What does it mean to be educated?
How do you lead a good life?
Grapple with deep questions and forge meaningful friendships at our academic year seminars.
Each summer, the Witherspoon Institute offers two seminars for advanced undergraduates who seek to pursue the truth through argumentation and friendship. Witherspoon accepts undergraduates from elite institutions all over the world, with a healthy diversity of political, philosophical, and religious backgrounds. Undergraduates are eligible to participate in the Natural Law and Public Affairs Seminar and the First Principles Seminar.
During the fall and spring semesters, Witherspoon welcomes Princeton students to our academic year seminars provided they all share a willingness to pursue the truth through argumentation in an environment of intellectual friendship. Jews and Muslims, Catholics and Protestants, theists and atheists have all attended past seminars and grappled with existential questions. Witherspoon academic year participants are united in their willingness to follow the arguments wherever they lead.
Our faculty model what good teaching looks like, how to seek the truth, how to patiently pursue the full truth even if it takes time, how to subject views (including one’s own) to rigorous criticism, how to be fair, how to be courageous. Our seminars don’t simply teach procedure and process, but examine the big questions about ambition, honesty, family, suffering, meaning, the virtues, all the while welcoming opposing viewpoints and questions in a spirit of friendly collegiality.
The Witherspoon Institute’s summer seminars are a collection of intensive summer programs exploring vital moral questions in social, philosophical, legal, and political thought. These small seminars are led by some of the leading scholars of the United States and Great Britain, and they constitute the core of the Institute’s effort to encourage and inform outstanding young men and women who aspire to academic careers and rigorous scholarship.
Two participants of our summer seminars describe their experiences:
At the Witherspoon Institute, you will engage with important topics that help shape the way you think and act. [The professors] help instill practical knowledge of love and friendship, as well as help you understand what it means to be a person. You will discover what a liberal education entails, and see how our universities live up to that standard. This seminar series is outstanding and you will be intellectually challenged.
I had a wonderful time at the Witherspoon Institute’s First Principles Seminar. In two weeks, I learned just as much as I would learn over the course of a semester-long class. I believe that I was intellectually stretched farther during the course of these two weeks, more so than I have ever been before. The instructors were incredible. I was able to grasp and continue the conversations outside of the classroom. Thank you so much to Dr. Snell, Dr. Corey, and Dr. Moreland for their time and preparation for making this summer experience truly incredible.