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[Fall 2022] The Faults of Modern Philosophy

This is not a seminar about modernity, but about modern philosophy—and, specifically, about the fundamental flaws (or faults) which characterize modern philosophy’s thinking.  These flaws, once recognized, show their effects everywhere today: in the endless fragmentation of world, mind, self; in the intransigence of political discourse, the widening cultural divides, the polarization of extremes, and the frail, shrill assertions of expertise, exactitude, and a scientific consensus that appears to hold naught together in truth but the adherents of a narrow ideology.

We will not, in the course of these eight weeks, undertake deconstruction of this fragile and threatening edifice.  Rather, our task is to discover and analyze the underlying faults.  We will accomplish this analysis through a collective effort—with lectures given and discussions led by three faculty (Kemple, Wagner, and Boyer)—that unveils the fundamental mistakes of modern philosophy’s key thinkers.  Though these thinkers are diverse from one another, commonly they are “modern” in holding certain presuppositions about the nature of knowledge and the human person resulting in a discontinuous set of fundamental beliefs concerning the universe and our experience of it.

It would be easy simply to point to the precarity and chaos permeating the world built on such foundations, wave it away, and say that we must begin again.  But such hand-waving not only fails to be efficacious, it is, moreover, delusional.  We are the children of modernity, like it or not, and their errors are our inheritance, abusive though that may be.  If we fail to understand the foundations of the moderns’ thoughts, we will not recognize their influence in ourselves.

Discussion Sessions
2:00pm ET

(World times)
Study Topics &
Readings

September
24
Week 1: The Modern Context
Lecture: From the Break with Scholasticism to the Incoherence of Today
Readings:
» Selections from preparatory bibliography.
October
1
Week 2: The False Ground of Modern Philosophy
Lecture: The πρῶτον ψεῦδος [first falsehood] of Modern Philosophy: Descartes’ Method
Reading:
» Descartes, Meditations (I-II).
October
8
Week 3: Common Idealism
Lecture: The Lonely Way of Ideas
Reading:
» Descartes, Discourse on Method (selections).
» Descartes, Meditations (III).
» Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (selections).
October
15
Week 4: A Broken “Empiricism”
Lecture: David Hume’s “Empirical” Method: The Tale of Naïve Cartesian
Reading:
» Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (selections).
» Aristotle, Physics (selections).
October
22

BREAK
October
29
Week 5: Immanuel Kant and the Unknowable
Lecture: Kant’s A Priori Prison
Reading:
» Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (selections).
» Gilson, Unity of Philosophical Experience (selections).
November
5
Week 6: Pointing Games
Lecture: Wittgenstein’s Language
Reading:
» Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (selections).
November
12
Week 7: Avoiding Reality
Lecture: Choose Your Own Ontology
Readings:
» Quine, “On What There Is”.
» Geach, “Symposium: On What There Is”
November
19
Week 8: Jean-Paul Sartre and the Nadir of Modernity
Lecture: Antagonism of Person and Nature
Readings
» Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism.

This seminar is open to all participants, regardless of prior experience. View the syllabus here and learn more about Lyceum Institute seminars 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).

Registration is closed.

⚘ Philosophy as a Habit of Cenoscopic Inquiry | Luigi Russi

Roll in… and become an active partner in the business of thinking about reality and understanding the bits and the whole of what is and what is not.

Meeting room: https://8×8.vc/ief_tech/io2s-deely

Luigi Russi holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Exeter (UK) and currently works as Co-convenor of the Research-in-Action Community, in which capacity he accompanies researcher-practitioners, as they take up a practice of inquiry in the midst of everyday circumstances. Luigi is also a member of the Lyceum Institute, through which he has discovered the work and legacy of John Deely. As part of IO2S, he shares his ongoing exploration into how the semiotic realism of John Deely can provide ways of “taking experience seriously” without “losing the forest for the trees”. Luigi’s recent scholarly contributions have appeared in Human Arenas, Cultural Praxis, and the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.

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.

Philosophical interests and areas of study include: Thomas Aquinas, John Poinsot, Charles Peirce, Martin Heidegger, the history and importance of semiotics, scholasticism, phenomenology; as well as ancillary interests in the liberal arts, technology, and education as a moral habit. 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 (2022 – second edition) and the forthcoming Linguistic Signification: A Classical Course in Grammar and Composition (2021).

In addition to being the Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute, he is the Executive Editor of Reality: a Journal for Philosophical Discourse.

2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics (IO2S) | Website

This collaborative international open scientific initiative and celebration is jointly 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 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.

[2022 Summer] Seven Interfaces of Philosophy

Traditional philosophical disciplines crystallized over time into a list that goes something like this: logic, cosmology, phil. anthropology, metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and aesthetics—and, in the modern age, the hybrid and rather imperialistic enquiry known as epistemology.  Still, additional attention was demanded by issues lying both between or beyond these well-defined areas.  Thus was generated a long list of “philosophies of…” (for instance: science, religion, history, art, mind, language, education, culture, law, social science, technology, etc.).  Until quite recently, philosophy claimed a purview that had, at the very least, something to say about literally everything.  However, as the 19th century gave way to the 20th and then the 21st, some suspected Lady Philosophy may have stretched herself so thin as to no longer be about anything at all.

