Faculty

NEW WEBSITE: LYCEUM.INSTITUTE

Director

Brian Kemple, PhD

My name is Brian Kemple and I hold a PhD in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas, in Houston TX.  I have written two books (one on Thomas Aquinas and another on Charles Sanders Peirce and Martin Heidegger), a number of scholarly articles and a few public-oriented ones, as well.

After spending a few years on the academic job market, I began to see the structure of academia as inhibiting rather than enabling philosophical thinking, both for professors and for students.  The thoughts of Aquinas and Peirce are equally rejected by mainstream academia, and opportunities outside the mainstream are few and far between (becoming fewer and farther by the day).  I realized I had a choice: I could continue striving for a job in a broken system, or I could do something different—risky, but possibly better not only for myself but for those I teach.

In addition to being the Director of the Lyceum Institute, I am the Executive Editor of Reality: a Journal for Philosophical Discourse, which similarly operates in contrast to the standard practices of academia.

Faculty Fellows – 2021

Daniel Wagner, PhD

Aquinas College

I am Assistant Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Aquinas College, in Grand Rapids, MI. I received my Doctorate in Philosophy from the Center for Thomistic Studies, at the University of St. Thomas. My research focuses on the Philosophy of Nature and Science, Philosophical Anthropology, and the principles of Ethics in Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas (Dissertation: φύσις καί τὸ ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν: The Aristotelian Foundations of the Human Good), and on the synthetic development of Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy with Phenomenology (“Penitential Method as Phenomenological: The Penitential ἐποχή,” and “On the Foundational Compatibility of Phenomenology & Thomism,” in Studia Gilsoniana).

With John P. Hittinger, I co-edited Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity (London, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), and I am currently also working alongside Michael W. Tkacz on a volume of essays by the late Thomist and philosopher of nature and science, William Wallace: The Intelligibility of Nature: The Wallace Reader, forthcoming (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2021).

Kirk Kanzelberger, PhD

My name is Kirk Kanzelberger and I hold a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University (New York), where my research was focused (as it still is) on moral psychology, semiotics, and metaphysics.   I hold an M.A. in Philosophical and Systematic Theology from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (Berkeley) as well as a B.S. in Biology from the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena).

From my Caltech graduation in 1984 up to the obtaining of my doctorate in 2011, I had a career as a software architect for technology companies and research organizations on both coasts, beginning with Caltech geophysics simulations implemented on innovative parallel hardware.  In the 90’s I worked as an embedded systems programmer implementing advanced search and compression algorithms for the world’s first electronic book platform produced by Franklin Electronic Publishers.  During the 2000’s, I was lead engineer for a successful software startup, Netrics Inc., which brought to market best-in-class scalable inexact matching and machine learning components.  Netrics was acquired in 2010 by a Silicon Valley firm (TIBCO).

In addition to being a Faculty Fellow of the Lyceum Institute, I am a Lecturer in Philosophy at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where I teach philosophical anthropology, ethics, logic, and metaphysics.  My most recent academic publication (2020) is the essay, “Reality and the Meaning of Evil”, in the inaugural issue of Reality: A Journal for Philosophical Discourse.  I still do occasional software design and business consulting to enterprise software companies.

Minerd

Matthew Minerd, PhD

My name is Matthew Minerd, and I hold a PhD in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  I am a professor of philosophy and moral theology at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, PA.  I also do work as an academic translator from French and Latin (both in matters philosophical and theological).  Several of my translations are currently in print, and a number are anticipated for publication over the next several years.

I am personally devoted to the recovery of past philosophical and theological works, not out of a spirit of intellectual archeology but, rather, as providing legitimate voices in contemporary discussions.  Too much academic philosophy and theology centers on “the literature,” which often leaves out much wisdom from the great philosophers of the scholastic tradition which ran parallel to the modern “mainstream.”  Much of my academic interest involves injecting these voices into the current discussions—many of which must extend beyond mainstream academia, given its present ideological and financial constrictions.

