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Passions of the Intellect: A Study of Polemics

  • Andreas Dorschel

Polemics are a sort of critique typically suffused with inimical emotions and passions. But how are these emotions and passions to be construed? Neither authorial expression nor actual arousal properly account for their role in polemics. Rather, the polemicist must stage an unequal battle between a polemical self and the polemical target vis-à-vis an anticipated audience, skilfully handling, through his or her words, the emotions ascribed to each of them.

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1 Hume, David, A Treatise of Human Nature [1738–40], ed. Selby-Bigge, Lewis Amherst and Nidditch, Peter Harold (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), 605.

2 Ibid., 317.

3 Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, Briefe, die neueste Literatur betreffend [1759–66], ed. Bender, Wolfgang (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1972), ‘Siebzehnter Brief’, 4853, 48.

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
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