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DiamondLouisXIV

a permutation of definitions?

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So, I recently came up with a theory argument I would like to start running during my school debates. Consider the following scenario: Pro argues under the resolution 'reduce government surveillance' that the US should ban NSA data mining. Con comes up and says that surveillance must be observation by a human being, data mining determines information based solely on algorithms which then alert the NSA and therefore they aren't actually banning human observation. pro refutes by giving a counter definition, that surveillance is the acquisition of nonpublic information.

My argument, as con, is that this response isn't sufficient. They have given another definition however, is this not a false dichotomy? Just because we read two separate definitions doesn't mean they are in conflict, they could both be correct. So I would argue that they aren't following the resolution. Even if surveillance is the acquisition of non-public information, it is (when combined) the acquisition of non-public information through human (and only human) observation. There is nothing distinctly creating a conflict or contradiction between the two definitions...or in other words, the two are not mutually exclusive and therefore, until the affirmative shows you why our definition is wrong, the judge should assume they are two parts of the same definition and they arent meeting the second portion.

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So, I recently came up with a theory argument I would like to start running during my school debates. Consider the following scenario: Pro argues under the resolution 'reduce government surveillance' that the US should ban NSA data mining. Con comes up and says that surveillance must be observation by a human being, data mining determines information based solely on algorithms which then alert the NSA and therefore they aren't actually banning human observation. pro refutes by giving a counter definition, that surveillance is the acquisition of nonpublic information.

 

My argument, as con, is that this response isn't sufficient. They have given another definition however, is this not a false dichotomy? Just because we read two separate definitions doesn't mean they are in conflict, they could both be correct. So I would argue that they aren't following the resolution. Even if surveillance is the acquisition of non-public information, it is (when combined) the acquisition of non-public information through human (and only human) observation. There is nothing distinctly creating a conflict or contradiction between the two definitions...or in other words, the two are not mutually exclusive and therefore, until the affirmative shows you why our definition is wrong, the judge should assume they are two parts of the same definition and they arent meeting the second portion.

I feel like at this point, even judges who default to competing interps, reasonability seems more than sensible. 

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So, I recently came up with a theory argument I would like to start running during my school debates. Consider the following scenario: Pro argues under the resolution 'reduce government surveillance' that the US should ban NSA data mining. Con comes up and says that surveillance must be observation by a human being, data mining determines information based solely on algorithms which then alert the NSA and therefore they aren't actually banning human observation. pro refutes by giving a counter definition, that surveillance is the acquisition of nonpublic information.

 

My argument, as con, is that this response isn't sufficient. They have given another definition however, is this not a false dichotomy? Just because we read two separate definitions doesn't mean they are in conflict, they could both be correct. So I would argue that they aren't following the resolution. Even if surveillance is the acquisition of non-public information, it is (when combined) the acquisition of non-public information through human (and only human) observation. There is nothing distinctly creating a conflict or contradiction between the two definitions...or in other words, the two are not mutually exclusive and therefore, until the affirmative shows you why our definition is wrong, the judge should assume they are two parts of the same definition and they arent meeting the second portion.

Yes this is a negative "permutation" argument when reading Topicality. It indicates that the affirmatives interpretation should be combined with the negative interpretation as long as they don't conflict, such that the aff still doesn't meet it. This is only advisable in some circumstances I think, and can be strategic, but can also link you into some arguments about overlimiting the topic. Also, there's no way to prove a definition wrong on-face; they'll (hopefully) just try to beat you on reasonability over competing interpretations and arguments about why you overlimit the topic. 

Edited by CapitalismIsNotCool
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Yes this is a negative "permutation" argument when reading Topicality. It indicates that the affirmatives interpretation should be combined with the negative interpretation as long as they don't conflict, such that the aff still doesn't meet it. This is only advisable in some circumstances I think, and can be strategic, but can also link you into some arguments about overlimiting the topic. Also, there's no way to prove a definition wrong on-face; they'll (hopefully) just try to beat you on reasonability over competing interpretations and arguments about why you overlimit the topic. 

oh ok, so this is already kind of a thing?

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yes, I'm pretty sure. Or at least it's a thing in college debate that's starting to trickle down to HS, as does everything. 

I haven't seen anyone in college debates do this...

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I haven't seen anyone in college debates do this...

Idk, one of our lab leaders (Antonucci I think) told us about this as a potential idea when going for T/something that happened in college. I could be wrong tho. 

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Idk, one of our lab leaders (Antonucci I think) told us about this as a potential idea when going for T/something that happened in college. I could be wrong tho. 

so you agree with the argument?

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It's a terrible argument.  On-face.  Definitions are necessarily complete, hence definitions.  It's inherent in what the word 'definition' means, and the purpose it's intended to fill.  An incomplete definition is a contradiction in terms.

 

The appropriate way to treat multiple definitions is inclusive OR, not AND.  

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It's a terrible argument.  On-face.  Definitions are necessarily complete, hence definitions.  It's inherent in what the word 'definition' means, and the purpose it's intended to fill.  An incomplete definition is a contradiction in terms.

 

The appropriate way to treat multiple definitions is inclusive OR, not AND.  

 

Only one source in the entire world is the "correct" one about any particular topic to you by your logic. 

 

Sounds pretty Oedipal to me. 

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It's a terrible argument.  On-face.  Definitions are necessarily complete, hence definitions.  It's inherent in what the word 'definition' means, and the purpose it's intended to fill.  An incomplete definition is a contradiction in terms.

 

The appropriate way to treat multiple definitions is inclusive OR, not AND.  

I don't think its a terrible argument.

 

Just because you say Word has quality W, X, Y, it does not logically follow that Word does Not have quality Z.

