I heard the news yesterday that Hubert Dreyfus had died at the age of 87. While it was shared on social media, it took a while for an official notification. Dreyfus’s Twitter account simply said ‘Reports of my demise are not exaggerated’.
I met him only once, almost twenty years ago, at a conference at the University of Essex when I was a PhD student. I gave a talk on Heidegger and Hölderlin, which became my first journal publication (read it here). I don’t think he was in the audience for that session, but we had a talk about Heidegger, Foucault and space in one of the breaks, and he was very generous with his time. In particular he suggested that I talk more to Béatrice Han-Pile, whom I met at that conference, and to get in contact with Jeff Malpas. Both were excellent people to talk to, and I am still in touch with both, and I’m extremely grateful for that. He kindly answered some questions by email following this event. I’d hoped to speak to him when I visited Berkeley in 2015 to do work on the Foucault papers archived there, but it didn’t work out. I did spot his beautiful car parked on campus though – immortalised in the covers of the collections on Dreyfus’s work edited by Malpas and Mark Wrathall.
The interview below gives a sense of the breadth of his interests.