Controversy
Auseinandersetzung (Controversy), by Karl-Henning Seemann

Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of opinion. The word was coined from the Latin controversia, as a composite of controversus – "turned in an opposite direction," from contra – "against" – and vertere – to turn, or versus (see verse), hence, "to turn against."

Perennial areas of controversy include history, religion, philosophy and politics. Other minor areas of controversy may include economics, science, finances, organisation, age, gender, and race. Controversy in matters of theology has traditionally been particularly heated, giving rise to the phrase odium theologicum. Controversial issues are held as potentially divisive in a given society, because they can lead to tension and ill will, as a result they are often taboo to be discussed in the light of company in many cultures.

In the theory of law, a controversy differs from a legal case; while legal cases include all suits, criminal as well as civil, a controversy is a purely civil proceeding.

For example, the Case or Controversy Clause of Article Three of the United States Constitution (Section 2, Clause 1) states that "the judicial Power shall extend ... to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party". This clause has been deemed to impose a requirement that United States federal courts are not permitted to hear cases that do not pose an actual controversy—that is, an actual dispute between adverse parties which is capable of being resolved by the court. In addition to setting out the scope of the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary, it also prohibits courts from issuing advisory opinions, or from hearing cases that are either unripe, meaning that the controversy has not arisen yet, or moot, meaning that the controversy has already been resolved.

Benford's law of controversy

Benford's law of controversy, as expressed by science-fiction author Gregory Benford in 1980, states: Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real (true) information available.[1][2] In other words, the fewer facts are known to and agreed on by the participants, the more controversy there is, and the more is known the less controversy there is. Thus, for example, controversies in physics are limited to areas where experiments cannot be carried out yet, whereas Benford's Law implies that controversy is inherent to politics, where communities must frequently decide on courses of action based on insufficient information.

See also

  • ProCon.org

References


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  • controversy — con·tro·ver·sy / kän trə ˌvər sēBrit alsokən trä vər sē/ n pl sies 1: a state of dispute or disagreement suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars U.S. Constitution amend. VII 2: a civil action involving a… …   Law dictionary

  • Controversy — Album par Prince Sortie 14 octobre 1981 Enregistrement 1981 Uptown, Sunset Sound, Hollywood Sound Durée 37:40 Genre Funk …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Controversy — Con tro*ver sy, n.; pl. {Controversies}. [L. controversia, fr. controversus turned against, disputed; contro = contra + versus, p. p. of vertere to turn. See {Verse}.] 1. Contention; dispute; debate; discussion; agitation of contrary opinions.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Controversy — bezeichnet: Controversy (Album), ein Musikalbum des Sängers Prince aus dem Jahr 1981 Controversy (Lied), ein Lied des Sängers Prince aus dem Jahr 1981 Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • controversy — (n.) late 14c., from O.Fr. controversie or directly from L. controversia, from controversus turned in an opposite direction, disputed, turned against, from contra against (see CONTRA (Cf. contra)) + versus (see VERSE (Cf. verse)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • controversy — dispute, *argument Analogous words: contention, dissension (see DISCORD): disputation, *argumentation, forensic, debate …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • controversy — The stress is always placed on the first syllable in AmE and normally in BrE too, although a variant with stress on the second syllable is becoming increasingly common, despite the strictures of purists. Early stress on words of more than three… …   Modern English usage

  • controversy — [n] debate, dispute altercation, argument, beef*, bickering, brush, contention, difference, discussion, disputation, dissention, embroilment, falling out*, flak, fuss, hurrah, miff, polemic, quarrel, row, rumpus, scene, scrap, squabble, strife,… …   New thesaurus

  • controversy — ► NOUN (pl. controversies) ▪ debate or disagreement about a matter which arouses strongly contrasting opinions. USAGE The second pronunciation, putting the stress on trov , is widely held to be incorrect in standard English. ORIGIN Latin… …   English terms dictionary

  • controversy — [kän′trə vʉr΄sē] n. pl. controversies [ME controversie < L controversia < controversus, turned in an opposite direction < contra, against + versus: see VERSE] 1. a lengthy discussion of an important question in which opposing opinions… …   English World dictionary

  • controversy — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ considerable, great, major ▪ bitter, fierce (esp. BrE), heated, intense, raging ▪ g …   Collocations dictionary

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