Front Page Titles (by Subject) Section II: Of the Transcendental Ideal ( Prototypon Transcendentale ) - Critique of Pure Reason
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Section II: Of the Transcendental Ideal ( Prototypon Transcendentale ) - 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 Transcendental Ideal (Prototypon Transcendentale)
Every concept is, with regard to that which is not contained in it, undetermined and subject to the principle of determinability, according to which of every two contradictorily opposite predicates, one only can belong to it. This rests on the principle of contradiction, and is therefore a purely logical principle, taking no account of any of the contents of our knowledge, and looking only to its logical form.
Besides this everything is subject, in its possibility, to the principle of complete determination, according to which one of all the possible predicates of things, as compared with their opposites, must be applicable [p. 572] to it. This does not rest only on the principle of contradiction, for it regards everything, not only in relation to two contradictory predicates, but in relation to the whole possibility, that is, to the whole of all predicates of things, and, presupposing these as a condition a priori, it represents everything as deriving its own possibility from the share which it possesses in that whole possibility.1 This principle of complete determination relates therefore to the content, and not only to the logical form. It is the principle of the synthesis of all predicates which are meant to form the complete concept of a thing, and not the principle of analytical representation only, by means of one of two contradictory predicates; and it contains a transcendental presupposition, namely, that of the material for all possibility which is supposed to contain [p. 573] a priori the data for the particular possibility of everything.
The proposition, that everything which exists is completely determined, does not signify only that one of every pair of given contradictory predicates, but that one of all possible predicates must always belong to a thing, so that by this proposition predicates are not only compared with each other logically, but the thing itself is compared transcendentally with the sum total of all possible predicates. The proposition really means that, in order to know a thing completely, we must know everything that is possible, and thereby determine it either affirmatively or negatively. This complete determination is therefore a concept which in concreto can never be represented in its totality, and is founded therefore on an idea which belongs to reason only, reason prescribing to the understanding the rule of its complete application.
Now although this idea of the sum total of all possibility, so far as it forms the condition of the complete determination of everything, is itself still undetermined with regard to its predicates, and is conceived by us merely as a sum total of all possible predicates, we find nevertheless on closer examination that this idea, as a fundamental concept, excludes a number of predicates which, being derivative, are given by others, or cannot stand one [p. 574] by the side of the other, and that it is raised to a completely a priori determined concept, thus becoming the concept of an individual object which is completely determined by the mere idea, and must therefore be called an ideal of pure reason.
If we consider all possible predicates not only logically, but transcendentally, that is, according to their content, which may be thought in them a priori, we find that through some we represent being, through others a mere not-being. The logical negation, which is merely indicated through the small word not, does in reality never apply to a concept, but only to its relation to another in a judgment, and is very far therefore from being sufficient to determine a concept with regard to its content. The expression, not-mortal, can in no wise indicate that mere not-being if thereby represented in an object, but leaves the content entirely untouched. A transcendental negation, on the contrary, signifies not-being by itself, and is opposed to transcendental affirmation, or a something the concept of which in itself expresses being. It is called, therefore, reality (from res, a thing), because through it alone, and so far only as it reaches, are objects something, while the opposite negation indicates a mere want, and, if [p. 575] it stands by itself, represents the absence of everything.
No one can definitely think a negation, unless he founds it on the opposite affirmation. A man born blind cannot frame the smallest conception of darkness, because he has none of light. The savage knows nothing of poverty, because he does not know ease, and the ignorant has no conception of his ignorance,1 because he has none of knowledge, etc. All negative concepts are therefore derivative, and it is the realities which contain the data and, so to speak, the material, or the transcendental content, by which a complete determination of all things becomes possible.
If, therefore, our reason postulates a transcendental substratum for all determinations, a substratum which contains, as it were, the whole store of material whence all possible predicates of things may be taken, we shall find that such a substratum is nothing but the idea of the sum total of reality (omnitudo realitatis). In [p. 576] that case all true negations are nothing but limitations which they could not be unless there were the substratum of the unlimited (the All).
