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[Bartlesville High School Debate]

TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

***AFC GOOD FILE***

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

AFC SHELL V.1


A-interpretation:
The affirmative can choose the standard by which we evaluate the round so
long as the standard is theoretically fair to offset the neg's advantage in the
round.
B-violation:
This theory is pre-emptive. My opponent violates if they advocate an
interpretation of debate that doesn't let the affirmative choose the standard
by which we evaluate the round.
C-standards:
1-time skew:
Because of the 7 to 4 and 6 to 3 minute rebuttal time skew the negative
enjoys, they win the majority of rounds, regardless of the seeding of
debaters. Allowing me to choose the standard helps combat the significant
time skew affirmatives face because instead of having to win both a
framework and offense back to that framework in the impossibly short 1ar,
the aff only has to win offense back to a standard, which is more practical.
Moreover, allowing the neg to contest the framework moots 6 minutes of AC
offense, forcing me to restart in the 1AR, massively skewing time.
A bad division of time violates fairness because arguments dont matter if
you dont have time to make them. Time skew is the most important impact
to fairness because if you dont have time to make arguments, you cant
debate, making it a prerequisite to all other standards.
2-strategy skew:
Given that the NC can adapt to the AC but the AC cannot adapt to the NC,
the negative has an easier chance at winning the round structurally because
it can maximize the use of it's speaking time by forcing the 1ar to respond to
multiple layers of the debate. The variability in negative strategy while the
affirmative has to commit to a strategy since they talk first is the definition of
a strategy skew.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

Preventing strategy skews is key to fairness because without being able to


form a strategy, you can never win. If the negative can form strategy better
than the affirmative can, it has an easier shot at winning the round
structurally.
This also links into time skew because the adaptability of the NC allows it to
maximize the value of their 13 minutes of speaking time while the
affirmative must commit 6 minutes to the AC, leaving only 7 minutes of
speech time where the strategy is not pre-decided.
D-voter:
Fairness is a voter because unfair debates determine the better cheater, not
the better debater and debate is a competitive activity, which by definition
makes it a test of skill. Unfair interpretations prevent neutral evaluations of
who did the better debating, and thus contradict the fundamental premise of
debate because the judge cant properly measure the skill of the
competitors.
And, if the negative shows that AFC is not the solution to side bias, it must
offer some other way to rectify the inherent advantage to negating,
otherwise you prefer AFC since it has a risk of solving the side-bias. This
means criticizing AFC is not enough. Either the negative must show there is
not a side-bias or it must offer some concrete alternative.
And, prefer structural over substantive arguments because they frame how
we access substance.
E-preempts:
First, I don't harm education about philosophy.
The little a is that even though the aff gets to specify the framework, every
debater on the circuit will still need to read and understand a variety of
different philosophies to do well because that is the only way to find new
frameworks to affirm with and to understand the other frameworks debaters
on the circuit read. It's impossible to debate underneath your opponent's
framework if you don't first understand what that framework advocates. This
means that I also capture the benefit of education about ethics and
philosophy.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

The little b is that as harmful to our educational progress as it must be to not


hear the same Ripstein/Korsgaard/Kant/Nagel bullshit over and over again,
the education that both debaters receive on the contention level of the
debate outweighs the minimal education we receive from the philosophy
debate.
AFC forces greater substantive engagement on the AC contention level
debate. This forces the negative to compare arguments and warrants, make
more nuanced responses to the contention debate, and understand AC link
stories.
Second, even though I know about my framework ahead of time,
that doesn't make it unfair.
The little a is that it's ok if the neg is at a disadvantage. That's the whole
point of AFC; it puts the negative at a disadvantage in order to
counterbalance the structural advantage the neg enjoys. Thus, proof of
abuse just means we are evening the playing field, which is a good thing.
The little b is that my opponent's argument is that AFC is unfair because I will
always be better prepared to debate under my framework, but this assumes
that my framework is unpredictable and my opponent couldn't be ready to
debate under it. However, given that we have no clue what scouting systems
my opponent is a part of, who my opponents is friends with, what
frameworks my opponent has seen, and what frameworks my opponent is
ready to debate, we can't ever verify that a certain standard was
unpredictable or unfair. Thus, his argument is non-verifiable because the
abuse story relies on out of round links that cannot be proven. Arguments
must be verifiable for you to vote off of them, otherwise we will never know if
they are actually true.
Now onto the AC proper:

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

AFC SHELL V.2


The aff gets to choose the comparative and sufficient mechanism for ethical
evaluation and resolution framing interpretations. Theres a few reasons to
prefer.
The A point is time skew. Negs win tons of outrounds because the 7-4 skew
and the proliferation of counterwarrants means NCs can uplayer the debate
with prestandards and framework. AFC checks this back since I only need to
win offense to win instead of having to justify a framework. This precludes
other notions of time because persuasive appeals dont matter if the neg can
line by line all my arguments, and judges are less likely to buy tricks with ink
next to them. Time precludes any other internal link since arguments dont
matter if you dont have the ability to make them. To reject this standard, the
neg must offer an alternative way to rectify the skew implementable in this
round since aff choice always has a risk to help. This is empirically verified
AFC sets the parameters in policy and side wins are comparatively more
balanced.
The B point is topic education. Aff choice improves discussion on the topic
because it forces negs to engage the AC warrants and link stories instead of
going for the same rote framework debate weve seen countless times. This
is especially key as tons of rounds now are decided on permissibility or
skepticism that has literally nothing to do with the topic. Topic-specific
research is key to education because generic strategies dont garner the
educational benefits critically engaging new issues. This outweighs your
philosophy claims- I could have learned about different frameworks a while
ago but the rotation of topics is the only thing that garners fresh knowledge.
They might frame the impacts, but the impacts themselves are what
matters. Even if this isnt true in a general sense, prefer AFC independently
because this is TFA State and since its most likely the only tournament on
the topic, it encourages lazy debatewere given a topic and this is our one
shot to talk about it, lets do it.
The C point is philosophy education. AFC increases philosophy education
because smart affirmatives wont choose the same goddamn framework
every round or negs will crush them every time by shitting 12 DAs on case.
Aff choice encourages 1ACs to come up with new fair frameworks to surprise
negs with, and negs have to do more philosophy research to have turns and
keep up with the trends. This isnt defensivewithout AFC, cool aff

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

frameworks can be mitigated by negs uplayering with metaethics and


triggers. Key to education to understand the normative basis for why we
think certain actions are good. And, no predictability deficit since I have no
idea what prep circles my opponents a part of, so they could very much
know whats coming so dont buy unabashed abuse claims.
Fairness is a voter since the ballot makes debate a competition which must
be constrained by rules as people only debate with an understanding of
competitive equity. Voter for education as judges have an obligation to
promote practices with the ballot that have a lasting impact outside the
round.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

AEC SHELL
A-interpretation:
The negative must accept a reasonable or philosophically justified affirmative
ethical standard as contextualized in the 1AC. Lawrence1 clarifes AEC:
The 2010-2011 academic year involved a number of debaters advocating for affirmative framework choice in the 1AC. Given the loaded nature of this term due to its origin in policy
debate, I do not like the name that some debaters are using for it, nor do I think it is appropriate to read ODonnell evidence in an LD round on this issue. Further, in LD I do not think that
we all have a common understanding of what constitutes framework, particularly whether it is inclusive or exclusive of the standard. However, I believe that these arguments are

Affirmative Ethics Choice (AEC). AEC entails


allow[s]ing the afirmative to determine what interpretation of ethics will
be used for the debate - consequentialism or deontology, for example - within the constraints of [while] providing
a reasonable amount of ground for the negative. Responses to the affirmative ethical framework would need to be
oriented correctly and in this article advocate a form of affirmative choice which I shall call

premised in its fairness given the resolution rather than attempting to prove another ethical approach superior on truth value. *Please note that this article does not necessarily
represent my opinions on this matter, at least not in their final form. It is meant more to be a source of discussion rather than a true call to action. Affirmative Ethics Choice Explained.

AEC would grant[s] the afirmative the right to choose which philosophical
school the round will be debated in, tabling the meta-ethics debate
in favor of a topic-specific debate under a particular ethical
framework. This does not shut down the standards debate. In fact, I would argue that this is the best way to re-invigorate it. Rather than
the standard just becoming a placeholder for a meta-ethics debate,
the standard would revert to being a weighing mechanism under the
afirmative ethic. Granted, net-benefits may be the best consequentialist standard by way of its lack of arbitrary exclusion, there is nothing that prevents debaters from
using more specific standards under the AEC model. Deontological standards debates would be better-developed discussions about which rights are more valuable than others, whose
interpretation of deontology is more correct, etc. Allowing AEC without any check, however, would result in affirmatives establishing debates that provide either very little ground to the
negative or incredibly esoteric ground for them. In this way, affirmatives should be obligated to exercise their right responsibly and lay a fair debate for their opponent. The purpose of
AEC is to table the ethics debate, not to gain a strategic upper-hand. However, it would be nave to assume that people will not attempt to gain a competitive edge. As such, the negative
should be able to indict the fairness of the affirmative ethical system under a reasonability standard. What constitutes a reasonable ethical approach? That is clearly up to the
debaters to decide. At bare minimum the standard would need to be sufficient for both debaters to win the round under. A non-comparative standard would be unreasonable by way of
not providing both debaters the opportunity to win the round. It would be quite asinine to argue that the negative can neither contest ones framework nor win under it. Even if
reasonability is a vague standard, using competing interpretations would hamstring AEC by removing the choice from it and forcing affirmatives to pick the fairest ethic instead of a fair

AEC. It is important to note that AEC


does not include definitions and other framework issues. I do not necessarily condone or
one. The ethics debate would just shift from a philosophical one to a theory one, mooting any benefit of

oppose the expansion of AEC to become inclusive of other aspects of the framework. However, it is beyond the scope of this article.

