Three Rhetorical Appeals: Ethos, Persuasive thesis statement on smoking, Logos George H. I’m going to do a quick explanation here and we’ll talk about it in more detail in class.
If you want to see what else Aristotle has to say about rhetoric, click here. Ethos” is used to describe the audience’s perception of the rhetor’s credibility or authority. The audience asks themselves, “What does this person know about this topic? Why should I trust this person? Examples of extrinsic ethos would be as follows: If you are a successful professional basketball player talking about basketball to other pro athletes, then your ethos is strong with your audience even before you open your mouth or take pen to paper.
Your audience assumes you are knowledgable about your subject because of your experience. The use of ethos is called an “ethical appeal. Note that this is very different from our usual understanding of the word “ethical. So if that college English professor above mentions having played basketball in high school and convinces the audience that she or he was pretty good, then not only does that fact strengthen the rhetor’s ethos, it also makes a pathetic appeal. Pathos” most often refers to an attempt to engage an audience’s emotions.