13th Biennial Personalist Summer Seminar: Whitehead and Berdyaev, July 31-August 4

The AIPCT is pleased to be hosting the 13th Biennial Personalist Summer Seminar. The Seminar normally gathers at Western Carolina University, but the dates of other conferences and early student arrival at WCU has made it necessary to move this summer’s meeting to AIPCT. As usual, we will compare the work of one avowed personalist (Berdyaev) and one non-personalist (Whitehead). Both are process philosophers who place great emphasis on creativity, freedom, and God. There are also many points of contrast, but this is what makes the discussion interesting.

The seminar presentations are not overly formal, but prepared and moderated. The public is welcome to attend in person, no reservation required, but attendees should be aware that the conversation develops over the course of five days and it may be harder to follow at the end if one has not been there for some of the beginning.

Those unable to attend in person may request a zoom link by writing to personalist61@gmail.com.

Seminar Leaders

George R. Lucas Jr. will be our Whitehead leader. He is professor of ethics and public policy at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School. Previously he was the Distinguished Chair in Ethics in the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy. Lucas is a former president of the Metaphysical Society of America (2016), and author of a number of books, including The Ordering of Time (2020) which will provide the background for his contributions to this seminar. He has been instrumental in the current revolution in Whitehead studies through his leadership and participation in the discovery and publication of the new materials from Whitehead’s lectures and correspondence, long believed destroyed but now found and in the process of publication.

Daniel A. Dombrowski will be our Berdyaev leader. He is professor emeritus of philosophy at Seattle University.[1] Since 2009 he has served as Editor of the journal Process Studies,[2] and is also a past president of the Metaphysical Society of America (2018–19). He is author of many books and articles, including significant work that engages Berdyaev and the process tradition. His scholarship on Charles Hartshorne is especially influential, but his interests range through all branches of philosophy and all historical eras, from Plato to post-modernism. His work within Roman Catholic philosophy has been controversial and important, where he has paid close attention to animal ethics and medical ethics.


A Preliminary schedule is below. It will be filled out shortly.

Monday, July 31

Moderator: Randall Auxier

6:30: George Lucas, United States Naval Academy, “Stories about Whitehead”

7:15 Daniel Dombrowski, Seattle University, Berdyaev Overview

Tuesday, August 1

Moderator: James McLachlan

9:00-10:30 George Lucas, United States Naval Academy, “Process Narratives”

10:45-12:15 Daniel Dombrowski, Seattle University, “Process Mysticism”

12:15-2:00 Lunch

2:00-3:00 Paul E. Wilson, Shaw University, “A Tragedy within a Process View of God”

3:15-4:15 Brian J. Stanfield, John A. Logan College, “Is Emerson’s God a Process God?”

4:30-5:30 Matthew Z. Donnelly, John A. Logan College, “What Is It Like to Be an Event?”

Wednesday, August 2

Moderator: Myron Jackson

9:00-10:00 Randall Auxier, Southern Illinois University Carbondale/Polish Academy of Sciences “The Temporal Intensification of Possible Persons”

10:15-11:15 Lisa Landoe Hedrick, University of Chicago, “Was Whitehead Telling the Truth?”

1:30-12:30 Leslie M. Murray, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, “Placeless Persons: The Search for Belonging”

12:30-5:00 lunch followed by optional SIU and wine tour

Wednesday evening free, AIPCT open for talk and discussion, etc.

Thursday, August 3

Moderator: Randall Auxier

9:00-10:00 Diana Prokofyeva, St. Petersburg Technical University (Russia), “Themes of Creativity, Sacrifice, and Overcoming Alienation in the Philosophy of Nikolai Berdyaev”

10:15-11:15 Myron Jackson, Western Carolina University, “‘What People Do With Their Freedom’: Whitehead and Langer on the Power of Entertainment”

11:30-12:30 James McLachlan, Western Carolina University, “Personalist and Process Mysticism:  Berdyaev and Dombrowski”

12:30-2:00 lunch

2:00-3:00 Charles Herrman, Senior Research Fellow, AIPCT, “Berdyaev and Whitehead: Toward a Personalist Collectivity without Loss of Individuality”

3:15-4:15 Gary L. Herstein, Senior Research Fellow, AIPCT, “Learning the ‘Language'”

4:30-5:30 Timothy Eshing, St. Louis University “Locke’s Persons, Whitehead’s Organisms, and the Processual Inversion”

5:30-7:00 free time

7:00 conference dinner (Chef Auxier)

Friday, August 4

9:00-10:30 Conference summary (George Lucas, Dan Dombrowski)

10:45-11:30 Business and Planning (Jackson, McLachlan, Auxier)

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