Definitions of the Three Appeals of Argument: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

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The three appeals go by several names. Often times they are simply called "the three appeals." But some people call them the three appeals of argument, persuasive appeals, modes of persuasion, and three persuasive audience appeals to name a few. But some names give a clue as to the origins of the appeals, such as "The Aristotelian Appeals." The three appeals were posited by the Greek philosopher Aristotle.

Ethos

Ethos is known as the ethical appeal. This means the writer and/or speaker is appealing to one's ethics or beliefs and is based on one's character.

Logos

Logos is known as the logical appeal. The writer and/or speaker appeals to one's logic or reasoning. This is based on facts and other forms of evidence.

Pathos

Pathos is known as the pathetic appeal. This is usually when students laugh. And I always tell them, "This does not mean you or the people in the audience are pathetic." Instead the writer and/or speaker is appealing to one's emotions. This appeal is known for trying to pull at one's heartstrings.

Which do you tend to use the most of?

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There is no correct blend of the three appeals when writing a paper or speech. However, being aware of balance based on the audience and intent, one can present a much more solid argument and be more successful at convincing others.

Want to learn more about the three appeals of argument/persuasion?

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Comments 17 comments

thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 4 years ago from India

I came to know about something new here

Thanks for the share


peoplepower73 profile image

peoplepower73 4 years ago from Placentia California

StephanieBCrosby: The four supplement links contain great reference material for writers and speakers. I'm a member of Toastmasters and I'm going to bookmark these sites. Thanks for sharing. Voting up, Useful and Shariing.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

That's awesome. There is a lot more to say about the three appeals. But I will leave that for another day. Thanks for stopping by :)


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello peoplepower73. I figured there was no sense in me trying to cover all the information about the three appeals since most people who would search just want the facts. So I'm glad you found the supplemental links useful.

I am not familiar with Toastmasters: what's it about?

Thanks for reading!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Short but sweet and to the point. Good information for any writer to use. Voted up and interesting.


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

You've hit the nail directly on the head with these three short definitions. Makes reading quick and short, and I'd like to emulate that - voted up.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello tillsontitan. Thanks for reading and commenting. I even surprised with how to the point I was because I have the gift of gab and usually try to fit in everything.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi Emmanuel Kariuki. Thanks for the compliment. Being terse is not always easy for me. But hopefully practice will make perfect :)


Laurinzo Scott profile image

Laurinzo Scott 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

Great hub... and yes I like to think that as I grow older I tend toward logos. In my reckless youth it was always emotions that ruled my actions, and that was often pure disaster. That is why on the original Startrek Mr. Spock is my favorite. I vote for logic today, and voted this hub Up!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello Laurinzo Scott. I agree that people tend to go through shifts in perspective as to what is most effective or not depending on age and experience. But in terms of StarTrek I guess you went from Captain Kirk to Spock. That's a pretty radical change. Thanks for reading, voting, and commenting.


Laurinzo Scott profile image

Laurinzo Scott 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

Yes it is Stephanie, and what I find amazing is how those different styles of thinking affect culure, society, and events as a whole. You are very welcome as this hub is great food for thought.


WhydThatHappen 4 years ago

Short and to the point- i think the major flaw that happens when people try to convince others of a concept is that instead of applying the three appeals through the audience's perspective, the presenter speaks from their own- they are already convinced, why are they talking like they need to be convinced all over again? Voting up and sharing


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

WhydThatHappen, thanks!

You hit the nail on the head. Often when people argue, they figure using the same arguments and perspective they started with is somehow magically and suddenly going to be more convincing the third or fourth time around. Why preach to the choir?


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Interesting. I find as my years increase I tend to use logos but pathos slips in from time to time---it depends on what purpose I am writing for I think.

Thanks for sharing this

Sending Angels to you :) ps


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi pstraubie48. I also find that I am called to use logos predominantly. However, my instinct is to use pathos. It would be quite interesting if we all just sort of wrote off the cuff, but in a responsible way. Thanks for reading and thanks for the angels!


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 19 months ago from london

Short and sweet, Stephanie. Keep it that way. Reach out to the heart as best you can. Nice ideas from a great Man. Much peace.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 19 months ago from New Jersey Author

Hello manatita44,

Thank you so much for these lovely words and the awesome advice. I will take it to heart!!!

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