Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 1 of 17)

0001 Twenty years pass since Professor Peter Redpath publishes an article, titled, “The Homeschool Renaissance and the Battle of the Arts”, in the Summer 2000 premier issue of Classical Homeschooling Magazine.

Homeschooling is one alternate to failing public schools systems, which are unlikely to be reformed, because these systems are governed by acolytes of the religion of big government (il)liberalism.

0002 Homeschool parents face difficult choices.  There are no paths to guaranteed success.

But, certainly, homeschooling is better than the path to failure embodied by public school systems.  Even the child who is accepted to a fast-track program or School of the Arts or Sciences, becomes a loser in a house divided.  There is only one house, the House of God.  No one knows that more than the newly minted postmodern disciplines of resentment.

Homeschools seek guidance about the Big Schoolhouse, where everything that rises must converge.

0003 Often, homeschooling parents turn to great books programs.  The classics are ideal for recovering the former glory of Christendom.  Here is where Peter Redpath stands, 20 years past.  He is a guide to the big Schoolhouse, where the liberal arts are born again.

Classical Homeschooling Magazine illuminates the way.

0004 Today, the winds are more insistent.  The leaves of disenchantment rustle through public schoolyards, as entrepreneurs follow Redpath in offering their wares, for the Big Schoolhouse, to many little schoolhouses, and to many many home schools, networked in patterns hitherto unimagined.

0005 In the following blogs, Razie Mah looks at Redpath’s whirlwind tour of a failure in the Italian, later European, Renaissance.  Mah uses tools derived from the first postmodern philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce.  These simple tools, wares on offer for the education of young minds, include the category-based nested form, the three-level interscope and the triadic structure of judgment.


Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 2 of 17)

0006 Small mistakes at the beginning of a grand enterprise become larger mistakes at the end.

So notes Thomas Aquinas, at the opening of his overtures to both God and fellow man.

0007 Peter Redpath wants to avoid making initial errors.

Small errors may eventually culminate in misfortune.

To magnify this insight, Redpath tells a tale…

0008 … about the last great rebirth of Western civilization.

Oh, to be born again.  We wash away the sins of prior eras.  So, we imagine.  Then, we don white garments with tiny flaws that will unravel slowly, at first, then exponentially, at the terminus, when the once-birthed era ages and rips apart.

Redpath identifies the start of the Italian Renaissance with humanist Francesco Petrarch (7104-7174 U0′).

Why the strange dates?

Subtract 5800 in order to get to AD.

0 Ubaid Zero Prime nominally corresponds to the formation of the Ubaid culture of southern Mesopotamia.  The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace addresses the importance of this culture, at the dawn of our current Lebenswelt.  The current year is 7822 U0′.

The time-distance between today and Petrarch is one tenth the distance between Petrarch and Adam.

0009 Petrarch reads the ancient Latin writers and longs for the days of Rome.  Petrarch envisions a return to political actuality, arising from Christendom’s spiritual potential.  The actuality of Rome is political.  Yet, Petrarch lives in a world where the capitol, Rome, governs a theological and organizational network and weighs upon sovereign states.  The network is based on a religious construction, seeking to portray itself as sensible, operating according to the criteria of the most sensible philosopher to have walked the face of the Earth, Aristotle.

One could say that the Catholic worldview, where God encompasses both reason and revelation, might have entangled a small error.  The tear becomes a harbor, for Petrarch and his fellow travelers, to lobby for a political capitol arising from the spiritual capitol.

0010 The Italian humanists offer an alternate to Christendom’s vision.

0011 First, philosophy is not sensible.  It is apocryphal, initiated by the most prophetic person to have walked the face of the Earth, Moses.

Second, Moses is a humanist.  He is a poet.Third, a new politics, that is, a new “polis” or “city”, will arise from the network of Christendom, as humanist learning, the poetry of governance, flowers in the rebirth of Rome.


Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 3 of 17)

0012 Poetry, what is it worth?

Surely, it is valuable in the arts of seduction, inspiration and adornment.

But who needs these, when God is Love, Commitment and Awesomeness incarnate?

0013 The Italian humanists face a problem.  How do they place poetry and the writings of classical Rome front and center?

