Debate and Critical Analysis: The Harmony of Conflict

By Robert James Branham | Go to book overview

2
THE STRUCTURES OF ADVOCACY AND OPPOSITION

The characteristics of true debate can only emerge from a discussion that is clearly structured and focused on the pivotal issues of the dispute. This in turn requires a common understanding of what is being disputed. There must be agreement among the participants as to the topic and division of sides in the dispute. It is only when these basic arrangements have been agreed on that meaningful disagreement can take place.

In order for proper development, clash, and extension to occur, the disputants must know what issues should be developed, which should be the focus of clash, and how that clash should be organized and extended. In order to provide perspective by relating individual arguments to the larger question under dispute, the disputants must first have a clear sense of what that question is and be able to distinguish the individual arguments that pertain to it.

Thus, it is the responsibility of both sides in a debate to promote a clear understanding of the issues at stake and to provide sufficient structure in the dispute to enable cogent discussion.

The structure of a debate is determined partly by the format in which it occurs, designating the order and length of speeches (a subject explored in chapter 8). But the content of debates is primarily structured by the ways in which the issue under dispute is framed, and by the ways in which the cases and arguments for each side are organized.

In order to properly frame a dispute for the purposes of debate:

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Debate and Critical Analysis: The Harmony of Conflict
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Nature and History Of Debate 1
  • 2 - The Structures of Advocacy And Opposition 30
  • 3 - Research and Evidence 69
  • 4 - Argument Anticipation And Briefing 96
  • 5 - Refutation 116
  • 6 - Counterpositions And Counterplans 150
  • 7 - Strategies for Moral Argument 177
  • 8 - The Form and Techniques Of Debate 207
  • References 233
  • Author Index 237
  • Subject Index 240
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