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Humanities LibreTexts

9: How Arguments Establish Trust and Connection (Ethos)

  • Page ID
    • 9.1: An Argument Implies a Relationship
      Any argument implies an imagined relationship between reader and writer. A write can build trust in that relationship to encourage the reader to credit the argument.
    • 9.2: Authority
      Writers can build credibility by referring to the ideas of recognized experts on a topic.
    • 9.3: Distance and Intimacy
      Writers can build trust by employing distance and formality, or, on the other hand, by creating a sense of intimacy and informality.
    • 9.4: Shared Sense of Identity
      Writers can invoke a shared sense of identity to create a connection with readers and build trust.
    • 9.5: Respect and Goodwill
      Writers can show respect and goodwill toward readers by expressing ideas clearly, guiding with clear transitions, and anticipating questions. All of this builds trust.
    • 9.6: Moral Character
      If the writer comes across as honest, reasonable, and otherwise moral, readers will be more likely to trust the argument.
    • 9.7: Combining Different Approaches to Trust and Connection
      A single argument can connect with readers and build trust in different ways at different points.
    • 9.8: Reaching a Hostile Audience
      By seeking common ground, writers can build trust with a hostile audience. In Rogerian argument, writers practice empathy for perspectives they don't agree with and search for shared goals and values.
    • 9.9: Faulty Appeals to Trust
      Appeals to trust need to be sincere and aligned with the argument’s reasoning to be legitimate.

              One lightskinned older person's hand clasps a dark-skinned hand.

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