[2021 Summer] Science: Aristotle’s Organon

In order to be a proper ἀκροᾱτής (akroates), i.e., hearer or student of Aristotle’s, such that one might read and understand the Stagyrite’s treatment of specific subjects like nature (Physics), the soul (De Anima), ethics (Nicomachean Ethics), politics (Politics) or metaphysics (Metaphysics), one must first obtain a general understanding of Aristotle’s rigorous logical method. This method is disclosed in a set of works that, since Alexander of Aphrodisias (A.D. 200), has been called the  ὄργανον (organon) because it provides an account of the instrument of coming to know being or reality (οὐσία/ousia).

This seminar, Science: On Being, Language and Reason, and Cause in Aristotle’s Organon, treats Aristotle’s methodology for coming to know reality in two parts. In the first part, to be led by Dr. Daniel Wagner, students will gain understanding of the primary terms for defining (Topics), the classification of the most general concepts of the intellect (Categories), and the method of reasoning used for defining beings, which Aristotle calls induction (ἐπαγωγή/epagoge) and division (διαίρεσις/diairesis and ἀνάλῠσις/analusis) (Posterior Analytics). In the second part, to be led by Dr. John Boyer, students will gain understanding of Aristotle’s method of deductive demonstrative reasoning and explanation by proper cause (αἰτία/aitia), which constitutes scientific understanding (Posterior Analytics).

WHEN: Saturdays from 12 June through 31 July 2021, from 1:00-2:00pm Eastern Time US / 5:00-6:00pm 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), an intense inquiry into the means of defining and demonstration will be undertaken. The instructors for this seminar are Faculty Fellows Daniel Wagner, PhD, and John Boyer, ABD. You can read more about our fellows 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] Science: Aristotle’s Organon – 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] Science: Aristotle’s Organon – Professor / Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for those employed as educators or clergy.

$85.00

[2021 Summer] Science: Aristotle’s Organon – Student

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

$60.00

[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 5:00-6:00pm Eastern Time US / 9:00-10:00pm UTC.

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION SESSIONS CAN AND WILL BE ADDED IF A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF PERSONS REQUEST!

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. Discount is suggested for those employed as educators or clergy.

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

And every MONDAY from 14 June through 2 August 2021, from 6:00-6:45pm Eastern Time US.

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. Discount is suggested for those employed as educators or clergy.

$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 [2/28-3/6]

2/28 Sunday – Inquirere Session (3:00-4:00pm ET).  The first of two sessions this week dedicated to sharpening our questioning after difficult topics of philosophical interest in the Quaestiones Disputatae program.

3/2 Tuesday – Philosophical Open Chat (5:30-7:00pm ET). Join us for 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 (and write “Happy Hour” in the message box)!

3/3 Wednesday – Inquirere Session (3:00-4:00pm ET).  The second of two sessions this week dedicated to sharpening our questioning after difficult topics of philosophical interest in the Quaestiones Disputatae program.

3/5 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 bring the thinking of one week to a close and launch into the next.

3/6 Saturday – Latin Class(10-11am ET).  Continuing our immersion in the Latin Language: reading capitulum sextum in Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata and establishing our habits of thinking in the language.

3/6 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions.  First at 1:15pm ET we will be finishing out our discussion of Metaphysics: Discovery of Ens inquantum Ens with a consideration of the act of existence as really distinct from that which exists by it.  Second, at 3:00pm ET we’ll be considering how to bring the silence, celebration, and joy a mind attains in leisure out into the world in ​​​​​​​Ethics: The Good Life.

Spring Seminars Open!

The two spring Seminars are now open.  Discussion sessions will begin on March 20.

[2021 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles

This seminar will explore contemporary political and cultural issues from a classically realist foundation, proposing a genuinely “postmodern” response to the crisis of our time. When the term “postmodern” is used today, it typically denotes what is in practice a kind of “hypermodernism,” that is, an ideology which simply takes modern thinking to its logical conclusion (e.g., complete subjectivism, moral relativism, skepticism, nihilism, etc.). What “postmodern” should signify is something which looks beyond modernity, and it is in this sense which we use the term ourselves. Our “postmodern” response against the modern crisis retrieves from pre-modern political philosophy what modernity wrongfully left behind while engaging directly with modern culture. More information & registration.

[2021 Spring] Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot

There are few works which have received less of the attention they deserve than the Cursus Philosophicus of John Poinsot—more commonly known as John of St. Thomas, for his professed fidelity to the teaching of Thomas Aquinas. Within this cursus—a tome spanning 2348 pages—Poinsot addresses logic both formally and materially, as well as many intricacies of natural philosophy pertaining to physics, life, and psychology. But dispersed through these considerations there exists an implicit treatise, one concerned with an element essential to understanding not only topics logical but also natural; namely, the Tractatus de Signis. More information & registration.

[2021 Spring] Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot

What is a sign? It is a deceptively difficult question–deceptive because we think we know when we have never bothered truly to ask the question. We believe that we see and hear signs everywhere: guiding our use of streets, telling us where to exit, the location of the bathroom, what dangers might lie ahead, and so on. But in truth, though we experience signification in this instances, the things we identify as the “signs”–the on the street corner, the plastic “EXIT” over a fire door, the nondescript white silhoutte of a representatively feminine shape over one door, the print of a large clawed mammal in soft dirt–are only a part of the signs that we experience.


Read more about
Lyceum Institute Seminars

And so, you now stand today on the edge of a road: a road little used and oft neglected for the previous four centuries, but for the occasional intrepid traveller—its development abandoned very nearly at this spot where you stand today.  Where does it go—where ought it to go?  And from where does it come?  To answer the latter, we must know something of the former: and it is this knowledge that the seminar intends to provide, with indications for where the road leads and where it ought to lead.

First Lecture, “An Abbreviated History” – Preview

There are few works which have received less of the attention they deserve than the Cursus philosophicus of John Poinsot—more commonly known as John of St. Thomas, for his professed fidelity to the teaching of Thomas Aquinas.  Within this cursus—a tome spanning 2348 pages—Poinsot addresses logic both formally and materially, as well as many intricacies of natural philosophy pertaining to physics, life, and psychology.  But dispersed through these considerations there exists an implicit treatise, one concerned with an element essential to understanding not only topics logical but also natural; namely, the treatise on signs.  This treatise was extracted, translated, edited, and compiled by John Deely (following a cue from Poinsot himself) and published in 1985 under the title Tractatus de  Signis: The Semiotic of John Poinsot, with a second edition released in 2013. 

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will carefully survey this text we will discover the Way of Signs—that long-abandoned road—and thereby reclaim not only the history of thought abandoned by modernity but find a way forward past its recalcitrance to the realist thought of semiotics. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, the Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Kemple here.

WHEN: Saturdays from 20 March through 8 May 2021, from 1:00-2:00pm [Session 1] and 8:30-9:30pm [Session 2] Eastern Time US.

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

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 Spring] Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot – 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 Spring] Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot – Professor / Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for professional academics and clergy.

$85.00



[2021 Spring] Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot – 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 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles

This seminar will explore contemporary political and cultural issues from a classically realist foundation, proposing a genuinely “postmodern” response to the crisis of our time. When the term “postmodern” is used today, it typically denotes what is in practice a kind of “hypermodernism,” that is, an ideology which simply takes modern thinking to its logical conclusion (e.g., complete subjectivism, moral relativism, skepticism, nihilism, etc.). What “postmodern” should signify is something which looks beyond modernity, and it is in this sense which we use the term ourselves. Our “postmodern” response against the modern crisis retrieves from pre-modern political philosophy what modernity wrongfully left behind while engaging directly with modern culture.


Read more about
Lyceum Institute Seminars

In the first half of this seminar, we will consider the trajectory of Western political thought from the ancient to the modern era. Here, we shall try to understand how political philosophy and culture in the West has developed to its current stage. We will also identify features of Aristotelian and Thomistic thought which could serve us well today. The second half of this seminar will focus on Jacques Maritain’s Integral Humanism, 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 proposals for “integral humanism,” and the “concrete historical ideal.”

What is “Political Science”? – Preview
Plaza

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will consider the current state of our political culture, and try to figure out how we got to this point, along with what should be done next. The instructor for this seminar is Francisco Plaza, PhD Candidate at the University of St. Thomas, in Houston TX. You can read more about Prof. Plaza here.

