[eDebate] judging philosophy addendum

Donald Bryson anabaptist
Mon Mar 19 10:41:59 CDT 2007

I have my own biases, like most (if not all) judges. I was a policy-oriented debater, but I was a philosophy major, so a lot of the K jargon and thoughts aren't foreign to me. Reading the other team's evidence and finding the assumptions that your criticism indicts will be strategic in the scope of the debate. I think that affirmatives rely too much on generic evidence to answer kritiks, and don't do enough time defending what the kritik is criticizing. Affs should also press the internal link between the impact and the link. If your only link is "government," or "problem solving" then you are in trouble. If you can't explain your author's arguments and relate them to the plan, you are in trouble. You probably won't win on "the plan doesn't solve." You can win on "the plan is WORSE than the status quo." I will listen to an aff that makes the "no uniqueness" argument, but I will also listen to neg's that run a k similarly to a linear disad. I don't see why the plan can't create the uniqueness. 



Above is the "kritik" section of my current judging philosophy that is posted to the www.debateresults.com .  I want to add/clarify a few things.


First, I've had more rounds than I care for where one of the debaters throws the "linear disad" statement from my philosophy at me.  That's fine.  I said it and I meant it.  However, the sentence before that clearly states: "I will listen to an aff that makes the "no uniqueness" argument."


Second, it seems to me that there are more and more kritiks that bear the name of an author (Nietzche, Heidegger, Foucault, not so much Agamben though) yet fail to have a single card from that author.  I know, it's devastating to hear that I actually want to hear the source of the argument rather than someone else talking about it, but that's what I like.  I judged a high school round a few weeks ago and I was so excited to hear the cite "Nieztche 1878."  


I like to hear these debates, but the problem is this; philosophy is a lot like policy debate, competing interps matter.  What Nieztche wrote and what I wrote about Nieztche's argument, in one of my philosophy classes, may be two different things.  I'm not saying that I will vote on this issue, I'm just saying that this is what I prefer.


People seem to be afraid to cut "old" cards.  People don't want to cut actual Nieztche cards or any other card that pre-dates post-modernism.  Yes, post-modernism "invented" the critical argument as we currently know it, but that does not mean that arguments by Descartes, Sartre, Russell, Whitehead, or Plantinga can't function as a kritik in a debate round.  Post-modernism isn't the alpha and omega of philosophy or critical thought.  "Old" cards are okay.  Why aren't people reading these?  Why isn't Bertrand Russell being read in "religion" debates?  Why isn't Machiavelli being read?  I don't have an answer for this.

Okay, so I'm off of soap box.  I'm sure that I offended someone, however, please note that I didn't mean to.  I'm just writing something onto my judging philosophy.




Donald Bryson
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