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>First, I ask for a concept of self which supports the radical separation
>of the self from the act (especially a communication act) such as signing
Signing the ballot isn't the kind of communication act Pat describes. As I
explained previously, when you write on the ballot "I vote affirmative"
that's what you're saying. You're not saying "ooo! let's go oppress X" -
where X can be women, men, minorities, Pat & Matt, you name it. I don't
have to separate myself from that act - I'm a debate critic that opposes
intervention, so I vote on arguments in the debate.
>Second, why should debate be a stagnant or closed system? If indeed
>critique-style argumentation is intellectually deficient and debate is
>such an amazing activity, then should not debate, in the exchange, be
>able to recognize this and accomodate for it by disproving these
>arguments within the round itself?
Yep. You're right. In case anybody was confused - HEY LECHTRECK! NO
THEORY EV HERE!!! I think people should debate it out too. I've even voted
on critiques. I didn't like it, but I did it. Doesn't mean we can't talk
here about what possible arguments might or might not be.
>Third, why is debate and persuasion a purely logocentric exercise? There
>is *NO* correlary (that I can locate) which bases decision making on
>strict systems of logic and only logic. Ethical and emotional appeals are
>recognized parts of debate and being (human). What model of self can
>hence separate these out and attempt to stifle all but the logos?
The question isn't "why is debate" but "why should debate be." Yeah, you're
right, we can't be 100% objective. Congradulations, Mr. Whitney. We can
still try. The reason we should try is that logic and reason are the way we
accomplish tasks and achieve improvements. You can emote about the
greenhouse effect all day. The greenhouse effect will diminish when people
apply reason and logic to the task of finding a solution. That's what
debate is for - to teach people reason and logic to enable them to solve
>Roskoski, all one post, argues: Be objective.
Yeah, we talked about this above. Being non-sexist is impossible too. Hey,
I have a great idea, let's not try. (That was a joke. It was intended to
demonstrate what I believe to be an erroneous argument.)
>Roskoski argues: Don't screen argument through your morality.
>1. Screen them how? All arguments rely on premises provided by the critic
>(ie: human life good, survival of universe good, etc.). The minute you
>walked in the room you started screening.
Cross apply above. Yeah it's inevitable, but it's bad. Minimize it.
>2. If this is your goal you must accept the critique. On face rejection
>relies on implicit values regarding argumentation and hence violates your
Cross apply above. No kidding, don't intervene.
>Roskoski argues: We are sacrificing debate for critiques.
>1. Untrue. Debate can and does exist with the critique. Works well. I
>think the activity can develop with the idea.
But expecting critics to vote on a critique because it's aligned with their
personal morality does sacrifice debate. If people begin to vote their
ethics instead of their flows, then we return to "Listen to Me." Me, I'd
rather flip burgers than coach that.
>2. Critique is necessary to diminish an oppressive structure. Debate is
>usually practiced as a violent and patriarchal act which embodies the
>worst fears of feminist critiques of argument.
No, it's not. Debate is practiced as a speech act. That is, by definition,
not violent. Yeah, people may use some nasty words, but the other
participants get speech time too. Use it to respond to the "violent
patriarchal act." If the only way you have to do that is a critique, fine.
Why, though, can't substantive arguments cope with "violent patriarchal acts?"
For example, Pat mentions patriarchy good as an example of an argument he
has a problem with. Why do you need a critique to deal with this? Sure, you
could say "waaahhhh, it's repugnant. They offended me! Punish them!" You
could also give reasons why patriarchy is bad. Doing the later is superior
to the former because it contains more net argument - you're not relying on
a shared intuition that "patriarchy good" is repugnant, and
>The critique is the
>best injection of resistance to that kind of domination we have and to
>lose it would be the worst possible fate for debate and debaters
Uh huh, which explains the living hell debaters went through before Bill
Shanahan graced us with the critique. Also, it's not the best response.
Argument is the best response. Cross apply above.
>3. I'D RATHER KEEP THE CRITIQUE AND WATCH IT KILL DEBATE. Sorry, but it's
>fundamentally true. Why is debate more important?
Several problems with this. First, the obvious no-brainer - lose debate &
you lose the precious critique too. You aren't gonna make much headway with
your anthro critique in moot court, or in a boardroom, etc. One of the
things we value about debate is that it is a forum for all speech and all
argument, even speech (like the critique) that seeks to suppress other speech.
Second, debate does more good than the critique. Cross-apply small
link/small solvency arguments below. Pat's answers are "better than
none..." Maybe, but not better than debate. Remember, there's a disad to
doing the critique - which is harming debate. The disad outweighs the
miniscule drop of solvency for a contested harm.
>Roskoski argues: Things are either true or not.
>1. Contemporary science regards all truth merely as probablity.
Yeah, because our measurements are innaccurate. Cross-apply the preempt.
>2. We rarely debate resolutions of fact, which is all this argument
Wrong. Policy questions have true answers too, it's just harder to get to
>3. All truth statements represent methodologies and interpretations which
>involve value systems. Hence, all truth statements are value-laden and
>constructed. Hence, truth statements are NOT representations of the
>"Real" world but rather are purely constructions taken from
>interpretations of sense-data, severing much of any connection to "Reality."
