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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).

Seminar Catalog for 2023

The year 2022 saw the Lyceum offer a spate of diverse and fascinating seminars. so how can we top this wonderful past year of seminars? Why, with a new year of wonderful seminars, of course! We are covering a broad range of thinkers and ideas this year: Aristotle, Aquinas, John Henry Newman, John Poinsot, Yves Simon, Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein, Martin Heidegger, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy—and more. Introducing our seminar catalog for 2023:

2023 Seminar Catalog

W I N T E R (JANUARY—APRIL)Instructors
» Ethics: Virtue» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Aquinas’ Cosmological Vision» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate – Part I» Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger
» John Henry Newman in Four Books» Dr. Scott Randall Paine
» Semiotics: The Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Phenomenology: an Introduction» Drs. Daniel Wagner and Brian Kemple
» Politics: A Thomistic Defense of Democracy» Dr. Francisco Plaza
» Ethics: The Moral Noetic of the Natural Law» Dr. Matthew Minerd
» Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate – Part II» Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger
» Thomistic Psychology: Habits and World» Dr. Brian Kemple
» Phenomenology: The Contribution of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy» Dr. Scott Randall Paine
» Phenomenology: Heidegger’s Method – Part I» Dr. Brian Kemple

These seminars are open to the public, but enrolled members of the Lyceum Institute are offered discounted fees. Each lasts 8 weeks and includes the opportunity for an in-depth engagement with important philosophical questions. Anyone with a serious commitment to the truth is welcome. Our instructors are among the very best and bring decades of insight, wisdom, and experience in teaching. Download the Seminar Catalog for full descriptions of each seminar.

Details (dates, times, syllabi, required books, and in-depth descriptions) and registration for each seminar will be posted approximately one month before they begin. Keep your eyes here for news about Ethics: Virtue and Aquinas’ Cosmological Vision this weekend—and consider enrolling!

Standard priceBasic Lyceum
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

⚘ Meanings we live in: Husserl’s theory of meaning and the surrounding world | Hamid Malekzadeh

Hamid Malekzadeh (PhD in Political Theory, University of Tehran) is the Executive Manager of the Iranian Society for Phenomenology (ISP) as well as the co-editor-in-chief of the Iranian Yearbook of Phenomenology (IYP). Some of his publishing are I Am A Not-Others: An Inquiry in Concreteness of the Political Subject (Pajvak, Tehran: 2014) and Embodiment and The Transcendental Basis of Politics: An Essay in Political Ontology (Gam-e-Nou [New Step]: Forthcoming). He is also the translator of Toward a Phenomenology of Sexual Difference: Husserl, Merleau Ponty, Beauvoir by Sara Heinämaa (Gam-e-Nou [New Step]: 2021).

Malekzadeh began his study of politics with a focus on the concept of recognition in Hegel’s system of thought and sought the explanation of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology in search of an explanation for the relationship between the individual Ego and collectivities. In recent years, the discussion of the ontology of politics from a phenomenological point of view with a focus on the body and embodiment, intentionality, and Husserl’s Egology have been the most important topics that he has focused on.

Mohammad Shafiei obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University, in 2017. Currently, he works in the philosophy department of Shahid Behesti University. His doctoral thesis has been published under the title Meaning and Intentionality. a Dialogical Approach. Besides publishing articles under labels such as the Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso, the South American Journal of Logic, Synthese, and Análisis Filosófico, Shafiei has also co-edited, with prof. Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen, Peirce and Husserl: Mutual Insights on Logic, Mathematics and Cognition. His areas of interest include phenomenology, philosophical logic, semiotics and Metaphysics. He is co-editor of two forthcoming volumes, one with prof. Pietarinen on further links between phenomenology and phaneroscopy, and the other with Dr. Iulian Apostolesco on possible synergies between Husserlian phenomenology and Leibniz’ monadological metaphysics.

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 – A Response to Göran Sonesson

On 25 February 2022, Prof. Göran Sonesson presented “What is Cognitive Semiotics?” for the International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth Anniversary of His Passing. In the spirit of openness, I have penned a response to this presentation:

In his brief and dense work, The Human Use of Signs, Or Elements of Anthroposemiosis (published in 1994), John Deely writes that the semiotic analysis proper to criticism—as that species-specifically human intellectual activity whereby we exercise a conscious control over objectivity—concerns the integrity of a pattern of significations.[1]  The negative duty of the critic, then, is to discern when a pattern of significations lacks such integrity, and articulate this lack to the audience.

With all due respect, it is just such a lack of integrity which is found in Professor Sonesson’s presentation, “What is Cognitive Semiotics?” (with no intention of signifying anything concerning his subjective, moral integrity).  I will restrict the remarks constituting this response to three brief comments.

[1] Deely 1994: The Human Use of Signs, Or Elements of Anthroposemiosis, ¶228: “here it is not a question of the integrity of the inquirer but rather of the integrity of the pattern of significations into which inquiry is made.”

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