Front Page Titles (by Subject) Section VII: Criticism of all Theology based on Speculative Principles of Reason [p. 631] - Critique of Pure Reason
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Section VII: Criticism of all Theology based on Speculative Principles of Reason [p. 631] - 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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Criticism of all Theology based on Speculative Principles of Reason [p. 631]
If by Theology we understand the knowledge of the original Being, it is derived either from reason only (theologia rationalis), or from revelation (revelata). The former thinks its object either by pure reason and through transcendental concepts only (ens originarium, realissimum, ens entium), and is then called transcendental theology, or by a concept, borrowed from the nature (of our soul), as the highest intelligence, and ought then to be called natural theology. Those who admit a transcendental theology only are called Deists, those who admit also a natural theology Theists. The former admit that we may know the existence of an original Being by mere reason, but that our concept of it is transcendental only, as of a Being which possesses all reality, but a reality that cannot be further determined. The latter maintain that reason is capable of determining that object more accurately in analogy with nature, namely, as a Being which, through understanding and freedom, contains within itself the original ground of all other things. The former admits a cause of the [p. 632] world only (whether through the necessity of its nature or through freedom, remains undecided), the latter an author of the world.
Transcendental theology, again, either derives the existence of the original Being from an experience in general (without saying anything about the world, to which it belongs), and is then called Cosmotheology; or it believes that it can know its existence, without the help of any experience whatsoever, and by mere concepts, and is then called Ontotheology.
Natural theology infers the qualities and the existence of an author of the world from the constitution, the order, and the unity, which are seen in this world, in which two kinds of causality with their rules must be admitted, namely, nature and freedom. It ascends from this world to the highest intelligence as the principle either of all natural or of all moral order and perfection. In the former case it is called Physico-theology, in the other Ethico-theology.1
As we are accustomed to understand by the concept of God, not only a blindly working eternal nature, as the root of all things, but a Supreme Being, which, through understanding and freedom, is supposed to be the [p. 633] author of all things, and as it is this concept alone in which we really take an interest, one might strictly deny to the Deist all belief in God, and allow him only the maintaining of an original Being, or a supreme cause. But as no one, simply because he does not dare to assert, ought to be accused of denying a thing, it is kinder and juster to say, that the Deist believes in a God, but the Theist in a living God (summa intelligentia). We shall now try to discover the possible sources of all these attempts of reason.
I shall not do more, at present, than define theoretical knowledge as one by which I know what there is, practical knowledge as one by which I represent to myself what ought to be. Hence the theoretical use of reason is that by which I know a priori (as necessary) that something is, while the practical use of reason is that by which I know a priori what ought to be. If then it is certain, beyond the possibility of doubt, that something is, or that something ought to be, though both are conditioned, then a certain definite condition of it may be either absolutely necessary or presupposed only as possible and contingent. In the former case, the condition is postulated (per thesin), in the latter supposed (per hypothesin). As there are practical laws, which are absolutely necessary (the moral laws), it follows, if they necessarily presuppose [p. 634] any existence as the condition of the possibility of their obligatory power, that the existence of that condition must be postulated, because the conditioned, from which we infer that condition, has been recognised a priori as absolutely necessary. On a future occasion we shall show that the moral laws not only presuppose the existence of a Supreme Being, but that, as they are in other respects absolutely necessary, they postulate it by right, though of course practically only. For the present we leave this mode of argument untouched.
If we only speak of that which is, not of that which ought to be, the conditioned given to us in experience is always conceived as contingent, and the condition belonging to it can therefore not be known as absolutely necessary, but serves only as a relatively necessary, or rather needful, though in itself an a priori arbitrary supposition for a rational understanding of the conditioned. If, therefore, we wish to know in our theoretical knowledge the absolute necessity of a thing, this could only be done from concepts a priori, and never as of a cause in reference to an existence which is given in experience.
I call a theoretical knowledge speculative, if it relates to an object, or such concepts of an object, which we can never reach in any experience. It is opposed to our knowledge of nature, which relates to no other objects [p. 635] or predicates of them except those that can be given in a possible experience.
From something that happens (the empirically contingent) as an effect, to infer a cause, is a principle of natural, though not of speculative knowledge. For if we no longer use it as a principle involving the condition of possible experience, and, leaving out everything that is empirical, try to apply it to the contingent in general, there does not remain the smallest justification of such a synthetical proposition, showing how from something which is, there can be a transition to something totally different, which we call cause; nay, in such purely speculative application, the concepts both of cause and of the contingent lose all meaning, the objective reality of which would be made intelligible in the concrete.
If from the existence of things in the world we infer their cause, we are using reason not naturally, but speculatively. Naturally, reason refers not the things themselves (substances), but only that which happens, their states, as empirically contingent, to some cause; but it could know speculatively only that a substance itself (matter) is contingent in its existence. And even if we were thinking only of the form of the world, the [p. 636] manner of its composition and the change of this composition, and tried to infer from this a cause totally different from the world, this would be again a judgment of speculative reason only; because the object here is not an object of any possible experience. In this case the principle of causality, which is valid within the field of experience only, and utterly useless, nay, even meaningless, outside it, would be totally diverted from its proper destination.
What I maintain then is, that all attempts at a purely speculative use of reason, with reference to theology, are entirely useless and intrinsically null and void, while the principles of their natural use can never lead to any theology, so that unless we depend on moral laws, or are guided by them, there cannot be any theology of reason. For all synthetical principles of the understanding are applicable immanently only, i.e. within its own sphere, while, in order to arrive at the knowledge of a Supreme Being, we must use them transcendentally, and for this our understanding is not prepared. If the empirically valid law of causality is to conduct us to the original Being, that Being must belong to the chain of objects of experience, and in that case it would, like all phenomena, be itself conditioned. And even if that sudden jump beyond the limits of [p. 637] experience, according to the dynamical law of the relation of effects to their causes, could be allowed, what concept could we gain by this proceeding? Certainly no concept of a Supreme Being, because experience never presents to us the greatest of all possible effects, to bear witness of its cause. If we claim to be allowed, only in order to leave no void in our reason, to supply this defect in the complete determination of that cause by the mere idea of the highest perfection and of original necessity, this may possibly be granted as a favour, but can never be demanded on the strength of an irresistible proof. The physico-theological proof, as connecting speculation with intuition, might possibly therefore be used in support of other proofs (if they existed); it cannot, however, finish the task for itself, but can only prepare the understanding for theological knowledge, and impart to it the right and natural direction.
It must have been seen from this that transcendental questions admit of transcendental answers only, that is, of such which consist of mere concepts a priori without any empirical admixture. Our question, however, is clearly synthetical, and requires an extension of our knowledge beyond all limits of experience, till it reaches the existence of a Being which is to correspond to our pure idea, though no experience can ever be adequate to it. According [p. 638] to our former proofs, all synthetical knowledge a priori is possible only, if it conforms to the formal conditions of a possible experience. All these principles therefore are of immanent validity only, that is, they must remain within the sphere of objects of empirical knowledge, or of phenomena. Nothing, therefore, can be achieved by a transcendental procedure with reference to the theology of a purely speculative reason.
If people, however, should prefer to call in question all the former proofs of the Analytic, rather than allow themselves to be robbed of their persuasion of the value of the proofs on which they have rested so long, they surely cannot decline my request, when I ask them to justify themselves, at least on this point, in what manner, and by what kind of illumination they trust themselves to soar above all possible experience, on the wings of pure ideas. I must ask to be excused from listening to new proofs, or to the tinkered workmanship of the old. No doubt the choice is not great, for all speculative proofs end in the one, namely, the ontological; nor need I fear to be much troubled by the inventive fertility of the dogmatical defenders of that reason which they have delivered from the bondage of the senses; nor should I even, without considering myself a very formidable antagonist, decline the challenge to detect the fallacy in every one of their attempts, and thus to dispose of their pretensions. But I know too well that the hope of better success [p. 639] will never be surrendered by those who have once accustomed themselves to dogmatical persuasion, and I therefore restrict myself to the one just demand, that my opponents should explain in general, from the nature of the human understanding, or from any other sources of knowledge, what we are to do in order to extend our knowledge entirely a priori, and to carry it to a point where no possible experience, and therefore no means whatever, is able to secure to a concept invented by ourselves its objective reality. In whatever way the understanding may have reached that concept, it is clearly impossible that the existence of its object could be found in it through analysis, because the very knowledge of the existence of the object implies that it exists outside our thoughts. We cannot in fact go beyond concepts, nor, unless we follow the empirical connection by which nothing but phenomena can be given, hope to discover new objects and imaginary beings.
Although then reason, in its purely speculative application, is utterly insufficient for this great undertaking, namely, to prove the existence of a Supreme Being, it has nevertheless this great advantage of being able to correct our knowledge of it, if it can be acquired from [p. 640] elsewhere, to make it consistent with itself and every intelligible view, and to purify it from everything incompatible with the concept of an original Being, and from all admixture of empirical limitations.
In spite of its insufficiency, therefore, transcendental theology has a very important negative use, as a constant test of our reason, when occupied with pure ideas only, which, as such, admit of a transcendental standard only. For suppose that on practical grounds the admission of a highest and all-sufficient Being, as the highest intelligence, were to maintain its validity without contradiction, it would be of the greatest importance that we should be able to determine that concept accurately on its transcendental side, as the concept of a necessary and most real Being, to remove from it what is contradictory to that highest reality and purely phenomenal (anthropomorphic in the widest sense), and at the same time to put an end to all opposite assertions, whether atheistic, deistic, or anthropomorphistic. Such a critical treatment would not be difficult, because the same arguments by which the insufficiency of human reason in asserting the existence of such a Being has been proved, must be sufficient also to prove the invalidity of opposite assertions. [p. 641] For whence can anybody, through pure speculation of reason, derive his knowledge that there is no Supreme Being, as the cause of all that exists, or that it can claim none of those qualities which we, to judge from their effects, represent to ourselves as compatible with the dynamical realities of a thinking Being, or that, in the latter case, they would be subject to all those limitations which sensibility imposes inevitably on all the intelligences known to us by experience?
For the purely speculative use of reason, therefore, the Supreme Being remains, no doubt, an ideal only, but an ideal without a flaw, a concept which finishes and crowns the whole of human knowledge, and the objective reality of which, though it cannot be proved, can neither be disproved in that way. If then there should be an Ethico-theology to supply that deficiency, transcendental theology, which before was problematical only, would prove itself indispensable in determining its concept, and in constantly testing reason, which is so often deceived by sensibility, and not even always in harmony with its own ideas. Necessity, infinity, unity, extra-mundane existence (not as a world-soul), eternity, free from conditions of time, omnipresence, free from conditions of space, omnipotence, etc., all these are transcendental predicates, and their purified [p. 642] concepts, which are so much required for every theology, can therefore be derived from transcendental theology only.
Of the Regulative Use of the Ideas of Pure Reason
The result of all the dialectical attempts of pure reason does not only confirm what we proved in the transcendental Analytic, namely, that all our conclusions, which are to lead us beyond the field of possible experience, are fallacious and groundless, but teaches us also this in particular, that human reason has a natural inclination to overstep these limits, and that transcendental ideas are as natural to it as categories to the understanding, with this distinction, however, that while the latter convey truth, that is, agreement of our concepts with their objects, the former produce merely an irresistible illusion, against which we can defend ourselves by the severest criticism only.
Everything that is founded in the nature of our faculties must have some purpose, and be in harmony with the right use of them, if only we can guard against a certain misunderstanding and discover their [p. 643] proper direction. The transcendental ideas, therefore, will probably possess their own proper and, therefore, immanent use, although, if their object is misunderstood, and they are mistaken for the concepts of real things, they may become transcendent in their application, and hence deceptive. For not the idea in itself, but its use only can, in regard to the whole of possible experience, be either transcendent or immanent, according as we direct them either immediately to objects wrongly supposed to correspond to them, or only to the use of the understanding in general with reference to objects with which it has a right to deal. All the faults of subreptio are to be attributed to a want of judgment, never to the understanding or to reason themselves.
Reason never refers immediately to an object, but to the understanding only, and through it to its own empirical use. It does not form, therefore, concepts of objects, but arranges them only, and imparts to them that unity which they can have in their greatest possible extension, that is, with reference to the totality of different series; while the understanding does not concern itself with this totality, but only with that connection through which such series of conditions become possible according to concepts. Reason has therefore for its object [p. 644] the understanding only and its fittest employment; and, as the understanding brings unity into the manifold of the objects by means of concepts, reason brings unity into the manifold of concepts by means of ideas, making a certain collective unity the aim of the operations of the understanding, which otherwise is occupied with distributive unity only
I maintain, accordingly, that transcendental ideas ought never to be employed as constitutive, so that by them concepts of certain objects should be given, and that, if they are so employed, they are merely sophistical (dialectic concepts). They have, however, a most admirable and indispensably necessary regulative use, in directing the understanding to a certain aim, towards which all the lines of its rules converge and which, though it is an idea only (focus imaginarius), that is, a point from which, as lying completely outside the limits of possible experience, the concepts of the understanding do not in reality proceed, serves nevertheless to impart to them the greatest unity and the greatest extension. Hence there arises, no doubt, the illusion, as if those lines sprang1 from an object itself, outside the field of empirically possible experience (as objects are seen behind the surface of a mirror); but this illusion (by which we need not allow ourselves to be deceived) is nevertheless indispensably necessary, if, besides the objects which lie before our eyes, [p. 645] we want to see those also which lie far away at our back, that is to say, if, as in our case, we wish to direct the understanding beyond every given experience (as a part of the whole of possible experience), and thus to its greatest possible, or extremest extension.
If we review the entire extent of our knowledge supplied to us by the understanding, we shall find that it is the systematising of that knowledge, that is, its coherence according to one principle, which forms the proper province of reason. This unity of reason always presupposes an idea, namely, that of the form of a whole of our knowledge, preceding the definite knowledge of its parts, and containing the conditions according to which we are to determine a priori the place of every part and its relation to the rest. Such an idea accordingly demands the complete unity of the knowledge of our understanding, by which that knowledge becomes not only a mere aggregate but a system, connected according to necessary laws. We ought not to say that such an idea is a concept of an object, but only of the complete unity of concepts, so far as that unity can serve as a rule of the understanding. Such concepts of reason are not derived from nature, but we only interrogate nature, according to these ideas, and consider our knowledge as defective so long as it is not adequate to them. We must confess that [p. 646] pure earth, pure water, pure air, etc., are hardly to be met with. Nevertheless we require the concepts of them (which, so far as their perfect purity is concerned, have their origin in reason only) in order to be able to determine properly the share which belongs to every one of these natural causes in phenomena. Thus every kind of matter is referred to earths (as mere weight), to salts and inflammable bodies (as force), and lastly, to water and air as vehicles (or, as it were, machines, by which the former exercise their operations), in order thus, according to the idea of a mechanism, to explain the mutual chemical workings of matter. For, although not openly acknowledged in these terms, such an influence of reason on the classifications of natural philosophers can easily be discovered.
If reason is the faculty of deducing the particular from the general, the general is either certain in itself and given, or not. In the former case nothing is required but judgment in subsuming, the particular being thus necessarily determined by the general. This I shall call the apodictic use of reason. In the latter case, when the general is admitted as problematical only, and as a mere idea, while the particular is certain, but the universality of the rule applying to it is still a problem, several particular cases, which are all certain, are tested by the rule, whether they submit to it; and in this case, when it appears that all particular cases which can be produced are subjected to it, the rule is concluded to be [p. 647] universal, and from that universality of the rule conclusions are drawn afterwards with regard to all cases, even those that are not given by themselves. This I shall call the hypothetical use of reason.
The hypothetical use of reason, resting on ideas as problematical concepts, ought not to be used constitutively, as if we could prove by it, judging strictly, the truth of the universal rule, which has been admitted as an hypothesis. For how are we to know all possible cases, which, as subject to the same principle, should prove its universality? The proper hypothetical use of reason is regulative only, and intended to introduce, as much as possible, unity into the particulars of knowledge, and thus to approximate the rule to universality.
The hypothetical use of reason aims therefore at the systematical unity of the knowledge of the understanding, and that unity is the touchstone of the truth of the rules. On the other hand, that systematical unity (as a mere idea) is only a projected unity, to be considered, not as given in itself, but as a problem only, though helping us to discover a principle for the manifold and particular exercise of the understanding, and thus to lead the understanding to cases also which are not given, and to render it more systematical.
We have learnt, therefore, that the systematical unity, introduced by reason into the manifold knowledge [p. 648] of the understanding, is a logical principle, intended to help the understanding by means of ideas, where by itself it is insufficient to establish rules, and at the same time to impart to the variety of its rules a certain harmony (or system according to principles), and by it a certain coherence, so far as that is possible. To say, however, whether the nature of the objects or the nature of the understanding which recognises them as objects, were in themselves intended for systematical unity, and whether to a certain extent we may postulate real unity a priori, without any reference to the peculiar interest of reason, maintaining that all possible kinds of knowledge of the understanding (therefore the empirical also) possess such unity and are subject to such general principles from which, in spite of their differences, they can all be derived, would be to apply a transcendental principle of reason, and to render systematical unity necessary, not only subjectively and logically as a method, but objectively also.
We shall try to illustrate this use of reason by an example. One of the different kinds of unity, according to the concepts of the understanding, is that of the causality of a substance, which we call power. The different manifestations of one and the same substance display at first so much diversity that one feels constrained to admit at first almost as many powers as there are effects. Thus we see, for instance, in the human mind sensation, [p. 649] consciousness, imagination, memory, wit, discrimination, pleasure, desire, etc. At first a simple logical maxim tells us to reduce this apparent diversity as much as possible by discovering, through comparison, hidden identity, and finding out, for instance, whether imagination connected with consciousness, be not memory, wit, discrimination, or, it may be, understanding and reason. The idea of a fundamental power, of which logic knows nothing as to its existence, is thus at least the problem of a systematical representation of the existing diversity of powers. The logical principle of reason requires us to produce this unity as far as possible, and the more we find that manifestations of one or the other power are identical, the more probable does it become that they are only different expressions of one and the same power which, relatively speaking, may be called their fundamental power. The same is done with the others.
These relatively fundamental powers must again be compared with each other, in order, if possible, by discovering their harmony, to bring them nearer to one only radical, that is, absolute fundamental power. Such a unity, however, is only an hypothesis of reason. It is not maintained that such a unity must really exist, but only that we must look for it in the interest of reason, that is, for the establishment of certain principles for the various rules supplied to us by experience, and thus introduce, if it is possible, systematical unity into our knowledge. [p. 650]
If, however, we watch the transcendental use of the understanding, we find that the idea of a fundamental power is not only meant as a problem, and for hypothetical use, but claims for itself objective reality, postulating the systematical unity of the diverse powers of a substance, and thus establishing an apodictic principle of reason. For without even having tested the harmony of those diverse powers, nay, even if failing to discover it, after repeated experiments, we still suppose that such a unity exists, and this not only, as in our example, on account of the unity of the substance, but even in cases where very many, though to a certain degree homogeneous, powers are seen, as in matter in general. Here, too, reason presupposes a systematical unity of diverse powers, because particular laws of nature are subject to more general laws, and parsimony in principles is not only considered as an economical rule of reason, but as an essential law of nature.
