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14 December 2005

Preparing for Worlds 7: Rebuttal

Preparing for Worlds Post 7: Rebuttal
This comes from the same handout I took the "debating on first principles" post from. I used it for a quick prep with some worlds teams a couple of years ago but now I am not sure where I pulled all the info from. I'm sure I didn't write most of it but I don't know where it came from. Probably a mailing list somewhere. Apologies to the person who did write it for not crediting them. UPDATE: After some comments and e-mails I think the bulk of this came from Dan Neidle's guide from the British Debate mailing list. Dan was a Worlds finalist so he knows what he is talking about.

Tomorrow: Extensions


- Must be logical
- Must be relevant
- Must be prompt

Do not rebut the example, attack the very premise of the argument of the other side. Only then contrary examples can be supplemented.

It is advisable to provide multiple rebuttals to each argument of the other side.
Rebuttals should also be in conformity with your case.
Rebut the rebuttals of your case by the other side in order to defend your case.
Arguments can be factually, morally or logically flawed, they may be misinterpretations and they may also be unimportant or irrelevant. A team may also contradict one another or fail to complete the tasks they set themselves

1. Ask yourself how the other side have approached the case, is their methodology flawed (this will mainly be the case in the debates like example 3 in 5.2.2).
2. Consider what tasks the other side set themselves (if any) and whether they have in fact addressed these.
3. Consider what the general emphasis of the case is and what assumptions it makes, try to refute these.
4. Take the main arguments and do the same thing. It is not worth repeating a piece of rebuttal that has been used by someone else already, but you can refer to it to show that the argument has not stood up. It is not necessary to correct every example used. You won’t have time and your aim is to show the other side’s case to be flawed in the key areas, not to be a smarty-pants. It may be useful to think about how you would start rebutting the cases outlined in 5.2.2

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