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What Is a Debate?

A debate is a formal method of verbal argument that happens while following an established framework. A debate is considered a more expansive form of argument when compared to a logical argument, which is characterized by only examining the consistency from a set of premises. This is also different from a factual argument, which only looks at what is or is not, or from rhetoric, which is a recognized technique of persuasion. Even though it relies on logical consistency, there is also reliance on correct facts and emotional persuasion to sway an audience. The idea of a debate is that one side should prevail although this is not always true and often depends on the perception of the audience. A compelling debate victory is accomplished when one side presents a better argumentation framework for their issue.

A debate can often be seen in both political and educational milieus. A debate will allow people with opposing viewpoints to disagree and support their respective positions in a setting that has a structured framework and allows the participants to take advantage of an opportunity to present their arguments and defend it from opposing viewpoints. They are then allowed to make their conclusions about their opponents’ arguments.

The topics that can be used in a debate can be virtually on anything. But it is the usual practice that debates that are held in front of a public audience center on controversial topics, subjects that the audience will love to hear about. Among these could be such divisive topics as reproductive health or gun control. There are certain debate formats where the audience can participate by asking questions related to the topic. Debates can also happen between two individuals or two teams.

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