[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.

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 – Fonseca on Signs

On 26 March 2022, Professor Antonio Manuel Martins presented “Fonseca on Signs”. Martins is a Full Professor at the University of Coimbra and a member of both the Institute for Philosophical Studies and the Institut International de Philosophie. His main area of activity is Philosophy. His main research interests are: theories of justice; Ancient Philosophy; ethics; and epistemology. Expertise in: Philosophical Systems; Greek Philosophy; and Theory of Justice. Presently he is working on: Hellenistic Philosophies; Aristotle; Causality; and Categories. His book Logic and Ontology in Pedro da Fonseca (in Portuguese), jointly published in 1994 by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the now dissolved National Board for Scientific and Technological Research (Junta Nacional de Investigação Científica e Tecnológica), remains a seminal source for the latest studies on the Coimbra philosophical tradition.

Commentary is provided by Cristóvão S. Marinheiro, graduate of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and Ph.D. in History of Philosophy in 2010 from the Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV (now Sorbonne Université), with a thesis on Antonio Bernardi (1502-1565). Between 2004 and 2005, he was appointed Research associate (engenheiro técnico de investigação) at the University of Coimbra, where he worked on the commentary on Physics by Manuel de Góis. He worked as a Junior researcher at the Université de Luxembourg between 2005 and 2009, and as a lecturer at the Universität des Saarlandes between 2009 and 2014. Since 2016 he works at the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg in the Rare books and manuscript Department. He has published several articles on XVIth century Aristotelianism.

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.

Thomist Spring

Our Thomist Spring has begun! There are no thinkers that exert a larger influence at the Lyceum Institute than Thomas Aquinas, and this April and May we will immerse ourselves in his unparalleled wisdom with two seminars, featuring a collection of lectures, carefully selected readings, and thought-provoking discussion sessions. The lectures and readings for the first of these eight weeks have been posted. There is still time, however, to sign up for the Introduction to a Living Thomism and Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval seminars. Listen to the lecture previews below!

Introduction to a Living Thomism — An anti-ideological manner of thinking.

Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval — Where modern psychology went awry.

[2022 Spring] Thomistic Psychology: A Retreival

In 2017, an article was published in the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock, highlighting how pervasive mental health issues have become in our world.  Depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and psychosis all appear, according to the authors (Veronica Tucci and Nidal Moukaddam), to be rapidly on the rise. 

Why?

Is it a matter, merely, of increased recognition and improvement in diagnosis—or have we somehow gone fundamentally wrong in our understanding of the human person, to the point of our cures becoming worse than the disease?

As Spalding, Stedman, Gagné, and Kostelecky (three psychologists and a philosopher) write in their book, The Human Person:

Any undergraduate student of psychology, at the end of their studies, knows that there is no coherent, understandable picture of psychology as a single discipline.  Indeed, reading any modern introductory psychology textbook is enough to see this.  It is not just that different areas of psychology emphasize different aspects or approaches, but that they have fundamentally different, and incompatible, philosophical commitments, although those commitments are rarely described.

2019: The Human Person: What Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas Offer Modern Psychology, 2.

Put otherwise, psychology—as with all sciences, but especially so—cannot operate in a philosophical vacuum.  And yet, the methodologies employed by contemporary practitioners of psychology consists either in a materialist reductivism which eschews having any philosophical commitments whatsoever, or it relies upon nebulous concepts of what it means to be human, resulting in inferences of murky significance and strength. In consequence, there are philosophical commitments employed but never explored or analyzed in much of our psychological literature and in the concepts which are handed down to us, the public, from “elite” psychological authorities.

We are left therefore with many professionals studying and analyzing mental health, but, it seems, no real grasp of what “mental health” means in truth.  Absent a rich causal understanding of the human psyche, we seem condemned to improve only in our recognition that something is not right, that we are mentally unhealthy—while the epidemic of mental illness continues to spread.

Thus, in this seminar, we will undertake to retrieve the deep, coherent, and rich conception of the human psyche professed by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae. 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.

DISCUSSIONS:
April 2—28 May
Saturdays, 10:00-11:00am ET /
2:00-3:00pm UTC

(Additional discussion sessions may be added depending on interest.)

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 Thomas Aquinas has to say about our human nature and faculties. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, 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).

[2022Sp] Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval – Participant

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

$80.00

[2022Sp] Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval – 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

[2022Sp] Thomistic Psychology: A Retrieval – Benefactor

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

$200.00

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

[2022 Spring] Introduction to a Living Thomism

What is Thomism?  What does it mean, to be a Thomist?  Étienne Gilson once wrote in private correspondence to John Deely, in a letter written in the summer of 1968 that:

‘A thomist’ of whatever brand should find it superfluous to develop a question which Thomas was content to pass over with a few words… [because] it is very difficult to develop such a question with any certitude of doing so along the very line he himself would have followed, had he developed it.  If we develop it in the wrong way, we engage his doctrine in some [new] thoroughfare, instead of keeping it on the threshold his own thought has refused to cross, and which, to him, was still an assured truth.

Étienne Gilson, 28 August 1968 (quoted in Deely 1994: New Beginnings, 36).

