Philosophy Department

Philosophy

As a student in the Wheaton College Philosophy Department, you’ll be challenged to reflect on some of life’s most interesting and important questions—questions about the nature of the world, human nature, and human flourishing. You’ll be equipped with critical thinking skills and intellectual independence that will serve you well in any career path.

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Dealing with Life's Questions

Does God exist, and if so, what is God like?  Are there objective moral principles binding on all persons? How can humans attain true happiness? What do the demands of justice require of me?  To what extent, if any, are humans free? When, if ever, is it morally permissible to take a human life?

Philosophy’s questions are often life-orienting questions, the answers to which shape our self-understanding, and sometimes direct our life’s plans and purposes, making them important questions to address. These questions are pursued in the distinctive sub-fields of philosophy:

  • Metaphysics
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Art

These, among others, are courses we offer. These subject areas of philosophy, by their very subject matter, require that students think cross-disciplinarily. If, for example, one studies the philosophy of art, the theory and practice of actual artists will constitute part of the content of any such course. To ask about the conditions for knowledge requires that one look at historical, scientific, interpersonal, and other forms of knowledge as they are pursued in various fields of inquiry.

Majoring in Philosophy

Regular Major

Philosophy majors can select from two tracks. The regular major requires 32 hours of designated course work.

Integrated Major

Our “integrated major” requires just 24 hours of philosophy and 16 hours from some companion discipline, such as theology, psychology, English, or science. Students who pursue the integrated major must take appropriate “bridge courses” to bring philosophy and the companion discipline into fruitful conversation. Many of our majors find that the integrative major is an ideal way to pursue a double-major.

What Can You Do With a Philosophy Major?

Anything you want! Most of our nearly 100 majors don’t go on to graduate school in philosophy, but successfully pursue careers in law, medicine, ministry, business, social services, and just about every career imaginable. Philosophy students develop skills in clear thinking, analytical reasoning, and clear and persuasive writing and speaking, all of which are in high demand regardless of one’s career choice.

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