The Art of Debate

Watch The Art of Debate

  • 2017
  • 1 Season

The Art of Debate, a highly informative course from the Great Courses Signature Collection, showcases the many facets of the art of debate through the insightful teachings of Jarrod Atchison. Aimed at anyone seeking to improve their public speaking or debating skills or develop a greater appreciation for the art of rhetoric, this course provides an in-depth analysis of the rhetorical strategies and techniques underlying successful debates.

Atchison, a highly experienced speech and debate coach with nearly twenty years of experience in the field, is the perfect guide for this journey into the art of debate. His expertise and experience are on full display in this course, as he draws upon a broad range of historical and contemporary examples to illustrate the various strategies and techniques essential to successful debates.

The Art of Debate is structured as a comprehensive, 24-lecture course packed with insights and advice on how to be a more effective debater. Atchison begins the course by defining what exactly a debate is and the different types of debate one might encounter. He then proceeds to delve deeper into the essentials of argumentation, including logical fallacies, persuasion techniques, and the importance of evidence in constructing a compelling argument.

Throughout the course, Atchison employs a variety of teaching methods to help students learn and retain the material. For example, he frequently employs visual aids like PowerPoint presentations, charts, and diagrams to help illustrate his points. He also makes effective use of hypothetical debates and sample arguments to help students see how the techniques he teaches might be applied in practice.

In addition to presenting a broad range of conceptual material, Atchison also provides more practical advice on how to prepare for a debate. He offers tips on how to research potential arguments, develop a toolkit of persuasive strategies, practice public speaking, and sound credible and authoritative when making one's case.

Perhaps most importantly, Atchison emphasizes the importance of developing one's own style of debate that is true to one's personality and strengths. While there are certainly some universal principles of effective debate - such as employing evidence, being aware of logical fallacies, and structuring a convincing argument - he stresses that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to debate. Instead, he encourages students to experiment with various approaches and techniques to find what works best for them.

Overall, The Art of Debate is a highly engaging and informative course that offers a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of effective debate. Whether you're looking to improve your public speaking skills, develop a greater appreciation for the art of rhetoric, or simply better understand how debates are won and lost, this course is a must-watch. With Jarrod Atchison as your guide, you'll be well on your way to becoming a more effective debater in no time.

The Art of Debate is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on March 3, 2017.

