The death of Cyril Barrett in Dublin on December 30 diminishes in equal measure the company of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), of which he was

a member, and the community of English-language philosophers, to which he brought an unusual range of interests and expertise.

So far as the latter is concerned, his most enduring

contribution is likely to be the editing and publication of Wittgenstein's Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology, and Religious Belief (published in 1966). The appearance of these transformed the image of Wittgenstein, revealing him to be familiar with and exercised by issues in art, psychoanalysis and religion. To that point it was not generally known that the great philosopher knew of, let alone cared greatly about, the thoughts of Cardinal Newman or the therapeutic methods of Sigmund Freud.

The executors of Wittgenstein's literary estate, all of whom had been his students, were particularly protective of the material in their hands (fearing that unsubtle minds would use it in ways abhorrent to its author), and this attitude extended to other former

students including those possessed of notes of Wittgenstein's lectures on art, psychology and religion. It is very much to Barrett's credit, therefore, that he was able to persuade them to allow him to edit this material for publication. No doubt his success owed much to his Celtic charm, personal confidence and considerable knowledge of the areas in question (additional

to philosophy).

Cyril Barrett was born in Dublin in 1925 to an established family. His father was the assistant commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and post independence occupied the same office in the Garda Siochana. Like others who had served the crown, he was suspicious of republicanism, and Cyril inherited something of his father's strong distaste for the IRA. Sport stood alongside public service as a family tradition, and his great-uncle was Cyril Corbally, an important figure in the turn-of-century resurgence of croquet who is credited with having introduced new skills and

tactics to the game.

Barrett was introduced to the ways of upper-class English Catholicism through schooling at Ampleforth, but returned to Ireland to study history and classics at University College Dublin. Thereafter, he followed the traditional route of the Jesuit scholastic taking licentiates in philosophy and in

theology, and subsequent to these studied for a doctorate (on symbolism in the arts), and followed up with a year studying anthropology at the University of London.

Beyond editing the Wittgenstein Lectures and Conversations, Barrett contributed in

his own right in the areas of

art history (Introduction to Op(tical) Art (1970), art criticism (authoring many exhibition catalogue essays and reviews) and philosophy (publishing articles in aesthetics

and philosophy of religion). In recent times he continued writing on philosophical, artistic and religious themes. While being something of a critic

of ecclesiastical authority, Barrett remained loyal to the

spirit of Catholicism and continued to be fascinated by the Jesuit vocation, combining intellect and spirit.

He was appointed to a position in the newly-founded philosophy department at Warwick University in 1965 and retired from there in 1992 as reader in philosophy. While familiar with the ways of establishments, Cyril Barrett had something of the eccentric about him and was fiercely independent. He enjoyed company, particularly in the context of a meal, sometimes of his own making.

Cyril Barrett represented a form of intellectual and religious integration that is increasingly rare. He was a genuine polymath for whom everything provided a starting point for inquiry and reflection. Beyond the loss of a particularly gifted individual, his death represents a further disconnection of philosophy from the wider world of humane learning and religious journeying. We may never see his like again.

Denis Cyril Barrett, SJ; born 1925, died December 30, 2003.