2AC Blocks- K Trump Cards

You know the drill- the neg reads some K, they throw around a bunch of big words, many of which will then become voting issues in the 2NC. How do you respond?

1st, don’t let them define for you what you are defending. The neg usually does by being like

-the plan relies on a market methodology which is capitalist and evil

-the 1AC advantage claims rely on realist epistemology

-the 1AC uses an ontology of mastery and control


Think ahead of time when you are writing your aff what the answers are to the following questions:

-how do I know the things I claim to know about my advantage- what schools or systems of thought allow me to engage the world in this manner?

-Why will the plan work- what schema tells me this and where does that schema come from?

-What kind of relationship to the world is established by the claims we make in our 1AC?

Let’s look at last years topic for a second. The aff reads a 1AC that says carbon –> warming, so we should establish a cap and trade system. Now it is entirely possible that they came to this realization by using a universal and imperialist conception of science and are using this conception to dominate and control nature. But it’s also possible that they are conservationists and they arrived at their conclusions through a careful interrogation of humanities historical relationship to Gaia. The point is- there are many roads to the same place- in these debates the negative usually gets to define for the aff what and how their 1AC means and came to that meaning. Don’t do that.

So how do you do this? Lets do a few examples.

Example 1: You are reading an education aff that argues the plan boosts US hegemony. The neg reads a non violence K that argues that hegemony is a violent process of differentiation and is methodologically flawed. Your 2AC should look something like this:

1. We reject violence- the conception of hegemony we endorse is that economic soft power should be used to de-escalate conflicts, not that we should use military might to impose our will on the globe. This distinction is meaningful- while we will fight if we have to their evidence about “super power syndrome” is a critique of elevating violence in the position of PRIMARY dispute resolution mechanism. Their attempt to stretch their link to apply to our case is as methodologically flawed as they claim hegemony to be- its an attempt to impose a universal in all instances

2. Method can’t be evaluated in a vacuum- to do so is useless

Mario Bunge, Treatise on basic Philosophy Vol 6: Epistemology and Methodology II: Understanding the world, 1983 p. 207

Tenth, the methodics of any science includes not only its peculiar techniques but also the scientific method (Ch. 7, Section 2.2). A collection of techniques, e.g. for producing high pressures or high vacua, or for measuring the effects of reinforcement on the learning of philosophy does not constitute a science: methods are means not ends, and they cannot be applied or evaluated apart from a problematics and an aim. Merely exploiting a given technique for obtaining or processing data without any ulterior purposes is not doing science but just keeping busy and possibly salaried.

Example 2: You read an environment advantage to a green jobs aff and the neg responds with a heidegger K. In it they make 2 arguments

1. ontology o/w nuclear war

2. Ontology must come first because it informs all other knowledge claims

These are 2 radically different arguments and need their own individual responses, so your 2AC should account for this.

Ontology does not outweigh nuclear war

A. Their Zimmerman evidence is cut out of context- he is restating an argument made by Heidegger which he explicitly disagrees with. Furthermore it is warrant-less and logically incoherent- we will assert the converse- nuclear war outweighs loss of being because if man survived a being crises only to be obliterated by a nuclear war there would be no clever contented animals left

B. Nuclear war o/ws dasein- their ev is anthropocentric and stupid

David Macauley, Minding Nature: The philosophers of ecology,  1996 p. 74

We may approach the issue of what Heidegger may teach today’s radical environmentalists by examining an issue about which they and Heidegger would profoundly disagree.  Heidegger claimed that there is a greater danger than the destruction of all life on earth by nuclear war.40 For radical environmentalists, it is hard to imagine anything more dangerous than the total destruction of the biosphere! Heidegger argued, however, that worse than such annihilation would he the totally technologized world in which material “happiness” for everyone is achieved, but in which humanity would be left with a radically constricted capacity for encountering the being of entities. This apparently exorbitant claim may be partially mitigated by the following consideration. If human existence lost all relationship to transcendent being, entities could no longer show themselves at all, and in this sense would no longer “be.” Who needs nuclear war, Heidegger asked rhetorically, if entities have already ceased to be? For many environmentalists, such a question reveals the extent to which Heidegger remained part of the human-centered tradition that he wanted to overcome. By estimating so highly human Dasein’s contribution to the manifesting of things, Heidegger may well have underestimated the contribution made by many other forms of life, for which the extinction of humankind’s ontological awareness would be far preferable to their own extinction in nuclear war!

