Martin Heidgegger died before completing his attempt to overturn the entire philosophical tradition. On the way, though, he did come up with a new way of thinking about “being” that has largely been incomprehensible to anyone without a properly functioning Department of Philosophy to hold their hand and guide them through specialized language, questionable translations, and impenetrable prose.

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Until now.

The University of California at Berkeley has made Hubert Dreyfus’s class on Heidegger available as a podcast. Professor Dreyfus has also provided some useful notes and a reading list. One of the books he recommends, William Blattner’s Being and Time, A Reader’s Guide, is particularly lucid.  That particular book and Professor’s Dreyfus’ lectures compliment one another very well.

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That said, the kindest thing that can be said about Heidegger as a human being is that he was deeply flawed man.  Rüdiger Safranski’s biography is also a good introduction to Heidegger while addressing his behaviour in Nazi Germany. 

Another quick introduction to Heidegger is available in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.