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CHAPTER I: OF THE PARALOGISMS OF PURE REASON [p. 341] - 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 PARALOGISMS OF PURE REASON [p. 341]
The logical paralogism consists in the formal faultiness of a conclusion, without any reference to its contents. But a transcendental paralogism arises from a transcendental cause, which drives us to a formally false conclusion. Such a paralogism, therefore, depends most likely on the very nature of human reason, and produces an illusion which is inevitable, though not insoluble.
We now come to a concept which was not inserted in our general list of transcendental concepts, and yet must be reckoned with them, without however changing that table in the least, or proving it to be deficient. This is the concept, or, if the term is preferred, the judgment, I think. It is easily seen, however, that this concept is the vehicle of all concepts in general, therefore of transcendental concepts also, being always comprehended among them, and being itself transcendental also, though without any claim to a special title, inasmuch as it serves only to introduce all thought, as belonging to consciousness. However free that concept may be from all that is empirical (impressions of the senses), it serves [p. 342] nevertheless to distinguish two objects within the nature of our faculty of representation. I, as thinking, am an object of the internal sense, and am called soul. That which is an object of the external senses is called body. The term I, as a thinking being, signifies the object of psychology, which may be called the rational science of the soul, supposing that we want to know nothing about the soul except what, independent of all experience (which determines the I more especially and in concreto), can be deduced from the concept of I, so far as it is present in every act of thought.
Now the rational science of the soul is really such an undertaking; for if the smallest empirical element of my thought or any particular perception of my internal state were mixed up with the sources from which that science derives its materials, it would be an empirical, and no longer a purely rational science of the soul. There is therefore a pretended science, founded on the single proposition of I think, and the soundness or unsoundness of which may well be examined in this place, according to the principles of transcendental philosophy. It should not be objected that even in that proposition, which expresses the perception of oneself, I have an internal experience, and that therefore the rational science of the soul, which is founded on it, can never be quite [p. 343] pure, but rests, to a certain extent, on an empirical principle. For this inner perception is nothing more than the mere apperception, I think, without which even all transcendental concepts would be impossible, in which we really say, I think the substance, I think the cause, etc. This internal experience in general and its possibility, or perception in general and its relation to other perceptions, there being no special distinction or empirical determination of it, cannot be regarded as empirical knowledge, but must be regarded as knowledge of the empirical in general, and falls therefore under the investigation of the possibility of all experience, which investigation is certainly transcendental. The smallest object of perception (even pleasure and pain), if added to the general representation of self-consciousness, would at once change rational into empirical psychology.
I think is, therefore, the only text of rational psychology, out of which it must evolve all its wisdom. It is easily seen that this thought, if it is to be applied to any object (my self), cannot contain any but transcendental predicates, because the smallest empirical predicate would spoil the rational purity of the science, and its independence of all experience.
We shall therefore follow the thread of the [p. 344] categories, with this difference, however, that as here the first thing which is given is a thing, the I, a thinking being, we must begin with the category of substance, by which a thing in itself is represented, and then proceed backwards, though without changing the respective order of the categories, as given before in our table. The topic of the rational science of the soul, from which has to be derived whatever else that science may contain, is therefore the following.
All concepts of pure psychology arise from [p. 345] these elements, simply by way of combination, and without the admixture of any other principle. This substance, taken simply as the object of the internal sense, gives us the concept of immateriality; and as simple substance, that of incorruptibility; its identity, as that of an intellectual substance,. gives us personality; and all these three together, spirituality; its relation to objects in space gives us the concept of commercium (intercourse) with bodies; the pure psychology thus representing the thinking substance as the principle of life in matter, that is, as soul (anima), and as the ground of animality; which again, as restricted by spirituality, gives us the concept of immortality.
To these concepts refer four paralogisms of a transcendental psychology, which is falsely supposed to be a science of pure reason, concerning the nature of our thinking being. We can, however, use as the foundation of such a science nothing but the single, and in itself perfectly empty, representation of the I, of which [p. 346] we cannot even say that it is a concept, but merely a consciousness that accompanies all concepts. By this I, or he, or it (the thing), which thinks, nothing is represented beyond a transcendental subject of thoughts = x, which is known only through the thoughts that are its predicates, and of which, apart from them, we can never have the slightest concept, so that we are really turning round it in a perpetual circle, having already to use its representation, before we can form any judgment about it. And this inconvenience is really inevitable, because consciousness in itself is not so much a representation, distinguishing a particular object, but really a form of representation in general, in so far as it is to be called knowledge, of which alone I can say that I think something by it.
It must seem strange, however, from the very beginning, that the condition under which I think, and which therefore is a property of my own subject only, should be valid at the same time for everything which thinks, and that, depending on a proposition which seems to be empirical, we should venture to found the apodictical and general judgment, namely, that everything which thinks is such as the voice of my own consciousness declares it to be within me. The reason of it is, that we are constrained to attribute a priori to things all the qualities which form the conditions, under which alone [p. 347] we are able to think them. Now it is impossible for me to form the smallest representation of a thinking being by any external experience, but I can do it through self-consciousness only. Such objects therefore are nothing but a transference of my own consciousness to other things, which thus, and thus only, can be represented as thinking beings. The proposition I think is used in this case, however, as problematical only; not so far as it may contain the perception of an existence (the Cartesian, cogito, ergo sum), but with regard to its mere possibility, in order to see what properties may be deduced from such a simple proposition with regard to its subject, whether such subject exists or not.
If our knowledge of thinking beings in general, so far as it is derived from pure reason, were founded on more than the cogito, and if we made use at the same time of observations on the play of our thoughts and the natural laws of the thinking self, derived from them, we should have before us an empirical psychology, which would form a kind of physiology of the internal sense, and perhaps explain its manifestations, but would never help us to understand such properties as do not fall under any possible experience (as, for instance, simplicity), or to teach apodictically anything touching the nature of thinking beings in general. It would not therefore be a rational psychology.
As the proposition I think (taken problematically) [p. 348] contains the form of every possible judgment of the understanding, and accompanies all categories as their vehicle, it must be clear that the conclusions to be drawn from it can only contain a transcendental use of the understanding, which declines all admixture of experience, and of the achievements of which, after what has been said before, we cannot form any very favourable anticipations. We shall therefore follow it, with a critical eye, through all the predicaments of pure psychology.1
[The First Paralogism of Substantiality
That the representation of which is the absolute subject of our judgments, and cannot be used therefore as the determination of any other thing, is the substance.
I, as a thinking being, am the absolute subject of all my possible judgments, and this representation of myself can never be used as the predicate of any other thing.
Therefore I, as a thinking being (Soul), am Substance.
Criticism of the First Paralogism of Pure2Psychology
We showed in the analytical portion of transcendental logic, that pure categories, and among them that of substance, have in themselves no objective meaning, unless they rest on some intuition, and are applied to [p. 349] the manifold of such intuitions as functions of synthetical unity. Without this they are merely functions of a judgment without contents. I may say of everything, that it is a substance, so far as I distinguish it from what are mere predicates and determinations. Now in all our thinking the I is the subject, in which thoughts are inherent as determinations only; nor can that I ever be used as a determination of any other thing. Thus everybody is constrained to look upon himself as the substance, and on thinking as the accidents only of his being, and determinations of his state.
But what use are we to make of such a concept of a substance? That I, as a thinking being, continue for myself, and naturally neither arise nor perish, is no legitimate deduction from it; and yet this conclusion would be the only advantage that could be gained from the concept of the substantiality of my own thinking subject, and, but for that, I could do very well without it.
