Arete Summer High School Seminar in Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion

July 20-24, 2020 | Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
a seminar to intellectually prepare high school students for college


Arete Summer High School Seminar

The “Arete Summer Seminar in Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion at Duke University” will aim to prepare high school students with a “tool kit” for approaching these subjects in college, offering them a roadmap of sorts. Plato and Aristotle will be primary interlocutors along with a number of other great minds. The seminar will examine the meaning of virtue, the substance of human nature, the question of human flourishing, the metaphysics of reality, and the nature of “truth.” Students will also discuss the ideas of natural law, the relationship between philosophy and theology, and the relationship between science and religion. These topics will be taken up in the context of assigned literature, works of theology, and some readings from modern analytic philosophers. Students will receive a reading packet by mail prior to the seminar and will be expected to have read the material beforehand.


John Rose, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Thomas Pfau, Professor of English at Duke
Jed Atkins, Professor of Classics at Duke
Warren Smith, Professor of Theology at Duke


This seminar is open to current high school students entering their junior or senior years.

Registration Fee and Facilities

There is no fee associated with applying or attending. Students will be housed in Duke dormitories and provided with meal cards.

Application Requirements and Instructions

All applicants must submit the following forms and documents via e-mail to john.rose@duke.edu.

  • A one-page cover letter explaining why they wish to attend the seminar
  • Copies of high school transcripts
  • A 400-word essay in response to Meno’s question, “Can Virture be Taught?”


Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until April 26th, 2020.