Debate Like a Champion

Wed, Oct 02

Debates are an extremely effective way to organize arguments and objections.  In this class, we'll learn how to conduct a parliamentary debate: from building an ironclad debate case, to delivering effective speeches, to scoring and analyzing debates.  We'll also talk about the role of debate and persuasion in the good life, considering Plato's criticism of the debate coaches in ancient Greece (the Sophists).  We'll ask what it means to be someone who loves the truth and how we should and shouldn't use arguments and rhetoric to pursue the truth.

By the end of class:

  1. You will know how to construct a debate case.
  2. You will accurately describe Plato's dispute with some sophist philosophers on the nature of truth.
  3. You will practice three key rhetorical skills -- ethos, pathos, and logos -- to prepare for in-class debates.

Read This:


Socrates, Sophists and Debating the Good Life (Passages)


The Official 2019 GGL Debate Handbook

Do This:

Complete the following reflection questions in your GGL Journal:

  1. How does Frankfurt distinguish the difference between truth, lies and bullshit?  Are the sophists bullshitters?  Why or why not?
  2. Construct a debate case for the proposition "Notre Dame should eliminate its Division I football program."
  3. In the course of the debate with Socrates, Callicles is forced to commit to a particular view of what the good life must be (in order to support his initial claim that the rulers deserve more).  What is Callicles' view of the good life?  

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