B-violation:
This theory is preemptive; they violate if they advocate a different
interpretation of ethics or challenge the right of the aff to choose the
necessary and sufficient ethical standard.
C-standards:
1-philosophical education.
AEC increases philosophical and topic education, 3 reasons. Lawrence 2:
1 Affirmative Ethics Choice by Ryan Lawrence. Victory Briefs Daily. March 12, 2012.
http://victorybriefs.com/vbd/2012/03/affirmative-ethics-choice-by-ryan-lawrence

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

AEC [allows us] is that we get to avoid the same


deontology vs. utilitarianism vs. contractualism debate that populates almost every LD round.
To some, this may seem like a disadvantage rather than a benefit, but consider the following. First, the ethics
debate has been going on for several hundred years and has not
come even close to being resolved. [It is delusional] To think that the
discussion that happens in a 45 minute debate has any educational value on an issue
that is so deep, nuanced, and irresolvable is delusional. Any education [on]to be derived
from this issue is best accessed by just reading articles. To call the dilapidated ethical
discussions that currently occur in most LD rounds good debate is a giant misnomer. Second, the ethics debate trades
of with a discussion of the resolution. Since debaters have a limited
window of opportunity to debate the topic, we should prefer topic-specific
discussions over generic ethics. Squads should not be able to run the same argument(s) for five years on the negative in LD
instead of making new arguments on each resolution. What is more, if debate is supposed to educate its
participants to become better-informed citizens and critical thinkers, an ivory
tower discussion of meta-ethics has little practical value for high
school debaters moving forward into college and beyond. Third, AEC does not make the discussion of ethics disappear; it just shifts its focus.
Instead of debating about which ethical framework is better, we can
have more nuanced and interesting debates about how we should interpret a
particular ethical framework. Relieved of the burden of having to defend deontology vs. consequentialism, debaters can instead spend
Benefits of AEC. The most obvious benefit of embracing

their time developing a cogent theory of rights, governmental obligations, etc. Under consequentialism, debaters can spend more time comparing impacts and engaging in the weighing
debate that so many judges complain no longer occurs substantively. The question is not whether or not we should debate ethics, but instead how we should debate ethics and how
much of the debate we should allocate to it.

2-time skew.
AEC solves timeskew, prevents mooting 6 minutes of 1AC offense. Lawrence
3:
AEC should also result in fairer debates. There has been much discussion lately of the negative side bias and the huge barriers to affirming. I have no doubt that one of those barriers

When the negative gets to provide[s] an alternative system of


ethics of-case and then move on to construct[s] ofense under the affirmatives system oncase or with additional off-case[s] argumentation, then the afirmative is always forced to jump through
the ethics debate hoop before accessing any of their ofense, and then
still must deal with the negative strategy under that system. Of course, the
afirmative can concede the ethics debate and try to construct ofense under the negative
framework, but a 4 minute 1AR makes that task nearly impossible ,
especially with the 6 minutes of the 1AC being mooted. What is more, the
negatives ability to collapse in the NR means that the afirmative will always
be facing an NR that gets to capitalize on whatever strategic choice
the 1AR makes. AEC has the immediate benefit of guarantee[s]ing that the 1AC ofense
will be functional in the 1AR and beyond. Certainly the negative will still have 7 minutes to construct offense and
has been the ethics debate.

will use several strategic tricks in order to make life difficult for the 1AR; however, when the affirmative has a guarantee of functional case offense, dealing with such strategies is far
easier.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

3-topical clash.
AEC increases clash by forcing debaters to debate the topic. Lawrence 4:
there will also be an increase in clash in debates as the
negative will be required to make their arguments interact with the
1AC. This should be a boon for coaches and judges who are dismayed by the trend toward off-case argumentation that has little or nothing to do with the 1AC.
Debates will once again come down to who has the better
substantive argumentation about the topic instead of who has a
single piece of ofense that links back to whatever ethical
framework ends up being used.
As a consequence of this,

