IO2S Deely – No mere ‘flyover country’: some historical notes regarding the Schola Thomae as an integral context of the thought of Dr. John Deely

A Ruthenian Catholic, husband, and father, Matthew K. Minerd is a professor of philosophy and moral theology at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA and Faculty Fellow for the Lyceum Institute. His academic work has appeared in the journals Nova et Vetera, the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Saint Anselm Journal, Lex Naturalis, Downside Review, The Review of Metaphysics, and Maritain Studies, as well in volumes published by the American Maritain Association through the Catholic University of America Press. He has served as author, translator, and/or editor for volumes published by The Catholic University of America Press, Emmaus Academic, Cluny Media, and Ascension Press.

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.

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.

How to be a Contemporary Thomist: The Case of Marshall McLuhan

The colloquium lecture delivered in November 2020 by Adam Pugen, PhD “How to be a Contemporary Thomist: The Case of Marshall McLuhan” is now available to the public. You can listen or download below (full lecture at the bottom). Please consider supporting the Lyceum Institute if you enjoy this lecture! The Lyceum Institute is currently fundraising for 2022 to support the pursuit of philosophy and dedicated thinkers like Dr. Pugen in their research, teaching, and publications.

How to be a Contemporary Thomist: The Case of Marshall McLuhan

Dr. Adam Pugen

Preview – Dr. Adam Pugen: How to be a Contemporary Thomist: The Case of Marshall McLuahn

In the fifth of the Lyceum Institute Colloquia, we present our own Adam Pugen, PhD, who brings us a discussion of Marshall McLuhan–who, despite his popularity as a “media guru”, was more fundamentally and consciously a Thomist–a discussion ranging through the influences of Chesterton, New Criticism, Jacques Maritain, analogy and metaphor, the Trivium (especially the deepening and expansion of grammar), and all this aimed at the meaning of what it is to truly be a Thomist in our own times. Not merely incidental but integral to true contemporary Thomism is the wrestling with our techno-media environments–and conversely, to understand in depth McLuhan’s own “medium is the message”, we must understand the Thomistic roots of his thinking.

Full Lecture

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

Lyceum Schedule [9/5-9/11]

Quaestiones Disputatae – Inquirere & Defensio

There are two available September sessions for Inquirere & Defensio in the Quaestiones Disputatae program. Members are encouraged to participate as Observers, Inquirers, or Defenders.

Fall Seminars

Fall 2021 Seminars are now available to sign up (follow the link for Syllabi).  Hard to believe we’re already approaching the last quarter of the year! Announcing our Fall Seminars, discussion sessions starting from October 2 and running until November 20. Members of the Lyceum Institute are free to participate for the first week (the enrollment period for members will be from September 25–9 October). Non-members can enroll from now until October 6.

[2021 Fall] Thomistic Psychology: The Meaning of Evil – Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger

Every human being has some notion of evil as that which is opposed to a good: the good that one desires, the good that one honors – or, perhaps, the good that one wishes one honored or desired more than one does. Even persons who might consider themselves at quite home with the official or trendy relativisms of the day frequently find themselves possessed with anger at states of affairs, ideas, and other persons they clearly judge to be evil. Might not the frenzy of the anger, as well as the lack of humility it evinces, suggest a deeper questioning? For if we are honest, we must admit that, despite every good intention, we ourselves have some share in the mysterious reality of evil in the world.

[2021 Fall] Metaphysics: The Existence, Nature, and Intelligibility of God – Dr. Brian Kemple

“In my opinion,” Umberto Eco once said, “it’s religion that produces God, not the other way around.” Once the sentiment of the purportedly rebellious thinker, today such is a commonplace. But for all Eco’s learning, for as much as he may have read St. Thomas Aquinas (and even admired his mind), it seems that the novelist did not understand the doctor: for having seized the truths of the divine so articulately explicated by Aquinas, one could not help but wish to create a religion around the being thereby revealed, were the Divine not to have already revealed Itself and given us the right means for worship.

[2021 Fall] More than Aesthetics: Ens Artificiale and the Philosophy of Art – Dr. Matthew Minerd

Human experience is filled with beings which are often considered a sort of “non-being” or, perhaps, “diminished” being by many scholastics: artifacts. Sometimes, we are told by this tradition that a door threshold is really just an accidental conjunction of a given shape with the substance of dead wood. However, a cursory glance around the world reveals the a host of realities which are structurally dependent upon human ingenuity and the long history of human exploration and creativity.

