The process of instructing/teaching debating the affirmative proves a technical and philosophically based endevor as presented in this scholastic document. The instruction of debating the affirmative incorporates specific concepts related to vocabulary terms connected to this field. As a function of a representative democratic society debate on policies, affecting the quality of life of humans as equal entities makes the affirmative position for policy change an important technique for change in society. Therefore, the instructional intent of teaching debating the affirmative provides in the following document aspects about what an affirmative position needs apply in structuring an argument creating a policy change case. Some of these aspects discussed look at the types of policy change debates including national and global laws connected to crime and human rights. The document also gives details on the best practices for testing a position for validity, testing evidence used for supporting a position, and how to understand the negative position as a part of the strategic in preparing and presenting a well-organized and factual affirmative debate stance.
Teaching debate about the affirmative position of an arguable issue requires understanding specific characteristics of the process. Elsner and Grimes (2009, p. 4) advise, “Remind students that the basic burden of the affirmative is to defend the resolution” of the position taken in the debate. A guiding principle of all argumentative discourse intended swaying an audience to take the desired position presented in the affirmative approach (or negative) recalls how the Ancient Greeks developed the foundation of the skill of debate based upon ethos (ethics), logos (logic), and (pathos) passion when presenting the argument (Worthington, 1994).
Kennedy (1991, pp. 190-144 as cited by Fahnestock, 2011, p. 223) explains, "Aristotle distinguished twenty-eight in the Rhetoric (corresponding to the fuller treatment in his Topics) including arguments from opposites, comparisons, correlatives, stipulated definition, and consequences.” Within this ideal, Trapp, Zompetti, Motiejunaite, Driscoll, and Bowker (2005, p. 12) describe how factors of debate " should use solid evidence and rigorous reasoning not only to convince audiences of arguments but also to educate audiences about the topics being debated and the uses of effective methods to accomplish those public, democratic, and educational debates."
Taking the affirmative position in an oral argumentation policy recommendation according to requires preparedness for a hearty contested defense. The argument proceeds in a back and forth war of words with the negative position all the while putting the affirmative position in the self-preservation mode with adjudication through precise standards, organized clarity, and sound analytical vigilance. The affirmative position of debate commences and concludes the argument compelled doing so by communicating the philosophical and thematic underpinnings of the representative case in a manner of clarity and undisputable finality. Doing so therefore, contributes to both the affirmative’s credibility and overall persuasiveness of the rationale of the position presented as outlined by Walton (2001).
Further, achieving these critical aspects of an affirmative position winning the debate also relies on good case construction. This instructional presentation presents the means accomplishing making the case with supportive techniques construction the case as an organized justification of the affirmative position (Walton, 2001; Winebrenner, 2002; Perloff, 2003). In addition, constructing an organized and effective affirmative position in debate requires understanding the terminology presented in this teaching document (Meany and Shuster, 2001). The following instruction provides the means for constructing an organized affirmative debate position through clarity achieved with sound analytical applications of the debate material.
Prima Facie Requirements
Basic elements of the prima facie concept lay in its use as an adjective. When applied as such, prime facie (Latin meaning “at first sight”) serves as evidence in the debate process. The prima facie raises a presumption when free from both, the rebuttal, or disproved position in the debate. It also establishes a fact. Again, this criteria, depends on the absence of rebuttal or disproof as described by Meany and Shuster (2001) as well as “The Editors of Idea, 2011)
Another way of understanding prima facie when used as an adverb applies as to an arrangement is prima facie valid – remaining subject to additional information or evidence. Meany and Shuster (2001, p. 347) explain, “Literally, ‘on its face,’ the responsibility of the advocate of a debate resolution to offer a proof for the proposition in the opening presentation, such that an opponent is obliged to answer the major elements of the case proper.” Generally, in debate the understanding remains standard as connected to the flexibility of the evidentiary characteristics measuring the ability meeting its proponent’s side of the issue and the burden of proof assigned to the evidence as true. The intention of the prima facie case introduces it as the cause of action (or defense) sufficiently establishing evidence in justifying a favorable verdict (again without rebuttal or opposition.
