Front Page Titles (by Subject) Section I: System of Cosmological Ideas - Critique of Pure Reason
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Section I: System of Cosmological Ideas - 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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System of Cosmological Ideas
Before we are able to enumerate these ideas according to a principle and with systematic precision, we must bear in mind,
1st, That pure and transcendental concepts arise from the understanding only, and that reason does not [p. 409] in reality produce any concept, but only frees, it may be, the concept of the understanding of the inevitable limitation of a possible experience, and thus tries to enlarge it, beyond the limits of experience, yet in connection with it. Reason does this by demanding for something that is given as conditioned, absolute totality on the side of the conditions (under which the understanding subjects all phenomena to the synthetical unity). It thus changes the category into a transcendental idea, in order to give absolute completeness to the empirical synthesis, by continuing it up to the unconditioned (which can never be met with in experience, but in the idea only). In doing this, reason follows the principle that, if the conditioned is given, the whole sum of conditions, and therefore the absolutely unconditioned must be given likewise, the former being impossible without the latter. Hence the transcendental ideas are in reality nothing but categories, enlarged till they reach the unconditioned, and those ideas must admit of being arranged in a table, according to the titles of the categories.
2ndly, Not all categories will lend themselves to this, but those only in which the synthesis constitutes a series, and a series of subordinated (not of co-ordinated) conditions. Absolute totality is demanded by reason, [p. 410] with regard to an ascending series of conditions only, not therefore when we have to deal with a descending line of consequences, or with an aggregate of co-ordinated conditions. For, with reference to something given as conditioned, conditions are presupposed and considered as given with it, while, on the other hand, as consequences do not render their conditions possible, but rather presuppose them, we need not, in proceeding to the consequences (or in descending from any given condition to the conditioned), trouble ourselves whether the series comes to an end or not, the question as to their totality being in fact no presupposition of reason whatever.
Thus we necessarily conceive time past up to a given moment, as given, even if not determinable by us. But with regard to time future, which is not a condition of arriving at time present, it is entirely indifferent, if we want to conceive the latter, what we may think about the former, whether we take it, as coming to an end somewhere, or as going on to infinity. Let us take the series, m, n, o, where n is given as conditioned by m, and at the same time as a condition of o. Let that series ascend from the conditioned n to its condition m (l, k, i, etc.), and descend from the condition n to the conditioned o (p, q, r, etc.). I must then presuppose the former series, in order to take n as given, and according to reason (the totality of conditions) n is possible only by means of that series, while its possibility depends in no way on the [p. 411] subsequent series, o, p, q, r, which therefore cannot be considered as given, but only as dabilis, capable of being given.
I shall call the synthesis of a series on the side of the conditions, beginning with the one nearest to a given phenomenon, and advancing to the more remote conditions, regressive; the other, which on the side of the conditioned advances from the nearest effect to the more remote ones, progressive. The former proceeds in antecedentia, the second in consequentia. Cosmological ideas therefore, being occupied with the totality of regressive synthesis, proceed in antecedentia, not in consequentia. If the latter should take place, it would be a gratuitous, not a necessary problem of pure reason, because for a complete comprehension of what is given us in experience we want to know the causes, but not the effects.