So far from being able to deduce these properties from the pure category of substance, we have on the contrary to observe the permanency of an object in our experience and then lay hold of this permanency, if we wish to apply to it the empirically useful concept of substance. In this case, however, we had no experience to lay hold of, but have only formed a deduction from the concept [p. 350] of the relation which all thinking has to the I, as the common subject to which it belongs. Nor should we, whatever we did, succeed by any certain observation in proving such permanency. For though the I exists in all thoughts, not the slightest intuition is connected with that representation, by which it might be distinguished from other objects of intuition. We may very well perceive therefore that this representation appears again and again in every act of thought, but not that it is a constant and permanent intuition, in which thoughts, as being changeable, come and go.
Hence it follows that in the first syllogism of transcendental psychology reason imposes upon us an apparent knowledge only, by representing the constant logical subject of thought as the knowledge of the real subject in which that knowledge inheres. Of that subject, however, we have not and cannot have the slightest knowledge, because consciousness is that which alone changes representations into thoughts, and in which therefore, as the transcendental subject, all our perceptions must be found. Beside this logical meaning of the I, we have no knowledge of the subject in itself, which forms the substratum and foundation of it and of all our thoughts. In spite of this, the proposition that the soul is a substance may well be allowed to stand, if only we see that this concept cannot help us on in the least or teach us any of the ordinary conclusions of rationalising psychology, as, for [p. 351] instance, the everlasting continuance of the soul amid all changes and even in death, and that it therefore signifies a substance in idea only, and not in reality.
The Second Paralogism of Simplicity
Everything, the action of which can never be considered as the concurrence of several acting things, is simple.
Now the Soul, or the thinking I, is such a thing: —
Criticism of the Second Paralogism of Transcendental Psychology
This is the strong (yet not invulnerable) syllogism among all dialectical syllogisms of pure psychology, not a mere sophism contrived by a dogmatist in order to impart a certain plausibility to his assertions, but a syllogism which seems able to stand the sharpest examination and the gravest doubts of the philosopher. It is this: —
Every composite substance is an aggregate of many substances, and the action of something composite, or that which is inherent in it as such, is an aggregate of many actions or accidents distributed among many substances. An effect due to the concurrence of many acting substances is no doubt possible, if that effect is [p. 352] external only (as, for instance, the motion of a body is the combined motion of all its parts). The case is different however with thoughts, if considered as accidents belonging to a thinking being within. For suppose it is the composite which thinks, then every part of it would contain a part of the thought, and all together only the whole of it. This however is self-contradictory. For as representations, distributed among different beings (like the single words of a verse), never make a whole thought (a verse), it is impossible that a thought should be inherent in something composite, as such. Thought therefore is possible only in a substance which is not an aggregate of many, and therefore absolutely simple.1
What is called the nervus probandi in this argument lies in the proposition that, in order to constitute a thought, the many representations must be comprehended under the absolute unity of the thinking subject. Nobody however can prove this proposition from concepts. For how would he undertake to do it? The proposition [p. 353] that a thought can only be the effect of the absolute unity of a thinking being, cannot be considered as analytical. For the unity of thought, consisting of many representations, is collective, and may, so far as mere concepts are concerned, refer to the collective unity of all co-operating substances (as the movement of a body is the compound movement of all its parts) quite as well as to the absolute unity of the subject. According to the rule of identity it would be impossible therefore to establish the necessity of the presupposition of a simple substance, the thought being composite. That, on the other hand, such a proposition might be established synthetically and entirely a priori from mere concepts, no one will venture to affirm who has once understood the grounds on which the possibility of synthetical propositions a priori rests, as explained by us before.
It is likewise impossible, however, to derive this necessary unity of the subject, as the condition of the possibility of the unity of every thought, from experience. For experience never supplies any necessity of thought, much less the concept of absolute unity. Whence then do we take that proposition on which the whole psychological syllogism of reason rests?
It is manifest that if we wish to represent to ourselves a thinking being, we must put ourselves in its place, and supplant as it were the object which has to be considered by our own subject (which never happens in any [p. 354] other kind of investigation). The reason why we postulate for every thought absolute unity of the subject is because otherwise we could not say of it, I think (the manifold in one representation). For although the whole of a thought may be divided and distributed under many subjects, the subjective I can never thus be divided and distributed, and it is this I which we presuppose in every thought.
As in the former paralogism therefore, so here also, the formal proposition of apperception, I think, remains the sole ground on which rational psychology ventures to undertake the extension of its knowledge. That proposition, however, is no experience, but only the form of apperception inherent in, and antecedent to, every experience, that is a purely subjective condition, having reference to a possible experience only, but by no means the condition of the possibility of the knowledge of objects, and by no means necessary to the concept of a thinking being in general; although it must be admitted that we cannot represent to ourselves another intelligent being without putting ourselves in its place with that formula of our consciousness.
Nor is it true that the simplicity of my self (as a soul) is really deduced from the proposition, I think, for it is already involved in every thought itself. The proposition I am simple must be considered as the immediate [p. 355] expression of apperception, and the so-called syllogism of Cartesius, cogito, ergo sum, is in reality tautological, because cogito (sum cogitans) predicates reality immediately. I am simple means no more than that this representation of I does not contain the smallest trace of manifoldness, but is absolute (although merely logical) unity.
Thus we see that the famous psychological argument is founded merely on the indivisible unity of a representation, which only determines the verb with reference to a person; and it is clear that the subject of inherence is designated transcendentally only by the I, which accompanies the thought, without our perceiving the smallest quality of it, in fact, without our knowing anything about it. It signifies a something in general (a transcendental subject) the representation of which must no doubt be simple, because nothing is determined in it, and nothing can be represented more simple than by the concept of a mere something. The simplicity however of the representation of a subject is not therefore a knowledge of the simplicity of the subject, because no account whatever is taken of its qualities when it is designated by the entirely empty expression I, an expression that can be applied to every thinking subject.
So much is certain therefore that though I [p. 356] always represent by the I an absolute, but only logical, unity of the subject (simplicity), I never know thereby the real simplicity of my subject. We saw that the proposition, I am a substance, signified nothing but the mere category of which I must not make any use (empirically) in concreto. In the same manner, I may well say, I am a simple substance, that is, a substance the representation of which contains no synthesis of the manifold; but that concept, or that proposition also, teaches us nothing at all with reference to myself, as an object of experience, because the concept of substance itself is used as a function of synthesis only, without any intuition to rest on, and therefore without any object, valid with reference to the condition of our knowledge only, but not with reference to any object of it. We shall test the usefulness of this proposition by an experiment.
Everybody must admit that the assertion of the simple nature of the soul can only be of any value in so far as it enables me to distinguish the soul from all matter, and thus to except it from that decay to which matter is at all times subject. It is for that use that our proposition is really intended, and it is therefore often expressed by, the soul is not corporeal. If then I can show that, [p. 357] although we allow to this cardinal proposition of rational psychology (as a mere judgment of reason from pure categories) all objective validity (everything that thinks is simple substance), we cannot make the least use of it, in order to establish the homogeneousness or non-homogeneousness of soul and matter, this will be the same as if I had relegated this supposed psychological truth to the field of mere ideas, without any real or objective use.
