, Volume 190, Issue 15, pp 3185–3207 | Cite as

Circularity in ethotic structures

Open Access


The aim of this paper is to provide a model that allows the representation and analysis of circularity in ethotic structures, i.e. in communication structures related to the speaker’s character and in particular, his credibility. The paper studies three types of cycles: in self-referential sentences, embedded testimony and ethotic begging the question. It is shown that standard models allow the reconstruction of the circularities only if those circular utterances are interpreted as ethotic arguments. Their alternative, assertive interpretation requires enriching the existing models with a purely ethotic component related to the credibility of the performer of any (not necessarily argumentative) speech act.


Argumentation theory Argumentation schemes Ethotic argument Dialogue Circular reasoning Circular reference Ethos Credibility of speaker 



The author gratefully acknowledges the support from Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education under grant NN101 009338. The author would also like to thank Chris Reed for discussion and inspiring comments, and would like to express thanks to the reviewers for detailed, constructive and thoroughly helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Any errors that may remain are, of course, entirely the responsibility of the author.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy and SociologyPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland

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