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.
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.
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—both in the seminar discussion sessions and through the Lyceum Institute platform. 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.
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 it means to think philosophically and develop this practice into a habit. 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, 1:15-2:15pm ET / 6:15-7:15pm 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).