Ontology does not inform all knowledge claims

A. Your subject position does not determine whether or not you think death is desirable- this has been constant throughout time and culture and is logically supported by the fact that existence is a prerequisite to essence

B. Ontology is useless hocus pocus

Philip Graham School of Communication Queensland University of Technology, Heidegger’s Hippies Sep 15 1999  http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palms/8314/index.html

To state their positions more succinctly: ‘Heraclitus maintained that everything changes: Parmenides retorted that nothing changes’ (Russell 1946: 66). Between them, they delineated the dialectical extremes within which the “problem of the subject” has become manifest: in the extremes of questions about ontology, the nature of “Being”, or existence, or ‘Existenz’ (Adorno 1973: 110-25). Historically, such arguments tend towards internalist hocus pocus:

The popular success of ontology feeds on an illusion: that the state of the intentio recta might simply be chosen by a consciousness full of nominalist and subjective sediments, a consciousness which self-reflection alone has made what it is. But Heidegger, of course, saw through this illusion … beyond subject and object, beyond concept and entity. Being is the supreme concept –for on the lips of him who says “Being” is the word, not Being itself –and yet it is said to be privileged above all conceptuality, by virtue of moments which the thinker thinks along with the word “Being” and which the abstractly obtained significative unity of the concept does not exhaust. (Adorno 1973: 69)

Adorno’s (1973) thoroughgoing critique of Heidegger’s ontological metaphysics plays itself out back and forth through the Heideggerian concept of a universalised identity –an essentialist, universalised  being and becoming of consciousness, elided from the constraints of the social world. Adorno’s argument can be summed up thus: there can be no universal theory of “being” in and of itself because what such a theory posits is, precisely, non-identity. It obscures the role of the social and promotes a specific kind of politics –identity politics (cf. also Kennedy 1998):

Devoid of its otherness, of what it renders extraneous, an existence which thus proclaims itself the criterion of thought will validate its decrees in authoritarian style, as in political practice a dictator validates the ideology of the day. The reduction of thought to the thinkers halts the progress of thought; it brings to a standstill would thought would need to be thought, and what subjectivity would need to live in. As the solid ground of truth, subjectivity is reified … Thinking becomes what the thinker has been from the start. It becomes tautology, a regressive form of consciousness. (Adorno 1973: 128). Identity politics – the ontological imperative – is inherently authoritarian precisely because it promotes regression, internalism, subjectivism, and, most importantly, because it negates the role of society. It is simplistic because it focuses on the thingliness of people: race, gender, ethnicity. It tries to resolve the tension of the social-individual by smashing the problem into two irreconcilable parts. Identity politics’ current popularity in sociological thought, most well-evidenced by its use and popularity in “Third Way” politics, can be traced back to a cohort I have called Heidegger’s Hippies –the failed, half-hearted, would-be “revolutionaries” of the 60s, an incoherent collection of middle-class, neo-liberal malcontents who got caught up in their own hyperbole, and who are now the administrators of a ‘totally administered’ society in which hyperbole has  become both lingua franca and world currency (Adorno 1964/1973 1973).

Finally, lets say you read an aff and the neg read a reps K with the traditional doty card about how reps come first

1. Evaluating reps in a vacuum causes sloppy essentialism- the belief in US supremacy could cause wars of intervention or acts of Humanitarian compassion or both. Thier “reps 1st” argument is a convenient ploy to get their cake and eat it to- they get the benefit of the negatives to our representations while denying us the benefits- which are often rooted in the plan. This kind of self serving lunacy should be rejected.