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

POLICY VERSION SHELL


A-interpretation:
The negative must accept the affirmatives choice of paradigm that refers to
the role of the ballot, which includes the right of the 1AC to select the
necessary and sufficient mechanism by which the judge will evaluate the
debate.
B-violation:
This violation is preemptive. They neg violates if they advocate a different
paradigm by which the judge evaluates this debate.
C-standards:
1-constructive ground.
AFC key for our constructive ground; also key to clash, otherwise the debate
becomes what we should be debating about. ODonnell2 1:
AFC preserves the value of
the first affirmative constructive speech. This speech is the starting
point for the debate. It is a function of necessity. The debate must begin somewhere
if it is to begin at all. Failure to grant AFC is a denial of the service rendered by the affirmative teams labor when they crafted this speech.
Further, if the affirmative does not get to pick the starting point, the
opening speech act is essentially rendered meaningless while the
rest of the debate becomes a debate about what we should be
debating about. History is instructive here. The brief and undistinguished life of both counter warrants and plan-plan have amply demonstrated the chaos
There are several reasons why the affirmative should get to choose the framework for the debate. First,

that results when the negative refuses to engage the affirmative on its chosen starting point. In this light, AFC may even be viewed as a right similar to the affirmatives right to
define. Although there are several reasons why the affirmative ought to have the right to define, the most persuasive justification recognizes that with the responsibility of initiating the
discussion on the resolutional question comes a concomitant right to offer an interpretation of what those words mean. Of course, it is not an exclusive right because the negative can
always challenge the interpretations. Nevertheless, the affirmatives interpretation carries a certain presumption that is accepted as good for debate unless proven otherwise. The

The afirmative should be able to choose the question


for the debate because they are required to speak first.
rationale for AFC follows a similar line of thinking.

2-timeskew.
Changing the framework moots 8 minutes of 1AC offense, creating a massive
timeskew and kills temporal ground as we can no longer leverage 1AC
offense. ODonnell 2:
2 And the Twain Shall Meet: Affirmative Framework Choice and the Future of Debate
Timothy M. ODonnell Director of Debate University of Mary Washington.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

Leaving the framework open to debate puts the


afirmative at a significant competitive disadvantage. When the negative has the
option of changing, or even initiating, the framework discussion, the [1AC] first affirmative constructive
speech is rendered meaningless. This hurts the af irmative for two reasons. First, [because]
it gives the negative a two-to-one advantage in constructive speech
time for making framework arguments. Second, the first affirmative framework choice (or lack there of) locks the
Second, AFC ensures competitive equity.

affirmative into defending their opening speech act against an entirely different framework from the one it was designed to address. Not only does AFC solve these problems, it also
gives every debater an opportunity to have debates in the framework of their choosing. Allowing the [1AC] first affirmative constructive speech to set the terms for the debate ensures
that teams get to choose to debate in their framework half of the time. For example, if one team wanted to have a policy debate, AFC would allow them to do so when they are
affirmative. Similarly, if another team wanted to have a performance debate, AFC would give them a similar opportunity when they are affirmative. This means that every team would
have an equal opportunity to have fulfilling and engaging debates on the issues they choose to discuss half the time.

3-strat skew.
Changing the framework skews strategy because we cant adapt. Give us
AFC for this debate and to ensure future debaters get to debate under
different frameworks. ODonnell 3:
Second, AFC ensures competitive equity. Leaving the framework open to debate puts the affirmative at a significant competitive disadvantage. When the negative has the option of
changing, or even initiating, the framework discussion, the [1AC] first affirmative constructive speech is rendered meaningless. This hurts the affirmative for two reasons. First, it gives

the first afirmative framework choice (or


lack there of) locks the afirmative into defending their opening speech act
against an entirely diferent framework from the one it was
designed to address. Not only does AFC solve these problems, it
also gives every debater an opportunity to have debates in the
framework of their choosing. Allowing the first affirmative constructive speech to set the terms for the debate ensures that teams get
the negative a two-to-one advantage in constructive speech time for making framework arguments. Second,

to choose to debate in their framework half of the time. For example, if one team wanted to have a policy debate, AFC would allow them to do so when they are affirmative. Similarly, if
another team wanted to have a performance debate, AFC would give them a similar opportunity when they are affirmative. This means that every team would have an equal opportunity
to have fulfilling and engaging debates on the issues they choose to discuss half the time.

4-philosophy education.
AFC forces debate under multiple frameworks, increasing framework
education and forcing argument development. ODonnell 4:
AFC has substantial educational benefits. To begin with, it would force teams to debate in multiple
frameworks. Too few teams at both the high school and college level have true argument flexibility. It is an undeniable fact
that the debate enterprise would be a more educational undertaking for all involved if teams
had to prepare to debate a variety of diferent frameworks. AFC solves this
problem because the framework, like the case, would be determined at the
beginning of the debate. Unfortunately, in a world where the question of the debate is not resolved prior to the start of the debate, teams
simply pick the framework that they want to defend and advocate it on both the affirmative and the negative. When the negative is
permitted to shift the framework, afirmative teams [cannot] are denied the opportunity to
debate in the framework that they selected. Ceding framework
selection to the afirmative creates a permanent space for the exploration
of multiple frameworks. Indeed, it would allow them to flourish. The fact of the matter is that the creativity which stands behind the wide
variety of argument strategies in contemporary debate ensures that a diverse set of frameworks would continue to be explored. AFC aims to break the idea that teams should
Third,

