Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Norman Kemp Smith






WE have shown in the introduction to this part of our work that all transcendental illusion of pure reason rests on dialectical inferences whose schema is supplied by logic in the three formal species of syllogisms -- just as the categories find their logical schema in the four functions of all judgments. The first type of these pseudo-rational inferences deals with the unconditioned unity of the subjective conditions of all representations in general (of the subject or soul), in correspondence with the categorical syllogisms, the major premiss of which is a principle asserting the relation of a predicate to a subject. The second type of dialectical argument follows the analogy of the hypothetical syllogisms. It has as its content the unconditioned unity of the objective conditions in the [field of] appearance. In similar fashion, the third type, which will be dealt with in the next chapter, has as its theme the unconditioned unity of the objective conditions of the possibility of objects in general.

But there is one point that calls for special notice. Transcendental paralogism produced a purely one-sided illusion in regard to the idea of the subject of our thought. No illusion which will even in the slightest degree support the opposing assertion is caused by the concepts of reason. Consequently, although transcendental paralogism, in spite of a favoring illusion, cannot disclaim the radical defect through which in the fiery ordeal of critical investigation it dwindles [385] into mere semblance, such advantage as it offers is altogether on the side of pneumatism.

A completely different situation arises when reason is applied to the objective synthesis of appearances. For in this domain, however it may endeavour to establish its principle of unconditioned unity, and though it indeed does so with great though illusory appearance of success, it soon falls into such contradictions that it is constrained, in this cosmological field, to desist from any such pretensions.

We have here presented to us a new phenomenon of human reason -- an entirely natural antithetic, in which there is no need of making subtle enquiries or of laying snares for the unwary, but into which reason of itself quite unavoidably falls. It certainly guards reason from the slumber of fictitious conviction such as is generated by a purely one-sided illusion, but at the same time subjects it to the temptation either of abandoning itself to a skeptical despair, or of assuming an obstinate attitude, dogmatically committing itself to certain assertions, and refusing to grant a fair hearing to the arguments for the counter-position. Either attitude is the death of sound philosophy, although the former might perhaps be entitled the euthanasia of pure reason.

Before considering the various forms of opposition and dissension to which this conflict or antinomy of the laws of pure reason gives rise, we may offer a few remarks in explanation and justification of the method which we propose to employ in the treatment of this subject. I entitle all transcendental ideas, in so far as they refer to absolute totality in the synthesis of appearances, cosmical concepts, partly because this unconditioned totality also underlies the concept -- itself only an idea -- of the world-whole; partly because they concern only the synthesis of appearances, therefore only empirical synthesis When, on the contrary, the absolute totality is that of the synthesis of the conditions of all possible things in general, it gives rise to an ideal of pure reason which, though it may indeed stand in a certain relation to the cosmical concept, is quite distinct from it. Accordingly, just as the paralogisms of pure reason formed the basis of a dialectical psychology, so the antinomy of pure reason will exhibit to us the transcendental principles [386] of a pretended pure rational cosmology. But it will not do so in order to show this science to be valid and to adopt it. As the title, conflict of reason, suffices to show, this pretended science can be exhibited only in its bedazzling but false illusoriness, as an idea which can never be reconciled with appearances.


Section I


In proceeding to enumerate these ideas with systematic precision according to a principle, we must bear in mind two points. In the first place we must recognize that pure and transcendental concepts can issue only from the understanding. Reason does not really generate any concept. The most it can do is to free a concept of understanding from the unavoidable limitations of possible experience, and so to endeavour to extend it beyond the limits of the empirical, though still, indeed, in terms of its relation to the empirical. This is achieved in the following manner. For a given conditioned, reason demands on the side of the conditions -- to which as the conditions of synthetic unity the understanding subjects all appearances -- absolute totality, and in so doing converts the category into a transcendental idea. For only by carrying the empirical synthesis as far as the unconditioned is it enabled to render it absolutely complete; and the unconditioned is never to be met with in experience, but only in the idea. Reason makes this demand in accordance with the principle that if the conditioned is given, the entire sum of conditions, and consequently the absolutely unconditioned (through which alone the conditioned has been possible) is also given. The transcendental ideas are thus, in the first place, simply categories extended to the unconditioned, and can be reduced to a table arranged according to the [fourfold] headings of the latter. In the second place, not all categories are fitted for such employment, but only those in which the synthesis constitutes a series of conditions subordinated to, not co- ordinated with, [387] one another, and generative of a [given] conditioned. Absolute totality is demanded by reason only in so far as the ascending series of conditions relates to a given conditioned. It is not demanded in regard to the descending line of consequences, nor in reference to the aggregate of co-ordinated conditions of these consequences. For in the case of the given conditioned, conditions are presupposed, and are considered as given together with it. On the other hand, since consequences do not make their conditions possible, but rather presuppose them, we are not called upon, when we advance to consequences or descend from a given condition to the conditioned, to consider whether the series does or does not cease; the question as to the totality of the series is not in any way a presupposition of reason.

Thus we necessarily think time as having completely elapsed up to the given moment, and as being itself given in this completed form. This holds true, even though such completely elapsed time is not determinable by us. But since the future is not the condition of our attaining to the present, it is a matter of entire indifference, in our comprehension of the latter, how we may think of future time, whether as coming to an end or as flowing on to infinity. We have, as it were, the series m, n, o, in which n is given as conditioned by m, and at the same time as being the condition of o. The series ascends from the conditioned n to m (l, k, i, etc.), and also descends from the condition n to the conditioned o (p, q, r, etc. ). Now I must presuppose the first series in order to be able to view n as given. According to reason, with its demand for totality of conditions, n is possible only by means of that series. Its possibility does not, however, rest upon the subsequent series, o, p, q, r. This latter series may not therefore be regarded as given, but only as allowing of being given (dabilis).

I propose to name the synthesis of a series which begins, on the side of the conditions, from the condition which stands nearest to the given appearance and so passes to the more remote conditions, the regressive synthesis; and that which advances, on the side of the conditioned, from the first consequence to the more distant, the progressive. The first proceeds in antecedentia, the second in consequentia. The cosmological ideas deal, therefore, with the totality of the regressive synthesis [388] proceeding in antecedentia, not in consequentia. The problem of pure reason suggested by the progressive form of totality is gratuitous and unnecessary, since the raising of it is not required for the complete comprehension of what is given in appearance. For that we require to consider only the grounds, not the consequences.

