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In the spotlight of Harvard authors: Bo Seo | Articles

When Lowell House tutor Bo Seo ’17 HLS ’24 joined in for an interview with The Harvard Crimson early one morning last month, his Zoom screen featured the most familiar and impressive backdrops. Behind Seo was a Harvard-published wooden bookcase, adorned with several strategically placed shelves featuring his debut novel “Good Arguments: How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard.”

Part memoir, part compendium of competitive debate, and part call to action, “Good Arguments” traces Seo’s life from young child to young professional, interweaving this biography with commentary on the urgent need for better arguments in public discourse and acceptable tips for the reader. facilitate better arguments in one’s own life.

Punctual, friendly and wearing hexagonal glasses, Seo embodied both the shyness he ascribes to himself in the novel and the astonishingly articulate disposition that is evident in his writings. Talking to him, it was clear that the inclusion of the details of Seo’s personality was born out of necessity. The book won’t always include as many memorabilia as the final draft, but the result was too elusive, Seo said. It would have been more like a manual on manners, failing to humanize a debate with any relatable anecdotes or provide insight from Seo’s own authority on the subject.

“The knowledge that the reader is coming into [the topic of debate] cold, I found that really scary. And I thought, who else doesn’t know a lot about debate? And that was me,” Seo said. “I didn’t know anything about debate. when I started. I thought maybe taking people on that journey would be a way for them to learn… I’m very happy to be a vessel. These are worthy topics and these are worthy questions, and I have no problem at all that people understand my life through that lens.”

A two-time world champion debater, journalist, Harvard Law student, Schwarzman Scholar, and now author, Seo is undeniably impressive. But his experience across disciplines also lent to the development of the distinct and eloquent style of writing present in his book. Short, deliberate sentences populate the majority of the novel’s pages. As one might expect from a champion debater, Seo’s own arguments are carefully constructed and read as impenetrable nuggets of wisdom. It doesn’t take him long to make a relevant and solid point.

“I learned [my writing style] as a debater, [because] you have to fit as much as you can into seven minutes,” he said. “I learned it as a journalist, because you usually have 550 words for a news story… I learned it as a debate coach, too. The debating community has been ‘doing this’ for many years, gathering whatever wisdom it contains into pearls that can be passed on. “

Transmitting those pearls to the general public takes time. Seo was first approached by a publisher after winning his second debating world championship as a college sophomore, but he admitted that the resulting work would have been “more like a sports memoir.” Reflection and aging served his story well, with Seo studying in China and working for the Australian Financial Review before full-time on the novel during the pandemic.

Seo’s self-awareness also played a crucial role in developing the clear writing of “Good Arguments”. “The book is like, me, me, me because it’s first-person, but I promise I don’t talk about myself that much,” he said. “I’m quite a shy person in a lot of ways and it took me a while to come to the conclusion that I have something valuable to interrupt other people and stop people saying, ‘listen to this’.”

“I don’t take that time for granted, I don’t take that attention for granted, and when I choose to speak, I want it to be as effective as possible,” he added.

For Seo, it was important that the book read easily. Drawing on his journalistic instincts, he often manages to convey a great deal of meaning in relatively few pages. The paragraphs can be absorbed in stride, flowing logically from one to the next.

“Whatever work I don’t do as an author — clarifying, condensing, polishing — that’s work the reader should do,” Seo said. “There are so many ideas out there, aren’t there? And I thought, in order for it to have the best chance of sticking, I’d want to put that work in.”

Such command of language has the added benefit of painting a fairly compelling picture of Seo’s undergraduate years at Harvard, which feature heavily in the book even in the context of his many other, similarly impressive efforts. He reports on judicial debate at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, doing senior thesis research, and writing about the Clinton-Trump debates during the 2016 US presidential election for publications such as Quartz. He expressed a preference for a realistic account of his time on campus over rosy romanticism: “I wanted to talk about what it was, and what it was was pretty good.”

One would expect Seo, an Australian who lived in the remote Pforzheimer House as a student, to be used to traveling long distances. When asked what he thought of his resident tutor placement along the Charles River, all he could say was, “Oh, it’s a lot better.” Even the best of Harvard students can’t argue with the convenience afforded by proximity.