We have irrefutably proved in the transcendental Æsthetic that bodies are mere phenomena of our external sense, not things by themselves. We are justified therefore in saying that our thinking subject is not a body, i.e. that, because it is represented by us as an object of the internal sense, it is, so far as it thinks, no object of our external senses, and no phenomenon in space. This means the same as that among external phenomena we can never have thinking beings as such, or ever see their thoughts, their consciousness, their desires, etc., externally. All this belongs to the internal sense. This argument seems indeed so natural and popular that even the commonest understanding has always been led [p. 358] to it, the distinction between souls and bodies being of very early date.
But although extension, impermeability, cohesion, and motion, in fact everything that the external senses can give us, cannot be thoughts, feeling, inclination, and determination, or contain anything like them, being never objects of external intuition, it might be possible, nevertheless, that that something which forms the foundation of external phenomena, and which so affects our sense as to produce in it the representations of space, matter, form, etc., if considered as a noumenon (or better as a transcendental object) might be, at the same time, the subject of thinking, although by the manner in which it affects our external sense it produces in us no intuitions of representations, will, etc., but only of space and its determinations. This something, however, is not extended, not impermeable, not composite, because such predicates concern sensibility only and its intuition, whenever we are affected by these (to us otherwise unknown) objects. These expressions, however, do not give us any information what kind of object it is, but only that, if considered by itself, without reference to the external senses, it has no right to these predicates, peculiar to external appearance. The predicates of the internal sense, on the contrary, such as representation, thinking, [p. 359] etc., are by no means contradictory to it, so that really, even if we admit the simplicity of its nature, the human soul is by no means sufficiently distinguished from matter, so far as its substratum is concerned, if (as it ought to be) matter is considered as a phenomenon only.
If matter were a thing by itself, it would, as a composite being, be totally different from the soul, as a simple being. But what we call matter is an external phenomenon only, the substratum of which cannot possibly be known by any possible predicates. I can therefore very well suppose that that substratum is simple, although in the manner in which it affects our senses it produces in us the intuition of something extended, and therefore composite, so that the substance which, with reference to our external sense, possesses extension, might very well by itself possess thoughts which can be represented consciously by its own internal sense. In such wise the same thing which in one respect is called corporeal, would in another respect be at the same time a thinking being, of which though we cannot see its thoughts, we can yet see the signs of them phenomenally. Thus the expression that souls only (as a particular class of substances) think, would have to be dropt, and we should return to the common expression that men think, that is, [p. 360] that the same thing which, as an external phenomenon, is extended, is internally, by itself, a subject, not composite, but simple and intelligent.
But without indulging in such hypotheses, we may make this general remark, that if I understand by soul a being by itself, the very question would be absurd, whether the soul be homogeneous or not with matter which is not a thing by itself, but only a class of representations within us; for so much at all events must be clear, that a thing by itself is of a different nature from the determinations which constitute its state only.
If, on the contrary, we compare the thinking I, not with matter, but with that object of the intellect that forms the foundation of the external phenomena which we call matter, then it follows, as we know nothing whatever of the matter, that we have no right to say that the soul by itself is different from it in any respect.
The simple consciousness is not therefore a knowledge of the simple nature of our subject, so that we might thus distinguish the soul from matter, as a composite being.
If therefore, in the only case where that concept might be useful, namely, in comparing myself with objects of external experience, it is impossible to determine the peculiar and distinguishing characteristics of its nature, what is the use, if we pretend to know that the [p. 361] thinking I, or the soul (a name for the transcendental object of the internal sense), is simple? Such a proposition admits of no application to any real object, and cannot therefore enlarge our knowledge in the least.
Thus collapses the whole of rational psychology, with its fundamental support, and neither here nor elsewhere can we hope by means of mere concepts (still less through the mere subjective form of all our concepts, that is, through our consciousness) and without referring these concepts to a possible experience, to extend our knowledge, particularly as even the fundamental concept of a simple nature is such that it can never be met with in experience, so that no chance remains of arriving at it as a concept of objective validity.
The Third Paralogism of Personality
Whatever is conscious of the numerical identity of its own self at different times, is in so far a person.
Now the Soul, etc.
Therefore the Soul is a person.
Criticism of the Third Paralogism of Transcendental Psychology
Whenever I want to know by experience the numerical identity of an external object, I shall have to [p. 362] attend to what is permanent in that phenomenon to which, as the subject, everything else refers as determination, and observe the identity of the former during the time that the latter is changing. I myself, however, am an object of the internal sense, and all time is but the form of the internal sense. I therefore refer each and all of my successive determinations to the numerically identical self; and this in all time, that is, in the form of the inner intuition of myself. From this point of view, the personality of the soul should not even be considered as inferred, but as an entirely identical proposition of self-consciousness in time, and that is indeed the reason why it is valid a priori. For it really says no more than this: that during the whole time, while I am conscious of myself, I am conscious of that time as belonging to the unity of myself; and it comes to the same thing whether I say that this whole time is within me as an individual unity, or that I with numerical identity am present in all that time.
In my own consciousness, therefore, the identity of person is inevitably present. But if I consider myself from the point of view of another person (as an object of his external intuition), then that external observer considers me, first of all, in time, for in the apperception time is really represented in me only. Though he admits, therefore, the I, which at all times accompanies all representations in my consciousness, and with [p. 363] entire identity, he will not yet infer from it the objective permanence of myself. For as in that case the time in which the observer places me is not the time of my own, but of his sensibility, it follows that the identity which is connected with my consciousness is not therefore connected with his, that is, with the external intuition of my subject.
The identity of my consciousness at different times is therefore a formal condition only of my thoughts and their coherence, and proves in no way the numerical identity of my subject, in which, in spite of the logical identity of the I, such a change may have passed as to make it impossible to retain its identity, though we may still attribute to it the same name of I, which in every other state, and even in the change of the subject, might yet retain the thought of the preceding and hand it over to the subsequent subject.1
Although the teaching of some old schools [p. 364] that everything is in a flux, and nothing in the world permanent, cannot be admitted, if we admit substances, yet it must not be supposed that it can be refuted by the unity of self-consciousness. For we ourselves cannot judge from our own consciousness whether, as souls, we are permanent or not, because we reckon as belonging to our own identical self that only of which we are conscious, and therefore are constrained to admit that, during the whole time of which we are conscious, we are one and the same. From the point of view of a stranger, however, such a judgment would not be valid, because, perceiving in the soul no permanent phenomena, except the representation of the I, which accompanies and connects them all, we cannot determine whether that I (being a mere thought) be not in the same state of flux as the other thoughts which are chained together by the I. [p. 365]
It is curious, however, that the personality and what is presupposed by it, namely, the permanence and substantiality of the soul, has now to be proved first. For if we could presuppose these, there would follow, if not the permanence of consciousness, yet the possibility of a permanent consciousness in one and the same subject, and this is sufficient to establish personality which does not cease at once, because its effect is interrupted at the time. This permanence, however, is by no means given us before the numerical identity of ourself, which we infer from identical apperception, but is itself inferred from it, so that, according to rule, the concept of substance, which alone is empirically useful, would have to follow first upon it. But as the identity of person follows by no means from the identity of the I, in the consciousness of all time in which I perceive myself, it follows that we could not have founded upon it the substantiality of the soul.
