ERIC Number: ED354559
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Use and Abuse of Risk Analysis in Policy Debate.
Herbeck, Dale A.; Katsulas, John P.
The best check on the preposterous claims of crisis rhetoric is an appreciation of the nature of risk analysis and how it functions in argumentation. The use of risk analysis is common in policy debate. While the stock issues paradigm focused the debate exclusively on the affirmative case, the advent of policy systems analysis has transformed debate into an evaluation of competing policy systems. Unfortunately, the illusion of objectivity masks several serious problems with risk analysis as it is presently used in academic debate. Risk analysis artificially assigns probability to arguments and overvalues arguments with large impacts. Four suggestions can dramatically improve the use of risk analysis in policy debate: (1) some risks are so trivial that they are not meaningful; (2) the increment of risk must be considered; (3) debaters must not become enslaved to large impacts; and (4) debaters must rehabilitate the importance of uniqueness arguments in debate. (Twenty-one notes are included.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A