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Trivium: Art of Grammar 2023

Today (2 January) we begin our 2023 course in studying the Trivium: Art of Grammar. Our first discussion session will take place on 9 January 2023 at 6:00pm ET. This course is open to all enrolled Lyceum Institute members. If you would like to sign-up and take this course, enroll here. You can find out more about our approach to studying grammar here.

Too few of us know well enough the nuances and difficulties of the English language, or of language in general. Yet all of us live today in a world suffused by language. The more time we spend in digital environments, especially, the more we find ourselves comprised by linguistic structures. A careful study of the English language is necessary to guard oneself against misinformation, deception, and abuse. The Lyceum Institute offers an accessible program and supportive community for undertaking such a study.

The Challenge of Chivalry

Written by an anonymous author in the late 14th century, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight continues to entice the human spirit: drawing us toward something grand, mysterious, and—perhaps most of all—towards the betterment of our own virtue. The titular hero, captured in poetic verse, exemplifies chivalry. Sir Gawain demonstrates courage, piety, courtesy, honesty, honor, and chastity. He also shows us the struggle to maintain these virtues against real and sometimes contrary temptations.

In 2021, David Lowery’s cinematic adaptation, The Green Knight—which he wrote, directed, edited, and produced—was released to critical acclaim. Notably, the film differs from the poem almost as black from white. It presents context, characters, settings, and even many of the actions in an almost inverted light from those of the anonymous author. To some, this may seem a merely “postmodern” contrarianism. But, regardless of its differences, the film, too, captivates us and for reasons not dissimilar—even if by opposed means.

For both, it seems, present a version of chivalry’s challenge: one, situated in a chivalric context; another, placed amidst decline. The former gives us an image we may hold up as an ideal. Does the latter hold up a mirror to ourselves? What does an un-chivalric age do to a would-be chivalrous man?

On 5 January 2023 [edit: delayed from December because of travel woes], the Lyceum Institute will hold a Symposium on The Challenge of Chivalry: Sir Gawain & the Green Knight. We will feature the poem in our discussion, but draw out certain themes through comparison and contrast with the film, as well. What does it mean to be chivalrous? How does this concept of virtue fit into our present times? This Symposium is free to all enrolled members. Both reading the poem and watching the film (or at least reading a synopsis) are recommended. Note that the film is not suitable for children.

Humble Beginnings for Human Education

To all our visitors, members, faculty, patrons, and benefactors: I am deeply humbled by the time, dedication, and resources that you have given to this endeavor—more so by the fact that each good we have received seems to have resulted in returns with exponential interest. A single seed, well-nurtured, may produce many fruits; and the seeds first sown at the Lyceum Institute are just beginning to flower. We began with four seminars, taught by one faculty members, in 2019. In just a few short years, we have blossomed to seven faculty, twelve seminars, six Latin courses, German, three Trivium courses—and more. From these humble beginnings, we are aspiring to great things: true human education.

As we turn the corner into the new year, I yet again must ask for your continued support. All seeds require continued nourishment. Your funds will enable us to accomplish our goals in 2023 and beyond. Click the link below to learn more about our progress and our goals, and to see our GiveButter campaign.

Even if you cannot contribute financially, please spread the word about the Lyceum Institute! You can also subscribe to our Newsletter, choose another means of support, or enroll and participate in our program!

Seminar Catalog for 2023

The year 2022 saw the Lyceum offer a spate of diverse and fascinating seminars. so how can we top this wonderful past year of seminars? Why, with a new year of wonderful seminars, of course! We are covering a broad range of thinkers and ideas this year: Aristotle, Aquinas, John Henry Newman, John Poinsot, Yves Simon, Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein, Martin Heidegger, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy—and more. Introducing our seminar catalog for 2023:

2023 Seminar Catalog

W I N T E R (JANUARY—APRIL)Instructors
» Ethics: Virtue» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Aquinas’ Cosmological Vision» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate – Part I» Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger
» John Henry Newman in Four Books» Dr. Scott Randall Paine
» Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Phenomenology: an Introduction» Drs. Daniel Wagner and Brian Kemple
» Politics: A Thomistic Defense of Democracy» Dr. Francisco Plaza
» Ethics: The Moral Noetic of the Natural Law» Dr. Matthew Minerd
» Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate – Part II» Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger
» Thomistic Psychology: Habits and World» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Phenomenology: The Contribution of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy» Dr. Scott Randall Paine
» Phenomenology: Heidegger’s Method – Part I» Dr. Brian Kemple

These seminars are open to the public, but enrolled members of the Lyceum Institute are offered discounted fees. Each lasts 8 weeks and includes the opportunity for an in-depth engagement with important philosophical questions. Anyone with a serious commitment to the truth is welcome. Our instructors are among the very best and bring decades of insight, wisdom, and experience in teaching. Download the Seminar Catalog for full descriptions of each seminar.

Details (dates, times, syllabi, required books, and in-depth descriptions) and registration for each seminar will be posted approximately one month before they begin. Keep your eyes here for news about Ethics: Virtue and Aquinas’ Cosmological Vision this weekend—and consider enrolling!

Standard priceBasic Lyceum
Advanced Lyceum EnrollmentPremium Lyceum Enrollment
Benefactor$200 per seminar$903 seminars included
$90 after
8 seminars included
$90 after
Patron$135 per seminar$653 seminars included
$65 after
8 seminars included
$65 after
Participant$80 per seminar$403 seminars included
$40 after
8 seminars included
$40 after

Latin Courses for 2023

If you have ever wanted to learn Latin, or to improve your already-existing abilities with the language, we have lots of options for you in 2023! We have set the calendar for our Latin Courses in 2023. This includes three Foundations Elementary courses (comprising a total of 36 weeks), which teach the basics and three Selected Readings courses, which comprise a variety of selections in prose and poetry, Scholastic writings, and the Moral Epistles of Seneca the Younger. Our wide range of Latin offerings enables students to grow in understanding and confidence of the language.

Elementary Latin I10 January – April 18 (Tuesdays)6:00–7:00pm ET (New York)
Elementary Latin II10 January – April 18 (Tuesdays)7:30–8:30pm ET
Elementary Latin III9 May – July 25 (Tuesdays)7:30–8:30pm ET
Seneca’s Epistles13 April – June 22 (Thursdays)6:00–7:00pm ET
Scholastic Latin29 August – November 21 (Tuesdays) 10:30–11:30am ET
Prose & Poetry14 September – November 16 (Thursdays)6:00–7:00pm ET

All of our class sessions are recorded, so if a student must miss a session or two, they can still review the material. However, because language requires practice, attendance at classes is required. This policy also helps students keep pace with one another and builds community among participants.

Participation in all three Elementary courses and in Scholastic Latin is included at every level of enrollment, while a nominal fee is required for Seneca’s Epistles and Prose & Poetry. Elementary courses are offered annually, and can be re-taken as often as desired. One cannot enroll for these courses without being a member of the Lyceum Institute.

If you are interested in Latin, you can learn more about our approach here (and contact our Director of Languages, Richard Sharpe). We hope you will consider enrolling and studying with us in 2023!

Trivium Courses for 2023

January is just around the corner and we are getting ready for the new year! We have set the calendar for our Trivium Courses in 2023. These courses are treated as foundational at the Lyceum Institute. To be human is to use language. Should we not strive to understand that which makes us human and to master its use? Building habits of thoughtful engagement with and through language enables us to discern the truth more clearly; to see through lies, manipulations, and obfuscations; and to articulate the true good more persuasively.

Each course will meet twice weekly: Mondays at 6:00pm ET (New York) and Thursdays at 12:00pm ET. Discussion sessions are recorded, but live participation is strongly recommended. Schedules are as follows:

Though many are either ignorant of the Trivium or consider it to be an outdated pedagogical approach, we at the Lyceum consider the Trivium to be the cornerstone of a truly “liberal” education. It is not exaggerative to suggest that, without a proper study of these arts, one cannot make a legitimate claim to be able to think and communicate well.

