Archives for mei 2012

Daniel Schut on debating metaphysics: Debating quicksand

Last summer a large discussion was held on Facebook, Twitter and SevenTwenty on the motion of the ESL final of Euros: This House Believes that God exists. More than just a debate about whether this was a good motion to set at an Euros final, the discussion revolved around a far more intriguing question: is the activity we call parliamentary debating suited to tackle metaphysical questions such as the existence of God, or should we limit ourselves to discussing questions about the political process? Former Euros and Worlds ESL-finalist Daniel Schut believed at the time that we should not debate metaphysics. In the following notes he will expand on his reasoning, and give us a very thorough explanation about whether “This House would, or would not debate metaphysics”. For the first entries in this series, please follow this link.

Debating quicksand

Note beforehand: in re-reading this part, I suddenly realize this article is becoming quite jargon-heavy. I’m pretty sure I’m using terms here that debaters in different regions and with different academic backgrounds either have never used, use vaguely and intuitively, or use differently. Because some of the vocabulary could be contentious, too, I’m thinking I should introduce some of the glossary as discussion articles as well. What do you think? 

Previously, we saw that in a dialectical situation, the discussants, through discussing, unearthed a ‘common ground’. Does competitive debating also have such a concept? The next couple of articles look into this.

Suppose there were no judges. Could debaters themselves uncover a common ground? Probably not, because they explicitly want to win their side of the case, and thus aren’t willing to concede any premisse that benefits the other side. In the dialectical situation, the discussants have no such goal: their aim is to ‘critically resolve the issue’, which means they want to find criteria upon which the case can be decided.

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Chennai Worlds Bid

Harish Natarajan introduces the debating community to Chennai’s WUDC bid.

In its 32 year history the World Universities Debating Championship has morphed. From a competition that attracted just 43 teams from 7 nations in 1981, its become a thousand plus person tournament with teams from over 40 countries. Worlds has not only become bigger but its also more inclusive. It has grown into a genuine World Championships – where student from all continents and countries complete for the title of World Champion.

One sign of the internationalization of WUDC is the diversity of host countries. In the last decade, Worlds has been hosted in North America (Vancouver), Europe (Cork, Dublin and Antalya), Africa (Stellenbosch and Botswana) and much of Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand).

Given the number of different countries and regions that have hosted Worlds, it is amazing that the Indian Subcontinent has never done so. India, in particular, seems like a natural venue. India has a large English-speaking population, a number of incredible universities and is one of the world’s largest economies. India’s internal debating circuit is well developed. Over 70 universities participate in the activity; they run 60 competitions between them and generate approximately $500,000 in sponsorship money. The largest Indian competitions (run by RVCE and the National Law School) regularly attract 350 plus participants. To get a sense of that scale – NLS and RVCE’s competitions are slightly larger than the Oxford and Cambridge IVs! Indian teams have also had an international presence. The National Law School has regularly sent teams to Worlds, and in recent years so have colleges in Chennai, Delhi, Pune and Bombay. And in 2011, RVCE became the first Indian team to win the Asian British Parliamentary Championships.

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Chula Worlds Bid

Shengwu Li introduces the debating community to the Chula WUDC bid.

Hello debaters of Europe!

I’m writing to you in my capacity as co-CA of the Chulalongkorn bid to host Worlds in 2014.  Thank you for taking the time to read this!

Before discussing the details of the bids, I think we should all breathe a collective sigh of relief at our good fortune.  In January this year, it looked like WUDC 2014 might be left in the lurch; Worlds has grown ever larger and more demanding to host, and no viable bids were submitted to Council at the usual time.  Now, the global debating community has the enviable dilemma of having to choose between two genuinely excellent bids for Worlds.  (The debaters involved with the Chennai bid are also lovely, and I’m lucky enough to count many of them as my friends.)

However, part of the fun of having debaters as friends is that one can have heated arguments with them.  Here are the reasons why I think one should vote for Chulalongkorn to host Worlds in 2014.

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De keuzes van CA-teams vervolgd: Memoirs of a Sea-Aye

Reinier de Adelhart Toorop reageert op een eerder gepubliceerd artikel.

In zijn artikel geeft Rooj interessante inzichten over het effect van een CA-team (het team van mensen dat de stellingen bedenkt) op een toernooi.

Aangezien de meeste voorbeelden gehaald worden van het afgelopen NK en ik daar CA was, voel ik mij genoodzaakt hier te reageren. Het interessante is dat veel punten die Rooj noemt, precies de punten zijn, waar we als CA team uitgebreid over gesproken hebben.

Ik wil eerst een drietal punten brengen over de stellingenselectie en daarna een drietal punten over  het mysterieuze concept ‘goede juryleden’.

1) Selectie van debatten en gebalanceerdheid
Het is natuurlijk niet zo dat we een paar ideeën hebben uitgespuwd en dat dat maar meteen de stellingen zijn geworden, zoals enigszins gesuggereerd lijkt te worden.

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De keuzes van CA-teams

Er verschijnen vele juryrichtlijnen, er zijn talloze juryavonden en er is ieder toernooi wel een officiële jurybriefing. Toch wordt er weinig aandacht besteed aan de rol van het team dat hen aanstuurt: het Chief Adjudication-team. Mijn hypothese is dat er door die teams  vooral op twee vlakken veel fouten worden gemaakt: de toewijzing van de juryleden en de keuze van de stellingen.