In arranging the table of ideas in accordance with the table of categories, we first take the two original quanta of all our intuition, time and space. Time is in itself a series, and indeed the formal condition of all series. In it, in regard to a given present, the antecedents can be a priori distinguished as conditions (the past) from the consequents (the future). The transcendental idea of the absolute totality of the series of conditions of any given conditioned therefore refers only to all past time; and in conformity with the idea of reason past time, as condition of the given moment, is necessarily thought as being given in its entirety. Now in space, taken in and by itself, there is no distinction between progress and regress. For as its parts are co-existent, it is an aggregate, not a series. The present moment can be regarded only as conditioned by past time, never as conditioning it, because this moment comes into existence only through past time, or rather through the passing of the preceding time. But as the parts of space are co-ordinated with, not subordinated to, one another, one part is not the condition of the possibility of another; and unlike time, space does not in itself constitute a series. Nevertheless the synthesis of the manifold parts of space, by means of which we apprehend space, is successive, taking place in time and containing a series. And since in this series of the aggregated spaces (as for instance of the feet in a rood) of the given space, those which are thought in extension of the given space are always the condition of the limits of the given space, the measuring of a space is also to be regarded as a synthesis of a series of the conditions of a given conditioned, only with this difference that the side of the conditions is not in itself distinct from that of the conditioned, and that in space regressus and progressus would therefore seem to be one and the same. Inasmuch as one part of space is not given through the others but only limited by them, we must consider each space, in so far as it is limited, as being also conditioned, in that it presupposes another space as the [389] condition of its limits, and so on. In respect of limitation the advance in space is thus also a regress, and the transcendental idea of the absolute totality of the synthesis in the series of conditions likewise applies to space. I can as legitimately enquire regarding the absolute totality of appearance in space as of that in past time. Whether an answer to this question is ever possible, is a point which will be decided later.

Secondly, reality in space, i.e. matter, is a conditioned. Its internal conditions are its parts, and the parts of these parts its remote conditions. There thus occurs a regressive synthesis, the absolute totality of which is demanded by reason. This can be obtained only by a completed division in virtue of which the reality of matter vanishes either into nothing or into what is no longer matter -- namely, the simple. Here also, then, we have a series of conditions, and an advance to the unconditioned.

Thirdly, as regards the categories of real relation between appearances, that of substance with its accidents is not adapted to being a transcendental idea. That is to say, in it reason finds no ground for proceeding regressively to conditions. Accidents, in so far as they inhere in one and the same substance, are co-ordinated with each other, and do not constitute a series. Even in their relation to substance they are not really subordinated to it, but are the mode of existence of the substance itself. What in this category may still, however, seem to be an idea of transcendental reason, is the concept of the substantial. But since this means no more than the concept of object in general, which subsists in so far as we think in it merely the transcendental subject apart from all predicates, whereas we are here dealing with the unconditioned only as it may exist in the series of appearances, it is evident that the substantial cannot be a member of that series. This is also true of substances in community. They are mere aggregates, and contain nothing on which to base a series. For we cannot say of them, as we can of spaces, whose limits are never determined in and by themselves but only through some other space, that they are subordinated to each other as conditions of the possibility of one another. There thus remains only the category of causality. It presents a series of causes of a given [390] effect such that we can proceed to ascend from the latter as the conditioned to the former as conditions, and so to answer the question of reason.

Fourthly, the concepts of the possible, the actual, and the necessary do not lead to any series, save in so far as the accidental in existence must always be regarded as conditioned, and as pointing in conformity with the rule of the understanding to a condition under which it is necessary, and this latter in turn to a higher condition, until reason finally attains unconditioned necessity in the totality of the series.

When we thus select out those categories which necessarily lead to a series in the synthesis of the manifold, we find that there are but four cosmological ideas, corresponding to the four titles of the categories:

Absolute completeness
of the Composition
of the given whole of all appearances.

Absolute completeness
in the Division
of a given whole in the [field of] appearance.

Absolute completeness
in the Origination
of an appearance.

Absolute completeness
as regards Dependence of Existence
of the changeable in the [field of] appearance.

There are several points which here call for notice. In the first place, the idea of absolute totality concerns only the exposition of appearances, and does not therefore refer to the pure concept, such as the understanding may form, of a totality of things in general. Appearances are here regarded as given; what reason demands is the absolute completeness of the conditions of their possibility, in so far as these conditions constitute a series. What reason prescribes is therefore an absolutely (that is to say, in every respect) complete synthesis, whereby the appearance may be exhibited in accordance with the laws of understanding. [391]

Secondly, what reason is really seeking in this serial, regressively continued, synthesis of conditions, is solely the unconditioned. What it aims at is, as it were, such a completeness in the series of premisses as will dispense with the need of presupposing other premisses. This unconditioned is always contained in the absolute totality of the series as represented in imagination. But this absolutely complete synthesis is again only an idea; for we cannot know, at least at the start of this enquiry, whether such a synthesis is possible in the case of appearance. If we represent everything exclusively through pure concepts of understanding, and apart from conditions of sensible intuition, we can indeed at once assert that for a given conditioned, the whole series of conditions subordinated to each other is likewise given. The former is given only through the latter. When, however, it is with appearances that we are dealing, we find a special limitation due to the manner in which conditions are given, namely, through the successive synthesis of the manifold of intuition -- a synthesis which has to be made complete through the regress. Whether this completeness is sensibly possible is a further problem; the idea of it lies in reason, independently alike of the possibility or of the impossibility of our connecting with it any adequate empirical concepts. Since, then, the unconditioned is necessarily contained in the absolute totality of the regressive synthesis of the manifold in the [field of] appearance -- the synthesis being executed in accordance with those categories which represent appearance as a series of conditions to a given conditioned -- reason here adopts the method of starting from the idea of totality, though what it really has in view is the unconditioned, whether of the entire series or of a part of it. Meantime, also, it leaves undecided whether and how this totality is attainable.

This unconditioned may be conceived in either of two ways. It may be viewed as consisting of the entire series in which all the members without exception are conditioned and only the totality of them is absolutely unconditioned. This regress is to be entitled infinite. Or alternatively, the absolutely unconditioned is only a part of the series -- a part to which the other members are subordinated, and which does not itself stand [392] under any other condition.{1} On the first view, the series a parte priori is without limits or beginning, i.e. is infinite, and at the same time is given in its entirety. But the regress in it is never completed, and can only be called potentially infinite. On the second view, there is a first member of the series which in respect of past time is entitled, the beginning of the world, in respect of space, the limit of the world, in respect of the parts of a given limited whole, the simple, in respect of causes, absolute self-activity (freedom), in respect of the existence of alterable things, absolute natural necessity.

We have two expressions, world and nature, which sometimes coincide. The former signifies the mathematical sum total of all appearances and the totality of their synthesis, alike in the great and in the small, that is, in the advance alike through composition and through division. This same world is entitled nature{2} when it is viewed as a dynamical whole. We are not then concerned with the aggregation in space and time, with a view to determining it as a magnitude, but with the unity in the existence of appearances. In this case the condition of that which happens is entitled the cause. Its unconditioned causality in the [field of] appearance is called freedom, and its conditioned causality is called natural cause in the narrower [adjectival] sense. The conditioned in existence in general is termed contingent and the unconditioned necessary. The unconditioned [393] necessity of appearances may be entitled natural necessity.

