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Pathos (/ˈpθɒs/, US: /ˈpθs/; plural: pathea; Greek: πάθος, for "suffering" or "experience"; adjectival form: pathetic from παθητικός) appeals to the emotions of the audience and elicits feelings that already reside in them.[1] Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric (in which it is considered one of the three modes of persuasion, alongside ethos and logos), as well as in literature, film, and other narrative art.

Emotional appeal can be accomplished in many ways, such as the following:

Contents

Aristotle’s text on pathosEdit

In [(Rhetoric (Aristotle)|Rhetoric]], Aristotle identifies three artistic modes of persuasion, one of which is "awakening emotion (pathos) in the audience so as to induce them to make the judgment desired."[2] In the first chapter, he includes the way in which "men change their opinion in regard to their judgment. As such, emotions have specific causes and effects" (Book 2.1.2–3).[3] Aristotle identifies pathos as one of the three essential modes of proof by his statement that "to understand the emotions—that is, to name them and describe them, to know their causes and the way in which they are excited (1356a24–1356a25).[4] Aristotle posits that, alongside pathos, the speaker must also deploy good ethos in order to establish credibility (Book 2.1.5–9). [5]

Aristotle details what individual emotions are useful to a speaker (Book 2.2.27).[6] In doing so, Aristotle focused on whom, toward whom, and why, stating that "[i]t is not enough to know one or even two of these points; unless we know all three, we shall be unable to arouse anger in anyone. The same is true of the other emotions." He also arranges the emotions with one another so that they may counteract one another. For example, one would pair sadness with happiness (Book 2.1.9).[7] With this understanding, Aristotle argues for the rhetor to understand the entire situation of goals and audiences to decide which specific emotion the speaker would exhibit or call upon in order to persuade the audience. Aristotle’s theory of pathos has three main foci: the frame of mind the audience is in, the variation of emotion between people, and the influence the rhetor has on the emotions of the audience. Aristotle classifies the third of this trio as the ultimate goal of pathos.[8] Similarly, Aristotle outlines the individual importance of persuasive emotions, as well as the combined effectiveness of these emotions on the audience. Moreover, Aristotle pointedly discusses pleasure and pain in relation to the reactions these two emotions cause in an audience member.[8] According to Aristotle, emotions vary from person to person. Therefore, he stresses the importance of understanding specific social situations in order to successfully utilize pathos as a mode of persuasion.[8]

Aristotle identifies the introduction and the conclusion as the two most important places for an emotional appeal in any persuasive argument.[9]

Alternative views on pathosEdit

Scholars have discussed the different interpretations of Aristotle’s views of rhetoric and his philosophy. Some believe that it is actually a myth, that Aristotle invented it entirely.[clarification needed] In the second chapter of Rhetoric, Aristotle's view on pathos changes from the use in discourse to the understanding of emotions and their effects. William Fortenbaugh pointed out that for the Sophist Gorgias, "Being overcome with emotion is analogous to rape."[10] Aristotle opposed this view and created a systematic approach to pathos. Fortenbaugh argues that Aristotle's systematic approach to emotional appeals "depends upon correctly understanding the nature of individual emotions, upon knowing the conditions favorable to, the objects of, and the grounds for individual emotions".[11] Modern philosophers were typically more skeptical of the use of emotions in communication, with political theorists such as John Locke hoping to extract emotion from reasoned communication entirely. George Campbell presents another view unlike the common systematic approach of Aristotle. Campbell explored whether appeals to emotion or passions would be "an unfair method of persuasion," identifying seven circumstances to judge emotions: probability, plausibility, importance, proximity in time, connection of place, relations to the persons concerned, and interest in the consequences.[12]

The 84 BC Rhetorica ad Herennium book of an unknown author theorizes that the conclusion is the most important place in a persuasive argument to consider emotions such as mercy or hatred, depending on the nature of the persuasion.[13] The "appeal to pity", as it is classified in Rhetorica ad Herennium, is a means to conclude by reiterating the major premise of the work and tying while incorporating an emotional sentiment. The author suggests ways in which to appeal to the pity of the audience: "We shall stir pity in our hearers by recalling vicissitudes of future; by comparing the prosperity we once enjoyed with our present adversity; by entreating those whose pity we seek to win, and by submitting ourselves to their mercy."[13] Additionally, the text impresses the importance of invoking kindness, humanity and sympathy upon the hearer. Finally, the author suggests that the appeal to pity be brief for "nothing dries more quickly than a tear."[13]

Other Hellenistic GroupsEdit

Aristotle's teachings would go on to influence many influential groups of thinkers. One such group of thinkers, the Epicureans who practiced Epicureanism, interpreted and placed pathos in much more colloquial means and situations. The group would place pathos in pleasure, and study it in almost every facet in regards to pleasure, analyzing emotional specificity that an individual may feel or may need to undergo to appreciate said pathos.[14]

