Polemic vs. Polemical

By Jaxson

  • Polemic

    A polemic () is contentious rhetoric that is intended to support a specific position by aggressive claims and undermining of the opposing position. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about controversial topics. The practice of such argumentation is called polemics. A person who often writes polemics, or who speaks polemically, is called a polemicist. The word is derived from Ancient Greek πολεμικός (polemikos), meaning ‘warlike, hostile’, from πόλεμος (polemos), meaning ‘war’.Polemics often concern issues in religion or politics. A polemic style of writing was common in Ancient Greece, as in the writings of the historian Polybius. Polemic again became common in medieval and early modern times. Since then, famous polemicists have included the satirist Jonathan Swift, Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy, the socialist philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the novelist George Orwell, the psycholinguist Noam Chomsky, the social critic Christopher Hitchens, the existential philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche, author of On the Genealogy of Morality: A Polemic.

    Polemics are usually addressed to important issues in religion and politics. Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe at a time when libel laws were not as stringent as they are now. To support the study of the controversies of the 17th–19th centuries, a British research project has placed online thousands of polemical pamphlets from that era.Discussions around atheism, humanism and Christianity have remained capable of polemic into the 21st century; for example, in 2007 Brian McClinton argued in Humani that anti-religious books such as Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion are part of the polemic tradition. The humanist philosopher A. C. Grayling published a book titled Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness in 2008.

  • Polemic (noun)

    A person who writes in support of one opinion, doctrine, or system, in opposition to another; one skilled in polemics; a controversialist; a disputant.

  • Polemic (noun)

    An argument or controversy.

  • Polemic (noun)

    A strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.

  • Polemic (adjective)

    Having the characteristics of a polemic.

  • Polemical (adjective)

    related to argument or controversy; containing polemic, being polemic

  • Polemical (adjective)

    being an attempt to evaluate the arguments comprehensively

  • Polemical (noun)

    A diatribe or polemic.

  • Polemic (noun)

    a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something

    “his polemic against the cultural relativism of the Sixties”

    “a writer of feminist polemic”

  • Polemic (noun)

    the practice of engaging in controversial debate or dispute

    “the history of science has become embroiled in religious polemics”

  • Polemic (adjective)

    another term for polemical

  • Polemical (adjective)

    of or involving strongly critical or disputatious writing or speech

    “a polemical essay”

Oxford Dictionary

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