About the Course

Human Nature and Technology

This philosophy course explores questions of human nature in light of recent technological breakthroughs in communication, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and modern warfare. You will consider how our ability to transform our environment affects the way we perceive and value human life. From current and historical contexts, you’ll evaluate philosophical questions like: how did the agricultural revolution impact social order? When do cybernetic implants transform a man into a machine? In what sense is your online identity “you”? Does social networking enhance or replace authentic human interaction? Working with your classmates, you’ll critically assess these issues while developing your ability to construct and evaluate formal arguments. In this interdisciplinary course, you will study texts from literature, history, and science. Through critical reading and analytical writing, debates, group activities, and research projects, you’ll explore the relationship between human nature and technology, and gain an appreciation for humanity, how we work, and what our future holds.

Typical Class Size: 16-18

Course Overview

Summer Dates & Locations

Registration deadline:

Session One

The Johns Hopkins University
Residential cost: $6,819
Commuter cost: $5,999

Session Two

The Johns Hopkins University
Residential cost: $6,819
Commuter cost: $5,999

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level CTY-Level or CTY-Level
Check your eligibility using existing test scores If you do not have existing test scores:

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

  • Tuition
    • Varies
  • Application fee
    • 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.

Learn More

Course Materials

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].

Sample Reading

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.

  • Philosophy of Technology: The Technological Condition – An Anthology, Robert C. Scharff
  • Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence, Andy Clark
  • On the Internet, Hubert L. Dreyfus

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.

Meet our instructors and staff