2021 Seminar Catalogue

Announcing the 2021 Lyceum Institute Seminar Catalogue: ten seminars taught by the Director and the Faculty Fellows, spanning the whole year. Each seminar lasts for 8 weeks and includes college-level exposure to philosophical education. Enroll today for discounts and more.

Winter

Metaphysics: The Discovery of Ens inquantum Ens

Brian Kemple

What is “being”, and how do we discover it?  The term presents ambiguities; as Aristotle says, it is said in many ways.  And as Aquinas, following Avicenna says many times over, it is the first conceived by the intellect, and that into which all other conceptions are resolved.  This, too, may be taken ambiguously; and, moreover, it may be conflated and confused with ens inquantum ens as the subject matter of metaphysics.  Indeed, resolution is said to be the mode of inquiry which belongs to the science of metaphysics most of all!  Yet what this means, and in what manner one resolves, requires clarification.  Thus, in this seminar, we will examine some seminal texts of Aristotle and of Thomas Aquinas himself, as well as important contributions and questions which have arisen in the Thomistic tradition, as the first of four seminars in a series on metaphysics.

Ethics: The Good Life

Brian Kemple

Can we be happy?  At times, looking around in our twenty-first century world, it would seem that “happiness” is a contingent, fleeting and difficult-to-grasp matter more of luck than of choice and action.  Such a view stems from an implicitly nihilistic worldview, one unconsciously imbibed by many today, in which meaning is imposed upon the realities which extrinsically act upon us.  The result of this worldview—this effort to burden the human being with creating the meaning for all the universe—is a deep, gnawing grief at the inevitable failure and ever-more-extreme attempts at improving anesthetics to dull this pain.  To the contrary of this sadly inverted worldview, this seminar will look at the philosophical treatments of the ancients and medievals in construing happiness as an inward bearing whereby the human person acts for the sake of attaining real goods meaningful in themselves.

Spring

Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles

Francisco Plaza

This seminar will explore contemporary political and cultural issues from by incorporating classically realist foundations as the basis for a genuinely “postmodern” answer in response to the modern crisis and which looks beyond modernity for its resolution. This response retrieves from pre-modern political philosophy what modernity wrongfully left behind while engaging directly with modern thought–rather than a retreat to the past–in order to propose a way forward. In the first half of this seminar, we will briefly explore the classical foundation of a realist political philosophy, followed by an overview of the modern turn against classical and medieval thought. The second half of this seminar will be a survey of Jacques Maritain’s philosophy on these matters, as his work provides the basis for our claims in response to modernity. Here, we will consider Maritain’s critiques of modern culture, secular liberalism, and totalitarianism, and his philosophy of “integral humanism,” and the “concrete historical ideal.”

Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot

Brian Kemple

What is a sign, and how does it function?  It is a question which grew in importance throughout the Latin age of philosophy, and reached its culmination in arguably the last great thinker of that tradition: João Poinsot, better known as John of St. Thomas—a name adopted to signify his fidelity to the great Dominican Doctor around whose thought John based his own.  In a work painstakingly retrieved, edited, and translated by John Deely, John Poinsot presents a systematic treatise on signs, the Tractatus de Signis, which answers many questions modernity had not anticipated, and which would not be revisited by a capable thinker for another 200 years (C.S. Peirce).  In this seminar, we will closely and rigorously examine the entirety of this text of Poinsot.  It is strongly recommended that all interested parties have familiarized themselves with Thomistic Psychology and/or prior semiotics seminars before registering, as this seminar will prove quite challenging without these antecedents.

Summer

Thomistic Psychology: The Meaning of Evil

Kirk Kanzelberger

Every human being has some notion of evil, vague though it may be, as that which is opposed to a good:  the good that one desires, the good that one honors – or, perhaps, the good that one wishes one honored or desired more than one does.  Even those who lack an inclination to deeper questioning concerning the matter and the meaning of evil can nevertheless find themselves possessed with anger at states of affairs, ideas, and other persons they clearly judge to be evil.  Might there be some relation of dependence between the lack of deeper questioning and the frenzy of the anger, as well as the lack of humility it evinces?  For if we are honest, we must admit that, despite every good intention, we ourselves have some share in, and make some concrete contribution to, the mysterious reality of evil in the world.  This seminar aims to deepen our questioning concerning the meaning, that is, the intelligible reality signified by the term evil.

