Russ Ricciardi ParadigmLast changed 8/31 12:59P EDT
Judging Paradigm - updated August 31, 2016
SUMMARY DESIGNATION FOR UPCOMING YALE 2016: TRADITIONAL
I view academic competitive debate as a species of communication arts. You should speak clearly, and presume as little as possible about your audience and your judge. I will base my decision entirely on whatever arguments and evidence I hear and understand during the round. I will generally not ask to see evidence after the round, even if advised to do so by the opposing team. There will not be any overt signal coming from me if you are speaking too quickly or otherwise unintelligibly. The burden of communication is on your shoulders, not mine. You might say I am rather old-fashioned. Nonetheless, I have voted for “critical philosophy” cases on the rare occasions I have heard them. The key to my ballot is to present the argument logically, clearly, and persuasively.
At any tournament sponsored or sanctioned by the New York State Forensic League, including particularly all Long Island Forensic League (LIFA) tournaments, I will expect that the primary focus of the debate be on the clash of values or value-criteria. This expectation is supported by the definition of Lincoln-Douglas debate as given by the NYSFL:
>> Lincoln-Douglas Debate is a form of … debate that focuses on values, their inter-relationships, and their relationship to issues of contemporary human concern. The focus is not upon facts to be ascertained or policies to be implemented, although such matters can be referred to as supporting material. Rather, the Lincoln-Douglas Debate should require the students to explain in a persuasive manner the most important values and criteria for judgment about the resolution under debate.<<
The definition of Lincoln-Douglas debate by the National Catholic Forensic League is brief:
>>Individual students debating issues of values and philosophy.<<
In light of the NCFL statement, at any competition under the auspices of the CFL, my judging emphasis on values and philosophy, in preference over policy considerations, will be at least as strong as the emphasis I will bring to any NYSFL-related tournaments.
In contrast, the website of the National Speech and Debate Association (National Forensic League) provides a more flexible description:
>>Many people refer to LD Debate as a “values” debate, as questions of morality and justice are commonly examined.<<
The NSDA statement is much weaker that the two previous statements. It does not place values at the center of the debate necessarily, and it is a qualified descriptive statement, not a normative statement.
As I do not find any stronger authoritative universal statement concerning the relative importance of the values framework to the policy considerations in an LD debate, I will strive to keep an open mind on this point in all competitions not sponsored by the NYSFL or NCFL or their affiliates. I will expect the debaters to each make their case as to how the debate should be decided.
In the Public Forum format, debaters should strive to make themselves and their arguments intelligible to the average citizen, not presupposing that their judges or audience have any prior experience, training, or knowledge of interscholastic debate nor the topic under consideration.
High School: Policy debate, local circuit (1974-77)
Total four years local circuit (1981-82, 1986-87, 2014-16)
A few national circuit tournaments in the Northeast
Attended teacher training track in Public Forum at 2015 Harvard Summer Workshop
If you have any questions or comments for me about this paradigm, or any other Speech and Debate matters,
feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paradigm originally posted to WikiSpaces Feb. 13, 2015. Last previous revision December 22, 2015.