The fundamentals of the prima facie further include:
“According to most debate text authors, judges, and coaches, there are four stock issues, or burdens of proof, that an affirmative team must meet to have a prima facie case. These issues are topicality, harms, solvency, and inherency. Topicality is simple to understand, as it only asks whether the affirmative team is upholding the resolution. Harms (which includes significance) is also not difficult to comprehend. It only asks if the problem is serious enough to act
Solvency asks whether the affirmative plan can fix the problems. Inherency, however, is much less clear. Not only is inherency a poorly defined issue, but there is also a question of whether or not it is an issue at all. (Bates, 2002) [Sic]
Additional discussion on the harms, solvency, and inherency aspects provides information lending to a better understanding how to construct an organized affirmative debate position. Again, clarity of the affirmative rationale emerges with the well-organized plan.
Policy Case Requirements
Taking the affirmative position of debate means applying policy case requirements as part of the organizational process of building the debate case. According to Claxton (2006, pp. 51-52), this means developing the argument incorporating a comparative given policy “not with the status quo but to a particular policy assigned to the negative by the same proposition.” In other words, “The most straightforward way to do this is to use a comparative advantage analysis.” Conducting the analysis incorporates three particular phases including having a theoretical concept of the case, creating the debate plan. The analysis has three distinct phases: theorizing the case, creating the plan, and composing the advantages. Within the oral delivery, the three steps emerge with greater detailed explanation typically taking about 25 minutes.
Applying specific focus in the process theorizing the case concept in organizing the affirmation position provides the means for defining the opposing policies. This means considering the central features of both the affirmative and negative policy options. Second, determine how these features interact between one another. Next, determine how specific affirmative plan features replace certain of the negative policy features. Determining the answers of these three analysis inquiries allows debaters focusing on the negative policy features. By doing this, the affirmative debate construct avoids them while highlighting the policy planning features of their own position and begin building their own Case (Claxton, 2006).
One expert advises, “ the comparative policy plan must account for the interaction of the features of the affirmative and negative plans and must do the following:
“Create a list of features of the negative policy it will exclude from its plan.
Develop a more detailed list of categories and subcategories of these policies that it will exclude from its plan. Create a list of features it wants to include in its plan. (And) develop a detailed list of categories and subcategories of these policies that it will include in its plan.” (Claxton, 2006, pp. 51-52) Types of Affirmative Cases for Policy Debate
The types of affirmative cases for policy debate should first incorporate issues affecting the value of human life. Typically, debate about issues of value rarely pre-cede how society judicially addresses equality and freedom connected to establishing policies about these concepts. One example of how society approached a specific issue needed judicial debate settling the issue concerns freedom of choice connected to Roe vs Wade on abortion and women right to choose. This clearly exemplifies an affirmative case for policy debate. Trapp et al. (2003, p. 119) explain, “Thus, while some value debates can be pre-policy, other value debates occur simultaneously with policy debates.” Another example of a policy debate occurring prior to any value disputes on a human issue looks at the situation where society shares the value of equal right for every person but cannot agree on the policies needed for achieving equal rights.
Trapp et al. (2003, p. 119) further explain “More often than not, a debate about policy includes both the debates about the importance of different values and about the means to achieve results consistent with those values even if the values are not held universally.” When focusing on debating disagreements specific to human rights “disagreements will be found at both levels: what values are important and how to implement those values.”
Creating the plan around the identified need, harm, or problem for the affirmative position in debate is not merely a process of identifying the issue but also, includes several steps ensuring formulation of a necessary framework justifying the strategy. Trapp et al, (2005, p. 120) assures for the affirmative position a number of characteristics apply to the identified need schema. First, “identify some problem in the status quo (present situation) and attach it to commonly held values.” Typically, the wariness people associate with change requires the affirmative position in debate provide convincing evidence “a serious problem exists that has a negative effect on society.” An example of this using a resolution outlining the need of the global community nations strengthening the International Criminal Court compelling the affirmative position emphasizing the existing court’s inability dealing “with crimes against humanity or terrorism.”