The academics in the room have an easy answer, “First of all, get rid of logic in the curriculum.”

0014 Ah, does that not sound like a small error?

Starting with Petrarch, Italian humanists alchemically place the actualities of Greek philosophy and Western history2 into the novel context of the liberal arts3, emerging from the potential of five disciplines1: grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and ethics.

The result can be portrayed as follows, according to A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form.

Figure 01

0015 The dyadic actuality of Greek philosophy [and] Western history2 is placed in an alchemic vessel3 alien to its original, natural and organic milieu1.  Plutarch’s liberal arts3 is a normal context that excludes Aristotle’s realist philosophy3.  The pentagram of grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and ethics1, whose points operate independently and in combination, constitutes a digestive organ potentiating transformation.


Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 4 of 17)

0016 What is this [and] between Greek philosophy and Western history?

Figure 02

0017 According to Charles Peirce (7639-7714 U0′), the category of secondness is the realm of actuality.  Secondness consists of two contiguous real elements.  The nomenclature is one real element [contiguity] other real element.

Here, the contiguity, [and], describes a substance that coheres to the most rudimentary causality, the contiguity between matter and form.  Or, should I say, style and form?  The nomenclature is Greek philosophy [and] Western history.

0018 The [and] composed by Thomas Aquinas (7025-7074 U0′) takes Aristotle as Greek philosophy and the Bible as the foundation of Western history.  Does that sound like matter [and] form or style [and] form?  The normal context is scholastic inquiry3 and the potential is understanding1, formatted according to the synthetic and analytic logics of Aristotle’s four causes.

0019 The tradition of Petrarch alters the normal context to the liberal arts3 and the potential to the pentagrammatic disciplines: grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and ethics1.

Do these alterations elevate style [and] form over matter [and] form?

Do these alterations serve as an alchemic vessel3 and digestive juices1 for the meat of scholastic inquiry2?

Is the contiguity, [and], the same for the scholastics and the Renaissance humanists?

Figure 03

0020 Petrarch and his fellow travelers assert that common folk, traditional Christians, cannot appreciate the lofty metaphysical grammar and moral realities offered by the ancient poets.  A Christian knows that the Greek and the Roman pantheons are simply not true.  These gods are idols.

But, change the normal context, and let rhetoric, poetry and history work their magic, then newly digested truths become palatable.

These pre-digested morsels are valid in the normal context of the liberal arts3, which excludes all other normal contexts, and thus is universal.  Only after digestion by pentagrammatic modes of inquiry1, do the allegorical and figurative meanings of Moses2 turn into the stuff of Renaissance, and later, Enlightenment ideals.  Only a nominalist can delineate the pathways from Moses to Socrates and onwards to the Christians and Neoplatonists.  Only a nominalist can reveal the mysterious [and], the contiguity between Greek art, philosophy and wisdom and Western history.

0021 [And], the contiguity between ancient Greek and Roman literature and the glories of Rome, takes on the substance of revival.

Figure 04

Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 5 of 17)

0023 The Renaissance program sets the humanities against Aristotle’s logic and naturalism.  It undermines the union of philosophy and scholastic theology.

Poetry gains attention.

Logic is neglected.

Before: Philosophy (including logic) stands as a handmaiden to theology, the queen of the sciences.

After: Poetry is the transcendent queen of the arts.

0024 Of course, I speak allegorically.

According to Redpath, the humanist ascent of allegory has historic precedent.  Allegory appears in Hesiod’s attack on Homer’s veracity, the Ionians critique of mythological reasoning, and Plato’s interpretations of epic poetry.  Then, allegory is used to counter-attack, arguing for the truth of Homer, myths and epics.  The truth is found, not in fact, but in fiction.  The truth is concealed within a rhetorical facade.  By the time of Augustine, rhetorician and philosopher are one and the same.

0025 I pause and ask myself, “What on Earth is allegory?”

Allegory is a technique, characteristic of our current Lebenswelt (and perhaps, the Lebenswelt that we evolved in), whereby symbols associate to concrete or material forms.

For Renaissance humanists, the forms are literary.  The symbols are political.

Style becomes matter.  Symbols of the glory of Rome are matter, and ancient literary works are the corresponding forms.

