About the Course


Do we have free will, or do our brains automatically respond to stimuli? What, if anything, distinguishes right from wrong? Philosophers relentlessly pursue fundamental questions of life, and their techniques apply to problems in any discipline. They establish standards of evidence, provide rational methods for resolving conflicts, and create templates for evaluating ideas and arguments. This course surveys several major areas of Western analytic philosophy: metaphysics and epistemology, ethics, and philosophies of mind, language, religion, and science. It explores the nature of the world and our access to knowledge; moral behavior and the nature of good and evil; the relationships between our minds and bodies; and arguments for and against the existence of God. You’ll study historical thinkers like Plato, Descartes, and Hume and contemporary philosophers like John Rawls and Hilary Putnam. You and your classmates will reflect upon philosophical issues through debate, discussion, and formal critical essays, and along the way, you’ll develop your analytical skills and your ability to think independently and evaluate arguments effectively.

Typical Class Size: 16-18

Course Overview

Summer Dates & Locations

Registration deadline:

Session One

Dickinson College
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Residential cost: $6,599
Commuter cost: $5,799

Session Two

Dickinson College
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Residential cost: $6,599
Commuter cost: $5,799
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Residential cost: $6,819
Commuter cost: $5,999

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level Not required 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.

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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.

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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.

  • Philosophical Problems: An Annotated Anthology, Ann Baker and Laurence BonJour

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