TED Education: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach us about persuasion

I wrote “Give a TED talk” on my bucket list 4 years ago, today I feel happy to see the idea come to fruition. It is not a TED Talk per-se, i.e. it is not up there on a stage, but in my mind almost better – a lesson from my class, and a concept that is very important today. We are increasingly overloaded with information, but need to be more and more careful how we trust this information. We want to connect to the meaning behind the information. As the lesson says “Ethos and Pathos are missing”…

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach us about Persuasion

Imagine you are one of the world’s greatest violin players, and you decide to conduct an experiment: play inside a subway station and see if anyone stops to appreciate when you are stripped of a concert hall and name recognition. Joshua Bell did this, and Conor Neill channels Aristotle to understand why the context mattered.

Lesson by Conor Neill, animation by Animationhaus.

View the full lesson, additional resources and the quick quiz on the TED Education website: here

Joshua Bell, “Poet of the Violin”

Often referred to as the “poet of the violin,” Joshua Bell is one of the world’s most celebrated violinists. He continues to enchant audiences with his breathtaking virtuosity, tone of sheer beauty, and charismatic stage presence.


Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher ofAlexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics,government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality, aesthetics,logic, science, politics, and metaphysics.

Aristotle’s Rhetoric is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BC. The English title varies: typically it is titled Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, or a Treatise on Rhetoric.

15 responses to “TED Education: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach us about persuasion”

  1. […] TED Education: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach us about persuasion – TED-Ed video lesson […]

  2. Even though you were not there, I could see you in every word you uttered. Is that logos, ethos and pathos bundled into one Connors. Brilliant!!

  3. Even though you were not there I cold see in every word you uttered. Is that logos, ethos and pathos bundled into one Connors.

  4. Great video, in fact I have a post about it: “Ethos, Pathos y Logos en el discurso político”.

    In this case I talk about politicians and how they deliver their speeches. I have worked in the European Parliament for many years I know them quite well 🙂

    I my post I explain the meaning of Ethos, Pathos and Logos in Spanish:

    Ethos que se refiere a la credibilidad del orador y su relación con la audiencia.

    Pathos que se refiere al receptor del discurso, es decir, a los argumentos emocionales que pueden incluirse en un discurso, como las historias, anécdotas, analogías, metáforas, símiles, narradas con pasión.

    Logos que se refiere a los argumentos lógicos apoyados con evidencias sólidas que apelan a la razón.

    Here is the link: http://liviadeandres.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/ethos-pathos-y…curso-politico/

    1. One thing that I find of interest is how Ethos changes over time – the Reagan type speech worked in his era, the Obama speech worked 5 years ago… but is running out of credibility now. There is an increasing demand for “competent action” from people today in order to attribute ethos to a speaker.

  5. yep…have to agree with the above Conor, very clear, and it educated me….nice one. I will use it, and share it with your permission….Eddie.

  6. […] TED Education Lesson on Credibility: Aristotle’s Logos, Ethos and Pathos […]

  7. […] Fuente imagen: Moving People to action […]

  8. […] TED-Education Lesson: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach you about Persuasion […]

  9. […] post is a follow up to the TED-Education post yesterday: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell teach us about Persuasion.  If you haven’t […]

  10. Incredibly clear and enjoyable description of pathos, ethos, and logos. Best I’ve ever seen. More please!

    1. Thanks. I’ll be putting together 2-3 more of these lessons over the next few months 😉

  11. Fantastic video, Conor! The masterful visuals make the concepts very easy to grasp. Well done.

    1. Thanks Sebastian

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