Forms of appeal

Nita Farahany makes use of all three forms of appeal in her TED talk “When technology can read minds, how will we protect our privacy?”, but ethos and logos are most dominant. 


Farahany uses a wide variety of techniques to build ethos and thus present herself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy sender.

Farahany’s main focus is to build on her professional ethos, as she needs to present herself as someone who has the knowledge and experience to speak on a highly technical topic such as this. We see a very direct example of this in the second paragraph of the talk, when she directly lists her own qualifications: “As a bioethicist, a lawyer, a philosopher and an Iranian-American, I’m deeply concerned about what this means for our freedoms and what kinds of protections we need” (ll. 13-15). By providing a quick summary of these professional qualifications, Farahany immediately establishes herself as someone worth listening to in the context of ethics, law and technology.

The formal style of Farahany’s language also helps her present herself as a trustworthy professional who knows what she is talking about, while the occasional pop-cultural reference (eg. l. 78) makes her appear more relatable and helps her communicate with potential receivers who do not have a scientific or technical background.

Furthermore, Faraha...

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