Applying Aristotle’s Three Ancient Rhetorical Appeals to Modern Business Communication

Applying Aristotle’s Three Ancient Rhetorical Appeals to Modern Business Communication

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

Though the term rhetoric is often used nowadays in a negative sense, the word and concept have origins in antiquity. In ancient philosophy, rhetoric is a neutral term used to describe the science and art of persuasion. The case introduces a simple, three-part structure for understanding rhetoric. The ancient philosopher Aristotle describes three kinds of rhetorical appeal speakers can make to their audiences: the appeal to the speaker’s character which he calls ethos; the appeal to reason which he calls logos; and the appeal to the emotions of the audience which he calls pathos. The most effective speeches often combine these appeals. Even though Aristotle was discussing rhetoric in ancient Greece, these three appeals are still used today. To show this in action, the case ...

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