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  • Definition of Logos

  • Example of Logos in Writing

  • Logos, Ethos, and Pathos in Rhetorical Analysis

  • Analyzing Logos in Literature

Home > Resources > What Are Logos? (Definition and Free Examples)

What Are Logos? (Definition and Free Examples)

Have you ever witnessed an unpleasant person making a valid point? Most likely, it occurs when they appeal to logic. Logic transcends personal preferences and biases, allowing someone to reach you on an impartial level where everyone abides by the same rules. This form of reasoning is known as logos.

Definition of Logos

Logos is one of the three persuasive appeals defined by Aristotle. The other two are ethos and pathos.

Logos is the appeal to logic.

When a writer or speaker uses statistics, scientific studies, if-then statements, or comparisons, they are employing logos. Two common modes of reasoning are inductive and deductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning uses experiments to draw broader conclusions and establish general principles.

Deductive reasoning uses general facts to arrive at narrower conclusions with the potential for high accuracy.

Both inductive and deductive reasoning are examples of logos as they utilize logic to draw conclusions. In simple terms, they rely on observation to find answers. Other examples of logos include statistics, facts, scientific studies, and citations from reliable sources.

These conclusions can be used to persuade others, making logic a powerful tool in argumentation.

Example of Logos in Writing

To understand where logos fit into writing and see an example of its use, one must grasp the concept of argumentation. Argumentation involves the deliberate use of arguments.

An argument is a contention.

Arguments require support. Speakers and writers employ evidence to provide this support.

Evidence is a method of appeal or persuasion.

Here's how logos comes into play. One form of rhetoric is logos, the appeal to logic. Logic is used as a rhetorical device to convince someone of the validity of an argument.

Here's a brief example to illustrate logos in writing:

Because cars pose significant dangers, only individuals with fully developed faculties should be entrusted with their use. Consequently, children, whose brains have not yet fully matured, should not be allowed to drive cars.

This is an example of using logos to construct an argument. However, it would be strengthened with another crucial element of logical rhetoric: supporting evidence.

Supporting evidence provides reasons to bolster an argument.

Here are some hypothetical pieces of evidence that would support the aforementioned argument:

  • A statistic indicating the comparative dangers of cars compared to other risky items

  • Studies proving the insufficient development of mental faculties in children

  • Studies demonstrating that younger drivers are disproportionately involved in accidents compared to adult drivers

Logic works as rhetoric, but only if your audience accepts the premises. In the above example, the logic holds if you accept statements such as "children don't possess fully developed brains" and "only individuals with fully developed mental faculties should be allowed to drive." However, if the audience does not accept these premises, they will reject the logic. In such cases, evidence can step in and persuade them.

Evidence can help the audience accept the premise of a logical argument.

Logos Example with Evidence

Here's an example of logos that combines both logic and evidence. This example can be found in a National Review article by Kathryn Lopez, where she argues that Ukraine offers cultural and religious freedom while Russia does not. Lopez writes:

Ukraine exhibits unity and toleration. It currently has a Jewish president, and in the summer and fall of 2019, both the president and the prime minister were Jewish, making it the only country, aside from Israel, with Jewish heads of state and government. Russian schools exist in Ukraine, and the Russian Orthodox Church has thousands of parishes there. In comparison, there are hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Russia, yet they do not have a single legally registered parish. Ukrainians in Russia, numbering between four and six million, also lack a single Ukrainian language school.

Lopez argues that Ukraine allows for religious freedom and the freedom to speak any language, while Russia lacks such liberties. Throughout the article, Lopez employs this logic to align Ukraine with the West, which shares similar freedoms.

Lopez juxtaposes Ukraine and Russia, using a hallmark of logos.

Interestingly, the purpose of this logic is to evoke sympathy. Lopez aims to present Ukraine as a fellow progressive country, hoping readers will sympathize with its predicament regarding Russia. This exemplifies the interplay between logos and pathos, demonstrating how logical arguments can evoke emotional empathy.

Perhaps this is an opportune moment to touch on ethos and pathos and their roles in rhetorical analysis.

Logos, Ethos, and Pathos in Rhetorical Analysis

When someone employs rhetoric in an argument, it can be analyzed using a method known as rhetorical analysis.

Rhetorical analysis scrutinizes how effectively someone uses rhetoric.

One can apply rhetorical analysis specifically to logos, or analyze logos, ethos, and pathos in tandem.

Combining Logos, Ethos, and Pathos

When crafting rhetoric, writers often employ a combination of these three appeals. Keep an eye out for how they intertwine.

Pathos Leading Into Logos

This involves stimulating emotions in the audience before calling them to action.

We cannot allow them to repeat their actions! To thwart them, we must unite and vote. Voting has previously altered the course of history and can do so again.

In this context, the speaker stirs up emotions in the audience before utilizing logic. They reason that since voting has historically brought about change, coming together and voting is necessary to stop "them."

The logical appeal follows the emotional appeal:

Research reveals that waste management can enhance efficiency in cities by up to 20%. As an urban planner, this resonates with me.

