We’re four weeks into the pilot seminars and results, so far, feel mixed. Immediate attrition hit and several people, clearly not enthused, dropped out and away. This is to be expected; I am not trying to appeal to everyone, but to the persons for whom this kind of education will be most fruitful.
That said, engagement has picked up and improved over the last couple weeks, and I expect that will carry through the rest of the time as familiarity and comfort grow.
I am also playing around with new plans (low-cost flexible monthly subscriptions, primarily), to try to make the seminars more affordable, accessible, and to allow me to build Continuum beyond just myself and my thinking; to make it a real intellectual online community–a digital lyceum. But this at the moment is a dream the realization of which will be some time in the works.
That said, I may do a test-run for some of these ideas with the next two seminars: The Nature and Action of Signs and Retrieving the Medieval: Thomistic Psychology.
The first of these will draw insights from St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Poinsot (or John of St. Thomas, as he is sometimes known), Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Deely, in helping to establish why semiotics is essential to the development of philosophy. The primary readings will be from Peirce and Deely, with supplements drawn from the other authors and provided to participants for free. The primary goal of the seminar is to understand how signs structure our thinking, and how this structure is continuous with the world around us.
The second seminar will focus almost exclusively on Thomas Aquinas and will induce participants to consider deeply the faculty psychology which Aquinas developed and propounded, especially in his Summa theologiae. Here we will look at both apprehensive and appetitive faculties, their relations, and the development of habits as orienting the person in regards to nature. In particular, we will try to examine how the correlations between the cognitive and the cathectic structures of the human person are malleable and thus capable being bent either towards the good or away from it.
I am also exploring ideas for the next series of 15 Minute Insights, which I have decided will be on Literature & Philosophy. This will reach beyond literature in the strict sense, however, and look at other story-telling media as well (television and movies in particular, but perhaps graphic novels also, as a recently-popular medium), considering both what those media allow to be shown and how those media distinctly show it.
The 15 Minute Insights may start this weekend, or perhaps next–or I may get to them this week, as there are no seminar sessions due to July 4th–while the seminars will be scheduled for sometime this fall.