About the Department

Philosophy & Your Professional Future

Philosophers try to make sense of reality and human experience through critical reflection and argument. The study of philosophy involves asking questions about the nature of knowledge, reality, and values, and formulating and evaluating answers to these questions. Students learn to reason more effectively, and to form and defend principled views. The department aims to:

Help students from all fields develop habits of critical reading, thinking and writing, introduce students to philosophical issues including the nature of consciousness, personal identity, morality, and skepticism, explore these and other traditional philosophical issues through the works of major philosophers, including Plato, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and more recent figures, aid students in tracing connections among various disciplines

The Philosophy Department offers courses to meet the needs of general education students wishing to explore perplexing and controversial questions about the fundamental nature of the world and human experience. The best way to learn about philosophy is by doing it. All philosophy courses offer an open forum for a disciplined exchange of ideas. In such open forums students and professors learn from one another, and from the careful reading and critical analysis of philosophical works. Among the traditional tasks of philosophers is the investigation of the aims and methodology of other disciplines and specific problems that arise from them. Thus the department offers courses that probe the philosophical assumptions and implications of different disciplines, including courses in the philosophies of Religion, Natural Science, Psychology, Education, and Law. The department offers:

  • challenging programs for students who major or minor in philosophy
  • a diverse selection of courses from the different branches of philosophy,
  • teaching both historical and contemporary material from original works (English translation where necessary).

Because philosophers investigate the foundations of other disciplines, philosophy is often studied in conjunction with another discipline. Many philosophy majors or minors have a second major or a minor in such fields as literature, political science, religion, biology, psychology, and music. Majors and minors have considerable freedom to pursue their individual interests in independent studies, internships and research honors. Students may declare a major in philosophy as late as their junior year.

Interested in becoming involved? Join the IWU Philosophy Club on Facebook.

See tips on applying to graduate school


Philosophy students can become a member of the national honor society for Philosophy, Phi Sigma Tau.
IWU's chapter is Omicron and was established in 2005.


The Ames Library resource guide for Philosophy at IWU


Spring 2019 Philosophy Tutors Schedule