The Aristotelian Model of Argument
The Aristotelian or the classical model or argument was developed by the great Greek philosopher Aristotle. According to Aristotle’s framework, as a writer, your goal is to persuade and convince the readers into your viewpoint using a series of techniques. The writer must use logic to either confirm a situation or refute an existing hypothesis. The three ways to persuade an audience as per the Aristotelian style are pathos, ethos, and logos.
Pathos means appealing to human emotions. It is the effort by the writer to persuade the reader by appealing to their most inner feelings. An audience is more receptive to persuasion if they can directly identify and relate with the writer. To successfully persuade people, you must invoke their emotions and feelings, which motivates them to act. It could be any form of emotion, including happiness, fear, anger, compassion, and nostalgia.
Ethos appeals to ethics, and efforts mostly focus on convincing your audience that you are credible and authentic. But even before you attempt to convince people about something, you must believe in it first. This applies in many situations in our daily lives; whether you are doing a presentation at work, looking for a job, or teaching, you need to have a strong conviction to persuade people. It is also imperative to study your audience to establish the best way to create and develop trust and understand how to respond to them.
Logos appeals to logic and uses reason to persuade and convince people about something. A logical argument can be proved using testimonials, surveys, and other relevant documents supporting and verifying your claims. The Greek word logos means to document your proposition through evidence, historically verified data, facts, logical arguments, or telling stories. To successfully persuade people through logos, you need to gather a good deal of research to ensure that you have all your facts right and documents and are prepared to present them in an organized and logical manner that is easy to understand. When writing an essay or research paper, having strong logos greatly influences your ability to build your ethos throughout your work.
While the Aristotelian three modes of persuasion are categorized separately, they are closely interconnected and are all very important in writing a strong and convincing argument. Learning how they complement each other will help you in convincing your audience and creating argumentative papers.
Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Goldman, R. (1981). Personal involvement as a determinant of argument-based persuasion. Journal of personality and social psychology, 41(5), 847.
Wick, A. D. (2020). The Derivation and Application of Aristotelian Persuasion Relating to Both Ancient and Modern (Doctoral dissertation, Saint Mary’s College of California).