About debate

“… a mind needs debate as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
Tyrion Lannister

Admittedly, this quote may have been slightly modified, but it is no less true. Debates are enormously challenging: you have to think on your feet, communicate clearly with those that you are speaking with and respond to new ideas in an immediate and yet thoughtful manner . If you do all that well, you win. If you do less well, you will learn something for the next debate.

At Bonaparte we do ‘debate sport’, although it has little to do with physical work. In fact, it means that every debate is a competition, so we are not looking for compromises or actual policies. We are looking for a winner and therefore the person who is right to be the best.

There are several forms of debate sport (explained later), but a number of principles apply to each form:

  1. There is a statement that is announced 15 minutes in advance. Such as:
    • Organ trade must be legalized.
    • Martial arts must be banned.
    • Polygamy is a better standard than monogamy.

  2. It is randomly determined whether you are for or against.

  3. There are set rules about:
    • How long you can talk.
    • Or whether you can ask questions while someone else is speaking.

  4. The jury ultimately determines the winner based on:
    • The clarity of arguments.
    • The use of examples to make your arguments credible.
    • The responses to the opponents’ arguments.
    • (In eloquence debate forms, style is taken into account.)

It’s quite a block of information, but don’t worry. You learn everything quickly enough by visiting the tuesday evenings and the beginners course. Moreover, it is not bad at all if you do something wrong!