Front Page Titles (by Subject) Section III: Of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, or of the Categories - Critique of Pure Reason
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Section III: Of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, or of the Categories - Friedrich Max Müller, Critique of Pure Reason 
Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. In Commemoration of the Centenary of its First Publication. Translated into English by F. Max Mueller (2nd revised ed.) (New York: Macmillan, 1922).
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Of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, or of the Categories
General logic, as we have often said, takes no account of the contents of our knowledge, but expects that representations will come from elsewhere in order to be turned into concepts by an analytical process. Transcendental logic, on the contrary, has before it the manifold contents of sensibility a priori, supplied by transcendental [p. 77] æsthetic as the material for the concepts of the pure understanding, without which those concepts would be without any contents, therefore entirely empty. It is true that space and time contain what is manifold in the pure intuition a priori, but they belong also to the conditions of the receptivity of our mind under which alone it can receive representations of objects, and which therefore must affect the concepts of them also. The spontaneity of our thought requires that what is manifold in the pure intuition should first be in a certain way examined, received, and connected, in order to produce a knowledge of it. This act I call synthesis.
In its most general sense, I understand by synthesis the act of arranging different representations together, and of comprehending what is manifold in them under one form of knowledge. Such a synthesis is pure, if the manifold is not given empirically, but a priori (as in time and space). Before we can proceed to an analysis of our representations, these must first be given, and, as far as their contents are concerned, no concepts can arise analytically. Knowledge is first produced by the synthesis of what is manifold (whether given empirically or a priori). That knowledge may at first be crude and confused and in need of analysis, but it is synthesis which really collects the elements of knowledge, and unites them to a certain extent. It is therefore the first thing which we [p. 78] have to consider, if we want to form an opinion on the first origin of our knowledge.
We shall see hereafter that synthesis in general is the mere result of what I call the faculty of imagination, a blind but indispensable function of the soul, without which we should have no knowledge whatsoever, but of the existence of which we are scarcely conscious. But to reduce this synthesis to concepts is a function that belongs to the understanding, and by which the understanding supplies us for the first time with knowledge properly so called.
Pure synthesis in its most general meaning gives us the pure concept of the understanding. By this pure synthesis I mean that which rests on the foundation of what I call synthetical unity a priori. Thus our counting (as we best perceive when dealing with higher numbers) is a synthesis according to concepts, because resting on a common ground of unity, as for instance, the decade. The unity of the synthesis of the manifold becomes necessary under this concept.
By means of analysis different representations are brought under one concept, a task treated of in general logic; but how to bring, not the representations, but the pure synthesis of representations, under concepts, that is what transcendental logic means to teach. The first that must be given us a priori for the sake of knowledge of all objects, is the manifold in pure intuition. The second is, the synthesis of the manifold by means of [p. 79] imagination. But this does not yet produce true knowledge. The concepts which impart unity to this pure synthesis and consist entirely in the representation of this necessary synthetical unity, add the third contribution towards the knowledge of an object, and rest on the understanding.
The same function which imparts unity to various representations in one judgment imparts unity likewise to the mere synthesis of various representations in one intuition, which in a general way may be called the pure concept of the understanding. The same understanding, and by the same operations by which in concepts it achieves through analytical unity the logical form of a judgment, introduces also, through the synthetical unity of the manifold in intuition, a transcendental element into its representations. They are therefore called pure concepts of the understanding, and they refer a priori to objects, which would be quite impossible in general logic.
In this manner there arise exactly so many pure concepts of the understanding which refer a priori to objects of intuition in general, as there were in our table logical functions in all possible judgments, because those functions completely exhaust the understanding, and comprehend every one of its faculties. Borrowing a term of Aristotle, we shall call these concepts categories, [p. 80] our intention being originally the same as his, though widely diverging from it in its practical application.
This then is a list of all original pure concepts of synthesis, which belong to the understanding a priori, and for which alone it is called pure understanding; for it is by them alone that it can understand something in the manifold of intuition, that is, think an object in it. The classification is systematical, and founded on a common principle, namely, the faculty of judging (which is the same as the faculty of thinking). It is not the [p. 81] result of a search after pure concepts undertaken at haphazard, the completeness of which, as based on induction only, could never be guaranteed. Nor could we otherwise understand why these concepts only, and no others, abide in the pure understanding. It was an enterprise worthy of an acute thinker like Aristotle to try to discover these fundamental concepts; but as he had no guiding principle he merely picked them up as they occurred to him, and at first gathered up ten of them, which he called categories or predicaments. Afterwards he thought he had discovered five more of them, which he added under the name of post-predicaments. But his table remained imperfect for all that, not to mention that we find in it some modes of pure sensibility (quando, ubi, situs, also prius, simul), also an empirical concept (motus), none of which can belong to this genealogical register of the understanding. Besides, there are some derivative concepts, counted among the fundamental concepts (actio, passio), while some of the latter are entirely wanting.
With regard to these, it should be remarked that the categories, as the true fundamental concepts of the pure understanding, have also their pure derivative concepts. These could not be passed over in a complete system of transcendental philosophy, but in a merely critical [p. 82] essay the mention of the fact may suffice.
I should like to be allowed to call these pure but derivative concepts of the understanding the predicabilia, in opposition to the predicamenta of the pure understanding. If we are once in possession of the fundamental and primitive concepts, it is easy to add the derivative and secondary, and thus to give a complete image of the genealogical tree of the pure understanding. As at present I am concerned not with the completeness, but only with the principles of a system, I leave this supplementary work for a future occasion. In order to carry it out, one need only consult any of the ontological manuals, and place, for instance, under the category of causality the predicabilia of force, of action, and of passion; under the category of community the predicabilia of presence and resistance; under the predicaments of modality the predicabilia of origin, extinction, change, etc. If we associate the categories among themselves or with the modes of pure sensibility, they yield us a large number of derivative concepts a priori, which it would be useful and interesting to mark and, if possible, to bring to a certain completeness, though this is not essential for our present purpose.
I intentionally omit here the definitions of these categories, though I may be in possession of them.1 In the sequel I shall dissect these concepts so far as is [p. 83] sufficient for the purpose of the method which I am preparing. In a complete system of pure reason they might be justly demanded, but at present they would only make us lose sight of the principal object of our investigation, by rousing doubts and objections which, without injury to our essential object, may well be relegated to another time. The little I have said ought to be sufficient to show clearly that a complete dictionary of these concepts with all requisite explanations is not only possible, but easy. The compartments exist; they have only to be filled, and with a systematic topic like the present the proper place to which each concept belongs cannot easily be missed, nor compartments be passed over which are still empty.1
OF THE DEDUCTION OF THE PURE CONCEPTS OF THE UNDERSTANDING [p. 84]
[1 ]See, however, Karl’s remarks on p. 210 (p. 241 of First Edition).
[1 ]Here follows in the Second Edition, Supplement XII.