Does the debate format really contribute to the development of strong arguments and rational discourse?

Asked by: the_croftmeister
  • Makes you think about your position and consider your opponents so you are open to other opinions

    If it didnt then we wouldnt have lawyers and judges. Consider this I am very young and speak like a 22 year old lawyer, it may help that i was already smart to begin with, but I used to argue with kids my age when I came to this website i expected to be just as easy as arguing with kids my age, but this was not the case. The people I have debated with have really made me think hard and have made me sway on my position whether it be pro or con. In conclusion the aswer to your question is yes.

    Posted by: Coda
  • Truth and reason are not aided by competition

    The participants in a debate are in direct competition with each other. They cannot change their minds, and have a vested interest in avoiding engaging in areas of the discussion which are likely to damage their side of the issue. Debate culture can attempt to rectify this problem but if the debaters themselves do not believe in these principles but rather obey out of fear of reprisals then can we really say it is solved?

    In cases where there is little cultural overlap between the two parties or between the parties and the audience it is very difficult to synthesise the kind of arguments that lead to a deeper understanding of the issues. And in cases where the individuals do have a strong cultural overlap then most likely they will already have made up their minds on the issue and will simply use the debate as an excuse to further reinforce their preconceptions.

    Finally, debate artificially enforces two sides to every issue even though there are usually many approaches and tacts that can be taken. Debates move backwards from the conclusion to the arguments but this means that an individual is not motivated to consider all possibly relevant arguments.

    Formats like Socratic dialogues and Panels allow for better presentation of arguments, permit the speaker to present information without committing to a side and engage with people from diverse backgrounds.

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