[eDebate] simonides and the flow

Old Strega oldstrega
Mon Apr 6 19:19:05 CDT 2009

i will spare you quoting entire articles but flowing is nothing modern.   the flow is a version of the memory palace adapted to the specific purposes of c-x debate.  ancient mnemonics have resurfaced in modern scholarship through the work of frances yates.  

The Method of Loci is a technique for memorizing many things and has been practiced since classical antiquity. It is a type of mnemonic link system based on places (loci, otherwise known as locations), used most often in cases where long lists of items are concerned. It was taught for many centuries as a part of the curriculum in schools, enabling an orator to easily remember a speech or students to easily remember many things at will. There are different techniques and approaches for the "Method of Loci", and in medieval schools (as in Aristotle, Topics, Bk. 8), "Ars Memoriae" was considered to be equally a part of dialectics as of rhetoric.

The method of loci was said to be invented by Simonides. According to De Oratore by Cicero, Simondies escaped a disaster that destroyed the building where he was having dinner with other dignitaries. He was able to recall the each victim by their positioning around the table.  end quote

the need to translate the skeleton of mnemonic devices into substance makes NDT speeches clumsy and unnecessarily technical.   the incorporation of the flow into the speech is un-rhetorical.    
this is not an argument against flowing.   this is not an argument against flowing.
watching primary and presidential debates, one can see the candidates flowing arguments and outlining responses.   reference is made to the opponent's arguments without flow jargon.
flowspeak also hinders composition by chopping speeches into a logical order.   judges are able to construct complete arguments from choppy oratory.    composition skills are neglected and subverted to technical ends.
instead of intuitively understanding complete arguments from flow fragments, debate speech would gain from judges intuitively applying the arguments to their appropriate places.   team Q does not mention "this is my response to case press H" but judge Z and team V know where to mentally apply the answer.    team V answers the answer to case press H in the next speech and judge Z has no problem tracing the sequence through the speeches.   prior familiarity with evidence by teams and judges helps this model. 
c-x debate resembles more medieval line by line commentaries of aristotle's logic than any instance of skilled oratory.

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