Science: On Being, Language and Reason, and Cause in Aristotle’s Organon

Daniel Wagner and John Boyer

[This seminar is to be taught in collaboration]. The subject is being (οὐσία), language and reason (λόγος), and cause (αἰτία) in Aristotle’s Organon.  In part I of the Seminar, Dr. Wagner will treat the logical terms of Aristotle’s sense-realism in Topics and Categories, and his method of induction (ἐπαγωγή) and division for obtaining definitions as the first principles of science (ἐπιστήμη) in Posterior Analytics and De Partibus Animalium. In part II,  Dr. Boyer will treat Aristotle’s theory of science through apprehension of the cause (αἰτία) by demonstrative syllogism (συλλογισμός). Both parts of the course will showcase the application of Aristotle’s realist logic in his own work (Physics, De Anima, Ethics, and Metaphysics), and in contemporary science.

Semiotics: An Introduction

Brian Kemple

In this seminar, we will focus on Charles Sanders 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; to understand the categorical basis of Peirce’s thought, or his “phaneroscopy”; and to understand especially how signs play a role in human thinking.  Readings will primarily be from the two volume Essential Peirce.

Fall

Thomism, Artisanship, and Art

Matthew Minerd

What is the being of a work of art?  What is the nature of “poetic” knowledge, the experience of the artisan and the artist?  How should a Thomist speak about these matters?  This lecture series is devoted to these questions, taking as their principal guide, Jacques Maritain, who probed these questions in his works Art and Scholasticism, Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry, and Art and Poetry.  Other thinkers will be consulted along the way, presenting a synthesis which, however, uses Maritain’s texts as the primary guiding thread of the lecture discussion.

Thomistic Psychology: Environing World and the Passions

Brian Kemple

In the fourth Thomistic Psychology seminar, we enter into the discussion of the environing world—a concept formulated by a theoretical biologist, Jakob von Uexküll—as a dynamically-constitutive element of the human psyche, with a specific focus on how this affects and is itself effected by the passions.  Topics covered include moral and cognitive habituation, technology and technological media, the “moral imagination”, and the conscientious pursuit of the good in our environing worlds.  This requires a firm understanding of the faculties and cognitive operations of the human being.  Readings will be drawn from a wide array of sources but focus principally on the Secunda pars of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae.

Metaphysics: God

Brian Kemple

In the second Metaphysics seminar, we will engage in a deep Thomistic discussion of the intelligible discovery of the existence of God and the justifiable inferences which may be made concerning the Divine Nature.  This stands in corresponding opposition to the via resolutionis secundum rationem discussed in the first Metaphysics seminar, concerning the discovery of ens inquantum ens, as the via resolutionis secundum rem—according to the thing, according to the existential cause.  This will unfold further into a consideration of the attributes of the Divine which may be justly inferred from the resolution to a First Cause.  Thus, the primary reading for the course will be from the Prima pars of the Summa theologiae.

This Week [12/6-12/13]

Events this week at the Lyceum:


12/8 Tuesday – Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Grab a drink and have a chat about the eternal things! Always open to suggested topics: any questions you may have, feel free to bring them. Open to the public this week. Use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “happy hour” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

12/11 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–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute. A good way to transition into the weekend.

12/12 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions. The final sessions for our 2020 Fall seminars, and for the year. In “Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life”, we will undertake to grasp the nature and importance of cognitive habits. In “Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely”, we will take into consideration the universality of semiosis, from inorganic nature to the specifically-personal dimension of human semiosis.

We’ve also started Trivium Module 2 — on the rhetorical practice of inventio, the discovery of arguments — and will be having a Quaestiones Disputatae Inquirere session on 12/19! We had a great Colloquium Q&A this past Friday, and are poised for a great 2021.


Be sure also to check out the Lyceum Institute Shop! Keep your head warm with wisdom:

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This Week [11/29-12/5]

Events this week at the Lyceum:


12/1 – Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Grab a drink and have a chat about the eternal things! Always open to suggested topics: any questions you may have, feel free to bring them. I’ll be updating people on 2021 seminars and talking about the future of the Lyceum Institute, so if you’re interested in our growth, this would be a great chat to attend. Use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “happy hour” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

12/4 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–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute. Great way to get a diverse set of well-informed philosophical perspectives.

12/4 Friday – Colloquium: Mending the Cartesian Rift – Walker Percy on Being Human (6:15-7:00pm ET). Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger, lecturer in philosophy at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and Faculty Fellow of the Lyceum Institute, will be answering our questions in a live Q&A session on his excellent lecture, already available through the Lyceum Institute platform. You can find more details here.

12/5 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions. The penultimate discussion sessions for our 2020 Fall seminars. In “Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life”, we will look closely at the nature of the act of understanding in human beings, as a complementary action of intellect and perceptual faculties. In “Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely”, we tackle one of the most important but challenging contributions that Deely gave us: the notion of physiosemiosis, that is, that virtual sign action permeates all dyadic relations and thereby grounds the possibility of growth and development in the universe.