In order to arrange a table of ideas in accordance with the table of the categories, we must take, first, the two original quanta of all our intuition, time and space. Time is in itself a series (and the formal condition of all series), and in it, therefore, with reference to any given present, we have to distinguish a priori the antecedentia as conditions (the past) from the consequentia (the future). Hence the transcendental idea of the absolute totality of [p. 412] the series of conditions of anything conditioned refers to time past only. The whole of time past is looked upon, according to the idea of reason, as a necessary condition of the given moment. With regard to space there is in it no difference between progressus and regressus, because all its parts exist together and form an aggregate, but no series. We can look upon the present moment, with reference to time past, as conditioned only, but never as condition, because this moment arises only through time past (or rather through the passing of antecedent time). But as the parts of space are not subordinate to one another, but co-ordinate, no part of it is in the condition of the possibility of another, nor does it, like time, constitute a series in itself. Nevertheless the synthesis by which we apprehend the many parts of space is successive, takes place in time, and contains a series. And as in that series of aggregated spaces (as, for instance, of feet in a rood) the spaces added to a given space are always the condition of the limit of the preceding spaces, we ought to consider the measuring of a space also as a synthesis of a series of conditions of something given as conditioned, with this difference only, that the side of the [p. 413] conditions is by itself not different from the other side which comprehends the conditioned, so that regressus and progressus seem to be the same in space. As however every part of space is limited only, and not given by another, we must look upon every limited space as conditioned also, so far as it presupposes another space as the condition of its limit, and so on. With reference to limitation therefore progressus in space is also regressus, and the transcendental idea of the absolute totality of the synthesis in the series of conditions applies to space also. I may ask then for the absolute totality of phenomena in space, quite as well as in time past, though we must wait to see whether an answer is ever possible.
Secondly, reality in space, that is, matter, is something conditioned, the parts of which are its internal conditions, and the parts of its parts, its remoter conditions. We have therefore here a regressive synthesis the absolute totality of which is demanded by reason, but which cannot take place except by a complete division, whereby the reality of matter dwindles away into nothing, or into that at least which is no longer matter, namely, the simple; consequently we have here also a series of conditions, and a progress to the unconditioned.
Thirdly, when we come to the categories of the real relation between phenomena, we find that the [p. 414] category of substance with its accidents does not lend itself to a transcendental idea; that is, reason has here no inducement to proceed regressively to conditions. We know that accidents, so far as they inhere in one and the same substance, are co-ordinated with each other, and do not constitute a series; and with reference to the substance, they are not properly subordinate to it, but are the mode of existence of the substance itself. The concept of the substantial might seem to be here an idea of trancendental reason. This, however, signifies nothing but the concept of the object in general, which subsists, so far as we think in it the transcendental subject only, without any predicates; and, as we are here speaking only of the unconditioned in the series of phenomena, it is clear that the substantial cannot be a part of it. The same applies to substances in community, which are aggregates only, without having an exponent of a series, since they are not subordinate to each other, as conditions of their possibility, in the same way as spaces were, the limits of which can never be determined by itself, but always through another space. There remains therefore only the category of causality, which offers a series of causes to a given effect, enabling us to ascend from the latter, as the conditioned, to the former as the conditions, and thus to answer the question of reason. [p. 415]
Fourthly, the concepts of the possible, the real, and the necessary do not lead to any series, except so far as the accidental in existence must always be considered as conditioned, and point, according to a rule of the understanding, to a condition which makes it necessary to ascend to a higher condition, till reason finds at last, only, in the totality of that series, the unconditioned necessity which it requires.
If therefore we select those categories which necessarily imply a series in the synthesis of the manifold, we shall have no more than four cosmological ideas, accord-to the four titles of the categories.
It should be remarked, first, that the idea of absolute totality refers to nothing else but the exhibition of phenomena, and not therefore to the pure concept, formed by the understanding, of a totality of things in general. Phenomena, therefore, are considered here as given, and reason postulates the absolute completeness of the conditions of their possibility, so far as these conditions constitute a series, that is, an absolutely (in every respect) complete synthesis, whereby phenomena could be exhibited according to the laws of the understanding.
