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Problem with "history"[edit]

"Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe, when libel laws were not as stringent." So common when? 1600s? 1800s? like 25 years ago? Probably sometime after the printing press was invented but even that's a guess —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:16, 25 September 2010 (UTC)


Are polemics always meant to "stir up trouble" (or even aggressive, as wiktionary claims)? The English word may differ from the Dutch word 'polemiek', but that has a much more neutral meaning, just arguing (in writing). Then again, it seems to derive from the Greek word 'polemos', meaning 'war', which does sound rather aggressive :) . Maybe in Dutch the meaning of the word has changed over time, but I know it mostly as scientific or philosophical arguing and science and especially philosophy couldn't exist without arguing. So it's just 'daily routine'. DirkvdM 19:08, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

bad examples[edit]

the two examples are bad

The forensice medical one appears to lack any "actuality" .. its hypothetical that someone could get polemic about it. but generally i guess they write civil dry formal notifications based on fact not political discussion

And then the next one is also medical, and even more obscure in meaning. .. I really doubt anyones gone polemic on that topic 04:45, 12 August 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Agreed, they're completely irrelevant. (I'll never understand why scientists, especially in the medical field, constantly redefine words and create superfluous neologisms from Latin and Ancnent Greek roots they apparently don't actually understand.) I'm going to go ahead and strike it since these examples, as they say, aren't even wrong. dlainhart (talk) 08:46, 23 September 2009 (UTC)


"Orwell demolished Swingler's arguments." This is clearly not neutral. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I've removed the line from the article. I'm of the opinion that the fact that he was permitted to respond in sidebars as long as the article is notable, however to say that he "destroyed" the arguments is a value judgement at worst, and POV at best. (I will point out that I've never read any of the writings refered to in that paragraph.)
If anyone wants to try and rework the sentence, feel free to do so. 01:49, 10 March 2006 (UTC)


Hello. I would suggest that your discussion of the magazine Polemic be made a seperate article? Just a thought. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)


I originally removed this article from Category:Theology because, well, I didn't read the part about it being a special branch of theology. And I thought it a bit misleading: although theology can be a subject of polemic, it can also be on other topics. But what else is it? I'm trying to decide whether to put it under Dialectic or Rhetoric and am at a loss (so much for a liberal education). Cleduc 04:02, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I've decided on Category:Rhetoric. Thwop. Let's see if it sticks. Cleduc 20:33, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Modern Examples[edit]

Could Ann Coulter be included? I read the NYT calling her a polemicist. Why or why not?

Done, including a number of other polemicists. ARK (talk) 16:52, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

I also recommend including Walter Kaufmann Hodgsonwj (talk) 01:01, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Some individual keeps removing Anne Coulter's name for the examples list. I believe is is quite well established that she is among these ranks. Hate or love her, that simply IS what she is. Admittedly so. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Explain or undo redirect[edit]

Provocateur redirects here without explanation. The word provocateur does not appear in the Polemic article, except in the redirect notice. Nothing here gives the ignorant Wikipedia surfer a clue why Borat is called a provocateur. I can see a faint semantic link, but nothing that justifies a redirect. Could the editor responsible please either insert material that justifies the redirect, or else restore Provocateur. Copey 2 10:20, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually, nothing in the original stub Provocateur article helps with the Borat article either. Copey 2 10:26, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Libel laws[edit]

Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe when libel laws weren't stringent, says the text. Libel laws, though -- what are they? A link to an appropriate wikipedia article would be welcomed here. lennarth (talk) 10:03, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

What's with the plural and the redirect from the singular?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Page moved. Ucucha 15:54, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

PolemicsPolemic — I believe that the pluralising of "polemic" to "polemics" in the title is wrong and misleading. The Merriam-Webster entry referenced in the article uses the singular polemic, as does the Oxford English Dictionary:

B. n.

1. A controversial argument; a strong verbal or written attack on a person, opinion, doctrine, etc.; (as a mass noun) writing or opinion of this kind. Also: (in sing. and pl.) aggressive debate or controversy; the practice of engaging in such debate.

In Theol. polemics (as a method of conducting debate) may be contrasted with irenics.

The plural "polemics" gives the wrong impression that the term primarily denotes a branch of learning such as mathematics, semantics etc., which, according to the OED, it only does as an obscure part of theology.

