The New York Times has just published an opinion article about public speaking and rhetoric. The article focuses on Donald Trump, but illuminates larger questions of authenticity and honesty in political speech. “Across the West,” the writer tells us, “the conventional language of politics really is undergoing a crisis of credibility.”
Winifred Horner’s short chapter on credibility is based on ancient theories of rhetoric.
According to Aristotle, a speaker’s credibility depends on three characteristics:
- intelligence and common sense
- virtue and good character
Horner discusses these three forms of credibility (or ethos) using the example of Martin Luther King, Jr.
For Tuesday, August 29, read Horner’s short chapter (it originally appeared in a textbook for undergraduate students). The PDF is available here.