The Priority of the Person
Political, Philosophical, and Historical Discoveries
372 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268107383 | August 2020
Hardcover | 9780268107376 | August 2020
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268107406 | August 2020
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268107390 | August 2020
In The Priority of the Person, world-class philosopher David Walsh advances the argument set forth in his highly original philosophic meditation Politics of the Person as the Politics of Being (2015), that “person” is the central category of modern political thought and philosophy. The present volume is divided into three main parts. It begins with the political discovery of the inexhaustibility of persons, explores the philosophic differentiation of the idea of the “person,” and finally traces the historical emergence of the concept through art, science, and faith. Walsh argues that, although the roots of the idea of “person” are found in the Greek concept of the mind and in the Christian conception of the soul, this notion is ultimately a distinctly modern achievement, because it is only the modern turn toward interiority that illuminated the unique nature of persons as each being a world unto him- or herself. As Walsh shows, it is precisely this feature of persons that makes it possible for us to know and communicate with others, for we can only give and receive one another as persons. In this way alone can we become friends and, in friendship, build community.
By showing how the person is modernity’s central preoccupation, David Walsh’s The Priority of the Person makes an important contribution to current discussions in both political theory and philosophy. It will also appeal to students and scholars of theology and literature, and any groups interested in the person and personalism.
David Walsh is professor of politics at the Catholic University of America. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including Politics of the Person as the Politics of Being (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015).
“The reader can trace David Walsh’s own personal turn(s) as he participates in the conversation that Kant, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and others conduct. This is an intensely personal book about the person." —John von Heyking, author of The Form of Politics
"With each new book, David Walsh’s formidable project broadens and deepens. His is a rare and elegant meditative reflection, grounded in a luminous appreciation of the inexhaustible dignity of the human person, and in the priority of practice, of lived experience, to all intellectual and theoretical abstractions. All in all, an intellectual gem not to be missed." —Daniel J. Mahoney, author of The Conservative Foundations of Liberal Order
“Walsh brings his previous searching reflections on the direction and content of philosophy to a brilliant conclusion in these memorable pages. This is a work of original intellect that serves to illuminate what a person is, how it is grounded in reality, and how it relates both to God and to the political order.” —James V. Schall, S.J., author of The Modern Age