And, indeed, it is difficult to understand how a logical principle by which reason demands the unity of rules can exist without a transcendental principle, by which such a systematical unity is admitted as inherent in the objects themselves, and as a priori necessary. For how could reason in its logical application presume to treat [p. 651] the diversity of powers which we see in nature as simply a disguised unity, and to deduce it, as far as possible, from some fundamental power, if it were open to reason to admit equally the diversity of all powers, and to look upon the systematical unity in their derivation as contrary to nature? In doing this reason would run counter to its own destination, and propose as its aim an idea contrary to the constitution of nature. Nor could we say that reason had previously, according to its principles, deduced that unity from the contingent character of nature, because this law of reason, compelling her to look for unity, is necessary, and without it we should have no reason at all, and, in the absence of reason, no coherent use of the understanding, and, in the absence of that, no sufficient test of empirical truth; — on which account we must admit the systematical unity of nature as objectively valid and necessary.
We find this transcendental presupposition concealed in the cleverest way in the principles of philosophers, though they are not aware of it, nor have confessed it to themselves. That all the diversities of particular things do not exclude identity of species, that the various species must be treated as different determinations (varieties) [p. 652] of a few genera, and these again of still higher genera; that therefore we ought to look for a certain systematical unity of all possible empirical concepts, as derivable from higher and more general concepts, this is a rule of the schools or a logical principle without which no use of the understanding would be possible; for we can only conclude the particular from the general, if the general qualities of things form the foundation on which the particular qualities rest.
That, however, there exists in nature such a unity, is only a supposition of the philosophers, embodied in their well-known scholastic rule, ‘entia praeter necessitatem non esse multiplicanda,’ ‘beginnings or principles should not be multiplied beyond necessity.’ It is implied in this, that the nature of things itself offers material for the postulated unity of reason, and that the apparent infinite variety ought not to prevent us from supposing behind it the existence of unity in fundamental properties, from which all diversity is derived by mere determination only. That unity, though it is an idea only, has been at all times so zealously pursued, that there was more ground for moderating than for encouraging the desire for it. It was something when chemists succeeded in reducing all salts to two genera, namely, acids and alkalies; but they tried to consider even this distinction as a variety only, or as a different manifestation of one and the same fundamental [p. 653] element. Different kinds of earths (the material of stones and even of metals) have been reduced gradually to three, at last to two; but not content with this, chemists cannot get rid of the idea that there is behind those varieties but one genus, nay, that there may be even a common principle for the earths and the salts. It might be supposed that this is only an economical trick of reason, for the purpose of saving itself trouble, and a purely hypothetical attempt which, if successful, would impart by that very unity a certain amount of probability to the presupposed principle of explanation. Such a selfish purpose, however, can easily be distinguished from the idea according to which we all presuppose that this unity of reason agrees with nature, and that in this case reason does not beg but bids, although we may be quite unable, as yet, to determine the limits of that unity.
If there existed among phenomena so great a diversity, not of form, for in this they may be similar, but of contents, that even the sharpest human understanding could not, by a comparison of the one with the other, discover the slightest similarity among them (a case which is quite conceivable), the logical law of genera would [p. 654] have no existence at all, there would be no concept of genus, nor any general concept, nay, no understanding at all, considering that the understanding has to do with concepts only. The logical principle of genera presupposes, therefore, a transcendental one, if it is to be applied to nature, that is, to all objects presented to our senses. According to it, in the manifoldness of a possible experience, some homogeneousness is necessarily supposed (although it many be impossible to determine its degree a priori), because without it, no empirical concepts, and consequently no experience, would be possible.
The logical principle of genera, which postulates identity, is balanced by another principle, namely, that of species, which requires manifoldness and diversity in things, in spite of their agreement as belonging to the same genus, and which prescribes to the understanding that it should pay no less attention to the one than to the other. This principle, depending on acute observation or on the faculty of distinction, checks the generalising flights of fancy, and reason thus exhibits a twofold and conflicting interest, namely, on the one hand, the interest in the extent (generality) of genera, on the other hand, the interest in the contents (distinction) of the manifoldness of species. In the former case the understanding thinks more under its concepts, in the latter, more in its concepts. This distinction shows itself in the different manner of thought among students [p. 655] of nature, some of them (who are pre-eminently speculative) being almost averse to heterogeneousness, and always intent on the unity of genera; while others, pre-eminently empirical, are constantly striving to divide nature into so much variety that one might lose almost all hope of being able to judge its phenomena according to general principles.
This latter tendency of thought is likewise based on a logical principle which aims at the systematical completeness of all knowledge, so that, beginning with the genus and descending to the manifold that may be contained in it, we try to impart extension to our system, as we tried to impart unity to it, when ascending to a genus. For if we only know the sphere of a concept which determines a genus, we can no more judge how far its subdivision may be carried than we can judge how far the divisibility of matter may be carried, by knowing the space it occupies. Hence every genus requires species, and these again sub-species, and as none even of these sub-species is without a sphere (extent as conceptus communis), reason in its utmost extension requires that no species or sub-species should in itself be considered as the lowest. Every species is always a concept containing that only which is common to different things, and as it cannot be completely determined, it cannot be directly referred to an individual, but [p. 656] must always comprehend other concepts, that is, sub-species. This principle of specification might be expressed by entium varietates non temere esse minuendas.
It is easily seen that this logical law also would be without meaning and incapable of application, unless it were founded on a transcendental law of specification which, though it cannot demand a real infinity of variety in things that are to become our objects (for this would not be justified by the logical principle, which only asserts the indeterminability of the logical sphere with regard to a possible division), yet imposes on the understanding the duty of looking for sub-species under every species, and for smaller varieties for every variety. If there were no lower concepts, there could not be higher concepts. Now the understanding knows all that it knows by concepts only, and hence, however far it may carry the division, never by means of intuition alone, but again and again by lower concepts. In order to know phenomena in their complete determination (which is possible by the understanding only) it is necessary to carry on without stopping the specification of its concepts, and always to proceed to still remaining differences or varieties of which abstraction had been made in forming the concept of the species, and still more in forming that of the genus.
Nor can this law of specification have been [p. 657] derived from experience, which can never give so farreaching a prospect. Empirical specification very soon comes to a standstill in the distinction of the manifold, unless it is led by the antecedent transcendental law of specification, as a principle of reason, and impelled to look for and to conjecture still differences, even where they do not appear to the senses. That absorbent earths are of different kinds (chalk and muriatic earths) could only be discovered by an antecedent rule of reason, which required the understanding to look for diversity, because it presupposed such wealth in nature as to feel justified in anticipating such diversity. For it is only under a presupposition of a diversity in nature, and under the condition that its objects should be homogeneous, that we have understanding, because it is this very diversity of all that can be comprehended under a concept which constitutes the use of that concept, and the occupation of the understanding.
Reason thus prepares the field for the understanding —
1st. Through the principle of the homogeneousness of the manifold, as arranged under higher genera.
2ndly. Through the principle of the variety of the nomogeneous in lower species; to which,
3rdly, it adds a law of the affinity of all concepts, which requires a continual transition from every species to every other species, by a gradual increase of [p. 658] diversity. We may call these the principles of homogeneousness, of specification, and of continuity of forms. The last arises from the union of the two former, after both in ascending to higher genera, and in descending to lower species, the systematical connection in the idea has been completed; so that all diversities are related to each other, because springing from one highest genus, through all degrees of a more and more extended determination.
We may represent to ourselves the systematical unity under these three logical principles, in the following manner. Every concept may be regarded as a point which, as the standpoint of the spectator, has its own horizon, enclosing a number of things that may be represented, and, as it were, surveyed from that point. Within that horizon, an infinite number of points must exist, each of which has again its own narrower horizon; that is, every species contains sub-species, according to the principle of specification, and the logical horizon consists of smaller horizons (sub-species only), but not of points, which possess no extent (individuals). But for all these different horizons, that is genera, determined by as many concepts, a common horizon may be imagined, in which they may all be surveyed, as from a common centre. This would be the higher genus, while the highest [p. 659] genus would be the universal and true horizon, determined from the standpoint of the highest concept, and comprehending all variety as genera, species, and sub-species.
That highest standpoint is reached by the law of homogeneousness, and all the lower standpoints in their greatest variety, by the law of specification. As in this way there is no void in the whole extent of all possible concepts, and as nothing can be met with outside it, there arises from the presupposition of that universal horizon and its complete division, the principle of non datur vacuum formarum. According to this principle there are no different original and first genera, as it were isolated and separated from each other (by an intervening void), but all diverse genera are divisions only of one supreme and general genus. From that principle springs its immediate consequence, datur continuum formarum; that is, all the diversities of species touch each other and admit of no transition from one to another per saltum, but only by small degrees of difference, by which from one we arrive at the other. In one word, there are neither species nor sub-species, which (in the view of reason) are the nearest possible to each other, but there always remain possible intermediate species, differing from the first and the second by [p. 660] smaller degrees than those by which these differ from each other.
The first law, therefore, keeps us from admitting an extravagant variety of different original genera, and recommends attention to homogeneousness. The second, on the contrary, checks that tendency to unity, and prescribes distinction of sub-species before applying any general concept to individuals. The third unites both, by prescribing, even with the utmost variety, homogeneousness, through the gradual transition from the one species to another: thus indicating a kind of relationship of the different branches, as having all sprung from the same stem.
