Simple explanation of a kritik of a resolution and examples

Author: armoredcat ,

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  • armoredcat
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    I explicitly outlaw kritiks in all of my debates because I thought that they were a form of semantics, and they seem bad and non-constructive, although I do not know what they are. Can someone give a simple explanation and examples of a kritik?
  • bsh1
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    --> @armoredcat
    I'm not sure I'd call them an issue of semantics. K's typically challenge an assumption in the resolution. So, if the topic were, "Nature is good," it might be a K to argue that nature or goodness do not exist. Here's a good article: https://debate.uvm.edu/NFL/rostrumlib/cxkbennett0496.pdf
  • SupaDudz
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    Krtiks are powerhouses in my state. Typically judges tend to lean liberal and these judges favor Feminism Ks, Biggot Ks, yet they lean away toward NeoLib Ks and important DAs which is stupid as someone who doesn't run a T which can build offcase. 
  • David
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    Example if the resolution is “Beethoven was the best composer of all time” a k might be “There’s no objective way of proving someone is best therefore the resolution is false.” 

  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @SupaDudz
    That's what the kritik basically is. It has a really short history in debate, and was introduced by people who, basically, didn't want to debate as it is traditionally understood (debate is an art which requires your to restrain your adovacy within certain parameters; the whole concept of the kritik is that those parameters can be challenged). This changes the debate from a contest of rhetoric with defined terms into one in which the judges are judging the actual ideas debated themselves instead of the skill with which they are defended/attacked. Bias is always a problem in judging debates, but kritiks kick that door open way wider than it would otherwise stand by allowing judges to consider arguments outside of the debate's original limits. It also impoverishes the topics which can be debated by abolishing their specificity. An example is the viral video where the debate 'champions' turn the topic of presidential powers in a time of war into an incoherent debate about racial justice.
  • SupaDudz
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    Because everyone from Illinois is lazy and don't want to play by the rules of debate and having stupid Ks like this one

    Greek Supremacy K(this says that the plan is ignorant to Greece and we are doing wrong by ignoring Greece as it is given up so much)

    They make up a stupid alt is if we don't focus on Greece they will start war with Turkey, and alt to supremacy of Greece is world peace and judge basically just votes IIIIMMMMMMPPPPPPAAAAACCCCTTTTTT of the K outweighs your argument and I am like R U SMOKING CRACK
  • SupaDudz
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    I have run into my share of Stupid K arguments. I even have a file for all of the stupid ones.

    I only run Ks that empirically win or the alt actually exists and has impact.
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @SupaDudz
    Its absurd, but that's how the left generally functions politically and culturally. They focus on institutional capture, then change the rules once they're in power. The new rules filter out any voices but those on the left and restricts conservatives to a 'Washington Generals' role. It's a good short game, but as we're seeing nowadays with media and higher education, they go too far and completely trash the reputations of the the institutions under their control. This kritik nonsense is the perfect example of that. Every normal person sees it as absurd, but because the structural changes have trapped them in an echo chamber they'll just continue to drive debate into the ground until no neutral party takes it seriously. Since the value of the institution lies in its ability to convince/indoctrinate the uninitiated, any utility that it had to the left is then destroyed.
  • SupaDudz
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    Agreed 100%
  • armoredcat
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    So if I said, "I want to get rid of this but not that" and someone said "Well if you want to get rid of this why not that if that is worse than this?" that would not be a kritik?
  • bsh1
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    +1

    I had never really considered the idea that K's might be impoverishing the number of topics of debate.

  • bsh1
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    --> @armoredcat
    So if I said, "I want to get rid of this but not that" and someone said "Well if you want to get rid of this why not that if that is worse than this?" that would not be a kritik?
    So, if you're saying:

    You: Delete X, Keep Z
    Them: Delete X, Delete Z

    Then, their argument is not a kritik per se...it's more like turning your argument into some kind of disad, because the natural consequence of your position would be to also delete Z (either that, or exposing hypocrisy in your position).

