Instruction: First read The Art of Argument about Ethos, Pathos and Logos
The Art of Argument: Ethos (Greek for character ): the source’s credibility, the speaker’s/author’s authority; refers to the trustworthiness or credibility of the writer or speaker. Ethos is often conveyed through tone and style of the message and through the way the writer or speaker refers to differing views and makes concessions (conceding points, facts or concerns that go against your argument). Ethos can also be affected by the writer’s reputation, as it exists independently from the message, his or her expertise in the field and his or her previous record or integrity. The impact of ethos is often called the argument’s ethical appeal or the appeal from credibility.
Pathos (Greek for suffering or experience): the emotional or motivational appeals; vivid language, emotional language and numerous sensory details. Pathos is often associated with emotional appeal. But a better equivalent might be appeal to the audience’s sympathies and imagination. An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally, but to identify with the writer’s point of view – to feel what the writer feels. In this sense, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb ‘to suffer’ – to feel pain imaginatively. Perhaps the most common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something real and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the writer are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to the reader. Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer’s message moves the audience to decision or action.
Logos (Greek for word): the logic used to support a claim (induction and deduction); logos can also be the facts and statistics used to help support the argument and refers to the internal consistency of the message, the clarity of the claim, the logic of its reasons, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence. The impact of logos on an audience is sometimes called the argument’s logical appeal.
To Develop Ethos:
Language appropriate to audience and subject
Restrained, sincere, fair minded presentation (differing views/concessions)
Appropriate level of vocabulary
To Appeal to Emotion (Pathos):
Vivid, concrete language
Emotionally loaded language
Narratives of emotional events
To Appeal to Logic (Logos):
Literal and historical analogies
Factual data and statistics
Citations from experts and authorities
Let us begin with a simple proposition: What democracy requires is public debate, not information. Of course it needs information too, but the kind of information it needs can be generated only by vigorous popular debate. We do not know what we need to know until we ask the right questions, and we can identify the right questions only by subjecting our ideas about the world to the test of public controversy. Information, usually seen as the precondition of debate, is beter understood as its by product. When we get into arguments that focus and fully engage our attention, we become avid seekers of relevant information. Otherwise, we take in information passively–if we take it in at all.
-Christopher Lasch, “The Lost Art of Political Argument”
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.”…Since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable in terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.”…I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
-Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
For me, commentary on war zones at home and abroad begins and ends with personal reflections. A few years ago, while watching the news in Chicago, a local news story made a personal connection with me. The report concerned a teenager who had been shot because he had angered a group of his male peers. This act of violence caused me to recapture a memory from my own adolescence because of an instructive parallel in my own life with this boy who had been shot. When I was a teenager some thirty-five years ago in the New York metropolitan area, I wrote a regular column for my high school newspaper. One week, I wrote a column in which I made fun of the fraternities in my high school. As a result, I elicited the anger of some of the most aggressive teenagers in my high school. A couple of nights later, a car pulled up in front of my house, and the angry teenagers in the car dumped garbage on the lawn of my house as an act of revenge and intimidation.
-James Garbarino “Children in a Violent World: A Metaphysical Perspective”
Typed, double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, no more or less than one-page, MLA format. I want to know what was interesting to you, what confused you, what made you excited or outraged. What question/questions might the reading leave you with? Each response should assert a clear controlling idea (or thesis). The body paragraphs of your response should support and develop your ideas with evidence from the text and your own thoughts/analysis.
The writing asserts a precise, thoughtful position in its thesis or main idea.
Writing demonstrates an effective pattern of organization that facilitates the reader’s understanding of the thesis.
Main points are precisely stated.
Paragraphs are appropriately organized and avoid redundancy.
Statements are substantially supported with compelling and warranted illustration.
Writing adeptly uses appropriate and convincing passages from texts and engage reader.
Vocabulary and sentence structure are appropriate for the topic and intended audience; writing is clear, precise and virtually free from errors that distract from meaning and readability.
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