And now, back in this pretty good place in much better quarters, Seo has the exciting opportunity to see his book come to life, as well as promote it. Probably, the perspective of this is at least partly responsible for the persistent smile he kept during his hour-long chat with The Purple.

How does British parliamentary debate work?

Speakers in the BP format can and should offer Points of Information (POIs) to opposing teams. To give a POI during another speaker’s speech, a debater can stand, say something like "Point" or "Information Point", and wait to be called.

What is poi in British parliamentary debate? In a competitive debate, most often in the World Schools, Karl Popper, and British Parliamentary debate styles, a point of information (POI) is when a member of the team opposing that of the current speaker gets to briefly interrupt the current speaker, proposing. POI in the form of a question or statement.

What are the three main stages of the debate?

A formal debate usually involves three groups: one supporting a resolution (affirmative team), one opposing the resolution (opposing team), and those who judge the quality of the evidence and arguments and the effectiveness in the debate.

What are the stages of a debate?

The five steps are as follows:

  • Introduction. Articulate your message and why it matters to your audience, as well as yourself.
  • Statement of fact. Break down the overall thesis of your argument into smaller parts. …
  • Confirmation, or proof. …
  • Rebuttal …
  • Conclusion.

What are the steps in debate writing?

What are the 2 sides of debate called 1 point?

The proposal side is called the Assertive or Aff, and the opposition side is called the Negative or Neg. Each side is a team composed of two debaters, so there are four people participating in the debate (not including the judge and audience).

How many side are there in a debate?

A debate is an organized argument or contest of ideas in which the participants discuss a topic from two opposing sides.

What is the pro side of a debate called?

Affirmative Sometimes debaters call the âProâ the âAssertive.â

What is the basic structure for a parliamentary debate?

This style consists of a two-against-two debate, between the affirmative team, known as the Government or the Proposal, and the negative team, referred to as the opposition. Debater role names are borrowed from the British Parliament, where the judge is referred to as the Speaker.

How do you write a parliamentary debate speech?

A guide to parliamentary debate

  • Introducing controversy.
  • Debate is not a discussion but a blood sport. …
  • The motion: Debaters are prepared to speak on ANY side of ANY motion, and against ANY other team. …
  • Seating:…
  • Time:…
  • Formality:
  • Arguments must be strong, but not aggressive or rude to the other side. …
  • Rebuttal:

What is a standard debate format?

The debate format is relatively simple; each team member from each side speaks for five minutes, alternating sides. There follows a ten-minute discussion period, similar to the “open cross-examination” time of other formats, and then a five-minute break (comparable to the preparation time of other formats).

What did Karl Popper discover?

Popper is known for his attempt to refute the classical positivist account of the scientific method, by replacing induction with the falsity principle. The Falsification Principle, proposed by Karl Popper, is a way to distinguish science from non-science.

What is science according to Karl Popper? Science is about falsifying not confirming a hypothesis. Popper believed that a good idea could be tested with the risk of being wrong, which leads to more knowledge than one that could not be tested but claimed to explain everything. Basically, we learn from our mistakes.

What did Karl Popper say?

The lesson of quantum mechanics and even of classical physics, Popper said, is that nothing is determined, nothing is certain, nothing is completely predictable; there are only “inclinations†for certain things to happen.

What did Karl Popper argue?

According to Popper, a scientific theory should make predictions that can be tested, and the theory rejected if those predictions prove to be incorrect. He argued that science would best progress using deductive reasoning as its primary emphasis, known as critical rationalism.

What did Karl Popper say about psychology?

Popper later developed his theory by abandoning the psychology of discovery and the psychology of thinking… giving priority to the study of logic over the study of subjective thought processes. Popper thought that psychology cannot explain the growth of knowledge.

What did Karl Popper say about psychology?

Popper later developed his theory by abandoning the psychology of discovery and the psychology of thinking… giving priority to the study of logic over the study of subjective thought processes. Popper thought that psychology cannot explain the growth of knowledge.

What did Popper say about psychoanalytic theories?

In contrast to such paradigmatically scientific theories as GR, Popper argues that non-scientific theories such as Freudian psychoanalysis do not make any predictions that might allow them to be falsified. The reason for this is that these theories are consistent with every possible observation.

What is Karl Popper theory?