The ideas with which we are now dealing I have above entitled cosmological ideas, partly because by the term 'world' we mean the sum of all appearances, and it is exclusively to the unconditioned in the appearances that our ideas are directed, partly also because the term 'world', in the transcendental sense, signifies the absolute totality of all existing things, and we direct our attention solely to the completeness of the synthesis, even though that is only attainable in the regress to its conditions. Thus despite the objection that these ideas are one and all transcendent, and that although they do not in kind surpass the object, namely, appearances, but are concerned exclusively with the world of sense, not with noumena, they yet carry the synthesis to a degree which transcends all possible experience, I none the less still hold that they may quite appropriately be entitled cosmical concepts. In respect of the distinction between the mathematically and the dynamically unconditioned at which the regress aims, I might, however, call the first two concepts cosmical in the narrower sense, as referring to the world of the great and the small, and the other two transcendent concepts of nature. This distinction has no special immediate value; its significance will appear later.


Section 2


If thetic be the name for any body of dogmatic doctrines, antithetic may be taken as meaning, not dogmatic assertions of the opposite, but the conflict of the doctrines of seemingly dogmatic knowledge (thesis cum antithesi) in which no one assertion can establish superiority over another. The antithetic does not, therefore, deal with one-sided assertions. It treats only the conflict of the doctrines of reason with one another and the causes of this conflict. The transcendental antithetic is an enquiry into the antinomy of pure reason, its causes and out come. [394] If in employing the principles of understanding we do not merely apply our reason to objects of experience, but venture to extend these principles beyond the limits of experience, there arise pseudo-rational doctrines which can neither hope for confirmation in experience nor fear refutation by it. Each of them is not only in itself free from contradiction, but finds conditions of its necessity in the very nature of reason -- only that, unfortunately, the assertion of the opposite has, on its side, grounds that are just as valid and necessary.

The questions which naturally arise in connection with such a dialectic of pure reason are the following: (1) In what propositions is pure reason unavoidably subject to an antinomy? (2) On what causes does this antinomy depend? (3) Whether and in what way, despite this contradiction, does there still remain open to reason a path to certainty?

A dialectical doctrine of pure reason must therefore be distinguished from all sophistical propositions in two respects. It must not refer to an arbitrary question such as may be raised for some special purpose, but to one which human reason must necessarily encounter in its progress. And secondly, both it and its opposite must involve no mere artificial illusion such as at once vanishes upon detection, but a natural and unavoidable illusion, which even after it has ceased to beguile still continues to delude though not to deceive us, and which though thus capable of being rendered harmless can never be eradicated.

Such dialectical doctrine relates not to the unity of understanding in empirical concepts, but to the unity of reason in mere ideas. Since this unity of reason involves a synthesis according to rules, it must conform to the understanding; and yet as demanding absolute unity of synthesis it must at the same time harmonize with reason. But the conditions of this unity are such that when it is adequate to reason it is too great for the understanding; and when suited to the understanding, too small for reason. There thus arises a conflict which cannot be avoided, do what we will.

These pseudo-rational assertions thus disclose a dialectical battlefield in which the side permitted to open the attack is invariably victorious, and the side constrained to act on the defensive is always defeated. Accordingly, vigorous fighters, no [395] matter whether they support a good or a bad cause, if only they contrive to secure the right to make the last attack, and are not required to withstand a new onslaught from their opponents, may always count upon carrying off the laurels. We can easily understand that while this arena should time and again be contested, and that numerous triumphs should be gained by both sides, the last decisive victory always leaves the champion of the good cause master of the field, simply because his rival is forbidden to resume the combat. As impartial umpires, we must leave aside the question whether it is for the good or the bad cause that the contestants are fighting. They must be left to decide the issue for themselves. After they have rather exhausted than injured one another, they will perhaps themselves perceive the futility of their quarrel, and part good friends.

This method of watching, or rather provoking, a conflict of assertions, not for the purpose of deciding in favor of one or other side, but of investigating whether the object of controversy is not perhaps a deceptive appearance which each vainly strives to grasp, and in regard to which, even if there were no opposition to be overcome, neither can arrive at any result, -- this procedure, I say, may be entitled the skeptical method. It is altogether different from skepticism -- a principle of technical and scientific ignorance, which undermines the foundations of all knowledge, and strives in all possible ways to destroy its reliability and steadfastness. For the skeptical method aims at certainty. It seeks to discover the point of misunderstanding in the case of disputes which are sincerely and competently conducted by both sides, just as from the embarrassment of judges in cases of litigation wise legislators contrive to obtain instruction regarding the defects and ambiguities of their laws. The antinomy which discloses itself in the application of laws is for our limited wisdom the best criterion of the legislation that has given rise to them. Reason, which does not in abstract speculation easily become aware of its errors, is hereby awakened to consciousness of the factors [that have to be reckoned with] in the determination of its principles [396]

But it is only for transcendental philosophy that this skeptical method is essential. Though in all other fields of enquiry it can, perhaps, be dispensed with, it is not so in this field. In mathematics its employment would, indeed, be absurd; for in mathematics no false assertions can be concealed and rendered invisible, inasmuch as the proofs must always proceed under the guidance of pure intuition and by means of a synthesis that is always evident. In experimental philosophy the delay caused by doubt may indeed be useful; no misunderstanding is, however, possible which cannot easily be removed; and the final means of deciding disputes, whether found early or late, must in the end be supplied by experience. Moral philosophy can also present its principles, together with their practical consequences, one and all in concreto, in what are at least possible experiences; and the misunderstanding due to abstraction is thereby avoided. But it is quite otherwise with transcendental assertions which lay claim to insight into what is beyond the field of all possible experiences. Their abstract synthesis can never be given in any a priori intuition, and they are so constituted that what is erroneous in them can never be detected by means of any experience. Transcendental reason consequently admits of no other test than the endeavour to harmonize its various assertions. But for the successful application of this test the conflict into which they fall with one another must first be left to develop free and untrammelled. This we shall now set about arranging.{3}




The world has a beginning in time, and is also limited as regards space. [397]


If we assume that the world has no beginning in time, then up to every given moment an eternity has elapsed, and there has passed away in the world an infinite series of successive states of things. Now the infinity of a series consists in the fact that it can never be completed through successive synthesis. It thus follows that it is impossible for an infinite world-series to have passed away, and that a beginning of the world is therefore a necessary condition of the world's existence. This was the first point that called for proof.

As regards the second point, let us again assume the opposite, namely, that the world is an infinite given whole of coexisting things. Now the magnitude of a quantum which is not given in intuition{4} as within certain limits, can be thought only through the synthesis of its parts, and the totality of such a quantum only through a synthesis that is brought to completion through repeated addition of [398] unit to unit.{5} In order, therefore, to think, as a whole, the world which fills all spaces, the successive synthesis of the parts of an infinite world must be viewed as completed, that is, an infinite time must be viewed as having elapsed in the enumeration of all coexisting things. This, however, is impossible. An infinite aggregate of actual things cannot therefore be viewed as a given whole, nor consequently as simultaneously given. The world is, therefore, as regards extension in space, not infinite, but is enclosed within limits. This was the second point in dispute.