Trapp et al (2005, p. 120) further provide how the affirmative position in debate convince the existence of need by, identifying “the cause of the problem” because “Only by correctly identifying the cause of the problem can the audience evaluate existing policy and the affirmative's suggested alternative.” In this case an example include how “the affirmative debating the resolution above might point to a lack of financial resources or the failure of the Rome Statute to define terrorism as reasons why the Court cannot address crimes against humanity or terrorist acts.”
In addressing the third requirement identifying need as the associative problem according to Trapp et al (2005, 120) also means the affirmative position, “Demonstrate that the present system cannot solve the problem.” This requires showing how existing policies contain so many barriers as well as gaps it prevents solving let alone addressing the existing issues. However, merely, “Demonstrating the presence of gaps and barriers, however, is not sufficient.” Further to the affirmative stance, the burden includes proving how “these gaps or barriers are a significant part of the cause of the problem.” Referring to the example, the affirmative position “has identified the gaps as lack of definitions or lack of resources (So)The affirmative would then need to provide evidence showing how these have made the Court ineffective in handling terrorism and crimes against humanity.” To this end, therefore, “The plan is the affirmative's proposal for replacing the current policy. It contains both essential and nonessential elements.” Following this formula presents a workable approach outlining how:
“The essential elements include an actor and an action. When thinking about a solution to a problem, you should think both in terms of who (what existing or potential actor would best solve the problem) and what (what specific action should be taken in order to solve the problem).” (Trapp et al, 2005, p. 120)
Within the concept of the resolution in this process, the affirmative may or may not specify the actor as Trapp et al, (2005, p. 120) exemplify how, “ the resolution [Resolved that the United Nations should expand the protection of cultural rights] specifies the United Nations as the actor.” Deciding, “who is the appropriate actor to implement the policy” remains fundamental when deciding on constructing the affirmative position plan. Another example looks at proceeding with “the resolution [Resolved that the nations of the world should strengthen the International Criminal Court] (thus giving) the affirmative more latitude in selecting the appropriate actor. Who are [the nations of the world]?” Possibly, yet not necessarily, is the United Nations.
Types of Inherency
Constantly evolving, inherency remains a debate tool for creating a strategic position for the affirmative stance in an argumentative issue. The following discussion looks at the structural and attitudinal types of inherency (Bates, 2002). Structural
Experts consider structural inherency the oldest of the different types. This variation provides the affirmative debate position defensive strategies when the negative position uses laws, court rulings, treaties, as well as executive orders attempting preventing the affirmative plan as exemplified by a position advocating import of avocados from Mexico. Any current U.S. law establishing this impossible therefore creates an immediate and clearly defined structural barrier to the affirmative plan. The only way the affirmative plan has the option proceeding relies on the current law becoming repealed and no longer valid (Baker, 2002). Rybold (2006, p. 70) explains, "Structural Inherency (Determine) what policies or laws could be improved to limit or stop the harm?"
Structural inherency also contains structural gaps. In the event no existing laws block an affirmative plan according to the current legal system mandates, nonetheless, gaps occur when the current position’s actions under the current system fails in establishing the extent of what the existing directive intends covering. An example of such a structural inherency gap looks at the U.S. treaty with a specified limitation on is use of mass destruction weaponry toward a specific nation but fails to mention another potentially unfriendly nation having the same weapon technology. This constitutes a structural gap (Baker, 2002).Attitudinal
Attitudinal inherency identifies variant existing attitudes and emotions preventing the proposed affirmative plan from presently taking place (Baker, 2002). Rybold (2006, p. 70) explains, "Attitudinal Inherency. Explain what attitudes or feelings are causing the problem. Examples are greed, ignorance, apathy, and prejudice.” Typifying inherent attitudinal behavior occurs with lawmakers refusing to enact more species protective laws under the existing system (Baker, 2002). This exemplifies resistance to affirmative persuasive debate proposals indicative of the characteristics just provided per Rybold (2006) (Knowles and Linn, 2004).
