Polemic: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A polemic (pronounced /pəˈlɛmɪk/) is a variety of argument or controversy made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Another varieties of argument would be: debate or discussion. The word is derived from the Greek polemikos (πολεμικός), meaning "warlike, hostile".[1]



Variation of the dispute, wherein the main efforts of the disputing parties aimed at establishing its own point of view regarding the issue. Along with debate polemic is one of the most common forms of dispute. With debate it is neared together by a sufficiently definite thesis acting as a subject of controversy, known for meaningful a connection assuming attention to the arguments of the opposing side, order of interventions of the arguing, some limitations of techniques with help of which the opposing party is being refuted and justifying their own point of view.

Unlike debate that seeks a common ground between two parties, polemic is directed on establishing a single point of view. A polemic usually addresses serious matters of religious, philosophical, political, or scientific importance, and is often written to dispute or refute a widely accepted position.


Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe when libel laws were not as stringent.[2]

To support study of the polemics and controversies of the 17th-19th centuries, a British research project has placed thousands of pamphlets of that era online.[3]


Polemic Theology is the branch of theological argument devoted to the history or conduct of controversy on religious matters.[4] As such, it is distinguished from apologetics, the intellectual defense of faith.

Noted polemicists

One of the most famous polemicists was the French Voltaire, and classic English-language polemicists include Jonathan Swift, Thomas Paine, Oscar Wilde and Ambrose Bierce. Contemporary American polemicists include the writer and director Michael Moore, the linguist Noam Chomsky, the columnists Ann Coulter and Christopher Hitchens and new media journalist Max Keiser.

Further reading

  • Gallop, Jane (2004). Polemic: Critical or Uncritical (1 ed.). New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415972280. 
  • Hawthorn, Jeremy (1987). Propaganda, Persuasion and Polemic. Hodder Arnold. ISBN 0713164972. 
  • Lander, Jesse M. (2006). Inventing Polemic: Religion, Print, and Literary Culture in Early Modern England. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521838541. 

See also


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, Springfield, MA, 2005), s.v. "polemic"
  2. ^ "polemic, or polemical literature, or polemics (rhetoric)". polemic, or polemical literature, or polemics (rhetoric). britannica.com. http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-467241/polemic. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  3. ^ "Pamphlet and polemic: Pamphlets as a guide to the controversies of the 17th-19th centuries". St Andrews University Library. http://specialcollections.st-and.ac.uk/projpamph.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  4. ^ Nicole, Roger R. (Summer 1998). "Polemic Theology: How to Deal with Those Who Differ from Us". The Founders Journal (33). http://www.founders.org/FJ33/article3.html. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 

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