Debates

Each week, The Philodemic Society employs the Jesuit value of Contemplation in Action by engaging in intellectual discussion about a wide range of topics. We encourage you to join us on Thursday at 8pm in The Philodemic Room on the second floor of Healy Hall!

If you are interested in reading about past debates, you can access our debate archive here.

Our Debating Structure

Opening Keynotes: Two keynote speeches are given at the start of each debate, one in the affirmation and the other in the negation of the resolution. These are prepared speeches given by current and/or newly inducted members of the Society for the purpose of laying the groundwork of the debate and stimulating conversation.

House Rules: After the keynotes are over, the President reads the house rules to remind attendees of proper debating etiquette and then the floor is opened for discussion.

Floor Speeches: Philodemicians then get a chance to speak. The President calls on members based on seniority (the order in which the members were inducted). Floor speeches are extemporaneous talks that last no longer than three minutes each. Floor speeches alternate back and forth between the affirmation and negation throughout the evening.

Non-Member Speaking Time: At 9 o’clock, non-members are given an opportunity to speak. Visitors raise their hands and wait to be called on by the President. Non-members are more likely to be called on if they express a strong commitment to the Society or the topic at hand.

Floor Speeches: Floor speeches by inducted members resume.

Closing Keynotes: The keynoters take the dais again to give their closing remarks. They typically recap the debate and highlight the most salient arguments.

Voting: At the conclusion of the debate, the Society votes with its feet. The room is divided in two – literally – between affirmation and negation. The President then declares whether the resolution has been affirmed or negated.