The Moral Life and the Classical Tradition Seminar is a week-long program for rising high school juniors and seniors as well as rising college freshmen interested in the ancient philosophical tradition and its influence in the Christian moral life. The seminar is offered to both young men and young women, although their seminars take place separately (see dates above). Both the young men and the young women study two tracks:
1. Classical Moral Philosophy: This track explores Plato’s Meno, Symposium, Apology, Crito, and Euthyphro as well as selections from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics.
2. Contemporary Issues in Moral Thought: This track consists of discussions and readings on the foundations of Judeo-Christian moral tradition, including the relationship of faith and reason, the Judeo-Christian tradition and scientific inquiry, sexual ethics, marriage and family, and biomedical ethics.
Both courses will consist of a great deal of discussion and interaction between the students and the teacher; therefore, students are expected to be well prepared by reading and understanding beforehand the assigned readings. Readings for the seminar will be provided about one month in advance of the seminar. Classes will be supplemented with quiet time for study and with extracurricular activities such as sports, cultural outings, and opportunities for spiritual reflection.
The Moral Life and the Classical Tradition Seminar is a challenging intellectual experience that brings high school students into direct contact with serious scholars of the humanities. As one student wrote,
I write this e-mail to express my gratitude to you for teaching the seminar. Your teaching of the Socratic Method and the various philosophies of Socrates has truly opened my eyes. I am thinking about things I never even considered before, and for the first time in far too long I feel wholly intellectually stimulated. What is more, I am now so interested in Plato and Socrates that I am actually pursuing the subject outside of class, which is something that – I will admit! – I have not done in a long time.
A 2021 participant observed:
The environment which my professors and peers created was truly valuable and precious. I found myself challenging some beliefs I had simply taken for granted, and was incredibly grateful for the respectful and thoughtful dialogue which stimulated good discussions.
Students live for the week in the dormitories of Cairn University under the supervision of Residential Advisors (RAs). Various recreational activities are organized in the Philadelphia and Princeton areas after seminar sessions.
Ana Samuel, The Witherspoon Institute
Janet Madigan, Lecturer, Department of Politics, Princeton University
This seminar is open to high school students who will be entering their junior or senior year in the Fall of 2022 and rising college freshmen.
The following documents are required of applicants: cover letter explaining your interest in the seminar, resume or curriculum vitae, copies of your unofficial transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. All application materials must be submitted online on or before February 15, 2023; applications received by email will not be considered.
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Location and Admissions Information
Admitted students will be notified of their status in mid-March. A non-refundable $350 registration fee is required of all admitted students to offset the costs of tuition, room, and board to attend this program.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.