Like the concept of substance and of the simple, however, the concept of personality also may remain, so long as it is used as transcendental only, that is, as a concept of the unity of the subject which is otherwise unknown to us, but in the determinations of which there is an uninterrupted connection by apperception. In this sense such a concept is necessary for practical purposes and sufficient, but we can never pride ourselves on it as helping to expand our knowledge of our self by means of [p. 366] pure reason, which only deceives us if we imagine that we can concluse an uninterrupted continuance of the subject from the mere concept of the identical self. That concept is only constantly turning round itself in a circle, and does not help us as with respect to any question which aims at synthetical knowledge. What matter may be as a thing by itself (a transcendental object) is entirely unknown to us; though we may observe its permanence as a phenomenon, since it is represented as something external. When however I wish to observe the mere I during the change of all representations, I have no other correlative for my comparisons but again the I itself, with the general conditions of my consciousness. I cannot therefore give any but tautological answers to all questions, because I put my concept and its unity in the place of the qualities that belong to me as an object, and thus really take for granted what was wished to be known.
The Fourth Paralogism of Ideality (with Regard to External Relations)
That, the existence of which can only be inferred as a cause of given perceptions, has a doubtful existence only: — [p. 367]
All external phenomena are such that their existence cannot be perceived immediately, but that we can only infer them as the cause of given perceptions: —
Therefore the existence of all objects of the external senses is doubtful. This uncertainty I call the ideality of external phenomena, and the doctrine of that ideality is called idealism; in comparison with which the other doctrine, which maintains a possible certainty of the objects of the external senses, is called dualism.
Criticism of the Fourth Paralogism of Transcendental Psychology
We shall first have to examine the premisses. We are perfectly justified in maintaining that that only which is within ourselves can be perceived immediately, and that my own existence only can be the object of a mere perception. The existence of a real object therefore outside me (taking this word in its intellectual meaning) can never be given directly in perception, but can only be added in thought to the perception, which is a modification of the internal sense, and thus inferred as its external cause. Hence Cartesius was quite right in limiting all perception, in the narrowest sense, to the proposition, I (as a thinking being) am. For it must be clear that, as what [p. 368] is without is not within me, I cannot find it in my apperception; nor hence in any perception which is in reality a determination of apperception only.
In the true sense of the word, therefore, I can never perceive external things, but only from my own internal perception infer their existence, taking the perception as an effect of which something external must be the proximate cause. An inference, however, from a given effect to a definite cause is always uncertain, because the effect may be due to more than one cause. Therefore in referring a perception to its cause, it always remains doubtful whether that cause be internal or external; whether in fact all so-called external perceptions are not a mere play of our external sense, or point to real external objects as their cause. At all events the existence of the latter is inferential only, and liable to all the dangers of inferences, while the object of the internal sense (I myself with all my representations) is perceived immediately, and its existence cannot be questioned.
It must not be supposed, therefore, that an idealist is he who denies the existence of external objects of the senses; all he does is to deny that it is known by immediate perception, and to infer that we can never [p. 369] become perfectly certain of their reality by any experience whatsoever.
Before I expose the deceptive illusion of our paralogism, let me remark that we must necessarily distinguish two kinds of idealism, the transcendental and the empirical. Transcendental idealism teaches that all phenomena are representations only, not things by themselves, and that space and time therefore are only sensuous forms of our intuition, not determinations given independently by themselves or conditions of objects, as things by themselves. Opposed to this transcendental idealism, is a transcendental realism, which considers space and time as something in itself (independent of our sensibility). Thus the transcendental realist represents all external phenomena (admitting their reality) as things by themselves, existing independently of us and our sensibility, and therefore existing outside us also, if regarded according to pure concepts of the understanding. It is this transcendental realist who afterwards acts the empirical idealist, and who, after wrongly supposing that the objects of the senses, if they are to be external, must have an existence by themselves, and without our senses, yet from this point of view considers all our sensuous representations insufficient to render certain the reality of their objects.
The transcendental idealist, on the contrary, [p. 370] may well be an empirical realist, or, as he is called, a dualist; that is, he may admit the existence of matter, without taking a step beyond mere self-consciousness, or admitting more than the certainty of representations within me, that is the cogito, ergo sum. For as he considers matter, and even its internal possibility, as a phenomenon only, which, if separated from our sensibility, is nothing, matter with him is only a class of representations (intuition) which are called external, not as if they referred to objects external by themselves, but because they refer perceptions to space, in which everything is outside everything else, while space itself is inside us.
We have declared ourselves from the very beginning in favour of this transcendental idealism. In our system, therefore, we need not hesitate to admit the existence of matter on the testimony of mere self-consciousness, and to consider it as established by it (i.e. the testimony), in the same manner as the existence of myself, as a thinking being. I am conscious of my representations, and hence they exist as well as I myself, who has these representations. External objects, however (bodies), are phenomena only, therefore nothing but a class of my representations, the objects of which are something by means of these representations only, and apart from them nothing. [p. 371] External things, therefore, exist by the same right as I myself, both on the immediate testimony of my self-consciousness, with this difference only, that the representation of myself, as a thinking subject, is referred to the internal sense only, while the representations which indicate extended beings are referred to the external sense also. With reference to the reality of external objects, I need as little trust to inference, as with reference to the reality of the object of my internal sense (my thoughts), both being nothing but representations, the immediate perception (consciousness) of which is at the same time a sufficient proof of their reality.
The transcendental idealist is, therefore, an empirical realist, and allows to matter, as a phenomenon, a reality which need not be inferred, but may be immediately perceived. The transcendental realism, on the contrary, is necessarily left in doubt, and obliged to give way to empirical idealism, because it considers the objects of the external senses as something different from the senses themselves, taking mere phenomena as independent beings, existing outside us. And while with the very best consciousness of our representation of these things, it is far from certain that, if a representation exists, its corresponding object must exist also, it is clear that in our system external things, that is, matter in all its shapes and changes, are nothing but mere phenomena, [p. 372] that is, representations within us, of the reality of which we are immediately conscious.
As, so far as I know, all psychologists who believe in empirical idealism are transcendental realists, they have acted no doubt quite consistently, in ascribing great importance to empirical idealism, as one of the problems from which human reason could hardly extricate itself. For indeed, if we consider external phenomena as representations produced inside us by their objects, as existing as things by themselves outside us, it is difficult to see how their existence could be known otherwise but through a syllogism from effect to cause, where it must always remain doubtful, whether the cause be within or without us. Now we may well admit that something which, taken transcendentally, is outside us, may be the cause of our external intuitions, but this can never be the object which we mean by the representations of matter and material things; for these are phenomena only, that is, certain kinds of representations existing always within us, and the reality of which depends on our immediate consciousness, quite as much as the consciousness of my own thoughts. The transcendental object is unknown equally in regard to internal and external intuition.
Of this, however, we are not speaking at [p. 373] present, but only of the empirical object, which is called external, if represented in space, and internal, when represented in temporal relations only, both space and time being to be met with nowhere except in ourselves.
The expression, outside us, involves however an inevitable ambiguity, because it may signify either, something which, as a thing by itself, exists apart from us, or what belongs to outward appearance only. In order, therefore, to remove all uncertainty from that concept, taken in the latter meaning (which alone affects the psychological question as to the reality of our external intuition) we shall distinguish empirically external objects from those that may be called so in a transcendental sense, by calling the former simply things occurring in space.
