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10 years ago @ VBD: High School Debat... - Paradigms and Principl... · 3 replies · +1 points

My feelings on case sharing are just the opposite. I can see no good reason at all why debaters should want to hide their cases from the opposition. There is nothing to gain from it, and it only serves to prevent informed debate.

Regarding oral communication, the debater is communicating primarily to the judge, not to the opponent. Debaters still have to persuade the judge just the same, whether or not their opponent can read their case. Sharing cases only serves to even the odds *against* the unclear debaters because their opponents are at less of a disadvantage if they can quickly reread a part of the case that was hard to follow. The alternative is otherwise valuable cross-ex time being wasted on clarification questions which could be much more quickly and effectively answered by reading the case during prep.

10 years ago @ VBD: High School Debat... - Paradigms and Principl... · 0 replies · +1 points

I think the most important improvement required in making speaker points meaningful is consistency. This is probably best achieved through regulations at the tournament level, for example by putting a speaker points metric on the ballot. It could be a single word for each numeric value (30 = Perfect, 29 = Excellent, ...26 = poor, 25 = dishonest/offensive) or, preferably, a more fleshed out explanation of what each value means, such as in the initial post. I wouldn't be unhappy with any of the 3 systems mentioned as long as it were clear what it means when you get a 28 instead of a 27 or 29, and each judge adhered to it. System 3 does seem the least arbitrary, though.

11 years ago @ VBD: High School Debat... - LD Debate Video: Merce... · 0 replies · +1 points

1. I think there should be more time for CX. Even if it's only 2 minutes per speech, i think that each constructive should be followed by CX so that debaters have the chance to question and clarify any new offense read in the round. Even if the debaters aren't too concerned, many judges seem to find CX important for the clarification it provides. Also, CX is fun.

2. I'd move 1 minute of the 2AR to the 2AC and 1 minute of the NR to the 2NC, so that the speech times are:

1AC – 5 min
CX – 2 min
1NC – 7 min
CX – 2 min
2AC – 6 min
CX – 2 min
2NC – 7 min
CX – 2 min
1AR – 4 min
NR – 4 min
2AR – 3 min

I think that a major reason why the 1AR in LD is so hard is not just because of the 7-4 time skew but because they have to make analytic responses to newly introduced arguments. It seems hard to even break even on time investment against a short NC or theory shell when the neg has prewritten it and spread it, and the aff is stuck making analytic arguments generated in prep time. Hence, I think that an extra minute is much more vital in the 2AC than in the 2AR, and if the 2AC can put out more arguments to be extended, the 2AR shouldn't be as hard anyway.

As for shifting 1 minute from the NR to the 2NC, it mitigates the effect of making the 2AR 3 minutes instead of 4, as the skew is now 4-3 rather than 5-3. It also forces the negative to go for fewer issues in the final rebuttal which should reduce side bias since it prevents the neg from extending every argument and position in hopes of winning one. Forcing the neg to tell a coherent story by the end of the debate is probably more educational, too.

This does recreate the same 7-4 skew for the 2NC-1AR that was present before with the NC-1AR, but I don't think it should be nearly as significant for the reasons given above. Rather than having to make new arguments and read new evidence, the 1AR in this case just needs to extend the important arguments.

This does make the time structure more and more like Policy, but I think that's because Policy has it right. The 2AC and 2AR rely on time, whereas the 1AR can make do. Alternatively, LD could adopt the PF approach and have the aff speak first and neg speak last, so that there is no disparity in time limits.

11 years ago @ The Extension - Free Card: Thomson on ... · 0 replies · +2 points

Thomson's argument seems to rest on semantics. She conflates two different definitions of "good" (effectiveness at serving an intended function and moral value). While her argument might be true when describing functional good, such as "a good knife", I think it falls apart when describing moral goodness.

Clearly you can describe a knife, toaster, person, or will as being good at serving its function, but I think Thomson fails to warrant why "good" can only be used to describe functionality. She argues that something can be functionally good at performing one function (e.g. tennis) without being functionally good at performing another function (e.g. chess), but this just seems to lead to the trivial truth that something is only functionally good at a certain function only if it performs that function well. That's nothing more than the definition of a functional good and doesn't deny that there can be another form of goodness.

Taking Smith's example of a virus, we can say that a virus is functionally good because it kills effectively while saying that it is morally bad because it kills effectively. In the context of possible worlds, Thomson may be right that there is no characteristic of "being a (functionally) good possible world" (although I think you can make the separate objection that containing happiness is what it means to be good at "being a possible world"), but a possible world can still be described as morally good, irrespective of whether it serves any intended function.

