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Kafuuka
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Debates have always been a part of MD and I thought it was once again time to talk about argumentation.
Suppose you have two people (or groups of people) A and B who are each supporting one thesis. In the following examples, who do you think is 'winning', if any?

1. A gives 1 argument and B does nothing.
2. A gives 2 arguments and B gives 1.
3. A gives 2 arguments and B refutes one.
4. A gives 2 arguments and B refutes both.
5. A gives 2 arguments and B refutes both and gives 1 argument of his own.

Feel free to ponder why exactly I'm asking this.

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[quote name='Kafuuka' date='28 February 2010 - 07:56 AM' timestamp='1267361811' post='55476']
Debates have always been a part of MD and I thought it was once again time to talk about argumentation.
Suppose you have two people (or groups of people) A and B who are each supporting one thesis. In the following examples, who do you think is 'winning', if any?

1. A gives 1 argument and B does nothing.
2. A gives 2 arguments and B gives 1.
3. A gives 2 arguments and B refutes one.
4. A gives 2 arguments and B refutes both.
5. A gives 2 arguments and B refutes both and gives 1 argument of his own.

Feel free to ponder why exactly I'm asking this.
[/quote]


1. A is "winning" because B cannot counteract said point whether it being perfectly valid, or just something that is beyond B's understanding/knowledge.
2. This would depend on the arguments used, wherein B could have used a more valid argument, while A's arguments were more just BS. Either could be "winning".
3. A is "winning" because even though B is able to refute one argument, he is back to 1. because it might be beyond B's understanding/knowledge.
4. Neither is winning and they are both at a stalemate. B might be ahead by a bit because the way I see it, if he was able to shoot down the arguments of A, then B is being more successful. How long that will last however is deemed uncertain.
5. This would be the better outcome to 4 (in B's case anyways), and B would be "winning" at this point due to B shutting down A's arguments, and making a claim/argument of his own to which A has to respond to.

Now, this is purely on a "as far I see it" plane of thought, and winning to me would be successfully counteracting the opponent, and making valid claims of your own that your opponent cannot refute. As for another way of looking at it, debates are usually beneficial to both parties, by the fact that it allows the other party to see the topic in another Point of View, and it allows for constant exchanging of knowledge. Eg. If you get defeated in a debate, you have won, if you now use the opportunity to research further, so you can debate it further next time, and then have an arsenal of facts against that certain top, knowing that if they use an argument, you now have a defense against it. Or, you might even see that your point of view was not as correct as you might have thought, and you might go to the other side. In which case, the side that successfully "converted you" would be seen as the winner, but you are also, since you now are more content on the side you are now on. I would really love to hear your thoughts on this. I love debates :)

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[quote name='Orlando Gardiner' date='28 February 2010 - 09:11 AM' timestamp='1267369875' post='55482']
none has won the discussion. Discussion is not about 'winning, but about sharing toughts and learn what other people think about it, or to get a compromise between two parties.
[/quote]

ON that logic there would be no final idea as what we accept as fact for lack of a better term. There always is a chosen winner who is the person who can over rule the opponents thoughts and also support there own.

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B wins in all cases

In #1, A gives an argument and B shows no reaction. This leaves the listener free to ponder the argument, and it's most likely that they will find a flaw, specially when B comes with something like 'This is too childish to deserve a response.'

In #2, When A speaks up first and comes into the role of the accuser, he's lost against a solid argument from B, and probably also failing when the listener has enough time.

In all other cases, B destroys the credibility of A by refuting his argument, making it even more likely that the listener will search for further flaws in As argumentation.

Your point in bringing this up is to show people that it's pointless to start a trial unless you are sure to have safe and sound arguments, or an immensely stupid in the role of the accused.

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In the first case, B could be not responding because A's argument is irrefutable, not because it is childish. This format you used for the argument confuses me, however. B has the strongest position of being able to refute A's arguments each time, and he gets to end. It would appear to be more fair if A would have a chance to counter B's arguments.

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[quote name='Jester' date='28 February 2010 - 05:45 PM' timestamp='1267397146' post='55515']
In the first case, B could be not responding because A's argument is irrefutable, not because it is childish. This format you used for the argument confuses me, however. B has the strongest position of being able to refute A's arguments each time, and he gets to end. It would appear to be more fair if A would have a chance to counter B's arguments.
[/quote]


I don't think A and B is the same person or group/party in each question.

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[quote name='Yoshi' date='28 February 2010 - 03:52 PM' timestamp='1267397575' post='55517']
I don't think A and B is the same person or group/party in each question.
[/quote]

Ah, they were standalone examples. I thought the numbers were the rounds.

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[quote name='Jester' date='28 February 2010 - 11:45 PM' timestamp='1267397146' post='55515']
In the first case, B could be not responding because A's argument is irrefutable, not because it is childish. This format you used for the argument confuses me, however. B has the strongest position of being able to refute A's arguments each time, and he gets to end. It would appear to be more fair if A would have a chance to counter B's arguments.
[/quote]
It's not supposed to be chronological, sorry if it looks that way. It's also shortened a bit for simplicity. In reality there'd be a dozen 'rounds' wherein A and B both supply arguments and refute the others' arguments. A more realistic example might be: A has 10 arguments of which 8 are refuted, B has 11 arguments of which 10 are refuted.


