This Week [2/7-2/13]

Weekly Schedule

2/9 Tuesday – Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). A late announcement, but we had a good time… you should have been there! Good reason to sign up, I suppose.

2/12 Friday – Open Chat (9:30-10:15am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute.  A good way to bring the thinking of one week to a close and launch into the next.

2/13 Saturday – Latin Class(10-11am ET).  Week four marches in!  We continue progressing through Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: Familia Romana and forming our habits.

2/14 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions.  The 2021 Winter Seminars continue apace.  At 1:15-2:15pm ET, Metaphysics: The Discovery of Ens inquantum Ens dives into a consideration of the principles of the science and how they help us to define its boundaries. Following, at 3:00-4:00pm ET, Ethics: The Good Life takes a look at how we form habits of happiness in this life through participation in the common good.

2/15 Sunday – Open Chat Asia (4:00-5:30am ET/5:00-6:30pm GMT+8). Technically this is next week–but one of our members hosts an open chat for those on the other side of the world. A great opportunity for those living in far-removed parts of the world to meet some members and chat. Open to the public. Use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Open Chat Asia” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!


New merch at the Lyceum Institute Shop! Semiotically-inspired:


Updates

Partnership with Reality – Reality: a Journal for Philosophical Discourse has officially become a publication of the Lyceum Institute.  This will mean many opportunities for members to publish, including our first such, a bi-monthly essay contest. 

Trivium – Module 3 of our Trivium program will be added this month, opening some fundamental considerations of the grammatical structure of language and its connection to logic.

Latin Reading Practice – In addition to our regular classes, we’re adding some sporadic reading practice sessions throughout the week to increase our confidence and familiarity with the language as a daily habit of the mind.

This Week [1/17-1/23]


An exciting week at the Lyceum! Lots of things new, lots of progress. A good time to consider signing up.

1/19 Tuesday – Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Grab a drink and have a chat about the eternal things! Always open to suggested topics: any questions you may have, feel free to bring them. One topic on deck will be the ways in which we can use the digital for our moral good. Open to the public. Use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “happy hour” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

1/20 Wednesday – Latin Class (8:00-9:00pm ET). We are ready to kick Latin into gear–Wednesday as the first of two options! Magister Sterling Contreras will be beginning our weekly Latin class with two sessions per week (allowing more students the opportunity to attend), guiding students through Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: Familia Romana and helping us all to attain fluency.

1/22 Friday – Open Chat (9:30-10:15am ET). Our regular Friday-morning open chat, allowing conversation between those in the West and those in the East–part of the truly international nature of the Lyceum Institute. A good way to transition into the weekend.

1/23 Saturday – Latin Class (10-11am ET). Our second option for studying Latin! Magister Sterling Contreras will be beginning our weekly Latin class with two sessions per week (allowing more students the opportunity to attend), guiding students through Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: Familia Romana and helping us all to attain fluency.

1/23 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions. After a very well-attended first week, our 2021 Winter Seminars look to continue into our second week. At 1:15-2:15pm ET, Metaphysics: The Discovery of Ens inquantum Ens, will undertake an inquiry into the nature of metaphysics as a science of wisdom and think of the meaning of “principles” thereby entailed. Afterwards, at 3:00-4:00pm ET, Ethics: The Good Life, guided by Seneca’s On the Tranquility of Mind, we will be thinking about how to navigate the meaning-evacuated public world and continue to strive for the good–to grow in moral and intellectual fortitude through love.

We’re continuing to grow in members and participation. Rates for membership will be increasing this year–so sign up now!


Be sure also to check out the Lyceum Institute Shop! Promote a life of virtue and look good at the same time:

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[Winter 2021] Metaphysics: The Discovery of Ens inquantum Ens

There are few topics which seem more unsuited to the 21st century than that of metaphysics: that is, the study of “being as being.”  The subject is impossibly vague; the claims it makes seem inescapably representative of opinion rather than fact; it is an impractical field of study, advancing no discernable good for those that undertake its study.  At best, it is seen as facilitating an ability for critical thinking or deconstructive analysis of arguments; but metaphysics as a science—as a real, substantive, revelatory process of human inquiry—is a mere pipe dream of religious academicians or would-be gnostic know-it-alls.  Metaphysics is impractical.  Metaphysics serves no purpose.  Studying metaphysics will not move you one iota closer to a better job, to a more diversified skillset, to a higher earning potential.


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One might go beyond that and ask: “Why study philosophy at all?”  For while there are many schools of philosophical thought which strive to make it applicable to contemporary life, most of these schools do so only by aping the methods and goals of modern day empiriometric sciences (which interpret the world through quantification of things insofar as they can be observed by the senses) or by turning philosophy into a kind of self-help program.  Oftentimes, the contemporary university has attempted to relegate philosophical study to the category of “mental training”—it makes one better at critical thinking, at reasoning, at arguing, but does not actually teach anything; it trains you to think, but does not give you any answers.