I'd therefore strongly urge that the article be renamed to "polemic" and that a redirect be placed from "polemics". --ARK (talk) 20:20, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

On the contrary, the Wiktionary definition of "polemics" (which has two valid sources of its own) matches the description found in this article, while "polemic" is used here only as an adjective. Fact is, "polemics", in this usage, is an uncountable noun, not a plural noun. "Polemic" is a descriptive term, referring either to a person involved in polemics or to an argument or controversy which seems to fall under the broader scope of polemics, so I think the singular form could be mentioned as a section under this article, if you want. And if I was interested in citing Wiktionary itself as a source Face-wink.svg, I'd point out that the first Wiktionary def. for "polemic" says "usually plural". That's a fallacy since it's not really plural – but you get what it means.
Lastly, according to the above-mentioned definition, "polemics" does not necessarily refer to theology, and your usage of the word "obscure" has no basis in any of the sources mentioned.
-Garrett W. { } 21:18, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Neither of the two sources in the Wictionary article on polemics is contemporary, and your assertion that the term needn't be confined to the theological definition is only supported by the assumption that it may have some currency outside its "especially" theological usage attested by the sources. That assumption may be rather tenuous in contemporary English.
My use of the term "obscure" rests on the intuition that "polemics" as the particular branch of theology concerned with aggressive disputation is no more common in contemporay English than its antonym of "irenics". A quick check through the first twenty-or-so instances of polemics in the New York Times confirms this intuition, as none of them exemplifies the theological sense; they're all plurals of the basic English noun "polemic", plain and simple.
A quick check through the first twenty occurrences of polemic in the New York Times also reveals sixteen of them to be nouns rather than the adjectives.
As a matter of fact, you might find it hard to uncover a single instance of "polemics" from, let's say, within the last twenty years or so, that isn't a simple plural of the plain old noun "polemic".
Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary are the most authoritative sources on English usage in the US and the UK, respectively. Both of them have more than a century's worth of scholarly excellence to their credit. Both of them have an entry on the plain noun "polemic" but neither has a separate entry on the fancy notion of "polemics". Are you really challenging their authority on the grounds that the Wictionary entry on "polemic", (whose credibility is undermined by the embarrassing fact that its current IPA transcription of /pʌˈlemɪk/ gets the first vowel wrong) for whatever wayward reason of its own, says "usually plural" in its first definition of the noun? ARK (talk) 02:53, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Seems like a sound enough argument. But just so you know, moving this article to "Polemic" will require additional action:
  • Redirecting "Polemics" and "Talk:Polemics" to their new non-"s" equivalents
  • Refactoring this article to reflect the meaning of "polemic" as a noun (especially in the lead), while the current lead text defining "polemics" should probably not be removed but rather relegated to its own section
  • Possibly editing the relevant Wiktionary pages if necessary
In response to "Are you really challenging their authority ... first definition of the noun?": Of course not – that's why I made it small and put a winking smiley in there. Face-smile.svg
Lastly, I want to say that my renaming of this article was one of my early edits (sheepish grin).
-Garrett W. { } 09:51, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Cool. Let's make those changes, shall we? ARK (talk) 12:57, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for initiating the move procedure. You might have been able to sidestep the 7-day discussion period by treating the change as a an uncontroversial request held up by a disambiguation page. ARK (talk) 11:26, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
Move done; please update the article accordingly. Ucucha 15:56, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Updates made. Thanks for moving the article! ARK (talk) 16:54, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Marxist and related currents[edit]

Not mentioned and relatively a well known facet, with famous performers including most of the big names, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, etc. (talk) 19:37, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

notable polemicists[edit]

The whole section is unsupported by any sources. When I read this section I wonder if all of the names are there by the preference of a single WP editor. Who considers these writers Polemics? Deciding who to list in a section on notable personalities can in itself be Original Research so these sections are tricky endeavors. (talk) 02:39, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

At least for the time being, its not true that "the whole section is unsupported by any sources". The section starts with the sentence "The following are some people associated with "polemic"[6]:" and the footnote refers to http* // . For sure, citation format is not as it should be and the URL is mistyped. Obviously, it should be . There exist such a page, but requires some kind of registration and I don't have access to the article itself so I'm not editing the footnote. It will be nice if someone with full access to the article do some editing. Anyway, there seems to be a source and I have an impression that all those "notable polemicists" are taken from Britannica. If its not the case and if some Wikipedists are editing that section as to add some names but still as if they are taken from Britannica, there's a problem.Neophyrigian (talk) 12:25, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I started the section a while back as a fairly literal translation of a corresponding section in the German Wikipedia article on polemic. Ever since the addition of that section, the most popular type of edit to this article has been people dropping by to plug their favorite polemicist, which is rather annoying. I wouldn't mind dropping the section. ARK (talk) 18:46, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

It might be a good idea to drop the section of all authors who do not consider themselves polemic writers. Nietzsche is someone you can leave because he has called himself that in his own works. Sam Harris on the other hand has never referred to himself as a polemic writer and until we can ascertain the validity of such claims, we should not make them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:52, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

That's not the way to search for facts. Someone's idea on himself/herself might not supply us with the facts. Applying Wikipedia standards will be sufficient. That's -mainly- to say: If there is a -serious- source saying that someone is a notable polemicist, then we can list him/her as so, citing the source.Neophyrigian (talk) 12:45, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I found some of the listed names in this Britannica section, but certainly not the whole list as it exists today. The "notable polemicists" entries should either be individually cited here, or it should be uncontroversially conveyed in the BLP of the notable person. Xenophrenic (talk) 18:02, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

It seems very odd to have a list of people that is alphabetized by first name. It's the sort of thing that makes librarians like me want to engage in polemics against Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:45, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Maximus Planudes is *not* a *Turkish* scholar and theologian[edit]

