Learning to Debate: Your Secret Weapon to Challenge Your Intellect and Age Adventurously
Do you love a good debate? Do you want to learn from some of the world’s leading authorities on critical issues facing our society today? We created a groundbreaking new program on the campus of Cornell University to do just that.
Road Scholar’s JoAnn Bell interviewed Tom Benson, the founding President of the International Association for Senior Debate and the co-creator of this innovative Road Scholar adventure, so you can find out more.
JoAnn Bell: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become a debate expert and coach?
Tom Benson: I was a debater in high school and college, and as a graduate student, I assisted with the debate program at Harvard. As a professor of philosophy for many years, I stressed the importance of thinking about important issues from all sides and constructing arguments with special care for sound reasoning — two of the most important elements in effective debating.
J.B.: What do you love about debate?
T.B.: I love the fun and surprise factors in debate. Who knows what the other team will be saying about the debate topic? How will we respond? I also love the experience of meeting new people in a lively back-and-forth discussion (a debate) concerning a genuinely controversial topic, where there are important reasons to take either side of the issue.