2. Focus  on representations sanitizes powerful structures and destroys the predictive power of IR

Stokes no date

Doug Stokes, Bristol Univ Politics Department, Gluing the Hats On: Power, Agency, and Reagan’s Office of Public Diplomacy, accessed 10/9/05> (was located here but is now gone http://www.aqnt98.dsl.pipex.com/hats.htm)

In her discursive practices approach, Doty argues that more poststructurally inclined questions as to “how” foreign policy is made possible (that is, an examination of the prior conditions of possibility) provides a more nuanced account of foreign policy formation than questions which ask “why” (that is, why a particular decision or policy was pursued). She rightly argues that “why” questions pre-suppose a discursive matrix, a mode of being and a background of social practices. Furthermore, these “why” questions fail to account for “how these meanings, subjects, and interpretative dispositions are constructed”.66 However, in arguing for the superiority of analyses of possibility conditions, she misses a crucial point and simplifies the very nature of the “how” of foreign policy practice. Whilst it is important to analyse the discursive conditions of possibility of policy formation, in failing to account for how various discourses were employed and through what institutional mechanisms, how some discourses gained ascendancy and not others, and how social actors intervene in hegemonic struggles to maintain various discourses, Doty seriously compromises the critical potential of her analysis.  By working with a notion of power free from any institutional basis and rejecting a notion of power that “social actors possess and use”,67 she produces a narrative of foreign policy whereby the differential role of social actors is erased from foreign policy processes and decision making. For Doty it seems, power resides in discourses themselves and their endless production of and play on meaning, not in the ability on the part of those who own and control the means of social reproduction to manipulate dominant social and political discourses and deploy them institutionally and strategically. The ability to analyse the use of discourses by foreign policy elites for purposeful ends and their ability to deploy hegemonic discourses within foreign policy processes is lost through a delinking of those elites and discursive production (her “dispersed” notion of power). Furthermore, Doty assumes that the “kind of power that works through social agents, a power that social actors posses and use” is somehow in opposition to a “power that is productive of meanings, subject identities, their interrelationships and a range of imaginable conduct”. But these forms of power are not mutually exclusive. Social agents can be both subject to discourse and act in instrumental ways to effect discourse precisely through producing meanings and subject identities, and delineating the range of policy options. Through her erasure of the link between foreign policy processes and purposeful social agents, she ends up producing an account of hegemonic foreign policy narratives free from any narrator.68 This is particularly problematic because the power inherent within representational practices does not necessarily operate independently from the power to deploy those representations. The power to represent, in turn, does not operate independently from differential access to the principal conduits of discursive production, sedimentation and transmission (for example, the news media).69 Thus, Doty’s account fails to provide an adequate analysis of the socially constructed interests that constitute the discursive construction of reality. As Stuart Hall argues “there are centers that operate directly on the formation and constitution of discourse. The media are in that business. Political parties are in that business. When you set the terms in which the debate proceeds, that is an exercise of symbolic power [which] circulates between constituted points of condensation.”70 The overall critical thrust of poststructurally inclined IR theorists is blunted by both the refusal to examine or even acknowledge the limits and constraints on social discourses and the denial of any linkage between identity representations and the interests that may infuse these representations.

4 thoughts on “2AC Blocks- K Trump Cards

  1. Scu

    I should be working on my dissertation, but you know, I get distracted.

    On your example 1:

    That is nice spin, but it will be harder to back up if you are cutting a bunch of hard power heg people for your 1ac, and then claiming you are only talking about soft power. Assuming the neg pointed this out, at best you would seem disingenuous, and at worse your 1ac would seem incoherent.

    Also, the last line of the Bunge card is pretty funny.

  2. Scott Phillips


    That is a good point. I don't understand why teams who read multilateral/soft power advantages then read a Kagan impact card- it is just inviting disaster. Bunge is pretty much an academic badass.

  3. Scu

    Yeah, it certainly isn't just an issue with answering critiques. I don't know how many rounds I see where authors who have very different understandings of heg are thrown together willy-nilly (same sort of thing happens with Ks, too, of course), and there never seems to be any real push back against cutting arguments in this way. I don't know of a lot of rounds (though I know of some) where people are getting into hard vs soft in a real teched out way, or unipolar vs. off-shore balancing, etc. Now, of course, I know I am not the judge who would be prefed by those teams who could thrown down on this stuff, so my perspective could be off.

    Still, I hope next year's HS topic is military deployment, and that that topic invites debaters to really bring it when it comes to such discussions.

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