Philosophy and Critical Thinking (PACT) Summer Camp

We are glad to announce that the theme
for summer 2019 will be Identity.

If you want to receive reminders about the PACT 2019, please register here

Check back in January 2019 for application materials. 


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 weeklong summer learning program for high school students is organized and led by the Department of Philosophy at The Ohio State University. It's designed to introduce students to philosophy through learning experiences that are rigorous, engaging, and fun including: a poster project, two formal debates, a trip to the Cartoon Library, a movie screening, a scavenger hunt, and guest lectures by several OSU philosophers.  We hosted our inaugural summer camp in June of 2017 on the topic of "Rights and Liberty", with 23 students from a wide range of local high schools participating. In June of 2018 we hosted the camp for its second year, with a focus on "Justice". We were able to expand our reach, including 39 students from 17 different schools across mid-Ohio. 

2019 Camp Focus: Identity

Questions to be explored through a variety of activities that may include examining media, guest lectures, discussions, and debates will be selected from questions like the following:

  • If you lost all of your memories, would you still be the same person?
  • If someone has multiple personality disorder, are they literally multiple people?
  • What are racial or gender identities?
  • Can identifying as a member of a group make you who you are?
  • If over a few years every single part of your car had to be replaced, is it still the same car?
  • How much can a thing change without becoming a different thing? 

Application & Schedule

See our application page in January of 2019 for information and instructions on applying to the 2019 camp.

The 2019 Summer Camp will have two sessions, each a week long: 

  • Session 1: Monday, June 10 - Friday, June 14
  • Session 2: Monday, June 17 - Friday, June 21

2017 & 2018 Participant Responses

When participants were asked at the close of the 2017 and 2018 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!"

Among our 2018 participants, most 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.