Joe Blasdel Judging Philosophy


Joe Blasdel
McKendree University

Section 1: General Information

  1. I competed in parliamentary debate and individual events from 1996 to 2000 for McKendree University. After a three year hiatus studying political science at Syracuse University, I returned to coach at McKendree (NPDA, LD, and IEs) and have been doing so for the last eleven years.

  2. In a typical policy debate, I tend to evaluate arguments in a comparative advantage framework (rather than stock issues). I am unlikely to vote on inherency or purely defensive arguments.

  3. On trichotomy, I tend to think the government has the right to run what type of case they want as long as they can defend the topicality of their choice. While I don?t see a lot of good fact/value debate, I am open to people choosing to do so. I?m also okay with people turning fact or value resolutions into policy debates. For me, these sorts of arguments are always better handled as questions of topicality.

  4. If there are new arguments in rebuttals, I will discount them, even if no point of order is raised. The rules permit you to raise POOs, but you should use them with discretion. If you?re calling multiple POOs, I will probably not be pleased.

  5. I do not think the rules permit splitting the block. Any responses in the LOR to MG arguments that were dropped by the MO will be considered new. Additionally, it is rare that I will vote on MO arguments that are not extended in the LOR.

  6. I?m not a fan of making warrantless assertions in the LOC/MG and then explaining/warranting them in the MO/PMR. I tend to give the PMR a good deal of latitude in answering these ?new? arguments and tend to protect the opposition from these ?new? PMR arguments.

  7. I think people should take questions ? at least one and preferably two per speech. If you don?t take questions, I will reduce your speaker points and may be inclined to vote on a procedural if one is run.

  8. There is no prep time in parliamentary debate. You can get your papers in order, but you cannot strategize with your partner after the previous speech has ended. If you steal prep, I will start your speech time.

Section 2: Specific Inquiries

  1. Speaker points (what is your typical speaker point range or average speaker points given).

Typically, my range of speaker points is 25-30, with an average of 27.5.

  1. How do you approach critically framed arguments? Can affirmatives run critical arguments? Can critical arguments be ?contradictory? with other negative positions?

I?m open to Ks but I tend to vote against them more than I vote for them. I look at Ks as a sort of ideological counterplan. As a result, it?s important to me that you have a clear, competitive, and solvent alternative. I think critical affirmatives are fine so long as they are topical. If they are not topical, I will likely be voting on topicality. As for whether Ks can contradict other arguments in the round, it depends on the context/nature of the K.

  1. Performance based arguments?

Same as above. I?d be hesitant to run them with me as your critic.

  1. Topicality. What do you require to vote on topicality? Is in-round abuse necessary? Do you require competing interpretations?

Having a specific abuse story is important to winning topicality, but not always necessary. A specific abuse story does not necessarily mean linking out of a position that?s run ? it means identifying a particular argument that the affirmative excludes AND why that argument should be negative ground. I view topicality through a competing interpretations framework ? I?m not sure what a reasonable interpretation is. On topicality, I have an ?average? threshold. I don?t vote on RVIs.

On spec, I have a ?high? threshold. Unless there is in-round ground abuse, I?m probably not going to vote on spec. I would only run spec arguments in front of me if you?re using it as link insurance for another position and the affirmative refuses to answer your questions.

  1. Counterplans – PICs good or bad? Should opp identify the status of the counterplan? Perms – textual competition ok? Functional competition?

All things being equal, I have tended to err negative in most CP theory debates (except for delay), but am growing more frustrated with tiny PICs and other arguably abusive CPs ? so this trend may change. I think CPs should be functionally competitive (though I?ve voted on ?must be textually competitive? on a couple of occasions). Unless specified otherwise, I understand counterplans to be conditional. I don?t have a particularly strong position on the legitimacy of conditionality. I think advantage CPs are smart and underutilized.

  1. In the absence of debaters’ clearly won arguments to the contrary, what is the order of evaluation that you will use in coming to a decision (e.g. do procedural issues like topicality precede kritiks which in turn precede cost-benefit analysis of advantages/disadvantages, or do you use some other ordering?)?

All things being equal, I evaluate procedural issues first. After that, I evaluate everything through a comparative advantage framework.

  1. How do you weight arguments when they are not explicitly weighed by the debaters or when weighting claims are diametrically opposed? How do you compare abstract impacts (i.e. “dehumanization”) against concrete impacts (i.e. “one million deaths”)?

I tend to prefer concrete impacts over abstract impacts absent a reason to do otherwise. If there are competing stories comparing impacts (and there probably should be), I accept the more warranted story. I also have a tendency to focus more heavily on probability than magnitude.

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