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

empowers alternate perspectives on debate and gives


each an equal footing. In addition, AFC would have the educational
benefit of promoting argument development. If widely accepted, it would have the effect of bracketing
framework discussions. Such a move would necessarily focus the debate on issues
germane to the framework selected by the afirmative. This would
provide more time to explore these issues in greater complexity. Recall for
debate only one way. Instead, it

a moment many of the diverse negative strategies deployed at the 2004 NDT. Now ask, how much more intellectually rewarding would those debates have been if the framework
discussions were removed from consideration? AFC creates a situation where this is possible.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

**FRONTLINES**

- 13 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

A2: HURT NEG GROUND


Ground is easily answered, 4 reasons. ODonnell:
First,
ground is not an all or nothing issue. The afirmatives choice of framework
provides plenty of negative ground. If the afirmative chooses a policy
framework, then the negative gets policy ground. If they choose a
performance framework, then the negative gets to critique their performance and offer a counter
performance. Second, the problem of negative ground exists in the
status quo. Given the wide variety of frameworks advocated in
affirmative constructive speeches today, negative teams already
have to be prepared to debate multiple frameworks. This proposal would not impose a larger
burden on the negative than already exists. Third, framework debates themselves are not critical to
negative ground. If the negative is only prepared to engage in
framework debates, then they are obviously not well prepared to be
negative. Fourth, it could be argued that the negative has too much ground in the status
quo. Affirmative framework choice levels the playing field. Given the expansive
range of generic negative strategies that the negative has at its
disposal, it is not an exaggeration to say that negative teams today clearly have the upper hand.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the ground loss under the present system is
worse for the afirmative. In situations where the negative shifts the
debate to its desired framework, the affirmative is at a much
greater disadvantage because they have made time allocation and
advocacy choices that are not easily rectified.
There are, of course, a number of objections to this proposal. First, some will object that AFC would hurt negative ground. These objections can be easily answered.

- 14 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

A2: NO FRAMEWORK DEBATE


ODonnell:
Would AFC foreclose framework debates which themselves have value? Perhaps. This criticism brings into focus the locus of the educational dilemma. The position staked out in this

Framework debates divert the focus


away from debating the substantive issues contained in any
framework. In the status quo, the team that wins the framework debate wins the debate. The problem is that so
much precious speech time is spent on the framework debate that
many debates never get to the intellectually and pedagogically
valuable discussion of the issues themselves. More importantly,
affirmative framework choice captures all of the benefits of framework debates with
none of the downside. Diferent afirmative teams will advocate diferent
frameworks which means all of the questions that currently get
asked would inevitably get asked.
article is that framework debates have less educational value than their counterparts.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

A2: NO QUESTIONING AFF


ASSUMPTIONS
Would AFC mean the negative could never question affirmative
assumptions? There are at least two answers to this objection. First, not
necessarily. The negative would still have ground to critique the assumptions
embedded in the framework advocated by the affirmative team. For
example, if the affirmative advocated ceding political control in Iraq to the
United Nations through a policy framework, the negative could still question
all of the policy assumptions which speak to the plans desirability. AFC only
constrains the negative to the extent that they are limited to the starting
point selected by the affirmative. This means that the negative would be
forced to bracket questions regarding the desirability of the affirmative with
respect to its language, its representations, its politics, its performance, its
philosophy, etc. Similarly, if the affirmative advocated ceding political control
in Iraq to the United Nations through a performance framework, the negative
could question all of the assumptions behind their performance in addition to
topically derived core negative arguments (although those arguments would
have to be adapted to the framework advanced by the affirmative). In such
situations, ground loss would be minimal because the ground that the
negative loses would not be germane to either the resolutionally derived
question or the affirmative framework. Thus the only thing that the negative
loses under AFC is the ability to shift the question of the debate through
critiques of the affirmative framework. Viewed this way, the negatives
complaint is that they dont get to talk about everything but the affirmative.
But why should they?
Second, the benefits gained by adoption of AFC outweigh what would be lost.
Limiting negative ground focuses the discussion and generates richer
debates within the framework chosen by the affirmative. There is no
substantial benefit to allowing the negative to question every assumption
since the emergence of critical affirmatives ensures a place at the table for
these types of arguments.
Third, the negative does not have a right to question every assumption.
Infinite preparation time for the affirmative is a myth. Affirmative teams, only
have a fixed amount of time to prepare to debate. If they are forced to
defend any and all assumptions that they are heir to by virtue of their
existence at the end of thousands of years of human civilization there is no
reasonable expectation that they could ever be prepared to debate. The
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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

number and range of questions that the debate could be about is certainly
much greater than the amount of time the affirmative has to prepare. Such a
situation is anathema to any cooperative learning enterprise. If learning is to
be maximized, participants must have a reasonable expectation about what
to prepare for. This is, after all, why everyone who participates in two-person
policy debate thinks there ought to be a topic. Yet, while we seem to agree
that there should be limits placed on the affirmative, the same thinking does
not always seem to apply to the negative. AFC merely recognizes that both
sides need to give something up to have a debate.

