Defending and Meditating on First Principles

The colloquium lecture delivered in May 2020 by Dr. Matthew Minerd, “Defending and Meditating on First Principles: Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange” is now available to the public. You can listen or download below. Please consider supporting the Lyceum Institute if you enjoy this lecture! Your donations allow us to support talented academics like Dr. Minerd in their research, teaching, and publications.

Defending and Meditating on First Principles: Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Dr. Matthew Minerd

Preview – Dr. Matthew Minerd: Defending and Meditating on First Principles – Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

From an Aristotelian perspective, domains of discursive knowledge which are called “science,” or epistêmê, are concerned above all with the drawing of per se conclusions in light of first principles.  Though such knowledge is concerned with its first principles, its bent is turned toward the conclusions that those principles illuminate. By contrast, wisdom, sophia, sapientia, takes up a loftier task still: defending and meditating upon its very principles, as well as all other things in light of those principles.  This lecture will briefly present this theme in the work of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., discussing how sapiential meditation on first principles undergirded much of his philosophical and theological work, imbuing it with a deceptive simplicity which, in fact, is quite illuminating. 

Full lecture now available below.

Full Lecture – Dr. Matthew Minerd: Defending and Meditating on First Principles – Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

If you enjoyed this lecture, please consider supporting the Lyceum Institute with a small donation.

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psychology: World and Passions

The passions, though born into us by nature and fitting to our lives, must obey the orders of reason, else they bring disorder to the whole of our being.  But since the passions are not disordered by nature (though of reason’s voice they are hard-of-hearing in a postlapsarian existence), we must uncover the causes of their disorder so prevalent today if we are to understand how they fail, and how they might succeed, in attaining their proper and fitting good.  

The approach taken in this seminar to the question of the passions will seek a certain mean between two extreme and opposed perspectives.  On the one hand is situated the modern position—and by far the more dangerous of the two—espoused by David Hume (1711—1776), namely, that “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them” (1739: A Treatise of Human Nature, Book II, Part III, Section III).  On the other hand is that position held generally by the Stoics, which—though we may learn much from it—may holds in its extreme forms that a cause of movement from without ourselves is contrary to our nature and the passions arising therefrom as objects which we ought to master, as the domestication of a beast.  In the Humean perspective, we are but gifted animals bound to seek increasingly clever satisfaction of irrational forces; in the extreme Stoic, we are intellectual spirits striving against an unruly flesh.

Contrary to both, the Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective sees in the intellect and human body a hierarchical complementarity, for the passions are a means of receipt and response to the world—and especially the specifically human world—in which we live and by which we pursue our proper ends.  Thus, understanding the dynamism of world and passions is essential to understanding the rectitude, and failures, of our passionate dispositions.

WHEN: Saturdays from 12 June through 31 July 2021, from 8:30-9:30pm Eastern Time US / 12:30-1:30am UTC.

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

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), an oft-neglected element of Thomas Aquinas’ psychology will be examined closely, in connection with other Thomistic Psychology seminars which have considered the whole of the human person, the means of human action, and the life of a cognitive agent: here we shall see the life of a cathectic patient. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, the 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, 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).

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psych: World and Passions – Standard

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$135.00

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psych: World and Passions – Professor / Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$85.00

[2021 Summer] Thomistic Psych: World and Passions – Student

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for students and others with part-time employment.

$60.00

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction

What is a sign?  Though a seemingly simple question, and one which may receive a technically simple answer, attaining a clear understanding of signs is a task both very difficult and very important; so important, in fact, that the whole future of philosophy (and by extension, human knowledge in general) depends upon our getting the answer right.  A great deal of our present difficulty, in the 21st century, follows from several centuries’ failure to attain a true semiotics.  To begin rectifying this, I believe we must draw on a handful of key sources: John Poinsot, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Deely.  In this seminar, we will focus on Peirce and his unique contributions to the foundations of the discipline of semiotics proper and show how we must instantiate an understanding of signs in our day-to-day practices, both practically and theoretically.

Among the specific goals for the seminar are to understand the general theory of semiotics—as the study of the action of signs—which was founded in Charles Peirce and has since been developed; though we cannot truly grasp this notion of signs unless we first understand the categorical basis of Peirce’s thought, or his “phaneroscopy”; and by grasping this phaneroscopy, along with the general notion of “sign”, we will further pursue the goal of understanding how signs play a role in specifically human thinking.

WHEN: Saturdays from 12 June through 31 July 2021, from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time US / 7:00-8:00pm UTC.

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

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will dive into the most central figure encountered along the Way of Signs—that long-abandoned road which Charles Peirce did so much to clear—and through this journey discover the fullest future of philosophical thinking. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, the 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, 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).

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction – Standard

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$135.00

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction – Professor / Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Price is suggested for those with full-time employment.

$85.00

[2021 Summer] Semiotics: An Introduction – Student

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for students and others with part-time employment.

$60.00

This Week [5/9-5/15]

5/10 Monday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

5/11 Tuesday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  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!

5/12 Wednesday

  • Paradise Lost – Book IX: The Fall of Adam and Eve (10:00-11:00am ET).  Part 1 of 2.  Join psychotherapist and former literature professor Dr. Mark McCullough for a two-part introduction to and discussion of one of the poem’s most significant passages, book 9 which dramatizes Paradise Lost’s central scene: the fall of Adam and Eve.  You can read more about this two-week symposium here.
  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.
  • Summer Seminar News will be posted on 5/12!  Stay tuned!

5/13 Thursday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • A new Quaestiones Disputatae Research Tutorial video will be posted.

5/14 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–bridging the international community of the Lyceum Institute.
  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (11pm-12am ET).  Etiam exercitium in Lingua Latina!  Ista hora conveniens Orientalibus est (11am Manila time).

5/15 Saturday

  • Latin Class(10-11am ET).  Legemus ex capitulo 15 in Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata et convertemus in linguam Anglicam.  Verba deponentia etiam tempestatem discemus.
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles wraps up with its final week, discerning the principles which Jacques Maritain brings to bear upon the fundamental questions of the essentially analogical political order and the general means to its right realization.

This Week [5/2-5/8]

Be sure to look into the two-week Paradise Lost Symposium coming up soon!

5/3 Monday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

5/4 Tuesday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:30-7:00pm ET). Join us for drinks, conversation, lively debates, and get to know the Lyceum Institute and its members!  Open to the public: all guests can use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “Happy Hour” in the message box).  We’ll be talking about literature and habit this week.

5/5 Wednesday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

5/6 Thursday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (10:00-10:30am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!

5/7 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–bridging the international community of the Lyceum Institute.
  • Exercitium in Lingua Latina (11pm-12am ET).  Etiam exercitium in Lingua Latina!  Ista hora conveniens Orientalibus est (11am Manila time).

5/8 Saturday

  • Latin Class(10-11am ET).  In capitulo XV venimus, ut magistros et discipulos dicamus.  In librum, discipuli improbus sunt; sed nos semper praecepta diligenter attendimus…
  • Seminar Discussion Sessions.  The Semiotics: Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot seminar closes out with a consideration of signs as divided among the natural, stipulated (ad placitum) and customary (ex consuetudine).  Hard to believe it’s already coming to a close–but I think we have covered some very important ground.  Meanwhile, Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles continues deeper into Maritain’s re-thinking of politics by taking up his notion of the historical ideal and the realities of pluralism.

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:

Silver Logo

[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.