Summary of Popper’s Theory The Falsification Principle, proposed by Karl Popper, is a way of demarcating science from non-science. It suggests that for a theory to be considered scientific it must be tested and conceivably proven false.

What is the most prestigious debate tournament?

National Speech and Debate Association The National Speech and Debate Tournament is the largest academic competition in the world as more than 6,000 high school students discuss current events, voice their opinions and share their stories.

How hard is it to qualify for NSDA nationals? To qualify for this premier event, students across the country compete in one of 111 District Tournaments. Out of 120,000 student members, less than 4% qualify to compete in this prestigious competition for the right to be named National Champions.

Who is the national debate champion?

Tyler Vergho and Arvind Shankar, both 23, shut out a University of Michigan team. For the second year in a row, the Dartmouth Forensic Science Union won the National Debate Tournament.

Who won National Debate Tournament 2021?

YearNational ChampionsSchool
2021Raam Tambe & Tyler VerghoDartmouth College
2022Arvind Shankar & Tyler VerghoDartmouth College

Who won the Ndt?

The 2020 winner, who was recognized this year because last year’s NDT was canceled due to COVID-19, is restaurateur Ouita Michel, a six-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee and restaurateur and community advocate. She was the 1986 NDT champion for the University of Kentucky.

Is there any international debate competition?

The World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) is the world’s largest debating tournament, held annually in English with teams representing universities from across the world.

How do you qualify for WUDC?

Full eligibility rules are governed by the WUDC Constitution, as interpreted by the World University Debating Council and the tournament’s Adjudication Core. But in general, any full-time student at a degree-granting institution of higher education is allowed to compete at the tournament up to four times.

How can I participate in Wsdc?

How we choose our teams

  • Introductory Workshops. Initially, in each city, as schools join the fold, coaches from the Indian Schools Debating Society (ISDS) engage students and teachers in workshops to teach the WSDC format. …
  • City Tournaments. …
  • Zone Training and Selection Camps. …
  • National Selection Camp.

Who won the best debate Award at the 2019?

YearNational ChampionsSchool
2016David Herman & Hemanth SanjeevHarvard University
2017Devane Murphy & Nicole NaveRutgers University-Newark
2018Quaram Robinson & Will KatzUniversity of Kansas
2019Dan Bannister & Anthony TrufanovUniversity of Kentucky

Where are debate Nationals held?

The National Speech and Debate Tournament is the pinnacle of speech and considered the largest academic competition in the nation. The 2023 National Tournament will be held June 11-16 in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about the National Speech and Debate Tournament, visit

How many people go to Nationals for speech and debate?

About the National Tournament Since 1931, the National Speech and Debate Tournament has elevated public speaking. Each summer, more than 6,000 high school students travel to the largest academic competition in the world to debate current events, express their opinions and share their stories.

What are good topics for debate?

Main List of Debate Topics

  • All people should have the right to own guns.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Human cloning should be legalized.
  • All drugs should be legalized.
  • Animal testing should be banned.
  • Juveniles should be tried and treated as adults.
  • Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity today.

Which country team emerged the world champion at the World Debating Championship 2019 held in Thailand?

2019IndiaBangkok, Thailand
2018ChinaZagreb, Croatia
2017SingaporeBali, Indonesia
2016EnglandStuttgart, Germany

Who won the WSDC 2018? Team India Wins Silver at WSDC 2018: Enters WSDC Semi-Finals and Finals for the first time. July 28, 2018 â The World School Debating Championships 2018 took place in Zagreb, Croatia from July 17 to 27. For the first time in ISDS history, Team India reached the WSDC Semi-Finals and Finals, winning the Silver.

Who won WSDC 2017?

SINGAPORE – Team Singapore beat defending champion England in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) on Thursday (Aug 10), after eight out of nine judges voted in its favour.

What is Wsdc format?

The Format Debate in the WSDC format has two teams of 3 speakers against each other, the Proposal and the Opposition. Each speaker speaks for 8 minutes. From the 2nd to the 7th minute of each speech, the speaker will also be open to questions or statements from the opposing team known as ‘Information Points’.

Who won Wsdc 2016?

English high school students Rosa Thomas, Archie Hall and Kenza Wilks won the grand final of the WSDC 2016 in Stuttgart as a proposal for the motion “This house believes that states should be allowed to pay other states to relocate and house refugees.

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