This logical law, however, of the continuum specierum (formarum logicarum) presupposes a transcendental law (lex continui in natura), without which the understanding would only be misled by following, it may be, a path contrary to nature. That law must therefore rest on purely transcendental, and not on empirical grounds. For in the latter case, it would come later than the systems, while in fact the systematical character of our knowledge of nature is produced by it. Nor are these laws intended only for tests to be carried out experimentally by their aid, although such a connection, if it is found in nature, forms a powerful argument in support [p. 661] of that unity which was conceived as hypothetical only. These laws have therefore a certain utility in this respect also, yet it is easily seen that they regard the parsimony of causes, the manifoldness of effects, and an affinity between the parts of nature arising from thence, as both rational and natural, so that these principles carry their recommendation direct, and not only as aids towards a proper method of studying nature.
It is easy to see, however, that this continuity of forms is a mere idea, and that no object corresponding to it can be pointed out in experience, not only because the species in nature are actually divided, and must form, each by itself, a quantum discretum, while, if the gradual progression of their affinity were continuous, nature would contain a real infinity of intermediate links between every two given species, which is impossible; but also, because we cannot make any definite empirical use of that law, considering that not the smallest criterion of affinity is indicated by it to tell us how and how far we ought to seek for grades of affinity, it telling us only that we ought to seek for them.
If we now arrange these principles of systematical unity in the order required for their empirical employment, [p. 662] they might stand thus: manifoldness, variety, and unity, each of them as ideas taken in the highest degree of their completeness. Reason presupposes the cognitions of the understanding in their direct relation to experience, and looks for their unity according to ideas which go far beyond the possibility of experience. The affinity of the manifold, in spite of its diversity, under one principle of unity, refers not only to things, but even more to the qualities and powers of things. Thus if, for example, our imperfect experience represents to us the orbits of the planets as circular, and we find deviations from that course, we look for them in that which is able to change the circle according to a fixed law, through infinite intervening degrees, into one of these deviating courses; that is, we suppose that the movements of the planets which are not circular will approximate more or less to the properties of a circle, and thus are led on to the ellipse. The comets display a still greater deviation in their courses, because, so far as our experience goes, they do not return in a circle, and we then conjecture a parabolic course which, at all events, is allied to the ellipse, and if its longer axis is widely extended, cannot be distinguished from it in our observations. We thus arrive, [p. 663] under the guidance of these principles, at a unity of the different genera or kinds in the forms of these orbits, and, proceeding still further, at a unity of the cause of all the laws of their movements, namely, gravitation. Here we take our stand and extend our conquests, trying to explain all varieties and seeming deviations from those rules from the same principle, nay, adding more than experience can ever affirm, namely, imaginary hyperbolic courses of comets constructed according to the rules of affinity, in which courses these heavenly bodies may entirely leave our solar system, and, moving from sun to sun, unite in their course the most distant parts of a universe unlimited to our minds, but yet held together by one and the same moving power.
What is most remarkable in these principles, and is, in fact, their chief interest for us is, that they seem to be transcendental, and, although containing mere ideas for the guidance of the empirical use of reason, ideas which our reason can only follow as it were asymptotically, that is, approximately and without our reaching them, they nevertheless possess, as synthetical propositions a priori, an objective, though an undefined validity, serving as a rule for possible experience, nay, as heuristic principles in the elaboration of experience. With all this a transcendental deduction of them cannot be produced, [p. 664] and is, in fact, as we have proved before, always impossible with regard to ideas.
In the transcendental Analytic we distinguished the dynamical principles of the understanding, as purely regulative principles of the intuition, from the mathematical, which, in regard to intuition, are constitutive. In spite of this, these dynamical laws are constitutive with regard to experience, because they render the concepts, without which there can be no experience, a priori possible. The principles of pure reason, however, cannot be constitutive, even with reference to empirical concepts, because we cannot assign to them any corresponding schema of sensibility; they cannot, consequently, have any object in concreto. If, then, I give up an empirical use of them as constitutive principles, how can I yet secure to them a regulative employment, and with it some objective validity, and what can be the meaning of it?
The understanding forms an object for reason in the same manner as sensibility for the understanding. It is the proper business of reason to render the unity of all possible empirical acts of the understanding systematical, in the same manner as the understanding connects the manifold of phenomena by concepts, and brings it under empirical laws. The acts of the understanding, however, without the schemata of sensibility, are undefined, and in the same manner the unity of reason is in itself [p. 665] undefined with reference to the conditions under which, and the extent to which, the understanding may connect its concepts systematically. But although no schema of intuition can be discovered for the perfect systematical unity of all the concepts of the understanding, it is possible and necessary that there should be an analogon of such a schema, and this is the idea of the maximum, both of the division and of the combination of the knowledge of the understanding under one single principle. It is quite possible to form a definite thought of what is greatest and absolutely complete, when all restrictive conditions that lead to an undefined manifoldness have been omitted. In this sense the idea of reason forms an analogon of the schema of sensibility, but with this difference, that the application of the concepts of the understanding to the schema of reason is not a knowledge of the object itself, as in the case of the application of the categories to sensuous schemata, but only a rule or principle for the systematical unity in the whole use of the understanding. Now, as every principle which fixes a priori a perfect unity of its use for the understanding is valid, though indirectly only, for the object of experience also, it follows that the principles of pure reason have objective reality with reference to that object also, not, however, in order to determine anything therein, but only in order to indicate the procedure by which the empirical and definite use of the understanding may throughout remain [p. 666] in complete harmony with itself, by being brought into connection, as much as possible, with the principle of systematical unity, and being deduced from it.
I call all subjective principles which are derived, not from the quality of an object, but from the interest which reason takes in a certain possible perfection of our knowledge of an object, maxims of reason. Thus there are maxims of speculative reason, which rest entirely on its speculative interest, though they may seem to be objective principles.
When purely regulative principles are taken for constitutive, they may become contradictory, as objective principles. If, however, they are taken for maxims only, there is no real contradiction, but it is only the different interest of reason which causes different modes of thought. In reality, reason has one interest only, and the conflict of its maxims arises only from a difference and a mutual limitation of the methods in which that interest is to be satisfied.
In this manner one philosopher is influenced more by the interest of diversity (according to the principle of specification), another by the interests of unity (according to the principle of aggregation). Each believes [p. 667] that he has derived his judgment from his insight into the object, and yet founds it entirely on the greater or smaller attachment to one of the two principles, neither1 of which rests on objective grounds, but only on an interest of reason, and should therefore be called maxims rather than principles. I often see even intelligent men quarrelling with each other about the characteristic distinctions of men, animals, or plants, nay, even of minerals, the one admitting the existence of certain tribal characteristics, founded on descent, or decided and inherited differences of families, races, etc., while others insist that nature has made the same provision for all, and that all differences are due to accidental environment. But they need only consider the nature of the object, in order to understand that it is far too deeply hidden for both of them to enable them to speak from a real insight into the nature of the object. It is nothing but the twofold interest of reason, one party cherishing the one, another party the other, or pretending to do so. But this difference of the two maxims of manifoldness or unity in nature may easily be adjusted, though as long as they are taken for objective knowledge they cause not only disputes, but actually create impediments which hinder the progress of truth, until a means is found of reconciling [p. 668] the contradictory interests, and thus giving satisfaction to reason.
The same applies to the assertion or denial of the famous law of the continuous scale of created beings, first advanced by Leibniz, and so cleverly trimmed up by Bonnet. It is nothing but a carrying out of the principle of affinity, resting on the interest of reason; for neither observation nor insight into the constitution of nature could ever have supplied it as an objective assertion. The steps of such a ladder, as far as they can be supplied by experience, are too far apart from each other, and the so-called small differences are often in nature itself such wide gaps that no value can be attached to such observations as revealing the intentions of nature, particularly as it must always be easy to discover in the great variety of things certain similarities and approximations. The method, on the contrary, of looking for order in nature, according to such a principle, and the maxim of admitting such order (though it may be uncertain where and how far) as existing in nature in general, form certainly a legitimate and excellent regulative principle of reason, only that, as such, it goes far beyond where experience or observation could follow it. It only indicates the way which leads to systematical unity, but does not determine anything beyond.
Of the Ultimate Aim of the Natural Dialectic of Human Reason [p. 669]
The ideas of pure reason can never be dialectical in themselves, but it must be due to their misemployment, if a deceptive illusion arise from them. They are given to us by the nature of our reason, and this highest tribunal of all the rights and claims of speculation cannot possibly itself contain original fallacies and deceits. We must suppose, therefore, that they had a good and legitimate intention in the natural disposition of our reason. The mob of sophists, however, cry out as usual about absurdities and contradictions, and blame the government the secret plans of which they cannot even understand, while it is to its beneficent influence that they owe their protection and that amount of intelligence which enables them to blame and condemn the government.
We cannot use a concept a priori with any safety, without having first established its transcendental deduction. It is true the ideas of pure reason do not allow of a deduction in the same manner as the categories; but if they are to claim any, though only an undefined objective validity, and are not to represent mere fictions of thought only (entia rationis ratiocinantis), a [p. 670] deduction of them must be possible, even though it may differ from that which we were able to give of the categories. This will form the completion of the critical task of pure reason, and it is this which we now mean to undertake.
