1. What is it?
Logos is the act of trying to persuade an audience via the use of evidence and logical reasoning.
Rather than trusting the speaker’s ethics (ethos) or a feeling (pathos), logos presents facts from which the audience draws reason, conclusions, and agreement.
Logos can be ‘top down’ deduction or ‘bottom up’ speculation.
2. How is it made?
|Use believable witnesses, statistics, and facts.||‘Top down’ deduction: supply broad evidence, from which the audience can logically assume a truth about a specific case.|
Example: if 95% of people experience x, person y has probably experienced x.
| ‘Bottom up’ speculation: give specific examples, and ask the audience to extrapolate into a wider trend.|
Example: person y and person z both experienced x, suggesting x is a wider social truth.
On the subject of the most successful but ultimately unnecessary product ever created, there are a few contenders. The iPhone may be an early contender from the 21st century – it has sold over a billion units, ushered in the era of the smartphone, and placed Apple amongst the richest companies in the world, all while basically selling internet access on a tiny screen. Yet although Apple’s achievement is spectacular, I will instead argue that the true champion of the completely useless, grossly overpriced and wildly popular is cinema popcorn. For many, purchasing popcorn is an essential part of the movie-watching experience, hard-wired into the brain, despite a mark-up of anywhere from 1000 to 3000%. Cinema popcorn is a capitalist’s dream.
“Some congressmen and women will ask ‘why should we vote for this bill?’ But consider this: at the moment our country is the worst ranked developed nation in terms of health care. 25 million people have no health care plan at all. Over 50% of those with health insurance – that’s over a hundred and fifty million people – have their health care tied to their employment, meaning the loss of a job also means the loss of a safety net. And the most likely groups to not be insured, or to lose a job, or to be insecure in their work? Ethnic minorities and the poor. So the question really is ‘if you want to live in a land with health care for all, where being sick doesn’t mean a path to poverty and ruin and public anger, why would you not vote for this?’”
4. Examples in literature
The Rights of Man
Know Your Book
by Thomas Paine
Title: The Rights of Man
Author: Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Genre: Non-fiction; political thesis; revolutionary text
Synopsis: Humans rights are natural and irrepealable, and it is in a government’s interest to protect these rights. Any government that denies them must be overthrown, while institutions that do not benefit the nation should be deemed illegitimate, including the monarchy. The notion that the hereditary class is born with wisdom and the right to rule is false. Countries have the right to their own government, not be ruled by an elite from elsewhere. Welfare and education are a social right.
Excerpt from Chapter V ‘Ways and Means of Improving the Condition of Europe Interspersed with Miscellaneous Observations’:
It is a general idea, that when taxes are once laid on, they are never taken off. However true this may have been of late, it was not always so. Either, therefore, the people of former times were more watchful over government than those of the present, or government was administered with less extravagance.
It is now seven hundred years since the Norman conquest, and the establishment of what is called the crown. Taking this portion of time in seven separate periods of one hundred years each, the amount of the annual taxes, at each period, will be as follows:
Annual taxes levied by William the Conqueror,
beginning in the year 1066 L400,000
Annual taxes at 100 years from the conquest (1166) 200,000
Annual taxes at 200 years from the conquest (1266) 150,000
Annual taxes at 300 years from the conquest (1366) 130,000
Annual taxes at 400 years from the conquest (1466) 100,000
These statements and those which follow, are taken from Sir John Sinclair’s History of the Revenue; by which it appears, that taxes continued decreasing for four hundred years, at the expiration of which time they were reduced three-fourths, viz., from four hundred thousand pounds to one hundred thousand.
The people of England of the present day, have a traditionary and historical idea of the bravery of their ancestors; but whatever their virtues or their vices might have been, they certainly were a people who would not be imposed upon, and who kept governments in awe as to taxation, if not as to principle. Though they were not able to expel the monarchical usurpation, they restricted it to a republican economy of taxes.
