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Books and other resources for debaters

RoyLatham
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9/17/2015 7:30:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I recently read

Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies (Academic Edition) by Bo Bennett

It's good because it is comprehensive, and because it provides the patterns for defeating fallacious arguments in relatively few works. Debaters need to not only recognize bad arguments, but to point out the fallacy quickly. Don't, however, just name the fallacy and move on. Don't name the fallacy at all, because that perplexes many readers and does not explain why the case at hand is an example of it. If you know what "The Hooded Man Fallacy" is, then good for you, but don't expect anyone else to know. Still, it's pleasing to see all the fallacies named and listed. It gives the feeling that you are on a traveled road.

From the book:

Quantum Physics Fallacy*

Description: Using quantum physics in an attempt to support your claim, when in no way is your claim related to quantum physics." One can also use the weirdness of the principles of quantum physics to cast doubt on the well-established laws of the macro world. (p. 180). ... [full description is several pages]

Every serious debater should read,

The Art of Controversy by Arthur Schopenhauer https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au...

Written in 1831, Schopenhauer's essay is timeless. It includes under "strategums" his "38 ways of winning an argument," which a deadpan sarcastic like of false methods. For example,

The Extension. " This consists in carrying your opponent"s proposition beyond its natural limits; in giving it as general a signification and as wide a sense as possible, so as to exaggerate it; and, on the other hand, in giving your own proposition as restricted a sense and as narrow limits as you can, because the more general a statement becomes, the more numerous are the objections to which it is open. The defence consists in an accurate statement of the point or essential question at issue.

There are many texts on critical thinking, and I am open to suggestions on this subject. One is

Attacking Faulty Reasoning 7th Edition by T. Edward Damer

It's a college text for courses on critical thinking, and whereas Bennett's book is rather terse, this one gives full explanations of how to attack faulty arguments. Here is an excerp from a chapter introduction:

There is a very clear difference between an argument and a good argument. A person who makes a claim that is supported by at least one other claim has created an
argument, but it may not be a very good one. There are five criteria of a good argument. It must have:

a well-formed structure,

premises that are relevant to the truth of the conclusion,

premises that are acceptable to a reasonable person,

premises that together constitute sufficient grounds for the truth of the conclusion, and

premises that provide an effective rebuttal to all anticipated criticisms of the
argument.

(Page 30).

There are many books devoted to individual debate topics. For example, you cannot do an intelligent debate on affirmative action in education without having read Mismatch. All I can suggest is to search amazon for the topic that interests you.

Anyone have suggestions for good books for debaters?
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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9/18/2015 2:36:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/17/2015 7:30:07 PM, RoyLatham wrote:

There are many books devoted to individual debate topics. For example, you cannot do an intelligent debate on affirmative action in education without having read Mismatch. All I can suggest is to search amazon for the topic that interests you.

Anyone have suggestions for good books for debaters?

Plunder! by Steven Greenhut is a must read for any topic remotely relevant to public employee unions.

http://www.amazon.com...
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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9/19/2015 6:28:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Here are some more references for specific topics:

Gun control: More Guns, Less Crime (3rd ed.) by John Lott

American higher education: Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses
by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa

Climate change: Climate Change: The Facts by John Abbott et al

Existence of (the Christian) God: Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God by Theodore M. Drange

Death penalty: Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Case by Hugo Adam Bedau

Political correctness: The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn by Diane Ravitch

Another general debate reference:

The Tyranny of Clich"s: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas by Jonah Goldberg
Romanii
Posts: 4,851
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9/21/2015 5:26:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/19/2015 6:28:05 PM, RoyLatham wrote:

Gun control: More Guns, Less Crime (3rd ed.) by John Lott

Ew... let's have some balance here...
Private Guns, Public Health by David Hemenway
Romanii
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9/21/2015 6:10:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
America's Bitter Pill; Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System by Steven Brill
A comprehensive narrative of how Obamacare came into existence. Admittedly, it's a bit liberal-biased, but it still provides a wealth of information on the topic of healthcare, as well as on how our government in general functions.

