Elements of Debating eBook

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

7.  Point out the weakness in the following propositions (consider propositions always with your class as the audience):  (1) “Physics, Chemistry, and Algebra Are Hard Studies.” (2) “Only Useful Studies Should Be Taught in This School.” (3) “All Women Should Be Allowed to Vote and Should Be Compelled by Law to Remove Their Hats in Church.” (4) “Agricultural Conditions in Abyssinia Are Superior to Those in Burma.”

8.  Compare the dictionary definition of the following terms with the meaning which the history of the question has given them in actual usage: 

  (1) Domestic science.

  (2) Aeroplane exhibitions.

  (3) The international Olympic games.

  (4) Township high schools.

  (5) National conventions of political parties.



  I. What the “issues” are.

  II.  How to determine the issues.

  III.  The value of correct issues.

When you have made perfectly clear to your hearers what you wish them to believe, the next step is to show them why they should believe it.  The first step in this process, as we saw at the beginning of Lesson iii, is to see what points, if proved, will make them believe it.

These points, as we call them, are better known as “issues.”  The issues are really questions, the basic questions on which your side and the other disagree.  The negative would answer “No” to these issues, the affirmative would say “Yes.”

The issues when stated in declarative sentences are the fundamental reasons why the affirmative believes its proposition should be believed.

A student might be arguing with himself whether he would study law or medicine.  He would say to himself:  “These are the issues:  For which am I the better adapted?  Which requires the more study?  Which offers the better promise of reward?  In which can I do the more good?”

Should he argue with a friend in order to induce him to give up law and to study medicine, he would use similar issues.  He would feel that if he could settle these questions he could convince his friend.  Now, however, he would state them as declarative sentences and say:  “You are more adapted to the profession of medicine; you can do more good in this field,” etc.  If the friend should open the question, he would be in the position of a man on the negative side of a debate.  He would state the issues negatively as his reasons.  He would say:  “I am not so well adapted to the study of medicine; it offers less promise of reward,” etc.

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Elements of Debating from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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