Research Article

Intimations of Mortality

Bryan Mageea1

a1 Keble College, Oxford


The nearness of death can lead me to see the empirical world as separate from myself since, only too soon, it will exist without me. This raises the question whether I might partake of some other mode of existence without the empirical world. Logically, such existence may be possible; but our inability to validate any conception of what is actually the case without ultimate reference to experience, or to the possibility of experience, renders us permanently unable to have grounds for believing in the reality of it. This inability does not eliminate the logical possibility, but a logical possibility is all we are left with. And we do know that only the very tiniest proportion of logical possibilities is actualized.

Bryan Magee is Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. His books include On Blindness (with Martin Milligan), The Philosophy of Schopenhauer, and Confessions of a Philosopher.