Rhetorical Appeals: Logos, Pathos, Ethos
Rhetoric: A brief history • Rhetoric is the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion. • The history of rhetoric reaches back to the beginnings of human culture. • Ancient Greek civilization gave birth to some of human history’s great philosophers—Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
Socrates: Ancient Greek Philosopher Socrates was an ancient Greekphilosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy. The trial and execution of Socrates was the climax of his career and the central event of the dialogues of Plato. Socrates admits in court that he could have avoided the trial by abandoning philosophy and going home to mind his own business.
Plato: Ancient Greek Philosopher Plato was an ancient Greekphilosopher, as well as a mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens. Plato is widely believed to have been a student of Socrates and to have been deeply influenced by his teacher's unjust death. Plato's brilliance as a writer and thinker can be witnessed by reading his Socratic dialogues.
Aristotle: The Great Philosopher Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on diverse subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry (including theater), biology and zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, and ethics. Along with Socrates and Plato, Aristotle was one of the most influential of the ancient Greek philosophers. -en.wikipedia.org
Rhetorical Appeals Aristotle named three rhetorical appeals • Logos: logical appeal • Pathos: emotional appeal • Ethos: ethical appeal
Text(Logos) conversation Audience(Pathos) Author(Ethos) The Rhetorical Triangle The Greek philosophers also gave us the rhetorical triangle, which argues that all forms of communication are a conversation between the text, the audience and the author.
Text(Logos) conversation Audience(Pathos) Author(Ethos) The Triple Threat:logos, pathos, ethos Most persuasive texts will use some combination of the three appeals to get their message across. Each of the appeals corresponds to a part of the rhetorical triangle (pictured here).
Logos • Logos appeals to logic and may include facts, statistics, or “quotes” • This information is used as evidence within the text to support your argument and persuade the audience. Example: “Nine out of ten health professionals agree, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.”
Logos: related vocabulary • Logos literally means the “word” • Dialogue is the exchange of words between two people. • A monologue is the delivery of words from one person without any expectation of a response. • A logo is a symbol that represents all the words (and ideas) associated with a company or brand.
Logos: another example Here we see a chart showing a correlation between the fall of pirates and rise of natural disasters. Are you convinced by these statistics?
Logos: more examples(Can you identify the logical appeals used in these cartoons?)
Pathos • Pathos appeals to the emotions, needs and wants of the listener. • This strategy attempts to influence or manipulate the emotions and desires of the audience in order to persuade or convince the listener that their argument is true. Can you name any propaganda techniques that rely on emotional appeals?
Pathos: related vocabulary • Sympathy and empathy are both emotional states and have to do with shared feelings. • Pathological liars have no feelings of guilt when they do not tell the truth. • If someone is pathetic, they are pitifully sad.
Pathos: the power of story Many of the stories we hear and read as children are written to appeal to our emotions so that we will be persuaded to follow certain social and moral codes (which brings us to the next part of the rhetorical triangle—ethos… Can you name the moral of the story?)
Ethos • Ethos appeals to our sense of ethics, including social and moral codes, trust, and credibility. • There are two kinds of ethos—artistic and inartistic. • Artistic ethos is created and sustained through the delivery of the message. • Inartistic ethos pre-exists and comes along with someone’s status or station.
For example… • An officer of the law has inartistic ethos because of the station they hold (we trust them because of their position). • However, that same officer can lose our trust by their actions, as in the case of Rodney King.
For example… • The President of the United States has inartistic ethos because of their station (we applaud Presidents when they enter a room to deliver a speech). • However, the President can lose our trust through his or her actions (or through their artistic ethos). Can you think of any other examples?
Ethos: related vocabulary • Ethics are a set of moral principles, or a theory or system of moral values. • If you are an ethical person, you are considered a good person and you most likely follow the rules. • If someone has a good work ethic, they have a strong belief in work as a moral good. In other words, they work hard because they believe it is the right thing to do.
Now that you know… see if you can identify how each of the appeals—logos, pathos, and ethos—are used in the following print advertisements. Here is your first chance to try out your knowledge… The Magnus Harmonica!
And NOW this… Now that we have looked closely at a selection of advertisements, let’s see if any of the things you noticed match what I saw… What appeals did you notice and how were they used?
Did you notice… ? Pathos: The expressions on their face communicate specific emotions. The word “free” is also shown in the description (this is a loaded or emotional word). The words, “What you need is a Magnus…” suggest that the harmonica will be the solution to the man’s unhappiness. The words, “easy to play” seem to say that the man will have no trouble playing the harmonica on the first try, so he will not be disappointed in his performance (and his unhappiness will be relieved). The ad goes on to say that you can “learn to play in 5 minutes” Ethos: The harmonica is sold by a company called “International Plastic Harmonica Corporation.” This suggests that this brand of harmonica is known around the world (although, if we look carefully, we notice that their business is run out of Newark, NJ). Logos: The description of the harmonica offers us specific facts and features that persuade us to purchase the harmonica—”instructions in every package…can be washed in soap and water…” They also offer us a choice of colors and pricing options.
Pathos: Everyone shown in this image is smiling. Happiness seems to surround them as they sit together in what seems to be a ski lodge. They are dressed warmly and are sitting near a glowing fireplace. The red of the cigarette package stands out against the black and white image—this seems to suggest that the owner of the cigarettes might also “distinguish” himself (or stand out from the crowd) by owning the cigarettes. Loaded words like “smooth,” “finest quality,” “distinguished," and “finest money can buy” suggest wealthy and upper class living. Ethos: Pall Mall attempts to give their argument credibility by showing us a picture of one man offering the cigarettes to another. The man offering the cigarettes seems slightly older than the man receiving the cigarettes, maybe suggesting that the older man’s experience qualifies him to make a recommendation. Logos: Interestingly, there is little or no evidence of a logical appeal, although the words, “guard against throat scratch” seem to suggest that smoking other brands will cause your throat to scratch.
Pathos: As in the other advertisement, everyone shown in this image is smiling. Happiness seems to surround them as they sit together in the seats of a Greyhound bus. Everyone is formally dressed and neatly groomed. “The friendly way to travel” suggests that driving in a car, or riding your bike, are more aggressive. The ad also states, “The people you meet aboard a Greyhound somehow seem more neighborly, more relaxed, easier to talk to.” In fact, it looks like this group of people could have come from the same neighborhood. Ethos: The ethical appeal is harder to see. Greyhound seems to be relying on the credibility of it’s name, and it’s presentation as a safe and clean environment in the advertisement. Logos: Greyhound uses it’s low fares as evidence to support the passenger’s friendly attitude: “a person who has bought a travel bargain is sure to be in a pleasant frame of mind.” They don’t offer any specific pricing information, however.
Pathos: The man appears to be in the role of the husband returning home to his wife after a long day of work. He reaches for her, hat in hand, and instead of the “royal welcome” he expects, the man is greeted by the scrutinizing stare of his wife, whose expression seems to communicate suspicion, anxiety and possibly disgust. The font exclaims: “INFECTIOUS DANDRUFF!” Infectious is a loaded or emotional word that carries a negative connotation similar in tone to the expression on the woman’s face. Ethos: The ethical argument is harder to see and seems connected to the pseudoscience (false scientific facts and information) pictured on the man’s shoulder. Logos: The close-up image of the germs, flakes, and scales pictured on the man’s shoulder attempt to create a sense of scientific evidence, although they ultimately come across as specious.