Do the "great books" of Western civilization, from Plato to Nietzsche, belong at the core of liberal education in America?

What is the central purpose of liberal education?Those are some of the questions that will be addressed when Brigham Young University presents a conference entitled, "America, the West, and the Liberal Arts" Wednesday through Friday, May 22-24. Several sessions are open to the university community and the public, while others require registration. For more information, call General and Honors Education at 378-3037.

Professor Allan Bloom of the University of Chicago and author of the best-selling book, "The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students," will be the keynote speaker at the conference. He will speak at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium. A follow-up session will take place at 2 p.m. in the same location.

Stanley Rosen, professor at Pennsylvania State University, will speak at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Joseph Smith Auditorium. A discussion session will follow his address in the same location.

The remaining sessions of the conference will include discussions led by panels of BYU faculty members and other scholars such as Thomas Pangle, professor at the University of Toronto, and James Nuechterlein, editor of "First Things."

The conference is the final installment in a series that began in February.