Grammar9 January – April 6 (M/Th)(break on February 20/23)
Logic8 May – August 3 (M/Th)(break on June 19/22)
Rhetoric28 August – November 20 (M/Th)(break on October 9/12 – no final Th class).

We will begin in 2023 with a course in Grammar—the recommended first course in our series—as the foundation of any successful understanding and use of language. The study of grammar is not simply about learning rules for arbitrary “correctness”, but about learning to think and understand the world in an orderly manner. The grammarian does not master rules for rules’ sake, but discovers the structures of meaning and brings them to intelligent articulation. This approach to grammar is carried out through our textbook as well as through a reading of Virgil’s Aeneid.

Learn more about each course below and enroll today! Participation in the Trivium is included at every level of enrollment. We hope you will join us for the Trivium Courses in 2023.

Introduction to Philosophical Principles

Introduction to Philosophical Principles: Logic, Physics, and the Human Person

What good is living? I know a man we’ll call “James”—successful, secure in his career, his family, his hobbies, his religious belief—who claimed not that he was depressed at this stage of his life, but that he found himself nevertheless asking frequently: “Is this all there is?” Then he discovered philosophy. It was not an immediate love; indeed, it was discovered as a requirement for his graduate business program. But, seeking out help, he found more and more to read. More and deeper questions arose. He found his philosophical inquiries were not simply aligned with success in the course, but sprung up from his own life experiences, his own encounters with the world. He became philosophically curious. He wanted to know. To understand. A deeper reality opened up for him; one of inexhaustible meaning.

Philosophy—real, true philosophy—is transformative. It will not make you successful in the world, but it will answer a question that all the success and security never can: what is the good of being alive?

In the nihilistic, “post-truth” context of late modernity, we might despair of finding an answer to that question. The odds seem against us, especially in the absence of success and security. But even the faintest glimmer of the answer—the dimmest light—gives us something that cannot be taken away by the worst the world has to offer.

I first met James at a coffee shop in 2016 to help him with the graduate course. We have since met almost every week for six years—sometimes two or three times in the span of a few days—to discuss philosophy. Our talks have ranged over the distinctions of Plato and Aristotle, of Descartes and Locke, the neglect of scholasticism, the influence of Islamic thought, the value of the Conimbricenses, the genius of João Poinsot and Charles Sanders Peirce, the breadth of Thomas Aquinas, the nature of culture and society, the threats to truth, and much more besides. These conversations, deep though many of them are, have opened more inquiries than we will be able to explore in a lifetime.

This book, now in a second and much expanded edition (with over 100 pages of new material) does not mirror my conversations with James. But it does mirror the endless joy of discovering meaning, a condensed breadth of philosophical learning, and the desire to understand, to answer the question: what is the point of living?

I hope you will read it. I hope you will enjoy it. I hope it will spark a similar philosophical curiosity in you. The text is divided into three main parts: Logic, Physics, and the Person. Each presents what I think are the essential principles for gaining a habit of philosophical reflection. These three parts are supplemented by an extensive series of Glosses, which provide deeper questions and connections to the historical traditions of philosophy from which the ideas in the main text were composed. These glosses serve as suggestions of other places to look for questions about topics such as time, motion, knowledge, causality, signs, and more.

Maybe you don’t think it’s a book for you. I could try to convince you otherwise, but either you have a hunger to ask the question or you don’t. But even if you don’t think it’s for you, I bet you can think of someone in your life who does have that hunger. [Link to book]

Minimum as a Sign in Contemporary Architecture | by Dragana Vasilski

Event by Lyceum InstituteMansarda Acesa and IEF Instituto de Estudos Filosóficos

Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook

Outgrow excess… and you will develop a semiotic sensitivity to what is strictly necessary.