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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

A2: TOO MUCH AFF GROUND


ODonnell:
Would AFC tip the balance too much in the affirmatives favor? This
is potentially the most serious objection to the proposal advanced
here. After all, why wouldnt an affirmative advocate a framework
that made it impossible for the negative to win? The short answer
is that some affirmatives might try. However, this charge is not
unique to the proposal contained herein. The affirmative already has
free reign to introduce a framework for evaluating the debate, and
many of them do. Furthermore, while the risk of creating a
competitive imbalance in favor of the affirmative might seem likely,
this criticism is more hypothetical than real. The same communal
notions that have generally served to limit affirmative case
selection with respect to topicality could also function with AFC. Of
course, negative teams would have to be prepared to argue that the
framework presented by the affirmative is untenable for competitive
and/or educational reasons. But, this is no diferent than what they
already prepare to do with topicality. There is a reason why the vast
majority of teams do not run the best affirmatives from past topics
year after year. Negative teams are more often than not, able to
easily defeat those affirmatives with topicality arguments. Why?
Because virtually every participant in the game has an intuitive
sense that we must reach stasis to even have a debate. AFC merely
carries that notion one step further by recognizing that to have a
debate we must agree on both the topic and the question that the
judge seeks to resolve with respect to that topic.
The appropriate inventional resource for creating arguments about
the legitimacy of the affirmative framework is topicality theory. In
preparing to craft arguments against illegitimate affirmative
frameworks, there are several standards which the negative could
use. First, the framework should be predictable. The negative needs
to be able to have some basis for preparing to debate the range of
possible affirmative frameworks. Since the resolution is the only
stable indicator of what the negative needs to prepare to debate, it
seems that a reasonable expectation is that the affirmatives
framework should be germane to the resolution. That is to say, the
resolution should function as a generative tool not only for a list of
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[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

affirmative cases, but also a list of affirmative frameworks. Second,


the framework should be educational. The framework chosen by the
affirmative ought to be educationally beneficial. At a minimum this
implies that the possibility for critical thought resides in the
framework. Third, the framework should be debatable. This is
another way of saying that the framework should be competitively
balanced or equitable. There has to be a reasonable possibility that
the negative can win. To this extent, the burden of explaining what
the negative needs to do to win rests with the affirmative. They
ought to be able to ofer a clear rationale or set of conditions in
which the judge would vote negative. Finally, the framework should
be fixed. Once the affirmative introduces its framework into the
debate, they should not be permitted to alter or change it in any
way. The appropriate theoretical analogs here are the reasons why
affirmative conditionality is illegitimate.

- 19 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

ADDITIONAL CARDS
ODonnell3:
When the negative
has the option of changing, or even initiating, the framework discussion, the first
affirmative constructive speech is rendered meaningless. This hurts the affirmative for
two reasons. First, it gives the negative a two-to-one advantage in
constructive speech time for making framework arguments. Second,
the first affirmative framework choice (or lack there of) locks the
affirmative into defending their opening speech act against an
entirely diferent framework from the one it was designed to
address. Not only does AFC solve these problems, it also gives every
debater an opportunity to have debates in the framework of their
choosing. Allowing the first affirmative constructive speech to set
the terms for the debate ensures that teams get to choose to
debate in their framework half of the time. For example, if one team
wanted to have a policy debate, AFC would allow them to do so
when they are affirmative. Similarly, if another team wanted to have
a performance debate, AFC would give them a similar opportunity
when they are affirmative. This means that every team would have
an equal opportunity to have fulfilling and engaging debates on the
issues they choose to discuss half the time.
Second, AFC ensures competitive equity. Leaving the framework open to debate puts the affirmative at a significant competitive disadvantage.

Fourth, AFC creates a compromise that allows different perspectives on the


question of the debate to coexist. The problem with leaving the framework
open to debate is that it makes a schism in the community inevitable. Such a
split, if it were to happen, would have serious long term consequences for
the existence of competitive debate. Unfortunately, the history of
intercollegiate debate is a history marked by fissures that have seen groups
of like minded people peel away from the larger community because of their
disagreements about what counts as excellence in debate.i This process has
3 And the Twain Shall Meet: Affirmative Framework Choice and the Future of Debate
Timothy M. ODonnell Director of Debate University of Mary Washington.