It makes a great difference whether something is represented to our reason as an object absolutely, or merely as an object in the idea. In the former case my concepts are meant to determine the object, in the latter there is only a schema to which no object, not even a hypothetical one, corresponds directly, but which only serves to represent to ourselves indirectly other objects through their relation to that idea, and according to their systematical unity. Thus I say that the concept of a highest intelligence is a mere idea, that is, that its objective reality is not to consist in its referring directly to any object (for in that sense we should not be able to justify its objective validity); but that it is only a schema, arranged according to the conditions of the highest unity of reason, of the concept of a thing in general, serving only to obtain the greatest systematical unity in the empirical use of our reason, by helping us, as it were, to deduce the object of experience from the imagined object of that idea as its ground or cause. Thus we are led to say, for instance, that the [p. 671] things of the world must be considered as if they owed their existence to some supreme intelligence; and the idea is thus a heuristic only, not an ostensive concept, showing us not how an object is really constituted, but how we, under the guidance of that concept, should look for the constitution and connection of the objects of experience in general. If, then, it can be shown that the three transcendental ideas (the psychological, cosmological, and theological), although they cannot be used directly to determine any object corresponding to them, yet as rules1 of the empirical use of reason will lead, under the presupposition of such an object in the idea, to a systematical unity, and to an extension of our empirical knowledge, without ever running counter to this knowledge, it becomes a necessary maxim of reason to act in accordance with such ideas. And this is really the transcendental deduction of all ideas of speculative reason, considered not as constitutive principles for extending our knowledge to more objects than can be given by experience, but as regulative principles for the systematical unity of the manifold of empirical knowledge in general, which knowledge, within its own limits, can thus be better arranged and improved than it would be possible without such ideas, and by the mere use of the principles of the understanding.
I shall try to make this clearer. Following [p. 672] these ideas as principles, we shall first (in psychology) connect all phenomena, all the activity and receptivity of our mind, according to our internal experience, as if our mind were a simple substance, existing permanently, and with personal identity (in this life at least), while its states, to which those of the body belong as external conditions, are changing continually. Secondly (in cosmology), we are bound to follow up the conditions both of internal and external natural phenomena in an investigation that can never become complete, looking upon this investigation as infinite, and without any first or supreme member; but we ought not therefore to deny the purely intelligible first grounds of these phenomena, as outside of them, though not allowed to bring them ever into connection with our explanations of nature, for the simple reason that we do not know them. Thirdly, and lastly (in theology), we must consider everything that may belong to the whole of possible experience as if that experience formed one absolute but thoroughly dependent, and always, within the world of sense, conditioned unity; but, at the same time, as if it, the whole of phenomena (the world of sense itself), had one supreme and all-sufficient ground, outside its sphere, namely, an independent, original, creative reason, in reference to which we direct all empirical use of our [p. 673] reason in its widest extension in such a way as if the objects themselves had sprung from that archetype of all reason. In other words, we ought not to derive the internal phenomena of the soul as if from a simple thinking substance, but derive them from each other, according to the idea of a simple being; we ought not to derive the order and systematical unity of the world from a supreme intelligence, but borrow from the idea of a supremely wise cause the rule according to which reason may best be used for her own satisfaction in the connection of causes and effects in this world.
Now there is nothing that could in the least prevent us from admitting these ideas as objective and hypostatical also, except in the case of the cosmological idea, where reason, when trying to carry it out objectively, is met by an antinomy. There is no such antinomy in the psychological and theological ideas, and how could anybody contest their objective reality, as he knows as little how to deny, as we how to assert, their possibility?
It is true nevertheless that, in order to admit anything, it is not enough that there should be no positive impediment to it, nor are we allowed to introduce fictions of our thoughts, transcending all our concepts, though contradicting none, as real and definite objects, on the mere credit of our somewhat perfunctory speculative reason. [p. 674] They should not therefore be admitted as real in themselves, but their reality should only be considered as the reality of a schema of a regulative principle for the systematical unity of all natural knowledge. Hence they are to be admitted as analoga only of real things, and not as real things in themselves. We remove from the object of an idea the conditions which limit the concepts of our understanding, and which alone enable us to have a definite concept of anything; and then we represent to ourselves a something of which we know not in the least what it is by itself, but which, nevertheless, we represent to ourselves in a relation to the whole of phenomena, analogous to that relation which phenomena have among themselves.
If therefore we admit such ideal beings, we do not really enlarge our knowledge beyond the objects of possible experience, but only the empirical unity of those objects, by means of that systematical unity of which the idea furnishes us the schema, and which therefore cannot claim to be a constitutive, but only a regulative principle. For if we admit a something, or a real being, corresponding to the idea, we do not intend thereby to enlarge our knowledge of things by means of transcendental1 concepts; for such a being is admitted in the idea only, and not by itself, and only in order to express that systematical unity which is to guide the empirical use of our reason, [p. 675] without stating anything as to what is the ground of that unity or the internal nature of such a being on which, as its cause, that unity depends.
Thus the transcendental and the only definite concept which purely speculative reason gives us of God is in the strictest sense deistic; that is, reason does not even supply us with the objective validity of such a concept, but only with the idea of something on which the highest and necessary unity of all empirical reality is founded, and which we cannot represent to ourselves except in analogy with a real substance, being, according to the laws of nature, the cause of all things; always supposing that we undertake to think it at all as a particular object, and, satisfied with the mere idea of the regulative principle of reason, do not rather put aside the completion of all the conditions of our thought, as too much for the human understanding, which, however, is hardly compatible with that perfect systematical unity of our knowledge to which reason at least imposes no limits.
Thus it happens that, if we admit a Divine Being, we have not the slightest conception either of the internal possibility of its supreme perfection, nor of the [p. 676] necessity of its existence, but are able at least thus to satisfy all other questions relating to contingent things, and give the most perfect satisfaction to reason with reference to that highest unity in its empirical application that has to be investigated, but not in reference to that hypothesis itself. This proves that it is the speculative interest of reason, and not its real insight, which justifies it in starting from a point so far above its proper sphere, in order to survey from thence its objects, as belonging to a complete whole.
Here we meet with a distinction in our mode of thought, the premisses remaining the same, a distinction which is somewhat subtle, but of great importance in transcendental philosophy. I may have sufficient ground for admitting something relatively (suppositio relativa), without having a right to admit it absolutely (suppositio absoluta). This distinction comes in when we have to deal with a regulative principle, of which we know the necessity by itself, but not the source of this necessity, and where we admit a supreme cause, only in order to think the universality of the principle with greater definiteness. Thus, if I think of a being as existing which corresponds to a mere idea, and to a transcendental one, I ought not to admit the existence of such a being by itself, because no concepts through which I can conceive any [p. 677] object definitely, can reach it, and the conditions of the objective validity of my concepts are excluded by the idea itself. The concepts of reality, of substance, even of causality, and those of necessity in existence, have no meaning that could determine any object, unless they are used to make the empirical knowledge of an object possible. They may be used, therefore, to explain the possibility of things in the world of sense, but not to explain the possibility of a universe itself, because such an hypothesis is outside the world and could never be an object of possible experience. I can, however, admit perfectly well such an inconceivable Being, being the object of a mere idea, relative to the world of sense, though not as existing by itself. For if the greatest possible empirical use of my reason depends on an idea (on the systematically complete unity of which I shall soon speak more in detail), which by itself can never be adequately represented in experience, though it is indispensably necessary in order to bring the empirical unity as near as possible to the highest perfection, I shall not only have the right, but even the duty, to realise such an idea, that is, to assign to it a real object, though only as a something in general, which by itself I do not know at all, and to which, as the cause of that systematical unity, I ascribe, in reference to it, such qualities as are analogous to the concepts [p. 678] employed by the understanding in dealing with experience. I shall, therefore, according to the analogy of realities in the world, of substances, of causality, and of necessity, conceive a Being possessing all these in the highest perfection, and, as this idea rests on my reason only, conceive that Being as self-subsistent reason, being, through the ideas of the greatest harmony and unity, the cause of the universe. In doing this I omit all conditions which could limit the idea, simply in order to render, with the help of such a fundamental cause, the systematical unity of the manifold in the universe, and, through it, the greatest possible empirical use of reason, possible. I then look upon all connections in the world as if they were ordered by a supreme reason, of which our own reason is but a faint copy, and I represent to myself that Supreme Being through concepts which, properly speaking, are applicable to the world of sense only. As, however, I make none but a relative use of that transcendental hypothesis, as the substratum of the greatest possible unity of experience, I may perfectly well represent a Being which I distinguish from the world, by qualities which belong to the world of sense only. For I demand by no means, nor am I justified in demanding, that I should know that object of my idea, according to what it may be by itself. I have no concepts whatever for it, and even the concepts [p. 679] of reality, substance, causality, ay, of the necessity in existence, lose all their meaning, and become mere titles of concepts, void of contents, as soon as I venture with them outside the field of the senses. I only present to myself the relation of a Being, utterly unknown to me as existing by itself, to the greatest possible systematical unity of the universe, in order to use it as a schema of the regulative principle of the greatest possible empirical use of my reason.
If now we glance at the transcendental object of our idea, we find that we cannot, according to the concepts of reality, substance, causality, etc., presuppose its reality by itself, because such concepts are altogether inapplicable to something totally distinct from the world of sense. The supposition, therefore, which reason makes of a Supreme Being, as the highest cause, is relative only, devised for the sake of the systematical unity in the world of sense, and a mere Something in the idea, while we have no concept of what it may be by itself. Thus we are able to understand why we require the idea of an original Being, necessary by itself, with reference to all that is given to the senses as existing, but can never have the slightest conception of it and of its absolute necessity.
At this point we are able to place the results of the whole transcendental Dialectic clearly before our eyes, and to define accurately the final aim of the ideas [p. 680] of pure reason, which could become dialectical through misapprehension and carelessness only. Pure reason is, in fact, concerned with nothing but itself, nor can it have any other occupation, because what is given to it are not the objects intended for the unity of an empirical concept, but the knowledge supplied by the understanding for the unity of the concept of reason, that is, of its connection according to a principle. The unity of reason is the unity of a system, and that systematical unity does not serve objectively as a principle of reason to extend its sway over objects, but subjectively as a maxim to extend its sway over all possible empirical knowledge of objects. Nevertheless, the systematical connection which reason can impart to the understanding in its empirical use helps not only to extend that use, but confirms at the same time its correctness; nay, the principle of such systematical unity is objective also, though in an indefinite manner (principium vagum), not as a constitutive principle, determining something in its direct object, but only as a regulative principle and maxim, advancing and strengthening infinitely (indefinitely), the empirical use of reason by the opening of new paths unknown to the understanding, without ever running counter to the laws of its practical use.