No. Not true. Our interpretation of a statement is subjective. But there
is a true state of affairs. Remember, I acknowledge that measurement and
language impede our ability to get to truth, but it still exists. Better to
try than give up. Cross-apply above.
>4. Since truth statements are construct-bound and value laden they are
>inherently contextually limited and DO change with context.
Since they're not, they don't.
>Roskoski argues: It's not fair, don't play the game that way.
>1. You assume the game comes first, above.
>2. Change the game.
Not an argument. I can play the same tune. Discard the critique.
>3. Fair ground division is an illussion. It never exists and is
>completely unmeasurable without knowledge of all possible evidence and
>configurations of evidence, and hence unmeasurable.
Yeah. Non-sexism is an illusion. Non-racism is an illusion.
Non-anthropocentrism is an illusion (and not a very 'suasive one at that.)
So hey, lets give them all up.
>4. There is no intrinsic value to "fairness" in debate.
Irrelevant. There's an extrinsic value, which is encouragement of
participation. There's no intrinsic value to "critiques" either. You
develop your extrinsic justifications and I develop mine. Clouding the
field with random sophistry accomplishes nothing.
>5. What happens if my disad kicks everyone's butt? Do I have to stop
>arguing it because it is unfair?
a. It doesn't.
b. No, run it to your hearts content. The FIELD is still level, because the
critic listens to both sides arguments fairly, but the PARTICIPANTS are
unequal. To that, I say "tough shit - evolve or die." Calling for critics
to apply their personal morality, however, skews the FIELD.
>6. Cut better link answers.
Why would that do any good? It's a critique - remember? It doesn't have to
link - it's a framework thing...
Besides, just as I can cut better link answers, you can cut better
substantive positions, which obviates the need for the critique.
>7. Turn: You play the game that way if you a-priori rject OR accept any
>form of argumentation.
Yeah. You've Xeroxed the straw-carbon-based-life-form. Cross-apply above.
>Roskoski argues: Voting doesn't mean endorsing.
>1. This is a red-herring, a straw-person. My position is that voting is a
>communication act the critic is morally responsible for and is an act of
>self-defintiion in regard to more subtle or underlying value systems.
It's not a straw-carbon-based-life-form (you're excluding animals. That
offends me.) It's a response to your position. My argument is that voting,
to whatever extent it is a communication act, communicates only the victory
of one team over the other, not an endorsement of either teams ideas.
Again, sophistry not=answer.
>2. It is not that you internalize the factual statements of the debate,
>but rather that you internalize the more overarching value-laden concepts
>or constructs that the mood or theme of the case relies upon.
No, you don't. At best, you internalize "team X won."
>3. Topicality is a purely artificial game construct. It has no purpose or
>meaning outside of the game aspects. I did however have much more faith
>in the stability and knowability of language before I began running the
>critique of T.
Uh huh. Wonderful. You started debating an issue and figured out there
were multiple sides to it? Sound's like you're making Jan's point for her.
>4. Utilizing round-context may still be an acceptable way to evaluate
>debates. I see far less detriment in suspending facts or allowing
>debaters to shape a counterfactual world than I see in enforcing a rule
>system or attempting to suspend personal morality. This is probably the
I see zero detriment to suspending personal morality and lots of detriment
to enforcing a rule system. Our competing assertions here are pretty
>5. It is possible that debate shatters the self to such a degree...
Malarky. Evolve or die.
>Why do arguments
>about nihilism good have such a high threshhold? Why is it that
>advocating that freedom is more important than security or life is so
>difficult in contemporary debate? Primarily because debaters and critics
>through a complex set of social and formal systems utilize shunning,
>humiliation and punishment to discourage this type of argumentation.
No, it's because "nihilism good" or "freedom outweighs life" aren't very
good arguments. The answers are better. Just like "you have to be all
ocean development." They're hard to run, not because there's a conspiracy
against them, but because they're bad arguments.
>7. Better job of debating is a meaningless term. Only the critic gives it
>meaning when they individually establish standards by which to fulfill that.
Here, you commit the classic post-modern exaggeration. "I can point to one
axis along which the meaning of a term slides, therefore the term is
meaningless." Bull. It's meaningful, but the meaning may change. It is,
for example, meaningful by exclusion - "better job of debating" is clearly
distinct from "stood in the radiant light of truth and convinced me to adopt
their arguments as my personal value matrix."
>The risk comparison:
>Roskoski argues: Degree of entrenchment small.
>1. True, but significant, especially in light of an opportunity from the
>other team to move the opposite direction.
>2. Think globally, act locally. The only thing the critic really controls
>is him/her self right then and there. Even the ballot is partially
>controlled by a tab room (ie: GSL). The best possible act in the context
>is to move to a better worldview.
>3. The critic is ultimately more responsible for the ballot than any
>other person. S/he decided it, s/he signed it, s/he wrote it, s/he is
>morally responsible for what it says.
