Defending and Meditating on First Principles

The colloquium lecture delivered in May 2020 by Dr. Matthew Minerd, “Defending and Meditating on First Principles: Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange” is now available to the public. You can listen or download below. Please consider supporting the Lyceum Institute if you enjoy this lecture! Your donations allow us to support talented academics like Dr. Minerd in their research, teaching, and publications.

Defending and Meditating on First Principles: Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Dr. Matthew Minerd

Preview – Dr. Matthew Minerd: Defending and Meditating on First Principles – Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

From an Aristotelian perspective, domains of discursive knowledge which are called “science,” or epistêmê, are concerned above all with the drawing of per se conclusions in light of first principles.  Though such knowledge is concerned with its first principles, its bent is turned toward the conclusions that those principles illuminate. By contrast, wisdom, sophia, sapientia, takes up a loftier task still: defending and meditating upon its very principles, as well as all other things in light of those principles.  This lecture will briefly present this theme in the work of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., discussing how sapiential meditation on first principles undergirded much of his philosophical and theological work, imbuing it with a deceptive simplicity which, in fact, is quite illuminating. 

Full lecture now available below.

Full Lecture – Dr. Matthew Minerd: Defending and Meditating on First Principles – Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

If you enjoyed this lecture, please consider supporting the Lyceum Institute with a small donation.

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psychology: World and Passions

The passions, though born into us by nature and fitting to our lives, must obey the orders of reason, else they bring disorder to the whole of our being.  But since the passions are not disordered by nature (though of reason’s voice they are hard-of-hearing in a postlapsarian existence), we must uncover the causes of their disorder so prevalent today if we are to understand how they fail, and how they might succeed, in attaining their proper and fitting good.  

The approach taken in this seminar to the question of the passions will seek a certain mean between two extreme and opposed perspectives.  On the one hand is situated the modern position—and by far the more dangerous of the two—espoused by David Hume (1711—1776), namely, that “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them” (1739: A Treatise of Human Nature, Book II, Part III, Section III).  On the other hand is that position held generally by the Stoics, which—though we may learn much from it—may holds in its extreme forms that a cause of movement from without ourselves is contrary to our nature and the passions arising therefrom as objects which we ought to master, as the domestication of a beast.  In the Humean perspective, we are but gifted animals bound to seek increasingly clever satisfaction of irrational forces; in the extreme Stoic, we are intellectual spirits striving against an unruly flesh.

Contrary to both, the Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective sees in the intellect and human body a hierarchical complementarity, for the passions are a means of receipt and response to the world—and especially the specifically human world—in which we live and by which we pursue our proper ends.  Thus, understanding the dynamism of world and passions is essential to understanding the rectitude, and failures, of our passionate dispositions.

WHEN: Saturdays from 12 June through 31 July 2021, from 8:30-9:30pm Eastern Time US / 12:30-1:30am UTC.

WHERE: on the Lyceum Institute platform run through Microsoft Teams.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), an oft-neglected element of Thomas Aquinas’ psychology will be examined closely, in connection with other Thomistic Psychology seminars which have considered the whole of the human person, the means of human action, and the life of a cognitive agent: here we shall see the life of a cathectic patient. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, the Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Kemple here.

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principle of financial subsidiarity. There are three payment levels, with discounts for those who are professors and clergy (whose continuing education is not sufficiently prioritized by their institutions) and for students (who are already taxed excessively by the educational system). However, if you are part of the working world and wish to take a seminar but cannot afford the “standard” rate, it is acceptable to sign up at one of these discounted prices. The idea is: pay what you can. Those who can pay more, should, so that those who cannot pay as much, need not. Lyceum Institute members receive a further discount (see here for details).

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psych: World and Passions – Standard

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$135.00

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psych: World and Passions – Professor / Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$85.00

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psych: World and Passions – Student

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for students and others with part-time employment.

$60.00

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction

What is a sign?  Though a seemingly simple question, and one which may receive a technically simple answer, attaining a clear understanding of signs is a task both very difficult and very important; so important, in fact, that the whole future of philosophy (and by extension, human knowledge in general) depends upon our getting the answer right.  A great deal of our present difficulty, in the 21st century, follows from several centuries’ failure to attain a true semiotics.  To begin rectifying this, I believe we must draw on a handful of key sources: John Poinsot, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Deely.  In this seminar, we will focus on Peirce and his unique contributions to the foundations of the discipline of semiotics proper and show how we must instantiate an understanding of signs in our day-to-day practices, both practically and theoretically.

