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Friedrich Max Müller, Critique of Pure Reason [1881]

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Friedrich Max Müller, 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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About this Title:

One of Kant’s most important philosophical works and one of the most important of the Enlightenment as well. In it he argues that the world that we know is structured by the way that we perceive and think about the world. Reason is universal and objective but our understanding and imagination shape the way we experience the world.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
Edition: current; Page: [ii] Edition: current; Page: [iii]
IMMANUEL KANT’S Critique of Pure Reason
In Commemoration of the Centenary of its First Publication
New York
All rights reserved
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

Copyright, 1896, By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

First edition printed 1881. Reprinted with alterations, 1896:

Edition: current; Page: [v]


  • Dedication . . . . . . . . . . . page xiii
  • Table of Contents to First Edition . . . . . . xv
  • Preface to First Edition . . . . . . . . xvii
  • Translator’s Preface . . . . . . . . . xxvii
  • Translator’s Preface to Second Edition . . . . . lxxxi
  • Introduction . . . . . . . . . . 1-12
    • I. The Idea of Transcendental Philosophy . . . 1
    • II. Division of Transcendental Philosophy . . . . 10
  • I. The Elements of Transcendentalism . . . 15-39
    • First Part. Transcendental Æsthetic . . . 15-39
      • First Section. Of Space . . . . . . . 18
      • Second Section. Of Time . . . . . . 24
      • General Observations on Transcendental Æsthetic . . 34
    • Second Part. Transcendental Logic . . . . 40-51
      • Introduction. The Idea of a Transcendental Logic . . 40
        • I. Of Logic in General . . . . . . . 40
        • II. Of Transcendental Logic . . . . . . 44
        • III. Of the Division of General Logic into Analytic and Dialectic . . . . . . . . 46
        • IV. Of the Division of Transcendental Logic into Transcendental Analytic and Dialectic . . . . 49
      • First Division. Transcendental Analytic . . . 52-237
        • Book I. Analytic of Concepts . . . . . 54-106
          • Chapter I. Method of Discovering all Pure Concepts of the Understanding . . . . . . 55
            • Section 1. Of the Logical Use of the Understanding in General . . . . . . . . 56 Edition: current; Page: [vi]
            • Section 2. Of the Logical Function of the Understanding in Judgments . . . . . . 58
            • Section 3. Of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, or of the Categories . . . . . 63
          • Chapter II. Of the Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding . . . . . . . 70
            • Section 1. Of the Principles of a Transcendental Deduction in General . . . . . . 70
            • Section 2. Of the a priori Grounds for the Possibility of Experience . . . . . . . 79
              • 1. Of the Synthesis of Apprehension in Intuition . 82
              • 2. Of the Synthesis of Reproduction in Imagination 83
              • 3. Of the Synthesis of Recognition in Concepts . 85
              • 4. Preliminary Explanation of the Possibility of the Categories as Knowledge a priori . . . 91
            • Section 3. Of the Relation of the Understanding to Objects in General, and the Possibility of Knowing them a priori . . . . . . . 94
            • Summary Representation of the Correctness, and of the Only Possibility of this Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding . . . . 105
        • Book II. Analytic of Principles . . . . 107-237
          • Introduction. Of the Transcendental Faculty of Judgment in General . . . . . . . 108
          • Chapter I. Of the Schematism of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding . . . . . . . 112
          • Chapter II. System of all Principles of the Pure Understanding . . . . . . . . . 121
            • Section 1. Of the Highest Principle of all Analytical Judgments . . . . . . . . 123
            • Section 2. Of the Highest Principle of all Synthetical Judgments . . . . . . . . 126 Edition: current; Page: [vii]
            • Section 3. Systematical Representation of all Synthetical Principles of the Pure Understanding . 129
              • 1. Axioms of Intuition . . . . . . 133
              • 2. Anticipations of Perception . . . . . 136
              • 3. Analogies of Experience . . . . . 144
                • First Analogy. Principle of Permanence . 149
                • Second Analogy. Principle of Production . 155
                • Third Analogy. Principle of Community . 172
              • 4. The Postulates of Empirical Thought in General 178
          • Chapter III. On the Ground of Distinction of all Subjects into Phenomena and Noumena . . . 192
          • Appendix. Of the Amphiboly of Reflective Concepts, owing to the Confusion of the Empirical with the Transcendental Use of the Understanding . . 212
      • Second Division. Transcendental Dialectic . . . 238-564
        • Introduction . . . . . . . . . 238
          • 1. Of transcendental Appearance (Illusion) . . . 238
          • 2. Of Pure Reason as the seat of Transcendental Illusion . . . . . . . . . 242
            • A. Of Reason in General . . . . . 242
            • B. Of the Logical Use of Reason . . . . 246
            • C. Of the Pure Use of Reason . . . . 247
        • Book I. Of the Concepts of Pure Reason . . 252-274
          • Section 1. Of Ideas in General . . . . . 254
          • Section 2. Of Transcendental Ideas . . . . 261
          • Section 3. System of Transcendental Ideas . . 270
        • Book II. Of the Dialectical Conclusions of Pure Reason 275-564
          • Chapter I. Of the Paralogisms of Pure Reason . . 278
            • First Paralogism. Of Substantiality . . . . 284
            • Second Paralogism. Of Simplicity . . . . 286
            • Third Paralogism. Of Personality . . . . 294
            • Fourth Paralogism. Of Ideality . . . . . 298 Edition: current; Page: [viii]
            • Consideration on the Whole of Pure Psychology, as affected by these Paralogisms . . . . 308
          • Chapter II. The Antinomy of Pure Reason . . . 328
            • Section 1. System of Cosmological Ideas . . . 330
            • Section 2. Antithetic of Pure Reason . . . 339
              • First Conflict of the Transcendental Ideas . . 344
              • Second Conflict . . . . . . . 352
              • Third Conflict . . . . . . . . 362
              • Fourth Conflict . . . . . . . 370
            • Section 3. Of the Interest of Reason in these Conflicts . . . . . . . . . 379
            • Section 4. Of the Transcendental Problems of Pure Reason, and the Absolute Necessity of their Solution . . . . . . . . 389
            • Section 5. Sceptical Representation of the Cosmological Questions in the Four Transcendental Ideas . 396
            • Section 6. Transcendental Idealism as the Key to the Solution of Cosmological Dialectic . . . 400
            • Section 7. Critical Decision of the Cosmological Conflict of Reason with itself . . . . 405
            • Section 8. The Regulative Principle of Pure Reason with Regard to the Cosmological Ideas . . 413
            • Section 9. Of the Empirical Use of the Regulative Principle of Reason with Regard to all Cosmological Ideas . . . . . . . . 419
              • I. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the Composition of Phenomena in an Universe . . . . . . . 420
              • II. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the Division of a Whole given in Intuition . . . . . . . . 425 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
                • Concluding Remarks on the Solution of the Transcendental-mathematical Ideas, and Preliminary Remark for the Solution of the Transcendental-dynamical Ideas . . . 428
              • III. Solution of the Cosmological Ideas with Regard to the Totality of the Derivation of Cosmical Events from their Causes . . . . 432
                • Possibility of a Causality through Freedom, in Harmony with the Universal Law of Necessity . 436
                • Explanation of the Cosmological Idea of Freedom in Connection with the General Necessity of Nature . . . . . . . . 439
              • IV. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the Dependence of Phenomena, with Regard to their Existence in General . . 452
          • Chapter III. The Ideal of Pure Reason . . . 459
            • Section 1. Of the Ideal in General . . . . 459
            • Section 2. Of the Transcendental Ideal . . . 462
            • Section 3. Of the Arguments of Speculative Reason in Proof of the Existence of a Supreme Being . 471
            • Section 4. Of the Impossibility of an Ontological Proof of the Existence of God . . . . 477
            • Section 5. Of the Impossibility of a Cosmological Proof of the Existence of God . . . . 486
              • Discovery and Explanation of the Dialectical Illusion in all Transcendental Proofs of the Existence of a Necessary Being . . . . . . 495
            • Section 6. Of the Impossibility of the Physico-theological Proof . . . . . . . 499
            • Section 7. Criticism of all Theology based on Speculative Principles of Reason. . . . . 508 Edition: current; Page: [x]
            • Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic. Of the Regulative Use of the Ideas of Pure Reason . 516
            • Of the Ultimate Aim of the Natural Dialectic of Human Reason . . . . . . . 537
  • II. Method of Transcendentalism . . . . 565-686
    • Chapter I. The Discipline of Pure Reason . . . 569
      • Section 1. The Discipline of Pure Reason in its Dogmatical Use . . . . . . . . . 572
      • Section 2. The Discipline of Pure Reason in its Polemical Use . . . . . . . . . 593
        • The Impossibility of a Sceptical Satisfaction of Pure Reason in Conflict with itself . . . . . 608
      • Section 3. The Discipline of Pure Reason with Regard to Hypotheses . . . . . . . . 617
      • Section 4. The Discipline of Pure Reason with Regard to its Proofs . . . . . . . . 627
    • Chapter II. The Canon of Pure Reason . . . . 638
      • Section 1. Of the Ultimate Aim of the Pure Use of our Reason . . . . . . . . 640
      • Section 2. Of the Ideal of the Summum Bonum as determining the Ultimate Aim of Pure Reason . 645
      • Section 3. Of Trowing, Knowing, and Believing . . 657
    • Chapter III. The Architectonic of Pure Reason . . 667
    • Chapter IV. The History of Pure Reason . . . 683
  • Supplements . . . . . . . . . 687-808
Edition: current; Page: [xi]


Edition: current; Page: [xii] Edition: current; Page: [xiii]



To further, so far as in us lies, the growth of the sciences is to work in your Excellency’s own interest, your own interest being intimately connected with them, not only through the exalted position of a patron of science, but through the far more intimate relation of a lover and enlightened judge. For that reason I avail myself of the only means within my power of proving my gratitude for the gracious confidence with which your Excellency honours me, as if I too could help toward your noble work.

[Whoever delights in a speculative life finds with moderate wishes the approval of an enlightened and kind judge a powerful incentive to studies the results of which are great, but remote, and therefore entirely ignored by vulgar eyes.]

To you, as such a judge, and to your kind attention I now submit this book, placing all other concerns of my literary future under your special protection, and remaining with profound respect1

Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servant,
Edition: current; Page: [xiv] Edition: current; Page: [xv]


  • Introduction . . . . . . . . . pages 1 (1)
    • PART I. Transcendental Æsthetic . . . 17 (19)
      • Section I. Of Space . . . . . . 20 (22)
      • Section II. Of Time . . . . . . 27 (30)
    • PART II. Transcendental Logic . . . . 44 (50)
      • Division I. Transcendental Analytic in two books, with their chapters and sections . . . . 56 (64)
      • Division II. Transcendental Dialectic in two books, with their chapters and sections . . . . 254 (293)
    • Chapter I. The Discipline of Pure Reason . . 607 (708)
    • Chapter II. The Canon of Pure Reason . . 682 (795)
    • Chapter III. The Architectonic of Pure Reason . 714 (832)
    • Chapter IV. The History of Pure Reason . . 731 (852)
Edition: current; Page: [xvi] Edition: current; Page: [xvii]


Our reason (Vernunft) has this peculiar fate that, with reference to one class of its knowledge, it is always troubled with questions which cannot be ignored, because they spring from the very nature of reason, and which cannot be answered, because they transcend the powers of human reason.

Nor is human reason to be blamed for this. It begins with principles which, in the course of experience, it must follow, and which are sufficiently confirmed by experience. With these again, according to the necessities of its nature, it rises higher and higher to more remote conditions. But when it perceives that in this way its work remains for ever incomplete, because the questions never cease, it finds itself constrained to take refuge in principles which exceed every possible experimental application, and nevertheless seem so unobjectionable that even ordinary common sense agrees with them. Thus, however, reason becomes involved in darkness and contradictions, from which, no doubt, it may conclude that errors must be lurking somewhere, but without being able to discover them, because the principles which it follows transcend all the limits of experience and therefore withdraw themselves Edition: current; Page: [xviii] from all experimental tests. It is the battle-field of these endless controversies which is called Metaphysic.

There was a time when Metaphysic held a royal place among all the sciences, and, if the will were taken for the deed, the exceeding importance of her subject might well have secured to her that place of honour. At present it is the fashion to despise Metaphysic, and the poor matron, forlorn and forsaken, complains like Hecuba, Modo maxima rerum, tot generis natisque potens — nunc trahor exul, inops (Ovid, Metam. xiii. 508).

At first the rule of Metaphysic, under the dominion of the dogmatists, was despotic. But as the laws still bore the traces of an old barbarism, intestine wars and complete anarchy broke out, and the sceptics, a kind of nomads, despising all settled culture of the land, broke up from time to time all civil society. Fortunately their number was small, and they could not prevent the old settlers from returning to cultivate the ground afresh, though without any fixed plan or agreement. Not long ago one might have thought, indeed, that all these quarrels were to have been settled and the legitimacy of her claims decided once for all through a certain physiology of the human understanding, the work of the celebrated Locke. But, though the descent of that royal pretender, traced back as it had been to the lowest mob of common experience, ought to have rendered her claims very suspicious, yet, as that genealogy turned out to be in reality a false invention, the old queen (Metaphysic) continued to maintain her claims, everything fell back into the old rotten dogmatism, and the contempt from which metaphysical science was to have been rescued, remained the same as ever. At present, after everything has been tried, so Edition: current; Page: [xix] they say, and tried in vain, there reign in philosophy weariness and complete indifferentism, the mother of chaos and night in all sciences but, at the same time, the spring or, at least, the prelude of their near reform and of a new light, after an ill-applied study has rendered them dark, confused, and useless.

It is in vain to assume a kind of artificial indifferentism in respect to enquiries the object of which cannot be indifferent to human nature. Nay, those pretended indifferentists (however they may try to disguise themselves by changing scholastic terminology into popular language), if they think at all, fall back inevitably into those very metaphysical dogmas which they profess to despise. Nevertheless this indifferentism, showing itself in the very midst of the most flourishing state of all sciences, and affecting those very sciences the teachings of which, if they could be had, would be the last to be surrendered, is a phenomenon well worthy of our attention and consideration. It is clearly the result, not of the carelessness, but of the matured judgment1 of our age, which will no longer rest satisfied with the mere appearance of knowledge. Edition: current; Page: [xx] It is, at the same time, a powerful appeal to reason to undertake anew the most difficult of its duties, namely, self-knowledge, and to institute a court of appeal which should protect the just rights of reason, but dismiss all groundless claims, and should do this not by means of irresponsible decrees, but according to the eternal and unalterable laws of reason. This court of appeal is no other than the Critique of Pure Reason.

I do not mean by this a criticism of books and systems, but of the faculty of reason in general, touching that whole class of knowledge which it may strive after, unassisted by experience. This must decide the question of the possibility or impossibility of metaphysic in general, and the determination of its sources, its extent, and its limits — and all this according to fixed principles.

This, the only way that was left, I have followed, and I flatter myself that I have thus removed all those errors which have hitherto brought reason, whenever it was unassisted by experience, into conflict with itself. I have not evaded its questions by pleading the insufficiency of human reason, but I have classified them according to principles, and, after showing the point where reason begins to misunderstand itself, solved them satisfactorily. It is true that the answer of those questions is not such as a dogma-enamoured curiosity might wish for, for such curiosity could not have been satisfied except by juggling tricks in which I am no adept. But this was not the intention of the natural destiny of our reason, and it became the duty of philosophy to remove the deception which arose from a false interpretation, even though many a vaunted and cherished dream should vanish at the same time. In this work I have chiefly aimed at Edition: current; Page: [xxi] completeness, and I venture to maintain that there ought not to be one single metaphysical problem that has not been solved here, or to the solution of which the key at least has not been supplied. In fact Pure Reason is so perfect a unity that, if its principle should prove insufficient to answer any one of the many questions started by its very nature, one might throw it away altogether, as insufficient to answer the other questions with perfect certainty.

While I am saying this I fancy I observe in the face of my readers an expression of indignation, mixed with contempt, at pretensions apparently so self-glorious and extravagant; and yet they are in reality far more moderate than those made by the writer of the commonest essay professing to prove the simple nature of the soul or the necessity of a first beginning of the world. For, while he pretends to extend human knowledge beyond the limits of all possible experience, I confess most humbly that this is entirely beyond my power. I mean only to treat of reason and its pure thinking, a knowledge of which is not very far to seek, considering that it is to be found within myself. Common logic gives an instance how all the simple acts of reason can be enumerated completely and systematically. Only between the common logic and my work there is this difference, that my question is, — what can we hope to achieve with reason, when all the material and assistance of experience is taken away?

So much with regard to the completeness in our laying hold of every single object, and the thoroughness in our laying hold of all objects, as the material of our critical enquiries — a completeness and thoroughness determined, not by a casual idea, but by the nature of our knowledge itself.

Edition: current; Page: [xxii]

Besides this, certainty and clearness with regard to form are two essential demands that may very properly be addressed to an author who ventures on so slippery an undertaking.

First, with regard to certainty, I have pronounced judgment against myself by saying that in this kind of enquiries it is in no way permissible to propound mere opinions, and that everything looking like a hypothesis is counterband, that must not be offered for sale at however low a price, but must, as soon as it has been discovered, be confiscated. For every kind of knowledge which professes to be certain a priori, proclaims itself that it means to be taken for absolutely necessary. And this applies, therefore, still more to a definition of all pure knowledge a priori, which is to be the measure, and therefore also an example, of all apodictic philosophical certainty. Whether I have fulfilled what I have here undertaken to do, must be left to the judgment of the reader; for it only behoves the author to propound his arguments, and not to determine beforehand the effect which they ought to produce on his judges. But, in order to prevent any unnecessary weakening of those arguments, he may be allowed to point out himself certain passages which, though they refer to collateral objects only, might occasion some mistrust, and thus to counteract in time the influence which the least hesitation of the reader in respect to these minor points might exercise with regard to the principal object.

I know of no enquiries which are more important for determining that faculty which we call understanding (Verstand), and for fixing its rules and its limits, than those in the Second Chapter of my Transcendental Analytic, under the title of ‘Deduction of the Pure Concepts Edition: current; Page: [xxiii] of the Understanding.’ They have given me the greatest but, I hope, not altogether useless trouble. This enquiry, which rests on a deep foundation, has two sides. The one refers to the objects of the pure understanding, and is intended to show and explain the objective value of its concepts a priori. It is, therefore, of essential importance for my purposes. The other is intended to enquire into the pure understanding itself, its possibility, and the powers of knowledge on which it rests, therefore its subjective character; a subject which, though important for my principal object, yet forms no essential part of it, because my principal problem is and remains, What and how much may understanding (Verstand) and reason (Vernunft) know without all experience? and not, How is the faculty of thought possible? The latter would be an enquiry into a cause of a given effect; it would, therefore, be of the nature of an hypothesis (though, as I shall show elsewhere, this is not quite so); and it might seem as if I had here allowed myself to propound a mere opinion, leaving the reader free to hold another opinion also. I therefore warn the reader, in case my subjective deduction should not produce that complete conviction which I expect, that the objective deduction, in which I am here chiefly concerned, must still retain its full strength. For this, what has been said on pp. 82, 83 (92, 93) may possibly by itself be sufficient.

Secondly, as to clearness, the reader has a right to demand not only what may be called logical or discursive clearness, which is based on concepts, but also what may be called æsthetic or intuitive clearness produced by intuitions, i.e. by examples and concrete illustrations. With regard to the former I have made ample provision. That Edition: current; Page: [xxiv] arose from the very nature of my purpose, but it became at the same time the reason why I could not fully satisfy the latter, if not absolute, yet very just claim. Nearly through the whole of my work I have felt doubtful what to do. Examples and illustrations seemed always to be necessary, and therefore found their way into the first sketch of my work. But I soon perceived the magnitude of my task and the number of objects I should have to treat; and, when I saw that even in their driest scholastic form they would considerably swell my book, I did not consider it expedient to extend it still further through examples and illustrations required for popular purposes only. This work can never satisfy the popular taste, and the few who know, do not require that help which, though it is always welcome, yet might here have defeated its very purpose. The Abbé Terrasson1 writes indeed that, if we measured the greatness of a book, not by the number of its pages, but by the time we require for mastering it, many a book might be said to be much shorter, if it were not so short. But, on the other hand, if we ask how a complicated, yet in principle coherent whole of speculative thought can best be rendered intelligible, we might be equally justified in saying that many a book would have been more intelligible, if it had not tried to be so very intelligible. For the helps to clearness, though they may be missed2 with regard to details, often distract with regard to the whole. The reader does not arrive quickly enough at a survey of the whole, because the bright colours Edition: current; Page: [xxv] of illustrations hide and distort the articulation and concatenation of the whole system, which, after all, if we want to judge of its unity and sufficiency, are more important than anything else.

Surely it should be an attraction to the reader if he is asked to join his own efforts with those of the author in order to carry out a great and important work, according to the plan here proposed, in a complete and lasting manner. Metaphysic, according to the definitions here given, is the only one of all sciences which, through a small but united effort, may count on such completeness in a short time, so that nothing will remain for posterity but to arrange everything according to its own views for didactic purposes, without being able to add anything to the subject itself. For it is in reality nothing but an inventory of all our possessions acquired through Pure Reason, systematically arranged. Nothing can escape us, because whatever reason produces entirely out of itself, cannot hide itself, but is brought to light by reason itself, so soon as the common principle has been discovered. This absolute completeness is rendered not only possible, but necessary, through the perfect unity of this kind of knowledge, all derived from pure concepts, without any influence from experience, or from special intuitions leading to a definite kind of experience, that might serve to enlarge and increase it. Tecum habita et noris quam sit tibi curta supellex (Persius, Sat. iv. 52).

Such a system of pure (speculative) reason I hope myself to produce under the title of ‘Metaphysic of Nature.’ It will not be half so large, yet infinitely richer than this Critique of Pure Reason, which has, first of all, to discover its source, nay, the conditions of its possibility, Edition: current; Page: [xxvi] in fact, to clear and level a soil quite overgrown with weeds. Here I expect from my readers the patience and impartiality of a judge, there the goodwill and aid of a fellow-worker. For however completely all the principles of the system have been propounded in my Critique, the completeness of the whole system requires also that no derivative concepts should be omitted, such as cannot be found out by an estimate a priori, but have to be discovered step by step. There the synthesis of concepts has been exhausted, here it will be requisite to do the same for their analysis, a task which is easy and an amusement rather than a labour.

I have only a few words to add with respect to the printing of my book. As the beginning had been delayed, I was not able to see the clean sheets of more than about half of it. I now find some misprints, though they do not spoil the sense, except on p. 379, line 4 from below, where specific should be used instead of sceptic. The antinomy of pure reason from p. 425 to p. 461 has been arranged in a tabular form, so that all that belongs to the thesis stands on the left, what belongs to the antithesis on the right side. I did this in order that thesis and antithesis might be more easily compared.

Edition: current; Page: [xxvii]


Why I thought I might translate Kant’s Critique

But how can you waste your time on a translation of Kant’s Critik der reinen Vernunft?’ This question, which has been addressed to me by several friends, I think I shall best be able to answer in a preface to that translation itself. And I shall try to answer it point by point.

First, then, with regard to myself. Why should I waste my time on a translation of Kant’s Critik der reinen Vernunft? — that is, Were there not other persons more fitted for that task, or more specially called upon to undertake it?

It would be the height of presumption on my part to imagine that there were not many scholars who could have performed such a task as well as myself, or far better. All I can say is, that for nearly thirty years I have been waiting for some one really qualified, who would be willing to execute such a task, and have waited in vain. What I feel convinced of is that an adequate translation of Kant must be the work of a German scholar. That conviction was deeply impressed on my mind when reading, now many years ago, Kant’s great work with a small class of young students at Oxford — among whom I may mention the names of Appleton, Nettleship, and Wallace. Kant’s style is careless and involved, and no wonder that it Edition: current; Page: [xxviii] should be so, if we consider that he wrote down the whole of the Critique in not quite five months. Now, beside the thread of the argument itself, the safest thread through the mazes of his sentences must be looked for in his adverbs and particles. They, and they only, indicate clearly the true articulation of his thoughts, and they alone impart to his phrases that peculiar intonation which tells those who are accustomed to that bye-play of language, what the author has really in his mind, and what he wants to express, if only he could find the right way to do it.

When reading and critically interpreting Kant’s text, I sometimes compared other translations, particularly the English translations by Haywood and Meiklejohn,1 and excellent as, in most places, I found their renderings, particularly the latter, I generally observed that, when the thread was lost, it was owing to a neglect of particles and adverbs, though sometimes also to a want of appreciation of the real, and not simply the dictionary meaning, of German words. It is not my intention to write here a criticism of previous translations; on the contrary, I should prefer to express my obligation to them for several useful suggestions which I have received from them in the course of what I know to be a most arduous task. But in order to give an idea of what I mean by the danger arising from a neglect of adverbs and particles in German, I shall mention at least a few of the passages of which I am thinking.

On p. 395 (484), Kant says: Da also selbst die Auflösung Edition: current; Page: [xxix] dieser Aufgaben niemals in der Erfahrung vorkommen kann. This means, ‘As therefore even the solution of these problems can never occur in experience,’ i.e. as, taking experience as it is, we have no right even to start such a problem, much less to ask for its solution. Here the particle also implies that the writer, after what he has said before, feels justified in taking the thing for granted. But if we translate, ‘Although, therefore, the solution of these problems is unattainable through experience,’ we completely change the drift of Kant’s reasoning. He wants to take away that very excuse that there exists only some uncertainty in the solution of these problems, by showing that the problems themselves can really never arise, and therefore do not require a solution at all. Kant repeats the same statement in the same page with still greater emphasis, when he says: Die dogmatische Auflösung ist also nicht etwa ungewiss, sondern unmöglich, i.e. ‘Hence the dogmatical solution is not, as you imagine, uncertain, but it is impossible.’

On p. 396 (485), the syntactical structure of the sentence, as well as the intention of the writer, does not allow of our changing the words so ist es klüglich gehandelt, into a question. It is the particle so which requires the transposition of the pronoun (ist es instead of es ist), not the interrogative character of the whole sentence.

On p. 401 (492), wenn cannot be rendered by although, which is wenn auch in German. Wenn beide nach empirischen Gesetzen in einer Erfahrung richtig und durchgängig zusammenhängen means, ‘If both have a proper and thorough coherence in an experience, according to empirical laws’; and not, ‘Although both have,’ etc.

Sollen is often used in German to express what, according Edition: current; Page: [xxx] to the opinion of certain people, is meant to be. Thus Kant, on p. 461 (570), speaks of the ideals which painters have in their minds, and die ein nicht mitzutheilendes Schattenbild ihrer Producte oder auch Beurtheilungen sein sollen, that is, ‘which, according to the artists’ professions, are a kind of vague shadows only of their creations and criticisms, which cannot be communicated.’ All this is lost, if we translate, ‘which can serve neither as a model for production, nor as a standard for appreciation.’ It may come to that in the end, but it is certainly not the way in which Kant arrives at that conclusion.

On p. 503 (625), den einzigmöglichen Beweisgrund (wofern überall nur ein speculativer Beweis statt findet) is not incorrectly rendered by ‘the only possible ground of proof (possessed by speculative reason)’; yet we lose the thought implied by Kant’s way of expression, viz. that the possibility of such a speculative proof is very doubtful.

The same applies to an expression which occurs on p. 549 (684), ein solches Schema, als ob es ein wirkliches Wesen wäre. Kant speaks of a schema which is conceived to be real, but is not so, and this implied meaning is blurred if we translate ‘a schema, which requires us to regard this ideal thing as an actual existence.’

On p. 572 (712), Kant writes: Methoden, die zwar sonst der Vernunft, aber nur nicht hier wol anpassen.

This has been translated: ‘The methods which are originated by reason, but which are out of place in this sphere.’

This is not entirely wrong, but it blurs the exact features of the sentence. What is really meant is: ‘Methods which are suitable to reason in other spheres, only, I believe, not here.’ It is curious to observe that Kant, careless as he Edition: current; Page: [xxxi] was in the revision of his text, struck out wol in the Second Edition, because he may have wished to remove even that slight shade of hesitation which is conveyed by that particle. Possibly, however, wol may refer to anpassen, i.e. pulchre convenire, the limitation remaining much the same in either case.

Doch is a particle that may be translated in many different ways, but it can never be translated by therefore. Thus when Kant writes (Suppl. XIV. § 17, note, p. 748), folglich die Einheit des Bewusstseyns, als synthetisch, aber doch ursprünglich angetroffen wird, he means to convey an opposition between synthetical and primitive, i.e. synthetical, and yet primitive. To say ‘nevertheless synthetical, and therefore primitive,’ conveys the very opposite.

It may be easily understood that in a metaphysical argument it must cause serious inconvenience, if the particle not is either omitted where Kant has it, or added where Kant has it not. It is of less consequence if not is omitted in such a passage as, for instance, where Kant says in the preface to the Second Edition (p. 704), that the obscurities of the first have given rise to misconceptions ‘without his fault,’ instead of ‘not without his fault.’ But the matter becomes more serious in other places.

Thus (Supplement XIV. § 26, p. 762) Kant says, ohne diese Tauglichkeit, which means, ‘unless the categories were adequate for that purpose,’ but not ‘if the categories were adequate.’ Again (Supplement XVIb., p. 771), Kant agrees that space and time cannot be perceived by themselves, but not, that they can be thus perceived. And it must disturb even an attentive reader when, on p. 203 (248), he reads that ‘the categories must be employed Edition: current; Page: [xxxii] empirically, and cannot be employed transcendentally,’ while Kant writes: Da sie nicht von empirischem Gebrauch sein sollen, und von transcendentalem nicht sein können.

As regards single words, there are many in German which, taken in their dictionary meaning, seem to yield a tolerable sense, but which throw a much brighter light on a whole sentence, if they are understood in their more special idiomatic application.

Thus vorrücken, no doubt, may mean ‘to place before,’ but Jemandem etwas vorrücken, means ‘to reproach somebody with something.’ Hence (p. 705) die der rationalen Psychologie vorgerückten Paralogismen does not mean ‘the paralogisms which immediately precede the Rational Psychology,’ but ‘the paralogisms with which Rational Psychology has been reproached.’

On p. 386 (472), nachhängen cannot be rendered by ‘to append.’ Er erlaubt der Vernunft idealischen Erklärungen der Natur nachzuhängen means ‘he allows reason to indulge in ideal explanations of nature,’ but not ‘to append idealistic explanations of natural phenomena.’

On p. 627 (781), als ob er die bejahende Parthei ergriffen hätte, does not mean ‘to attack the position,’ but ‘to adopt the position of the assenting party.’

On p. 679 (847), Wie kann ich erwarten does not mean ‘How can I desire?’ but ‘How can I expect?’ which may seem to be not very different, but nevertheless gives a wrong turn to a whole argument.

I have quoted these few passages, chiefly in order to show what I mean by the advantages which a German has in translating Kant, as compared with any other translator who has derived his knowledge of the language from grammars and dictionaries only. An accurate and scholar-like Edition: current; Page: [xxxiii] knowledge of German would, no doubt, suffice for the translation of historical or scientific works. But in order to find our way through the intricate mazes of metaphysical arguments, a quick perception of what is meant by the sign-posts, I mean the adverbs and particles, and a natural feeling for idiomatic ways of speech, seem to me almost indispensable.

On the other hand, I am fully conscious of the advantages which English translators possess by their more perfect command of the language into which foreign thought has to be converted. Here I at once declare my own inferiority; nay, I confess that in rendering Kant’s arguments in English I have thought far less of elegance, smoothness, or rhythm, than of accuracy and clearness. What I have attempted to do is to give an honest, and, as far as possible, a literal translation, and, before all, a translation that will construe; and I venture to say that even to a German student of Kant this English translation will prove in many places more intelligible than the German original. It is difficult to translate the hymns of the Veda and the strains of the Upanishads, the odes of Pindar and the verses of Lucretius; but I doubt whether the difficulty of turning Kant’s metaphysical German into intelligible and construable English is less. Nor do I wish my readers to believe that I have never failed in making Kant’s sentences intelligible. There are a few sentences in Kant’s Critique which I have not been able to construe to my own satisfaction, and where none of the friends whom I consulted could help me. Here all I could do was to give a literal rendering, hoping that future editors may succeed in amending the text, and extracting from it a more intelligible sense.

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Why I thought I ought to translate Kant’s Critique

But my friends in blaming me for wasting my time on a translation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason gave me to understand that, though I might not be quite unfit, I was certainly not specially called upon to undertake such a work. It is true, no doubt, that no one could have blamed me for not translating Kant, but I should have blamed myself; in fact, I have blamed myself for many years for not doing a work which I felt must be done sooner or later. Year after year I hoped I should find leisure to carry out the long-cherished plan, and when at last the Centenary of the publication of Kant’s Critik der reinen Vernunft drew near, I thought I was in honour bound not to delay any longer this tribute to the memory of the greatest philosopher of modern times. Kant’s Critique has been my constant companion through life. It drove me to despair when I first attempted to read it, a mere school-boy. During my university days I worked hard at it under Weisse, Lotze, and Drobisch, at Leipzig, and my first literary attempts in philosophy, now just forty years old, were essays on Kant’s Critique. Having once learnt from Kant what man can and what he cannot know, my plan of life was very simple, namely, to learn, so far as literature, tradition, and language allow us to do so, how man came to believe that he could know so much more than he ever can know in religion, in mythology, and in philosophy. This required special studies in the field of the most ancient languages and literatures. But though these more special studies drew me away for many years towards distant times and distant countries, whatever purpose or method there may have been in the work of my life was due to my beginning life with Kant.

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Even at Oxford, whether I had to lecture on German literature or on the Science of Language, I have often, in season and out of season, been preaching Kant; and nothing I have missed so much, when wishing to come to an understanding on the great problems of life with some of my philosophical friends in England, than the common ground which is supplied by Kant for the proper discussion of every one of them. We need not be blind wor-shippers of Kant, but if for the solution of philosophical problems we are to take any well-defined stand, we must, in this century of ours, take our stand on Kant. Kant’s language, and by language I mean more than mere words, has become the Lingua franca of modern philosophy, and not to be able to speak it, is like studying ancient philosophy, without being able to speak Aristotle, or modern philosophy, without being able to speak Descartes. What Rosenkranz, the greatest among Hegel’s disciples, said in 1838, is almost as true to-day as it was then: Engländer, Franzosen und Italiener müssen, wenn sie vorwärts wollen, denselben Schritt thun, den Kant schon 1781 machte. Nur so können sie sich von ihrer dermaligen schlechten Metaphysik und den aus einer solchen sich ergebenden schlechten Consequenzen befreien.

It is hardly necessary at the present day to produce any arguments in support of such a view. The number of books on Kant’s philosophy, published during the last century in almost every language of the world,1 speaks for itself. There is no single philosopher of any note, even among those who are decidedly opposed to Kant, who has Edition: current; Page: [xxxvi] not acknowledged his pre-eminence among modern philosophers. The great systems of Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Herbart, and Schopenhauer branched off from Kant, and now, after a century has passed away, people begin to see that those systems were indeed mighty branches, but that the leading shoot of philosophy was and is still — Kant. No truer word has lately been spoken than what, I believe, was first said by Professor Weisse,1 in the Philosophical Society at Leipzig, of which I was then a member, and was again more strongly enforced by my friend and former colleague, Professor Liebmann of Strassburg, that, if philosophy wishes to go forward, it must go back to Kant. Il faut reculer, pour mieux sauter. Lange, in his History of Materialism, calls Kant the Copernicus of modern philosophy; aye, Kant himself was so fully conscious of the decentralising character of his system that he did not hesitate to compare his work with that of Copernicus.2 But if Kant was right in his estimate of his own philosophy, it cannot be denied that, with but few, though memorable exceptions, philosophy in England is still Ante-Kantian or Ante-Copernican. How little Kant is read by those who ought to read him, or how little he is understood by those who venture to criticise him, I never felt so keenly as when, in a controversy which I had some time ago with Mr. Herbert Spencer, I was told that space could not be an a priori intuition, because we may hear church-bells, without knowing where the belfry stands. Two philosophers, who both have read Kant’s Critique, may differ from each other diametrically, but they will at least understand each other. They will not fire at each Edition: current; Page: [xxxvii] other like some of the German students who, for fear of killing their adversary, fire their pistols at right angles, thus endangering the life of their seconds rather than that of their adversaries.

This will explain why, for a long time, I have felt personally called upon to place the classical work of Kant within the reach of all philosophical readers in England, so that no one could say any longer that he could not construe it. I thought for a time that Professor Caird’s excellent work, On the Philosophy of Kant, had relieved me of this duty. And, no doubt, that work has told, and has opened the eyes of many people in England and in America to the fact that, whatever we may think of all the outworks of Kant’s philosophy, there is in it a central thought which forms a real rest and an entrenched ground in the onward march of the human intellect.

But it is a right sentiment after all, that it is better to read a book than to read about it, and that, as my friend Stanley used to preach again and again, we should never judge of a book unless we have read the whole of it ourselves. I therefore pledged myself to finish a new translation of Kant’s Critique as my contribution to the celebration of its centenary; and though it has taken more time and more labour than I imagined, I do not think my time or my labour will have been wasted, if only people in England, and in America too, will now read the book that is a hundred years old, and yet as young and fresh as ever.

So far I have spoken of myself, and more perhaps than a wise man at my time of life ought to do. But I have still to say a few words to explain why I think that, if the time which I have bestowed on this undertaking has Edition: current; Page: [xxxviii] not been wasted, others also, and not philosophers by profession only, will find that I have not wasted their time by inducing them at the present time to read Kant’s masterwork in a faithful English rendering.

Why a study of Kant’s Critique seemed necessary at present

It is curious that in these days the idea of development, which was first elaborated by the students of philosophy, language, and religion, and afterwards applied with such brilliant success to the study of nature also, should receive so little favour from the very sciences which first gave birth to it. Long before we heard of evolution in nature, we read of the dialectical evolution of thought, and its realisation in history and nature. The history of philosophy was then understood to represent the continuous development of philosophical thought, and the chief object of the historian was to show the necessity with which one stage of philosophical thought led to another. This idea of rational development, which forms a far broader and safer basis than that of natural development, is the vital principle in the study of the human mind, quite as much, if not more, than in the study of nature. A study of language, of mythology, of religion, and philosophy, which does not rest on the principle of development, does not deserve the name of a science. The chief interest which these sciences possess, is not that they show us isolated and barren facts, but that they show us their origin and growth, and explain to us how what is, was the necessary result of what was. In drawing the stemma of languages, mythological formations, religious beliefs, and Edition: current; Page: [xxxix] philosophical ideas, science may go wrong, and often has gone wrong. So have students of nature in drawing their stemmata of plants, and animals, and human beings. But the principle remains true, for all that. In spite of all that seems to be accidental or arbitrary, there is a natural and intelligible growth in what we call the creations of the human mind, quite as much as in what we call the works of nature. The one expression, it may be said, is as mythological as the other, because the category of substance cannot apply to either nature or mind. Both, however, express facts which must be explained; nay, it is the chief object of science to explain them, and to explain them genetically. Is Aristotle possible or intelligible without Plato? Is Spinoza possible or intelligible without Descartes? Is Hume possible or intelligible without Berkeley? Is Kant possible or intelligible without Hume? These are broad questions, and admit of one answer only. But if we have once seen how the broad stream of thought follows its natural bent, flows onward, and never backward, we shall understand that it is as much the duty of the science of thought to trace the unbroken course of philosophy from Thales to Kant, as it is the duty of natural science to trace the continuous development of the single cell to the complicated organism of an animal body, or the possible metamorphosis of the Hipparion into the Hippos.

What I wanted, therefore, as an introduction to my translation of Kant’s Critique, was a pedigree of philosophical thought, showing Kant’s ancestors and Kant’s descent. Here, too, Professor Caird’s work seemed to me at one time to have done exactly what I wished to see done. Valuable, however, as Professor Caird’s work is on Edition: current; Page: [xl] all sides acknowledged to be, I thought that an even more complete list of Kantian ancestors might and should be given, and (what weighed even more with me) that these ancestors should be made to speak to us more in their own words than Professor Caird has allowed them to do.

At my time of life, and in the midst of urgent work, I felt quite unequal to that task, and I therefore applied to Professor Noiré, who, more than any other philosopher I know, seemed to me qualified to carry out that idea. Kant’s philosophy, and more particularly the antecedents of Kant’s philosophy, had been his favourite study for life, and no one, as I happened to know, possessed better materials than he did for giving, in a short compass, the ipsissima verba by which each of Kant’s ancestors had made and marked his place in the history of thought. Professor Noiré readily complied with my request, and supplied a treatise which I hope will fully accomplish what I had in view. The translation was entrusted by him to one of the most distinguished translators of philosophical works in England, and though the exactness and gracefulness peculiar to Professor Noiré’s German style could hardly have full justice done to them in an English rendering, particularly as the constant introduction of the verba ipsissima of various authors cannot but disturb the unity of the diction, I hope that many of my English readers will feel the same gratitude to him which I have here to express for his kind and ready help.1

If, then, while making allowance for differences of opinion on smaller points, we have convinced ourselves that Kant is the last scion of that noble family of thinkers Edition: current; Page: [xli] which Professor Noiré has drawn for us with the hand of a master, what follows? Does it follow that we should all and on all points become Kantians, that we should simply learn his philosophy, and be thankful that we know now all that can be known about the Freedom of the Will, the Immortality of the Soul, and the Existence of God? Far from it. No one would protest more strongly than Kant himself against what he so well calls ‘learning philosophy,’ as opposed to ‘being a philosopher.’ All I contend for is that, in our own modern philosophy, the work done once for all by Kant should be as little ignored as the work done by Hume, Leibniz, Berkeley, Locke, Spinoza, and Descartes. I do not deny the historical importance of the Post-Kantian systems of philosophy, whether of Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Herbart, or Schopenhauer in Germany, of Cousin in France, or of Mill in England. But most of these philosophers recognised Kant as their spiritual father.1 Even Comte, ignorant as he was of German and German philosophy, expressed his satisfaction and pride when he discovered how near he had, though unconsciously, approached to Kant’s philosophy.2 Edition: current; Page: [xlii] Some years ago I pointed out that, as far as, amid the varying aspects of his philosophical writings, it was possible to judge, Mr. Herbert Spencer also, in what he calls his Transfigured Realism, was not very far from Kant’s fundamental position. Mr. Herbert Spencer, however, has repudiated what I thought the highest compliment that could be paid to any writer on philosophy, and I gladly leave it to others to judge.

But although, whether consciously or unconsciously, all truly important philosophers have, since the publication of the Critique of Pure Reason, been more or less under the spell of Kant, and indirectly of Hume and Berkeley also, this does not mean that they have not asserted their right of reopening questions which seemed to be solved and settled by those heroes in the history of human thought. Only, if any of these old problems are to be taken up again, they ought at least to be taken up where they were last left. Unless that is done, philosophy will become a mere amusement, and will in no wise mark the deep vestiges in the historical progress of the human intellect. There are anachronisms in philosophy, quite as much as in other sciences, and the spirit in which certain philosophical problems have of late been treated, both in England and in Germany, is really no better than a revival of the Ptolemaic system would be in astronomy. No wonder, therefore, that in both countries we should meet with constant Edition: current; Page: [xliii] complaints about this state of philosophical anarchy. Mr. Challis, in one of the last numbers of the Contemporary Review (November, 1881), writes: ‘It is another familiar fact, a much more important one, that the present state of philosophy is exactly parallel to the present state of theology, — a chaos of conflicting schools, each able to edify itself without convincing any other, every one regarding all the rest, not as witnesses against itself, but as food for dialectical powder and shot. The impartial bystander sees no sign that we are now nearer to agreement than in the days of Varro, though the enthusiast of a school expects the world to be all, some day, of his opinion, just as the enthusiast of a sect believes vaguely in an ultimate triumph of his faith.’

Exactly the same complaint reaches us from the very country where Kant’s voice was once so powerful and respected, then was silenced for a time, and now begins to be invoked again for the purpose of restoring order where all seems confusion. ‘Since the year 1840,’ writes Dr. Vaihinger, ‘there has been hopeless philosophical anarchy in Germany. There were the disciples of Schelling, Hegel, Herbart, and Schopenhauer, and, by their side, the founders and defenders of many unknown systems of philosophy. Then followed the so-called Real-Idealists, or Ideal-Realists, who distilled a philosophical theism out of the pantheism of greater thinkers, and, as their antipodes, the Materialists, who on the new discoveries of natural science founded the saddest, shallowest, and emptiest system of philosophy.’1

In England and America, even more than in Germany, I believe that a study of Kant holds out the best hope of Edition: current; Page: [xliv] a philosophical rejuvenescence. In Germany a return to Kant has brought about a kind of Renaissance; in England and America Kant’s philosophy, if once thoroughly understood, will constitute, I hope, a new birth. No doubt there are and there have been in every country of Europe some few honest students who perfectly understood Kant’s real position in the onward march of human thought. But to the most fertile writers on philosophy, and to the general public at large, which derives its ideas of philosophy from them, Kant’s philosophy has not only been a terra incognita, but the very antipodes of what it really is. Mr. Watson, in his instructive work, ‘Kant and his English Critics,’ is perfectly right when he says that, till very lately, Kant was regarded as a benighted a priori philosopher of the dogmatic type, afflicted with the hallucination that the most important part of our knowledge consists of innate ideas, lying in the depths of consciousness, and being capable of being brought to the light by pure introspection.’ That Kant was the legitimate successor of Hume on one side, and of Berkeley on the other, was hardly conceived as possible. And thus it has happened that English philosophy, in spite of the large number of profound thinkers and brilliant writers who have served in its ranks during the last hundred years, has not yet risen above the level of Locke and Hume. No one can admire more than I do the dashing style in which some of the most popular writers of our time have ridden up to the very muzzles of the old philosophical problems, but if I imagine Kant looking back from his elevated position on those fierce and hopeless onslaughts, I can almost hear him say what was said by a French general at Balaclava: C’est magnifique, — mais ce n’est pas la guerre. Quite Edition: current; Page: [xlv] true it is that but for Hume, and but for Berkeley, Kant would never have been, and philosophy would never have reached the heights which he occupies. But, after Kant, Hume and Berkeley have both an historical significance only. They represent a position which has been conquered and fortified, and has now been deliberately left behind.

Professor Noiré, when he had written for this work the antecedents of Kant’s philosophy, sent me another most valuable contribution, containing a full analysis of that philosophy, considered not only as the continuation, but as the fulfilment of all other philosophical systems, and more particularly of the systems of Berkeley and Hume. For that work it was unfortunately impossible to find room in these volumes; but I still hope that it will not be withheld, in German at least, from those who, both in England and Germany, have learnt to appreciate Professor Noiré’s accurate and luminous statements. Leaving therefore the task of tracing minutely the intimate relation between Kant and his predecessors to the more experienced hand of my friend, I shall here be satisfied with pointing out in the broadest way the connection, and, at the same time, the diametrical opposition between Kant and those two great heroes of speculative thought, Berkeley and Hume.

Berkeley holds that all knowledge that seems to come to us from without through the senses or through experience is mere illusion, and that truth exists in the ideas of the pure understanding and of reason only.

Kant proves that all knowledge that comes to us from pure understanding and from pure reason only is mere illusion, and that truth is impossible without experience.

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Hume holds that true causality is impossible, whether in experience or beyond experience.

Kant proves that experience itself is impossible without the category of causality, and, of course, without several other categories also which Hume had overlooked, though they possess exactly the same character as the concept of causality.1 The gist of Kant’s philosophy, as opposed to that of Hume, can be expressed in one line: That without which experience is impossible, cannot be the result of experience, though it must never be applied beyond the limits of possible experience.

Such broad statements and counter-statements may seem to destroy the finer shades of philosophical thought, yet in the end even the most complicated and elaborate systems of philosophy rest on such broad foundations; and what we carry about with us of Plato or Aristotle, of Descartes or Leibniz, consists in the end of little more than a few simple outlines of the grand structures of their philosophical thoughts. And in that respect no system admits of being traced in simpler and broader outlines than that of Kant. Voluminous and complicated it is, and yet Kant himself traces in a few lines the outcome of it, when he says (Critique, p. 666 (830)): ‘But it will be said, is this really all that pure reason can achieve, in opening prospects beyond the limits of experience? Nothing more than two articles of faith? Surely even the ordinary understanding could have achieved as much without taking counsel of philosophers!

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‘I shall not here dwell on the benefits,’ he answers, which, by the laborious efforts of its criticism, philosophy has conferred on human reason, granting even that in the end they should turn out to be merely negative. On this point something will have to be said in the next section. But, I ask, do you really require that knowledge, which concerns all men, should go beyond the common understanding, and should be revealed to you by philosophers only? The very thing which you find fault with is the best confirmation of the correctness of our previous assertions, since it reveals to us, what we could not have grasped before, namely, that in matters which concern all men without distinction, nature cannot be accused of any partial distribution of her gifts; and that, with regard to the essential interests of human nature, the highest philosophy can achieve no more than that guidance which nature has vouchsafed even to the meanest understanding.’

I hope that the time will come when Kant’s works, and more particularly his Critique of Pure Reason, will be read, not only by the philosopher by profession, but by everybody who has once seen that there are problems in this life of ours the solution of which alone makes life worth living. These problems, as Kant so often tells us, are all the making of reason, and what reason has made, reason is able to unmake. These problems represent in fact the mythology of philosophy, that is, the influence of dying or dead language on the living thought of each successive age; and an age which has found the key to the ancient mythology of religion, will know where to look for the key that is to unlock the mythology of pure reason. Kant has shown us what can and what cannot be known by man. What remains to be done, even after Kant, is to Edition: current; Page: [xlviii] show how man came to believe that he could know so much more than he can know, and this will have to be shown by a Critique of Language.1

How strange it is that Kant’s great contemporary, ‘the Magus of the North,’ should have seen this at once, and that for a whole century his thought has remained dormant. ‘Language,’ Hamann writes, ‘is not only the foundation for the whole faculty of thinking, but the central point also from which proceeds the misunderstanding of reason by herself.’ And again:2 ‘The question with me is not, What is Reason? but, What is Language? And here I suspect is the ground of all paralogisms and antinomies with which Reason has been charged.’ And again: ‘Hence I feel almost inclined to believe that our whole philosophy consists more of language than of reason, and the misunderstanding of numberless words, the prosopopœias of the most arbitrary abstraction, the antithesis τη̂ ς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως; nay, the commonest figures of speech of the sensus communis have produced a whole world of problems, which can no more be raised than solved. What we want is a Grammar of Reason.’

That Kant’s Critique will ever become a popular book, in the ordinary sense of the word, is impossible; but that Edition: current; Page: [xlix] it will for ever occupy a place in the small tourist’s library which every thoughtful traveller across this short life’s journey will keep by his side, I have no doubt. Kant, it must be admitted, was a bad writer, but so was Aristotle, so was Descartes, so was Liebniz, so was Hegel; and, after a time, as in climbing a mountain, the very roughness of the road becomes an attraction to the traveller. Besides, though Kant is a bad builder, he is not a bad architect, and there will be few patient readers of the Critique who will fail to understand Goethe’s expression that on reading Kant, or rather, I should say, on reading Kant again and again, we feel like stepping into a lighted room. I have tried hard, very hard, to remove some of the darkness which has hitherto shrouded Kant’s masterwork from English readers, and though I know how often I have failed to satisfy myself, I still hope I shall not have laboured quite in vain. Englishmen who, in the turmoil of this century, found leisure and mental vigour enough to study once more the thoughts of Plato, and perceiving their bearing on the thoughts of our age, may well brace themselves to the harder work of discovering in Kant the solution of many of the oldest problems of our race, problems which, with most of us, are still the problems of yesterday and of to-day. I am well aware that for Kant there is neither the prestige of a name, such as Plato, nor the cunning of a translator, such as Jowett. But a thinker who in Germany could make himself listened to during the philosophical apathy of the Wolfian age, who from his Ultima Thule of Königsberg could spring forward to grasp the rudder of a vessel, cast away as unseaworthy by no less a captain than Hume, and who has stood at the helm for more than a century, trusted by all whose trust was worth having, Edition: current; Page: [l] will surely find in England, too, patient listeners, even though they might shrink, as yet, from embarking in his good ship in their passage across the ocean of life.

Kant’s Metaphysic in relation to Physical Science

We live in an age of physical discovery, and of complete philosophical prostration, and thus only can we account for the fact that physical science, and, more particularly, physiology, should actually have grasped at the sceptre of philosophy. Nothing, I believe, could be more disastrous to both sciences.

No one who knows my writings will suspect me of undervaluing the progress which physical studies have made in our time, or of ignoring the light which they have shed on many of the darkest problems of the mind. Only let us not unnecessarily move the old landmarks of human knowledge. There always has been, and there always must be, a line of demarcation between physical and metaphysical investigations, and though the former can illustrate the latter, they can never take their place. Nothing can be more interesting, for instance, than recent researches into the exact processes of sensuous perception. Optics and Acoustics have carried us deep into the inner workings of our bodily senses, and have enabled us to understand what we call colours and sounds, as vibrations, definite in number, carried on from the outer organs through vibrating media to the brain and the inmost centre of all nervous activity. Such observations have, no doubt, made it more intelligible, even to the commonest understanding, what metaphysicians mean when they call all secondary qualities subjective, and deny that anything can Edition: current; Page: [li] be, for instance, green or sweet, anywhere but in the perceiving subject. But the idea that these physical and physiological researches have brought us one inch nearer to the real centre of subjective perception, that any movement of matter could in any way explain the simplest sensuous perception, or that behind the membranes and nerves we should ever catch hold of what we call the soul, or the I, or the self, need only to be stated to betray its utter folly. That men like Helmholtz and Du Bois-Reymond should find Kant’s metaphysical platform best adapted for supporting their physical theories is natural enough. But how can any one who weighs his words say that the modern physiology of the senses has in any way supplemented or improved Kant’s theory of knowledge?1 As well might we say that spectrum analysis has improved our logic, or the electric light supplemented our geometry. ‘Empirical psychology,’ as Kant says, ‘must be entirely banished from metaphysic, and is excluded from it by its very idea.’2

Metaphysical truth is wider than physical truth, and the new discoveries of physical observers, if they are to be more than merely contingent truths, must find their appointed place and natural refuge within the immoveable limits traced by the metaphysician. It was an unfortunate accident that gave to what ought to have been called prophysical, the name of metaphysical science, for it is only after having mastered the principles of metaphysic that the student of nature can begin his work in the right spirit, knowing the horizon of human knowledge, and guided by principles as unchangeable as the polestar. It would be Edition: current; Page: [lii] childish to make this a question of rank or precedence it is simply a question of work and order.

It may require, for instance, a greater effort, and display more brilliant mental qualities, to show that nature contains no traces of repeated acts of special creation, than to prove that such a theory would make all unity of experience, and consequently all science, impossible. But what are all the negative arguments of the mere observer without the solid foundation supplied by the metaphysician? And with how much more of tranquil assurance would the geologist pursue his observations and develop his conclusions, if he just remembered these few lines of Kant: ‘When such an arising is looked upon as the effect of a foreign cause, it is called creation. This can never be admitted as an event among phenomena, because its very possibility would destroy unity of experience.’1

What can have been more delightful to the unprejudiced observer than the gradual diminution of the enormous number of what were called, by students of nature who had never troubled their heads about the true meaning of these terms, genera and species? But when the true meaning, and thereby the true origin, of genera and species was to be determined, is it not strange that not one word should ever have been said on the subjective character of these terms? Whatever else a genus or species may be, surely they are, first of all, concepts of the understanding, and, without these concepts, whatever nature might present to us, nothing would ever be to us a genus or a species.

Genus and species, in that restricted sense, as applied to organic beings, represent only one side of that fundamental process on which all thought is founded, namely, Edition: current; Page: [liii] the conception of the General and the Special. Here, again, a few pages of Kant1 would have shown that the first thing to be explained is the process by which we conceive the genus or the general, and that the only adequate explanation of it is what Kant calls its transcendental deduction, i.e. the proof that, without it, experience itself would be impossible; and that therefore, so far from being a concept abstracted from experience, it is a sine qua non of experience itself.

If this is once clearly understood, it will be equally understood that, as we are the makers of all concepts, we are also the makers of genera and species, and that long before logicians came to define and deface these terms, they were what we now are anxious to make them again, terms for objects which have either a common origin or a common form. Long before Aristotle forced the terms γένος and εἰ̂δος to assume a subordinate relation to each other, language, or the historical logic of the human race, had formed these terms, and meant them to be not subordinate, but co-ordinate.

Genos meant kin, and the first genos was the gens or the family, comprehending individuals that could claim a common ancestor, though differing in appearance as much as a grandfather and a babe. Eidos or species, on the contrary, meant appearance or form, and the first eidos was probably the troop of warriors, comprehending individuals of uniform appearance, nothing being asserted as to their common origin. This was the historic or prehistoric beginning of these two fundamental categories of thought — and what has the theory of evolution really done for them? It has safely brought them back to their original Edition: current; Page: [liv] meaning. It has shown us that we can hold together, or comprehend, or conceive, or classify, or generalise or speak in two ways, and in two ways only — either by common descent (genealogically), or by common appearance (morphologically). Difference of form is nothing, if we classify genealogically, and difference of descent is nothing, if we classify morphologically. What the theory of evolution is doing for us is what is done by every genealogist, aye, what was done in ancient time by every paterfamilias, namely, to show by facts that certain individuals, however different from each other in form and appearance, had a common ancestor, and belonged therefore to the same family or kin. In every case where such proof has been given, we gain in reality a more correct general concept, i.e. we are able to think and to speak better. The process is the same, whether we trace the Bourbons and Valois back to Hugo Capet, or whether we derive the Hippos and the Hipparion from a common ancestor. In both cases we are dealing with facts and with facts only. Let it be established that there is no missing link between them, or between man and monkey, and we shall simply have gained a new concept, as we should gain a new concept by establishing the unbroken continuity of the Apostolic succession. Only let us see clearly that in physical and historical researches, too, we are dealing with facts, and with facts only, which cannot excite any passion, and that the wider issues as to the origin of genera and species belong to a different sphere of human knowledge, and after having been debated for centuries, have been determined once for all by Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

If one remembers the dust-clouds of words that were raised when the question of the origin of species was Edition: current; Page: [lv] mooted once more in our days, it is truly refreshing to read a few of Kant’s calm pages on that subject, written one hundred years ago. ‘Reason,’1 he writes, ‘prepares the field for the understanding,

‘1st. Through the principle of homogeneousness of the manifold as arranged under higher genera;

‘2ndly. Through the principle of the variety of the homogeneous in lower species; to which,

‘3rdly, it adds a law of affinity of all concepts, which requires a continual transition from every species to every other species, by a gradual increase of diversity. We may call these the principles of homogeneousness, of specification, and of continuity of forms.’

And with reference to the practical application of these metaphysical principles to the study of nature, he writes again with true philosophical insight:2 ‘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 national 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 peculiar character of the matter, in order to understand that it is far too deeply hidden for both of them to enable them to speak from any 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 and unity in nature, may easily be adjusted, Edition: current; Page: [lvi] 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 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 far too wide 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 certain similarities and approximations in the great variety of things. 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, is 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.’

I know, of course, what some of my philosophical friends will say. ‘You speak of thoughts,’ they will say, ‘we speak of facts. You begin with the general, we begin with the particular. You trust to reason, we trust to our Edition: current; Page: [lvii] senses.’ Let me quote in reply one of the most positive of positive philosophers, one who trusts to the senses, who begins with the particular, and who speaks of facts. Condillac in his famous Essai sur l’Origine des Connaissances humaines, writes: ‘Soit que nous élevions, pour parler métaphoriquement, jusque dans les cieux, soit que nous descendions dans les abîmes, nous ne sortons pas de nous-mêmes; et ce n’est jamais que notre pensée que nous apercevons.’ This was written in 1746.

And what applies to these, applies to almost all other problems of the day. Instead of being discussed by themselves, and with a heat and haste as if they had never been discussed before, they should be brought back to the broader ground from which they naturally arise, and be treated by the light of true philosophy and the experience gained in former ages. There is a solid ground formed by the thoughts of those who came before us, a kind of intellectual humus on which we ourselves must learn to march on cautiously, yet safely, without needing those high stilts which seem to lift our modern philosophers above the level of Locke, and Hume, and Kant, and promise to enable them to advance across the unknown and the unknowable with wider strides than were ever attempted by such men as Faraday, or Lyell, or Darwin, but which invariably fall away when they are most needed, and leave our bold speculators to retrace their steps as best they can.

Kant’s Philosophy as judged by History

If my translation of Kant were intended for a few professional philosophers only, I should not feel bound to produce any credentials in his favour. But the few true Edition: current; Page: [lviii] students of philosophy in England do not want a translation. They would as little attempt to study Kant, without knowing German, as to study Plato, without knowing Greek. What I want, and what I hope for is that that large class of men and women whose thoughts, consciously or unconsciously, are still rooted in the philosophy of the last century, and who still draw their intellectual nutriment from the philosophical soil left by Locke and Hume, should know that there is a greater than Locke or Hume, though himself the avowed pupil and the truest admirer of those powerful teachers. Kant is not a man that requires testimonials; we might as well require testimonials of Plato or Spinoza. But to the English reader it may be of interest to hear at least a few of the utterances of the great men whose merit it is to have discovered Kant, a discovery that may well be called the discovery of a new world.

What Goethe said of Kant, we have mentioned before. Schiller, after having declared that he was determined to master Kant’s Critique, and if it were to cost him the whole of his life, says: ‘The fundamental ideas of Kant’s ideal philosophy will remain a treasure for ever, and for their sake alone we ought to be grateful to have been born in this age.’

Strange it is to see how orthodox theologians, from mere laziness, it would seem, in mastering Kant’s doctrines, raised at once a clamour against the man who proved to be their best friend, but whose last years of life they must needs embitter. One of the most religious and most honest of Kant’s contemporaries, however, Jung Stilling, whose name is well known in England also, quickly perceived the true bearing of the Critique of Pure Edition: current; Page: [lix] Reason. In a letter, dated March 1, 1789, Jung Stilling writes to Kant: ‘You are a great, a very great instrument in the hand of God. I do not flatter, — but your philosophy will work a far greater, far more general, and far more blessed revolution than Luther’s Reform. As soon as one has well comprehended the Critique of Reason, one sees that no refutation of it is possible. Your philosophy must therefore be eternal and unchangeable, and its beneficent effects will bring back the religion of Jesus to its original purity, when its only purpose was — holiness.’

Fichte, no mean philosopher himself, and on many points the antagonist of Kant, writes: ‘Kant’s philosophy will in time overshadow the whole human race, and call to life a new, more noble, and more worthy generation.’

Jean Paul Friedrich Richter speaks of Kant ‘not only as a light of the world, but as a whole solar system in one.’

With more suppressed, yet no less powerful appreciation Wilhelm von Humboldt writes of him: ‘Some things which he demolished will never rise again; some things which he founded will never perish again. A reform such as he carried through is rare in the history of philosophy.’

Schopenhauer, the most fearless critic of Kant’s Critique, calls it ‘the highest achievement of human reflection.’ What he has written of Kant is indispensable indeed to every student of the Critique, and I deeply regret that I could not have added to my translation of Kant a translation of Schopenhauer’s critical remarks.

I must add, however, one paragraph: ‘Never,’ Schopenhauer writes in his Parerga (1, 183), ‘never will a philosopher, without an independent, zealous, and often repeated study of the principal works of Kant, gain any idea of this Edition: current; Page: [lx] most important of all philosophical phenomena. Kant is, I believe, the most philosophical head that nature has ever produced. To think with him and according to his manner is something that cannot be compared to anything else, for he possessed such an amount of clear and quite peculiar thoughtfulness as has never been granted to any other mortal. We are enabled to enjoy this with him, if, initiated by patient and serious study, we succeed, while reading the profoundest chapters of the Critique of Pure Reason, in forgetting ourselves and thinking really with Kant’s own head, thus being lifted high above ourselves. If we go once more through the Principles of Pure Reason, and, more particularly, the Analogies of Experience, and enter into the deep thought of the synthetical unity of apperception, we feel as if lifted miraculously and carried away out of the dreamy existence in which we are here lost, and as if holding in our hands the very elements out of which that dream consists.’

If, in conclusion, we look at some of the historians of modern philosophy, we find Erdmann, though a follower of Hegel, speaking of Kant as ‘the Atlas that supports the whole of German philosophy.’

Fortlage, the Nestor of German philosophers,1 who wrote what he calls a Genetic History of Philosophy since Kant, speaks of him in the following terms: ‘In one word, Kant’s system is the gate through which everything that has stirred the philosophical world since his time, comes and goes. It is the Universal Exchange where all circulating ideas flow together before they vanish again in distant places. It is the London of philosophy, sending its ships into every part of the world, and after a time Edition: current; Page: [lxi] receiving them back. There is no place in the whole globe of human thought which it has not visited, explored, and colonised.’

In more homely language Professor Caird expresses much the same idea of Kant’s philosophy, when he says (p. 120): ‘So much has Kant’s fertile idea changed the aspect of the intellectual world, that there is not a single problem of philosophy that does not meet us with a new face; and it is perhaps not unfair to say, that the speculations of all those who have not learned the lesson of Kant, are beside the point.’

Dr. Vaihinger, who has devoted his life to the study of Kant, and is now bringing out a commentary in four volumes on his Critique of Pure Reason,1 sums up his estimate in the following words: ‘The Critique is a work to which, whether we look to the grandeur of conception, or the accuracy of thought, or the weight of ideas, or the power of language, few only can be compared — possibly Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Spinoza’s Ethics — none, if we consider their lasting effect, their penetrating and far-reaching influence, their wealth of thought, and their variety of suggestions.’2

Nearly the same judgment is repeated by Vacherot,3 who speaks of the Critique as ‘un livre immortel, comme l’Organum de Bacon et le Discours de la Méthode de Descartes,’ while Professor Noiré, with his wider sympathies for every sphere of intellectual activity, counts six books, in the literature of modern Europe, as the peers of Kant’s Edition: current; Page: [lxii] Critique, viz. Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium cœlestium (1543); Descartes, Meditationes de prima philosophia (1641); Newton, Principia philosophiæ naturalis mathematica (1687); Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois (1748); Winckelmann, Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (1764); and Adam Smith, Inquiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), — but he places Kant’s Critique at the head of them all.

I confess I feel almost ashamed lest it should be supposed that I thought Kant in need of these testimonies. My only excuse is that I had to defend myself against the suspicion of having wasted my time, and I therefore thought that by pointing out the position assigned to Kant’s Critique among the master-works of human genius by men of greater weight than I could ever venture to claim for myself, I might best answer the kindly meant question addressed to me by my many friends: ‘But how can you waste your time on a translation of Kant’s Critik der reinen Vernunft?’

On the Text of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

I have still to say a few words on the German text on which my translation is founded.

I have chosen the text of the First Edition, first of all, because it was the centenary of that edition which led me to carry out at last my long-cherished idea of an English translation. That text represents an historical event. It represents the state of philosophy, as it was then, it represents Kant’s mind as it was then, at the moment of the greatest crisis in the history of philosophy. Even if the later editions contained improvements, these improvements Edition: current; Page: [lxiii] would belong to a later phase in Kant’s own development; and it is this first decisive position, as taken by Kant against both Hume and Berkeley, that more than anything else deserves to be preserved in the history of philosophy.

Secondly, I must confess that I have always used myself the First Edition of Kant’s Critique, and that when I came to read the Second Edition, I never could feel so at home in it as in the first. The First Edition seems to me cut out of one block, the second always leaves on my mind the impression of patchwork.

Thirdly, I certainly dislike in the Second Edition a certain apologetic tone, quite unworthy of Kant. He had evidently been attacked by the old Wolfian professors, and also by the orthodox clergy. He knew that these attacks were groundless, and arose in fact from an imperfect understanding of his work on the part of his critics. He need not have condescended to show that he was as well-schooled a philosopher as any of his learned colleagues, or that his philosophy would really prove extremely useful to orthodox clergymen in their controversies with sceptics and unbelievers.

