Short intro to extensions

Moving further and further on the path of debating, we explored extensions today. In short, an extension is a new contribution to the debate. To provide an extension is the duty of the Member of the Government and Member of the Opposition.

What would work as a reasonable extension?

(1) A new argument would suffice. However, you do want your new argument to have a sizable impact on the debate. If there is no impact, it is probably not a very good extension. Some tips for creating new arguments if you’re out of ideas:

a. Take a look at the impact on other stakeholders. Every possible model presented by the 1st Gov has an impact on a number of involved parties. Have all of these parties been covered? Example: If the 1st Gov has talked about the benefits of fewer restrictions on firing workers for employers, maybe it’s time to identify the advantages for employees?

b. Review other sorts of benefits/harms that have not yet been analysed. Usually this requires looking at the situation from a different angle and accepting that there are many ways how one can define ‘benefits’ or ‘harms’. Example: If the economic consequences of a change in immigration policy have already been analysed, why not take a look at how this plan may affect social tension or whether this move is justified on purely moral grounds?

c. Try to look at things a bit more broadly. If the first half of the debate has focused on proving that something is good/bad/true in one specific case, you may want to talk why this is good/bad/true in general. By doing so, we elevate the debate from the level of mere technicalities to the level of principles – more often than not a good indicator that a debate can become really enjoyable. A smart word for that is ‘induction’ (try using this word in a usual conversation – chicks dig it). Example: 1st Opp has argued that Kosovo should be independent since people there have a right of self-determination. One approach for the extension would be to argue that, in principle, all/most territories should have a right of self-determination.

d. Narrow it down a bit. If some stakeholder or form of benefits/harms has already been discussed, it is still possible to take a smaller subset that has not been analysed thoroughly and do it. Example: A debate about prostitution. Even though benefits for prostitutes have already been covered, why not to talk about benefits for upper-class prostitutes in particular?

(2) Provide deeper analysis of material that has already been covered in the first half. Even though your material will not be precisely new, higher level of argumentation for the existing arguments can be a very powerful tool and generally will be considered as a big contribution to the debate. If you feel that the first half has not provided an acceptable level of reasoning, don’t be afraid to use this situation to your advantage. Example: 1st Opp has argued against higher income tax rates, as ‘they will decrease the individual motivation to work’. You can try to improve the analysis by rigorously proving that changes in the tax rate will have this effect. However, be aware that your contribution has to be substantial. Adjudicators will not look favourably upon minor improvements of arguments that are already out there.

(3) Provide a case study that proves your point. This is a tough way to go before you thoroughly understand the mechanics of the debate, so this is a strategy that can be left for later times. However, the principle is very simple. A case study should be used as a practical proof that the theoretical framework laid down in the previous argument really works in reality. It is not as easy, though. The case study is not a simple example. It should be a very appropriate and detailed example that can be treated as hard evidence that your concepts do work. We will learn more about this way of extending a case as we move on!

These generally are the most conventional ways of approaching an extension. Of course, you can develop your own ways of doing that. The rule of thumb here is – it has to give a substantial contribution to the debate! We will work with extensions more on Thursday.

Keep it funky,

M.

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2 responses to “Short intro to extensions

  1. By the way, this a BP debate handbook: http://lpdk.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/bp-handbook.doc
    Try to read it now and then – it contains a lot of awesome info..

  2. I wouldn’t say it’s short 🙂

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