⚘ Minimum as a Sign in Contemporary Architecture by Dragana Vasilski

June 25, 2022 / 6pm (CEST), 5pm (UTC+1h)

Lecturer: Dragana Vasilski

Chair: Yulia Nikitenko

This event is part of the activities of the 2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth Anniversary of His Passing, cooperatively organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies, the International Center for Semiotics and Intercultural Dialogue, Moscow State Academic University for the Humanities and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project.

Dragana Vasilski is Full-time Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning of the University Union Nikola Tesla in Belgrade, Serbia. Her work includes writings and research, architectural design, and teaching the application of new methodologies and the pursuit of investigations within an interdisciplinary approach. Current fields of interest: interdisciplinary intersections between architecture and philosophy, architectural theory and history, arts and sciences, architectural design process, design studies, culture studies, humanistic and natural sciences. Her scientific competence and success are reflected in more than one hundred scientific papers. The peculiar field of her interest, within topics related to contemporary architecture, is Minimalism in architecture, as in architecture that changes people’s lives. She uses semiotics as a research method to define, understand, and explain this contemporary aesthetic theme in architecture. Since 2018 she is a member of the Executive Board of the IASSp+T – International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, where she holds the position of Secretary General. Original artistic achievements should also be mentioned.

Zoom Link

Signs of Meaning: The Need for Semiotics

In this first public Colloquium hosted by the Lyceum Institute, we ask: why is semiotics important? Why do we need it?

Recording of the Live Q&A available to Lyceum Institute Members
Thursday 7 July 2022 6:00pm ET
Lecture Below

“Allow me to begin with a prefatory comment: it is difficult to give a presentation on semiotics for two reasons. The first, and perhaps more obvious reason, is that few people know what it really is. It is an unusual word—a word that may sound somehow exciting, but also mysterious. The second, very much related to the first, is that semiotics is at once a relatively new doctrine and yet it subsumes and incorporates and even elevates disciplines very ancient. Its explicit recognition has been rare, but its implicit influence ubiquitous in time and place. Moreover, semiotics brings us face to face with something unknown and yet nevertheless deeply familiar; and perhaps, even, unknown because it is so familiar: namely, signs.

“And so, although the temptation in a presentation such as this—this presentation serving as a certain kind of introduction to semiotics—the temptation is to pass a considerable amount of time traversing the meandering inquiry of what semiotics is—wending through the particularities of its doctrines, its terminologies, its histories—despite this temptation, I will spend relatively little time re-treading those already well-worn steps. There are many books, papers, and presentations already extant which cover the doctrinal, terminological, and historical grounds. Despite these introductions, semiotics remains somewhat mysterious to many. And so I wish today to head in a different direction, and I hope that you all will walk this perhaps even-more meandering path alongside me, for I believe it will give a kind of circumspective view of that well-tread ground, and thereby dispel some of the enigma.”

Brian Kemple holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas, in Houston TX, where he wrote his dissertation under the inimitable John Deely. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. He has published two scholarly books—Ens Primum Cognitum in Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition (Brill: 2017) and The Intersections of Semiotics and Phenomenology: Peirce and Heidegger in Dialogue (De Gruyter: 2019), as well as a number of scholarly articles, popular articles, and his own Introduction to Philosophical Principles: Logic, Physics, and the Human Person (2019) and the forthcoming Linguistic Signification: A Classical Course in Grammar and Composition (2021).

Philosophy, Faith, and Signs

The Lyceum Institute brings two more seminars available to the general public, each taught by a uniquely qualified professor: Dr. Matthew Kenneth Minerd, translator of many, many works of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, will teach us the philosophical thought of the “Sacred Monster” of Thomism; Dr. Brian Kemple, the only student ever to complete a doctoral dissertation under John Deely offers insight into the semiotic thought and contributions of a man once rightly called the “most important living American philosopher”. Listen to previews and sign up below. Discussion sessions for the seminars begin on July 2nd.



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Registration Closes

Philosophizing in Faith – What is final causality?

Deely’s Contributions to Semiotics – A new postmodern era?