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from Students, Tutors, and Faculty

I went into the Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy with the expectation of practicing philosophy with ambitious and like-minded individuals. I did not foresee, however, that the program would exceed those expectations. Over the course of two weeks, we engaged in some of the most pressing questions in philosophy that led to even more interesting questions about topics such as the nature of discourse in the digital age, the role of improv comedy in our lives, and our jobs as philosophers in the midst of a climate crisis. I was pushed to think and act in ways I ordinarily would not have in traditional philosophy classes. The HCSPiP has introduced me to alternative worlds of thought and, consequently, of intellectual possibilities that I now find myself constantly incorporating in my own subjective experience. 

I highly recommend this program to anyone who loves philosophy! It's a fun way to meet other people who are really interested in the field and to make connections.

An engaging, thought-expanding program that pushes the boundaries of how we do and learn philosophy as teachers and students. Welcoming, challenging, and fun!

HCSPiP was awesome. So many parts of the program–from the experimental classes, to the hike, to special activities like the improv performance by Second City–had a special way of reminding me why I liked philosophy and showing me what studying philosophy could be. I know I had a little bit of hesitancy when it came to the experimental pedagogy, but leaning into it and enjoying the occasional awkwardness made learning fun and restorative. From everything I learned (in class or conversation with peers/grad students/professors), I'm excited to dive into different areas of philosophy and keep learning.

This program was the purest experience in philosophy of my life. Even with five hours of class and many additional activities each day, I was always excited and never burned out. I'm much better prepared for deciding on and applying for graduate school. Additionally, I'd say the focus on pedagogical analysis and innovation will benefit future members of my classes and groups, as I've learned a lot about the best methods of facilitating discussion and ensuring everyone feels heard. Every student was thrilled to discuss philosophy on a level playing field for extended lengths of time, providing an experience much closer to professional philosophy than simply listening to lectures, bothering uninterested friends, or writing for a grade. I would strongly recommend this program to everyone who likes thinking, thinking about thinking, or learning about themselves. 

This program changed the way I think.

I think the living-learning community of the HCSPiP was the most positive aspect of the program. Not only were we in very interesting, interactive classes; we also got the chance to interact with both students and professors outside of classes. This enabled us to carry on conversations that began during class and resolve central issues. Connecting with the other students was definitely the most positive aspect, however. It was so enriching to hear other people's ideas on a multiplicity of topics as well as get to know people on a personal level.

One of the most enriching experiences that I have ever had!

The time spent with our students. It was refreshing and invigorating to hang out with other serious philosophy students, and I formed really strong, lasting relationships in such short time.

This brief program was truly life-changing.

I really appreciated the opportunity to be surrounded by like minded individuals. Eating, sleeping, and living with philosophers for two weeks really makes you reflect on your own beliefs - in a very positive way. This was a great way to try on the hat before you dip yourself into something like grad school.

The students and professors that I met here were some of the most philosophically-engaging and genuine people that I have ever met.

In this program, I feel like I have learned to live with philosophy rather than just studying it. Being in close proximity to philosophers (as peers, professors and graduate students) allowed a critical mass of like-minded people to cultivate the parts of my mind that adore philosophy. It's hard to believe I've only been here two weeks, as I don't think I've gotten to know people this well in so little time before. If given the chance, any philosophy student should come, whether they plan on graduate school or not. I think something really special is happening here. Thank you so much for everything.

I would recommend this program even to those who don’t study philosophy.

People here are so supportive and humble. I always hate myself being so quiet in ordinary classroom settings, but everyone here tries their best to create a safe place for each other to share their ideas in class. I'm so so impressed by the diversity of this year's program. We have people from all over the world to talk about philosophy for two weeks! Just by hearing all these different voices restored my faith in this profession.

An excellent program all around, with creative content and top-notch students.

The program is a right balance of fun and learning. The campus is something that takes you away from the hustle of urban living that is yet another plus point for the enriching experience. Courses are well thought of and planned that make the learning experience simply amazing. This program made me love philosophy even more. Staying with experienced philosophers and philosophy graduate students and of course highly competent peers you learn a lot outside the class too.

It is extremely rare to be able to enter a space where academic rigor and excellence are combined with vulnerable and personal philosophical discussion and inquiry. HCSPiP cultivates precisely these kinds of spaces every day and has profoundly influenced my personal engagement with philosophy.

The Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy has brought me together with people who have constituted an entire philosophical community. Seven of our nineteen students were from other countries, and spending time with these students and becoming great friends with them has given me an understanding of the world and other cultures that’s immensely difficult for a person in their early 20’s to achieve. And not only that; the pedagogical methods employed during HCSPiP were life-changing, and that's not an exaggeration. I think every philosopher, or any person, for that matter, can benefit from learning to think and interact with the world in the ways that I have during my time here. I will certainly be taking these methods with me back to my home institution and employing them onward in my life. Every class needs to have greater awareness of and empathy for the people in it and for the people affected by the concepts being discussed. Every class needs the employment of methods that get us to slow down and breathe before jumping into discussion with knee-jerk reactions. Every class needs to strive toward the goal of educating, not indoctrinating, toward the goal of teaching people how to think rather than what to think. Every class needs to change the lives of students and professors to a significant degree because philosophy is about becoming a better person. Every class needs to foster meaningful relationships among students and professors that help everyone involved understand what in means to exist in an inherently social world, to understand than everyone else is human, too, and that we’re all more or less motivated by the same aspects of human nature as we struggle through the human condition. And every class needs to have fun together. HCSPiP offers all of this.

For a student in the early stages of graduate work, this program's focus on innovative and non-traditional pedagogical methods was enriching. It served to emphasize that part of being a graduate student is being an engaging teacher, but also a student of pedagogy. It forced me to think about how teaching can take forms that it does not ordinarily take in philosophy classrooms, and how this can advance the paradigmatically philosophical project of broadening our intellectual horizons. This is an experience I will draw from frequently in my future endeavours as a teacher of philosophy.

Great welcoming atmosphere and lots of people I identified with that don't fit into the "normal" serious philosophy student mold.

The program is an example of how philosophy is meant to be done: collaboratively and creatively, in a way that engenders intellectual excitement and a sense of community. It is rare to find an opportunity to commune with fellow philosophers in a low-stakes environment that encourages participants to take risks and share innovative ideas, while developing meaningful relationships along the way. And as a Hamilton alum, I would be remiss not to mention that the program is decidedly Hamiltonian, immersing participants in a taste of the Hamilton experience by offering opportunities for self-knowledge and improvement, social contribution, and kinship.

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