Abstract: The arguments from authority are a fundamental epistemological and rhetorical problem that, at least to this point, has not received systematic elucidation. The study of these arguments in the Western logico-dialectical tradition from the perspective of the logical and dialectical normativism does not allow for its full-bodied evaluation, while the models from the position of which they have been investigated are helpless in addressing a number of problems of their practical use. It is contended that the whole notion of critical normativity, developed in the second half of the 20th century by the “New Rhetoric” and the “New Dialectics” is peculiarly entwined with the authority and is marked by veiled but denied rhetoricism. The key to the solving of the problem in question, it is argued, lies in the notion of ethos: the person and the arguments that are derived from him/her are warrants and exponents of normativity in communication because the responsibility for the words is bound with their materialization into acts and the person is the subject that bears this main communicative and pragmatic burden.
Keywords: Ethotic Argument, Argument from Authority, Ad Hominem, Ethos, Character, Authority, Rhetoric, Argumentation
Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 13, July 2012, rhetoric.bg/, ISSN 1314-4464