The world has no beginning, and no limits in space; it is infinite as regards both time and space. [397]


For let us assume that it has a beginning. Since the beginning is an existence which is preceded by a time in which the thing is not, there must have been a preceding time in which the world was not, i.e. an empty time. Now no coming to be of a thing is possible in an empty time, because no part of such a time possesses, as compared with any other, a distinguishing condition of existence rather than of non-existence; and this applies whether the thing is supposed to arise of itself or through some other cause. In the world many series of things can, indeed, begin; but the world itself cannot have a beginning, and is therefore infinite in respect of past time.

As regards the second point, let us start by assuming the opposite, namely, that the world in space is finite and limited, and consequently exists in an empty space which is unlimited. Things will therefore not only be [398] related in space but also related to space. Now since the world is an absolute whole beyond which there is no object of intuition, and therefore no correlate with which the world stands in relation, the relation of the world to empty space would be a relation of it to no object. But such a relation, and consequently the limitation of the world by empty space, is nothing. The world cannot, therefore, be limited in space; that is, it is infinite in respect of extension.{6}



I. On the Thesis

In stating these conflicting arguments I have not sought to elaborate sophisms. That is to say, I have not resorted to the method of the special pleader who attempts to take advantage of an opponent's carelessness -- freely allowing the appeal to a misunderstood law, in order that he may be in a position to establish his own unrighteous claims by the refutation of that law. Each of the above proofs arises naturally out of the matter in dispute, and no advantage has been taken of the openings afforded by erroneous conclusions arrived at by dogmatists in either party.

I might have made a pretence of establishing the thesis in the usual manner of the dogmatists, by starting from a defective concept of the infinitude of a given magnitude. I might have argued that a magnitude is infinite if a greater than itself, as determined by the multiplicity of given units which it [400] contains, is not possible. Now no multiplicity is the greatest, since one or more units can always be added to it. Consequently an infinite given magnitude, and therefore an infinite world (infinite as regards the elapsed series or as regards extension) is impossible; it must be limited in both respects. Such is the line that my proof might have followed. But the above concept is not adequate to what we mean by an infinite whole. It does not represent how great it is, and consequently is not the concept of a maximum. Through it we think only its relation to any assignable unit in respect to which it is greater than all number. According as the unit chosen is greater or smaller, the infinite would be greater or smaller. Infinitude, however, as it consists solely in the relation to the given unit, would always remain the same. The absolute magnitude of the whole would not, therefore, be known in this way; indeed, the above [401] concept does not really deal with it.

The true transcendental concept of infinitude is this, that the successive synthesis of units required for the enumeration of a quantum can never be completed.{8} Hence it follows with complete certainty that an eternity of actual successive states leading up to a given (the present) moment cannot have elapsed, and that the world must therefore have a beginning.

In the second part of the thesis the difficulty involved in a series that is infinite and yet has elapsed does not arise, since the manifold of a world which is infinite in respect of extension is given as co-existing. But if we are to think the totality of such a multiplicity, and yet cannot appeal to limits that of themselves constitute it a totality in intuition, we have to account for a concept which in this case cannot proceed from the whole to the determinate multiplicity of the parts, but which must demonstrate the possibility of a whole by means of the successive synthesis of the parts. Now since this synthesis [402] must constitute a never to be completed series, I cannot think a totality either prior to the synthesis or by means of the synthesis. For the concept of totality is in this case itself the representation of a completed synthesis of the parts. And since this completion is impossible, so likewise is the concept of it.
II. On the Antithesis

The proof of the infinitude of the given world-series and of the world-whole, rests upon the fact that, on the contrary assumption, an empty time and an empty space, must constitute the limit of the world. I am aware that attempts have been made to evade this conclusion by arguing that a limit of the world in time and space is quite possible without our having to make the impossible assumption of an absolute time prior to the beginning of the world, or of an absolute space extending beyond the real world. With the latter part of this doctrine, as held by the philosophers of the Leibnizian school, I am entirely satisfied. Space is merely the form of outer intuition; it is not a real object which can be outwardly intuited; it is not a correlate of the appearances, but the form of the appearances themselves. And since space is thus no object but only the form of possible objects, it cannot be [400] regarded as something absolute in itself that determines the existence of things. Things, as appearances, determine space, that is, of all its possible predicates of magnitude and relation they determine this or that particular one to belong to the real. Space, on the other hand, viewed as a self-subsistent something, is nothing real in itself; and cannot, therefore, determine the magnitude or shape of real things. Space, it further follows, whether full or empty,{7} may be limited by appearances, but appearances cannot be limited by an empty space outside them. This is likewise true of time. But while all this may be granted, it yet cannot be denied that these two non-entities, empty space outside the world and empty time prior to it, have to be assumed if we are to assume a limit to the world in space and in time.

The method of argument which professes to enable us to avoid the above consequence (that of having to [401] assume that if the world has limits in time and space, the infinite void must determine the magnitude in which actual things are to exist) consists in surreptitiously substituting for the sensible world some intelligible world of which we know nothing; for the first beginning (an existence preceded by a time of non-existence) an existence in general which presupposes no other condition whatsoever; and for the limits of extension boundaries of the world-whole -- thus getting rid of time and space. But we are here treating only of the mudus phaenomenon and its magnitude, and cannot therefore abstract from the aforesaid conditions of sensibility without destroying the very being of that world. If the sensible world is limited, it must necessarily lie in the infinite void. If that void, and consequently space in general as a priori condition of the possibility of appearances, be set aside, the entire sensible world vanishes. This world is all that is given us in our problem. The mundus intelligibilis is nothing but the general concept of a [402] world in general, in which abstraction is made from all conditions of its intuition, and in reference to which, therefore, no synthetic proposition, either affirmative or negative, can possibly be asserted.




Every composite substance in the world is made up of simple parts, and nothing anywhere exists save the simple or what is composed of the simple.


Let us assume that composite substances are not made up of simple parts. If all composition be then removed in thought, no composite part, and (since we admit no simple parts) also no simple part, that is to say, nothing at all, will remain, and accordingly no substance will be given. Either, therefore, it is impossible to remove in thought all composition, or after its removal there must remain something which [403] exists without composition, that is, the simple. In the former case the composite would not be made up of substances; composition, as applied to substances, is only an accidental relation in independence of which they must still persist as self-subsistent beings. Since this contradicts our supposition, there remains only the original supposition, that a composite of substances in the world is made up of simple parts.

If follows, as an immediate consequence, that the things in the world are all, without exception, simple beings; that composition is merely an external state of these beings; and that although we can never so isolate these elementary substances as to take them out of this state of composition, reason must think them as the primary subjects of all composition, and therefore, as simple beings, prior to all composition.

No composite thing in the world is made up of simple parts, and there nowhere exists in the world anything simple.