John Boyer, PhD Candidate

My name is John Boyer. I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans.

My philosophical research interests include issues in philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and philosophy of nature. I am particularly focused on issues of causality and explanation in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition. You can find my publications here.

Prior to coming to Loyola, I taught philosophy for six years at the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Houston, TX. I am currently a PhD Candidate in Philosophy at UST’s Center for Thomistic Studies; my dissertation is on Aristotle’s theory of causal explanation. Prior to this, I earned an MA in philosophy at the Center and a BA in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College (California).

In addition to teaching, I serve as a senior editor at Reality: A Journal for Philosophical Discourse.

Plaza

Francisco Plaza, PhD Candidate

My name is Francisco E. Plaza, I am a Doctoral candidate in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. My dissertation work centers on Jacques Maritain’s philosophy of culture, and how it applies to politics in our time. I have had a number of publications on the subject, notably, my article “Subjectivity and the Prise de Conscience in Jacques Maritain” published by the American Maritain Association in Engaging the Times (2017), and “Maritain’s Philosophy of Culture: A Bridge between Metaphysics and Politics” published in In Search for Harmony (2019).My primary research interests are political theory, ethics, and the culture of modernity.

I am originally from Caracas, Venezuela, and having experienced first-hand the transition from the Democratic state it once was to the totalitarian state it is today, I became invested in political philosophy and, in particular, the crisis of modern culture. One of the main questions I sought to answer was how people could continue to support failed political ideologies even in the face of obvious problems created by their adoption (e.g. an exponential increase of poverty and crime, clear human rights abuse on the part of the government, rampant fear and despair in the culture, an undeniable removal of basic liberties, etc.). The work of thinkers like Jacques Maritain, Eric Voegelin, and Pope Saint John Paul II, helped me to understand the genesis of this problem, as well as how it may be resolved. In our time, we face an anthropological crisis of meaning within our culture, and this is primarily what I hope to address in my own work.

Contreras

Sterling Contreras

My name is Sterling Contreras, and I am a professional tutor specializing in Classical languages(Latin and Ancient Greek). In addition, I am certified in proficiency in four languages(Russian, Italian, German and Spanish) under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Professionally, I have translated portions of several pieces of Medieval philosophical texts.

I have attended many conventicula under some of the best Latinists in the world, notably under Terrence Tunberg. In addition, I received private lessons with the world renowned Roberto Carfagni, former professor and alumnus of the prestigious Vivarium Novum. I have taught Latin privately for 2 years serving over 20 students to attain speaking and reading proficiency. This includes working through several classic texts including the Aeneid, the Iliad, the Commentarii De Bello Gallico and Dante’s La Divina Commedia.

I was educated at the University of Colorado-Denver with a B.A. in Philosophy, completing all the available courses in Latin. I studied under Dr. Mark Tanzer (a student of William John Richardson, S.J.) primarily in Heideggerian phenomenology.

Testimony: Seriei quae Lingua Latina per se illustrata inscribitur priore volumine absoluto, ad auctores legendos subtiliusque intellegendos celeri sed firmo gradu magis magisque accedimus. Iam enim nonnullos Vergilii versus tractavimus qui in primis Romae aeternae capitulis reperiuntur, et licet omnia difficiliora sint, Titus satis bene intellegit atque exercitia recte facere solet. Grammaticam Latinam ei nunc magis perspicuam esse animadverti, verisimiliter quia cottidie aliquid legit, et etiam vocabulorum quae novit copiam gradatim augeri sentio: saepe enim non unum modo cuiusdam verbi synonimum vel contrarium interrogatus profert.

Pergendum igitur ei nunc est ac perseverandum, ut post tantum studium sapidis sui laboris fructibus magis ac magis frui possit.

Robertus Carfagni, eius magister per Rete, huius anni nonis Martiis haec scripsit.