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  • Human beings are always in search of truth; we want to know things.

  • To not know often causes us great pain.

  • We search for truth, together, in various ways such as discussion, argumentation, philosophy,

  • science, and even art.

  • When we have conflicting views over the truth, we often enter into a game of persuasion:

  • we try to convince the other that the belief we hold is, in fact, the true one.

  • The art of persuasion is an important one because - in the right hands - it allows truth

  • to win over lies.

  • In this video, we will explore the three methods of persuasion laid out by Aristotle in his

  • book Rhetoric.

  • Keep in mind that - for Aristotle - rhetoric is the art of persuasion and not the meaningless

  • language that many politicians are charged with using.

  • The first of the three persuasive methods is persuasion by character or credibility.

  • We are more easily persuaded by people who come across as trustworthy.

  • Aristotle put forth three qualities that a trustable person would have: good sense, good

  • moral character, and good will.

  • We say a that person has good sense when we trust their judgment.

  • They're a rational and reasonable thinker.

  • They stay cool, calm, and collected.

  • They are a credible professional in the field they speak about.

  • We say that a person has good moral character when we expect them to do the right thing

  • even if no one is looking.

  • Lastly, we say that a person has good will when we believe that they have our best interests

  • at heart.

  • According to Aristotle, these are the three traits that a trustable person has.

  • Now, let's move on to the next method of persuasion.

  • The second of the three modes is persuasion by emotion.

  • Depending on our emotional state, we may be more or less inclined to adopt a particular

  • belief.

  • A master of persuasion must know how to make these emotions arise and, perhaps more importantly,

  • disappear.

  • It helps to get people angry about a new law being passed, if you believe that the law

  • is honestly harmful to them: they may channel their anger towards stopping that law.

  • On the other hand, it may be important to dispel anger directed towards you when it's

  • undeserved.

  • Putting people into a calmer state of mind makes them more likely to listen to what you

  • have to say.

  • Aristotle talks about the emotions in depth in Book 2 of Rhetoric but I'll give a brief

  • summary of the, roughly, 7 emotional dualities he puts forward.

  • People feel angry when you show contempt towards, act spitefully against, or shame them.

  • Showing contempt means that you treat the things, or people, that someone cares about

  • as unimportant.

  • Acting spitefully means that you are preventing someone from getting something that they want

  • just to hurt them.

  • Shaming someone means that you are discrediting them in some way.

  • People feel calm when you do the opposite of these acts.

  • We feel friendly towards people who unselfishly want the best for us.

  • The opposite makes us feel hateful.

  • We feel fearful when someone, or something, has the power to bring us harm or suffering.

  • We feel confident when no such danger exists or when we have methods for dealing with it.

  • We feel shame when we have been discredited for, as Aristotle would call it, some moral

  • badness we have done such as being cowardly, greedy, arrogant, or mean.

  • We feel shameless when we are indifferent, or contemptible, towards people's thoughts

  • about are moral badness.

  • People think we are kind when we help them, especially if they need it, for their own

  • sake.

  • People feel we are unkind when we do not help them or when we do but for selfish reasons.

  • We feel pity for someone who suffers undeservedly, especially if that suffering could have come

  • upon us or someone close to us.

  • On the other hand, we feel indignation when we see someone doing well when they don't

  • deserve it.

  • People feel envious when they see someone who they thought was their equal, a peer,

  • get some good fortune.

  • This is especially true if they think they are entitled to that same good fortune or

  • if they no longer feel equal with that person because of their good fortune.

  • On the other hand, people feel emulation when they see someone who is their equal get some

  • good fortune that they haven't got themselves yet but believe that they could.

  • Both feelings are painful but emulation is better than envy.

  • The envious person wishes that the other party did not have their good fortune.

  • The person who feels emulation wishes themselves to have that same good fortune and is pained

  • by not having it yet.

  • Humans are emotional beings.

  • Sometimes, are emotions are justified; sometimes, feeling angry or fearful is the right response.

  • Other times, people feel these emotions when they shouldn't.

  • The master persuader will know how to excite these emotions when they are justified and

  • calm them when they are not.

  • Now, let's move on to the next method.

  • The last of the three methods is persuasion by logic.

  • A good logical argument will put forth a series of premises: statements that are either true

  • or false.

  • Based on these premises, a conclusion must be made.

  • If the conclusion would be true if all of the premises were true then the argument is

  • said to be valid.

  • If, in fact, all of the premises are true and the argument is valid then it's also

  • sound.

  • This is known as a deductive argument.

  • Sound deductive arguments are very persuasive because they are true and they are built using

  • logic that is easy to follow.

  • If we take a set of premises and derive a conclusion that is not necessarily but likely

  • to be true then we are making an inductive argument.

  • The strength of an inductive argument is based upon how likely the conclusion is to follow

  • from the premises.

  • An inductive argument is said to be cogent when all of its premises are actually true.

  • Finally, we have the abductive argument.

  • This is when you collect a set of data and then determine a conclusion that best explains

  • the set of data.

  • By using one of these three arguments, you can become more persuasive because people

  • are often convinced by strong logic that is easy to follow.

  • In conclusion, rhetoric is important because it helps truth prevail.

  • Some people can't be convinced by facts alone and so it's important to know how

  • to persuade them.

  • By knowing how to leverage character, emotion, and logic you can help bring the change you

  • want to see

  • into

  • the world.

Human beings are always in search of truth; we want to know things.

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The 3 Methods of Persuasion | Rhetoric - Aristotle

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    Summer posted on 2021/04/09
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