Space and time are no doubt representations a priori, which dwell in us as forms of our sensuous intuition, before any real object has determined our senses by means of sensation, enabling them to represent the object under those sensuous conditions. But this something, material or real, that is to be seen in space, presupposes necessarily perception, and cannot be fancied or produced by means of imagination without that perception, which indicates the reality of something in space. It is sensation, therefore, that indicates reality [p. 374] in space and time, according as it is related to the one or the other mode of sensuous intuition. If sensation is once given (which, if referring to an object in general, and not specialising it, is called perception), many an object may be put together in imagination from the manifold materials of perception, which has no empirical place in space or time, but in imagination only. This admits of no doubt, whether we take the sensations of pain and pleasure, or the external ones of colour, heat, etc.; it is always perception by which the material for thinking of any objects of external intuition must be first supplied. This perception, therefore (to speak at present of external intuitions only), represents something real in space. For, first, perception is the representation of a reality, while space is the representation of a mere possibility of coexistence. Secondly, this reality is represented before the external sense, that is, in space. Thirdly, space itself is nothing but mere representation, so that nothing in it can be taken as real, except what is represented in it;1 or, vice versa, whatever is given in it, that is, whatever [p. 375] is represented in it by perception, is also real in it, because, if it were not real in it, that is, given immediately by empirical intuition, it could not be created by fancy, the real of intuition being unimaginable a priori.
Thus we see that all external perception proves immediately something real in space, or rather is that real itself. Empirical realism is therefore perfectly true, that is, something real in space always corresponds to our external intuitions. Space itself, it is true, with all its phenomena, as representations, exists within me only, but the real or the material of all objects of intuition is nevertheless given in that space, independent of all fancy or imagination; nay, it is impossible that in that space anything outside us (in a transcendental sense) could be given, because space itself is nothing outside our sensibility. The strictest idealist, therefore, can never require that we should prove that the object without us [p. 376] (in its true meaning) corresponds to our perception. For granted there are such objects, they could never be represented and seen, as outside us, because this presupposes space, and the reality in space, as a mere representation, is nothing but the perception itself. It thus follows, that what is real in external phenomena, is real in perception only, and cannot be given in any other way.
From such perceptions, whether by mere play of fancy or by experience, knowledge of objects can be produced, and here no doubt deceptive representations may arise, without truly corresponding objects, the deception being due, either to illusions of imagination (in dreams), or to a fault of judgment (the so-called deceptions of the senses). In order to escape from these false appearances, one has to follow the rule that, whatever is connected according to empirical laws with a perception, is real. This kind of illusion, however, and its prevention, concerns idealism as well as dualism, since it affects the form of experience only. In order to refute empirical idealism and its unfounded misgivings as to the objective reality of our external perceptions, it is sufficient to consider 1) that external perception proves immediately a reality in space, which space, though in itself a mere form of [p. 377] representations, possesses nevertheless objective reality with respect to all external phenomena (which themselves are mere representations only); 2) that without perception, even the creations of fancy and dreams would not be possible, so that our external senses, with reference to the data from which experience can spring, must have real objects corresponding to them in space.
There are two kinds of idealists, the dogmatic, who denies the existence of matter, and the sceptical, who doubts it, because he thinks it impossible to prove it. At present we have nothing to do with the former, who is an idealist, because he imagines he finds contradictions in the possibility of matter in general. This is a difficulty which we shall have to deal with in the following section on dialectical syllogisms, treating of reason in its internal struggle with reference to the concepts of the possibility of all that belongs to the connection of experience. The sceptical idealist, on the contrary, who attacks only the ground of our assertion, and declares our conviction of the existence of matter, which we founded on immediate perception, as insufficient, is in reality a benefactor of human reason, because he obliges us, even in the smallest matter of common experience, to keep our eyes well [p. 378] open, and not to consider as a well-earned possession what may have come to us by mistake only. We now shall learn to understand the great advantage of these idealistic objections. They drive us by main force, unless we mean to contradict ourselves in our most ordinary propositions, to consider all perceptions, whether we call them internal or external, as a consciousness only of what affects our sensibility, and to look on the external objects of them, not as things by themselves, but only as representations of which, as of every other representation, we can become immediately conscious, and which are called external, because they depend on what we call the external sense with its intuition of space, space being itself nothing but an internal kind of representation in which certain perceptions become associated.
If we were to admit external objects to be things by themselves, it would be simply impossible to understand how we can arrive at a knowledge of their reality outside us, considering that we always depend on representations which are inside us. It is surely impossible that we should feel outside us, and not inside us, and the whole of our self-consciousness cannot give us anything but our own determinations. Thus sceptical idealism forces us to take refuge in the only place that is left to us, namely, in the ideality of all phenomena: the very ideality which, though as yet unprepared for its consequences, we established in our own transcendental Æsthetic. If [p. 379] then we ask whether, consequently, dualism only must be admitted in psychology, we answer, certainly, but only in its empirical acceptation. In the connection of experience matter, as the substance of phenomena, is really given to the external sense in the same manner as the thinking I, likewise as the substance of phenomena, is given to the internal sense; and it is according to the rules which this category introduces into the empirical connection of our external as well as internal perceptions, that phenomena on both sides must be connected among themselves. If, on the contrary, as often happens, we were to extend the concept of dualism and take it in its transcendental acceptation, then neither it, nor on one side the pneumatism, or on the other side the materialism, which are opposed to dualism, would have the smallest foundation; we should have missed the determination of our concepts, and have mistaken the difference in our mode of representing objects, which, with regard to what they are in themselves, remain always unknown to us, for a difference of the things themselves. No doubt I, as represented by the internal sense in time, and objects in space outside me, are two specifically different phenomena, but they are not therefore conceived as different things. The transcendental object, which forms the foundation of external phenomena, and the other, which forms the foundation of our internal intuition, is therefore [p. 380] neither matter, nor a thinking being by itself, but simply an unknown cause of phenomena which supply to us the empirical concept of both.
If therefore, as evidently forced to do by this very criticism, we remain faithful to the old rule, never to push questions beyond where possible experience can supply us with an object, we shall never dream of going beyond the objects of our senses and asking what they may be by themselves, that is, without any reference to our senses. But if the psychologist likes to take phenomena for things by themselves, then, whether he admit into his system, as a materialist, matter only, or, as a spiritualist, thinking beings only (according to the form of our own internal sense), or, as a dualist, both, as things existing in themselves, he will always be driven by his mistake to invent theories as to how that which is not a thing by itself, but a phenomenon only, could exist by itself.
If we compare the science of the soul, as the physiology of the internal sense, with the science of the body, as a physiology of the objects of external senses, we find, besides many things which in both must be known empirically, this important difference, that in the latter many things can be known a priori from the mere concept of an extended and impermeable being, while in the former nothing can be known a priori and synthetically from the concept of a thinking being. The cause is this. Though both are phenomena, yet the phenomena of the external sense have something permanent, which suggests a substratum of varying determinations, and consequently a synthetical concept, namely, that of space, and of a phenomenon in space; while time, the only form of our internal intuition, has nothing permanent, and makes us to know the change of determinations only, but not the determinable object. For in what we call soul there is a continuous flux, and nothing permanent, except it may be (if people will so have it) the simple I, so simple because this representation has no contents, consequently nothing manifold, so that it seems to represent, or more accurately to indicate, a simple [p. 382] object. This I or Ego would have to be an intuition, which, being presupposed in all thought (before all experience), might as an intuition a priori supply synthetical propositions, if it should be possible to get any knowledge by pure reason of the nature of a thinking being in general. But this I is neither an intuition nor a concept of any object, but the mere form of consciousness which can accompany both classes of representations, and impart to them the character of knowledge, provided something else be given in intuition which supplies matter for a representation of an object. Thus we see that the whole of rational psychology is impossible as transcending the powers of human reason, and nothing remains to us but to study our soul under the guidance of experience, and to keep ourselves within the limits of questions which do not go beyond the line where the material can be supplied by possible internal experience.
