William Barrett on Existentialism

Here is a three part interview led by the ever reliable and precise expositor, Bryan Magee. I’m not sure that things have changed that much since this programme in 1978 in that while Heidegger is fully accepted (and suggestively reinterpreted) by those of us in cognitive science, mainstream analytical  philosophy still sees him as a wacky and wooly Continental as Ayer, Popper and Carnap were wont to do, the exception being Ryle (Mind, New Series, Vol. 38, No. 151, Jul., 1929, pp. 355-370).  Of course, it doesn’t help that Heidegger has been assimilated into circles that have no philosophical culture and he is deployed merely a hanger/filter for all manner of pompous tripe. Whatever qualms Ryle has about Being and Time he writes:

He shows himself to be a thinker of real importance by the immense subtlety and searchingness of his examination of con- sciousness, by the boldness and originality of his methods and conclusions, and by the unflagging energy with which he tries to think behind the stock categories of orthodox philosophy and psychology.

Magee concedes that Heidegger deals with heavy-duty issues whose philosophical outlook was of great value to his preparation for this interview. Even Barrett, a student of Carnap, came to Heidegger through Carnap’s dismissal of Heidegger.