Ethos, Pathos, Logos

We are going to explain the meaning of ethos, pathos and logos of Aristotle, or the three forms of persuasion, namely: those based on credibility (ethos), emotions and psychology (pathos), and reasoning (logos), and that the Stagirite presents in the Rhetoric. In this work, of great historical influence, the basic pillars of the art of persuasion or rhetoric are exposed, which for Aristotle, unlike the Sophists, far from being a weapon of manipulation and control, was closely related to logic and dialectics. If you want to know more about Aristotle’s ethos, pathos, logos, continue reading this lesson of.

The Stagirite distinguishes three types of arguments:

The first is based on the credibility of the sender (moral condition or auctoritas): ethos.
The second is based on the emotions of the receiver: pathos.
The third is based on logic: logos.
“Of the arguments procured by reasoning, there are three kinds: some that lie in the character of the speaker, others, in placing the hearer in a certain state of mind, others, finally, in the speech itself…” (Aristotle, Rhetoric, I, 2)

From the above, Aristotle is going to make a classification of the elements involved in ethical communication:

Values: ethos
Feelings: pathos
Arguments: logos
For Aristotle, ethics is fundamental when arguing and would serve to unite the 3 types of elements that are part of the argumentative discourse: because the art of arguing should not prevent respect for the truth and for the emotions of people.

When it comes to arguing, everyone tries to be persuasive, to convince others to think the same way, and to do so, Aristotle’s three basic elements must be fulfilled. If so, a person’s ability to convince will be practically infallible and will undoubtedly help him or her to succeed in everything he or she sets out to do. Let us now see how to build a good speech in order to convince and influence other people.

Meaning of Aristotle’s ethos


Arguments based on ethos are those that refer to the credibility of the sender and are of a moral order. Here, the skills of the speaker, his relationship with the listener, his authority, the confidence he inspires in the audience, etc., come into play.

“We believe good men more fully and with less hesitation; this is generally true whatever the question, and absolutely true where absolute certainty is impossible and opinions are divided”.

It is clear that no one can be convinced if the receiver does not generate confidence in others, that is, if they do not believe him. A good speech, perfectly argued, is worthless if the speaker is not credible.

Elements of ethos


There are three elements involved in ethos:

Knowledge about the subject in question or authority.
References to an authority
Attitude or charisma: empathy, confidence, security.
Knowing the topic to be discussed will be fundamental when arguing, and if the receiver has certain authority to talk about it, such as a title, for example, it will give more credibility to the subject. If you do not have that authority, you can always resort to citing sources that do have it. This point also helps to increase the degree of credibility of the speaker. Finally, it is necessary to have certain social skills, a certain attitude that awakens feelings of trust and respect in the audience.

What is ethos, pathos, logos by Aristotle – Meaning of ethos by AristotleImage: Answers tips
Meaning of Aristotelian pathos.
In Aristotle’s Rhetoric, pathos is the argument that appeals to people’s feelings and emotions, in order to influence them to change their minds or think the same way as the recipient. It is the typical technique used in judgments and that is why we usually speak of pathos arguments.

But pathos, also means suffering, experience and in art, it refers to the emotion caused in the public by the contemplation of a work of art. It appeals to the empathy of the receiver to the se

But pathos also means suffering, experience, and in art, it refers to the emotion provoked in the public by the contemplation of a work of art. It appeals to the empathy of the receiver to the feelings it awakens in him. This is why pathos is the most used argument when arguing, managing to impress the audience, to affect it, due to the degree of intimacy that surrounds the discourse. Here the values, beliefs and understanding of the receiver come into play.

Elements of pathos


Several elements are involved in the constitution of a pathos:

The vulnerability of the speaker. When the speaker opens his heart to his audience, he immediately awakens in them feelings of understanding and empathizes with them, because the speaker presents himself as more human.
Stories. There is no doubt that stories are the best way to reach the receiver, to catch him, captivate him and make him empathize with the sender. A story, real or not, is capable of awakening people’s most hidden feelings.
Use metaphors or analogies. This is essential when the subject is complicated, since thanks to these resources, it is possible to explain difficult issues in a very simple and understandable way for all audiences.
What is ethos, pathos, logos of Aristotle – Meaning of the Aristotelian pathos
Logos in Aristotle’s Rhetoric
Logos means word, speech or reason, and in Rhetoric, it is the logical reasoning behind every word uttered by the speaker. It appeals to intelligence, to human reason and therefore, it uses to convince logical arguments, which can be of two forms: deductive and inductive.

In Aristotle’s Rhetoric, logos was the argumentation he liked the most, although, nowadays, persuasive techniques based on ethos or pathos are used, because through them, it is easier to reach all kinds of audiences. Logic is not always taken into account when making judgments, and emotion is almost always stronger than reason.

In fact, ethos or pathos is the type of argumentation most commonly used by lawyers in court, politicians or advertisers. Their effectiveness has been amply demonstrated, especially in those people who do not possess argumentative qualities.

Elements of logos


Statistics or graphics. Since the brain responds positively to the presence of one of these elements.
Research, studies or experiments that support the argument. A proof of them are the affirmations of the scientific community that are supported by the majority of the population.
Show proven facts. Through examples, it is possible to give greater credibility to the argument.
In Aristotle’s rhetoric, pathos, ethos and logos are the three pillars of discursive argument, and today, they are considered different modes of persuasion, which are used to convince the audience on some particular issue.

“You never reach the total truth, nor are you ever totally far from it.”