Let us now review the remaining three hundred years:
Annual amount of taxes at:
500 years from the conquest (1566) 500,000
600 years from the conquest (1666) 1,800,000
the present time (1791) 17,000,000
The difference between the first four hundred years and the last three, is so astonishing, as to warrant an opinion, that the national character of the English has changed. It would have been impossible to have dragooned the former English, into the excess of taxation that now exists; and when it is considered that the pay of the army, the navy, and of all the revenue officers, is the same now as it was about a hundred years ago, when the taxes were not above a tenth part of what they are at present, it appears impossible to account for the enormous increase and expenditure on any other ground, than extravagance, corruption, and intrigue.
|Skimming, Scanning and Basic Comprehension|
1. In simple terms, what is this section of The Rights of Man discussing?
2. When was the Norman Conquest, led by William the Conqueror?
3. On what factors does Paine ultimately blame increased taxation?
4. In what categories or genres would you place this writing?
5. When Paine says ‘the national character of the English has changed’, what is his specific evidence?
6. Paine notes total tax revenue numbers. Is this an effective choice of evidence? Is he being selective and omitting relevant information?
7. Paine also uses ethos by stating the authority of his numbers. What is this authority?
8. Overall, what would you say the tone of this piece is? What words or phrases support this idea?
9. Paine implies that people in the past were less subservient to their government. Which section of the passage discusses this matter? Which words or phrases give the idea of strength and respect for this past generation?
10. In the second paragraph, Paine uses the Latin abbreviation ‘viz.’. Based on the context, what do you think ‘viz.’ means?
11. Paine lays out his argument in a particular order. What is the logic to this order? Is if effective in making a persuasive argument?
12. Paine’s writing helped push America’s people towards revolution. What other examples of pro-revolution writing do you know?
13. In this piece, Paine concentrates on the matter of taxes. Do you think this was an effective choice of topic for inspiring revolution?
14. How would you try to counter Paine’s argument and persuade people to stay with Britain?
On Women’s Right to Vote
Know Your Book
by Susan B. Anthony
Title: On Women’s Right to Vote
Author: Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Genre: Speech; equality; human rights
Synopsis: The US Constitution speaks of ‘the people’. To argue that women be excluded from any part of law – including voting – is therefore unconstitutional, because nobody could argue women are not people. Any government without the consent of the governed is not democratic, but an oligarchy based on sex, wealth, race, and education. Furthermore, the placement of one sex above another disenfranchises half of the country’s citizens and creates discord in every house in America.
Speech delivered in 1873
Friends and Fellow Citizens: I stand before you tonight under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last presidential election, without having a lawful right to vote. It shall be my work this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen’s rights, guaranteed to me and all United States citizens by the National Constitution, beyond the power of any State to deny.
The preamble of the Federal Constitution says:
“We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people–women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government–the ballot.
For any State to make sex a qualification that must ever result in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people is to pass a bill of attainder, or an ex post facto law, and is therefore a violation of the supreme law of the land. By it the blessings of liberty are for ever withheld from women and their female posterity. To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the right govern the poor. An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household–which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord and rebellion into every home of the nation.
Webster, Worcester and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office.
The only question left to be settled now is: Are women persons? And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no State has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several States is today null and void, precisely as in every one against Negroes.
|1. The passage directly quotes from|
a) The Declaration of Independence
b) The Reed v Reed Supreme Court case
c) The US Constitution
d) The Oxford English Dictionary
e) The Emancipation Act
|2. The speaker creates her argument based on|
a) an emotional appeal
b) references to past cases of injustice
c) a request for common sense
d) legal documents and definitions
e) an exposure of lawmakers’ personal prejudices
|3. ‘And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not.’ This line is used to show|
a) the hypocrisy of men
b) a conflict between logic and the justice system
c) the failings of the police
d) wide scale support for her cause
e) the decency of common people
|4. Why, in the author’s opinion, is ‘an oligarchy of sex’ more divisive than both ‘an oligarchy of learning’ and ‘an oligarchy of race’?|
a) The other issues are already being addressed
b) Lawmakers are predominantly male
c) It affects every household and family
d) This issue has been present for a longer period of time
e) ‘An oligarchy of sex’ includes ‘an oligarchy of learning’ and ‘an oligarchy of race’
|5. Both the passage from The Rights of Man and the speech On Women’s Right to Vote refer to|
a) a lack of voting rights
b) social injustice
c) women’s rights
d) tax law
e) The US Constitution
Task 1: Construct Using statistics, write a paragraph which attempts to persuade the reader of a point.
Task 2: Basing your argument on a document or accepted truth, write a piece that notes the unfairness of a rule or law.