Secondly, it is in reality the unconditioned alone which reason is looking for in the synthesis of conditions, continued regressively and serially, as it were a completeness in the series of premisses, which taken together require no further premisses. This unconditioned is always contained in the absolute totality of a series, as represented in imagination. But this absolutely complete synthesis is again an idea only, for it is impossible to know beforehand, whether such a synthesis be possible in phenomena. If we represent everything by means of pure concepts of the understanding only, and without the conditions of sensuous intuition, we might really say that of everything given as conditioned the whole series also of conditions, subordinated to each other, is given, for the conditioned is given through the conditions only. When we come to phenomena, however, we find a particular limitation of the mode in which conditions are given, namely, [p. 417] through the successive synthesis of the manifold of intuition which should become complete by the regressus. Whether this completeness, however, is possible, with regard to sensuous phenomena, is still a question. But the idea of that completeness is no doubt contained in reason, without reference to the possibility or impossibility of connecting with it adequate empirical concepts. As therefore in the absolute totality of the regressive synthesis of the manifold in intuition (according to the categories which represent that totality as a series of conditions of something given as conditioned) the unconditioned is necessarily contained without attempting to determine whether and how such a totality be possible, reason here takes the road to start from the idea of totality, though her final aim is the unconditioned, whether of the whole series or of a part thereof.
This unconditioned may be either conceived as existing in the whole series only, in which all members without exception are conditioned and the whole of them only absolutely unconditioned — and in this case the regressus is called infinite — or the absolutely unconditioned is only a part of the series, the other members being subordinate to it, while it is itself conditioned by nothing else.1 In the former case the series is without limits a parte [p. 418] priori (without a beginning), that is infinite; given however as a whole in which the regressus is never complete, and can therefore be called infinite potentially only. In the latter case there is something that stands first in the series, which, with reference to time past, is called the beginning of the world; with reference to space, the limit of the world; with reference to the parts of a limited given whole, the simple; with reference to causes, absolute spontaneity (liberty); with reference to the existence of changeable things, the absolute necessity of nature.
We have two expressions, world and nature, which frequently run into each other. The first denotes the mathematical total of all phenomena and the totality of their synthesis of large and small in its progress whether by composition or division. That world, however, is called nature1 if we look upon it as a dynamical [p. 419] whole, and consider not the aggregation in space and time, in order to produce a quantity, but the unity in the existence of phenomena. In this case the condition of that which happens is called cause, the unconditioned causality of the cause as phenomenal, liberty, while the conditioned causality, in its narrower meaning, is called natural cause. That of which the existence is conditioned is called contingent, that of which it is unconditioned, necessary. The unconditioned necessity of phenomena may be called natural necessity.
I have called the ideas, which we are at present discussing, cosmological, partly because we understand by world the totality of all phenomena, our ideas being directed to that only which is unconditioned among the phenomena; partly, because world, in its transcendental meaning, denotes the totality of all existing things, and we are concerned only with the completeness of the synthesis (although properly only in the regressus to the [p. 420] conditions). Considering, therefore, that all these ideas are transcendent because, though not transcending in kind their object, namely, phenomena, but restricted to the world of sense (and excluded from all noumena) they nevertheless carry synthesis to a degree which transcends all possible experience, they may, according to my opinion, very properly be called cosmical concepts. With reference to the distinction, however, between the mathematically or the dynamically unconditioned at which the regressus aims, I might call the two former, in a narrower sense, cosmical concepts (macrocosmically or microcosmically) and the remaining two transcendent concepts of nature. This distinction, though for the present of no great consequence, may become important hereafter.
[1 ]The absolute total of a series of conditions of anything given as conditioned, is itself always unconditioned; because there are no conditions beyond on which it could depend. Such an absolute total of a series is, however, an idea only, or rather a problematical concept, the possibility of which has to be investigated with reference to the mode in which the unconditioned, that is, in reality, the transcendental idea with which we are concerned, may be contained in it.
[1 ]Nature, if taken adjective (formaliter), is meant to express the whole complex of the determinations of a thing, according to an inner principle of causality; while, if taken substantive (materialiter), it denotes the totality of phenomena, so far as they are all held together by an internal principle of causality. In the former meaning we speak of the nature of liquid matter, of fire, etc., using the word adjective; while, if we speak of the objects of nature, or of natural objects, we have in our mind the idea of a subsisting whole.