The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey (where I work) is now accepting applications for six summer seminars, on topics ranging across ethics, politics, law, medicine, philosophy, and religion, for every age cohort from high school to post-baccalaureate students. Brief descriptions follow, with dates, faculty listings, application deadlines—and links for more information.
Medical Ethics: A Natural Law Perspective (June 25–1, 2017) is a seminar for students of medicine that will examine the most important ethical questions that arise in the everyday practice of medicine, including freedom of conscience, proportionality, human dignity, sexuality and reproduction, and life issues. Faculty: Christopher O. Tollefsen (University of South Carolina) and Farr Curlin (Duke University). Application deadline: Rolling.
Moral Life and the Classical Tradition (Women: June 18–24, 2017; Men: June 25–July 1, 2017) is a seminar for rising high school juniors and seniors interested in the ancient philosophical tradition and its influence in the Christian moral life. Topics will include the nature of philosophy, the relationship of faith and reason, the Judeo-Christian tradition and scientific inquiry, sexual ethics, marriage and family, and biomedical ethics. Women’s faculty: Ana Samuel (Witherspoon Institute) and Janice Chik Breidenbach (Ave Maria University). Men’s faculty: Micah Watson (Calvin College), John Rose (Princeton Theological Seminary). Application deadline: April 2.
First Principles: Natural Law and the Theologico-political Question (July 9–22, 2017) is a two-week seminar for advanced undergraduate and pre-dissertation graduate students, focusing on the relation between natural law and the theologico-political question, that is, the question of the best way of life, enshrined in the best laws, supported by the best form of political regime. Readings will be drawn from Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, Etienne Gilson, Harry Jaffa. Faculty: Thomas D’Andrea (Cambridge University), Geoffrey Vaughan (Assumption College), Gerard Wegemer (University of Dallas). Application deadline: April 16.
Moral Foundations of Law (July 30–August 5, 2017) is a seminar for students of law and jurisprudence. It will consider the relationship between morality and civil law, covering the history and development of legal theory, the positivism-natural law debate, constitutionalism and the judiciary, the nature of punishment, and contemporary social moral debates in the law. Faculty: Gerard V. Bradley (Notre Dame), John M. Finnis (Oxford and Notre Dame), Robert P. George (Princeton University), Matthew J. Franck (Witherspoon Institute), and Adam J. MacLeod (Jones School of Law, Faulkner University). A federal appeals court judge will join the seminar as guest lecturer one afternoon. Application deadline: April 2.
Natural Law and Public Affairs (August 2–6, 2017) is a seminar for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. It will consider natural law moral reasoning and its application to a variety of moral and political issues, including religious liberty, economic justice, just war and capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, and marriage and sexuality. Faculty: Robert P. George (Princeton University), Christopher O. Tollefsen (University of South Carolina), Ryan T. Anderson (Heritage Foundation), Sherif Girgis (Witherspoon Institute). Application deadline: March 19.
The Thomistic Seminar: Themes in Aquinas and Charles Taylor (August 6–12, 2017) is open to graduate students in philosophy and related disciplines. This year’s seminar will examine mind and action, embodiment and selfhood, the individual and society, morality and disagreement, and secularism and religion in the works of Thomas Aquinas and Charles Taylor. Faculty: John B. Haldane (Baylor University and St. Andrews), Sarah Broadie (University of St. Andrews), John O’Callaghan (University of Notre Dame), Candace Vogler (University of Chicago), and another TBA. Application deadline: March 26.
Matthew J. Franck is director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center for Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute.