Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Three Ways to Persuade

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 445
  • Published : June 3, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Three Ways to Persuade
Edlund, J.R. (n.d.) Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Three Ways to Persuade. Cal Poly Ponoma. Retrieved on November 22, 2010 from Over 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle argued that there were three basic ways to persuade an audience that you were right: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos: The Writer's Character or Image [presenter]

The Greek word ethos is related to our word ethics or ethical, but a more accurate modern translation might be "image." Aristotle uses ethos to refer to the speaker's character as it appears to the audience. Aristotle says that if we believe that a speaker has "good sense, good moral character, and goodwill," we are inclined to believe what that speaker says to us. Today we might add that a speaker should also appear to have the appropriate expertise or authority to speak knowledgeably about the subject matter. Ethos is an important factor in advertising, both for commercial products and in politics. For example, when an actor in a pain reliever commercial puts on a doctor's white coat, the advertisers are hoping that wearing this coat will give the actor the authority to talk persuasively about medicines. Of course, in this case the actor's ethos is a deceptive illusion. In our society sports heroes, popular actors and actresses, and rock stars are often seen as authorities on matters completely unrelated to their talents. This is an instance of the power of image. Can you think of some examples? A writer's ethos is created largely by word choice and style. Student writers often have a problem with ethos because they are asked to write research papers, reports, and other types of texts as if they have authority to speak persuasively, when in fact they are newcomers to the subject matter and the discourse community. Sometimes students try to create an academic image for themselves by using a thesaurus to find difficult and unusual...
tracking img