Such thinking, of course, betrays the greatest ignorance and the weakest understanding of truth. For no study has a greater necessity—and correspondingly, a lesser utility—than that of metaphysics: for it, and it alone among all the pursuits open to human beings by nature alone, orients our minds to the highest principles whereby all things are ordered. The worldview possessed today by the many is fragmentary, incomplete, and thus often results in ways of existing which are incompatible with one another and destructive to the attainment of true human good.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we seek to open the doors to a genuine metaphysics which gives the needed view of the whole of being, ens inquantum ens. In the course of this study, we will examine the meaning of the term “being”, the nature of it as a science, the . This is an advanced seminar which provides a serious challenge to all participants.

WHEN: Saturdays from 16 January through 6 March 2021, from 1:15-2:15pm Eastern Time US.

WHERE: on the Lyceum Institute platform run through Microsoft Teams.

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal 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.

Mending the Cartesian Rift – Walker Percy on Being Human

In the sixth of the Lyceum Institute Colloquia, we present Faculty Fellow Kirk Kanzelberger, PhD, who brings us an insightful, lengthy, and challenging discussion of Walker Percy, Charles Sanders Peirce, and their collected efforts to battle the Cartesian presuppositions.

ABSTRACT: “Our view of the world, which we get consciously or unconsciously from modern science, is radically incoherent,” argues Walker Percy in “The Fateful Rift: The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind.” The dualism of Descartes — the rift between man as psyche and man as organism — continues to pervade our inherited view of the world and scientific practice. And yet it was a century ago and more that Charles Sanders Peirce indicated the road to a more coherent anthropology based upon the crucial datum of the triadic sign-relation that unites “mental” and “physical” in one single natural event.

This lecture explores Percy’s argument and its background in the thought of Descartes and Peirce, and provides an assessment of this final public articulation by Percy concerning the issues that preoccupied him as a writer: the contemporary predicament of the human being, lost in the cosmos that it understands more and more, while understanding itself less and less.

Dr. Kanzelberger’s lecture is now available to all members at the Lyceum Institute. The live question and answer session will be held on 4 December 2020 (Friday) at 6:15pm ET/3:15pm PT. Colloquia lectures are released the year after publication at the Lyceum, and Q&A sessions are reserved for members. For information on signing up for the Lyceum, see here.

Preview – Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger, Mending the Cartesian Rift – Walker Percy on Being Human

[Fall 2020] Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life

Among all things observed in the universe, human beings alone ask about things other than themselves: they ask what, how, why–and so on. This singularity, downplayed by those who would make us malleable to the worst of all moral inclinations, demands a careful and rigorous inquiry–one which seeks to understand not only the precise nature but also the full import of this distinctiveness.


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Put otherwise, we human beings today seldom truly understand ourselves. If we look to the traditions of modern philosophy or its ultramodern derivations, we will continue failing to attain such understanding: for all such traditions mistaken introduce one or another division between the nature of the human being and the being of humans. We must look either to postmodernity or to premodernity–and the only genuine postmodern traditions heretofore being those that retrieve the premodern–in order to affect a righted understanding of the human cognitive life.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will strive to affect a genuine postmodern retrieve of the Thomistic understanding of the singular human distinctiveness through grasping the nature and development of our intentionally-cognitive lives. In the course of this retrieve, we will study the specifically intellectual nature of the human soul, the operations of intellectual discovery, the formation and development of concepts, and the integral union of intellectual and perceptual faculties in the human person. This is an advanced seminar which provides a serious challenge to all participants.

WHEN: Saturdays from 17 October through 12 December 2020 (no session on 28 November), from 1:30-2:30pm Eastern Time US.

WHERE: on the Lyceum Institute platform run through Microsoft Teams.

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal 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.

[Fall 2020] Semiotics: 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–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.


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In contrast, consider this description Deely gives in his 1994: New Beginnings (18 and 19):

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.

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.

WHEN: Saturdays from 17 October through 12 December 2020 (no session on 28 November), from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time US.

WHERE: on the Lyceum Institute platform run through Microsoft Teams.

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal 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.

Interpretation and Traditions

An Intersection for Semiotics, Phenomenology, and Thomism

Often, in my own work–and in a way which spills inevitably into my own teaching–I draw together insights from three distinct traditions: Thomisim, Peircean semiotics, and Heideggerian phenomenology. In this presentation, given at the University of St. Thomas, in Houston TX, in 2018, illuminates this connection. These three traditions inform much of the teaching, thinking, and conversation at the Lyceum Institute, beyond even my own contributions.

A text version is also available at Reality.