Three appeals

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How does one make an argument persuasive enough to change the beliefs of another person? In classical Greek rhetoric, there are three basic approaches–three “rhetorical appeals”–one can use to make a convincing argument. They include these three items:

  • Logos (using logical arguments such as induction and deduction)
  • Pathos (creating an emotional reaction in the audience)
  • Ethos (projecting a trustworthy, authoritative, or charismatic image)

You can click on any one of the terms above for a slightly longer discussion and some links. In addition to balancing logic, emotion, and charisma, the rhetor also has to adapt the argument, tone, and approach for the specific audience. This audience adaptation takes into account the assumptions of that audience, and analyzes the spoken and unspoken assumptions behind a specific line of argument.