We’ll also have a new Trivium module up soon!


Be sure also to check out the Lyceum Institute Shop! Stylish merch where the proceeds support the mission of the Lyceum! Look good, make your coffee more smarter, and help us change education for the better.

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This Week [11/15-21]

Events this week at the Lyceum:


11/17 Tuesday – Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Grab a drink and have a chat about the eternal things! Always open to suggested topics: any questions you may have, feel free to bring them. I personally am of a mind to discuss the impossibility of dealing adequately with temporal things if one does not only know but have a habituated bearing towards things unchanging. Open to the public this week. Use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “happy hour” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

11/20 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–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute. We’ll talk about almost anything.

11/21 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions. Moving into the sixth week (how it flies!) of our 2020 Fall seminars, “Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life”, where we will continue considering the operations of intellectual discovery–and here with a particular focus on the formation of the intellectual word, the verbum mentis and how this unfolds in the judgments which are true or false–and “Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely”, which sees us recapitulating the lessons learned from Intentionality and Semiotics as pertaining to the continual spiral of semiosis in human understanding.

Additionally, I have a free trial for any seriously interested candidate in joining the Lyceum Institute from now until the end of November. This is full access for two weeks. If you are interested, use the Request a Tour form and Dr. Kemple will contact you ASAP.


Be sure also to check out the Lyceum Institute Shop! Stylish merch where the proceeds support the mission of the Lyceum! Look good, make your coffee more smarter, and help us change education for the better.

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This Week [11/8-14]

Events this week at the Lyceum:


11/10 Tuesday – Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Grab a drink and have a chat about the eternal things! Always open to suggested topics: any questions you may have, feel free to bring them. Not always open to the public, but it is this week. Use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “happy hour” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

11/11 Wednesday – Inquirere Session (5:30-7:00pm ET). Part of our Quaestiones Disputatae program, the Inquirere sessions allow participants to talk through their ideas and receive feedback from all members (including Dr. Kemple), such as suggestions on what to read, how to go about structuring their thoughts, possible objections, and next steps in proceeding forward.

11/13 Friday – Inquirere Session (9:30-11:00am ET). A second Inquirere session of the week.

11/14 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions. Moving into week five of our 2020 Fall seminars, “Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life”, where we will continue considering the operations of intellectual discovery–specifically this week in their discursivity–and “Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely”, which sees us tackling the difficult notion of relation’s ontological reality and its consequences for the intentional orientation of the human mind.


Be sure also to check out the Lyceum Institute Shop! Stylish merch where the proceeds support the mission of the Lyceum! New products added this week, so take a look.

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This Week [11/1-7]

Events this week at the Lyceum:


11/3 Tuesday – Philosophical Happy Hour. Escape the election hysteria, grab a drink, and have a chat about the eternal things! 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!

11/4 Wednesday – Latin “Alpha” Class. After our successful “pilot” class, we’re running two more fine-tuning tests to prepare! These classes are suitable for a wide range of students. Studied a little? Great. Studied a lot? Also great. Never touched it, but curious? This is still for you! We’ll be tackling Capitulum VI ex Lingua Latina per se Illustrata.

11/6 Friday – Colloquium: How To Be a Contemporary Thomist – The Case of Marshall McLuhan. In the fifth of the Lyceum Institute Colloquia, we present our own Adam Pugen, PhD, who brings us a discussion of Marshall McLuhan–who, despite his popularity as a “media guru”, was more fundamentally and consciously a Thomist–a discussion ranging through the influences of Chesterton, New Criticism, Jacques Maritain, analogy and metaphor, the Trivium (especially the deepening and expansion of grammar), and all this aimed at the meaning of what it is to truly be a Thomist in our own times. Not merely incidental but integral to true contemporary Thomism is the wrestling with our techno-media environments–and conversely, to understand in depth McLuhan’s own “medium is the message”, we must understand the Thomistic roots of his thinking.

11/7 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions. Moving into week four (already?) of our 2020 Fall seminars, “Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life”, where we will be considering the operations of intellectual discovery, and “Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely”, wherein we’ll see some of the semiotic revisions to Thomistic cognition theory. Both seminars are going well, with good participation and insights coming almost too quickly to process. It will be very interesting to look back on the seminars after they’ve concluded and see what develops out of the efforts put forth by everyone.


Be sure also to check out the Lyceum Institute Shop! Stylish merch where the proceeds support the mission of the Lyceum!