Are you on the list?

"Zwarte lijst"

Sinds de invoering van de “zwarte lijst” is de spoeling van goede juryleden drastisch verminderd. Niet langer is het hebben van een liefdes-  of werkrelatie noodzakelijk om uit een jurypanel gezet te worden. Tegenwoordig is ook de verhouding tussen twee debaters van dezelfde vereniging te heilig om elkaar te mogen beoordelen. Zo mochten juryleden uit Rotterdam, Amsterdam en Utrecht, alsmede juryleden met enige relatie tot de Debatbond geen zitting nemen in de finalejury van het afgelopen Nederlands Kampioenschap Debatteren. Met een magere delegatie uit Leiden vraag je je af:  wie blijft er over?

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Live Update: Nederlandse Mace

Welkom vandaag bij de Nederlandse Mace. Bij dit laatste parlementaire debattoernooi van het academische jaar strijden de besteverenigingsteams van Nederland tegen elkaar. Dit zonnige debatevenement zal plaatsvinden op het campus van UCU en is georganiseerd door de Utrecht Debating Society. Het aangekondigde kledingthema (ook niet geheel onbelangrijk) is `Mad Men`. Hoeveel mensen daadwerkelijk in de stijl van de fifties aankomen valt nog te bezien: uw correspondent vond het in ieder geval te warm.

Het juryteam staat onder leiding van de winnaars van vorig jaar: Danique van Koppenhagen en Tomas Beerthuis. Zij worden in het CAteam bijgestaan door Karin Merckens en Anne Valkering.

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Why the obsession with self-expression is ridiculous

Veel debaters zijn het wel eens tegengekomen: een debat waarin de waarde van zelf-expressie, zelf-actualisatie of een vergelijkbare term werd aangehaald. Lees nu de andere kant!

As a society we are obsessed with expressing ourselves, thinking that our happiness depends on our ability to do so. Here’s why I think ‘playing the game of self-expression’ won’t make you happy.

Self expression is closely related to self-construction, and by this I mean the reflexive process of actively picking, choosing and attaching myself to those objects, people and activities which ‘I’ think are desirable and developing a notion and coming to understand ‘myself’ as something tangible and meaningful which is fundamentally tied up with these things. The expressive element of self-construction involves any means whereby you ‘communicate’ something about yourself to the world: It is that process of reflecting on what you like and dislike about the actions, aspirations and opinions of others, and then identifying with or against some of these actions, aspirations and opinions, and finally deciding which of these is identifications is worth ‘shouting about’ – hence expressing yourself.[1]

What I refer to as ‘the game of self-expression’ is widely celebrated in modern Britain. We see its practise in both the public and private realms of the tangible social world, from the high street and the night club, to our living, dining and bedrooms; and we see it in the hyperreal domains of virtual worlds, from the professionally orchestrated world of popular culture to the user-generated world of Facebook. There are many different ‘selves’ out there being expressed and many numerous ways of expressing ‘one’s self’ – but the message is clear, whatever self-identity you choose to construct, and by whatever means you choose to express it – you should express that self loud and clear for others to see.Lees Verder

Daniel Schut on debating metaphysics

Notes 1 and 2: “Debating metaphysics: what do we think we are doing?” and “Reasoning is uncovering common ground“.

Last summer a large discussion was held on Facebook, Twitter and SevenTwenty on the motion of the ESL final of Euros: This House Believes that God exists. More than just a debate about whether this was a good motion to set at an Euros final, the discussion revolved around a far more intriguing question: is the activity we call parliamentary debating suited to tackle metaphysical questions such as the existence of God, or should we limit ourselves to discussing questions about the political process? Former Euros and Worlds ESL-finalist Daniel Schut believed at the time that we should not debate metaphysics. In the following notes he will expand on his reasoning, and give us a very thorough explanation about whether “This House would, or would not debate metaphysics”.

These notes are the first in a series. SevenTwenty will publish Daniël’s articles as soon as they become available through Facebook, where many other debaters join the discussion. For his introduction to the subject, look here.

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Chennai vs. Chula: de bids voor het WK Debatteren 2014.

Het heeft even geduurd, maar uiteindelijk hebben twee instituties het aangedurfd om Worlds 2014 te willen organiseren. De Royal Engineering College uit Chennai, India en Chulalongkorn University uit Bangkok, Thailand, staan te popelen om volgend jaar december duizend topdebaters van over de hele wereld te verwelkomen. De komende weken zal Worlds Council, waar Nederland ook vertegenwoordigd wordt, over internet vergaderen en het recht om Worlds te organiseren aan één van de twee kandidaten geven. SevenTwenty helpt alvast een beetje door de twee bids te vergelijken.

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Behavioral Economics

Hoe werkt economie nou echt? Zijn mensen rationeel? In debatten maken mensen vaan gebruik van de Homo Economicus. Veel economische theorie laat alle inzichten uit de sociale wetenschappen en psychologie buiten beschouwing. Hoe werkt economie als je dat wel meeneemt in je overwegingen? Lees hier in de Library of Economics and Liberty een korte introductie in het onderwerp!