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Ethos. This refers to the author’s credibility as someone who is listening and believing in something. As such, giving the target audience the mindset that you are in authority of a given area is essential. This is done to show that one is likeable, and worth of respect in a given area. One can convey ethos by use of style and tone in his arguments. In addition, the previous record of the speaker or writer can affect one’s ethos.

Logos. This term is a Greek word for logical. It means persuading one’s target through reasoning. One can either use inductive or deductive reasoning. Giving of reasons is the main aspect of any argumentation, and internal consistency of the message being delivered is essential here. Also, the effectiveness of the supporting evidence determines the effectiveness of the argument.

Pathos. This entails persuasion through appeal to the emotions of the targeted audience. The choice of language used determines the emotional response of the target audience. When a speaker or writer uses an appeal to pathos, it causes those in the audience not only to respond with their emotions but also to identify with the points of view that the writer or speaker is conveying. That is to feel what the writer is feeling. Therefore, one feels the pain imaginatively. It is one of the most commonly used methods of conveying pathetic appeal. 


We realize that, in any persuasive argument, it is not obvious that the right side will win. As Aristotle long ago realized, mere words can drastically change mindsets of the population. The movie Thank You for Smoking is a perfect example of this fact. Nick combines the appeals of logos and pathos to show that words alone can be used to change the way people think.  The use of logos by Nick especially comes into play in his arguments to the committee. The use of logos is basically centered on the aspect of logical fallacies. He uses logos throughout although there may be some fallacies present. When he comes to making closing arguments, he makes a logical argument that if crossbones and a skull are to be placed on cigarette packets, then all the products with potential of harming the consumers should also be forced to take the same measures.

In addition, he logically points out that most people know that smoking can be harmful. He achieves his end logically when he asks those members of the committee who know that cigarettes are harmful to raise their hands. The rationale here is that he knew that all the people present knew the effects of smoking. Further on pathos, Neylor appeals to emotions of the audience when he argues that parenting and education ought to be the foundations which help the youth to learn pertaining to the dangers associated with tobacco. It is also probable that he won hearts of some of the people in the audience by mentioning the responsibilities associated with appropriate raising up of his son. By pointing to his son who is also in the audience, many people are tempted to see a caring and responsible parent. Therefore, Nick's logical arguments leave many people in the audience scratching their heads although, in the end, they agree with his viewpoints. Although not everyone may believe Nick, people are left believing that he is a legitimate source of information.


According to my opinion, Nick could have done some improvement on the aspect pathos. His argument should have been that individuals already addicted to smoking were bound to suffering associated with withdrawal symptoms. This follows after one is deprived of nicotine. He should have asked members of the committee to imagine the trauma that will be caused by their suggestions to a 90 years old pensioner whose remaining form of relaxation was smoking.

2. Nonverbal Style


By bringing his son to the hearing committee, Nick draws the first blood without even uttering a single word. Those present may not have been aware that Nick is a responsible father who like them is encumbered with parental responsibilities. Nick's dressing also communicates the message that he is a respectable vice-president of a respectable academy who is worthy being listened to. In addition, his air of authority sends a non verbal message to the committee that Nick is not going to be any pushover.

3. Spin, Ethics, and Political Correctness


According to my opinion, Nick's profession seems totally unethical. Although he employs the use logos in order to win the arguments before the audience, as Aristotle, the grandfather of logos said, winning any argument does not necessarily mean that the side that lost was wrong. His being misused by tobacco companies to do their dirty work, may end up misleading many people if it were in a real world situation. The fact that the academy he purports to head is only geared towards covering negative effects of smoking deprives him of the last vestiges of ethical grounding.


Yes. In everyday conversations, people can learn much more when a debate is carried out logically. However, such usage of language is not acceptable in situations where law and order ought to be maintained. For instance, many junior officers in the army can logically oppose their superior's orders without lying, and, hence, lead to disorder. Further, where there is an emergency, there is no time for such method of language usage. However, in matters of great importance where the population is divided, such use of language can come in handy. Such issues can include issues of whether to abort or not, and the gun control legislations.


It is possible for persuasion to be ethical. This is where the concerned individuals have the internal ability to treat others with understanding, respect, care and fairness so that they can understand themselves and others. For persuasion to be ethical, the concerned should keenly explore the viewpoints of other people, explain their own viewpoints and then create resolutions. For instance, most public relations and advertising messages are persuasive in nature. They use responsible rhetorical techniques in order to pass messages to the intended target audience. Scholars in the field of persuasion and rhetoric have come up with excellent guidelines, which can be used in order to ensure that the messages passed are ethical. Therefore, it is not the nature of persuasion to be unethical but the people who convey the message are the ones who act unethically.

On the aspect of Ethos, Nick Neylor has the vice president as well as the chief spokesman of an academy "devoted" to studies on tobacco is easily believable by the general public who may be ignorant of the fact that his work is funded by the cigarette manufacturers.

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