Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Two proofs of the existence of an ultimate reality

Like all alleged proofs, there is always the option to deny one or more of the premisses if one refuses to accept the conclusion. I happen to believe that the premisses are true but I will not argue the case here.

I will, however, make one point to forestall the most likely objection. This comes from one or other of the many versions of the verification theory of meaning. I am begging the question, the objection goes, because in order to 'prove' the existence of an ultimate reality I have to assume the very thing that verificationism rejects.

According to the verificationist, the age of the universe depends one hundred per cent on the empirical facts. My age depends one hundred per cent on the age of this body of mine. Determining the age of the universe is a matter of the 'best' cosmological theory. My age is something that can be known with a very high degree of certainty. No theory is required.

If that's what you believe then that's what you believe. As Wittgenstein once remarked, '"War is war" is not an example of the law of identity either.' [1] That objections of this form are still widely accepted despite the rejection of the theory of meaning once espoused by Carnap and Ayer shows something about the present state of academic philosophy. I refrain from elaborating on my opinion of exactly what it shows.

In talking of ultimate reality some readers might be reminded of simulation theory, the view that the universe is, or could conceivably be, a computer simulation. Whether or not the universe is a simulation is, however, an empirical question, as is the question whether the computer on which the universe is simulated is itself a simulation and so on. Even if empirical investigation showed that there were, or, rather, appeared to be, 'simulations all the way up' there has to be a point where the series of simulations comes to an end in something real.

Here are my two proofs:

Proof 1

1. It is logically possible that the universe came into existence five minutes ago. [2]

2. Whether or not the universe came into existence five minutes ago cannot be determined by the empirical facts.

3. Whether or not the universe came into existence five minutes ago depends on how things are in ultimate, supra-empirical reality.


Proof 2

1. I might not have existed but someone exactly like me might have existed in my place. [3]

2. It is logically possible that the entity I refer to as 'I' came into existence five minutes ago.

3. Whether or not the entity I refer to as 'I' came into existence five minutes ago cannot be determined by the empirical facts.

4. Whether or not the entity I refer to as 'I' came into existence five minutes ago depends on how things are in ultimate, supra-empirical reality.



1. Philosophical Investigations G.E.M. Anscombe tr. p. 221

2. "In investigating memory-beliefs, there are certain points which must be borne in mind. In the first place, everything constituting a memory-belief is happening now, not in that past time to which the belief is said to refer. It is not logically necessary to the existence of a memory-belief that the event remembered should have occurred, or even that the past should have existed at all. There is no logical impossibility in the hypothesis that the world sprang into being five minutes ago, exactly as it then was, with a population that 'remembered' a wholly unreal past. There is no logically necessary connection between events at different times; therefore nothing that is happening now or will happen in the future can disprove the hypothesis that the world began five minutes ago. Hence the occurrences which are called knowledge of the past are logically independent of the past; they are wholly analysable into present contents, which might, theoretically, be just what they are even if no past had existed." -- Bertrand Russell The Analysis of Mind Lecture 9.

3. Geoffrey Klempner I Might Not Have Existed But Someone Exactly Like Me Might Have Existed in My Place: The idiotic conundrum (Amazon 2020

Image: Portae Lucis by Joseph Gikatilla (1248 -1325) Augsburg, 1516 The book is a Latin translation by Paulus Ricius of Gikatilla's most influential kabbalistic work (Wikipedia Commons).

© Geoffrey Klempner 2022



Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Song of the Wolf

Song of the Wolf

In the wilderness
I've learned
To survive
It's no real hardship
To stay

I will not judge myself
As others judge me
I will not see myself
As others see me
I am my own
I have everything
I need

I hunt my prey
When I find food
I feast
I sing to myself
Of the joyful

I will not judge myself
As others judge me
I will not see myself
As others see me
I am my own
I have everything
I need

I love...
The barren wastes
From afar
You hear me cry
Only the birds
And the insects
Know why

I will not judge myself
As others judge me
I will not see myself
As others see me
I am my own
I have everything
I need

The far horizon
Recedes as I advance
The wind blows away
Every trace
Of my dance

I will not judge myself
As others judge me
I will not see myself
As others see me
I am my own
I have everything
I need

© Geoffrey Klempner 2016, 2021. All rights reserved

Saturday, 10 July 2021

The Philosophizer Trilogy

"No one who is familiar with Geoffrey Klempner's past career would have expected him to produce such a barrier-breaking work. Moreover, the style is consistent and larded with restrained humor... 'Philosophizer' illustrates a principle I have maintained for years, that philosophy is an art form where the ideas are the art. Klempner shows himself with this book to be a master of the philosophic form of literary art."
Richard Schain

