Introduction to Policy Debate
John R. Prager
To the debater: This text developed in response to the needs of my own students during my tenure as a coach of a small school in Michigan. The book has grown and developed over the years as various fashions developed, flourished, and were succeeded in turn by the "next new thing." You should keep in mind that the style of debate discussed here may vary from what takes place in your locale. Your coach is the best guide to what theory prevails in your debating area.
Nevertheless, I believe that everything in this book is reasonably accurate in depicting contemporary debate theory. As you will become aware, certain theoretical issues are far from settled among experts, and I have tried to note where serious disagreements exist.
In addition, modern debate theory is increasingly plastic and mutable. Experienced debaters may wish to gather quotations from notable experts to justify the theoretical positions they want to advance. But it is more desirable to understand theoretical issues and argue their merits, rather than to rely on assertions from experts as to which theory should be preferred. This textbook should not be quoted as a definitive source to "prove" a particular element of debate theory, since there is no such thing as definitive debate theory.
Copyright © 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002 John R. Prager
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