But although rational psychology is of no use in extending our knowledge, but as such is made up of paralogisms only, we cannot deny to it an important negative utility, if it does not pretend to be more than a critical investigation of our dialectical syllogisms, as framed by our common and natural reason.
What purpose can be served by psychology [p. 383] founded on pure principles of reason? Its chief purpose is meant to be to guard our thinking self against the danger of materialism. This purpose however is answered, as we have shown, by the concept which reason gives of our thinking self. For, so far from there being any fear lest, if matter be taken away, all thought, and even the existence of thinking beings might vanish, it has been on the contrary clearly shown that, if we take away the thinking subject, the whole material world would vanish, because it is nothing but a phenomenon in the sensibility of our own subject, and a certain class of its representations.
It is true that I do not know thus this thinking self any better according to its qualities, nor can I perceive its permanence, or even the independence of its existence from the problematical transcendental substratum of external phenomena, both being necessarily unknown to us. But as it is nevertheless possible that I may find reason, from other than purely speculative causes, to hope for an independent, and, during every possible change of my states, permanently abiding existence of my thinking nature, much is gained if, though I freely confess my own ignorance, I can nevertheless repel the dogmatical attacks of a speculative opponent, [p. 384] showing to him that he can never know more of the nature of the subject, in order to deny the possibility of my expectations, than I can know, in order to cling to them.
Three dialectical questions, which form the real object of all rational psychology, are founded on this transcendental illusion of our psychological concepts, and cannot be answered except by means of the considerations in which we have just been engaged, namely, (1) the question of the possibility of the association of the soul with an organic body, that is, of animality and the state of the soul in the life of man; (2) the question of the beginning of that association of the soul at the time and before the time of our birth; (3) the question of the end of that association of the soul at and after the time of death (immortality).
What I maintain is, that all the difficulties which we imagine to exist in these questions, and with which, as dogmatical objections, people wish to give themselves an air of deeper insight into the nature of things than the common understanding can ever claim, rest on a mere illusion, which leads us to hypostasise what exists in thought only, and to accept it in the same quality in which it is thought as a real object, outside the thinking subject, taking in fact extension, which is phenomenal only, for a quality of external things, existing [p. 385] without our sensibility also, and movement as their effect, taking place by itself also, and independently of our senses. For matter, the association of which with the soul causes so much misgiving, is nothing but a mere orm, or a certain mode of representing an unknown object by that intuition which we call the external sense. There may, therefore, well be something outside us to which the phenomenon which we call matter corresponds; though in its quality of phenomenon it cannot be outside us, but merely as a thought within us, although that thought represents it through the external sense as existing outside us. Matter, therefore, does not signify a class of substances totally heterogeneous and different from the object of the internal sense (the soul), but only the different nature of the phenomenal appearance of objects (in themselves unknown to us), the representations of which we call external, as compared with those which we assign to the internal sense, although, like other thoughts, those external representations also belong to the thinking subject only. They possess however this illusion that, as they represent objects in space, they seem to separate themselves from the soul and to move outside it, although even the space, in which they are seen, is nothing but a representation of which no homogeneous original can ever be found outside the soul. The question therefore is no longer as to the possibility of an association of the soul with other known and foreign [p. 386] substances outside us, but only as to the connection of the representations of the internal sense with the modifications of our external sensibility, and how these can be connected with each other according to constant laws, and acquire cohesion in experience.
So long as we connect internal and external phenomena with each other as mere representations in our experience, there is nothing irrational, nor anything to make the association of both senses to appear strange. As soon however as we hypostatise the external phenomena, looking upon them no longer as representations, but as things existing by themselves and outside us, with the same quality in which they exist inside us, and referring to our own thinking subject their acts which they, as phenomena, show in their mutual relation, the effective causes outside us assume a character which will not harmonise with their effects within us, because that character refers to the external senses only, but the effects to the internal sense, both being entirely unhomogeneous, though united in the same subject. We then have no other external effects but changes of place, and no forces but tendencies, which have for their effects relations in space only. Within us, on the contrary, those effects are mere thoughts, without any relations of space, movement, shape, or local [p. 387] determination between them; and we entirely lose the thread of the causes in the effects which ought to show themselves in the internal sense. We ought to consider therefore that bodies are not objects by themselves which are present to us, but a mere appearance of we do not know what unknown object, and that movement likewise is not the effect of that unknown cause, but only the appearance of its influence on our senses. Both are not something outside us, but only representation within us, and consequently it is not the movement of matter which produces representations within us, but that motion itself (and matter also, which makes itself known through it) is representation only. Our whole self-created difficulty turns on this, how and why the representations of our sensibility are so connected with each other that those which we call external intuitions can, according to empirical laws, be represented as objects outside us; a question which is entirely free from the imagined difficulty of explaining the origin of our representations from totally heterogeneous efficient causes, existing outside us, the confusion arising from our mistaking the phenomenal appearance of an unknown cause for the very cause outside us. In judgments in which there is a misapprehension confirmed by long habit, it is impossible to bring its correction at once to that clearness which can be [p. 388] produced in other cases, where no inevitable illusion confuses our concept. Our attempt therefore at freeing reason from these sophistical theories can hardly claim as yet that perspicuity which would render it perfectly satisfactory. I hope however to arrive at greater lucidity in the following manner.
All objections may be divided into dogmatical, critical, and sceptical. The dogmatical attacks the proposition, the critical the proof of a proposition. The former presupposes an insight into the peculiar nature of the object in order to be able to assert the contrary of what the proposition asserts. It is therefore itself dogmatical, and pretends to know the peculiar nature of the object in question better than the opponent. The critical objection, as it says nothing about the worth or worthlessness of the proposition, and attacks the proof only, need not know the object itself better, or claim a better knowledge of it. All it wants to show is, that a proposition is not well grounded, not that it is false. The sceptical objection, lastly, places assertion and denial side by side, as of equal value, taking one or the other now as dogma, and now as denial; and being thus in appearance dogmatical on both sides, it renders every judgment [p. 389] on the object impossible. Both the dogmatical and sceptical objections must pretend to so much knowledge of their object as is necessary in order to assert or deny anything about it. The critical objection, on the contrary, wishes only to show that something purely futile and fanciful has been used in support of a proposition, and thus upsets a theory by depriving it of its pretended foundation, without wishing to establish itself anything else about the nature of the object.
According to the ordinary concepts of our reason with regard to the association between our thinking subject and the things outside us, we are dogmatical, and look upon them as real objects, existing independently of ourselves, in accordance with a certain transcendental dualism which does not reckon external phenomena as representations belonging to the subject, but places them, as they are given us in sensuous intuition, as objects outside us and entirely separated from the thinking subject. This mere assumption is the foundation of all theories on the association between soul and body. It is never asked whether this objective reality of phenomena is absolutely true, but it is taken for granted, and the only question seems to be, how it is to be explained and understood. The three systems which are commonly suggested, [p. 390] and which in fact are alone possible, are those, 1st, of physical influence, 2nd, of pre-established harmony, and 3rd, of supernatural assistance.