Wars, Guns, and Votes; Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places by Paul Collier
Super informative read on foreign policy, particularly relating to democratization.

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Probably one of the best, most educative non-fiction books I've ever read. It's basically a critique of modern American society, both in terms of domestic & foreign affairs. There's a lot of debate-related material over a variety of subjects to be found throughout it.

Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell
A straightforward and relatively easy book debunking all of the most common economic myths propagated by prominent liberal figures, covering topics from income inequality to the gender wage gap to third world countries.

Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert Reich
Contrary to ResponsiblyIrresponsible's opinions, I do not think Reich is an incompetent; he actually provides some great analysis in this book on America's political corporatism and its effects on our economy. Very interesting read.
tejretics
Posts: 6,080
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9/21/2015 11:30:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't - John R. Lott

Climate: The Counter-Consensus - Bob Carter

Atheism: A Philosphical Justification - Michael Martin
"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
tejretics
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3/23/2016 6:02:54 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
I realize this thread is 6 months old, so what I'm doing could be called "necro posting," but the point is it's an important thread that should be on the front page. I'd recommend that more people post books and read the books here. Also bumping for the benefit of my mentees from the February and March Beginners' Tournaments.
"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
tejretics
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3/23/2016 6:19:46 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
Arguably by Christopher Hitchens is an excellent read; it has many of Hitchens's most eloquent arguments and shows how one should employ rhetoric in a debate setting.

http://www.amazon.com...
"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
someloser
Posts: 1,377
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3/24/2016 4:26:35 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
Surprised nobody mentioned Aristotle's Rhetoric yet.
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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3/24/2016 5:42:49 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 9/17/2015 7:30:07 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
I recently read

Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies (Academic Edition) by Bo Bennett

It's good because it is comprehensive, and because it provides the patterns for defeating fallacious arguments in relatively few works. Debaters need to not only recognize bad arguments, but to point out the fallacy quickly. Don't, however, just name the fallacy and move on. Don't name the fallacy at all, because that perplexes many readers and does not explain why the case at hand is an example of it. If you know what "The Hooded Man Fallacy" is, then good for you, but don't expect anyone else to know. Still, it's pleasing to see all the fallacies named and listed. It gives the feeling that you are on a traveled road.

I've read about half of that book, and I agree. It's excellent. The thing I like most about it is its thorough discussion of informal fallacies and their exceptions. A lot of books--especially short books--on informal fallacies don't go into the exceptions. I see a lot of people just naming fallacies without going into why they are fallacies and without paying any attention to their exceptions.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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3/24/2016 5:44:12 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 9/21/2015 6:10:24 AM, Romanii wrote:

Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell
A straightforward and relatively easy book debunking all of the most common economic myths propagated by prominent liberal figures, covering topics from income inequality to the gender wage gap to third world countries.

That is on my "to read" list.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Romaniii
Posts: 421
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3/24/2016 5:54:44 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 9/21/2015 6:10:24 AM, Romanii wrote:
America's Bitter Pill; Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System by Steven Brill
A comprehensive narrative of how Obamacare came into existence. Admittedly, it's a bit liberal-biased, but it still provides a wealth of information on the topic of healthcare, as well as on how our government in general functions.

Wars, Guns, and Votes; Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places by Paul Collier
Super informative read on foreign policy, particularly relating to democratization.

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Probably one of the best, most educative non-fiction books I've ever read. It's basically a critique of modern American society, both in terms of domestic & foreign affairs. There's a lot of debate-related material over a variety of subjects to be found throughout it.

Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell
A straightforward and relatively easy book debunking all of the most common economic myths propagated by prominent liberal figures, covering topics from income inequality to the gender wage gap to third world countries.

Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert Reich
Contrary to ResponsiblyIrresponsible's opinions, I do not think Reich is an incompetent; he actually provides some great analysis in this book on America's political corporatism and its effects on our economy. Very interesting read.

Re-recommending all of these. They're really awesome books.
donald.keller
Posts: 3,709
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3/24/2016 5:34:47 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
Understanding Gensis; by Dr. Jason Lisle.

For the religious types...
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