Philip Sheldrake

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The EU Referendum campaigns should learn from Aristotle

Aristotle

An email sent to all my friends and family.

There's no doubting Aristotle was a rare genius. Encyclopædia Britannica calls him the first genuine scientist. And it's amazing that here I am in the 21st Century emailing you (and in fact just about everyone I know with an email address) about the insights of a man born exactly 2400 years ago.

(That's equivalent to someone doing the same for you or me in the 44th Century CE, and I think we can agree on the likelihood of that!)

I read this article on Aristotelian rhetoric / persuasive powers in 2012, and I was so enamoured that I wrote a short blog post on it at the time. In summary, Aristotle concluded that the three most powerful tools of persuasion are:

  • Ethos – argument by character
  • Logos – argument by logic
  • Pathos – appealing to the emotions.

Read more

Persuasion

Aristotle said that the three most powerful tools of persuasion are: ethos, argument by character; logos, argument by logic; and pathos, appeal to the emotions.

Because I have the superior mind of a scientist (that's sarcasm btw), I have an overwhelming natural inclination toward logos. And when it doesn't work, I try it again, despite Einstein's insistence that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity.

Trundling my way to the office on the number 94 Wednesday I read "Jay Heinrich's Powers of Persuasion" in Business Week magazine in which Mr. Heinrich is described as one of the world’s leading students of Aristotelian rhetoric. This means he's kinda expert at mixing up the ethos, logos and pathos just right. Read more