Aristotle’s Ethos, Pathos, and Logos – in Which Do You Excel?
Ethos: the source’s credibility, the speaker’s/author’s authority
Logos: the logic used to support a claim (induction and deduction); can also be the facts and statistics used to help support the argument.
Pathos: the emotional or motivational appeals; vivid language, emotional language and numerous sensory details.
A recent blog comment by “RuthRocks” triggered a memory from a speech class I took several years ago. The speech professor taught us about ethos, pathos, and logos, and that comment reminded me that pathos was my weakest of the three. Ruth Rock’s comment was clearly an appeal to pathos, and I thought it was an excellent appeal:
“I beg all of you who are dismissing abortion as merely an ugly medical procedure to actually click on the links provided in the article and prayerfully view them. At least momentarily try to see it from the perspective of one who sees it as the murder of a baby.”
Click here to view the comment thread.
That comment reminded me, again like my speech professor, that pathos is my weakest side in debate. I am very good at logos; many here are far better than me at it. I really don’t know about the ethos side; it seems to me ethos has to do with perception and I don’t know how I am perceived here.
But I definitely want to work on pathos as I think my arguments are very lopsided without it.
Questions for Your Consideration
1. What do you think about ethos, pathos, and logos? Have you ever studied them? Tell us about it.
2. In which do you excel? Which needs work? Can you provide examples of when you have used them effectively?
3. Is there one or two you do feel are NOT necessary in debate, or should all three be mastered? Why or why not?