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Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, as suggested by Aritotle

The writer with whom I felt rapport was presenting his argument in a clear and consistent way, backing each point with relevant and sufficient evidence. The writer did not attempt to manipulate the reader, and the text contained no apparent bias. On the contrary, a writer who employs every trick to persuade the reader seems far less credible.

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Writer’s credibility ca be analyzed through the prism of three classical modes of persuasion — Ethos (appeal to authority), Pathos (appeal to emotion), and Logos (appeal to logic), as suggested by Aritotle (1989).

As concerns Ethos, audience tends to believe speakers that elicit respect and demonstrate their credibility. Personal qualities that render speakers such credibility encompass a sense of wisdom (phronesis), goodwill (eunoia), and strong moral character (arete). Pathos, for its part, implies that a speaker possesses the ability to arouse strong feeling and emotional reactions in his or her listeners. While Aristotle acknowledges the importance of the aforementioned modes of persuasion, he strongly deems that Logos is the most important and effective.

Logical corollaries and evidences presented in a clear and consistent manner should persuade the reader of the effectiveness of the speaker’s thesis rater than author’s impressive credentials or emotional appeal. No doubt, writer’s qualification and expertise play a role, yet well structured argument is of greater importance to me. I would rather believe a talented university student offering an interesting and well researched thesis than a world famous professor arguing that global warming is a myth. Therefore, the most important aspects of persuasive writing are logic, evidence, and structure.