Assume that a composite thing (as substance) is made up of simple parts. Since all external relation, and therefore all composition of substances, is possible only in space, a space must be made up of as many parts as are contained in the composite which occupies it. Space, however, is not made up of simple parts, but of spaces. Every part of the composite must therefore occupy a space. But the absolutely first parts [403] of every composite are simple. The simple therefore occupies a space. Now since everything real, which occupies a space, contains in itself a manifold of constituents external to one another, and is therefore composite; and since a real composite is not made up of accidents (for accidents could not exist outside one another, in the absence of substance) but of substances, it follows that the simple would be a composite of substances -- which is self-contradictory.

The second proposition of the antithesis, that nowhere in the world does there exist anything simple, is intended to mean only this, that the existence of the absolutely simple cannot be established by any experience or perception, either outer or inner; and that the absolutely simple is therefore a mere idea, the objective reality of which can never be shown in any possible experience, and which, as being without an object, has no application in the explanation of the appearances. For if we assumed that in experience an object might be found for this transcendental idea, the empirical intuition of such an object [404] would have to be known as one that contains no manifold [factors] external to one another and combined into unity. But since from the non-consciousness of such a manifold we cannot conclude to its complete impossibility in every kind of intuition of an object; and since without such proof absolute simplicity can never be established, it follows that such simplicity cannot be inferred from any perception whatsoever. An absolutely simple object can never be given in any possible experience. And since by the world of sense we must mean the sum of all possible experiences, it follows that nothing simple is to be found anywhere in it.

This second proposition of the antithesis has a much wider application than the first. Whereas the first proposition banishes the simple only from the intuition of the composite, the second excludes it from the whole of nature. Accordingly it has not been possible to prove this second proposition by reference to the concept of a given object of outer intuition (of the composite), but only by reference to its relation to a possible experience in general.



I. On the Thesis

When I speak of a whole as necessarily made up of simple parts I am referring only to a substantial whole that is composite in the strict sense of the term 'composite', that is, to that accidental unity of the manifold which, given as separate (at least in thought), is brought into a mutual connection, and thereby constitutes a unity. Space should properly be called not compositum but totum, since its parts are possible only in the whole, not the whole through the parts. It might, indeed, be called a compositum ideale, but not reale. This, however, is a mere subtlety. Since space is not a composite made up of substances (nor even of real accidents), if I remove all compositeness from it, nothing remains, not even the point. For a point is possible only as the limit of a space, and so of a composite. Space and time do not, therefore, consist of simple parts. What belongs only to the state of a substance, even though it has a magnitude, e.g. alteration, does not consist of the simple; [406] that is to say, a certain degree of alteration does not come about through the accretion of many simple alterations. Our inference from the composite to the simple applies only to self-subsisting things. Accidents of the state [of a thing] are not self-subsisting. Thus the proof of the necessity of the simple, as the constitutive parts of the substantially composite, can easily be upset (and therewith the thesis as a whole), if it be extended too far and in the absence of a limiting qualification be made to apply to everything composite -- as has frequently happened. Moreover I am here speaking only of the simple in so far as it is necessarily given in the composite -- the latter being resolvable into the simple, as its constituent parts. The word monas, in the strict sense in which it is employed by Leibniz, should refer only to the simple which is immediately given as simple substance e.g. in self-consciousness), and not to an element of the composite. This latter is better entitled atomus. As I am seeking to prove the [existence of] simple substances only as elements in the composite, I [407] might entitle the thesis of the second antinomy, transcendental atomistic. But as this word has long been appropriated to signify a particular mode of explaining bodily appearances (moleculae), and therefore presupposes empirical concepts, the thesis may more suitably be entitled the dialectical principle of monadology.
II. On the Antithesis

Against the doctrine of the infinite divisibility of matter, the proof of which is purely mathematical, objections have been raised by the monadists. These objections, however, at once lay the monadists open to suspicion. For however evident mathematical proofs may be, they decline to recognize that the proofs are based upon insight into the constitution of space, in so far as space is in actual fact the formal condition of the possibility of all matter. They regard them merely as inferences from abstract but arbitrary concepts, and so as not being applicable to real things. How can it be possible to invent a different kind of intuition from that given in the original intuition of space, and how can the a priori determinations of space fail to be directly applicable to what is only possible in so far as it fills this space! Were we to give heed to them, then beside the mathematical point, which, while simple, is not a part but only the limit of a space, we should have to conceive physical points as being likewise [406] simple, and yet as having the distinguishing characteristic of being able, as parts of space, to fill space through their mere aggregation. Without repeating the many familiar and conclusive refutations of this absurdity -- it being quite futile to attempt to reason away by sophistical manipulation of purely discursive concepts the evident demonstrated truth of mathematics -- I make only one observation, that when philosophy here plays tricks with mathematics, it does so because it forgets that in this discussion we are concerned only with appearances and their condition. Here it is not sufficient to find for the pure concept of the composite formed by the understanding the concept of the simple; what has to be found is an intuition of the simple for the intuition of the composite (matter). But by the laws of sensibility, and therefore in objects of the senses, this is quite impossible. Though it may be true that when a whole, made up of substances, is thought by the pure understanding alone, we must, prior to all composition of it, have the simple, this does not hold of the [407] totum substantiale phaenomenon which, as empirical intuition in space, carries with it the necessary characteristic that no part of it is simple, because no part of space is simple. The monadists have, indeed, been sufficiently acute to seek escape from this difficulty by refusing to treat space as a condition of the possibility of the objects of outer intuition (bodies), and by taking instead these and the dynamical relation of substances as the condition of the possibility of space. But we have a concept of bodies only as appearances; and as such they necessarily presuppose space as the condition of the possibility of all outer appearance. This evasion of the issue is therefore futile, and has already been sufficiently disposed of in the Transcendental Aesthetic. The argument of the monadists would indeed be valid if bodies were things in themselves.

The second dialectical assertion has this peculiarity, that over against it stands a dogmatic assertion which is the only one of all the pseudo-rational assertions that undertakes to afford manifest evidence, in an empirical [408] object, of the reality of that which we have been ascribing only to transcendental ideas, namely, the absolute simplicity of substance -- I refer to the assertion that the object of inner sense, the 'I' which there thinks, is an absolutely simple substance. Without entering upon this question (it has been fully considered above), I need only remark, that if (as happens in the quite bare representation, 'I') anything is thought as object only, without the addition of any synthetic determination of its intuition, nothing manifold and no compositeness can be perceived in such a representation. Besides, since the predicates through which I think this object are merely intuitions of inner sense, nothing can there be found which shows a manifold [of elements] external to one another, and therefore real compositeness. Self-consciousness is of such a nature that since the subject which thinks is at the same time its own object, it cannot divide itself, though it can divide the determinations which inhere in it; for in regard to itself every object is absolute unity. Nevertheless, when this subject is viewed outwardly, as [409] an object of intuition, it must exhibit [some sort of] compositeness in its appearance; and it must always be viewed in this way if we wish to know whether or not there be in it a manifold [of elements] external to one another.




Causality in accordance with laws of nature is not the only causality from which the appearances of the world can one and all be derived. To explain these appearances it is necessary to assume that there is also another causality, that of freedom.


