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Can you debate for what you disagree with?

Rhett_Butler
Posts: 43
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6/21/2013 8:24:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've pondered this idea for some time now, as I've read through many partisan arguments on this website and of course, a few others. This has led me to ask myself, and now you, this question.

Are you able to debate for what you disagree with?

In other words:
Can you debate in favor of what you don't believe in?

I am aware that for some, it is inconceivable to be debating for what they disagree with. What I feel that I have learned from studying politics, however, is that if I am unable to register a good reason for what I am debating against, then I am unable to fully understand what I am debating for in the first place. I see it as a necessity to understand the opposing viewpoint. After I prove to myself that I can make one of the best arguments for the other side, I can prove to myself that I can shoot down the best of what it has to offer, and thus hold an advantage.

It is at this point that I see it to be an invaluable tool to fully understand the opposing side as an important part of debate, and even be able to debate for it, despite my conviction to my own beliefs. It is in this, I feel, that the birth of an unbiased attitude can begin.

Despite that, I wonder what other people think about the idea of debating against their own belief in order to see how the other side views things. If you are for pro-life, can you debate pro-choice? If you are for gun control, can you debate against it? Can you know your enemy nearly as well as you know yourself?
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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6/21/2013 8:38:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Nope. It's like trying to get away with championing ideas you know are mistaken. It's dishonest and misleading.

Except of course if you treat debating like a sport and only care about the process, and not the content.
"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
Izayah003
Posts: 369
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6/21/2013 8:39:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I also use this tool, but I do so to better study the facts, not just what i think is right or wrong. There is a few issues that come with this thought. See being a liberal, i have a hard time understanding conservative logic. in the past is was easy to do this because there was a time that both liberals and conservatives, as well as other party's had a more moderate central view on the issues, but this country has become so divided that those days are long gone.

Yes you can do it, and you're right it is a great tool, but only if there is something the two party's can agree on, a center-point.
"When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest." - Abraham Lincoln
Contra
Posts: 3,941
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6/21/2013 8:48:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I could probably debate a few issues that I disagree with. On many issues, I know where the opposite side comes from, what their intention is, what they want to accomplish (with their policy position).

So I could use their arguments, and debate from their point of view, but it wouldn't feel right. For example, I could argue in favor of more education subsidies, even though I personally feel they would increase government control of schools and thus be ineffective at improving the quality of our education system.
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thett3
Posts: 14,382
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6/21/2013 8:48:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I can and probably should more often it's great fun and you learn a lot
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Izayah003
Posts: 369
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6/21/2013 8:56:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/21/2013 8:48:17 PM, thett3 wrote:
I can and probably should more often it's great fun and you learn a lot

This right here!

To be honest, I think that it should be used every time there is a debate, that is in fact what helps both sides learn. I find that trying to understand both sides drives my way of thinking. For example, I didn't know democrats created the KKK, and was defensive when a conservative said it, so i did my research, and in that research I found out that he was right, but it also led to me finding out things about our history I didn't know, like how the democrats started out being the conservative right wing party, how Republicans were considered the moderate liberals. still not sure when that started to change, probably during the civil rights movement, but how Lincoln was a republican liberal, and so much more. so this tool is very useful, it can and should be done.
"When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest." - Abraham Lincoln
YYW
Posts: 36,426
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6/21/2013 8:56:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/21/2013 8:24:20 PM, Rhett_Butler wrote:
I've pondered this idea for some time now, as I've read through many partisan arguments on this website and of course, a few others. This has led me to ask myself, and now you, this question.

Are you able to debate for what you disagree with?

In other words:
Can you debate in favor of what you don't believe in?

I can, do and often had too for some of the things I'm involved in. I much prefer arguing for something I believe in though...
Tsar of DDO
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/21/2013 11:33:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Absolutely.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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6/22/2013 5:31:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/21/2013 8:38:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
Nope. It's like trying to get away with championing ideas you know are mistaken. It's dishonest and misleading.
which is an argument in favour of banning acting.

"The sign of an educated mind is the ability to entertain an idea without accepting it"

Or, the modern version of the phrase, to understand something, you must be able to teach it. And debating is just persuasive teaching - which I'd also call teaching well.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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AlbinoBunny
Posts: 3,781
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6/22/2013 10:06:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Devil's advocate.
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