Thursday, December 26, 2013

Logos, Ethos and Pathos of Aristotle's Rhetorical Theory

I'm amazed, for the fact that Aristotle's Rhetorical Theory manage to survive, be the basis for other models of persuasion and be a constant reference to the theory of persuasion. Aristotle's Rhetorical theory is not complete, yet indispensable.

Aristotle proposes 3 strategies of persuasion, through appealing to one's logic (logos), through appealing to one's emotion (pathos) and by displaying one's credibility and trustworthiness (ethos). A persuasive message which has the three elements of logos, ethos and pathos is said to be most persuasive. The science field consistently investigates the arts of persuasion. In many cases, the study on persuasion is like the study of historical events; it can only be studied after the persuasive message has been presented to the target person. Thus, researchers collect past evidence, interview stakeholders and justify findings with theories.

---What if there is a study that develops a persuasive message and predicts the persuasiveness of a message? Interesting isn't it?

Persuasion is an innate ability, thus, people could still be persuasive even without knowing Aristotle's Theory. But of course the degree of persuasiveness is questionable. The science of persuasion is needed to help the helplessly unartistic person to be equally convincing persuader. It is similar to the study of literature which helps to sharpen the mundane person's poetic senses.

---The strategies are there to guide on developing persuasive message, but the challenge comes from the reality of life, the facts of life. Ethical Persuasion is not mere promises of sweet talk, but one that is tied to the reality. Reality of life is rarely bed of roses. Thus the challenge is to make uninteresting fact interesting.

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