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Re: Manufacturing Consensus - Reply
On Mon, 26 May 1997, RACE --- wrote:
> i believe this is an excerpt from one of my posts rather than Lucius
Yes, it was. Sorry to both of you.
> after reading your thoughtful comments, i feel that the
> interactive capabilities of the listservs - allowing a wide range of
> views to be expressed at the cyber-table - is a very appropriate place
> for meta-theoretical discussion.
Right. My point was nowhere near the idea that listserve theory
discussions are bad. That would be quite hypocritical for me and it
would also be the opposite of what I said at the end of my post. Theory
_discussion_ is could. Using theory discussions as a way of forming a
consensus to be imposed on the debate process as a way of hopefully
avoiding 'confusing' theory debates is bad. The former is education, the
latter denies it.
> The muddying which occurs during the
> season is terminological.
Some of the muddying is. Actual disagreements on the nature and function
of competition, fiat, the resolution, evidence, advocacy, etc. also exist.
> I'm not necessarily certain by any means,
> that a consensus will be reached concerning the perfect counterplan
> theory. Let's see Auden wrote about the notion in 1900 and 97 years
> later the theories surrounding the tactic are still in question. It
> seems to me that this forum provides an excellent one for discussing the
> meta-theoretical subject matter.
> Second, it seems that this forum is marginally better than in-rounds for
> discussing meta-theoretical concepts.
The contrast assumes that we are for some reason comparing in-round to
out-of-round theoretical discussions. Both are good.
> It can be a less competitive
> environment, and it can bring a wider variety of folks into the
> collective commentary. These provide excellent ways to encourage the
> values of meta-theoretical education.
> community took a different path. It seems that it would be beneficial
> for the emerging policy community to at least have a sense of what each
> other's terms Mean!
I agree with this.
> And I'm not suggesting the form of consensus which
> involves in stagnation at all. Quite the contrary. It seems that second
> generation stagnation in both communities seems at risk currently and
> the combination of that with the coming together of two communities
> defines a critical moment for re-considering meta-theoretical notions.
> While my notions of anti-counterplans may not be exact replicas of
> others, it is difficult to call supporting the thinking concerning a new
> approach like this one stagnant.
It would indeed be difficult and that is why I never called the support
for new thinking 'stagnant.' What I criticized was simply your explicit
suggestion that this new thinking should happen on the listserve INSTEAD
OF in the debate round. That, __not new thinking__, leads to stagnation.
> My notion is more of a forum question. It
> seems that cyber-discussions are an excellent forum to discuss these
> matters. I would note that students, including high-school students,
> are quite involved in the current thread which seems to suggest that
> they are not merely receiving scripts.
Right, but when debaters are encouraged _not_ to debate theory (I don't
think Race does this, but others do), then they ARE receiving scripts.
When debaters are told that "the standard for the counterplan is X -- we
had that discussion years ago, it is a settle issue" then they are
> Perhaps consensus was a poor
> choice of words on my part. Mutual-understanding seems a worthwhile
> minimalist direction for this thread to move toward.
Sure. Mutual understanding is great.
> I agree with you on this. I don't understand WHY you would want to
> discourage discussion concerning meta-theoretical questions.
That is because I DON'T wish to discourage discussion concerning
meta-theoretical questions. Check out the archives. I believe that
there is no greater use of this listserve then to investigate
meta-theoretical questions. My point was a specific one: OUR DISCUSSION
DOES NOT AND SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR IN-ROUND DISCUSSION. Our
discussion DOES and SHOULD inform and contribute to in round discussion.
What I objected to, the only thing I objected to, was the spirit of the
comment to the effect of "lets get this settled now so that we don't have
confusing debates in the Fall and Spring. My argument is "confusing
> The risk
> that a new consensus might develop seems to be pushing you towards
> criticizing those who are involved in precisely the type of notions you
> find as enemies. Or perhaps Pogo expresses it better: "We have met the
> enemy and he(sic) is us!"
Not sure what you mean. I criticized not the discussants, but the
argument that the discussion should be taken out of the round.
> > The "confusing debate rounds" that result from a clash of different
> > assumptions is part of creative argument. While confusion may make the
> > round less enjoyable to watch, problematizing content makes debate no
> > less effective educationally.
> Perhaps. Fifteen years ago I would have agreed with you completely. I
> was so much older than that i cared little about learning and discussing
> the subject matter of the yearly topic and preferred to take discussions
> far afield from labor unions or whatnot. Now I'm both younger and a new
> technology is available which provides a wonderful place for
> meta-theoretical discussions.
Why not both?
> At least it provides a point where some
> level of understanding can take place - agreeing to disagree - in many
> cases, so that during the season the in-round meta-theoretical
> discussions can be comprehended by debaters and critics.
Yes they should be comprehended. No they should not be 'settled.'
> > That said, theory discussions are good. But lets not fool ourselves into
> > thinking that we are writing the rules.
> I don't think anyone said anything about rules.
> And even if a consensus
> emerges, it is hardly a rule-based situation.
I use 'rules' in a loose sense. Sociologically, "norms" is a better
word. Granted, there is no rule preventing teams from arguing that the
resolution is a claim to be proven true (as opposed to a parameter). If
teams do make that argument, community sanctions will apply. My teams
havn't argued this for years (note the need to defend myself), but when a
team advocated it this year the result was derision from opponents, judges,
and the other folks on the listserve. Functionally, that is a
norm-governed situation. A team that argues that inherency isn't a voter
in most high school communities will face the same fate. "Hardly rules"
but nearly the same.
> Now that you've told us how evil what we're doing is and that we're the
> enemies of debate and this and that and that other.
> Why not throw your
> hat into the collective ring and join the conversation?
> David Rhaesa
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