In 1974, Gian-Carlo Rota began teaching an annual course on phenomenology, focusing on Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The last time he taught this course, in the fall term of 1998, it took the form of an introduction to Heidegger’s Being and Time. There are people who think the book Being and Time is complete gibberish, and there are people who think it is something like the Gospels. Translation is made more difficult because Being and Time is perhaps the most influential and controversial philosophical work written in this century. Being and Time is a description of being-in-the-world with a view towards grasping the phenomenon of authenticity. In Heidegger’s own copy of Being and Time, he made annotations, adding to passages about the abyss footnotes that say, “This is really the ontological difference”. Unfortunately, Being and Time was so far ahead of its time, that the book could only be a preliminary statement of important new ideas.