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This course is archived
Course date
July 17–28, 2023
Application deadline
The application deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting applications.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

Ontology is currently booming in philosophy, and social ontology is especially booming—it is one of the fastest-growing subfields in philosophy.  Moreover, it is becoming one of the most important subfields in philosophy.  Philosophers are becoming increasingly interested in real-world problems and in how their discipline is relevant to these problems.  The recent explosion of interest in social ontology is part of a movement in philosophy to come down out of the ivory tower and engage with issues that actually matter—issues concerning, e.g., race and gender and social justice.
As social ontology investigates issues related to social structure, power, oppression, identity, decoloniality, and the metaphysics of race and class, it is often emancipatory, aiming not only to describe social reality but to transform it in order to bring about greater social justice.  Social ontology, then, is obviously important for understanding historical and contemporary issues in the Global South, which has a much higher percentage of non-white, working-class, and disempowered people, relative to the Global North.
Ontology is a very broad area of philosophy, and the sub-area of social ontology is also very broad. It encompasses many different philosophical issues and questions and problems. This course will introduce students to ontology, and in particular to social ontology, by delving deeply into numerous important issues in the field.  Specific topics covered in the course will include the following: social justice, social construction, social constructionism, groups, and social structures, ideal vs. non-ideal social ontology, social power, essentialism as it relates to social groups and genders, issues related to mental health and moral responsibility, social theories of art, rationality, mental content, and issues in meta-social-ontology.
The faculty members are all actively engaged in research on these topics, and they all have international reputations.  Thus, the course will be extremely useful for any student interested in pursuing studies in ontology and, in particular, in the now-flourishing subfield of social ontology. Students will be able to compare and contrast the views and frameworks of the various faculty members.
Each student will give a short presentation during the course. They can expect to gain a wealth of knowledge on social ontology as well as connections with some of the prominent members of the social-ontology community. 

Target group

The program encourages applications from graduate students in philosophy and early-career professors of philosophy.

Applications from advanced undergraduate students who have adequate prior study or engagement experience on the subject and make a compelling case in their application/statement of interest will also be considered.  


Preference will be given to students with a background and training in philosophy.

Language requirements  

The language of instruction is English; thus, all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. 

Please read the following directions carefully.  
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission: 

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form (see notes below)
  2. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any
    Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any.
  3. Statement of purpose (max. 1 page)
    In the Statement of Purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research, studies, or professional work, and in what way you expect to benefit from your participation.
    You are advised to consult the detailed course description on the course webpage so that the statement of purpose is in accordance with the main objectives of the course. 
    Please provide the name, contact email, and phone number of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance.
  4. Personal Statement on Financial Aid
    Those who are eligible and wish to apply for financial aid should specify their reasons in the “Personal statement on financial aid” section (Funding page of the application form). 

Optional attachments: 

You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the 'Other Supporting Documents' section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed. 

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.


  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select the ”Summer University” radio button from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
  • The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.