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Persuasion is an ancient art explored by Greeks and Roman thinkers

Chapter 7 Disagreeing well requires good, persuasive arguments

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Humankind has been perfecting the art of persuasion for millennia. Some of the thinking goes back to the ancient Greeks. The term rhetoric describes the act of making persuasive arguments.

Aristotle Share this expert A Aristotle ‘s Rhetoric describes the main methods:

  • Logos: an appeal to logic by reasoning with facts and statistics that support your argument.
  • Pathos: an appeal to the emotions of the audience, using for example charisma and passionate delivery.
  • Ethos: an appeal to authority or credibility of the presenter.
  • Kairos: highlights the importance of timing and acting in the now, taking advantage of a particular context.

The Romans Cicero Share this expert C Cicero and Quintilian Share this expert Q Quintilian developed the Five Canons of Rhetoric which describe the main challenges to designing persuasive arguments:

  • Invention: developing the arguments
  • Arrangement: organizing the arguments for maximum impact
  • Style: determining the appropriate language and grammar for presenting the arguments
  • Memory: committing the arguments to memory (when delivering verbally)
  • Delivery: the act of presenting your arguments (which needs to be perfected)
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