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The Human Mind Hero dec15
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Course date
July 8–19, 2024
Application deadline
Application for this course is closed.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

This summer school focuses on how understanding the human mind as a tool for navigating a richly social existence can inform our understanding and advocacy of open society, and the ideals it represents.

The notion of open society is an attempt to answer the question of how we can effectively live together in large and modern environments. Its ideals include commitments to the rule of law, freedom of association, democratic institutions, and the free use of reason and critical analysis. Arguments in favour of these ideals necessarily depend on assumptions—sometimes hidden and unexamined—about the human mind. Yet our knowledge of how the mind works has advanced considerably since the notion of the open society was first developed. Especially over the past 30 or so years, it has become increasingly clear that human minds are not fundamentally geared towards cold logic and problem solving as, for instance, Karl Popper assumed. Humans do these things but they are not the essential functions of the mind. Nor are human minds geared simply towards a simple utility calculus: we are not Homo economicus. What the modern sciences of the mind have revealed is the extent to which human psychology is geared towards effectiveness in a world of repeated interpersonal engagement. If we are ‘rational’, then we are rational in the mode of someone like Jürgen Habermas, who viewed humans as socially smart, critically-minded communicators.

This summer school will focus on four key ideals of open society. We will survey research on the cognitive and evolutionary basis of each; and explore some potential policy implications of this new understanding. Specifically, we shall focus on: Political thinking & inequality, Moral cognition & the rule of law, Trust, deliberation & the public sphere, Cooperation at micro & macro scales. We have developed an innovative structure that mixes several different types of learning sessions, including but also going beyond traditional lectures and seminars. Students with a social science background will be exposed to research on the cognitive bases of citizensbehaviour and interests. Reciprocally, students with a psychological background will see better how the individual phenomena they study—often in controlled, laboratory conditions—play out in society, and can either help or hinder the development of open societies. 

Target Group 

Our main target audience is PhD students and researchers in their first postdoctoral appointment. Exceptionally, we will consider MA and advanced BA students who have relevant prior experience and make a compelling case in their letter of motivation. 


Given the multidisciplinary nature of the summer school, we will take a pragmatic attitude to prerequisites, with no fixed requirements. Instead, applications should include both a short CV (1 or 2 pages) and a 1-page letter of motivation. Reviewing these, we shall be looking for evidence of a scholarly background in a relevant discipline (e.g. psychology, philosophy, economics, political science, sociology, public policy, etc), and a demonstrable interest in the central goals of the summer school.

In our final decisions about offers, we aim to balance several forms of diversity, in particular disciplinary, geographic and gender.

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. Some of the shortlisted applicants may be contacted for a telephone interview. 

This course will focus on the following discipline areas:

  • Cognitive Science
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Public Policy 

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. Short Curriculum Vitae
    This should be no longer than 2 pages. If the full CV is longer, you can include a link to a webpage with e.g. a full list of publications.
  3. Statement of Purpose (max.1 page)
    Please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research or other professional work, and how you expect to benefit from it. Please list relevant courses in the field you have taken previously. Again, we shall be looking for evidence of a scholarly background in a relevant discipline (e.g. psychology, philosophy, economics, political science, sociology, public policy, etc), and a demonstrable interest in the central goals of the summer school.

    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.