The Greek philosopher Aristotle is remembered today for his system of understanding persuasion, which was traditionally called rhetoric. According to Aristotle, rhetoric was an art in which a persuader used some or all of three types of message strategies or artistic proofs. The three artistic proofs are ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is based upon the use of a person’s credibility (either that of the communicator or another person) to persuade. Logos refers to the arrangement of language that makes it persuasive, which we call argument. Pathos is the emotional appeal in the message.


Aristotle’s art of rhetoric shows us that messages can influence audience members in three broad ways, and that the art of persuasion resides in the creative, artistic selection of the supporting material for each of the aspects of the message. This means that at times you will need to highlight the credibility of your sources (ethos). Most of the time, you also need to think about how you create an argument (logos), and you will need to consider the types of emotional appeals you will use in your message (pathos). An advertisement uses all these types of persuasion.


Go to the website of your favorite restaurant, and you will likely find its latest television commercial. It will show you the food looking delicious, which appeals to your need to satisfy hunger but also your need to be stimulated by great aesthetics (art) in the messages you watch. The copy written for the commercial probably offers reasons why you should visit the restaurant chain soon.