  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @bsh1
    I also think it's also really, really unfair to the other side in the debate. I was by far the laziest person on my high school debate team, but I know that a lot of people put a huge amount of effort into preparation, compiling statistics, sources, materials to reference, coming up with arguments in advance. All of that preparatory work is done under the assumption that the debate topic would frame the discussion, and if that frame is taken away via kritik then all of that research and hard work goes out the window. This is less of a problem with internet debate, but when it comes to live debate the prevalence of kritiks discourages preparation and research.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    Actually, if you truly understand what differentiates the best from the good, you'd see that the best would prepare for the K on top of preparing for no K at all.

  • Smithereens
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    It's always good to establish what both opponents are expected to argue for in your introduction. That way your opponent can't challenge the debate's underlying assumptions. I don't think you should explicitly outlaw kritiks in your debates because it might be ambiguous when a fundamental challenge to the debate's assumptions are warranted or not. Just specifying the case that your opponent must represent is enough.

    For example: Topic is "Automation is a significant threat to future prosperity." To prevent any underhanded attempts to render your argument a non-debate, you could say "Con must show that we stand to lose prosperity as a direct result of automation" in your description. This would stop Con from arguing "We were never prosperous, thus there is no propserity that automation can threaten."
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @David
    Your example is counterintuitive, because the resolution is actually absurd and the counter argument is logical.
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @RationalMadman
    I mean, if you read the thread or grasped the central concept you would realize that it's impossible to prepare for all kritiks. If someone is debating presidential war powers, they would need to prepare for an infinite number of arguments. They would need to prepare for the 'racial justice' kritik to which they were subjected, or a criticism of republican government from a strict monarchist, from a totalitarian communist, from a fascist, from an anarcho-primitivist view. They would need to prepare against the arguments for pacifism, both secular and religious arguments. Then they would need to be familiar with multiple pacifist religions, from Quakerism to Jainism. And all of these possible lines of attacks are still less absurd than the one which actually happened in an actual debate championship: that of racial justice. Open things up that wide, and the possibilities are endless. It's possible to link just about anything to the topic, and you'll end up being blindsided by arguments that have nothing to do with the subject at all.

  • RationalMadman
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    It's not endless and not impossible at all. You work out the ones that are a thewat and come up with standard reflex comments to give to the stupid Kritiks that require the kritiker to prove so much if their own antivaluesystem that they drnoe in their own KRITIK. As for the more solid kritiks preapre for them even include them in your speech and say but that's wrong due to this etc
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @RationalMadman
    It's painfully obvious that you've never competently prepared for a debate before in your life.

  • RationalMadman
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    Ad hominem eh? I was one of the best round 3 speakers on my school's debate team from the second year I was on the team to the end. People feared me.
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @RationalMadman
    An ad hominen is an argument (a fallacious argument). My statement wasn't an argument, it was an observation, albeit an unflattering one. If I had said 'RM is bad at debate, so he's wrong about kritiks', that would be an ad hominem. I'm saying that your inability to wrap your head around this pernicious aspects of kritiks indicates that you don't know much about debate preparation. My argument was already made beforehand, and still stands.

    You would think that being able to parse basic logic would come more easily to a feared debater.

  • RationalMadman
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    Except that the only thing deciding which of us has wrapped our head the correct way around the topic is our ability to articulate why the other is wrong. I fully have done so, you have resorted to 'it's obvious you've never done it'.
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @RationalMadman
    That ability is judged by a third party observer, and I'm confident enough at this point to leave it at that. I'm sure that your self-aggrandisement will serve its standard comic relief purposes, so this hasn't been a complete loss.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @ResurgetExFavilla
    the difference between us is you'd sooner break me down than aggrandise yourself. I didn't break anyone down, I said the best debater will prep for more. More to a game makes it harder, but if you're really that obsessed with being the best official live debater, you'd put in the time and effort.