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Essay on Logical, Ethical, and Emotional Argumentation

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Many people and organizations use writing and visual methods to persuade readers to their view. In such pieces, the author will use many different tricks and appeals in order to draw the reader to his or her train of thought. According to Andrea Lunsford in her instructional book The Everyday Writer, these appeals can be broken down into three main types – logical, emotional and ethical. A logical argument uses facts, statistics and surveys to back up what the author is saying and is commonly referred to as logos. An ethical argument is one that tries to build up the authors characters and prove to the reader that the author is qualified to give his or her views on the topic at hand. Ethical arguments are commonly called ethos. Finally, the most effective (and possibly misleading) appeal is emotional. Pathos, as it’s commonly called, is achieved by simply appealing to emotions or making the problem more ‘human’ (Lundsford 115-116). Any sort of persuasive piece, be it an essay, a video, or an editorial; employs ethos, pathos, and logos to try to prove its point.
“The Torture Myth” is a short anti-torture essay written by journalist Anne Applebaum four years after the September 11th, 2001 attacks and before the Senate vote on the nomination of pro-torture Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. Applebaum does not directly use ethos in her essay; however, a short bibliographical passage in The Seagull Reader shows that she is more than qualified to write on the issue. Applebaum’s use of logos is sparse and flawed. While Applebaum uses first hand testimony from men experienced in ‘aggressive interrogation tactics,’ she tries to use two men to express the opinion of interrogators in the entire United States Army. Furthermore, Appleba...


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... their points and hit home with the reader. These appeals can either bolster an argument and provide much need support or work as thin stilts to make an argument look bigger than it really is. Regardless of the writer’s intention, the effective deployment of ethos, pathos, and logos can transform a work from unsupported opinion to a masterpiece of persuasion.




Works Cited
Applebaum, Anne. “The Torture Myth.” The Seagull Reader: Essays. Ed. Joseph Kelly. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2008. 35-38. Print.
Lousiana Right to Life. “2011 Louisiana Life March Promo Video (Louisiana March for Life.)” 31 Oct. 2010. YouTube. 5 Feb. 2011.
Lundsford, Andrea A, Paul Matsuda, and Christine Tardy. The Everyday Writer. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print.
Bartlett, Steve. “Overregulation Hurts Economy.” Editorial. USA Today 10 Feb. 2010:7A. Print.


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