Rhetoric -- the use of language to persuade. One of the three most important of the "liberal arts" (those skills that free citizens were expected to have). Classical rhetoric recognizes three main ways to persuade. We can make emotional pleas (pathos); we can make ethical pleas (ethos), or we can use logic (logos).
All arguments fall somewhere withing the three points of the rhetorical triangle, with most academic arguments lying very close to "logos" and closer to "ethos" than "pathos".
- pathos (emotion): playing to the fears of our audience, inciting hatred of our opponents; also, or invoking positive associations, such as a love of democracy or freedom
ethos (ethics/character): pointing out injustices, appealing to the opinions of trusted authorities, emphasizing what is right; gaining the reader's trust
logos (logic): assembling all the relevant evidence (quotations, details, page numbers, statistics), ordering it so that the most convincing points come first, and probing to expose weaknesses in all arguments -- even the ones you think are "right".