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October 25, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Alternative causalities as part of the negative case debate arsenal

Alternative causality is in some ways very similar to a uniqueness argument. In fact you might say the alternative causality is a uniqueness argument by another name (ie typically used by the negative against advantages, while uniqueness is typically used against disads). Certainly you can draw out distinctions….but they are rather similar.

However, while alternative causalities are often labeled or spun as 100% solvency takeouts…..they are rarely so.

What makes a good alternative causality argument:

1. Credible. Warranted OR with Multiple alternative causalities.
2. Depth/degree of change (ie this is THE root cause or twice as important than aff ability to solve–type claims). Or its a systemic or cyclical problem (ie not going away)
3. Your other positions in the debate interact with it (ie the aff makes it worse). I wouldn’t make this a pre-condition–it just helps. Whenever I read an alt cause in a file….how does this interact with our strategy? how can I make it interact with our strategy?

1. Significantly mitigates
2. forces or prompts the aff to read evidence in the 2ac which creates a time tradeoff (or complicates an already difficult case debate for the aff)

One example might be a card by a professor at Harvard testifying before congress that there are 17 core components to competitiveness. Depending on what the aff evidence on competitiveness indicates….this seems to be fairly devastating at a minimum at first glace. However, their impact will still have some weight….given the high degree of impact.

In some cases it may be possible to re-purpose an alternative causality as the basis of an advantage counterplan.


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