Home » Charles Sanders Peirce

Fall Seminar Previews

METAPHYSICS: THE DEPTHS OF ACT & POTENCY

“In long Indian file, as when herons take wing, the white birds were now all flying towards Ahab’s boat; and when within a few yards began fluttering over the water there, wheeling round and round, with joyous, expectant cries.  Their vision was keener than man’s; Ahab could perceive no sign in the sea.  But suddenly…

Metaphysics: The Depths of Act & Potency

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…

Science: The Faults of Modern Philosophy

SEMIOTICS: PEIRCE AND THE MODERN SPIRIT

“The last of the moderns,” writes John Deely of Charles Sanders Peirce, “and the first of the postmoderns.” Why this switch, this flip, between modernity and postmodernity? The question of postmodernity’s meaning and definition is altogether another issue: but one which we can understand only inasmuch as we first understand rightly what modernity is, or…

Semiotics: Peirce and the Modern Spirit

[Fall 2022] Semiotics: Peirce and the Modern Spirit

“The last of the moderns,” writes John Deely of Charles Sanders Peirce, “and the first of the postmoderns.” Why this switch, this flip, between modernity and postmodernity? The question of postmodernity’s meaning and definition is altogether another issue: but one which we can understand only inasmuch as we first understand rightly what modernity is, or was. As Deely goes on:

View the syllabus!

Charles Sanders Peirce (1389–1914) was the man who fully introduced into the great conversation of philosophy the unconsidered assumption which had made the way of ideas seem viable to the moderns, the assumption, to wit, that the direct objects of experience are wholly produced by the mind itself. In philosophy, he was raised on The Critique of Pure Reason. He claimed to know it by heart. When he said “No!” to Kant, it meant something.

Now why did he say no?

John Deely 2001: Four Ages of Understanding, 611-12.

The answer to this question—why did Peirce say “no” to Immanuel Kant—as Kirk Kanzelberger will show us in this seminar, is the answer “no” to all modern philosophy. To demonstrate this severe criticism, we will read across a selection of texts from Peirce’s career, spanning from 1868–1908 (all available in the two volumes of the Essential Peirce: Volume I, Volume II, which are inexpensive in paperback and very inexpensive in Kindle formats). These readings will demonstrate an insight into Peirce’s own theory of cognition, in stark contrast to that held by the moderns, as well as his insight into the coherence of this thinking with the universe at large.

Discussion Sessions
10:00am ET

(World times)
Study Topics &
Readings

September
24
Week 1: Introduction
Lecture: “Descartes and the Modern Spirit”
Required Readings:
» Renee Descartes, Discourse on Method (selection)
» Renee Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (selection)
» Walker Percy, “The Fateful Rift: The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind”

Recommended Listening:
» Kanzelberger, K., “Mending the Cartesian Rift: Walker Percy on Being Human” (2020 Lyceum Institute Colloquium lecture audio recording)
October
1
Week 2: “All Thought is in Signs”
Lecture: From Intuitionism to Semiosis
Required Readings:
» Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man (EP vol. 1, item 2)
» Some Consequences of Four Incapacities (EP vol. 1, item 2) (selections TBD)
October
8
Week 3: “Beliefs… Caused by Nothing Human”
Lecture:  From Rationalism to the Pragmatic Maxim
Required Readings:
» The Fixation of Belief (EP vol. 1, item 7)
» How to Make Our Ideas Clear (EP vol. 1, item 8)
October
15
Week 4: “Tychism”
Lecture: Guessing the Riddle (Part I)
Required Readings:
» The Architecture of Theories (EP vol. 1, item 21)
» The Doctrine of Necessity Examined (EP vol. 1, item 22)
Optional Reading:
» “A Reply to the Necessitarians” (Collected Papers, vol. 6, 588-618)
October
22

BREAK
October
29
Week 5: “Synechism; Agapism”
Lecture: Guessing the Riddle (Part II)
Required Readings:
» The Law of Mind (EP vol. 1, item 23)
» Man’s Glassy Essence (EP vol. 1, item 24)
» Evolutionary Love (EP vol. 1, item 25)
November
5
Week 6: “If There is Any Goddess of Nonsense, This Must Be Her Haunt”
Lecture: Peirce on the Denial of Final Causality
Required Readings:
» On Science and Natural Classes (EP vol. 2, item 9)
November
12
Week 7: “Signs and States of Mind”
Lecture: The Science of Signs (Part I)
Required Readings:
» What Is a Sign? (EP vol. 2, item 2)
» Of Reasoning in General (EP vol. 2, item 3)
November
19
 Week 8: “Signs and the Three Universal Categories”
Lecture: The Science of Signs (Part II)
Required Readings:
» Sundry Logical Conceptions (EP vol. 2, item 20)
» Excerpts from Letters to William James (EP vol. 2, item 33)

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.

