Thread: Debate question
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Old 2013-02-04, 09:21   Link #23
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Originally Posted by Qilin View Post
The rules of debate still exist without having to resort to using such obscure labels. If you happen to stop using terms like "ad hominem" or "strawman" within a discussion, that still doesn't mean that it's okay to call people names. There are rules that exist above such petty labels. At the very least, before throwing around that kind of jargon around, you have to be sure that the other person would know exactly what it means.

I personally like to draw a distinction between a debate and a discussion. A debate consists of two sides to an issue where one side wins and the other loses while a discussion allows more room for compromise. But I guess that's just me being weird and pedantic.
It's interesting that you want to use the words "debate" and "discussion" and draw a distinction between them, but you don't want to use the words "Fallacy" and the names of said fallacies. Both are just usages of English words to properly label things. And in a forum thread, you'll find that things switch between debate and discussion quite often, so unless you want to totally stay out of threads, you're going to end up in one. Hell, we're debating right now!

Debate is more than just argument. Sure, we all argue our points, just as we ought to. And it may seem like an argument where nothing gets accomplished. But that doesn't mean it wasn't fruitful. Debate serves a very good purpose, for helping us all evaluate our ideas, and even if someone doesn't re-evaluate during the debate, they will sometime later.

I'd encourage you to take a debate class, as I think you'll find the real purpose very illuminating. And think of the fallacies as a way to train your mind, like the way you'd train a horse for horse racing. If you are going to horse race, you're gonna wanna develop the best horse in order to compete, right? Lastly, even if you think you know some things in a debate are unfair, odds are without knowing all the fallacies, your opponent will commit some and you won't even see it. So you'll feel as if you are losing the argument, because you didn't properly prepare.

Without fallacies, without proper preparation, then any debate online is truly just a shouting match.
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