Logical Appeal: Definition & Examples

Logical Appeal: Definition & Examples
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  • 0:01 What Is a Logical Appeal?
  • 0:24 Logical Appeals & Evidence
  • 1:11 Supporting Your Logic
  • 2:37 Reasoning & Avoiding Fallacies
  • 3:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Learn about logical appeals and how they're used to persuade. Find out how to use logical appeals in your writing and how fallacies can undermine your logic.

What is a Logical Appeal?

A logical appeal is a method of persuasion based on evidence and reasoning. It's one of the three most important tools of persuasion identified by Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle. The other two are emotional appeals and ethical appeals. They're frequently referred to in the original Greek, ethos (ethical), logos (logical), and pathos (emotional).

Logical Appeals and Evidence

When you're trying to persuade people about something, the chances of your success depend a lot on whether your arguments make sense, or are logical. If your reasoning leads logically to the conclusion you've stated, you've used logical appeals effectively. If not, it's very likely that your reasoning lacks evidence.

Like a lawyer building his case, you need to gather evidence, or proof, to support your logic. For example, if your main idea (or thesis statement) focuses on nutritional healing, you should rely heavily on reliable research for evidence. If you're blogging about how your new Droid is the best on the market, your own experience will be persuasive, but you'll also need to include evidence, such as comparisons of specifications and features with another similar device.

Supporting Your Logic

Comparison, or likening two or more things, is a powerful tool of persuasion, especially when you're comparing research findings and statistics. As Aristotle taught us, logical appeals are the most effective of the three appeals because they rely on the truth. If you're writing about the importance of raising the legal drinking age in your state (for example), you would compare findings from states where the drinking age is higher to findings from states where the drinking age is lower. If the comparison supports your claim, you'll have good evidence.

You can also apply a cause and effect strategy, which illustrates the causality between one action or event and another, to show a logical connection. Continuing with the drinking age topic, you might show how a higher drinking age reduces alcohol-related accidents. To do this, you could explore statistics in states and countries where people have to be 21 before they can legally consume alcohol, looking for cause and effect relationships. Then, you might include graphs or charts that depict the connection.

To drive your logic home even more, you could provide evidence of hypocrisy, or behavior that goes against what a person or group purports to believe or feel. For example, you might find statements that an organization or government agency made that support your argument, and then expose their lack of action. In other words, show that someone in authority agrees with your position but has done little to support it.

Reasoning & Avoiding Fallacies

Before making your appeal, carefully review all of your evidence and reasoning, and make sure you're avoiding fallacies, or faulty logic. Does something only come close to making sense? If so, fix it, or throw it out. Use only the best evidence if you want to persuade with logic.

Let's look at a few examples of fallacies that could be related to the topic of raising the drinking age.

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