Peirce on proper names | by Francesco Bellucci

This event is part of the activities of the 2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth Anniversary of His Passing, cooperatively 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, the International Center for Semiotics and Intercultural Dialogue, Moscow State Academic University for the Humanities 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.

Francesco Bellucci holds a PhD in Semiotics (Università di Siena, 2012) and is currently Associate Professor at the Department of the Arts of the University of Bologna in Italy. He has worked at the Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia (2013–2017) and was visiting researcher at the Peirce Edition Project, IUPUI, Indianapolis (2016). His research interests focus on Peirce’s logic, the theory and the history of semiotics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of notation. He is the author of Peirce’s Speculative Grammar (Routledge, 2017).

Vincent Colapietro is Liberal Arts Research Professor Emeritus at the Pennsylvania State University. He is presently at the Center for the Humanities (University of Rhode Island). One of his main areas of research is pragmatism, with emphasis on Peirce. Though devoted to developing a semiotic perspective rooted in Peirce’s seminal work, Colapietro draws upon a number of other authors and perspectives (including Bakhtin, Jakobson, and Bourdieu as well as such movements as phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction). He is the author of Peirce’s Approach to the Self (1989), A Glossary of Semiotics (1993), Fateful Shapes of Human Freedom (2003), and Acción, sociabilidad y drama: Un retrato pragmatista del animal humano (2020) as well as numerous essays. He has written on a wide range of topics, from music (especially jazz) and cinema to psychoanalysis and deconstruction, from art and literature to ontology and phenomenology. He has served as President of the Charles S. Peirce Society, the Metaphysical Society of America, and the Semiotic Society of America.

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.

Intuition in Peirce and Maritain | by Donna E. West

Donna West (PhD, Cornell University) is Professor of Linguistics at the State University of New York, Cortland. For nearly forty years she has presented and published internationally (70 plus articles/chapters) on Peirce’s semiotic. She currently serves on the Board of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, as well as on several editorial boards. Her 2013 book, Deictic Imaginings: Semiosis at Work and at Play, investigates the ontogeny of indexical signs. Her 2016 edited volume on Peirce’s concept of habit offers a fresh, global perspective (scholars from twelve nations). She is likewise editing the “Mathematics and Cognition” section for the Handbook on Cognitive Mathematics (2021)—her own contribution explores the formidable role of chunking in abductive rationality. Following the 2021 publication of two guest-edited journal issues on Peirce and consciousness (Cognitive Semiotics, Semiotica), her forthcoming book presents retrospective narratives as the scaffold toward Peirce’s retroductive logic.

Michael L. Raposa joined the Department of Religion Studies at Lehigh University in 1985. He has served as chair of the department on four separate occasions. From 2006-2008, he also served as associate dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Previously, Raposa taught for four years at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Raposa was born in Westport, Massachusetts and received his undergraduate education at Yale University. After a year of graduate study at the University of Toronto, he returned to Yale and completed his master’s degree at the Divinity School there. In 1979, he entered the doctoral program in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned the PhD in 1987. Raposa’s primary research and teaching interests fall within the areas of modern western religious thought and the philosophy of religion. His first book, published in 1989, explored the religious dimension of Charles S. Peirce’s philosophy. In 1999, he published a book on the religious significance of boredom, its importance as both a threat and a stimulus to the spiritual life. Several years later, in 2003, Raposa published a volume devoted to the relationship between meditation and the martial arts, both the meditative aspect of certain martial exercises and the martial character of certain classical forms of spirituality. Most recently, in 2020, he published a book entitled Theosemiotic: Religion, Reading, and the Gift of Meaning, an application of Peirce’s semiotic theory to certain issues in philosophical theology. Raposa regularly teaches courses in the philosophy of religion, contemporary theology, Roman Catholic studies, American religious history, and the relationship between religion, science and technology. Raposa’s wife, Mary Ellen (retired in 2021) was a counselor in Lehigh’s Career Services center for many years; they raised three children, Daniel, Elizabeth, and Rosemary at their home in Northeast Bethlehem, about four miles from the university. (…)

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.

