In almost every single video game, there is an objective. Maybe it’s to capture the point, defend the base, take their flag, or even score a goal or a touchdown. Throughout the course of the game, it doesn’t really matter how many kills you get, how accurate you are, or how many interceptions you made if you forget the objective. None of your statistics matter unless they contribute in a meaningful way to achieving the objective. You may be playing an amazing 1v4 duel and be miles away from the point. Even if you win, you’ve failed to defend the objective from the other opponent who just walked straight in without opposition. The same thing is true in debate. You want to have a clear goal of what you’re trying to prove to the judge. A clear goal is a goal that is easily communicated. This article will explore the reasons why case philosophies are important and how to use them.
Case philosophies give you a theme to organize your argument around. Without a main theme, there’s no logical flow to the rest of your arguments. A case philosophy is also necessary to keep your arguments from contradicting. If you have a clear picture in your mind of what you want to try to convey in the round, chances are that the way you deliver it will be clear as well.
2. Simple for your Judge to Understand
One of the main reasons why experienced debaters lose to novices is because the judge doesn’t understand what’s going on. They’re not sure what the experienced debater is trying to get across. Case philosophies provide a simple well thought out statement that the judge can easily understand. It details out exactly the main point of what you are trying to prove.
3. Easy for your Judge to Remember
Also related to judge comprehension, is what the judge remembers when he looks over his flow and decides the ballot. It won’t work really well if you try to run every single argument you can possibly think of. The judge quite simply won’t remember it all. What the judge can remember though, is a philosophy that you are constantly hammering home; that’s what’s going to stick when it matters the most.
4. Keeps you on Track
Another benefit of case philosophies is keeping you on track. As debaters it’s easy to get bogged down in your opponents arguments. Without a main theme, the big picture of the debate can stay tucked away in the back of your mind. It’s also extremely easy to focus on their side of the resolution and their arguments instead of proving your main argument to the judge. Case philosophies prevent that and keep you arguing in the right direction.
5. Makes for a Great Opener and Closer
One of the biggest struggles people have is finding an opener; especially in parliamentary debate, or when you’ve used all of your prep time thinking about responses. Another major problem is finishing your speech effectively instead of using the boring same line: “for these reasons I would ask that you vote affirmative.” Using your case philosophy as an opener and/or closer tells the judge that this is something I think is important so you should probably pay attention too.
Case philosophies are about the big picture of the round. When you get to the line by line argumentation, that’s where it’s fine to start getting technical but all of that is completely unnecessary in a case philosophy. Remember, a good case philosophy must be simple enough for the judge to understand. But simplicity isn’t the only aspect of a debate round.
A philosophy should also be persuasive enough for your judge to remember when they’re trying to decide who won the round. If the judge can remember your main point above your opponents, you’ll have a much better shot at winning the round.
3. Your Theme
The final aspect necessary in order to use case philosophies correctly is that they should be the main theme of your speeches. The more time you spend on something, the more important it feels to the judge. With a case philosophy, emphasizes your strongest argument during every single speech.
Case philosophies are one of the most effective ways to improve your debating. They give you an objective and a goal to work toward. Not only that, they communicate to the judge what you’re trying to say or what you’re trying to prove. It doesn’t matter how spectacular your rhetoric is, or how smart your arguments may be. If they don’t relate to your overall strategy, then they only serve to distract you and the judge. Case philosophies provide clarity, emphasize your best points, and makes the round way easier to judge.