Huffpost Education

Logic 101: What Makes A Debate ‘Great'

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Arguments can be valid, yet unsound. Conclusions can be sound, but untrue. Logically, what is it that makes an argument good?

In anticipation of all the scripted one-liners and predictable barbs to come in the presidential debates, HuffPost Live explored what makes any debate great, as well what to look for when deciding who and what to believe.

“The research shows that voters observe impressions much more than facts,” said Alfred Snider, Director of the World Debate Institute. “And the way they determine who won the debate is not based on the kind of criteria that you would use in judging an academic debate.”

Host Josh Zepps and Snider delve into how debates are debated and how arguments are won with Lewis Gordon, a professor of philosophy at Temple University, Nina Kallen, an attorney, and Ilana Rice, champion debater with Columbia University’s Debating Society.

Watch the full segment on HuffPost Live.

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
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