Proving structural inherency remains easier than attitudinal. However attitudinal also remains nearly as strong as the structural aspects, but unlike the structural requiring changing the existing law(s), attitudinal do have the susceptibility for change (Baker, 2002). The critical aspect of constructing an organized and prepared affirmative position on an issue connected to both structural and attitudinal inherent aspects aligned to the negative position remain self-evident. Without doing the background on inherency of existing barriers to a proposed advocacy in debate of an issue, the entire process emerges as a moot issue.
The affirmative position developing its argumentative platform overcoming such inherent barriers as these then moves into resolution aspects the stance taken requiring discussion or supporting the policy, fact, or specific value of the issue as the design outlines.
Interpreting the Resolution
Within the construct process of creating the affirmative position of any identified resolution, the next step requires discussion or at the least, a defining statement upholding whether policy, fact, or value as part of the argumentative focus of debate (Meany and Shuster, 2002). Finalizing the basic concept of a proposed affirmative position for debate the
Interpretation process of the resolution(s) considers evaluation and interpretation. These continue the focus of preparing an organized affirmative argument.
The Activity Profile
Two aspects of the characteristics of the activity profile emerge as the type of activity as well as the type of results the activity causes. Conflict-generating activity provides an example of this because of the aspect of forming a public decision stimulus such as project for constructing a bridge, debating the design plan for an urban renewal project, or a government-based issue such as establishing a specific environmental standard. Numerous ways exist for classifying and differentiating the effects of such activities. These classifications fall under spatial and temporal accompanied by other characteristics including rarity, repetitiveness, as well as both continuous long and short-term effects (Janssen and Nijkamp, 1991).
Additionally, the activity may be mobile, stationary, within or even outside of the boundaries of the decisive element involved. Other effects show either equal or unequal distribution over those parties implicated in the activity. At the same time the effect of the activity may provide how the gains of those winning show sufficient ability for compensating the losers or non- reimbursable. At the same time, in the end, the effect of the activity could or could not align for formal standards submission (Janssen and Nijkamp, 1991).
The Decision Profile
The solution and the decision space divide the decision profile characteristics. Both alternatives set and the information features comprise the solution space. An example of the composition of alternatives set might include as few as one or many alternatives. On the other hand, the alternatives set could prove continuous. Variables of the information features of the decision profile include the possible qualitative, quantitative, or mixed connected to the conflict problem (Janssen and Nijkamp, 1991).
At the same time, other characteristics of the decision profile may include certainty, uncertainty linked to knowledge of the probability distribution or even uncertain with the unknown. Information characteristics may also show limitations, extensiveness, agreed upon or non-agreed upon (Janssen and Nijkamp, 1991). The decision space contains according to Janssen and Nijkamp (1991, p. 34) “institutional characteristics, characteristics of decision-makers, characteristics of required decision result (e.g., efficiency), and available means for the decision-making process.” An example of the institutional characteristics connects to how decisions ensue with possible basis on one or even multiple intentions. They may “may involve two, three, or more parties; and may include one or more decision levels.” Whether participatory or hierarchical, decision levels additionally, “may be influenced by external interest groups.” Distinctions occur between the routine as well as the non-routine decisions in the process with decision-making characteristics of the decision profile possibly including a heuristic or analytical attitude. In addition other characteristics possibly emerging displaying “optimizing or satisficing behaviour, can be short- or long-term oriented, and can be risk-lovers or risk-averters. “ [Sic]
Constructing the Plan
Connected to the previous section on case conceptualization considering specific question in the process connected to the negative position, again provides a means for constructing the plan with the essential organizational focus. As a reminder, in constructing the plan again, this considers the central features of not only the affirmative but also, the negative policy options. In addition, determining how particular affirmative plan features prove capable of replacing specific negative plan features provides an effective debate tool for both avoiding them while highlighting the affirmative position features of the Case (Claxton, 2006; Trapp et al, 2005).