Pathos before AristotleEdit

The concept of emotional appeal existed in rhetoric long before Aristotle’s Rhetoric. George A. Kennedy, a well-respected, modern-day scholar, identifies the appeal to emotions in the newly formed democratic court system before 400 BC in his book, The Art of Persuasion in Greece.[15] Gorgias, a Sophist who preceded Aristotle, was interested in the orator’s emotional appeal as well. Gorgias believed the orator was able to capture and lead the audience in any direction they pleased through the use of emotional appeal.[15] In the Encomium of Helen, Gorgias states that a soul can feel a particular sentiment on account of words such as sorrow and pity. Certain words act as "bringers-on of pleasure and takers-off of pain.[16] Furthermore, Gorgias equates emotional persuasion to the sensation of being overtaken by a drug: "[f]or just as different drug draw off different humors from the body, and some put an end to disease and other to life, so too of discourses: some give pain, others delight, others terrify, others rouse the hearers to courage, and yet others by a certain vile persuasion drug and trick to soul."[16]

Plato also discussed emotional appeal in rhetoric. Plato preceded Aristotle and therefore laid the groundwork, as did other Sophists, for Aristotle to theorize the concept of pathos. In his dialogue Gorgias, Plato discusses pleasure versus pain in the realm of pathos though in a fictional conversation between Gorgias and Socrates. The dialogue between several ancient rhetors that Plato created centers around the value of rhetoric, and the men incorporate aspects of pathos in their responses. Gorgias discredits pathos and instead promotes the use of ethos in persuasion.[17] In another of Plato’s texts, Phaedrus, his discussion of emotions is more pointed; however, he still does not outline exactly how emotions manipulate an audience.[18] Plato discusses the danger of emotions in oratory. He argues that emotional appeal in rhetoric should be used as the means to an end and not the point of the discussion.[18]

Contemporary pathosEdit

George Campbell, a contributor to the Scottish Enlightenment, was one of the first rhetoricians to incorporate scientific evidence into his theory of emotional appeal.[19] Campbell relied heavily on a book written by physician David Hartley, entitled Observations on Man. The book synthesized emotions and neurology and introduced the concept that action is a result of impression. Hartley determined that emotions drive people to react to appeals based on circumstance but also passions made up of cognitive impulses.[19] Campbell argues that belief and persuasion depend heavily on the force of an emotional appeal.[20] Furthermore, Campbell introduced the importance of the audience’s imagination and will on emotional persuasion that is equally as important as basic understanding of an argument.[20] Campbell, by drawing on the theories of rhetoricians before him, drew up a contemporary view of pathos that incorporates the psychological aspect of emotional appeal.

Pathos in politicsEdit

Pathos has its hand in politics as well, primarily in speech and how to persuade the audience. Mshvenieradze states that "Pathos is directly linked with an audience. Audience is a collective subject of speakers on which an orator tries to impact by own argumentation."[21] Similarly to how Aristotle discusses how to effectively utilize pathos in rhetoric, the way in which one appeals to the reader is similar in appealing to an audience of voters. In the case of politics and politicians, it is primarily more in argumentative writing and speaking. In Book II of Aristotle's writing's in Rhetoric, in essence knowing people's emotions helps to enable one to act with words versus writing alone, to earn another's credibility and faith.[22]

As Aristotle's teachings expanded, many other groups of thinkers would go on to adopt different variations of political usage with the elements of pathos involved, which includes groups such as the Epicureans and Stoics.[23][24]

By now, we should be aware of the engaging work Aristotle made when he identified Pathos as one of the Rhetoric modes of persuasion. We should be informed as well of how this specific Rhetoric appeal relates with public speaking and other areas of our life like Politics within the elections process and diplomatic discourses. Budzyńska-Daca and Botwina define this appeal as: "Pathos moves the audience by stimulating desires, emotions, and preferences of the addresses." Perhaps, in the politics area, we can determine that politicians use Pathos as a tool to motivate the hearers to understand the messages they are trying to convey.[22]

In "The Art of Rhetoric" Aristotle stated that recognizing Pathos could be done while analyzing when the orator or speaker is evoking a message and is using persuasion and emotional appeal to connect with the audience.[25] Mouri in his study examined how each of the three speakers used Aristotle's three rhetorical appeals in their discourses at the General Assembly of UN in 2015.[26] Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the State of Palestine was one of the speakers examined in this study, and we can distinguish the use of pathos in his political discourse when Abbas declared:

"How can a state that declares itself an oasis of democracy, and affirms that its courts and security apparatuses operate in accordance with the law, and accept the existence of the so-called" bands "of" prices "and other terrorist organizations that terrorize our people, properties, and sacred places, all in view of the Israeli army and police, which do not deter or punish, but provide protection."[27]

Abbas used Pathos when emphasizing emotional appeal to the public; he connected with the audience while explaining the vulnerability and unfortunate situation Palestinian people, and refugees were facing. Moreover, he blamed Israel for protecting terrorists and gangs that terrorized Palestinians instead of conveying the so-called democracy they advocated so much.[28]

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, is the second speaker analyzed in Mouri's study.[29] Which in his political discourse, same as Abbas, he used pathos to connect with the audience. In his speech, Netanyahu tried to defend Israel while describing the anguished past that the Jews lived in the concentration camps. He used this as a way to persuade the audience and made them understand that Israel has also had critical moments.[30] Perhaps, Netanyahu also used Pathos while warning the audience the potential threat that Iran is to Israel, Europe, and the United States. The following lines stated by Netanyahu in his political discourse delivered in the 2015 General Assembly at the UN gives us a solid idea of how he used Pathos in part of his speech.

"But don’t think that Iran is only a danger to Israel. Besides Iran’s aggression in the Middle East and its terror around the world, Iran is also building intercontinental ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Now, remember this: Iran already has missiles that can reach Israel. So those intercontinental ballistic missiles that Iran is building, they’re not meant for us – They're meant for you. For Europe. For America. For raining down mass destruction, anytime, anywhere."[31]

In brief, Mouri study's outcome is that each speaker used persuasion toward the audience by employing the three Aristotelian rhetoric appeals, Pathos, Ethos; and Logos. However, only Abbas and Netanyahu engaged Pathos to connect with the audience while persuading them. Each speaker used these rhetoric appeals per their situations and depending on what kind of emotions they wanted to send when delivering their diplomatic discourses.[32]

Pathos in the Elections process.

The elections process is another way to illustrate Rhetoric and persuasive argumentation; where the candidates use Pathos to appeal emotionally to the voter’s minds.[33] The research made by Budzyńska-Daca and Botwina's presented Pathos in a different way which offers us another view of this appeal of the Aristotelian's Rhetoric. In this study is analyzed the pre-election political discourses of TV debates observing three different debates cycles: Poland 2010, Great Britain 2010, and United States 2008.[34] This investigation showed that each speaker exposed their "civic virtues" to the public while exposing their ideas and connecting to the audience. Budzyńska-Daca and Botwina stated, "Pathos in the discourse of the election debate-in the comparative dispute-works to build the Ethos of a politician." Suggesting that politicians created the right environment for the audience through the use of persuasion and connected with their listeners while presenting to them their character and credibility as speakers.[35] However, politicians not only manage the used of Pathos while persuading the audience, but they control others elements interfering in their political speeches. Such elements were facing similar media events(elections), aspects of the situation like the limitations the speakers confront; and abilities for he or her to adapt to the case when appealing emotionally to the audience (variation of the voter from different countries). Different elements founded in the results of this study were factors like tradition, culture, and rhetoric appeals (ethos, pathos, logos) used by each speaker. Perhaps, Budzyńska-Daca and Botwina aimed that Americans practiced more philosophical ideas or "figures of personal's illustration rather than British and Poland.[22]

With the development of technology, political campaigns are on another level. Politicians are using social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to get in touch with as many people as possible and engage with them to obtain more voters.[36] The research of Roman Gerodimos and Jákup Justinussen based on Obama's 2012 Facebook political campaign analysis contemporary practice of Rhetoric, specific Pathos, implemented by Obama in an electoral media campaign.[37] This study reflected the success of Obama's 2012 campaign when engaging with the audience by using captivating massages and emotional appeal as a campaign strategy.[38]

Within Borah's research, we can observe more detailed information about the success that got this 2012 Obama's campaign in the peers. Something else brought up in this research were the results obtained in this campaign that was higher than in other political campaigns because of the use of emotional appeals in an ethical manner. Borah presented statistically the data in which Obama used Pathos during his campaign. For example, 70% of the posts added up to 48 enthusiastic posts, followed by 14 humorous posts that made up a 21.2%; however the campaign also produced six pride posts in support of the LGBTQ community that made up an 8.8%. Borah'sstudy revealed how Obama used Pathos as a tool to persuade the audience by appealing to positive emotions like the ones mentioned before; with no need to include any posts with an angry, sad, or fear implications.[39] Gerodimos and Justinussen in their research claimed: "Aristotelian model of rhetorical strategy (logos, ethos, pathos), which has proven to still be a valuable tool for the understanding of political action in contemporary settings." During the Obama's 2008 Facebook campaign the incorporation of ethos and logos was not that important to create the connection with the audience as underlying the effectiveness of Pathos as a tool with emotions like hope and apprehension.[40] On the other hand, this study pointed that aside Obama employing his personality to connect with the audience like other politicians did; instead, he made a notorious focus on his family, and in creating emotional aspects of political communication rather than expressing his concern with the opposition or introducing political ideas.[41] The outcomes of Gerodimos and Jákup Justinussen's research imply that people are particular according to the type of message with which they want to interact. This investigation reflected the use of Pathos as a promotion of civic activities with the audience through the application of emotional appeal during the creation of more in-depth interaction with the hearers.[42]

Pathos in law.