Let us assume that there is no other causality than that in accordance with laws of nature. This being so, everything which takes place presupposes a preceding state upon which it inevitably follows according to a rule. But the preceding state must itself be something which has taken place (having come to be in a time in which it previously was not); for if it [410] had always existed, its consequence also would have always existed, and would not have only just arisen. The causality of the cause through which something takes place is itself, therefore, something that has taken place, which again presupposes, in accordance with the law of nature, a preceding state and its causality, and this in similar manner a still earlier state, and so on. If, therefore, everything takes place solely in accordance with laws of nature, there will always be only a relative and never a first beginning, and consequently no completeness of the series on the side of the causes that arise the one from the other. But the law of nature is just this, that nothing takes place without a cause sufficiently determined a priori. The proposition that no causality is possible save in accordance with laws of nature, when taken in unlimited universality, is therefore self-contradictory; and this cannot, therefore, be regarded as the sole kind of causality.

We must, then, assume a causality through which something takes place, the cause of which is not itself determined, [411] in accordance with necessary laws, by another cause antecedent to it, that is to say, an absolute spontaneity of the cause, whereby a series of appearances, which proceeds in accordance with laws of nature, begins of itself. This is transcendental freedom, without which, even in the [ordinary] course of nature, the series of appearances on the side of the causes can never be complete.

There is no freedom; everything in the world takes place solely in accordance with laws of nature.


Assume that there is freedom in the transcendental sense, as a special kind of causality in accordance with which the events in the world can have come about, namely, a power of absolutely beginning a state, and therefore also of absolutely beginning a series of consequences of that state; it then follows that not only will a series have its absolute beginning in this spontaneity, but that the very determination of this spontaneity to originate the series, that is to say, the causality itself, will have an absolute beginning; [410] there will be no antecedent through which this act, in taking place, is determined in accordance with fixed laws. But every beginning of action presupposes a state of the not yet acting cause; and a dynamical beginning of the action, if it is also a first beginning, presupposes a state which has no causal connection with the preceding state of the cause, that is to say, in nowise follows from it. Transcendental freedom thus stands opposed to the law of causality; and the kind of connection which it assumes as holding between the successive states of the active causes renders all unity of experience impossible. It is not to be met with in any experience, and is therefore an empty thought-entity.

In nature alone, therefore, [not in freedom], must we seek for the connection and order of cosmical events. Freedom (independence) from the laws of nature is no doubt a liberation from compulsion, but also from the guidance [411] of all rules. For it is not permissible to say that the laws of freedom enter into the causality exhibited in the course of nature, and so take the place of natural laws. If freedom were determined in accordance with laws, it would not be freedom; it would simply be nature under another name. Nature and transcendental freedom differ as do conformity to law and lawlessness. Nature does indeed impose upon the understanding the exacting task of always seeking the origin of events ever higher in the series of causes, their causality being always conditioned. But in compensation it holds out the promise of thoroughgoing unity of experience in accordance with laws. The illusion of freedom, on the other hand, offers a point of rest to the enquiring understanding in the chain of causes, conducting it to an unconditioned causality which begins to act of itself. This causality is, however, blind, and abrogates those rules through which alone a completely coherent experience is possible.



I. On the Thesis

The transcendental idea of freedom does not by any means constitute the whole content of the psychological concept of that name, which is mainly empirical. The transcendental idea stands only for the absolute spontaneity of an action, as the proper ground of its imputability. This, however, is, for philosophy, the real stumbling block; for there are insurmountable difficulties in the way of admitting any such type of unconditioned causality. What has always so greatly embarrassed speculative reason in dealing with the question of the freedom of the will, is its strictly transcendental aspect. The problem, properly viewed, is solely this: whether we must admit a power of spontaneously beginning a series of successive things or states. How such a power is possible is not a question which requires to be answered in this case, any more than in regard to causality in accordance with the laws of nature. For, [as we have found], we have to remain satisfied with the [413] a priori knowledge that this latter type of causality must be presupposed; we are not in the least able to comprehend how it can be possible that through one existence the existence of another is determined, and for this reason must be guided by experience alone. The necessity of a first beginning, due to freedom, of a series of appearances we have demonstrated only in so far as it is required to make an origin of the world conceivable; for all the later following states can be taken as resulting according to purely natural laws. But since the power of spontaneously beginning a series in time is thereby proved (though not understood), it is now also permissible for us to admit within the course of the world different series as capable in their causality of beginning of themselves, and so to attribute to their substances a power of acting from freedom. And we must not allow ourselves to be prevented from drawing this conclusion by a misapprehension, namely that, as a series occurring in the world can have only a relatively first beginning, being always preceded in the world by some other state of things, no [414] absolute first beginning of a series is possible during the course of the world. For the absolutely first beginning of which we are here speaking is not a beginning in time, but in causality. If, for instance, I at this moment arise from my chair, in complete freedom, without being necessarily determined thereto by the influence of natural causes, a new series, with all its natural consequences in infinitum, has its absolute beginning in this event, although as regards time this event is only the continuation of a preceding series. For this resolution and act of mine do not form part of the succession of purely natural effects, and are not a mere continuation of them. In respect of its happening, natural causes exercise over it no determining influence whatsoever. It does indeed follow upon them, but without arising out of them; and accordingly, in respect of causality though not of time, must be entitled an absolutely first beginning of a series of appearances.

This requirement of reason, that we appeal in the series of natural causes to a first beginning, due to freedom, is amply confirmed when we observe that all the philosophers [415] of antiquity, with the sole exception of the Epicurean School, felt themselves obliged, when explaining cosmical movements, to assume a prime mover, that is, a freely acting cause, which first and of itself began this series of states. They made no attempt to render a first beginning conceivable through nature's own resources.
II. On the Antithesis

The defender of an omnipotent nature (transcendental physiocracy), in maintaining his position against the pseudo-rational arguments offered in support of the counter-doctrine of freedom, would argue as follows. If you do not, as regards time, admit anything as being mathematically first in the world, there is no necessity, as regards causality, for seeking something that is dynamically first. What authority have you for inventing an absolutely first state of the world, and therefore an absolute beginning of the ever flowing series of appearances, and so of procuring a resting place for your imagination by setting bounds to limitless nature? Since the substances in the world have always existed -- at least the unity of experience renders necessary such a supposition -- there is no difficulty in assuming that change of their states, that is, a series of their alterations, has likewise always existed, and therefore that a first beginning, whether mathematical or dynamical, is not to be [413] looked for. The possibility of such an infinite derivation, without a first member to which all the rest is merely a sequel, cannot indeed, in respect of its possibility, be rendered comprehensible. But if for this reason you refuse to recognize this enigma in nature, you will find yourself compelled to reject many fundamental synthetic properties and forces, which as little admit of comprehension. The possibility even of alteration itself would have to be denied. For were you not assured by experience that alteration actually occurs, you would never be able to excogitate a priori the possibility of such a ceaseless sequence of being and not-being.

