COM/THE 204: Argumentation and Debate

Dr. Marcus Paroske

Course Objectives

This class will give you an introduction to the principles of public argumentation and their application in formal debate contexts. Together, we will immerse ourselves in an important political issue, focusing on gathering information and forming arguments. Then, we will test those arguments through the mechanism of in-class debate.

At the end of the semester you should have both an expert's knowledge of an important issue as well as the skills necessary to learn more about other issues. You will also have increased confidence in your ability to articulate and defend your opinions. These skills are vital for an engaged citizen, and are key for the next generation of leaders. 

We will also cover the material necessary to complete the sections of the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification in Speech that are relevant to argumentation and debate. These include "recognizing the characteristics of different debate formats (e.g., traditional, cross-examination, Lincoln-Douglas); identifying elements of debate (e.g., proposition, burdon of proof, issues, presumption); recognizing the importance of ethics; applying effective reasoning; using strategies for constructing a logical argument (e.g., induction, deduction); evaluating the effectiveness of various types of evidence in supporting a proposition; and identifying fallacies in an argument." --Michigan Test for Teacher Certification Study Guide

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will know the types of evidence and tests of their quality though and exam and class discussion
  • Students will know the differences between inductive and deductive arguments and the common problems associated with utilizing them through an exam and class discussion. 
  • Students will be able to apply concepts of argumentation in a performed debate.

--Syllabus for COM/THE 204 Argumentation and Debate, 2014.

The Art of Debate: Never Lose and Argument Again

Course Textbook

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