Lancet Digital Health: Using ChatGPT to write patient clinic letters (4) Ethos, pathos and logos

16 March, 2023

I agree with your sentiments, Joseph. As you say, writing, telephones, radio communications, credit cards, phones, and the internet paypal payments exclude the physical pathos and ethos of face to face relationships and actions. Somehow we have to include compassion, and ethos in our communications and systems of care provision.

It was interesting to see cutting edge IT and telecommunication healthcare projects at Jon Hoeksma's London IT conference yesterday. Much refreshing was placed on people as the agents and transformational change being the agents of healthcare development and not IT on its own.

"Ethos is the act of appealing to the speaker's or writer's authority as a means of persuasion, Pathos is the act of evoking emotions in the audience or readers to make your point, Logos is the act of appealing to the logic of the audience or readers."

Babies are not affected by logos at all nor infants nor citizens without mental capacity, but tone, physical contact and body language of attitudes and facial gestures- smilles do affect babies, infants and citizens without mental capacity. Hence why the presence and presentation of some film stars, singers and dancers - all very expressive - are so popular to the public.

Wix Words matter Ethos, Pathos, Logos: What Are They and How to Use Them (

"You may have heard the terms ethos, pathos and logos at some point in your life, but what do they mean, exactly? All three are techniques of rhetoric, meant to persuade others toward a particular point of view. You’ll often see them being used in political speeches, commercials, content marketing."

"Each technique uses a different approach to appeal to the audience and solidify the argument, whether you’re establishing: the character of the speaker (ethos), the emotional state of the listener (pathos), or the argument itself (logos).

"In this article, we’ll look at these three methods in detail, and how to use each effectively.

"The three traditional modes of persuasion

"Greek philosopher Aristotle first defined these three methods in Rhetoric, where he writes:

"Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.

"Ethos is when a speaker or writer appeals to their authority as a means of persuasion. They use words to convince the audience of their reputation, virtue, intelligence, or even their professional qualifications. This way, the audience is more inclined to believe in the argument presented. Of course, in order to be effective, the speaker or writer doesn’t necessarily have to have these virtues, just appear to. This is something that can be deployed verbally or through writing, including content writing.

"Pathos is the act of evoking emotions in the audience or readers in order to persuade. The speaker or writer uses words to manipulate people into feeling empathy, desire, anger, joy—virtually any emotion. To do so, they need to understand who they’re talking to and the greater societal context quite well.

"Logos is the act of appealing to the logic of the audience or readers. Here, the speaker’s or writer’s effort is focused on the rational validity of the argument proposed. Usually, this comes together with the use of facts, data, statistics and other logical demonstrations. As with ethos, logos doesn’t necessarily have to be logically sound to be effective, but it does have to appear to be. This is also what makes it an essential part of any type of marketing.

"These three techniques show up in all sorts of circumstances, from political speeches and courtroom debates, to advertisements, essays, marketing strategies and opinion pieces.

perhaps, and even movies and literature."

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT