- Grades 7-11
- Advanced CTY-Level
- History and Social Science
We all face ethical choices. How do we know what is “good” or “bad,” or “right” or “wrong”? Are there standards of ethics by which we can judge people or their actions? In this course, we’ll reflect on common intuitions we have about how humans ought to live our lives. We’ll learn to apply analytical reasoning to our intuitions while investigating the debate between moral relativism—which denies ethical distinctions such as right or wrong—and moral realism, which upholds them. We’ll examine theories for guiding moral decisions, like utilitarianism, in which moral choices are evaluated based on their consequences, and Kant’s claim that moral actions come from an objective and rational universal principle of morality. We’ll also explore virtue ethics, which focus on cultivating morally worthwhile traits in each individual, and consider ethical dilemmas like war, animal rights, and capital punishment while critiquing primary philosophical works, participating in discussions and debates, and writing analytical essays.
Typical Class Size: 16
Summer Dates & Locations
Testing and Prerequisites
|Required Level||Not required||Advanced CTY-Level|
Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.Sign up for Testing Learn More
Cost and Financial Aid
- Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
- Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)
Financial Aid is available
We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.
Please acquire all course materials by the course start date, unless noted as perishable. Items marked as “perishable” should not be acquired until the student needs them in the course. If you have questions about these materials or difficulty locating them, please contact [email protected].
These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.
- Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie
About History and Social Science at CTY
Enhance your critical thinking skills
Expand your ability to reason through difficult problems by taking one of our philosophy or logic classes. Learn how to craft strong and clear arguments in Big Questions, or explore the techniques of logic that lawyers, doctors, and mathematicians utilize to be successful in their fields in Logic: Principles of Reasoning.
Explore social justice in action
Develop knowledge and skills that will help you address issues of systemic inequality throughout the world. Engage in the study of those who worked within and outside of the legal system to effect monumental societal change in Great Cases: American Legal History.