The Cartesian dichotomy of mind and matter has dominated Western thought for more than three centuries. Building upon the scholarship of Michael Polanyi, William Poteat has dedicated himself to offering an alternative model. These essays cover a wide range of subjects, from Poteat's analysis of the epistemological crisis brought by the Cartesian programme to his first attempts at formulating an alternative to the mind-body dichotomy. These essays diagnose the present situation of Western thought by making explicit the philosophical presuppositions to which it is committed. They include theological affirmations, reflections on epistemology, conceptual analyses, as well as dialogues with other writers in the field of cultural criticism and linguistic theory, such as George Steiner, Noam Chomsky and Walker Percy. Most significant is Poteat's affirmation of the primacy of persons and his analysis and critique of our cultural misconstructions of human awareness. ""The Primacy of Persons and the Language of Culture"" provides an introduction to the scholarship of William Poteat. It should be of interest to scholars of philosophy and theology, as well as others who share Poteat's concern for the state of human culture.
William H. Poteat is Professor Emeritus of Religion and Comparative Studies at Duke University. He is the author of A Philosophical Daybook: Post-Critical Investigations and Polanyian Mediations: In Search of a Post-Critical Logic.James M. Nickell is Professor of Political Science at St. Mary's College in St. Mary's City, Maryland.James W. Stines is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.