Bryan Magee Ultimate Questions. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 132 pp.
I know that I exist, but I do not know what I am.
Thus starts the final chapter, Our predicament summarised of this short book in which Bryan Magee, student philosophy and advocate of Kant, Schopenhauer and Wagner, expounds his personal philosophy. I would say Magee’s personal position is the agnosticism of Kant rather than the cold pessimism of athiestic Schopenhauer (even thought that pessimism ultimately empowered the musical art of Wagner, for example). Although fearlessly honest throughout, Magee allows himself to bypass any requirement that our belief’s be backed up by rational (scientific) observation and reasoning (from Descartes, for example). Perhaps Magee would disagree with this paraphrasing, but I think he bases this free pass on Kant’s assertion that we can’t ever know the noumenal, that one can never understand the system of which one is a part. Although it is hard to argue with this stance, nevertheless I think it possible theoretical physicists might find clues to the noumenal hidden in the phenomenal.
Magee thinks and writes clearly, worthy of more than one visit.