For example, a valid proof that 2+2=4 surely is more persuasive than flowery language supporting its opposite, since anyone who understands the proof must see how the conclusion necessarily follows and how nothing the opponent could do actually convince you otherwise (since either 2+2=4 or it doesn't - there is no gray area).

Taken to its extreme, doesn't this mean that presentation is totally irrelevant *as long as the judges can see why the argument is cogent?* I definitely won't deny that peoples' abilities to be convinced by an argument rely, in part, on how they feel about it, but it seems hard to believe that, in a debate like the one with Zaradi, where every premiss and support are explicitly stated and linked, someone wouldn't be convinced if they think that the logic is sound. If they do think that the logic is sound and that the conclusion follows, why should they ever vote otherwise, since there's no doubt about which side is right (and therefore which side won)?
"This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults."

~ Skepsikyma <3

"Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger."

~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat

"You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast"

~ Thett the Mighty

"fvck omg ur face"

~ Liz

"No aspect of your facial structure suggests Filipino descent."
~ YYW
16kadams
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8/22/2015 8:25:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Emotion is gross D:
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thett3
Posts: 14,378
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8/23/2015 3:27:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/22/2015 7:45:03 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/22/2015 3:39:20 PM, thett3 wrote:
Debate is about the art of persuasion and both rhetoric and logic are key in this. An argument won't be thrown out the window because it's purely logical, and there's something inherently persuasive about a logical proof, but it just isn't as effective.
Yeah, it's probably inefficient and unnecessary, but it's an interesting experiment nonetheless.
Look, debate is all about convincing a judge to make a decision in your favor. To deny the effect of emotion on our decision making is just ignorant. As for which one more important logic has to win. You made a purely logical case and people will consider it. Against a competent opponent a purely rhetorical case would just get thrashed

I agree, but do you think that judges should try to minimize the influence of emotion to the extent that they recognize it? For example, a valid proof that 2+2=4 surely is more persuasive than flowery language supporting its opposite, since anyone who understands the proof must see how the conclusion necessarily follows and how nothing the opponent could do actually convince you otherwise (since either 2+2=4 or it doesn't - there is no gray area).

But the thing is that almost everything we debate doesn't have an objective answer--at least not yet. That churches should refrain from making political contributions isn't quite as objective as 2 + 2 = 4.

It's about the art of persuasion. I do agree that if one had to choose your proof is more important/compelling than flowery language and emotion. Imagine if zaradi got up and said "my opponent kills puppies"--while killing puppies would be very sad, that wouldn't be persuasive. But theres nothing wrong with passion in your arguments, managing to convey some sort of moral outrage at an injustice or an excitement at a new policy...these are good things. You are selling your position to the judge, you have to make the sale.


Taken to its extreme, doesn't this mean that presentation is totally irrelevant *as long as the judges can see why the argument is cogent?* I definitely won't deny that peoples' abilities to be convinced by an argument rely, in part, on how they feel about it, but it seems hard to believe that, in a debate like the one with Zaradi, where every premiss and support are explicitly stated and linked, someone wouldn't be convinced if they think that the logic is sound. If they do think that the logic is sound and that the conclusion follows, why should they ever vote otherwise, since there's no doubt about which side is right (and therefore which side won)?

They won't vote otherwise--but that's IF they think your logic is solid. If zaradi takes out your proof you're done. If, to an objective computer-God, zaradi doesn't take out your proof but it's extremely close, the judge still might vote against you. It's not that your case won't be considered it's just that you stripped it to its bare bones and while a human skeleton might win some fights against the average joe they'll go down every time against a prizefighter.
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
Posts: 223
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8/23/2015 5:15:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/22/2015 12:04:52 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
A question to judges: do you place more value on the logical strengths of the arguments given or on the presentation?

For example, my last debate was almost entirely style with barely any substance, written in order to try and persuade the reader through emotion alone. In a debate I'm currently doing with Zaradi, I've basically abandoned any attempt to write poetically so that the structure of my argument is as unambiguous as possible. As judges, do you put any weight on how an argument is laid out (independently of the logic behind it), or do you focus only on what makes sense?

Examples of what I mean:
Previous debate with FourTrouble: http://www.debate.org...

Current debate with Zaradi: http://www.debate.org...

Logical structure is better than rhetorical structure. But logical structure is substantially improved when you sprinkle devices of persuasion on it, especially metaphors, because devices of persuasion make the argument less of something 'theoretical' and helps anchor them to reality, which always leans favor in your direction.
Logical-Master
Posts: 2,538
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8/23/2015 9:40:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/22/2015 12:04:52 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
A question to judges: do you place more value on the logical strengths of the arguments given or on the presentation?

For example, my last debate was almost entirely style with barely any substance, written in order to try and persuade the reader through emotion alone. In a debate I'm currently doing with Zaradi, I've basically abandoned any attempt to write poetically so that the structure of my argument is as unambiguous as possible. As judges, do you put any weight on how an argument is laid out (independently of the logic behind it), or do you focus only on what makes sense?

Examples of what I mean:
Previous debate with FourTrouble: http://www.debate.org...

Current debate with Zaradi: http://www.debate.org...

Find a balance between the two. Even from a judging standpoint, there's nothing worse than watching someone drone on and on and on. Make it interesting for the people reading. That way, instead of me thinking "WTF is this guy rambling about?", I'm all "This sh-t is even better than Harry Potter!"
bsh1
Posts: 27,504
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8/23/2015 11:36:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/23/2015 9:42:00 PM, Logical-Master wrote:
When you write in a way that is interesting, you don't have to worry about a judge misinterpreting your argument.

You'd be surprised.
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