Among the specific goals for the seminar are to understand the general theory of semiotics—as the study of the action of signs—which was founded in Charles Peirce and has since been developed; though we cannot truly grasp this notion of signs unless we first understand the categorical basis of Peirce’s thought, or his “phaneroscopy”; and by grasping this phaneroscopy, along with the general notion of “sign”, we will further pursue the goal of understanding how signs play a role in specifically human thinking.

WHEN: Saturdays from 12 June through 31 July 2021, from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time US / 7:00-8:00pm UTC.

WHERE: on the Lyceum Institute platform run through Microsoft Teams.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will dive into the most central figure encountered along the Way of Signs—that long-abandoned road which Charles Peirce did so much to clear—and through this journey discover the fullest future of philosophical thinking. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, the Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Kemple here.

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principle of financial subsidiarity. There are three payment levels, with discounts for those who are professors and clergy (whose continuing education is not sufficiently prioritized by their institutions) and for students (who are already taxed excessively by the educational system). However, if you are part of the working world and wish to take a seminar but cannot afford the “standard” rate, it is acceptable to sign up at one of these discounted prices. The idea is: pay what you can. Those who can pay more, should, so that those who cannot pay as much, need not. Lyceum Institute members receive a further discount (see here for details).

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction – Standard

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$135.00

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction – Professor / Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$85.00

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction – Student

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for students and others with part-time employment.

$60.00

This Week [5/9-5/15]

5/10 Monday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

5/11 Tuesday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  Open to the public: use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Happy Hour” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

5/12 Wednesday

  • Paradise Lost – Book IX: The Fall of Adam and Eve (10:00-11:00am ET).  Part 1 of 2.  Join psychotherapist and former literature professor Dr. Mark McCullough for a two-part introduction to and discussion of one of the poem’s most significant passages, book 9 which dramatizes Paradise Lost’s central scene: the fall of Adam and Eve.  You can read more about this two-week symposium here.
  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.
  • Summer Seminar News will be posted on 5/12!  Stay tuned!

5/13 Thursday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • A new Quaestiones Disputatae Research Tutorial video will be posted.

5/14 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:15am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–bridging the international community of the Lyceum Institute.
  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (11pm-12am ET).  Etiam exercitium in Lingua Latina!  Ista hora conveniens Orientalibus est (11am Manila time).

5/15 Saturday

  • Latin Class(10-11am ET).  Legemus ex capitulo 15 in Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata et convertemus in linguam Anglicam.  Verba deponentia etiam tempestatem discemus.
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles wraps up with its final week, discerning the principles which Jacques Maritain brings to bear upon the fundamental questions of the essentially analogical political order and the general means to its right realization.

This Week [5/2-5/8]

Be sure to look into the two-week Paradise Lost Symposium coming up soon!

5/3 Monday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

5/4 Tuesday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  Open to the public: all guests can use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Happy Hour” in the message box).  We’ll be talking about literature and habit this week.

5/5 Wednesday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

5/6 Thursday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!

5/7 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:15am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–bridging the international community of the Lyceum Institute.
  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (11pm-12am ET).  Etiam exercitium in Lingua Latina!  Ista hora conveniens Orientalibus est (11am Manila time).

5/8 Saturday

  • Latin Class(10-11am ET).  In capitulo XV venimus, ut magistros et discipulos dicamus.  In librum, discipuli improbus sunt; sed nos semper praecepta diligenter attendimus…
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  The Semiotics: Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot seminar closes out with a consideration of signs as divided among the natural, stipulated (ad placitum) and customary (ex consuetudine).  Hard to believe it’s already coming to a close–but I think we have covered some very important ground.  Meanwhile, Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles continues deeper into Maritain’s re-thinking of politics by taking up his notion of the historical ideal and the realities of pluralism.

[Symposium] Paradise Lost – Book IX

Paradise Lost

Book IX: The Fall of Adam and Eve

John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) is the most ambitious and complex poem ever written in English. Composed while Milton was blind and in political exile, the poem tells the story of angels’ rebellion in Heaven, the creation of the universe, and humanity’s fall into sin. Equal to its Homeric and Virgilian predecessors, the epic was an instant classic and inspired generations of poets. Today the poem continues to draw readers to its unrivaled depiction of Satan and attempt to “justify the ways of God to men.”

Join psychotherapist and former literature professor Dr. Mark McCullough for a two-part introduction to and discussion of one of the poem’s most significant passages, book 9 which dramatizes Paradise Lost’s central scene: the fall of Adam and Eve. No prior experience is necessary to join the discussions, though participants are asked to read book 9 and familiarize themselves with a few additional online interview/lectures about the poem prepared by Dr. McCullough.

This two week event (5/12-5/19) is available to all Lyceum Institute members.

