Rhetoric & The Art Of Persuasion
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Ethos, Logos, and Pathos - Aristotle's Modes Of Persuasion
"Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men." Plato
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writing.jpgWriting Techniques
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Monkeys.jpgEthos Task 2
elephants.jpgEthos Task 3
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Ethos Task 3b

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DefinitionsRhetoric is the art or analysis of using language effectively and persuasively. This is what you are going to do.
Logos is the reason, judgement, and logic of your argument. Without logos, your argument is weak. With logos your argument is strengthened through knowledge, research, information, and evidence.
Pathos is the emotion and beliefs of your argument. Without pathos your argument seems inconsequential. With pathos your argument seems important, a pressing concern, and highly significant.
Ethos is the authority, credibility, character, and trust in you and your ability to discuss the topic. It is how you establish a relationship with your audience. Without ethos your words carry no weight. With ethos what you have to say seems trustworthy, credible, and you appear to have the authority to be arguing it.

Ethos - the disposition, character, or fundamental values peculiar to a specific person, people, culture, or movement.
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Ethos can be broken into three categories:

1) Practical skills and wisdom (phronesis).
2) Virtue and goodness (arête).
3) Goodwill and rapport with the audience (eunoia).

Aristotle said anyone who has all three of these qualities will inspire trust in their audience.

Focusing on ethos leads to a focus on target audience and context. Ask these key questions of any persuasive text to help you analyse the interplay between ethos, target audience, and context:
  • Do you believe this?
  • Why do you / don’t you believe this?
  • Do you think it would be believable to everyone?
  • Do you think it would be believable to everyone any time?
  • Do you think it would be believable to everyone any place?
  • Who wouldn’t find it believable? Why not?
  • Why is that ethos being switched on and who is it being switched on for?

Watch the original advertisement below and ask the above questions. Write your answers here. Then watch the version next to it that. How does this version change ANZ's credibility? Writer your answers here.

Now for added examination of the ethos being used by ANZ within the advertisements watch this video:
Take a look at the people below (Malala Yousafzai, Beyonce, Tony Abbott). Choose one, find out a bit about them (eg with the links I just gave) and read some quotes from them (see below the pictures). Why do/don't you find these people credible? To whom are they credible? How do they establish that credibility? What would it take for you to find them credible? Answer these questions here.
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Quotes from Malala aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Quotes from Beyonce aaaaaaa Quotes from Tony

Advertisements are sometimes all ethos, with little logic coming our way. This is especially true of political advertising in which politicians devote a lot of time to destroying the opposition's ethos (called ad hominem) as well as bolstering their own ethos. Go on to this site and explore: The Living Room Candidate Watch at least the first three commercials for each political party. Vote for your favourite Bush/Dukakis advertisement:
Which was your favourite commerical because of the blatant manipulation of ethos and pathos, and lack of logos?
Family/Children (Republican)
The Mission (Republican)
Credibility (Republican)
New Era (Democrat)
Hey, Pal (Democrat)
Our Concern (Democrat)
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Watch these Australian political advertisements that also illustrate the heavy use of ethos in politics and respond here:

And just for a laugh, watch this Canadian attack on the opposition. All ethos - no logos in sight!

Take a look at these presidential and prime ministerial photographs. What ethos is being established? How is it being established?
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Ethos is integral to all persuasive communication. Advertising, politics, advocacy, education, and so forth. An interesting example is Shia LaBeouf's rape claim, and the way it was dismissed because of his ethos (eg he's male, his ongoing eccentric behaviour). While victims don't have to be likable to be believed, can a jury truly put their ethos judgments aside? Check out this article if you're interested.

Writing Techniques - the rhetorical devices you will need to establish a strong ethosoldgods.jpg

Check your knowledge of the definitions here.

Ethos Task 1, Ethos In Advertising - demonstrate your high level of awareness of how ethos is established in advertising and used to manipulate the target audience into wanting the product / service. 300-400 words
Step 1) Select an advertisement for a product or service that has clearly established ethos within it.
Step 2) Clearly define the textual form, author, purpose, and target audience of this product or service. This must be included in your assignment submission.
Step 3) Highlight the use of four ethos techniques within the advertisement. At least two of the techniques must come from the Ethos Techniques booklet.
Step 4) Annotate four of the specific instances of each technique being used in the advertisement. In each annotation you must clearly identify the ethos technique, and how the author has used that technique to persuade the target audience to use the product or service.


