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June 29, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Stephen Weil on Impact Calculus and Impact Comparison

Impact Comparison Lecture 1 (Stephen Weil at the Emory National Debate Institute)

Impact Comparison Lecture 2: (Stephen Weil at the Emory National Debate Institute)

Here are the Georgetown Debate Seminar/Georgetown Debate Institute lectures on impact comparison and impact calculus.

Reflection Questions on Impact Calculus and Impact Comparison:
• Which of these lectures is more important?
• Which of these lectures is most helpful?
• Which section is the most helpful?
• What are the most important (or at least key) points made?

My Summary of Lecture 2 on Impact Comparison:

I. Reflections on Nuclear War versus Global warming: which is the larger impact?

II. Specific ways to do Impact Comparison (this happens at about 7 minutes):
1) Subsume/One impact is a subset of the other

2) Probability (probability of escalation–keep it conceptually separate)
a) Structural impacts (effects the likelihood more broadly) (US hegemony is probably one of these actually–partially due to lack of specificity) (general resource conflicts from warming)
b) Event based Impacts
c) Systemic Impacts (poverty, structural violence, human rights impact in Cuba, racism, sexism, etc..). Its definitely happening now–its built into the system. Poverty is 100%.

Explanation of the 3 types of Probability versus Timeframe (this flip flops).

Explanation of Hegemony versus proliferation

Those are the 3 main categories of comparison. (27 minutes or so).

Why we should prefer X over being distracted by Y.

Some claims aren’t worth making–human rights outweigh nuclear war. Don’t force yourself to go through the 3 list. Find the point of comparison that you are best and focus on it. (ie Warming outweighs India/Pakistan on timeframe–focus on timeframe isn’t important). Focus on where you are the strongest–and focus.

4) Categories of Interactions. Case turns the disad. Disad turns the case.
(For instance, Economic decline undermines hegemony” describes interactivity).
Pick 2 random impacts–explain interaction
• hegemony & economy lots of interactivity
• hegemony prevents escalation–solves your impact

Magnitude, Timeframe, Probability, Interactivity. (32 minutes)

This frames the debate—it helps you. Sets a lower burden.

5. Why? Import? Significance?
Accessing their impact = super important. Diversity of those arguments–3 or 4 is nice. Don’t force it for the sake of having more arguments.

6. Key distinction or caveat:
Distinction: disad turns the case VS. status quo solves the case. The uniqueness for your disad can solve the case. Solve it versus make it worse. Ultimately, Turns the case is an aff doesn’t solve argument. Solvency takeout to the aff.

7. Big picture ways of framing why impacts matter.
• Why is this important: try or die. (Try or die, try or die, try or die). More leveraged by the affirmative.

8. What direction is the status quo going???? (“Facts”/Context & Momentum). Explanation of comparative advantage. 1% chance–try or die. Even if probability of solving is low. Super bad things are going to happen–we should at least try to solve. (46 minutes)

* I wonder in the ways in which you think about structural impacts become less uniqueness driven (or uniqueness as an argument plays less of a role–its more a linear type impact as Stephen)
** Also impacts and solvency have probabilities.
*** Abstraction versus historical example (examples when it happened, counter examples when it didn’t)
**** Setting up other kinds of important ways to compare. Ethics, value to life, inevitability, and other ways you are making into etc… Or perhaps even methodological or assumptive reasons.
***** Structural impacts make uniqueness irrelevant. Its either you + or – it. Momentum shouldn’t matter.


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