Article states as "Maximus Planudes (Turkish scholar and theologian)". For sure he is not. He is a "Byzantine grammarian and theologian". There's a footnote for this "knowledge" referring to Britannica. As I stated above, I don't have full access to and I don't have the printed form of Britannica at hand so I'm not editing it. Googling "Maximus Planudes (Turkish scholar and theologian)" gives some results related with Britannica but I can't see that expression on the pages. Anyway, it seems that for some reason Britannica's online version wrote something like that on somewhere, but this is -for sure- is not true. At the first sight it sounds as if its a joke or some kind of vandalism. I'm not editing it because I don't know what to do if the source (Britannica) writes so. It has problems to alter something as opposed to the source which is cited. Someone with access to Britannica should check it and edit in some way, if there's a nice way to edit it.Neophyrigian (talk) 13:23, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Kind of confusing language?[edit]

This is in reference both to some slightly vague/confusing syntax and to the actual content of the article. The former is probably the more easily fixed (certainly it requires less familiarity with the subject), so the latter is the one I will mainly address here. For example: "polemic" can also be used as a synonym for "polemicist". And, um, admittedly that may already make talking about polemic(s) inherently confusing, but perhaps some effort should be dedicated to clarifying such. For example, I edited "A polemic" in the last sentence of the "Overview" section to just "Polemic", to refer as a whole to that style of argument instead of to a specific work of polemic writing, and also to distinguish it from a person who is "a polemic". Other changes of this nature might help the article make more sense (to me at least, as I am far from an expert in this area). Additionally, the explanation of what polemic is, in addition to being a bit syntactically vague, makes the most sense if the reader already has a firm and specific idea of what is meant by things like "dispute" vs. "debate" vs. "argument" (to be honest, I don't myself know if there really is a specific and distinct definition for each). Is it possible to be more specific here? And again, I might be able to fix the language but then someone else would have to back me up on the content. Thanks - ReySquared (talk) 21:09, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Confusion with Apologetics[edit]

Sorry, but I am still not sure how this is different than Apologetics even after reading this article. I have very little knowledge in this area, but hopefully there is someone familiar with theology that can help. Talgris (talk) 19:00, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

The difference is described in the first line in each article:

"Apologetics (from Greek απολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (usually religious) through the systematic use of reason." "A polemic (pronounced /pəˈlɛmɪk/) is a variety of argument or controversy made against one opinion, doctrine, or person."

One is a defense of a particular position, the other is an attack. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:37, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Far Too Much Polemic Here. Seems The Mere Topic Incites Bellicosity.[edit]

Whose idiocy is it that nixed so much as a mention of the plural form of the word, 'polemics'?
It's commonly understood to signify 'the study of or interest in this type of discourse.
Some control freak (I call them Career Hall Monitors) made an edict that folks should hunt somewhere else to confirm that it's a valid word form?
Such people are ubiquitous and exasperating door stops.
Mykstor (talk) 16:14, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Why did they equate polemic with the logical fallacy Argumentum Ad Hominem?[edit]

In the first sentence it says, "A polemic is when an argument, debate, or opinion leans toward attacking the other person as opposed to the discussion at hand." Ad hominem from Wikipedia: "Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument" Second, why is this under WikiProject Christianity? Am I sensing some sort of bias here? Dominiscide (talk) 04:23, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Because they are wrong![edit]

I'm just going to go ahead and change that. It may seem like and odd question but wouldn't all this be better in a section about argument? Maybe add a 'terms used' or 'types of argument' section to the 'argument' entry (the debate entry is already saturated with the peculiar well educated American understanding of formal scholastic debate). Yes some polemic is ad hominem (Mirriam Webster does not capitalise this phrase and I am going to resist the trend towards capitalisation with polemical vigour, Vigour I say!).

How is this term peculiar to christianity (they don't deserve a capital letter)? Why is it that a polemic against Christianity (oh OK they can have one) gets special treatment but if I say 'the universe does not notice you clinking bells together and your chanting about Hare is just annoying' then somehow that polemic gets the Christian treatment first before the unwitting Krishna-ite can look up what was meant by the guru who said 'ignore him, he's just a Polemist' (their lot all put capital letters on things that they don't understand). I had to put a little bit of ad hominem there at the end. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Satirists as Polemicists[edit]

Not intentionally trying to have a discussion on the subject of the article. Wondering if the article could include satirists such as Mark Twain and Jon Stewart. jrun (talk) 20:05, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

"Noted polemicists" section[edit]

  • Granted, I never even heard of the word polemic until a few minutes ago, but now that I've read the article and especially this section, I have to say that the section is a real problem because out of the many examples of the supposed polemicists, only three of them are sourced as such: Hitler, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. It thus seems like people just popped in time to time and listed a person whose views they disagree with (not that I'm a fan of Hitler, but...). Erpert WHAT DO YOU WANT??? 08:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

I certainly agree that the section needs some quality control; maybe a link to the polemics that each person wrote is in order. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 19 November 2013 (UTC)