On the one hand, matter [substantiates] form.  On the other hand, form [informs] matter.

Now, style [substantiates] form.  Form [informs] style.

What is [informs]?

[To inform] is [to be substantiated by].

0026 Here is a comparison.

Figure 05

Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 6 of 17)

0027 I left off with the following pair of hylomorphes.

Figure 06

0028 These two actualities associate to Redpath’s argument.

First, starting with Petrarch, Italian humanists elevate the disciplines of rhetoric, poetry and history in their search for symbols that (1) trace back to antiquity and (2) exploit the dual charisms of Moses and Greek philosophy.

Second, these symbols, isolated in the digestion of Greek philosophy [and] Western history2 by the solvents of rhetoric, poetry and history1, alchemically coagulate (or “occult”) into universals and abstractions that can be read as the grammar1and the ethics1 of nature and revelation.

Third, these grammatical and ethical slogans concern political matters.  They announce a revival of the Roman polity, a polis at once outside of the city of God and the city of man.

0029 Oh, what about tiny, initial flaws?

Even though, in the above figure, I associate this Renaissance vision to two hylomorphes, the dyadic structure of the hylomorphe is logical and thus disregarded in the normal context of the liberal arts3.


Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 7 of 17)

0030 At this turn in his whirlwind history, Redpath addresses the nature of the mind in scholastic psychology.  If nothing else, this nature follows a certain logic.  The mind is composed of three category-based nested forms, arranged as a category-based nested form.  The three-level interscope is described in A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

The three levels are content (corresponding to firstness), situation (secondness) and perspective (thirdness).  Thirdness brings secondness into relation with firstness.  Perceptionc brings situationb into relation with contenta.

The following appears in Comments on Brian Kemple’s Essay (2020) “Signs and Reality”.

0031 On the content level, the five external senses (plus internal sensing of homeostasis) belong to the active body.  Feelings, immediate sequalae to the senses (including automatic decoding of parole), belong to the sensate soul.  The active body [substantiates] the sensate soul2a accounts for sensations2a, in the normal context of what is happening3aarising from the potential of ‘something happening’1a.

0032 On the situation level, the imaginative senses1b belong to the perceptive soul [informing] the reactive body2b. Imagination1b has the potential to situate the content level.  Imagination1b supports perception2b.  The body2b, instinctively (emotions) or through training (manners), reacts to the perceptive soul2b, in the normal context of what this means to me3b.  Some label the situation-level actuality2b as “perception” or “phantasm”.  I suppose a distinction between these two terms colors the character of imagination1b.

0033 On the perspective level, the intellect3c forms a judgment2c, addressing the question, “Does this make sense?”.  What makes sense3c emerges from the potential of contextualizing the situation1c.

A judgment is a primal triadic relation containing three elements: relation, what is and what ought to be.  The relationmay be active (imbuing what ought to be with the qualities of secondness) or passive (imbuing what is with secondness).  The perspective-level relation2c may be theoretical or practical.  What ought to be2c typically engages the situation-level actuality2b, transforming a species expressa2b (perception2b) into a species expressa intelligibilis2c.  What is2c typically engages species impressa2a, the content-level actuality2a, as a species impressa intelligibilis2c.

In sum, content should be referential and situation should be intelligible.  The intellect offers a relation that brings these together.

0034 What does this imply?

Judgment is synthetic, as well as analytic.


Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 8 of 17)

0035 Here is a diagram of the interscope for scholastic psychology.

Figure 07

0036  Sensation2a and perception2b are dyadic structures.

Judgment2c is a triadic structure.

Here is a general picture of judgment.  

Figure 08

When each of the elements is assigned to a unique category, then the judgment becomes actionable.  Otherwise, the judgment is contemplative.

0037 The key point?

These diagrams show the logic of Peirce’s categories.

How did Peirce figure out the categories?

The first postmodern, Charles Peirce (7639-7714 U0′), reads the Baroque scholastic, Francisco Suarez (7348-7417), and arrives at the same definition of sign as John Poinsot (7389-7444).  A sign is a triadic relation.

From that insight, Peirce proposes the three categories.

My claim?

Scholastic psychology exhibits the logic of Peirce’s three categories.  Or, is it the other way around?

