Logos, Ethos, and Pathos

Logos Ethos Pathos
Definition Appeal to reason and logic Projection of the speaker or writer’s character or personal authority Appeal to emotions and values
Case study Reasons why you can’t go You can’t go because I say so Weeping so you won’t go
Aristotle Reason Will Emotion
Wizard of Oz Scarecrow Lion; Dorothy Tinman
Star Trek Spock Kirk McKoy
Superheros Vision Batman Hulk
Harry Potter Hermione Dumbledore Ron
LOTR Elrond Gandalf Gollum
Evidence Statistics, informal logic Experts Anecdotes
Methods Scientific method, factual details, unbiased reportage Narrative and descriptive details, cases, and examples to back up and support generalizations and demonstrate accuracy Narrative and descriptive details calculated to evoke an emotional response
Problems and weaknesses No “soul” Bankrupt personal authority or character Suspicions of manipulation
Remembering Logos, Logic “hE can be trusted?” Pathos, Passion (an emotion)
  • Jung suggests healthy individual are characterized by a balance of reason, will, and emotion. We are suspicious of people who are stuck in one mode of thought.
  • The best thinkers, speakers, and writers move among argumentative strategies, adapting to variations in audience. For example, in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King shifts strategies to speak to different segments of his audience.
  • Ethos often mediates between logos and pathos.
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