McCormack's article “Ethos, Pathos, and Logos: The Benefits of Aristotelian Rhetoric in the Courtroom” stated that Aristotle and Cicero viewed Pathos as a display of emotions that plays a crucial tool in the law area; both scholars believed that emotions influence our decision makings and judgment outcomes. However; Greeks and Roman based their theories in observing their own experiences when arguing a case and observations from human nature and analyzing the possible emotional arguments.[43] Ethos and Logos are more likely to be used when judges are making the final decision of a trial in a courtroom, but Pathos plays an essential role in those trials when the attorneys display a connection with the audience by appealing to the audience’s emotions in the introduction of the trial. The audience will be motivated in this example by the use of sympathy which will drive them to consider the case from all the possible perspectives.[44]

Jamal Greene in his article “Pathetic argument in constitutional law” exemplify a couple of examples that illustrated the used of Pathos in constitutional discourse. The use of Pathos is visible in different situations within the law area, but an interesting example that represents this appeal of rhetoric is the pathetic argument employed in the Stenberg v. Carhart case.[45] Justice Kennedy Justice Kennedy showed discomfort about abortion and appealed to the audience's emotions by expressing himself through the following quote “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb." Justice Kennedy applied Pathos in the lines already mentioned to connect with the audience while describing the cold and disgusting facts about the abortion process. However, what we need to understand from this case in specific is that Pathetic arguments like this intend to manipulate the audience's emotions through persuasion to make the listeners change their mind through the use of ethical values and moral arguments. It's important to clarify that in this example the purpose of Justice Kennedy's quote was to make the audience feel dissatisfied and mortify about the circumstances. The overall goal here is to make the audience change their perspective and point of view toward the abortion topic which will shift the case's outcomes.[46]

During the case of Payne vs. Tennessee, the jury heard the grievous and emotional testimony of the victim's mother and the victim's surviving son, which was a valid example to describe the stated in previous lines.[47] Charisse Christopher's mother told the response of her little grandson, Nicholas to the murder of his mother and his little sister, and how this was aggravating her emotional pain. The prosecutor used rhetoric while employing Pathos as a pathetic mode to persuade the jury to understand the pain the victim's mother and her grandson were experiencing[46] The following quote incorporates the use of Pathos in the jury's answer to the victim's mother when mercy and sympathy emotions were employed.

"There is nothing you can do to erase the pain of any of the families involved in this case. . . . But there is something that you can do for Nicholas. Somewhere down the road, Nicholas is going to grow up, hopefully. He's going to want to know what happened. And is going to know what happened to his baby sister and his mother. He is going to want to know what type of justice was done. He is going to want to know what happened. With your verdict, you will provide the answer."[48]

Perhaps, the Jury's purpose while creating a connection with the victim's mother was to persuade her to give her verdict. Moreover, the successful use of Pathos, in this case, could change the outcome of the case, and the Death Penalty could apply as a method of Justice for the atrocious and cruel crime her love one's suffered. We need to understand the central role that Pathetic arguments have in both examples of Jamal Greene, the Stenberg v. Carhart case and Payne v. Tennessee case, which lies in identifying subjects of the disputes from forms of rhetoric, like Pathos to persuade the audience's minds and shift the cases outcomes.[46]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  39. ^ Borah, P. (2016). Political Facebook use: Campaign strategies used in 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301236204_Political_Facebook_Use_Campaign_Strategies_Used_in_2008_and_2012_Presidential_Elections
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  41. ^ Investor's Business Daily. (2018). Funny, when obama harvested facebook data on millions of users to win in 2012, everyone cheered. Retrieved from https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/facebook-data-scandal-trump-election-obama-2012/
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  44. ^ McCormack, K. C. (2014). Ethos, pathos, and logos: The benefits of Aristotelian rhetoric in the courtroom. Wash. U. Jurisprudence Rev., 7, 131.
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  47. ^ Justia US Supreme Court. (2018). Payne v. tennessee , 501 U.S. 808 (1991). Retrieved from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/501/808/
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External linksEdit

  •   The dictionary definition of pathos at Wiktionary