Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Ed TrachierBy: Ed Trachier – February 20, 2013

My eighth grade son reminded me of something I learned a long time ago over the weekend. We were working on a school project. He was creating a poster board advertisement for a made-up product (iSolar, ” the coolest recharger for your iPhone ever!). His teacher requested that the advertisement contain each of Aristotle’s appeals ‚ ” Ethos, Pathos and Logos." Most of you probably know that these break down to mean credibility, emotional and logical means of persuasion.

While he was working diligently to create the paper solar panel to connect to his cardboard iPhone, I was doing research.  I read several articles on ethos, pathos and logos. I stumbled upon what I had learned a long time ago, but forgotten.

Pathos, or emotional appeal, has a double meaning in the Greek language of Aristotle.  The first definition, which is easy to understand, is "experience". The second definition, a bit more complex, is "suffering".

Isn’t it funny how one of the great communicators and thinkers of the past chose such a word?

In many ways, experience does come with a great deal of suffering.‚  I know for a fact that the experience we have at OnTarget has been earned through suffering…and we have the scars to prove it!

I hope you enjoy hearing about some of our Pathos.

<This blog was originally posted in 2011.  My son Nick‚ is now a sophomore in high school. I reminded him this weekend that the term sophomore is probably a compound of the Greek, sophos, (“wise”) +  moros, (“foolish, dull”) — a wise fool. He may go into marketing after college.>


Ed Trachier is Founder and CEO of OnTarget Partners‚  He can be reached at 469-200-4901, or via email.

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