The Role of the Cenoscopic/Idioscopic Distinction in Peirce and Deely | by Scott Randall Paine

On May 28th at 5:00 PM UTC+1hr IEF Instituto de Estudos Filosóficos will be featuring a lecture given by Fr. Scott Randall Paine. This event is part of the activities of the 2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth Anniversary of His Passing, cooperatively 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, the International Center for Semiotics and Intercultural Dialogue, Moscow State Academic University for the Humanities 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.

Fr. Scott Randall Paine is a priest of the Archdiocese of Brasilia, Brazil, and professor of medieval philosophy and Eastern thought at the University of Brasília. Since 1974, he has lived, studied, and taught in Europe, Asia and South America, taking his doctorate in philosophy in Rome in 1988. His recent works include an edition of the essays of Bernard Kelly, A Catholic Mind Awake (2017); a study of the thought of G.K. Chesterton, The Universe and Mr. Chesterton (2nd ed., 2019); and, most recently, The Other World We Live In (2021). Paine has published widely in Portuguese and English, and his current writing and podcasts can be followed on the website: 3wisdoms.com.

Zoom Link

YouTube Streaming Link

IO2S Deely – Mind and Cognition at play in the Semiotics of Peirce

On 12 February 2022 at 10am ET/3pm UTC (see times around the world here), Lucia Santaella will present on “Mind and Cognition at play in the Semiotics of Peirce”. Santaella is a researcher 1A of CNPq, graduated in Portuguese and English Literature. She is a Full Professor in the Post-Graduate Program in Communication and Semiotics and Director of the Post-Graduate Program in Technologies of Intelligence and Digital Design at PUC-SP – Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, with a PhD in Literary Theory received from PUC-SP, in 1973, plus a Habilitation Thesis (Livre-Docência, in Portuguese) in Communication Sciences at ECA-USP – School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo, achieved in 1993. She is the Director of the CIEP – International Center for Peircean Studies at PUC-SP. She is the Honorary President of the FELS – Latin American Federation of Semiotics, as well as the Brazilian correspondent of the Argentinian National Academy of Fine Arts, appointed in 2002. She was elected the President of the Charles S. Peirce Society, USA, for 2007. Santaella is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Peirce Edition Project in Indianapolis, USA, and holds many other responsibilities and honors.

Commentary will be provided by Gary Shank, Professor of Educational Research at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He has been active in semiotics since 1979, when he attended his first Semiotic Society of America meeting at his alma mater, Indiana University.

Join the Zoom meeting to participate.

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.

IO2S Deely – Peirce on History, Science, and Realism

On 5 February 2022 at 12pm ET/5pm UTC (check event times around the world here), Tullio Viola will present, “Peirce on History, Science, and Realism”. Viola is an assistant professor in Philosophy of art and culture at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. He has a doctorate in philosophy from the Humboldt University in Berlin, and before joining Maastricht University he held post-doc positions in Berlin and Erfurt. He has published mainly on Peirce, north-American pragmatism, and its links to European philosophy. His book, Peirce on the Uses of History, has come out with De Gruyter in 2020.

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.

IO2S Deely – The Enchantment of De-Sign

On 11 January 2022 at 2pm ET/11am PT (7pm UTC – check times around the world), Farouk Y. Seif will present “The Enchantment of De-Sign: Navigation Toward Meaning-Making” as the first presentation of the International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth Anniversary of His Passing. Mauricio Neubern will provide commentary. This presentation is open to the public and can be watched live or as a recording below.

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.

Announcing 2022 Seminar Catalog

While these are all subject to change as to quarters and descriptions, here they are!  I hope many of you will take interest in these.  There are four repeats but also six new–and if I do say so myself, repetition isn’t always a bad thing.  Looking forward to this lineup and the wonderful contributions from our Faculty Fellows throughout 2022. Be sure to take note of the revised pricing structure for seminars in 2022:

Standard priceBasic Lyceum
Enrollment
Advanced Lyceum EnrollmentPremium Lyceum Enrollment
Benefactor$200 per seminar$903 seminars included
$90 after
8 seminars included
$90 after
Patron$135 per seminar$653 seminars included
$65 after
8 seminars included
$65 after
Participant$80 per seminar$403 seminars included
$40 after
8 seminars included
$40 after

Winter

Introduction to Philosophical Thinking

Brian Kemple

What is philosophy?  Is it something we study—as subject, like biology or literature?  Is it something each of us has, individually—as in, “my personal philosophy”?  Is it a relic of history?  An intellectual curiosity?  A means to impress at cocktail parties and on social media?