[Fall 2020] Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life

Among all things observed in the universe, human beings alone ask about things other than themselves: they ask what, how, why–and so on. This singularity, downplayed by those who would make us malleable to the worst of all moral inclinations, demands a careful and rigorous inquiry–one which seeks to understand not only the precise nature but also the full import of this distinctiveness.


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Put otherwise, we human beings today seldom truly understand ourselves. If we look to the traditions of modern philosophy or its ultramodern derivations, we will continue failing to attain such understanding: for all such traditions mistaken introduce one or another division between the nature of the human being and the being of humans. We must look either to postmodernity or to premodernity–and the only genuine postmodern traditions heretofore being those that retrieve the premodern–in order to affect a righted understanding of the human cognitive life.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will strive to affect a genuine postmodern retrieve of the Thomistic understanding of the singular human distinctiveness through grasping the nature and development of our intentionally-cognitive lives. In the course of this retrieve, we will study the specifically intellectual nature of the human soul, the operations of intellectual discovery, the formation and development of concepts, and the integral union of intellectual and perceptual faculties in the human person. This is an advanced seminar which provides a serious challenge to all participants.

WHEN: Saturdays from 17 October through 12 December 2020 (no session on 28 November), from 1:30-2:30pm Eastern Time US.

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

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal 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).

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

[Fall 2020] Semiotics: John Deely

Semiotics–toward which human beings took their first explicit steps in the beginning of the Latin Age of philosophy, in the work of St. Augustine of Hippo–is that by which we begin in a true postmodernism. This is one of the key and perhaps surprising claims of John Deely (1942–2017). That is, often today what is called “postmodernism” is nothing more, in fact, than an ultramodernism: a fragmentary, distorted view of the world grown out of the errors of modern philosophical thinking, run toward its natural, incoherent conclusions.


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In contrast, consider this description Deely gives in his 1994: New Beginnings (18 and 19):

In a word, postmodernism is the opening of a passageway from the age of classical modern philosophy to an epoch as distinct from the modern age as the modern age was from Latin times, or Latin times from the ancient Greek period. The opposition of modernity to Latin (and Greek) times eventually took the form of the opposition of idealism to realism in philosophy. Postmodern thought begins, properly speaking, not so much by rejecting this opposition as by transcending it, for in experience integrally taken, mind-dependent and mind-independent being assert themselves equally–not “equally” in the quantitative sense, but “equally” in the sense of components both asserting themselves in different ways at different times and in different proportions throughout the course of human life, both together making up the one fabric of our lives we call “experience”.

What was needed for philosophy to mature [to postmodernism] was not so much a shift as an expansion, an expansion of the notion of reality–and with it, being–to include the whole experience as the prior ground out of which human understanding arises and on which it throughout depends. From the start, being should have been an inclusive, not an exclusive and oppositional notion. Being is not only “that which can only be said in many ways” (Aristotle), but that out of which the division between what is and what is not independent of the mind arises (Aquinas), and not in any finally fixed way, but differently according to the time and circumstances of the one experiencing such a contrast among objects.

To understand and affect this maturation into postmodernity, we will turn our attention in this seminar to the major contributions to semiotics given by Deely: the proto-semiotic history, an expanded doctrine of causality,  the retrieved and clarified notion of relation, the concept of physiosemiosis, the continuity of culture and nature, the notion of purely objective reality, and the real interdisciplinarity which semiotics fosters. This is an advanced seminar which provides a serious challenge to all participants.

WHEN: Saturdays from 17 October through 12 December 2020 (no session on 28 November), from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time US.

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

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal 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).

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Aristotelian-Thomistic Philosophy and the Form of Health

In the fourth of the Lyceum Institute Colloquia, we present Michel Accad, MD, a cardiologist and practitioner of internal medicine (see Dr. Accad’s site here), who presents for us some of his thoughts on the insights that Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy brings to an understanding of health and the practice of medicine.  This lecture lights upon the history of philosophy and the human body and challenges the commonly-accepted mechanicist and reductionistic views of the human body as a mere machine–grown out of a Cartesian view–in contrast to the classical Hippocratic theory, which encourages an approach to the body as a whole.

Dr. Accad’s lecture is now available on the Lyceum Institute. The live question and answer session will be held on 4 September 2020 (Friday) at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT.

Preview – Dr. Michel Accad, Aristotelian-Thomistic Philosophy and the Form of Health

New Website

Up and running! If you run across any broken links, typos, or other errors, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’ll be adding more content–posts, information about seminars, schedules, etc.–over the next few weeks.

These posts will not only be to deliver news and announcements, but also to highlight the accomplishments of Lyceum Institute members.

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