So far, and so far only, can I understand the feeling against the Second Edition, which is shared by some of the most accurate and earnest students of Kant.

But I have never been able to understand the exaggerated charges which Schopenhauer and others bring against Kant, both for the omissions and the additions in that Second Edition. What I can understand and fully agree with is Jacobi’s opinion, when he says:1 ‘I consider the loss which the Second Edition of Kant’s Critique suffered by omissions and changes very considerable, and I am Edition: current; Page: [lxiv] very anxious by the expression of my opinion to induce readers who seriously care for philosophy and its history to compare the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason with the second improved edition. . . . It is not sufficiently recognised what an advantage it is to study the systems of great thinkers in their first original form. I was told by Hamann that the very judicious Ch. J. Krause (or Kraus) could never sufficiently express his gratitude for having been made acquainted with Hume’s first philosophical work, Treatise on Human Nature, 1739, where alone he had found the right point of view for judging the later essays.’

Nor do I differ much from Michelet, in his History of the later systems of Philosophy in Germany (1837, Vol. I., p. 49), where he says, ‘Much that is of a more speculative character in the representation of Kant’s system has been taken from the First Edition. It can no longer be found in the second and later editions, which, as well as the Prolegomena, keep the idealistic tendency more in the background, because Kant saw that this side of his philosophy had lent itself most to attacks and misunderstandings.’

I can also understand Schopenhauer, when he states that many things that struck him as obscure and self-contradictory in Kant’s Critique ceased to be so when he came to read that work in its first original form. But everything else that Schopenhauer writes on the difference between the first and second editions of the Critique seems to me perfectly intolerable. Kant, in the Preface to his Second Edition, which was published six years after the first, in 1787, gives a clear and straightforward account of the changes which he introduced. ‘My new representation,’ Edition: current; Page: [lxv] he writes, ‘changes absolutely nothing with regard to my propositions and even the arguments in their support.’ He had nothing to retract, but he thought he had certain things to add, and he evidently hoped he could render some points of his system better understood. His freedom of thought, his boldness of speech, and his love of truth are, if I am any judge in these matters, the same in 1787 as in 1781. The active reactionary measures of the Prussian Government, by which Kant is supposed to have been frightened, date from a later period. Zedlitz, Kant’s friend and protector, was not replaced by Wöllner as minister till 1788. It was not till 1794 that Kant was really warned and reprimanded by the Cabinet, and we must not judge too harshly of the old philosopher when at his time of life, and in the then state of paternal despotism in Prussia, he wrote back to say ‘that he would do even more than was demanded of him, and abstain in future from all public lectures concerning religion, whether natural or revealed.’ What he at that time felt in his heart of hearts we know from some remarks found after his death among his papers. ‘It is dishonourable,’ he writes, ‘to retract or deny one’s real convictions, but silence, in a case like my own, is the duty of a subject; and though all we say must be true, it is not our duty to declare publicly all that is true.’ Kant never retracted, he never even declared himself no longer responsible for any one of those portions of the Critique which he omitted in the Second Edition. On the contrary, he asked his readers to look for them in the First Edition, and only expressed a regret that there was no longer room for them in the Second Edition.

Now let us hear what Schopenhauer says. He not only Edition: current; Page: [lxvi] calls the Second Edition ‘crippled, disfigured, and corrupt,’ but imputes motives utterly at variance with all we know of the truthful, manly, and noble character of Kant. Schopenhauer writes: ‘What induced Kant to make these changes was fear of man, produced by weakness of old age, which not only affects the head, but sometimes deprives the heart also of that firmness which alone enables us to despise the opinions and motives of our contemporaries, as they deserve to be. No one can be great without that.’

All this is simply abominable. First of all, as a matter of fact, Kant, when he published his Second Edition, had not yet collapsed under the weakness of old age. He was about sixty years of age, and that age, so far from making cowards of us, gives to most men greater independence and greater boldness than can be expected from the young, who are awed by the authority of their seniors, and have often to steer their course prudently through the conflicts of parties and opinions.1 What is the use of growing old, if not to gain greater confidence in our opinions, and to feel justified in expressing them with perfect freedom? And as to ‘that firmness which alone enables us to despise the opinions and motives of our contemporaries,’ let us hope that that is neither a blessing of youth, nor of old age. Schopenhauer personally, no doubt, had a right to complain of his contemporaries, but he would have been greater if he had despised them either less or more, or, at all events, if he had despised them in silence.

I am really reluctant to translate all that follows, and Edition: current; Page: [lxvii] yet, as Schopenhauer’s view has found so many echoes, it seems necessary to let him have his say.

‘Kant had been told,’ he continues, ‘that his system was only a réchauffé of Berkeley’s Idealism. This seemed to him to endanger that invaluable and indispensable originality which every founder of a system values so highly (see Prolegomena zu jeder künftigen Metaphysik, pp. 70, 202 sq.). At the same time he had given offence in other quarters by his upsetting of some of the sacred doctrines of the old dogmas, particularly of those of rational psychology. Add to this that the great king, the friend of light and protector of truth, had just died (1786). Kant allowed himself to be intimidated by all this, and had the weakness to do what was unworthy of him. This consists in his having entirely changed the first chapter of the Second Book of the Transcendental Dialectic (first ed., p. 341), leaving out fifty-seven pages, which contained what was indispensable for a clear understanding of the whole work, and by the omission of which, as well as by what he put in its place, his whole doctrine becomes full of contradictions. These I pointed out in my critique of Kant (pp. 612-18), because at that time (in 1818) I had never seen the First Edition, in which they are really not contradictions, but agree perfectly with the rest of his work. In truth the Second Edition is like a man who has had one leg amputated, and replaced by a wooden one. In the preface to the Second Edition (p. xlii), Kant gives hollow, nay, untrue excuses for the elimination of that important and extremely beautiful part of his book. He does not confessedly wish that what was omitted should be thought to have been retracted by him. “People might read it in the First Edition,” he says; “he had Edition: current; Page: [lxviii] wanted room for new additions, and nothing had been changed and improved except the representation of his system.” But the dishonesty of this plea becomes clear if we compare the Second with the First Edition. There, in the Second Edition, he has not only left out that important and beautiful chapter, and inserted under the same title another half as long and much less significant, but he has actually embodied in that Second Edition a refutation of idealism which says the very contrary of what had been said in the omitted chapter, and defends the very errors which before he had thoroughly refuted, thus contradicting the whole of his own doctrine. This refutation of idealism is so thoroughly bad, such palpable sophistry, nay, in part, such a confused “galimatias,” that it is unworthy of a place in his immortal work. Conscious evidently of its insufficiency, Kant has tried to improve it by the alteration of one passage (see Preface, p. xxxix) and by a long and confused note. But he forgot to cancel at the same time in the Second Edition the numerous passages which are in contradiction with the new note, and in agreement with what he had cancelled. This applies particularly to the whole of the sixth section of the Antinomy of Pure Reason, and to all those passages which I pointed out with some amazement in my critique (which was written before I knew the First Edition and its later fate), because in them he contradicts himself. That it was fear which drove the old man to disfigure his Critique of rational psychology is shown also by this, that his attacks on the sacred doctrines of the old dogmatism are far weaker, far more timid and superficial, than in the First Edition, and that, for the sake of peace, he mixed them up at once with anticipations which are out of place, nay, Edition: current; Page: [lxix] cannot as yet be understood, of the immortality of the soul, grounded on practical reason and represented as one of its postulates. By thus timidly yielding he has in reality retracted, with regard to the principal problem of all philosophy, viz. the relation of the ideal to the real, those thoughts which he had conceived in the vigour of his manhood and cherished through all his life. This he did in his sixty-fourth year with a carelessness which is peculiar to old age quite as much as timidity, and he thus surrendered his system, not however openly, but escaping from it through a back-door, evidently ashamed himself of what he was doing. By this process the Critique of Pure Reason has, in its Second Edition, become a self-contradictory, crippled, and corrupt book, and is no longer genuine.’

‘The wrong interpretation of the Critique of Pure Reason, for which the successors of Kant, both those who were for and those who were against him, have blamed each other, as it would seem, with good reason, are principally due to the so-called improvements, introduced into his work by Kant’s own hand. For who can understand what contradicts itself?’

The best answer to all this is to be found in Kant’s own straightforward statements in the Preface to his Second Edition (Supplement II., pp. 688 seq.). That the unity of thought which pervades the First Edition is broken now and then in the Second Edition, no attentive reader can fail to see. That Kant shows rather too much anxiety to prove the harmlessness of his Critique, is equally true, and it would have been better if, while refuting what he calls Empirical Idealism, he had declared more strongly his unchanged adherence to the principles of Transcendental Edition: current; Page: [lxx] Idealism.1 But all this leaves Kant’s moral character quite untouched. If ever man lived the life of a true philosopher, making the smallest possible concessions to the inevitable vanities of the world, valuing even the shadowy hope of posthumous fame2 at no more than its proper worth, but fully enjoying the true enjoyments of this life, an unswerving devotion to truth, a consciousness of righteousness, and a sense of perfect independence, that man was Kant. If it is true that on some points which may seem more important to others than they seemed to himself, he changed his mind, or, as we should now say, if there was a later development in his philosophical views, this would seem to me to impose on every student the duty, which I have tried to fulfil as a translator also, viz. first of all, to gain a clear view of Kant’s system from his First Edition, and then to learn, both from the additions and from the omissions of the Second Edition, on what points Kant thought that the objections raised against his theory required a fuller and clearer statement of his arguments.

The additions of the Second Edition will be found on pp. 687-808 of this volume, while the passages omitted in the Second Edition have been included throughout between parentheses.

Critical Treatment of the Text of Kant’s Critique

The text of Kant’s Critique has of late years become the subject of the most minute philological criticism, and it certainly offers as good a field for the exercise of critical scholarship as any of the Greek and Roman classics.

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We have, first of all, the text of the First Edition, full of faults, arising partly from the imperfect state of Kant’s manuscript, partly from the carelessness of the printer. Kant received no proof-sheets, and he examined the first thirty clean sheets, which were in his hands when he wrote the preface, so carelessly that he could detect in them only one essential misprint. Then followed the Second, ‘here and there improved,’ Edition (1787), in which Kant not only omitted and added considerable passages, but paid some little attention also to the correctness of the text, improving the spelling and the stopping, and removing a number of archaisms which often perplex the reader of the First Edition.

We hardly know whether these minor alterations came from Kant himself, for he is said to have remained firmly attached to the old system of orthography;1 and it seems quite certain that he himself paid no further attention to the later editions, published during his lifetime, the Third Edition in 1790, the Fourth in 1794, the Fifth in 1799.

At the end of the Fifth Edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, published in 1799, there is a long list of Corrigenda, the authorship of which has exercised the critical students of Kant’s text very much. No one seems to have thought of attributing it to Kant himself, who at that time of life was quite incapable of such work. Professor B. Erdmann supposed it might be the work of Rink, or some other amanuensis of Kant. Dr. Vaihinger has shown that it is the work of a Professor Grillo, who, in the Philosophische Anzeiger, a Supplement to L. H. Jacob’s Annalen der Philosophie und des philosophischen Geistes, 1795, published a collection of Corrigenda, not only for Kant’s Edition: current; Page: [lxxii] Critique of Pure Reason, but for several others of his works also. Another contributor to the same journal, Meyer, thereupon defended Kant’s publisher (Hartknoch) against the charges of carelessness, rejected some of Grillo’s corrections, and showed that what seemed to be misprints were in many cases peculiarities of Kant’s style. It is this list of Professor Grillo which, with certain deductions, has been added to the Fifth Edition of the Critique. Some of Grillo’s corrections have been adopted in the text, while others, even those which Meyer had proved to be unnecessary, have retained their place in the list.

With such materials before him, it is clear that a critical student of Kant’s text enjoys considerable freedom in conjectural emendation, and that freedom has been used with great success by a number of German critics. The more important are: —

Rosenkranz, in his edition of Kant’s Critique (text of First Edition), 1838.

Hartenstein, in his edition of Kant’s Critique (text of Second Edition), 1838, 1867.

Kehrbach, in his edition of Kant’s Critique (text of First Edition), 1877.

Leclair, A. von, Kritische Beiträge zur Kategorienlehre Kant’s, 1871.

Paulsen, Versuch einer Entwickelungsgeschichte der Kantischen Erkenntnisslehre, 1875.

Erdmann, B., Kritik der reinen Vernunft (text of Second Edition), 1878, with a valuable chapter on the Revision of the Text.

Many of the alterations introduced by these critics affect the wording only of Kant’s Critique, without materially altering the meaning, and were therefore of no importance Edition: current; Page: [lxxiii] in an English translation. It often happens, however, that the construction of a whole sentence depends on a very slight alteration of the text. In Kant’s long sentences, the gender of the pronouns der, die, das, are often our only guide in discovering to what substantive these pronouns refer, while in English, where the distinction of gender is wanting in substantives, it is often absolutely necessary to repeat the substantives to which the pronouns refer. But Kant uses several nouns in a gender which has become obsolete. Thus he speaks1 of der Wachsthum, der Wohlgefallen, der Gegentheil, die Hinderniss, die Bedürfniss, die Verhältniss, and he varies even between die and das Verhältniss, die and das Erkenntniss, etc., so that even the genders of pronouns may become blind guides. The same applies to several prepositions which Kant construes with different cases from what would be sanctioned by modern German grammar.2 Thus ausser with him governs the accusative, während the dative, etc. For all this, and many other peculiarities, we must be prepared, if we want to construe Kant’s text correctly, or find out how far we are justified in altering it.

Much has been achieved in this line, and conjectural alterations have been made by recent editors of Kant of which a Bentley or a Lachmann need not be ashamed. In cases where these emendations affected the meaning, and when the reasons why my translation deviated so much from the textus receptus might not be easily perceived, I have added the emendations adopted by me, in a note. Those who wish for fuller information on these points, will have to consult Dr. Vaihinger’s forthcoming Commentary, which, to judge from a few specimens kindly communicated Edition: current; Page: [lxxiv] to me by the author, will give the fullest information on the subject.

How important some of the emendations are which have to be taken into account before an intelligible translation is possible, may be seen from a few specimens.

On p. 358 (442) the reading of the first edition Antithesis must be changed into Thesis.

Page 441 (545), Noumenon seems preferable to Phænomenon.

Page 395 (484), we must read keine, instead of eine Wahrnehmung.

Page 277 (340), we must keep the reading of the First Edition transcendentalen, instead of transcendenten, as printed in the Second; while on p. 542 (674), transcendenten may be retained, though corrected into transcendentalen in the Corrigenda of the Fifth Edition.

On p. 627 (781), the First Edition reads, sind also keine Privatmeinungen. Hartenstein rightly corrects this into reine Privatmeinungen, i.e. they are mere private opinions.

Page 667 (832), instead of ein jeder Theil, it is proposed to read kein Theil. This would be necessary if we took vermisst werden kann, in the sense of can be spared, while if we take it in the sense of can be missed, i.e. can be felt to be absent, the reading of the First Edition ein jeder Theil must stand. See the Preface to the First Edition, p. xx, note 1.

On p. 128 (157) the First Edition reads, Weil sie kein Drittes, nämlich reinen Gegenstand haben. This gives no sense, because Kant never speaks of a reinen Gegenstand. In the list of Corrigenda at the end of the Fifth Edition, reinen is changed into keinen, which Hartenstein has rightly adopted, while Rosenkranz retains reinen.

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On pp. 16 and 17 of the Introduction to the Second Edition (Supplement IV., p. 717), Dr. Vaihinger has clearly proved, I think, that the whole passage from Einige wenige Grundsätze to Können dargestellt werden interrupts the drift of Kant’s argument. It probably was a marginal note, made by Kant himself, but inserted in the wrong place. It would do very well as a note to the sentence: Eben so wenig ist irgend ein Grundsatz der reinen Geometrie analytisch.

With these prefatory remarks I leave my translation in the hands of English readers. It contains the result of hard work and hard thought, and I trust it will do some good. I have called Kant’s philosophy the Lingua Franca of modern philosophy, and so it is, and I hope will become still more. But that Lingua Franca, though it may contain many familiar words from all languages of the world, has yet, like every other language, to be learnt. To expect that we can understand Kant’s Critique by simply reading it, would be the same as to attempt to read a French novel by the light of English and Latin. A book which Schiller and Schopenhauer had to read again and again before they could master it, will not yield its secrets at the first time of asking. An Indian proverb says that it is not always the fault of the post, if a blind man cannot see it, nor is it always the fault of the profound thinker, if his language is unintelligible to the busy crowd. I am no defender of dark sayings, and I still hold to an opinion for which I have often been blamed, that there is nothing in any science that cannot be stated clearly, if only we know it clearly. Still there are limits. No man has a right to complain that he cannot understand Edition: current; Page: [lxxvi] higher mathematics, if he declines to advance step by step from the lowest to the highest stage of that science. It is the same in philosophy. Philosophy represents a long toil in thought and word, and it is but natural that those who have toiled long in inward thought should use certain concepts, and bundles of concepts, with their algebraic exponents, in a way entirely bewildering to the outer world. Kant’s obscurity is owing partly to his writing for himself rather than for others, and partly to his addressing himself, when defending a cause, to the judge, and not to the jury. He does not wish to persuade, he tries to convince. No doubt there are arguments in Kant’s Critique which fail to convince, and which have provoked the cavils and strictures of his opponents. Kant would not have been the really great man he was, if he had escaped the merciless criticism of his smaller contemporaries. But herein too we perceive the greatness of Kant, that those hostile criticisms, even where they are well founded, touch only on less essential points, and leave the solidity of the whole structure of his philosophy unimpaired. No first perusal will teach us how much of Kant’s Critique may safely be put aside as problematical, or, at all events, as not essential. But with every year, and with every new perusal, some of these mists and clouds will vanish, and the central truth will be seen rising before our eyes with constantly increasing warmth and splendour, like a cloudless sun in an Eastern sky.

And now, while I am looking at the last lines that I have written, it may be the last lines that I shall ever write on Kant, the same feeling comes over me which I expressed in the Preface to the last volume of my edition of the Rig-Veda and its ancient Commentary. I feel as if Edition: current; Page: [lxxvii] an old friend, with whom I have had many communings during the sunny and during the dark days of life, was taken from me, and I should hear his voice no more.

The two friends, the Rig-Veda and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, may seem very different, and yet my life would have been incomplete without the one as without the other.

The bridge of thoughts and sighs that spans the whole history of the Aryan world has its first arch in the Veda, its last in Kant’s Critique. In the Veda we watch the first unfolding of the human mind as we can watch it nowhere else. Life seems simple, natural, childlike, full of hopes, undisturbed as yet by many doubts or fears. What is beneath, and above, and beyond this life is dimly perceived, and expressed in a thousand words and ways, all mere stammerings, all aiming to express what cannot be expressed, yet all full of a belief in the real presence of the Divine in Nature, of the Infinite in the Finite. Here is the childhood of our race unfolded before our eyes, at least so much of it as we shall ever know on Aryan ground, — and there are lessons to be read in those hymns, aye, in every word that is used by those ancient poets, which will occupy and delight generations to come.

And while in the Veda we may study the childhood, we may study in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason the perfect manhood of the Aryan mind. It has passed through many phases, and every one of them had its purpose, and has left its mark. It is no longer dogmatical, it is no longer sceptical, least of all is it positive. It has arrived at and passed through its critical phase, and in Kant’s Critique stands before us, conscious both of its weakness and of its strength, modest, yet brave. It knows what the Edition: current; Page: [lxxviii] old idols of its childhood and its youth too were made of. It does not break them, it only tries to understand them, but it places above them the Ideals of Reason — no longer tangible — not even within reach of the understanding — yet real, if anything can be called real, — bright and heavenly stars to guide us even in the darkest night.

In the Veda we see how the Divine appears in the fire, and in the earthquake, and in the great and strong wind which rends the mountain. In Kant’s Critique the Divine is heard in the still small voice — the Categorical Imperative — the I Ought — which Nature does not know and cannot teach. Everything in Nature is or is not, is necessary or contingent, true or false. But there is no room in Nature for the Ought, as little as there is in Logic, Mathematics, or Geometry. Let that suffice, and let future generations learn all the lessons contained in that simple word, I ought, as interpreted by Kant.

I feel I have done but little for my two friends, far less than they have done for me. I myself have learnt from the Veda all that I cared to learn, but the right and full interpretation of all that the poets of the Vedic hymns have said or have meant to say, must be left to the future. What I could do in this short life of ours was to rescue from oblivion the most ancient heirloom of the Aryan family, to establish its text on a sound basis, and to render accessible its venerable Commentary, which, so long as Vedic studies last, may be criticised, but can never be ignored.

The same with Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I do not venture to give the right and full explanation of all that Kant has said or has meant to say. I myself have learnt from him all that I cared to learn, and I now give Edition: current; Page: [lxxix] to the world the text of his principal work, critically restored, and so translated that the translation itself may serve as an explanation, and in some places even as a commentary of the original. The materials are now accessible, and the English-speaking race, the race of the future, will have in Kant’s Critique another Aryan heirloom, as precious as the Veda — a work that may be criticised, but can never be ignored.

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So much has been done of late towards a critical restoration of the text of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason that it was impossible to republish my translation without a thorough revision. Scholars who are acquainted with the circumstances under which Kant’s work was originally written and printed will easily understand why the text of his Critique should have required so many corrections and conjectural emendations. Not being able myself to find out all that had been written on this subject in successive editions of Kant’s works and in various articles scattered about in German philosophical journals, I had the good fortune to secure the help of Dr. Erich Adickes, well known by his edition of Kant’s Critique, published in 1889, and now engaged in preparing a new critical text under the auspices of the Royal Academy of Berlin. Dr. Adickes has not only given me the benefit of all the really important various readings and emendations which will form part of his standard edition, but he has also pointed out to me passages in which I seemed to have misapprehended the exact meaning of Kant’s peculiar and often very ambiguous style.

That emendations of Kant’s text are often of great importance for a right understanding of his philosophical arguments can easily be seen from the list given in Dr. Adickes’ edition of Kant’s Critique, pp. iv-vii. Here we find, for instance, such mistakes as:

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helfeninstead offehlen
erfolgtinstead ofverfolgt
alleinstead ofallein
Realitätinstead ofIdealität
veränderlichinstead ofteilbar
Einsichtinstead ofEinheit
reineninstead ofkeinen
prioriinstead ofposteriori
einerinstead ofseiner
Anleitunginstead ofAbleitung
Antitheseinstead ofThese
eineinstead ofkeine
phaenomenoninstead ofnooumenon
alleinstead ofals
Ungrundinstead ofUrgrund

More perplexing even than these gross mistakes are smaller inaccuracies, such as ihr instead of sie, sie instead of ihn, den instead of dem, noch instead of nach, which frequently form very serious impediments in the right construction of a sentence.

I cannot conclude this preface without an Ave, pia anima to my departed friend, Professor Ludwig Noiré, who encouraged and helped me when, in commemoration of the centenary of its first publication, I undertook the translation of Kant’s Critique. The Introduction which he contributed, his Sketch of the Development of Philosophy from the Eleatics to Kant, seemed to me indeed the most valuable part of my book, and the most likely to remain as a lasting monument of my friend’s comprehensive knowledge and clear understanding of the historical evolution of philosophy. Though it has been left out in this second edition, I hope it may soon be republished as an independent work.

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Introduction Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [1]


[Experience1 is no doubt the first product of our understanding, while employed in fashioning the raw material of our sensations. It is therefore our first instruction, and in its progress so rich in new lessons that the chain of all future generations will never be in want of new information that may be gathered on that field. Nevertheless, experience is by no means the only field to which our understanding can be confined. Experience tells us what is, but not that it must be necessarily as it is, and not otherwise. It therefore never gives us any really general truths, and our reason, which is particularly anxious for that class of knowledge, is roused by it rather than satisfied. General truths, which at the same time Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [2] bear the character of an inward necessity, must be independent of experience, — clear and certain by themselves. They are therefore called knowledge a priori, while what is simply taken from experience is said to be, in ordinary parlance, known a posteriori or empirically only.

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Now it appears, and this is extremely curious, that even with our experiences different kinds of knowledge are mixed up, which must have their origin a priori, and which perhaps serve only to produce a certain connection between our sensuous representations. For even if we remove from experience everything that belongs to the senses, there remain nevertheless certain original concepts, and certain judgments derived from them, which must have had their origin entirely a priori, and independent of all experience, because it is owing to them that we are able, or imagine we are able, to predicate more of the objects of our senses than can be learnt from mere experience, and that our propositions contain real generality and strict necessity, such as mere empirical knowledge can never supply.]

But1 what is still more extraordinary is this, that certain kinds of knowledge leave the field of all possible Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [3] experience, and seem to enlarge the sphere of our judgments beyond the limits of experience by means of concepts to which experience can never supply any corresponding objects.

And it is in this very kind of knowledge which transcends the world of the senses, and where experience can neither guide nor correct us, that reason prosecutes its investigations, which by their importance we consider far more excellent and by their tendency far more elevated than anything the understanding can find in the sphere of phenomena. Nay, we risk rather anything, even at the peril of error, than that we should surrender Edition: current; Page: [3] such investigations, either on the ground of their uncertainty, or from any feeling of indifference or contempt.1

Now it might seem natural that, after we have left the solid ground of experience, we should not at once proceed to erect an edifice with knowledge which we possess without knowing whence it came, and trust to principles the origin of which is unknown, without having made sure of the safety of the foundations by means of careful examination. It would seem natural, I say, that philosophers should first of all have asked the question how the mere understanding could arrive at all this knowledge a priori, and what extent, what truth, and what value it could possess. If we take natural Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [4] to mean what is just and reasonable, then indeed nothing could be more natural. But if we understand by natural what takes place ordinarily, then, on the contrary, nothing is more natural and more intelligible than that this examination should have been neglected for so long a time. For one part of this knowledge, namely, the mathematical, has always been in possession of perfect trustworthiness; and thus produces a favourable presumption with regard to other parts also, although these may be of a totally different nature. Besides, once beyond the precincts of experience, and we are certain that experience can never contradict us, while the charm of enlarging our knowledge is so great that nothing will stop our progress until we encounter a clear contradiction. This can be Edition: current; Page: [4] avoided if only we are cautious in our imaginations, which nevertheless remain what they are, imaginations only. How far we can advance independent of all experience in a priori knowledge is shown by the brilliant example of mathematics. It is true they deal with objects and knowledge so far only as they can be represented in intuition. But this is easily overlooked, because that intuition itself may be given a priori, and be difficult to distinguish from a pure concept. Thus inspirited Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [5] by a splendid proof of the power of reason, the desire of enlarging our knowledge sees no limits. The light dove, piercing in her easy flight the air and perceiving its resistance, imagines that flight would be easier still in empty space. It was thus that Plato left the world of sense, as opposing so many hindrances to our understanding, and ventured beyond on the wings of his ideas into the empty space of pure understanding. He did not perceive that he was making no progress by these endeavours, because he had no resistance as a fulcrum on which to rest or to apply his powers, in order to cause the understanding to advance. It is indeed a very common fate of human reason first of all to finish its speculative edifice as soon as possible, and then only to enquire whether the foundation be sure. Then all sorts of excuses are made in order to assure us as to its solidity, or to decline altogether such a late and dangerous enquiry. The reason why during the time of building we feel free from all anxiety and suspicion and believe in the apparent solidity of our foundation, is this: — A great, perhaps the greatest portion of what our reason finds to do consists in the analysis of our concepts of objects. This gives us a great deal of knowledge which, though it consists in no Edition: current; Page: [5] more man in simplifications and explanations of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [6] what is comprehended in our concepts (though in a confused manner), is yet considered as equal, at least in form, to new knowledge. It only separates and arranges our concepts, it does not enlarge them in matter or contents. As by this process we gain a kind of real knowledge a priori, which progresses safely and usefully, it happens that our reason, without being aware of it, appropriates under that pretence propositions of a totally different character, adding to given concepts new and strange ones a priori, without knowing whence they come, nay without even thinking of such a question. I shall therefore at the very outset treat of the distinction between these two kinds of knowledge.

Of the Distinction between Analytical and Synthetical Judgments

In all judgments in which there is a relation between subject and predicate (I speak of affirmative judgments only, the application to negative ones being easy), that relation can be of two kinds. Either the predicate B belongs to the subject A as something contained (though covertly) in the concept A; or B lies outside the sphere of the concept A, though somehow connected with it. In the former case I call the judgment analytical, in the latter synthetical. Analytical judgments (affirmative) are therefore those in which the connection of the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [7] predicate with the subject is conceived through identity, while others in which that connection is conceived without identity, may be called synthetical. The former might be called illustrating, the latter expanding judgments, because in the former nothing is added by the predicate to the Edition: current; Page: [6] concept of the subject, but the concept is only divided into its constituent concepts which were always conceived as existing within it, though confusedly; while the latter add to the concept of the subject a predicate not conceived as existing within it, and not to be extracted from it by any process of mere analysis. If I say, for instance, All bodies are extended, this is an analytical judgment. I need not go beyond the concept connected with the name of body, in order to find that extension is connected with it. I have only to analyse that concept and become conscious of the manifold elements always contained in it, in order to find that predicate. This is therefore an analytical judgment. But if I say, All bodies are heavy, the predicate is something quite different from what I think as the mere concept of body. The addition of such a predicate gives us a synthetical judgment.

[It becomes clear from this,1

[1. That our knowledge is in no way extended by analytical judgments, but that all they effect is Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [8] to put the concepts which we possess into better order and render them more intelligible.

2. That in synthetical judgments I must have besides the concept of the subject something else (x) on which the understanding relies in order to know that a predicate, not contained in the concept, nevertheless belongs to it.

In empirical judgments this causes no difficulty, because this x is here simply the complete experience of an object which I conceive by the concept A, that concept forming one part only of my experience. For though I do not include the predicate of gravity in the general concept of Edition: current; Page: [7] body, that concept nevertheless indicates the complete experience through one of its parts, so that I may add other parts also of the same experience, all belonging to that concept. I may first, by an analytical process, realise the concept of body through the predicates of extension, impermeability, form, etc., all of which are contained in it. Afterwards I expand my knowledge, and looking back to the experience from which my concept of body was abstracted, I find gravity always connected with the before-mentioned predicates. Experience therefore is the x which lies beyond the concept A, and on which rests the possibility of a synthesis of the predicate of gravity B with the concept A.]

In synthetical judgments a priori, however, that Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [9] help is entirely wanting. If I want to go beyond the concept A in order to find another concept B connected with it, where is there anything on which I may rest and through which a synthesis might become possible, considering that I cannot have the advantage of looking about in the field of experience? Take the proposition that all which happens has its cause. In the concept of something that happens I no doubt conceive of something existing preceded by time, and from this certain analytical judgments may be deduced. But the concept of cause is entirely outside that concept, and indicates something different from that which happens, and is by no means contained in that representation. How can I venture then to predicate of that which happens something totally different from it, and to represent the concept of cause, though not contained in it, as belonging to it, and belonging to it by necessity? What is here the unknown x, on which the understanding may rest in order to find beyond Edition: current; Page: [8] the concept A a foreign predicate B, which nevertheless is believed to be connected with it? It cannot be experience, because the proposition that all which happens has its cause represents this second predicate as added to the subject not only with greater generality than experience can ever supply, but also with a character of necessity, and therefore purely a priori, and based on concepts. All our speculative knowledge a priori aims at and rests on such synthetical, i.e. expanding propositions, for Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [10] the analytical are no doubt very important and necessary, yet only in order to arrive at that clearness of concepts which is requisite for a safe and wide synthesis, serving as a really new addition to what we possess already.

[We1 have here a certain mystery2 before us, which must be cleared up before any advance into the unlimited field of a pure knowledge of the understanding can become safe and trustworthy. We must discover on the largest scale the ground of the possibility of synthetical judgments a priori; we must understand the conditions which render every class of them possible, and endeavour not only to indicate in a sketchy outline, but to define in its fulness and practical completeness, the whole of that knowledge, which forms a class by itself, systematically arranged according to its original sources, its divisions, its extent and its limits. So much for the present with regard to the peculiar character of synthetical judgments.]

It will now be seen how there can be a special Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [11] Edition: current; Page: [9] science serving as a critique of pure reason. [Every kind of knowledge is called pure, if not mixed with anything heterogeneous. But more particularly is that knowledge called absolutely pure, which is not mixed up with any experience or sensation, and is therefore possible entirely a priori.] Reason is the faculty which supplies the principles of knowledge a priori. Pure reason therefore is that faculty which supplies the principles of knowing anything entirely a priori. An Organum of pure reason ought to comprehend all the principles by which pure knowledge a priori can be acquired and fully established. A complete application of such an Organum would give us a System of Pure Reason. But as that would be a difficult task, and as at present it is still doubtful whether and when such an expansion of our knowledge is here possible, we may look on a mere criticism of pure reason, its sources and limits, as a kind of preparation for a complete system of pure reason. It should be called a critique, not a doctrine, of pure reason. Its usefulness would be negative only, serving for a purging rather than for an expansion of our reason, and, what after all is a considerable gain, guarding reason against errors.

I call all knowledge transcendental which is occupied not so much with objects, as with our a priori concepts of objects.1 A system of such concepts might be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [12] called Transcendental Philosophy. But for the present this is again too great an undertaking. We should have to treat therein completely both of analytical knowledge, and of synthetical knowledge a priori, which is more than we intend to do, being satisfied to carry on the analysis so Edition: current; Page: [10] far only as is indispensably necessary in order to recognise in their whole extent the principles of synthesis a priori which alone concern us. This investigation which should be called a transcendental critique, but not a systematic doctrine, is all we are occupied with at present. It is not meant to extend our knowledge, but only to rectify it, and to become the test of the value of all a priori knowledge. Such a critique therefore is a preparation for a New Organum, or, if that should not be possible, for a Canon at least, according to which hereafter a complete system of a philosophy of pure reason, whether it serve for an expansion or merely for a limitation of it, may be carried out, both analytically and synthetically. That such a system is possible, nay that it need not be so comprehensive as to prevent the hope of its completion, may be gathered from the fact that it would have to deal, not with the nature of things, which is endless, but with the understanding which judges of the nature of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [13] things, and this again so far only as its knowledge a priori is concerned. Whatever the understanding possesses a priori, as it has not to be looked for without, can hardly escape our notice, nor is there any reason to suppose that it will prove too extensive for a complete inventory, and for such a valuation as shall assign to it its true merits or demerits.1


Transcendental Philosophy is with us an idea (of a science) only, for which the critique of pure reason should Edition: current; Page: [11] trace, according to fixed principles, an architectonic plan, guaranteeing the completeness and certainty of all parts of which the building consists. (It is a system of all principles of pure reason.)1 The reason why we do not call such a critique a transcendental philosophy in itself is simply this, that in order to be a complete system, it ought to contain likewise a complete analysis of the whole of human knowledge a priori. It is true that our critique must produce a complete list of all the fundamental concepts which constitute pure knowledge. But it need not give a detailed analysis of these concepts, nor a complete list of all derivative concepts. Such an analysis would be out of place, because it is not beset with the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [14] doubts and difficulties which are inherent in synthesis, and which alone necessitate a critique of pure reason. Nor would it answer our purpose to take the responsibility of the completeness of such an analysis and derivation. This completeness of analysis, however, and of derivation from such a priori concepts as we shall have to deal with presently, may easily be supplied, if only they have first been laid down as perfect principles of synthesis, and nothing is wanting to them in that respect.

All that constitutes transcendental philosophy belongs to the critique of pure reason, nay it is the complete idea of transcendental philosophy, but not yet the whole of that philosophy itself, because it carries the analysis so far only as is requisite for a complete examination of synthetical knowledge a priori.

The most important consideration in the arrangement of such a science is that no concepts should be admitted Edition: current; Page: [12] which contain anything empirical, and that the a priori knowledge shall be perfectly pure. Therefore, although the highest principles of morality and their fundamental concepts are a priori knowledge, they do not Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [15] belong to transcendental philosophy, because the concepts of pleasure and pain, desire, inclination, free-will, etc., which are all of empirical origin, must here be presupposed. Transcendental philosophy is the wisdom of pure speculative reason. Everything practical, so far as it contains motives, has reference to sentiments, and these belong to empirical sources of knowledge.

If we wish to carry out a proper division of our science systematically, it must contain first a doctrine of the elements, secondly, a doctrine of the method of pure reason. Each of these principal divisions will have its subdivisions, the grounds of which cannot however be explained here. So much only seems necessary for previous information, that there are two stems of human knowledge, which perhaps may spring from a common root, unknown to us, viz. sensibility and the understanding, objects being given by the former and thought by the latter. If our sensibility should contain a priori representations, constituting conditions under which alone objects can be given, it would belong to transcendental philosophy, and the doctrine of this transcendental sense-perception would necessarily Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [16] form the first part of the doctrine of elements, because the conditions under which alone objects of human knowledge can be given must precede those under which they are thought.

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PART I: Transcendental Æsthetic Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [19]

Whatever the process and the means may be by which knowledge reaches its objects, there is one that reaches them directly, and forms the ultimate material of all thought, viz. intuition (Anschauung). This is possible only when the object is given, and the object can be given only (to human beings at least) through a certain affection of the mind (Gemüth).

This faculty (receptivity) of receiving representations (Vorstellungen), according to the manner in which we are affected by objects, is called sensibility (Sinnlichkeit).

Objects therefore are given to us through our sensibility. Sensibility alone supplies us with intuitions (Anschauungen). These intuitions become thought through the understanding (Verstand), and hence arise conceptions (Begriffe). All thought therefore must, directly or indirectly, go back to intuitions (Anschauungen), i.e. to our sensibility, because in no other way can objects be given to us.

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The effect produced by an object upon the fancy of representation (Vorstellungsfähigkeit), so far as we Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [20] are affected by it, is called sensation (Empfindung). An intuition (Anschauung) of an object, by means of sensation, is called empirical. The undefined object of such an empirical intuition is called phenomenon (Erscheinung).

In a phenomenon I call that which corresponds to the sensation its matter; but that which causes the manifold matter of the phenomenon to be perceived as arranged in a certain order, I call its form.

Now it is clear that it cannot be sensation again through which sensations are arranged and placed in certain forms. The matter only of all phenomena is given us a posteriori; but their form must be ready for them in the mind (Gemüth) a priori, and must therefore be capable of being considered as separate from all sensations.

I call all representations in which there is nothing that belongs to sensation, pure (in a transcendental sense). The pure form therefore of all sensuous intuitions, that form in which the manifold elements of the phenomena are seen in a certain order, must be found in the mind a priori. And this pure form of sensibility may be called the pure intuition (Anschauung).

Thus, if we deduct from the representation (Vorstellung) of a body what belongs to the thinking of the understanding, viz. substance, force, divisibility, etc., and likewise what belongs to sensation, viz. impermeability, hardness, colour, etc., there still remains something Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [21] of that empirical intuition (Anschauung), viz. extension and form. These belong to pure intuition, which a priori, and even without a real object of the senses or of Edition: current; Page: [17] sensation, exists in the mind as a mere form of sensibility.

The science of all the principles of sensibility a priori I call Transcendental Æsthetic.1 There must be such a science, forming the first part of the Elements of Transcendentalism, as opposed to that which treats of the principles of pure thought, and which should be called Transcendental Logic.

In Transcendental Æsthetic therefore we shall Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [22] first isolate sensibility, by separating everything which the understanding adds by means of its concepts, so that nothing remains but empirical intuition (Anschauung).

Secondly, we shall separate from this all that belongs to sensation (Empfindung), so that nothing remains but pure intuition (reine Anschauung) or the mere form of the phenomena, which is the only thing which sensibility a priori can supply. In the course of this investigation it will appear that there are, as principles of a priori knowledge, two pure forms of sensuous intuition (Anschauung), namely, Space and Time. We now proceed to consider these more in detail.

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Section I: Of Space

By means of our external sense, a property of our mind (Gemüth), we represent to ourselves objects as external or outside ourselves, and all of these in space. It is within space that their form, size, and relative position are fixed or can be fixed. The internal sense by means of which the mind perceives itself or its internal state, does not give an intuition (Anschauung) of the soul (Seele) itself, as an object, but it is nevertheless a fixed form under which alone an intuition of its internal state is Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [23] possible, so that whatever belongs to its internal determinations (Bestimmungen) must be represented in relations of time. Time cannot be perceived (angeschaut) externally, as little as space can be perceived as something within us.

What then are space and time? Are they real beings? Or, if not that, are they determinations or relations of things, but such as would belong to them even if they were not perceived? Or lastly, are they determinations and relations which are inherent in the form of intuition only, and therefore in the subjective nature of our mind, without which such predicates as space and time would never be ascribed to anything?

In order to understand this more clearly, let us first consider space.

1. Space is not an empirical concept which has been derived from external experience. For in order that certain sensations should be referred to something outside myself, i.e. to something in a different part of space from that where I am; again, in order that I may be able to Edition: current; Page: [19] represent them (vorstellen) as side by side, that is, not only as different, but as in different places, the representation (Vorstellung) of space must already be there. Therefore the representation of space cannot be borrowed through experience from relations of external phenomena, but, on the contrary, this external experience becomes possible only by means of the representation of space.

2. Space is a necessary representation a priori, forming the very foundation of all external intuitions. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [24] It is impossible to imagine that there should be no space, though one might very well imagine that there should be space without objects to fill it. Space is therefore regarded as a condition of the possibility of phenomena, not as a determination produced by them; it is a representation a priori which necessarily precedes all external phenomena.

[3. On this necessity of an a priori representation of space rests the apodictic certainty of all geometrical principles, and the possibility of their construction a priori. For if the intuition of space were a concept gained a posteriori, borrowed from general external experience, the first principles of mathematical definition would be nothing but perceptions. They would be exposed to all the accidents of perception, and there being but one straight line between two points would not be a necessity, but only something taught in each case by experience. Whatever is derived from experience possesses a relative generality only, based on induction. We should therefore not be able to say more than that, so far as hitherto observed, no space has yet been found having more than three dimensions.]

4. Space is not a discursive or so-called general Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [25] Edition: current; Page: [20] concept of the relations of things in general, but a pure intuition. For, first of all, we can imagine one space only and if we speak of many spaces, we mean parts only of one and the same space. Nor can these parts be considered as antecedent to the one and all-embracing space and, as it were, its component parts out of which an aggregate is formed, but they can be thought of as existing within it only. Space is essentially one; its multiplicity, and therefore the general concept of spaces in general, arises entirely from limitations. Hence it follows that, with respect to space, an intuition a priori, which is not empirical, must form the foundation of all conceptions of space. In the same manner all geometrical principles, e.g. ‘that in every triangle two sides together are greater than the third,’ are never to be derived from the general concepts of side and triangle, but from an intuition, and that a priori, with apodictic certainty.

[5. Space is represented as an infinite quantity. Now a general concept of space, which is found in a foot as well as in an ell, could tell us nothing in respect to the quantity of the space. If there were not infinity in the progression of intuition, no concept of relations of space could ever contain a principle of infinity.1]

Conclusions from the Foregoing Concepts Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [26]

a. Space does not represent any quality of objects by themselves, or objects in their relation to one another; i.e. space does not represent any determination which is inherent in the objects themselves, and would remain, Edition: current; Page: [21] even if all subjective conditions of intuition were removed. For no determinations of objects, whether belonging to them absolutely or in relation to others, can enter into our intuition before the actual existence of the objects themselves, that is to say, they can never be intuitions a priori.

b. Space is nothing but the form of all phenomena of the external senses; it is the subjective condition of our sensibility, without which no external intuition is possible for us. If then we consider that the receptivity of the subject, its capacity of being affected by objects, must necessarily precede all intuition of objects, we shall understand how the form of all phenomena may be given before all real perceptions, may be, in fact, a priori in the soul, and may, as a pure intuition, by which all objects must be determined, contain, prior to all experience, principles regulating their relations.

It is therefore from the human standpoint only that we can speak of space, extended objects, etc. If we drop the subjective condition under which alone we can gain external intuition, that is, so far as we ourselves may be affected by objects, the representation of space means nothing. For this predicate is applied to objects only in so far as they appear to us, and are objects of our Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [27] senses. The constant form of this receptivity, which we call sensibility, is a necessary condition of all relations in which objects, as without us, can be perceived; and, when abstraction is made of these objects, what remains is that pure intuition which we call space. As the peculiar conditions of our sensibility cannot be looked upon as conditions of the possibility of the objects themselves, but only of their appearance as phenomena to us, we may say indeed that space comprehends all things which may Edition: current; Page: [22] appear to us externally, but not all things by themselves, whether perceived by us or not, or by any subject whatsoever. We cannot judge whether the intuitions of other thinking beings are subject to the same conditions which determine our intuition, and which for us are generally binding. If we add the limitation of a judgment to a subjective concept, the judgment gains absolute validity. The proposition ‘all things are beside each other in space,’ is valid only under the limitation that things are taken as objects of our sensuous intuition (Anschauung). If I add that limitation to the concept and say ‘all things, as external phenomena, are beside each other in space,’ the rule obtains universal and unlimited validity. Our discussions teach therefore the reality, i.e. the objective validity, of space with regard to all that can come to us externally Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [28] as an object, but likewise the ideality of space with regard to things, when they are considered in themselves by our reason, and independent of the nature of our senses. We maintain the empirical reality of space, so far as every possible external experience is concerned, but at the same time its transcendental ideality; that is to say, we maintain that space is nothing, if we leave out of consideration the condition of a possible experience, and accept it as something on which things by themselves are in any way dependent.

With the exception of space there is no other subjective representation (Vorstellung) referring to something external, that would be called a priori objective. [This1 subjective condition of all external phenomena cannot therefore be compared to any other. The taste of wine does Edition: current; Page: [23] not belong to the objective determinations of wine, considered as an object, even as a phenomenal object, but to the peculiar nature of the sense belonging to the subject that tastes the wine. Colours are not qualities of a body, though inherent in its intuition, but they are likewise modifications only of the sense of sight, as it is affected in different ways by light. Space, on the contrary, as the very condition of external objects, is essential to their appearance or intuition. Taste and colour are by no means necessary conditions under which alone things Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [29] can become to us objects of sensuous perception. They are connected with their appearance, as accidentally added effects only of our peculiar organisation. They are not therefore representations a priori, but are dependent on sensation (Empfindung), nay taste even on an affection (Gefühl) of pleasure and pain, which is the result of a sensation. No one can have a priori, an idea (Vorstellung) either of colour or of taste, but space refers to the pure form of intuition only, and involves no kind of sensation, nothing empirical; nay all kinds and determinations of space can and must be represented a priori, if concepts of forms and their relations are to arise. Through it alone is it possible that things should become external objects to us.]

My object in what I have said just now is only to prevent people from imagining that they can elucidate the ideality of space by illustrations which are altogether insufficient, such as colour, taste, etc., which should never be considered as qualities of things, but as modifications of the subject, and which therefore may be different with different people. For in this case that which originally is itself a phenomenon only, as for instance, a rose, is taken Edition: current; Page: [24] by the empirical understanding for a thing by itself, which nevertheless, with regard to colour, may appear Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [30] different to every eye. The transcendental conception, on the contrary, of all phenomena in space, is a critical warning that nothing which is seen in space is a thing by itself, nor space a form of things supposed to belong to them by themselves, but that objects by themselves are not known to us at all, and that what we call external objects are nothing but representations of our senses, the form of which is space, and the true correlative of which, that is the thing by itself, is not known, nor can be known by these representations, nor do we care to know anything about it in our daily experience.1

Section II: Of Time

I. Time is not an empirical concept deduced from any experience, for neither coexistence nor succession would enter into our perception, if the representation of time were not given a priori. Only when this representation a priori is given, can we imagine that certain things happen at the same time (simultaneously) or at different times (successively). Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [31]

II. Time is a necessary representation on which all intuitions depend. We cannot take away time from phenomena in general, though we can well take away phenomena out of time. Time therefore is given a priori. In time alone is reality of phenomena possible. All Edition: current; Page: [25] phenomena may vanish, but time itself (as the general condition of their possibility) cannot be done away with.

III. On this a priori necessity depends also the possibility of apodictic principles of the relations of time, or of axioms of time in general. Time has one dimension only; different times are not simultaneous, but successive, while different spaces are never successive, but simultaneous. Such principles cannot be derived from experience, because experience could not impart to them absolute universality nor apodictic certainty. We should only be able to say that common experience teaches us that it is so, but not that it must be so. These principles are valid as rules under which alone experience is possible; they teach us before experience, not by means of experience.1

IV. Time is not a discursive, or what is called a general concept, but a pure form of sensuous intuition. Different times are parts only of one and the same time. Representation, which can be produced by a single Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [32] object only, is called an intuition. The proposition that different times cannot exist at the same time cannot be deduced from any general concept. Such a proposition is synthetical, and cannot be deduced from concepts only. It is contained immediately in the intuition and representation of time.

V. To say that time is infinite means no more than that every definite quantity of time is possible only by limitations of one time which forms the foundation of all times. The original representation of time must therefore be Edition: current; Page: [26] given as unlimited. But when the parts themselves and every quantity of an object can be represented as determined by limitation only, the whole representation cannot be given by concepts (for in that case the partial representations come first), but it must be founded on immediate intuition.1

Conclusions from the foregoing concepts

a. Time is not something existing by itself, or inherent in things as an objective determination of them, something therefore that might remain when abstraction is made of all subjective conditions of intuition. For in the former case it would be something real, without being a real object. In the latter it could not, as a determination Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [33] or order inherent in things themselves, be antecedent to things as their condition, and be known and perceived by means of synthetical propositions a priori. All this is perfectly possible if time is nothing but a subjective condition under which alone2 intuitions take place within us. For in that case this form of internal intuition can be represented prior to the objects themselves, that is, a priori.

b. Time is nothing but the form of the internal sense, that is, of our intuition of ourselves, and of our internal state. Time cannot be a determination peculiar to external phenomena. It refers neither to their shape, nor their position, etc., it only determines the relation of representations in our internal state. And exactly because this internal intuition supplies no shape, we try to make good this deficiency by means of analogies, and represent Edition: current; Page: [27] to ourselves the succession of time by a line progressing to infinity, in which the manifold constitutes a series of one dimension only; and we conclude from the properties of this line as to all the properties of time, with one exception, i.e. that the parts of the former are simultaneous, those of the latter successive. From this it becomes clear also, that the representation of time is itself an intuition, because all its relations can be expressed by means of an external intuition.

c. Time is the formal condition, a priori, of all phenomena whatsoever. Space, as the pure form of all Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [34] external intuition, is a condition, a priori, of external phenomena only. But, as all representations, whether they have for their objects external things or not, belong by themselves, as determinations of the mind, to our inner state, and as this inner state falls under the formal conditions of internal intuition, and therefore of time, time is a condition, a priori, of all phenomena whatsoever, and is so directly as a condition of internal phenomena (of our mind) and thereby indirectly of external phenomena also. If I am able to say, a priori, that all external phenomena are in space, and are determined, a priori, according to the relations of space, I can, according to the principle of the internal sense, make the general assertion that all phenomena, that is, all objects of the senses, are in time, and stand necessarily in relations of time.

If we drop our manner of looking at ourselves internally, and of comprehending by means of that intuition all external intuitions also within our power of representation, and thus take objects as they may be by themselves, then time is nothing. Time has objective validity Edition: current; Page: [28] with reference to phenomena only, because these are themselves things which we accept as objects of our senses; but time is no longer objective, if we Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [35] remove the sensuous character of our intuitions, that is to say, that mode of representation which is peculiar to ourselves, and speak of things in general. Time is therefore simply a subjective condition of our (human) intuition (which is always sensuous, that is so far as we are affected by objects), but by itself, apart from the subject, nothing. Nevertheless, with respect to all phenomena, that is, all things which can come within our experience, time is necessarily objective. We cannot say that all things are in time, because, if we speak of things in general, nothing is said about the manner of intuition, which is the real condition under which time enters into our representation of things. If therefore this condition is added to the concept, and if we say that all things as phenomena (as objects of sensuous intuition) are in time, then such a proposition has its full objective validity and a priori universality.

What we insist on therefore is the empirical reality of time, that is, its objective validity, with reference to all objects which can ever come before our senses. And as our intuition must at all times be sensuous, no object can ever fall under our experience that does not come under the conditions of time. What we deny is, that time has any claim on absolute reality, so that, without Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [36] taking into account the form of our sensuous condition, it should by itself be a condition or quality inherent in things; for such qualities which belong to things by themselves can never be given to us through the senses. This is what constitutes the transcendental ideality of Edition: current; Page: [29] time, so that, if we take no account of the subjective conditions of our sensuous intuitions, time is nothing, and cannot be added to the objects by themselves (without their relation to our intuition) whether as subsisting or inherent. This ideality of time, however, as well as that of space, should not be confounded with the deceptions of our sensations, because in their case we always suppose that the phenomenon to which such predicates belong has objective reality, which is not at all the case here, except so far as this objective reality is purely empirical, that is, so far as the object itself is looked upon as a mere phenomenon. On this subject see a previous note, in section i, on Space.


Against this theory which claims empirical, but denies absolute and transcendental reality to time, even intelligent men have protested so unanimously, that I suppose that every reader who is unaccustomed to these considerations may naturally be of the same opinion. What they object to is this: Changes, they say, are real (this is proved by the change of our own representations, even Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [37] if all external phenomena and their changes be denied). Changes, however, are possible in time only, and therefore time must be something real. The answer is easy enough. I grant the whole argument. Time certainly is something real, namely, the real form of our internal intuition. Time therefore has subjective reality with regard to internal experience: that is, I really have the representation of time and of my determinations in it. Time therefore is to be considered as real, not so far as it is an object, but so far as it is the representation of myself as an object. If either I myself or any other being could Edition: current; Page: [30] see me without this condition of sensibility, then these self-same determinations which we now represent to ourselves as changes, would give us a kind of knowledge in which the representation of time, and therefore of change also, would have no place. There remains therefore the empirical reality of time only, as the condition of all our experience, while absolute reality cannot, according to what has just been shown, be conceded to it. Time is nothing but the form of our own internal intuition.1 Take away the peculiar condition of our sensibility, and the idea of time vanishes, because it is not inherent in the objects, but in the subject only that perceives them. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [38]

The reason why this objection is raised so unanimously, and even by those who have nothing very tangible to say against the doctrine of the ideality of space, is this. They could never hope to prove apodictically the absolute reality of space, because they are confronted by idealism, which has shown that the reality of external objects does not admit of strict proof, while the reality of the object of our internal perceptions (the perception of my own self and of my own status) is clear immediately through our consciousness. The former might be merely phenomenal, but the latter, according to their opinion, is undeniably something real. They did not see that both, without denying to them their reality as representations, belong nevertheless to the phenomenon only, which must always have two sides, the one when the object is considered by itself (without regard to the manner in which it is perceived, Edition: current; Page: [31] its quality therefore remaining always problematical), the other, when the form of the perception of the object is taken into consideration; this form belonging not to the object in itself, but to the subject which perceives it, though nevertheless belonging really and necessarily to the object as a phenomenon.

Time and space are therefore two sources of knowledge from which various a priori synthetical cognitions Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [39] can be derived. Of this pure mathematics give a splendid example in the case of our cognitions of space and its various relations. As they are both pure forms of sensuous intuition, they render synthetical propositions a priori possible. But these sources of knowledge a priori (being conditions of our sensibility only) fix their own limits, in that they can refer to objects only in so far as they are considered as phenomena, but cannot represent things as they are by themselves. That is the only field in which they are valid; beyond it they admit of no objective application. This ideality of space and time, however, leaves the truthfulness of our experience quite untouched, because we are equally sure of it, whether these forms are inherent in things by themselves, or by necessity in our intuition of them only. Those, on the contrary, who maintain the absolute reality of space and time, whether as subsisting or only as inherent, must come into conflict with the principles of experience itself. For if they admit space and time as subsisting (which is generally the view of mathematical students of nature) they have to admit two eternal infinite and self-subsisting nonentities (space and time), which exist without their being anything real, only in order to comprehend all that is real. If they take the second view (held by some metaphysical students Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [40] Edition: current; Page: [32] of nature), and look upon space and time as relations of phenomena, simultaneous or successive, abstracted from experience, though represented confusedly in their abstracted form, they are obliged to deny to mathematical propositions a priori their validity with regard to real things (for instance in space), or at all events their apodictic certainty, which cannot take place a posteriori, while the a priori conceptions of space and time are, according to their opinion, creations of our imagination only. Their source, they hold, must really be looked for in experience, imagination framing out of the relations abstracted from experience something which contains the general character of these relations, but which cannot exist without the restrictions which nature has imposed on them. The former gain so much that they keep at least the sphere of phenomena free for mathematical propositions; but, as soon as the understanding endeavours to transcend that sphere, they become bewildered by these very conditions. The latter have this advantage that they are not bewildered by the representations of space and time when they wish to form judgments of objects, not as phenomena, but only as considered by the understanding; but they can neither account for the possibility of mathematical knowledge a priori (there being, according to them, no true and objectively valid intuition a priori), nor can they bring the laws of experience into true harmony with the a priori doctrines of mathematics. According to our theory of the true character of these original Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [41] forms of sensibility, both difficulties vanish.

Lastly, that transcendental æsthetic cannot contain more than these two elements, namely, space and time, becomes clear from the fact that all other concepts belonging Edition: current; Page: [33] to the senses, even that of motion, which combines both, presuppose something empirical. Motion presupposes the perception of something moving. In space, however, considered by itself, there is nothing that moves. Hence that which moves must be something which, as in space, can be given by experience only, therefore an empirical datum. On the same ground, transcendental æsthetic cannot count the concept of change among its a priori data, because time itself does not change, but only something which is in time. For this, the perception of something existing and of the succession of its determinations, in other words, experience, is required.

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In order to avoid all misapprehensions it will be necessary, first of all, to declare, as clearly as possible, what is our view with regard to the fundamental nature of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [42] sensuous knowledge.

What we meant to say was this, that all our intuition is nothing but the representation of phenomena; that things which we see are not by themselves what we see, nor their relations by themselves such as they appear to us, so that, if we drop our subject or the subjective form of our senses, all qualities, all relations of objects in space and time, nay space and time themselves, would vanish. They cannot, as phenomena, exist by themselves, but in us only. It remains completely unknown to us what objects may be by themselves and apart from the receptivity of our senses. We know nothing but our manner of perceiving them, that manner being peculiar to us, and not necessarily shared in by every being, though, no doubt, by every human being. This is what alone concerns us. Space and time are pure forms of our intuition, while sensation forms its matter. What we can know a priori — before all real intuition, are the forms of space and time, which are therefore called pure intuition, while sensation is that which causes our knowledge to be called a posteriori knowledge, i.e. empirical intuition. Whatever our sensation may be, these forms are necessarily inherent Edition: current; Page: [35] in it, while sensations themselves may be of the most different character. Even if we could impart the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [43] highest degree of clearness to our intuition, we should not come one step nearer to the nature of objects by themselves. We should know our mode of intuition, i.e. our sensibility, more completely, but always under the indefeasible conditions of space and time. What the objects are by themselves would never become known to us, even through the clearest knowledge of that which alone is given us, the phenomenon.

It would vitiate the concept of sensibility and phenomena, and render our whole doctrine useless and empty, if we were to accept the view (of Leibniz and Wolf), that our whole sensibility is really but a confused representation of things, simply containing what belongs to them by themselves, though smothered under an accumulation of signs (Merkmal) and partial concepts, which we do not consciously disentangle. The distinction between confused and well-ordered representation is logical only, and does not touch the contents of our knowledge. Thus the concept of Right, as employed by people of common sense, contains neither more nor less than the subtlest speculation can draw out of it, only that in the ordinary practical use of the word we are not always conscious of the manifold ideas contained in that thought. But no one would say therefore that the ordinary concept of Right was sensuous, containing a mere phenomenon; for Right can never become a phenomenon, being a concept of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [44] the understanding, and representing a moral quality belonging to actions by themselves. The representation of a Body, on the contrary, contains nothing in intuition that could belong to an object by itself, but is merely Edition: current; Page: [36] the phenomenal appearance of something, and the manner in which we are affected by it. This receptivity of our knowledge is called sensibility. Even if we could see to the very bottom of a phenomenon, it would remain for ever altogether different from the knowledge of the thing by itself.

This shows that the philosophy of Leibniz and Wolf has given a totally wrong direction to all investigations into the nature and origin of our knowledge, by representing the difference between the sensible and the intelligible as logical only. That difference is in truth transcendental. It affects not the form only, as being more or less confused, but the origin and contents of our knowledge; so that by our sensibility we know the nature of things by themselves not confusedly only, but not at all. If we drop our subjective condition, the object, as represented with its qualities bestowed on it by sensuous intuition, is nowhere to be found, and cannot possibly be found; because its form, as phenomenal appearance, is determined by those very subjective conditions.

It has been the custom to distinguish in phenomena Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [45] that which is essentially inherent in their intuition and is recognised by every human being, from that which belongs to their intuition accidentally only, being valid not for sensibility in general, but only for a particular position and organisation of this or that sense. In that case the former kind of knowledge is said to represent the object by itself, the latter its appearance only. But that distinction is merely empirical. If, as generally happens, people are satisfied with that distinction, without again, as they ought, treating the first empirical intuition as purely phenomenal also, in which nothing can be found Edition: current; Page: [37] belonging to the thing by itself, our transcendental distinction is lost, and we believe that we know things by themselves, though in the world of sense, however far we may carry our investigation, we can never have anything before us but mere phenomena. To give an illustration. People might call the rainbow a mere phenomenal appearance during a sunny shower, but the rain itself the thing by itself. This would be quite right, physically speaking, and taking rain as something which, in our ordinary experience and under all possible relations to our senses, can be determined thus and thus only in our intuition. But if we take the empirical in general, and ask, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [46] without caring whether it is the same with every particular observer, whether it represents a thing by itself (not the drops of rain, for these are already, as phenomena, empirical objects), then the question as to the relation between the representation and the object becomes transcendental, and not only the drops are mere phenomena, but even their round shape, nay even the space in which they fall, are nothing by themselves, but only modifications or fundamental dispositions of our sensuous intuition, the transcendental object remaining unknown to us.

The second important point in our transcendental æsthetic is, that it should not only gain favour as a plausible hypothesis, but assume as certain and undoubted a character as can be demanded of any theory which is to serve as an organum. In order to make this certainty self-evident we shall select a case which will make its validity palpable.

Let us suppose that space and time are in themselves objective, and conditions of the possibility of things by themselves. Now there is with regard to both a large Edition: current; Page: [38] number of a priori apodictic and synthetical propositions, and particularly with regard to space, which for this reason we shall chiefly investigate here as an illustration. As the propositions of geometry are known synthetically a priori, and with apodictic certainty, I ask, whence do you take such propositions? and what does the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [47] understanding rely on in order to arrive at such absolutely necessary and universally valid truths? There is no other way but by concepts and intuitions, and both as given either a priori or a posteriori. The latter, namely empirical concepts, as well as the empirical intuition on which they are founded, cannot yield any synthetical propositions except such as are themselves also empirical only, that is, empirical propositions, which can never possess that necessity and absolute universality which are characteristic of all geometrical propositions. As to the other and only means of arriving at such knowledge through mere concepts or intuitions a priori, it must be clear that only analytical, but no synthetical knowledge can ever be derived from mere concepts. Take the proposition that two straight lines cannot enclose a space and cannot therefore form a figure, and try to deduce it from the concept of straight lines and the number two; or take the proposition that with three straight lines it is possible to form a figure, and try to deduce that from those concepts. All your labour will be lost, and in the end you will be obliged to have recourse to intuition, as is always done in geometry. You then give yourselves an object in intuition. But of what kind is it? Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [48] Is it a pure intuition a priori or an empirical one? In the latter case, you would never arrive at a universally valid, still less at an apodictic proposition, because experience Edition: current; Page: [39] can never yield such. You must therefore take the object as given a priori in intuition, and found your synthetical proposition on that. If you did not possess in yourselves the power of a priori intuition, if that subjective condition were not at the same time, as to the form, the general condition a priori under which alone the object of that (external) intuition becomes possible, if, in fact, the object (the triangle) were something by itself without any reference to you as the subject, how could you say that what exists necessarily in your subjective conditions of constructing a triangle, belongs of necessity to the triangle itself? For you could not add something entirely new (the figure) to your concepts of three lines, something which should of necessity belong to the object, as that object is given before your knowledge of it, and not by it. If therefore space, and time also, were not pure forms of your intuition, which contains the a priori conditions under which alone things can become external objects to you, while, without that subjective condition, they are nothing, you could not predicate anything of external objects a priori and synthetically. It is therefore beyond the reach of doubt, and not possible Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [49] only or probable, that space and time, as the necessary conditions of all experience, external and internal, are purely subjective conditions of our intuition, and that, with reference to them, all things are phenomena only, and not things thus existing by themselves in such or such wise. Hence, so far as their form is concerned, much may be predicated of them a priori, but nothing whatever of the things by themselves on which these phenomena may be grounded.1

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PART II: Transcendental Logic Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [50]


I: Of Logic in General

Our knowledge springs from two fundamental sources of our soul; the first receives representations (receptivity of impressions), the second is the power of knowing an object by these representations (spontaneity of concepts). By the first an object is given us, by the second the object is thought, in relation to that representation which is a mere determination of the soul. Intuition therefore and concepts constitute the elements of all our knowledge, so that neither concepts without an intuition corresponding to them, nor intuition without concepts can yield any real knowledge.

Both are either pure or empirical. They are empirical when sensation, presupposing the actual presence of the Edition: current; Page: [41] object, is contained in it. They are pure when no sensation is mixed up with the representation. The latter may be called the material of sensuous knowledge. Pure intuition therefore contains the form only by which Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [51] something is seen, and pure conception the form only by which an object is thought. Pure intuitions and pure concepts only are possible a priori, empirical intuitions and empirical concepts a posteriori.

We call sensibility the receptivity of our soul, or its power of receiving representations whenever it is in any wise affected, while the understanding, on the contrary, is with us the power of producing representations, or the spontaneity of knowledge. We are so constituted that our intuition must always be sensuous, and consist of the mode in which we are affected by objects. What enables us to think the objects of our sensuous intuition is the understanding. Neither of these qualities or faculties is preferable to the other. Without sensibility objects would not be given to us, without understanding they would not be thought by us. Thoughts without contents are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind. Therefore it is equally necessary to make our concepts sensuous, i.e. to add to them their object in intuition, as to make our intuitions intelligible, [Editor: illegible word.] bring them under concepts. These two powers or faculties cannot exchange their functions. The understanding cannot see, the senses cannot think. By their union only can knowledge be produced. But this is no reason for confounding the share which belongs to each in the production of knowledge. On the contrary, they should always Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [52] be carefully separated and distinguished, and we have therefore divided the science of the rules of sensibility Edition: current; Page: [42] in general, i.e. æsthetic, from the science of the rules of the understanding in general, i.e. logic.

Logic again can be taken in hand for two objects, either as logic of the general or of a particular use of the understanding. The former contains all necessary rules of thought without which the understanding cannot be used at all. It treats of the understanding without any regard to the different objects to which it may be directed. Logic of the particular use of the understanding contains rules how to think correctly on certain classes of objects. The former may be called Elementary Logic, the latter the Organum of this or that science. The latter is generally taught in the schools as a preparation for certain sciences, though, according to the real progress of the human understanding, it is the latest achievement, which does not become possible till the science itself is really made, and requires only a few touches for its correction and completion. For it is clear that the objects themselves must be very well known before it is possible to give rules according to which a science of them may be established.

General logic is either pure or applied. In the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [53] former no account is taken of any empirical conditions under which our understanding acts, i.e. of the influence of the senses, the play of imagination, the laws of memory, the force of habit, the inclinations, and therefore the sources of prejudice also, nor of anything which supplies or seems to supply particular kinds of knowledge; for all this applies to the understanding under certain circumstances of its application only, and requires experience as a condition of knowledge. General but pure logic has to deal with principles a priori only, and is a canon of the understanding and of reason, though with reference to its Edition: current; Page: [43] formal application only, irrespective of any contents, whether empirical or transcendental. General logic is called applied, if it refers to the rules of the use of our understanding under the subjective empirical conditions laid down in psychology. It therefore contains empirical principles, yet it is general, because referring to the use of the understanding, whatever its objects may be. It is neither a canon of the understanding in general nor an organum of any particular science, but simply a catharticon of the ordinary understanding.

