The Semiotics of John of St. Thomas | by Anabela Gradim

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.

Anabela Gradim graduated in Philosophy at the University of Porto. She holds a Masters Degree, a PhD and a DsC (Título de Agregação, in Portuguese) in Communication Sciences from the University of Beira Interior (UBI). Her PhD was obtained in 2004 with the dissertation “The communicational dimension of Peirce’s semiotics” (A dimensão comunicacional da semiótica de Peirce). She teaches Journalism, Communication and Methodology at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the UBI. She is the scientific Coordinator of the Research & Development Unit Labcom – Communication and Arts, and Director of the PhD Program in Communication Sciences at UBI. Her research interests revolve around Journalism, Science Communication, Semiotics, Rhetoric and the interface between these disciplines and the digital media plus Cyberculture. She has coordinated and been involved as a researcher in ten research projects, has authored numerous books, book chapters and scientific papers in the fields of journalism, semiotics and science communication.

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 (2019) 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.

June 10, 2022 / 1pm (EDT), 6pm (UTC+1h)
Lecturer: Anabela Gradim

Commentator: Brian Kemple

Chair: William Passarini

Zoom Link to Meeting

[Summer 2022] Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely

Semiotics—toward which human beings took their first explicit steps in the beginning of the Latin Age of philosophy, in the work of St. Augustine of Hippo (350–430AD), an age that culminated in the thinking of John Poinsot (1589–1644)—is that by which we begin in a true postmodernism. This is one of the key and perhaps surprising claims of John Deely (1942–2017). That is, often today what is called “postmodernism” is nothing more, in fact, than an ultramodernism: a fragmentary, distorted view of the world grown out of the errors of modern philosophical thinking, run toward its natural, incoherent conclusions.

Listen to a preview here

Preview – Semiotics as origin of genuine post-modernism.

In contrast, consider this description Deely gives:

In a word, postmodernism is the opening of a passageway from the age of classical modern philosophy to an epoch as distinct from the modern age as the modern age was from Latin times, or Latin times from the ancient Greek period. The opposition of modernity to Latin (and Greek) times eventually took the form of the opposition of idealism to realism in philosophy. Postmodern thought begins, properly speaking, not so much by rejecting this opposition as by transcending it, for in experience integrally taken, mind-dependent and mind-independent being assert themselves equally—not “equally” in the quantitative sense, but “equally” in the sense of components both asserting themselves in different ways at different times and in different proportions throughout the course of human life, both together making up the one fabric of our lives we call “experience”.

What was needed for philosophy to mature [to postmodernism] was not so much a shift as an expansion, an expansion of the notion of reality—and with it, being—to include the whole experience as the prior ground out of which human understanding arises and on which it throughout depends. From the start, being should have been an inclusive, not an exclusive and oppositional notion. Being is not only “that which can only be said in many ways” (Aristotle), but that out of which the division between what is and what is not independent of the mind arises (Aquinas), and not in any finally fixed way, but differently according to the time and circumstances of the one experiencing such a contrast among objects.

Deely 1994: New Beginnings (18–19).

To understand and affect this maturation into postmodernity, we will turn our attention in this seminar to the major contributions to semiotics given by Deely: 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. This is an advanced seminar which provides a serious challenge to all participants.

DISCUSSIONS:
July 2—27 August
Saturdays, 3:15-4:15pm ET /
7:15-8:15pm UTC
Tuesdays 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 discover the enormous contributions to semiotics made by John Deely. The instructor for this seminar is Dr. Brian Kemple, who wrote his dissertation under Dr. Deely, and who is 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).

[2022Su-B] Semiotics: Deely – Participant

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

$80.00

[2022Su-B] Semiotics: Deely – 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] Semiotics: Deely – 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

IO2S Deely – Introduction to Ethnosemiotics

On 27 May 2022 at 12:00pm ET (check event times around the world here), Francesco Marsciani will present an “Introduction to Ethnosemiotics”. Associate Professor in the Department of the Arts at the University of Bologna, Francesco Marsciani studied with U. Eco and A.J. Greimas. In the late ’80s, he has collaborated in the workings of the Semio-Linguistic Research Group (Groupe de recherches sémio-linguistiques) of the French CNRS, which was headed by Greimas. Marsciani is active in theoretical semiotics and text analysis, as well as in the development and ripening of the ethnosemiotic perspective. In 2009 he founded the CUBE – Centro Universitario Bolognese di Etnosemiotica at the Department of the Arts of the University of Bologna.

Comment will be provided by Dr. Vytautas Tumėnas, who graduated in art theory, history and criticism at Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania). He has a PhD in ethnology and works obtained as a researcher at the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Lithuanian Institute of History.

Join the Zoom Meeting to participate in the 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.

Trivium: Rhetoric

Beginning the week of June 6, all Lyceum Institute members will have access to a 10-week course in the Art of Rhetoric. Discussion sessions will be held twice per week: Mondays at 6:00–6:45pm and Thursdays at 12:00–12:45pm (subject to change). Each week there will be an assigned reading, relevant practice, and brief lecture. Discussion sessions will cover both the reading and selected issues raised in the lecture.

