Perelman, ad Hominem Argument, and Rhetorical Ethos

Argumentation 23 (3):301-311 (2009)
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Abstract

Perelman’s view of the role of persons in argument is one of the most distinctive features of his break with Cartesian assumptions about reasoning. Whereas the rationalist paradigm sought to minimize or eliminate personal considerations by dismissing them as distracting and irrelevant, Perelman insists that argumentation inevitably does and ought to place stress on the specific persons engaged in an argument and that the relationship between speaker and what is spoken is always relevant and important. In taking this position, Perelman implicitly revives the classical conception of proof by character (ethos or “ethotic” argument), but despite an extended discussion of act and person in argument, The New Rhetoric does not give much consideration to the classical concept and confuses differing approaches to it within the tradition. The result is that Perelman treats the role of the speaker in argument only by reference to abstract techniques and does not recognize the importance of examining particular cases in order to thicken understanding of how ethotic argument works in the complex, situated context of its actual use. Consequently, Perelman’s account of the role of persons in argument should be supplement by reference to case studies, and to that end, I consider ethotic argument in W.E.B. Du Bois’ famous essay “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others”

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References found in this work

Fallacies.Charles Leonard Hamblin - 1970 - Newport News, Va.: Vale Press.
The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation.Chaïm Perelman & Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca - 1969 - Notre Dame, IN, USA: Notre Dame University Press. Edited by Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca.
The new rhetoric: a treatise on argumentation.Chaïm Perelman - 1969 - Notre Dame, [Ind.]: University of Notre Dame Press. Edited by Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca.
Fallacies.C. L. Hamblin - 1970 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 160:492-492.
Ad Hominem Arguments.Douglas Walton - 1998 - University Alabama Press.

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