Exploring its topic from a broadly Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective, this course will use the work of Jacques Maritain to probe the broader set of philosophical issues involved in the “philosophy of art”…

Weekly Schedule of Events

9/6 Monday

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

9/7 Tuesday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (9:30-10:00am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Philosophical Happy Hour (5:45-7:15pm 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!

9/8 Wednesday

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

9/9 Thursday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (9:30-10:00am ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!
  • Elementary Latin Class (6:00-7:00pm ET).  Discimus de pastoribus, ovibus, canibus, lupis, nubibus, et multis aliis!  Legimus et convertimus ex capitulo IX!

9/10 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:30am 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).

9/11 Saturday

  • Intermediate Latin Class(10-11am ET).  In hac septimana, de praedonibus et classibus Romanis discemus!  Reddimus ad fabulam Lydiae et Medii.  Legemus et convertemus ex capitulo XXXII.

[2021 Fall] Thomistic Psychology: The Meaning of Evil

This seminar aims to deepen our questioning concerning the meaning of evil, beginning with the nature of the goods to which various evils are opposed.   This introduction will lead us to the seminar’s main concern, which is with moral evil as a kind of primary rupture in the world of free beings, and the questions that evil poses for moral psychology: If moral goodness represents nothing other than the excellence of the human way of acting, what then does it mean willingly to oppose the norm of that excellence?  In the end, this will lead us to a consideration of how we might move beyond an account of moral evil merely as privation, and the possibility of addressing the shortcomings of the traditional account from a semiotic point of view.  The hope is that the seminar as a whole will be of some real assistance for the examination of our own consciences and the better fulfillment of our vocations as human persons.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will study the true meaning of evil, especially our role in the constitution of moral evil. This will incorporate considerations of the will, the Umwelt, the sign, and more. The instructor for this seminar is Kirk Kanzelberger, PhD, Faculty Fellow 2020. You can read more about Dr. Kanzelberger here and download the syllabus here.

WHEN
October 2–20 November
Saturdays, 10:00-11:00am ET/2:00-3:00pm UTC [3:00-4:00pm UTC after Nov.7]

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).

[2021 Fall] Metaphysics: The Existence, Nature, and Intelligibility of God

The fourteen questions which we will read in this seminar, comprising eighty-five articles, will explore the existence, nature, and intelligibility of God.  The existential demonstration—the famous “five ways” of Aquinas—will be covered quickly: for their intelligibility grows the better we understand the rest of the questions, and we will be better equipped for grasping their significance in light of the divine nature and its intelligibility to us.  In addition to the divine attributes (simplicity, perfection, goodness, infinity, omnipresence, immutability, eternality, and unity), we will take recurrent interest in the topics of analogy, significance, knowledge, and the relation of act and potency which cuts across all being.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), basic principles of metaphysics will be applied to an understanding of the existence, nature, and intelligibility of God. One should be at least passingly familiar with both Aristotle and Aquinas, and especially the doctrine of act and potency. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, the Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Kemple here and download the syllabus here.

WHEN
October 2–20 November
Saturdays, 3:15-4:15pm ET/7:15-8:15pm UTC [8:15-9:15pm UTC after Nov.7]

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).

This Week [5/24-5/29]

First: Summer Seminars are open! 

Science: On Being, Language and Reason, and Cause in Aristotle’s Organon

This seminar treats Aristotle’s methodology for coming to know reality in two parts. In the first part, to be led by Dr. Daniel Wagner, students will gain understanding of the primary terms for defining (Topics), the classification of the most general concepts of the intellect (Categories), and the method of reasoning used for defining beings, which Aristotle calls induction (ἐπαγωγή/epagoge) and division (διαίρεσις/diairesis and ἀνάλῠσις/analusis) (Posterior Analytics). In the second part, to be led by Dr. John Boyer, students will gain understanding of Aristotle’s method of deductive demonstrative reasoning and explanation by proper cause (αἰτία/aitia), which constitutes scientific understanding (Posterior Analytics).
[Click here for more]

Semiotics: An Introduction

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.
[Click here for more]

Thomistic Psychology: World and Passions

Contrary to both [an extreme Stoicism and a libertine Humeanism], 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.
[Click here for more]

5/24 Monday

  • Quaestiones Disputatae – Inquirere (9:30-11am ET).  First of two May Inquirere sessions.  These sessions, lasting anywhere from 30-90 minutes, allow us to work out our questions communally in a live chat.  There are three ways in which someone may participate in an Inquirere session: as an Inquirer, as a Responder, or as an Observer. An Inquirer is seeking to define and develop a question.  A Responder brings updates to their question and works in a live dialectic on what updates have been brought.  Observers listen and comment on the inquiries and responses given.
  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.

