All Three Briefs


All Three Briefs


This brief contains all works from the Analytic Philosophy, Critical Race Theory, and High Theory brief. This contains the following essays

Analytic Philosophy:

“Hijacking “Practice Rules” to Kantian Ethics” by JP Stuckert

“Why Just One Ethic: A Defense of Universal Obligations Despite the Dynamic Subject” by Nolan Burdett

“Shewing the Fly Out of the Bottle: A Philosophical Investigation into the Language-Game of Race” by Kris Wright

Critical Race Theory:

Existentialism and Black Philosophies of Existence by Alex Yoakum

Debating Values: On the Survival of Black Feminine Voice by Ameena Ruffin

When You Try but Keep on Dying: A Black Nihilistic Analysis of the Debate Space by Christian Quiroz

High Theory: 

Rosi Braidotti by Grant Brown

Queerness and the Death Drive in Debate: A Psychoanalytic Approach by Sam Gustavson

Crossing the border with Anzaldua by Dino De La O

Each article will walk you through an argument, explain the function of the argument in the larger narrative or syllogism, and give a defense of the argument against possible objections. Additional resources, such as bibliographies and evidence, are also provided to assist you in constructing the position.

To best maximize the potential of the positions advanced in this brief, you should keep in mind that the purpose of the brief is to provide you with an introductory understanding of certain theories and their possible applications in debate. We highly recommend for our readers to experiment with constructing their own versions of the positions and to use our brief as an assistant in understanding the original sources.

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Featured in this Brief

Hijacking “Practice Rules” to Kantian Ethics” by JP Stuckert

“Terry Nardin’s article “International Ethics and International Law” has been used extensively by debaters to simultaneously warrant an international law framework and a strict truth-testing paradigm. This article addresses a potential way to hijack Nardin’s argument into a Kantian framework, while disarming the truth-testing application of the position. After a review of the basic principles of this practice theory as they were originally laid out by Rawls and utilized by Nardin, this article explains how Tamar Schapiro has used the concept of actions situated in practices to explain how the Kantian account of action is superior to other mainstream views of action."

“Why Just One Ethic: A Defense of Universal Obligations Despite the Dynamic Subject” by Nolan Burdett

“Defending any abstract theory of ethics or virtue has become an increasingly difficult task for debaters. In a meta where epistemology, ontology, and Winter and Leighton arguments dominate philosophical discussions, it might seem like trying to justify a universal theory simply isn’t worth it. This article will defend that things like fluidity or subject construction do not have to be mutually exclusive with the existence of universal obligations or virtues.

Shewing the Fly Out of the Bottle: A Philosophical Investigation into the Language-Game of Race” by Kris Wright

“While analytic philosophy provides valuable insights, it is not without its problems. One of the most significant of which is its avoidance of issues of difference—notably race, gender, and sexuality. Given the current trend in debate for these positions, what, if anything, might we still learn from and do with analytic philosophy? This article is an attempt to show how the insights of an analytic philosopher—Ludwig Wittgenstein—might fruitfully be applied to issues of race and racial injustices.”

“Existentialism and Black Philosophies of Existence” by Alex Yoakum

“This guide has two main purposes: first, it attempts to define and clear up the theoretical concepts that characterize Black Existentialism, and, second, speak to its potential applications within debate. This paper will argue that Black Existentialism provides a powerful alternative means of conceptualizing oppression and the lived experiences of Black people.”

“Debating Values: On the Survival of Black Feminine Voice” by Ameena Ruffin

“This article serves as a guide for the construction and defense of arguments which problematize the effect of privileged values—uncritical declarations of justice, the maximization of good, human rights, or individual freedom—on the participation, creative thought, and embodied voice of Black feminine folks in debate. This article will present an overview of three positions which argue in some way for the revaluation of Black feminine voice.” 

“When You Try but Keep on Dying: A Black Nihilistic Analysis of the Debate Space” by Christian Quiroz

“Perhaps one of the most provocative theories of modernity, black nihilism, is a necessary educational practice for understanding the problem of antiblack violence and how to orient oneself towards the historicity of antiblackness. This article will aim to explain black nihilism and its theoretical applications to debate.”

Rosi Braidotti” by Grant Brown

“This article discusses the work of Rosi Braidotti, a philosopher whose work traverses the intricacies of postmodernity. It specifically isolates her work on the issue of subjectivity, Deleuze and Guattari, politics, and posthumanism. These ideological categories are analyzed, explained, and then expanded to be connected to their strategic value as arguments in Lincoln-Douglas debate.”

“Queerness and the Death Drive in Debate: A Psychoanalytic Approach” by Sam Gustavson

“The focus of the paper will center on the scholarly production and rhetorical defense of queer pessimism as a field of study and strategy in debate. By queer pessimism, this paper is referring to an analysis of American civil society as being necessarily tied to a heteronormative project of reproduction and order.”

“Crossing the border with Anzaldúa” by Dino De La O

“This essay will introduce the “Borderlands Kritik”, commonly associated with the work of Gloria Anzaldúa. The Borderlands K will argue that dualisms are epistemically flawed and create the conditions for oppression. The alternative will defend Mestiza Consciousness, or an epistemological strategy to engage with the world. This will allow you to develop a solid kritik against identity politics, social ontology, state action, or anything that replicates dualistic modes of thinking.”

