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Encyclopedia > Ethos

Ethos (ἦθος) (plurals: ethe, ethea) is a Greek word originally meaning 'the place of living' that can be translated into English in different ways. Some possibilities are 'starting point', 'to appear', 'disposition' and from there, 'character'. From the same Greek root originates the word ethikos (ἠθικός), meaning 'theory of living', and from there, the modern English word 'ethics' is derived. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Ethics (from the Ancient Greek ethikos, meaning arising from habit; also Morality), a major branch of philosophy, is the study of value, or morals and morality. ...


In rhetoric, ethos is one of the three modes of persuasion (other principles being logos and pathos) discussed by Aristotle in 'Rhetoric' as a component of argument. At first speakers must establish ethos. On the one hand, this can mean merely "moral competence", but Aristotle broadens this word to encompass expertise and knowledge. He expressedly remarks that ethos should be achieved only by what the speaker says, not by what people think of his character before he begins to speak. This position is often disputed and other writers on rhetoric state that ethos is connected to the overall moral character and history of the speaker. (cf Isocrates). Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral language. ... The modes of persuasion are devices in rhetoric that classify the speakers appeal to the audience. ... Look up logos, λόγος in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up Pathos in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Aristotles Rhetoric (or Ars Rhetorica, or The Art of Rhetoric or Treatise on Rhetoric) places the discipline of public speaking in the context of all other intellectual pursuits at the time. ... Isocrates (436–338 BC), Greek rhetorician. ...


There are three categories of ethos, which, if followed in the situation of speaking, could help develop a high ethos:

  • phronesis - practical skills & wisdom
  • arete - virtue, goodness
  • eunoia - goodwill towards the audience.

It is important to notice that Ethos does not belong to the speaker, but to the audience. So if you are the speaker your audience determines whether you are a high or a low-ethos speaker. Violations of ethos can entail some of the following: Phronesis is a term used by Aristotle in Nicomachean ethics to describe practical wisdom or the ability to act on what one knows are good for man. ... Arete (Greek: , pronounced in English ) in its basic sense means goodness or excellence of any kind. ... Eunoia is a rarely used medical term referring to a state of normal mental health. ...

  • The speaker has a direct interest in the outcome of the debate (e.g. a person pleading innocence of a crime);
  • The speaker has a vested interest or ulterior motive in the outcome of the debate;
  • The speaker has no expertise (e.g. a lawyer giving a speech on space flight carries less gravity than an astronaut giving the same speech).

It should be noted that dismissing an argument based on any of the above violations of ethos is a formal fallacy, rendering the dismissal argument invalid. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In philosophy, the term logical fallacy properly refers to a formal fallacy : a flaw in the structure of a deductive argument which renders the argument invalid. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Ethos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (305 words)
Ethos (ἦθος) is a Greek word originally meaning 'the place of living' that can be translated into English in different ways.
In rhetoric, ethos is one of the three modes of persuasion (other principles being logos and pathos) discussed by Aristotle in 'Rhetoric' as a component of argument.
This position is often disputed and other writers on rhetoric state that ethos is connected to the overall moral character and history of the speaker.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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