PHYS 3550 War & Peace
Debate Introduction


The culminating experience for the War and Peace cluster is our end of semester debates. There will be class time devoted to preparing for the debates, including a discussion of the procedures, with the actual debates being held during the last two classes of the spring semester. With 20 students in the class Scott and I are expecting to have five debates in total, three on May 11th and two on May 18th. Each debate will be between four students (two on each side), with the opportunity for audience participation.

What does it mean to be in a debate?

First of all, what does it not mean? So, what does it mean?
A prime example of the debate idea is the whiskey speech  given by then-Rep. N.S. "Soggy" Sweat Jr. on April 4, 1952, while the prohibition issue was before the Legislature. In essence he debates himself, offering both sides of the argument, from the same "facts" but from two different points of view.

Debate Preparation

Before the debate takes place you need to accomplish the following tasks.

Debate Tactics

Although you cannot 'win' a debate, you can attempt to sway the audience towards your point of view. There are three tactics you can use to help your case See also Logos, Ethos and Pathos by Mike Callaway, Department of English, Arizona State University

Some Internet Resources

1. Any topic which could be proven one way or the other is not debatable. For example could you debate the proposition that the infinitely long irrational number 0.9999999....... is in fact exactly equal to 1? No, the proposition can be proven, there is no debate about it. (The con argument in the link results from lack of understanding, not from a real argument.)