ERIC Number: ED383004
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Debating Historical Propositions: Toward a Unique Genre of NEDA Debate.
Scott, David K.
The best way to develop a unique identity for the National Education Debate Association (NEDA) is to debate propositions distinct from National Debate Tournament (NDT) and the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA). A neglected area of debate includes propositions temporally framed in the past. Yet, the present propositional categories of fact, value, and policy can explicitly incorporate a temporal frame of reference. Specifically, a taxonomy can be created that includes a temporal frame. Thus, there can be propositions of past, present, and future fact, value, and policy. Debating such propositions would entail extensive use of counterfactual knowledge. Murphy (1969) argues that "counterfactuals were an essential method of historians; these were by their nature (are) unverifiable propositions." The fact that they are unverifiable has led to criticism of counter factuals as a form of logic. Thus, standards need to be applied in the assessment of counterfactual scenarios. It should be noted, however, that counterfactuals are a common model of logic in a number of areas, such as legal argumentation and the study of economics. The advantages of an historical approach at the NEDA debate are numerous: (1) the educational focus of competitive debate would be expanded; (2) most students have dead spots in their understanding of American history and such a debate format would offer an opportunity to students to become stronger in these areas; and (3) debating historical perspectives may improve the quality of argumentation. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A