Reason, however, cannot think this systematical [p. 681] unity, without attributing to its idea an object, which, as experience has never given an example of complete systematical unity, can never be given in any experience. This Being, demanded by reason (ens rationis ratiocinatae), is no doubt a mere idea, and not therefore received as something absolutely real and real by itself. It is only admitted problematically (for we cannot reach it by any concepts of the understanding), in order to enable us to look upon the connection of things in the world of sense, as if they had their ground in that being, the real intention being to found upon it that systematical unity which is indispensable to reason, helpful in every way to the empirical knowledge of the understanding, and never a hindrance to it.
We misapprehend at once the true meaning of that idea, if we accept it as the assertion, or even as the hypothesis of a real thing to which the ground of the systematical construction of the world should be ascribed. What we ought to do is to leave it entirely uncertain, what that ground which escapes all our concepts may be by itself, and to use the idea only as a point of view from which alone we may expand that unity which is as essential to reason as beneficial to the understanding. In one word, that transcendental thing is only the schema of [p. 682] the regulative principle with which reason spreads systematical unity, as far as possible, over all experience.
The first object of such an idea is the ego, considered merely as a thinking nature (soul). Now if I want to know the qualities with which a thinking being exists in itself, I have to consult experience: but of all the categories, I cannot apply a single one to that object, unless its schema is given in sensuous intuition. Thus, however, I can never arrive at a systematical unity of all the phenomena of the internal sense. Reason, therefore, instead of taking from experience the concept of that which the soul is in reality, which would not lead us very far, prefers the concept of the empirical unity of all thought, and by representing that unity as unconditioned and original, it changes it into a concept of reason, or an idea of a simple substance, a substance unchangeable in itself (personally identical), and in communication with other real things outside it; in one word, into a simple self-subsistent intelligence. In doing this, its object is merely to find principles of systematical unity for the explanation of the phenomena of the soul, so that all determinations may be received as existing in one subject, all powers, as much as possible, as derived from one fundamental power, and all changes as belonging to the states of one and the same permanent being, while all phenomena in [p. 683] space are represented as totally different from the acts of thought. That simplicity of substance, etc., was only meant to be the schema of this regulative principle; it is not assumed to be the real ground of all the properties of the soul. These properties may rest on quite different grounds, of which we know nothing; nor could we know the soul even by these assumed predicates by itself, even if we regarded them as absolutely valid with regard to it, for they really constitute a mere idea which cannot be represented in concreto. Nothing but good can spring from such a psychological idea, if only we take care not to take it for more than an idea, that is, if we apply it only in relation to the systematical use of reason, with reference to the phenomena of our soul. For in that case no empirical laws of corporeal phenomena, which are of a totally different kind, are mixed up with the explanation of what belongs to the internal sense; and no windy hypothesis of generation, extinction, and palingenesis of souls are admitted. The consideration of this object of the internal sense remains pure and unmixed with heterogeneous matters, while reason in its investigations is directed towards tracing all the grounds of explanation, as far as possible, to one single principle; and this can best be achieved, [p. 684] nay, cannot be achieved otherwise but by such a schema which attributes to the soul hypothetically the character of a real being. The psychological idea cannot be anything but such a schema of a regulative concept. The very question, for instance, whether the soul by itself be of a spiritual nature, would have no meaning, because, by such a concept, I should take away not only corporeal, but all nature, that is, all predicates of any possible experience, and therefore all the conditions under which the object of such a concept could be thought; and, in that case, the concept would have no meaning at all.
The second regulative idea of speculative reason is the concept of the universe. For nature is really the only object given to us in regard to which reason requires regulative principles. Nature, however, is twofold, either thinking or corporeal. In order to think the internal possibility of the latter, that is, in order to determine the application of the categories to it, we require no idea, that is, no representation which transcends experience. Nor is such an idea possible in regard to it, because we are here guided by sensuous intuition only, different from what it was in the case of the psychological fundamental concept of the I, which contains a priori a certain form of thought, namely, the unity of the I. There remains therefore for pure reason nothing to deal with but [p. 685] nature in general, and the completeness of its conditions according to some principle. The absolute totality of the series of these conditions determining the derivation of all their members, is an idea which, though never brought to perfection in the empirical use of reason, may yet become a rule, telling us how to proceed in the explanation of given phenomena (whether in an ascending or descending line), namely, as if the series were in themselves infinite, that is, in indefinitum; while, when reason itself is considered as the determining cause (in freedom), in the case of practical principles therefore, we must proceed as if we had to deal, not with an object of the senses, but with one of the pure understanding. Here the conditions are no longer placed within the series of phenomena, but outside it, and the series of states considered, as if it had an absolute beginning through an intelligible cause. All this proves that cosmological ideas are nothing but regulative principles, and by no means constitutive, as establishing a real totality of such series. The remainder of this argument may be seen in its place, namely, in the chapter on the Antinomy of Pure Reason.
The third idea of pure reason, containing a merely relative hypothesis of a Being which is the only and all-sufficient cause of all cosmological series, is the idea of God. We have not the slightest ground to [p. 686] admit absolutely the object of that idea (to suppose it in itself); for what could enable, or even justify us in believing or asserting a Being of the highest perfection, and absolutely necessary from its very nature, on the strength of its concept only, except the world with reference to which alone such an hypothesis may be called necessary? We then perceive that the idea of it, like all speculative ideas, means no more than that reason requires us to consider all connection in the world according to the principles of a systematical unity, and, therefore, as if the whole of it had sprung from a single all-embracing Being, as its highest and all-sufficient cause. We see, therefore, that reason can have no object here but its own formal rule in the extension of its empirical use, but can never aim at extension beyond all limits of its empirical application. This idea, therefore, does not involve a constitutive principle of its use as applied to possible experience.
The highest formal unity, which is based on concepts of reason alone, is the systematical and purposeful unity of things, and it is the speculative interest of reason which makes it necessary to regard all order in the world as if it had originated in the purpose of a supreme wisdom. Such a principle opens to our reason in the field of experience quite new views, how to connect the things [p. 687] of the world according to teleological laws, and thus to arrive at their greatest systematical unity. The admission of a highest intelligence, as the only cause of the universe, though in the idea only, can therefore always benefit reason, and yet never injure it. For if, with regard to the figure of the earth (which is round, though somewhat flattened1 ), of mountains, and seas, etc., we admit at once nothing but wise intentions of their author, we are enabled to make in this wise a number of important discoveries. If we keep to this hypothesis as a purely regulative principle, even error cannot hurt us much; for the worst that could happen would be that, when we expected a teleological connection (nexus finalis), we only find a mechanical or physical (nexus effectivus), in which case we merely lose an additional unity, but we [p. 688] do not destroy the unity of reason in its empirical application. And even this failure could not affect the law itself, in its general and teleological character. For although an anatomist may be convicted of error, if referring any member of an animal body to a purpose of which it can clearly be shown that it does not belong to it, it is entirely impossible in any given case to prove that an arrangement of nature, be it what it may, has no purpose at all. Medical physiology, therefore, enlarges its very limited empirical knowledge of the purposes of the members of an organic body by a principle inspired by pure reason only, so far as to admit confidently, and with the approbation of all intelligent persons, that everything in an animal has its purpose and advantage. Such a supposition, if used constitutively, goes far beyond where our present observation would justify us in going, which shows that it is nothing but a regulative principle of reason, leading us on to the highest systematical unity, by the idea of an intelligent causality in the supreme cause of the world, and by the supposition that this, as the highest intelligence, is the cause of everything, according to the wisest design.
But if we remove this restriction of the idea [p. 689] to a merely regulative use, reason is led away in many ways. It leaves the ground of experience, which ought always to show the vestiges of its progress, and ventures beyond it to what is inconceivable and unsearchable, becoming giddy from the very height of it, and from seeing itself on that high standpoint entirely cut off from its proper work in agreement with experience.
The first fault which arises from our using the idea of a Supreme Being, not regulatively only, but (contrary to the nature of an idea) constitutively, is what I call the indolence of reason (ignava ratio1 ). We may so term every principle which causes us to look on our investigation of nature, wherever it may be, as absolutely complete, so that reason may rest as if her task were fully [p. 690] accomplished. Thus the task of reason is rendered very easy even by the psychological idea, if that idea is used as a constitutive principle for the explanation of the phenomena of our soul, and afterwards even for the extension of our knowledge of this subject beyond all possible experience (its state after death); but the natural use of reason, under the guidance of experience, is thus entirely ruined and destroyed. The dogmatical spiritualist finds no difficulty in explaining the unchanging unity of the person, amidst all the changes of condition, from the unity of the thinking substance, which he imagines he perceives directly in the I; — or the interest which we take in things that are to happen after death, from the consciousness of the immaterial nature of our thinking subject, and so on. He dispenses with all investigations of the origin of these internal phenomena from physical causes, passing by, as it were, by a decree of transcendent reason, the immanent sources of knowledge given by experience. This may be convenient to himself, but involves a sacrifice of all real insight. These detrimental consequences become still more palpable in the dogmatism involved in our idea of a supreme intelligence, and of the theological system of nature, erroneously based on it (physico-theology). For here all the aims which we observe [p. 691] in nature, many of which we only imagined ourselves, serve to make the investigation of causes extremely easy, if, instead of looking for them in the general mechanical laws of matter, we appeal directly to the unsearchable counsel of the supreme wisdom, imagining the efforts of our reason as ended, when we have really dispensed with its employment, which nowhere finds its proper guidance, except where the order of nature and the succession of changes, according to their own internal and general laws, supply it. This error may be avoided, if we do not merely consider certain parts of nature, such as the distribution of land, its structure, the constitution and direction of certain mountains, or even the organisation of plants and animals, from the standpoint of final aims, but look upon this systematical unity of nature as something general, in relation to the idea of a supreme intelligence. For, in this case, we look upon nature as founded on intelligent purposes, according to general laws, no particular arrangement of nature being exempt from them, but only exhibiting them more or less distinctly. We have them, in fact, a regulative principle of the systematical unity in a teleological connection, though we do not determine it beforehand, but only look forward to it expectantly, while following up the physico-mechanical connection according [p. 692] to general laws. In this way alone can the principle of systematical and intelligent unity enlarge the use of reason with reference to experience, without at any time being prejudicial to it.