@Burns: with the time I can see why you relate it to courts and accusers, but that's not what this is about. A is not the accuser nor the defendant. A and B are merely arguing mutually exclusive theses.
Your advise about not starting a trial without having safe and sound arguments is valid though.

@Orlando: often enough at the end of a debate a decision is made. More philosophical debates are more prone to resulting in A and/or B adapting their thesis, hopefully in such a way that they are both closer to the truth. Discussions about practical and immediate issues tend to result in a compromise or a decision wherein one party's ideas dominate. In the latter case there is a clear 'winner' of the debate, yet if the decision ultimately turns out to be the wrong one, everybody looses (money, time, ...).

*edit before i confuse people even more: Yoshi's right, it's separate examples*

Edited by Kafuuka
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Debates in MD are usually decided by how many people are on each side, and if that doesn't solve it, then it's WHO is on each side (veterans). Doesn't actually matter who's right or wrong, because once it's decided, nobody will keep arguing it unless they want to be yelled at by everyone else. If the argument is still going on in the community, Mur usually steps in and stops it, and everybody moves behind him. For example, Shape Shifter. Mur posted on phantasm's "Calling out Shape Shifter" topic, and is anybody talking about it or arguing the point anymore? No.

Another one: Elections. These are perfect examples. Did anyone bother to read the potential ruler's statements, or did you have a pre-formed opinion? Look at who was chosen: Lifeline, Peace, Firsanthalas, Yrthilian. All of them already had leadership within their lands, all of them were veterans and what are they doing now? Anything except being rulers. The kings haven't made any difference that I can see. Lifeline sets up his alt in Winds and waits for other people to talk to him, Peace left her position, Firs is doing his little shop thing and Yrth is hidden in GG, isolating himself from anyone except for forum and out of game communication, as far as I know. Does anybody care? No. Know why? Because life with the kings is just the same as life without them, only now there's someone to supply quest-makers with wishpoints. Think back, did you actually read statements of potential rulers, or did you just vote on who you thought was already "doing a good job"? Did you actually have an opinion, or were you just a fish in the stream, going along with the current?

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greetings! in my humble opinion, to a broader view, and to put it simply, to refute is to prove someone's argument is incorrect. so everytime B refutes A (or B refutes A or C or X) he wins that point. The one with most points, wins the debate. Of course this is if a judge/s is assigned to declare a winner. Some debates are open for the audience to decide who they think won.

If one cannot refute another then he may have suffered a heart attack or some sort of acute amnesia in the course of the argument. :P

ontopic: to add a point, debates are not about who is right or wrong but who has the greater power of persuasion. And the outcome may or may not resolve a thing. It is a mere tool, albeit an important one, that leads to a better decision-making.

off topic: @Pipstickz, I admit I may be another fish in the stream (not that you're pointing at me :)) but im trying to be a bigger fish that will hopefully knock a sail off a big ship. Just curious and not at all accusative, what have you done for MD dear sir? (no I dont know you and maybe I should do research to find out what contributions you have made for md but gee excuse my attempt for a shortcut to that information) :)

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I've never studied formal debate, but I don't believe you can determine who is winning simply by the number of arguments supporting a particular side. We're missing too much information, as you've said nothing about the logical soundness and validity of the statements being made. For instance, it's entirely possible that any number of the arguments contain logical fallacies. I believe that we would need more detail as to the logic being applied.

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I see several different opinions, which is nice in a debate. Some are quite close to my view, eg. Yoshi. The main difference with Yoshi is that he is a bit overenthusiastic in adding premises to the examples.

[i]1. A is "winning" because B cannot counteract said point whether it being perfectly valid, or just something that is beyond B's understanding/knowledge.[/i]
Exactly.
[i]2. This would depend on the arguments used, wherein B could have used a more valid argument, while A's arguments were more just BS. Either could be "winning".[/i]
Well, if A's arguments were BS, then they could be refuted by B and thus changing the example. Of course it is impossible for two mutually exclusive theses to be supported by valid arguments and valid premises and we expect that in the future enough arguments will be refuted until only one side is left standing.
[i]3. A is "winning" because even though B is able to refute one argument, he is back to 1. because it might be beyond B's understanding/knowledge.[/i]
Aye.
[i]4. Neither is winning and they are both at a stalemate. B might be ahead by a bit because the way I see it, if he was able to shoot down the arguments of A, then B is being more successful. How long that will last however is deemed uncertain.[/i]
I agree that it's a stalemate, and that it certainly [b]feels[/b] like B is doing better, yet merely refuting the opponent is not enough. Otherwise the straw hat man strategy would be a valid one. It certainly works often, but it is not a correct means.
[i]5. This would be the better outcome to 4 (in B's case anyways), and B would be "winning" at this point due to B shutting down A's arguments, and making a claim/argument of his own to which A has to respond to.[/i]
This is the one case in which B 'wins'. One problem with this is that if A has enough time to bury B with silly arguments, it might become impossible for B who has less time/people, to refute all of A's arguments.