By this complete possession of all reality we represent the concept of a thing by itself as completely determined, and the concept of an ens realissimum is the concept of individual being, because of all possible opposite predicates one, namely, that which absolutely belongs to being, is found in its determination. It is therefore a transcendental ideal which forms the foundations of the complete determination which is necessary for all that exists, and which constitutes at the same time the highest and complete condition of its possibility, to which all thought of objects, with regard to their content, must be traced back. It is at the same time the only true ideal of which human reason is capable, because it is in this case alone that a concept of a thing, which in itself is general, is completely determined by itself, and recognised as the representation of an individual.
The logical determination of a concept by reason is based upon a disjunctive syllogism in which the major contains a logical division (the division of the sphere of a general concept), while the minor limits that sphere to a certain part, and the conclusion determines the concept by that part. The general concept of a reality [p. 577] in general cannot be divided a priori, because without experience we know no definite kinds of reality contained under that genus. Hence the transcendental major of the complete determination of all things is nothing but a representation of the sum total of all reality, and not only a concept which comprehends all predicates, according to their transcendental content, under itself, but within itself; and the complete determination of everything depends on the limitation of this total of reality, of which some part is ascribed to the thing, while the rest is excluded from it, a procedure which agrees with the aut aut of a disjunctive major, and with the determination of the object through one of the members of that division in the minor. Thus the procedure of reason by which the transcendental ideal becomes the basis of the determination of all possible things, is analogous to that which reason follows in disjunctive syllogisms, a proposition on which I tried before to base the systematical division of all transcendental ideas, and according to which they are produced, as corresponding to the three kinds of the syllogisms of reason.
It is self-evident that for that purpose, namely, in order simply to represent the necessary and complete determination of things, reason does not presuppose [p. 578] the existence of a being that should correspond to the ideal, but its idea only, in order to derive from an unconditioned totality of complete determination the conditioned one, that is the totality of something limited. Reason therefore sees in the ideal the prototypon of all things which, as imperfect copies (ectypa), derive the material of their possibility from it, approaching more or less nearly to it, yet remaining always far from reaching it.
Thus all the possibility of things (or of the synthesis of the manifold according to their content) is considered as derivative, and the possibility of that only which includes in itself all reality as original. For all negations (which really are the only predicates by which everything else is distinguished from the truly real being) are limitations only of a greater and, in the last instance, of the highest reality, presupposing it, and, according to their content, derived from it. All the manifoldness of things consist only of so many modes of limiting the concept of the highest reality that forms their common substratum, in the same way as all figures are only different modes of limiting endless space. Hence the object of its ideal which exists in reason only is called the original Being (ens originarium), and so far as it has nothing above it, the highest Being (ens summum), and so far as everything as conditioned is subject to it, the Being of all beings (ens entium). All this however does not mean the objective relation of any real thing to other [p. 579] things, but of the idea to concepts, and leaves us in perfect ignorance as to the existence of a being of such superlative excellence.
Again, as we cannot say that an original being consists of so many derivative beings, because these in reality presuppose the former, and cannot therefore constitute it, it follows that the ideal of the original being must be conceived as simple.
The derivation of all other possibility from that original being cannot therefore, if we speak accurately, be considered as a limitation of its highest reality, and, as it were, a division of it — for in that case the original being would become to us a mere aggregate of derivative beings, which, according to what we have just explained, is impossible, though we represented it so in our first rough sketch. On the contrary, the highest reality would form the basis of the possibility of all things as a cause, and not as a sum total. The manifoldness of things would not depend on the limitation of the original being, but on its complete effect, and to this also would belong all our sensibility, together with all reality in phenomenal appearance, which could not, as an ingredient, belong to the idea of a supreme being.
If we follow up this idea of ours and hypostasise [p. 580] it, we shall be able to determine the original being by means of the concept of the highest reality as one, simple, all sufficient, eternal, etc., in one word, determine it in its unconditioned completeness through all predicaments. The concept of such a being is the concept ofGod in its transcendental sense, and thus, as I indicated above, the ideal of pure reason is the object of a transcendental theology.
