Definitions

Polemic

Polemic

[puh-lem-ik, poh-]
Polemics is the practice of disputing or controverting religious, philosophical, or political matters. As such, a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a position or theory that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach. The antonym of a polemic source is an apologia.

Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe when libel laws weren't stringent. The Research Support Libraries Programme "Pamphlet and polemic: pamphlets as a guide to the controversies of the 17th-19th centuries", co-managed by the University of St. Andrews, the University of Aberdeen, and University of Wales Lampeter, collected and placed thousands of pamphlets on-line as a study of polemic rhetoric of that era. There are other meanings of the word as well. Polemic is also a branch of theology, pertaining to the history or conduct of ecclesiastical controversy.

The word is derived from the Greek word polemikos (πολεμικως) which means "warlike", "hostile". Plato uses a character named Polemarchus in his dialogue Republic as a vehicle to drive forward an ethical debate.

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