The task Richard Polt sets himself in this new introduction to the life and work of the Martin Heidegger is almost impossibly ambitious.
In the space of 200 pages, he attempts to introduce the reader to Heidegger's early, pre- Being and Time work; provide a section by section analysis of Being and Time itself; throw light on the obscurities of his later work; and give an overview of positions taken on Heidegger's political involvements. Yet, with the exception of the treatment of Heidegger's late work, where even Polt doubts the success of his own clarifications ("it is easy to get lost in these vague musings"), the book provides a remarkably lucid and accessible introduction.
The constant use of examples to illustrate Heidegger's ideas, particularly in the two chapters on Being and Time , will be invaluable to beginners and even to seasoned scholars of Heidegger. The use of gardening, to illustrate the web of meanings and purposes that inform the practices by which we negotiate the world, will perhaps particularly appeal to British readers.
The book also contains a number of useful conceptual maps to guide the reader through Heidegger's own terminological thickets and a helpful annotated bibliography.
Ian Lyne is lecturer in philosophy, University of Warwick.
Author - Richard Polt
ISBN - 197
Publisher - UCL Press
Price - £40.00 and £12.99
Pages - 197