Philosophy and Critical Thinking (PACT) Summer Camp


Good news! Our virtual summer camp for 2021 has been announced! Applications are due May 15th!



2021 Camp Focus: Disagreement

We encounter disagreements all of the time and in nearly every aspect of our lives. To name a few ongoing controversies, we disagree over: reproductive health, criminal justice reform, freedom of speech, digital privacy, “cancel” culture, taxation, election outcomes, climate change, voting rights, bathroom policies, mask mandates, and the existence of God (Whew!). That’s a lot of disagreement and it only begins to scratch the surface. Now more than ever, disagreement seems to be an unavoidable, and often uncomfortable, part of living alongside other humans. It can spark heated debate and inspire mass protests. But it can also renew our perspectives on the world and help us achieve mutual understanding.  

It's not surprising, then, that the topic of disagreement raises many deep questions: 

  • What is the nature of moral disagreement and how does it differ from scientific disputes or religious quarrels? 
  • What is the value of political disagreement? How can people with fundamentally different political values come to share and promote a shared democratic society? 
  • How should we combat political polarization?
  • What are the best ways to break down echo chambers and reopen dialogue with the “other side”?
  • How, if at all, should we change our beliefs when reasonable and well-informed people disagree with us?
  • What should we do when nothing seems to resolve our disagreement? How should we reconcile our differences? 

These are just some of the questions we'll discuss in our time together at PACT! See you there.


About the Camp

The Ohio State Philosophy and Critical Thinking (PACT) Summer Camp is a perfect introduction to the exciting world of philosophical thought. This summer learning program for high school students is organized and led by the Department of Philosophy at The Ohio State University. During the 2021 PACT Summer Camp, we are adopting an online only format of six meetings spanning two weeks. Participants will need access to a zoom-capable computer and a stable internet connection. In each Zoom session, campers will explore our core theme – Disagreement – and through fun and engaging small-group activities. Over the course of our two weeks together, campers will form a community of inquiry where they can reflect on the issues they care about most, practice their debating skills, share some laughs, and (along the way) tackle some of the biggest questions in philosophy today. 

Two two-week sessions are available, each with identical content:  

Session I: June 14 -June 25, 2021

Session II: June 28 -July 9, 2021

There will be six meetings per session: MWF from 3:00-4:30pm

Past Participant Responses

When participants were asked at the close of past camps to describe their experience, there were three major themes: fun, unique learning experience, and challenging (insofar as it pushed the development of critical thinking skills).

“I experienced major growth in my… critical thinking skills. I feel that I am now more open to both sides of an argument than ever before.”

“Usually I’m a really straight-forward person, stubborn in my beliefs. This camp made me open to the fact that… only when we look at an issue from multiple sides can we be knowledgeable about it.”

"A powerful learning experience that wasn't stressful, just fun."

"Great experience to learn new things about not only philosophy, but college, other people, and yourself."

"An open, non-judgmental, friendly camp."

"Philosophy camp is a great experience to learn about many things in different aspects. Great to keep your mind going!"

Most past participants have said that the camp made them less nervous or more excited about their college experience. Others reported the camp making them consider philosophy as a major, or attending Ohio State University.  

Additionally, participants have reported developing a diverse set of skills. Those most often reported were the ability to evaluate an issue from multiple perspectives, the ability to critically think, improved debate skills, and an understanding of the mechanics of an argument. Additionally, participants indicated they gained the ability to better articulate their ideas, confidence in developing and defending their own views, and greater tolerance for varied/opposing viewpoints.

The PACT Summer Camp is co-sponsored by the OSU Center for Ethics and Human Values and the OSU Chapter of Minorities and Philosophy.