Freewill versus determinism and epistemology isn’t the type of debate most high school students will have in class. In general, philosophy courses are hard to come by in Indiana.

The Philosophy Outreach Project introduces the state’s high school students to the field through in-school visits, a supply of online resources, and an annual conference for high school students and faculty.

“The skills that philosophy teaches you – critical thinking, reading comprehension, writing, reasoning itself – is the ground work in any academic field or subject they’re learning in high school,” said Emma Hamilton, a philosophy major. “I think it is really beneficial to their education but also the way that they see and perceive the world.”

In student groups, high school students have the chance to engage with Ball State students outside of the classroom. They get to learn about philosophy in a more relaxed setting than a classroom. Due to COVID-19, the student group meetings have been conducted via Zoom.

The Philosophy Outreach Project has put together lesson plans and resources for both high school students and teachers, with everything from detailed information on specific philosophical topics to how teachers can integrate philosophy in their classroom.

“I think that the students are enjoying this engagement, even though it is not [in-person],” said Sarah Vitale, assistant professor of philosophy. “They are getting philosophical content, and they are creating ideas and saying things that I wouldn’t have ever expected, so that’s wonderful.”

Project Participants

  • Matt Hinkleman, Philosophy and Political Science, Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Sam Seifert, Criminal Justice and Criminology and Psychology, Frankfort, Indiana
  • Grant Ryan, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Carmel, Indiana
  • Zoe Lawson, Philosophy, Political Science, and Spanish, St. Charles, Missouri
  • Molly Arent, Elementary Education, Fairfield, Ohio
  • Lakin Lane, Computer Science, Martinsville, Indiana
  • Emma Hamilton, Philosophy and English Education, Westfield, Indiana
  • Jaina Cox, Elementary Education, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Megan Watterson, Public Relations, Brooksville, Indiana

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