Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ethos, Logos & Pathos

I took a great class in college called Human Communication. It was about all the ways we communicate with each other. From scientists, to marketers and advertisers to politicians. My teacher said never to trust statistics from advertisers. He proved to us (and I wish I could remember how) that 4 out of 5 dentists agree that NOT brushing your teeth was good for you. It was fascinating. He also taught us about the elements of an argument.

In Aristotle’s Rhetorica he put forth the basic canons of artistic rhetoric. Artistic refers to arguments that are invented or researched by the speaker. This does not mean the topic the speaker wishes to put forth is created, but the argument or angle that the speaker takes is researched and thought up by the person who wished to convince someone else of his or her position. The sisters of Ethos, Logos and Pathos are all important parts of rhetoric. You can see how many types of professions rely on the concepts of Aristotle’s Rhetorica like lawyers, advertisers and politicians.

4 comments:

The Phoenix said...

So I shouldn't blindly believe Mandy Patinkin when he talks about lowering my cholesterol with Crestor just because I loved him as Inigo Mantoya in "The Princess Bride?"

Whenever I think about ethos, logos, and pathos...my favorite example of all three and how the masses believe anyone is the "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech Marc Antony makes in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar."

It's a perfect example, really, of the human condition and appealing to people using a mix of facts, logic, emotion, and appeal.

ObilonKenobi said...

I really want to believe Mandy Patinkin because I like him too but my skeptical side says he may not know enough about cholesterol to recomend a product to me.

The Phoenix said...

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. Cholestorol killed my father. Prepare to swallow some Crestor!

SamSam said...

Yeah, once you have the audience's trust, they're in the palm of your hands.