11 years ago @ The Extension - Free Card: Thomson on ... · 1 reply · +2 points

I think the better way to phrase this is not that "good" is literally an adverb when used in "a good tennis player," but rather that it functions like an adverb by modifying the actor's ability to take a certain action, rather than describing an intrinsic characteristic of the actor, as it would in "a good person who plays tennis."

11 years ago @ The Extension - Free Card: Thomson on ... · 0 replies · +2 points

Also, if I'm not misinterpreting the article (found here: http://www.princeton.edu/~msmith/mypapers/On%20No... ), then Smith concludes the opposite of Thomson, that consequentialism best explains what counts as a reason in favor of some action. I think anyone filing these cards away for use in rounds needs to retain the "EXPLAINS JUDITH THOMSON’S OBJECTION" section of the tag if they are not to misrepresent the evidence.

Finally, if you're looking to answer this argument, I believe that this is the paragraph of that article that most succinctly answers Thomson's objection:

"Imagine someone who judges that a particular K is good qua K. It plainly does not follow from this that he prefers that particular K to alternatives. A good virus is presumably one that replicates in a whole variety of hosts. However it does not follow that someone who judges a particular virus to be a good one—imagine a scientist who discovers that some virus he is studying in the lab replicates in nearly every host—prefers that virus to alternatives. He might consistently despise that virus, precisely because it is so good qua virus. Judgement Internalism is thus not a constraint on the meaning of good qua K. Nor is it a constraint on the meaning of good-modified. Someone who judges that a certain brand of toothpaste would (say) be good for use in infecting whole populations with a certain virus need have no preference for that brand of toothpaste over other brands. But if the sense of 'good' as it is used in the statement of Consequentialism is different from the senses that Thomson is concerned to analyze—if the former is constrained by Judgement Internalism, whereas the latter are not—then her objection to Consequentialism lapses."

11 years ago @ The Extension - Free Card: Thomson on ... · 2 replies · +3 points

I believe the flaw that exists in Thomson's reasoning is with her first premise that "Being a good K is being good qua K," as the logic she uses to justify this premise applies only to functional goodness, not normative goodness. In the functional sense, 'good' is used as an adverb to modify the intended function of the object it refers to, e.g. a good tennis player is a person good at performing the action of playing tennis. It makes sense, then, to say that although one is good at a certain action (such as tennis), one might not be good at another action (such as chess) because 'good' modifies the action, not the object.

In the normative sense of good that a consequentialist would use to describe a possible world, 'good' is an adjective describing a property of the world (i.e. that it contains happiness) rather than an adverb modifying an action that the world could perform. For adjectives Thomson's logic fails. Using her own example, it *does* follow from "she is a red-headed tennis player that plays chess" that "she is a red-headed chess player" because "red-headed" refers to the actor, not the action, which stays the same in both sentences. It is therefore possible to say that a possible world is good without claiming that it is good at being a possible world because goodness in this sense refers to a property that the world has, not a purpose it serves.

11 years ago @ The Extension - Does "Potential Abuse"... · 0 replies · +2 points

Your justification for theory coming first sounds intuitive.

About the 2nd concern, I agree that there is nothing to blame B for in running theory, as it is a permissible option. However, I'm confused as to why it follows that A is to blame. I agree that B can permissibly complain that A was unfair, but in the absence of in round abuse B is not required to do so. The option of debating substance is still open. It is B's choice to pursue theory, rather than substance, meaning that any disadvantage B suffers from debating theory is one of B's own choosing. I don't understand why A is to blame for a self-imposed harm to B. B's disadvantage was of her own choosing, so neither debater should be faulted for it. This wouldn't deny that A's initial practice was unfair, just that B could blame A for the additional skew that reading theory would create, which I think is irrelevant if you do not appeal to the "substance has been skewed" argument for why theory comes first.

11 years ago @ The Extension - Does "Potential Abuse"... · 1 reply · +2 points

What if I read a theory shell that is sufficiently well-warranted and word economical that I actually benefit from the positive time tradeoff rather than lose, or at least break even? (This seems to describe most NC shells.) If your reason for theory coming first is that running theory puts an unacceptable skew on the debater running it, then it would seem theory wouldn't come first in this case. This would also seem to justify debaters running inefficient theory shells to prove they've been abused by timeskew.

Also, if debater B can still fairly debate A's unfair practice on substance, then why is A to blame for any abuse that occurs as a result of B choosing to run theory? A didn't force B to take the more disadvantageous option (as would be true in the case of in round abuse). It seems plausible to hold that the time skew caused by B running theory here is B's own fault, even if A's strategy is unfair.