Or perhaps—as this seminar will attempt to demonstrate—philosophy is a way of thinking relatively easy to identify but very difficult to practice.  Mere description of the practice does not suffice for understanding it; one must, rather, engage in the practice itself.  This engagement requires discipline of the mind and the consistent willingness to pursue philosophy not merely as a hobby, but as a habit.  For those who have the will, this seminar will provide the means: namely through a schedule of carefully-selected readings and persistent dialogue.  This incipient practice of philosophy will not make you a philosopher; but it will engender in those who seize it the germ of a true philosophical habit.

Semiotics: Cultural World of the Sign

Brian Kemple

We today witness a struggle over the meaning of “reality” which is exhibited most profoundly, though perhaps least conscientiously, at the level of culture: in the existence of institutions, laws, communities, in the questions concerning words and ideas.   Where does the work of art exist?  Is a tradition a mere patterned performance of actions, or does it consist in something more?  In this seminar, we will undertake to understand the nature of these cultural realities: for although they are existentially relative and cognition-dependent, cultural beings nonetheless are real, and have an importance—psychological, moral, even spiritual—founded upon but irreducible to natural and existentially substantial cognition-independent entities.

This study will therefore focus on the contributions of semioticians—especially Juri Lotman and John Deely—in establishing and understanding the importance of cultural reality.

Spring

Introduction to a Living Thomism

Brian Kemple

Veritatem meditabitur guttur meum, et labia mea detestabuntur impium” – “truth shall be mediated by my mouth, and impiety detested by my lips.”  These words—from Proverbs 8:7—begin Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles and from them he elucidates the twofold office of the wise: first, to contemplate and speak the divine truth, which we may simply call “truth”, and, second, to refute the errors opposed to the truth.

This office was one Aquinas himself carried out diligently over the course of his teaching and writing career.  Though he lived a mere 49 years—from 1225 until 1274—he composed works preserved today totaling over 8 million words (without a computer or typewriter or even electric light to help).  Comprised within those 8 million words, one finds an incredible breadth of topics, often treated with similarly incredible insight and brevity.  In those brief insights are contained a perennial wisdom, fruitfully mined again and again over the centuries, and to which we in this seminar will diligently turn our own attention: seeking to understand not only the doctrines of the Angelic Doctor, but to engage his thinking as a living tradition.

Thomistic Psychology: Retrieval

Brian Kemple

Two momentous intellectual events occurred in 1879: Wilhelm Wundt founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research at the University of Leipzig, and Pope Saint Leo XIII released the encyclical Aeterni Patris, which exhorted the retrieval and teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Catholic universities.  The first, while a legitimate and necessary approach to understanding the human psyche, needs a more robust follow-through on the second; that is, the scientific understanding of the human psyche needs a philosophical understanding, and no philosopher has provided as strong an understanding of the human psyche as Thomas Aquinas.  Thus, we seek to retrieve this understanding in a way conducive to an overall deepening of our psychological insight. 

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.

Summer

Philosophizing in Faith: The Philosophical Thought of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Matthew Minerd

Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, styled by certain parties as the “Sacred Monster of Thomism,” taught at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the “Angelicum”) in Rome for a long career of over fifty years.  Although he is normally understood to be a conservative Roman theologian of his period, an honest assessment of his work shows that, while being integrated deeply into the Dominican schola Thomae, he was an active thinker, synthesizing, with a particular strength in pedagogy, Thomistic thought on many topics in theology and philosophy. This seminar will primarily consider his philosophical thought, tracing his treatment of topics pertaining to the philosophy of knowledge, metaphysics, moral philosophy, politics, with a bit of logic as well; it will end with a consideration of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s presentation of the boundaries between faith and reason.  

Throughout the seminar, emphasis will be placed on his organic connection with the Thomistic tradition as well as with the ongoing development of Thomistic thought in the many figures he influenced over the course of years of teaching and writing.

Politics: On the Philosophy of Culture

Francisco Plaza

In this seminar, we shall introduce the philosophy of culture, defining what culture is and where the study of culture fits into philosophy. We will then explore how there exists a speculative dimension to the philosophy of culture (i.e., explaining how culture exists in reality through human subjectivity and how it is determined by human nature), as well as a practical dimension (i.e., cultural values). After establishing the principles of this study, we will then look to its application to Western culture, in particular, the transition between the three major epochs of antiquity, the middle ages, and modernity. We will then analyze modern culture in particular with an eye toward its trajectory into the next age. Finally, we shall conclude with a practical examination of what the philosophy of culture (as we have studied throughout the course) tells us about the present age and our expectations in this life.

