The Art of Rhetoric: Aristotle’s Persuasive Appeals

Rhetoric: the art of speaking and writing effectively
vAristotle’s definition: the ability in each particular case to see the available means of persuasion
Appeals: how the writer/speaker tries to convince the audience.

vAn appeal to logic or reason
vAcademic papers, corporate informational documents are logos driven.
vThe reader must ask whether or not the logic follows: are the statistics skewed or unrepresentative?
  • 4 out of 5 dentists recommend this toothpaste.

vAppeal based on emotion
vMost advertising is pathos driven
vAttempts to persuade by stirring the emotions of the audience
  • Love, pity, sorrow, fear, greed, lust, etc.
  • Does not concern the veracity (truth) of the argument
  • The reader needs to consider, “Is the writer simply ‘playing’ me?”

vAn appeal based on the character or reputation of the author, the speaker, or the source
vEffectively, “I’m a great guy, so you should believe what I’m saying.”
vEthos does not concern the veracity of the argument, just the credibility of its source.
vReader needs to consider whether or not the source is credible (believable).
vSource might be person or place ad is seen.