Persons, Institutions, and Trust

Essays in Honor of Thomas O. Buford

James M. McLachlan (Ed.)

by J.Aaron Simmons (Furman University), Richard Prust (St. Andrews College, Ireland), James M. McLachlan (Western Carolina University), Eugene Long (University of South Carolina), Nathan Riley, Randall Auxier (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), John Scott Gray (Pepperdine University), Mason Marshall (Pepperdine University), Thomas O. Buford, James Beauregard (Rivier University)

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The papers presented in this volume honor Thomas O. Buford. Buford is Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at Furman University where he taught for more than forty years. Several of the papers in this volume are from former students. But Professor Buford is also a pre-eminent voice of fourth generation Personalism, and Boston Personalism in particular. Personalism is a school of philosophical and theological thought which holds that the ideas of “person” and “personality” are indispensable to an adequate understanding of all metaphysical and epistemological problems, as well as are keys to an adequate theory of ethical and political human interaction. Most personalists assert that personality is an irreducible fact found in all existence, as well as in all interpretation of the meaning of existence and the truth about experience. Anything that seems to exist impersonally, such as inanimate matter, nevertheless can exist and have meaning only as related to some personal being. The Boston Personalist tradition was inaugurated by Borden Parker Bowne and continued by Edgar S. Brightman, Peter Bertocci, John Lavely, Carol Robb, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Part I: Buford: The Person and Personalist

Thomas O. Buford Autobiography
Chapter 1 “On Behalf of Poetasters”
Charles Carlo Conti
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 2 Fourth generation Boston University
personalism: The philosophy of Thomas O. Buford
Randall E. Auxier
Chapter 3 Dancing with Tom
J. Aaron Simmons
Thomas O. Buford response

Part II: Persons, Institutions, and Communities

Chapter 4 Are institutions persons? Buford and the primacy of social order
Randall E. Auxier
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 5 Faith, philosophy and idols: Thomas O. Buford on the parables of Jesus
James Beauregard
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 6 Christianity and intellectual seriousness
Mason Marshall
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 7 Freedom for the common good: Danish personalism on democracy and the engaged human
Jonas Norgaard Mortensen
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 8 Persons in relation
Eugene Thomas Long
Thomas O. Buford response
Part III: Trust and Problems of Personal Existence
Chapter 9 Why should I trust you, Tom Buford?
Richard Prust
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 10 Trusting to dance within the nexus
Nathan Riley
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 11 Buford and Brightman on trust, suffering, and the non-rational given
James McLachlan
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 12 Buford, Kohak, and a renewed understanding of the personal nature of time
John Scott Gray
Thomas O. Buford response
Chapter 13 Death and self-importance
John Lachs
Thomas O. Buford response
List of Contributors

James McLachlan is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Western Carolina University. He is author of books and articles on Personalism and the problem of evil including: “The Desire to be God: Freedom and the Other in Sartre and Berdyaev”; and most recently, the articles: “Mormonism and the Problem of Evil”; “Mystic Terror and Metaphysical Rebels: Active Evil and Active Love in Schelling and Dostoevsky”; “Satan: Romantic Hero or Just Another Asshole: The Desire to be God, The Devil, and the Demonic”; “Hell Is Others and Paradise Is Others: Hell in the Existential Paris of Sartre and Berdyaev”; and, “The il y a and the Ungrund: Levinas and the Russian Existentialists Berdyaev and Shestov.” He is co-director of the Levinas Summer Seminar and co-founder and co-organizer of the Personalist Seminar. He has known Thomas Buford since 1990. Tom has mentored him since then and helped him discover he was a personalist.

James Beauregard is a Lecturer and Faculty in the Psy.D. program at Rivier University, Nashua, New Hampshire, where he teaches Neuropsychology, Biological Bases of Behavior, Educational Neuroscience, and Aging. His research interests are in the fields of neuroethics and personalist philosophy including the intersection of these two areas as they impact our understandings of personhood. He is a member of the British Personalist Forum and the International Neuroethics Society.

Richard C. Prust lives in Chapel Hill, NC, where he works on a book on personal identity in moral and legal reasoning and teaches part-time in Duke’s continuing education program. He is active in the International Forum on Persons. Before retiring from full-time teaching, he taught philosophy at St. Andrews University in North Carolina. His book, Wholeness: the Character Logic of Christian Belief, is published by Rodopi Press.

Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Persons, Institutions, and Trust
Book Subtitle
Essays in Honor of Thomas O. Buford
Number of pages
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
1 Color
Publication date
January 2018