Even if a transcendental power of freedom be allowed, as supplying a beginning of happenings in the world, this power would in any case have to be outside the world (though any such assumption that over and above the sum of all possible intuitions there exists an object which cannot be given in any possible perception, is still a very bold one). But to ascribe to substances in the world itself such a power, can never be permissible; for, should this [414] be done, that connection of appearances determining one another with necessity according to universal laws, which we entitle nature, and with it the criterion of empirical truth, whereby experience is distinguished from dreaming, would almost entirely disappear. Side by side with such a lawless faculty of freedom, nature [as an ordered system] is hardly thinkable; the influences of the former would so unceasingly alter the laws of the latter that the appearances which in their natural course are regular and uniform would be reduced to disorder and incoherence.




There belongs to the world, either as its part or as its cause, a being that is absolutely necessary.


The sensible world, as the sum-total of all appearances, contains a series of alterations. For without such a series even the representation of serial time, as a condition of the possibility of the sensible world, would not be given us.{9} But every alteration stands under its condition, which precedes it in time and renders [416] it necessary. Now every conditioned that is given presupposes, in respect of its existence, a complete series of conditions up to the unconditioned, which alone is absolutely necessary. Alteration thus existing as a consequence of the absolutely necessary, the existence of something absolutely necessary must be granted. But this necessary existence itself belongs to the sensible world. For if it existed outside that world, the series of alterations in the world would derive its beginning from a necessary cause which would not itself belong to the sensible world. This, however, is impossible. For since the beginning of a series in time can be determined only by that which precedes it in time, the highest condition of the beginning of a series of changes must exist in the time when the series as yet was not (for a beginning is an existence preceded by a time in which the thing that begins did not yet exist). Accordingly the causality of the necessary cause of [417] alterations, and therefore the cause itself, must belong to time and so to appearance -- time being possible only as the form of appearance. Such causality cannot, therefore, be thought apart from that sum of all appearances which constitutes the world of sense. Something absolutely necessary is therefore contained in the world itself, whether this something be the whole series of alterations in the world or a part of the series.

An absolutely necessary being nowhere exists in the world, nor does it exist outside the world as its cause.


If we assume that the world itself is necessary, or that a necessary being exists in it, there are then two alternatives. Either there is a beginning in the series of alterations which is absolutely necessary, and therefore without a cause, or the series itself is without any beginning, and although contingent and [416] conditioned in all its parts, none the less, as a whole, is absolutely necessary and unconditioned. The former alternative, however, conflicts with the dynamical law of the determination of all appearances in time; and the latter alternative contradicts itself, since the existence of a series cannot be necessary if no single member of it is necessary.

If, on the other hand, we assume that an absolutely necessary cause of the world exists outside the world, then this cause, as the highest member in the series of the causes of changes in the world, must begin the existence of the latter and their series.{10} Now this cause must itself begin to act, and its causality would therefore be in time, and so would belong to the sum of appearances, that is, to the world. It follows that it itself, the cause, would not be outside the world -- which contradicts our hypothesis. Therefore neither in the world, nor outside the world (though in causal connection [417] with it), does there exist any absolutely necessary being.


I. On the Thesis

In proving the existence of a necessary being I ought not, in this connection, to employ any but the cosmological argument, that, namely, which ascends from the conditioned in the [field of] appearance to the unconditioned in concept, this latter being regarded as the necessary condition of the absolute totality of the series. To seek proof of this 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, in demonstrating the existence of a necessary being, [418] has to leave unsettled whether this being is the world itself or a thing distinct from it. To establish the latter view, we should require principles which are no longer cosmological and do not continue in the series of appearances. For we should have to employ concepts of contingent beings in general (viewed as objects of the understanding alone) and a principle which will enable us to connect these, by means of mere concepts, with a necessary being. But all this belongs to a transcendent philosophy; and that we are not yet in a position to discuss.

If we begin our proof cosmologically, resting it upon the series of appearances and the regress therein according to empirical laws of causality, we must not afterwards suddenly deviate from this mode of argument, passing over to something that is not a member of the series. Anything taken as condition must be viewed precisely in the same manner in which we viewed the relation of the conditioned to its condition in the series which is supposed to carry us by continuous advance to the supreme condition. If, then, this relation is [419] sensible and falls within the province of the possible empirical employment of understanding, the highest condition or cause can bring the regress to a close only in accordance with the laws of sensibility, and therefore only in so far as it itself belongs to the temporal series. The necessary being must therefore be regarded as the highest member of the cosmical series.

Nevertheless certain thinkers have allowed themselves the liberty of making such a saltus (metabasis eis allo genos. From the alterations in the world they have inferred their empirical contingency, that is, their dependence on empirically determining causes, and so have obtained an ascending series of empirical conditions. And so far they were entirely in the right. But since they could not find in such a series any first beginning, or any highest member, they passed suddenly from the empirical concept of contingency, and laid hold upon the pure category, which then gave rise to a strictly intelligible series the completeness of which rested on the existence of an absolutely necessary cause. Since this cause [420] was not bound down to any sensible conditions, it was freed from the temporal condition which would require that its causality should itself have a beginning. But such procedure is entirely illegitimate, as may be gathered from what follows.

In the strict meaning of the category, the contingent is so named because its contradictory opposite is possible. Now we cannot argue from empirical contingency to intelligible contingency. When anything is altered, the opposite of its state is actual at another time, and is therefore possible. This present state is not, however, the contradictory opposite of the preceding state. To obtain such a contradictory opposite we require to conceive, that in the same time in which the preceding state was, its opposite could have existed in its place, and this can never be inferred from [the fact of] the alteration. A body which was in motion (= A) comes to rest (= non-A). Now from the fact that a state opposite to the state A follows upon the state A, we cannot argue that the contradictory opposite of A is possible, and that A is therefore contingent. To prove such a [421] conclusion, it would have to be shown that in place of the motion, and at the time at which it occurred, there could have been rest. All that we know is that rest was real in the time that followed upon the motion, and was therefore likewise possible. Motion at one time and rest at another time are not related as contradictory opposites. Accordingly the succession of opposite determinations, that is, alteration, in no way establishes contingency of the type represented in the concepts of pure understanding; and cannot therefore carry us to the existence of a necessary being, similarly conceived in purely intelligible terms. Alteration proves only empirical contingency; that is, that the new state, in the absence of a cause which belongs to the preceding time, could never of itself have taken place. Such is the condition prescribed by the law of causality. This cause, even if it be viewed as absolutely necessary, must be such as can be thus met with in time, and must belong to the series of appearances.
II. On the Antithesis

The difficulties in the way of asserting the existence of an absolutely necessary highest cause, which we suppose ourselves to meet as we ascend in the series of appearances, cannot be such as arise in connection with mere concepts of the necessary existence of a thing in general. The difficulties are not, therefore, ontological, but must concern the causal connection of a series of appearances for which a condition has to be assumed that is itself unconditioned, and so must be cosmological, and relate to empirical laws. It must be shown that regress in the [418] series of causes (in the sensible world) can never terminate in an empirically unconditioned condition, and that the cosmological argument from the contingency of states of the world, as evidenced by their alterations, does not support the assumption of a first and absolutely originative cause of the series.