Construct guidelines creating the affirmative plan according to Trapp et al (2005, p. 128) includes a list of critical characteristics. “The affirmative plan explicitly prohibits any and all types of criminalization policies designed to address drug abuse.” A second item abolished by the affirmative plan includes specific criminal laws such as use of illegal drugs. “The affirmative plan will substitute socialization policies as appropriate methods of dealing with drug abuse.”
Trapp et al (2005, p. 128) further explains as an example, how the affirmative position provides socialization policies such as needle exchange, drug maintenance, as well as rehabilitation policies as part of the drug education intervention. Exceptions to the first two items listed here “will be made only with regard to persons under the age of 18 and to persons engaging in activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery where the use of drugs can seriously endanger others.” Additionally, the affirmative plan administration and funding must include a specific designee. “In the above example, the first four planks of the plan involve a statement of included and excluded features of harms reduction and law enforcement strategies.” Further, the plan construct includes prevention of potential drawbacks or costs of the proposed policy. In the case of the example provided this prevent unsafe operation of any vehicle including heavy machinery by any person under the influence of drugs. “The sixth and seventh points illustrate administrative and structural elements that might be needed to make the plan work.”
Defending the Case and the Plan
Again, as previously outlined, understanding aspects of the negative position in defending the affirmative Case provides an important defense strategy. Trapp et al (2005, p. 122) explain in defending the Case and the plan keep in mind how it remains rare when the negative position is “able to prove the complete absence of a problem in the present system.” Other consideration of the negative position is, how “the negative might provide substantial evidence that the problem is not as important or widespread as the affirmative team suggested.” Additionally, consider how, “The negative might argue that there is no point in implementing a plan (spending time, effort, money, taking unnecessary risk) designed to solve a minor problem (one that does not affect a lot of people or whose effects are not serious.”
Successfully proving the cause of the affirmative plan as exemplified in connection with war criminals, or terrorists show what Trapp et al (2005, p. 121) calls, “the lack of resources or the absence of the definition of terrorism, then the affirmative's plan to provide these elements will logically solve, or at least substantially reduce, the problem.” This remains fundamental to defending both the Case and the plan. “If the affirmative has shown that terrorism and crimes against humanity will continue to rise under the status quo, then the affirmative plan of providing increased resources and a definition of terrorism should logically reduce these crimes.”
Johnson (2009, p. 1) further advises in defending both the Case and the plan incorporates understanding how debate pits opposing sides against one another. Each side’s “exclusive goal is to prevent (the other) from getting what (they desire).” Additionally, at the same time remember, “someone listens to (the affirmative) persuasive efforts and ranks them relative to those with whom y (they remain) engaged” in debate. This poses the reality of limited debate time persuading decision makers and “no longer, for example, can (the affirmative position) wear someone down with continued requests (a tactic favored by children in their efforts to persuade parents).” This remains a counterproductive strategy. As directed earlier in this scholastic endeavor, the critical component of successful debate (no matter the position) is organized preparedness.
Types of Evidence
Johnson (2009, p. 173) describes, “Evidence is data that affects the strength of any possibility relative to a (debate position) goal. “ To those making a decision about the evidence provided in a debate therefore considers whether the evidence “is proof of the ability (or inability) of a possibility to meet a goal.” The evidence decision-makers consider and evaluate looks at its “weight: the more relevant a particular piece of evidence is to whether a possibility meets a particular goal, the greater weight that evidence is accorded.” [Sic] At the same time, “Evidence may also be either positive or negative relative to a particular goal.”