- 20 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

happened before and it is likely to happen again. Indeed, I suspect that it is


already underway as one or more pockets lament the seeming intransigence
of their competitive counterparts in coming around to their perspective on
what the activity of debate ought to be about. AFC is a compromise position
that gives everyone an equal stake in the game.
Finally, AFC, if widely accepted, has the potential to change the nature of
judging and would put debating back into the hands of the debaters. If one
considers the wide variety of claims that judges today make in their judging
philosophies about what they will and will not tolerate, it is clear that there
are significant cleavages in the judging pool. The reason for this is that
judges (my self included) have different dispositions toward the question of
the debate and they are often willing to impose those views in the debate in
a variety of ways. AFC envisions a situation in which judges could mutually
agree to disarm.

A2: Aff Choice is arbitrary


Phillips4:
Scott Phillips. Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice Scott's Response. The 3NR. http://the3nr.com/2009/06/10/aff-choice-throwdown/

Arbitrary means done without principle or logic- aff choice is the only logical
option- we have to talk first. You cant give a speech and make arguments
without implicitly selecting a framework. Since frameworks are often
mutually exclusive the framework we select is the only non arbitrary one- the
negative does not logically need a new framework to refute ours, therefore
lack of affirmative choice is arbitrary.
-Debating the merits of alternative frameworks trades off directly with
topic education- this should be self evident. You can productively decide
whether to eat at McDonalds or Burger King without a metaphysical debate
about western capitalism.

4 Scott Phillips. Throwdown #1: Affirmative Framework Choice Scott's Response. The 3NR.
http://the3nr.com/2009/06/10/aff-choice-throwdown/

- 21 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

-Alternative frameworks avoid clash- they sidestep the central questions


posed by the affirmative. You can easily clash without needing your own
framework.

A2: Negative frameworks are relevant opportunity costs


-if frameworks trade off so to speak, that proves our point-the negatives
framework will exclude 8 minutes of affirmative arguments, which is unfair
(obviously done for strategic benefit) and anti educational (since the 1AC is
the only thing close to being about the topic in most debates)
-Impact framing solves offense- if there are logical kritik arguments that
respond to the 1AC you should not need a new framework- i.e. if threats are
not real, that is a substantive response to the china war advantage, the only
reason you need an alternate framework is to artificially inflate the worth of
bad arguments and exclude reasonable affirmative claims with
argumentative sleight of hand.
-There are many opportunity costs, not all of which are relevant- reading
mead 92 instead of Bearden is a tradeoff- that doesnt mean the neg should
win if they convince the judge bearden is a better card. This theory of
opportunity costs logically supports one of my least favorite arguments
deployed with the reps K- do the plan but for different reasons. Debates, like
economic hypotheticals, are improved when we assume away many tedious
questions to focus on more interesting issues.

definitions prove the aff must defend


-This argument is interesting but I think would result in the most generic and
irrelevant kritiks being unbeatable (like the thepic). I dont think that
because the affirmative defends the resolution, they must defend each word
in a vacuum. If the resolution said we should fight Nazis and the neg read a
k that argued Nazis were evil and we should not use that word, that would
seem to miss the point of the resolution entirely, but if the aff is forced to
defend the word nazi without reference to the rest of their 1AC it is pretty
dicey. Obviously an extreme example, but is kind of what happens in a lot of
instances I can think off where the resolution is change X and the neg K
says traditional notions of X are bad and the aff is all like uhh, but we
- 22 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

change that and the neg is like but you dont get your plan!. Now this is
certainly not every k debate ever, maybe its like 20-30% of them at most.
But those debates are so annoying they stick out in my mind. One step
further, if the neg had a sweet K of the word should or substantially they
would own every topic (btw- why is substantially in every topic- in some of
the proposed college wordings its in there like 12 times- does substantially
have lobbyists that wine and dine the topic committee? What is the deal). I
may go into this more in depth later because I do think this is the most
interesting of the arguments, but I will stop here with superficial top level
analysis and absurd analogies.

No neg resolution no reason to constrain neg etc


-CPs are different- I understand that an agent cp may moot the 1AC in
some way by solving an advantage for instance. But the solvency of the CP is
debatable, the aff can still win its relevant. Framework arguments try to
definitionally exclude things- this may be a thin distinction but I think its
relevant and meaningful. I think just due to the strategic benefit it grants the
neg it is obvious that these two args are different, though close together
theoretically. I think your military/philosophers example is a good example of
the way this can be dealt with in an alternate way- its just a qualifications
issue where the biased ev should be discarded. That doesnt require a
framework that says anyone who read biased evidence should have all of
their arguments excluded. I guess maybe this begs the question of what
exactly is a framework and what is impact/argument comparison. When I
think framework I think like, conceptual schema, not like util vs deontology.
Aff framework choice doesnt exclude arguments it just exclude the
exaggerated impact claims about XYZ coming first. If you can prove that
your argument is relevant to the aff (that it indicts or undermines their
claims) you can still read it. Maybe Im an old curmudgeon, but if you cant
prove its logically relevant without recourse to framework I think thats
probably a lame arg you have there. I think your china threat arg is
illustrative- you can prove china is a threat in a realist AND constructivist
framework- it just requires radically different arguments. So if the aff is
realist, and you read a china threat K, the aff can elaborate on their 1AC and
respond. If instead you make a framework argument about how reps of china
come first, and they already made bad reps of china so even if they make
alternative reps they are SOL since they said a dirty word or something like
that, that stifles debate instead of encouraging it.
- 23 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