5/25 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) to join us on Teams!

5/26 Wednesday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.
  • Quaestiones Disputatae – Inquirere (3:00-4:30pm ET).  The second of two May Inquirere sessions.

5/27 Thursday

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

5/28 Friday

  • Open Chat (9:30-10:30am 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).

5/29 Saturday

  • Latin Class (10-11am ET).  Remanemus magistro et discipulis in ludo, dum docet et discunt… eh… alius discit sed alius queritur.  O puer improbus!

[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.

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION SESSIONS CAN AND WILL BE ADDED IF A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF PERSONS REQUEST!

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. Discount is suggested for those employed as educators or clergy.

$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 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles

This seminar will explore contemporary political and cultural issues from a classically realist foundation, proposing a genuinely “postmodern” response to the crisis of our time. When the term “postmodern” is used today, it typically denotes what is in practice a kind of “hypermodernism,” that is, an ideology which simply takes modern thinking to its logical conclusion (e.g., complete subjectivism, moral relativism, skepticism, nihilism, etc.). What “postmodern” should signify is something which looks beyond modernity, and it is in this sense which we use the term ourselves. Our “postmodern” response against the modern crisis retrieves from pre-modern political philosophy what modernity wrongfully left behind while engaging directly with modern culture.


Read more about
Lyceum Institute Seminars

In the first half of this seminar, we will consider the trajectory of Western political thought from the ancient to the modern era. Here, we shall try to understand how political philosophy and culture in the West has developed to its current stage. We will also identify features of Aristotelian and Thomistic thought which could serve us well today. The second half of this seminar will focus on Jacques Maritain’s Integral Humanism, as his work provides the basis for our claims in response to modernity. Here, we will consider Maritain’s critiques of modern culture, secular liberalism, and totalitarianism, and his proposals for “integral humanism,” and the “concrete historical ideal.”

What is “Political Science”? – Preview
Plaza

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will consider the current state of our political culture, and try to figure out how we got to this point, along with what should be done next. The instructor for this seminar is Francisco Plaza, PhD Candidate at the University of St. Thomas, in Houston TX. You can read more about Prof. Plaza here.

WHEN: Saturdays from 20 March through 8 May 2021, 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 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 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles – 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 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles – Professor/Clergy

Includes full access to the seminar and a free month at the Lyceum Institute. Discount is suggested for professional academics and clergy.

$85.00



[2021 Spring] Politics: Postmodern Culture and Principles – 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

[Winter 2021] Ethics: The Good Life

Can we be happy?  At times, looking around in our twenty-first century world, it would seem that “happiness” is a contingent, fleeting and difficult-to-grasp matter more of luck than of choice and action.  Such a view stems from an implicitly nihilistic worldview, one unconsciously imbibed by many today, in which meaning is imposed upon the realities which extrinsically act upon us.  The result of this worldview—this effort to burden the human being with creating the meaning for all the universe—is a deep, gnawing grief at the inevitable failure and ever-more-extreme attempts at improving anesthetics to dull this pain.  To the contrary of this sadly inverted worldview, this seminar will look at the philosophical treatments of those in the tradition of the ancients and medievals who construe happiness as an inward possession whereby the human person acts outwardly for the sake of attaining real goods meaningful in themselves.


Read more about
Lyceum Institute Seminars

Happiness, as we will see, requires not only a development of virtue but a right-orientation of the self in relation to the world in which one lives: a discovery of the relations of fittingness through which we may receive from the world, but by which we may also extend the goodness we possess into the world: a realization of not only moral rectitude but delight, and joy, through leisure and contemplation.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will discuss a range of texts which speak to how we might conduct ourselves for the sake of having a good life. This is an entry-level seminar suitable for any who have had some exposure to philosophical thinking.

WHEN: Saturdays from 16 January through 6 March 2021, from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time US.

A SECOND session will be scheduled at 9:15-10:15am Eastern Time US if there is sufficient interest.

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

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal of financial subsidiarity. This seminar in particular has only two recommended levels of cost: $20 for those under the age of 30, and $50 for those over. Pay what you can, based on where you are in life–if you can afford $50, this will help pay for those who cannot. Lyceum Institute members will have free access to this seminar.

Registration is closed.