The study of rhetoric is a study not only of defending ourselves against false accusations, slander, calumny, and other verbal assaults upon our character, but is further a study of making known the truth, so that it may speak for itself. If logic, which cannot be justly divorced from rhetoric, consists in learning the valid structures whereby one discovers truth for himself (by understanding the nature and action of thought), then rhetoric consists in the discovery of righteous means to persuade others to grasp those same truths—and, moreover, the ability to defend ourselves against the manipulative persuasions of others.

This talent resides not principally in the manipulative arrangement of language, but rather the effusion of virtue in that most-human of capacities, the linguistic. In the words of Quintilian:

The orator then, whom I am concerned to form, shall be the orator as defined by Marcus Cato, “a good man, skilled in speaking.” But above all he must possess the quality which Cato places first and which is in the very nature of things the greatest and most important, that is, he must be a good man. This is essential not merely on account of the fact that, if the powers of eloquence serve only to lend arms to crime, there can be nothing more pernicious than eloquence to public and private welfare alike, while I myself, who have laboured to the best of my ability to contribute something of value to oratory, shall have rendered the worst of services to mankind, if I forge these weapons not for a solider, but for a robber… To this must be added the fact that the mind will not find leisure even for the study of the noblest tasks, unless it first be free from vice… vileness and virtue cannot jointly inhabit in the selfsame heart, and… it is as impossible for one and the same mind to harbour good and evil thoughts as it is for one man to be at once both good and evil… Consequently, the bad man and the perfect orator can never be identical.

Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, lib.12, c.1

This course is open to all Lyceum Institute members. Download the syllabus or find out more in the links below.

Learn more about Rhetoric at the Lyceum

The Lyceum Institute offers courses in all three arts of the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Together, they form a core of knowledge necessary to every educated human being.

Learn more about our approach at the links below.


Enroll

Trivium courses are included in every level of membership for the Lyceum Institute. See enrollment options here.

[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 – A Holistic Approach to Semiotics: Juri Lotman

On 12 March 2022, Marek Tamm presented on “A Holistic Approach to Semiotics: Juri Lotman”. Tamm is Professor of Cultural History at the School of Humanities in Tallinn University and Head of Tallinn University Centre of Excellence in Intercultural Studies. His primary research fields are cultural history of medieval Europe, theory and history of historiography, and cultural memory studies. He has recently published Cultural History of Memory in the Early Modern Age (co-edited with Alessandro Arcangeli, Bloomsbury 2020), Making Livonia: Actors and Networks in the Medieval and Early Modern Baltic Sea Region (co-edited with Anu Mänd, Routledge, 2020), Juri Lotman – Culture, Memory and History: Essays in Cultural Semiotics (Palgrave Macmillan 2019), Rethinking Historical Time: New Approaches to Presentism (co-edited with Laurent Olivier, Bloomsbury 2019), and Debating New Approaches to History (co-edited with Peter Burke, Bloomsbury 2018). His most recent publishing project is The Companion to Juri Lotman: A Semiotic Theory of Culture, co-edited with Peeter Torop (Bloomsbury, forthcoming in 2022).

John Redennick-Trowe provides commentary.

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.

Latin Courses Start Soon

Beginning 18 January 2022 at 6-7pm ET, the Lyceum Institute will be offering live instruction in Elementary Latin. Materials for the class are already available on the Teams platform, including PDF/PowerPoint class notes (with audio), textbooks, vocabulary aids, homework assignments, and various other aids for study. Students are expected to have read through the text on their own prior to live sessions, which will focus on establishing a reading and translational fluency.

This course introduces the basic elements of Classical Latin, with an emphasis on correct pronunciation, essential vocabulary, and fundamental grammar. In terms of grammar, attention is placed on the mastery of forms, such as: declension of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives; comparison of adjectives and adverbs; and the present indicative system for all verb conjugations. All these elements are presented and reinforce through weekly practice in pronunciation, reading, and translation.

Although this course trains participants in all four language arts – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – an emphasis is placed on the participants’ ability to read and translate Latin.

Elementary Latin Syllabus

More advanced students may sign up for the Intermediate Latin course, beginning 13 January 2022 at 6-7pm ET. Entrance into this course requires either completion of the Elementary course or passing a placement test conducted by the instructor. Read the syllabus below for more details.

Enroll

Latin courses are included in every level of membership for the Lyceum Institute. See enrollment options here.

[2022 Winter] Semiotics: Cultural World of the Sign

How can semiotics help us to understand culture? Simply put: through understanding the causality of the sign in conjunction with the reality of the specifically-human world. This demands, of course, that we understand what we mean by reality. Is it just those things that exist independently of our minds? Or does it have a broader, more complex, more difficult to ascertain being? Does the sign not merely operate within or alongside the reality of the world–but as constitutive of it? Is this constitutive activity of the sign–presuming it can be identified–limited to cognition-independent signification; or is such fundamentally a misnomer?

This study will focus on the contributions of semioticians—especially Yuri Lotman and John Deely—in establishing and understanding the importance of cultural reality.  We will therefore undertake to understand the Umwelt and Lebenswelt, the Bildendwelt, the influence of the future on the past, diachrony and synchrony, textuality, codes, and the relation between self and culture.

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 world-constituting and world-dependent causality of the sign. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Kemple here.

DISCUSSIONS:
January 15–12 March
Saturdays, 10:00-11:00am ET /
3:00-4:00pm UTC

WHERE:
Lyceum Institute digital platform run on Microsoft Teams

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principle of financial subsidiarity. There are three payment levels, with discounts for those who are professors and clergy (whose continuing education is not sufficiently prioritized by their institutions) and for students (who are already taxed excessively by the educational system). However, if you are part of the working world and wish to take a seminar but cannot afford the “standard” rate, it is acceptable to sign up at one of these discounted prices. 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.

Trivium: Logic

Logic as a Liberal Art – HFS Books
Houser: Logic as a Liberal Art
[Order – Amazon] [Order – CUA Press]

Beginning the week of January 10, all Lyceum Institute members will have access to a 13-week course in traditional Logic. Discussion sessions will be held twice per week: Mondays at 6:00-6:45pm and Thursdays at 11:45am-12:30pm (subject to change). Each week there will be an assigned reading, problem set, and brief lecture. Discussion sessions will cover both the reading and selected problems.

But why study traditional logic? Some will say it has been obsolesced by modern (symbolic) logic. Others will say that it is a frivolous activity used even less commonly in “real life” than algebra or calculus. Both are wrong: for though we do not break down our propositions and arguments into formal, syllogistic formulas, by a deep familiarity with their structure, their rules, and their application in natural language, we are able to recognize illogical arguments from others and to construct more logical arguments ourselves.

To quote our primary textbook, R.E. Houser’s logic as a Liberal Art:

The natural habitat of logic is the verbal and written language of ordinary human discourse, including the high-level verbal discourse that occurs in university courses.  The man who invented this approach to logic was Aristotle, who wrote the first textbooks in logic in the fourth century B.C.  The main reason why this approach is preferable for most people is that it avoids the two problems that have plagued the teaching of symbolic logic during its heyday and up to the present.  First, the verbal approach is clearly preferable for those who have math phobia.  The problems used in the verbal approach are set out in ordinary language, language that often contains clues that help us to understand the logic of verbal discourse.  Such clues, of course, are missing from the mathematical symbols used in symbolic logic.  Second, the verbal study of logic has the advantage of avoiding the problem of needing to translate back and forth between abstract logical symbols and the more concrete verbal symbols we call words.  While mathematical symbols do on occasion help us see logical relations… by using ordinary or “natural” language to study logic we can avoid the large headache of translating from the language of symbols to ordinary language, and then back again.  So we content ourselves with the smaller but real headaches involved in searching out the logic contained within verbal or natural language.

Houser 2020: Logic as a Liberal Art, xxviii.

This characterizes our approach to the Trivium as a whole at the Lyceum: striving to master language as a real and integral part of thinking. In our logic course, we will focus on affecting clarity in thought so as to better express it in words. I hope you will join us!

Learn more about Logic at the Lyceum

The Lyceum Institute offers courses in all three arts of the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Together, they form a core of knowledge necessary to every educated human being.

Learn more about our approach at the links below.


Enroll

Trivium courses are included in every level of membership for the Lyceum Institute. See enrollment options here.

New Book – Linguistic Signification

Dr. Kemple has–at long last–finished his Linguistic Signification: A Classical and Semiotic Course in Grammar & Composition. Comprising twenty-six chapters and four appendices, this text is the work of two years concerted effort, but roughly a decade of thinking closely about the nature and function of language, particularly in light of the doctrine of signs–that is, semiotics. It is available in either paperback or hardcover from Amazon, or as a PDF to all Lyceum Institute members.

This book intends to serve one principal end: instructing students, of sufficiently mature mind, how to compose thoughtful and insightful essays in the English language. Accomplishing this rather specific end, however, requires a broad range of study: a study much broader than that comprised by a simple question of “how to write”. That is, we cannot write well unless we understand the instruments whereby writing is accomplished; or, to employ one of those instruments—the metaphor—the fruits of composition are nourished best through growing deep the roots of grammar. As we will see, this linguistic growth requires some knowledge also of logic and rhetoric: for although this book intends an introduction into the first study of the liberal arts, all three arts of the Trivium are nevertheless inseparably convergent in the flourishing of our natural human ability for linguistic signification.

We will combine some use of all the Trivium, however abecedarian our talents in these arts may still be, by the time we reach the final chapter. While we will draw upon logic and rhetoric, however, the focal study of grammar, as pursued in this book, forms not only the foundational but rather the central part of this non-trivial pursuit of the Trivium.

This aim is carried out through various readings, exercises, investigation of literature, philosophy, and more.