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Basic Debating: Modes of Persuasion



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Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:50 am
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Kale says...



The goal of a debate is to argue one's side as effectively as possible. As a result, debates are structured to persuade observers and/or the other side(s) of the debate. There are three main types of persuasive arguments, and these are known as the three modes of persuasion:

Ethos - Authority
Have I established credibility?

Ethos is, in its simplest form, an appeal to authority -- more specifically, any entity the other side accepts as being authoritative and/or credible. Ethos is most often used to establish a debater's credibility, though it can also be used to argue based on ethics and personal character. Ad hominems, or attacks on a debater's person instead of their argument, fall under ethos as they work to destroy the other's credibility.

Logos - Logic
Does my argument make sense?

Logos is an appeal to logic and reasoning. Of the three modes of persuasion, logos is often considered to be the strongest as it is the most objective of the three modes and can be effectively used by itself in an argument. Logos is often used to support ethos by helping the debater appear knowledgeable about the subject of debate.

Pathos - Emotion
Can the other side relate to my argument?

Pathos is an appeal to emotion. Of the three modes of persuasion, pathos is considered the most unreliable as it is the most subjective of the three modes and hinges entirely on appealing to the audience on a fundamental level. However, when used properly, pathos is potentially the most persuasive of the three modes, and pathos is the mode most often used when inciting large groups of people into action.

Using the Modes of Persuasion

While arguments may be one of the modes primarily, all good arguments employ a combination of all three modes of persuasion, and arguments based entirely in one mode tend to do poorly in a debate.

For example, an argument comprised entirely of pathos is easy to dismiss as the debater has not established any credibility or train of logic which the other side can accept or follow. Similarly, while an argument entirely from logos may be logically sound, if the argument is poorly constructed or does not establish the debater's credibility through knowledge, then that argument can be dismissed based on the grounds of ignorance. Arguments based in ethos are particularly vulnerable to the other side rejecting the credibility of the debater and/or their sources, especially on topics where factual evidence is conflicting or nonexistent.

In contrast, an argument that uses all three modes of persuasion at once establishes the debater's credibility, forms a logical argument which even the opposing side can follow without issue, and appeals to others on an emotional level which allows them to relate to the argument presented.

The three modes of persuasion are useful tools to keep in mind whenever you're debating, and it's always a good idea to ask yourself each of the questions:

Have I established credibility? (Ethos)

Does my argument make sense? (Logos)

Can the other side relate to my argument? (Pathos)

If the answer to all three is "Yes", then the odds that your argument is solid and persuasive are good.
Secretly a Kyllorac, sometimes a Murtle.
There are no chickens in Hyrule.
Princessence: A LMS Project
WRFF | KotGR
  





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Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:41 pm
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ChildOfNowhere says...



I propose making a debate club, and have people debate in groups, with the time to prepare before, about the given topic.
In debate clubs, the groups are told which side they must take, no matter if the members personally agree - that makes them practice all that you said above.
Thoughts?

I love debates, and I think it's very important to know how to do it, so I like this thread very much ^^
(Sorry if that was kind of off topic)
Writer of words; doodler of forest sprites


  





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Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:19 pm
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Kale says...



We had a debate club in the past. I believe it's currently a casualty of the incomplete Clubs section. We'll see if it makes a return when the Clubs section is completed.
Secretly a Kyllorac, sometimes a Murtle.
There are no chickens in Hyrule.
Princessence: A LMS Project
WRFF | KotGR
  








He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
— Friedrich Nietzsche