Debate is contention in argument; dispute, controversy; discussion; esp. the discussion of questions of public interest in Parliament or in any assembly.
Debate is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than deductive reasoning, which only examines whether a conclusion is a consequence of premisses, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case, or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion. Though logical consistency, factual accuracy and some degree of emotional appeal to the audience are important elements of the art of persuasion, in debating, one side often prevails over the other side by presenting a superior "context" and/or framework of the issue, which is far more subtle and strategic. The outcome of a debate depends upon consensus or some formal way of reaching a resolution, rather than the objective facts as such. In a formal debating contest, there are rules for participants to discuss and decide on differences, within a framework defining how they will interact.
Debating is commonly carried out in many assemblies of various types to discuss matters and to make resolutions about action to be taken, often by a vote. Deliberative bodies such as parliaments, legislative assemblies, and meetings of all sorts engage in debates. In particular, in parliamentary democracies a legislature debates and decides on new laws. Formal debates between candidates for elected office, such as the leaders debates and the U.S. presidential election debates, are sometimes held in democracies. Debating is also carried out for educational and recreational purposes, usually associated with educational establishments. The major goal of the study of debate as a method or art is to develop the ability to debate rationally from either position with equal ease.
Informal debate is a common occurrence, the quality and depth of a debate improves with knowledge and skill of its participants as debaters. The outcome of a contest may be decided by audience vote, by judges, or by some combination of the two.
Debates are often organized for purely competitive purposes.
Famous quotes containing the word debate:
“Abject flattery and indiscriminate assentation degrade, as much as indiscriminate contradiction and noisy debate disgust. But a modest assertion of ones own opinion, and a complaisant acquiescence in other peoples, preserve dignity.”
—Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (16941773)
“A great deal of unnecessary worry is indulged in by theatregoers trying to understand what Bernard Shaw means. They are not satisfied to listen to a pleasantly written scene in which three or four clever people say clever things, but they need to purse their lips and scowl a little and debate as to whether Shaw meant the lines to be an attack on monogamy as an institution or a plea for manual training in the public school system.”
—Robert Benchley (18891945)
“My first debate in high schoolResolved: Girls are no goodand I won!”
—Donald Freed, U.S. screenwriter, and Arnold M. Stone. Robert Altman. Richard Nixon (Philip Baker Hall)