Abstract In Aristotle's works, the adjective ηθιχος has two principal meanings: it can, namely, refer to (1) whatever is relative to ηθος, or (2) whatever is capable of expressing ηθος. This latter sense is what the present study proposes initially to delineate, by endeavoring to evaluate precisely the nature and meaning of ηθος as it is implied in each use of the adjective. This analysis will permit a subsequent isolation of the of the particular senses illustrated in the three occurrences of ηθιχος which appear in the passages of the Rhetoric devoted to the λεξις of oratory. (Rhet. III, 7, 1408 a 11, 1408 a 25, et III, 1413 b 10). In effect: (1) when the notion of λεξις ηθιχη involves the ηθος of the speaker, the semantic extension of this latter term exhibits certain divergences, not only with regard to the way it is characterized in the rest of the treatise, as in the definition of πιστις εν τω ηθει του λεγοντος, but also with regard to the doctrine in the Ethics; (2) the way in which Rhet. III, 12 conceives of υποχρισις—with which λεξις ηθιχη has close and privileged associations—implies a traditional, non-Aristotelian conception of ηθος. Taking into accound the discordant character of the three above-mentioned instances provides a new resource for critical studies devoted to questions about the dating and unity of the Rhetoric.
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