4 Ways to Persuade with Emotion (Pathos)
- Concrete Examples
- Connotative Diction
- Metaphors and Similes
Appeals to pathos target the link between audience members and their values.
When we act on our values, we experience emotions like happiness, pride, satisfaction, etc. When we do not, we often feel shame, fear, or anger. The same goes for the actions of people around us: we are often pleased when the actions of people around us align with our values and angry when they don’t.
Appeals to Emotions
Images can be used to instill an emotional response in the audience. Even implied images in text can be very emotionally powerful. A description of blood stained clothes draws certain emotions in a reader.
Lawyers know how important visuals can be. They dress their defendants in suits and ties to make them seem more credible.
Types of emotional appeals:
- appeal to pity
- appeal to fear
- appeal to self-interest
- identity prejudice
Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not Reason. – Benjamin Franklin
Images as Arguments
Images can be used to help us see the argument that the author is intending. They can be used to lower our skepticism, visual proof of something that happened. This is problematic nowadays with the popularity of programs such as Photoshop, where images can be changed or manipulated. Now more than ever, we have to be weary of taking images at face value. We have to critically think about images and their intended effect.
Three basic questions we can ask.
- Who produced the image?
- Who distributed the image?
- Who consumed the image?
If you think that pictures will help you make the point you are arguing, include them with captions explaining their sources and relevance.
Persuasive Techniques in Advertising
This is a great video that shows how pathos, logos, and ethos are used in advertising.
- a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.
- a failure in reasoning that renders an argument invalid.
- faulty reasoning; misleading or unsound argument.
We will be talking about fallacies today. These are general definitions of a fallacy.
- In your own words, what is a fallacy?
- What fallacies have you heard of?
Intro to Fallacies
Fallacies are connected to the different appeals: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.
- Ethos is appeals to credibility or character
- Logos is appeals to logic and reason
- Pathos is appeals to feelings or emotions.
Appealing to ethos or pathos is not in itself a fallacy, only appealing to them or using them unethically is. Here is an example of a fallacy used to persuade.
Why do we say this is a fallacy?
- Argument: A conclusion together with the premises that support it.
- Premise: A reason offered as support for another claim.
- Conclusion: A claim that is supported by a premise.
- Valid: An argument whose premises genuinely support its conclusion.
- Unsound: An argument that has at least one false premise.
- Fallacy: An argument that relies upon faulty reasoning.
- Booby-trap: An argument that, while not a fallacy itself, might lead an inattentive reader to commit a fallacy.
This is a great resource for further reading on fallacies and how they are not so simple. The article lists 223 of the most common fallacies.
I do not expect you to know them all or to never use any. Fallacies are controversial. We appreciate logic and honesty in Western rhetorical thinking and that is at odds with many fallacies.
Fallacies are not necessarily wrong, they work very well and are very good at persuading people. Fallacies are considered unethical and so we try to avoid them. They are thought of as flaws in thought, tricks, and sneaky uses of persuasion to convince others.