WHEN: Saturdays from 20 March through 8 May 2021, 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 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 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles – 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 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles – Professor/Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for professional academics and clergy.

$85.00



[2021 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles – 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

Hope in a Nihilist World

Often, we speak of despair as something not that we do but something which seizes us, as a force outside of ourselves.  We conceive of despair as a blackness, a void, an emptiness into which we fall, into which we are dragged.  The more we find ourselves to experience something missing in our lives, no matter what we do or in what we place our hopes, the more we incline to despair.  And thus, despite the love of the true and the good rooted in our deepest natural yearnings, we submerge ourselves in a black meaninglessness.

So how are we, today, to find hope–that of which despair is a rejection and a loss?

This is the first lecture in the Ethics: Good Life seminar, posted in full:

Ethics: The Good Life – Against the Nihilist Noise

If you would like to attend the rest of the seminar — discussion sessions begin on 1/16 — you can sign up here. This seminar is being offered for as little as $20 for the full eight weeks, so it’s quite a steal.

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.

[Winter 2021] Ethics: The Good Life

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 those in the tradition of the ancients and medievals who construe happiness as an inward possession whereby the human person acts outwardly for the sake of attaining real goods meaningful in themselves.


Read more about
Lyceum Institute Seminars

Happiness, as we will see, requires not only a development of virtue but a right-orientation of the self in relation to the world in which one lives: a discovery of the relations of fittingness through which we may receive from the world, but by which we may also extend the goodness we possess into the world: a realization of not only moral rectitude but delight, and joy, through leisure and contemplation.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will discuss a range of texts which speak to how we might conduct ourselves for the sake of having a good life. This is an entry-level seminar suitable for any who have had some exposure to philosophical thinking.

WHEN: Saturdays from 16 January through 6 March 2021, from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time US.

A SECOND session will be scheduled at 9:15-10:15am Eastern Time US if there is sufficient interest.

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

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal of financial subsidiarity. This seminar in particular has only two recommended levels of cost: $20 for those under the age of 30, and $50 for those over. Pay what you can, based on where you are in life–if you can afford $50, this will help pay for those who cannot. Lyceum Institute members will have free access to this seminar.

Registration is closed.

[Winter 2021] Metaphysics: The Discovery of Ens inquantum Ens

There are few topics which seem more unsuited to the 21st century than that of metaphysics: that is, the study of “being as being.”  The subject is impossibly vague; the claims it makes seem inescapably representative of opinion rather than fact; it is an impractical field of study, advancing no discernable good for those that undertake its study.  At best, it is seen as facilitating an ability for critical thinking or deconstructive analysis of arguments; but metaphysics as a science—as a real, substantive, revelatory process of human inquiry—is a mere pipe dream of religious academicians or would-be gnostic know-it-alls.  Metaphysics is impractical.  Metaphysics serves no purpose.  Studying metaphysics will not move you one iota closer to a better job, to a more diversified skillset, to a higher earning potential.


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One might go beyond that and ask: “Why study philosophy at all?”  For while there are many schools of philosophical thought which strive to make it applicable to contemporary life, most of these schools do so only by aping the methods and goals of modern day empiriometric sciences (which interpret the world through quantification of things insofar as they can be observed by the senses) or by turning philosophy into a kind of self-help program.  Oftentimes, the contemporary university has attempted to relegate philosophical study to the category of “mental training”—it makes one better at critical thinking, at reasoning, at arguing, but does not actually teach anything; it trains you to think, but does not give you any answers.

Such thinking, of course, betrays the greatest ignorance and the weakest understanding of truth. For no study has a greater necessity—and correspondingly, a lesser utility—than that of metaphysics: for it, and it alone among all the pursuits open to human beings by nature alone, orients our minds to the highest principles whereby all things are ordered. The worldview possessed today by the many is fragmentary, incomplete, and thus often results in ways of existing which are incompatible with one another and destructive to the attainment of true human good.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we seek to open the doors to a genuine metaphysics which gives the needed view of the whole of being, ens inquantum ens. In the course of this study, we will examine the meaning of the term “being”, the nature of it as a science, the . This is an advanced seminar which provides a serious challenge to all participants.

WHEN: Saturdays from 16 January through 6 March 2021, from 1:15-2:15pm 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.