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Hearing the Word of God: A Kierkegaardian Phenomenology of Conscience

ABSTRACT: “Husserl insisted that I should study Kierkegaard.” So recounts the Russian existential philosopher, Lev Shestov, in his posthumously published 1939 essay, “In Memory of a Great Philosopher: Edmund Husserl.” Why would Husserl have said such a thing? As soon as one begins attempting to trace the conceptual lineage of phenomenology back to Kierkegaard, a number of philosophical connections worthy of attention emerge. Above all, it is the phenomenon of conscience that constitutes the cornerstone of such an analysis. For, just as conscience lies at the heart of the human experience, so too it lies at the heart of the attempt to exhibit that experience in philosophical thought. By emphasizing that life (and thought) is lived before God, a Kierkegaardian phenomenology of conscience illuminates what is most at stake, both methodologically and existentially, in doing phenomenology, and realizes phenomenology’s longstanding ambition to make sense of what it means to be the kind of beings we are, or, as Kierkegaard would put the matter, to be a single individual. Focusing on the phenomenon of conscience, this lecture develops an account of doing phenomenology in a Kierkegaardian way, that is, doing phenomenology before God.

Presenting our first Colloquium for 2023: Dr. Steven DeLay (Tutorial Fellow, Ambrose College, Woolf University; Research Fellow, Global Centre for Advanced Studies College Dublin, and an accomplished researcher and author) gives us a lecture and Q&A on “Hearing the Word of God: A Kierkegaardian Phenomenology of Conscience”. This lecture investigates the question of whether phenomenological method is congenial to the discussion of God, or whether it necessarily brackets or excludes God from its inquiries, through the question of conscience.

Dr. DeLay undertakes this investigation through tracing the lineage of phenomenological inquiry expressed in Edmund Husserl’s life and thoughts into Kierkegaard’s understanding of “being a single individual”, and in contrast with the phenomenological approach and consideration of Martin Heidegger. Thereby are raised the questions of language’s meaningfulness and our responsibility for it, both in our speaking and in our hearing. Listeners will be challenged to reconsider the purposiveness of life’s experience as reflected in his or her consciousness of being one who has a conscience.

Lyceum Institute members may listen to the lecture now and participate in the Live Q&A on 16 February 2023 at 6:00pm ET (event times around the world here).

[Summer 2022] Philosophical Thought of Garrigou-Lagrange

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

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.

Listen to a preview here

What is final causality?

To our day, the greatest philosophers, in agreement with natural reason, have said, “Becoming is not self-explanatory. It cannot exist by itself. It is not related to reality or to being as A is to A, as white is to white, as light is to light, and as spirit is to spirit.” First of all, it requires a subject. Movement is always the movement of something—of water, air, or the ether. Movement in general does not exist as such. Only this movement exists. It is only this movement or this becoming because it is the movement of this subject, of this mobile thing. No dream without a dreamer, no flight without that which flies, no outflow without a liquid, no flow without a fluid (no matter how subtle and small it might be). No thought without a mind, and if a mind is not, like God, Thought Itself and Truth Itself Ever Actually Known ab aeterno, it is distinct from its thinking and from its thoughts, which vary and are concerned with various objects while it remains one and the same (i.e., the same substantial being under the multiple and changing phenomena). And this imperfect mind cannot know without the concurrence of Him who is Thought Itself, Truth Itself, and Life Itself, He who is more intimately present to us than we ourselves are to ourselves, all the while being really and essentially distinct from us.

Garrigou-Lagrange, The Order of Things: The Realism of the Principle of Finality, 72.

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).

DISCUSSIONS:
July 2—27 August
Saturdays, 9:00-10:00am ET /
1:00-2:00pm 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 discover the profound insights of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, a thinker of great subtly and wisdom. The instructor for this seminar is Dr. Matthew Minerd, Professor of Philosophy and Moral theology at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, PA and Faculty Fellow of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Minerd here.

[2022Su-B] Philosophizing in Faith – Participant

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

$80.00

[2022Su-B] Philosophizing in Faith – 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-B] Philosophizing in Faith – Benefactor

Recommended for those with fulltime employment in well-paying professions and sufficient resources to provide a little more in support of the Lyceum Institute and its mission.

$200.00