Logos, ethos and pathos deployed to win an argument – in two sentences!


Seven-times World Champion motorcyclist Valentino Rossi had been trying an optimistic overtaking manoeuvre when he took out reigning World Champion Casey Stoner at the Spanish MotoGP in 2011.

Rossi had apologised to Stoner in the pits after the race, but the matter resurfaced in the press conferences, with Stoner repeating his assertion that Rossi’s “ambition outweighed his talent” – a sufficiently memorable line to win the day you might think.

Earlier in the pits, it’s possible that Rossi hadn’t clearly heard when Stoner told him that his talent was lacking – Rossi was still wearing his helmet. But Rossi heard OK shortly afterwards when a journalist put Stoner’s remark to him at the press conference. Rossi’s response is a fine example of argument using logic (logos), character and reputation (ethos) and emotion (pathos) in the form of humour.

Journalist: “Stoner said that your ambition outweighs your talent. What do you make of that?”

Rossi: “Eh? It’s not tiddly-winks, it’s racing! [pathos]  I apologised to him already. I made a mistake [ethos]. The race officials have said nothing – it was OK for me to try to overtake [logos].”

Rossi’s irresistible argument underlined his popularity and marked Stoner (the one who had been wronged) out as somewhat petulant.  And all in Rossi’s second language of course.


Image courtesy of Phil at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


This entry was posted in Musings.