In 2017, an article was published in the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock, highlighting how pervasive mental health issues have become in our world. Depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and psychosis all appear, according to the authors (Veronica Tucci and Nidal Moukaddam), to be rapidly on the rise.
Is it a matter, merely, of increased recognition and improvement in diagnosis—or have we somehow gone fundamentally wrong in our understanding of the human person, to the point of our cures becoming worse than the disease?
As Spalding, Stedman, Gagné, and Kostelecky (three psychologists and a philosopher) write in their book, The Human Person:
Any undergraduate student of psychology, at the end of their studies, knows that there is no coherent, understandable picture of psychology as a single discipline. Indeed, reading any modern introductory psychology textbook is enough to see this. It is not just that different areas of psychology emphasize different aspects or approaches, but that they have fundamentally different, and incompatible, philosophical commitments, although those commitments are rarely described.2019: The Human Person: What Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas Offer Modern Psychology, 2.
Put otherwise, psychology—as with all sciences, but especially so—cannot operate in a philosophical vacuum. And yet, the methodologies employed by contemporary practitioners of psychology consists either in a materialist reductivism which eschews having any philosophical commitments whatsoever, or it relies upon nebulous concepts of what it means to be human, resulting in inferences of murky significance and strength. In consequence, there are philosophical commitments employed but never explored or analyzed in much of our psychological literature and in the concepts which are handed down to us, the public, from “elite” psychological authorities.
We are left therefore with many professionals studying and analyzing mental health, but, it seems, no real grasp of what “mental health” means in truth. Absent a rich causal understanding of the human psyche, we seem condemned to improve only in our recognition that something is not right, that we are mentally unhealthy—while the epidemic of mental illness continues to spread.
Thus, in this seminar, we will undertake to retrieve the deep, coherent, and rich conception of the human psyche professed by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae. At the center of this retrieval is a threefold recovery and clarification: 1) of the understanding of the ψυχή, anima, or soul; 2) of the faculties by means of which the soul operates; and 3), of the notion of habits as structuring both these faculties individually and the entire soul. These recoveries and clarifications will help us understand personhood.
April 2—28 May
Saturdays, 10:00-11:00am ET /
(Additional discussion sessions may be added depending on interest.)
Lyceum Institute digital platform run on Microsoft Teams
In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (with a break at the halfway point—see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will learn what Thomas Aquinas has to say about our human nature and faculties. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, 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, priced according to likely levels of income. If you wish to take a seminar but cannot afford the suggested rate, it is acceptable to sign up at a less-expensive level. 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).
[2022Sp] Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval – Participant
Recommended for those who are currently students or with part-time employment.
[2022Sp] Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval – Patron
Recommended for those in professions that do not pay as well as they ought and for whom continued education is especially important (including professors and clergy).
[2022Sp] Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval – Benefactor
Recommended for those with fulltime employment in well-paying professions and sufficient resources to provide a little more.
|Standard price||Basic Lyceum|
|Advanced Lyceum Enrollment||Premium Lyceum Enrollment|
|Benefactor||$200 per seminar||$90||3 seminars included|
|8 seminars included|
|Patron||$135 per seminar||$65||3 seminars included|
|8 seminars included|
|Participant||$80 per seminar||$40||3 seminars included|
|8 seminars included|