The Essay Body

The body of your essay states and defends the important premise(s) for your one major argument. 

Whether you are writing a philosophical essay or an interpretive one, you will always use the same forms of deductive and inductive reasoning. 

Here are some examples of the most common deductive arguments.

1. The categorical syllogism:

All M is P

All S is M

Therefore, all S is P

2. The conditional syllogism:

If P, then Q


Therefore, Q


If P, then Q

Not Q

Therefore, not P

3. The disjunctive syllogism:

Either A or B

Not A

Therefore, B

Inductive arguments, by contrast, proceed from particular instances to general truths. (If X happens over and over again, then we can conclude Y.) 

In philosophical essays, induction could take the form of a claim with examples from the real world. For example, you could defend the idea “smart people are usually unhappy” by citing many instances of actual smart people who have been unhappy. 

In interpretive essays, induction relies on textual analysis. For example, you might defend the claim “such and such a character is an arrogant person” by citing many textual examples of that character speaking and acting arrogantly.