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[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 5:00-6:00pm Eastern Time US / 9:00-10:00pm 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), 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.


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

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for those employed as educators or clergy.


[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.