The Soul of the Sciences

Thinking, Counting, Seeing

June 28–July 4, 2020 | Annapolis, MD

On-campus Summer Academy has been postponed to summer 2021. You can experience the next best thing during summer 2020: the online Great Books Summer Seminars for High School Students.

By the necromantic arts of the inhabitants of Glubbdubdrib, Gulliver summons the ghost of Aristotle (among others) and listens to him “freely acknowledge his own mistakes in natural philosophy.” In the New Organon, Bacon seeks to establish a distinctly modern approach to inquiry, hoping to avoid the mistakes of Aristotle and other ancients. But what is the purpose of inquiry? And how do we best learn about the world? With Euclid and Nichomachus, we will consider what numbers are, and what they’re good for. We’ll also read Aristotle for ourselves, and wonder about the presence and power of the soul—in plants and animals (including us)—and we’ll consider how, in the 20th century, Jonas took up this pursuit. In addition to reading and discussion, we’ll do plenty of observing and experimenting too.

Summer Academy Soul of the Sciences Annapolis

Classes and Readings

For more information, the college urges students and parents to review expectations and policies, a campus map, and additional need-to-know details about Summer Academy in Annapolis.


Bacon, The New Organon

Anaxagoras, Fragments

Swift, Gulliver’s Travels


Euclid, Elements

Nichomachus, Introduction to Arithmetic


Aristotle, On the Soul

Jonas, “To Move and to Feel”

Example Workshops

Croquet, Swing Dancing, Painting/Drawing

Example activities

Visits to American Visionary Art Museum and National Aquarium Chesapeake Bay Boat Tour

Summer Academy in Annapolis

At the St. John’s College Summer Academy, the community formed among students is a natural extension of the friendships and ideas formed in the classroom. To this end, Summer Academy students experience life at St. John’s by taking lessons in croquet, swing dancing, sailing, and choral singing. Students’ conversations about justice, nature, and law will continue as they are taken on a tour of the Maryland State House and attend a performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company.