The second and third explanations of the association between soul and matter arise from objections to the first, which is that of the ordinary understanding, the objection being, that what appears as matter cannot by its immediate influence be the cause of representations, these being a totally heterogeneous class of effects. Those who start this objection cannot understand by the objects of the external senses matter, conceived as phenomenon only, and therefore itself a mere representation produced by whatever external objects. For in that case they would really say that the representations of external objects (phenomena) cannot be the external causes of the representations in our mind, which would be a meaningless objection, because nobody would think of taking for an external cause what he knows to be a mere representation. According to our principles the object of their theory can only be, that that which is the true (transcendental) object of our external senses cannot be the cause of those representations (phenomena) which we mean by the name of matter. As no one has any right to say that he [p. 391] knows anything of the transcendental cause of the representations of our external senses, their assertion is entirely groundless. And if the pretended reformers of the doctrine of physical influence represent, according to the ordinary views of transcendental dualism, matter, as such, as a thing by itself (not simply as a mere phenomenal appearance of an unknown thing), and then proceed in their objections to show that such an external object, which shows no causality but that of movements, can never be the efficient cause of representations, but that a third being must intervene in order to produce, if not reciprocal action, at least correspondence and harmony between the two, they would really begin their refutation by admitting in their dualism the πρωˆτον ψενˆδος of a physical influence, and thus refute by their objection, not so much the physical influence as their own dualistic premisses. For all the difficulties with regard to a possible connection between a thinking nature and matter arise, without exception, from that too readily admitted dualistic representation, namely, that matter, as such, is not phenomenal, that is, a mere representation of the mind to which an unknown object corresponds, but the object itself, such as it exists outside us, and independent of all sensibility. [p. 392]
It is impossible, therefore, to start a dogmatical objection against the commonly received theory of a physical influence. For if the opponent were to say that matter and its movements are purely phenomenal and therefore mere representations, the only difficulty remaining to him would be that the unknown object of our senses could not be the cause of our representations, and this he has no right to say, because no one is able to determine what an unknown object may or may not be able to effect; and, according to our former arguments, he must necessarily admit this transcendental idealism, unless he wishes to hypostasise mere representations and place them outside himself as real things.
What is quite possible, however, is to raise a well-founded critical objection to the commonly received opinion of a physical influence. For the pretended association between two kinds of substances, the one thinking, the other extended, rests on a coarse dualism, and changes the latter, though they are nothing but representations of the thinking subject, into things existing by themselves. Thus the misunderstood physical influence may be entirely upset by showing that the proof which was to establish it, was surreptitiously obtained, and therefore, valueless.
The notorious problem, therefore, as to a possible association between the thinking and the extended, would, when all that is purely imaginative is deducted, [p. 393] come to this, how external intuition, namely, that of space (or what fills space, namely, form and movement), is possible in any thinking subject? To this question, however, no human being can return an answer, and instead of attempting to fill this gap in our knowledge, all we can do is to indicate it by ascribing external phenomena to a transcendental object as the cause of this class of representations, but which we shall never know, nor be able to form any concept of. In all practical questions we treat phenomena as objects by themselves, without troubling ourselves about the first cause of their possibility (as phenomena). But as soon as we go beyond, the concept of a transcendental object becomes inevitable.
The decision of all the discussions on the state of a thinking being, before this association with matter (life) or after the ceasing of such association (death), depends on the remarks which we have just made on the association between the thinking and the extended. The opinion that the thinking subject was able to think before any association with bodies, would assume the following form, that before the beginning of that kind of sensibility [p. 394] through which something appears to us in space, the same transcendental objects, which in our present state appear as bodies, could have been seen in a totally different way. The other opinion that, after the cessation of its association with the material world, the soul could continue to think, would be expressed as follows: that, if that kind of sensibility through which transcendental and, for the present, entirely unknown objects appear to us as a material world, should cease, it would not follow that thereby all intuition of them would be removed: it being quite possible that the same unknown objects should continue to be known by the thinking subject, although no longer in the quality of bodies.
Now it is quite true that no one can produce from speculative principles the smallest ground for such an assertion, or do more than presuppose its possibility, but neither can any valid dogmatical objection be raised against it. For whoever would attempt to do so, would know neither more nor less than I myself, or anybody else, about the absolute and internal cause of external and material phenomena. As he cannot pretend to know on what the reality of external phenomena in our present state (in life) really rests, neither can he know that the condition of all external intuition, or the thinking subject itself, will cease after this state (in death). [p. 395]
We thus see that all the wrangling about the nature of a thinking being, and its association with the material world, arises simply from our filling the gap, due to our ignorance, with paralogisms of reason, and by changing thoughts into things and hypostasising them. On this an imaginary science is built up, both by those who assert and by those who deny, some pretending to know about objects of which no human being has any conception, while others make their own representations to be objects, all turning round in a constant circle of ambiguities and contradictions. Nothing but a sober, strict, and just criticism can free us of this dogmatical illusion, which, through theories and systems, deceives so many by an imaginary happiness. It alone can limit our speculative pretensions to the sphere of possible experience, and this not by a shallow scoffing at repeated failures or by pious sighs over the limits of our reason, but by a demarcation made according to well-established principles, writing the nihil ulterius with perfect assurance on those Herculean columns which Nature herself has erected, in order that the voyage of our reason should be continued so far only as the continuous shores of experience extend — shores which we can never forsake without [p. 396] being driven upon a boundless ocean, which, after deceiving us again and again, makes us in the end cease all our laborious and tedious endeavours as perfectly hopeless.
* * * * * * * *
We have yet to give a general and clear investigation of the transcendental, and yet natural illusion, produced by the paralogisms of pure reason, and the justification of our systematical arrangement of them, which ran parallel with the table of the categories. We could not have done this at the beginning of this section, without running the risk of becoming obscure, or inconveniently anticipating our arguments. We shall now try to fulfil our duty.
All illusion may be explained as mistaking the subjective condition of thought for the knowledge of the object. In the introduction to the transcendental Dialectic, we showed that pure reason is occupied exclusively with the totality of the synthesis of conditions belonging to anything conditioned. Now as the dialectical illusion of pure reason cannot be an empirical illusion, such as occurs in certain empirical kinds of knowledge, it can refer only to the conditions of thought in general, so that there can [p. 397] only be three cases of the dialectical use of pure reason:—
1. The synthesis of the conditions of a thought in general.
2. The synthesis of the conditions of empirical thought.
3. The synthesis of the conditions of pure thought.
In every one of these three cases pure reason is occupied only with the absolute totality of that synthesis, that is, with that condition, which is itself unconditioned. It is on this division also that the threefold transcendental illusion is founded which leads to three subdivisions of the Dialectic, and to as many pretended sciences flowing from pure reason, namely, transcendental psychology, cosmology, and theology. We are at present concerned with the first only.
As, in thinking in general, we take no account of the relation of our thoughts to any object (whether of the senses or of the pure understanding), what is called (1) the synthesis of the conditions of a thought in general, is not objective at all, but only a synthesis of thought with the subject, which synthesis is wrongly taken for the synthetical representation of an object.
It follows from this that the dialectical conclusion as to the condition of all thought in general, which condition itself is unconditioned, does not involve a fault in its contents (for it ignores all contents or objects), but only a fault in form, and must therefore be called a [p. 398] paralogism.
As, moreover, the only condition which accompanies all thought is the I, in the general proposition I think, reason has really to deal with this condition, so far as that condition is itself unconditioned. It is however a formal condition only, namely, the logical unity of every thought, no account being taken of any object; but it is represented nevertheless as an object which I think, namely, as the I itself and its unconditioned unity.
