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An Introduction to Rhetorical Appeals

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1 An Introduction to Rhetorical Appeals
Logos, Pathos, & Ethos An Introduction to Rhetorical Appeals

2 Background Information
Rhetoric is the use of words for a specific purpose, often to persuade an audience. According to Aristotle, there are three main strategies employed when appealing to an audience: logos, ethos, and pathos.

3 Logos – An Appeal to Logic
“Logos (Greek for ‘word’) refers to the internal consistency of the message—the clarity of the claim, the logic of its reasons, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence. The impact of logos on an audience is sometimes called the argument’s logical appeal” (Ramage).

4 Logos – An Appeal to Logic
An appeal to logos can be created through the use of logic based on irrefutable facts, verifiable numbers, and the inexorable march of reason across the course of a well-constructed speech, the pages of a critical paper, or the surfaces of compelling advertisements. When hunting for or seeking to employ logos, consider: facts as evidence, research/ statistics, quoted authorities, cause and effect, analogies and comparisons, common sense/shared values, and precedent. How is this ad an example of a visual metaphor?

5 Pathos – An Appeal to Emotion
“Pathos (Greek for ‘suffering’ or ‘experience’) is often associated with emotional appeal. But a better equivalent might be ‘appeal to the audience’s sympathies and imagination.’ An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but to identify with the writer’s point of view—to feel what the writer feels….Pathos refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer’s message moves the audience to decision or action” (Ramage).

6 Pathos – An Appeal to Emotion
An appeal based on pathos is targeted at the realm of emotion. It's why campaigns try to wrap themselves in a national flag and manuever to make you fear “the other”. It's why a winning smile and puppy-dog eyes work magic in cementing an advertisement’s main message in the minds of viewers. It’s why words aimed at the heartstrings often strike a chord within even the most savvy and skeptical readers. When pinpointing or seeking to utilize pathos, consider: connotative diction, imagery, or figurative language, anecdotes, examples, images that evoke an emotional response, and carefully crafted syntax (sentence patterns). How is this ad working on the pathos level?

7 Ethos – An Appeal to Ethics
“Ethos (Greek for ‘character’) refers to the trustworthiness or credibility of the writer or speaker. Ethos is often conveyed through tone and style of the message and through the way the writer or speaker refers to differing views. It can also be affected by the writer’s reputation as it exists independently from the message—his or her expertise in the field, his or her previous record or integrity, and so forth. The impact of ethos is often called the argument’s ‘ethical appeal’ or the ‘appeal from credibility’” (Ramage). The Speaker

8 Ethos – An Appeal to Ethics
An appeal based on ethos centers on the ethical character of the speaker and their sources of information. Quite simply, it matters who's trying to persuade you and whom they reference for support. If the person trying to sway an audience demonstrates “common sense, virtue, and goodwill,” then the listeners will be more likely to believe what that person states. If an advertisement cites a reputable institution’s stastics, the claim of the ad becomes more plausible. When seeking or straining to implement ethos, consider: the stating of qualifications for expertise, citing relevant authorities and allusions, making qualified claims (perhaps, sometimes, etc.), and restating opposing views accurately and fairly. How does this image extend beyond mere celebrity endorsement to include ethos?

9 Major Resource Ramage, John D. and John C. Bean. Writing Arguments. 4th Edition. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, ,

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