LD debate is, essentially, intellectual greased-pig wrestling. As a form of debate that argues propositions of value, a lot of philosophical concepts and ideas come into play – values are hierarchical, and each side wants to prove that the key values they’re advancing are the most important ones in the round. Aff and Neg debaters try to grab their opponents’ concepts, only to watch them squirt out of their hands and go scampering around the room, whereupon they give chase and try to grasp them again.
Newbie debaters will soon encounter their first varsity rounds, where experienced debaters delight in using some of the slipperiest ideas they can find. The following link will take you to your new best friend, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
This should help you chase down some of the philosophies and ideas you’re hearing in rounds, and will help you determine if your opponents really understand what they’re talking about, or are using the idea correctly.
(A big hit on civil disobedience, our novice topic, but nothing on jury nullification. Naturally.)
This is the article that brought this resource to my attention:
The picture at the top of the article is a wonderful image and the article, while long, is worth reading just for general knowledge reasons.