The second error, arising from the misapprehension of the principle of systematical unity, is that of perverted reason (perversa ratio, ὕστερον πρότερον rationis). The idea of systematic unity was only intended as a regulative principle for discovering that unity, according to general laws, in the connection of things, believing that we have approached the completeness of its use by exactly so much as we have discovered of it empirically, though never able to reach it fully. Instead of this, the procedure is reversed; the reality of a principle of systematical unity is at once admitted and hypostasised, the concept of such a supreme intelligence, though being in itself entirely inscrutable, is determined anthropomorphically, and aims are afterwards imposed on nature violently and dictatorially, instead of looking for them by means of physical investigation. Thus teleology, which was meant to supplement the unity of nature according to general laws, contributes only  to destroy it, and reason deprives itself of its own aim, namely, that of proving the existence of such an intelligent supreme cause from nature. For, if we may not presuppose a priori the most perfect design in nature as belonging to its very essence, what should direct us to look for it, and to try to approach by degrees to the highest perfection of an author, that is, to an absolutely necessary and a priori intelligible perfection? The regulative principle requires us to admit absolutely, and as following from the very nature of things, systematical unity as an unity of nature, which has not only to be known empirically, but must be admitted a priori, though as yet in an indefinite form only. But if I begin with a supreme ordaining Being, as the ground of all things, the unity of nature is really surrendered as being quite foreign to the nature of things, purely contingent, and not to be known from its own general laws. Thus arises a vicious circle by our presupposing what, in reality, ought to have been proved.
To mistake the regulative principle of the systematical unity of nature for a constitutive principle, and to presuppose hypostatically as cause, what is only in the idea made the foundation for the consistent use of [p. 694] reason, is simply to confound reason. The investigation of nature pursues its own course, guided by the chain of natural causes only, according to general laws. It knows the idea of an author, but not in order to derive from it that system of purposes which it tries to discover everywhere, but in order to recognise his existence from those purposes, which are sought in the essence of the things of nature, and, if possible, also in the essence of all things in general, and consequently to recognise his existence as absolutely necessary. Whether this succeeds or not, the idea itself remains always true, as well as its use, if only it is restricted to the conditions of a merely regulative principle.
Complete unity of design constitutes perfection (absolutely considered). If we do not find such perfection in the nature of the things which form the object of experience, that is, of all our objectively valid knowledge; if we do not find it in the general and necessary laws of nature, how shall we thence infer the idea of a supreme and absolutely necessary perfection of an original Being, as the origin of all causality? The greatest systematical and, therefore, well-planned unity teaches us, and first enables us, to make the widest use of human reason, and that idea is, therefore, inseparably connected with [p. 695] the very nature of our reason. That idea becomes, in fact, to us a law, and hence it is very natural for us to assume a corresponding lawgiving reason (intellectus archetypus) from which, as the object of our reason, all systematical unity of nature should be derived.
When discussing the antinomy of pure reason, we remarked that all questions raised by pure reason must admit of an answer, and that the excuse derived from the natural limits of our knowledge, which in many questions concerning nature is as inevitable as it is just, cannot be admitted here, because questions are here placed before us through the very nature of our reason, referring entirely to its own natural constitution, and not to the nature of things. We have now an opportunity of confirming this assertion of ours, which at first sight may have appeared rash, with regard to the two questions in which pure reason takes the greatest interest, and of thus bringing to perfection our considerations on the Dialectic of pure reason.
If, then, we are asked the question (with reference to a transcendental theology),1First, whether there is something different from the world, containing the [p. 696] ground of the order of the world and of its connection according to general laws? our answer is, Certainly there is. For the world is a sum of phenomena, and there must, therefore, be some transcendental ground of it, that is, a ground to be thought by the pure understanding only. If, secondly, we are asked whether that Being is a substance of the greatest reality, necessary, etc.? our answer is, that such a question has no meaning at all. For all the categories by which I can try to frame to myself a concept of such an object admit of none but an empirical use, and have no meaning at all, unless they are applied to objects of possible experience, that is, to the world of sense. Outside that field they are mere titles of concepts, which we may admit, but by which we can understand nothing. If, thirdly, the question is asked, whether we may not at least conceive this Being, which is different from the world, in analogy with the objects of experience? our answer is, Certainly we may, but only as an object in the idea, and not in the reality, that is, in so far only as it remains a [p. 697] substratum, unknown to us, of the systematic unity, order, and design of the world, which reason is obliged to adopt as a regulative principle in the investigation of nature. Nay, more, we need not be afraid to admit certain anthropomorphisms in that idea, which favour the regulative principle of our investigations. For it always remains an idea only, which is never referred directly to a Being, different from the world, but only to the regulative principle of the systematical unity of the world, and this by some schema of it, namely, that of a supreme intelligence, being the author of it, for the wisest purposes. It was not intended that by it we should try to form a conception of what that original cause of the unity of the world may be by itself; it was only meant to teach us how to use it, or rather its idea, with reference to the systematical use of reason, applied to the things of the world.
But, surely, people will proceed to ask, we may, according to this, admit a wise and omnipotent Author of the world? Certainly, we answer, and not only we may, but we must. In that case, therefore, we surely extend our knowledge beyond the field of possible experience? By no means. For we have only presupposed a something of which we have no conception whatever as to [p. 698] what it is by itself (as a purely transcendental object). We have only, with reference to the systematical and well-designed order of the world, which we must presuppose, if we are to study nature at all, presented to ourselves that unknown Being in analogy with what is an empirical concept, namely, an intelligence; that is, we have, with reference to the purposes and the perfection which depend on it, attributed to it those very qualities on which, according to the conditions of our reason, such a systematical unity may depend. That idea, therefore, is entirely founded on the employment of our reason in theworld, and if we were to attribute to it absolute and objective validity, we should be forgetting that it is only a Being in the idea which we think: and as we should then be taking our start from a cause, that cannot be determined by mundane considerations, we should no longer be able to employ that principle in accordance with the empirical use of reason.
But people will go on to ask, May we not then in this way use that concept, and the supposition of a Supreme Being in a rational consideration of the world? No doubt we may, and it was for that very purpose that that idea of reason was established. And if it be asked whether we may look upon arrangements in nature which have all the appearance of design, as real designs, and trace them back to a divine will, though with the [p. 699] intervention of certain arrangements in the world, we answer again, Yes, but only on condition that it be the same to you whether we say that the divine wisdom has arranged everything for the highest purposes, or whether we take the idea of the supreme wisdom as our rule in the investigation of nature, and as the principle of its systematical and well-planned unity according to general laws, even when we are not able to perceive that unity. In other words, it must be the same to you, when you do perceive it, whether we say, God has wisely willed it so, or nature has wisely arranged it so. For it was that greatest systematical and well-planned unity, required by your reason as the regulative principle of all investigation of nature, which gave you the right to admit the idea of a supreme intelligence as the schema of that regulative principle. As much of design, therefore, as you discover in the world, according to that principle, so much of confirmation has the legitimacy of your idea received. But as that principle was only intended for finding the necessary and greatest possible unity in nature, we shall, no doubt, owe that unity, so far as we may find it, to our idea of a Supreme Being; but we cannot, without contradicting ourselves, ignore the general laws of nature for which that idea was adopted, or look upon the designs of nature as contingent and hyperphysical [p. 700] in their origin. For we were not justified in admitting a Being endowed with those qualities as above nature (hyperphysical), but only in using the idea of it in order to be able to look on all phenomena1 as being systematically connected among themselves, in analogy with a causal determination.
For the same reason we are justified, not only in representing to ourselves the cause of the world in our idea according to a subtle kind of anthropomorphism (without which we can think nothing of it), as a Being endowed with understanding, the feelings of pleasure and displeasure, and accordingly with desire and will, but also in attributing to it infinite perfection, which therefore far transcends any perfection known to us from the empirical knowledge of the order of the world. For the regulative law of systematical unity requires that we should study nature as if there existed in it everywhere, with the greatest possible variety, an infinitely systematical and well-planned unity. And although we can discover but little of that perfection of the world, it is nevertheless a law of our reason, always to look for it and to expect it; and it must be beneficial, and can never be hurtful, to carry on the investigation of nature according to this principle. But in admitting this fundamental [p. 701] idea of a Supreme Author, it is clear that I do not admit the existence and knowledge of such a Being, but its idea only, and that in reality I do not derive anything from that Being, but only from the idea of it, that is, from the nature of the things of the world, according to such an idea. It seems also, as if a certain, though undeveloped consciousness of the true use of this concept of reason had dictated the modest and reasonable language of philosophers of all times, when they use such expressions as the wisdom and providence of nature as synonymous with divine wisdom, nay, even prefer the former expression, when dealing with speculative reason only, as avoiding the pretension of a greater assertion than we are entitled to make, and at the same time restricting reason to its proper field, namely, nature.
