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Harvard Explains It All 

Jack Cooper's newest curated series explores content produced by Harvard Business Review that provides simple explanations on important topics.

Week 4: The Art of Persuasion Hasn't Changed in 2,000 Years


(1) The video states that the most important persuasive device is pathos. Can you provide an example of a time you were persuaded by an emotional connection? Conversely, can you provide an example where the lack of emotion in an argument dissuaded you? 

(2) Do you remember last year during our fallacy series studying the "emotional fallacy?" (Hint: Just because an argument evokes strong emotions doesn't mean it's true.) How does knowing about the persuasiveness of pathos and the emotional fallacy help you (1) build better arguments and (2) be more discerning of emotional elements within another person's argument?

(3) Aristotle thought persuasion can be taught. Which of the 5 rhetorical devices do you think are the easiest to learn? What about the hardest to learn? Which ones do you find most persuasive? 

Aristotle's 5 Rhetorical Devices:

(1) Ethos (Character)

(2) Logos (Reason)

(3) Pathos (Emotion)

(4) Metaphor

(5) Brevity

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