What is the point of debate?

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What is the point of debate?

Post  El Guapo on Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:01 am

Why do people do it?

Is the idea to win or lose or simply increase your own understanding of a topic?

Is it even possible to win or lose a debate? How is that achieved?

Is the ultimate aim of a debate to put forward your views and the reasons for them or is the ultimate aim to impose your views on others until they accept them?

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Re: What is the point of debate?

Post  DarkLord on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:11 am

Ah, yummy! Laughing

Obviously I can only speak for myself, but, in general, I do it mainly for the entertainment value as well as to hear another view, understand that view & have my view heard and understood. After all, it’s not really possible to debate with someone who has the same view as me Laughing But this all depends on the debate…….

For me, the topic of the debate dictates what my “idea” is for the debate. If the debate is based purely on opinion, like whether or not a film is any good, then there can be no “Win or Lose” or “Right & Wrong”. In this kind of debate you can only hear another view, ask questions of the view, understand that view, agree or disagree with that view & have your view’s given the same courtesy. However, when the debate contains elements of fact & fiction which can be proven to be so, like….. I dunno…. People die. If someone in a debate says that people do not die then I think it’s simple to say that person is wrong.

When it comes to winning & losing a debate, I think that can only be done in 2 ways. Either, there is a factual element to the debate where there is a possibility of being incorrect, misinformed or simply wrong. In this case the person who was incorrect, misinformed or wrong could in effect come out as having “lost” the debate, whereas the person who had the correct information could in effect come out the “winner” of the debate.
The only other way would be if there are neutral parties involved in a 2 or more sided debate who by the end of the debate are swayed to one side or another. The side with the most people swayed could be said to have won & the side with the least could be said to have lost. A bit like election time.
For me, these are the only ways that “winning” or “losing” a debate can be achieved………. sort of….. Laughing

As I said at the start, for me, the ultimate aim of any debate is dictated by a few factors. The debate itself, The people involved in the debate, the interest & entertainment value of the debate are pretty big factors, but in general I want to hear & understand other view point’s and I want to put mine across & have them understood. I don’t have to agree with the person I’m debating with, in fact it’s much better if I don’t agree with them Laughing and they don’t need to agree with me. As long as by the end of the debate I clearly understand the other parties view points & they understand mine I would consider that debate a winner for everyone involved
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Re: What is the point of debate?

Post  El Guapo on Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:29 am

What I'm getting at is that I really dislike this idea of winning or losing. As soon as you introduce a competitive nature into a debate any benefit either party can gain from it is lost because the ultimate aim of the discussion suddenly shifts from being a way to maybe learn something to being a way to "score points."

Sometimes people do make factual mistakes because nobody can ever be expected to know everything. What irritates me is this notion that if somebody does make a factual mistake on any particular point in a discussion the other party suddenly thinks it renders their entire argument invalid and that they have somehow "won".

What is it exactly they've won? Is there money involved? Maybe a trophy? Can you see what I'm getting at? Bragging rights just seem a bit childish to me.

A debate shouldn't be competitive. A debate (IMO) should be a tool to gauge the general consensus on any given subject. It's not for people to "persuade" others but to provide information for them to make their own minds up.

Whenever people view debates as competitive it negates entirely any benefit anybody can gain because both parties, instead of exchanging information and ideas, suddenly find themselves "refusing to back down," which invariably eventually results in mindless insult.

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Re: What is the point of debate?

Post  DarkLord on Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:03 pm

Totally agree. Cool With the exception of the mindless insults thing. IMO, that depends more on the people involved in the debate.
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Re: What is the point of debate?

Post  Jimmy Saville on Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:09 pm

Hi DL......Would you like to go to chat?
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