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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:36 pm 
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I know not this "leverage" of which you speak.
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Recently I stumbled across a sticky note with some of my thoughts scrawled on it:

Quote:
Fiat: a purposeful suspension of reality which gives the Affirmative team a degree of authority to execute their policy.

Since debaters don't have any real authority, we aren't congressmen by trade, we have to pretend like we do, otherwise the debate is totally meaningless and can't go anywhere. Negs would always win because, "AFF doesn't have the power to actually DO anything in the real world. Ergo, this discussion is fruitless."

Given proper limits, however, Hypothetical discussions can be extremely fruitful. Thus, we accept the arbitrary construct of fiat for the sake of fruitful discussion. The moment at which our discussion ceases to be fruitful because we've journeyed too far into the realm of the hypothetical is the moment at which fiat evaporates. The precise location of that line must be ironed out by the debaters in each round (or in each discussion with friends) and decided upon by the judge.

Understanding fiat isn't just helpful for debate. It's also useful in speculative discussions, especially political ones, which involve hypothetical situations. It allows you to analyze the discussion itself and make a decision about whether it has become fruitless because of wishful thinking. For example (not the best example out there): Suppose you're talking to your friend about nuclear weapons. Your friend asks, "Shouldn't everyone destroy their nukes to make the world a safer place?" Probably. Will it happen? Never in a million years.

Judgement call based on fiat analysis: They should, but they won't. End of discussion.


Thoughts? Additions? Corrections?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:13 pm 
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My theory of fiat.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:19 pm 
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Get off my lawn, young'ins!
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Sharkfin wrote a procedural brief for COG last year that made basically Elijah's point. I think it's basically correct, although I'm a rezcentrist, so I think you can derive fiat from the resolution without having to impose it as an external rule.

I would add, however, that the wording of the resolution generally stops this from becoming an issue. Most resolutions limit you to normal Congressional action, and most "normal Congressional action" isn't so far out of the realm of possibility that it's not worth debating about.

This did become an issue with the UN topic, however, since there are loads of possible UN reforms that just... won't happen.

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COG 2016 generics-only sourcebook - NCFCA/Stoa (thread)
Factsmith research software - v1.5 currently available (thread)
Loose Nukes debate blog - stuff to read with your eyes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:41 am 
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How did you fit all that on a sticky note? :D

But looking back at the UN, where did fiat apply? Only to the core bodies? (GA, SC,Secretariat) Or could you take it to smaller divisions? (such as specialized agencies) How do you determine where to draw the line?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:15 am 
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That was the problem. Most resolutions have pretty clear fiat boundaries; United Nations didn't.

In-round, it's like any other topicality fight; present a brightline and defend its superiority.

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Abe bimuí bithúo dousí abe - "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"

COG 2016 generics-only sourcebook - NCFCA/Stoa (thread)
Factsmith research software - v1.5 currently available (thread)
Loose Nukes debate blog - stuff to read with your eyes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:21 am 
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I know not this "leverage" of which you speak.
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MSD wrote:
That was the problem. Most resolutions have pretty clear fiat boundaries; United Nations didn't.

In-round, it's like any other topicality fight; present a brightline and defend its superiority.

What were some fiat arguments you would have run for the UN res?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:11 pm 
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It was probably a good thing that I didn't debate last year, because if I had, I would've run the fiat argument published in COG last year in far too many rounds.

The best way to explain the argument is by example. China highly highly highly dislikes Japan - the cultural stigma alone has, historically, almost driven them to war. So, if the Aff mandates Japan's addition to the Security Council, you could make an argument that the very consideration of that would be absurd (since China has to accept the plan - which would never happen in a million years). Essentially, even considering the plan makes the debate round into an absurdity. No serious academic thinks that such a thing would ever happen, so why should we consider it in a debate?

Basically, it's arguing that the judge should deny fiat power to plans which obviously abrogate the realm of possibility. It's one thing to suggest that the UN may bring back it's Procurement Task Force someday, but it's another thing to suggest that Russia is going to voluntarily give up their veto power.

I've tried to create a formal logical framework, but it's difficult to come up with a generalized set of statements that makes the argument more clear. Here's what I wrote in COG, though I'm not really happy with it:
(1) A debate round should mirror real-life discussion as much as possible.
(2) Real life discussion must take into account the reality that some actors make certain plans impossible.
(3) The affirmative plan has no chance of occurring in the real world.
(4) It therefore does not mirror reality.
(5) Because it'd be absurd to even consider the prospect, it should be voted down.

Anyway, I probably would've run this argument way too much as a negative -- I'm surprised I didn't see or hear of it once.

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