Many analytic philosophers maintained that there was no terrain left for philosophy as such, and that she had better learn to just arbitrate among the real sciences as technical specialists in conceptual and argumentative clarification.  Others still tried to show how one domain of old philosophy (logic, ethics, or philosophy of language, for instance) could gain purchase on the whole of the enterprise, turning over all else to the new specialists.

But philosophers have always had something meaningful to say about “the world,” although they have also needed to mark off their cognitive claims as not, on the one hand, replacing (or overlooking) what poetry and the arts, and even mythology, might have to say, as well as, on the other, what today’s physicists, astronomers, chemists and geologists teach from their university chairs.  And today they have a brand new task.  They must show themselves adroit at identifying what happened when the world turned modern, and be able to point out the causes and consequences of this unprecedented shift.  

As we survey the horizons of these human activities and questions which the philosopher inevitably faces, but cannot by rights command, we can roughly enumerate seven such domains: 1) the so-called humanities (especially history, human geography, language and literature), 2) the world of “production” (not only the fine arts, but also the servile and liberal arts), 3) the physical sciences, 4) the life sciences, 5) the new and still disputed social sciences, 6) the world of religion and theology, and 7) the very “problem of modernity.”

A person who has nothing “synoptic” and coherent to say about such matters—but without necessarily claiming expertise in any of them—is still only half a philosopher.  The wise, Aquinas reminds us, are the ones who judge all things.  They do this, however, not necessarily as specialists, but as those whose cognitive patience and contemplative leisure favor a posture of open enquiry, allowing the mind to slowly spot principles, which, in turn give birth to insights.  Within the light of this gradually embracing intellectual gaze, all the multiple and oft recalcitrant things in the world—both around us and within us—finally begin to share in an epiphany that slowly discloses how they all “hang together.”

The present seminar will begin with a metaphilosophical discussion of how philosophy has defined itself historically, and then how it can and should define itself today.  This will be followed by discussion of its obligatory interface with each of the seven problematics mentioned above. Peirce’s, and especially Deely’s, understanding of philosophy as “cenoscopic science” will serve as a useful key in bringing clarity to these relations, as will their new understanding of semiosis.  After all, one way we can sum up the synoptic scope of philosophical insight would be simply to acknowledge: everything is significant.

DISCUSSIONS:
June 4—30 July
Saturdays, 10:00-11:00am ET /
2:00-3:00pm UTC

WHERE:
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 philosophy is in relation to the other human pursuits of knowledge as a cenoscopic science. The instructor for this seminar is Fr. Scott Randall Paine, PhD, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Brasilia and Faculty Fellow of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Prof. Dr. Paine 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).

[2022Su-A] Seven Interfaces of Philosophy – Participant

Recommended for those who are currently students or with part-time employment.

$80.00

[2022Su-A] Seven Interfaces of Philosophy – 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).

$135.00

[2022Su-A] Seven Interfaces of Philosophy – Benefactor

Recommended for those with fulltime employment in well-paying professions and sufficient resources to provide a little more.

$200.00

IO2S Deely – Albert the Great’s Cenoscopic Understanding of Reality

On 7 May 2022 at 11am ET (check event times around the world here) Mercedes Rubio will present on “Albert the Great’s Cenoscopic Understanding of Reality”. Prof. Rubio is a Research Associate at the University of Navarra (Spain). She recently joined the Leonardo Polo Institute of Philosophy in Chicago (USA), besides being a member of the International Association for Semiotic Studies and the Societé Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale (SIEPM).

She graduated in Humanities (Philosophy Department) from the University of Navarra and wrote her MA Thesis on The Knowledge of God according to Albert the Great, which was later published in the Series Cuadernos de Anuario Filosófico. She obtained the Diplome Européen d’Études Médiévales (Brussels SIEPM – Rome La Sapienza) and holds a PhD degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her publications cover a wide range of topics in Greek, Latin and Hebrew Philosophy, with particular attention to the fields of theory of knowledge, philosophy of language and semiotics. Her Doctoral dissertation, Aquinas and Maimonides on the Possibility of the Knowledge of God, won the Shlomo Pines Prize (2002) and was later published in the Series “Amsterdam Studies in Jewish Thought.” She has published other studies on Aristotle, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, Averroes, and Abraham Bar Hiyya. Among her contributions to the study of semiotics, cf. “Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas on the Nature of Signs,” in „Homo – Natura – Mundus: Human Beings and Their Relationships“. Proceedings of the XIV International Congress of the Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale. Ed. R. Hofmeister Pich, A. C. Storck, A. S. Culleton (Brepols: Turnhout 2020) 477-488.

Commentary will be provided by Gyula Klima, Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, New York and renowned author and editor of innumerable publications in Medieval philosophy.

Join the Zoom Meeting to participate in the Live Q&A.

2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics (IO2S) | Website

This collaborative international open scientific initiative and celebration is jointly 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 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.