"At the heart of Klempner's amazing book is the problem of problems: What is it to be?... But rather than a cold, parched sequence of deductive arguments we find ourselves regaled with live, throbbing confrontations with the puzzles of being in contemplations, thought experiments, and reminiscences... The reader is not faced with finished doctrines or theories but is constantly challenged to wonder and to puzzle, which is the best a philosophy book can do."
Daoud Khashaba

"From the distractions of pop music played at a level just loud enough to interfere with work, to the guilt of 'wasting time' watching old sitcoms, we have all been there... the text is therapeutic, a window into someone else's being in the world, this helps the reader connect with themes that underlie the human condition more generally... An honest, original, entertaining, concise read on metaphysics; I don't think there are many of those on the market!"
Andrew Knight

"He writes about hubris, object attachment, reason, illusions that are unavoidable, the limits of human understanding, inescapable subjectivity, metaphysics... He highlights the problems and history of metaphysics, issues with ivory tower philosophy and even that logic, analysis and reason are 'not enough if you want to change your mental attitude.' There is a problem of 'truth' and Philosophizer discusses this. Philosophy is difficult. Life is difficult. Yet an unexamined life is not worth living at all. This book is an examination of a life."
Sean Reynaud

"Get ready for a wild ride!... I only realized that by the end of reading it, it really was a trip into Klempner's views (and mental wrestling matches) on metaphysics - but guided by his own personal memories, thoughts and experiences, with some thoughts on art, religion and the likes along the way. Short but profound breaks into historic backdrops (as it pertains to the history of philosophy and its many children) in between such a trip were refreshing and informative. From Socrates, to Plato to Descartes and beyond - all entangled within this journey."
Eric George

"Reading this book made me feel good – if Salinger, (the early) Woody Allen, (the later) Wittgenstein, Julio Cortazar, Mallarme, Patti Smith, and Baudrillard attempted to write a book together, it would be like this... Including the sound of r'n'r of the 1960s and 1970s."
Sanja Ivic

"Your saying that it has a joyful tone is very accurate. It's a kind of celebration of philosophy on philosophy's own terms; love of wisdom via criticality – a search for hard-nosed metaphysical objectivity by means of a vulnerable and very personal investigation."
Matthew Sims

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Fifty years

Fifty years separate these two self-portraits.

The first was taken yesterday with a Hitachi HDC-1491E digital camera.

The second was taken with a Pentax Spotmatic F with 55mm Super Takumar lens in 1970.

Enough said.

Whatever you do, or don't do, time will have its way with us.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

The PhiloSophos web site

Back in 2001, it was Then, after the person who lent me the 'dotcom' address took it back, it became

It is now hosted permanently on the SDF site at

The jewel of this collection of pages is Dr Anthony Harrison-Barbet's Philosophical Connections, a unique hyperlinked history of philosophy covering over a hundred philosophers from the ancient Greeks to the 20th century.

This is what I wrote in my Foreword to the online edition:

"In 1998 , a team of philosophy graduates from Trinity College Dublin had the idea of compiling a series of Profiles of major Western philosophers. In the words of Dr Anthony Harrison-Barbet – author of Mastering Philosophy (2nd Edition Palgrave 2001) in the Pathways Book List – 'This would be a unique and new venture in that the ideas and themes of each philosopher would be colour-coded and linked so as to show the influences on their thought over the years.'

"At the suggestion of Dr Harrison-Barbet, the work was put onto CD-ROM as an e-text so that the connections could be converted into hyperlinks. There are 126 profiles, and some 20,000 links, summaries of the philosophies, individual biographies and book-lists, and a full hyperlinked bibliography at the end. In all the project adds up to nearly 900 A4 pages. The Senior Editorial Advisor is Professor J.C.A. Gaskin.

"The project was never published. The unusual format proved difficult to sell to publishers, and the group lacked the resources and marketing expertise to publish the CD-ROM themselves. I first heard about the project in September 2008, when I received an email out of the blue from Dr Harrison-Barbet offering to make the material available to students at the Pathways School of Philosophy as well as visitors to the Pathways websites.

"I was intrigued. When I started to explore the CD-ROM, however, it became clear that in terms of quality and coverage of individual philosophers this work ranks alongside the Philosophical Encyclopaedias from Stanford, Routledge, Oxford or Cambridge.

"At over 350,000 words, Philosophical Connections is not only a valuable study aid but a significant contribution to the study of the history of philosophy. This work has to my knowledge never before been attempted on such a large and intricate scale.

