CLASSICAL AMERICAN PERSONALISM

Thomas Buford

Thomas Buford

Thomas Oliver Buford (1932–), a great American Personalist, Co-Editor of the biannual Personalism, Founding Editor of The Personalist Forum, is the Louis G. Forgione Professor at Furman University, where he has taught since 1969. He studied at the University of North Texas (B.A.), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (B.D.), and he received the Ph.D. in Philosophy from Boston University, specializing in Metaphysics. In 1989 Thomas Buford and Charles Conti of the University of Sussex, England founded The International Conference on Persons, which meets every other year around the globe. From 1985 through 1999 he was the Secretary of the Personalist Discussion Group in America. From June 3rd to 10th, 2002 Thomas Buford and his wife, Dolores (Ph.D.) visited Poland.

He is the author or editor of nine books, including Essays on Other Minds; Contemporary Studies in Philosophical on Other Minds; Contemporary Studies in Philosophical Idealism, In Search of a Calling; and Personalism Revisited. Its Proponents and Critics (Amsterdam – New York, NY 2002).

Personalism is the first complete and comprehensive system of philosophy developed in America.”

Personalism in American thought is more than 100 years old, having been first fully formulated under that name by Borden Parker Bowne in his Metaphysics, published in 1882. Bowne wrote, “I am Personalist, the first of the clan in an thoroughgoing sense.” Personalism is reputed to be the “first complete and comprehensive system of philosophy developed in America which has had lasting influence and which still counts some of our outstanding thinkers among its adherents.”To understand classical American Personalism, we shall consider its historical roots and its central tenets.

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