Logos Ethos Pathos

Topics: Logic, Rhetoric / Pages: 4 (1236 words) / Published: Nov 15th, 2014
In Neil Postman’s novel, Amusing Ourselves to Death, he argues that rationality in America has become dictated by television. Through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos, Postman demonstrates that his claim is valid and reliable. These are three forms of persuasion that are used to influence others to agree with a particular point of view. Ethos, or ethical appeal, is used to build an author’s image. Ethos establishes a sense of credibility and good character for the author (Henning). Pathos, or emotional appeal, involves engaging “an audience's sense of identity, their self-interest, their emotions” (Henning). If done correctly, the power of emotions can allow the reader to be swayed to agree with the author. Logos, or logical appeal, is the use of “formal logic and scientific reasoning” (Edlund & Pomona). Logos provides pellucidity to the claim and effectiveness of its fortifying evidence. Every claim has a call to action and Postman uses rhetorical persuasion to encourage a movement that takes place on behalf of his claim. In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman applies these various appeals to prove how television affects society’s ability to properly receive information.
Postman provides proper illustration of both ethos and pathos in Amusing Ourselves to Death. These appeals support that television learning opposes aspects of traditional education. In chapter ten of Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman references John Dewy. Postman uses ethos when citing the American philosopher to establish credibility for his argument. Dewy reasons that the most fundamental thing one learns is continually something about how one learns (144). Postman uses this to support that, “Television educates by teaching children to do what television-viewing requires of them. And that is precisely remote from what a classroom requires of them as reading a book is from watching a stage show” (144). Postman uses ethos to establish trustworthiness by using Dewy as a source. He allows the



Cited: Edlund, John R., Dr., and Cal P. Pomona. “Ethos, Logos, Pathos; Three Ways to Persuade.” Ethos, Logos Pathos. Calstatela.edu, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. Dlugan, Andrew. "Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking." Six Minutes RSS. Six Minutes, 2 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Nov. 2014 Henning, Martha L. "A General Summary of Aristotle 's Appeals . . ." Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death. 20th Anniversary ed. New York: Penguin, 1985. Print.

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