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The Three Appeals of Argument

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The Three Appeals of Argument

Logical Appeal (logos)

Logical appeal is the strategic use of logic, claims, and evidence to convince an audience of a certain point.

When used correctly, logical appeal contains the following elements..

Strong, clear claims
Reasonable qualifiers for claims
Warrants that are valid
Clear reasons for claims
Strong evidence (facts, statistics, personal experience, expert authority, interviews, observations, anecdotes)
Acknowledgement of the opposition

When used poorly, logical appeals may include…

Over generalized claims
Reasons that are not fully explained or supported
Logical fallacies
Evidence misused or ignored
No recognition of opposing views

Ethical Appeal (Ethos)

Ethical appeal is used to establish the writer as fair, open-minded, honest, and knowledgeable about the subject matter. The writer creates a sense of him or herself as trustworthy and credible

When used correctly, the writer is seen as…

Well-informed about the topic
Confident in hiss or her position
Sincere and honest
Understanding of the reader’s concerns and possible objections
Humane and considerate

When used incorrectly, the writer can be viewed as…

Unfair or dishonest
Distorting or misrepresenting information (biased)
Insulting or dismissive of other viewpoints
Advocating intolerant ideas

Emotional Appeal (pathos)

Emotional appeals target the emotions of the reader to create some kind of connection with the writer.

When done well, emotional appeals…
Reinforce logical arguments
Use diction and imagery to create a bond with the reader in a human way
Appeal to idealism, beauty, humor, nostalgia, or pity (or other emotions) in a balanced way
Are presented in a fair manner

When used improperly, emotional appeals…

Become a substitute for logic and reason (TV and magazine advertising often relies heavily on emotional rather than logical appeal)
Uses stereotypes to pit one group of people against another (propaganda and some political advertising does this)
Offers a simple, unthinking reaction to a complex problem
Takes advantage of emotions to manipulate (through fear, hate, pity, prejudice, embarrassment, lust, or other feelings) rather than convince credibly

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