there are a lot of disads


-disads dont fundamentally alter the question being asked/answered in the
debate so they dont moot the 1AC

you only need one block defending yours- no research burden


-it will be difficult to win vs a prepared neg when you have no specific
responses to their framework. Just think about debates where the aff is like
policy good and the neg says policy bad and reps good- when the aff has
no reps cards they usually lose.

in what other area do we protect one side to not engage


-topicality
-you do it all the time when you arbitrarily exclude dropped arguments that
you dont personally agree with

the aff doesnt get to chose XYZ


-they do get to defend their plan. If your framework makes their plan
irrelevant, then they get to chose nothing, and there is no point in them
being involved in the debate

- 24 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

Lawrence:
Ethical framework debates are also particularly prone to unpredictable judge
intervention in debates. Given that the debate is rather irresolvable, judges
will concomitantly find it difficult to resolve the line-by-line debate on similar
issues. In an ideal world where LD rounds had a lot more time and debaters
read better evidence that actually warranted their ethical frameworks, then
maybe judges would be able to make accurate decisions on such an issue.
However, the underdeveloped debates that currently exist usually come
down to opposing cards or analytical claims with little reason to prefer one or
the other.
There is also something to be said about the impact that the ethics debate
has on the community at large. Philosophy articles are not the most
accessible texts for high school students. Surely debaters are thought to be
the best and brightest of high school students, but does that mean that we
should have an expectation that they grapple with literature that many have
trouble with in their pursuit of a graduate degree? I would guess that most of
the people who pretend to understand meta-ethics really dont have a clue,
despite the conviction and resolve that they show in-round. Without access
to a coach that is well-versed in philosophy (I am certainly not one of them!)
many debaters will simply be sidelined by LDs trend toward more and more
advanced meta-ethics debates. Some may argue that the contention-level
debate is more easily won by teams with a lot of card cutters and coaches.
However, evidence is just as important for the ethics debate as it is for the
contention debate. The difference is that is much easier for your average
high school student to cut topic-specific cards than it is for them to cut
philosophical articles. What is more, AEC should help to bridge the gap
between local and national circuits by guaranteeing that local circuit
debaters who may be less familiar with trends towards meta-ethics have an
opportunity to engage in the debate on an equal footing with the rest.

- 25 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

Implementing AEC
The proliferation of AEC will require action on the part of coaches, judges,
and debaters. Debaters will need to be initially prepared to forward AEC
arguments in their 1AC in order to establish it as the framework for the
round. I expect that many judges will be initially reticent to accept AEC, but
minimally they will need to have an open mind and be willing to accept AEC
if the affirmative is able to appropriately defend it. Ideally, judges will begin
to adopt AEC as a paradigmatic issue so that affirmatives will not need to
spend 1AC time justifying AEC. My fear here is that the ethics debate will
simply be replaced with an AEC debate, short-circuiting both the fairness and
education advantages of the framework. Adjustments to judge paradigms are
consequently the most efficacious form of implementation. Judges will need
to be transparent about their adoption of AEC so as to give debaters an
opportunity to prepare to debate in front of them, and, tournament rules
willing, preference judges accordingly.
Additionally, the LD topic wording committee ought to ensure that topics are
framed so as to allow a fair division of ground for both sides under the most
popular ethical approaches. Topics that do not do so would force the
suspension of AEC and the benefits that it entails. With collective work on the
behalf of all parties involved, AEC may flourish and we can move past the
current ethics deadlock.
Conclusion
It is my belief that Affirmative Ethics Choice would have a positive impact on
the development of LD for the near to long term future. Especially in this
period of growing pains, we need the opportunity to better develop the
theory of LD both in and out of round. Even if AEC is ultimately not the best
solution to the problems identified in this article, it may be valuable as an
interim solution until we as a community can find better ways to maintain
the fairness and relevance of this activity. My hope with this article is to start
a conversation among coaches, judges, and debaters about what we want
the substance of LD rounds to be and how we can re-orient the activity to
allow for that substantive discussion. With any luck, this discourse will
benefit the community regardless of its outcome.

- 26 -

[Bartlesville High School Debate]


TheoryAFC GOOD

Lawrence Zhou

- 27 -