According to Johnson (2009, p. 173), “Debaters must generate, organize, and present compelling evidence on behalf of their possibility.” Therefore, it remains critical that evidence whether qualitative or quantitative, produces factual data, representative of “examples or statistics, or it may take the form of argument: theories, values, and beliefs are types of evidence that require logical substantiation to be convincing.” The point of focus for any position in the debate means the more likely for successful persuasion connects with “adeptness and utilizing the evidence most likely to convince the adjudicators of the strength of their preferred possibility.” Tests of Evidence
Tests of evidence according to Johnson (2009, pl. 78) considers, "The standards of acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency provide debaters with a structured approach to the deconstruction of their opponents’ arguments." [Sic] In approaching this understanding how acceptability as a standard of testing the evidence looks at its quality connected to the argument posited. Therefore, “ the function of evidence is to ground the argument in an idea in which the audience already believes; support is the foundation from which the audience may be moved to accept the claim.” Use of the standard test of evidence linked to acceptability provides the opportunity for deconstructing an opponent’s position in debate “by demonstrating that the support offered for a particular claim isn't acceptable or accepted.” Proving this, successfully convinces the adjudicator he/she “should not accept the support (or that acceptable support has not been offered), the argument fails.”
Typically, as Johnson (2009, p. 80) explains there exists three applications for deconstructing he opposing position. First of these questions if the opposing view “contains a cogent sub-argument” establishing a valid support of the position. The second deconstruction approach connects to understanding how, “Arguments function by connecting the unknown (or the as yet unaccepted) to the known (or accepted)” and therefore, “the second deconstructive approach aimed at acceptability is to challenge whether the support offered is generally known to be true.” The third deconstruct of the opposing position evidence “lacks external validation” such as supporting relevance of an expert.
Johnson (2009, p. 82) position on testing evidence through its relevancy therefore, considers how, “Relevance addresses the inference for the argument; specifically, the standard of relevance examines the quality of the connection between the support and the claim by asking whether the evidence offered is relevant to the claim made.” Thus, “If the support is relevant, the argument is likely to be of higher quality because an audience will be persuaded to accept the claim of the argument based on the support provided.” Any argument relying on the “relationship between support and claim that is demonstrated to be irrelevant is more likely to fail to convince an audience.”
The third, and final of Johnson’s (2009, p. 87) elements of the test of affirmative argument evidence incorporates sufficiency. “As a standard of argument quality, sufficiency asks whether the argument produces a level of certainty adequate for the audience to accept the claim.” Remembering some debatable issues draw different types of audiences under particular circumstances requires “different levels of certainty in order to be accepted.” Thus, establishing “the level of certainty appropriate for any given argument is the concern of sufficiency.” Testing the evidence, incorporating the sufficiency of the supporting elements of the affirmative position prior to the debate proves a critical step in organized preparedness and aligns to the issue in question linked to the context it emerges. “Put simply, standards of sufficiency may vary given "where" the argument occurs.” Keeping in mind the need for different levels of effort exists for achieving a legitimate certainty the evidence provides sufficient cause for the audience accepting the debated claim.
“In other words, the degree of proof required to convince an audience in the public sphere would likely be significantly different than that required to create a persuasive argument in the technical sphere. Consider the debate over global climate change. To establish the impact of human activity on global climate change in the scientific (technical) sphere required years of data collection, analysis, and reporting, and testing various hypotheses. In the public sphere, much more informal efforts (such as the popularity of former Vice President Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth) constitute, for many, sufficient proof of the need to take action.” (Johnson, 2009, p. 87)
Coming back to the core principal of all aspects the affirmative of the debate process again, emphasizes the critical importance of organization of each step outlined in this scholastic instruction. Incorporating this as a mantra underpinning the debate intention makes an effective strategy from the onset.
As posited in the introduction of this instructional scholastic work on teaching debating the affirmative of an arguable issue requires understanding specific characteristics of the process. This document provided the essential components of preparing a well-organized affirmative position of an important issue about policies affecting the lives of humans. The technical elements provided here contextually exhibit a sound methodology of instruction of this subject. As importantly, the philosophical underpinnings of the legacy of Western philosophy of the rhetorical precepts of ethos, pathos, and logos remain a fundamental aspect aligned to the technical instruction of the affirmative of debate. These come to the closest of the discourse presented providing the importance of the effectiveness of the nuance and the syntax of speech connected to debate. Combining the technical prowess of the instructional information outlined in this document with the ethics, passion, and logic of an affirmative position in debating an issue still proves an effective strategy for winning the support of an audience for an argument over a policy affecting the life worth living – as the Greeks also posited.
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