[eDebate] Counterplan Competition

Dylan Keenan dylan.keenan
Thu Jan 17 00:21:32 CST 2008

I've argued this with several people this year, but I firmly believe CP #2
is not competitive and is in fact plan plus (assuming one is looking at
functional competition; the CP is clearly textually competitive which is
another issue):

The essential action of the plan is to give Iran X if they do Y. Any CP that
includes giving Iran X if they do Y can not logically be competitive.

A CP to give Iran X would give Iran X if they do Y. On top of that it would
also give Iran X if they do not do Y.

Let me restate that a different way. The CP "give Iran X" is identical in
action to teh CP "Give Iran X if they do Y AND give Iran X if they don't do
Y". Anyone who ran the second counterplan would lose on perm do the CP, but
somehow we think the former, which is identical in its action, is

I think the misperception flows from a basic misunderstanding of logic. An
if then statement, If X then Y, is NOT equivalent to the statement If Y then
X, nor is it necessarily equivalent to the statement X only if Y.

Most people who think the CP is competitive see the plan as an only if
statement. In other words they interpret an If then statement as offering
the security guarantee ONLY under the circumstances where Iran complies with
some demand. We started putting "if, but not necessarily only if" in our
plan to try and clarify that, but somehow people still read the if statement
as only if.

As for CP #1 I think it is compeitive but totally illegitimate ---- there is
no comparative literature for 99 out of 100 of these counterplans.

CP #3 is competitive and may have literature but the plan isn't topical.

What happened to just debating the case without shady counterplans?

Dylan Keenan

On 1/17/08, Jean-Paul Lacy <lacyjp at wfu.edu> wrote:
> In his "Wake Series of Poker" results, Will Repko mentioned (tangentially)
> that the quid pro quo thing introduces a whole new set of counterplan
> competition questions.
> In that vein, here are some questions to help explore that:
> 1. Does this counterplan functionally exclude something from the plan?
>        Plan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
>        Counterplan: Offer Iran X if they do Y and Z
> 2. Does this counterplan functionally exclude something from the plan?
>        Plan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
>        Counterplan: Offer Iran X
> 3. What about this counterplan?
>        Plan: Offer Iran X
>        Counterplan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
> I'm interested to hear what people think.
> Yes, there are more nuanced questions than whether the CP excludes
> something from the plan that also determine if a counterplan is
> competitive, but I think a broader discussion of "what actually excludes
> stuff from the plan" is useful.
> So far this year, I've tried to remain as agnostic about these questions
> as
> possible. I've tried to let the debaters arguments rule my decision-making
> as much as possible. This is getting harder as my own thoughts calcify. My
> hope is that y'all can help us judges approach things with a fresh mind.
> --JP
> lacyjp at wfu.edu
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