"A beginner's first impressions of the e-text are somewhat daunting. However, with the help of author's How to use the profiles, one soon gets the hang of the unique scheme of interconnecting links. The information is incredibly condensed. One could write a paper about each line on each of the many tables of interconnections, or spend hours searching on the internet to find the same information..."

Also on the PhiloSophos site:

- Electronic Philosopher 1,000 essay reviews written between 2001 and 2011

- Philosophy Lovers Gallery with over 50 personal profiles of our friends around the world

- Selected articles from Philosophy Pathways e-journal

- University of London International Programme for Diploma and BA (Hons) in Philosophy

Why not take a look?

Monday, 6 July 2020

The International Society for Philosophers

"The International Society for Philosophers was formed in 2002 in association with the Pathways School of Philosophy to bring together amateur and professional philosophers from all over the world.

"The mission of the ISFP is to "teach the world to philosophize... We believe in freedom of thought and expression but also in the responsibility that goes with that freedom." (ISFP Mission Statement).

"The Board of the ISFP is responsible for examining essay portfolios and dissertations submitted for the ISFP Associate and Fellowship Awards.

"The ISFP publishes the electronic journals, Philosophy Pathways and Philosophy for Business, and runs online conferences for Pathways students and ISFP members.

"On 9th May 2020, there were 2029 ISFP members in 93 countries."

– Taken from the old web site.

From 2002 onwards Pathways to Philosophy and the International Society for Philosophers have been joined together like Siamese twins. What will happen to the ISFP when Pathways comes to an end on 31st December 2020?

I want the Society to continue, no matter what, because the alternative would let down too many people who have invested years of their lives in this project.

As with Pathways, students who have signed up for the ISFP Associate and Fellowship Awards will continue to receive support as long as they need it. However, until the ISFP gets a new, permanent Director of Studies we will not be taking on any new students on the Associate/ Fellowship path.

While we are about it, we could also do with a new Membership Secretary, although I am happy to continue with that function for the time being. I won't be around forever!

As when it was first founded, life membership of the ISFP is once again free. There are no strings. You can opt in or out of the ISFP Open Membership List, and in or out of the Pathways e-list – which has now become the ISFP e-list – hosted, as before, at the University of Sheffield.

I have changed the Blogger address for the e-list archive to It is now known as 'The Pathways List'.

All issues of the Philosophy Pathways and Philosophy for Business e-journals have been archived so that the articles are permanently available on the web at and

The old web site is no more. In its place are just five pages, plus the e-list archive, the essential core. Much of the other material was copied from elsewhere and so is still on the web. You can still use the address which will now forward to

We also have a new, simplified application form currently hosted securely on on a private account at

What are the benefits, now, of joining the ISFP? We are not a Society in the traditional sense. There are no rules or regulations, only an understanding that members should behave in a responsible way, treat one another with respect. We will never ask anything of you, but if you want to contribute, send an email to and we can discuss your ideas!

Long live the ISFP!

Saturday, 4 July 2020

What happens now?

First of all, welcome to my new home page and blog!

It has been a bit of a shock to some people that Pathways to Philosophy is coming to an end on December 31st 2020. I will be instructing my web host to bring all the pages down on that date. By allowing sufficient time for the necessary changes, I hope that it will be a graceful end rather than a violent wrench.

The Pathways juggernaut has been sailing along for over two decades and it is not so easy to bring a thing like this to a halt. It is understandable that some would like this to go on forever but obviously that cannot be.

Some features will be preserved no matter what. The archives of the Philosophy Pathways and Philosophy for Business electronic journals have been moved to my permanent free web site, as has Anthony Harrison-Barbet's Philosophical Connections and Dmitry Olshansky's Gallery of Russian Thinkers. If you click a link to any of the articles or pages you find on the web you will be taken to the relevant home page where you can navigate to the page you were looking for.

The panel of Ask a Philosopher has been retired. I will continue to answer questions that I find interesting, under my own name or my two aliases Gideon Smith-Jones and Gershon Velvel. Gideon likes questions with a social or political slant, while Gershon tends to focus on issues relating to God and religion. That way, I can keep discussions of the most contentious subjects at arm's length!

I am still very much here. Having recently published two new books in a very short period of time – The Idiotic Conundrum and A Better Ray Gun to give their short names – I realize that I need more time to concentrate on my own writing. So far as Pathways is concerned, I've done enough, although as previously indicated, students who have enrolled will continue to receive support beyond 2020, because this is something I am obligated to do.

I will be giving regular updates on this blog and also on my Facebook public figure page. Do follow me there. Use the contact form opposite to ask philosophical questions, or if you have anything else you want to say write to I hope to hear from you soon!