The speaker presents a study, representing logic, and then adds a comment on their expertise, representing ethics.

The combination of these three traditional appeals can look like this:

However, the author's argument that a degree is irrelevant for finding a job is incorrect. An independent study found that among employers with salaries exceeding $60,000, 74% are more inclined to hire candidates with higher degrees. The claim is thus provocative, and individuals who have invested significant time earning advanced degrees may feel outraged. Nevertheless, when considering real-world consequences, it is advisable to trust independent research over sensational impressions, which alleviates concerns in practice.

This example employs logic, appeals to emotions, and incorporates ethics, almost appearing assertive. Furthermore, the example does not provide readers with sufficient time to contemplate the argument and transitions swiftly to another point.

Combining all three appeals in a single paragraph is not always effective, particularly if the argument lacks careful organization and structure. When using logic in your own writing, strive for a balanced approach by incorporating the three appeals judiciously. Use logic predominantly in an argumentative essay, introducing ethics and emotions only when necessary to enhance your argument's comprehensiveness.

Divide your appeals into separate arguments. Utilize emotions to portray the human aspect of the situation and employ ethics to compare sources.

When writing a rhetorical analysis essay, balancing the three appeals is essential.

In her essay, Grose effectively uses strong appeals to logos by presenting numerous facts, statistics, and logical progressions of ideas. She highlights various statistics relevant to the division of household chores, such as the disparity in housework between employed mothers and employed fathers. For instance, she notes that approximately 55% of American mothers who work full-time engage in housework on an average day, compared to only 18% of employed fathers. Additionally, working women with children are shown to dedicate significantly more time to "second shift" work than their male partners, even in countries like Sweden where gender roles are perceived to be more equitable.

Clark emphasizes Grose's successful use of statistics in her argument, providing tangible evidence that appeals to the reader's sense of reason. Clark also acknowledges the value of using multiple sources of scientific evidence to support an argument, as a single study may not suffice in substantiating a claim, especially when it relates to broader societal trends.

Furthermore, Clark underscores the importance of selecting studies that align with the scope of one's argument. Tailoring the evidence to fit the claim's size and complexity can enhance the essay's credibility and persuasiveness.

Overall, Grose's strategic use of evidence and statistics, combined with Clark's insights on rhetorical analysis, sheds light on the accuracy and effectiveness of arguments in addressing social issues.

Using relevant studies is crucial when shaping your argument. Tailoring the evidence to match the scope and complexity of the claim enhances the essay's credibility and persuasiveness.

Evaluating the Accuracy of Evidence in a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

When examining a writer or speaker's sources, it is essential to assess their credibility. You can use the "CRAAP method" to determine the reliability of a source:

Currency: Is the information in the source up to date?

Relevance: Does the source support the argument being made?

Authority: Is the source an expert on the subject?

Accuracy: Can the information in the source be verified with other sources?

Purpose: What is the purpose of the source?

Utilize this mnemonic to ensure that the evidence aligns with the logic of your argument. Flawed logic or inaccurate evidence may indicate a rhetorical fallacy.

Remember, evidence can sometimes be misleading. Take the time to investigate studies, analyses, and other forms of evidence rather than accepting everything at face value!

Analyzing Logos in Literature

This is where everything comes together. Learn how to identify logos, analyze its presence, and apply it in rhetorical literary analysis. Logos can be found not only in academic papers, articles, and political discourse but also in works of fiction, providing insight into a story's reasoning!

In Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment (1866), the protagonist Raskolnikov presents a compelling argument that employs logos:

  1. There are two categories of individuals: extraordinary and ordinary.

  2. Extraordinary individuals are not bound by moral laws like ordinary individuals.

  3. Due to their lack of moral restraints, extraordinary individuals may commit actions such as murder.

  4. Raskolnikov perceives himself as extraordinary and believes he is justified in committing murder.

This utilization of logos serves as the novel's central theme, encouraging readers to evaluate both the strengths and weaknesses of Raskolnikov's argument. Furthermore, readers can analyze Raskolnikov's eventual downfall: despite his confidence in the soundness of his logic, his descent into madness following the murder suggests otherwise.

Readers can approach the analysis of Raskolnikov's logic from two levels.

  • At the first level, they may critique the foundation of Raskolnikov's argument (e.g., the challenge of categorizing individuals as extraordinary).
  • At the second level, they may question Raskolnikov's reliance solely on logic to guide his actions. By neglecting to consider emotions (pathos) and ethical considerations (ethos), Raskolnikov's adherence to logic leads to his downfall, underscoring the importance of a balanced approach.

This type of rhetorical analysis is essential when evaluating the role of logos in literature. Pose inquiries, explore causal relationships, and scrutinize each line of reasoning. Delve into the multifaceted nature of logos.

While engaging with narratives, pay attention to character motivations. This practice enables a critical assessment of both character logic and narrative coherence. Through the lens of logos, one can construct summaries, arguments, and more from a story.

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