Irrelevant to the risk analysis. You've repeated the voting issue analysis
three different ways. The critic controls something else, which is the
fairness in the round. The critic is morally responsible for that too.
>Roskoski argues: Uniqueness of entrenchment is small.
>1. What other authors wrote represents those authors' entrenchment, not
>the critics. The ballot is where the critic UNIQUELY define him/her self.
>It is a communication act performed by the critic.
A communication act about the winner of the round, not the arguments
therein. Also, you're wrong. The ballot isn't where I define myself. It
certainly isn't where I uniquely do so. I define myself in the totality of
my life. Isolating just the ballot is the kind of inane reductionism I
thought you pomo people didn't like.
>2. It is written. Not just a tiny distinction. What the critic writes is
>there, in pen, communicating back and him/her and reminding him/her of
>what s/he said until it leave his/her hand.
Fine. I wrote "neg did the better job of debating." So what? I didn't
write "I, Matt Roskoski, of sound mind and body, do hereby endorse morally
repugnant argument X."]
>3. People on the threshhold or already moving toward the "better" mindset
>might never communicate the kinds of choice and values that they vote for
>in debate rounds.
What? This doesn't look like an argument. If not having judges intervene
for the critique stops them speaking, tough noogy. They need to sprout a
>Roskoski argues: Degree of solvency is small.
>1. The mask of rationality was shattered long ago.
No, people started whining about rationality a long time ago.
>2. You are emoting, not just arguing. To claim that you are not emoting
>is indicative of the deceptive dualism common to the post-Enlightenment
>self seeking Certainty and Truth in an infintely uncertain world.
Yes, but any emoting I'm doing is secondary to the argument.
>3. The degree of solvency is dependent on how much the debaters arguing
>the critique can "touch" the critic and how much the critic can open up
>to the critique. Could be low, could be high.
Bah. Equivalent degree of solvency without the vote. If there's a
spineless worm out there who can be turned from the path of Pat's
enlightenment by the simple act of signing a ballot, I pity them. Talk to
the critic, share your thoughts, and convert them after the round.
Also, on-balance, the degree of solvency will still be small. In four years
of debating, you "transformed" two people. Whoop.
>Roskoski argues: His link is large and unique.
>1. He has no impact. What is "skewing" and why is an unfair debate bad?
>2. Horribly non-unique. Unfair debates abound. Cases seem unfair,
>procedurals seem unfair, counterplans seem unfair, disads seem unfair,
>pairings seem unfair, etc...
Wrong. The playing field is level, even though participants are of
>3. Who can decide if its fair or not?
Yeah yeah yeah... Who decides if your critique is moral or not. You can't
say "debaters in the round," because you're spouting arguments about how you
truly make a difference. Cheap shot, Pat. Skepticism = no answer.
>4. This relies on all the above argumentation.
Uh huh, above.
>5. There is no reason the critique presents any specific side or team
>with a great advantage. I've seen some Affs kill Negs on critiques the
>Aff initated and on ones the Neg initiated. I've seen JCs effectively use
>critiques, I've seen BIG POWERHOUSE schools use critiques well, and I've
>seen small schools use critiques well. Who is it unfair to?
People who happen to be on the wrong side of the critic's morality. It's
unfair to the negative debating a "rape bad" case. It's unfair to the
affirmative having to run "military good" in front of you or Trond or
whoever. It's unfair to anybody who, by luck of the draw, lands on the
opposite side of the critic's personal morality.
>What happens if a neg team minimally wins a critique? They won it, but
>not by much. The critique says you have an ethical obligation to vote
>against morally repugnant arguments and that the aff's advocacy is
>morally repugnant because it saves children. You find saving children
You negate. Cross-apply Mahoney - neg won a violation and a voter. Neg
wins. I've never claimed you intervene against critiques. I just don't
like them, that's all.
>Neg team in 1NC argues Aff=Patriarchy. Aff concedes and weighs it out on
>uniqueness and timeframe in 2AC, argues a little Patriarchu good to try
>to turn it. 2NC ans. Patriarchy Good, concede Uniq. & T/F within context
>of case and runs a series of good cards that say you can never deny
>yourself, that expressing your own morals is the most important, that you
>must reject patriarchy at every opportunity, argues that you should
>intervene into the round and vote neg because it is immoral not to. I
>assume you believe patriarchy bad.
Negate. In a round, if you win I should use my personal standards, then I
will. The difference is that the Aff got a chance to answer it. If they
can't, they deserve to lose. Evolve or die. The Trilobites had a chance to
grow thumbs, but they failed.
PS: Still think y'all had every right to be debating on Monday.
PPS: Why "strawperson"? I understand that we say "chairperson" or
"fireperson" etc. to recognize the fact that women are perfectly capable of
fulfilling any of those roles. I agree 100%. A "straw-whatever" is another
word for a bad argument. Why affirm a woman's right to be a bad argument?:)
Matthew Roskoski UMKC Debate Forum Kansas City, MO
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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