Week 4 – Logos (Evidence, Support)

This week we begin to study the methods of academic argument analysis, starting with the foundational element of the three-fold Greek approach: Logos (Logic, Support, Data)


For most of us, arguments are things we try to avoid. When we do engage them, often our emotions and opinions get the better of us and the discussion quickly becomes a competition, with everyone clamoring to be the “winner.” But in academic argument, we must learn to set our opinions and emotions aside and develop ways to use critical thinking skills to evaluate arguments according to objective, authoritative principles of critique and analysis.

Remember, not all arguments require the same kind of support but all arguments do require some kind of support. The proper ways in which we determine if an argument is well supported start with asking questions about what kind of argument is being made, what is the size or relative importance of the overall claim, and what other evidence is present (or absent) that would help further substantiate the claim? Different kinds of arguments will require different kinds of support. Keep this in mind as you do the readings for this week, and going forward.

In this unit, we will begin to study the historic methods of argument analysis. Starting with the three-fold Greek model of Logos (logic, support) , Pathos (emotion, values) and Ethos (character, credibility). This week we will focus on Logos and Ethos. We will address Pathos next week.

Logos

The word Logos means “logic” or “support” or “evidence.”

  • When someone asks, “What is your argument based on?” They are asking for logical support.
  • When you offer evidence, expert testimony, statistics, facts and other rational “support” for your argument, you are using Logos.
  • Proper use of Logos in an argument will offer support that is: sufficient, relevant and representative of the best available evidence on the subject.
  • But rational support of an argument is much more complex than it may seem at first (as we will see when we examine all of the logical fallacies, for instance).
  • View the handout: Logos
  • View the following video: What is Reason (Logos)?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuXkp3R-RTU
  • View the following video: Four Ways to Persuade with Reason (Logos)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM4BRBiy5Zw

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Critical Thinking by Andrew Gurevich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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