Authors of this Brief

JP Stuckert

JP is a Liberal Studies and Economics major at the University of Notre Dame where he has been a leader in the philosophy club and in a local middle school Great Books program. JP debated as President of the debate team at Strake Jesuit. He has worked as a private coach for a small group of students since graduation, with his two main debaters receiving a total of 8 bids to TOC. Since graduation he has led 8 labs at NSD’s Flagship Session, TDC, and Strake Jesuit’s middle school camp. Outside of debate JP enjoys swimming and reading classic works of fiction and intellectual history. His debate interests Aristotelian philosophy, competing accounts of practical reason, and criticisms of contemporary social science research.


Kris Wright

Kris was a 2010 Teach for America corps member, and has coached Lincoln-Douglas debate for over thirteen years. He has coached for Marcus, Westlake, Southlake, University School, and, most recently, the Law Magnet, where he also coached policy debate. His students have reached finals of TOC-qualifying tournaments eighteen times, and to elimination rounds of the TOC. His policy teams qualified to NSDA Nationals seven times, and elimination rounds of TFA State, including the 2016 TFA State Champions. He has extensive experience as a curriculum director and/or instructor at many summer debate camps, including as a co-founder of the Texas Debate Collective (TDC). This will be his second year at NSD.  


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Nolan Burdett

Nolan Burdett debated at Dulles High School for four years. Qualifying to the TOC twice, he accrued 8 career bids, getting to deep out rounds at many bid tournaments and winning many speaker awards, including top speaker at TFA state his junior year. He cleared at every tournament he attended the last two years of his career. Nolan is now a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin studying economics. His debate interests include critical high theory, analytic philosophy, innovative framing arguments, and the power of ethos. Outside of debate, Nolan enjoys playing ice hockey, spending time with friends, and getting involved in his campus community.



Alex Yoakum

Alex Yoakum graduated from Grapevine High School in 2015. In his senior year he qualified to the TOC, receiving his bids from Greenhill and Minneapple, as well as reaching several bid rounds throughout his debate career. He also participated in the Greenhill and Bronx Round Robins. Currently, Alex is a philosophy and comparative literature double major at Emory University. In addition to his academics, he has presented papers on Queer Theory in undergraduate literature and philosophy conferences. This will be Alex's third year teaching at NSD, and he is looking forward to another great summer in Minneapolis and San Antonio. 

Debate interests: Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Moral philosophy, postmodernism

Ameena Ruffin

Ameena Ruffin began competitive debate in 2008 at the Baltimore City College in Baltimore, MD. Since then, Ameena has debated, taught, and judged various styles and levels of debate across the country. In 2014, Ameena and partner won the Cross-Examination Debate Association National Tournament. Ameena continues to teach and judge debate while perusing an M.A. in Education Leadership and Curriculum Development at Towson University.



Christian Quiroz

Christian debated in LD and Policy for Newark Science (NJ) for four years. In LD, he qualified to the TOC his junior and senior year (was top speaker his senior year), won the Ridge tournament, was the co-champion of Scarsdale and Berkeley, and made it to late elimination rounds at Glenbrooks, Lexington, Emory, Harvard, NDCA, and TOC. In Policy, he broke at Scranton and Lakeland his junior and senior year. Christian debates College Policy at Rutgers-Newark. 


Grant Brown

Grant Brown debated for a year locally at Ralston High School and three years nationally at Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the team president and has accumulated twelve career bids while qualifying thrice to the Tournament of Champions, reaching quarterfinals his junior year, and twice to NSDA Nationals clearing to elimination rounds both years. Grant reached elimination rounds of numerous bid tournaments including Dowling, Iowa Caucus, Valley, Harvard, The Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, and Blake. Most notably Grant was a Nebraska State Champion, quarterfinalist twice at Valley and top speak his senior year, semifinalist at Apple Valley, and two time champion of Dowling Catholic. Grant plans to study Religion, Anthropology, and Sociology.Debate Interests: Postmodernism, specifically Deleuze/Guattari and spirituality, nuanced philosophically influenced positions, and experimental performativity and aesthetics within academic debate.  


Sam Gustavson

Sam Gustavson debated four years for C.E. Byrd high school where he qualified for the Tournament of Champions twice, reaching the quarterfinals in 2014, as well as winning the 2013 Louisiana state policy debate tournament. Sam went on to debate at Baylor University where he was a qualifier for the 2016 National Debate Tournament, also clearing at major tournaments such as Kentucky, Wake Forest, USC, and Cal Fullterton. Sam also coached the 2015 Baker Award winners for high school, Caddo Magnet Conner/Martin, as well 2016 Tournament of Champion finalists Little Rock Central Williams/Woods.


Dino De La O

Dino De La O debated locally and nationally for four years at Law Magnet in Dallas, Texas, graduating in 2016. As a competitor, Dino qualified to the TFA State Tournament and advanced to elimination rounds 3 years in a row. He also qualified to the TOC his junior and senior year, receiving 7 bids his senior year. Dino championed the University of Houston Tournament, was the top speaker and semifinalist at the Grapevine and Strake Jesuit tournaments, and advanced to the elimination rounds of every octos bid tournament he attended his senior year. As a coach, Dino has taught at major national summer camps such as NSD and TDC, and his students have received 7 bids, won the Sunvitational, and won top speaker awards at the UT Austin Invitational and the UH Invitational. Currently, Dino is studying anthropology at the University of Houston and enjoys reading a wide variety of philosophy.