IO2S Deely – Signs and Being: the Role of Semiotics in Heidegger’s Thought

On 30 April 2022, at 11am ET (check event times around the world here), Rocco Gangle will present on “Signs and Being: the Role of Semiotics in Heidegger’s Thought”. Prof. Gangle is the author of several books, including Diagrammatic Immanence: Category Theory and Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2016). His research focuses on semiotics, diagrammatic logic, French phenomenology and post-structuralism, and the work of Francois Laruelle. He is Professor of Philosophy at Endicott College, USA and Distinguished Research Fellow with GCAS College Dublin, Ireland.

Commentary will be provided by Mafalda Blanc, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, since 1980.

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.

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 – 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.

Winter Seminars – Reminder

Our Winter Seminars start tomorrow (first discussion sessions 1/15)! There’s still plenty of time to sign up, but readings are already available and discussion threads will begin on 1/8.

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING

As you might surmise, this is a course for those who have had no (or have not had in a long time) formal philosophical education. It is a bit different than the typical introductory course. Here, you will find no histories or surveys, no trite clichés about questioning authority, no attempts at “dumbing down” a complex topic to make it “accessible”. Rather, you will find the essential challenge of philosophy itself: learning the habit of conscious reflection on our own conceptions. We will do this through a series of lectures, curated readings, and discussion sessions—with part of the seminar focused on Plato, as a master of the means to philosophical reflection—and a community of like-minded inquirers.

SEMIOTICS: CULTURAL WORLD OF THE SIGN

This is a much more advanced seminar, presuming the participant already has some familiarity with semiotics and possibly with scholastic realism as well. Here, we are asking the question of culture explicitly from the perspective of semiotics: how is culture constituted, mediated, diminished, and otherwise altered by the action of signs? How does culture, conversely, shape the “grammar” of signs by which we ourselves think? These questions are, I think, important especially today, in which we are experiencing a dramatic shift in the constitution of culture as affected by the digital paradigm of daily experience. If we are to change culture for the better, we must understand how we participate in it—and thus we must understand the signs through which culture affects human life, and, conversely, how human beings may affect culture through the use of signs.

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.