If I were asked what is the nature of a thing which thinks, I could not give any answer a priori, for the answer ought to be synthetical, as an analytical answer might explain perhaps the meaning of the term “thought,” but could never add any real knowledge of that on which the possibility of thought depends. For a synthetical solution, however, we should require intuition, and this has been entirely left out of account in the general form given to our problem. It is equally impossible to answer the general question, what is the nature of a thing which is moveable, because in that case the impermeable extension (matter) is not given. But although I have no answer to return to that question in general, it might seem that I could answer it in a special case, namely, in the proposition which expresses the self-consciousness, I think. For this I is the first subject, i.e. substance, [p. 399] it is simple, etc. These, however, ought then to be propositions of experience, which nevertheless, without a general rule containing the conditions of the possibility of thought in general and a priori, could not contain such predicates (which are not empirical). This consideration makes our knowledge of the nature of a thinking being derived from pure concepts, which seemed at first so plausible, extremely suspicious, though we have not yet discovered the place where the fault really lies.
A further investigation, however, of the origin of the attributes which I predicate of myself as a thinking being in general, may help us to discover the fault. They are no more than pure categories by which I can never think a definite object, but only the unity of the representations which is requisite in order to determine an object. Without a previous intuition, no category by itself can give me a concept of an object, for by intuition alone the object is given, which afterwards is thought in accordance with a category. In order to declare a thing to be a substance in phenomenal appearance, predicates of its intuition must first be given to me, in which I may distinguish the permanent from the changeable, and the substratum (the thing in itself) from that which is merely inherent [p. 400] in it. If I call a thing simple as a phenomenon, what I mean is that its intuition is a part of phenomenal appearance, but cannot itself be divided into parts, etc. But if I know something to be simple by a concept only, and not by phenomenal appearance, I have really no knowledge whatever of the object, but only of my concept which I make to myself of something in general, that is incapable of any real intuition. I only say that I think something as perfectly simple, because I have really nothing to say of it except that it is something.
Now the mere apperception (the I) is substance in concept, simple in concept, etc., and so far all the psychological propositions of which we spoke before are incontestably true. Nevertheless what we really wish to know of the soul, becomes by no means known to us in that way, because all those predicates are with regard to intuition non-valid, entailing no consequences with regard to objects of experience, and therefore entirely empty. For that concept of substance does not teach me that the soul continues by itself, or that it is a part of external intuitions, which itself cannot be resolved into parts, and cannot therefore arise or perish by any changes of nature. These are qualities which would make the soul known to us in its connection with experience, and might give us an insight into its origin and future state. But [p. 401] if I say, by means of the category only, that the soul is a simple substance, it is clear that the bare rational concept of substance contains nothing beyond the thought that a thing should be represented as a subject in itself, without becoming in turn a predicate of anything else. Nothing can be deduced from this, with regard to the permanence (of the I), nor can the attribute of simplicity add that of permanence, nor can we thus learn anything whatsoever as to the fate of the soul in the revolutions of the world. If anybody could tell us that the soul is a simple part of matter, we might, with the help of experience, deduce from this the permanence and, on account of its simple nature, the indestructibility of the soul. But of all this, the concept of the I, in the psychological proposition of I think, tells us nothing.
The reason why that being which thinks within us imagines that it knows itself by means of pure categories, and especially by that which expresses absolute unity under each head, is this. The apperception itself is the ground of the possibility of the categories, and these represent nothing but the synthesis of the manifold in intuition, so far as it has unity in apperception. Self-consciousness therefore is the representation of that which forms the condition of all unity, and is itself unconditioned. One may therefore say of the thinking [p. 402] I (the soul), which represents itself as substance, simple, numerically identical in all time, and as the correlative of all existence, from which in fact all other existence must be concluded, that it does not know itself through the categories, but knows the categories only, and through them all objects, in the absolute unity of apperception, that is, through itself. It may seem no doubt self-evident that I cannot know as an object that which is presupposed in order to enable me to know an object, and that the determining self (thought) differs from the self that is to be determined (the thinking subject), like knowledge from its object. Nevertheless nothing is more natural or at least more tempting than the illusion which makes us look upon the unity in the synthesis of thoughts as a perceived unity in the subject of thoughts. One might call it the surreptitious admission of an hypostasised consciousness (apperceptionis substantiatae).
If we want to have a logical term for the paralogism in the dialectical syllogisms of rational psychology, based on perfectly correct premisses, it might be called a sophisma figurae dictionis. In the major we use the category, with reference to its condition, transcendentally only; in the minor and in the conclusion, we use the same category, with reference to the soul which is to be comprehended [p. 403] under that condition, empirically. Thus, in the paralogism of substantiality,1 the concept of substance is a purely intellectual concept which, without the conditions of sensuous intuition, admits of a transcendental use only, that is, of no use at all. In the minor, however, we refer the same concept to the object of all internal experience, though without having previously established the condition of its application in concreto, namely, its permanence. We thus are making an empirical, and therefore entirely inadmissible use of it.
Lastly, in order to show the systematical connection of all these dialectical propositions of a rationalising psychology, according to their connection in pure reason, and thus to establish their completeness, it should be remarked that the apperception is carried through all the classes of the categories, but only with reference to those concepts of the understanding, which in each of them formed a foundation of unity for the others in a possible perception, namely subsistence, reality, unity (not plurality), and existence, all of which are here represented by reason, as conditions (themselves unconditioned) of the possibility of a thinking being. Thus the soul knows in itself: —
Reason is the faculty of principles. The statements [p. 405] of pure psychology do not contain empirical predicates of the soul, but such as, if they exist, are meant to determine the object by itself, independent of all experience, and therefore by a pure reason only. They ought therefore to rest on principles and on general concepts of thinking beings. Instead of this we find that a single representation, I think,1 governs them all, a representation which, for the very reason that it expresses the pure formula of all my experience (indefinitely), claims to be a general proposition, applicable to all thinking beings, and, though single in all respects, has the appearance of an absolute unity of the conditions of thought in general, thus stretching far beyond the limits of possible experience.]
[1 ]All that follows from here to the beginning of the second chapter, is left out in the Second Edition, and replaced by Supplement XXVII.
[2 ]Afterwards transcendental instead of pure.
[1 ]It would be very easy to give to this argument the ordinary scholastic dress. But for my purposes it is sufficient to have clearly exhibited, even in a popular form, the ground on which it rests.
[1 ]An elastic ball, which impinges on another in a straight line, communicates to it its whole motion, and therefore (if we only consider the places in space) its whole state. If then, in analogy with such bodies, we admit substances of which the one communicates to the other representations with consciousness, we could imagine a whole series of them, in which the first communicates its state and its consciousness to the second, the second its own state with that of the first substance to a third, and this again all the states of the former, together with its own, and a consciousness of them, to another. That last substance would be conscious of all the states of the previously changed substances, as of its own, because all of them had been transferred to it with the consciousness of them; but for all that it would not have been the same person in all those states.
[1 ]We must well master this paradoxical, but quite correct proposition, that nothing can be in space, except what is represented in it. For space itself is nothing but representation, and whatever is in it must therefore be contained in that representation. There is nothing whatever in space, except so far as it is really represented in it. That a thing can exist only in the representation of it, may no doubt sound strange; but will lose its strangeness if we consider that the things with which we have to deal, are not things by themselves, but phenomena only, that is, representations.
[1 ]Simplicität was a misprint for substantialität.
[1 ]Ich bin was a mistake, it can only be meant for Ich denke.