In general logic, therefore, that part which is to constitute the science of pure reason must be entirely separated from that which forms applied, but for all Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [54] that still general logic. The former alone is a real science, though short and dry, as a practical exposition of an elementary science of the understanding ought to be. In this logicians should never lose sight of two rules:—

1. As general logic it takes no account of the contents of the knowledge of the understanding nor of the difference of its objects. It treats of nothing but the mere form of thought.

2. As pure logic it has nothing to do with empirical principles, and borrows nothing from psychology (as some have imagined); psychology, therefore, has no influence whatever on the canon of the understanding. It proceeds by way of demonstration, and everything in it must be completely a priori.

What I call applied logic (contrary to common usage according to which it contains certain exercises on the rules of pure logic) is a representation of the understanding and of the rules according to which it is necessarily Edition: current; Page: [44] applied in concreto, i.e. under the accidental conditions of the subject, which may hinder or help its application, and are all given empirically only. It treats of attention, its impediments and their consequences, the sources of error, the states of doubt, hesitation, and conviction, etc., and general and pure logic stands to it in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [55] the same relation as pure ethics, which treat only of the necessary moral laws of a free will, to applied ethics, which consider these laws as under the influence of sentiments, inclinations, and passions to which all human beings are more or less subject. This can never constitute a true and demonstrated science, because, like applied logic, it depends on empirical and psychological principles.

II: Of Transcendental Logic

General logic, as we saw, takes no account of the contents of knowledge, i.e. of any relation between it and its objects, and considers the logical form only in the relation of cognitions to each other, that is, it treats of the form of thought in general. But as we found, when treating of Transcendental Æsthetic, that there are pure as well as empirical intuitions, it is possible that a similar distinction might appear between pure and empirical thinking. In this case we should have a logic in which the contents of knowledge are not entirely ignored, for such a logic which should contain the rules of pure thought only, would exclude only all knowledge of a merely empirical character. It would also treat of the origin of our knowledge of objects, so far as that origin cannot be attributed Edition: current; Page: [45] to the objects, while general logic is not at all Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [56] concerned with the origin of our knowledge, but only considers representations (whether existing originally a priori in ourselves or empirically given to us), according to the laws followed by the understanding, when thinking and treating them in their relation to each other. It is confined therefore to the form imparted by the understanding to the representations, whatever may be their origin.

And here I make a remark which should never be lost sight of, as it extends its influence on all that follows. Not every kind of knowledge a priori should be called transcendental (i.e. occupied with the possibility or the use of knowledge a priori), but that only by which we know that and how certain representations (intuitional or conceptual) can be used or are possible a priori only. Neither space nor any a priori geometrical determination of it is a transcendental representation; but that knowledge only is rightly called transcendental which teaches us that these representations cannot be of empirical origin, and how they can yet refer a priori to objects of experience. The application of space to objects in general would likewise be transcendental, but, if restricted to objects of sense, it is empirical. The distinction between transcendental Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [57] and empirical belongs therefore to the critique of knowledge, and does not affect the relation of that knowledge to its objects.

On the supposition therefore that there may be concepts, having an a priori reference to objects, not as pure or sensuous intuitions, but as acts of pure thought, being concepts in fact, but neither of empirical nor æsthetic origin, we form by anticipation an idea of a science of that knowledge which belongs to the pure understanding Edition: current; Page: [46] and reason, and by which we may think objects entirely a priori. Such a science, which has to determine the origin, the extent, and the objective validity of such knowledge, might be called Transcendental Logic, having to deal with the laws of the understanding and reason in so far only as they refer a priori to objects, and not, as general logic, in so far as they refer promiscuously to the empirical as well as to the pure knowledge of reason.

III: Of the Division of General Logic into Analytic and Dialectic

What is truth? is an old and famous question by which people thought they could drive logicians into a corner, and either make them take refuge in a mere circle,1 or make them confess their ignorance and consequently Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [58] the vanity of their whole art. The nominal definition of truth, that it is the agreement of the cognition with its object, is granted. What is wanted is to know a general and safe criterion of the truth of any and every kind of knowledge.

It is a great and necessary proof of wisdom and sagacity to know what questions may be reasonably asked. For if a question is absurd in itself and calls for an answer where there is no answer, it does not only throw disgrace on the questioner, but often tempts an uncautious listener into absurd answers, thus presenting, as the ancients said, the spectacle of one person milking a he-goat, and of another holding the sieve.

If truth consists in the agreement of knowledge with Edition: current; Page: [47] its object, that object must thereby be distinguished from other objects; for knowledge is untrue if it does not agree with its object, though it contains something which may be affirmed of other objects. A general criterium of truth ought really to be valid with regard to every kind of knowledge, whatever the objects may be. But it is clear, as no account is thus taken of the contents of knowledge (relation to its object), while truth concerns these very contents, that it is impossible and absurd to ask Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [59] for a sign of the truth of the contents of that knowledge, and that therefore a sufficient and at the same time general mark of truth cannot possibly be found. As we have before called the contents of knowledge its material, it will be right to say that of the truth of the knowledge, so far as its material is concerned, no general mark can be demanded, because it would be self-contradictory.

But, when we speak of knowledge with reference to its form only, without taking account of its contents, it is equally clear that logic, as it propounds the general and necessary rules of the understanding, must furnish in these rules criteria of truth. For whatever contradicts those rules is false, because the understanding would thus contradict the general rules of thought, that is, itself. These criteria, however, refer only to the form of truth or of thought in general. They are quite correct so far, but they are not sufficient. For although our knowledge may be in accordance with logical rule, that is, may not contradict itself, it is quite possible that it may be in contradiction with its object. Therefore the purely logical criterium of truth, namely, the agreement of knowledge with the general and formal laws of the understanding and reason, is no doubt a conditio sine Edition: current; Page: [48] qua non, or a negative condition of all truth. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [60] But logic can go no further, and it has no test for discovering error with regard to the contents, and not the form, of a proposition.

General logic resolves the whole formal action of the understanding and reason into its elements, and exhibits them as principles for all logical criticism of our knowledge. This part of logic may therefore be called Analytic, and is at least a negative test of truth, because all knowledge must first be examined and estimated, so far as its form is concerned, according to these rules, before it is itself tested according to its contents, in order to see whether it contains positive truth with regard to its object. But as the mere form of knowledge, however much it may be in agreement with logical laws, is far from being sufficient to establish the material or objective truth of our knowledge, no one can venture with logic alone to judge of objects, or to make any assertion, without having first collected, apart from logic, trustworthy information, in order afterwards to attempt its application and connection in a coherent whole according to logical laws, or, still better, merely to test it by them. However, there is something so tempting in this specious art of giving to all our knowledge the form of the understanding, though being utterly ignorant Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [61] as to the contents thereof, that general logic, which is meant to be a mere canon of criticism, has been employed as if it were an organum, for the real production of at least the semblance of objective assertions, or, more truly, has been misemployed for that purpose. This general logic, which assumes the semblance of an organum, is called Dialectic.

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Different as are the significations in which the ancients used this name of a science or art, it is easy to gather from its actual employment that with them it was nothing but a logic of semblance. It was a sophistic art of giving to one’s ignorance, nay, to one’s intentional casuistry, the outward appearance of truth, by imitating the accurate method which logic always requires, and by using its topic as a cloak for every empty assertion. Now it may be taken as a sure and very useful warning that general logic, if treated as an organum, is always an illusive logic, that is, dialectical. For as logic teaches nothing with regard to the contents of knowledge, but lays down the formal conditions only of an agreement with the understanding, which, so far as the objects are concerned, are totally indifferent, any attempt at using it as an organum in order to extend and enlarge our knowledge, at least in appearance, can end in nothing but mere talk, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [62] by asserting with a certain plausibility anything one likes, or, if one likes, denying it.

Such instruction is quite beneath the dignity of philosophy. Therefore the title of Dialectic has rather been added to logic, as a critique of dialectical semblance; and it is in that sense that we also use it.

IV: Of the Division of Transcendental Logic into Transcendental Analytic and Dialectic

In transcendental logic we isolate the understanding, as before in transcendental æsthetic the sensibility, and fix our attention on that part of thought only which has its origin entirely in the understanding. The application of Edition: current; Page: [50] this pure knowledge has for its condition that objects are given in intuition, to which it can be applied, for without intuition all our knowledge would be without objects, and it would therefore remain entirely empty. That part of transcendental logic therefore which teaches the elements of the pure knowledge of the understanding, and the principles without which no object can be thought, is transcendental Analytic, and at the same time a logic of truth. No knowledge can contradict it without losing at the same time all contents, that is, all relation to any Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [63] object, and therefore all truth. But as it is very tempting to use this pure knowledge of the understanding and its principles by themselves, and even beyond the limits of all experience, which alone can supply the material or the objects to which those pure concepts of the understanding can be applied, the understanding runs the risk of making, through mere sophisms, a material use of the purely formal principles of the pure understanding, and thus of judging indiscriminately of objects which are not given to us, nay, perhaps can never be given. As it is properly meant to be a mere canon for criticising the empirical use of the understanding, it is a real abuse if it is allowed as an organum of its general and unlimited application, by our venturing, with the pure understanding alone, to judge synthetically of objects in general, or to affirm and decide anything about them. In this case the employment of the pure understanding would become dialectical.

The second part of transcendental logic must therefore form a critique of that dialectical semblance, and is called transcendental Dialectic, not as an art of producing dogmatically such semblance (an art but too popular with many metaphysical jugglers), but as a critique of the Edition: current; Page: [51] understanding and reason with regard to their hyperphysical employment, in order thus to lay bare the false semblance of its groundless pretensions, and to Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [64] reduce its claims to discovery and expansion, which was to be achieved by means of transcendental principles only, to a mere critique, serving as a protection of the pure understanding against all sophistical illusions.

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Division I: Transcendental Analytic in two books, with their chapters and sections

Transcendental Analytic consists in the dissection of all our knowledge a priori into the elements which constitute the knowledge of the pure understanding. Four points are here essential: first, that the concepts should be pure and not empirical; secondly, that they should not belong to intuition and sensibility, but to thought and understanding; thirdly, that the concepts should be elementary and carefully distinguished from derivative or composite concepts; fourthly, that our tables should be complete and that they should cover the whole field of the pure understanding.

This completeness of a science cannot be confidently accepted on the strength of a mere estimate, or by means of repeated experiments only; what is required for it is an idea of the totality of the a priori knowledge of the understanding, and a classification of the concepts based Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [65] upon it; in fact, a systematic treatment. Pure understanding must be distinguished, not merely from all that is empirical, but even from all sensibility. It constitutes therefore a unity independent in itself, self-sufficient, and not to be increased by any additions from without. The sum of its knowledge must constitute a system, comprehended Edition: current; Page: [53] and determined by one idea, and its completeness and articulation must form the test of the correctness and genuineness of its component parts.

This part of transcendental logic consists of two books, the one containing the concepts, the other the principles of pure understanding.

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By Analytic of concepts I do not understand their analysis, or the ordinary process in philosophical disquisitions of dissecting any given concepts according to their contents, and thus rendering them more distinct; but a hitherto seldom attempted dissection of the faculty of the understanding itself, with the sole object of discovering the possibility of concepts a priori, by looking for them nowhere but in the understanding itself Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [66] as their birthplace, and analysing the pure use of the understanding. This is the proper task of a transcendental philosophy, all the rest is mere logical treatment of concepts. We shall therefore follow up the pure concepts to their first germs and beginnings in the human understanding, in which they lie prepared, till at last, on the occasion of experience, they become developed, and are represented by the same understanding in their full purity, freed from all inherent empirical conditions.

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When we watch any faculty of knowledge, different concepts, characteristic of that faculty, manifest themselves according to different circumstances, which, as the observation has been carried on for a longer or shorter time, or with more or less accuracy, may be gathered up into a more or less complete collection. Where this collection will be complete, it is impossible to say beforehand, when we follow this almost mechanical process. Concepts thus discovered fortuitously only, possess neither order nor systematic unity, but Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [67] are paired in the end according to similarities, and, according to their contents, arranged as more or less complex in various series, which are nothing less than systematical, though to a certain extent put together methodically.

Transcendental philosophy has the advantage, but also the duty of discovering its concepts according to a fixed principle. As they spring pure and unmixed from the understanding as an absolute unity, they must be connected with each other, according to one concept or idea. This connection supplies us at the same time with a rule, according to which the place of each pure concept of the understanding and the systematical completeness Edition: current; Page: [56] of all of them can be determined a priori, instead of being dependent on arbitrary choice or chance.

Section I: Of the Logical Use of the Understanding in General

We have before defined the understanding negatively only, as a non-sensuous faculty of knowledge. As without sensibility we cannot have any intuition, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [68] it is clear that the understanding is not a faculty of intuition. Besides intuition, however, there is no other kind of knowledge except by means of concepts. The knowledge therefore of every understanding, or at least of the human understanding, must be by means of concepts, not intuitive, but discursive. All intuitions, being sensuous, depend on affections, concepts on functions. By this function I mean the unity of the act of arranging different representations under one common representation. Concepts are based therefore on the spontaneity of thought, sensuous intuitions on the receptivity of impressions. The only use which the understanding can make of these concepts is to form judgments by them. As no representation, except the intuitional, refers immediately to an object, no concept is ever referred to an object immediately, but to some other representation of it, whether it be an intuition, or itself a concept. A judgment is therefore a mediate knowledge of an object, or a representation of a representation of it. In every judgment we find a concept applying to many, and comprehending Edition: current; Page: [57] among the many one single representation, which is referred immediately to the object. Thus in the judgment that all bodies are divisible,1 the concept of divisible applies to various other concepts, but is here applied in particular to the concept of body, and this concept of body to certain phenomena of our experience. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [69] These objects therefore are represented mediately by the concept of divisibility. All judgments therefore are functions of unity among our representations, the knowledge of an object being brought about, not by an immediate representation, but by a higher one, comprehending this and several others, so that many possible cognitions are collected into one. As all acts of the understanding can be reduced to judgments, the understanding may be defined as the faculty of judging. For we saw before that the understanding is the faculty of thinking, and thinking is knowledge by means of concepts, while concepts, as predicates of possible judgments, refer to some representation of an object yet undetermined. Thus the concept of body means something, for instance, metal, which can be known by that concept. It is only a concept, because it comprehends other representations, by means of which it can be referred to objects. It is therefore the predicate of a possible judgment, such as, that every metal is a body. Thus the functions of the understanding can be discovered in their completeness, if it is possible to represent the functions of unity in judgments. That this is possible will be seen in the following section.

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Section II: Of the Logical Function of the Understanding in Judgments Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [70]

If we leave out of consideration the contents of any judgment and fix our attention on the mere form of the understanding, we find that the function of thought in a judgment can be brought under four heads, each of them with three subdivisions. They may be represented in the following table:—

Quantity of Judgments

As this classification may seem to differ in some, though not very essential points, from the usual technicalities of logicians, the following reservations against any Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [71] possible misunderstanding will not be out of place.

1. Logicians are quite right in saying that in using judgments in syllogisms, singular judgments may be Edition: current; Page: [59] treated like universal ones. For as they have no extent at all, the predicate cannot refer to part only of that which is contained in the concept of the subject, and be excluded from the rest. The predicate is valid therefore of that concept, without any exception, as if it were a general concept, having an extent to the whole of which the predicate applies. But if we compare a singular with a general judgment, looking only at the quantity of knowledge conveyed by it, the singular judgment stands to the universal judgment as unity to infinity, and is therefore essentially different from it. It is therefore, when we consider a singular judgment (judicium singulare), not only according to its own validity, but according to the quantity of knowledge which it conveys, as compared with other kinds of knowledge, that we see how different it is from general judgments (judicia communia), and how well it deserves a separate place in a complete table of the varieties of thought in general, though not in a logic limited to the use of judgments in reference to each other.

2. In like manner infinite judgments must, in transcendental logic, be distinguished from affirmative ones, though in general logic they are properly classed together, and do not constitute a separate part in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [72] the classification. General logic takes no account of the contents of the predicate (though it be negative), it only asks whether the predicate be affirmed or denied. Transcendental logic, on the contrary, considers a judgment according to the value also or the contents of a logical affirmation by means of a purely negative predicate, and asks how much is gained by that affirmation, with reference to the sum total of knowledge. If I had said of the soul, that it is not mortal, I should, by means of a negative Edition: current; Page: [60] judgment, have at least warded off an error. Now it is true that, so far as the logical form is concerned, I have really affirmed by saying that the soul is non-mortal, because I thus place the soul in the unlimited sphere of non-mortal beings. As the mortal forms one part of the whole sphere of possible beings, the non-mortal the other, I have said no more by my proposition than that the soul is one of the infinite number of things which remain, when I take away all that is mortal. But by this the infinite sphere of all that is possible becomes limited only in so far that all that is mortal is excluded from it, and that afterwards the soul is placed in the remaining part of its original extent. This part, however, even after its limitation, still remains infinite, and several more parts of it may be taken away without extending thereby in the least the concept of the soul, or affirmatively determining Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [73] it. These judgments, therefore, though infinite in respect to their logical extent, are, with respect to their contents, limitative only, and cannot therefore be passed over in a transcendental table of all varieties of thought in judgments, it being quite possible that the function of the understanding exercised in them may become of great importance in the field of its pure a priori knowledge.

3. The following are all the relations of thought in judgments:—

a. Relation of the predicate to the subject.

b. Relation of the cause to its effect.

c. Relation of subdivided knowledge, and of the collected members of the subdivision to each other.

In the first class of judgments we consider two concepts, in the second two judgments, in the third several Edition: current; Page: [61] judgments in their relation to each other. The hypothetical proposition, if perfect justice exists, the obstinately wicked is punished, contains really the relation of two propositions, namely, there is a perfect justice, and the obstinately wicked is punished. Whether both these propositions are true remains unsettled. It is only the consequence which is laid down by this judgment.

The disjunctive judgment contains the relation of two or more propositions to each other, but not as a consequence, but in the form of a logical opposition, the sphere of the one excluding the sphere of the other, and at the same time in the form of community, all the propositions together filling the whole sphere of the intended knowledge. The disjunctive judgment contains therefore Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [74] a relation of the parts of the whole sphere of a given knowledge, in which the sphere of each part forms the complement of the sphere of the other, all being contained within the whole sphere of the subdivided knowledge. We may say, for instance, the world exists either by blind chance, or by internal necessity, or by an external cause. Each of these sentences occupies a part of the sphere of all possible knowledge with regard to the existence of the world, while all together occupy the whole sphere. To take away the knowledge from one of these spheres is the same as to place it into one of the other spheres, and to place it in one sphere is the same as to take it away from the others. There exists therefore in disjunctive judgments a certain community of the different divisions of knowledge, so that they mutually exclude each other, and yet thereby determine in their totality the true knowledge, because, if taken together, they constitute the whole contents of one given knowledge. This is all Edition: current; Page: [62] I have to observe here for the sake of what is to follow hereafter.

4. The modality of judgments is a very peculiar function, for it contributes nothing to the contents of a judgment (because, besides quantity, quality, and relation, there is nothing else that could constitute the contents of a judgment), but refers only to the nature of the copula in relation to thought in general. Problematical judgments are those in which affirmation or negation are taken as possible (optional) only, while in assertory judgments affirmation or negation is taken as real (true), in apodictic as necessary.1 Thus the two judgments, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [75] the relation of which constitutes the hypothetical judgment (antecedens et consequens) and likewise the judgments the reciprocal relation of which forms the disjunctive judgment (members of subdivision), are always problematical only. In the example given above, the proposition, there exists a perfect justice, is not made as an assertory, but only as an optional judgment, which may be accepted or not, the consequence only being assertory. It is clear therefore that some of these judgments may be wrong, and may yet, if taken problematically, contain the conditions of the knowledge of truth. Thus, in our disjunctive judgment, one of its component judgments, namely, the world exists by blind chance, has a problematical meaning only, on the supposition that some one might for one moment take such a view, but serves, at the same time, like the indication of a false road among all the roads that might be taken, to find out the true one. Edition: current; Page: [63] The problematical proposition is therefore that which expresses logical (not objective) possibility only, that is, a free choice of admitting such a proposition, and a purely optional admission of it into the understanding. The assertory proposition implies logical reality or truth. Thus, for instance, in a hypothetical syllogism the antecedens in the major is problematical, in the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [76] minor assertory, showing that the proposition conforms to the understanding according to its laws. The apodictic proposition represents the assertory as determined by these very laws of the understanding, and therefore as asserting a priori, and thus expresses logical necessity. As in this way everything is arranged step by step in the understanding, inasmuch as we begin with judging problematically, then proceed to an assertory acceptation, and finally maintain our proposition as inseparably united with the understanding, that is as necessary and apodictic, we may be allowed to call these three functions of modality so many varieties or momenta of thought.

Section III: Of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, or of the Categories

General logic, as we have often said, takes no account of the contents of our knowledge, but expects that representations will come from elsewhere in order to be turned into concepts by an analytical process. Transcendental logic, on the contrary, has before it the manifold contents Edition: current; Page: [64] of sensibility a priori, supplied by transcendental Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [77] æsthetic as the material for the concepts of the pure understanding, without which those concepts would be without any contents, therefore entirely empty. It is true that space and time contain what is manifold in the pure intuition a priori, but they belong also to the conditions of the receptivity of our mind under which alone it can receive representations of objects, and which therefore must affect the concepts of them also. The spontaneity of our thought requires that what is manifold in the pure intuition should first be in a certain way examined, received, and connected, in order to produce a knowledge of it. This act I call synthesis.

In its most general sense, I understand by synthesis the act of arranging different representations together, and of comprehending what is manifold in them under one form of knowledge. Such a synthesis is pure, if the manifold is not given empirically, but a priori (as in time and space). Before we can proceed to an analysis of our representations, these must first be given, and, as far as their contents are concerned, no concepts can arise analytically. Knowledge is first produced by the synthesis of what is manifold (whether given empirically or a priori). That knowledge may at first be crude and confused and in need of analysis, but it is synthesis which really collects the elements of knowledge, and unites them to a certain extent. It is therefore the first thing which we Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [78] have to consider, if we want to form an opinion on the first origin of our knowledge.

We shall see hereafter that synthesis in general is the mere result of what I call the faculty of imagination, a blind but indispensable function of the soul, without Edition: current; Page: [65] which we should have no knowledge whatsoever, but of the existence of which we are scarcely conscious. But to reduce this synthesis to concepts is a function that belongs to the understanding, and by which the understanding supplies us for the first time with knowledge properly so called.

Pure synthesis in its most general meaning gives us the pure concept of the understanding. By this pure synthesis I mean that which rests on the foundation of what I call synthetical unity a priori. Thus our counting (as we best perceive when dealing with higher numbers) is a synthesis according to concepts, because resting on a common ground of unity, as for instance, the decade. The unity of the synthesis of the manifold becomes necessary under this concept.

By means of analysis different representations are brought under one concept, a task treated of in general logic; but how to bring, not the representations, but the pure synthesis of representations, under concepts, that is what transcendental logic means to teach. The first that must be given us a priori for the sake of knowledge of all objects, is the manifold in pure intuition. The second is, the synthesis of the manifold by means of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [79] imagination. But this does not yet produce true knowledge. The concepts which impart unity to this pure synthesis and consist entirely in the representation of this necessary synthetical unity, add the third contribution towards the knowledge of an object, and rest on the understanding.

The same function which imparts unity to various representations in one judgment imparts unity likewise to the mere synthesis of various representations in one intuition, Edition: current; Page: [66] which in a general way may be called the pure concept of the understanding. The same understanding, and by the same operations by which in concepts it achieves through analytical unity the logical form of a judgment, introduces also, through the synthetical unity of the manifold in intuition, a transcendental element into its representations. They are therefore called pure concepts of the understanding, and they refer a priori to objects, which would be quite impossible in general logic.

In this manner there arise exactly so many pure concepts of the understanding which refer a priori to objects of intuition in general, as there were in our table logical functions in all possible judgments, because those functions completely exhaust the understanding, and comprehend every one of its faculties. Borrowing a term of Aristotle, we shall call these concepts categories, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [80] our intention being originally the same as his, though widely diverging from it in its practical application.

Of Quantity
Of QualityOf Relation
Reality.Of Inherence and Subsistence (substantia et accidens).
Negation.Of Causality and Dependence (cause and effect).
Limitation.Of Community (reciprocity between the active and the passive).
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Of Modality
Possibility. Impossibility.
Existence. Non-existence.
Necessity. Contingency.

This then is a list of all original pure concepts of synthesis, which belong to the understanding a priori, and for which alone it is called pure understanding; for it is by them alone that it can understand something in the manifold of intuition, that is, think an object in it. The classification is systematical, and founded on a common principle, namely, the faculty of judging (which is the same as the faculty of thinking). It is not the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [81] result of a search after pure concepts undertaken at haphazard, the completeness of which, as based on induction only, could never be guaranteed. Nor could we otherwise understand why these concepts only, and no others, abide in the pure understanding. It was an enterprise worthy of an acute thinker like Aristotle to try to discover these fundamental concepts; but as he had no guiding principle he merely picked them up as they occurred to him, and at first gathered up ten of them, which he called categories or predicaments. Afterwards he thought he had discovered five more of them, which he added under the name of post-predicaments. But his table remained imperfect for all that, not to mention that we find in it some modes of pure sensibility (quando, ubi, situs, also prius, simul), also an empirical concept (motus), none of which can belong to this genealogical register of the understanding. Besides, there are some derivative concepts, counted among the fundamental concepts (actio, passio), while some of the latter are entirely wanting.

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With regard to these, it should be remarked that the categories, as the true fundamental concepts of the pure understanding, have also their pure derivative concepts. These could not be passed over in a complete system of transcendental philosophy, but in a merely critical Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [82] essay the mention of the fact may suffice.

I should like to be allowed to call these pure but derivative concepts of the understanding the predicabilia, in opposition to the predicamenta of the pure understanding. If we are once in possession of the fundamental and primitive concepts, it is easy to add the derivative and secondary, and thus to give a complete image of the genealogical tree of the pure understanding. As at present I am concerned not with the completeness, but only with the principles of a system, I leave this supplementary work for a future occasion. In order to carry it out, one need only consult any of the ontological manuals, and place, for instance, under the category of causality the predicabilia of force, of action, and of passion; under the category of community the predicabilia of presence and resistance; under the predicaments of modality the predicabilia of origin, extinction, change, etc. If we associate the categories among themselves or with the modes of pure sensibility, they yield us a large number of derivative concepts a priori, which it would be useful and interesting to mark and, if possible, to bring to a certain completeness, though this is not essential for our present purpose.

I intentionally omit here the definitions of these categories, though I may be in possession of them.1 In the Edition: current; Page: [69] sequel I shall dissect these concepts so far as is Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [83] sufficient for the purpose of the method which I am preparing. In a complete system of pure reason they might be justly demanded, but at present they would only make us lose sight of the principal object of our investigation, by rousing doubts and objections which, without injury to our essential object, may well be relegated to another time. The little I have said ought to be sufficient to show clearly that a complete dictionary of these concepts with all requisite explanations is not only possible, but easy. The compartments exist; they have only to be filled, and with a systematic topic like the present the proper place to which each concept belongs cannot easily be missed, nor compartments be passed over which are still empty.1

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Section I: Of the Principles of a Transcendental Deduction in General

Jurists, when speaking of rights and claims, distinguish in every lawsuit the question of right (quid juris) from the question of fact (quid facti), and in demanding proof of both they call the former, which is to show the right or, it may be, the claim, the deduction. We, not being jurists, make use of a number of empirical concepts, without opposition from anybody, and consider ourselves justified, without any deduction, in attaching to them a sense or imaginary meaning, because we can always appeal to experience to prove their objective reality. There exist however illegitimate concepts also, such as, for instance, chance, or fate, which through an almost general indulgence are allowed to be current, but are yet from time to time challenged by the question quid juris. In that case we are greatly embarrassed in looking for their deduction, there being no clear legal title, whether Edition: current; Page: [71] from experience or from reason, on which their Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [85] claim to employment could be clearly established.

Among the many concepts, however, which enter into the complicated code of human knowledge, there are some which are destined for pure use a priori, independent of all experience, and such a claim requires at all times a deduction,1 because proofs from experience would not be sufficient to establish the legitimacy of such a use, though it is necessary to know how much concepts can refer to objects which they do not find in experience. I call the explanation of the manner how such concepts can a priori refer to objects their transcendental deduction, and distinguish it from the empirical deduction which shows the manner how a concept may be gained by experience and by reflection on experience; this does not touch the legitimacy, but only the fact whence the possession of the concept arose.

We have already become acquainted with two totally distinct classes of concepts, which nevertheless agree in this, that they both refer a priori to objects, namely, the concepts of space and time as forms of sensibility, and the categories as concepts of the understanding. It would be labour lost to attempt an empirical deduction of them, because their distinguishing characteristic is that they refer to objects without having borrowed anything from experience for their representation. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [86] If therefore a deduction of them is necessary, it can only be transcendental.

It is possible, however, with regard to these concepts, as with regard to all knowledge, to try to discover in Edition: current; Page: [72] experience, if not the principle of their possibility, yet the contingent causes of their production. And here we see that the impressions of the senses give the first impulse to the whole faculty of knowledge with respect to them, and thus produce experience which consists of two very heterogeneous elements, namely, matter for knowledge, derived from the senses, and a certain form according to which it is arranged, derived from the internal source of pure intuition and pure thought, first brought into action by the former, and then producing concepts. Such an investigation of the first efforts of our faculty of knowledge, beginning with single perceptions and rising to general concepts, is no doubt very useful, and we have to thank the famous Locke for having been the first to open the way to it. A deduction of the pure concepts a priori, however, is quite impossible in that way. It lies in a different direction, because, with reference to their future use, which is to be entirely independent of experience, a very different certificate of birth will be required from that of mere descent from experience. We may call this attempted physiological derivation (which cannot properly be called deduction, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [87] because it refers to a quaestio facti), the explanation of the possession of pure knowledge. It is clear therefore that of these pure concepts a priori a transcendental deduction only is possible, and that to attempt an empirical deduction of them is mere waste of time, which no one would think of except those who have never understood the very peculiar nature of that kind of knowledge.

But though it may be admitted that the only possible deduction of pure knowledge a priori must be transcendental, it has not yet been proved that such a deduction Edition: current; Page: [73] is absolutely necessary. We have before, by means of a transcendental deduction, followed up the concepts of space and time to their very sources, and explained and defined their objective validity a priori. Geometry, however, moves along with a steady step, through every kind of knowledge a priori, without having to ask for a certificate from philosophy as to the pure legitimate descent of its fundamental concept of space. But it should be remarked that in geometry this concept is used with reference to the outer world of sense only, of which space is the pure form of intuition, and where geometrical knowledge, being based on a priori intuition, possesses immediate evidence, the objects being given, so far as their form is concerned, through their very knowledge a priori in intuition. When we come, however, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [88] to the pure concepts of the understanding, it becomes absolutely necessary to look for a transcendental deduction, not only for them, but for space also, because they, not being founded on experience, apply to objects generally, without any of the conditions of sensibility; and, speaking of objects, not through predicates of intuition and sensibility, but of pure thought a priori, are not able to produce in intuition a priori any object on which, previous to all experience, their synthesis was founded. These concepts of pure understanding, therefore, not only excite suspicion with regard to the objective validity and the limits of their own application, but render even the concept of space equivocal, because of an inclination to apply it beyond the conditions of sensuous intuition, which was the very reason that made a transcendental deduction of it, such as we gave before, necessary. Before the reader has made a single step in the field of Edition: current; Page: [74] pure reason, he must be convinced of the inevitable necessity of such a transcendental deduction, otherwise he would walk on blindly and, after having strayed in every direction, he would only return to the same ignorance from which he started. He must at the same time perceive the inevitable difficulty of such a deduction, so that he may not complain about obscurity where the object itself is obscure, or weary too soon with our removal of obstacles, the fact being that we have Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [89] either to surrender altogether all claims to the knowledge of pure reason — the most favourite field of all philosophers, because extending beyond the limits of all possible experience — or to bring this critical investigation to perfection.

It was easy to show before, when treating of the concepts of space and time, how these, though being knowledge a priori, refer necessarily to objects, and how they make a synthetical knowledge of them possible, which is independent of all experience. For, as no object can appear to us, that is, become an object of empirical intuition, except through such pure forms of sensibility, space and time are pure intuitions which contain a priori the conditions of the possibility of objects as phenomena, and the synthesis in these intuitions possesses objective validity.

The categories of the understanding, on the contrary, are not conditions under which objects can be given in intuition, and it is quite possible therefore that objects should appear to us without any necessary reference to the functions of the understanding, thus showing that the understanding contains by no means any of their conditions a priori. There arises therefore here a difficulty, which we did not meet with in the field of sensibility, Edition: current; Page: [75] namely, how subjective conditions of thought can have objective validity, that is, become conditions of the possibility of the knowledge of objects. It cannot be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [90] denied that phenomena may be given in intuition without the functions of the understanding. For if we take, for instance, the concept of cause, which implies a peculiar kind of synthesis, consisting in placing according to a rule after something called A something totally different from it, B, we cannot say that it is a priori clear why phenomena should contain something of this kind. We cannot appeal for it to experience, because what has to be proved is the objective validity of this concept a priori. It would remain therefore a priori doubtful whether such a concept be not altogether empty, and without any corresponding object among phenomena. It is different with objects of sensuous intuition. They must conform to the formal conditions of sensibility existing a priori in the mind, because otherwise they could in no way be objects to us. But why besides this they should conform to the conditions which the understanding requires for the synthetical unity of thought, does not seem to follow quite so easily. For we could quite well imagine that phenomena might possibly be such that the understanding should not find them conforming to the conditions of its synthetical unity, and all might be in such confusion that nothing should appear in the succession of phenomena which could supply a rule of synthesis, and correspond, for instance, to the concept of cause and effect, so that this concept would thus be quite empty, null, and meaningless. With all this phenomena would offer objects to our intuition, because intuition by itself does not require the functions Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [91] of thought.

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It might be imagined that we could escape from the trouble of these investigations by saying that experience offers continually examples of such regularity of phenomena as to induce us to abstract from it the concept of cause, and it might be attempted to prove thereby the objective validity of such a concept. But it ought to be seen that in this way the concept of cause cannot possibly arise, and that such a concept ought either to be founded a priori in the understanding or be surrendered altogether as a mere hallucination. For this concept requires strictly that something, A, should be of such a nature that something else, B, follows from it necessarily and according to an absolutely universal rule. Phenomena no doubt supply us with cases from which a rule becomes possible according to which something happens usually, but never so that the result should be necessary. There is a dignity in the synthesis of cause and effect which cannot be expressed empirically, for it implies that the effect is not only an accessory to the cause, but given by it and springing from it. Nor is the absolute universality of the rule a quality inherent in empirical rules, which by means of induction cannot receive any but a relative universality, that Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [92] is, a more or less extended applicability. If we were to treat the pure concepts of the understanding as merely empirical products, we should completely change their character and their use.

Transition to a Transcendental Deduction of the Categories

Two ways only are possible in which synthetical representations and their objects can agree, can refer to each other with necessity, and so to say meet each other. Either it is the object alone that makes the representation Edition: current; Page: [77] possible, or it is the representation alone that makes the object possible. In the former case their relation is empirical only, and the representation therefore never possible a priori. This applies to phenomena with reference to whatever in them belongs to sensation. In the latter case, though representation by itself (for we do not speak here of its1 causality by means of the will) cannot produce its object so far as its existence is concerned, nevertheless the representation determines the object a priori, if through it alone it is possible to know anything as an object. To know a thing as an object is possible only under two conditions. First, there must be intuition by which the object is given us, though as a phenomenon only, secondly, there must be a concept by which Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [93] an object is thought as corresponding to that intution. From what we have said before it is clear that the first condition, namely, that under which alone objects can be seen, exists, so far as the form of intuition is concerned, in the soul a priori. All phenomena therefore must conform to that formal condition of sensibility, because it is through it alone that they appear, that is, that they are given and empirically seen.

Now the question arises whether there are not also antecedent concepts. a priori, forming conditions under which alone something can be, if not seen, yet thought as an object in general; for in that case all empirical knowledge of objects would necessarily conform to such concepts, it being impossible that anything should become an object of experience without them. All experience contains, besides the intuition of the senses by which something Edition: current; Page: [78] is given, a concept also of the object, which is given in intuition as a phenomenon. Such concepts of objects in general therefore must form conditions a priori of all knowledge produced by experience, and the objective validity of the categories, as being such concepts a priori, rests on this very fact that by them alone, so far as the form of thought is concerned, experience becomes possible. If by them only it is possible to think any object of experience, it follows that they refer by necessity and a priori to all objects of experience.

There is therefore a principle for the transcendental Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [94] deduction of all concepts a priori which must guide the whole of our investigation, namely, that all must be recognized as conditions a priori of the possibility of experience, whether of intuition, which is found in it, or of thought. Concepts which supply the objective ground of the possibility of experience are for that very reason necessary. An analysis of the experience in which they are found would not be a deduction, but a mere illustration, because they would there have an accidental character only. Nay, without their original relation to all possible experience in which objects of knowledge occur, their relation to any single object would be quite incomprehensible.

[There are three original sources, or call them faculties or powers of the soul, which contain the conditions of the possibility of all experience, and which themselves cannot be derived from any other faculty, namely, sense, imagination, and apperception. On them is founded —

1. The synopsis of the manifold a priori through the senses.

2. The synthesis of this manifold through the imagination.

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3. The unity of that synthesis by means of original apperception.

Besides their empirical use all these faculties have a transcendental use also, referring to the form only and possible a priori. With regard to the senses we have discussed that transcendental use in the first part, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [95] and we shall now proceed to an investigation of the remaining two, according to their true nature.1]

Section II: Of the a priori Grounds for the Possibility of Experience

[That a concept should be produced entirely a priori and yet refer to an object, though itself neither belonging to the sphere of possible experience, nor consisting of the elements of such an experience, is self-contradictory and impossible. It would have no contents, because no intuition corresponds to it, and intuitions by which objects are given to us constitute the whole field or the complete object of possible experience. An a priori concept therefore not referring to experience would be the logical form only of a concept, but not the concept itself by which something is thought.

If therefore there exist any pure concepts a priori, though they cannot contain anything empirical, they must nevertheless all be conditions a priori of a possible experience, on which alone their objective reality depends.

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If therefore we wish to know how pure concepts of the understanding are possible, we must try to find out what are the conditions a priori on which the possibility Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [96] of experience depends, nay, on which it is founded, apart from all that is empirical in phenomena. A concept expressing this formal and objective condition of experience with sufficient generality might properly be called a pure concept of the understanding. If we once have these pure concepts of the understanding, we may also imagine objects which are either impossible, or, if not impossible in themselves, yet can never be given in any experience. We have only in the connection of those concepts to leave out something which necessarily belongs to the conditions of a possible experience (concept of a spirit), or to extend pure concepts of the understanding beyond what can be reached by experience (concept of God). But the elements of all knowledge a priori, even of gratuitous and preposterous fancies, though not borrowed from experience (for in that case they would not be knowledge a priori) must nevertheless contain the pure conditions a priori of a possible experience and its object, otherwise not only would nothing be thought by them, but they themselves, being without data, could never arise in our mind.

Such concepts, then, which comprehend the pure thinking a priori involved in every experience, are discovered in the categories, and it is really a sufficient deduction of them and a justification of their objective validity, if we succeed in proving that by them alone an object Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [97] can be thought. But as in such a process of thinking more is at work than the faculty of thinking only, namely, the understanding, and as the understanding, as a faculty Edition: current; Page: [81] of knowledge which is meant to refer to objects, requires quite as much an explanation as to the possibility of such a reference, it is necessary for us to consider the subjective sources which form the foundation a priori for the possibility of experience, not according to their empirical, but according to their transcendental character.

If every single representation stood by itself, as if isolated and separated from the others, nothing like what we call knowledge could ever arise, because knowledge forms a whole of representations connected and compared with each other. If therefore I ascribe to the senses a synopsis, because in their intuition they contain something manifold, there corresponds to it always a synthesis, and receptivity can make knowledge possible only when joined with spontaneity. This spontaneity, now, appears as a threefold synthesis which must necessarily take place in every kind of knowledge, namely, first, that of the apprehension of representations as modifications of the soul in intuition, secondly, of the reproduction of them in the imagination, and, thirdly, that of their recognition in concepts. This leads us to three subjective sources of knowledge which render possible the understanding, and through it all experience as an empirical product of the understanding. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [98]

Preliminary Remark

The deduction of the categories is beset with so many difficulties and obliges us to enter so deeply into the first grounds of the possibility of our knowledge in general, that I thought it more expedient, in order to avoid the lengthiness of a complete theory, and yet to omit nothing in so essential an investigation, to add the following four Edition: current; Page: [82] paragraphs with a view of preparing rather than instructing the reader. After that only I shall in the third section proceed to a systematical discussion of these elements of the understanding. Till then the reader must not allow himself to be frightened by a certain amount of obscurity which at first is inevitable on a road never trodden before, but which, when we come to that section, will give way, I hope, to a complete comprehension.

I: Of the Synthesis of Apprehension in Intuition

Whatever the origin of our representations may be, whether they be due to the influence of external things or to internal causes, whether they have arisen a priori or empirically as phenomena, as modifications of the mind they must always belong to the internal Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [99] sense, and all our knowledge must therefore finally be subject to the formal condition of that internal sense, namely, time, in which they are all arranged, joined, and brought into certain relations to each other. This is a general remark which must never be forgotten in all that follows.

Every representation contains something manifold, which could not be represented as such, unless the mind distinguished the time in the succession of one impression after another; for as contained in one moment, each representation can never be anything but absolute unity. In order to change this manifold into a unity of intuition (as, for instance, in the representation of space), it is necessary first to run through the manifold and then to hold it together. It is this Edition: current; Page: [83] act which I call the synthesis of apprehension, because it refers directly to intuition which no doubt offers something manifold, but which, without a synthesis, can never make it such, as it is contained in one representation.

This synthesis of apprehension must itself be carried out a priori also, that is, with reference to representations which are not empirical. For without it we should never be able to have the representations either of space or time a priori, because these cannot be produced except Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [100] by a synthesis of the manifold which the senses offer in their original receptivity. It follows therefore that we have a pure synthesis of apprehension.

II: Of the Synthesis of Reproduction in Imagination

It is no doubt nothing but an empirical law according to which representations which have often followed or accompanied one another, become associated in the end and so closely united that, even without the presence of the object, one of these representations will, according to an invariable law, produce a transition of the mind to the other. This law of reproduction, however, presupposes that the phenomena themselves are really subject to such a rule, and that there is in the variety of these representations a sequence and concomitancy subject to certain rules; for without this the faculty of empirical imagination would never find anything to do that it is able to do, and remain therefore buried within our mind as a dead faculty, unknown to ourselves. If cinnabar were sometimes red and sometimes black, sometimes light and sometimes heavy, if a man could be changed now into Edition: current; Page: [84] this, now into another animal shape, if on the longest day the fields were sometimes covered with fruit, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [101] sometimes with ice and snow, the faculty of my empirical imagination would never be in a position, when representing red colour, to think of heavy cinnabar. Nor, if a certain name could be given sometimes to this, sometimes to that object, or if that the same object could sometimes be called by one, and sometimes by another name, without any rule to which representations are subject by themselves, would it be possible that any empirical synthesis of reproduction should ever take place.

There must therefore be something to make this reproduction of phenomena possible by being itself the foundation a priori of a necessary synthetical unity of them. This becomes clear if we only remember that all phenomena are not things by themselves, but only the play of our representations, all of which are in the end determinations only of the internal sense. If therefore we could prove that even our purest intuitions a priori give us no knowledge, unless they contain such a combination of the manifold as to render a constant synthesis of reproduction possible, it would follow that this synthesis of the imagination is, before all experience, founded on principles a priori, and that we must admit a pure transcendental synthesis of imagination which forms even the foundation of the possibility of all experience, such experience being impossible without the reproductibility of phenomena. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [102] Now, when I draw a line in thought, or if I think the time from one noon to another, or if I only represent to myself a certain number, it is clear that I must first necessarily apprehend one of these manifold representations after another. If I were to lose from my Edition: current; Page: [85] thoughts what precedes, whether the first parts of a line or the antecedent portions of time, or the numerical unities representing one after the other, and if, while I proceed to what follows, I were unable to reproduce what came before, there would never be a complete representation, and none of the before-mentioned thoughts, not even the first and purest representations of space and time, could ever arise within us.

The synthesis of apprehension is therefore inseparably connected with the synthesis of reproduction, and as the former constitutes the transcendental ground of the possibility of all knowledge in general (not only of empirical, but also of pure a priori knowledge), it follows that a reproductive synthesis of imagination belongs to the transcendental acts of the soul. We may therefore call this faculty the transcendental faculty of imagination.

III: Of the Synthesis of Recognition in Concepts Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [103]

Without our being conscious that what we are thinking now is the same as what we thought a moment before, all reproduction in the series of representations would be vain. Each representation would, in its present state, be a new one, and in no wise belonging to the act by which it was to be produced by degrees, and the manifold in it would never form a whole, because deprived of that unity which consciousness alone can impart to it. If in counting I forget that the unities which now present themselves to my mind have been added gradually one to the other, I should not know the production of the quantity by the successive addition of one to one, nor should I know consequently Edition: current; Page: [86] the number, produced by the counting, this number being a concept consisting entirely in the consciousness of that unity of synthesis.

The very word of concept (Begriff) could have suggested this remark, for it is the one consciousness which unites the manifold that has been perceived successively, and afterwards reproduced into one representation. This consciousness may often be very faint, and we may connect it with the effect only, and not with the act itself, i.e. with the production of a representation. But in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [104] spite of this, that consciousness, though deficient in pointed clearness, must always be there, and without it, concepts, and with them, knowledge of objects are perfectly impossible.

And here we must needs arrive at a clear understanding of what we mean by an object of representations. We said before that phenomena are nothing but sensuous representations, which therefore by themselves must not be taken for objects outside our faculty of representation. What then do we mean if we speak of an object corresponding to, and therefore also different from our knowledge? It is easy to see that such an object can only be conceived as something in general = x: because, beside our knowledge, we have absolutely nothing which we could put down as corresponding to that knowledge.

Now we find that our conception of the relation of all knowledge to its object contains something of necessity, the object being looked upon as that which prevents our knowledge from being determined at haphazard, and causes it to be determined a priori in a certain way, because, as they are all to refer to an object, they must necessarily, with regard to that object, agree with each Edition: current; Page: [87] other, that is to say, possess that unity which Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [105] constitutes the concept of an object.

It is clear also that, as we can only deal with the manifold in our representations, and as the x corresponding to them (the object), since it is to be something different from all our representations, is really nothing to us, it is clear, I say, that the unity, necessitated by the object, cannot be anything but the formal unity of our consciousness in the synthesis of the manifold in our representations. Then and then only do we say that we know an object, if we have produced synthetical unity in the manifold of intuition. Such unity is impossible, if the intuition could not be produced, according to a rule, by such a function of synthesis as makes the reproduction of the manifold a priori necessary, and a concept in which that manifold is united, possible. Thus we conceive a triangle as an object, if we are conscious of the combination of three straight lines, according to a rule, which renders such an intuition possible at all times. This unity of rule determines the manifold and limits it to conditions which render the unity of apperception possible, and the concept of that unity is really the representation of the object = x, which I think, by means of the predicates of a triangle.

No knowledge is possible without a concept, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [106] however obscure or imperfect it may be, and a concept is always, with regard to its form, something general, something that can serve as a rule. Thus the concept of body serves as a rule to our knowledge of external phenomena, according to the unity of the manifold which is thought by it. It can only be such a rule of intuitions because representing, in any given phenomena, the necessary reproduction of their manifold elements, or the synthetical Edition: current; Page: [88] unity in our consciousness of them. Thus the concept of body, whenever we perceive something outside us, necessitates the representation of extension, and, with it, those of impermeability, shape, etc.

Necessity is always founded on transcendental conditions. There must be therefore a transcendental ground of the unity of our consciousness in the synthesis of the manifold of all our intuitions, and therefore also a transcendental ground of all concepts of objects in general, and therefore again of all objects of experience, without which it would be impossible to add to our intuitions the thought of an object, for the object is no more than that something of which the concept predicates such a necessity of synthesis.

That original and transcendental condition is nothing else but what I call transcendental apperception. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [107] The consciousness of oneself, according to the determinations of our state, is, with all our internal perceptions, empirical only, and always transient. There can be no fixed or permanent self in that stream of internal phenomena. It is generally called the internal sense, or the empirical apperception. What is necessarily to be represented as numerically identical with itself, cannot be thought as such by means of empirical data only. It must be a condition which precedes all experience, and in fact renders it possible, for thus only could such a transcendental supposition acquire validity.

No knowledge can take place in us, no conjunction or unity of one kind of knowledge with another, without that unity of consciousness which precedes all data of intuition, and without reference to which no representation of objects is possible. This pure, original, and unchangeable consciousness I shall call transcendental apperception. Edition: current; Page: [89] That it deserves such a name may be seen from the fact that even the purest objective unity, namely, that of the concepts a priori (space and time), is possible only by a reference of all intuitions to it. The numerical unity of that apperception therefore forms the a priori condition of all concepts, as does the manifoldness of space and time of the intuitions of the senses.

The same transcendental unity of apperception Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [108] constitutes, in all possible phenomena which may come together in our experience, a connection of all these representations according to laws. For that unity of consciousness would be impossible, if the mind, in the knowledge of the manifold, could not become conscious of the identity of function, by which it unites the manifold synthetically in one knowledge. Therefore the original and necessary consciousness of the identity of oneself is at the same time a consciousness of an equally necessary unity of the synthesis of all phenomena according to concepts, that is, according to rules, which render them not only necessarily reproducible, but assign also to their intuition an object, that is, a concept of something in which they are necessarily united. The mind could never conceive the identity of itself in the manifoldness of its representations (and this a priori) if it did not clearly perceive the identity of its action, by which it subjects all synthesis of apprehension (which is empirical) to a transcendental unity, and thus renders its regular coherence a priori possible. When we have clearly perceived this, we shall be able to determine more accurately our concept of an object in general. All representations have, as representations, their object, and can themselves in turn become objects of other representations. The only objects which Edition: current; Page: [90] can be given to us immediately are phenomena, and whatever in them refers immediately to the object is Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [109] called intuition. These phenomena, however, are not things in themselves, but representations only which have their object, but an object that can no longer be seen by us, and may therefore be called the not-empirical, that is, the transcendental object, = x.

The pure concept of such a transcendental object (which in reality in all our knowledge is always the same = x) is that which alone can give to all our empirical concepts a relation to an object or objective reality. That concept cannot contain any definite intuition, and can therefore refer to that unity only, which must be found in the manifold of our knowledge, so far as it stands in relation to an object. That relation is nothing else but a necessary unity of consciousness, and therefore also of the synthesis of the manifold, by a common function of the mind, which unites it in one representation. As that unity must be considered as a priori necessary (because, without it, our knowledge would be without an object), we may conclude that the relation to a transcendental object, that is, the objective reality of our empirical knowledge, rests on a transcendental law, that all phenomena, if they are to give us objects, must be subject to rules Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [110] a priori of a synthetical unity of these objects, by which rules alone their mutual relation in an empirical intuition becomes possible: that is, they must be subject, in experience, to the conditions of the necessary unity of apperception quite as much as, in mere intuition, to the formal conditions of space and time. Without this no knowledge is possible.

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IV: Preliminary Explanation of the Possibility of the Categories as Knowledge a priori

There is but one experience in which all perceptions are represented as in permanent and regular connection, as there is but one space and one time in which all forms of phenomena and all relations of being or not being take place. If we speak of different experiences, we only mean different perceptions so far as they belong to one and the same general experience. It is the permanent and synthetical unity of perceptions that constitutes the form of experience, and experience is nothing but the synthetical unity of phenomena according to concepts.

Unity of synthesis, according to empirical concepts, would be purely accidental, nay, unless these Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [111] were founded on a transcendental ground of unity, a whole crowd of phenomena might rush into our soul, without ever forming real experience. All relation between our knowledge and its objects would be lost at the same time, because that knowledge would no longer be held together by general and necessary laws; it would therefore become thoughtless intuition, never knowledge, and would be to us the same as nothing.

The conditions a priori of any possible experience in general are at the same time conditions of the possibility of any objects of our experience. Now I maintain that the categories of which we are speaking are nothing but the conditions of thought which make experience possible, as much as space and time contain the conditions of that intuition which forms experience. These categories therefore Edition: current; Page: [92] are also fundamental concepts by which we think objects in general for the phenomena, and have therefore a priori objective validity. This is exactly what we wish to prove.

The possibility, nay the necessity of these categories rests on the relation between our whole sensibility, and therefore all possible phenomena, and that original apperception in which everything must be necessarily subject to the conditions of the permanent unity of self-consciousness, that is, must submit to the general functions Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [112] of that synthesis which we call synthesis according to concepts, by which alone our apperception can prove its permanent and necessary identity a priori. Thus the concept of cause is nothing but a synthesis of that which follows in temporal succession, with other phenomena, but a synthesis according to concepts: and without such a unity which rests on a rule a priori, and subjects all phenomena to itself, no permanent and general, and therefore necessary unity of consciousness would be formed in the manifold of our perceptions. Such perceptions would then belong to no experience at all, they would be without an object, a blind play of representations, — less even than a dream.

All attempts therefore at deriving those pure concepts of the understanding from experience, and ascribing to them a purely empirical origin, are perfectly vain and useless. I shall not dwell here on the fact that a concept of cause, for instance, contains an element of necessity, which no experience can ever supply, because experience, though it teaches us that after one phenomenon something else follows habitually, can never teach us that it follows necessarily, nor that we could a priori, and without any Edition: current; Page: [93] limitation, derive from it, as a condition, any conclusion as to what must follow. And thus I ask with reference to that empirical rule of association, which must always be admitted if we say that everything in the succession of events is so entirely subject to rules that nothing Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [113] ever happens without something preceding it on which it always follows, — What does it rest on, if it is a law of nature, nay, how is that very association possible? You call the ground for the possibility of the association of the manifold, so far as it is contained in the objects themselves, the affinity of the manifold. I ask, therefore, how do you make that permanent affinity by which phenomena stand, nay, must stand, under permanent laws, conceivable to yourselves?

According to my principles it is easily conceivable. All possible phenomena belong, as representations, to the whole of our possible self-consciousness. From this, as a transcendental representation, numerical identity is inseparable and a priori certain, because nothing can become knowledge except by means of that original apperception. As this identity must necessarily enter into the synthesis of the whole of the manifold of phenomena, if that synthesis is to become empirical knowledge, it follows that the phenomena are subject to conditions a priori to which their synthesis (in apprehension) must always conform. The representation of a general condition according to which something manifold can be arranged (with uniformity) is called a rule, if it must be so arranged, a law. All phenomena therefore stand in a permanent connection according to necessary laws, and thus possess Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [114] that transcendental affinity of which the empirical is a mere consequence.

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It sounds no doubt very strange and absurd that nature should have to conform to our subjective ground of apperception, nay, be dependent on it, with respect to her laws. But if we consider that what we call nature is nothing but a whole of phenomena, not a thing by itself, but a number of representations in our soul, we shall no longer be surprised that we only see her through the fundamental faculty of all our knowledge, namely, the transcendental apperception, and in that unity without which it could not be called the object (or the whole) of all possible experience, that is, nature. We shall thus also understand why we can recognise this unity a priori, and therefore as necessary, which would be perfectly impossible if it were given by itself and independent of the first sources of our own thinking. In that case I could not tell whence we should take the synthetical propositions of such general unity of nature. They would have to be taken from the objects of nature themselves, and as this could be done empirically only, we could derive from it none but an accidental unity, which is very different from that necessary connection which we mean when speaking of nature.

Section III: Of the Relation of the Understanding to Objects in General, and the Possibility of Knowing Them a priori Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [115]

What in the preceding section we have discussed singly and separately we shall now try to treat in connection with each other and as a whole. We saw that there are three subjective sources of knowledge on Edition: current; Page: [95] which the possibility of all experience and of the knowledge of its objects depends, namely, sense, imagination, and apperception. Each of them may be considered as empirical in its application to given phenomena; all, however, are also elements or grounds a priori which render their empirical application possible. Sense represents phenomena empirically in perception, imagination in association (and reproduction), apperception in the empirical consciousness of the identity of these reproductive representations with the phenomena by which they were given; therefore in recognition.

The whole of our perception rests a priori on pure intuition (if the perception is regarded as representation, then on time, as the form of our internal intuition), the association of it (the whole) on the pure syn- Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [116] thesis of imagination, and our empirical consciousness of it on pure apperception, that is, on the permanent identity of oneself in the midst of all possible representations.

If we wish to follow up the internal ground of this connection of representations to that point towards which they must all converge, and where they receive for the first time that unity of knowledge which is requisite for every possible experience, we must begin with pure apperception. Intuitions are nothing to us, and do not concern us in the least, if they cannot be received into our consciousness, into which they may enter either directly or indirectly. Knowledge is impossible in any other way. We are conscious a priori of our own permanent identity with regard to all representations that can ever belong to our knowledge, as forming a necessary condition of the possibility of all Edition: current; Page: [96] representations (because these could not represent anything in me, unless they belonged with everything else to one consciousness and could at least be connected within it). This principle stands firm a priori, and may be called the transcendental principle of the unity of all the manifold of our representations (therefore also of intuition). This unity of the manifold in one subject is synthetical; the pure apperception therefore supplies us with a principle of the synthetical unity of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [117] the manifold in all possible intuitions.1

This synthetical unity, however, presupposes Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [118] or involves a synthesis, and if that unity is necessary a priori, the synthesis also must be a priori. The transcendental unity of apperception therefore refers to the pure synthesis of imagination as a condition a priori of Edition: current; Page: [97] the possibility of the manifold being united in one knowledge. Now there can take place a priori the productive synthesis of imagination only, because the reproductive rests on conditions of experience. The principle therefore of the necessary unity of the pure (productive) synthesis of imagination, before all apperception, constitutes the ground of the possibility of all knowledge, nay, of all experience.

The synthesis of the manifold in imagination is called transcendental, if, without reference to the difference of intuitions, it affects only the a priori conjunction of the manifold; and the unity of that synthesis is called transcendental if, with reference to the original unity of apperception, it is represented as a priori necessary. As the possibility of all knowledge depends on the unity of that apperception, it follows that the transcendental unity of the synthesis of imagination is the pure form of all possible knowledge through which therefore all objects of possible experience must be represented a priori.

This unity of apperception with reference to Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [119] the synthesis of imagination is the understanding, and the same unity with reference to the transcendental synthesis of the imagination, the pure understanding. It must be admitted therefore that there exist in the understanding pure forms of knowledge a priori, which contain the necessary unity of the pure synthesis of the imagination in reference to all possible phenomena. These are the categories, that is, the pure concepts of the understanding. The empirical faculty of knowledge of man contains therefore by necessity an understanding which refers to all objects of the senses, though by intuition only, and by its synthesis through Edition: current; Page: [98] imagination, and all phenomena, as data of a possible experience, must conform to that understanding. As this relation of phenomena to a possible experience is likewise necessary, (because, without it, we should receive no knowledge through them, and they would not in the least concern us), it follows that the pure understanding constitutes by the means of the categories a formal and synthetical principle of all experience, and that phenomena have thus a necessary relation to the understanding.

We shall now try to place the necessary connection of the understanding with the phenomena by means of the categories more clearly before the reader, by beginning with the beginning, namely, with the empirical.

The first that is given us is the phenomenon, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [120] which, if connected with consciousness, is called perception. (Without its relation to an at least possible consciousness, the phenomenon could never become to us an object of knowledge. It would therefore be nothing to us; and because it has no objective reality in itself, but exists only in being known, it would be nothing altogether.) As every phenomenon contains a manifold, and different perceptions are found in the mind singly and scattered, a connection of them is necessary, such as they cannot have in the senses by themselves. There exists therefore in us an active power for the synthesis of the manifold which we call imagination, and the function of which, as applied to perceptions, I call apprehension.1 This imagination Edition: current; Page: [99] is meant to change the manifold of intuition into an image, it must therefore first receive the impressions into its activity, which I call to apprehend.

It must be clear, however, that even this apprehension Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [121] of the manifold could not alone produce a coherence of impressions or an image, without some subjective power of calling one perception from which the mind has gone over to another back to that which follows, and thus forming whole series of perceptions. This is the reproductive faculty of imagination which is and can be empirical only.

If representations, as they happen to meet with one another, could reproduce each other at haphazard, they would have no definite coherence, but would form irregular agglomerations only, and never produce knowledge. It is necessary therefore that their reproduction should be subject to a rule by which one representation connects itself in imagination with a second and not with a third. It is this subjective and empirical ground of reproduction according to rules, which is called the association of representations.

If this unity of association did not possess an objective foundation also, which makes it impossible that phenomena should be apprehended by imagination in any other way but under the condition of a possible synthetical unity of that apprehension, it would be a mere accident that phenomena lend themselves to a certain connection in human knowledge. Though we might have the power of associating perceptions, it would still be a matter of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [122] uncertainty and chance whether they themselves are associable; and, in case they should not be so, a number of perceptions; nay, the whole of our sensibility, might possibly Edition: current; Page: [100] contain a great deal of empirical consciousness, but in a separate state, nay, without belonging to the one consciousness of myself, which, however, is impossible. Only by ascribing all perceptions to one consciousness (the original apperception) can I say of all of them that I am conscious of them. It must be therefore an objective ground, that is, one that can be understood as existing a priori, and before all empirical laws of imagination, on which alone the possibility, nay, even the necessity of a law can rest, which pervades all phenomena, and which makes us look upon them all, without exception, as data of the senses, associable by themselves, and subject to general rules of a permanent connection in their reproduction. This objective ground of all association of phenomena I call their affinity, and this can nowhere be found except in the principle of the unity of apperception applied to all knowledge which is to belong to me. According to it all phenomena, without exception, must so enter into the mind or be apprehended as to agree with the unity of apperception. This, without a synthetical unity in their connection, which is therefore necessary objectively also, would be impossible.

We have thus seen that the objective unity Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [123] of all (empirical) consciousness in one consciousness (that of the original apperception) is the necessary condition even of all possible perception, while the affinity of all phenomena (near or remote) is a necessary consequence of a synthesis in imagination which is a priori founded on rules.

Imagination is therefore likewise the power of a synthesis a priori which is the reason why we called it productive imagination, and so far as this aims at nothing but Edition: current; Page: [101] the necessary unity in the synthesis of all the manifold in phenomena, it may be called the transcendental function of imagination. However strange therefore it may appear at first, it must nevertheless have become clear by this time that the affinity of phenomena and with it their association, and through that, lastly, their reproduction also according to laws, that is, the whole of our experience, becomes possible only by means of that transcendental function of imagination, without which no concepts of objects could ever come together in one experience.

It is the permanent and unchanging Ego (or pure apperception) which forms the correlative of all our representations, if we are to become conscious of them, and all consciousness belongs quite as much to such an all-embracing pure apperception as all sensuous intuitions belongs, as a representation, to a pure internal Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [124] intuition, namely, time. This apperception it is which must be added to pure imagination, in order to render its function intellectual. For by itself, the synthesis of imagination, though carried out a priori, is always sensuous, and only connects the manifold as it appears in intuition, for instance, the shape of a triangle. But when the manifold is brought into relation with the unity of apperception, concepts which belong to the understanding become possible, but only as related to sensuous intuition through imagination.

We have therefore a pure imagination as one of the fundamental faculties of the human soul, on which all knowledge a priori depends. Through it we bring the manifold of intuition on one side in connection with the condition of the necessary unity of pure apperception on the other. These two extreme ends, sense and understanding, Edition: current; Page: [102] must be brought into contact with each other by means of the transcendental function of imagination, because, without it, the senses might give us phenomena, but no objects of empirical knowledge, therefore no experience. Real experience, which is made up of apprehension, association (reproduction), and lastly recognition of phenomena, contains in this last and highest Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [125] (among the purely empirical elements of experience) concepts, which render possible the formal unity of experience, and with it, all objective validity (truth) of empirical knowledge. These grounds for the recognition of the manifold, so far as they concern the form only of experience in general, are our categories. On them is founded the whole formal unity in the synthesis of imagination and, through it, of1 the whole empirical use of them (in recognition, reproduction, association, and apprehension) down to the very phenomena, because it is only by means of those elements of knowledge that the phenomena can belong to our consciousness and therefore to ourselves.

It is we therefore who carry into the phenomena which we call nature, order and regularity, nay, we should never find them in nature, if we ourselves, or the nature of our mind, had not originally placed them there. For the unity of nature is meant to be a necessary and a priori certain unity in the connection of all phenomena. And how should we a priori have arrived at such a synthetical unity, if the subjective grounds of such unity were not contained a priori in the original sources of our knowledge, and if those subjective conditions did not at the same time possess objective validity, as being the grounds Edition: current; Page: [103] on which alone an object becomes possible in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [126] our experience?

We have before given various definitions of the understanding, by calling it the spontaneity of knowledge (as opposed to the receptivity of the senses), or the faculty of thinking, or the faculty of concepts or of judgments; all of these explanations, if more closely examined, coming to the same. We may now characterise it as the faculty of rules. This characteristic is more significant, and approaches nearer to the essence of the understanding. The senses give us forms (of intuition), the understanding rules, being always busy to examine phenomena, in order to discover in them some kind of rule. Rules, so far as they are objective (therefore necessarily inherent in our knowledge of an object), are called laws. Although experience teaches us many laws, yet these are only particular determinations of higher laws, the highest of them, to which all others are subject, springing a priori from the understanding; not being derived from experience, but, on the contrary, imparting to the phenomena their regularity, and thus making experience possible. The understanding therefore is not only a power of making rules by a comparison of phenomena, it is itself the lawgiver of nature, and without the understanding nature, that is, a synthetical unity of the manifold of phenomena, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [127] according to rules, would be nowhere to be found, because phenomena, as such, cannot exist without us, but exist in our sensibility only. This sensibility, as an object of our knowledge in any experience, with everything it may contain, is possible only in the unity of apperception, which unity of apperception is transcendental ground of the necessary order of all phenomena in an experience. The Edition: current; Page: [104] same unity of apperception with reference to the manifold of representations (so as to determine it out of one)1 forms what we call the rule, and the faculty of these rules I call the understanding. As possible experience therefore, all phenomena depend in the same way a priori on the understanding, and receive their formal possibility from it as, when looked upon as mere intuitions, they depend on sensibility, and become possible through it, so far as their form is concerned.

However exaggerated therefore and absurd it may sound, that the understanding is itself the source of the laws of nature, and of its formal unity, such a statement is nevertheless correct and in accordance with experience. It is quite true, no doubt, that empirical laws, as such, cannot derive their origin from the pure understanding, as little as the infinite manifoldness of phenomena could be sufficiently comprehended through the pure form of sensuous intuition. But all empirical laws are only particular determinations of the pure laws of the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [128] understanding, under which and according to which the former become possible, and phenomena assume a regular form, quite as much as all phenomena, in spite of the variety of their empirical form, must always submit to the conditions of the pure form of sensibility.

The pure understanding is therefore in the categories the law of the synthetical unity of all phenomena, and thus makes experience, so far as its form is concerned, for the first time possible. This, and no more than this, we were called upon to prove in the transcendental deduction of the categories, namely, to make the relation of the Edition: current; Page: [105] understanding to our sensibility, and through it to all objects of experience, that is the objective validity of the pure concepts a priori of the understanding, conceivable, and thus to establish their origin and their truth.


If the objects with which our knowledge has to deal were things by themselves, we could have no concepts a priori of them. For where should we take them? If we took them from the object (without asking even the question, how that object could be known to us) our Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [129] concepts would be empirical only, not concepts a priori. If we took them from within ourselves, then that which is within us only, could not determine the nature of an object different from our representations, that is, supply a ground why there should be a thing to which something like what we have in our thoughts really belongs, and why all this representation should not rather be altogether empty. But if, on the contrary, we have to deal with phenomena only, then it becomes not only possible, but necessary, that certain concepts a priori should precede our empirical knowledge of objects. For being phenomena, they form an object that is within us only, because a mere modification of our sensibility can never exist outside us. The very idea that all these phenomena, and therefore all objects with which we have to deal, are altogether within me, or determinations of my own identical self, Edition: current; Page: [106] implies by itself the necessity of a permanent unity of them in one and the same apperception. In that unity of a possible consciousness consists also the form of all knowledge of objects, by which the manifold is thought as belonging to one object. The manner therefore in which the manifold of sensuous representation (intuition) belongs to our consciousness, precedes all knowledge of an object, as its intellectual form, and constitutes a kind of formal a priori knowledge of all objects in general, if they are to be thought (categories). Their synthesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [130] by means of pure imagination, and the unity of all representations with reference to the original apperception, precede all empirical knowledge. Pure concepts of the understanding are therefore a priori possible, nay, with regard to experience, necessary, for this simple reason because our knowledge has to deal with nothing but phenomena, the possibility of which depends on ourselves, and the connection and unity of which (in the representation of an object) can be found in ourselves only, as antecedent to all experience, nay, as first rendering all experience possible, so far as its form is concerned. On this ground, as the only possible one, our deduction of the categories has been carried out.]

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General logic is built up on a plan that coincides accurately with the division of the higher faculties of knowledge. These are, Understanding, Judgment, and Reason. Logic therefore treats in its analytical portion of concepts, judgments, and syllogisms corresponding with the functions and the order of the above-named faculties Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [131] of the mind, which are generally comprehended under the vague name of the understanding.

As formal logic takes no account of the contents of our knowledge (pure or empirical), but treats of the form of thought only (discursive knowledge), it may well contain in its analytical portion the canon of reason also, reason being, according to its form, subject to definite rules which, without reference to the particular nature of the knowledge to which they are applied, can be found out a priori by a mere analysis of the acts of reasoning into their component parts.

Transcendental logic, being limited to a certain content, namely, to pure knowledge a priori, cannot follow general logic in this division; for it is clear that the transcendental use of reason cannot be objectively valid, and cannot therefore belong to the logic of truth, that is, to Analytic, but must be allowed to form a separate part of our scholastic Edition: current; Page: [108] system, as a logic of illusion, under the name of transcendental Dialectic.

Understanding and judgment have therefore a canon of their objectively valid, and therefore true use in transcendental logic, and belong to its analytical portion. But reason, in its attempts to determine anything a priori with reference to objects, and to extend knowledge beyond the limits of possible experience, is altogether dialectical, and its illusory assertions have no place in a canon Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [132] such as Analytic demands.

Our Analytic of principles therefore will be merely a canon of the faculty of judgment, teaching it how to apply to phenomena the concepts of the understanding, which contain the condition of rules a priori. For this reason, and in order to indicate my purpose more clearly, I shall use the name of doctrine of the faculty of judgment, while treating of the real principles of the understanding.


If the understanding is explained as the faculty of rules, the faculty of judgment consists in performing the subsumption under these rules, that is, in determining whether anything falls under a given rule (casus datæ legis) or not. General logic contains no precepts for the faculty of judgment and cannot contain them. For as it takes no account of the contents of our knowledge, it has only to explain analytically the mere form of knowledge in concepts, judgments, and syllogisms, and thus Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [133] to establish formal rules for the proper employment of the Edition: current; Page: [109] understanding. If it were to attempt to show in general how anything should be arranged under these rules, and how we should determine whether something falls under them or not, this could only take place by means of a new rule. This, because it is a new rule, requires a new precept for the faculty of judgment, and we thus learn that, though the understanding is capable of being improved and instructed by means of rules, the faculty of judgment is a special talent which cannot be taught, but must be practised. This is what constitutes our so-called mother-wit, the absence of which cannot be remedied by any schooling. For although the teacher may offer, and as it were graft into a narrow understanding, plenty of rules borrowed from the experience of others, the faculty of using them rightly must belong to the pupil himself, and without that talent no precept that may be given is safe from abuse.1 A physician, therefore, a judge, or Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [134] a politician, may carry in his head many beautiful pathological, juridical, or political rules, nay, he may even become an accurate teacher of them, and he may yet in the application of these rules commit many a blunder, either because he is deficient in judgment, though not in understanding, knowing the general in the abstract, but unable to determine whether a concrete case falls under it; or, it may be, because his judgment has not been sufficiently trained by examples and practical experience. It is the Edition: current; Page: [110] one great advantage of examples that they sharpen the faculty of judgment, but they are apt to impair the accuracy and precision of the understanding, because they fulfil but rarely the conditions of the rule quite adequately (as casus in terminis). Nay, they often weaken the effort of the understanding in comprehending rules according to their general adequacy, and independent of the special circumstances of experience, and accustom us to use those rules in the end as formulas rather than as principles. Examples may thus be called the go-cart of the judgment, which those who are deficient in that natural talent1 can never do without.

But although general logic can give no precepts Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [135] to the faculty of judgment, the case is quite different with transcendental logic, so that it even seems as if it were the proper business of the latter to correct and to establish by definite rules the faculty of the judgment in the use of the pure understanding. For as a doctrine and a means of enlarging the field of pure knowledge a priori for the benefit of the understanding, philosophy does not seem necessary, but rather hurtful, because, in spite of all attempts that have been hitherto made, hardly a single inch of ground has been gained by it. For critical purposes, however, and in order to guard the faculty of judgment against mistakes (lapsus judicii) in its use of the few pure concepts of the understanding which we possess, philosophy (though its benefits may be negative only) has to employ all the acuteness and penetration at its command.

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What distinguishes transcendental philosophy is, that besides giving the rules (or rather the general condition of rules) which are contained in the pure concept of the understanding, it can at the same time indicate a priori the case to which each rule may be applied. The superiority which it enjoys in this respect over all other sciences, except mathematics, is due to this, that it treats of concepts which are meant to refer to their objects a priori, so that their objective validity cannot be proved Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [136] a posteriori, because this would not affect their own peculiar dignity. It must show, on the contrary, by means of general but sufficient marks, the conditions under which objects can be given corresponding to those concepts; otherwise these would be without any contents, mere logical forms, and not pure concepts of the understanding.

Our transcendental doctrine of the faculty of judgment will consist of two chapters. The first will treat of the sensuous condition under which alone pure concepts of the understanding can be used. This is what I call the schematism of the pure understanding. The second will treat of the synthetical judgments, which can be derived a priori under these conditions from pure concepts of the understanding, and on which all knowledge a priori depends. It will treat, therefore, of the principles of the pure understanding.

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In comprehending any object under a concept, the representation of the former must be homogeneous with the latter,1 that is, the concept must contain that which is represented in the object to be comprehended under it, for this is the only meaning of the expression that an object is comprehended under a concept. Thus, for instance, the empirical concept of a plate is homogeneous with the pure geometrical concept of a circle, the roundness which is conceived in the first forming an object of intuition in the latter.

Now it is clear that pure concepts of the understanding, as compared with empirical or sensuous impressions in general, are entirely heterogeneous, and can never be met Edition: current; Page: [113] with in any intuition. How then can the latter be comprehended under the former, or how can the categories be applied to phenomena, as no one is likely to say that causality, for instance, could be seen through the senses, and was contained in the phenomenon? It is Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [138] really this very natural and important question which renders a transcendental doctrine of the faculty of judgment necessary, in order to show how it is possible that any of the pure concepts of the understanding can be applied to phenomena. In all other sciences in which the concepts by which the object is thought in general are not so heterogeneous or different from those which represent it in concreto, and as it is given, there is no necessity to enter into any discussions as to the applicability of the former to the latter.

In our case there must be some third thing homogeneous on the one side with the category, and on the other with the phenomenon, to render the application of the former to the latter possible. This intermediate representation must be pure (free from all that is empirical) and yet intelligible on the one side, and sensuous on the other. Such a representation is the transcendental schema.

The concept of the understanding contains pure synthetical unity of the manifold in general. Time, as the formal condition of the manifold in the internal sense, consequently of the conjunction of all representations, contains a manifold a priori in pure intuition. A transcendental determination of time is so far homogeneous with the category (which constitutes its unity) that it is general and founded on a rule a priori; and it is on the other hand so far homogeneous with the phenomenon, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [139] that time must be contained in every empirical Edition: current; Page: [114] representation of the manifold. The application of the category to phenomena becomes possible therefore by means of the transcendental determination of time, which, as a schema of the concepts of the understanding, allows the phenomena to be comprehended under the category.

After what has been said in the deduction of the categories, we hope that nobody will hesitate in answering the question whether these pure concepts of the understanding allow only of an empirical or also of a transcendental application, that is, whether, as conditions of a possible experience, they refer a priori to phenomena only, or whether, as conditions of the possibility of things in general, they may be extended to objects by themselves (without restriction to our sensibility). For there we saw that concepts are quite impossible, and cannot have any meaning unless there be an object given either to them or, at least, to some of the elements of which they consist, and that they can never refer to things by themselves (without regard as to whether and how things may be given to us). We likewise saw that the only way in which objects can be given to us, consists in a modification of our sensibility, and lastly, that pure concepts a priori must contain, besides the function of the understanding in the category itself, formal conditions a priori of sensibility (particularly Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [140] of the internal sense) which form the general condition under which alone the category may be applied to any object. We shall call this formal and pure condition of sensibility, to which the concept of the understanding is restricted in its application, its schema; and the function of the understanding in these schemata, the schematism of the pure understanding.

The schema by itself is no doubt a product of the imagination Edition: current; Page: [115] only, but as the synthesis of the imagination does not aim at a single intuition, but at some kind of unity alone in the determination of sensibility, the schema ought to be distinguished from the image. Thus, if I place five points, one after the other . . . . . , this is an image of the number five. If, on the contrary, I think of a number in general, whether it be five or a hundred, this thinking is rather the representation of a method of representing in one image a certain quantity (for instance a thousand) according to a certain concept, than the image itself, which, in the case of a thousand, I could hardly take in and compare with the concept. This representation of a general procedure of the imagination by which a concept receives its image, I call the schema of such concept.

The fact is that our pure sensuous concepts do not depend on images of objects, but on schemata. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [141] No image of a triangle in general could ever be adequate to its concept. It would never attain to that generality of the concept, which makes it applicable to all triangles, whether right-angled, or acute-angled, or anything else, but would always be restricted to one portion only of the sphere of the concept. The schema of the triangle can exist nowhere but in thought, and is in fact a rule for the synthesis of imagination with respect to pure forms in space. Still less does an object of experience or its image ever cover the empirical concept, which always refers directly to the schema of imagination as a rule for the determination of our intuitions, according to a certain general concept. The concept of dog means a rule according to which my imagination can always draw a general outline of the figure of a four-footed animal, without being restricted to any particular figure supplied Edition: current; Page: [116] by experience or to any possible image which I may draw in the concrete. This schematism of our understanding applied to phenomena and their mere form is an art hidden in the depth of the human soul, the true secrets of which we shall hardly ever be able to guess and reveal. So much only we can say, that the image is a product of the empirical faculty of the productive imagination, while the schema of sensuous concepts (such as of figures in space) is a product and so to say a monogram of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [142] the pure imagination a priori, through which and according to which images themselves become possible, though they are never fully adequate to the concept, and can be connected with it by means of their schema only. The schema of a pure concept of the understanding, on the contrary, is something which can never be made into an image; for it is nothing but the pure synthesis determined by a rule of unity, according to concepts, a synthesis as expressed by the category, and represents a transcendental product of the imagination, a product which concerns the determination of the internal sense in general, under the conditions of its form (time), with reference to all representations, so far as these are meant to be joined a priori in one concept, according to the unity of apperception.

Without dwelling any longer on a dry and tedious determination of all that is required for the transcendental schemata of the pure concepts of the understanding in general, we shall proceed at once to represent them according to the order of the categories, and in connection with them.

The pure image of all quantities (quanta) before the external sense, is space; that of all objects of the senses in general, time. The pure schema of quantity (quantitas), Edition: current; Page: [117] however, as a concept of the understanding, is number, a representation which comprehends the successive addition of one to one (homogeneous). Number therefore is nothing but the unity of the synthesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [143] of the manifold (repetition) of a homogeneous intuition in general, I myself producing the time in the apprehension of the intuition.

Reality is, in the pure concept of the understanding, that which corresponds to a sensation in general: that, therefore, the concept of which indicates by itself being (in time), while negation is that the concept of which represents not-being (in time). The opposition of the two takes place therefore by a distinction of one and the same time, as either filled or empty. As time is only the form of intuition, that is, of objects as phenomena, that which in the phenomena corresponds to sensation, constitutes the transcendental matter of all objects, as things by themselves (reality, Sachheit). Every sensation, however, has a degree of quantity by which it can fill the same time (that is, the internal sense, with reference to the same representation of an object), more or less, till it vanishes into nothing (equal to nought or negation). There exists, therefore, a relation and connection, or rather a transition from reality to negation, which makes every reality representable as a quantum; and the schema of a reality, as the quantity of something which fills time, is this very continuous and uniform production of reality in time; while we either descend from the sensation which has a certain degree, to its vanishing in time, or ascend from the negation of sensation to some quantity of it.

The schema of substance is the permanence Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [144] of the real in time, that is, the representation of it as a Edition: current; Page: [118] substratum for the empirical determination of time in general, which therefore remains while everything else changes. (It is not time that passes, but the existence of the changeable passes in time. What corresponds therefore in the phenomena to time, which in itself is unchangeable and permanent, is the unchangeable in existence, that is, substance; and it is only in it that the succession and the coexistence of phenomena can be determined according to time.)

The schema of cause and of the causality of a thing in general is the real which, when once supposed to exist, is always followed by something else. It consists therefore in the succession of the manifold, in so far as that succession is subject to a rule.

The schema of community (reciprocal action) or of the reciprocal causality of substances, in respect to their accidents, is the coexistence, according to a general rule, of the determinations of the one with those of the other.

The schema of possibility is the agreement of the synthesis of different representations with the conditions of time in general, as, for instance, when opposites cannot exist at the same time in the same thing, but only one after the other. It is therefore the determination of the representation of a thing at any time whatsoever.

The schema of reality is existence at a given time. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [145]

The schema of necessity is the existence of an object at all times.

It is clear, therefore, if we examine all the categories, that the schema of quantity contains and represents the production (synthesis) of time itself in the successive apprehension of an object; the schema of quality, the synthesis of sensation (perception) with the representation Edition: current; Page: [119] of time or the filling-up of time; the schema of relation, the relation of perceptions to each other at all times (that is, according to a rule which determines time); lastly, the schema of modality and its categories, time itself as the correlative of the determination of an object as to whether and how it belongs to time. The schemata therefore are nothing but determinations of time a priori according to rules, and these, as applied to all possible objects, refer in the order of the categories to the series of time, the contents of time, the order of time, and lastly, the comprehension of time.

We have thus seen that the schematism of the understanding, by means of a transcendental synthesis of imagination, amounts to nothing else but to the unity of the manifold in the intuition of the internal sense, and therefore indirectly to the unity of apperception, as an active function corresponding to the internal sense (as receptive). These schemata therefore of the pure concepts of the understanding are the true and only conditions Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [146] by which these concepts can gain a relation to objects, that is, a significance, and the categories are thus in the end of no other but a possible empirical use, serving only, on account of an a priori necessary unity (the necessary connection of all consciousness in one original apperception) to subject all phenomena to general rules of synthesis, and thus to render them capable of a general connection in experience.

All our knowledge is contained within this whole of possible experience, and transcendental truth, which precedes all empirical truth and renders it possible, consists in general relation of it to that experience.

But although the schemata of sensibility serve thus to realise the categories, it must strike everybody that they Edition: current; Page: [120] at the same time restrict them, that is, limit them by conditions foreign to the understanding and belonging to sensibility. Hence the schema is really the phenomenon, or the sensuous concept of an object in agreement with the category (numerus est quantitas phaenomenon, sensatio realitas phaenomenon, constans et perdurabile rerum substantia phaenomenon — aeternitas necessitas phaenomenon, etc.). If we omit a restrictive condition, it would seem that we amplify a formerly limited concept, and that therefore the categories in their pure meaning, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [147] free from all conditions of sensibility, should be valid of things in general, as they are, while their schemata represent them only as they appear, so that these categories might claim a far more extended power, independent of all schemata. And in truth we must allow to these pure concepts of the understanding, apart from all sensuous conditions, a certain significance, though a logical one only, with regard to the mere unity of representations produced by them, although these representations have no object and therefore no meaning that could give us a concept of an object. Thus substance, if we leave out the sensuous condition of permanence, would mean nothing but a something that may be conceived as a subject, without being the predicate of anything else. Of such a representation we can make nothing, because it does not teach us how that thing is determined which is thus to be considered as the first subject. Categories, therefore, without schemata are functions only of the understanding necessary for concepts, but do not themselves represent any object. This character is given to them by sensibility only, which realises the understanding by, at the same time, restricting it.

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We have in the preceding chapter considered the transcendental faculty of judgment with reference to those general conditions only under which it is justified in using the pure concepts of the understanding for synthetical judgments. It now becomes our duty to represent systematically those judgments which, under that critical provision, the understanding, can really produce a priori. For this purpose our table of categories will be without doubt our natural and best guide. For it is the relation of the categories to all possible experience which must constitute all pure a priori knowledge of the understanding; and their relation to sensibility in general will therefore exhibit completely and systematically all Edition: current; Page: [122] the transcendental principles of the use of the understanding.1

Principles a priori are so called, not only because they contain the grounds for other judgments, but also because they themselves are not founded on higher and more general kinds of knowledge. This peculiarity, however, does not enable them to dispense with every kind of proof; for although this could not be given objectively, as Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [149] all knowledge of any object really rests on it, this does not prevent us from attempting to produce a proof drawn from the subjective sources of the possibility of a knowledge of the object in general; nay, it may be necessary to do so, because, without it, our assertion might be suspected of being purely gratuitous.

We shall treat, however, of those principles only which relate to the categories. We shall have nothing to do with the principles of transcendental æsthetic, according to which space and time are the conditions of the possibility of all things as phenomena, nor with the limitation of those principles, prohibiting their application to things by themselves. Mathematical principles also do not belong to this part of our discussion, because they are derived from intuition, and not from the pure concept of the understanding. As they are, however, synthetical judgments a priori, their possibility will have to be discussed, not in order to prove their correctness and apodictic certainty, which would be unnecessary, but in order to make the possibility of such self-evident knowledge a priori conceivable and intelligible.

We shall also have to speak of the principle of analytical Edition: current; Page: [123] as opposed to synthetical judgments, the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [150] latter being the proper subject of our enquiries, because this very opposition frees the theory of the latter from all misunderstandings, and places them clearly before us in their own peculiar character.

Section I: Of the Highest Principle of all Analytical Judgments

Whatever the object of our knowledge may be, and whatever the relation between our knowledge and its object, it must always submit to that general, though only negative condition of all our judgments, that they do not contradict themselves; otherwise these judgments, without any reference to their object, are in themselves nothing. But although there may be no contradiction in our judgment, it may nevertheless connect concepts in a manner not warranted by the object, or without there being any ground, whether a priori or a posteriori, to confirm such a judgment. A judgment may therefore be false or groundless, though in itself it is free from all contradiction.

The proposition that no subject can have a Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [151] predicate which contradicts it, is called the principle of contradiction. It is a general though only negative criterion of all truth, and belongs to logic only, because it applies to knowledge as knowledge only, without reference to its object, and simply declares that such contradiction would entirely destroy and annihilate it.

Nevertheless, a positive use also may be made of that Edition: current; Page: [124] principle, not only in order to banish falsehood and error, so far as they arise from contradiction, but also in order to discover truth. For in an analytical judgment, whether negative or affirmative, its truth can always be sufficiently tested by the principle of contradiction, because the opposite of that which exists and is thought as a concept in our knowledge of an object, is always rightly negatived, while the concept itself is necessarily affirmed of it, for the simple reason that its opposite would be in contradiction with the object.

It must therefore be admitted that the principle of contradiction is the general and altogether sufficient principle of all analytical knowledge, though beyond this its authority and utility, as a sufficient criterion of truth, must not be allowed to extend. For the fact that no knowledge can run counter to that principle, without destroying itself, makes it no doubt a conditio sine qua non, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [152] but never the determining reason of the truth of our knowledge. Now, as in our present enquiry we are chiefly concerned with the synthetical part of our knowledge, we must no doubt take great care never to offend against that inviolable principle, but we ought never to expect from it any help with regard to the truth of this kind of knowledge.

There is, however, a formula of this famous principle — a principle merely formal and void of all contents — which contains a synthesis that has been mixed up with it from mere carelessness and without any real necessity. This formula is: It is impossible that anything should be and at the same time not be. Here, first of all, the apodictic certainty expressed by the word impossible is added unnecessarily, because it is understood by itself from the nature Edition: current; Page: [125] of the proposition; secondly, the proposition is affected by the condition of time, and says, as it were, something = A, which is something = B, cannot be at the same time not-B, but it can very well be both (B and not-B) in succession. For instance, a man who is young cannot be at the same time old, but the same man may very well be young at one time and not young, that is, old, at another. The principle of contradiction, however, as a purely logical principle, must not be limited in its application by time; and the before-mentioned formula Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [153] runs therefore counter to its very nature. The misunderstanding arises from our first separating one predicate of an object from its concept, and by our afterwards joining its opposite with that predicate, which gives us a contradiction, not with the subject, but with its predicate only which was synthetically connected with it, and this again only on condition that the first and second predicate have both been applied at the same time. If I want to say that a man who is unlearned is not learned, I must add the condition ‘at the same time,’ for a man who is unlearned at one time may very well be learned at another. But if I say no unlearned man is learned, then the proposition is analytical, because the characteristic (unlearnedness) forms part now of the concept of the subject, so that the negative proposition becomes evident directly from the principle of contradiction, and without the necessity of adding the condition, ‘at the same time.’ This is the reason why I have so altered the wording of that formula that it displays at once the nature of an analytical proposition.

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Section II: Of the Highest Principle of all Synthetical Judgments Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [154]

The explanation of the possibility of synthetical judgments is a subject of which general logic knows nothing, not even its name, while in a transcendental logic it is the most important task of all, nay, even the only one, when we have to consider the possibility of synthetical judgments a priori, their conditions, and the extent of their validity. For when that task is accomplished, the object of transcendental logic, namely, to determine the extent and limits of the pure understanding, will have been fully attained.

In forming an analytical judgment I remain within a given concept, while predicating something of it. If what I predicate is affirmative, I only predicate of that concept what is already contained in it; if it is negative, I only exclude from it the opposite of it. In forming synthetical judgments, on the contrary, I have to go beyond a given concept, in order to bring something together with it, which is totally different from what is contained in it. Here we have neither the relation of identity Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [155] nor of contradiction, and nothing in the judgment itself by which we can discover its truth or its falsehood.

Granted, therefore, that we must go beyond a given concept in order to compare it synthetically with another, something else is necessary in which, as in a third, the synthesis of two concepts becomes possible. What, then, Edition: current; Page: [127] is that third? What is the medium of all synthetical judgments? It can only be that in which all our concepts are contained, namely, the internal sense and its a priori form, time. The synthesis of representations depends on imagination, but their synthetical unity, which is necessary for forming a judgment, depends on the unity of apperception. It is here therefore that the possibility of synthetical judgments, and (as all the three contain the sources of representations a priori) the possibility of pure synthetical judgments also, will have to be discovered; nay, they will on these grounds be necessary, if any knowledge of objects is to be obtained that rests entirely on a synthesis of representations.

If knowledge is to have any objective reality, that is to say, if it is to refer to an object, and receive by means of it any sense and meaning, the object must necessarily be given in some way or other. Without that all concepts are empty. We have thought in them, but we have not, by thus thinking, arrived at any knowledge. We have only played with representations. To give an object, if this is not meant again as mediate only, but if Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [156] it means to represent something immediately in intuition, is nothing else but to refer the representation of the object to experience (real or possible). Even space and time, however pure these concepts may be of all that is empirical, and however certain it is that they are represented in the mind entirely a priori, would lack nevertheless all objective validity, all sense and meaning, if we could not show the necessity of their use with reference to all objects of experience. Nay, their representation is is a pure schema, always referring to that reproductive imagination which calls up the objects of experience, Edition: current; Page: [128] without which objects would be meaningless. The same applies to all concepts without any distinction.

It is therefore the possibility of experience which alone gives objective reality to all our knowledge a priori. Experience, however, depends on the synthetical unity of phenomena, that is, on a synthesis according to concepts of the object of phenomena in general. Without it, it would not even be knowledge, but only a rhapsody of perceptions, which would never grow into a connected text according to the rules of an altogether coherent (possible) consciousness, nor into a transcendental and necessary unity of apperception. Experience depends therefore on a priori principles of its form, that is, on general rules of unity in the synthesis of phenomena, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [157] and the objective reality of these (rules) can always be shown by their being the necessary conditions in all experience; nay, even in the possibility of all experience. Without such a relation synthetical propositions a priori would be quite impossible, because they have no third medium, that is, no object in which the synthetical unity of their concepts could prove their objective reality.

Although we know therefore a great deal a priori in synthetical judgments with reference to space in general, or to the figures which productive imagination traces in it, without requiring for it any experience, this our knowledge would nevertheless be nothing but a playing with the cobwebs of our brain, if space were not to be considered as the condition of phenomena which supply the material for external experience. Those pure synthetical judgments therefore refer always, though mediately only, to possible experience, or rather to the possibility of Edition: current; Page: [129] experience, on which alone the objective validity of their synthesis is founded.

As therefore experience, being an empirical synthesis, is in its possibility the only kind of knowledge that imparts reality to every other synthesis, this other synthesis, as knowledge a priori, possesses truth (agreement with its object) on this condition only, that it contains nothing beyond what is necessary for the synthetical Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [158] unity of experience in general.

The highest principle of all synthetical judgments is therefore this, that every object is subject to the necessary conditions of a synthetical unity of the manifold of intuition in a possible experience.

Thus synthetical judgments a priori are possible, if we refer the formal conditions of intuition a priori, the synthesis of imagination, and the necessary unity of it in a transcendental apperception, to a possible knowledge in general, given in experience, and if we say that the conditions of the possibility of experience in general are at the same time conditions of the possibility of the objects of experience themselves, and thus possess objective validity in a synthetical judgment a priori.

Section III: Systematical Representation of all Synthetical Principles of the Understanding

That there should be principles at all is entirely due to the pure understanding, which is not only the faculty of rules in regard to all that happens, but itself the source Edition: current; Page: [130] of principles, according to which everything Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [159] (that can become an object to us) is necessarily subject to rules, because, without such, phenomena would never become objects corresponding to knowledge. Even laws of nature, if they are considered as principles of the empirical use of the understanding, carry with them a character of necessity, and thus lead to the supposition that they rest on grounds which are valid a priori and before all experience. Nay, all laws of nature without distinction are subject to higher principles of the understanding, which they apply to particular cases of experience. They alone therefore supply the concept which contains the condition, and, as it were, the exponent of a rule in general, while experience furnishes each case to which the general rule applies.

There can hardly be any danger of our mistaking purely empirical principles for principles of the pure understanding or vice versa, for the character of necessity which distinguishes the concepts of the pure understanding, and the absence of which can easily be perceived in every empirical proposition, however general it may seem, will always prevent their confusion. There are, however, pure principles a priori which I should not like to ascribe to the pure understanding, because they are derived, not from pure concepts, but from pure intuitions (although by means of the understanding); the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [160] understanding being the faculty of the concepts. We find such principles in mathematics, but their application to experience, and therefore their objective validity, nay, even the possibility of such synthetical knowledge a priori (the deduction thereof) rests always on the pure understanding.

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Hence my principles will not include the principles of mathematics, but they will include those on which the possibility and objective validity a priori of those mathematical principles are founded, and which consequently are to be looked upon as the source of those principles, proceeding from concepts to intuitions, and not from intuitions to concepts.

When the pure concepts of the understanding are applied to every possible experience, their synthesis is either mathematical or dynamical, for it is directed partly to the intuition of a phenomenon only, partly to its existence. The conditions a priori of intuition are absolutely necessary with regard to every possible experience, while the conditions of the existence of the object of a possible empirical intuition are in themselves accidental only. The principles of the mathematical use of the categories will therefore be absolutely necessary, that is apodictic, while those of their dynamical use, though likewise possessing the character of necessity a priori, can possess such a character subject only to the condition of empirical thought in experience, that is mediately and indirectly, and cannot therefore claim that immediate evidence which belongs to the former, although their certainty with regard to experience in general remains unaffected by this. Of this we shall be better qualified to judge at Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [161] the conclusion of this system of principles.

Our table of categories gives us naturally the best instructions for drawing up a table of principles, because these are nothing but rules for the objective use of the former.

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All principles of the pure understanding are therefore,

Axioms of Intuition.
Anticipations of Perception.Analogies of Experience.
Postulates of Empirical Thought in General.

I have chosen these names not unadvisedly, so that the difference with regard to the evidence and the application of those principles should not be overlooked. We shall soon see that, both with regard to the evidence and the a priori determination of phenomena according to the categories of quantity and quality (if we attend to the form of them only) their principles differ considerably from those of the other two classes, inasmuch as the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [162] former are capable of an intuitive, the latter of a merely discursive, though both of a complete certainty. I shall therefore call the former mathematical, the latter dynamical principles.1 It should be observed, however, that I do not speak here either of the principles of mathematics, or of those of general physical dynamics, but only of the principles of the pure understanding in relation to the internal sense (without any regard to the actual representations given in it). It is these through which the former become possible, and I have given them their name, more on account of their application than of their contents. I shall now proceed to consider them in the same order in which they stand in the table.

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Principle of the Pure Understanding

All Phenomena are, with reference to their intuition, extensive quantities’]

I call an extensive quantity that in which the representation of the whole is rendered possible by the representation of its parts, and therefore necessarily preceded by it. I cannot represent to myself any line, however small it may be, without drawing it in thought, that is, without producing all its parts one after the other, starting Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [163] from a given point, and thus, first of all, drawing its intuition. The same applies to every, even the smallest portion of time. I can only think in it the successive progress from one moment to another, thus producing in the end, by all portions of time and their addition, a definite quantity of time. As in all phenomena pure intuition is either space or time, every phenomenon, as an intuition, must be an extensive quantity, because it can be known in apprehension by a successive synthesis only (of part with part). All phenomena therefore, when perceived in intuition, are aggregates (collections) of previously given parts, which is not the case with every kind of quantities, but with those only which are represented to us and apprehended as extensive.

On this successive synthesis of productive imagination in elaborating figures are founded the mathematics of extension with their axioms (geometry), containing the conditions Edition: current; Page: [134] of sensuous intuition a priori, under which alone the schema of a pure concept of an external phenomenal appearance can be produced; for instance, between two points one straight line only is possible, or two straight lines cannot enclose a space, etc. These are the axioms which properly relate only to quantities (quanta) as such.

But with regard to quantity (quantitas), that is, with regard to the answer to the question, how large something may be, there are no axioms, in the proper Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [164] sense of the word, though several of the propositions referring to it possess synthetical and immediate certainty (indemonstrabilia). The propositions that if equals be added to equals the wholes are equal, and if equals be taken from equals the remainders are equal, are really analytical, because I am conscious immediately of the identity of my producing the one quantity with my producing the other; axioms on the contrary must be synthetical propositions a priori. The self-evident propositions on numerical relation again are no doubt synthetical, but they are not general, like those of geometry, and therefore cannot be called axioms, but numerical formulas only. That 7+5=12 is not an analytical proposition. For neither in the representation of 7, nor in that of 5, nor in that of the combination of both, do I think the number 12. (That I am meant to think it in the addition of the two, is not the question here, for in every analytical proposition all depends on this, whether the predicate is really thought in the representation of the subject.) Although the proposition is synthetical, it is a singular proposition only. If in this case we consider only the synthesis of the homogeneous unities, then the synthesis can here take place in one way only, although afterwards Edition: current; Page: [135] the use of these numbers becomes general. If I say, a triangle can be constructed with three lines, two of which together are greater than the third, I have before me the mere function of productive imagination, which may draw the lines greater or smaller, and bring them together at various angles. The number 7, on the contrary, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [165] is possible in one way only, and so likewise the number 12, which is produced by the synthesis of the former with 5. Such propositions therefore must not be called axioms (for their number would be endless) but numerical formulas.

This transcendental principle of phenomenal mathematics adds considerably to our knowledge a priori. Through it alone it becomes possible to make pure mathematics in their full precision applicable to objects of experience, which without that principle would by no means be self-evident, nay, has actually provoked much contradiction. Phenomena are not things in themselves. Empirical intuition is possible only through pure intuition (of space and time), and whatever geometry says of the latter is valid without contradiction of the former. All evasions, as if objects of the senses should not conform to the rules of construction in space (for instance, to the rule of the infinite divisibility of lines or angles) must cease, for one would thus deny all objective validity to space and with it to all mathematics, and would no longer know why and how far mathematics can be applied to phenomena. The synthesis of spaces and times, as the synthesis of the essential form of all intuition, is that which renders possible at the same time the apprehension of phenomena, that is, every external Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [166] experience, and therefore also all knowledge of its objects, Edition: current; Page: [136] and whatever mathematics, in their pure use prove of that synthesis is valid necessarily also of this knowledge. All objections to this are only the chicaneries of a falsely guided reason, which wrongly imagines that it can separate the objects of the senses from the formal conditions of our sensibility, and represents them, though they are phenomena only, as objects by themselves, given to the understanding. In this case, however, nothing could be known of them a priori, nothing could be known synthetically through pure concepts of space, and the science which determines those concepts, namely, geometry, would itself become impossible.

II: [Anticipations of Perception

The principle which anticipates all perceptions as such, is this: In all phenomena sensation, and the Real which corresponds to it in the object (realitas phaenomenon), has an intensive quantity, that is, a degree1]

All knowledge by means of which I may know and determine a priori whatever belongs to empirical knowledge, may be called an anticipation, and it is no doubt in this sense that Epicurus used the expression Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [167] πρόληψις. But as there is always in phenomena something which can never be known a priori, and constitutes the real difference between empirical and a priori knowledge, namely, sensation (as matter of perception), it follows that this can never be anticipated. The pure determinations, on the contrary, in space and time, as Edition: current; Page: [137] regards both figure and quantity, may be called anticipations of phenomena, because they represent a priori, whatever may be given a posteriori in experience. If, however, there should be something in every sensation that could be known a priori as sensation in general, even if no particular sensation be given, this would, in a very special sense, deserve to be called anticipation, because it seems extraordinary that we should anticipate experience in that which concerns the matter of experience and can be derived from experience only. Yet such is really the case.

Apprehension, by means of sensation only, fills no more than one moment (if we do not take into account the succession of many sensations). Sensation, therefore, being that in the phenomenon the apprehension of which does not form a successive synthesis progressing from parts to a complete representation, is without any extensive quantity, and the absence of sensation in one and the same moment would represent it as empty, therefore = 0. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [168] What corresponds in every empirical intuition to sensation is reality (realitas phaenomenon), what corresponds to its absence is negation = 0. Every sensation, however, is capable of diminution, so that it may decrease, and gradually vanish. There is therefore a continuous connection between reality in phenomena and negation, by means of many possible intermediate sensations, the difference between which is always smaller than the difference between the given sensation and zero or complete negation. It thus follows that the real in each phenomenon has always a quantity, though it is not perceived in apprehension, because apprehension takes place by a momentary sensation, not by a successive synthesis of many sensations; it does Edition: current; Page: [138] not advance from the parts to the whole, and though it has a quantity, it has not an extensive quantity.

That quantity which can be apprehended as unity only, and in which plurality can be represented by approximation only to negation = 0, I call intensive quantity. Every reality therefore in a phenomenon has intensive quantity, that is, a degree. If this reality is considered as a cause (whether of sensation, or of any other reality in the phenomenon, for instance, of change) the degree of that reality as a cause we call a momentum, for instance, the momentum of gravity: and this because the degree indicates that quantity only, the apprehension of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [169] which is not successive, but momentary. This I mention here in passing, because we have not yet come to consider causality.

Every sensation, therefore, and every reality in phenomena, however small it may be, has a degree, that is, an intensive quantity which can always be diminished, and there is between reality and negation a continuous connection of possible realities, and of possible smaller perceptions. Every colour, red, for instance, has a degree, which, however small, is never the smallest; and the same applies to heat, the momentum of gravity, etc.

This peculiar property of quantities that no part of them is the smallest possible part (no part indivisible) is called continuity. Time and space are quanta continua, because there is no part of them that is not enclosed between limits (points and moments), no part that is not itself again a space or a time. Space consists of spaces only, time of times. Points and moments are only limits, mere places of limitation, and as places Edition: current; Page: [139] presupposing always those intuitions which they are meant to limit or to determine. Mere places or parts that might be given before space or time, could Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [170] never be compounded into space or time. Such quantities can also be called flowing, because the synthesis of the productive imagination which creates them is a progression in time, the continuity of which we are wont to express by the name of flowing, or passing away.

All phenomena are therefore continuous quantities, whether according to their intuition as extensive, or according to mere perception (sensation and therefore reality) as intensive quantities. When there is a break in the synthesis of the manifold of phenomena, we get only an aggregate of many phenomena, not a phenomenon, as a real quantum; for aggregate is called that what is produced, not by the mere continuation of productive synthesis of a certain kind, but by the repetition of a synthesis (beginning and) ending at every moment. If I call thirteen thalers a quantum of money, I am right, provided I understand by it the value of a mark of fine silver. This is a continuous quantity in which no part is the smallest, but every part may constitute a coin which contains material for still smaller coins. But if I understand by it thirteen round thalers, that is, so many coins (whatever their value in silver may be), then I should be wrong in speaking of a quantum of thalers, but should call it an aggregate, that is a number of coins. As every number must be founded on some unity, every Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [171] phenomenon, as a unity, is a quantum, and, as such, a continuum.

If then all phenomena, whether considered as extensive Edition: current; Page: [140] or intensive, are continuous quantities, it might seem easy to prove with mathematical evidence that all change also (transition of a thing from one state into another) must be continuous, if the causality of the change did not lie quite outside the limits of transcendental philosophy, and presupposed empirical principles. For the understanding a priori tells us nothing of the possibility of a cause which changes the state of things, that is, determines them to the opposite of a given state, and this not only because it does not perceive the possibility of it (for such a perception is denied to us in several kinds of knowledge a priori), but because the changeability relates to certain determinations of phenomena to be taught by experience only, while their cause must lie in that which is unchangeable. But as the only materials which we may use at present are the pure fundamental concepts of every possible experience, from which all that is empirical is excluded, we cannot here, without injuring the unity of our system, anticipate general physical science which is based upon certain fundamental experiences. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [172]

Nevertheless, there is no lack of evidence of the great influence which our fundamental principle exercises in anticipating perceptions, nay, even in making up for their deficiency, in so far as it (that principle) stops any false conclusions that might be drawn from this deficiency.

If therefore all reality in perception has a certain degree, between which and negation there is an infinite succession of ever smaller degrees, and if every sense must have a definite degree of receptivity of sensations, it follows that no perception, and therefore no Edition: current; Page: [141] experience, is possible, that could prove, directly or indirectly, by any roundabout syllogisms, a complete absence of all reality in a phenomenon. We see therefore that experience can never supply a proof of empty space or empty time, because the total absence of reality in a sensuous intuition can itself never be perceived, neither can it be deduced from any phenomenon whatsoever and from the difference of degree in its reality; nor ought it ever to be admitted in explanation of it. For although the total intuition of a certain space or time is real all through, no part of it being empty, yet as every reality has its degree which, while the extensive quality of the phenomenon remains unchanged, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [173] may diminish by infinite degrees down to the nothing or void, there must be infinitely differing degrees in which space and time are filled, and the intensive quantity in phenomena may be smaller or greater, although the extensive quantity as given in intuition remains the same.

We shall give an example. Almost all natural philosophers, perceiving partly by means of the momentum of gravity or weight, partly by means of the momentum of resistance against other matter in motion, that there is a great difference in the quantity of various kinds of matter though their volume is the same, conclude unanimously that this volume (the extensive quantity of phenomena) must in all of them, though in different degrees, contain a certain amount of empty space. Who could have thought that these mathematical and mechanical philosophers should have based such a conclusion on a purely metaphysical hypothesis, which they always profess to avoid, by assuming that the real Edition: current; Page: [142] in space (I do not wish here to call it impenetrability or weight, because these are empirical concepts) must always be the same, and can differ only by its extensive quantity, that is, by the number of parts. I meet this hypothesis, for which they could find no ground in experience, and which therefore is purely metaphysical, by a transcendental demonstration, which, though it is not intended to explain the difference in the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [174] filling of spaces, will nevertheless entirely remove the imagined necessity of their hypothesis which tries to explain that difference by the admission of empty spaces, and which thus restores, at least to the understanding, its liberty to explain to itself that difference in a different way, if any such hypothesis be wanted in natural philosophy.

We can easily perceive that although the same spaces are perfectly filled by two different kinds of matter, so that there is no point in either of them where matter is not present, yet the real in either, the quality being the same, has its own degrees (of resistance or weight) which, without any diminution of its extensive quantity, may grow smaller and smaller in infinitum, before it reaches the void and vanishes. Thus a certain expansion which fills a space, for instance, heat, and every other kind of phenomenal reality, may, without leaving the smallest part of space empty, diminish by degrees in infinitum, and nevertheless fill space with its smaller, quite as much as another phenomenon with greater degrees. I do not mean to say that this is really the case with different kinds of matter according to their specific of gravity. I only want to show by a fundamental principle of the pure Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [175] understanding, that the nature of our perceptions renders Edition: current; Page: [143] such an explanation possible, and that it is wrong to look upon the real in phenomena as equal in degree, and differing only in aggregation and its extensive quantity, nay to maintain this on the pretended authority of an a priori principle of the understanding.

Nevertheless, this anticipation of perception is apt to startle1 an enquirer accustomed to and rendered cautious by transcendental disquisitions, and we may naturally wonder that the understanding should be able to anticipate2 a synthetical proposition with regard to the degree of all that is real in phenomena, and, therefore, with regard to the possibility of an internal difference of sensation itself, apart from its empirical quality; and it seems therefore a question well worthy of a solution, how the understanding can pronounce synthetically and a priori about phenomena, nay, anticipate them with regard to what, properly speaking, is empirical, namely, sensation.

The quality of sensation, colour, taste, etc., is always empirical, and cannot be conceived a priori. But the real that corresponds to sensations in general, as opposed to negation =0, does only represent something the concept of which implies being, and means nothing but the synthesis in any empirical consciousness. In the internal sense that empirical consciousness can be raised from 0 to Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [176] any higher degree, so that an extensive quantity of intuition (for instance, an illuminated plain) excites the same Edition: current; Page: [144] amount of sensation, as an aggregate of many other less illuminated plains. It is quite possible, therefore, to take no account of the extensive quantity of a phenomenon, and yet to represent to oneself in the mere sensation in any single moment a synthesis of a uniform progression from 0 to any given empirical consciousness. All sensations, as such, are therefore given a posteriori1 only, but their quality, in so far as they must possess a degree, can be known a priori. It is remarkable that of quantities in general we can know one quality only a priori, namely, their continuity, while with regard to quality (the real of phenomena) nothing is known to us a priori, but their intensive quantity, that is, that they must have a degree. Everything else is left to experience.

III: [The Analogies of Experience

The general principle of them is: All phenomena, as far as their existence is concerned, are subject a priori to rules, determining their mutual relation in one and the same time2] Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [177]

The three modi of time are permanence, succession, and coexistence. There will therefore be three rules of all relations of phenomena in time, by which the existence of every phenomenon with regard to the unity of time is determined, and these rules will precede all experience, nay, render experience possible.

The general principle of the three analogies depends on the necessary unity of apperception with reference to Edition: current; Page: [145] every possible empirical consciousness (perception) at every time, and, consequently, as that unity forms an a priori ground, on the synthetical unity of all phenomena, according to their relation in time. For the original apperception refers to the internal sense (comprehending all representations), and it does so a priori to its form, that is, to the relation of the manifold of the empirical consciousness in time. The original apperception is intended to combine all this manifold according to its relations in time, for this is what is meant by its transcendental unity a priori, to which all is subject which is to belong to my own and my uniform knowledge, and thus to become an object for me. This synthetical unity in the time relations of all perceptions, which is determined a priori, is expressed therefore in the law, that all empirical determinations of time must be subject to rules of the general Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [178] determination of time; and the analogies of experience, of which we are now going to treat, are exactly rules of this kind.

These principles have this peculiarity, that they do not refer to phenomena and the synthesis of their empirical intuition, but only to the existence of phenomena and their mutual relation with regard to their existence. The manner in which something is apprehended as a phenomenon may be so determined a priori that the rule of its synthesis may give at the same time this intuition a priori in any empirical case, nay, may really render it possible. But the existence of phenomena can never be known a priori, and though we might be led in this way to infer some kind of existence, we should never be able to know it definitely, or to anticipate that by which the empirical intuition of one differs from that of others.

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The principles which we considered before and which, as they enable us to apply mathematics to phenomena, I called mathematical, refer to phenomena so far only as they are possible, and showed how, with regard both to their intuition and to the real in their perception, they can be produced according to the rules of a mathematical synthesis, so that, in the one as well as in the other, we may use numerical quantities, and with them a determination of all phenomena as quantities. Thus I might, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [179] for example, compound the degree of sensations of the sunlight out of, say, 200,000 illuminations by the moon, and thus determine it a priori or construct it. Those former principles might therefore be called constitutive.

The case is totally different with those principles which are meant to bring the existence of phenomena under rules a priori, for as existence cannot be constructed, they can only refer to the relations of existence and become merely regulative principles. Here therefore we could not think of either axioms or anticipations, and whenever a perception is given us as related in time to some others (although undetermined), we could not say a priori what other perception or how great a perception is necessarily connected with it, but only how, if existing, it is necessarily connected with the other in a certain mode of time. In philosophy analogy means something very different to what it does in mathematics. In the latter they are formulas which state the equality of two quantitative relations, and they are always constitutive so that when three1 terms of a proposition are given, the fourth also is given by it, that is, can be constructed out of it. In philosophy, Edition: current; Page: [147] on the contrary, analogy does not consist in the equality of two quantitative, but of two qualitative relations, so that when three terms are given I may learn from them a priori the relation to a fourth only, but not that Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [180] fourth term itself. All I can thus gain is a rule according to which I may look in experience for the fourth term, or a characteristic mark by which I may find it. An analogy of experience can therefore be no more than a rule according to which a certain unity of experience may arise from perceptions (but not how perception itself, as an empirical intuition, may arise); it may serve as a principle for objects (as phenomena1) not in a constitutive, but only in a regulative capacity.

Exactly the same applies to the postulates of empirical thought in general, which relate to the synthesis of mere intuition (the form of phenomena), the synthesis of perception (the matter of them), and the synthesis of experience (the relation of these perceptions). They too are regulative principles only, and differ from the mathematical, which are constitutive, not in their certainty, which is established in both a priori, but in the character of their evidence, that is, in that which is intuitive in it, and therefore in their demonstration also.

What has been remarked of all synthetical principles and must be enjoined here more particularly is this, that these analogies have their meaning and validity, not as principles of the transcendent, but only as principles Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [181] of the empirical use of the understanding. They can be established in this character only, nor can phenomena ever be comprehended under the categories directly, but Edition: current; Page: [148] only under their schemata. If the objects to which these principles refer were things by themselves, it would be perfectly impossible to know anything of them a priori and synthetically. But they are nothing but phenomena, and our whole knowledge of them, to which, after all, all principles a priori must relate, is only our possible experience of them. Those principles therefore can aim at nothing but the conditions of the unity of empirical knowledge in the synthesis of phenomena, which synthesis is represented only in the schema of the pure concepts of the understanding, while the category contains the function, restricted by no sensuous condition, of the unity of that synthesis as synthesis in general. Those principles will therefore authorise us only to connect phenomena, according to analogy, with the logical and universal unity of concepts, so that, though in using the principle we use the category, yet in practice (in the application to phenomena) we put the schema of the category, as a practical key, in its1 place, or rather put it by the side of the category as a restrictive condition, or, as what may be called, a formula of the category.

Edition: current; Page: [149]

A: [First Analogy
Principle of Permanence1 Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [182]

All phenomena contain the permanent (substance) as the object itself, and the changeable as its determination only, that is, as a mode in which the object exists

Proof of the First Analogy

All phenomena take place in time. Time can determine in two ways the relation in the existence of phenomena, so far as they are either successive or coexistent. In the first case time is considered as a series, in the second as a whole.]

Our apprehension of the manifold of phenomena is always successive, and therefore always changing. By it alone therefore we can never determine whether the manifold, as an object of experience, is coexistent or successive, unless there is something in it which exists always, that is, something constant and permanent, while change and succession are nothing but so many kinds (modi) of time in which the permanent exists. Relations of time are therefore possible in the permanent only (coexistence and succession being the only relations of time) Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [183] so that the permanent is the substratum of the empirical representation of time itself, and in it alone all determination of time is possible. Permanence expresses time as the constant correlative of all existence of phenomena, of all change and concomitancy. For change does not affect time itself, but only phenomena in time (nor is Edition: current; Page: [150] coexistence a mode of time itself, because in it no parts can be coexistent, but successive only). If we were to ascribe a succession to time itself, it would be necessary to admit another time in which such succession should be possible. Only through the permanent does existence in different parts of a series of time assume a quantity which we call duration. For in mere succession existence always comes and goes, and never assumes the slightest quantity. Without something permanent therefore no relation of time is possible. Time by itself, however, cannot be perceived, and it is therefore the permanent in phenomena that forms the substratum for all determination of time, and at the same time the condition of the possibility of all synthetical unity of perceptions, that is, of experience; while with regard to that permanent all existence and all change in time can only be taken as a mode of existence of what is permanent. In all phenomena therefore the permanent is the object itself, that is, the substance (phenomenon), while all that changes or can change Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [184] belongs only to the mode in which substance or substances exist, therefore to their determinations.

I find that in all ages not only the philosopher, but also the man of common understanding has admitted this permanence as a substratum of all change of phenomena. It will be the same in future, only that a philosopher generally expresses himself somewhat more definitely by saying that in all changes in the world the substance remains, and only the accidents change. But I nowhere find even the attempt at a proof of this very synthetical proposition, and it occupies but seldom that place which it ought to occupy at the head of the pure and entirely a priori existing laws of nature. In fact the proposition Edition: current; Page: [151] that substance is permanent is tautological, because that permanence is the only ground why we apply the category of substance to a phenomenon, and it ought first to have been proved that there is in all phenomena something permanent, while the changeable is only a determination of its existence. But as such a proof can never be given dogmatically and as deduced from concepts, because it refers to a synthetical proposition a priori, and as no one ever thought that such propositions could be valid only in reference to possible experience, and could therefore be proved only by a deduction of the possibility of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [185] experience, we need not wonder that, though it served as the foundation of all experience (being felt to be indispensable for every kind of empirical knowledge), it has never been established by proof.

A philosopher was asked, What is the weight of smoke? He replied, Deduct from the weight of the wood burnt the weight of the remaining ashes, and you have the weight of the smoke. He was therefore convinced that even in fire matter (substance) does not perish, but that its form only suffers a change. The proposition also, from nothing comes nothing, was only another conclusion from the same principle of permanence, or rather of the constant presence of the real subject in phenomena. For if that which people call substance in a phenomenon is to be the true substratum for all determination in time, then all existence in the past as well as the future must be determined in it, and in it only. Thus we can only give to a phenomenon the name of substance because we admit its existence at all times, which is not even fully expressed by the word permanence, because it refers rather to future time only. The internal necessity however of permanence Edition: current; Page: [152] is inseparably connected with the necessity to have been always, and the expression may therefore stand. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [186] Gigni de nihilo nihil, in nihilum nil posse reverti, were two propositions which the ancients never separated, but which at present are sometimes parted, because people imagine that they refer to things by themselves, and that the former might contradict the dependence of the world on a Supreme Cause (even with regard to its substance), an apprehension entirely needless, as we are only speaking here of phenomena in the sphere of experience, the unity of which would never be possible, if we allowed that new things (new in substance) could ever arise. For in that case we should lose that which alone can represent the unity of time, namely, the identity of the substratum, in which alone all change retains complete unity. This permanence, however, is nothing but the manner in which we represent the existence of things (as phenomenal).

The different determinations of a substance, which are nothing but particular modes in which it exists, are called accidents. They are always real, because they concern the existence of a substance (negations are nothing but determinations which express the non-existence of something in the substance). If we want to ascribe a particular kind of existence to these real determinations of the substance, as, for instance, to motion, as an accident of matter, we call it inherence, in order to distinguish it from the existence of substance, which1 we call subsistence. This, however, has given rise to many misunderstandings, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [187] and we shall express ourselves better and more correctly, if we define the accident through the manner only Edition: current; Page: [153] in which the existence of a substance is positively determined. It is inevitable, however, according to the conditions of the logical use of our understanding, to separate, as it were, whatever can change in the existence of a substance, while the substance itself remains unchanged, and to consider it in its relation to that which is radical and truly permanent. Hence a place has been assigned to this category under the title of relations, not so much because it contains itself a relation, as because it contains their condition.

On this permanence depends also the right understanding of the concept of change. To arise and to perish are not changes of that which arises or perishes. Change is a mode of existence, which follows another mode of existence of the same object. Hence whatever changes is permanent, and its condition only changes. As this alteration refers only to determinations which may have an end or a beginning, we may use an expression that seems somewhat paradoxical and say: the permanent only (substance) is changed, the changing itself suffers no change, but only an alteration, certain determinations ceasing to exist, while others begin.

It is therefore in substances only that change Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [188] can be perceived. Arising or perishing absolutely, and not referring merely to a determination of the permanent can never become a possible perception, because it is the permanent only which renders the representations of a transition from one state to another, from not being to being, possible, which (changes) consequently can only be known empirically, as alternating determinations of what is permanent. If you suppose that something has an absolute beginning, you must have a moment of time in Edition: current; Page: [154] which it was not. But with what can you connect that moment, if not with that which already exists? An empty antecedent time cannot be an object of perception. But if you connect this beginning with things which existed already and continue to exist till the beginning of something new, then the latter is only a determination of the former, as of the permanent. The same holds good with regard to perishing, for this would presuppose the empirical representation of a time in which a phenomenon exists no longer.

Substances therefore (as phenomena) are the true substrata of all determinations of time. If some substances could arise and others perish, the only condition of the empirical unity of time would be removed, and phenomena would then be referred to two different times, in which existence would pass side by side, which is absurd. For there is but one time in which all different times Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [189] must be placed, not as simultaneous, but as successive.

Permanence, therefore, is a necessary condition under which alone phenomena, as things or objects, can be determined in a possible experience. What the empirical criterion of this necessary permanence, or of the substantiality of phenomena may be, we shall have to explain in the sequel.

Edition: current; Page: [155]

B: [Second Analogy
Principle of Production1

Everything that happens (begins to be), presupposes something on which it follows according to a rule]


The apprehension of the manifold of phenomena is always successive. The representations of the parts follow one upon another. Whether they also follow one upon the other in the object is a second point for reflection, not contained in the former. We may indeed call everything, even every representation, so far as we are conscious of it, an object; but it requires a more profound investigation to discover what this word may Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [190] mean with regard to phenomena, not in so far as they (as representations) are objects, but in so far as they only signify an object. So far as they, as representations only, are at the same time objects of consciousness, they cannot be distinguished from our apprehension, that is from their being received in the synthesis of our imagination, and we must therefore say, that the manifold of phenomena is always produced in the mind successively. If phenomena were things by themselves, the succession of the representations of their manifold would never enable us to judge how that manifold is connected in the object. We have always to deal with our representations only; how things may be by themselves (without reference to the representations by which they affect us) is completely beyond the Edition: current; Page: [156] sphere of our knowledge. Since, therefore, phenomena are not things by themselves, and are yet the only thing that can be given to us to know, I am asked to say what kind of connection in time belongs to the manifold of the phenomena itself, when the representation of it in our apprehension is always successive. Thus, for instance, the apprehension of the manifold in the phenomenal appearance of a house that stands before me, is successive. The question then arises, whether the manifold of the house itself be successive by itself, which of course no one would admit. Whenever I ask for the transcendental meaning of my concepts of an object, I find that a house is not a thing by itself, but a phenomenon Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [191] only, that is, a representation the transcendental object of which is unknown. What then can be the meaning of the question, how the manifold in the phenomenon itself (which is not a thing by itself) may be connected? Here that which is contained in our successive apprehension is considered as representation, and the given phenomenon, though it is nothing but the whole of those representations, as their object, with which my concept, drawn from the representations of my apprehension, is to accord. As the accord between knowledge and its object is truth, it is easily seen, that we can ask here only for the formal conditions of empirical truth, and that the phenomenon, in contradistinction to the representations of our apprehension, can only be represented as the object different from them, if it is subject to a rule distinguishing it from every other apprehension, and necessitating a certain kind of conjunction of the manifold. That which in the phenomenon contains the condition of this necessary rule of apprehension is the object.

Edition: current; Page: [157]

Let us now proceed to our task. That something takes place, that is, that something, or some state, which did not exist before, begins to exist, cannot be perceived empirically, unless there exists antecedently a phenomenon which does not contain that state; for a reality, following on empty time, that is a beginning of existence, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [192] preceded by no state of things, can be apprehended as little as empty time itself. Every apprehension of an event is therefore a perception following on another perception. But as this applies to all synthesis of apprehension, as I showed before in the phenomenal appearance of a house, that apprehension would not thereby be different from any other. But I observe at the same time, that if in a phenomenon which contains an event I call the antecedent state of perception A, and the subsequent B, B can only follow A in my apprehension, while the perception A can never follow B, but can only precede it. I see, for instance, a ship gliding down a stream. My perception of its place below follows my perception of its place higher up in the course of the stream, and it is impossible in the apprehension of this phenomenon that the ship should be perceived first below and then higher up. We see therefore that the order in the succession of perceptions in our apprehension is here determined, and our apprehension regulated by that order. In the former example of a house my perceptions could begin in the apprehension at the roof and end in the basement, or begin below and end above: they could apprehend the manifold of the empirical intuition from right to left or from left to right. There was therefore no determined order in the succession of these perceptions, determining the point where Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [193] I had to begin in apprehension, in order to connect the Edition: current; Page: [158] manifold empirically; while in the apprehension of an event there is always a rule, which makes the order of the successive perceptions (in the apprehension of this phenomenon) necessary.

In our case, therefore, we shall have to derive the subjective succession in our apprehension from the objective succession of the phenomena, because otherwise the former would be entirely undetermined, and unable to distinguish one phenomenon from another. The former alone proves nothing as to the connection of the manifold in the object, because it is quite arbitrary. The latter must therefore consist in the order of the manifold in a phenomenon, according to which the apprehension of what is happening follows upon the apprehension of what has happened, in conformity with a rule. Thus only can I be justified in saying, not only of my apprehension, but of the phenomenon itself, that there exists in it a succession, which is the same as to say that I cannot arrange the apprehension otherwise than in that very succession.

In conformity with this, there must exist in that which always precedes an event the condition of a rule, by which this event follows at all times, and necessarily; Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [194] but I cannot go back from the event and determine by apprehension that which precedes. For no phenomenon goes back from the succeeding to the preceding point of time, though it is related to some preceding point of time, while the progress from a given time to a determined following time is necessary. Therefore, as there certainly is something that follows, I must necessarily refer it to something else which precedes, and upon which it follows by rule, that is, by necessity. So that the event, as being Edition: current; Page: [159] conditional, affords a safe indication of some kind of condition, while that condition itself determines the event.

If we supposed that nothing precedes an event upon which such event must follow according to rule, all succession of perception would then exist in apprehension only, that is, subjectively; but it would not thereby be determined objectively, what ought properly to be the antecedent and what the subsequent in perception. We should thus have a mere play of representations unconnected with any object, that is, no phenomenon would, by our perception, be distinguished in time from any other phenomenon, because the succession in apprehension would always be uniform, and there would be nothing in the phenomena to determine the succession, so as to render a certain sequence objectively necessary. I could not say therefore that two states follow each other in a phenomenon, but only that one apprehension follows Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [195] another, which is purely subjective, and does not determine any object, and cannot be considered therefore as knowledge of anything (even of something purely phenomenal).

If therefore experience teaches us that something happens, we always presuppose that something precedes on which it follows by rule. Otherwise I could not say of the object that it followed, because its following in my apprehension only, without being determined by rule in reference to what precedes, would not justify us in admitting an objective following.1 It is therefore always with reference to a rule by which phenomena as they follow, that is as they happen, are determined by an antecedent Edition: current; Page: [160] state, that I can give an objective character to my subjective synthesis (of apprehension); nay, it is under this supposition only that an experience of anything that happens becomes possible.

It might seem indeed as if this were in contradiction to all that has always been said on the progress of the human understanding, it having been supposed that only by a perception and comparison of many events, following in the same manner on preceding phenomena, we were led to the discovery of a rule according to which certain events always follow on certain phenomena, and that thus only we were enabled to form to ourselves the concept of a cause. If this were so, that concept would be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [196] empirical only, and the rule which it supplies, that everything which happens must have a cause, would be as accidental as experience itself. The universality and necessity of that rule would then be fictitious only, and devoid of any true and general validity, because not being a priori, but founded on induction only. The case is the same as with other pure representations a priori (for instance space and time), which we are only able to draw out as pure concepts from experience, because we have put them first into experience, nay, have rendered experience possible only by them. It is true, no doubt, that the logical clearness of this representation of a rule, determining the succession of events, as a concept of cause, becomes possible only when we have used it in experience, but, as the condition of the synthetical unity of phenomena in time, it was nevertheless the foundation of all experience, and consequently preceded it a priori.

It is necessary therefore to show by examples that we never, even in experience, ascribe the sequence or consequence Edition: current; Page: [161] (of an event or something happening that did not exist before) to the object, and distinguish it from the subjective sequence of our apprehension, except when there is a rule which forces us to observe a certain order of perceptions, and no other; nay, that it is this force which from the first renders the representation of a Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [197] succession in the object possible.

We have representations within us, and can become conscious of them; but however far that consciousness may extend, and however accurate and minute it may be, yet the representations are always representations only, that is, internal determinations of our mind in this or that relation of time. What right have we then to add to these representations an object, or to ascribe to these modifications, beyond their subjective reality, another objective one? Their objective character cannot consist in their relation to another representation (of that which one wished to predicate of the object), for thus the question would only arise again, how that representation could again go beyond itself, and receive an objective character in addition to the subjective one, which belongs to it, as a determination of our mind. If we try to find out what new quality or dignity is imparted to our representations by their relation to an object, we find that it consists in nothing but the rendering necessary the connection of representations in a certain way, and subjecting them to a rule; and that on the other hand they receive their objective character only because a certain order is necessary in the time relations of our representations.

In the synthesis of phenomena the manifold Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [198] of our representations is always successive. No object can thus be represented, because through the succession Edition: current; Page: [162] which is common to all apprehensions, nothing can be distinguished from anything else. But as soon as I perceive or anticipate that there is in this succession a relation to an antecedent state from which the representation follows by rule, then something is represented as an event, or as something that happens: that is to say, I know an object to which I must assign a certain position in time, which, after the preceding state, cannot be different from what it is. If therefore I perceive that something happens, this representation involves that something preceded, because the phenomenon receives its position in time with reference to what preceded, that is, it exists after a time in which it did not exist. Its definite position in time can only be assigned to it, if in the antecedent state something is presupposed on which it always follows by rule. It thus follows that, first of all, I cannot invert the order, and place that which happens before that on which it follows; secondly, that whenever the antecedent state is there, the other event must follow inevitably and necessarily. Thus it happens that there arises an order among our representations, in which the present state Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [199] (as having come to be), points to an antecedent state, as a correlative of the event that is given; a correlative which, though as yet indefinite, refers as determining to the event, as its result, and connects that event with itself by necessity, in the succession of time.

If then it is a necessary law of our sensibility, and therefore a formal condition of all perception, that a preceding necessarily determines a succeeding time (because I cannot arrive at the succeeding time except through the preceding), it is also an indispensable law of the empirical representation of the series of time that the phenomena of Edition: current; Page: [163] past time determine every existence in succeeding times, nay, that these, as events, cannot take place except so far as the former determine their existence in time, that is, determine it by rule. For it is of course in phenomena only that we can know empirically this continuity in the coherence of times.

What is required for all experience and renders it possible is the understanding, and the first that is added by it is not that it renders the representation of objects clear, but that it really renders the representation of any object for the first time possible. This takes place by the understanding transferring the order of time to the phenomena and their existence, and by assigning to each of them as to a consequence a certain a priori determined place in time, with reference to antecedent phenomena, without which place phenomena would not be in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [200] accord with time, which determines a priori their places to all its parts. This determination of place cannot be derived from the relation in which phenomena stand to absolute time (for that can never be an object of perception); but, on the contrary, phenomena must themselves determine to each other their places in time, and render them necessary in the series of time. In other words, what happens or follows must follow according to a general rule on that which was contained in a previous state. We thus get a series of phenomena which, by means of the understanding, produces and makes necessary in the series of possible perceptions the same order and continuous coherence which exists a priori in the form of internal intuition (time), in which all perceptions must have their place.

That something happens is therefore a perception which belongs to a possible experience, and this experience Edition: current; Page: [164] becomes real when I consider the phenomenon as determined with regard to its place in time, that is to say, as an object which can always be found, according to a rule, in the connection of perceptions. This rule, by which we determine everything according to the succession of time, is this: the condition under which an event follows at all times (necessarily) is to be found in what precedes. All possible experience therefore, that is, all objective knowledge of phenomena with regard to their relation in the succession of time, depends on Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [201] ‘the principle of sufficient reason.’

The proof of this principle rests entirely on the following considerations. All empirical knowledge requires synthesis of the manifold by imagination, which is always successive, one representation following upon the other. That succession, however, in the imagination is not at all determined with regard to the order in which something precedes and something follows, and the series of successive representations may be taken as retrogressive as well as progressive. If that synthesis, however, is a synthesis of apperception (of the manifold in a given phenomenon), then the order is determined in the object, or, to speak more accurately, there is then in it an order of successive synthesis which determines the object, and according to which something must necessarily precede, and, when it is once there, something else must necessarily follow. If therefore my perception is to contain the knowledge of an event, or something that really happens, it must consist of an empirical judgment, by which the succession is supposed to be determined, so that the event presupposes another phenomenon in time on which it follows necessarily and according to a rule. If it were different, if the Edition: current; Page: [165] antecedent phenomenon were there, and the event did not follow on it necessarily, it would become to me a mere play of my subjective imaginations, or if I thought it to be objective, I should call it a dream. It is therefore the relation of phenomena (as possible perceptions) Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [202] according to which the existence of the subsequent (what happens) is determined in time by something antecedent necessarily and by rule, or, in other words, the relation of cause and effect, which forms the condition of the objective validity of our empirical judgments with regard to the series of perceptions, and therefore also the condition of the empirical truth of them, and of experience. The principle of the causal relation in the succession of phenomena is valid therefore for all objects of experience, also (under the conditions of succession), because that principle is itself the ground of the possibility of such experience.

Here, however, we meet with a difficulty that must first be removed. The principle of the causal connection of phenomena is restricted in our formula to their succession, while in practice we find that it applies also to their coexistence, because cause and effect may exist at the same time. There may be, for instance, inside a room heat which is not found in the open air. If I look for its cause, I find a heated stove. But that stove, as cause, exists at the same time with its effect, the heat of the room, and there is therefore no succession in time between cause and effect, but they are coexistent, and yet the law applies. The fact is, that the greater portion of the active Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [203] causes1 in nature is coexistent with its effects, and the Edition: current; Page: [166] succession of these effects in time is due only to this, that a cause cannot produce its whole effect in one moment. But at the moment in which an effect first arises it is always coexistent with the causality of its cause, because if that had ceased one moment before, the effect would never have happened. Here we must well consider that what is thought of is the order, not the lapse of time, and that the relation remains, even if no time had lapsed. The time between the causality of the cause and its immediate effect can be vanishing (they may be simultaneous), but the relation of the one to the other remains for all that determinable in time. If I look upon a ball that rests on a soft cushion, and makes a depression in it, as a cause, it is simultaneous with its effect. But I nevertheless distinguish the two through the temporal relation of dynamical connection. For if I place the ball on a cushion, its smooth surface is followed by a depression, while, if there is a depression in the cushion (I know not whence), a leaden ball does by no means follow from it.

The succession in time is therefore the only empirical criterion of an effect with regard to the causality of the cause which precedes it. The glass is the cause of the rising of the water above its horizontal surface, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [204] although both phenomena are simultaneous. For as soon as I draw water in a glass from a larger vessel, something follows, namely, the change of the horizontal state which it had before into a concave state which it assumes in the glass.

This causality leads to the concept of action, that to the concept of force, and lastly, to the concept of substance. As I do not mean to burden my critical task, which only concerns the sources of synthetical knowledge Edition: current; Page: [167] a priori, with analytical processes which aim at the explanation, and not at the expansion of our concepts, I leave a fuller treatment of these to a future system of pure reason; nay, I may refer to many well-known manuals in which such an analysis may be found. I cannot pass, however, over the empirical criterion of a substance, so far as it seems to manifest itself, not so much through the permanence of the phenomenon as through action.

Wherever there is action, therefore activity and force, there must be substance, and in this alone the seat of that fertile source of phenomena can be sought. This sounds very well, but if people are asked to explain what they mean by substance, they find it by no means easy to answer without reasoning in a circle. How can Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [205] we conclude immediately from the action to the permanence of the agent, which nevertheless is an essential and peculiar characteristic of substance (phaenomenon)? After what we have explained before, however, the answer to this question is not so difficult, though it would be impossible, according to the ordinary way of proceeding analytically only with our concepts. Action itself implies the relation of the subject of the causality to the effect. As all effect consists in that which happens, that is, in the changeable, indicating time in succession, the last subject of it is the permanent, as the substratum of all that changes, that is substance. For, according to the principle of causality, actions are always the first ground of all change of phenomena, and cannot exist therefore in a subject that itself changes, because in that case other actions and another subject would be required to determine that change. Action, therefore, is a sufficient empirical criterion to prove substantiality, nor is it necessary Edition: current; Page: [168] that I should first establish its permanency by means of compared perceptions, which indeed would hardly be possible in this way, at least with that completeness which is required by the magnitude and strict universality of the concept. That the first subject of the causality of all arising and perishing cannot itself (in the field of phenomena) arise and perish, is a safe conclusion, pointing in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [206] the end to empirical necessity and permanency in existence, that is, the concept of a substance as a phenomenon.

If anything happens, the mere fact of something arising, without any reference to what it is, is in itself a matter for enquiry. The transition from the not-being of a state into that state, even though it contained no quality whatever as a phenomenon, must itself be investigated. This arising, as we have shown in No. A, does not concern the substance (because a substance never arises), but its state only. It is therefore mere change, and not an arising out of nothing. When such an arising is looked upon as the effect of a foreign cause, it is called creation. This can never be admitted as an event among phenomena, because its very possibility would destroy the unity of experience. If, however, we consider all things, not as phenomena, but as things by themselves and objects of the understanding only, then, though they are substances, they may be considered as dependent in their existence on a foreign cause. Our words would then assume quite a different meaning, and no longer be applicable to phenomena, as possible objects of experience.

How anything can be changed at all, how it is possible that one state in a given time is followed by another Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [207] at another time, of that we have not the slightest conception a priori. We want for that a knowledge of Edition: current; Page: [169] real powers, which can be given empirically only: for instance, a knowledge of motive powers, or what is the same, a knowledge of certain successive phenomena (as movements) which indicate the presence of such forces. What can be considered a priori, according to the law of causality and the conditions of time, are the form of every change, the condition under which alone, as an arising of another state, it can take place (its contents, that is, the state, which is changed, being what it may), and therefore the succession itself of the states (that which has happened).1

When a substance passes from one state a into another b, the moment of the latter is different from the moment of the former state, and follows it. Again, that second state, as a reality (in phenomena), differs from the first in which that reality did not exist, as b from zero; that is, even if the state b differed from the state a in quantity only, that change is an arising of b — a, which in the former state was non-existent, and in relation to Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [208] which that state is = o.

The question therefore arises how a thing can pass from a state = a to another = b? Between two moments there is always a certain time, and between two states in these two moments there is always a difference which must have a certain quantity, because all parts of phenomena are always themselves quantities. Every transition therefore from one state into another takes place in a certain time between two moments, the first of which determines Edition: current; Page: [170] the state from which a thing arises, the second that at which it arrives. Both therefore are the temporal limits of a change or of an intermediate state between two states, and belong as such to the whole of the change. Every change, however, has a cause which proves its causality during the whole of the time in which the change takes place. The cause therefore does not produce the change suddenly (in one moment), but during a certain time; so that, as the time grows from the initiatory moment a to its completion in b, the quantity of reality also (b-a) is produced through all the smaller degrees between the first and the last. All change therefore is possible only through a continuous action of causality which, so far as it is uniform, is called a momentum. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [209] A change does not consist of such momenta, but is produced by them as their effect.

This is the law of continuity in all change, founded on this, that neither time nor a phenomenon in time consists of parts which are the smallest possible, and that nevertheless the state of a thing which is being changed passes through all these parts, as elements, to its new state. No difference of the real in phenomena and no difference in the quantity of times is ever the smallest; and thus the new state of reality grows from the first state in which that reality did not exist through all the infinite degrees thereof, the differences of which from one another are smaller than that between zero and a.

It does not concern us at present of what utility this principle may be in physical science. But how such a principle, which seems to enlarge our knowledge of nature so much, can be possible a priori, that requires a careful investigation, although we can see that it is real and true, Edition: current; Page: [171] and might thus imagine that the question how it was possible is unnecessary. For there are so many unfounded pretensions to enlarge our knowledge by pure reason that we must accept it as a general principle, to be always distrustful, and never to believe or accept anything Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [210] of this kind without documents capable of a thorough deduction, however clear the dogmatical proof of it may appear.

All addition to our empirical knowledge and every advance in perception is nothing but an enlargement of the determinations of our internal sense, that is, a progression in time, whatever the objects may be, whether phenomena or pure intuitions. This progression in time determines everything, and is itself determined by nothing else, that is, the parts of that progression are only given in time, and through the synthesis of time, but not time before this synthesis. For this reason every transition in our perception to something that follows in time is really a determination of time through the production of that perception, and as time is always and in all its parts a quantity, the production of a perception as a quantity, through all degrees (none of them being the smallest), from zero up to its determined degree. This shows how it is possible to know a priori a law of changes, as far as their form is concerned. We are only anticipating our own apprehension, the formal condition of which, as it dwells in us before all given phenomena, may well be known a priori.

In the same manner therefore in which time contains the sensuous condition a priori of the possibility Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [211] of a continuous progression of that which exists to that which follows, the understanding, by means of the unity of apperception, is a condition a priori of the possibility Edition: current; Page: [172] of a continuous determination of the position of all phenomena in that time, and this through a series of causes and effects, the former producing inevitably the existence of the latter, and thus rendering the empirical knowledge of the relations of time valid for all times (universally) and therefore objectively valid.

C: [Third Analogy
Principle of Community

All substances, in so far as they are coexistent, stand in complete community, that is, reciprocity one to another1]


Things are coexistent in so far as they exist at one and the same time. But how can we know that they exist at one and the same time? Only if the order in the synthesis of apprehension of the manifold is indifferent, that is, if I may advance from A through B, C, D, to E, or contrariwise from E to A. For, if the synthesis were successive in time (in the order beginning with A and ending with E), it would be impossible to begin the apprehension with the perception of E and to go backwards to A, because A belongs to past time, and can no longer be an object of apprehension. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [212]

If we supposed it possible that in a number of substances, as phenomena, each were perfectly isolated, so that none influenced another or received influences from Edition: current; Page: [173] another, then the coexistence of them could never become an object of possible perception, nor could the existence of the one through any process of empirical synthesis lead us on to the existence of another. For if we imagined that they were separated by a perfectly empty space, a perception, proceeding from the one in time to the other might no doubt determine the existence of it by means of a subsequent perception, but would never be able to determine whether that phenomenon followed objectively on the other or was coexistent with it.

There must therefore be something besides their mere existence by which A determines its place in time for B, and B for A, because thus only can these two substances be represented empirically as coexistent. Nothing, however, can determine the place of anything else in time, except that which is its cause or the cause of its determinations. Therefore every substance (since it can be effect with regard to its determinations only) must contain in itself the causality of certain determinations in another substance, and, at the same time, the effects of the causality of that other substance, that is, substances must stand in dynamical communion, immediately or mediately, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [213] with each other, if their coexistence is to be known in any possible experience. Now, everything without which the experience of any objects would be impossible, may be said to be necessary with reference to such objects of experience; from which it follows that it is necessary for all substances, so far as they are coexistent as phenomena, to stand in a complete communion of reciprocity with each other.

The word communion (Gemeinschaft) may be used in two senses, meaning either communio or commercium. Edition: current; Page: [174] We use it here in the latter sense: as a dynamical communion without which even the local communio spatii could never be known empirically. We can easily per ceive in our experience, that continuous influences only can lead our senses in all parts of space from one object to another; that the light which plays between our eyes and celestial bodies produces a mediate communion between us and them, and proves the coexistence of the latter; that we cannot change any place empirically (perceive such a change) unless matter itself renders the perception of our own place possible to us, and that by means of its reciprocal influence only matter can evince its simultaneous existence, and thus (though mediately only) its coexistence, even to the most distant objects. Without this communion every perception (of any phenomenon Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [214] in space) is separated from the others, and the chain of empirical representations, that is, experience itself, would have to begin de novo with every new object, without the former experience being in the least connected with it, or standing to it in any temporal relation. I do not want to say anything here against empty space. Empty space may exist where perception cannot reach, and where therefore no empirical knowledge of coexistence takes place, but, in that case, it is no object for any possible experience.

The following remarks may elucidate this. It is necessary that in our mind all phenomena, as being contained in a possible experience, must share a communion of apperception, and if the objects are to be represented as connected in coexistence, they must reciprocally determine their place in time, and thus constitute a whole. If this subjective communion is to rest on an objective ground, or Edition: current; Page: [175] is to refer to phenomena as substances, then the perception of the one as cause must render possible the perception of the other, and vice versa: so that the succession which always exists in perceptions, as apprehensions, may not be attributed to the objects, but that the objects should be represented as existing simultaneously. This is a reciprocal influence, that is a real commercium of substances, without which the empirical relation of co-existence Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [215] would be impossible in our experience. Through this commercium, phenomena as being apart from each other and yet connected, constitute a compound (compositum reale), and such compounds become possible in many ways. The three dynamical relations, therefore, from which all others are derived, are inherence, consequence, and composition.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

These are the three analogies of experience. They are nothing but principles for determining the existence of phenomena in time, according to its three modes. First, the relation of time itself, as to a quantity (quantity of existence, that is duration). Secondly, the relation in time, as in a series (successively). And thirdly, likewise in time, as the whole of all existence (simultaneously). This unity in the determination of time is dynamical only, that is, time is not looked upon as that in which experience assigns immediately its place to every existence, for this would be impossible; because absolute time is no object of perception by which phenomena could be held together; but the rule of the understanding through which alone the existence of phenomena can receive synthetical unity in time determines the place of each of them in time, therefore a priori and as valid for all time.

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By nature (in the empirical sense of the word) Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [216] we mean the coherence of phenomena in their existence, according to necessary rules, that is, laws. There are therefore certain laws, and they exist a priori, which themselves make nature possible, while the empirical laws exist and are discovered through experience, but in accordance with those original laws which first render experience possible. Our analogies therefore represent the unity of nature in the coherence of all phenomena, under certain exponents, which express the relation of time (as comprehending all existence) to the unity of apperception, which apperception can only take place in the synthesis according to rules. The three analogies, therefore, simply say, that all phenomena exist in one nature, and must so exist because, without such unity a priori no unity of experience, and therefore no determination of objects in experience, would be possible.

With regard to the mode of proof, by which we have arrived at these transcendental laws of nature and its peculiar character, a remark must be made which will become important as a rule for any other attempt to prove intelligible, and at the same time synthetical propositions a priori. If we had attempted to prove these analogies dogmatically, that is from concepts, showing that all which exists is found only in that which is permanent, that every event Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [217] presupposes something in a previous state on which it follows by rule, and lastly, that in the manifold which is coexistent, states coexist in relation to each other by rule, all our labour would have been in vain. For we may analyse as much as we like, we shall never arrive from one object and its existence at the existence Edition: current; Page: [177] of another, or at its mode of existence by means of the concepts of these things only. What else then remained? There remained the possibility of experience, as that knowledge in which all objects must in the end be capable of being given to us, if their representation is to have any objective reality for us. In this, namely in the synthetical unity of apperception of all phenomena, we discovered the conditions a priori of an absolute and necessary determination in time of all phenomenal existence. Without this even the empirical determinations in time would be impossible, and we thus established the rules of the synthetical unity a priori, by which we might anticipate experience. It was because people were ignorant of this method, and imagined that they could prove dogmatically synthetical propositions which the empirical use of the understanding follows as its principles, that so many and always unsuccessful attempts have been made to prove the proposition of the ‘sufficient reason.’ The other two analogies have not even been thought of, though everybody followed them unconsciously,1 because the method of the categories Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [218] was wanting, by which alone every gap in the understanding, Edition: current; Page: [178] both with regard to concepts and principles, can be discovered and pointed out.

IV: The Postulates of Empirical Thought in General

1. What agrees with the formal conditions of experience (in intuition and in concepts) is possible

2. What is connected with the material conditions of experience (sensation) is real

3. That which, in its connection with the real, is determined by universal conditions of experience, is (exists as) necessary

Explanation Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [219]

The categories of modality have this peculiar character that, as determining an object, they do not enlarge in the least the concept to which they are attached as predicates, but express only a relation to our faculty of knowledge. Even when the concept of a thing is quite complete, I can still ask with reference to that object, whether it is possible only, or real also, and, if the latter, whether it is necessary? No new determinations of the object are thereby conceived, but it is only asked in what relation it (with all its determinations) stands to the understanding and its empirical employment, to the empirical faculty of judgment, and to reason, in its application to experience?

The principles of modality are therefore nothing but explanations of the concepts of possibility, reality, and necessity, in their empirical employment, confining all categories to an empirical employment only, and prohibiting their transcendental1 use. For if these categories are Edition: current; Page: [179] not to have a purely logical character, expressing the forms of thought analytically, but are to refer to things, their possibility, reality, or necessity, they must have reference to possible experience and its synthetical unity, in which alone objects of knowledge can be given.

The postulate of the possibility of things Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [220] demands that the concept of these should agree with the formal conditions of experience in general. This, the objective form of experience in general, contains all synthesis which is required for a knowledge of objects. A concept is to be considered as empty, and as referring to no object, if the synthesis which it contains does not belong to experience, whether as borrowed from it (in which case it is called an empirical concept), or as a synthesis on which, as a condition a priori, all experience (in its form) depends, in which case it is a pure concept, but yet belonging to experience, because its object can only be found in it. For whence could the character of the possibility of an object, which can be conceived by a synthetical concept a priori, be derived, except from the synthesis which constitutes the form of all empirical knowledge of objects? It is no doubt a necessary logical condition, that such a concept must contain nothing contradictory, but this is by no means sufficient to establish the objective reality of a concept, that is, the possibility of such an object, as is conceived by a concept. Thus in the concept of a figure to be enclosed between two straight lines, there is nothing contradictory, because the concepts of two straight lines and their meeting contain no negation of a figure. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [221] The impossibility depends, not on the concept itself, but on its construction in space, that is, the conditions of space and its determinations, and it is these that have objective Edition: current; Page: [180] reality, or apply to possible things, because they contain a priori in themselves the form of experience in general.

And now we shall try to explain the manifold usefulness and influence of this postulate of possibility. If I represent to myself a thing that is permanent, while everything which changes belongs merely to its state, I can never know from such a concept by itself that a thing of that kind is possible. Or, if I represent to myself something so constituted that, when it is given, something else must at all times and inevitably follow upon it, this may no doubt be conceived without contradiction, but we have as yet no means of judging whether such a quality, viz. causality, is to be met with in any possible object. Lastly, I can very well represent to myself different things (substances) so constituted, that the state of the one produces an effect on the state of the other, and this reciprocally; but whether such a relation can belong to any things cannot be learned from these concepts which contain a purely arbitrary synthesis. The objective reality of these concepts is only known when we see that they Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [222] express a priori the relations of perceptions in every kind of experience; and this objective reality, that is, their transcendental truth, though independent of all experience, is nevertheless not independent of all relation to the form of experience in general, and to that synthetical unity in which alone objects can be known empirically.

But if we should think of framing new concepts of substances, forces, and reciprocal actions out of the material supplied to us by our perceptions, without borrowing from experience the instance of their connection, we should entangle ourselves in mere cobwebs of our brain, the possibility Edition: current; Page: [181] of which could not be tested by any criteria, because in forming them we were not guided by experience, nor had borrowed these concepts from it. Such purely imaginary concepts cannot receive the character of possibility, like the categories a priori, as conditions on which all experience depends, but only a posteriori, as concepts that must be given by experience, so that their possibility can either not be known at all, or a posteriori, and empirically only. Thus, for instance, a substance supposed to be present as permanent in space, and yet not filling it (like that something between matter and the thinking subject, which some have tried to introduce), or a peculiar faculty of our mind, by which we can see (not only infer) the future, or lastly, another faculty, by which we can enter into a community of thought with other men (however distant they may be), all these are concepts the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [223] possibility of which has nothing to rest on, because it is not founded on experience and its known laws. Without these they are and can only be arbitrary combinations of thought which, though they contain nothing contradictory in themselves, have no claim to objective reality, or to the possibility of such an object as is to be conceived by them. With regard to reality, it stands to reason that we cannot conceive it in the concrete without the aid of experience; for reality concerns sensation only, as the material of experience, and not the form of relations, which might to a certain extent allow us to indulge in mere fancies.

I here pass by everything the possibility of which can only be learned from its reality in experience, and I only mean to consider the possibility of things through concepts a priori. Of these (concepts) I persist in maintaining that they can never exist as such concepts by themselves Edition: current; Page: [182] alone, but only as formal and objective conditions of experience in general.1

It might seem indeed as if the possibility of a triangle could be known from its concept by itself (being independent of all experience), for we can give to it an object entirely a priori, that is, we can construct it. But as this is only the form of an object, it would always remain a product of the imagination only. The possibility Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [224] of its object would remain doubtful, because more is wanted to establish it, namely, that such a figure should really be conceived under all those conditions on which all objects of experience depend. That which alone connects with this concept the representation of the possibility of such a thing, is the fact that space is a formal condition a priori of all external experiences, and that the same formative synthesis, by which we construct a triangle in imagination, should be identical with that which we exercise in the apprehension of a phenomenon, in order to make an empirical concept of it. And thus the possibility of continuous quantities, nay, of all quantities, the concepts of which are always synthetical, can never be deduced from the concepts themselves, but only from them, as formal conditions of the determination of objects in all experience. And where indeed should we look for objects, corresponding to our concepts, except in experience, by which alone objects are given us? If we are able to know and determine the possibility of things without any previous experience, this is only with reference to those formal conditions under which anything may become Edition: current; Page: [183] an object in experience. This takes place entirely a priori, but nevertheless in constant reference to experience, and within its limits.

The postulate concerning our knowledge of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [225] the reality of things, requires perception, therefore sensation and consciousness of it, not indeed immediately of the object itself, the existence of which is to be known, but yet of a connection between it and some real perception, according to the analogies of experience which determine in general all real combinations in experience.

In the mere concept of a thing no sign of its existence can be discovered. For though the concept be ever so perfect, so that nothing should be wanting in it to enable us to conceive the thing with all its own determinations, existence has nothing to do with all this. It depends only on the question whether such a thing be given us, so that its perception may even precede its concept. A concept preceding experience implies its possibility only, while perception, which supplies the material of a concept, is the only characteristic of reality. It is possible, however, even before the perception of a thing, and therefore, in a certain sense, a priori, to know its existence, provided it hang together with some other perceptions, according to the principles of their empirical connection (analogies). For in that case the existence of a thing hangs together at least with our perceptions in a possible experience, and guided by our analogies we Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [226] can, starting from our real experience, arrive at some other thing in the series of possible perceptions. Thus we know the existence of some magnetic matter pervading all bodies from the perception of the attracted iron filings, though our organs are so constituted as to render an immediate Edition: current; Page: [184] perception of that matter impossible. According to the laws of sensibility and the texture of our perceptions, we ought in our experience to arrive at an immediate empirical intuition of that magnetic matter, if only our senses were more acute, for their actual obtuseness does not concern the form of possible experience. Wherever, therefore, perception and its train can reach, according to empirical laws, there our knowledge also of the existence of things can reach. But if we do not begin with experience, or do not proceed according to the laws of the empirical connection of phenomena, we are only making a vain display, as if we could guess and discover the existence of anything.1

With reference to the third postulate we find that it refers to the material necessity in existence, and not to the merely formal and logical necessity in the connection of concepts. As it is impossible that the existence of the objects of the senses should ever be known entirely a priori, though it may be known to a certain extent a priori, namely, with reference to another already given existence, and as even in that case we can only Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [227] arrive at such an existence as must somewhere be contained in the whole of the experience of which the given perception forms a part, it follows that the necessity of existence can never be known from concepts, but always from the connection only with what is actually perceived, according to general rules of experience.2 Now, there is no existence that can be known as necessary under the condition of other given phenomena, except the existence Edition: current; Page: [185] of effects from given causes, according to the laws of causality. It is not therefore the existence of things (substances), but the existence of their state, of which alone we can know the necessity, and this from other states only, which are given in perception, and according to the empirical laws of causality. Hence it follows that the criterium of necessity can only be found in the law of possible experience, viz. that everything that happens is determined a priori by its cause in phenomena.1 We therefore know in nature the necessity of those effects only of which the causes are given, and the character of necessity in existence never goes beyond the field of possible experience, and even there it does not apply to the existence of things, as substances, because such substances can never be looked upon as empirical effects or as something that happens and arises. Necessity, therefore, affects only the relations of phenomena Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [228] according to the dynamical law of causality, and the possibility, dependent upon it, of concluding a priori from a given existence (of a cause) to another existence (that of an effect). Thus the principle that everything which happens is hypothetically necessary, subjects all the changes in the world to a law, that is, to a rule of necessary existence, without which there would not even be such a thing as nature. Hence the proposition that nothing happens by blind chance (in mundo non datur casus) is an a priori law of nature, and so is likewise the other, that no necessity in nature is a blind, but always a conditional and therefore an intelligible, necessity (non datur fatum). Both these are laws by which the mere play of changes is rendered Edition: current; Page: [186] subject to a nature of things (as phenomena), or what is the same, to that unity of the understanding in which alone they can belong to experience, as the synthetical unity of phenomena. Both are dynamical principles. The former is in reality a consequence of the principle of causality (the second of the analogies of experience). The latter is one of the principles of modality, which to the determination of causality adds the concept of necessity, which itself is subject to a rule of the understanding. The principle of continuity rendered every break in the series of phenomena (changes) impossible (in mundo non datur saltus), and likewise any gap between two Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [229] phenomena in the whole of our empirical intuitions in space (non datur hiatus). For so we may express the proposition that nothing can enter into experience to prove a vacuum, or even to admit it as a possible part of empirical synthesis. For the vacuum, which one may conceive as outside the field of possible experience (the world), can never come before the tribunal of the understanding which has to decide on such questions only as concern the use to be made of given phenomena for empirical knowledge. It is in reality a problem of that ideal reason which goes beyond the sphere of a possible experience, and wants to form an opinion of that which surrounds and limits experience, and will therefore have to be considered in our transcendental Dialectic. With regard to the four propositions (in mundo non datur hiatus, non datus saltus, non datur casus, non datur fatum), it would be easy to represent each of them, as well as all principles of a transcendental origin, according to the order of the categories, and thus to assign its proper place to every one of them. But, after what has been said before, the versed Edition: current; Page: [187] and expert reader will find it easy to do this himself, and to discover the proper method for it. They all simply agree in this, that they admit nothing in our empirical synthesis that would in any way run counter to the understanding, and to the continuous cohesion of all phenomena, that is, to the unity of its concepts. For it is the understanding Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [230] alone through which the unity of experience, in which all perceptions must have their place, becomes possible.

Whether the field of possibility be larger than the field which contains everything which is real, and whether this again be larger than the field of what is necessary, are curious questions and admitting of a synthetical solution, which questions however are to be brought before the tribunal of reason only. They really come to this, whether all things, as phenomena, belong to the sphere of one experience, of which every given perception forms a part, that could not be connected with any other phenomena, or whether my perceptions can ever belong to more than one possible experience (in its general connection). The understanding in reality does nothing but give to experience a rule a priori, according to the subjective and formal conditions of sensibility and apperception, which alone render experience possible. Other forms of intuition (different from space and time), and other forms of the understanding (different from the discursive forms of thought or conceptual knowledge), even if they were possible, we could in no wise render conceivable or intelligible to ourselves; and even if we could, they would never belong to experience, the only field of knowledge in which objects are given to us. Whether there be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [231] therefore other perceptions but those that belong to our whole possible experience, whether there be in fact a Edition: current; Page: [188] completely new field of matter, can never be determined by the understanding, which is only concerned with the synthesis of what is given.

The poverty of the usual arguments by which we construct a large empire of possibility of which all that is real (the objects of experience) forms but a small segment, is but too apparent. When we say that all that is real is possible, we arrive, according to the logical rules of inversion, at the merely particular proposition that some possible is real, and thus seem to imply that much is possible that is not real. Nay, it seems as if we might extend the number of things possible beyond that of things real, simply on the ground that something must be added to the possible to make it real. But this addition to the possible I cannot recognise, because what would thus be added to the possible, would be really the impossible. It is only to my understanding that anything can be added concerning the agreement with the formal conditions of experience, and what can be added is the connection with some perception; and whatever is connected with such a perception, according to empirical laws, is real, though it may not be perceived immediately. But that, in constant connection with what is given us in experience, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [232] there should be another series of phenomena, and therefore more than one all-embracing experience, cannot possibly be concluded from what is given us, and still less, if nothing is given us, because nothing can be thought without some kind of material. What is possible only under conditions which themselves are possible only, is not possible in the full sense of the word, not therefore in the sense in which we ask whether the possibility of things can extend beyond the limits of experience.

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I have only touched on these questions in order to leave no gap in what are commonly supposed to be the concepts of the understanding. But absolute possibility (which has no regard for the formal conditions of experience) is really no concept of the understanding, and can never be used empirically, but belongs to reason alone, which goes beyond all possible empirical use of the understanding. We have therefore made these few critical remarks only, leaving the subject itself unexplained for the present.

And here, when I am on the point of concluding this fourth number and at the same time the system of all principles of the pure understanding, I think I ought to explain why I call the principles of modality postulates. I do not take this term in the sense which has Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [233] been given to it by some modern philosophical writers, and which is opposed to the sense in which mathematicians take it, viz. that to postulate should mean to represent a proposition as certain without proof or justification; for if we were to admit with regard to synthetical propositions, however evident they may appear, that they should meet with unreserved applause, without any deduction, and on their own authority only, all criticism of the understanding would be at an end. And as there is no lack of bold assertions, which public opinion does not decline to accept, (this acceptance being, however, no credential), our understanding would be open to every fancy, and could not refuse its sanction to claims which demand admission as real axioms in the same confident tone, though without any substantial reasons. If therefore a condition a priori is to be synthetically joined to the concept of a thing, it will be indispensable that, if not a proof, at least a deduction Edition: current; Page: [190] of the legitimacy of such an assertion, should be forthcoming.

The principles of modality, however, are not objectively synthetical, because the predicates of possibility, reality, and necessity do not in the least increase the concept of which they are predicated, by adding anything to its representation. But as nevertheless they are synthetical, they are so subjectively only, i.e. they add to the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [234] concept of a (real) thing, without predicating anything new, the peculiar faculty of knowledge from which it springs and on which it depends, so that, if in the understanding the concept is only connected with the formal conditions of experience, its object is called possible; if it is connected with perception (sensation as the material of the senses), and through it determined by the understanding, its object is called real; while, if it is determined through the connection of perceptions, according to concepts, its object is called necessary. The principles of modality therefore predicate nothing of a concept except the act of the faculty of knowledge by which it is produced. In mathematics a postulate means a practical proposition, containing nothing but a synthesis by which we first give an object to ourselves and produce its concept, as if, for instance, we draw a circle with a given line from a given point in the plane. Such a proposition cannot be proved, because the process required for it is the very process by which we first produce the concept of such a figure. We may therefore with the same right postulate the principles of modality, because they never increase1 the concept of a thing, but indicate the manner Edition: current; Page: [191] only in which the concept was joined with our faculty of knowledge.1 Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [235]

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We have now not only traversed the whole domain of the pure understanding, and carefully examined each part of it, but we have also measured its extent, and assigned to everything in it its proper place. This domain, however, is an island and enclosed by nature itself within limits that can never be changed. It is the country of truth (a very attractive name), but surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the true home of illusion, where many a fog bank and ice that soon melts away tempt us to believe in new lands, while constantly deceiving the adventurous mariner with vain hopes, and involving Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [236] him in adventures which he can never leave, and yet can never bring to an end. Before we venture ourselves on this sea, in order to explore it on every side, and to find out whether anything is to be hoped for there, it will be Edition: current; Page: [193] useful to glance once more at the map of that country which we are about to leave, and to ask ourselves, first, whether we might not be content with what it contains, nay, whether we must not be content with it, supposing that there is no solid ground anywhere else on which we could settle; secondly, by what title we possess even that domain, and may consider ourselves safe against all hostile claims. Although we have sufficiently answered these questions in the course of the analytic, a summary recapitulation of their solutions may help to strengthen our conviction, by uniting all arguments in one point.

We have seen that the understanding possesses everything which it draws from itself, without borrowing from experience, for no other purpose but for experience. The principles of the pure understanding, whether constitutive a priori (as the mathematical) or simply relative (as the dynamical), contain nothing but, as it were, the pure schema of possible experience; for that experience Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [237] derives its unity from that synthetical unity alone which the understanding originally and spontaneously imparts to the synthesis of imagination, with reference to apperception, and to which all phenomena, as data of a possible knowledge, must conform a priori. But although these rules of the understanding are not only true a priori, but the very source of all truth, that is, of the agreement of our knowledge with objects, because containing the conditions of the possibility of experience, as the complete sphere of all knowledge in which objects can be given to us, nevertheless we do not seem to be content with hearing only what is true, but want to know a great deal more. If therefore this critical investigation does not teach us any more than what, even without Edition: current; Page: [194] such subtle researches, we should have practised ourselves in the purely empirical use of the understanding, it would seem as if the advantages derived from it were hardly worth the labour. One might reply that nothing would be more prejudicial to the enlargement of our knowledge than that curiosity which, before entering upon any researches, wishes to know beforehand the advantages likely to accrue from them, though quite unable as yet to form the least conception of such advantages, even though they were placed before our eyes. There is, however, one advantage in this transcendental investigation which can be rendered intelligible, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [238] nay, even attractive to the most troublesome and reluctant apprentice, namely this, that the understanding confined to its empirical use only and unconcerned with regard to the sources of its own knowledge, may no doubt fare very well in other respects, but can never determine for itself the limits of its own use and know what is inside or outside its own sphere. It is for that purpose that such profound investigations are required as we have just instituted. If the understanding cannot decide whether certain questions lie within its own horizon or not, it can never feel certain with regard to its claims and possessions, but must be prepared for many humiliating corrections, when constantly transgressing, as it certainly will, the limits of its own domain, and losing itself in follies and fancies.

That the understanding cannot make any but an empirical, and never a transcendental, use of all its principles a priori, nay, of all its concepts, is a proposition which, if thoroughly understood, leads indeed to most important consequences. What we call the transcendental use of a Edition: current; Page: [195] concept in any proposition is its being referred to things in general and to things by themselves, while its empirical use refers to phenomena only, that is, to objects of a possible experience. That the latter use alone is admissible will be clear from the following considerations. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [239] What is required for every concept is, first, the logical form of a concept (of thought) in general; and, secondly, the possibility of an object to which it refers. Without the latter, it has no sense, and is entirely empty, though it may still contain the logical function by which a concept can be formed out of any data. The only way in which an object can be given to a concept is in intuition, and though a pure intuition is possible a priori and before the object, yet even that pure intuition can receive its object, and with it its objective validity, by an empirical intuition only, of which it is itself nothing but the form. All concepts, therefore, and with them all principles, though they may be possible a priori, refer nevertheless to empirical intuitions, that is, to data of a possible experience. Without this, they can claim no objective validity, but are a mere play, whether of the imagination or of the understanding with their respective representations. Let us take the concepts of mathematics as an example, and, first, with regard to pure intuitions. Although such principles as ‘space has three dimensions,’ ‘between two points there can be only one straight line,’ as well as the representation of the object with which that science is occupied, may be produced in the mind a priori, they would have no meaning, if we were not able at all times Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [240] to show their meaning as applied to phenomena (empirical objects). It is for this reason that an abstract concept is required to be made sensuous, that is, that its corresponding Edition: current; Page: [196] object is required to be shown in intuition, because, without this, the concept (as people say) is without sense, that is, without meaning. Mathematics fulfil this requirement by the construction of the figure, which is a phenomenon present to the senses (although constructed a priori). In the same science the concept of quantity finds its support and sense in number; and this in turn in the fingers, the beads of the abacus, or in strokes and points which can be presented to the eyes. The concept itself was produced a priori, together with all the synthetical principles or formulas which can be derived from such concepts; but their use and their relation to objects can nowhere be found except in experience, of which those concepts contain a priori the (formal) possibility only.

That this is the case with all categories and with all the principles drawn from them, becomes evident from the fact that we could not define any one of them (really, that is, make conceivable the possibility of their object),1 without at once having recourse to the conditions of sensibility or the form of phenomena, to which, as their only possible objects, these categories must necessarily be restricted, it being impossible, if we take away Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [241] these conditions, to assign to them any meaning, that is, any relation to an object, or to make it intelligible to ourselves by an example what kind of thing could be intended by such concepts.

[When representing the table of the categories, we dispensed with the definition of every one of them, because at that time it seemed unnecessary for our purpose, which concerned their synthetical use only, and because entailing Edition: current; Page: [197] responsibilities which we were not bound to incur. This was not a mere excuse, but a very important prudential rule, viz. not to rush into definitions, and to attempt or pretend completeness or precision in the definition of a concept, when one or other of its characteristic marks is sufficient without a complete enumeration of all that constitute the whole concept. Now, however, we can perceive that this caution had even a deeper ground, namely, that we could not have defined them, even if we had wished;1 for, if we remove all conditions of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [242] sensibility, which distinguish them as the concepts of a possible empirical use, and treat them as concepts of things in general (therefore as of transcendental use), nothing remains but to regard the logical function in judgments as the condition of the possibility of the things themselves, without the slightest indication as to where they could have their application and their object, or how they could have any meaning or objective validity in the pure understanding, apart from sensibility.]2

No one can explain the concept of quantity in general, except, it may be, by saying that it is the determination of an object, by which we may know how many times the one is supposed to exist in it. But this ‘how many times’ is based on successive repetition, that is on time, and on the synthesis in it of the homogeneous.

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Reality, again, can only be explained in opposition to a negation, if we think of time (as containing all being) being either filled or empty.

Were I to leave out permanence (which means existence at all times), nothing would remain of my concept of substance but the logical representation of a subject which I think I can realise by imagining something which is a subject only, without Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [243] being a predicate of anything. But in this case we should not only be ignorant of all conditions under which this logical distinction could belong to anything, but we should be unable to make any use of it or draw any conclusions from it, because no object is thus determined for the use of this concept, and no one can tell whether such a concept has any meaning at all.

Of the concept of cause also (if I leave out time, in which something follows on something else by rule) I should find no more in the pure category than that it is something which enables us to conclude the existence of something else, so that it would not only be impossible to distinguish cause and effect from each other, but the concept of cause would possess no indication as to how it can be applied to any object, because, in order to form any such conclusion, certain conditions require to be known of which the concept itself tells us nothing. The so-called principle that everything contingent has a cause, comes no doubt before us with great solemnity and self-assumed dignity. But, if I ask what you understand by contingent and you answer, something of which the non-existence is possible, I should be Edition: current; Page: [199] glad to know how you can recognise this possibility of non-existence, if you do not represent to yourselves, in the series of phenomena, some kind of succession, and in it an existence that follows upon non-existence (or vice versa), and consequently a change? To say that the non-existence of a thing is not self-contradictory Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [244] is but a lame appeal to a logical condition which, though it is necessary for the concept, yet is by no means sufficient for its real possibility. I can perfectly well remove in thought every existing substance, without contradicting myself, but I can by no means conclude from this as to its objective contingency in its existence, that is, the possibility of its non-existence in itself.

As regards the concept of community, it is easy to see that, as the pure categories of substance and causality admit of no explanation that would determine their object, neither could such an explanation apply to the reciprocal causality in the relation of substances to each other (commercium).

As to possibility, existence, and necessity, no one has yet been able to explain them, except by a manifest tautology, so long as their definition is to be exclusively drawn from the pure understanding. To substitute the transcendental possibility of things (when an object corresponds to a concept) for the logical possibility of the concept (when the concept does not contradict itself) is a quibble such as could deceive and satisfy the inexperienced only.

[It seems to be something strange and even illogical1 Edition: current; Page: [200] that there should be a concept which must have a meaning, and yet is incapable of any explanation. But the case of these categories is peculiar, because it is only by means of the general sensuous condition that they can acquire a definite meaning, and a reference to any objects. That condition being Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [245] left out in the pure category, it follows that it can contain nothing but the logical function by which the manifold is brought into a concept. By means of this function, that is, the pure form of the concept, nothing can be known nor distinguished as to the object belonging to it, because the sensuous condition, under which alone objects can belong to it, has been removed. Thus we see that the categories require, besides the pure concept of the understanding, certain determinations of their application to sensibility in general (schemata). Without them, they would not be concepts by which an object can be known and distinguished from other objects, but only so many ways of thinking an object for possible intuitions, and giving to it, according to one of the functions of the understanding, its meaning (certain requisite conditions being given). They are needed to define an object, and cannot therefore be defined themselves. The logical functions of judgments in general, namely, unity and plurality, assertion and negation, subject and predicate, cannot be defined without arguing in a circle, because the definition would itself be a judgment and contain these very functions. The pure categories are nothing but representations of things in general, so far as the manifold in intuition must be thought by one or the other of these functions. Thus, magnitude is the determination which can Edition: current; Page: [201] [only be thought by a judgment possessing Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [246] quantity (judicium commune); reality, the determination which can only be thought by an affirmative judgment; while substance is that which, in regard to intuition, must be the last subject of all other determinations. With all this it remains perfectly undetermined, what kind of things they may be with regard to which we have to use one rather than another of these functions, so that, without the condition of sensuous intuition, for which they supply the synthesis, the categories have no relation to any definite object, cannot define any object, and consequently have not in themselves the validity of objective concepts.]

From this it follows incontestably, that the pure concepts of the understanding never admit of a transcendental, but only of an empirical use, and that the principles of the pure understanding can only be referred, as general conditions of a possible experience, to objects of the senses, never to things by themselves (without regard to the manner in which we have to look at them).

Transcendental Analytic has therefore yielded us this important result, that the understanding a priori can never do more than anticipate the form of a possible experience; and as nothing can be an object of experience except the phenomenon, it follows that the understanding can never go beyond the limits of sensibility, within which alone objects are given to us. Its principles are principles Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [247] for the exhibition of phenomena only; and the proud name of Ontology, which presumes to supply in a systematic form different kinds of synthetical knowledge a priori of things by themselves (for instance the principle Edition: current; Page: [202] of causality), must be replaced by the more modest name of a mere Analytic of the pure understanding.

Thought is the act of referring a given intuition to an object. If the mode of such intuition is not given, the object is called transcendental, and the concept of the understanding admits then of a transcendental use only, in producing a unity in the thought of the manifold in general. A pure category therefore, in which every condition of sensuous intuition, the only one that is possible for us, is left out, cannot determine an object, but only the thought of an object in general, according to different modes. Now, if we want to use a concept, we require in addition some function of the faculty of judgment, by which an object is subsumed under a concept, consequently the at least formal condition under which something can be given in intuition. If this condition of the faculty of judgment (schema) is wanting, all subsumption is impossible, because nothing is given that could be subsumed under the concept. The purely transcendental use of categories therefore is in reality of no use at all, and has no definite or even, with regard to its form only, definable object. Hence it follows that a pure category is not fit for any Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [248] synthetical a priori principle, and that the principles of the pure understanding admit of empirical only, never of transcendental application, nay, that no synthetical principles a priori are possible beyond the field of possible experience.

It might therefore be advisable to express ourselves in the following way: the pure categories, without the formal conditions of sensibility, have a transcendental character only, but do not admit of any transcendental use, because such use in itself is impossible, as the categories are Edition: current; Page: [203] deprived of all the conditions of being used in judgments, that is, of the formal conditions of the subsumption of any possible object under these concepts. As therefore (as pure categories) they are not meant to be used empirically, and cannot be used transcendentally, they admit, if separated from sensibility, of no use at all; that is, they cannot be applied to any possible object, and are nothing but the pure form of the use of the understanding with reference to objects in general, and of thought, without ever enabling us to think or determine any object by their means alone.

[Appearances,1 so far as they are thought as objects under the unity of the categories, are called phenomena. But if I admit things which are objects of the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [249] understanding only, and nevertheless can be given as objects of an intuition, though not of sensuous intuition (as coram intuitu intellectuali), such things would be called Noumena (intelligibilia).

One might feel inclined to think that the concept of Phenomena, as limited by the transcendental æsthetic, suggested by itself the objective reality of the Noumena, and justified a division of objects into phenomena and noumena, and consequently of the world into a sensible and intelligible world (mundus sensibilis et intelligibilis); and this in such a way that the distinction between the two should not refer to the logical form only of a more or less clear knowledge of one and the same object, but to a difference in their original presentation to our knowledge, which makes them to differ in themselves from each other in kind. For if the senses only represent to us something Edition: current; Page: [204] as it appears, that something must by itself also be a thing, and an object of a non-sensuous intuition, i.e. of the understanding. That is, there must be a kind of knowledge in which there is no sensibility, and which alone possesses absolute objective reality, representing objects as they are, while through the empirical use of our understanding we know things only as they appear. Hence it would seem to follow that, beside the empirical Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [250] use of the categories (limited by sensuous conditions), there was another one, pure and yet objectively valid, and that we could not say, as we have hitherto done, that our knowledge of the pure understanding contained nothing but principles for the exhibition of phenomena, which, even a priori, could not apply to anything but the formal possibility of experience. Here, in fact, quite a new field would seem to be open, a world, as it were, realised in thought (nay, according to some, even in intuition), which would be a more, and not a less, worthy object for the pure understanding.

All our representations are no doubt referred by the understanding to some sort of object, and as phenomena are nothing but representations, the understanding refers them to a something, as the object of our sensuous intuition, this something being however the transcendental object only. This means a something equal to x, of which we do not, nay, with the present constitution of our understanding, cannot know anything, but which1 can only serve, as a correlatum of the unity of apperception, for the unity of the manifold in sensuous intuition, by means of which the understanding unites the manifold into the Edition: current; Page: [205] concept of an object. This transcendental object cannot be separated from the sensuous data, because in that case nothing would remain by which it could be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [251] thought. It is not therefore an object of knowledge in itself, but only the representation of phenomena, under the concept of an object in general, which can be defined by the manifold of sensuous intuition.

For this very reason the categories do not represent a peculiar object, given to the understanding only, but serve only to define the transcendental object (the concept of something in general) by that which is given us through the senses, in order thus to know empirically phenomena under the concepts of objects.

What then is the cause why people, not satisfied with the substratum of sensibility, have added to the phenomena the noumena, which the understanding only is supposed to be able to realise? It is this, that sensibility and its sphere, that is the sphere of phenomena, is so limited by the understanding itself that it should not refer to things by themselves, but only to the mode in which things appear to us, in accordance with our own subjective qualification. This was the result of the whole transcendental æsthetic, and it really follows quite naturally from the concept of a phenomenon in general, that something must correspond to it, which in itself is not a phenomenon, because a phenomenon cannot be anything by itself, apart from our mode of representation. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [252] Unless therefore we are to move in a constant circle, we must admit that the very word phenomenon indicates a relation to something the immediate representation of which is no doubt sensuous, but which nevertheless, even without this qualification of our sensibility (on which the Edition: current; Page: [206] form of our intuition is founded) must be something by itself, that is an object independent of our sensibility.

Hence arises the concept of a noumenon, which however is not positive, nor a definite knowledge of anything, but which implies only the thinking of something, without taking any account of the form of sensuous intuition. But in order that a noumenon may signify a real object that can be distinguished from all phenomena, it is not enough that I should free my thought of all conditions of sensuous intuition, but I must besides have some reason for admitting another kind of intuition besides the sensuous, in which such an object can be given; otherwise my thought would be empty, however free it may be from contradictions. It is true that we were not able to prove that the sensuous is the only possible intuition, though it is so for us: but neither could we prove that another kind of intuition was possible; and although our thought may take no account of any sensibility, the question always remains whether, after that, it is not a mere Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [253] form of a concept, and whether any real object would thus be left.

The object to which I refer the phenomenon in general is the transcendental object, that is, the entirely indefinite thought of something in general. This cannot be called the noumenon, for I know nothing of what it is by itself, and have no conception of it, except as the object of sensuous intuition in general, which is therefore the same for all phenomena. I cannot lay hold of it by any of the categories, for these are valid for empirical intuitions only, in order to bring them under the concept of an object in general. A pure use of the categories is no doubt possible, that is, not self-contradictory, but it has no kind of Edition: current; Page: [207] objective validity, because it refers to no intuition to which it is meant to impart the unity of an object. The categories remain for ever mere functions of thought by which no object can be given to me, but by which I can only think whatever may be given to me in intuition.]

If all thought (by means of categories) is taken away from empirical knowledge, no knowledge of any object remains, because nothing can be thought by mere intuition, and the mere fact that there is within me an affection of my sensibility, establishes in no way any relation of such a representation to any object. If, on the contrary, all intuition is taken away, there always remains Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [254] the form of thought, that is, the mode of determining an object for the manifold of a possible intuition. In this sense the categories may be said to extend further than sensuous intuition, because they can think objects in general without any regard to the special mode of sensibility in which they may be given; but they do not thus prove a larger sphere of objects, because we cannot admit that such objects can be given, without admitting the possibility of some other but sensuous intuition, for which we have no right whatever.

I call a concept problematic, if it is not self-contradictory, and if, as limiting other concepts, it is connected with other kinds of knowledge, while its objective reality cannot be known in any way. Now the concept of a noumenon, that is of a thing which can never be thought as an object of the senses, but only as a thing by itself (by the pure understanding), is not self-contradictory, because we cannot maintain that sensibility is the only form of intuition. That concept is also necessary, to prevent sensuous intuition from extending to things by Edition: current; Page: [208] themselves; that is, in order to limit the objective validity of sensuous knowledge (for all the rest to which sensuous intuition does not extend is called noumenon, for Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [255] the very purpose of showing that sensuous knowledge cannot extend its domain over everything that can be thought by the understanding). But, after all, we cannot understand the possibility of such noumena, and whatever lies beyond the sphere of phenomena is (to us) empty; that is, we have an understanding which problematically extends beyond that sphere, but no intuition, nay not even the conception of a possible intuition, by which, outside the field of sensibility, objects could be given to us, and our understanding could extend beyond that sensibility in its assertory use. The concept of a noumenon is therefore merely limitative, and intended to keep the claims of sensibility within proper bounds, therefore of negative use only. But it is not a mere arbitrary fiction, but closely connected with the limitation of sensibility, though incapable of adding anything positive to the sphere of the senses.

A real division of objects into phenomena and noumena, and of the world into a sensible and intelligible world (in a positive sense),1 is therefore quite inadmissible, although concepts may very well be divided into sensuous and intellectual. For no objects can be assigned to these intellectual concepts, nor can they be represented as objectively valid. If we drop the senses, how are we to make it Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [256] conceivable that our categories (which would be the only remaining concepts for noumena) have any meaning at all, considering that, in order to refer them to any object, something more must be given than the mere unity of Edition: current; Page: [209] thought, namely, a possible intuition, to which the categories could be applied? With all this the concept of a noumenon, if taken as problematical only, remains not only admissible, but, as a concept to limit the sphere of sensibility, indispensable. In this case, however, it is not a particular intelligible object for our understanding, but an understanding to which it could belong is itself a problem, if we ask how it could know an object, not discursively by means of categories, but intuitively, and yet in a nonsensuous intuition, — a process of which we could not understand even the bare possibility. Our understanding thus acquires a kind of negative extension, that is, it does not become itself limited by sensibility, but, on the contrary, limits it, by calling things by themselves (not considered as phenomena) noumena. In doing this, it immediately proceeds to prescribe limits to itself, by admitting that it cannot know these noumena by means of the categories, but can only think of them under the name of something unknown.

In the writings of modern philosophers, however, I meet with a totally different use of the terms of mundus sensibilis and intelligibilis,1 totally different from the meaning assigned to these terms by the ancients. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [257] Here all difficulty seems to disappear. But the fact is, that there remains nothing but mere word-mongery. In accordance with this, some people have been pleased to call the whole of phenomena, so far as they are seen, the world of sense; but so far as their connection, according to general laws of the understanding, is taken into account, the world of the understanding. Theoretical astronomy, Edition: current; Page: [210] which only teaches the actual observation of the starry heavens, would represent the former; contemplative astronomy, on the contrary (taught according to the Copernican system, or, it may be, according to Newton’s laws of gravitation), the latter, namely, a purely intelligible world. But this twisting of words is a mere sophistical excuse, in order to avoid a troublesome question, by changing its meaning according to one’s own convenience. Understanding and reason may be applied to phenomena, but it is very questionable whether they can be applied at all to an object which is not a phenomenon, but a noumenon; and it is this, when the object is represented as purely intelligible, that is, as given to the understanding only, and not to the senses. The question therefore is whether, besides the empirical use of the understanding (even in the Newtonian view of the world), a transcendental use is possible, referring to the noumenon, as its object; and that question we have answered decidedly in the negative.

When we therefore say that the senses represent Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [258] objects to us as they appear, and the understanding as they are, the latter is not to be taken in a transcendental, but in a purely empirical meaning, namely, as to how they, as objects of experience, must be represented, according to the regular connection of phenomena, and not according to what they may be, as objects of the pure understanding, apart from their relation to possible experience, and therefore to our senses. This will always remain unknown to us; nay, we shall never know whether such a transcendental and exceptional knowledge is possible at all, at least as comprehended under our ordinary categories. With us understanding and sensibility cannot Edition: current; Page: [211] determine objects, unless they are joined together. If we separate them, we have intuitions without concepts, or concepts without intuitions, in both cases representations which we cannot refer to any definite object.

If, after all these arguments, anybody should still hesitate to abandon the purely transcendental use of the categories, let him try an experiment with them for framing any synthetical proposition. An analytical proposition does not in the least advance the understanding, which, as in such a proposition it is only concerned with what is already thought in the concept, does not ask whether the concept in itself has any reference to objects, or expresses only the unity of thought in general Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [259] (this completely ignoring the manner in which an object may be given). The understanding in fact is satisfied if it knows what it contained in the concept of an object; it is indifferent as to the object to which the concept may refer. But let him try the experiment with any synthetical and so-called transcendental proposition, as for instance, ‘Everything that exists, exists as a substance, or as a determination inherent in it,’ or ‘Everything contingent exists as an effect of some other thing, namely, its cause,’ etc. Now I ask, whence can the understanding take these synthetical propositions, as the concepts are to apply, not to some possible experience, but to things by themselves (noumena)? Where is that third term to be found which is always required for a synthetical proposition, in order thus to join concepts which have no logical (analytical) relation with each other? It will be impossible to prove such a proposition, nay even to justify the possibility of any such pure assertion, without appealing to the empirical use of the understanding, Edition: current; Page: [212] and thus renouncing entirely the so-called pure and nonsensuous judgment. There are no principles therefore according to which the concepts of pure and merely intelligible objects could ever be applied, because we cannot imagine any way in which they could be given, and the problematic thought, which leaves a place open to them, serves only, like empty space, to limit the sphere of empirical principles, without containing or indicating Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [260] any other object of knowledge, lying beyond that sphere.

Of the Amphiboly of Reflective Concepts, owing to the Confusion of the Empirical with the Transcendental Use of the Understanding

Reflection (reflexio) is not concerned with objects themselves, in order to obtain directly concepts of them, but is a state of the mind in which we set ourselves to discover the subjective conditions under which we may arrive at concepts. It is the consciousness of the relation of given representations to the various sources of our knowledge by which alone their mutual relation can be rightly determined. Before saying any more of our representations, the first question is, to which faculty of knowledge they may all belong; whether it is the understanding or the senses by which they are connected and compared. Many a judgment is accepted from mere habit, or made from inclination, and as no reflection precedes or even follows it critically, the judgment is supposed Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [261] to have had its origin in the understanding. It is not all judgments that require an investigation, that is, a Edition: current; Page: [213] careful attention with regard to the grounds of their truth; for if they are immediately certain, as for instance, that between two points there can be only one straight line, no more immediately certain marks of their truth than that which they themselves convey could be discovered. But all judgments, nay, all comparisons, require reflection, that is, a discrimination of the respective faculty of knowledge to which any given concepts belong. The act by which I place in general the comparison of representations by the side of the faculty of knowledge to which that comparison belongs, and by which I determine whether these representations are compared with each other as belonging to the pure understanding or to sensuous intuition, I call transcendental reflection. The relation in which the two concepts may stand to each other in one state of the mind is that of identity and difference, of agreement and opposition, of the internal and external, and finally of the determinable and the determination (matter and form). The right determination of that relation depends on the question in which faculty of knowledge they subjectively belong to each other, whether in sensibility or in the understanding. For the proper distinction of the latter is of great importance with regard to the manner in which the former must be considered. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [262]

Before proceeding to form any objective judgments, we have to compare the concepts with regard to the identity (of many representations under one concept) as the foundation of general judgments, or with regard to their difference as the foundation of particular judgments, or with regard to their agreement and opposition serving as the foundations of affirmative and negative judgments, etc. Edition: current; Page: [214] For this reason it might seem that we ought to call these concepts concepts of comparison (conceptus comparationis). But as, when the contents of concepts and not their logical form must be considered, that is, whether the things themselves are identical or different, in agreement or in opposition, etc., all things may have a twofold relation to our faculty of knowledge, namely, either to sensibility or to the understanding, and as the manner in which they belong to one another depends on the place to which they belong, it follows that the transcendental reflection, that is the power of determining the relation of given representations to one or the other class of knowledge, can alone determine their mutual relation. Whether the things are identical or different, in agreement or opposition, etc., cannot be established at once by the concepts themselves by means of a mere comparison (comparatio), but first of all by a proper discrimination of that class of knowledge to which they belong, that is, by transcendental reflection. It might therefore be said, that logical reflection is a mere comparison, because it takes no account of the faculty of knowledge to which any given representations belong, and treats Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [263] them, so far as they are all found in the mind, as homogeneous, while transcendental reflection (which refers to the objects themselves) supplies the possibility of an objective comparison of representations among themselves, and is therefore very different from the other, the faculty of knowledge to which they belong not being the same. This transcendental reflection is a duty from which no one can escape who wishes to form judgments a priori. We shall now take it in hand, and may hope thus to throw not a little light on the real business of the understanding.

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I.: Identity and Difference

When an object is presented to us several times, but each time with the same internal determinations (qualitas et quantitas), it is, so long as it is considered as an object of the pure understanding, always one and the same, one thing, not many (numerica identitas). But if it is a phenomenon, a comparison of the concepts is of no consequence, and though everything may be identical with regard to the concepts, yet the difference of the places of this phenomenon at the same time is a sufficient ground for admitting the numerical difference of the object (of the senses). Thus, though there may be no internal difference whatever (either in quality or quantity) between two drops of water, yet the fact that they may be seen Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [264] at the same time in different places is sufficient to establish their numerical difference. Leibniz took phenomena to be things by themselves, intelligibilia, that is, objects of the pure understanding (though, on account of the confused nature of their representations, he assigned to them the name of phenomena), and from that point of view his principle of their indiscernibility (principium identitas indiscernibilium) could not be contested. As, however, they are objects of sensibility, and the use of the understanding with regard to them is not pure, but only empirical, their plurality and numerical diversity are indicated by space itself, as the condition of external phenomena. For one part of space, though it may be perfectly similar and equal to another, is still outside it, and for this very reason a part of space different from the first which, added to it, makes a larger space: and this applies to all things which exist at the same time in Edition: current; Page: [216] different parts of space, however similar or equal they may be in other respects.

II.: Agreement and Opposition

When reality is represented by the pure understanding only (realitas noumenon), no opposition can be conceived between realities, that is, no such relation that, if connected in one subject, they should annihilate the effects one of the other, as for instance 3 - 3 = 0. The real in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [265] the phenomena, on the contrary (realitas phenomenon), may very well be in mutual opposition, and if connected in one subject, one may annihilate completely or in part the effect of the other, as in the case of two forces moving in the same straight line, either drawing or impelling a point in opposite directions, or in the case of pleasure, counterbalancing a certain amount of pain.

III.: The Internal and the External

In an object of the pure understanding that only is internal which has no relation whatever (as regards its existence) to anything different from itself. The inner relations, on the contrary, of a substantia phenomenon in space are nothing but relations, and the substance itself a complex of mere relations. We only know substances in space through the forces which are active in a certain space, by either drawing others near to it (attraction) or by preventing others from penetrating into it (repulsion and impenetrability). Other properties constituting the concept of a substance appearing in space, and which we call matter, are unknown to us. As an object of the pure understanding, on the contrary, every substance must have Edition: current; Page: [217] internal determinations and forces bearing on the internal reality. But what other internal accidents can I think except those which my own internal sense presents Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [266] to me, namely, something which is either itself thought, or something analogous to it? Hence Leibniz represented all substances (as he conceived them as noumena), even the component parts of matter (after having in thought removed from them everything implying external relation, and therefore composition also), as simple subjects endowed with powers of representation, in one word, as monads.

IV.: Matter and Form

These are two concepts which are treated as the foundation of all other reflection, so inseparably are they connected with every act of the understanding. The former denotes the determinable in general, the latter its determination (both in a purely transcendental meaning, all differences in that which is given and the mode in which it is determined being left out of consideration). Logicians formerly called the universal, matter; the specific difference, form. In every judgment the given concepts may be called the logical matter (for a judgment); their relation, by means of the copula, the form of a judgment. In every being its component parts (essentialia) are the matter; the mode in which they are connected in it, the essential form. With respect to things in general, unlimited reality was regarded as the matter of all possibility, and the limitation thereof (negation) as that form by which one Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [267] thing is distinguished from another, according to transcendental concepts. The understanding demands first that something should be given (at least in concept) in order to Edition: current; Page: [218] be able afterwards to determine it in a certain manner. In the concept of the pure understanding therefore, matter comes before form, and Leibniz in consequence first assumed things (monads), and within them an internal power of representation, in order afterwards to found thereon their external relation, and the community of their states, that is, of their representations. In this way space and time were possible only, the former through the relation of substances, the latter through the connection of their determinations among themselves, as causes and effects. And so it would be indeed, if the pure understanding could be applied immediately to objects, and if space and time were determinations of things by themselves. But if they are sensuous intuitions only, in which we determine all objects merely as phenomena, then it follows that the form of intuition (as a subjective quality of sensibility) comes before all matter (sensations), that space and time therefore come before all phenomena, and before all data of experience, and render in fact all experience possible. As an intellectual philosopher Leibniz could not endure that this form should come before things and determine their possibility: a criticism quite just when he assumed that we see things as they are (though in a confused representation). But as sensuous intuition is a peculiar Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [268] subjective condition on which all perception a priori depends, and the form of which is original and independent, the form must be given by itself, and so far from matter (or the things themselves which appear) forming the true foundation (as we might think, if we judged according to mere concepts), the very possibility of matter presupposes a formal intuition (space and time) as given.

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I beg to be allowed to call the place which we assign to a concept, either in sensibility or in the pure understanding, its transcendental place. If so, then the determination of this position which belongs to every concept, according to the difference of its use, and the directions for determining according to rules that place for all concepts, would be called transcendental topic; a doctrine which would thoroughly protect us against the subreptitious claims of the pure understanding and the errors arising from it, by always distinguishing to what faculty of knowledge each concept truly belongs. Every concept, or every title to which many kinds of knowledge belong, may be called a logical place. Upon this is based the logical topic of Aristotle, of which orators and schoolmasters avail themselves in order to find under certain titles of thought Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [269] what would best suit the matter they have in hand, and thus to be able, with a certain appearance of thoroughness, to argue and wrangle to any extent.

Transcendental topic, on the contrary, contains no more than the above-mentioned four titles of all comparison and distinction, which differ from the categories because they do not serve to represent the object according to what constitutes its concept (quantity, reality, etc.), but only the comparison of representations, in all its variety, which precedes the concept of things. This comparison, however, requires first a reflection, that is, a determination of the place to which the representations of things which are to be compared belong, namely, whether they are thought by the pure understanding or given as phenomena by sensibility.

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Concepts may be logically compared without our asking any questions as to what place their objects belong, whether as noumena to the understanding, or to sensibility as phenomena. But if with these concepts we wish to proceed to the objects themselves, a transcendental reflection is necessary first of all, in order to determine whether they are meant to be objects for the pure understanding or for sensibility. Without this reflection our use of these concepts would be very uncertain, and Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [270] synthetical propositions would spring up which critical reason cannot acknowledge, and which are simply founded on transcendental amphiboly, that is, on our confounding an object of the pure understanding with a phenomenon.

For want of such a transcendental topic, and deceived by the amphiboly of reflective concepts, the celebrated Leibniz erected an intellectual system of the world, or believed at least that he knew the internal nature of things by comparing all objects with the understanding only and with the abstract formal concepts of his thought. Our table of reflective concepts gives us the unexpected advantage of being able to exhibit clearly the distinctive features of his system in all its parts, and at the same time the leading principle of this peculiar view which rested on a simple misunderstanding. He compared all things with each other by means of concepts only, and naturally found no other differences but those by which the understanding distinguishes its pure concepts from each other. The conditions of sensuous intuition, which carry their own differences, are not considered by him as original and independent; for sensibility was with him a confused mode of representation only, and not a separate source of representations. According to him a phenomenon was Edition: current; Page: [221] the representation of a thing by itself, though different, in its logical form, from knowledge by means of the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [271] understanding, because the phenomenon, in the ordinary absence of analysis, brings a certain admixture of collateral representations into the concept of a thing which the understanding is able to separate. In one word, Leibniz intellectualised phenomena, just as Locke, according to his system of Noogony (if I may use such an expression), sensualised all concepts of the understanding, that is, represented them as nothing but empirical, though abstract, reflective concepts. Instead of regarding the understanding and sensibility as two totally distinct sources of representations, which however can supply objectively valid judgments of things only in conjunction with each other, each of these great men recognised but one of them, which in their opinion applied immediately to things by themselves, while the other did nothing but to produce either disorder or order in the representations of the former.

Leibniz accordingly compared the objects of the senses with each other as things in general and in the understanding only. He did this,

First, so far as they are judged by the understanding to be either identical or different. As he considers their concepts only and not their place in intuition, in which alone objects can be given, and takes no account of the transcendental place of these concepts (whether the object is to be counted among phenomena or among things by themselves), it could not happen otherwise than Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [272] that he should extend his principle of indiscernibility, which is valid with regard to concepts of things in general only, to objects of the senses also (mundus phaenomenon), Edition: current; Page: [222] and imagine that he thus added no inconsiderable extension to our knowledge of nature. No doubt, if I know a drop of water as a thing by itself in all its internal determinations, I cannot allow that one is different from the other, when their whole concepts are identical. But if the drop of water is a phenomenon in space, it has its place not only in the understanding (among concepts), but in the sensuous external intuition (in space), and in this case the physical place is quite indifferent with regard to the inner determinations of things, so that a place B can receive a thing which is perfectly similar or identical with another in place A, quite as well as if it were totally different from it in its internal determinations. Difference of place by itself and without any further conditions renders the plurality and distinction of objects as phenomena not only possible, but also necessary. That so-called law of Leibniz therefore is no law of nature, but only an analytical rule, or a comparison of things by means of concepts only.

Secondly. The principle that realities (as mere assertions) never logically contradict each other, is perfectly true with regard to the relation of concepts, but Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [273] has no meaning whatever either as regards nature or as regards anything by itself (of which we can have no concept whatever).1 The real opposition, as when A - B = 0, takes place everywhere wherever one reality is united with another in the same subject and one annihilates the effect of the other. This is constantly brought before our eyes in nature by all impediments and reactions which, as depending on forces, must be called realitates phaenomena. Edition: current; Page: [223] General mechanics can even give us the empirical condition of that opposition in an a priori rule, by attending to the opposition of directions; a condition of which the transcendental concept of reality knows nothing. Although Leibniz himself did not announce this proposition with all the pomp of a new principle, he yet made use of it for new assertions, and his followers expressly inserted it in their system of the Leibniz-Wolfian philosophy. According to this principle all evils, for example, are nothing but the consequences of the limitations of created beings, that is, they are negations, because these can be the only opposites of reality (which is perfectly true in the mere concept of the thing in general, but not in things as phenomena). In like manner the followers of Leibniz consider it not only possible, but even natural, to unite all reality, without fearing any opposition, in one being; because the only opposition they know is that Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [274] of contradiction (by which the concept of a thing itself is annihilated), while they ignore that of reciprocal action and reaction, when one real cause destroys the effect of another, a process which we can only represent to ourselves when the conditions are given in sensibility.

Thirdly. The Leibnizian monadology has really no other foundation than that Leibniz represented the difference of the internal and the external in relation to the understanding only. Substances must have something internal, which is free from all external relations, and therefore from composition also. The simple, therefore, or uncompounded, is the foundation of the internal of things by themselves. This internal in the state of substances cannot consist in space, form, contact, or motion (all these determinations being external relations), and we cannot therefore ascribe Edition: current; Page: [224] to substances any other internal state but that which belongs to our own internal sense, namely, the state of representations. This is the history of the monads, which were to form the elements of the whole universe, and the energy of which consists in representations only, so that properly they can be active within themselves only.

For this reason, his principle of a possible community of substances could only be a pre-established harmony, and not a physical influence. For, as everything Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [275] is actively occupied internally only, that is, with its own representations, the state of representations in one substance could not be in active connection with that of another; but it became necessary to admit a third cause, exercising its influence on all substances, and making their states to correspond with each other, not indeed by occasional assistance rendered in each particular case (systema assistentiae), but through the unity of the idea of a cause valid for all, and in which all together must receive their existence and permanence, and therefore also their reciprocal correspondence according to universal laws.

Fourthly. Leibniz’s celebrated doctrine of space and time, in which he intellectualised these forms of sensibility, arose entirely from the same delusion of transcendental reflection. If by means of the pure understanding alone I want to represent the external relations of things, I can do this only by means of the concept of their reciprocal action; and if I want to connect one state with another state of the same thing, this is possible only in the order of cause and effect. Thus it happened that Leibniz conceived space as a certain order in the community of substances, and time as the dynamical sequence of their states. That which space and time seem to possess Edition: current; Page: [225] as proper to themselves and independent Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [276] of things, he ascribed to the confusion of these concepts. which made us mistake what is a mere form of dynamical relations for a peculiar and independent intuition, antecedent to things themselves. Thus space and time became with him the intelligible form of the connection of things (substances and their states) by themselves, and things were intelligible substances (substantiae noumena). Nevertheless he tried to make these concepts valid for phenomena, because he would not concede to sensibility any independent kind of intuition, but ascribed all, even the empirical representation of objects, to the understanding, leaving to the senses nothing but the contemptible work of confusing and mutilating the representations of the understanding.

But, even if we could predicate anything synthetically by means of the pure understanding of things by themselves (which however is simply impossible), this could never be referred to phenomena, because these do not represent things by themselves. We should therefore in such a case have to compare our concepts in a transcendental reflection under the conditions of sensibility only, and thus space and time would never be determinations of things by themselves, but of phenomena. What things may be by themselves we know not, nor need Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [277] we care to know, because, after all, a thing can never come before me otherwise than as a phenomenon.

The remaining reflective conceptions have to be treated in the same manner. Matter is substantia phenomenon. What may belong to it internally, I seek for in all parts of space occupied by it, and in all effects produced by it, all of which, however, can be phenomena of the external Edition: current; Page: [226] senses only. I have therefore nothing that is absolutely, but only what is relatively internal, and this consists itself of external relations. Nay, what according to the pure understanding should be the absolutely internal of matter is a mere phantom, for matter is never an object of the pure understanding, while the transcendental object which may be the ground of the phenomenon which we call matter, is a mere something of which we could not even understand what it is, though somebody should tell us. We cannot understand anything except what carries with it in intuition something corresponding to our words. If the complaint ‘that we do not understand the internal of things,’ means that we do not comprehend by means of the pure understanding what the things which appear to us may be of themselves, it seems totally unjust and unreasonable; for it means that without senses we should be able to know and therefore to see things, that is, that we should possess a faculty of knowledge totally different from the human, not only in degree, but in kind Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [278] and in intuition, in fact, that we should not be men, but beings of whom we ourselves could not say whether they are even possible, much less what they would be like. Observation and analysis of phenomena enter into the internal of nature, and no one can say how far this may go in time. Those transcendental questions, however, which go beyond nature, would nevertheless remain unanswerable, even if the whole of nature were revealed to us, for it is not given to us to observe even our own mind with any intuition but that of our internal sense. In it lies the mystery of the origin of our sensibility. Its relation to an object, and the transcendental ground of that unity, are no doubt far too deeply hidden for us, who can know Edition: current; Page: [227] even ourselves by means of the internal sense only, that is, as phenomena, and we shall never be able to use the same imperfect instrument of investigation in order to find anything but again and again phenomena, the non-sensuous, and non-phenomenal cause of which we are seeking in vain.

What renders this criticism of the conclusions by means of the acts of mere reflection extremely useful is, that it shows clearly the nullity of all conclusions with regard to objects compared with each other in the understanding only, and that it confirms at the same time what Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [279] we have so strongly insisted on, namely, that phenomena, though they cannot be comprehended as things by themselves among the objects of the pure understanding, are nevertheless the only objects in which our knowledge can possess objective reality, i.e. where intuition corresponds to concepts.

When we reflect logically only, we only compare in our understanding concepts among themselves, trying to find out whether both have exactly the same contents, whether they contradict themselves or not, whether something belongs to a concept, or is added to it, and which of the two may be given, while the other may be a mode only of thinking the given concept. But if I refer these concepts to an object in general (in a transcendental sense), without determining whether it be an object of sensuous or intellectual intuition, certain limitations appear at once, warning us not to go beyond the concept, and upsetting all empirical use of it, thus proving that a representation of an object, as of a thing in general, is not only insufficient, but, if without sensuous determination, and independent of empirical conditions, self-contradictory. It is necessary therefore either to take no account at all of the Edition: current; Page: [228] object (as we do in logic) or, if not, then to think it under the conditions of sensuous intuition, because the intelligible would require a quite peculiar intuition which we do not possess, and, without it, would be nothing to us, while on the other side phenomena also could never Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [280] be things by themselves. For if I represent to myself things in general only, the difference of external relations cannot, it is true, constitute a difference of the things themselves, but rather presupposes it; and, if the concept of one thing does not differ at all internally from that of another, I only have one and the same thing placed in different relations. Furthermore, by adding a mere affirmation (reality) to another, the positive in it is indeed augmented, and nothing is taken away or removed, so that we see that the real in things can never be in contradiction with itself, etc.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

A certain misunderstanding of these reflective concepts has, as we showed, exercised so great an influence on the use of the understanding, as to mislead even one of the most acute philosophers to the adoption of a so-called system of intellectual knowledge, which undertakes to determine objects without the intervention of the senses. For this reason the exposition of the cause of the misunderstanding, which lies in the amphiboly of these concepts, as the origin of false principles, is of great utility in determining and securing the true limits of the understanding.

It is no doubt true, that what can be affirmed or denied of a concept in general, can also be affirmed or denied of any part of it (dictum de omni et nullo); but it Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [281] would be wrong so to change this logical proposition as to make it say that whatever is not contained in a general Edition: current; Page: [229] concept, is not contained either in the particular concepts comprehended under it; for these are particular concepts for the very reason that they contain more than is conceived in the general concept. Nevertheless the whole intellectual system of Leibniz is built up on this fallacy, and with it falls necessarily to the ground, together with all equivocation in the use of the understanding, that had its origin in it.

Leibniz’s principle of discernibility is really based on the supposition that, if a certain distinction is not to be found in the general concept of a thing, it could not be met with either in the things themselves, and that therefore all things were perfectly the same (numero eadem), which are not distinguished from each other in their concept also, as to quality or quantity. And because in the mere concept of a thing, no account has been taken of many a necessary condition of its intuition, it has rashly been concluded that that which, in forming an abstraction, has been intentionally left out of account, did really not exist anywhere, and nothing has been allowed to a thing except what is contained in its concept. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [282]

The concept of a cubic foot of space, wherever and how many times soever I may think it, is in itself perfectly the same. But two cubic feet are nevertheless distinguished in space, by their places alone (numero diversa), and these places are conditions of the intuition in which the object of our concept is given, and which, though they do not belong to the concept, belong nevertheless to the whole of sensibility. In a similar manner there is no contradiction in the concept of a thing, unless something negative has been connected with something affirmative; and simply affirmative concepts, if joined together, cannot Edition: current; Page: [230] neutralise each other. But in sensuous intuition, where we have to deal with reality (for instance motion), there exist conditions (opposite directions) of which in the concept of motion in general no account was taken, and which render possible an opposition (not however a logical one), and from mere positives produce zero=0, so that it would be wrong to say that all reality must be in perfect agreement, if there is no opposition between its concepts.1 If we keep to concepts only, that which we call internal is the substratum of all relations or Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [283] external determinations. If therefore I take no account of any of the conditions of intuition, and confine myself solely to the concept of a thing, then I may drop no doubt all external relations, and yet there must remain the concept of something which implies no relation, but internal determinations only. From this it might seem to follow that there exists in everything something (substance) which is absolutely internal, preceding all external determinations, nay, rendering them possible. It might likewise seem to follow that this substratum, as no longer containing any external relations, must be simple (for corporeal things are always relations only, at least of their parts existing side by side); and as we know of no entirely internal determinations beyond those of our own internal sense, that substratum might be taken, not only as simple, but likewise Edition: current; Page: [231] (according to the analogy of our own internal sense) as determined by representations, so that all things would be really monads, or simple beings endowed with representations. All this would be perfectly true, unless something more than the concept of a thing in general Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [284] were required in order to give us objects of external intuition, although the pure concept need take no account of it. But we see, on the contrary, that a permanent phenomenon in space (impenetrable extension) may contain mere relations without anything that is absolutely internal, and yet be the first substratum of all external perception. It is true that if we think by concepts only, we cannot think something external without something internal, because conceptions of relations presuppose things given, and are impossible without them. But as in intuition something is contained which does not exist at all in the mere concept of a thing, and as it is this which supplies the substratum that could never be known by mere concepts, namely, a space which, with all that is contained in it, consists of purely formal, or real relations also, I am not allowed to say, that, because nothing can be represented by mere concepts without something absolutely internal, there could not be in the real things themselves, comprehended under those concepts, and in their intuition, anything external, without a foundation of something absolutely internal. For, if we take no account of all conditions of intuition, then no doubt nothing remains in the mere concept but the internal in general, with its mutual relations, through which alone the external is possible. This necessity, however, which depends on abstraction alone, does not apply to things, if Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [285] they are given in intuition with determinations expressive Edition: current; Page: [232] of mere relations, and without having for their foundation anything internal, for the simple reason that they are phenomena only, and not things in themselves. Whatever we may know of matter are nothing but relations (what we call internal determinations are but relatively internal); but there are among these relations some which are independent and permanent, and by which a certain object is given us. That I, when abstraction is made of these relations, have nothing more to think, does not do away with the concept of a thing, as a phenomenon, nor with the concept of an object in abstracto. It only shows the impossibility of such an object as could be determined by mere concepts, that is of a noumenon. It is no doubt startling to hear, that a thing should consist entirely of relations, but such a thing as we speak of is merely a phenomenon, and can never be thought by means of the categories only; nay, it consists itself of the mere relation of something in general to our senses. In the same manner, it is impossible for us to represent the relations of things in abstracto as long as we deal with concepts only, in any other way than that one should be the cause of determinations in the other, this being the very concept of our understanding, with regard to relations. But as in this case we make abstraction of all intuition, a whole class of determinations, by which the manifold determines its place to each of its component parts, that is, the form of sensibility (space), disappears, though in truth Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [286] it precedes all empirical casuality.

If by purely intelligible objects we understand things which, without all schemata of sensibility, are thought by mere categories, such objects are simply impossible. It is our sensuous intuition by which objects are given to us that Edition: current; Page: [233] forms the condition of the objective application of all the concepts of our understanding, and without that intuition the categories have no relation whatever to any object. Nay, even if we admitted a kind of intuition different from the sensuous, our functions of thought would have no meaning with regard to it. If we only mean objects of a non-sensuous intuition, to which our categories do not apply, and of which we can have no knowledge whatever (either intuitional or conceptual), there is no reason why noumena, in this merely negative meaning, should not be admitted, because in this case we mean no more than this, that our intuition does not embrace all things, but objects of our senses only; that, consequently, its objective validity is limited, and space left for some other kind of intuition, and consequently for things as objects of it. But in that sense the concept of a noumenon is problematical, that is, the representation of a thing of which we can neither say that it is possible or that it is impossible, because we have no conception of any kind of intuition but that of our senses, or of any kind of concepts but of our categories, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [287] neither of them being applicable to any extra-sensuous object. We cannot therefore extend in a positive sense the field of the objects of our thought beyond the conditions of our sensibility, or admit, besides phenomena, objects of pure thought, that is, noumena, simply because they do not possess any positive meaning that could be pointed out. For it must be admitted that the categories by themselves are not sufficient for a knowledge of things, and that, without the data of sensibility, they would be nothing but subjective forms of unity of the understanding, and without an object. We do not say that thought is a mere product of the senses, and therefore limited by them, but it does Edition: current; Page: [234] not follow that therefore thought, without sensibility, has its own pure use, because it would really be without an object. Nor would it be right to call the noumenon such an object of the pure understanding, for the noumenon means the problematical concept of an object, intended for an intuition and understanding totally different from our own, and therefore themselves mere problems. The concept of the noumenon is not therefore the concept of an object, but only a problem, inseparable from the limitation of our sensibility, whether there may not be objects independent of its intuition. This is a question that Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [288] can only be answered in an uncertain way, by saying that as sensuous intuition does not embrace all things without exception, there remains a place for other objects, that cannot therefore be absolutely denied, but cannot be asserted either as objects of our understanding, because there is no definite concept for them (our categories being unfit for that purpose).

The understanding therefore limits the sensibility without enlarging thereby its own field, and by warning the latter that it can never apply to things by themselves, but to phenomena only, it forms the thought of an object by itself, but as transcendental only, which is the cause of phenomena, and therefore never itself a phenomenon: which cannot be thought as quantity, nor as reality, nor as substance (because these concepts require sensuous forms in which to determine an object), and of which therefore it must always remain unknown, whether it is to be found within us only, or also without us; and whether, if sensibility were removed, it would vanish or remain. If we like to call this object noumenon, because the representation of it is not sensuous, we are at liberty to do so. But as we Edition: current; Page: [235] cannot apply to it any of the concepts of our understanding, such a representation remains to us empty, serving no purpose but that of indicating the limits of our sensuous knowledge, and leaving at the same time an Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [289] empty space which we cannot fill either by possible experience, or by the pure understanding.

The critique of the pure understanding does not therefore allow us to create a new sphere of objects beyond those which can come before it as phenomena, or to stray into intelligible worlds, or even into the concept of such. The mistake which leads to this in the most plausible manner, and which, though excusable, can never be justified, consists in making the use of the understanding, contrary to its very intention, transcendental, so that objects, that is, possible intuitions, are made to conform to concepts, not concepts to possible intuitions, on which alone their objective validity can rest. The cause of this is again, that apperception, and with it thought, precedes every possible determinate arrangement of representations. We are thinking something in general, and determine it on one side sensuously, but distinguish at the same time the general object, represented in abstraction, from this particular mode of sensuous intuition. Thus there remains to us a mode of determining the object by thought only, which, though it is a mere logical form without any contents, seems to us nevertheless a mode in which the object by itself exists (noumenon), without regard to the intuition which is restricted to our senses. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [290]

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Before leaving this transcendental Analytic, we have to add something which, though in itself of no particular Edition: current; Page: [236] importance, may yet seem to be requisite for the completeness of the system. The highest concept of which all transcendental philosophy generally begins, is the division into the possible and the impossible. But, as all division presupposes a divisible concept, a higher concept is required, and this is the concept of an object in general, taken as problematical, it being left uncertain whether it be something or nothing. As the categories are the only concepts which apply to objects in general, the distinction whether an object is something or nothing must proceed according to the order and direction of the categories.

I. Opposed to the concepts of all, many, and one, is the concept which annihilates everything, that is, none; and thus the object of a concept, to which no intuition can be found to correspond, is = 0, that is, a concept without an object, like the noumena, which cannot be counted as possibilities, though not as impossibilities either (ens nationis); or like certain fundamental forces, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [291] which have been newly invented, and have been conceived without contradiction, but at the same time without any example from experience, and must not therefore be counted among possibilities.

II. Reality is something, negation is nothing; that is, it is the concept of the absence of an object, as shadow or cold (nihil privativum).

III. The mere form of intuition (without substance) is in itself no object, but the merely formal condition of it (as a phenomenon), as pure space and pure time (ens imaginarium), which, though they are something, as forms of intuition, are not themselves objects of intuition.

IV. The object of a concept which contradicts itself, is nothing, because the concept is nothing; it is simply Edition: current; Page: [237] the impossible, as a figure composed of two straight lines (nihil negativum).

A table showing this division of the concept of nothing (the corresponding division of the concept of something follows by itself) would have to be arranged as follows.

Nothing,[p. 292]
I. Empty concept without an object.
Ens rationis.
II. Empty object of a concept.III. Empty intuition without an object.
Nil privativum.Ens imaginarium
IV. Empty object without a concept.
Nihil negativum.

We see that the ens rationis (No. 1) differs from the ens negativum (No. 4), because the former cannot be counted among the possibilities, being the result of fancy, though not self-contradictory, while the latter is opposed to possibility, the concept annihilating itself. Both, however, are empty concepts. The nihil privativum (No. 2) and the ens imaginarium (No. 3) are, on the contrary, empty data for concepts. It would be impossible to represent to ourselves darkness, unless light had been given to the senses, or space, unless extended beings had been perceived. The negation, as well as the pure form of intuition are, without something real, no objects.

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Division II: Transcendental Dialectic in two books, with their chapters and sections Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [293]


1.: Of Transcendental Appearance (Illusion)

We call Dialectic in general a logic of illusion (eine Logik des Scheins). This does not mean that it is a doctrine of probability (Wahrscheinlichkeit), for probability is a kind of truth, known through insufficient causes, the knowledge of which is therefore deficient, but not deceitful, and cannot properly be separated from the analytical part of logic. Still less can phenomenon (Erscheinung) and illusion (Schein) be taken as identical. For truth or illusion is not to be found in the objects of intuition, but in the judgments upon them, so far as they are thought. It is therefore quite right to say, that the senses never err, not because they always judge rightly, but because they do not judge at all. Truth therefore and error, and consequently illusory appearance also, as the cause of error, exist in our judgments only, that is, in the relation of an object to our understanding. No error exists in our knowledge, if it completely agrees with the laws of our understanding, nor can there be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [294] an error in a representation of the senses, because they Edition: current; Page: [239] involve no judgment, and no power of nature can, of its own accord, deviate from its own laws. Therefore neither the understanding by itself (without the influence of another cause), nor the senses by themselves could ever err. The understanding could not err, because as long as it acts according to its own laws, the effect (the judgment) must necessarily agree with those laws, and the formal test of all truth consists in this agreement with the laws of the understanding. The senses cannot err, because there is in them no judgment at all, whether true or false. Now as we have no other sources of knowledge but these two, it follows that error can only arise through the unperceived influence of the sensibility on the understanding, whereby it happens that subjective grounds of judgment are mixed up with the objective, and cause them to deviate from their destination;1 just as a body in motion would, if left to itself, always follow a straight line in the same direction, which is changed however into a curvilinear motion, as soon as another force influences it at the same time in a different direction. In order to distinguish the proper action Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [295] of the understanding from that other force which is mixed up with it, it will be necessary to look on an erroneous judgment as the diagonal between two forces, which determine the judgment in two different directions, forming as it were an angle, and to dissolve that composite effect into the simple ones of the understanding and of the sensibility, which must be effected in pure judgments a priori Edition: current; Page: [240] by transcendental reflection, whereby, as we tried to show, the right place is assigned to each representation in the faculty of knowledge corresponding to it, and the influence of either faculty upon such representation is determined.

It is not at present our business to treat of empirical, for instance, optical appearance or illusion, which occurs in the empirical use of the otherwise correct rules of the understanding, and by which, owing to the influence of imagination, the faculty of judgment is misled. We have to deal here with nothing but the transcendental illusion, which touches principles never even intended to be applied to experience, which might give us a test of their correctness, — an illusion which, in spite of all the warnings of criticism, tempts us far beyond the empirical use of the categories, and deludes us with the mere dream of an extension of the pure understanding. All principles the application of which is entirely confined within the limits of possible experience, we Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [296] shall call immanent; those, on the contrary, which tend to transgress those limits, transcendent. I do not mean by this the transcendental use or abuse of the categories, which is a mere fault of the faculty of the judgment, not being as yet sufficiently subdued by criticism nor sufficiently attentive to the limits of the sphere within which alone the pure understanding has full play, but real principles which call upon us to break down all those barriers, and to claim a perfectly new territory, which nowhere recognises any demarcation at all. Here transcendental and transcendent do not mean the same thing. The principles of the pure understanding, which we explained before, are meant to be only of empirical, and not of transcendental application, that is, they cannot Edition: current; Page: [241] transcend the limits of experience. A principle, on the contrary, which removes these landmarks, nay, insists on our transcending them, is called transcendent. If our critique succeeds in laying bare the illusion of those pretended principles, the other principles of a purely empirical use may, in opposition to the former, be called immanent.

Logical illusion, which consists in a mere imitation of the forms of reason (the illusion of sophistic syllogisms), arises entirely from want of attention to logical rules. It disappears at once, when our attention Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [297] is roused. Transcendental illusion, on the contrary, does not disappear, although it has been shown up, and its worthlessness rendered clear by means of transcendental criticism, as, for instance, the illusion inherent in the proposition that the world must have a beginning in time. The cause of this is that there exists in our reason (considered subjectively as a faculty of human knowledge) principles and maxims of its use, which have the appearance of objective principles, and lead us to mistake the subjective necessity of a certain connection of our concepts in favour of the understanding for an objective necessity in the determination of things by themselves. This illusion is as impossible to avoid as it is to prevent the sea from appearing to us higher at a distance than on the shore, because we see it by higher rays of light; or to prevent the moon from appearing, even to an astronomer, larger at its rising, although he is not deceived by that illusion.

Transcendental Dialectic must, therefore, be content to lay bare the illusion of transcendental judgments and guarding against its deceptions — but it will never succeed Edition: current; Page: [242] in removing the transcendental illusion (like the logical), and putting an end to it altogether. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [298] For we have here to deal with a natural and inevitable illusion, which itself rests on subjective principles, representing them to us as objective, while logical Dialectic, in removing sophisms, has to deal merely with a mistake in applying the principles, or with an artificial illusion produced by an imitation of them. There exists, therefore, a natural and inevitable Dialectic of pure reason, not one in which a mere bungler might get entangled from want of knowledge, or which a sophist might artificially devise to confuse rational people, but one that is inherent in, and inseparable from human reason, and which, even after its illusion has been exposed, will never cease to fascinate our reason, and to precipitate it into momentary errors, such as require to be removed again and again.

2.: Of Pure Reason, as the Seat of Transcendental Illusion

A.: Of Reason in General

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds thence to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason, for working up the material of intuition, and comprehending it under the highest unity of thought. As it here becomes Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [299] necessary to give a definition of that highest faculty of knowledge, I begin to feel considerable misgivings. There is of reason, as there is of the understanding, a purely formal, that is logical use, in which no account is taken of the contents of knowledge; but there is also a real use, in so far as reason itself contains the origin of certain Edition: current; Page: [243] concepts and principles, which it has not borrowed either from the senses or from the understanding. The former faculty has been long defined by logicians as the faculty of mediate conclusions, in contradistinction to immediate ones (consequentiae immediatae); but this does not help us to understand the latter, which itself produces concepts. As this brings us face to face with the division of reason into a logical and a transcendental faculty, we must look for a higher concept for this source of knowledge, to comprehend both concepts: though, according to the analogy of the concepts of the understanding, we may expect that the logical concept will give us the key to the transcendental, and that the table of the functions of the former will give us the genealogical outline of the concepts of reason.

In the first part of our transcendental logic we defined the understanding as the faculty of rules, and we now distinguish reason from it, by calling it the faculty of principles. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [300]

The term principle is ambiguous, and signifies commonly some kind of knowledge only that may be used as a principle, though in itself, and according to its origin, it is no principle at all. Every general proposition, even though it may have been derived from experience (by induction), may serve as a major in a syllogism of reason; but it is not on that account a principle. Mathematical axioms, as, for instance, that between two points there can be only one straight line, constitute even general knowledge a priori, and may therefore, with reference to the cases which can be brought under them, rightly be called principles. Nevertheless it would be wrong to say, that this property of a straight line, in general and by itself, Edition: current; Page: [244] is known to us from principles, for it is known from pure intuition only.

I shall therefore call it knowledge from principles, whenever we know the particular in the general, by means of concepts. Thus every syllogism of reason is a form of deducing some kind of knowledge from a principle, because the major always contains a concept which enables us to know, according to a principle, everything that can be comprehended under the conditions of that concept. As every general knowledge may serve as a major in such a syllogism, and as the understanding supplies such general propositions a priori, these no doubt may, with reference to their possible use, be called principles. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [301]

But, if we consider these principles of the pure understanding in themselves, and according to their origin, we find that they are anything rather than knowledge from concepts. They would not even be possible a priori, unless we relied on pure intuition (in mathematics) or on conditions of a possible experience in general. That everything which happens has a cause, can by no means be concluded from the concept of that which happens; on the contrary, that very principle shows in what manner alone we can form a definite empirical concept of that which happens.

It is impossible therefore for the understanding to supply us with synthetical knowledge from concepts, and it is really that kind of knowledge which I call principles absolutely; while all general propositions may be called principles relatively.

It is an old desideratum, which at some time, however distant, may be realised, that, instead of the endless Edition: current; Page: [245] variety of civil laws, their principles might be discovered, for thus alone the secret might be found of what is called simplifying legislation. Such laws, however, are only limitations of our freedom under conditions by which it always agrees with itself; they refer to something which is entirely our own work, and of which we ourselves can be the cause, by means of these concepts. But that objects in themselves, as for instance material nature, should be subject to principles, and be determined according Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [302] to mere concepts, is something, if not impossible, at all events extremely contradictory. But be that as it may (for on this point we have still all investigations before us), so much at least is clear, that knowledge from principles (by itself) is something totally different from mere knowledge of the understanding, which, in the form of a principle, may no doubt precede other knowledge, but which by itself (in so far as it is synthetical) is not based on mere thought, nor contains anything general, according to concepts.

If the understanding is a faculty for producing unity among phenomena, according to rules, reason is the faculty for producing unity among the rules of the understanding, according to principles. Reason therefore never looks directly to experience, or to any object, but to the understanding, in order to impart a priori through concepts to its manifold kinds of knowledge a unity that may be called the unity of reason, and is very different from the unity which can be produced by the understanding.

This is a general definition of the faculty of reason, so far as it was possible to make it intelligible without the help of illustrations, which are to be given hereafter.

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B.: Of the Logical Use of Reason Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [303]

A distinction is commonly made between what is immediately known and what is only inferred. That in a figure bounded by three straight lines there are three angles, is known immediately, but that these angles together are equal to two right angles, is only inferred. As we are constantly obliged to infer, we grow so accustomed to it, that in the end we no longer perceive this difference, and as in the case of the so-called deceptions of the senses, often mistake what we have only inferred for something perceived immediately. In every syllogism there is first a fundamental proposition; secondly, another deduced from it; and lastly, the conclusion (consequence), according to which the truth of the latter is indissolubly connected with the truth of the former. If the judgment or the conclusion is so clearly contained in the first that it can be inferred from it without the mediation or intervention of a third representation, the conclusion is called immediate (consequentia immediata): though I should prefer to call it a conclusion of the understanding. But if, besides the fundamental knowledge, another judgment is required to bring out the consequence, then the conclusion is called a conclusion of reason. In the proposition ‘all men are mortal,’ the following propositions are contained: some men are mortal; or some mortals are men; or nothing that is immortal is a man. These are therefore immediate Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [304] inferences from the first. The proposition, on the contrary, all the learned are mortal, is not contained in the fundamental judgment, because the concept of learned does not occur in it, and can only be deduced from it by means of an intervening judgment.

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In every syllogism I first think a rule (the major) by means of the understanding. I then bring some special knowledge under the condition of the rule (the minor) by means of the faculty of judgment, and I finally determine my knowledge through the predicate of the rule (conclusio), that is, a priori, by means of reason. It is therefore the relation represented by the major proposition, as the rule, between knowledge and its condition, that constitutes the different kinds of syllogism. Syllogisms are therefore threefold, like all judgments, differing from each other in the manner in which they express the relation of knowledge in the understanding, namely, categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive.

If, as often happens, the conclusion is put forward as a judgment, in order to see whether it does not follow from other judgments by which a perfectly different object is conceived, I try to find in the understanding the assertion of that conclusion, in order to see whether it does not exist in it, under certain conditions, according to a general rule. If I find such a condition, and if the object of the conclusion can be brought under the given Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [305] condition, then that conclusion follows from the rule which is valid for other objects of knowledge also. Thus we see that reason, in forming conclusions, tries to reduce the great variety of the knowledge of the understanding to the smallest number of principles (general conditions), and thereby to produce in it the highest unity.

C.: Of the Pure Use of Reason

The question to which we have at present to give an answer, though a preliminary one only, is this, whether reason can be isolated and thus constitute by itself an Edition: current; Page: [248] independent source of concepts and judgments, which spring from it alone, and through which it has reference to objects, or whether it is only a subordinate faculty for imparting a certain form to any given knowledge, namely, a logical form, a faculty whereby the cognitions of the understanding are arranged among themselves only, and lower rules placed under higher ones (the condition of the latter comprehending in its sphere the condition of the former) so far as all this can be done by their comparison. Variety of rules with unity of principles is a requirement of reason for the purpose of bringing the understanding into perfect agreement with itself, just as the understanding brings the variety of intuition under concepts, and thus imparts to intuition a connected form. Such a principle however prescribes no law to the objects Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [306] themselves, nor does it contain the ground on which the possibility of knowing and determining objects depends. It is merely a subjective law of economy, applied to the stores of our understanding; having for its purpose, by means of a comparison of concepts, to reduce the general use of them to the smallest possible number, but without giving us a right to demand of the objects themselves such a uniformity as might conduce to the comfort and the extension of our understanding, or to ascribe to that maxim any objective validity. In one word, the question is, whether reason in itself, that is pure reason, contains synthetical principles and rules a priori, and what those principles are?

The merely formal and logical procedure of reason in syllogisms gives us sufficient hints as to the ground on which the transcendental principle of synthetical knowledge, by means of pure reason, is likely to rest.

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First, a syllogism, as a function of reason, does not refer to intuitions in order to bring them under rules (as the understanding does with its categories), but to concepts and judgments. Although pure reason refers in the end to objects, it has no immediate relation to them and their intuition, but only to the understanding and its judgments, these having a direct relation to the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [307] senses and their intuition, and determining their objects. Unity of reason is therefore never the unity of a possible experience, but essentially different from it, as the unity of the understanding. That everything which happens has a cause, is not a principle discovered or prescribed by reason, it only makes the unity of experience possible, and borrows nothing from reason, which without this relation to possible experience could never, from mere concepts, have prescribed such a synthetical unity.

Secondly. Reason, in its logical employment, looks for the general condition of its judgment (the conclusion), and the syllogism produced by reason is itself nothing but a judgment by means of bringing its condition under a general rule (the major). But as this rule is again liable to the same experiment, reason having to seek, as long as possible, the condition of a condition (by means of a prosyllogism), it is easy to see that it is the peculiar principle of reason (in its logical use) to find for every conditioned knowledge of the understanding the unconditioned, whereby the unity of that knowledge may be completed.

This logical maxim, however, cannot become a principle of pure reason, unless we admit that, whenever the condition is given, the whole series of conditions, subordinated to one another, a series, which consequently is Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [308] itself unconditioned, is likewise given (that is, is contained in the object and its connection).

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Such a principle of pure reason, however, is evidently synthetical; for analytically the conditioned refers no doubt to some condition, but not to the unconditioned. From this principle several other synthetical propositions also must arise of which the pure understanding knows nothing; because it has to deal with objects of a possible experience only, the knowledge and synthesis of which are always conditioned. The unconditioned, if it is really to be admitted, has to be especially considered with regard to all the determinations which distinguish it from whatever is conditioned, and will thus supply material for many a synthetical proposition a priori.

The principles resulting from this highest principle of pure reason will however be transcendent, with regard to all phenomena; that is to say, it will be impossible ever to make any adequate empirical use of such a principle. It will thus be completely different from all principles of the understanding, the use of which is entirely immanent and directed to the possibility of experience only. The task that is now before us in the transcendental Dialectic which has to be developed from sources deeply hidden in the human reason, is this: to discover the correctness or otherwise the falsehood of the principle that the series of conditions (in the synthesis of phenomena, or of objective thought in general) extends to the unconditioned, and what consequences result therefrom with regard to the empirical use of the understanding: — to find Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [309] out whether there is really such an objectively valid principle of reason, and not only, in place of it, a logical rule which requires us, by ascending to ever higher conditions, to approach their completeness, and thus to bring the highest unity of reason, which is possible to us, into our Edition: current; Page: [251] knowledge: to find out, I say, whether, by some misconception, a mere tendency of reason has not been mistaken for a transcendental principle of pure reason, postulating, without sufficient reflection, absolute completeness in the series of conditions in the objects themselves, and what kind of misconceptions and illusions may in that case have crept into the syllogisms of reason, the major proposition of which has been taken over from pure reason (being perhaps a petitio rather than a postulatum), and which ascend from experience to its conditions. We shall divide it into two parts, of which the first will treat of the transcendent concepts of pure reason, the second of transcendent and dialectical syllogisms.

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BOOK I: OF THE CONCEPTS OF PURE REASON Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [310]

Whatever may be thought of the possibility of concepts of pure reason, it is certain that they are not simply obtained by reflection, but by inference. Concepts of the understanding exist a priori, before experience, and for the sake of it, but they contain nothing but the unity of reflection applied to phenomena, so far as they are necessarily intended for a possible empirical consciousness. It is through them alone that knowledge and determination of an object become possible. They are the first to give material for conclusions, and they are not preceded by any concepts a priori of objects from which they could themselves be deduced. Their objective reality however depends on this, that because they constitute the intellectual form of all experience, it is necessary that their application should always admit of being exhibited in experience.

The very name, however, of a concept of reason gives a kind of intimation that it is not intended to be limited to experience, because it refers to a kind of knowledge of which every empirical knowledge is a part only (it may be, Edition: current; Page: [253] the whole of possible experience or of its empirical Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [311] synthesis): and to which all real experience belongs, though it can never fully attain to it. Concepts of reason serve for conceiving or comprehending; concepts of the understanding for understanding (perceptions). If they contain the unconditioned, they refer to something to which all experience may belong, but which itself can never become an object of experience; — something to which reason in its conclusions from experience leads up, and by which it estimates and measures the degree of its own empirical use, but which never forms part of empirical synthesis. If such concepts possess, notwithstanding, objective validity, they may be called conceptus ratiocinati (concepts legitimately formed); if they have only been surreptitiously obtained, by a kind of illusory conclusion, they may be called conceptus ratiocinantes (sophistical concepts). But as this subject can only be fully treated in the chapter on the dialectical conclusions of pure reason, we shall say no more of it now, but shall only, as we gave the name of categories to the pure concepts of the understanding, give a new name to the concepts of pure reason, and call them transcendental ideas, a name that has now to be explained and justified. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [312]

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First Section
Of Ideas in General

In spite of the great wealth of our languages, a thoughtful mind is often at a loss for an expression that should square exactly with its concept; and for want of which he cannot make himself altogether intelligible, either to others or to himself. To coin new words is to arrogate to oneself legislative power in matters of language, a proceeding which seldom succeeds, so that, before taking so desperate a step, it is always advisable to look about, in dead and learned languages, whether they do not contain such a concept and its adequate expression. Even if it should happen that the original meaning of the word had become somewhat uncertain, through carelessness on the part of its authors, it is better nevertheless to determine and fix the meaning which principally belonged to it (even if it should remain doubtful whether it was originally used exactly in that meaning), than to spoil our labour by becoming unintelligible.

Whenever therefore there exists one single word only for a certain concept, which, in its received meaning, exactly covers that concept, and when it is of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [313] great consequence to keep that concept distinct from other related concepts, we ought not to be lavish in using it nor Edition: current; Page: [255] employ it, for the sake of variety only, as a synonyme in the place of others, but carefully preserve its own peculiar meaning, as otherwise it may easily happen that the expression ceases to attract special attention, and loses itself in a crowd of other words of very different import, so that the thought, which that expression alone could have preserved, is lost with it.

From the way in which Plato uses the term idea, it is easy to see that he meant by it something which not only was never borrowed from the senses, but which even far transcends the concepts of the understanding, with which Aristotle occupied himself, there being nothing in experience corresponding to the ideas. With him the ideas are archetypes of things themselves, not only, like the categories, keys to possible experiences. According to his opinion they flowed out from the highest reason, which however exists no longer in its original state, but has to recall, with difficulty, the old but now very obscure ideas, which it does by means of reminiscence, commonly called philosophy. I shall not enter here on any literary discussions in order to determine the exact meaning which the sublime philosopher himself connected with that expression. I shall only remark, that it is by no Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [314] means unusual, in ordinary conversations, as well as in written works, that by carefully comparing the thoughts uttered by an author on his own subject, we succeed in understanding him better than he understood himself, because he did not sufficiently define his concept, and thus not only spoke, but sometimes even thought, in opposition to his own intentions.

Plato knew very well that our faculty of knowledge was filled with a much higher craving than merely to Edition: current; Page: [256] spell out phenomena according to a synthetical unity, and thus to read and understand them as experience. He knew that our reason, if left to itself, tries to soar up to knowledge to which no object that experience may give can ever correspond; but which nevertheless is real, and by no means a mere cobweb of the brain.

Plato discovered his ideas principally in what is practical,1 that is, in what depends on freedom, which again belongs to a class of knowledge which is a Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [315] peculiar product of reason. He who would derive the concept of virtue from experience, and would change what at best could only serve as an example or an imperfect illustration, into a type and a source of knowledge (as many have really done), would indeed transform virtue into an equivocal phantom, changing according to times and circumstances, and utterly useless to serve as a rule. Everybody can surely perceive that, when a person is held up to us as a model of virtue, we have always in our own mind the true original with which we compare this so-called model, and estimate it accordingly. The true original is the idea of virtue, in regard to which all possible objects of experience may serve as examples (proofs of the practicability, in a certain degree, of that which is required by the concept of reason), but never as archetypes. That no man can ever act up to Edition: current; Page: [257] the pure idea of virtue does not in the least prove the chimerical nature of that concept; for every judgment as to the moral worth or unworth of actions is possible by means of that idea only, which forms, therefore, the necessary foundation for every approach to moral perfection, however far the impediments inherent in human nature, the extent of which it is difficult to determine, may keep us removed from it.

The Platonic Republic has been supposed to Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [316] be a striking example of purely imaginary perfection. It has become a byword, as something that could exist in the brain of an idle thinker only, and Brucker thinks it ridiculous that Plato could have said that no prince could ever govern well, unless he participated in the ideas. We should do better, however, to follow up this thought and endeavour (where that excellent philosopher leaves us without his guidance) to place it in a clearer light by our own efforts, rather than to throw it aside as useless, under the miserable and very dangerous pretext of its impracticability. A constitution founded on the greatest possible human freedom, according to laws which enable the freedom of each individual to exist by the side of the freedom of others (without any regard to the highest possible human happiness, because that must necessarily follow by itself), is, to say the least, a necessary idea, on which not only the first plan of a constitution or a state, but all laws must be based, it being by no means necessary to take account from the beginning of existing impediments, which may owe their origin not so much to human nature itself as to the actual neglect of true ideas in legislation. For nothing can be more mischievous and more unworthy a philosopher Edition: current; Page: [258] than the vulgar appeal to what is called adverse experience, which possibly might never have existed, if at the proper time institutions had been framed according to those ideas, and not according to crude Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [317] concepts, which, because they were derived from experience only, have marred all good intentions. The more legislation and government are in harmony with that idea, the rarer, no doubt, punishments would become; and it is therefore quite rational to say (as Plato did), that in a perfect state no punishments would be necessary. And though this can never be realised, yet the idea is quite correct which sets up this maximum as an archetype, in order thus to bring our legislative constitutions nearer and nearer to the greatest possible perfection. Which may be the highest degree where human nature must stop, and how wide the chasm may be between the idea and its realisation, no one can or ought to determine, because it is this very freedom that may be able to transcend any limits hitherto assigned to it.

It is not only, however, where human reason asserts its free causality and ideas become operative agents (with regard to actions and their objects), that is to say, in the sphere of ethics, but also in nature itself, that Plato rightly discovered clear proofs of its origin from ideas. A plant, an animal, the regular plan of the cosmos (most likely therefore the whole order of nature), show clearly that they are possible according to ideas only; Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [318] and that though no single creature, under the singular conditions of its existence, can fully correspond with the idea of what is most perfect of its kind (as little as any individual man with the idea of humanity, which, for all that, he carries in his mind as the archetype of all his Edition: current; Page: [259] actions), those ideas are nevertheless determined throughout in the highest understanding each by itself as unchangeable, and are in fact the original causes of things, although it can only be said of the whole of them, connected together in the universe, that it is perfectly adequate to the idea. If we make allowance for the exaggerated expression, the effort of the philosopher to ascend from the mere observing and copying of the physical side of nature to an architectonic system of it, teleologically, that is according to ideas, deserves respect and imitation, while with regard to the principles of morality, legislation, and religion, where it is the ideas themselves that make experience of the good possible, though they can never be fully realised in experience, such efforts are of very eminent merit, which those only fail to recognise who attempt to judge it according to empirical rules, the very validity of which, as principles, was meant to be denied by Plato. With regard to nature, it is experience no doubt which supplies us with rules, and is the foundation of all truth: with regard to moral laws, on the contrary, experience is, alas! but the source of illusion; and it is altogether reprehensible to derive or limit the laws of what we Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [319] ought to do according to our experience of what has been done.

Instead of considering these subjects, the full development of which constitutes in reality the peculiar character and dignity of philosophy, we have to occupy ourselves at present with a task less brilliant, though not less useful, of building and strengthening the foundation of that majestic edifice of morality, which at present is undermined by all sorts of mole-tracks, the work of our reason, Edition: current; Page: [260] which thus vainly, but always with the same confidence, is searching for buried treasures. It is our duty at present to acquire an accurate knowledge of the transcendental use of the pure reason, its principles and ideas, in order to be able to determine and estimate correctly their influence and value. But before I leave this preliminary introduction, I beg those who really care for philosophy (which means more than is commonly supposed), if they are convinced by what I have said and shall still have to say, to take the term idea, in its original meaning, under their special protection, so that it should no longer be lost among other expressions, by which all sorts of representations are loosely designated, to the great detriment of philosophy. There is no lack of names adequate to express every kind of representation, without our having to encroach on the property of others. I shall Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [320] give a graduated list of them. The whole class may be called representation (repraesentatio). Under it stands conscious representation, perception (perceptio). A perception referring to the subject only, as a modification of his state, is sensation (sensatio), while an objective sensation is called knowledge, cognition (cognitio). Cognition is either intuition or concept (intuitus vel conceptus). The former refers immediately to an object and is singular, the latter refers to it mediately, that is, by means of a characteristic mark that can be shared by several things in common. A concept is either empirical or pure, and the pure concept, so far as it has its origin in the understanding only (not in the pure image of sensibility) is called notion (notio). A concept formed of notions and transcending all possible experience is an idea, or a concept of reason. To any one who has once accustomed himself to these distinctions, it Edition: current; Page: [261] must be extremely irksome to hear the representation of red colour called an idea, though it could not even be rightly called a notion (a concept of the understanding).

Second Section
Of Transcendental IdeasEdition: Muller_1922; Page: [321]

We had an instance in our transcendental Analytic, how the mere logical form of our knowledge could contain the origin of pure concepts a priori, which represent objects antecedently to all experience, or rather indicate a synthetical unity by which alone an empirical knowledge of objects becomes possible. The form of judgments (changed into a concept of the synthesis of intuitions) gave us the categories that guide and determine the use of the understanding in every experience. We may expect, therefore, that the form of the syllogisms, if referred to the synthetical unity of intuitions, according to the manner of the categories, will contain the origin of certain concepts a priori, to be called concepts of pure reason, or transcendental ideas, which ought to determine the use of the understanding within the whole realm of experience, according to principles.

The function of reason in its syllogisms consists in the universality of cognition, according to concepts, and the syllogism itself is in reality a judgment, determined Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [322] a priori in the whole extent of its condition. The Edition: current; Page: [262] proposition ‘Caius is mortal,’ might be taken from experience, by means of the understanding only. But what we want is a concept, containing the condition under which the predicate (assertion in general) of that judgment is given (here the concept of man), and after I have arranged it under this condition, taken in its whole extent (all men are mortal), I proceed to determine accordingly the knowledge of my object (Caius is mortal).

What we are doing therefore in the conclusion of a syllogism is to restrict the predicate to a certain object, after we have used it first in the major, in its whole extent, under a certain condition. This completeness of its extent, in reference to such a condition, is called universality (universalitas); and to this corresponds, in the synthesis of intuitions, the totality (universitas) of conditions. The transcendental concept of reason is, therefore, nothing but the concept of the totality of the conditions of anything given as conditioned. As therefore the unconditioned alone renders a totality of conditions possible, and as conversely the totality of conditions must always be unconditioned, it follows that a pure concept of reason in general may be explained as a concept of the unconditioned, so far as it contains a basis for the synthesis of the conditioned.

As many kinds of relations as there are, which Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [323] the understanding represents to itself by means of the categories, so many pure concepts of the reason we shall find, that is, first, the unconditioned of the categorical synthesis in a subject; secondly, the unconditioned of the hypothetical synthesis of the members of a series; thirdly, the unconditioned of the disjunctive synthesis of the parts of a system.

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There are exactly as many kinds of syllogisms, each of which tries to advance by means of pro-syllogisms to the unconditioned: the first to the subject, which itself is no longer a predicate; the second to the presupposition, which presupposes nothing else; and the third to an aggregate of the members of a division, which requires nothing else, in order to render the division of the concept complete. Hence the pure concepts of reason implying totality in the synthesis of the conditions are necessary, at least as problems, in order to carry the unity of the understanding to the unconditioned, if that is possible, and they are founded in the nature of human reason, even though these transcendental concepts may be without any proper application in concreto, and thus have no utility beyond bringing the understanding into a direction where its application, being extended as far as possible, is brought throughout in harmony with itself.

Whilst speaking here of the totality of conditions, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [324] and of the unconditioned, as the common title of all the concepts of reason, we again meet with a term which we cannot do without, but which, by long abuse, has become so equivocal that we cannot employ it with safety. The term absolute is one of those few words which, in their original meaning, were fitted to a concept, which afterwards could not be exactly fitted with any other word of the same language, and the loss of which, or what is the same, the loose employment of which, entails the loss of the concept itself, and that of a concept with which reason is constantly occupied, and cannot dispense with without real damage to all transcendental investigations. At present the term absolute is frequently used simply in order to indicate that something applies Edition: current; Page: [264] to an object, considered in itself, and thus as it were internally. In this way absolutely possible would mean that something is possible in itself (interné), which in reality is the least that could be said of it. It is sometimes used also to indicate that something is valid in all respects (without limitation), as people speak of absolute sovereignty. In this way absolutely possible would mean that which is possible in all respects, and this is again the utmost that could be said of the possibility of a thing. It is true that these two significations Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [325] sometimes coincide, because something that is internally impossible is impossible also in every respect, and therefore absolutely impossible. But in most cases they are far apart, and I am by no means justified in concluding that, because something is possible in itself, it is possible also in every respect, that is, absolutely possible. Nay, with regard to absolute necessity, I shall be able to show hereafter that it by no means always depends on internal necessity, and that the two cannot therefore be considered synonymous. No doubt, if the opposite of a thing is intrinsically impossible, that opposite is also impossible in every respect, and the thing itself therefore absolutely necessary. But I cannot conclude conversely, that the opposite of what is absolutely necessary is internally impossible, or that the absolute necessity of things is the same as an internal necessity. For in certain cases that internal necessity is an entirely empty expression, with which we cannot connect the least concept, while that of the necessity of a thing in every respect (with regard to all that is possible) implies very peculiar determinations. As therefore the loss of a concept which has acted a great part in speculative philosophy can never Edition: current; Page: [265] be indifferent to philosophers, I hope they will also take some interest in the definition and careful preservation of the term with which that concept is connected.

I shall therefore use the term absolute in this Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [326] enlarged meaning only, in opposition to that which is valid relatively and in particular respects only, the latter being restricted to conditions, the former free from any restrictions whatsoever.

It is then the absolute totality in the synthesis of conditions at which the transcendental concept of reason aims, nor does it rest satisfied till it has reached that which is unconditioned absolutely and in every respect. Pure reason leaves everything to the understanding, which has primarily to do with the objects of intuition, or rather their synthesis in imagination. It is only the absolute totality in the use of the concepts of the understanding, which reason reserves for itself, while trying to carry the synthetical unity, which is realised in the category, to the absolutely unconditioned. We might therefore call the latter the unity of the phenomena in reason, the former, which is expressed by the category, the unity in the understanding. Hence reason is only concerned with the use of the understanding, not so far as it contains the basis of possible experience (for the absolute totality of conditions is not a concept that can be used in experience, because no experience is unconditioned), but in order to impart to it a direction towards a certain unity of which the understanding knows nothing, and which is meant to comprehend all acts of the understanding, with regard to any object, into an Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [327] absolute whole. On this account the objective use of the pure concepts of reason must always be transcendent: Edition: current; Page: [266] while that of the pure concepts of the understanding must always be immanent, being by its very nature restricted to possible experience.

By idea I understand the necessary concept of reason, to which the senses can supply no corresponding object. The concepts of reason, therefore, of which we have been speaking, are transcendental ideas. They are concepts of pure reason, so far as they regard all empirical knowledge as determined by an absolute totality of conditions. They are not mere fancies, but supplied to us by the very nature of reason, and referring by necessity to the whole use of the understanding. They are, lastly, transcendent, as overstepping the limits of all experience which can never supply an object adequate to the transcendental idea. If we speak of an idea, we say a great deal with respect to the object (as the object of the pure understanding) but very little with respect to the subject, that is, with respect to its reality under empirical conditions, because an idea, being the concept of a maximum, can never be adequately given in concreto. As the latter is really the whole aim in the merely speculative use of reason, and as Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [328] the mere approaching a concept, which in reality can never be reached, is the same as if the concept were missed altogether, people, when speaking of such a concept, are wont to say, it is an idea only. Thus one might say, that the absolute whole of all phenomena is an idea only, for as we can never form a representation of such a whole, it remains a problem without a solution. In the practical use of the understanding, on the contrary, where we are only concerned with practice, according to rules, the idea of practical reason can always be realised in concreto, although partially only; nay, it is the indispensable Edition: current; Page: [267] condition of all practical use of reason. The practical realisation of the idea is here always limited and deficient, but these limits cannot be defined, and it always remains under the influence of a concept, implying absolute completeness and perfection. The practical idea is therefore in this case truly fruitful, and, with regard to practical conduct, indispensable and necessary. In it pure reason becomes a cause and active power, capable of realising what is contained in its concept. Hence we cannot say of wisdom, as if contemptuously, that it is an idea only, but for the very reason that it contains the idea of the necessary unity of all possible aims, it must determine all practical acts, as an original and, at least, limitative condition.

Although we must say that all transcendental Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [329] concepts of reason are ideas only, they are not therefore to be considered as superfluous and useless. For although we cannot by them determine any object, they may nevertheless, even unobserved, supply the understanding with a canon or rule of its extended and consistent use, by which, though no object can be better known than it is according to its concepts, yet the understanding may be better guided onwards in its knowledge, not to mention that they may possibly render practicable a transition from physical to practical concepts, and thus impart to moral ideas a certain strength and connection with the speculative knowledge of reason. On all this more light will be thrown in the sequel.

For our present purposes we are obliged to set aside a consideration of these practical ideas, and to treat of reason in its speculative, or rather, in a still more limited sense, its purely transcendental use. Here we must follow Edition: current; Page: [268] the same road which we took before in the deduction of the categories; that is, we must consider the logical form of all knowledge of reason, and see whether, perhaps, by this logical form, reason may become a source of concepts also, which enable us to regard objects in themselves, as determined synthetically a priori in relation to one or other of the functions of reason.

Reason, if considered as a faculty of a certain Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [330] logical form of knowledge, is the faculty of concluding, that is, of judging mediately, by bringing the condition of a possible under the condition of a given judgment. The given judgment is the general rule (major). Bringing the condition of another possible judgment under the condition of the rule, which may be called subsumption, is the minor, and the actual judgment, which contains the assertion of the rule in the subsumed case, is the conclusion. We know that the rule asserts something as general under a certain condition. The condition of the rule is then found to exist in a given case. Then that which, under that condition, was asserted as generally valid, has to be considered as valid in that given case also, which complies with that condition. It is easy to see therefore that reason arrives at knowledge by acts of the understanding, which constitute a series of conditions. If I arrive at the proposition that all bodies are changeable, only by starting from a more remote knowledge (which does not yet contain the concept of body, but a condition of such a concept only), namely, that all which is composite is changeable; and then proceed to something less remotely known, and depending on the former, namely, that bodies are composite; and, lastly, only advance to a third proposition, connecting the more remote knowledge Edition: current; Page: [269] (changeable) with the given case, and conclude that bodies therefore are changeable, we see that we have Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [331] passed through a series of conditions (premisses) before we arrived at knowledge (conclusion). Every series, the exponent of which (whether of a categorical or hypothetical judgment) is given, can be continued, so that this procedure of reason leads to ratiocinatio polysyllogistica, a series of conclusions which, either on the side of the conditions (per prosyllogismos) or of the conditioned (per episyllogismos), may be continued indefinitely.

It is soon perceived, however, that the chain or series of prosyllogisms, that is, of knowledge deduced on the side of reasons or conditions of a given knowledge, in other words, the ascending series of syllogisms, must stand in a very different relation to the faculty of reason from that of the descending series, that is, of the progress of reason on the side of the conditioned, by means of episyllogisms. For, as in the former case the knowledge embodied in the conclusion is given as conditioned only, it is impossible to arrive at it by means of reason in any other way except under the supposition at least that all the members of the series on the side of the conditions are given (totality in the series of premisses), because it is under that supposition only that the contemplated judgment a priori is possible; while on the side of the conditioned, or of the inferences, we can only think Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [332] of a growing series, not of one presupposed as complete or given, that is, of a potential progression only. Hence, when our knowledge is considered as conditioned, reason is constrained to look upon the series of conditions in the ascending line as complete, and given in their totality. But if the same knowledge is looked upon at the same Edition: current; Page: [270] time as a condition of other kinds of knowledge, which constitute among themselves a series of inferences in a descending line, it is indifferent to reason how far that progression may go a parte posteriori, or whether a totality of the series is possible at all, because such a series is not required for the conclusion in hand, which is sufficiently determined and secured on grounds a parte priori. Whether the series of premisses on the side of the conditions have a something that stands first as the highest condition, or whether it be without limits a parte priori, it must at all events contain a totality of conditions, even though we should never succeed in comprehending it; and the whole series must be unconditionally true, if the conditioned, which is considered as a consequence resulting from it, is to be accepted as true. This is a demand of reason which pronounces its knowledge as determined a priori and as necessary, either in itself, and in that case it requires no reasons, or, if derivative, as a member of a series of reasons, which itself is unconditionally true.

Third Section
System of Transcendental IdeasEdition: Muller_1922; Page: [333]

We are not at present concerned with logical Dialectic, which takes no account of the contents of knowledge, and has only to lay bare the illusions in the form of syllogisms, Edition: current; Page: [271] but with transcendental Dialectic, which is supposed to contain entirely a priori the origin of certain kinds of knowledge, arising from pure reason, and of certain deduced concepts, the object of which can never be given empirically, and which therefore lie entirely outside the domain of the pure understanding. We gathered from the natural relation which must exist between the transcendental and the logical use of our knowledge, in syllogisms as well as in judgments, that there must be three kinds of dialectic syllogisms, and no more, corresponding to the three kinds of conclusion by which reason may from principles arrive at knowledge, and that in all of these it is the object of reason to ascend from the conditioned synthesis, to which the understanding is always restricted, to an unconditioned synthesis, which the understanding can never reach.

The relations which all our representations share in common are, 1st, relation to the subject; 2ndly, the relation to objects, either as phenomena, or as objects Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [334] of thought in general. If we connect this subdivision with the former division, we see that the relation of the representations of which we can form a concept or an idea can only be threefold: 1st, the relation to the subject; 2ndly, the relation to the manifold of the phenomenal object; 3rdly, the relation to all things in general.

All pure concepts in general aim at a synthetical unity of representations, while concepts of pure reason (transcendental ideas) aim at unconditioned synthetical unity of all conditions. All transcendental ideas therefore can be arranged in three classes: the first containing the absolute (unconditioned) unity of the thinking subject; the second the absolute unity of the series of conditions of Edition: current; Page: [272] phenomena; the third the absolute unity of the condition of all objects of thought in general.

The thinking subject is the object-matter of psychology, the system of all phenomena (the world) the object-matter of cosmology, and the being which contains the highest condition of the possibility of all that can be thought (the Being of all beings), the object-matter of theology. Thus it is pure reason which supplies the idea of a transcendental science of the soul (psychologia rationalis), of a transcendental science of the world (cosmologia rationalis), and, lastly, of a transcendental science of God (theologia transcendentalis). Even the mere plan of any Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [335] one of these three sciences does not come from the understanding, even if connected with the highest logical use of reason, that is, with all possible conclusions, leading from one of its objects (phenomenon) to all others, and on to the most remote parts of any possible empirical synthesis, — but is altogether a pure and genuine product or rather problem of pure reason.

What kinds of pure concepts of reason are comprehended under these three titles of all transcendental ideas will be fully explained in the following chapter. They follow the thread of the categories, for pure reason never refers direct to objects, but to the concepts of objects framed by the understanding. Nor can it be rendered clear, except hereafter in a detailed explanation, how first, reason simply by the synthetical use of the same function which it employs for categorical syllogisms is necessarily led on to the concept of the absolute unity of the thinking subject; secondly, how the logical procedure in hypothetical syllogisms leads to the idea of something absolutely unconditioned, in a series of given conditions, and how, thirdly, Edition: current; Page: [273] the mere form of the disjunctive syllogism produces necessarily the highest concept of reason, that of a Being of all beings; a thought which, at first sight, seems extremely paradoxical. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [336]

No objective deduction, like that given of the categories, is possible with regard to these transcendental ideas; they are ideas only, and for that very reason they have no relation to any object corresponding to them in experience. What we could undertake to give was a subjective deduction1 of them from the nature of reason, and this has been given in the present chapter.

We can easily perceive that pure reason has no other aim but the absolute totality of synthesis on the side of conditions (whether of inherence, dependence, or concurrence), and that it has nothing to do with the absolute completeness on the part of the conditioned. It is the former only which is required for presupposing the whole series of conditions, and thus presenting it a priori to the understanding. If once we have a given condition, complete and unconditioned itself, no concept of reason is required to continue the series, because the understanding takes by itself every step downward from the condition to the conditioned. The transcendental ideas therefore serve only for ascending in the series of conditions till they reach the unconditioned, that is, the principles. With regard to descending to the conditioned, there is no doubt a widely extended logical use which our reason Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [337] may make of the rules of the understanding, but no transcendental one; and if we form an idea of the absolute totality of such a synthesis (by progressus), as, for Edition: current; Page: [274] instance, of the whole series of all future changes in the world, this is only a thought (ens rationis) that may be thought if we like, but is not presupposed as necessary by reason. For the possibility of the conditioned, the totality of its conditions only, but not of its consequences, is presupposed. Such a concept therefore is not one of the transcendental ideas, with which alone we have to deal.

Finally, we can perceive, that there is among the transcendental ideas themselves a certain connection and unity by which pure reason brings all its knowledge into one system. There is in the progression from our knowledge of ourselves (the soul) to a knowledge of the world, and through it to a knowledge of the Supreme Being, something so natural that it looks like the logical progression of reason from premisses to a conclusion.1 Whether there exists here a real though hidden relationship, such as we saw before between the logical and transcendental use of reason, is also one of the questions the answer to which can only be given in the progress of these investigations. For the present we have achieved what we wished to achieve, by removing the transcendental Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [338] concepts of reason, which in the systems of other philosophers are generally mixed up with other concepts, without being distinguished even from the concepts of the understanding, out of so equivocal a position; by being able to determine their origin and thereby at the same time their number, which can never be exceeded, and by thus bringing them into a systematic connection, marking out and enclosing thereby a separate field for pure reason.

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One may say that the object of a purely transcendental idea is something of which we have no concept, although the idea is produced with necessity according to the original laws of reason. Nor is it possible indeed to form of an object that should be adequate to the demands of reason, a concept of the understanding, that is, a concept which could be shown in any possible experience, and rendered intuitive. It would be better, however, and less Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [339] liable to misunderstandings, to say that we can have no knowledge of an object corresponding to an idea, but a problematic concept only.

The transcendental (subjective) reality, at least of pure concepts of reason, depends on our being led to such ideas by a necessary syllogism of reason. There will be syllogisms therefore which have no empirical premisses, and by means of which we conclude from something which we know to something else of which we have no concept, and to which, constrained by an inevitable illusion, we nevertheless attribute objective reality. As regards their result, Edition: current; Page: [276] such syllogisms are rather to be called sophistical than rational, although, as regards their origin, they may claim the latter name, because they are not purely fictitious or accidental, but products of the very nature of reason. They are sophistications, not of men, but of pure reason itself, from which even the wisest of men cannot escape. All he can do is, with great effort, to guard against error, though never able to rid himself completely of an illusion which constantly torments and mocks him.

Of these dialectical syllogisms of reason there are therefore three classes only, that is as many as the ideas to which their conclusions lead. In the syllogism Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [340] of the first class, I conclude from the transcendental concept of the subject, which contains nothing manifold, the absolute unity of the subject itself, of which however I have no concept in this regard. This dialectical syllogism I shall call the transcendental paralogism.

The second class of the so-called sophistical syllogisms aims at the transcendental concept of an absolute totality in the series of conditions to any given phenomenon; and I conclude from the fact that my concept of the unconditioned synthetical unity of the series is always self-contradictory on one side, the correctness of the opposite unity, of which nevertheless I have no concept either. The state of reason in this class of dialectical syllogisms, I shall call the antinomy of pure reason.

Lastly, according to the third class of sophistical syllogisms, I conclude from the totality of conditions, under which objects in general, so far as they can be given to me, must be thought, the absolute synthetical unity of all conditions of the possibility of things in general; that is to say, I conclude from things which I do not know according Edition: current; Page: [277] to their mere transcendental1 concept, a Being of all beings, which I know still less through a transcendental concept, and of the unconditioned necessity of which I can form no concept whatever. This dialectical syllogism of reason I shall call the ideal of pure reason.

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CHAPTER I: OF THE PARALOGISMS OF PURE REASON Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [341]

The logical paralogism consists in the formal faultiness of a conclusion, without any reference to its contents. But a transcendental paralogism arises from a transcendental cause, which drives us to a formally false conclusion. Such a paralogism, therefore, depends most likely on the very nature of human reason, and produces an illusion which is inevitable, though not insoluble.

We now come to a concept which was not inserted in our general list of transcendental concepts, and yet must be reckoned with them, without however changing that table in the least, or proving it to be deficient. This is the concept, or, if the term is preferred, the judgment, I think. It is easily seen, however, that this concept is the vehicle of all concepts in general, therefore of transcendental concepts also, being always comprehended among them, and being itself transcendental also, though without any claim to a special title, inasmuch as it serves only to introduce all thought, as belonging to consciousness. Edition: current; Page: [279] However free that concept may be from all that is empirical (impressions of the senses), it serves Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [342] nevertheless to distinguish two objects within the nature of our faculty of representation. I, as thinking, am an object of the internal sense, and am called soul. That which is an object of the external senses is called body. The term I, as a thinking being, signifies the object of psychology, which may be called the rational science of the soul, supposing that we want to know nothing about the soul except what, independent of all experience (which determines the I more especially and in concreto), can be deduced from the concept of I, so far as it is present in every act of thought.

Now the rational science of the soul is really such an undertaking; for if the smallest empirical element of my thought or any particular perception of my internal state were mixed up with the sources from which that science derives its materials, it would be an empirical, and no longer a purely rational science of the soul. There is therefore a pretended science, founded on the single proposition of I think, and the soundness or unsoundness of which may well be examined in this place, according to the principles of transcendental philosophy. It should not be objected that even in that proposition, which expresses the perception of oneself, I have an internal experience, and that therefore the rational science of the soul, which is founded on it, can never be quite Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [343] pure, but rests, to a certain extent, on an empirical principle. For this inner perception is nothing more than the mere apperception, I think, without which even all transcendental concepts would be impossible, in which we really say, I think the substance, I think the cause, Edition: current; Page: [280] etc. This internal experience in general and its possibility, or perception in general and its relation to other perceptions, there being no special distinction or empirical determination of it, cannot be regarded as empirical knowledge, but must be regarded as knowledge of the empirical in general, and falls therefore under the investigation of the possibility of all experience, which investigation is certainly transcendental. The smallest object of perception (even pleasure and pain), if added to the general representation of self-consciousness, would at once change rational into empirical psychology.

I think is, therefore, the only text of rational psychology, out of which it must evolve all its wisdom. It is easily seen that this thought, if it is to be applied to any object (my self), cannot contain any but transcendental predicates, because the smallest empirical predicate would spoil the rational purity of the science, and its independence of all experience.

We shall therefore follow the thread of the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [344] categories, with this difference, however, that as here the first thing which is given is a thing, the I, a thinking being, we must begin with the category of substance, by which a thing in itself is represented, and then proceed backwards, though without changing the respective order of the categories, as given before in our table. The topic of the rational science of the soul, from which has to be derived whatever else that science may contain, is therefore the following.

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1The reader, who may not guess at once the psychological purport of these transcendental and abstract terms, or understand why the latter attribute of the soul belongs to the category of existence, will find their full explanation and justification in the sequel. Moreover, I have to apologise for the many Latin expressions which, contrary to good taste, have crept in instead of their native equivalents, not only here, but throughout the whole of the work. My only excuse is, that I thought it better to sacrifice something of the elegance of language, rather than to throw any impediments in the way of real students, by the use of inaccurate and obscure expressions.
The Soul is substance.
As regards its quality, simple.As regards the different times in which it exists, numerically identical, that is unity (not plurality).
It is in relation to possible objects in space.1

All concepts of pure psychology arise from Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [345] these elements, simply by way of combination, and without the admixture of any other principle. This substance, taken simply as the object of the internal sense, gives us the concept of immateriality; and as simple substance, that of incorruptibility; its identity, as that of an intellectual substance,. gives us personality; and all these three together, spirituality; its relation to objects in space gives us the concept of commercium (intercourse) with bodies; the pure psychology thus representing the thinking substance as the principle of life in matter, that is, as soul (anima), and as the ground of animality; which again, as restricted by spirituality, gives us the concept of immortality.

To these concepts refer four paralogisms of a transcendental Edition: current; Page: [282] psychology, which is falsely supposed to be a science of pure reason, concerning the nature of our thinking being. We can, however, use as the foundation of such a science nothing but the single, and in itself perfectly empty, representation of the I, of which Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [346] we cannot even say that it is a concept, but merely a consciousness that accompanies all concepts. By this I, or he, or it (the thing), which thinks, nothing is represented beyond a transcendental subject of thoughts = x, which is known only through the thoughts that are its predicates, and of which, apart from them, we can never have the slightest concept, so that we are really turning round it in a perpetual circle, having already to use its representation, before we can form any judgment about it. And this inconvenience is really inevitable, because consciousness in itself is not so much a representation, distinguishing a particular object, but really a form of representation in general, in so far as it is to be called knowledge, of which alone I can say that I think something by it.

It must seem strange, however, from the very beginning, that the condition under which I think, and which therefore is a property of my own subject only, should be valid at the same time for everything which thinks, and that, depending on a proposition which seems to be empirical, we should venture to found the apodictical and general judgment, namely, that everything which thinks is such as the voice of my own consciousness declares it to be within me. The reason of it is, that we are constrained to attribute a priori to things all the qualities which form the conditions, under which alone Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [347] we are able to think them. Now it is impossible for me Edition: current; Page: [283] to form the smallest representation of a thinking being by any external experience, but I can do it through self-consciousness only. Such objects therefore are nothing but a transference of my own consciousness to other things, which thus, and thus only, can be represented as thinking beings. The proposition I think is used in this case, however, as problematical only; not so far as it may contain the perception of an existence (the Cartesian, cogito, ergo sum), but with regard to its mere possibility, in order to see what properties may be deduced from such a simple proposition with regard to its subject, whether such subject exists or not.

If our knowledge of thinking beings in general, so far as it is derived from pure reason, were founded on more than the cogito, and if we made use at the same time of observations on the play of our thoughts and the natural laws of the thinking self, derived from them, we should have before us an empirical psychology, which would form a kind of physiology of the internal sense, and perhaps explain its manifestations, but would never help us to understand such properties as do not fall under any possible experience (as, for instance, simplicity), or to teach apodictically anything touching the nature of thinking beings in general. It would not therefore be a rational psychology.

As the proposition I think (taken problematically) Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [348] contains the form of every possible judgment of the understanding, and accompanies all categories as their vehicle, it must be clear that the conclusions to be drawn from it can only contain a transcendental use of the understanding, which declines all admixture of experience, and of the achievements of which, after what has been said before, we cannot form any very favourable anticipations. Edition: current; Page: [284] We shall therefore follow it, with a critical eye, through all the predicaments of pure psychology.1

[The First Paralogism of Substantiality

That the representation of which is the absolute subject of our judgments, and cannot be used therefore as the determination of any other thing, is the substance.

I, as a thinking being, am the absolute subject of all my possible judgments, and this representation of myself can never be used as the predicate of any other thing.

Therefore I, as a thinking being (Soul), am Substance.

Criticism of the First Paralogism of Pure2 Psychology

We showed in the analytical portion of transcendental logic, that pure categories, and among them that of substance, have in themselves no objective meaning, unless they rest on some intuition, and are applied to Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [349] the manifold of such intuitions as functions of synthetical unity. Without this they are merely functions of a judgment without contents. I may say of everything, that it is a substance, so far as I distinguish it from what are mere predicates and determinations. Now in all our thinking the I is the subject, in which thoughts are inherent as determinations only; nor can that I ever be used as a determination of any other thing. Thus everybody is constrained to look upon himself as the substance, and on thinking as the accidents only of his being, and determinations of his state.

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But what use are we to make of such a concept of a substance? That I, as a thinking being, continue for myself, and naturally neither arise nor perish, is no legitimate deduction from it; and yet this conclusion would be the only advantage that could be gained from the concept of the substantiality of my own thinking subject, and, but for that, I could do very well without it.

So far from being able to deduce these properties from the pure category of substance, we have on the contrary to observe the permanency of an object in our experience and then lay hold of this permanency, if we wish to apply to it the empirically useful concept of substance. In this case, however, we had no experience to lay hold of, but have only formed a deduction from the concept Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [350] of the relation which all thinking has to the I, as the common subject to which it belongs. Nor should we, whatever we did, succeed by any certain observation in proving such permanency. For though the I exists in all thoughts, not the slightest intuition is connected with that representation, by which it might be distinguished from other objects of intuition. We may very well perceive therefore that this representation appears again and again in every act of thought, but not that it is a constant and permanent intuition, in which thoughts, as being changeable, come and go.

Hence it follows that in the first syllogism of transcendental psychology reason imposes upon us an apparent knowledge only, by representing the constant logical subject of thought as the knowledge of the real subject in which that knowledge inheres. Of that subject, however, we have not and cannot have the slightest knowledge, because consciousness is that which alone changes representations Edition: current; Page: [286] into thoughts, and in which therefore, as the transcendental subject, all our perceptions must be found. Beside this logical meaning of the I, we have no knowledge of the subject in itself, which forms the substratum and foundation of it and of all our thoughts. In spite of this, the proposition that the soul is a substance may well be allowed to stand, if only we see that this concept cannot help us on in the least or teach us any of the ordinary conclusions of rationalising psychology, as, for Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [351] instance, the everlasting continuance of the soul amid all changes and even in death, and that it therefore signifies a substance in idea only, and not in reality.

The Second Paralogism of Simplicity

Everything, the action of which can never be considered as the concurrence of several acting things, is simple.

Now the Soul, or the thinking I, is such a thing: —

Therefore, etc.

Criticism of the Second Paralogism of Transcendental Psychology

This is the strong (yet not invulnerable) syllogism among all dialectical syllogisms of pure psychology, not a mere sophism contrived by a dogmatist in order to impart a certain plausibility to his assertions, but a syllogism which seems able to stand the sharpest examination and the gravest doubts of the philosopher. It is this: —

Every composite substance is an aggregate of many substances, and the action of something composite, or that which is inherent in it as such, is an aggregate of many actions or accidents distributed among many substances. Edition: current; Page: [287] An effect due to the concurrence of many acting substances is no doubt possible, if that effect is Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [352] external only (as, for instance, the motion of a body is the combined motion of all its parts). The case is different however with thoughts, if considered as accidents belonging to a thinking being within. For suppose it is the composite which thinks, then every part of it would contain a part of the thought, and all together only the whole of it. This however is self-contradictory. For as representations, distributed among different beings (like the single words of a verse), never make a whole thought (a verse), it is impossible that a thought should be inherent in something composite, as such. Thought therefore is possible only in a substance which is not an aggregate of many, and therefore absolutely simple.1

What is called the nervus probandi in this argument lies in the proposition that, in order to constitute a thought, the many representations must be comprehended under the absolute unity of the thinking subject. Nobody however can prove this proposition from concepts. For how would he undertake to do it? The proposition Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [353] that a thought can only be the effect of the absolute unity of a thinking being, cannot be considered as analytical. For the unity of thought, consisting of many representations, is collective, and may, so far as mere concepts are concerned, refer to the collective unity of all co-operating substances (as the movement of a body is the compound movement of all its parts) quite as well as to the absolute unity of the subject. According to the rule of identity Edition: current; Page: [288] it would be impossible therefore to establish the necessity of the presupposition of a simple substance, the thought being composite. That, on the other hand, such a proposition might be established synthetically and entirely a priori from mere concepts, no one will venture to affirm who has once understood the grounds on which the possibility of synthetical propositions a priori rests, as explained by us before.

It is likewise impossible, however, to derive this necessary unity of the subject, as the condition of the possibility of the unity of every thought, from experience. For experience never supplies any necessity of thought, much less the concept of absolute unity. Whence then do we take that proposition on which the whole psychological syllogism of reason rests?

It is manifest that if we wish to represent to ourselves a thinking being, we must put ourselves in its place, and supplant as it were the object which has to be considered by our own subject (which never happens in any Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [354] other kind of investigation). The reason why we postulate for every thought absolute unity of the subject is because otherwise we could not say of it, I think (the manifold in one representation). For although the whole of a thought may be divided and distributed under many subjects, the subjective I can never thus be divided and distributed, and it is this I which we presuppose in every thought.

As in the former paralogism therefore, so here also, the formal proposition of apperception, I think, remains the sole ground on which rational psychology ventures to undertake the extension of its knowledge. That proposition, however, is no experience, but only the form of Edition: current; Page: [289] apperception inherent in, and antecedent to, every experience, that is a purely subjective condition, having reference to a possible experience only, but by no means the condition of the possibility of the knowledge of objects, and by no means necessary to the concept of a thinking being in general; although it must be admitted that we cannot represent to ourselves another intelligent being without putting ourselves in its place with that formula of our consciousness.

Nor is it true that the simplicity of my self (as a soul) is really deduced from the proposition, I think, for it is already involved in every thought itself. The proposition I am simple must be considered as the immediate Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [355] expression of apperception, and the so-called syllogism of Cartesius, cogito, ergo sum, is in reality tautological, because cogito (sum cogitans) predicates reality immediately. I am simple means no more than that this representation of I does not contain the smallest trace of manifoldness, but is absolute (although merely logical) unity.

Thus we see that the famous psychological argument is founded merely on the indivisible unity of a representation, which only determines the verb with reference to a person; and it is clear that the subject of inherence is designated transcendentally only by the I, which accompanies the thought, without our perceiving the smallest quality of it, in fact, without our knowing anything about it. It signifies a something in general (a transcendental subject) the representation of which must no doubt be simple, because nothing is determined in it, and nothing can be represented more simple than by the concept of a mere something. The simplicity however of the representation of a subject is not therefore a knowledge of the Edition: current; Page: [290] simplicity of the subject, because no account whatever is taken of its qualities when it is designated by the entirely empty expression I, an expression that can be applied to every thinking subject.

So much is certain therefore that though I Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [356] always represent by the I an absolute, but only logical, unity of the subject (simplicity), I never know thereby the real simplicity of my subject. We saw that the proposition, I am a substance, signified nothing but the mere category of which I must not make any use (empirically) in concreto. In the same manner, I may well say, I am a simple substance, that is, a substance the representation of which contains no synthesis of the manifold; but that concept, or that proposition also, teaches us nothing at all with reference to myself, as an object of experience, because the concept of substance itself is used as a function of synthesis only, without any intuition to rest on, and therefore without any object, valid with reference to the condition of our knowledge only, but not with reference to any object of it. We shall test the usefulness of this proposition by an experiment.

Everybody must admit that the assertion of the simple nature of the soul can only be of any value in so far as it enables me to distinguish the soul from all matter, and thus to except it from that decay to which matter is at all times subject. It is for that use that our proposition is really intended, and it is therefore often expressed by, the soul is not corporeal. If then I can show that, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [357] although we allow to this cardinal proposition of rational psychology (as a mere judgment of reason from pure categories) all objective validity (everything that thinks is simple substance), we cannot make the least use of it, Edition: current; Page: [291] in order to establish the homogeneousness or non-homogeneousness of soul and matter, this will be the same as if I had relegated this supposed psychological truth to the field of mere ideas, without any real or objective use.

We have irrefutably proved in the transcendental Æsthetic that bodies are mere phenomena of our external sense, not things by themselves. We are justified therefore in saying that our thinking subject is not a body, i.e. that, because it is represented by us as an object of the internal sense, it is, so far as it thinks, no object of our external senses, and no phenomenon in space. This means the same as that among external phenomena we can never have thinking beings as such, or ever see their thoughts, their consciousness, their desires, etc., externally. All this belongs to the internal sense. This argument seems indeed so natural and popular that even the commonest understanding has always been led Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [358] to it, the distinction between souls and bodies being of very early date.

But although extension, impermeability, cohesion, and motion, in fact everything that the external senses can give us, cannot be thoughts, feeling, inclination, and determination, or contain anything like them, being never objects of external intuition, it might be possible, nevertheless, that that something which forms the foundation of external phenomena, and which so affects our sense as to produce in it the representations of space, matter, form, etc., if considered as a noumenon (or better as a transcendental object) might be, at the same time, the subject of thinking, although by the manner in which it affects our external sense it produces in us no intuitions of representations, will, etc., but only of space and Edition: current; Page: [292] its determinations. This something, however, is not extended, not impermeable, not composite, because such predicates concern sensibility only and its intuition, whenever we are affected by these (to us otherwise unknown) objects. These expressions, however, do not give us any information what kind of object it is, but only that, if considered by itself, without reference to the external senses, it has no right to these predicates, peculiar to external appearance. The predicates of the internal sense, on the contrary, such as representation, thinking, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [359] etc., are by no means contradictory to it, so that really, even if we admit the simplicity of its nature, the human soul is by no means sufficiently distinguished from matter, so far as its substratum is concerned, if (as it ought to be) matter is considered as a phenomenon only.

If matter were a thing by itself, it would, as a composite being, be totally different from the soul, as a simple being. But what we call matter is an external phenomenon only, the substratum of which cannot possibly be known by any possible predicates. I can therefore very well suppose that that substratum is simple, although in the manner in which it affects our senses it produces in us the intuition of something extended, and therefore composite, so that the substance which, with reference to our external sense, possesses extension, might very well by itself possess thoughts which can be represented consciously by its own internal sense. In such wise the same thing which in one respect is called corporeal, would in another respect be at the same time a thinking being, of which though we cannot see its thoughts, we can yet see the signs of them phenomenally. Thus the expression that souls only (as a particular class of substances) Edition: current; Page: [293] think, would have to be dropt, and we should return to the common expression that men think, that is, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [360] that the same thing which, as an external phenomenon, is extended, is internally, by itself, a subject, not composite, but simple and intelligent.

But without indulging in such hypotheses, we may make this general remark, that if I understand by soul a being by itself, the very question would be absurd, whether the soul be homogeneous or not with matter which is not a thing by itself, but only a class of representations within us; for so much at all events must be clear, that a thing by itself is of a different nature from the determinations which constitute its state only.

If, on the contrary, we compare the thinking I, not with matter, but with that object of the intellect that forms the foundation of the external phenomena which we call matter, then it follows, as we know nothing whatever of the matter, that we have no right to say that the soul by itself is different from it in any respect.

The simple consciousness is not therefore a knowledge of the simple nature of our subject, so that we might thus distinguish the soul from matter, as a composite being.

If therefore, in the only case where that concept might be useful, namely, in comparing myself with objects of external experience, it is impossible to determine the peculiar and distinguishing characteristics of its nature, what is the use, if we pretend to know that the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [361] thinking I, or the soul (a name for the transcendental object of the internal sense), is simple? Such a proposition admits of no application to any real object, and cannot therefore enlarge our knowledge in the least.

Thus collapses the whole of rational psychology, with Edition: current; Page: [294] its fundamental support, and neither here nor elsewhere can we hope by means of mere concepts (still less through the mere subjective form of all our concepts, that is, through our consciousness) and without referring these concepts to a possible experience, to extend our knowledge, particularly as even the fundamental concept of a simple nature is such that it can never be met with in experience, so that no chance remains of arriving at it as a concept of objective validity.

The Third Paralogism of Personality

Whatever is conscious of the numerical identity of its own self at different times, is in so far a person.

Now the Soul, etc.

Therefore the Soul is a person.

Criticism of the Third Paralogism of Transcendental Psychology

Whenever I want to know by experience the numerical identity of an external object, I shall have to Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [362] attend to what is permanent in that phenomenon to which, as the subject, everything else refers as determination, and observe the identity of the former during the time that the latter is changing. I myself, however, am an object of the internal sense, and all time is but the form of the internal sense. I therefore refer each and all of my successive determinations to the numerically identical self; and this in all time, that is, in the form of the inner intuition of myself. From this point of view, the personality of the soul should not even be considered as inferred, but Edition: current; Page: [295] as an entirely identical proposition of self-consciousness in time, and that is indeed the reason why it is valid a priori. For it really says no more than this: that during the whole time, while I am conscious of myself, I am conscious of that time as belonging to the unity of myself; and it comes to the same thing whether I say that this whole time is within me as an individual unity, or that I with numerical identity am present in all that time.

In my own consciousness, therefore, the identity of person is inevitably present. But if I consider myself from the point of view of another person (as an object of his external intuition), then that external observer considers me, first of all, in time, for in the apperception time is really represented in me only. Though he admits, therefore, the I, which at all times accompanies all representations in my consciousness, and with Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [363] entire identity, he will not yet infer from it the objective permanence of myself. For as in that case the time in which the observer places me is not the time of my own, but of his sensibility, it follows that the identity which is connected with my consciousness is not therefore connected with his, that is, with the external intuition of my subject.

The identity of my consciousness at different times is therefore a formal condition only of my thoughts and their coherence, and proves in no way the numerical identity of my subject, in which, in spite of the logical identity of the I, such a change may have passed as to make it impossible to retain its identity, though we may still attribute to it the same name of I, which in every other state, and even in the change of the subject, might yet retain the thought Edition: current; Page: [296] of the preceding and hand it over to the subsequent subject.1

Although the teaching of some old schools Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [364] that everything is in a flux, and nothing in the world permanent, cannot be admitted, if we admit substances, yet it must not be supposed that it can be refuted by the unity of self-consciousness. For we ourselves cannot judge from our own consciousness whether, as souls, we are permanent or not, because we reckon as belonging to our own identical self that only of which we are conscious, and therefore are constrained to admit that, during the whole time of which we are conscious, we are one and the same. From the point of view of a stranger, however, such a judgment would not be valid, because, perceiving in the soul no permanent phenomena, except the representation of the I, which accompanies and connects them all, we cannot determine whether that I (being a mere thought) be not in the same state of flux as the other thoughts which are chained together by the I. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [365]

It is curious, however, that the personality and what is presupposed by it, namely, the permanence and substantiality of the soul, has now to be proved first. For Edition: current; Page: [297] if we could presuppose these, there would follow, if not the permanence of consciousness, yet the possibility of a permanent consciousness in one and the same subject, and this is sufficient to establish personality which does not cease at once, because its effect is interrupted at the time. This permanence, however, is by no means given us before the numerical identity of ourself, which we infer from identical apperception, but is itself inferred from it, so that, according to rule, the concept of substance, which alone is empirically useful, would have to follow first upon it. But as the identity of person follows by no means from the identity of the I, in the consciousness of all time in which I perceive myself, it follows that we could not have founded upon it the substantiality of the soul.

Like the concept of substance and of the simple, however, the concept of personality also may remain, so long as it is used as transcendental only, that is, as a concept of the unity of the subject which is otherwise unknown to us, but in the determinations of which there is an uninterrupted connection by apperception. In this sense such a concept is necessary for practical purposes and sufficient, but we can never pride ourselves on it as helping to expand our knowledge of our self by means of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [366] pure reason, which only deceives us if we imagine that we can concluse an uninterrupted continuance of the subject from the mere concept of the identical self. That concept is only constantly turning round itself in a circle, and does not help us as with respect to any question which aims at synthetical knowledge. What matter may be as a thing by itself (a transcendental object) is entirely unknown to us; though we may observe its permanence as a phenomenon, since it is represented as something external. When Edition: current; Page: [298] however I wish to observe the mere I during the change of all representations, I have no other correlative for my comparisons but again the I itself, with the general conditions of my consciousness. I cannot therefore give any but tautological answers to all questions, because I put my concept and its unity in the place of the qualities that belong to me as an object, and thus really take for granted what was wished to be known.

The Fourth Paralogism of Ideality (with Regard to External Relations)

That, the existence of which can only be inferred as a cause of given perceptions, has a doubtful existence only: — Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [367]

All external phenomena are such that their existence cannot be perceived immediately, but that we can only infer them as the cause of given perceptions: —

Therefore the existence of all objects of the external senses is doubtful. This uncertainty I call the ideality of external phenomena, and the doctrine of that ideality is called idealism; in comparison with which the other doctrine, which maintains a possible certainty of the objects of the external senses, is called dualism.

Criticism of the Fourth Paralogism of Transcendental Psychology

We shall first have to examine the premisses. We are perfectly justified in maintaining that that only which is within ourselves can be perceived immediately, and that my own existence only can be the object of a mere perception. The existence of a real object therefore outside me Edition: current; Page: [299] (taking this word in its intellectual meaning) can never be given directly in perception, but can only be added in thought to the perception, which is a modification of the internal sense, and thus inferred as its external cause. Hence Cartesius was quite right in limiting all perception, in the narrowest sense, to the proposition, I (as a thinking being) am. For it must be clear that, as what Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [368] is without is not within me, I cannot find it in my apperception; nor hence in any perception which is in reality a determination of apperception only.

In the true sense of the word, therefore, I can never perceive external things, but only from my own internal perception infer their existence, taking the perception as an effect of which something external must be the proximate cause. An inference, however, from a given effect to a definite cause is always uncertain, because the effect may be due to more than one cause. Therefore in referring a perception to its cause, it always remains doubtful whether that cause be internal or external; whether in fact all so-called external perceptions are not a mere play of our external sense, or point to real external objects as their cause. At all events the existence of the latter is inferential only, and liable to all the dangers of inferences, while the object of the internal sense (I myself with all my representations) is perceived immediately, and its existence cannot be questioned.

It must not be supposed, therefore, that an idealist is he who denies the existence of external objects of the senses; all he does is to deny that it is known by immediate perception, and to infer that we can never Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [369] become perfectly certain of their reality by any experience whatsoever.

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Before I expose the deceptive illusion of our paralogism, let me remark that we must necessarily distinguish two kinds of idealism, the transcendental and the empirical. Transcendental idealism teaches that all phenomena are representations only, not things by themselves, and that space and time therefore are only sensuous forms of our intuition, not determinations given independently by themselves or conditions of objects, as things by themselves. Opposed to this transcendental idealism, is a transcendental realism, which considers space and time as something in itself (independent of our sensibility). Thus the transcendental realist represents all external phenomena (admitting their reality) as things by themselves, existing independently of us and our sensibility, and therefore existing outside us also, if regarded according to pure concepts of the understanding. It is this transcendental realist who afterwards acts the empirical idealist, and who, after wrongly supposing that the objects of the senses, if they are to be external, must have an existence by themselves, and without our senses, yet from this point of view considers all our sensuous representations insufficient to render certain the reality of their objects.

The transcendental idealist, on the contrary, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [370] may well be an empirical realist, or, as he is called, a dualist; that is, he may admit the existence of matter, without taking a step beyond mere self-consciousness, or admitting more than the certainty of representations within me, that is the cogito, ergo sum. For as he considers matter, and even its internal possibility, as a phenomenon only, which, if separated from our sensibility, is nothing, matter with him is only a class of representations (intuition) which are called external, not as if they Edition: current; Page: [301] referred to objects external by themselves, but because they refer perceptions to space, in which everything is outside everything else, while space itself is inside us.

We have declared ourselves from the very beginning in favour of this transcendental idealism. In our system, therefore, we need not hesitate to admit the existence of matter on the testimony of mere self-consciousness, and to consider it as established by it (i.e. the testimony), in the same manner as the existence of myself, as a thinking being. I am conscious of my representations, and hence they exist as well as I myself, who has these representations. External objects, however (bodies), are phenomena only, therefore nothing but a class of my representations, the objects of which are something by means of these representations only, and apart from them nothing. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [371] External things, therefore, exist by the same right as I myself, both on the immediate testimony of my self-consciousness, with this difference only, that the representation of myself, as a thinking subject, is referred to the internal sense only, while the representations which indicate extended beings are referred to the external sense also. With reference to the reality of external objects, I need as little trust to inference, as with reference to the reality of the object of my internal sense (my thoughts), both being nothing but representations, the immediate perception (consciousness) of which is at the same time a sufficient proof of their reality.

The transcendental idealist is, therefore, an empirical realist, and allows to matter, as a phenomenon, a reality which need not be inferred, but may be immediately perceived. The transcendental realism, on the contrary, is necessarily left in doubt, and obliged to give way to Edition: current; Page: [302] empirical idealism, because it considers the objects of the external senses as something different from the senses themselves, taking mere phenomena as independent beings, existing outside us. And while with the very best consciousness of our representation of these things, it is far from certain that, if a representation exists, its corresponding object must exist also, it is clear that in our system external things, that is, matter in all its shapes and changes, are nothing but mere phenomena, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [372] that is, representations within us, of the reality of which we are immediately conscious.

As, so far as I know, all psychologists who believe in empirical idealism are transcendental realists, they have acted no doubt quite consistently, in ascribing great importance to empirical idealism, as one of the problems from which human reason could hardly extricate itself. For indeed, if we consider external phenomena as representations produced inside us by their objects, as existing as things by themselves outside us, it is difficult to see how their existence could be known otherwise but through a syllogism from effect to cause, where it must always remain doubtful, whether the cause be within or without us. Now we may well admit that something which, taken transcendentally, is outside us, may be the cause of our external intuitions, but this can never be the object which we mean by the representations of matter and material things; for these are phenomena only, that is, certain kinds of representations existing always within us, and the reality of which depends on our immediate consciousness, quite as much as the consciousness of my own thoughts. The transcendental object is unknown equally in regard to internal and external intuition.

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Of this, however, we are not speaking at Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [373] present, but only of the empirical object, which is called external, if represented in space, and internal, when represented in temporal relations only, both space and time being to be met with nowhere except in ourselves.

The expression, outside us, involves however an inevitable ambiguity, because it may signify either, something which, as a thing by itself, exists apart from us, or what belongs to outward appearance only. In order, therefore, to remove all uncertainty from that concept, taken in the latter meaning (which alone affects the psychological question as to the reality of our external intuition) we shall distinguish empirically external objects from those that may be called so in a transcendental sense, by calling the former simply things occurring in space.

Space and time are no doubt representations a priori, which dwell in us as forms of our sensuous intuition, before any real object has determined our senses by means of sensation, enabling them to represent the object under those sensuous conditions. But this something, material or real, that is to be seen in space, presupposes necessarily perception, and cannot be fancied or produced by means of imagination without that perception, which indicates the reality of something in space. It is sensation, therefore, that indicates reality Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [374] in space and time, according as it is related to the one or the other mode of sensuous intuition. If sensation is once given (which, if referring to an object in general, and not specialising it, is called perception), many an object may be put together in imagination from the manifold materials of perception, which has no empirical place in space or time, but in imagination only. This admits of no doubt, Edition: current; Page: [304] whether we take the sensations of pain and pleasure, or the external ones of colour, heat, etc.; it is always perception by which the material for thinking of any objects of external intuition must be first supplied. This perception, therefore (to speak at present of external intuitions only), represents something real in space. For, first, perception is the representation of a reality, while space is the representation of a mere possibility of coexistence. Secondly, this reality is represented before the external sense, that is, in space. Thirdly, space itself is nothing but mere representation, so that nothing in it can be taken as real, except what is represented in it;1 or, vice versa, whatever is given in it, that is, whatever Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [375] is represented in it by perception, is also real in it, because, if it were not real in it, that is, given immediately by empirical intuition, it could not be created by fancy, the real of intuition being unimaginable a priori.

Thus we see that all external perception proves immediately something real in space, or rather is that real itself. Empirical realism is therefore perfectly true, that is, something real in space always corresponds to our external intuitions. Space itself, it is true, with all its phenomena, as representations, exists within me only, but the real or the material of all objects of intuition is nevertheless given in that space, independent of all fancy or Edition: current; Page: [305] imagination; nay, it is impossible that in that space anything outside us (in a transcendental sense) could be given, because space itself is nothing outside our sensibility. The strictest idealist, therefore, can never require that we should prove that the object without us Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [376] (in its true meaning) corresponds to our perception. For granted there are such objects, they could never be represented and seen, as outside us, because this presupposes space, and the reality in space, as a mere representation, is nothing but the perception itself. It thus follows, that what is real in external phenomena, is real in perception only, and cannot be given in any other way.

From such perceptions, whether by mere play of fancy or by experience, knowledge of objects can be produced, and here no doubt deceptive representations may arise, without truly corresponding objects, the deception being due, either to illusions of imagination (in dreams), or to a fault of judgment (the so-called deceptions of the senses). In order to escape from these false appearances, one has to follow the rule that, whatever is connected according to empirical laws with a perception, is real. This kind of illusion, however, and its prevention, concerns idealism as well as dualism, since it affects the form of experience only. In order to refute empirical idealism and its unfounded misgivings as to the objective reality of our external perceptions, it is sufficient to consider 1) that external perception proves immediately a reality in space, which space, though in itself a mere form of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [377] representations, possesses nevertheless objective reality with respect to all external phenomena (which themselves are mere representations only); 2) that without perception, even the creations of fancy and dreams would not be possible, Edition: current; Page: [306] so that our external senses, with reference to the data from which experience can spring, must have real objects corresponding to them in space.

There are two kinds of idealists, the dogmatic, who denies the existence of matter, and the sceptical, who doubts it, because he thinks it impossible to prove it. At present we have nothing to do with the former, who is an idealist, because he imagines he finds contradictions in the possibility of matter in general. This is a difficulty which we shall have to deal with in the following section on dialectical syllogisms, treating of reason in its internal struggle with reference to the concepts of the possibility of all that belongs to the connection of experience. The sceptical idealist, on the contrary, who attacks only the ground of our assertion, and declares our conviction of the existence of matter, which we founded on immediate perception, as insufficient, is in reality a benefactor of human reason, because he obliges us, even in the smallest matter of common experience, to keep our eyes well Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [378] open, and not to consider as a well-earned possession what may have come to us by mistake only. We now shall learn to understand the great advantage of these idealistic objections. They drive us by main force, unless we mean to contradict ourselves in our most ordinary propositions, to consider all perceptions, whether we call them internal or external, as a consciousness only of what affects our sensibility, and to look on the external objects of them, not as things by themselves, but only as representations of which, as of every other representation, we can become immediately conscious, and which are called external, because they depend on what we call the external sense with its intuition of space, space being itself nothing but Edition: current; Page: [307] an internal kind of representation in which certain perceptions become associated.

If we were to admit external objects to be things by themselves, it would be simply impossible to understand how we can arrive at a knowledge of their reality outside us, considering that we always depend on representations which are inside us. It is surely impossible that we should feel outside us, and not inside us, and the whole of our self-consciousness cannot give us anything but our own determinations. Thus sceptical idealism forces us to take refuge in the only place that is left to us, namely, in the ideality of all phenomena: the very ideality which, though as yet unprepared for its consequences, we established in our own transcendental Æsthetic. If Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [379] then we ask whether, consequently, dualism only must be admitted in psychology, we answer, certainly, but only in its empirical acceptation. In the connection of experience matter, as the substance of phenomena, is really given to the external sense in the same manner as the thinking I, likewise as the substance of phenomena, is given to the internal sense; and it is according to the rules which this category introduces into the empirical connection of our external as well as internal perceptions, that phenomena on both sides must be connected among themselves. If, on the contrary, as often happens, we were to extend the concept of dualism and take it in its transcendental acceptation, then neither it, nor on one side the pneumatism, or on the other side the materialism, which are opposed to dualism, would have the smallest foundation; we should have missed the determination of our concepts, and have mistaken the difference in our mode of representing objects, which, with regard to what Edition: current; Page: [308] they are in themselves, remain always unknown to us, for a difference of the things themselves. No doubt I, as represented by the internal sense in time, and objects in space outside me, are two specifically different phenomena, but they are not therefore conceived as different things. The transcendental object, which forms the foundation of external phenomena, and the other, which forms the foundation of our internal intuition, is therefore Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [380] neither matter, nor a thinking being by itself, but simply an unknown cause of phenomena which supply to us the empirical concept of both.

If therefore, as evidently forced to do by this very criticism, we remain faithful to the old rule, never to push questions beyond where possible experience can supply us with an object, we shall never dream of going beyond the objects of our senses and asking what they may be by themselves, that is, without any reference to our senses. But if the psychologist likes to take phenomena for things by themselves, then, whether he admit into his system, as a materialist, matter only, or, as a spiritualist, thinking beings only (according to the form of our own internal sense), or, as a dualist, both, as things existing in themselves, he will always be driven by his mistake to invent theories as to how that which is not a thing by itself, but a phenomenon only, could exist by itself.

on the Whole of Pure Psychology, as affected by these ParalogismsEdition: Muller_1922; Page: [381]

If we compare the science of the soul, as the physiology of the internal sense, with the science of the body, as a physiology of the objects of external senses, we find, Edition: current; Page: [309] besides many things which in both must be known empirically, this important difference, that in the latter many things can be known a priori from the mere concept of an extended and impermeable being, while in the former nothing can be known a priori and synthetically from the concept of a thinking being. The cause is this. Though both are phenomena, yet the phenomena of the external sense have something permanent, which suggests a substratum of varying determinations, and consequently a synthetical concept, namely, that of space, and of a phenomenon in space; while time, the only form of our internal intuition, has nothing permanent, and makes us to know the change of determinations only, but not the determinable object. For in what we call soul there is a continuous flux, and nothing permanent, except it may be (if people will so have it) the simple I, so simple because this representation has no contents, consequently nothing manifold, so that it seems to represent, or more accurately to indicate, a simple Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [382] object. This I or Ego would have to be an intuition, which, being presupposed in all thought (before all experience), might as an intuition a priori supply synthetical propositions, if it should be possible to get any knowledge by pure reason of the nature of a thinking being in general. But this I is neither an intuition nor a concept of any object, but the mere form of consciousness which can accompany both classes of representations, and impart to them the character of knowledge, provided something else be given in intuition which supplies matter for a representation of an object. Thus we see that the whole of rational psychology is impossible as transcending the powers of human reason, and Edition: current; Page: [310] nothing remains to us but to study our soul under the guidance of experience, and to keep ourselves within the limits of questions which do not go beyond the line where the material can be supplied by possible internal experience.

But although rational psychology is of no use in extending our knowledge, but as such is made up of paralogisms only, we cannot deny to it an important negative utility, if it does not pretend to be more than a critical investigation of our dialectical syllogisms, as framed by our common and natural reason.

What purpose can be served by psychology Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [383] founded on pure principles of reason? Its chief purpose is meant to be to guard our thinking self against the danger of materialism. This purpose however is answered, as we have shown, by the concept which reason gives of our thinking self. For, so far from there being any fear lest, if matter be taken away, all thought, and even the existence of thinking beings might vanish, it has been on the contrary clearly shown that, if we take away the thinking subject, the whole material world would vanish, because it is nothing but a phenomenon in the sensibility of our own subject, and a certain class of its representations.

It is true that I do not know thus this thinking self any better according to its qualities, nor can I perceive its permanence, or even the independence of its existence from the problematical transcendental substratum of external phenomena, both being necessarily unknown to us. But as it is nevertheless possible that I may find reason, from other than purely speculative causes, to hope for an independent, and, during every possible Edition: current; Page: [311] change of my states, permanently abiding existence of my thinking nature, much is gained if, though I freely confess my own ignorance, I can nevertheless repel the dogmatical attacks of a speculative opponent, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [384] showing to him that he can never know more of the nature of the subject, in order to deny the possibility of my expectations, than I can know, in order to cling to them.

Three dialectical questions, which form the real object of all rational psychology, are founded on this transcendental illusion of our psychological concepts, and cannot be answered except by means of the considerations in which we have just been engaged, namely, (1) the question of the possibility of the association of the soul with an organic body, that is, of animality and the state of the soul in the life of man; (2) the question of the beginning of that association of the soul at the time and before the time of our birth; (3) the question of the end of that association of the soul at and after the time of death (immortality).

What I maintain is, that all the difficulties which we imagine to exist in these questions, and with which, as dogmatical objections, people wish to give themselves an air of deeper insight into the nature of things than the common understanding can ever claim, rest on a mere illusion, which leads us to hypostasise what exists in thought only, and to accept it in the same quality in which it is thought as a real object, outside the thinking subject, taking in fact extension, which is phenomenal only, for a quality of external things, existing Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [385] without our sensibility also, and movement as their effect, taking place by itself also, and independently of our Edition: current; Page: [312] senses. For matter, the association of which with the soul causes so much misgiving, is nothing but a mere orm, or a certain mode of representing an unknown object by that intuition which we call the external sense. There may, therefore, well be something outside us to which the phenomenon which we call matter corresponds; though in its quality of phenomenon it cannot be outside us, but merely as a thought within us, although that thought represents it through the external sense as existing outside us. Matter, therefore, does not signify a class of substances totally heterogeneous and different from the object of the internal sense (the soul), but only the different nature of the phenomenal appearance of objects (in themselves unknown to us), the representations of which we call external, as compared with those which we assign to the internal sense, although, like other thoughts, those external representations also belong to the thinking subject only. They possess however this illusion that, as they represent objects in space, they seem to separate themselves from the soul and to move outside it, although even the space, in which they are seen, is nothing but a representation of which no homogeneous original can ever be found outside the soul. The question therefore is no longer as to the possibility of an association of the soul with other known and foreign Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [386] substances outside us, but only as to the connection of the representations of the internal sense with the modifications of our external sensibility, and how these can be connected with each other according to constant laws, and acquire cohesion in experience.

So long as we connect internal and external phenomena with each other as mere representations in our experience, Edition: current; Page: [313] there is nothing irrational, nor anything to make the association of both senses to appear strange. As soon however as we hypostatise the external phenomena, looking upon them no longer as representations, but as things existing by themselves and outside us, with the same quality in which they exist inside us, and referring to our own thinking subject their acts which they, as phenomena, show in their mutual relation, the effective causes outside us assume a character which will not harmonise with their effects within us, because that character refers to the external senses only, but the effects to the internal sense, both being entirely unhomogeneous, though united in the same subject. We then have no other external effects but changes of place, and no forces but tendencies, which have for their effects relations in space only. Within us, on the contrary, those effects are mere thoughts, without any relations of space, movement, shape, or local Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [387] determination between them; and we entirely lose the thread of the causes in the effects which ought to show themselves in the internal sense. We ought to consider therefore that bodies are not objects by themselves which are present to us, but a mere appearance of we do not know what unknown object, and that movement likewise is not the effect of that unknown cause, but only the appearance of its influence on our senses. Both are not something outside us, but only representation within us, and consequently it is not the movement of matter which produces representations within us, but that motion itself (and matter also, which makes itself known through it) is representation only. Our whole self-created difficulty turns on this, how and why the representations of our sensibility are so connected with each other that those Edition: current; Page: [314] which we call external intuitions can, according to empirical laws, be represented as objects outside us; a question which is entirely free from the imagined difficulty of explaining the origin of our representations from totally heterogeneous efficient causes, existing outside us, the confusion arising from our mistaking the phenomenal appearance of an unknown cause for the very cause outside us. In judgments in which there is a misapprehension confirmed by long habit, it is impossible to bring its correction at once to that clearness which can be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [388] produced in other cases, where no inevitable illusion confuses our concept. Our attempt therefore at freeing reason from these sophistical theories can hardly claim as yet that perspicuity which would render it perfectly satisfactory. I hope however to arrive at greater lucidity in the following manner.

All objections may be divided into dogmatical, critical, and sceptical. The dogmatical attacks the proposition, the critical the proof of a proposition. The former presupposes an insight into the peculiar nature of the object in order to be able to assert the contrary of what the proposition asserts. It is therefore itself dogmatical, and pretends to know the peculiar nature of the object in question better than the opponent. The critical objection, as it says nothing about the worth or worthlessness of the proposition, and attacks the proof only, need not know the object itself better, or claim a better knowledge of it. All it wants to show is, that a proposition is not well grounded, not that it is false. The sceptical objection, lastly, places assertion and denial side by side, as of equal value, taking one or the other now as dogma, and now as denial; and being thus in appearance dogmatical Edition: current; Page: [315] on both sides, it renders every judgment Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [389] on the object impossible. Both the dogmatical and sceptical objections must pretend to so much knowledge of their object as is necessary in order to assert or deny anything about it. The critical objection, on the contrary, wishes only to show that something purely futile and fanciful has been used in support of a proposition, and thus upsets a theory by depriving it of its pretended foundation, without wishing to establish itself anything else about the nature of the object.

According to the ordinary concepts of our reason with regard to the association between our thinking subject and the things outside us, we are dogmatical, and look upon them as real objects, existing independently of ourselves, in accordance with a certain transcendental dualism which does not reckon external phenomena as representations belonging to the subject, but places them, as they are given us in sensuous intuition, as objects outside us and entirely separated from the thinking subject. This mere assumption is the foundation of all theories on the association between soul and body. It is never asked whether this objective reality of phenomena is absolutely true, but it is taken for granted, and the only question seems to be, how it is to be explained and understood. The three systems which are commonly suggested, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [390] and which in fact are alone possible, are those, 1st, of physical influence, 2nd, of pre-established harmony, and 3rd, of supernatural assistance.

The second and third explanations of the association between soul and matter arise from objections to the first, which is that of the ordinary understanding, the objection being, that what appears as matter cannot by its immediate Edition: current; Page: [316] influence be the cause of representations, these being a totally heterogeneous class of effects. Those who start this objection cannot understand by the objects of the external senses matter, conceived as phenomenon only, and therefore itself a mere representation produced by whatever external objects. For in that case they would really say that the representations of external objects (phenomena) cannot be the external causes of the representations in our mind, which would be a meaningless objection, because nobody would think of taking for an external cause what he knows to be a mere representation. According to our principles the object of their theory can only be, that that which is the true (transcendental) object of our external senses cannot be the cause of those representations (phenomena) which we mean by the name of matter. As no one has any right to say that he Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [391] knows anything of the transcendental cause of the representations of our external senses, their assertion is entirely groundless. And if the pretended reformers of the doctrine of physical influence represent, according to the ordinary views of transcendental dualism, matter, as such, as a thing by itself (not simply as a mere phenomenal appearance of an unknown thing), and then proceed in their objections to show that such an external object, which shows no causality but that of movements, can never be the efficient cause of representations, but that a third being must intervene in order to produce, if not reciprocal action, at least correspondence and harmony between the two, they would really begin their refutation by admitting in their dualism the πρωˆτον ψενˆδος of a physical influence, and thus refute by their objection, not so much the physical influence as their own dualistic Edition: current; Page: [317] premisses. For all the difficulties with regard to a possible connection between a thinking nature and matter arise, without exception, from that too readily admitted dualistic representation, namely, that matter, as such, is not phenomenal, that is, a mere representation of the mind to which an unknown object corresponds, but the object itself, such as it exists outside us, and independent of all sensibility. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [392]

It is impossible, therefore, to start a dogmatical objection against the commonly received theory of a physical influence. For if the opponent were to say that matter and its movements are purely phenomenal and therefore mere representations, the only difficulty remaining to him would be that the unknown object of our senses could not be the cause of our representations, and this he has no right to say, because no one is able to determine what an unknown object may or may not be able to effect; and, according to our former arguments, he must necessarily admit this transcendental idealism, unless he wishes to hypostasise mere representations and place them outside himself as real things.

What is quite possible, however, is to raise a well-founded critical objection to the commonly received opinion of a physical influence. For the pretended association between two kinds of substances, the one thinking, the other extended, rests on a coarse dualism, and changes the latter, though they are nothing but representations of the thinking subject, into things existing by themselves. Thus the misunderstood physical influence may be entirely upset by showing that the proof which was to establish it, was surreptitiously obtained, and therefore, valueless.

The notorious problem, therefore, as to a possible association Edition: current; Page: [318] between the thinking and the extended, would, when all that is purely imaginative is deducted, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [393] come to this, how external intuition, namely, that of space (or what fills space, namely, form and movement), is possible in any thinking subject? To this question, however, no human being can return an answer, and instead of attempting to fill this gap in our knowledge, all we can do is to indicate it by ascribing external phenomena to a transcendental object as the cause of this class of representations, but which we shall never know, nor be able to form any concept of. In all practical questions we treat phenomena as objects by themselves, without troubling ourselves about the first cause of their possibility (as phenomena). But as soon as we go beyond, the concept of a transcendental object becomes inevitable.

The decision of all the discussions on the state of a thinking being, before this association with matter (life) or after the ceasing of such association (death), depends on the remarks which we have just made on the association between the thinking and the extended. The opinion that the thinking subject was able to think before any association with bodies, would assume the following form, that before the beginning of that kind of sensibility Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [394] through which something appears to us in space, the same transcendental objects, which in our present state appear as bodies, could have been seen in a totally different way. The other opinion that, after the cessation of its association with the material world, the soul could continue to think, would be expressed as follows: that, if that kind of sensibility through which transcendental and, for the present, entirely unknown objects appear to us as a material world, should cease, it would not follow that Edition: current; Page: [319] thereby all intuition of them would be removed: it being quite possible that the same unknown objects should continue to be known by the thinking subject, although no longer in the quality of bodies.

Now it is quite true that no one can produce from speculative principles the smallest ground for such an assertion, or do more than presuppose its possibility, but neither can any valid dogmatical objection be raised against it. For whoever would attempt to do so, would know neither more nor less than I myself, or anybody else, about the absolute and internal cause of external and material phenomena. As he cannot pretend to know on what the reality of external phenomena in our present state (in life) really rests, neither can he know that the condition of all external intuition, or the thinking subject itself, will cease after this state (in death). Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [395]

We thus see that all the wrangling about the nature of a thinking being, and its association with the material world, arises simply from our filling the gap, due to our ignorance, with paralogisms of reason, and by changing thoughts into things and hypostasising them. On this an imaginary science is built up, both by those who assert and by those who deny, some pretending to know about objects of which no human being has any conception, while others make their own representations to be objects, all turning round in a constant circle of ambiguities and contradictions. Nothing but a sober, strict, and just criticism can free us of this dogmatical illusion, which, through theories and systems, deceives so many by an imaginary happiness. It alone can limit our speculative pretensions to the sphere of possible experience, and this not by a shallow scoffing at repeated failures or by Edition: current; Page: [320] pious sighs over the limits of our reason, but by a demarcation made according to well-established principles, writing the nihil ulterius with perfect assurance on those Herculean columns which Nature herself has erected, in order that the voyage of our reason should be continued so far only as the continuous shores of experience extend — shores which we can never forsake without Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [396] being driven upon a boundless ocean, which, after deceiving us again and again, makes us in the end cease all our laborious and tedious endeavours as perfectly hopeless.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

We have yet to give a general and clear investigation of the transcendental, and yet natural illusion, produced by the paralogisms of pure reason, and the justification of our systematical arrangement of them, which ran parallel with the table of the categories. We could not have done this at the beginning of this section, without running the risk of becoming obscure, or inconveniently anticipating our arguments. We shall now try to fulfil our duty.

All illusion may be explained as mistaking the subjective condition of thought for the knowledge of the object. In the introduction to the transcendental Dialectic, we showed that pure reason is occupied exclusively with the totality of the synthesis of conditions belonging to anything conditioned. Now as the dialectical illusion of pure reason cannot be an empirical illusion, such as occurs in certain empirical kinds of knowledge, it can refer only to the conditions of thought in general, so that there can Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [397] only be three cases of the dialectical use of pure reason:—

1. The synthesis of the conditions of a thought in general.

2. The synthesis of the conditions of empirical thought.

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3. The synthesis of the conditions of pure thought.

In every one of these three cases pure reason is occupied only with the absolute totality of that synthesis, that is, with that condition, which is itself unconditioned. It is on this division also that the threefold transcendental illusion is founded which leads to three subdivisions of the Dialectic, and to as many pretended sciences flowing from pure reason, namely, transcendental psychology, cosmology, and theology. We are at present concerned with the first only.

As, in thinking in general, we take no account of the relation of our thoughts to any object (whether of the senses or of the pure understanding), what is called (1) the synthesis of the conditions of a thought in general, is not objective at all, but only a synthesis of thought with the subject, which synthesis is wrongly taken for the synthetical representation of an object.

It follows from this that the dialectical conclusion as to the condition of all thought in general, which condition itself is unconditioned, does not involve a fault in its contents (for it ignores all contents or objects), but only a fault in form, and must therefore be called a Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [398] paralogism.

As, moreover, the only condition which accompanies all thought is the I, in the general proposition I think, reason has really to deal with this condition, so far as that condition is itself unconditioned. It is however a formal condition only, namely, the logical unity of every thought, no account being taken of any object; but it is represented nevertheless as an object which I think, namely, as the I itself and its unconditioned unity.

If I were asked what is the nature of a thing which Edition: current; Page: [322] thinks, I could not give any answer a priori, for the answer ought to be synthetical, as an analytical answer might explain perhaps the meaning of the term “thought,” but could never add any real knowledge of that on which the possibility of thought depends. For a synthetical solution, however, we should require intuition, and this has been entirely left out of account in the general form given to our problem. It is equally impossible to answer the general question, what is the nature of a thing which is moveable, because in that case the impermeable extension (matter) is not given. But although I have no answer to return to that question in general, it might seem that I could answer it in a special case, namely, in the proposition which expresses the self-consciousness, I think. For this I is the first subject, i.e. substance, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [399] it is simple, etc. These, however, ought then to be propositions of experience, which nevertheless, without a general rule containing the conditions of the possibility of thought in general and a priori, could not contain such predicates (which are not empirical). This consideration makes our knowledge of the nature of a thinking being derived from pure concepts, which seemed at first so plausible, extremely suspicious, though we have not yet discovered the place where the fault really lies.

A further investigation, however, of the origin of the attributes which I predicate of myself as a thinking being in general, may help us to discover the fault. They are no more than pure categories by which I can never think a definite object, but only the unity of the representations which is requisite in order to determine an object. Without a previous intuition, no category by itself can give me a concept of an object, for by intuition alone the object is Edition: current; Page: [323] given, which afterwards is thought in accordance with a category. In order to declare a thing to be a substance in phenomenal appearance, predicates of its intuition must first be given to me, in which I may distinguish the permanent from the changeable, and the substratum (the thing in itself) from that which is merely inherent Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [400] in it. If I call a thing simple as a phenomenon, what I mean is that its intuition is a part of phenomenal appearance, but cannot itself be divided into parts, etc. But if I know something to be simple by a concept only, and not by phenomenal appearance, I have really no knowledge whatever of the object, but only of my concept which I make to myself of something in general, that is incapable of any real intuition. I only say that I think something as perfectly simple, because I have really nothing to say of it except that it is something.

Now the mere apperception (the I) is substance in concept, simple in concept, etc., and so far all the psychological propositions of which we spoke before are incontestably true. Nevertheless what we really wish to know of the soul, becomes by no means known to us in that way, because all those predicates are with regard to intuition non-valid, entailing no consequences with regard to objects of experience, and therefore entirely empty. For that concept of substance does not teach me that the soul continues by itself, or that it is a part of external intuitions, which itself cannot be resolved into parts, and cannot therefore arise or perish by any changes of nature. These are qualities which would make the soul known to us in its connection with experience, and might give us an insight into its origin and future state. But Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [401] if I say, by means of the category only, that the soul is Edition: current; Page: [324] a simple substance, it is clear that the bare rational concept of substance contains nothing beyond the thought that a thing should be represented as a subject in itself, without becoming in turn a predicate of anything else. Nothing can be deduced from this, with regard to the permanence (of the I), nor can the attribute of simplicity add that of permanence, nor can we thus learn anything whatsoever as to the fate of the soul in the revolutions of the world. If anybody could tell us that the soul is a simple part of matter, we might, with the help of experience, deduce from this the permanence and, on account of its simple nature, the indestructibility of the soul. But of all this, the concept of the I, in the psychological proposition of I think, tells us nothing.

The reason why that being which thinks within us imagines that it knows itself by means of pure categories, and especially by that which expresses absolute unity under each head, is this. The apperception itself is the ground of the possibility of the categories, and these represent nothing but the synthesis of the manifold in intuition, so far as it has unity in apperception. Self-consciousness therefore is the representation of that which forms the condition of all unity, and is itself unconditioned. One may therefore say of the thinking Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [402] I (the soul), which represents itself as substance, simple, numerically identical in all time, and as the correlative of all existence, from which in fact all other existence must be concluded, that it does not know itself through the categories, but knows the categories only, and through them all objects, in the absolute unity of apperception, that is, through itself. It may seem no doubt self-evident that I cannot know as an object that which is presupposed in Edition: current; Page: [325] order to enable me to know an object, and that the determining self (thought) differs from the self that is to be determined (the thinking subject), like knowledge from its object. Nevertheless nothing is more natural or at least more tempting than the illusion which makes us look upon the unity in the synthesis of thoughts as a perceived unity in the subject of thoughts. One might call it the surreptitious admission of an hypostasised consciousness (apperceptionis substantiatae).

If we want to have a logical term for the paralogism in the dialectical syllogisms of rational psychology, based on perfectly correct premisses, it might be called a sophisma figurae dictionis. In the major we use the category, with reference to its condition, transcendentally only; in the minor and in the conclusion, we use the same category, with reference to the soul which is to be comprehended Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [403] under that condition, empirically. Thus, in the paralogism of substantiality,1 the concept of substance is a purely intellectual concept which, without the conditions of sensuous intuition, admits of a transcendental use only, that is, of no use at all. In the minor, however, we refer the same concept to the object of all internal experience, though without having previously established the condition of its application in concreto, namely, its permanence. We thus are making an empirical, and therefore entirely inadmissible use of it.

Lastly, in order to show the systematical connection of all these dialectical propositions of a rationalising psychology, according to their connection in pure reason, and thus to establish their completeness, it should be Edition: current; Page: [326] remarked that the apperception is carried through all the classes of the categories, but only with reference to those concepts of the understanding, which in each of them formed a foundation of unity for the others in a possible perception, namely subsistence, reality, unity (not plurality), and existence, all of which are here represented by reason, as conditions (themselves unconditioned) of the possibility of a thinking being. Thus the soul knows in itself: —

1How the simple can again correspond to the category of reality cannot yet be explained here; but will be shown in the following chapter, when another use has to be discussed which reason makes of the same concept.
I[p. 404]
The unconditioned unity of the relation, that is, itself, not as inherent, but as subsisting.
The unconditioned unity of quality, that is, not as a real whole, but as simple.1The unconditioned unity in the manifoldness of time, that is, not as at different times numerically different, but as one and the same subject.
The unconditioned unity of existence in space, that is, not as the consciousness of many things outside it, but as the consciousness of the existence of itself only, and of other things, merely as its representations.
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Reason is the faculty of principles. The statements Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [405] of pure psychology do not contain empirical predicates of the soul, but such as, if they exist, are meant to determine the object by itself, independent of all experience, and therefore by a pure reason only. They ought therefore to rest on principles and on general concepts of thinking beings. Instead of this we find that a single representation, I think,1 governs them all, a representation which, for the very reason that it expresses the pure formula of all my experience (indefinitely), claims to be a general proposition, applicable to all thinking beings, and, though single in all respects, has the appearance of an absolute unity of the conditions of thought in general, thus stretching far beyond the limits of possible experience.]

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In the Introduction to this part of our work we showed that all the transcendental illusion of pure reason depended on three dialectical syllogisms, the outline of which is supplied to us by logic in the three formal kinds of the ordinary syllogism, in about the same way in which the logical outline of the categories was derived from the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [406] four functions of all judgments. The first class of these rationalising syllogisms aimed at the unconditioned unity of the subjective conditions of all representations (of the subject or the soul) as corresponding to the categorical syllogisms of reason, the major of which, as the principle, asserts the relation of a predicate to a subject. The second class of the dialectical arguments will, therefore, in analogy with the hypothetical syllogisms, take for its object the unconditioned unity of the objective conditions in phenomenal appearance, while the third class, which has to be treated in the following chapter, will be concerned with the unconditioned unity of the objective conditions of the possibility of objects in general.

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It is strange, however, that a transcendental paralogism caused a one-sided illusion only, with regard to our idea of the subject of our thought; and that it is impossible to find in mere concepts of reason the slightest excuse for maintaining the contrary. All the advantage is on the side of pneumatism, although it cannot hide the hereditary taint by which it evaporates into nought, when subjected to the ordeal of our critique.

The case is totally different when we apply reason to the objective synthesis of phenomena; here reason tries at first, with great plausibility, to establish its principle Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [407] of unconditioned unity, but becomes soon entangled in so many contradictions, that it must give up its pretensions with regard to cosmology also.

For here we are met by a new phenomenon in human reason, namely, a perfectly natural Antithetic, which is not produced by any artificial efforts, but into which reason falls by itself, and inevitably. Reason is no doubt preserved thereby from the slumber of an imaginary conviction, which is often produced by a purely one-sided illusion; but it is tempted at the same time, either to abandon itself to sceptical despair, or to assume a dogmatical obstinacy, taking its stand on certain assertions, without granting a hearing and doing justice to the arguments of the opponent. In both cases, a death-blow is dealt to sound philosophy, although in the former we might speak of the Euthanasia of pure reason.

Before showing the scenes of discord and confusion produced by the conflict of the laws (antinomy) of pure reason, we shall have to make a few remarks in order to explain and justify the method which we mean to follow in the treatment of this subject. I shall call all transcendental Edition: current; Page: [330] ideas, so far as they relate to the absolute totality in the synthesis of phenomena, cosmical concepts, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [408] partly, because of even this unconditioned totality on which the concept of the cosmical universe also rests (which is itself an idea only), partly, because they refer to the synthesis of phenomena only, which is empirical, while the absolute totality in the synthesis of the conditions of all possible things must produce an ideal of pure reason, totally different from the cosmical concept, although in a certain sense related to it. As therefore the paralogisms of pure reason formed the foundation for a dialectical psychology, the antinomy of pure reason will place before our eyes the transcendental principles of a pretended pure (rational) cosmology, not in order to show that it is valid and can be accepted, but, as may be guessed from the very name of the antinomy of reason, in order to expose it as an idea surrounded by deceptive and false appearances, and utterly irreconcileable with phenomena.

Section I: System of Cosmological Ideas

Before we are able to enumerate these ideas according to a principle and with systematic precision, we must bear in mind,

1st, That pure and transcendental concepts arise from the understanding only, and that reason does not Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [409] in reality produce any concept, but only frees, it may be, the concept of the understanding of the inevitable limitation Edition: current; Page: [331] of a possible experience, and thus tries to enlarge it, beyond the limits of experience, yet in connection with it. Reason does this by demanding for something that is given as conditioned, absolute totality on the side of the conditions (under which the understanding subjects all phenomena to the synthetical unity). It thus changes the category into a transcendental idea, in order to give absolute completeness to the empirical synthesis, by continuing it up to the unconditioned (which can never be met with in experience, but in the idea only). In doing this, reason follows the principle that, if the conditioned is given, the whole sum of conditions, and therefore the absolutely unconditioned must be given likewise, the former being impossible without the latter. Hence the transcendental ideas are in reality nothing but categories, enlarged till they reach the unconditioned, and those ideas must admit of being arranged in a table, according to the titles of the categories.

2ndly, Not all categories will lend themselves to this, but those only in which the synthesis constitutes a series, and a series of subordinated (not of co-ordinated) conditions. Absolute totality is demanded by reason, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [410] with regard to an ascending series of conditions only, not therefore when we have to deal with a descending line of consequences, or with an aggregate of co-ordinated conditions. For, with reference to something given as conditioned, conditions are presupposed and considered as given with it, while, on the other hand, as consequences do not render their conditions possible, but rather presuppose them, we need not, in proceeding to the consequences (or in descending from any given condition to the conditioned), trouble ourselves whether the series comes to an Edition: current; Page: [332] end or not, the question as to their totality being in fact no presupposition of reason whatever.

Thus we necessarily conceive time past up to a given moment, as given, even if not determinable by us. But with regard to time future, which is not a condition of arriving at time present, it is entirely indifferent, if we want to conceive the latter, what we may think about the former, whether we take it, as coming to an end somewhere, or as going on to infinity. Let us take the series, m, n, o, where n is given as conditioned by m, and at the same time as a condition of o. Let that series ascend from the conditioned n to its condition m (l, k, i, etc.), and descend from the condition n to the conditioned o (p, q, r, etc.). I must then presuppose the former series, in order to take n as given, and according to reason (the totality of conditions) n is possible only by means of that series, while its possibility depends in no way on the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [411] subsequent series, o, p, q, r, which therefore cannot be considered as given, but only as dabilis, capable of being given.

I shall call the synthesis of a series on the side of the conditions, beginning with the one nearest to a given phenomenon, and advancing to the more remote conditions, regressive; the other, which on the side of the conditioned advances from the nearest effect to the more remote ones, progressive. The former proceeds in antecedentia, the second in consequentia. Cosmological ideas therefore, being occupied with the totality of regressive synthesis, proceed in antecedentia, not in consequentia. If the latter should take place, it would be a gratuitous, not a necessary problem of pure reason, because for a complete comprehension of what is given us in experience we want to know the causes, but not the effects.

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In order to arrange a table of ideas in accordance with the table of the categories, we must take, first, the two original quanta of all our intuition, time and space. Time is in itself a series (and the formal condition of all series), and in it, therefore, with reference to any given present, we have to distinguish a priori the antecedentia as conditions (the past) from the consequentia (the future). Hence the transcendental idea of the absolute totality of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [412] the series of conditions of anything conditioned refers to time past only. The whole of time past is looked upon, according to the idea of reason, as a necessary condition of the given moment. With regard to space there is in it no difference between progressus and regressus, because all its parts exist together and form an aggregate, but no series. We can look upon the present moment, with reference to time past, as conditioned only, but never as condition, because this moment arises only through time past (or rather through the passing of antecedent time). But as the parts of space are not subordinate to one another, but co-ordinate, no part of it is in the condition of the possibility of another, nor does it, like time, constitute a series in itself. Nevertheless the synthesis by which we apprehend the many parts of space is successive, takes place in time, and contains a series. And as in that series of aggregated spaces (as, for instance, of feet in a rood) the spaces added to a given space are always the condition of the limit of the preceding spaces, we ought to consider the measuring of a space also as a synthesis of a series of conditions of something given as conditioned, with this difference only, that the side of the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [413] conditions is by itself not different from the other side which comprehends the conditioned, so that regressus and Edition: current; Page: [334] progressus seem to be the same in space. As however every part of space is limited only, and not given by another, we must look upon every limited space as conditioned also, so far as it presupposes another space as the condition of its limit, and so on. With reference to limitation therefore progressus in space is also regressus, and the transcendental idea of the absolute totality of the synthesis in the series of conditions applies to space also. I may ask then for the absolute totality of phenomena in space, quite as well as in time past, though we must wait to see whether an answer is ever possible.

Secondly, reality in space, that is, matter, is something conditioned, the parts of which are its internal conditions, and the parts of its parts, its remoter conditions. We have therefore here a regressive synthesis the absolute totality of which is demanded by reason, but which cannot take place except by a complete division, whereby the reality of matter dwindles away into nothing, or into that at least which is no longer matter, namely, the simple; consequently we have here also a series of conditions, and a progress to the unconditioned.

Thirdly, when we come to the categories of the real relation between phenomena, we find that the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [414] category of substance with its accidents does not lend itself to a transcendental idea; that is, reason has here no inducement to proceed regressively to conditions. We know that accidents, so far as they inhere in one and the same substance, are co-ordinated with each other, and do not constitute a series; and with reference to the substance, they are not properly subordinate to it, but are the mode of existence of the substance itself. The concept of the substantial might seem to be here an idea of trancendental Edition: current; Page: [335] reason. This, however, signifies nothing but the concept of the object in general, which subsists, so far as we think in it the transcendental subject only, without any predicates; and, as we are here speaking only of the unconditioned in the series of phenomena, it is clear that the substantial cannot be a part of it. The same applies to substances in community, which are aggregates only, without having an exponent of a series, since they are not subordinate to each other, as conditions of their possibility, in the same way as spaces were, the limits of which can never be determined by itself, but always through another space. There remains therefore only the category of causality, which offers a series of causes to a given effect, enabling us to ascend from the latter, as the conditioned, to the former as the conditions, and thus to answer the question of reason. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [415]

Fourthly, the concepts of the possible, the real, and the necessary do not lead to any series, except so far as the accidental in existence must always be considered as conditioned, and point, according to a rule of the understanding, to a condition which makes it necessary to ascend to a higher condition, till reason finds at last, only, in the totality of that series, the unconditioned necessity which it requires.

If therefore we select those categories which necessarily imply a series in the synthesis of the manifold, we shall have no more than four cosmological ideas, accord-to the four titles of the categories.

Absolute completeness of the composition of the given whole of all phenomena.
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Absolute completeness of the division of a given whole in phenomenal appearance.Absolute completeness of the origination of a phenomenon in general.
Absolute completeness of the dependence of the existence of the changeable in phenomenal appearance.[p. 416]

It should be remarked, first, that the idea of absolute totality refers to nothing else but the exhibition of phenomena, and not therefore to the pure concept, formed by the understanding, of a totality of things in general. Phenomena, therefore, are considered here as given, and reason postulates the absolute completeness of the conditions of their possibility, so far as these conditions constitute a series, that is, an absolutely (in every respect) complete synthesis, whereby phenomena could be exhibited according to the laws of the understanding.

Secondly, it is in reality the unconditioned alone which reason is looking for in the synthesis of conditions, continued regressively and serially, as it were a completeness in the series of premisses, which taken together require no further premisses. This unconditioned is always contained in the absolute totality of a series, as represented in imagination. But this absolutely complete synthesis is again an idea only, for it is impossible to know beforehand, whether such a synthesis be possible in phenomena. If we represent everything by means of pure concepts of the understanding only, and without the conditions of sensuous intuition, we might really say that of everything given as conditioned the whole series also of conditions, subordinated Edition: current; Page: [337] to each other, is given, for the conditioned is given through the conditions only. When we come to phenomena, however, we find a particular limitation of the mode in which conditions are given, namely, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [417] through the successive synthesis of the manifold of intuition which should become complete by the regressus. Whether this completeness, however, is possible, with regard to sensuous phenomena, is still a question. But the idea of that completeness is no doubt contained in reason, without reference to the possibility or impossibility of connecting with it adequate empirical concepts. As therefore in the absolute totality of the regressive synthesis of the manifold in intuition (according to the categories which represent that totality as a series of conditions of something given as conditioned) the unconditioned is necessarily contained without attempting to determine whether and how such a totality be possible, reason here takes the road to start from the idea of totality, though her final aim is the unconditioned, whether of the whole series or of a part thereof.

This unconditioned may be either conceived as existing in the whole series only, in which all members without exception are conditioned and the whole of them only absolutely unconditioned — and in this case the regressus is called infinite — or the absolutely unconditioned is only a part of the series, the other members being subordinate to it, while it is itself conditioned by nothing else.1 In the Edition: current; Page: [338] former case the series is without limits a parte Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [418] priori (without a beginning), that is infinite; given however as a whole in which the regressus is never complete, and can therefore be called infinite potentially only. In the latter case there is something that stands first in the series, which, with reference to time past, is called the beginning of the world; with reference to space, the limit of the world; with reference to the parts of a limited given whole, the simple; with reference to causes, absolute spontaneity (liberty); with reference to the existence of changeable things, the absolute necessity of nature.

We have two expressions, world and nature, which frequently run into each other. The first denotes the mathematical total of all phenomena and the totality of their synthesis of large and small in its progress whether by composition or division. That world, however, is called nature1 if we look upon it as a dynamical Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [419] whole, and consider not the aggregation in space and time, in order to produce a quantity, but the unity in the existence of phenomena. In this case the condition of that which happens is called cause, the unconditioned causality of the cause as phenomenal, liberty, while the conditioned causality, in its narrower meaning, is called natural cause. That of which the existence is conditioned Edition: current; Page: [339] is called contingent, that of which it is unconditioned, necessary. The unconditioned necessity of phenomena may be called natural necessity.

I have called the ideas, which we are at present discussing, cosmological, partly because we understand by world the totality of all phenomena, our ideas being directed to that only which is unconditioned among the phenomena; partly, because world, in its transcendental meaning, denotes the totality of all existing things, and we are concerned only with the completeness of the synthesis (although properly only in the regressus to the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [420] conditions). Considering, therefore, that all these ideas are transcendent because, though not transcending in kind their object, namely, phenomena, but restricted to the world of sense (and excluded from all noumena) they nevertheless carry synthesis to a degree which transcends all possible experience, they may, according to my opinion, very properly be called cosmical concepts. With reference to the distinction, however, between the mathematically or the dynamically unconditioned at which the regressus aims, I might call the two former, in a narrower sense, cosmical concepts (macrocosmically or microcosmically) and the remaining two transcendent concepts of nature. This distinction, though for the present of no great consequence, may become important hereafter.

Section II: Antithetic of Pure Reason

If every collection of dogmatical doctrines is called Thetic, I may denote by Antithetic, not indeed dogmatical Edition: current; Page: [340] assertions of the opposite, but the conflict between different kinds of apparently dogmatical knowledge (thesis cum antithesi), to none of which we can ascribe Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [421] a superior claim to our assent. This antithetic, therefore, has nothing to do with one-sided assertions, but considers general knowledge of reason with reference to the conflict only that goes on in it, and its causes. The transcendental antithetic is in fact an investigation of the antinomy of pure reason, its causes and its results. If we apply our reason, not only to objects of experience, in order to make use of the principles of the understanding, but venture to extend it beyond the limit of experience, there arise rationalising or sophistical propositions, which can neither hope for confirmation nor need fear refutation from experience. Every one of them is not only in itself free from contradiction, but can point to conditions of its necessity in the nature of reason itself, only that, unfortunately, its opposite can produce equally valid and necessary grounds for its support.

The questions which naturally arise in such a Dialectic of pure reason are the following. 1. In what propositions is pure reason inevitably subject to an antinomy? 2. On what causes does this antinomy depend? 3. Whether, and in what way, reason may, in spite of this contradiction, find a way to certainty?

A dialectical proposition of pure reason must have this characteristic to distinguish it from all purely sophistical propositions, first, that it does not refer to a Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [422] gratuitous question, but to one which human reason in its natural progress must necessarily encounter, and, secondly, that it, as well as its opposite, carries with itself not a merely artificial illusion, which when once seen through Edition: current; Page: [341] disappears, but a natural and inevitable illusion, which, even when it deceives us no longer, always remains, and though rendered harmless, cannot be annihilated.

This dialectical doctrine will not refer to the unity of the understanding in concepts of experience, but to the unity of reason in mere ideas, the condition of which, as it is meant to agree, as a synthesis according to rules, with the understanding, and yet at the same time, as the absolute unity of that synthesis, with reason, must either, if it is adequate to the unity of reason, be too great for the understanding, or, if adequate to the understanding, too small for reason. Hence a conflict must arise, which cannot be avoided, do what we will.

These apparently rational, but really sophistical assertions open a dialectical battle-field, where that side always obtains the victory which is allowed to make the attack, and where those must certainly succumb who Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [423] are obliged to keep on the defensive. Hence doughty knights, whether fighting for the good or the bad cause, are sure to win their laurels, if only they take care that they have the right to make the last attack, and are not obliged to stand a new onslaught of the enemy. We can easily imagine that this arena has often been entered, and many victories have been won on both sides, the last decisive victory being always guarded by the defender of the good cause maintaining his place, his opponent being forbidden ever to carry arms again. As impartial judges we must take no account of whether it be the good or the bad cause which the two champions defend. It is best to let them fight it out between themselves in the hope that, after they have rather tired out than injured each Edition: current; Page: [342] other, they may themselves perceive the uselessness of their quarrel, and part as good friends.

