A group of 16 philosophy and religion faculty members and graduate students from colleges across the country visited the WCU campus July 31-Aug. 5 for the 11th Biennial Personalist Seminar.
Personalism is a philosophical, political and theological position found in most of the world’s religious traditions. A basic tenet of personalism is that a person is sacred and must be the starting point of reflection and value.
The seminar’s program centered on Hindu Personalism and philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, and was organized by James McLachlan, professor in WCU’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, and Randall Auxier, professor in the Department of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University. The seminar introduction was given on the first day by Kenneth Valpey, fellow at the Oxford Center for Hindu Studies, and Douglas L. Berger, chair of the philosophy department at Southern Illinois.
“The Personalist Seminar has been held biennially at WCU since 1996,” McLachlan said. “Over that time, we have had people from around the country and world lead the seminar from Oxford University, Boston University, Union Theological Seminar, the Charles University of Prague, Vanderbilt University and others.”
The seminar operates with no budget and only offers the presenters accommodations and meals, McLachlan said. “Western is such a beautiful place and the seminars have been so interesting that I’ve only been turned down once in the 11 times we’ve done it,” he said.