The Lyceum Institute Colloquium Series
These colloquia, comprising a pre-recorded lecture and a live question and answer session, invite respected academics and intellectuals to challenge our thinking through their own hard-earned expertise, reflections, and insights.
This series aims, year-by-year, to build the offerings of the Lyceum Institute and to expose its members to thinking they might not encounter otherwise, as well as to provide yet another opportunity to practice that fundamental habit of inquirere, of asking good, thoughtful questions. Further, these lectures and discussion sessions, being recorded, are retained indefinitely in the Lyceum Institute archives, being accessible to revisit by present and future members with a few clicks of a mouse (or taps of a phone screen).
Colloquia lectures will be released to the public one calendar year after they have been presented. Question and answer sessions are available only through the Lyceum Institute.
Colloquium Series Volume 1 (2020):
Defending and Meditating on First Principles: Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
Dr. Matthew Minerd
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.
On Predestination and the Doctrine of Sufficient and Efficacious Grace in St. Thomas Aquinas
Dr. Taylor Patrick O’Neill
In this lecture, Taylor Patrick O’Neill gives a brief introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of predestination with a special focus on how it relates to human freedom. Principles of a Thomistic understanding of providence provide a necessary backdrop for understanding election and reprobation while principles of a Thomistic understanding of grace provide a foundation for exploring the differences between election and reprobation, as well as a defense of contingency and authentic human freedom.
Additional attention is paid to the distinction of sufficient and efficacious grace in the Thomistic tradition.
The Breakdown of Secular Democracy and the Need for a Christian Order
Francisco Plaza, PhD Candidate
The question has been raised as to whether or not secular liberalism can sustain itself, especially as it seems to be breaking down in our present time, both from the perspective of anti-modernists who uphold tradition, but also from modernists themselves who have fallen into totalitarian ideologies, Marxism being the most common among them.
In this lecture, we shall begin by addressing the current state of culture, considering the nature of modernity and its crisis of meaning. For our purposes, we shall focus mostly on its political dimension. After providing a summary account of modernism and its crisis, we shall consider two responses from Catholic political thought that look to creating a truly post-modern order. The first of these is that of integralism, a revivalist type movement that looks to the past before modernity as the way beyond the modern problem. We shall consider the integralist response to modern politics, then consider where it is correct and where it may fall short. Finally, we shall conclude by considering Maritain’s defense of a “Christian Democracy” and “integral humanism” as the true way beyond modernity.
Aristotelian-Thomistic Philosophy and the Form of Health
Michel Accad, MD
In the fourth of the Lyceum Institute Colloquia, we present Dr. 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.
How to be a Contemporary Thomist: The Case of Marshall McLuhan
Dr. Adam Pugen
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.
Mending the Cartesian Rift: Walker Percy on Being Human
Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger
“Our view of the world, which we get consciously or unconsciously from modern science, is radically incoherent,” argues Walker Percy in “The Fateful Rift: The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind.” The dualism of Descartes — the rift between man as psyche and man as organism — continues to pervade our inherited view of the world and scientific practice. And yet it was a century ago and more that Charles Sanders Peirce indicated the road to a more coherent anthropology based upon the crucial datum of the triadic sign-relation that unites “mental” and “physical” in one single natural event.
This lecture explores Percy’s argument and its background in the thought of Descartes and Peirce, and provides an assessment of this final public articulation by Percy concerning the issues that preoccupied him as a writer: the contemporary predicament of the human being, lost in the cosmos that it understands more and more, while understanding itself less and less.