Thus we find that pure reason, which at first seemed to promise nothing less than extension of our knowledge beyond all limits of experience, contains, if properly understood, nothing but regulative principles, which indeed postulate greater unity than the empirical use of the understanding can ever achieve, but which, by the very fact that they place the goal which has to be reached at so great a distance, carry the agreement of the understanding with itself by means of systematical [p. 702] unity to the highest possible degree; while, if they are misunderstood and mistaken for constitutive principles of transcendent knowledge, they produce, by a brilliant but deceptive illusion, some kind of persuasion and imaginary knowledge, but, at the same time, constant contradictions and disputes.
* * * * * * * *
Thus all human knowledge begins with intuitions, advances to concepts, and ends with ideas. Although with reference to every one of these three elements, it possesses a priori sources of knowledge, which at first sight seemed to despise the limits of all experience, a perfect criticism soon convinces us, that reason, in its speculative use, can never get with these elements beyond the field of possible experience, and that it is the true destination of that highest faculty of knowledge to use all methods and principles of reason with one object only, namely, to follow up nature into her deepest recesses, according to every principle of unity, the unity of design being the most important, but never to soar above its limits, outside of which there is for us nothing but empty space. No doubt, the critical examination of all propositions which seemed to be able to enlarge our knowledge [p. 703] beyond real experience, as given in the transcendental Analytic, has fully convinced us that they could never lead to anything more than to a possible experience; and, if people were not suspicious even of the clearest, but abstract and general doctrines, and charming and specious prospects did not tempt us to throw off the restraint of those doctrines, we might indeed have dispensed with the laborious examination of all the dialectical witnesses which a transcendent reason brings into court in support of her pretensions. We knew beforehand with perfect certainty that all these pretensions, though perhaps honestly meant, were absolutely untenable, because they relate to a kind of knowledge to which man can never attain. But we know that there is no end of talk, unless the true cause of the illusion, by which even the wisest are deceived, has been clearly exhibited. We also know that the analysis of all our transcendent knowledge into its elements (as a study of our own internal nature) has no little value in itself, and to a philosopher is really a matter of duty. We therefore thought that it was not only necessary to follow up the whole of this vain treatment of speculative reason to its first sources, but considered it advisable also, as the dialectical illusion does here not only deceive the judgment, but, owing to the interest which we take in the judgment, possesses and always will possess a certain natural and irresistible [p. 704] charm, to write down the records of this lawsuit in full detail, and to deposit them in the archives of human reason, to prevent for the future all errors of a similar kind.
METHOD OF TRANSCENDENTALISM [p. 705]
If we look upon the whole knowledge of pure [p. 707] and speculative reason as an edifice of which we possess at least the idea within ourselves, we may say that in the Elements of Transcendentalism we made an estimate of the materials and determined for what kind of edifice and of what height and solidity they would suffice. We found that although we had thought of a tower that would reach to the sky, the supply of materials would suffice for a dwelling-house only, sufficiently roomy for all our business on the level plain of experience, and high enough to enable us to survey it: and that the original bold undertaking could not but fail for want of materials, not to mention the confusion of tongues which inevitably divided the labourers in their views of the building, and scattered them over all the world, where each tried to erect his own building according to his own plan. At present, however, we are concerned not so much with the material as with the plan, and though we have been warned not to venture blindly on a plan which may be beyond our powers, we cannot altogether give up the erection of a solid dwelling, but have to make the plan for a building in proportion to the material which we possess, and sufficient for all our real wants. This determination of the formal conditions of a complete system of pure reason I call the Method of Transcendentalism. We [p. 708] shall here have to treat of a discipline, a canon, an architectonic, and lastly, a history of pure reason, and shall have to do, from a transcendental point of view, what the schools attempt, but fail to carry out properly, with regard to the use of the understanding in general, under the name of practical logic. The reason of this failure is that general logic is not limited to any particular kind of knowledge, belonging to the understanding (not for instance to its pure knowledge), nor to certain objects. It cannot, therefore, without borrowing knowledge from other sciences, do more than produce titles of possible methods and technical terms which are used in different sciences in reference to their systematical arrangement, so that the pupil becomes acquainted with names only, the meaning and application of which he has to learn afterwards.
The Discipline of Pure Reason
Negative judgments, being negative not only in their logical form, but in their contents also, do not enjoy a very high reputation among persons desirous of increasing human knowledge. They are even looked upon as jealous enemies of our never-ceasing desire for [p. 709] knowledge, and we have almost to produce an apology, in order to secure for them toleration, or favour and esteem.
No doubt, all propositions may logically be expressed as negative: but when we come to the question whether the contents of our knowledge are enlarged or restricted by a judgment, we find that the proper object of negative judgments is solely to prevent error. Hence negative propositions, intended to prevent erroneous knowledge in cases where error is never possible, may no doubt be very true, but they are empty, they do not answer any purpose, and sound therefore often absurd; like the well-known utterance of a rhetorician, that Alexander could not have conquered any countries without an army.
But in cases where the limits of our possible knowledge are very narrow, where the temptation to judge is great, the illusion which presents itself very deceptive, and the evil consequences of error very considerable, the negative element, though it teaches us only how to avoid errors, has even more value than much of that positive instruction which adds to the stock of our knowledge. The restraint which checks our constant inclination to deviate from certain rules, and at last destroys it, is called discipline: It is different from culture, which is intended to form a certain kind of skill, without destroying another kind which is already present. In forming a talent, therefore, which has in itself an impulse to manifest itself, [p. 710] discipline will contribute a negative,1 culture and doctrine a positive, influence.
That our temperament and various talents which like to indulge in free and unchecked exercise (such as imagination and wit) require some kind of discipline, will easily be allowed by everybody. But that reason, whose proper duty it is to prescribe a discipline to all other endeavours, should itself require such discipline, may seem strange indeed. It has in fact escaped that humiliation hitherto, because, considering the solemnity and thorough self-possession in its behaviour, no one has suspected it of thoughtlessly putting imaginations in the place of concepts, and words in the place of things.
In its empirical use reason does not require such criticism, because its principles are constantly subject to the test of experience. Nor is such criticism [p. 711] required in mathematics, where the concepts of reason must at once be represented in concreto in pure intuition, so that everything unfounded and arbitrary is at once discovered. But when neither empirical nor pure intuition keeps reason in a straight groove, that is, when it is used transcendently and according to mere concepts, the discipline to restrain its inclination to go beyond the narrow limits of possible experience, and to keep it from extravagance and error is so necessary, that the whole philosophy of pure reason is really concerned with that one negative discipline only. Single errors may be corrected by censure, and their causes removed by criticism. But when, as in pure reason, we are met by a whole system of illusions and fallacies, well connected among themselves and united by common principles, a separate negative code seems requisite, which, under the name of a discipline, should erect a system of caution and self-examination, founded on the nature of reason and of the objects of its use, before which no false sophistical illusion could stand, but should at once betray itself in spite of all excuses.
It should be well borne in mind, however, [p. 712] that in this second division of the transcendental critique, I mean to direct the discipline of pure reason not to its contents, but only to the method of its knowledge. The former task has been performed in the Elements of Transcendentalism. There is so much similarity in the use of reason, whatever be the subject to which it is applied, and yet, so far as this use is to be transcendental, it is so essentially different from every other, that, without the warning voice of a discipline, especially devised for that purpose, it would be impossible to avoid errors arising necessarily from the improper application of methods, which are suitable to reason in other spheres, only not quite here.
[1 ]Not theological Ethics; for these contain moral laws, which presuppose the existence of a supreme ruler of the world, while Ethico-theology is the conviction of the existence of a Supreme Being, founded on moral laws.
[1 ]Read ausgeschossen.
[1 ]Read keiner instead of keine
[1 ]Instead of alle read als.
[1 ]The early editions read transcendenten, instead of transcendentalen, which is given in the corrigenda of the Fifth Edition; it is not impossible, however, that Kant may have meant to write transcendenten, in order to indicate the illegitimate use of these concepts.
[1 ]The advantage which arises from the circular shape of the earth is well known; but few only know that its flattening, which gives it the form of a spheroid, alone prevents the elevations of continents, or even of smaller volcanically raised mountains, from continuously and, within no very great space of time, considerably altering the axis of the earth. The protuberance of the earth at the equator forms however so considerable a mountain, that the impetus of every other mountain can never drive it perceptibly out of its position with reference to the axis of the earth. And yet people do not hesitate to explain this wise arrangement simply from the equilibrium of the once fluid mass.
[1 ]This was a name given by the old dialecticians to a sophistical argument, which ran thus: If it is your fate that you should recover from this illness, you will recover, whether you send for a doctor or not. Cicero says that this argument was called ignava ratio, because, if we followed it, reason would have no use at all in life. It is for this reason that I apply the same name to this sophistical argument of pure reason.
[1 ]After what I have said before about the psychological idea, and its proper destination to serve as a regulative principle only for the use of reason, there is no necessity for my discussing separately and in full detail the transcendental illusion which leads us to represent hypostatically that systematical unity of the manifold phenomena of the internal sense. The procedure would here be very similar to that which we are following in our criticism of the theological ideal.
[1 ]Instead of der Erscheinungen read die Erscheinungen.
[1 ]I am well aware that in the language of the schools, discipline is used as synonymous with instruction. But there are so many cases in which the former term, in the sense of restraint, is carefully distinguished from the latter in the sense of teaching, and the nature of things makes it so desirable to preserve the only suitable expressions for that distinction, that I hope that the former term may never be allowed to be used in any but a negative meaning.