By such an employment of the transcendental idea, however, we should be overstepping the limits of its purpose and admissibility. Reason used it only, as being the concept of all reality, for a foundation of the complete determination of things in general, without requiring that all this reality should be given objectively and constitute itself a thing. This is a mere fiction by which we comprehend and realise the manifold of our idea in one ideal, as a particular being. We have no right to do this, not even to assume the possibility of such an hypothesis; nor do all the consequences which flow from such an ideal concern the complete determination of things in general, for the sake of which alone the idea was necessary, or influence it in the least.
It is not enough to describe the procedure [p. 581] of our reason and its dialectic, we must try also to discover its sources, in order to be able to explain that illusion itself as a phenomenon of the understanding. The ideal of which we are speaking is founded on a natural, not on a purely arbitrary idea. I ask, therefore, how does it happen that reason considers all the possibility of things as derived from one fundamental possibility, namely, that of the highest reality, and then presupposes it as contained in a particular original being?
The answer is easily found in the discussions of the transcendental Analytic. The possibility of the objects of our senses is their relation to our thought, by which something (namely, the empirical form) can be thought a priori, while what constitutes the matter, the reality in the phenomena (all that corresponds to sensation) must be given, because without it it could not even be thought, nor its possibility be represented. An object of the senses can be completely determined only when it is compared with all phenomenal predicates, and represented by them either affirmatively or negatively. As, however, that which constitutes the thing itself (as a phenomenon), namely, the real, must be given, and as without this the thing could not be conceived at all, and as that in which the real of all phenomena is given is what we [p. 582] call the one and all comprehending experience, it is necessary that the material for the possibility of all objects of our senses should be presupposed as given in one whole, on the limitation of which alone the possibility of all empirical objects, their difference from each other, and their complete determination can be founded. And since no other objects can be given us but those of the senses, and nowhere but in the context of a possible experience, nothing can be an object to us, if it does not presuppose that whole of all empirical reality, as the condition of its possibility. Owing to a natural illusion, we are led to consider a principle which applies only to the objects of our senses, as a principle valid for all things, and thus to take the empirical principle of our concepts of the possibility of things as phenomena, by omitting this limitation, as a transcendental principle of the possibility of things in general.
If afterwards we hypostasise this idea of the whole of all reality, this is owing to our changing dialectically the distributive unity of the empirical use of our understanding into the collective unity of an empirical whole, and then represent to ourselves this whole of phenomena as an individual thing, containing in itself all empirical reality. Afterwards, by means of the aforementioned transcendental [p. 583] subreption, this is taken for the concept of a thing standing at the head of the possibility of all things, and supplying the real conditions for their complete determination.1
[1 ]According to this principle, therefore, everything is referred to a common correlate, that is, the whole possibility, which, if it (that is, the matter for all possible predicates) could be found in the idea of any single thing, would prove an affinity of all possible things, through the identity of the ground of their complete determination. The determinability of any concept is subordinate to the universality (universalitas) of the principle of the excluded middle, while the determination of a thing is subordinate to the totality (universitas), or the sum total of all possible predicates.
[1 ]The observations and calculations of astronomers have taught us much that is wonderful; but the most important is, that they have revealed to us the abyss of our ignorance, which otherwise human reason could never have conceived so great. To meditate on this must produce a great change in the determination of the aims of our reason.
[1 ]This ideal of the most real of all things, although merely a representation, is first realised, that is, changed into an object, then hypostasised, and lastly, by the natural progress of reason towards unity, as we shall presently show, personified; because the regulative unity of experience does not rest on the phenomena themselves (sensibility alone), but on the connection of the manifold, through the understanding (in an apperception), so that the unity of the highest reality, and the complete determinability (possibility) of all things, seem to reside in a supreme understanding, and therefore in an intelligence.