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April 23, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Thinking about topicality theory and winning the standards debate

There are 3 types of arguments here:
1. their standards are bad
2. our standards are good
3. our standards are comparatively better than their standards *****

Its probably easier to create arguments in #1 & #2 (ie via brainstorming). However, #3 is where you want to focus in terms of winning arguments.

A couple of considerations:
1. Provide a filter which should apply.
• In terms of choosing and providing reasons for your filter–think about it in the academic context….think about it in the policy context….and perhaps the legal context–what standard they would use.
• Also, in terms of choosing your filter (you can sometimes choose multiples)–but think about the specific contexts of the resolution–as well as how it effects actual debates.
• Also, you want to prioritize the hierarchy of standards…..how all other standards aren’t meaningful in a world without your standards. (at least ideally)

Look at the impact comparison lecture from Georgetown–it provides this notion of filtering–although in the impact comparison area. Incredibly, incredibly important.
There was a topicality theory lecture from Berkeley a couple years ago–it might be on their vimeo channel (My guess is its no longer on the wiki)–this lecture talks about a number of strategic options. Ultimately, its going to boil down to creating criteria/filter/hierarchies from your knowledge base as they apply to the debate resolution. Thinking through these conflicts for yourself is the best answer.

Additional options for solving this issue:
1. Go through the best of your old topicality files–see what the core arguments on each side are. (my guess these will be simple–but you’re team may have done decent work on this…or you may otherwise have decent theory on this question). Thats what I did with some Michigan, Dartmouth & a number of other camp files…..so I would better understand the topicality debate.
2. Go through theory files which have prioritization & filtering & hierarchicalization applied–this perhaps will help as a model.

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