Trivium: Logic

Logic as a Liberal Art – HFS Books
Houser: Logic as a Liberal Art
[Order – Amazon] [Order – CUA Press]

Beginning the week of January 10, all Lyceum Institute members will have access to a 13-week course in traditional Logic. Discussion sessions will be held twice per week: Mondays at 6:00-6:45pm and Thursdays at 11:45am-12:30pm (subject to change). Each week there will be an assigned reading, problem set, and brief lecture. Discussion sessions will cover both the reading and selected problems.

But why study traditional logic? Some will say it has been obsolesced by modern (symbolic) logic. Others will say that it is a frivolous activity used even less commonly in “real life” than algebra or calculus. Both are wrong: for though we do not break down our propositions and arguments into formal, syllogistic formulas, by a deep familiarity with their structure, their rules, and their application in natural language, we are able to recognize illogical arguments from others and to construct more logical arguments ourselves.

To quote our primary textbook, R.E. Houser’s logic as a Liberal Art:

The natural habitat of logic is the verbal and written language of ordinary human discourse, including the high-level verbal discourse that occurs in university courses.  The man who invented this approach to logic was Aristotle, who wrote the first textbooks in logic in the fourth century B.C.  The main reason why this approach is preferable for most people is that it avoids the two problems that have plagued the teaching of symbolic logic during its heyday and up to the present.  First, the verbal approach is clearly preferable for those who have math phobia.  The problems used in the verbal approach are set out in ordinary language, language that often contains clues that help us to understand the logic of verbal discourse.  Such clues, of course, are missing from the mathematical symbols used in symbolic logic.  Second, the verbal study of logic has the advantage of avoiding the problem of needing to translate back and forth between abstract logical symbols and the more concrete verbal symbols we call words.  While mathematical symbols do on occasion help us see logical relations… by using ordinary or “natural” language to study logic we can avoid the large headache of translating from the language of symbols to ordinary language, and then back again.  So we content ourselves with the smaller but real headaches involved in searching out the logic contained within verbal or natural language.

Houser 2020: Logic as a Liberal Art, xxviii.

This characterizes our approach to the Trivium as a whole at the Lyceum: striving to master language as a real and integral part of thinking. In our logic course, we will focus on affecting clarity in thought so as to better express it in words. I hope you will join us!

Learn more about Logic at the Lyceum

The Lyceum Institute offers courses in all three arts of the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Together, they form a core of knowledge necessary to every educated human being.

Learn more about our approach at the links below.


Enroll

Trivium courses are included in every level of membership for the Lyceum Institute. See enrollment options here.

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.

Funding the Lyceum Institute in 2022

Dear friends:

I need your help.

Two-and-a-half years ago I started an experiment: to see whether people genuinely and seriously interested could engage in a philosophical inquiry, online, dispersed around the country or even the world. The answer? “Yes”; but a “yes” that demanded more. As it turns out, those who are genuinely and seriously interested *always* want more. True answers raise new questions.

It quickly became evident that I could not answer all of those questions myself. Thus, the experiment expanded, and this past year, five others joined me–a first group of Faculty Fellows–in building an environment of inquiry. As they all discovered (a somewhat painful revelation, I think), it’s a lot more work than it seems–but also (I think), much more rewarding than one might anticipate. After years of teaching at the university level, one becomes a bit jaded about the nonchalance, the apathy, the mercenary disposition characteristic of many of our students. Encountering people who truly want to learn, who invest themselves into the study… it makes us remember why we got into academia in the first place.

I want to keep that rewarding if difficult work going. I want to keep building this environment of the Lyceum Institute. And so I am asking for your help. I’ll probably be asking for it again, too, but right now I’m asking you to help fund these Faculty Fellows, to fund our colloquium speakers, to fund our access to research materials–I’m asking you to help us become free from the constraints that have held honest intellectual work and philosophical education down for decades. To this end, I have started a $5000 fundraising campaign at GiveButter.com. Please, if you can, donate; share; participate. There’s more detail at the link. Anyone is welcome to sign up, or to come by a Happy Hour.

Thank you!

Support the Lyceum Institute’s Faculty Fellows

New Book – Linguistic Signification

Dr. Kemple has–at long last–finished his Linguistic Signification: A Classical and Semiotic Course in Grammar & Composition. Comprising twenty-six chapters and four appendices, this text is the work of two years concerted effort, but roughly a decade of thinking closely about the nature and function of language, particularly in light of the doctrine of signs–that is, semiotics. It is available in either paperback or hardcover from Amazon, or as a PDF to all Lyceum Institute members.

This book intends to serve one principal end: instructing students, of sufficiently mature mind, how to compose thoughtful and insightful essays in the English language. Accomplishing this rather specific end, however, requires a broad range of study: a study much broader than that comprised by a simple question of “how to write”. That is, we cannot write well unless we understand the instruments whereby writing is accomplished; or, to employ one of those instruments—the metaphor—the fruits of composition are nourished best through growing deep the roots of grammar. As we will see, this linguistic growth requires some knowledge also of logic and rhetoric: for although this book intends an introduction into the first study of the liberal arts, all three arts of the Trivium are nevertheless inseparably convergent in the flourishing of our natural human ability for linguistic signification.

We will combine some use of all the Trivium, however abecedarian our talents in these arts may still be, by the time we reach the final chapter. While we will draw upon logic and rhetoric, however, the focal study of grammar, as pursued in this book, forms not only the foundational but rather the central part of this non-trivial pursuit of the Trivium.

This aim is carried out through various readings, exercises, investigation of literature, philosophy, and more.

Trivium: Grammar – Fall 2021

Why study grammar? We might think it a basic necessity for young students–elementary students, perhaps into middle school–but of little importance by the time of high school, the competent student having gained the adequacy in composition and speech necessary to make him or herself understood to most persons in most situations. At most, an extended study of grammar seems to be for the aesthete or dilettante: not someone to be taken seriously.

Certainly, many who pride themselves on their study of the liberal arts do so out of pretension. But, in truth, a real study of the liberal arts–a study that seeks habituation in clear and deep thinking–suffers none of the pretensions which inhibit our ability to understand the world in which we live common to the typical person of today. At the foundation of such a study is grammar: for all the validity and soundness of logic, and all the persuasiveness of rhetoric, rely upon the structures of signification.

Thus, our course in grammar–which incorporates much from the paired arts of logic and rhetoric, especially as it aims also for the improvement of our abilities in composition–looks at these significative structures not merely in terms of rules, and correctness, but with an eye attuned to the reasoning which governs our linguistic systems.

The Trivium courses are available to all Lyceum Institute members. Enroll here. The Fall 2021 course begins 9/20/21!

Or see the Trivium: Grammar Page for more.

Lyceum Schedule [8/15-8/21]

Weekly Schedule of Events

8/16 Monday

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

8/17 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 (5:30-7:00pm 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!

8/18 Wednesday

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

8/19 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).  Via Romae sunt multa et utile — audes quomodo servus improbus Medus ambulat ad Romam dum servi boni suos dominus in lecticam vehunt.  Legimus et convertimus ex capitulo VI!

8/20 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).

8/21 Saturday

  • Latin Class(10-11am ET).  Emere et vendere–labor mercatorum–est labor periculosus: quia saepe merces pretiosas in mare mersae sunt!  Discemus delphini, Arionis, Orpheus et plus dum legemus et convertemus ex capitulo XXIX!
  • Colloquium Discussion: Immediate or Delayed Hominization? (1-2pm ET).  With the discussion led by Dr. Michel Accad, Lyceum Institute members are invited to read a 1970 article by Fr. Joseph Donceel and a 1995 article by Fr. William Wallace on the question of whether hominization is immediate (upon conception) or delayed (occurring between conception and birth).  You can find the meeting thread here.

UPCOMING

9/1 Wednesday – Two sessions for the Quaestiones Disputatae, open for Inquirere or Defensio.  Morning (for Eastern members) and Evening (for Western members).  Anyone is welcome at either or both sessions.

Fall seminars will begin the first week of October!  Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger will be teaching on Evil, Dr. Matthew Minerd on Art, Aesthetics, and Thomism, and Dr. Kemple on the Metaphysics of God.  DETAILS TO COME THIS WEEK!

Trivium – tentative start date for the Grammar & Composition portion is planned for the week of September 19th.  

Symposium – beginning in October, Dr. Mark McCullough will be leading a twice-monthly discussion session proceeding through Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Details will be shared soon for this new experimental offering.

Lyceum Schedule [8/8-8/14]

Weekly Schedule of Events

8/9 Monday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.
  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (6:00-6:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!  Testing out varied times for practice!

8/10 Tuesday

  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (9:30-10:o0am 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!

8/11 Wednesday

  • Exercitium Linguae Latinae (2:00-2:30pm ET). Legemus ex Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata ut melioremus nostrum locutionem et augeamus familiaritatem vocabulis.
  • Ex Sancto Thoma Legimus (6:00-6:30pm ET).  Legemus ex Sancto Thoma et convertit in linguam Anglicam; practicum bonum et utile est!  Testing out varied times for practice!

8/12 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 familiam Iulii et Aemiliae, etiam villam et hortum!  Legimus et convertimus ex capitulo V!

8/13 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).

8/14 Saturday

  • Latin Class(10-11am ET).  “Quis est ille dominus tuus cui mare et venti oboedire videntur?” Medus inquit Lydiam.  Et ea instruit eum miraculos Iesu.  Legemus et convertemus ex capitulo XVIII!

UPCOMING

8/21 Saturday – A Colloquium Discussion on Immediate or Delayed Hominization.

9/1 Wednesday – Two sessions for the Quaestiones Disputatae, open for Inquirere or Defensio.  Morning (for Eastern members) and Evening (for Western members).  Anyone is welcome at either or both sessions.

Fall seminars will begin the first week of October!  Dr. Kirk Kanzelberger will be teaching on Evil, Dr. Matthew Minerd on Art, Aesthetics, and Thomism, and Dr. Kemple on the Metaphysics of God.  Keep your eyes open for more!

Trivium – stay tuned for updates!

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 [12/6-12/13]

Events this week at the Lyceum:


12/8 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. Open to the public this week. Use the “Send Us a Message” form here (write “happy hour” in the message box) and we’ll see you on Teams!

12/11 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.

12/12 Saturday – Seminar Discussion Sessions. The final sessions for our 2020 Fall seminars, and for the year. In “Thomistic Psychology: Cognitive Life”, we will undertake to grasp the nature and importance of cognitive habits. In “Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely”, we will take into consideration the universality of semiosis, from inorganic nature to the specifically-personal dimension of human semiosis.

We’ve also started Trivium Module 2 — on the rhetorical practice of inventio, the discovery of arguments — and will be having a Quaestiones Disputatae Inquirere session on 12/19! We had a great Colloquium Q&A this past Friday, and are poised for a great 2021.


Be sure also to check out the Lyceum Institute Shop! Keep your head warm with wisdom:

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