China Debate Education Network:
Definition of Refutation
• Refutation involves one debater directly
responding to an argument of an opposing
• Refutation involves a debater objecting to an
argument raised by someone on the other
Purpose of Refutation
• To deny a competing argument
• Weaken or even destroy an argument
• To force the original debater to generate a
better argument
Methods of Refutation
Internal method: criticizing the argument
according to the standards of logical
External Method: Creating counter arguments
Methods of Refutation:
Internal Method
Evaluation according to the standards of good
– Acceptability of evidence
– Relevance of link
– Sufficiency of link
Methods of Refutation:
External Method
• Creating counter arguments
• Objecting to opposing arguments with
arguments of your own.
Methods of Refutation:
Combination Method
• Combines internal and external methods
• Evaluates the argument according to the
standards of a good argument while
simultaneously creating a counter argument
• This is the strongest method of refutation
Deciding What to Refute
• Can’t refute everything
• Don’t focus on arguments that are the easiest
to refute
• Focus on important arguments
• Focus on arguments essential to the opposing
speaker’s case
• Focus on arguments that prevent you from
making your own case
Four-Step Refutation Process
• 1. “They say…” (identify the target argument
you will be refuting)
• 2. “But I say…” (state the claim of your own
• 3. “Because…” (provide support for your
• 4. “Therefore…” (explain why the argument is
important to the debate)
Four-Step Refutation Process
Opposing Argument:
“They said. . .”
“But I say. . .
“Because. . .”
“Therefore. . .”

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