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William Barrett



William Barrett, PhD, (1913–1992) was a philosophy professor, author, editor, and literary critic. He was deeply influenced by the philosophies of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger and focused on making existentialism accessible to nonexperts.

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15:28

William Barrett on Existentialism, Part 1 of 3

An interview with William Barrett, Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

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Death of the Soul: From Descartes to the Computer

Traces the development of philosophical thought from the seventeenth century to today, and explores why questions of the soul figure so little in the minds of present-day technocratic intellectuals

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What Is Existentialism

We have ambiguous relations to the nineteenth century. For at least two decades, maybe more, we have felt ourselves from time to time, and more or less consciously, in revolt against it.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageBut the worst and final form of alienation, toward which indeed the others tend, is man’s alienation from his own self.

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45:20

Heidegger and Existentialism with Bryan Magee (1977)

In this program, world-renowned author and professor Bryan Magee and William Barret of New York University examine the basic theory of existentialism as founded by Martin Heidegger, and later propagated by Jean-Paul Sartre.

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Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy

Widely recognized as the finest definition of existentialist Philosophy, this book introduced existentialism to America in 1958.

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15:19

William Barrett on Existentialism, Part 2 of 3

An interview with William Barrett, Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageIf science could comprehend all phenomena so that eventually in a thoroughly rational society human beings became as predictable as cogs in a machine, then man, driven by this need to know and assert his freedom, would rise up and smash the machine . . .

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14:42

William Barrett on Existentialism, Part 3 of 3

An interview with William Barrett, Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

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William Barrett

William Barrett helped to introduce existentialism to American philosophers with his book Irrational Man in 1958. In 1986 his book The Death of the Soul described the "scientistic" attempts to reduce humans to machines and the brain to a computer.

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