Center for Values and Social Policy


Morris Colloquium
Ethics Bowl



Click here to request a visit.

program description



The Philosophy Outreach Program of Colorado (POPCO) offers high school and middle school students a FREE introduction to philosophy. Through support by University Outreach Council, the Department of Philosophy, and the Center for Values & Social Policy, CU graduate students and faculty travel to Colorado schools to lead Socratic (interactive) discussions for one to six class periods. These novel experiences can be invaluable in developing students’ proficiency and advanced critical thinking abilities for the CSAP. Through creative topics specifically tailored to the teachers’ curriculum, our instructors help students develop their ability to comprehend ideas, analyze cause/effect relationships, and differentiate facts from emotional appeals. We help students learn to articulate clear theses and perform complex logical analyses. This program has been in existence for over ten years and we have addressed a wide range of topics.


topics and session formats

Our topics have included:


  • Science vs. Pseudo-science. What makes something a science? Are scientific theories proven? Confirmed? How? Does good science require physical evidence?
  • Genetic engineering and ethics. What are the ethical questions raised by genetic engineering? How is genetic engineering similar to/different from conventional processes? What are the moral questions raised in genetically engineered food aid?
  • Free will and determinism. To what extent do the laws of physics and biology allow for the possibility of free will? What does free will mean? How is free will different from absence of constraint?
  • Environmental Ethics. What is the relationship between facts about the world and our values? Can science prove that something is safe or unsafe? What does it mean to say that land is “healthy”? If people have different preferences for safety how should a society make environmental policies that affect many different people?
  • Environmental Justice. Do environmental problems affect people equitably? If significant climate change occurs, will economic factors affect different races/classes differently? Will these differences be just?
  • Many more: moral theory, myth and ancient philosophy, what is it to be human?; personal identity and authenticity; animal rights and experimentation; and hunting; political philosophies of WWII; Modern thinkers of the Enlightenment period; human nature and the social contract tradition; civil disobedience from Socrates to Martin Luther King, Jr.; Locke and the foundations of the U.S. constitution; feminist philosophy and the feminism movement; John Stuart Mill and the freedom of speech


To get more information or to request a visit, please contact Daniel Sturgis at: or 303-735-5810.


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