Hubert Dreyfus (1929-2017), Daily Nous, April 24 2017
An obituary of Hubert Dreyfus by Sean D. Kelly, Teresa G. and Ferdinand F. Martignetti Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University.
Hubert Dreyfus, a renowned philosopher and a professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley for almost 50 years, died early Saturday morning [22 April]. He was 87 years old.
Dreyfus studied philosophy at Harvard, arriving from Terre Haute, Indiana as a freshman in the fall of 1947. He received his B.A. with highest honors in 1951, completing an undergraduate thesis in the philosophy of physics under what he once described as the none-too-strenuous supervision of Quine. He stayed at Harvard for graduate work in philosophy, receiving an M.A. in 1952 and a Ph.D. in 1964.
Perhaps Dreyfus’ most important influence within philosophy was to interpret and extend recent European philosophy for the English speaking world. This was no mean feat. During the famous philosophical summit at Royaumont between French and English philosophers, in 1958, the two sides were so far apart that Charles Taylor described the event as a “dialogue de sourds” (dialogue of the deaf). It is no exaggeration to say that, insofar as English speaking philosophers have any access at all to thinkers like Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Michel Foucault, it is through the interpretation that Dreyfus originally offered of them.