This attitude toward being a Thomist, it seems to me, runs directly contrary to the spirit of Thomas Aquinas himself.  There are many problems, difficulties, and issues in our lives to which Thomas’ “few words” provide no guidance in our own endeavors, and yet the resolution of which stands of paramount importance for our intellectual, moral, and cultural well-being.

At the same time, however, Gilson did promote what he and his 20th century contemporary Thomist, Jacques Maritain, called a “Living Thomism” (cf. Gilson 1964: The Spirit of Thomism, 84ff).  In Maritain’s words:

Thomism is not a museum piece.  No doubt, like other systems of medieval philosophy, indeed, philosophic systems of all ages, it must be studied historically… But Thomism [triumphs over time] so more completely than any other [philosophy] since it harmonises and exceeds them all, in a synthesis which transcends all its components.  It is relevant to every epoch.  It answers modern problems, both theoretical and practical.  In face of contemporary aspirations and perplexities, it displays a power to fashion and emancipate the mind.

1934: Preface to Metaphysics, 1.

This emancipative power is not one which resolves the contemporary perplexities by mere repetition of already-stated answers, but one which, in the dialectical manner exemplified by Aquinas himself, weighs and measures the diverse efforts of its time and discerns through or against them what is true in itself.  In this, we see Thomism exhibit a systematic approach to thinking-through honest inquiry while never confining itself to a determinate or closed system of thought.  In this seminar, we will undertake to follow in authentic repetition the Thomistic thinking, in discovering the principles which guide all the inquiries he undertook himself—thereby enabling us not only to follow St. Thomas to his own conclusions, but to seek out conclusions to problems which he himself never had to face.

DISCUSSIONS:
April 2—28 May
Saturdays, 1:15-2:15pm ET /
5:15-6:15pm UTC

(Additional discussion sessions may be added depending on interest.)

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 investigate what the principles of Thomistic thinking and how they apply perennially in all ages and to all questions. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, 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).

[2022Sp] Introduction to a Living Thomism – Participant

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

$80.00

[2022Sp] Introduction to a Living Thomism – 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

[2022Sp] Introduction to a Living Thomism – Benefactor

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

$200.00

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

Wednesday Happy Hour [16 February 2022]

Every Wednesday of 2022, the Lyceum Institute hosts an online Philosophical Happy Hour from 5:45-7:15pm ET (or later)—open to the public—where we discuss topics ranging far and wide in conversations civil, thoughtful, and conducted with an effort to understand better not only one another but the truth. Drinks optional: coffee, tea, wine, whiskey, beer, water, or naught at all. Only requirement is that you bring a philosophical attitude! If you are interested in participating, use the form below and an invitation link will be sent to you around 5:45pm. You are free to drop in any time until 7:15pm.

Today (16 February 2022) we’ll be discussing the topic of Thomas Aquinas, his thought, person, life—and perhaps scholasticism in general. Other topics may come up as well!

[Note: if you have already requested an invite to Happy Hours past, you’re already on the list!]

IO2S Deely – No mere ‘flyover country’: some historical notes regarding the Schola Thomae as an integral context of the thought of Dr. John Deely

A Ruthenian Catholic, husband, and father, Matthew K. Minerd is a professor of philosophy and moral theology at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA and Faculty Fellow for the Lyceum Institute. His academic work has appeared in the journals Nova et Vetera, the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Saint Anselm Journal, Lex Naturalis, Downside Review, The Review of Metaphysics, and Maritain Studies, as well in volumes published by the American Maritain Association through the Catholic University of America Press. He has served as author, translator, and/or editor for volumes published by The Catholic University of America Press, Emmaus Academic, Cluny Media, and Ascension Press.

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 – Duns Scotus on Signs: Common Nature, Haecceity, and Signification

On 16 January 2022 at 12pm ET/11am CT (5:00pm UTC – check times around the world here), Dr. Paniel Reyes Cárdenas (author of Scholastic Realism: A Key to Understanding Peirce’s Philosophy and many other works across a broad philosophical range) will present on the contributions of John Duns Scotus to the history of semiotics. As is well-known, Scotus was profoundly influential on Charles S. Peirce, the modern father of semiotics. This presentation is open to the public and can be watched below (live or recorded).

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 – Augustine: Instituting the Given Sign

The Latin Age of philosophy was one of the most productive, systematic, and insightful times of intellectual inquiry in human history—despite the oft-given reductive and willfully-ignorant treatment that labels all between the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance as the “Dark Ages”—for which the first major figure was Augustine of Hippo. Most well-known for his Confessions and City of God, works both of a deeply spiritual yet profoundly philosophical nature, Augustine was a contributor the tradition in many other ways, including but not limited to his definition of the sign and distinction of signs into natural and given.

On 15 January 2022 at 11am ET (4pm UTC – check times around the world here), Dr. Brian Kemple (Lyceum Institute) will give a lecture on Augustine’s contribution as well as his errors, and discuss what Augustine’s work provides us both in its historical significance and its overall importance for an understanding of semiotics. Dr. Remo Gramigna will provide commentary. This presentation is open to the public and can be watched below (live as well as recorded).

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.