In Ancient Greece, this word was originally used to indicate the place where a person lived. This meaning changed when Aristotle stated that ethos is that which dwells within someone, that is, their way of being or their character. In this way, it is understood as a second nature, different from the strictly biological one.
According to Aristotle, the way of being of each individual is something acquired and can be molded
We build our character from our habits, that is, the acts we habitually repeat. For Aristotle, moral excellence comes from habits. In other words, we approach the ideal of justice when we perform just actions and approach the virtue of generosity through generous actions.
An individual’s ethos , his way of being, would be formed by a set of habits. Those habits considered good or beneficial are called virtues and those harmful are classified as vices. Logically, a person’s aspiration should be to attain virtue and avoid vices. To achieve this purpose, Aristotle proposes the strengthening of character, of ethos.
A door that allows us to better understand the distinction between ethics and morals
For Greek philosophers, especially Aristotle, ethos is directly related to our way of being.
On the other hand, in Roman culture, the idea of morals comes from moralis, which means custom. In this way, ethos is our character and morality is a set of coexistence norms that regulate our behavior. Based on the idea of ethos, the basis of the idea of ethics is established, that is, the reflection on our way of life.
While morality has a normative dimension and is based on a set of concrete rules, ethics is an assessment or reflection on moral issues.
ethos, facts and logos
In Greek culture, the individual ethos can be forged with discipline , as we are not born with an ethos, but we form it with our habits. On the other hand, the idea of pathos refers to passion and emotion. On the other hand, the term logos refers to the idea of reason and language .
For Aristotle, the three elements intervene in communication . Thus, we transmit ideas with our way of being, while through individual pathos we express emotions and all this is articulated by reason and language.
Likewise, in a work of art, we can find an ethos, a pathos and a logos, that is, a personality, an emotion and a language.