The home page of the Belair Goodstart Early Learning centre is designed to give prospective parents a highly positive impression of the centre, encouraging them to book a tour and thus to ultimately enrol their child at the centre.
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1. Category Entitlement
Goodstart has made the education level of its staff of primary importance in its description of the centre. The focus on the high education level of the preschool teachers provides clear category entitlement for staff, helping parents feel they are placing their children in highly competent hands. The university training is placed in the first paragraph due to its impressiveness to parents looking for qualified staff to care for their children.
2. Stake Inoculation
Mentioning 45 children can sound like a lot, particularly to parents who are unfamiliar with childcare centres. This comparative statement acts as stake inoculation, preventing parents from seeing 45 as a high number and makes it appear the centre is about quality of care rather than high numbers for income. Thus Goodstart is appealing to parents' desire for personal care for their children.
3. Footing
Much of the footing personifies the childcare centre. Applying positive action processes such as "offers" to the centre makes it sound like an objective, immutable fact and completely removes individual, personal opinions from the phrasing. "Our centre offers" also sounds welcoming, and as though no matter where the parents and children are in the facility they will receive a high level of care.
4. Appealing Personal Characteristics
The staff are given appealing personal characteristics to increase the parents' sense that they can trust them and that they will be great for their children. These traits are focused on assuring parents the physical and emotional wellbeing of their child are top priorities.

Ethos Task 2, Manipulating Ethos - manipulate ethos by adapting your writing and the form you use to suit your target audience, which will show your high level of awareness of how ethos is established to have a specific impact on designated target audiences.
Step 1) You are a celebrity caught in a scandal. Decide what you are famous for and what the scandal is. Eg I could be famous for developing organic, compostable nappies that put all other disposable brands out of business. The scandal is it has been discovered my nappies contain dioxin (a carcinogenic byproduct from the chlorine used).
Step 2) Define three distinct demographics that are attacking you. Eg parents of small children, an A Current Affair journalist, and Cancer Council SA. Each demographic should require an increasing level of formality in your approach to their complaints.
Step 3) Select a different form of response for each of these target audiences. One informal 40 words max (eg could respond to parents via Twitter), one semi formal 200 words max (eg face to face interview with journalist transcript), and one highly formal 300 words max (eg letter to Cancer Council).
Step 4) Note your decisions here for me to check.
Step 5) Write these persuasive defences against the scandal. Your informal text must include at least two of the ethos techniques from the Ethos Techniques document, the semi formal text must include at least three, and your highly formal text must include all of them. Label the techniques in each text.

Twitter is in Arial and Facebook is in Tahoma.
Practising levels of formality Google Doc.


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Semi Formal
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Highly Formal
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Ethos Task 3, First Impression - manipulate ethos by adapting your appearance, body language, facial expressions, voice, and language to impress the target audience.
Step 1) You are looking for the local community to help fund your tertiary education. This is a form of Crowdsourcing called crowdfunding. The benefit to you is that you can afford your education and afford to study full time. The benefit to the community is that they will gain a highly educated professional ready to work in the local community upon graduation. First, pick what that profession will be.
Step 2) Plan, prepare, and rehearse a 2-3 minute speech, the purpose of which is to gain the community's trust. You need to convince residents that you will be an excellent university student, that you are committed to working in the local community upon graduation, and that the local community will benefit from that.
Step 3) Deliver this speech to the class and invited guests, seeing them as representatives of the local community who will decide whether or not to fund you based on this speech.
Step 4) Note your decisions here for me to check.

Read these three articles on making a great first impression: Killer First Impression, Great First Impression, and 6 Ways to Make a Great First Impression. Think about what your top five tips would be and submit them in this google form.

Based on everything you have learned so far about ethos, what do you think the assessment criteria should be? Doing our own crowdsourcing, help make the assessment criteria in this google doc.

Watch these three crowdfunding videos for Exploding Kittens (especially between 0:16 and 0:28), Reading Rainbow (just watch until 1:23), and An Hour of Code For Every Student (just watch until 1:02). Record your notes on the ethos techniques used in this Google Doc. Just for fun, compare the appearance of the speaker in the Hour of Code video with that of Princeton University's finding of what constitutes a trustworthy face.

Watch this video on power postures. At minimum watch the 1st minute, the 4th minute, 6:42-7:31, 8:05-8:30, 10:24-10:55 (pause and practise here!), 12:41-15:39, and 19:40-20:14. Then complete this google form.

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