If you want to read more articles related to What is Aristotle’s ethos, pathos, logos, we recommend you to enter our Philosophy category.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos. Aristotle’s rhetoric to persuade.
by Nacho Téllez | Content creation | 19 Comments

Ethos, Pathos, Logos. Aristotle’s rhetoric to persuade.
It has been 2,300 years since Aristotle wrote Rhetoric and his teachings are still being studied today.

It seems that there has not been much investment in R&D in oratory.

In his book, Aristotle listed the three sources of information for a good persuasive speech: ethos, pathos and logos.

What are Ethos, Pathos and Logos?


In a moment I will tell you the meaning of ethos, pathos and logos and give you some examples, but before we start, keep in mind that this content is considered the ideal when we talk about persuasive speeches. It is not necessary for all types of speeches.

That said, the reality is that the vast majority of speeches or presentations are persuasive. Often you are looking for a change in your audience either in behaviors or in thinking and that is precisely what persuasion is all about.

Ethos
Ethos refers to the credibility you may have as a speaker or communicator. Why should your audience believe what you say?

How would you feel if Luis Barcenas gave you a speech about honesty and best practices?

In order to persuade your audience the first thing you need is to wrap yourself in an aura of credibility. If they don’t see you as someone they can trust, it doesn’t matter how well structured your arguments are or how rich your non-verbal language is, it will be very difficult to convince them.

Three ways to build Ethos
The first way to achieve this is to have an ethos built up in advance by your reputation. You may be an expert in the subject you are talking about, you may have some academic degree that legitimizes you or some trophy that proves you have mastered the discipline you are explaining.

Imagine that the latest Nobel laureate in economics comes to you to give a talk on the future of investment in this country. Will you listen to what he might say?

Most likely.

The second way is to borrow it. You may not be the Nobel laureate, but if you use his arguments or his ideas, you wrap what you say in credibility.

Imagine I tell you about some medical results and I say:
“According to Dr. Smith, head of the advanced surgery floor of the Boston, Massachusetts hospital, 82% of breast surgeries are…”
Yes, I am talking myself but these are the words of an expert in my mouth.

Thanks to Dr. Smith I am gaining credibility.

The third technique stems from your consistency as a speaker. Your rhetoric, your movements and ability to connect with the audience are factors that help reinforce your Ethos.

Can you imagine a speaker who stutters, goes blank and moves nervously around the stage?

It doesn’t look good.

Pathos
Pathos refers to the ability of your words to generate emotions in the audience.
Have you ever gotten goosebumps when listening to a movie speech? Many actors, from Russell Crowe to Chaplin have done it with me. And it’s not only because of their fantastic acting but also because of the studied text that is capable of touching the most sensitive fibers. And if you add visuals, get the tissues ready.

Appealing to emotions is one of the most powerful resources a speaker has. And one of the most difficult to master.

Three ways to build pathos
The first and most powerful is to show vulnerability.

When someone goes out to speak in front of dozens or hundreds of people and is able to open up and tell something that makes them vulnerable, they are driving on the highway that leads to the hearts of others.
Check out this speech by the small but great Ellen Page.

My recommendation is to watch the whole thing so you see the change in both her and the audience but if you prefer to get straight to the point you can fast forward to 5:00.
Saying what she says in front of all those people…wow. You have to be brave.

The second strategy is to tell stories. Personal stories or anecdotes make us seem more human and help connect with the audience.

When you tell about the problems you had parking in the center of Madrid, you stop being “the speaker” and become a normal person like the rest of the audience.

The third strategy is to use metaphors. Metaphors are analogies that explain complicated concepts through simpler stories.

The bible is full of metaphors as is our popular culture. Stories like the ugly duckling or the ant and the cicada are different ways of explaining a concept. And as Jorge Bucay says: “Stories serve to put children to sleep and wake up adults.”

The same thing happens with metaphors.

Logos
Logos refers to the world of logic and reasoning. It is everything that reinforces your message from the prism of reason.

Imagine you want to talk about how pollution harms our lives.
You could give percentages of pollution in different cities, show graphs, you could define what is considered pollution: smoke from cars, some toxic wastes, some gases from industry, etc.
With this you could give a solid base to your speech and appeal to the analytical part of your audience.

Three ways to build logos
The first is to include graphs or statistics in your speech.

When someone sees a graph that demonstrates a trend or a statistic that supports a statement their left side of the brain activates and approves what you are saying.

The second is to use research, studies or experiments that approach your topic from a scientific point of view. The scientific method has brought many advances in society and is, today, the test that all reasoning or theory must pass for the majority of the population to adopt it as true.

The third is to show demonstrable facts. I can say that two plus two is four to exemplify a concept and thereby use the logic of a demonstrable fact for the whole audience.
I could also say that FC Barcelona was founded in 1899 or that Real Madrid has 11 European Cups.

Data, demonstrable facts. Logos.

Ethos, pathos and logos: all in one.
One of my favorite speeches is the one given by Robert Kennedy in 1968 warning of the danger of measuring the progress and welfare of a nation by its Gross Domestic Product.

“For too long we have measured personal excellence and social values by the mere accumulation of material things.

Our current Gross Domestic Product is over $800 billion a year. But if we judge the United States by that, that Gross Domestic Product includes pollution, tobacco ads, and the ambulances we use to clean our highways of flesh. It includes the locks on our doors and the prisons for those who break them. It includes the destruction of forests and the loss of our natural wonders to wild urbanism.
It also includes Napalm, nuclear warheads and armored police cars that stop demonstrations in our streets. It includes the Whitman rifle, the Speck knife and the TV shows that glorify violence to sell toys to our children.

And yet Gross Domestic Product does not measure the health of our children, the quality of their education or their enjoyment of play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages. The intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our politicians. It does not measure our wit or our courage, our wisdom or our learning, our compassion or our devotion to our country.

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