This method of watching or even provoking such a conflict of assertions, not in order to decide in favour of one or the other side, but in order to find out whether the object of the struggle be not a mere illusion, which everybody tries to grasp in vain, and which never can be of any use to any one, even if no resistance were Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [424] made to him, this method, I say, may be called the sceptical method. It is totally different from scepticism, or that artificial and scientific agnosticism which undermines the foundations of all knowledge, in order if possible to leave nothing trustworthy and certain anywhere. The sceptical method, on the contrary, aims at certainty, because, while watching a contest which on both sides is carried on honestly and intelligently, it tries to discover the point where the misunderstanding arises, in order to do what is done by wise legislators, namely, to derive from the embarrassments of judges in law-suits information as to what is imperfectly, or not quite accurately, determined in their laws. The antinomy which shows itself in the application of laws, is, considering our limited wisdom, the best criterion of the original legislation (nomothetic), and helps to attract the attention of reason, which in abstract speculations does not easily become aware of its errors, to the important points in the determination of its principles.

This sceptical method is essential in transcendental philosophy only, while it may be dispensed with in other fields of investigation. It would be absurd in mathematics, for no false assertions can there be hidden or rendered invisible, because the demonstrations Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [425] Edition: current; Page: [343] must always be guided by pure intuition, and proceed by evident synthesis. In experimental philosophy a doubt, which causes delay, may be useful, but at least no misunderstanding is possible that could not be easily removed, and the final means for deciding a question, whether found sooner or later, must always be supplied by experience. Moral philosophy too can always produce its principles and their practical consequences in the concrete also, or at least in possible experience, and thus avoid the misunderstandings inherent in abstraction. Transcendental assertions, on the contrary, pretending to knowledge far beyond the field of possible experience, can never produce their abstract synthesis in any intuition a priori, nor can their flaws be discovered by means of any experience. Transcendental reason, therefore, admits of no other criterion but an attempt to combine its conflicting assertions, and therefore, previous to this, unrestrained conflict between them. This is what we shall now attempt to do.1

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The world has a beginning in time, and is limited also with regard to space.


For if we assumed that the world had no beginning in time, then an eternity must have elapsed up to every given point of time, and therefore an infinite series of successive states of things must have passed in the world. The infinity of a series, however, consists in this, that it never can be completed by means of a successive synthesis. Hence an infinite past series of worlds is impossible, and the beginning of the world a necessary condition of its existence. This was what had to be proved first.

With regard to the second, let us assume again the opposite. In that case the world would be given as an infinite whole of co-existing things. Now we cannot conceive in any way the extension of a quantum, which is not given within certain limits to every intuition,1 except through the synthesis of its parts, nor Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [428] the totality of such a quantum in any way, except through a completed synthesis, or by the repeated addition of unity to itself.1 In order therefore to conceive the world, which fills all space, as a whole, the successive synthesis of the parts of an infinite world would have to be looked upon as completed; that is, an infinite time would have to be looked upon as elapsed, during the enumeration of all co-existing things. This is impossible. Hence an infinite aggregate of real things cannot be regarded as a given whole, nor, therefore, as given at the same time. Hence it follows that the world is not infinite, as regards extension in space, but enclosed in limits. This was the second that had to be proved.

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Antithesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [427]

The world has no beginning and no limits in space, but is infinite, in respect both to time and space.


For let us assume that it has a beginning. Then, as beginning is an existence which is preceded by a time in which the thing is not, it would follow that antecedently there was a time in which the world was not, that is, an empty time. In an empty time, however, it is impossible that anything should take its beginning, because of such a time no part possesses any condition as to existence rather than non-existence, which condition could distinguish that part from any other (whether produced by itself or through another cause). Hence, though many a series of things may take its beginning in the world, the world itself can have no beginning, and in reference to time past is infinite.

With regard to the second, let us assume again the opposite, namely, that the world is finite and limited in space. In that case the world would exist in an empty space without limits. We should therefore have not only a relation of things in space, but also of things to space. As however the world is an absolute whole, outside of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [429] which no object of intuition, and therefore no correlate of the world can be found, the relation of the world to empty space would be a relation to no object. Such a relation, and with it the limitation of the world by empty space, is nothing, and therefore the world is not limited with regard to space, that is, it is infinite in extension.1

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OBSERVATIONS ON THE FIRST ANTINOMY Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [430]

I: On the Thesis

In exhibiting these conflicting arguments I have not tried to avail myself of mere sophisms for the sake of what is called special pleading, which takes advantage of the want of caution of the opponent, and gladly allows his appeal to a misunderstood law, in order to establish his own illegitimate claims on its refutation. Every one of our proofs has been deduced from the nature of the case, and no advantage has been taken of the wrong conclusions of dogmatists on either side.

I might have apparently proved my thesis too by putting forward, as is the habit of dogmatists, a wrong definition of the infinity of a given quantity. I might have said that the quantity is infinite, if no greater quantity (that is, greater than the number of given units contained in it) is possible. As no number is the greatest, because one or more units can always be added to it, I might have argued that an infinite given quantity, and therefore also an infinite world (infinite as regards both the past series of time and extension in space) is impossible, and therefore the world limited in space and time. I might have done this, but, in that case, my definition would not have agreed with the true concept of an infinite whole. We do not represent by it how large it is, and the concept of it is not therefore the concept of a maximum, but we conceive by it its relation only Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [432] to any possible unit, in regard to which it is greater than any number. According as this unit is either greater or smaller, the infinite would be greater or smaller, while infinity, consisting in the relation only to this given unit, would always remain the same, although the absolute quantity of the whole would not be known by it. This, however, does not concern us at present.

The true transcendental concept of infinity is, that the successive synthesis of units in measuring a quantum, can never be completed.1 Hence it follows with perfect certainty, that an eternity of real and successive states cannot have elapsed up to any given (the present) moment, and that the world therefore must have a beginning.

With regard to the second part of the thesis, the difficulty of an endless and yet past series does not exist; for the manifold of a world, infinite in extension, is given at one and the same time. But, in order to conceive the totality of such a multitude of things, as we cannot appeal to those limits which in intuition produce that totality by themselves, we must render an account of our concept, which in our case cannot proceed from the whole to the determined multitude of the parts, but has to demonstrate the possibility of a whole by the successive synthesis of the parts. As such a synthesis would constitute a series that would never be completed, it is impossible to conceive a totality either before it, or through it. For the concept of totality itself is in this case the representation of a completed synthesis of parts, and such a completion, and therefore its concept also, is impossible.

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II: On the Antithesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [431]

The proof of the infinity of the given series of world, and of the totality of the world, rests on this, that in the opposite case an empty time, and likewise an empty space, would form the limits of the world. Now I am quite aware that people have tried to escape from this conclusion by saying that a limit of the world, both in time and space, is quite possible, without our having to admit an absolute time before the beginning of the world or an absolute space outside the real world, which is impossible. I have nothing to say against the latter part of this opinion, held by the philosophers of the school of Leibniz. Space is only the form of external intuition, and not a real object that could be perceived externally, nor is it a correlate of phenomena, but the form of phenomena themselves. Space, therefore, cannot exist absolutely (by itself) as something determining the existence of things, because it is no object, but only the form of possible objects. Things, therefore, as phenomenal, may indeed determine space, that is, impart reality to one or other of its predicates (quantity and relation); but space, on the other side, as something existing by itself, cannot determine the reality of things in regard to quantity or form, because it is nothing real in itself. Space therefore (whether full or empty1) may be limited by phenomena, but phenomena cannot be limited by empty space outside them. The same Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [433] applies to time. But, granting all this, it cannot be denied that we should be driven to admit these two monsters, empty space outside, and empty time before the world, if we assumed the limit of the world, whether in space or time.

For as to the plea by which people try to escape from the conclusion, that if the world has limits in time or space, the infinite void would determine the existence of real things, so far as their dimensions are concerned, it is really no more than a covered attempt at putting some unknown intelligible world in the place of our sensuous world, and an existence in general, which presupposes no other condition in the world, in the place of a first beginning (an existence preceded by a time of non-existence), and boundaries of the universe in place of the limits of extension, — thus getting rid of time and space. But we have to deal here with the mundus phaenomenon and its quantity, and we could not ignore the conditions of sensibility, without destroying its very essence. The world of sense, if it is limited, lies necessarily within the infinite void. If we ignore this, and with it, space in general, as an a priori condition of the possibility of phenomena, the whole world of sense vanishes, which alone forms the object of our enquiry. The mundus intelligibilis is nothing but the general concept of any world, which takes no account of any of the conditions of intuition, and which therefore admits of no synthetical proposition, whether affirmative or negative.

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Every compound substance in the world consists of simple parts, and nothing exists anywhere but the simple, or what is composed of it.


For let us assume that compound substances did not consist of simple parts, then, if all composition is removed in thought, there would be no compound part, and (as no simple parts are admitted) no simple part either, that is, there would remain nothing, and there would therefore be no substance at all. Either, therefore, it is impossible to remove all composition in thought, or, after its removal, there must remain something that exists without composition, that is the simple. In the former case the compound could not itself consist of substances (because with them composition is only an accidental relation of substances, which substances, as permanent beings, must subsist without it). As this contradicts the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [436] supposition, there remains only the second view, namely, that the substantial compounds in the world consist of simple parts.

It follows as an immediate consequence that all the things in the world are simple beings, that their composition is only an external condition, and that, though we are unable to remove these elementary substances from their state of composition and isolate them, reason must conceive them as the first subjects of all composition, and therefore, antecedently to it, as simple beings.

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Antithesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [435]

No compound thing in the world consists of simple parts, and there exists nowhere in the world anything simple.


Assume that a compound thing, a substance, consists of simple parts. Then as all external relation, and therefore all composition of substances also, is possible in space only, it follows that space must consist of as many parts as the parts of the compound that occupies the space. Space, however, does not consist of simple parts, but of spaces. Every part of a compound, therefore, must occupy a space. Now the absolutely primary parts of every compound are simple. It follows therefore that the simple occupies a space. But as everything real, which occupies a space, contains a manifold, the parts of which are by the side of each other, and which therefore is compounded, and, as a real compound, compounded not of accidents (for these could not exist by the side of each other, without a substance), but of substances, it would follow that the simple is a substantial compound, which is self-contradictory.

The second proposition of the antithesis, that there exists nowhere in the world anything simple, is not intended to mean more than that the existence Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [437] of the absolutely simple cannot be proved from any experience or perception, whether external or internal, and that the absolutely simple is a mere idea, the objective reality of which can never be shown in any possible experience, so that in the explanation of phenomena it is without any application or object. For, if we assumed that an object of this transcendental idea might be found in experience, the empirical intuition of some one object would have to be such as to contain absolutely nothing manifold by the side of each other, and combined to a unity. But as, from our not being conscious of such a manifold, we cannot form any valid conclusion as to the entire impossibility of it in any objective intuition, and as without this no absolute simplicity can be established, it follows that such simplicity cannot be inferred from any perception whatsoever. As, therefore, an absolutely simple object can never be given in any possible experience, while the world of sense must be looked upon as the sum total of all possible experience, it follows that nothing simple exists in it.

This second part of the antithesis goes far beyond the first, which only banished the simple from the intuition of the composite, while the second drives it out of the whole of nature. Hence we could not attempt to prove it out of the concept of any given object of external intuition (of the compound), but from its relation to a possible experience in general.

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OBSERVATIONS ON THE SECOND ANTINOMY Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [438]

I: On the Thesis

If I speak of a whole as necessarily consisting of separate parts, I understand by it a substantial whole only, as a real compound, that is, that contingent unity of the manifold, which, given as separate (at least in thought), is brought into a mutual connection, and thus constitutes one whole. We ought not to call space a compositum, but a totum, because in it its parts are possible only in the whole, and not the whole by its parts. It might therefore be called a compositum ideale, but not reale. But this is an unnecessary distinction. As space is no compound of substances, not even of real accidents, nothing remains of it, if I remove all composition in it, not even the point, for a point is possible only as the limit of a space, and therefore of a compound. Space and time do not Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [440] therefore consist of simple parts. What belongs only to the condition of a substance, even though it possesses quantity (as, for instance, change), does not consist of the simple; that is to say, a certain degree of change does not arise through the accumulation of many simple changes. We can infer the simple from the compound in self-subsisting objects only. Accidents of a state, however, are not self-subsisting. The proof of the necessity of the simple, as the component parts of all that is substantially composite, can therefore easily be injured, if it is extended too far, and applied to all compounds without distinction, as has often been the case.

I am, however, speaking here of the simple only so far as it is necessarily given in the composite, which can be dissolved into the former, as its component parts. The true meaning of the word Monas (as used by Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [442] Leibniz) should refer to that simple only, which is given immediately as simple substance (for example in self-consciousness), and not as an element of the composite, in which case it is better called an Atomus.1 As I wish to prove the existence of simple substances, as the elements of the composite only, I might call the thesis2 of the second antinomy transcendental Atomistic. But as this word has long been used as the name of a particular explanation of material phenomena (moleculae) and presupposes, therefore, empirical concepts, it will be better to call it the dialectic principle of monadology.

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II: On the Antithesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [439]

Against the theory of the infinite divisibility of matter, the proof of which is mathematical only, objections have been raised by the Monadists, which become suspicious by their declining to admit the clearest mathematical proofs as founded on a true insight into the quality of space, so far as space is indeed the formal condition of the possibility of all matter, but treating them only as conclusions derived from abstract but arbitrary concepts, which ought not to be applied to real things. But how is it possible to conceive a different kind of intuition from that given in the original intuition of space, and how can its determinations a priori not apply to everything, since it becomes possible only by its filling that space? If we were to listen to them, we should have to admit, beside the mathematical point, which is simple, but no part, but only the limit of a space, other physical points, simple likewise, but possessing this privilege that, as parts of space, they are able, by mere aggregation, to fill space. Without repeating here the many clear refutations of this absurdity, it being quite futile to attempt to reason away by purely discursive concepts the evidence of mathematics, I only remark, that if philosophy in this case seems to play tricks with mathematics, it does so because it Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [441] forgets that in this discussion we are concerned with phenomena only, and their conditions. Here, however, it is not enough to find for the pure concept, produced by the understanding, of the composite the concept of the simple, but we must find for the intuition of the composite (matter) the intuition of the simple; and this, according to the laws of sensibility, and therefore with reference to the objects of the senses, is totally impossible. Though it may be true, therefore, with regard to a whole, consisting of substances, which is conceived by the pure understanding only, that before its composition there must be the simple, this does not apply to the totum substantiale phaenomenon which, as an empirical intuition in space, carries with it the necessary condition that no part of it is simple, because no part of space is simple. The monadists, however, have been clever enough to try to escape from this difficulty, by not admitting space as a condition of the possibility of the objects of external intuition (bodies), but by presupposing these and the dynamical relation of substances in general as the condition of the possibility of space. But we have no concept of bodies, except as phenomena, and, as such, they presuppose space as the necessary condition of the possibility of all external phenomena. The argument of the monadists, therefore, is futile, and has been sufficiently answered in the transcendental Æsthetic. If the bodies were things by themselves, then, and then only, the argument of the monadists would be valid.

The second dialectical assertion possesses this Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [443] peculiarity, that it is opposed by dogmatical assertion which, among all sophistical assertions, is the only one which undertakes to prove palpably in an object of experience the reality of that which we counted before as belonging only to transcendental ideas, namely, the absolute simplicity of a substance, — I mean the assertion that the object of the internal sense, or the thinking I, is an absolutely simple substance. Without entering upon this question (as it has been fully discussed before), I only remark, that if something is conceived as an object only, without adding any synthetical determination of its intuition (and this is the case in the bare representation of the I), it would no doubt be impossible that anything manifold or composite could be perceived in such a representation. Besides, as the predicates through which I conceive this object are only intuitions of the internal sense, nothing can occur in them to prove a manifold (one by the side of another), and therefore a real composition. It follows, therefore, from the nature of self-consciousness that, as the thinking subject is at the same time its own object, it cannot divide itself (though it might divide its inherent determinations); for in regard to itself every object is absolute unity. Nevertheless, when this subject is looked upon externally, as an object of intuition, it would most likely exhibit some kind of composition as a phenomenon, and it must always be looked upon in this light, if we wish to know whether its manifold constituent elements are by the side of each other or not.

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Causality, according to the laws of nature, is not the only causality from which all the phenomena of the world can be deduced. In order to account for these phenomena it is necessary also to admit another causality, that of freedom.


Let us assume that there is no other causality but that according to the laws of nature. In that case everything that takes place, presupposes an anterior state, on which it follows inevitably according to a rule. But that anterior state must itself be something which has taken place (which has come to be in time, and did not exist before), because, if it had always existed, its effect too would not have only just arisen, but have existed always. The causality, therefore, of a cause, through which something takes place, is itself an event, which again, according to the law of nature, presupposes an anterior state and its causality, and this again an anterior state, and so on. If, therefore, everything takes place according to mere laws of nature, there will always be a secondary Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [446] only, but never a primary beginning, and therefore no completeness of the series, on the side of successive causes. But the law of nature consists in this, that nothing takes place without a cause sufficiently determined a priori. Therefore the proposition, that all causality is possible according to the laws of nature only, contradicts itself, if taken in unlimited generality, and it is impossible, therefore, to admit that causality as the only one.

We must therefore admit another causality, through which something takes place, without its cause being further determined according to necessary laws by a preceding cause, that is, an absolute spontaneity of causes, by which a series of phenomena, proceeding according to natural laws, begins by itself; we must consequently admit transcendental freedom, without which, even in the course of nature, the series of phenomena on the side of causes, can never be perfect.

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Antithesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [445]

There is no freedom, but everything in the world takes place entirely according to the laws of nature.


If we admit that there is freedom, in the transcendental sense, as a particular kind of causality, according to which the events in the world could take place, that is a faculty of absolutely originating a state, and with it a series of consequences, it would follow that not only a series would have its absolute beginning through this spontaneity, but the determination of that spontaneity itself to produce the series, that is, the causality, would have an absolute beginning, nothing preceding it by which this act is determined according to permanent laws. Every beginning of an act, however, presupposes a state in which the cause is not yet active, and a dynamically primary beginning of an act presupposes a state which has no causal connection with the preceding state of that cause, that is, in no wise follows from it. Transcendental freedom is therefore opposed to the law of causality, and represents such a Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [447] connection of successive states of effective causes, that no unity of experience is possible with it. It is therefore an empty fiction of the mind, and not to be met with in any experience.

We have, therefore, nothing but nature, in which we must try to find the connection and order of cosmical events. Freedom (independence) from the laws of nature is no doubt a deliverance from restraint, but also from the guidance of all rules. For we cannot say that, instead of the laws of nature, laws of freedom may enter into the causality of the course of the world, because, if determined by laws, it would not be freedom, but nothing else but nature. Nature, therefore, and transcendental freedom differ from each other like legality and lawlessness. The former, no doubt, imposes upon the understanding the difficult task of looking higher and higher for the origin of events in the series of causes, because their causality is always conditioned. In return for this, however, it promises a complete and well-ordered unity of experience; while, on the other side, the fiction of freedom promises, no doubt, to the enquiring mind, rest in the chain of causes, leading him up to an unconditioned causality, which begins to act by itself, but which, as it is blind itself, tears the thread of rules by which alone a complete and coherent experience is possible.

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OBSERVATIONS ON THE THIRD ANTINOMY Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [448]

I: On the Thesis

The transcendental idea of freedom is far from forming the whole content of the psychological concept of that name, which is chiefly empirical, but only that of the absolute spontaneity of action, as the real ground of imputability; it is, however, the real stone of offence in the eyes of philosophy, which finds its unsurmountable difficulties in admitting this kind of unconditioned causality. That element in the question of the freedom of the will, which has always so much embarrassed speculative reason, is therefore in reality transcendental only, and refers merely to the question whether we must admit a faculty of spontaneously originating a series of successive things or states. How such a faculty is possible need not be answered, because, with regard to the causality, according to the laws of nature also, we must be satisfied to know a priori that such a causality has to be admitted, though we can in no wise understand the possibility how, through one existence, the existence of another is given, but must for that purpose appeal to experience alone. The necessity of a first beginning of a series of phenomena from freedom has been proved so far only as it is necessary in order to comprehend an origin of the world, while all successive states may be regarded as a result in succession according to mere laws of nature. But as thus Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [450] the faculty of originating a series in time by itself has been proved, though by no means understood, it is now permitted also to admit, within the course of the world, different series, beginning by themselves, with regard to their causality, and to attribute to their substances a faculty of acting with freedom. But we must not allow ourselves to be troubled by a misapprehension, namely that, as every successive series in the world can have only a relatively primary beginning, some other state of things always preceding in the world, therefore no absolutely primary beginning of different series is possible in the course of the world. For we are speaking here of the absolutely first beginning, not according to time, but according to causality. If, for instance, at this moment I rise from my chair with perfect freedom, without the necessary determining influence of natural causes, a new series has its absolute beginning in this event, with all its natural consequences ad infinitum, although, with regard to time, this event is only the continuation of a preceding series. For this determination and this act do not belong to the succession of merely natural effects, nor are they a mere continuation of them, but the determining natural causes completely stop before it, so far as this event is concerned, which no doubt follows them, and does not result from them, and may therefore be called an absolutely first beginning in a series of phenomena, not with reference to time, but with reference to causality.

This requirement of reason to appeal in the series of natural causes to a first and free beginning is fully confirmed if we see that, with the exception of the Epicurean school, all philosophers of antiquity have felt themselves obliged to admit, for the sake of explaining all cosmical movements, a prime mover, that is, a freely acting cause which, first and by itself, started this series of states. They did not attempt to make a first beginning comprehensible by an appeal to nature only.

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II: On the Antithesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [449]

He who stands up for the omnipotence of nature (transcendental physiocracy), in opposition to the doctrine of freedom, would defend his position against the sophistical conclusions of that doctrine in the following manner. If you do not admit something mathematically the first in the world with reference to time, there is no necessity why you should look for something dynamically the first with reference to causality. Who has told you to invent an absolutely first state of the world, and with it an absolute beginning of the gradually progressing series of phenomena, and to set limits to unlimited nature in order to give to your imagination something to rest on? As substances have always existed in the world, or as the unity of experience renders at least such a supposition necessary, there is no difficulty in assuming that a change of their states, that is, a series of their changes, has always existed also, so that there is no necessity for looking for a first beginning either mathematically or dynamically. It is true we cannot render the possibility of such an infinite descent comprehensible without the first member to which everything else is subsequent. But, if for this reason you reject this riddle of nature, you will feel yourselves constrained to reject many synthetical fundamental properties (natural forces), which you cannot comprehend any more, nay, the very possibility of change in general would be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [451] full of difficulties. For if you did not know from experience that change exists, you would never be able to conceive a priori how such a constant succession of being and not being is possible.

And, even if the transcendental faculty of freedom might somehow be conceded to start the changes of the world, such faculty would at all events have to be outside the world (though it would always remain a bold assumption to admit, outside the sum total of all possible intuitions, an object that cannot be given in any possible experience). But to attribute in the world itself a faculty to substances can never be allowed, because in that case the connection of phenomena determining each other by necessity and according to general laws, which we call nature, and with it the test of empirical truth, which distinguishes experience from dreams, would almost entirely disappear. For by the side of such a lawless faculty of freedom, nature could hardly be conceived any longer, because the laws of the latter would be constantly changed through the influence of the former, and the play of phenomena which, according to nature, is regular and uniform, would become confused and incoherent.

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There exists an absolutely necessary Being belonging to the world, either as a part or as a cause of it.


The world of sense, as the sum total of all phenomena, contains a series of changes without which even the representation of a series of time, which forms the condition of the possibility of the world of sense, would not be given us.1 But every change has its condition which precedes it in time, and renders it necessary. Now, everything that is given as conditional presupposes, with regard to its existence, a complete series of conditions, leading up to that which is entirely unconditioned, and alone absolutely necessary. Something absolutely necessary therefore must exist, if there exists a change as its consequence. And this absolutely necessary belongs itself to the world of sense. For if we supposed that it existed outside that world, then the series of changes in the world would derive its origin from it, while the necessary cause itself would not belong Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [454] to the world of sense. But this is impossible. For as the beginning of a temporal series can be determined only by that which precedes it in time, it follows that the highest condition of the beginning of a series of changes must exist in the time when that series was not yet (because the beginning is an existence, preceded by a time in which the thing which begins was not yet). Hence the causality of the necessary cause of changes and that cause itself belong to time and therefore to phenomena (in which alone time, as their form, is possible), and it cannot therefore be conceived as separated from the world of sense, as the sum total of all phenomena. It follows, therefore, that something absolutely necessary is contained in the world, whether it be the whole cosmical series itself, or only a part of it.

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There nowhere exists an absolutely necessary Being, either within or without the world, as the cause of it.


If we supposed that the world itself is a necessary being, or that a necessary being exists in it, there would then be in the series of changes either a beginning, unconditionally necessary, and therefore without a cause, which contradicts the dynamical law of the determination of all phenomena in time; or the series itself would be without any beginning, and though contingent and conditioned in all its parts, yet entirely necessary and unconditioned as a whole. This would be self-contradictory, because the existence of a multitude cannot be necessary, if no single part of it possesses necessary existence.

If we supposed, on the contrary, that there exists an absolutely necessary cause of the world, outside the world, then that cause, as the highest member Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [455] in the series of causes of cosmical changes, would begin the existence of the latter and their series.1 In that case, however, that cause would have to begin to act, and its causality would belong to time, and therefore to the sum total of phenomena. It would belong to the world, and would therefore not be outside the world, which is contrary to our supposition. Therefore, neither in the world, nor outside the world (yet in causal connection with it), does there exist anywhere an absolutely necessary Being.

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OBSERVATIONS ON THE FOURTH ANTINOMY Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [456]

I: On the Thesis

In order to prove the existence of a necessary Being, I ought not, in this place, to use any but the cosmological argument, which ascends from what is conditioned in the phenomena to what is unconditioned in concept, that being considered as the necessary condition of the absolute totality of the series. To undertake that proof from the mere idea of a Supreme Being belongs to another principle of reason, and will have to be treated separately.

The pure cosmological proof cannot establish the existence of a necessary Being, without leaving it open, whether that Being be the world itself, or a Being distinct from it. In order to settle this question, principles are required which are no longer cosmological, and do not proceed in the series of phenomena. We should have to introduce concepts of contingent beings in general (so far as they are considered as objects of the understanding only), and also a principle according to which we might connect them, by means of concepts only, with a necessary Being. All this belongs to a transcendent Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [458] philosophy, for which this is not yet the place.

If, however, we once begin our proof cosmologically, taking for our foundation the series of phenomena, and the regressus in it, according to the empirical laws of causality, we cannot afterwards suddenly leave this line of argument and pass over to something which does not belong as a member to this series. For the condition must be taken in the same meaning in which the relation of the condition to that condition was taken in the series which, by continuous progress, was to lead to that highest condition. If therefore that relation is sensuous and intended for a possible empirical use of the understanding, the highest condition or cause can close the regressus according to the laws of sensibility only, and therefore as belonging to that temporal series itself. The necessary Being must therefore be regarded as the highest member of the cosmical series.

Nevertheless, certain philosophers have taken the liberty of making such a salto (μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένος). From the changes in the world they concluded their empirical contingency, that is, their dependence on empirically determining causes, and they thus arrived at an ascending series of empirical conditions. This was quite right. As, however, in this way they could not find a first beginning, or any highest member, they suddenly left the empirical concept of contingency, and took to the pure category. This led to a purely intelligible series, the completeness of which depended on the existence of an absolutely necessary cause, which cause, as no longer subject to any sensuous conditions, was freed also from the temporal condition of itself beginning its causality. Such a proceeding is entirely illegitimate, as may be seen from what follows.

In the pure sense of the category we call contingent that the contradictory opposite of which is possible. Now we cannot conclude that intelligible contingency from empirical contingency. Of what is being Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [460] changed we may say that the opposite (of its state) is real, and therefore possible also at another time. But this is not the contradictory opposite of the preceding state. In order to establish that, it is necessary that, at the same time, when the previous state existed, its opposite could have existed in its place, and this can never be concluded from change. A body, for instance, which, when in motion, was A, comes to be, when at rest, = non A. From the fact that the state opposite to the state A follows upon it, we can in no wise conclude that the contradictory opposite of A is possible, and therefore A contingent only. In order to establish this, it would be necessary to prove that, at the same time when there was motion, there might have been, instead of it, rest. But we know no more than that, at a subsequent time, such rest was real, and therefore possible also. Motion at one time, and rest at another, are not contradictory opposites. Therefore the succession of opposite determinations, that is, change, in no way proves contingency, according to the concepts of the pure understanding, and can therefore never lead us on to the existence of a necessary Being, according to the pure concepts of the understanding. Change proves empirical contingency only; it proves that the new state could not have taken place according to the law of causality by itself, and without a cause belonging to a previous time. This cause, even if it is considered as absolutely necessary, must, as we see, exist in time, and belong to the series of phenomena.

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II: On the Antithesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [457]

If, in ascending the series of phenomena, we imagine we meet with difficulties militating against the existence of an absolutely necessary supreme cause, such difficulties ought not to be derived from mere concepts of the necessary existence of a thing in general. They ought not to be ontological, but ought to arise from the causal connection with a series of phenomena for which a condition is required which is itself unconditioned, that is, they ought to be cosmological, and dependent on empirical laws. It must be shown that our ascending in the series of causes (in the world of sense) can never end with a condition empirically unconditioned, and that the cosmological argument, based on the contingency of cosmical states, as proved by their changes, ends in a verdict against the admission of a first cause, absolutely originating the whole series

A curious contrast however meets us in this Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [459] antinomy. From the same ground on which, in the thesis, the existence of an original Being was proved, its nonexistence is proved in the antithesis with equal stringency. We were first told, that a necessary Being exists, because the whole of time past comprehends the series of all conditions, and with it also the unconditioned (the necessary). We are now told there is no necessary Being, for the very reason that the whole of past time comprehends the series of all conditions (which therefore altogether are themselves conditioned). The explanation is this. The first argument regards only the absolute totality of the series of conditions determining each other in time, and thus arrives at something unconditioned and necessary. The second, on the contrary, regards the contingency of all that is determined in the temporal series (everything being preceded by a time in which the condition itself must again be determined as conditioned), in which case everything unconditioned, and every absolute necessity, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [461] must absolutely vanish. In both, the manner of concluding is quite in conformity with ordinary human reason, which frequently comes into conflict with itself, from considering its object from two different points of view. Herr von Mairan considered the controversy between two famous astronomers, which arose from a similar difficulty, as to the choice of the true standpoint, as something sufficiently important to write a separate treatise on it. The one reasoned thus, the moon revolves on its own axis, because it always turns the same side towards the earth. The other concluded, the moon does not revolve on its own axis, because it always turns the same side towards the earth. Both conclusions were correct, according to the point of view from which one chose to consider the motion of the moon.

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Section III: Of the Interest of Reason in these Conflicts Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [462]

We have thus watched the whole dialectical play of the cosmological ideas, and have seen that they do not even admit of any adequate object being supplied to them in any possible experience, nay, not even of reason treating them in accordance with the general laws of experience. Nevertheless these ideas are not arbitrary fictions, but reason in the continuous progress of empirical synthesis is necessarily led on to them, whenever it wants to free what, according to the rules of experience, can be determined as conditioned only, from all conditions, and comprehend it in its unconditioned totality. These rationalising or dialectical assertions are so many attempts at solving four perfectly natural and inevitable problems of reason. There cannot be either more or less of them, because there are neither more nor less series of synthetical hypotheses, which limit empirical synthesis a priori.

We have represented the brilliant pretensions of reason, extending its domain beyond all the limits of experience, in dry formulas only, containing nothing but the grounds of its claims; and, as it befits transcendental Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [463] philosophy, divested them of everything empirical, although it is only in connection with this that the whole splendour of the assertions of reason can be fully seen. In their application, and in the progressive extension of the employment of reason, beginning from the field of experience, and gradually soaring up to those sublime Edition: current; Page: [380] ideas, philosophy displays a grandeur which, if it could only establish its pretensions, would leave all other kinds of human knowledge far behind, promising to us a safe foundation for our highest expectations and hopes for the attainment of the highest aims, towards which all the exertions of reason must finally converge. The questions, whether the world has a beginning and any limit of its extension in space; whether there is anywhere, and it may be in my own thinking self, an indivisible and indestructible unity, or whether there exists nothing but what is divisible and perishable; whether in my acts I am free, or, like other beings, led by the hand of nature and of fate; whether, finally, there exists a supreme cause of the world, or whether the objects of nature and their order form the last object which we can reach in all our speculations, — these are questions for the solution of which the mathematician would gladly sacrifice the whole of his science, which cannot give him any satisfaction with regard to the highest and dearest aspirations of mankind. Even the true dignity and worth of mathematics, that pride of human reason, rest Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [464] on this, that they teach reason how to understand nature in what is great and what is small in her, in her order and regularity, and likewise in the admirable unity of her moving powers, far above all expectations of a philosophy restricted to common experience, and thus encourage reason to extend its use far beyond experience, nay, supply philosophy with the best materials intended to support its investigations, so far as their nature admits of it, by adequate intuitions.

Unfortunately for mere speculation (but fortunately perhaps for the practical destinies of men), reason, in the Edition: current; Page: [381] very midst of her highest expectations, finds herself so hemmed in by a press of reasons and counter reasons, that, as neither her honour nor her safety admit of her retreating and becoming an indifferent spectator of what might be called a mere passage of arms, still less of her commanding peace in a strife in which she is herself deeply interested, nothing remains to her but to reflect on the origin of this conflict, in order to find out whether it may not have arisen from a mere misunderstanding. After such an enquiry proud claims would no Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [465] doubt have to be surrendered on both sides, but a permanent and tranquil rule of reason over the understanding and the senses might then be inaugurated.

For the present we shall defer this thorough enquiry, in order to consider which side we should like to take, if it should become necessary to take sides at all. As in this case we do not consult the logical test of truth, but only our own interest, such an enquiry, though settling nothing as to the contested rights of both parties, will have this advantage, that it makes us understand why those who take part in this contest embrace one rather than the other side, without being guided by any special insight into the subject. It may also explain some other things, as, for instance, the zelotic heat of the one and the calm assurance of the other party, and why the world greets one party with rapturous applause, and entertains towards the other an irreconcileable prejudice.

There is something which in this preliminary enquiry determines the right point of view, from which alone it can be carried on with proper completeness, and this is the comparison of the principles from which both parties start. If we look at the propositions of the antithesis, Edition: current; Page: [382] we shall find in it a perfect uniformity in the mode of thought and a complete unity of principle, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [466] namely, the principle of pure empiricism, not only in the explanation of the phenomena of the world, but also in the solution of the transcendental ideas of the cosmical universe itself. The propositions of the thesis, on the contrary, rest not only on the empirical explanation within the series of phenomena, but likewise on intelligible beginnings, and its maxim is therefore not simple. With regard to its essential and distinguishing characteristic, I shall call it the dogmatism of pure reason.

On the side of dogmatism we find in the determination of the cosmological ideas, or in the Thesis:

First, A certain practical interest, which every right-thinking man, if he knows his true interests, will heartily share. That the world has a beginning; that my thinking self is of a simple and therefore indestructible nature; that the same self is free in all his voluntary actions, and raised above the compulsion of nature; that, finally, the whole order of things, or the world, derives its origin from an original Being, whence everything receives both unity and purposeful connection — these are so many foundation stones on which morals and religion are built up. The antithesis robs us, or seems to rob us, of all these supports.

Secondly, Reason has a certain speculative interest on the same side. For, if we take and employ the transcendental ideas as they are in the thesis, one may quite a priori grasp the whole chain of conditions and Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [467] comprehend the derivation of the conditioned by beginning with the unconditioned. This cannot be done by the antithesis, which presents itself in a very unfavourable Edition: current; Page: [383] light, because it cannot return to the question as to the conditions of its synthesis any answer which does not lead to constantly new questions. According to it one has always to ascend from a given beginning to a higher one, every part leads always to a still smaller part, every event has always before it another event as its cause, and the conditions of existence in general always rest on others, without ever receiving unconditioned strength and support from a self-subsisting thing, as the original Being.

Thirdly, This side has also the advantage of popularity, which is by no means its smallest recommendation. The common understanding does not see the smallest difficulty in the idea of the unconditioned beginning of all synthesis, being accustomed rather to descend to consequences, than to ascend to causes. It finds comfort in the ideas of the absolutely first (the possibility of which does not trouble it), and at the same time a firm point to which the leading strings of its life may be attached, while there is no pleasure in a restless ascent from condition to condition, and keeping one foot always in the air.

On the side of empiricism, so far as it determines Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [468] the cosmological ideas, or the antithesis, there is: —

First, No such practical interest, arising from the pure principles of reason, as morality and religion possess. On the contrary, empiricism seems to deprive both of their power and influence. If there is no original Being, different from the world; if the world is without a beginning, and therefore without a Creator; if our will is not free, and our soul shares the same divisibility and perishableness with matter, moral ideas also and principles Edition: current; Page: [384] lose all validity, and fall with the transcendental ideas, which formed their theoretic support.

But, on the other side, empiricism offers advantages to the speculative interests of reason, which are very tempting, and far exceed those which the dogmatical teacher can promise. With the empiricist the understanding is always on its own proper ground, namely, the field of all possible experience, the laws of which may be investigated and serve to enlarge certain and intelligible knowledge without end. Here every object can and ought to be represented to intuition, both in itself and in its relations, or at least in concepts, the images of which can be clearly and distinctly represented in given similar intuitions. Not only is there no necessity for leaving the chain of the order of nature in order to lay hold of ideas, the objects of which are not known, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [469] because, as mere products of thought, they can never be given, but the understanding is not even allowed to leave its proper business and, under pretence of its being finished, to cross into the domain of idealising reason and transcendental concepts, where it need no longer observe and investigate according to the laws of nature, but only think and dream, without any risk of being contradicted by the facts of nature, not being bound by their evidence, but justified in passing them by, or in even subordinating them to a higher authority, namely, that of pure reason.

Hence the empiricist will never allow that any epoch of nature should be considered as the absolutely first, or any limit of his vision into the extent of nature should be considered as the last. He will not approve of a transition from the objects of nature, which he can analyse by observation and mathematics and determine synthetically Edition: current; Page: [385] in intuition (the extended), to those which neither sense nor imagination can ever represent in concreto (the simple); nor will he concede that a faculty be presupposed, even in nature, to act independent of the laws of nature (freedom), thus narrowing the operations of the understanding in investigating, according to the necessary rules, the origin of phenomena. Lastly, he will never tolerate that the cause of anything should be Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [470] looked for anywhere outside of nature (in the original Being), because we know nothing but nature, which alone can offer us objects and instruct us as to their laws.

If the empirical philosopher had no other purpose with his antithesis but to put down the rashness and presumption of reason in mistaking her true purpose, while boasting of insight and knowledge, where insight and knowledge come to an end, nay, while representing, what might have been allowed to pass on account of practical interests, as a real advancement of speculative enquiry, in order, when it is so disposed, either to tear the thread of physical enquiry, or to fasten it, under the pretence of enlarging our knowledge, to those transcendental ideas, which really teach us only that we know nothing; if, I say, the empiricist were satisfied with this, then his principle would only serve to teach moderation in claims, modesty in assertions, and encourage the greatest possible enlargement of our understanding through the true teacher given to us, namely, experience. For in such a case we should not be deprived of our own intellectual presumptions or of our faith in their influence on our practical interests. They would only have lost the pompous titles of science and rational insight, because true Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [471] speculative knowledge can never have any other object Edition: current; Page: [386] but experience; and, if we transcend its limits, our synthesis, which attempts new kinds of knowledge independent of experience, lacks that substratum of intuition to which alone it could be applied.

As it is, empiricism becomes often itself dogmatical with regard to ideas, and boldly denies what goes beyond the sphere of its intuitive knowledge, and thus becomes guilty itself of a want of modesty, which here is all the more reprehensible, because an irreparable injury is thereby inflicted on the practical interests of reason.

This constitutes the opposition of Epicureanism1 to Platonism.

Either party says more than it knows; but, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [472] while the former encourages and advances knowledge, although at the expense of practical interests, the latter supplies excellent practical principles, but with regard to everything of which speculative knowledge is open to us, it allows reason to indulge in ideal explanations of natural phenomena and to neglect physical investigation.

With regard to the third point which has to be considered Edition: current; Page: [387] in a preliminary choice between the two opposite parties, it is very strange that empiricism should be so unpopular, though it might be supposed that the common understanding would readily accept a theory which promises to satisfy it by experimental knowledge and its rational connection, while transcendental dogmatism forces it to ascend to concepts which far surpass the insight and rational faculties of the most practised thinkers. But here is the real motive; — the man of ordinary Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [473] understanding is so placed thereby that even the most learned can claim no advantage over him. If he knows little or nothing, no one can boast of knowing much more, and though he may not be able to employ such scholastic terms as others, he can argue and subtilise infinitely more, because he moves about among mere ideas, about which it is easy to be eloquent, because no one knows anything about them. The same person would have to be entirely silent, or would have to confess his ignorance with regard to scientific enquiries into nature. Indolence, therefore, and vanity are strongly in favour of those principles. Besides, although a true philosopher finds it extremely hard to accept the principle of which he can give no reasonable account, still more to introduce concepts the objective reality of which cannot be established, nothing comes more natural to the common understanding that wants something with which it can operate securely. The difficulty of comprehending such a supposition does not disquiet a person of common understanding, because not knowing what comprehending really means, it never enters into his mind, and he takes everything for known that has become familiar to him by frequent use. At last all speculative interest disappears before the practical, and he Edition: current; Page: [388] imagines that he understands and knows what his fears and hopes impel him to accept or to believe. Thus the empiricism of a transcendentally idealising reason Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [474] loses all popularity and, however prejudicial it may be to the highest practical principles, there is no reason to fear that it will ever pass the limits of the school and obtain in the commonwealth any considerable authority, or any favour with the multitude.

Human reason is by its nature architectonic, and looks upon all knowledge as belonging to a possible system. It therefore allows such principles only which do not render existing knowledge incapable of being associated with other knowledge in some kind of system. The propositions of the antithesis, however, are of such a character that they render the completion of any system of knowledge quite impossible. According to them there is always beyond every state of the world, an older state; in every part, other and again divisible parts; before every event, another event which again is produced from elsewhere, and everything in existence is conditioned, without an unconditioned and first existence anywhere. As therefore the antithesis allows of nothing that is first, and of no beginning which could serve as the foundation of an edifice, such an edifice of knowledge is entirely impossible with such premisses. Hence the architectonic interest of reason (which demands not empirical, but pure Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [475] rational unity a priori) serves as a natural recommendation of the propositions of the thesis.

But if men could free themselves from all such interests, and consider the assertions of reason, unconcerned about their consequences, according to the value of their arguments only, they would find themselves, if they knew of Edition: current; Page: [389] no escape from the press except adhesion to one or the other of the opposite doctrines, in a state of constant oscillation. To-day they would be convinced that the human will is free; to-morrow, when considering the indissoluble chain of nature, they would think that freedom is nothing but self-deception, and nature all in all. When afterwards they come to act, this play of purely speculative reason would vanish like the shadows of a dream, and they would choose their principles according to practical interests only. But, as it well befits a reflecting and enquiring being to devote a certain time entirely to the examination of his own reason, divesting himself of all partiality, and then to publish his observations for the judgment of others, no one ought to be blamed, still less be prevented, if he wishes to produce the thesis Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [476] as well as the antithesis, so that they may defend themselves, terrified by no menace, before a jury of his peers, that is, before a jury of weak mortals.

Section IV: Of the Transcendental Problems of Pure Reason, and the Absolute Necessity of their Solution

To attempt to solve all problems, and answer all questions, would be impudent boasting, and so extravagant a self-conceit, that it would forfeit all confidence. Nevertheless there are sciences the very nature of which requires that every question which can occur in them should be answerable at once from what is known, because the answer must arise from the same sources from which the Edition: current; Page: [390] question springs. Here it is not allowed to plead inevitable ignorance, but a solution can be demanded. We must be able, for instance, to know, according to a rule, what in every possible case is right or wrong, because this touches our obligation, and we cannot have any obligation to that which we cannot know. In the explanation, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [477] however, of the phenomena of nature, many things must remain uncertain, and many a question insoluble, because what we know of nature is by no means sufficient, in all cases, to explain what has to be explained. It has now to be considered, whether there exists in transcendental philosophy any question relating to any object of reason which, by that pure reason, is unanswerable, and whether we have a right to decline its decisive answer by treating the object as absolutely uncertain (from all that we are able to know), and as belonging to that class of objects of which we may form a sufficient conception for starting a question, without having the power or means of ever answering it.

Now I maintain that transcendental philosophy has this peculiarity among all speculative knowledge, that no question, referring to an object of pure reason, can be insoluble for the same human reason; and that no excuse of inevitable ignorance on our side, or of unfathomable depth on the side of the problem, can release us from the obligation to answer it thoroughly and completely; because the same concept, which enables us to ask the question, must qualify us to answer it, considering that, as in the case of right and wrong, the object itself does not exist, except in the concept.

There are, however, in transcendental philosophy Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [478] no other questions but the cosmological, with regard Edition: current; Page: [391] to which we have a right to demand a satisfactory answer, touching the quality of the object; nor is the philosopher allowed here to decline an answer by pleading impenetrable obscurity. These questions can refer to cosmological ideas only, because the object must be given empirically, and the question only refers to the adequateness of it to an idea. If the object is transcendental and therefore itself unknown, as, for instance, whether that something the phenomenal appearance of which (within ourselves) is the thinking (soul), be in itself a simple being, whether there be an absolutely necessary cause of all things, etc., we are asked to find an object for our idea of which we may well confess that it is unknown to us, though not therefore impossible.1 The cosmological ideas alone possess this peculiarity that they may presuppose Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [479] their object, and the empirical synthesis required for the object, as given, and the question which they suggest refers only to the progress of that synthesis, so far as it is to contain absolute totality, such absolute totality being no longer empirical, because it cannot be given in any experience. As we are here concerned solely with a thing, as an object of possible experience, not as a thing Edition: current; Page: [392] by itself, it is impossible that the answer of the transcendent cosmological question can be anywhere but in the idea, because it refers to no object by itself; and in respect to possible experience we do not ask for that which can be given in concreto in any experience, but for that which lies in the idea, to which the empirical synthesis can no more than approach. Hence that question can be solved from the idea only, and being a mere creation of reason, reason cannot decline her responsibility and put it on the unknown object.

It is in reality not so strange as it may seem Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [480] at first, that a science should demand and expect definite answers to all the questions belonging to it (quaestiones domesticae), although at present these answers have not yet been discovered. There are, in addition to transcendental philosophy, two other sciences of pure reason, the one speculative, the other practical, pure mathematics, and pure ethics. Has it ever been alleged that, it may be on account of our necessary ignorance of the conditions, it must remain uncertain what exact relation the diameter bears to a circle, in rational or irrational numbers? As by the former the relation cannot be expressed adequately, and by the latter has not yet been discovered, it was judged rightly that the impossibility at least of the solution of such a problem can be known with certainty, and Lambert gave even a demonstration of this. In the general principles of morality there can be nothing uncertain, because its maxims are either entirely null and void, or derived from our own rational concepts only. In natural science, on the contrary, we have an infinity of conjectures with regard to which certainty can never be expected, because natural phenomena are objects given Edition: current; Page: [393] to us independent of our concepts, and the key to them cannot be found within our own mind, but in the world outside us. For that reason it cannot in many cases be found at all, and a satisfactory answer must not be expected. The questions of the transcendental Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [481] Analytic, referring to the deduction of our pure knowledge, do not belong to this class, because we are treating at present of the certainty of judgments with reference to their objects only, and not with reference to the origin of our concepts themselves.

We shall not, therefore, be justified in evading the obligation of a critical solution, at least of the questions of reason, by complaints on the narrow limits of our reason, and by confessing, under the veil of humble self-knowledge, that it goes beyond the powers of our reason to determine whether the world has existed from eternity, or has had a beginning; whether cosmical space is filled with beings ad infinitum, or enclosed within certain limits; whether anything in the world is simple, or everything can be infinitely divided; lastly, whether there is a Being entirely unconditioned and necessary in itself, or whether the existence of everything is conditioned, and therefore externally dependent, and in itself contingent. For all these questions refer to an object which can be found nowhere except in our own thoughts, namely, the absolutely unconditioned totality of the synthesis of phenomena. If we are not able to say and establish anything certain about this from our own concepts, we must not throw the blame on the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [482] object itself as obscure, because such an object (being nowhere to be found, except in our ideas) can never be given to us; but we must look for the real cause of Edition: current; Page: [394] obscurity in our idea itself, which is a problem admitting of no solution, though we insist obstinately that a real object must correspond to it. A clear explanation of the dialectic within our own concept, would soon show us, with perfect certainty, how we ought to judge with reference to such a question.

If people put forward a pretext of being unable to arrive at certainty with regard to these problems, the first question which we ought to address to them, and which they ought to answer clearly, is this, Whence do you get those ideas, the solution of which involves you in such difficulty? Are they phenomena, of which you require an explanation, and of which you have only to find, in accordance with those ideas, the principles, or the rule of their explanation? Suppose the whole of nature were spread out before you, and nothing were hid to your senses and to the consciousness of all that is presented to your intuition, yet you would never be able to know by one single experience the object of your ideas in concreto (because, in addition to that complete intuition, what is required is a completed synthesis, and the consciousness of its absolute totality, which Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [483] is impossible by any empirical knowledge). Hence your question can never be provoked for the sake of explaining any given phenomenon, and as it were suggested by the object itself. Such an object can never come before you, because it can never be given by any possible experience. In all possible perceptions you always remain under the sway of conditions, whether in space or in time; you never come face to face with anything unconditioned, in order thus to determine whether the unconditioned exists in an absolute beginning of the synthesis, Edition: current; Page: [395] or in an absolute totality of the series without any beginning. The whole, in its empirical meaning, is always relative only. The absolute whole of quantity (the universe), of division, of origination, and of the condition of existence in general, with all the attendant questions as to whether it can be realised by a finite synthesis or by a synthesis to be carried on ad infinitum, has nothing to do with any possible experience. You would, for instance, never be able to explain the phenomena of a body in the least better, or even differently, whether you assume that it consists of simple or throughout of composite parts: for neither a simple phenomenon, nor an infinite composition can ever meet your senses. Phenomena require to be explained so far only as the conditions of their explanation are given in perception; but whatever may exist in them, if comprehended Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [484] as an absolute whole, can1 never be a perception. Yet it is this very whole the explanation of which is required in the transcendental problems of reason.

As therefore the solution of these problems can never be supplied by experience, you cannot say that it is uncertain what ought to be predicated of the object. For your object is in your brain only, and cannot possibly exist outside it; so that you have only to take care to be at one with yourselves, and to avoid the amphiboly, which changes your idea into a pretended representation of an object empirically given, and therefore to be known according to the laws of experience. The dogmatical solution is therefore not only uncertain, but impossible; while the critical solution, which may become perfectly Edition: current; Page: [396] certain, does not consider the question objectively, but only with reference to the foundation of the knowledge on which it is based.

Section V: Sceptical Representation of the Cosmological Questions in the Four Transcendental Ideas Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [485]

We should no doubt gladly desist from wishing to have our questions answered dogmatically, if we understood beforehand that, whatever the answer might be, it would only increase our ignorance, and throw us from one incomprehensibility into another, from one obscurity into a still greater obscurity, or it may be even into contradictions. If our question can only be answered by yes or no, it would seem to be prudent to take no account at first of the probable grounds of the answer, but to consider before, what we should gain, if the answer was yes, and what, if the answer was no. If we should find that in either case nothing comes of it but mere nonsense, we are surely called upon to examine our question critically, and to see whether it does not rest on a groundless supposition, playing only with an idea which betrays its falsity in its application and its consequences better than when represented by itself. This is the great advantage of the sceptical treatment of questions which Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [486] pure reason puts to pure reason. We get rid by it, with a little effort, of a great amount of dogmatical rubbish, in order to put in its place sober criticism which, as a true cathartic, removes successfully all illusion with its train of omniscience.

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If, therefore, I could know beforehand that a cosmological idea, in whatever way it might try to realise the unconditioned of the regressive synthesis of phenomena (whether in the manner of the thesis or in that of the antithesis), that, I say, the cosmological idea would always be either too large or too small for any concept of the understanding, I should understand that, as that cosmological idea refers only to an object of experience which is to correspond to a possible concept of the understanding, it must be empty and without meaning, because the object does not fit into it, whatever I may do to adapt it. And this must really be the case with all cosmical concepts, which on that very account involve reason, so long as it remains attached to them, in inevitable antinomy. For suppose: —

First, That the world has no beginning, and you will find that it is too large for your concept, which, as it consists in a successive regressus, can never reach the whole of past eternity. Or, suppose, that the world has a beginning, then it is again too small for the concept of your understanding engaged in the necessary empirical regressus. For as a beginning always presupposes Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [487] a time preceding, it is not yet unconditioned; and the law of the empirical use of the understanding obliges you to look for a higher condition of time, so that, with reference to such a law, the world (as limited in time) is clearly too small.

The same applies to the twofold answer to the question regarding the extent of the world in space. For if it is infinite and unlimited, it is too large for every possible empirical concept. If it is finite and limited, you have a perfect right to ask what determines that limit. Empty Edition: current; Page: [398] space is not an independent correlate of things, and cannot be a final condition, still less an empirical condition forming a part of a possible experience; — for how can there be experience of what is absolutely void? But, in order to produce an absolute totality in an empirical synthesis, it is always requisite that the unconditioned should be an empirical concept. Thus it follows that a limited world would be too small for your concept.

Secondly, If every phenomenon in space (matter) consists of an infinite number of parts, the regressus of a division will always be too large for your concept, while if the division of space is to stop at any member (the simple), it would be too small for the idea of the unconditioned, because that member always admits of a regresus to more parts contained in it. Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [488]

Thirdly, If you suppose that everything that happens in the world is nothing but the result of the laws of nature, the causality of the cause will always be something that happens, and that necessitates a regressus to a still higher cause, and therefore a continuation of the series of conditions a parte priori without end. Mere active nature, therefore, is too large for any concept in the synthesis of cosmical events.

If you admit, on the contrary, spontaneously produced events, therefore generation from freedom, you have still, according to an inevitable law of nature, to ask why, and you are forced by the empirical law of causality beyond that point, so that you find that any such totality of connection is too small for your necessary empirical concept.

Fourthly, If you admit an absolutely necessary Being (whether it be the world itself or something in the world, or the cause of the world), you place it at a time infinitely Edition: current; Page: [399] remote from any given point of time, because otherwise it would be dependent on another and antecedent existence. In that case, however, such an existence would be unapproachable by your empirical concept, and too large even to be reached by any continued regressus.

But if, according to your opinion, everything Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [489] which belongs to the world (whether as conditioned or as condition) is contingent, then every given existence is too small for your concept, because compelling you to look still for another existence, on which it depends.

We have said that in all these cases, the cosmical idea is either too large or too small for the empirical regressus, and therefore for every possible concept of the understanding. But why did we not take the opposite view and say that in the former case the empirical concept is always too small for the idea, and in the latter too large, so that blame should attach to the empirical regressus, and not to the cosmological idea, which we accused of deviating from its object, namely, possible experience, either by its too-much or its too-little? The reason was this. It is possible experience alone that can impart reality to our concepts; without this, a concept is only an idea without truth, and without any reference to an object. Hence the possible empirical concept was the standard by which to judge the idea, whether it be an idea and fiction only, or whether it has an object in the world. For we then only say that anything is relatively to something else either too large or too small, if it is required for the sake of the other and ought to be adapted to it. One of the playthings of the old dialectical school was the question, whether we Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [490] should say that the ball is too large or the hole too small, Edition: current; Page: [400] if a ball cannot pass through a hole. In this case it is indifferent what expression we use, because we do not know which of the two exists for the sake of the other. But you would never say that the man is too large for his coat, but that the coat is too small for the man.

We have thus been led at least to a well-founded suspicion that the cosmological ideas, and with them all the conflicting sophistical assertions, may rest on an empty and merely imaginary conception of the manner in which the object of those ideas can be given, and this suspicion may lead us on the right track to discover the illusion which has so long led us astray.

Section VI: Transcendental Idealism as the Key to the Solution of Cosmological Dialectic

It has been sufficiently proved in the transcendental Æsthetic that everything which is perceived in space and time, therefore all objects of an experience possible to us, are nothing but phenomena, that is, mere representations which, such as they are represented, namely, as Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [491] extended beings, or series of changes, have no independent existence outside our thoughts. This system I call Transcendental Idealism.1 Transcendental realism changes these modifications of our sensibility into self-subsistent things, that is, it changes mere representations into things by themselves.

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It would be unfair to ask us to adopt that long-decried empirical idealism which, while it admits the independent reality of space, denies the existence of extended beings in it, or at all events considers it as doubtful and does not admit that there is in this respect a sufficiently established difference between dream and reality. It sees no difficulty with regard to the phenomena of the internal sense in time, being real things; nay, it even maintains that this internal experience alone sufficiently proves the real existence of its object (by itself), with all the determinations in time.

Our own transcendental idealism, on the contrary, allows that the objects of external intuition may be real, as they are perceived in space, and likewise all changes in time, as they are represented by the internal sense. For as space itself is a form of that intuition which we call external, and as there would be no empirical representation Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [492] at all, unless there were objects in space, we can and must admit the extended beings in it as real; and the same applies to time. Space itself, however, as well as time, and with them all phenomena, are not things by themselves, but representations, and cannot exist outside our mind; and even the internal sensuous intuition of our mind (as an object of consciousness) which is represented as determined by the succession of different states in time, is not a real self, as it exists by itself, or what is called the transcendental subject, but a phenomenon only, given to the sensibility of this to us unknown being. It cannot be admitted that this internal phenomenon exists as a thing by itself, because it is under the condition of time, which can never be the determination of anything by itself. In space and time, however, the empirical truth of phenomena Edition: current; Page: [402] is sufficiently established, and kept quite distinct from a dream, if both are properly and completely connected together in experience, according to empirical laws.

The objects of experience are therefore never given by themselves, but in our experience only, and do not exist outside it. That there may be inhabitants in Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [493] the moon, though no man has ever seen them, must be admitted; but it means no more than that, in the possible progress of our experience, we may meet with them; for everything is real that hangs together with a perception, according to the laws of empirical progress. They are therefore real, if they are empirically connected with any real consciousness, although they are not therefore real by themselves, that is, apart from that progress of experience.

Nothing is really given to us but perception, and the empirical progress from this to other possible perceptions. For by themselves phenomena, as mere representations, are real in perception only, which itself is nothing but the reality of an empirical representation, that is, phenomenal appearance. To call a phenomenon a real thing, before it is perceived, means either, that in the progress of experience we must meet with such a perception, or it means nothing. For that it existed by itself, without any reference to our senses and possible experience, might no doubt be said when we speak of a thing by itself. We here are speaking, however, of a phenomenon only in space and time, which are not determinations of things by themselves, but only of our sensibility. Hence that which exists in them (phenomena) is not something by itself, but consists in representations only, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [494] which, unless they are given in us (in perception), exist nowhere.

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The faculty of sensuous intuition is really some kind of receptivity only, according to which we are affected in a certain way by representations the mutual relation of which is a pure intuition of space and time (mere forms of our sensibility), and which, if they are connected and determined in that relation of space and time, according to the laws of the unity of experience, are called objects. The non-sensuous cause of these representations is entirely unknown to us, and we can never perceive it as an object, for such a cause would have to be represented neither in space nor in time, which are conditions of sensuous representations only, and without which we cannot conceive any intuition. We may, however, call that purely intelligible cause of phenomena in general, the transcendental object, in order that we may have something which corresponds to sensibility as a kind of receptivity. We may ascribe to that transcendental object the whole extent and connection of all our possible perceptions, and we may say that it is given by itself antecedently to all experience. Phenomena, however, are given accordingly, not by themselves, but in experience only, because they are mere representations which as perceptions Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [495] only, signify a real object, provided that the perception is connected with all others, according to the rules of unity in experience. Thus we may say that the real things of time past are given in the transcendental object of experience, but they only are objects to me, and real in time past, on the supposition that I conceive that a regressive series of possible perceptions (whether by the light of history, or by the vestiges of causes and effects), in one word, the course of the world, leads, according to empirical laws, to a past series of time, as a condition of Edition: current; Page: [404] the present time. It is therefore represented as real, not by itself, but in connection with a possible experience, so that all past events from time immemorial and before my own existence mean after all nothing but the possibility of an extension of the chain of experience, beginning with present perception and leading upwards to the conditions which determine it in time.

If, therefore, I represent to myself all existing objects of the senses, at all times and in all spaces, I do not place them before experience into space and time, but the whole representation is nothing but the idea of a possible experience, in its absolute completeness. In that alone those objects (which are nothing but mere representations) are given; and if we say that they exist before Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [496] my whole experience, this only means that they exist in that part of experience to which, starting from perception, I have first to advance. The cause of empirical conditions of that progress, and consequently with what members, or how far I may meet with certain members in that regressus, is transcendental, and therefore entirely unknown to me. But that cause does not concern us, but only the rule of the progress of experience, in which objects, namely phenomena, are given to me. In the end it is just the same whether I say, that in the empirical progress in space I may meet with stars a hundred times more distant than the most distant which I see, or whether I say that such stars are perhaps to be met with in space, though no human being did ever or will ever see them. For though, as things by themselves, they might be given without any relation to possible experience, they are nothing to me, and therefore no objects, unless they can be comprehended in the series of the empirical regressus. Edition: current; Page: [405] Only in another relation, when namely these phenomena are meant to be used for the cosmological idea of an absolute whole, and when we have to deal with a question that goes beyond the limits of possible experience, the distinction of the mode in which the reality of those objects of the senses is taken becomes of importance, in order Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [497] to guard against a deceptive error that would inevitably arise from a misinterpretation of our own empirical concepts.

Section VII: Critical Decision of the Cosmological Conflict of Reason with itself

The whole antinomy of pure reason rests on the dialectical argument that, if the conditioned is given, the whole series of conditions also is given. As therefore the objects of the senses are given us as conditioned, it follows, etc. Through this argument, the major of which seems so natural and self-evident, cosmological ideas have been introduced corresponding in number to the difference of conditions (in the synthesis of phenomena) which constitute a series. These cosmological ideas postulate the absolute totality of those series, and thus place reason in inevitable contradiction with itself. Before, however, we show what is deceptive in this sophistical argument, we must prepare ourselves for it by correcting and defining certain concepts occurring in it.

First, the following proposition is clear and admits of no doubt, that if the conditioned is given, it imposes on us the regressus in the series of all conditions of Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [498] it; for it follows from the very concept of the conditioned Edition: current; Page: [406] that through it something is referred to a condition, and, if that condition is again conditioned, to a more distant condition, and so on through all the members of the series. This proposition is really analytical, and need not fear any transcendental criticism. It is a logical postulate of reason to follow up through the understanding, as far as possible, that connection of a concept with its conditions, which is inherent in the concept itself.

Further, if the conditioned as well as its conditions are things by themselves, then, if the former be given, the regressus to the latter is not only required, but is really given; and as this applies to all the members of the series, the complete series of conditions and with it the unconditioned also is given, or rather it is presupposed that the conditioned, which was possible through that series only, is given. Here the synthesis of the conditioned with its condition is a synthesis of the understanding only, which represents things as they are, without asking whether and how we can arrive at the knowledge of them. But if I have to deal with phenomena, which, as mere representations, are not given at all, unless I attain to a knowledge of them (that is, to the Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [499] phenomena themselves, for they are nothing but empirical knowledge), then I cannot say in the same sense that, if the conditioned is given, all its conditions (as phenomena) are also given, and can therefore by no means conclude the absolute totality of the series. For phenomena in their apprehension are themselves nothing but an empirical synthesis (in space and time), and are given therefore in that synthesis only. Now it follows by no means that, if the conditioned (as phenomenal) is given, the synthesis also that constitutes its empirical condition should thereby be Edition: current; Page: [407] given at the same time and presupposed; for this takes place in the regressus only, and never without it. What we may say in such a case is this, that a regressus to the conditions, that is, a continued empirical synthesis in that direction is required, and that conditions cannot be wanting that are given through that regressus.

Hence we see that the major of the cosmological argument takes the conditioned in the transcendental sense of a pure category, while the minor takes it in the empirical sense of a concept of the understanding, referring to mere phenomena, so that it contains that dialectical deceit which is called Sophisma figurae dictionis. That deceit, Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [500] however, is not artificial, but a perfectly natural illusion of our common reason. It is owing to it that, in the major, we presuppose the conditions and their series as it were on trust, if anything is given as conditioned, because this is no more than the logical postulate to assume complete premisses for any given conclusion. Nor does there exist in the connection of the conditioned with its condition any order of time, but they are presupposed in themselves as given together. It is equally natural also in the minor to look on phenomena as things by themselves, and as objects given to the understanding only in the same manner as in the major, as no account was taken of all the conditions of intuition under which alone objects can be given. But there is an important distinction between these concepts, which has been overlooked. The synthesis of the conditioned with its condition, and the whole series of conditions in the major, was in no way limited by time, and was free from any concept of succession. The empirical synthesis, on the contrary, and the series of conditions in phenomena, which was subsumed in the minor, is necessarily Edition: current; Page: [408] successive and given as such in time only. Therefore I had no right to assume the absolute totality of the synthesis and of the series represented by it in this case as well as in the former. For in the former all the members of the series are given by themselves (without determination in time), while here they are possible through the successive regressus only, which cannot exist Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [501] unless it is actually carried out.

After convicting them of such a mistake in the argument adopted by both parties as the foundation of their cosmological assertions, both might justly be dismissed as not being able to produce any good title in support of their claims. But even thus their quarrel is not yet ended, as if it had been proved that both parties, or one of them, were wrong in the matter contended for (in the conclusion), though they had failed to support it by valid proof. Nothing seems clearer than that, if one maintains that the world has a beginning, and the other that it has no beginning, but exists from all eternity, one or the other must be right. But if this were so, as the arguments on both sides are equally clear, it would still remain impossible ever to find out on which side the truth lies, and the suit continues, although both parties have been ordered to keep the peace before the tribunal of reason. Nothing remains therefore in order to settle the quarrel once for all, and to the satisfaction of both parties, but to convince them that, though they can refute each other so eloquently, they are really quarrelling about nothing, and that a certain transcendental illusion has mocked them with a reality where no Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [502] reality exists. We shall now enter upon this way of adjusting a dispute, which cannot be adjudicated.

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The Eleatic philosopher Zeno, a subtle dialectician, was severely reprimanded by Plato as a heedless Sophist who, in order to display his skill, would prove a proposition by plausible arguments and subvert the same immediately afterwards by arguments equally strong. He maintained, for instance, that God (which to him was probably nothing more than the universe) is neither finite nor infinite, neither in motion nor at rest, neither similar nor dissimilar to any other thing. It seemed to his critics as if he had intended to deny completely both of the two self-contradictory proposition which would be absurd. But I do not think that he can be rightly charged with this. We shall presently consider the first of these propositions more carefully. With regard to the others, if by the word God he meant the universe, he could not but say that it is neither permanently present in its place (at rest) nor that it changes it (in motion), because all places exist in the universe only, while the universe exists in no place. If the universe comprehends in itself everything that exists, it follows that it cannot be similar or dissimilar to any other thing, because there is no other thing besides it with which it could be compared. If two opposite Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [503] judgments presuppose an inadmissible condition, they both, in spite of their contradiction (which, however, is no real contradiction), fall to the ground, because the condition fails under which alone either of the propositions was meant to be valid.

If somebody were to say that everybody has either a good or a bad smell, a third case is possible, namely, that it has no smell at all, in which case both contradictory propositions would be false. If I say that it is either good smelling or not good smelling (vel suaveolens vel non Edition: current; Page: [410] suaveolens), in that case the two judgments are contradictory, and the former only is wrong, while its contradictory opposite, namely, that some bodies are not good smelling, comprehends those bodies also which have no smell at all. In the former opposition (per disparata) the contingent condition of the concept of a body (smell) still remained in the contradictory judgment and was not eliminated by it, so that the latter could not be called the contradictory opposite of the former.

If I say therefore that the world is either infinite in space or is not infinite (non est infinitus), then, if the former proposition is wrong, its contradictory opposite, that the world is not infinite, must be true. I should thus only eliminate an infinite world without affirming another, namely, the finite. But if I had said the world Edition: Muller_1922; Page: [504] is either infinite or finite (not-infinite), both statements m