Classical Ethos And Networked Texts Essay

1425 Words Mar 31st, 2016 null Page
Viewed in the colloquial definition of “credibility,” ethos is easily construed as simply the collected sum of the actions performed by a rhetor in their past.. While this view may be consistent with much of modernist rhetorical theory, Holliday (2009) argues that returning to pre-modern conceptions of ethos provides a much richer, and more rhetorically attuned understanding of the term. Halloran (1982) argues that the most concrete meaning for the term in the classical Greek lexicon is "a habitual gathering place” (p. 60). By focusing both on habit and dwelling, this ancient meaning of ethos attunes the concept to the preexisting characteristics of a rhetor (habit) within the context of current temporal practice and production (dwelling). In this tradition, many of the sophists understood ethos as “both a legitimating source for and a praiseworthy effect of the ethical practice of the orator’s art” (Hyde, 2004, p. xiii). This led Halloran (1982) to conclude that while Aristotle seemed to wish that logos was the most important proof, that honor must be reserved for ethos. Because a rhetor uses ethos to construct themselves as dwelling within a particular context and situation, meaning a rhetor’s ethos is intrinsically tied to community. Specifically, they create a space whereby they negotiate what values identify them with a particular audience (Smith, 2004). This negotiation – an extension of ethos’ root in habit – constructs a vision…

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