Logos definition: Logos is a rhetorical device that includes any content in an argument that is meant to appeal to logic.
What is Logos?
What does logos mean in literature? Logos is a rhetorical device that includes any content in an argument that is meant to appeal to logic.
Logos is one of the three Aristotelian appeals. A writer utilizes the three appeals in order to convince his audience of his argument. The other two appeals are ethos (ethics) and pathos (emotion).
Appeals to logos are those that involve or influence the logical reasons an audience should believe an argument.
Logos often shows up in an argument in the form of facts and statistics. However, any logical statement could be an appeal to logos.
Examples of logos in an argument for tax reform might include:
- The United States has the highest corporate income tax in the world.
- Our own small businesses cannot compete with such a relatively high tax burden.
- Therefore, the government should lower corporate income tax rates.
The first statement is a fact; the second and third statements create a syllogism. Both are appeals to logos.
Modern Examples of Logos
Common logos examples: When it comes down to it, logical appeals are made every day.
Whether it’s Mom explaining why you need to do your homework before bedtime, a newspaper columnist commenting on the day’s events, or an engineer explaining a need for new equipment, logical appeals are evident in everyday speech and argument.
However, be mindful that simply stating facts is not an appeal to logos. Writers use appeals to logos when they have an argument they are trying to prove. Yet, just about anything could be an argument.
Look at the above examples—each speaker is trying to convince someone of something. This is where logos might come into play.
The Function of Logos
Why use logos? Logos is a vital aspect in an argument. This is one of the primary methods a writer uses to convince his audience of his argument. Most arguments will contain at least some appeals to logos.
It is very difficult to believe or support an argument if it does not make logical sense. This is why a writer should include appeals to logos in his argument. The purpose of writing is to convince someone of something. Logos is a tool that helps writers do this.
Not all arguments will have the same “amount” of logical appeals. Some arguments might call for more emotional appeals. It is the writer’s responsibility to evaluate his audience to determine the best appeals for his argument.
Examples of Logos in Literature
What is logos in literature? In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama appealed to ethos, pathos, and logos. The following is an excerpt that specifically appeals to logos.
Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs, the strongest two years of job growth since the ‘90s, an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. That’s just part of a manufacturing surge that’s created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.
With these words, Obama is utilizing facts, numbers, and statistics to logically prove to his audience that American’s economy is on the rise. Here, Obama is appealing to logos to convince his audience that, as President, he has positively made change to affect America’s growth and development.
This is an example of logos.
Summary: Logos Definition Literature
Define logos in literature: the definition of logos in literature is a rhetorical device that appeals to logic and reason.
In summary, logos is:
- an appeal to logic
- one of the three Aristotelian appeals
- usually evident as facts, numbers, or statistics
- used to convince an audience of an argument