'Winning' a debate obviously does not alter reality. At best it alters our perception of that reality in a way which is more close to the truth. Sometimes we will arrive at the wrong conclusion because the debater for that thesis was smarter.

@Pipsticks: what you are referring to are the emotional "debates" where people have issues or other stakes. We do have philosophical debates from time to time. Please don't hijack my thread to raise issues you have with kings etc. I did read their statements and I used both that knowledge and prior knowledge about the applicants to decide who I thought would do a good job. If this tread inspires one person to learn something about logic, then that is one more person who might know HOW to swim. For that person to decide whether they want to swim upstream or downstream is not what I want to discuss here.

@Magnus: you say that every argument launched results in either a point for A or B. But what if in group A a straw man is placed by B? That person would keep adding silly arguments which are easily defeated by B and thus increase B's score. You could try to quantify the quality of arguments, or to count only the arguments which still stand instead of those that are refuted. Yet in theory there cannot be an argument leading to thesis T and also one that leads to the opposite, ~T. One of the arguments (or premises) must be wrong. In practice you might not have the time to look for it. Your idea then makes a sensible decision strategy.

@Fenrir: define 'valid point'?
I use the concept of argument as I have seen it in logic: there are premises (axioms or facts) and there are set rules of inference. An argument is a series of inferences that starts at a set of premises and derives from them a thesis. Which then forms a new premise from which other theses might be derived. In logic it's usually noted as:
premises: A, B, A & B -> C
argument:
A premise
B premise
A & B combination
A & B -> C premise
C Modus ponens
The options for refuting C are then limited to denying A or B or A & B -> C or the logic system used (yes there are multiple logics, the most common is binary logic, but ternary logic with values true, false and unkown isn't that hard to imagine, or think about statistics which uses real values from zero to 1)

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I still feel that we're making some assumptions here, which is generally a no-no in logical debate. Presuppositions should be declared and accepted by all parties before they are considered as valid.

[quote name='Kafuuka' date='01 March 2010 - 11:22 AM' timestamp='1267460564' post='55573']
[i]1. A is "winning" because B cannot counteract said point whether it being perfectly valid, or just something that is beyond B's understanding/knowledge.[/i]
Exactly.[/quote]
We're assuming that since B did not answer that he could not answer. Perhaps the argument didn't warrant a response. For instance, what if it were so blatantly ridiculous that to dignify it with a rebuttal would be to suffer some moral loss of character? You've likely heard the quote: "Never argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."

[quote][i]2. This would depend on the arguments used, wherein B could have used a more valid argument, while A's arguments were more just BS. Either could be "winning".[/i]
Well, if A's arguments were BS, then they could be refuted by B and thus changing the example. Of course it is impossible for two mutually exclusive theses to be supported by valid arguments and valid premises and we expect that in the future enough arguments will be refuted until only one side is left standing.[/quote]
Here I agree with Yoshi (or he agrees with me) that either could be winning. A could have offered one statement which was refuted followed by another that could not be. However, B could have debunked both arguments with a single claim. There isn't enough detail to draw a solid conclusion.

[quote][i]3. A is "winning" because even though B is able to refute one argument, he is back to 1. because it might be beyond B's understanding/knowledge.[/i]
Aye. [/quote]
Here we again assume that the arguments leveled by A were independent. It could very well be the case that his first was a straw man upon which the second relied. If B were to refute the first, both would crumble.


[quote][i]4. Neither is winning and they are both at a stalemate. B might be ahead by a bit because the way I see it, if he was able to shoot down the arguments of A, then B is being more successful. How long that will last however is deemed uncertain.[/i]
I agree that it's a stalemate, and that it certainly [b]feels[/b] like B is doing better, yet merely refuting the opponent is not enough. Otherwise the straw hat man strategy would be a valid one. It certainly works often, but it is not a correct means.[/quote]
I don't know about this, though it seems to be the most clear cut example. Making a refutation isn't the same as making a claim. Sure, B has been able to deny the advances of A to this point, but he hasn't necessarily declared his own position in the debate. I don't know that you can win a debate without ever drawing a contrary conclusion. Basically, I don't know that falsifying claims without proving any of your own makes you the winner of a debate.


[quote][i]5. This would be the better outcome to 4 (in B's case anyways), and B would be "winning" at this point due to B shutting down A's arguments, and making a claim/argument of his own to which A has to respond to.[/i]
This is the one case in which B 'wins'. One problem with this is that if A has enough time to bury B with silly arguments, it might become impossible for B who has less time/people, to refute all of A's arguments.
[/quote]
This scenario cleans up the error in the previous (4th) example. At least B has now made a claim and therefore declared his own position. Granted that A was given the opportunity to form a rebuttal and could not do so, I would agree that B has won in this case.

Edited by Malaikat Maut
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