Our dinner with Bill

Published: December 2009

In 1963, William Richardson, SJ, wrote Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought, a book that turned a radically new light on one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century. Until then, Martin Heidegger was invariably understood as an existentialist, someone concerned strictly with such matters of human existence as authenticity and anxiety. Afterward, Heidegger became known as a philosopher of being as a whole. Since 1981, Richardson has taught at Boston College. Now, several of his former doctoral students—Edward McGushin, Ph.D. ’02, Paul Bruno ’89, Ph.D. ’99, and Scott Campbell, Ph.D. ’99, all of whom teach philosophy at the college level—are turning lights on him: producing a documentary about the Jesuit and his remarkable philosophical life.

On October 8, a camera crew came to St. Mary’s Hall to film a dinner conversation among Richardson and three eminent philosopher-friends: Boston College’s Richard Kearney and Jeffrey Bloechl, and Stanford University’s Thomas Sheehan. The philosophers spoke of many things, including a crisis of faith that Richardson experienced late one night in Freiburg, Germany; his chancy, four-hour meeting with Heidegger at the thinker’s home in that city, 50 years ago; and the Jesuit’s return, with Kearney, to his ancestral home in a Protestant stronghold of Northern Ireland in 1972. @BC offers video clips from that dinner:

  • Can Christianity and philosophy mix? (6:27)
  • Richardson and Heidegger meet (4:54)
  • The old homestead (5:07)
  • 2 a.m., alone, in Freiburg (6:09)

This feature was posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 and is filed under Videos.