The Art of Debate
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Winning the Cocktail Party
24. Winning the Cocktail Party
March 3, 2017
Formal debates have clear structures, but we often debate ideas in informal settings - unpredictable, complicated, ambiguous conversations with blurred lines between judges and participants. Conclude your course with a few handy tips for how to win a debate at a cocktail party - and when to bow out of the discussion.
Judging Debates: The Art of the Decision
23. Judging Debates: The Art of the Decision
March 3, 2017
Debates aid decision-making, and you may one day find yourself in the role of a judge needing to make the big decision. Survey the best way to communicate your reasons for a decision, starting with a short thesis statement followed by an explanation of your reasoning. As an example, consider a nonprofit faced with a difficult business decision.
Line-by-Line Refutation
22. Line-by-Line Refutation
March 3, 2017
Conclude your study of advanced debate techniques with a survey of line-by-line refutation. First, learn how to map out the "flow" of a debate using shorthand. By distilling key ideas, you will be well prepared to respond to all points. Try to map out the "flow" of a test case here.
Conditional Argumentation
21. Conditional Argumentation
March 3, 2017
Although they are two separate fields, the art of debate sometimes employs formal logic with great success. In this lecture, see how "conditional argumentation," a way of employing if-then statements to argue a point, lets you acknowledge a point without agreeing to it - a line of argument that pairs well with "even-if" arguments.
The Power of Concessions
20. The Power of Concessions
March 3, 2017
The best debaters understand the need for strategic flexibility, and concessions are one of the most powerful strategic moves in the playbook. As you will find out in this lecture, conceding points allows you to focus on your best arguments, or get out of a difficult spot, or even set a trap for your opponent.
Debate Jujitsu: Flipping the Warrant
19. Debate Jujitsu: Flipping the Warrant
March 3, 2017
In many great debates, there is a devastating moment where one side clearly out-maneuvers the other. "Flipping the warrant," which requires the highest level of analytic argument, allows you to destroy your opponent's argument by showing that their proposal, rather than solving a problem, will actually make things worse.
18. "Even If" Arguments: The Essential Weapon
March 3, 2017
Now that you have explored the ways to build and defend a strong case, it's time to move on to varsity-level debate skills, starting with "even if" arguments. By starting with the premise that your opponent is right about everything, you can then explain why you should still win the debate - an extremely effective argument if performed well.
Dealing with the Unexpected in Debate
17. Dealing with the Unexpected in Debate
March 3, 2017
We all need to deal with the unexpected in our daily lives, so learning the secrets to navigating the unexpected in a debate has far-reaching applications. Here, see what it takes to slow down, diagnose, analyze, and respond to unexpected arguments. By following a few simple steps, you can easily find your way back to terra firma.
Essentials of a Persuasive Rebuttal
16. Essentials of a Persuasive Rebuttal
March 3, 2017
No plan survives contact with the enemy, which means no matter how well you've constructed your case, you will need to defend it. Fortunately, there are several straightforward elements of a good rebuttal - assessment, organization, and emotional appeal - and Professor Atchison guides you through each element in this lecture.
Open-Ended Questions: Setting Traps
15. Open-Ended Questions: Setting Traps
March 3, 2017
Round out your study of cross-examinations by turning to "open-ended questions." Designed to help you understand your opponents' arguments, open-ended questions give you the opportunity to shift your position, thus maximizing strategic flexibility. They also allow you to set traps for your opponent. Find out how to craft - and answer - open-ended questions.
Asking and Answering Leading Questions
14. Asking and Answering Leading Questions
March 3, 2017
Continue your study of cross-examinations with a detailed look at "leading questions." Useful for identifying holes in an argument, leading questions also represent persuasive arguments in and of themselves. Learn the rules of creating a good leading question and how they can help you win the debate.
The Crucible of Cross-Examination
13. The Crucible of Cross-Examination
March 3, 2017
Once each case is built, it's time for a cross-examination - a chance to interrogate your opponents to better understand their arguments, identify holes in their reasoning, and keep the audience engaged. This first of three lectures explores the history of debate and reflects on the goals of cross-examination.
Building Negative Cases
12. Building Negative Cases
January 1, 1970
The three-part attack from the previous lecture is an extremely effective way to challenge the affirmative proposal, but the arguments don't attack the affirmative case directly. Here, learn several approaches to confronting the affirmative case head-on, including "inherency," attacking the harms of the affirmative, and attacking the proposal's solvency.
Arguing for the Negative
11. Arguing for the Negative
January 1, 1970
A good critique is a necessary way of testing out an idea, but developing a good negative case requires immense creativity to disprove the affirmative argument. Delve into the key arguments available to the negative: the disadvantages of the affirmative case, counterproposals, and critiques of the affirmative's assumptions.
Building Affirmative Cases
10. Building Affirmative Cases
March 3, 2017
Now that you know how to develop a strong affirmative argument, apply your skills to a specific debate. Taking a resolution about campus carry laws as an example, Professor Atchison walks you through each of the steps to indict the status quo and offer a tenable solution to the problem.
Arguing for the Affirmative
9. Arguing for the Affirmative
March 3, 2017
The affirmative side of a debate must do three things: stay relevant to the resolution, indict the status quo, and offer a proposal designed to solve the problems you have identified with the status quo. Discover how to meet these obligations and build a winning affirmative argument.
Elements of a Good Case
8. Elements of a Good Case
March 3, 2017
No debate is won without consideration of the audience - of the ultimate decider or the judge. If you can't connect with this audience, you won't be able to win them over. After considering how to make such a connection, you'll then sharpen your skills in creating a well-researched case with enough nuance to argue your point.
Fallacies in Your Opponent's Arguments
7. Fallacies in Your Opponent's Arguments
January 1, 1970
Continue your study of fallacies with a survey of fallacies that stem from the actual debate itself. To make their case, debaters often resort to false analogies, straw men, and ad hominem attacks. Fortunately, once you learn to recognize them, you will be well prepared to combat them and score points to win the debate.
Fallacies in Your Opponent's Research
6. Fallacies in Your Opponent's Research
March 3, 2017
To be a great debater, you must not only learn to recognize argument fallacies, but you must also learn to combat them during the debate. This first in a two-part lecture series offers insight to help you identify fallacies that stem from flaws in your opponent's research, including the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, hasty generalizations, and more.
Using Evidence in Debate
5. Using Evidence in Debate
March 3, 2017
Examine the strengths and weaknesses of three primary types of evidence: narrative evidence, empirical evidence, and evidence based on authority. As you review each type of evidence, you will see them in action as Professor Atchison applies them to debates about gun control, climate change, and physician-assisted suicide.
The Structure of Argument
4. The Structure of Argument
March 3, 2017
The claim, the evidence, and the warrant: these three elements provide the structure of a strong argument. Unpack each of these elements by studying what they are, how they work, and how they come together to produce an argument. Then home in on the warrant, which is often the most vulnerable part of an argument - and therefore the element easiest to challenge.
The Proposition: Choosing What to Debate
3. The Proposition: Choosing What to Debate
March 3, 2017
Now that you know when to debate, shift your attention to what to debate. The "proposition" - the idea up for debate - is one of the most important concepts to understand, and in this lecture, you will survey how to structure the proposition most effectively - and consider who is making the ultimate decision.
When and How to Use Debate
2. When and How to Use Debate
March 3, 2017
Debate gives you an honest assessment of an idea, and is therefore a powerful decision-making tool. Here, Professor Atchison walks you through the structure of a formal debate and explores when debate can help you the most. As you will learn, big and future-oriented decisions are ripe for formal discussion.
The Hidden Value of Debate
1. The Hidden Value of Debate
March 3, 2017
Find out what we mean when we talk about "debates," and how immersing yourself in the techniques of formal debate can have a dramatic impact on how you make decisions in every aspect of your life. From the business world to the bar room, the process of exchanging ideas will make you a better thinker and citizen. #Literature & Learning
Where to Watch The Art of Debate
The Art of Debate is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Art of Debate on demand at Amazon and Kanopy.
  • Premiere Date
    March 3, 2017