Thus, Redpath’s article is an ideal subject, from the viewpoint of triadic relations.

With Peirce, one can see the traditional dyad, Aristotle [and] the Bible, within the alchemically distorted rebirth and the enlightenment-programmed adolescence of Greek philosophy [and] Western history.


Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 9 of 17)

0038  Redpath returns to the agenda of the Renaissance humanists.

In order to deconstruct scholastic psychology (presented in the prior blog), humanists confound the human imagination(situation-level potential1b), the practical intellect (associating to what is as an element of judgment2c) and the agent intellect (the relation inherent to judgment2c).

In doing so, these geniuses imbue the intelligible features of phantasms, corresponding to species expressa intelligibilis or what ought to be as an element of judgment2c, with secondness. 

0039 Here is a diagram.

Figure 09

0040 Since all the elements are assigned unique categories, this judgment is actionable.

0041 What does this imply?

Petrarch’s project of reviving Roman political greatness develops a new profession, corresponding to an agent intellect (relation) imaginatively bringing a practical intellect engaged in rhetoric, poetry and history (what is) into relation with an occult being, or better, an oracular being, conveying the grammar of the world and its ethical implications (what ought to be).

Redpath calls this new vocation, “theologizing poet”.

And the corresponding discipline?

Poetic theology alchemically dissolves philosophy and theology with the solvents of rhetoric, poetry, and history.  Then, the objects of humanist knowledge precipitate a coagulate of prophetic revelation.  Poetic theology illuminates the deep grammar and the universal ethics afforded by a vision of political renewal.

0042 Does any of this sound vaguely contemporary?


Looking at Peter Redpath’s Essay (2000) “The Homeschool Renaissance” (Part 10 of 17)

0043 The Christian listens to ancient Greek myths and chuckles.


After the passing of a civilization, tragedy sounds like comedy.

Who takes the story of the birth of Athena seriously?

The educated humanists do.  There must be a deep grammar and an ethical lesson in this ancient myth that makes it… um… less funny.

0044 The Renaissance humanists calculate that the elevation of poetry will change the first attitude into the second.  They take themselves seriously.  They only laugh in derision at naive Christians.

0045 The questions posed (and answered) by Renaissance humanists speak to their agenda.  Is Moses the first poet?  Is religion originally monotheistic?  Do the ancient Greek poets descend from Moses?  Does Plato encapsulate both Homer and Judaism?  What if idolatry arises from a forced worship of the dead?  Do the ancient poets couch their monotheistic principles in esoteric language?  Does poetic knowledge elevate a human towards the divine?  Do the works of ancient philosophers contain hidden revelations for Christianity?

0046 Ah, I am beginning to appreciate how the Renaissance liberal arts neglect to potentiate logic.

Nothing here makes sense, except as an alchemic digestion of the scholastic model of the human mind1 by the pentagrammatic disciplines1 in the normal context of the liberal arts3.

0047 By the time of Ficino’s Platonic Academy (7226-7275 U0′), the oracular and the occult coagulate.  Wise and holy men and women of all traditions are reclassified as priests, priestesses and philosophers.  The alchemic vessel swells to enclose Hebrew prophets, Persian Magi, Egyptian astrologers, Hindu Brahmins, ancient Greek poets, Celts, Romans and early Christian bishops.

What about Jesus?

Christ is a body of knowledge, a repository of divine ideas, suitable for intellectual appropriation by the students of Ficino’s institution.

0048 Next, the Gutenberg press dramatically lowers the cost of producing and disseminating this premasticated knowledge.

Polydore Virgil (7270-7355), traces the origins of philosophy to Moses, on the authorities of Eusebius (Christian bishop, 6063-6139) and Porphyry (Platonist, 6034-6104).  His “reference book”, De Inventoribus Rerum, goes through thirty editions.

0049 Yes, a hidden system of knowledge is recovered from the dissolution and precipitation of Christendom in the digestive vessel of the Renaissance.

Greek philosophy [revives] Western history2 emerges from the possibilities inherent in ‘grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and ethics’1, in the normal context of the liberal arts3.

0050 Nothing here has to do with logic.

Nothing stands as a small flaw in the fabric of the pentagrammatic disciplines.

Who exploits that flaw?

The mechanical philosophers.