(If you aren’t a member yet, first, you may want to re-evaluate your life decisions, and second, you can sign up here.)

This Week [4/25-5/1]

4/26 Monday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/27 Tuesday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  Open to the public: all guests can use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Happy Hour” in the message box).  We’ll be talking about philosophical psychology and its insight into the current instabilities of society.

4/28 Wednesday

  • Inquirere Session (9:30-10:30am ET).  Our monthly Inquirere session for the Quaestiones Disputatae.  In addition to the responses on current questions, there will be some discussion of the new structure.
  • Exercitium Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/29 Thursday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!

4/30 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:15am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–bridging the international community of the Lyceum Institute. 
  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (11pm-12am ET).  Etiam exercitium in Lingua Latina!  Ista hora conveniens Orientalibus est (11am Manila time).

5/1 Saturday

  • Latin Class(10-11am ET).  Legemus ex capitulo XIV in Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata et convertemus in linguam Anglicam.  In istud capitulum de participiis cogitabimus!
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  First, Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot will investigate the nature of concepts as formal signs (engaging in a careful discussion about the meaning and the nature of “formal awareness”); and second, Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principle will continue our inquiry into Jacques Maritain’s Integral Humanism, seeking an understanding of how his anthropological approach extends itself into our politics.

This Week [4/18-4/24]

What happened to April?

4/19 Monday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/20 Tuesday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET).  We’re back to Happy Hours!  Happy Easter!  Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  Open to the public: use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Open Chat” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

04/21 Wednesday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/22 Thursday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!

4/23 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:30am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute.  A good way to bring the thinking of one week to a close and launch into the next.
  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (11pm-12am ET).  Etiam exercitium in Lingua Latina!  Ista hora conveniens Orientalibus est (11am Manila time).

4/24 Saturday

  • Cursus Linguae Latinae.  Our first week under the guidance of Richard Sharpe.  Istud dies Saturni, capitulum XIII in Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata–de annis et mensibus Romani–legemus et convertemus in linguam Anglicam.
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot (first at 1:00pm ET and again at 8:30pm ET) will focus on the specifying causality proper to signs in their diverse realizations.  Second, Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles begins its reading of Jacques Maritain’s seminal Integral Humanism, which shows us the way forward past the disasters of modern politics.

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This Week [4/12-4/17]

4/12 Monday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/13 Tuesday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET).  We’re back to Happy Hours!  Happy Easter!  Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  Open to the public: tell your friends to use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Open Chat” in the message box) and we’ll see them on Teams!  Dr. Kemple will be talking about the preservation and transmission of knowledge, which is to say (according to the original meaning of the word), small-t tradition–handing down not the matter of thought (books and words and “information”), but its form as well.

04/14 Wednesday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/15 Thursday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!

4/16 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:30am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute.  A good way to bring the thinking of one week to a close and launch into the next.
  • Latin (11pm-12am ET). An additional Latin class, suitable for those in Asia and other time zones (11am Manila time).

4/17 Saturday

  • No Latin Class.  Taking a week off!  We could all use a new break.  Additionally, Richard Sharpe will be taking over as our resident Latin Fellow starting on 4/24.
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot (first at 1:00pm ET and again at 8:30pm ET) will dive into a consideration of the sign-relations whereby objects specify powers.  Second, Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles–delayed last week–will step into a consideration of dialectical materialism with a through looking at the work of Marx and his politics.

Show your affiliation with merch from the Lyceum Institute Shop!  New merch!  Check it out.

This Week [4/5-4/10]

4/05 Monday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/06 Tuesday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET).  We’re back to Happy Hours!  Happy Easter!  Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  Open to the public: use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Open Chat” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

04/07 Wednesday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (2:00-2:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

4/08 Thursday

  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!

4/09 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:30am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute.  A good way to bring the thinking of one week to a close and launch into the next.

4/10 Saturday

  • Latin Class (10-11am ET).  Continuamus nostrum studium linguae Latinae in Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata capitulum duodecimum, de militibus et exercitiis.
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  Continuing our study of Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot (first at 1:00pm ET and again at 8:30pm ET) wherein we at last get to a discussion of the nature and existence of signs themselves, with a focus on how they are relations and how they can be natural (with some consideration concerning stipulated as well).  Second, Politics: Postmodern Culture and Politics dives–however briefly–into the deep end of dialectical materialism with a consideration of Marx and his politics.

Show your affiliation with merch from the Lyceum Institute Shop!  

There are also a lot of fun things happening internally–podcasts on controversial philosophers, discussions on Flannery O’Connor, the meaning of education, and more–but you’ll have to sign up to join in on the good stuff…