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A polemic // is a contentious argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific understanding and the falsity of the contrary position. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about very controversial topics. The art or practice of such argumentation is called polemics. A person who often writes polemics, or who speaks polemically, is a polemicist or a polemic. The word is derived from the Greek πολεμικός (polemikos), meaning "warlike, hostile", which comes from πόλεμος (polemos), "war".
Along with debate, polemics are one of the most common forms of arguing. Similar to debate, a polemic is confined to a definite controversial thesis. But unlike debate, which may allow for common ground between the two disputants, a polemic is intended only to establish the truth of a point of view while refuting the opposing point of view.
Polemics are usually addressed to important issues in religion, philosophy, politics, or science. 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.
Polemic theology is the branch of theological argumentation devoted to the history or conduct of controversy over religious matters. It is distinguished from apologetics, the intellectual defense of faith.
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