Learning is enhanced at Illinois Wesleyan by the high quality of individualized instruction students receive from our faculty. Philosophy classes typically have no more than 25 students. It is our view that students should be doing philosophy, rather than merely learning what famous philosophers have said. Philosophy develops in the give and take of arguments and so requires an environment in which students and faculty can engage in discussion. Frequent papers and other writing assignments will enable students to polish their critical analysis and communication skills. The philosophy faculty is committed to working closely with students, answering their questions in and out of class.
Other special educational opportunities include:
Independent Study: Independent Study provides students with the opportunity to explore areas or topics in philosophy outside the regular curriculum. In the last several years philosophy majors and minors have pursued independent study projects on topics such as the moral status of animals, medical paternalism and environmental ethics.
Research Honors: Research Honors provides students with the opportunity to pursue a project of original research in philosophy during their senior year. Students typically first take an independent study during the spring term of their junior year in the area in which they will write a research paper. After spending a term reading books and articles relevant to their research area and honing their thesis topic, they write their research thesis during the Fall term of their senior year. Students work in close collaboration with their faculty supervisor. In recent years students have written research papers on topics such as intentionality and the nature of consciousness. See the Student Honors Papers collection.
Internships: Philosophy students may also elect to participate in the internship program. Students have held positions at the Hastings Center (a medical ethics think-tank), the U.S. State Department in Washington, a New York City publishing firm and the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Chicago.