Edited by DiamondLouisXIV
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Only one source in the entire world is the "correct" one about any particular topic to you by your logic. 

Sounds pretty Oedipal to me.

 

Only one definition being correct is kind of the point of competing interps on topicality soooo...

 

Also, you might want to double check what "Oedipal" means.

Side note, T isn't fascist and that argument is silly.

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Permutations on T are actually pretty common (and strategic) when the 2AC's counter-interpretation is a non-sequitor.  In the example you gave, surveillance as done by humans and surveillance as acquisition of non-public information isn't mutually exclusive and a combination of both interpretations would a stronger limit on the topic.  Unless the affirmative has a reason why the 1NC interpretation is bad (ie, a DA to the permutation), then they are in a rough spot.

 

Obviously, if the interpretation is "surveillance doesn't include non-humans" and the 2AC says "surveillance does include humans" then the permutation argument makes no sense.

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Only one source in the entire world is the "correct" one about any particular topic to you by your logic. 

 

Sounds pretty Oedipal to me. 

 

No, all sources are correct.  What about inclusive OR wasn't clear?  Each definition is legitimate and complete on its own, by definition of definition.

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No, all sources are correct.  What about inclusive OR wasn't clear?  Each definition is legitimate and complete on its own, by definition of definition.

Literally the entire thread a few days ago you were trying to define "domestic surveillance" by combining 1 definition of domestic and 1 definition of surveillance, and were trying to say that my attempt to define "domestic surveillance" as an all encompassing category was bad. Double standard?

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Literally the entire thread a few days ago you were trying to define "domestic surveillance" by combining 1 definition of domestic and 1 definition of surveillance, and were trying to say that my attempt to define "domestic surveillance" as an all encompassing category was bad. Double standard?

 

*facepalm*

 

Let's unpack this.

 

(1) Defining a joint term by defining its individual words is different than trying to join two separate definitions of the same word as the definition of that word.  The former is appropriate and expected, the latter is inappropriate and leads to ridiculous things.

 

(A) Example: 

Dike: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dike

1. an embankment for controlling or holding back the waters of the sea or a river

2. a ditch

...

7. Geology

 

  1. a long, narrow, cross-cutting mass of igneous rock intruded into fissure in older rock.

The argument being made by the OP is that we should combine these with AND where they don't contradict.  Well, an embankment and a ditch are obviously a contradiction, so we'll skip that, but 1 and 7a don't contradict.  Should we hold a dike to only be 'a long, narrow, cross-cutting mass of igneous rock intruded into a fissure in older rock when functioning as an embankment for controlling or holding back the waters of the sea or a river'?  That's simply ridiculous on face.  The word "dike" means each of those things separately.  1 OR 7, not 1 AND 7.

 

(B ) Example:

Russian Embassy.  In order to know what this is, we need to define both "Russian" and "Embassy".  Two different words used together to refer to one thing are the joint definitions of their respective words.  AND is appropriate in this case.  This is not the situation the OP is talking about.

 

© If we had two words each with multiple meanings, then the paired usage has all possible combinations of those meanings as its possible joint meaning, constrained by context alone.

 

Example: "good set".  According to dictionary.com, 'good' has 56 definitions, and 'set' has 119.  So long as the definition of good and the definition of set create a reasonable meaning, it is an acceptable joint definition.

 

So, to give some examples:

Good Set: a high quality (good) stage for filming (set)

Good Set: genuine (not counterfeit) group of stamps forming a complete series (set)

Good set: the attractive (good) fit (set) of a clothing article 

Good set: dependable (good) TV (set)

Good set: suitable (good) width of type style (set)

Good set: well-played (good) tennis game (set)

 

And so on.  The joint use of the words "good set" can legitimately mean all those things and likely *dozens more*. 

 

What you can't do is require the combination of multiple meanings of one of those words as the singular definition.  It makes little sense to demand 'set' mean the angle between alternating gears that are suitable for planting, even though the two components are independent definitions.  

 

(2) You clearly don't understand inclusive OR.  That means all definitions of a term are true, but separately.  So if I have something in front of me, X, the statement 'X is a dike' is true IF X is an embankment holding back water OR X is a ditch OR X is an igneous intrusion. (And more things beside - the dictionary.com listing doesn't even have all the definitions).  Each definition is complete on its own.

 

(3) What I was arguing on the other thread was that it was inappropriate to exclude other definitions, because all definitions are legitimate.  Inclusive OR.  You wanted to exclude other definitions; that act to say 'only my preferred definition is true' was the problem.  Hence my claim above "all sources are true".  

 

There's absolutely no double standard here.  Each definition of a word is a legitimate use of the word.  No definition should be excluded.  At the same time, you can't demand we combine separate definitions for one word - they are independent of each other, and each definition fully encompasses a legitimate use of the word on its own.

 

If a given definition of a word is not complete, it is not a definition.  By definition.  That doesn't exclude alternate definitions (which are themselves complete).  One definition does not completely encompass a word, but it does completely encompass the sense of the word that definition presents.

 

I can't believe I had to spell this out so explicitly.

Edited by Squirrelloid

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Permutations on T are actually pretty common (and strategic) when the 2AC's counter-interpretation is a non-sequitor.  In the example you gave, surveillance as done by humans and surveillance as acquisition of non-public information isn't mutually exclusive and a combination of both interpretations would a stronger limit on the topic.  Unless the affirmative has a reason why the 1NC interpretation is bad (ie, a DA to the permutation), then they are in a rough spot.

 

Obviously, if the interpretation is "surveillance doesn't include non-humans" and the 2AC says "surveillance does include humans" then the permutation argument makes no sense.

//thread

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