The Interfaces of Philosophy

Fr. Scott Randall Paine

A consideration of how philosophy — understood as the acquired intellectual habit of pondering reality in the light of the highest available theoretical, moral and artistic principles — stands “over against” all other forms of human knowledge and activity. Respecting philosophy’s “synoptic” aspirations, she must have something to say (however “basic”) about the other ways of knowing and acting that are not specifically hers.  This seminar will consider the nature and limits of philosophy, and its interfaces with the humanities, liberal arts, fine arts, music, physics, biology, social sciences, and religion and theology.

Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely

Brian Kemple

At the center of John Deely’s philosophical insight was what it means to have “postmodernism” in philosophy: not the post-structuralist movement of the 20th century, but rather a moving-past modernity which is affected principally by a retrieval of scholasticism, and especially the late scholastic work of John Poinsot, also known as John of St. Thomas.

Crucial to this retrieval, and crucial to the understanding of semiotics, is the notion of relation.  Too long ignored or mistaken as to its nature, a successful retrieval and advance of our knowledge of relation is necessary to understanding the action of signs.  For, by relation, the action of signs scales across the whole universe and unites nature and culture—or, at least, shows the possibility of such coherence.  Thus, the major contributions to semiotics given by Deely, which will be covered in this seminar, are 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.

Fall

Metaphysics: Early Thomistic Tradition

Brian Kemple

Often ignored—both by modernity and even by many Thomists of the 20th century—much was accomplished in the tradition of Latin Thomism, beginning with Jean Capréolus (1380—1444) and ending with João Poinsot (John of St. Thomas – 1589—1644).  Among these accomplishments was a deepened consideration of metaphysics based upon a genuine effort to understand St. Thomas himself.  Key to this effort were the inquiries into what precisely is meant by certain terms—terms, sadly, often used by many across the scholastic landscape with ambiguity: terms such as being (ens), essence (essentia), to be (esse) or existence (existentia).  In this seminar, with selections from Jean Capréolus, Tommaso de Vio Cajetan, Domingo Bañes, João Poinsot—and perhaps others—we will attempt to bring some clarity to these same terms through following their dialectic inquiries.

Semiotics: Peirce and the Modern Spirit

Kirk Kanzelberger

Beginning with the early papers of his “Cognition Series” (1868-1869) attacking the spirit of Cartesianism, Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) remained a severe critic of modern philosophy throughout his life.  His critique was a radical one, reaching to fundamental categories of being and experience and heavily informed by his reading of the history of philosophy and the Latin scholastics.  Peirce was not only a philosopher but also a working scientist of note, a unique figure whose thought brings together pre-modern metaphysical insights, the progress of positive sciences freed from the narrowness of modern presuppositions, and the promise of a new, postmodern age of human understanding founded upon “treasures both old and new”, including the re-founded discipline of semiotics, the “science of signs”.

This seminar is intended as a (partial!) introduction to the figure and thought of Peirce for those who are unfamiliar with him.  It will be organized largely around the connected pillars of modern thought that Peirce criticized and to which his own thought is a reply, including universal skepticism, rationalism, individualism, nominalism, and phenomenalism.

Science: The Faults of Modern Philosophy

Daniel Wagner, John Boyer, and Brian Kemple

Do we yet think, today, with minds shaped by philosophical modernity?  Yes, and often without awareness of it: from the divisions between nature and culture, to our conception of the self, and everything in between, modernity slips its way into our conversations, questions, and thinking at every opportunity.  To free ourselves from these yet-constraining shackles, we must discover the principles upon which modern philosophy was founded, and in that discovery, recognize their flaws and faults.  This inquiry—guided itself by certain Aristotelian-Thomistic principles—aims not merely at a historical survey of thinkers, ranging from René Descartes (1596—1650) to W.V. Quine (1908—2000), but at a philosophical critique of their errors.

Mending the Cartesian Rift: Walker Percy on Being Human

The colloquium lecture delivered in December 2020 by Kirk Kanzelberger, PhD “Mending the Cartesian Rift: Walker Percy on Being Human” is now available to the public. You can listen or download below (full lecture at the bottom). Please consider supporting the Lyceum Institute if you enjoy this lecture! The Lyceum Institute is currently fundraising for 2022 to support the pursuit of philosophy and dedicated thinkers like Dr. Kanzelberger in their research, teaching, and publications.

Mending the Cartesian Rift: Walker Percy on Being Human

Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger

Preview – Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger: Mending the Cartesian Rift: Walker Percy on Being Human

“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.

If you enjoyed this lecture, please consider supporting the Lyceum Institute with a small donation.