- Paperback: 204 pages
- Publisher: LightningBolt Press (January 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0974639826
- ISBN-13: 978-0974639826
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great Debate: A Handbook for Policy Debate and Public Forum Debate
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About the Author
Jonathan Wolfson is an attorney, husband, father, and debate coach. He coaches debaters around the globe and provides assistance to coaches and parents in training speakers and debaters. His free debate training videos have been viewed by tens of thousands of students and teachers worldwide and he has coached successful junior high, high school, and collegiate speakers and debaters for a number of years.
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I've looked at other books on PFD put out by the handbook/evidence companies and by former competitors on Amazon. Most of the others are very general and just thrown together to make a buck, former competitors generalizing their unique experience and camp learning (and demonstrate a lack of focus or understanding how debate and argumentation work), while some try to pass off Public Forum Debate as "Policy Lite" or "LD with Friends," and thereby repackage their old content with a new cover.
A pet peeve of mine: The explanation of the claims-warrants-evidence argument model in this book is flawed, but it's flawed in the same way that almost all explanations are flawed, so I'm not too surprised. Instead of presenting the example Wolfson uses, I'll use one I use often when teaching Toulmin and argumentation. A claim is an assertion, or the thing to be "proved" or put forth for acceptance. The evidence is that which is used to support the claim. The warrant is a piece of reasoning that shows how the evidence relates to the claim, and must be accepted in order for the assertion to be "proved." Suppose I claim Joan's birthday is 9-12-55 (an assertion). My evidence is a birth certificate stating such. The warrant for this argument is, "birth certificates are accurate statements of person's birthdate," which is held to be true by governments, courts, etc. Suppose my evidence is Joan's testimony. The warrant is then, "people accurately report their birthday when asked," which gives us pause to accept (women lie about birthdays all the time). As a lawyer, I use this analysis with every assertion and evidence I get, and it's never failed me.
My experience is that high school debaters throw those terms around (claim, warrant, evidence) to sound "smart" and increase their ethos, without knowing what they really mean. I'd just like to see the model explained in popular texts more accurately.
which comprehensively covers academic debate.
Many case styles are presented and explained, which allows interesting advancement
from the simple plan-meets-needs case typically found among high-school debaters.
Coach, COMMAND AZ Speech & Debate