Elements of Debating eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about Elements of Debating.

Since argumentation, then, is the art of producing in the mind of someone else a belief in the idea or ideas you wish to convey, and debate is an argumentative contest carried on orally under certain conditions, it is clear that argumentation is the broader term of the two and that debate is merely a specialized kind of argumentation.  Football is exercise, but there is exercise in many other forms.  Debate is argumentation, but one can also find argumentation in many other forms.

The following diagram makes clear the work we have covered thus far.  It shows the relation between argumentation and debate, and shows that the specialized term “debate” has the same relation to “discourse” that “football” has to “exercise.”

/ Miscellaneous
| Swimming
/ Play | Skating
Kinds of |      | Rolling hoop   / Other athletic games
exercise |      \ Athletic games \ Football
\ Work

/ Description
Kinds of | Narration
discourse | Exposition
\ Argumentation / Written
\ Oral / General discussion
\ Debate


1.  Be prepared to explain orally in class, as though to someone who did not know, the difference between “argumentation” and “debate.”

2.  Set down three conditions that must exist before argumentation becomes debate.

3.  Have you ever argued?  Orally?  In writing?

4.  Have you ever debated?  Did you win?

5.  Which is the broader term, “argumentation,” or “debate?” Why?

6.  Compose some sentences, illustrating the use of the terms “debate” and “argumentation.”



  I. The three requirements stated.

  II.  How to make clear to the audience what one wishes
  them to believe, by: 

    1.  Stating the idea which one wishes to have accepted
    in the form of a definite assertion, which is: 

      (1) Interesting.

      (2) Definite and concise.

      (3) Single in form.

      (4) Fair to both sides.

    2.  Defining the “terms of the question” so that they
    will be: 

      (1) Clear.

      (2) Convincing.

      (3) Consistent with the origin and history of the

    3.  Restating the whole question in the light of the

To debate successfully it is necessary to do three things: 

1.  To make perfectly clear to your audience what you wish them to believe.

2.  To show them why the proof of certain points (called issues) should make them believe the thing you wish them to believe.

3.  To prove the issues.

Each of these three things is a distinct process, involving several steps.  One is as important as another.

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Elements of Debating from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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