Philosophy and Critical Thinking (PACT) Summer Camp

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


(Please check back in January 2019 for application information.)


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. 

Camp 2018 Focus: Justice

Questions to be explored through examining media, guest lectures, discussions, and debates will be selected from the following: 

  • What is justice? Are there different types?
  • Is the concern for justice a natural human motivation, or is human nature fundamentally selfish?
  • What is the connection between justice and equality? Does justice require equality? Equality of what?
  • Is it fair to reward achievement at the cost of inequality? is it fair to reward achievement even when that achievement depends on opportunities, or even on talents, that are a matter of luck?
  • What are the best arguments for and against affirmative action?
  • What type of justice should we aim for? Should we aim for justice that fixes immediate problems, but maybe introduces injustices in the future? Or should we aim for the ideal if that lets current injustices persist for longer but offers permanent fixes?
  • What forms of punishment are morally defensible? Is the US criminal justice system morally defensible?
  • Which injustices are we responsible for remedying? Is it just people within our borders, everyone in the world, or is it some other set of individuals?

Application & Schedule

See our application page for information and instructions on applying to this year's camp.

The 2018 Summer Camp will have two sessions, each a week long: 

  • Session 1: Monday, June 11 - Friday, June 15
  • Session 2: Monday, June 18 - Friday, June 22

Testimonials from 2017 Participants

“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!"



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