Colloquium Series

The Lyceum Institute Colloquium Series

These colloquia, comprising a pre-recorded lecture and a live question and answer session, invite respected academics and intellectuals to challenge our thinking through their own hard-earned expertise, reflections, and insights.

This series aims, year-by-year, to build the offerings of the Lyceum Institute and to expose its members to thinking they might not encounter otherwise, as well as to provide yet another opportunity to practice that fundamental habit of inquirere, of asking good, thoughtful questions. Further, these lectures and discussion sessions, being recorded, are retained indefinitely in the Lyceum Institute archives, being accessible to revisit by present and future members with a few clicks of a mouse (or taps of a phone screen).

Colloquia lectures will be released to the public one calendar year after they have been presented. Question and answer sessions are available only through the Lyceum Institute.


Colloquium Series Volume 1 (2020):

Defending and Meditating on First Principles

Dr. Matthew Minerd

Preview – Dr. Matthew Minerd: Defending and Meditating on First Principles – Wisdom and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

From an Aristotelian perspective, domains of discursive knowledge which are called “science,” or epistêmê, are concerned above all with the drawing of per se conclusions in light of first principles.  Though such knowledge is concerned with its first principles, its bent is turned toward the conclusions that those principles illuminate. By contrast, wisdom, sophia, sapientia, takes up a loftier task still: defending and meditating upon its very principles, as well as all other things in light of those principles.  This lecture will briefly present this theme in the work of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., discussing how sapiential meditation on first principles undergirded much of his philosophical and theological work, imbuing it with a deceptive simplicity which, in fact, is quite illuminating. 


On Predestination and the Doctrine of Sufficient and Efficacious Grace in St. Thomas Aquinas

Dr. Taylor Patrick O’Neill

Preview – Dr. Taylor Patrick O’Neill: On Predestination and the Doctrine of Sufficient and Efficacious Grace

In this lecture, Taylor Patrick O’Neill gives a brief introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of predestination with a special focus on how it relates to human freedom. Principles of a Thomistic understanding of providence provide a necessary backdrop for understanding election and reprobation while principles of a Thomistic understanding of grace provide a foundation for exploring the differences between election and reprobation, as well as a defense of contingency and authentic human freedom.

The Breakdown of Secular Democracy and the Need for a Christian Order

Francisco Plaza, PhD Candidate

Preview – Prof. Francisco Plaza: The Breakdown of Secular Democracy and the Need for a Christian Order

The question has been raised as to whether or not secular liberalism can sustain itself, especially as it seems to be breaking down in our present time, both from the perspective of anti-modernists who uphold tradition, but also from modernists themselves who have fallen into totalitarian ideologies, Marxism being the most common among them.

In this lecture, we shall begin by addressing the current state of culture, considering the nature of modernity and its crisis of meaning. For our purposes, we shall focus mostly on its political dimension. After providing a summary account of modernism and its crisis, we shall consider two responses from Catholic political thought that look to creating a truly post-modern order. The first of these is that of integralism, a revivalist type movement that looks to the past before modernity as the way beyond the modern problem. We shall consider the integralist response to modern politics, then consider where it is correct and where it may fall short. Finally, we shall conclude by considering Maritain’s defense of a “Christian Democracy” and “integral humanism” as the true way beyond modernity.

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People expect to join the Lyceum to enrich their knowledge of philosophy, and while this is true and is indeed a highly likely result, there is something more subtly learned as well: orienting oneself towards having meaningful exchanges with people over the internet…. I have spent hours upon hours scrolling through my Twitter feed, where oftentimes my biggest reward for doing so is being able to flash a grin at a post that is funny in the moment… [the internet] is rarely thought of as a place to help yourself understand the world around them.

This is why the Lyceum is crucial in a time where people have too much access to “digital noise” […]: it is a community for every one of us to strive to better our philosophical habits, to make our own ideas clearer, and/or to strengthen them.

Charles L.