Debate (Advanced)

This is Andrew's random draft. Unofficial as heck!

First things first: We're not really a debate CCA. Most of us have experience in debate—and the thing is, the more someone debates especially in impromptu formats like BP, the key into being good at debate, and understanding the world in general, is philosophy, especially political philosophy (and yes we are aware that there's a seperate philosophy club, they should just join us). Therefore, we read books of politics and philosophy. We might occasionally do debate.

2022–2023 Book List

Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference

In this classic work of feminist political thought, Iris Marion Young challenges the prevailing reduction of social justice to distributive justice. It critically analyzes basic concepts underlying most theories of justice, including impartiality, formal equality, and the unitary moral subjectivity. The starting point for her critique is the experience and concerns of the new social movements about decision making, cultural expression, and division of labor—that were created by marginal and excluded groups, including women, African Americans, and American Indians, as well as gays and lesbians. Iris Young defines concepts of domination and oppression to cover issues eluding the distributive model. Democratic theorists, according to Young do not adequately address the problem of an inclusive participatory framework. By assuming a homogeneous public, they fail to consider institutional arrangements for including people not culturally identified with white European male norms of reason and respectability. Young urges that normative theory and public policy should undermine group-based oppression by affirming rather than suppressing social group difference. Basing her vision of the good society on the differentiated, culturally plural network of contemporary urban life, she argues for a principle of group representation in democratic publics and for group-differentiated policies.

Antonio Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks

The central argument of Gramsci's essay on the formation of the intellectuals is simple. The notion of "the intellectuals" as a distinct social category independent of class is a myth. All men are potentially intellectuals in the sense of having an intellect and using it, but not all are intellectuals by social function. Intellectuals in the functional sense fall into two groups. In the first place there are the "traditional" professional intellectuals, literary, scientific and so on, whose position in the interstices of society has a certain inter-class aura about it but derives ultimately from past and present class relations and conceals an attachment to various historical class formations. Secondly, there are the "organic" intellectuals, the thinking and organising element of a particular fundamental social class. These organic intellectuals are distinguished less by their profession, which may be any job characteristic of their class, than by their function in directing the ideas and aspirations of the class to which they organically belong.

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

On December 2 1851, followers of President Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon's nephew) broke up the Legislative Assembly and established a dictatorship. A year later, Louis Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III. Marx wrote The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon between December 1851 and March 1852. The "Eighteenth Brumaire" refers to November 9, 1799 in the French Revolutionary Calendar — the day the first Napoleon Bonaparte had made himself dictator by a coup d'etat. In this work Marx traces how the conflict of different social interests manifest themselves in the complex web of political struggles, and in particular the contradictory relationships between the outer form of a struggle and its real social content. The proletariat of Paris was at this time too inexperienced to win power, but the experiences of 1848-51 would prove invaluable for the successful workers' revolution of 1871.

Carl Schmitt, Concept of the Political

In The Concept of the Political, composed in 1927 and fully elaborated in 1932, Schmitt defined “the political” as the eternal propensity of human collectivities to identify each other as “enemies”—that is, as concrete embodiments of “different and alien” ways of life, with whom mortal combat is a constant possibility and frequent reality. Schmitt assumed that the zeal of group members to kill and die on the basis of a nonrational faith in the substance binding their collectivities refuted basic Enlightenment and liberal tenets. According to Schmitt, the willingness to die for a substantive way of life contradicts both the desire for self-preservation assumed by modern theories of natural rights and the liberal ideal of neutralizing deadly conflict, the driving force of modern European history from the 16th to the 20th century.

Eugène Ionesco, Rhinoceros

The play was included in Martin Esslin's study of post-war avant-garde drama The Theatre of the Absurd, although scholars have also rejected this label as too interpretatively narrow. Over the course of three acts, the inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses; ultimately the only human who does not succumb to this mass metamorphosis is the central character, Bérenger, a flustered everyman figure who is initially criticized in the play for his drinking, tardiness, and slovenly lifestyle and then, later, for his increasing paranoia and obsession with the rhinoceroses. The play is often read as a response and criticism to the sudden upsurge of Fascism and Nazism during the events preceding World War II, and explores the themes of conformity, culture, fascism, responsibility, logic, mass movements, mob mentality, philosophy and morality.

Frédéric Gros, Disobey! The Philosophy of Resistance

The world is out of joint, so much so that disobeying should be an urgent question for everyone. In this provocative essay, Frédéric Gros explores the roots of political obedience. Social conformity, economic subjection, respect for authorities, constitutional consensus? Examining the various styles of obedience provides tools to study, invent and induce new forms of civic disobedience and lyrical protest. Nothing can be taken for granted: neither supposed certainties nor social conventions, economic injustice or moral conviction. Thinking philosophically requires us never to accept truths and generalities that seem obvious. It restores a sense of political responsibility. At a time when the decisions of experts are presented as the result of icy statistics and anonymous calculations, disobeying becomes an assertion of humanity. To philosophize is to disobey. This book is a call for critical democracy and ethical resistance.