A strange situation is disclosed in this antinomy. From the same ground on which, in the thesis, the existence of an original being was inferred, its non-existence is inferred in the antithesis, and this with equal stringency. We were first assured that a necessary being exists because the whole of past time comprehends the series of all conditions and therefore also the unconditioned (that is, the necessary); we are now assured that there is no necessary being, and precisely for the reason that the whole of past time comprehends the series of all conditions (which therefore are one and all themselves conditioned). The explanation is this. The former argument takes account only of the absolute totality of the series of conditions determining each other in time, [419] and so reaches what is unconditioned and necessary. The latter argument, on the other hand, takes into consideration the contingency of everything which is determined in the temporal series (everything being preceded by a time in which the condition must itself again be determined as conditioned), and from this point of view everything unconditioned and all absolute necessity completely vanish. Nevertheless, the method of argument in both cases is entirely in conformity even with ordinary human reason, which frequently falls into conflict with itself through considering its object from two different points of view. M. de Mairan regarded the controversy between two famous astronomers, which arose from a similar difficulty in regard to choice of standpoint, as a sufficiently remarkable phenomenon to justify his writing a special treatise upon it. The one had argued that the moon revolves on its own axis, because it always turns the same side towards the earth. The other drew the opposite conclusion that the moon does not revolve on its own axis, because it always [420] turns the same side towards the earth. Both inferences were correct, according to the point of view which each chose in observing the moon's motion.



Section 3


We have now completely before us the dialectic play of cosmological ideas. The ideas are such that an object congruent with them can never be given in any possible experience, and that even in thought reason is unable to bring them into harmony with the universal laws of nature. Yet they are not arbitrarily conceived. Reason, in the continuous advance of empirical synthesis, is necessarily led up to them whenever it endeavors to free from all conditions and apprehend in its unconditioned totality that which according to the rules of experience can never be determined save as conditioned. These pseudo-rational assertions are so many attempts to solve four natural and unavoidable problems of reason. There are just so many, neither more nor fewer, owing to the fact that there are just four series of synthetic presuppositions which impose a priori limitations on the empirical synthesis.

The proud pretensions of reason, when it strives to extend its domain beyond all limits of experience, we have represented only in dry formulas that contain merely the ground of their legal claims. As befits a transcendental philosophy, they have been divested of all empirical features, although only in connection therewith can their full splendor be displayed. But in this empirical application, and in the progressive extension of the employment of reason, philosophy, beginning with the field of our experiences and steadily soaring to these lofty ideas, displays a dignity and worth such that, could it but make good its pretensions, it would leave all other human science far behind. For it promises a secure foundation for our highest expectations in respect of those ultimate ends towards which all the endeavors of reason must ultimately converge. Whether the world has a beginning [in time] and any limit to its extension in space; whether there is anywhere, and perhaps in my thinking self, an indivisible and indestructible unity, or nothing but what is divisible and transitory; whether I am free in my actions or, like other beings, am led by the hand of [423] nature and of fate; whether finally there is a supreme cause of the world, or whether the things of nature and their order must as the ultimate object terminate thought -- an object that even in our speculations can never be transcended: these are questions for the solution of which the mathematician would gladly exchange the whole of his science. For mathematics can yield no satisfaction in regard to those highest ends that most closely concern humanity. And yet the very dignity of mathematics (that pride of human reason) rests upon this, that it guides reason to knowledge of nature in its order and regularity -- alike in what is great in it and in what is small -- and in the extraordinary unity of its moving forces, thus rising to a degree of insight far beyond what any philosophy based on ordinary experience would lead us to expect; and so gives occasion and encouragement to an employment of reason that is extended beyond all experience, and at the same time supplies it with the most excellent materials for supporting its investigations -- so far as the character of these permits -- by appropriate intuitions.

Unfortunately for speculation, though fortunately perhaps for the practical interests of humanity, reason, in the midst of its highest expectations, finds itself so compromised by the conflict of opposing arguments, that neither its honor nor its security allows it to withdraw and treat the quarrel with indifference as a mere mock fight; and still less is it in a position to command peace, being itself directly interested in the matters in dispute. Accordingly, nothing remains for reason save to consider whether the origin of this conflict, whereby it is divided against itself, may not have arisen from a mere misunderstanding. In such an enquiry both parties, per chance, may have to sacrifice proud claims; but a lasting and peaceful reign of reason over understanding and the senses would thereby be inaugurated.

For the present we shall defer this thorough enquiry, in order first of all to consider upon which side we should prefer to fight, should we be compelled to make choice between the opposing parties. The raising of this question, how we should proceed if we consulted only our interest and not the logical criterion of truth, will decide nothing in regard to [424] the contested rights of the two parties, but has this advantage, that it enables us to comprehend why the participants in this quarrel, though not influenced by any superior insight into the matter under dispute, have preferred to fight on one side rather than on the other. It will also cast light on a number of incidental points, for instance, the passionate zeal of the one party and the calm assurance of the other; and will explain why the world hails the one with eager approval, and is implacably prejudiced against the other.

Comparison of the principles which form the starting-points of the two parties is what enables us, as we shall find, to determine the standpoint from which alone this preliminary enquiry can be carried out with the required thoroughness. In the assertions of the antithesis we observe a perfect uniformity in manner of thinking and complete unity of maxims, namely a principle of pure empiricism, applied not only in explanation of the appearances within the world, but also in the solution of the transcendental ideas of the world itself, in its totality. The assertions of the thesis, on the other hand, presuppose, in addition to the empirical mode of explanation employed within the series of appearances, intelligible beginnings; and to this extent its maxim is complex. But as its essential and distinguishing characteristic is the presupposition of intelligible beginnings, I shall entitle it the dogmatism of pure reason.

In the determination of the cosmological ideas, we find on the side of dogmatism, that is, of the thesis:

First, a certain practical interest in which every right-thinking man, if he has understanding of what truly concerns him, heartily shares. That the world has a beginning, that my thinking self is of simple and therefore indestructible nature, that it is free in its voluntary actions and raised above the compulsion of nature, and finally that all order in the things constituting the world is due to a primordial being, from which everything derives its unity and purposive connection -- these are so many foundation stones of morals and religion. The antithesis robs us of all these supports, or at least appears to do so.

Secondly, reason has a speculative interest on the side of [425] the thesis. When the transcendental ideas are postulated and employed in the manner prescribed by the thesis, the entire chain of conditions and the derivation of the conditioned can be grasped completely a priori. For we then start from the unconditioned. This is not done by the antithesis, which for this reason is at a very serious disadvantage. To the question as to the conditions of its synthesis it can give no answer which does not lead to the endless renewal of the same enquiry. According to the antithesis, every given beginning compels us to advance to one still higher; every part leads to a still smaller part; every event is preceded by another event as its cause; and the conditions of existence in general rest always again upon other conditions, without ever obtaining unconditioned footing and support in any self-subsistent thing, viewed as primordial being.

Thirdly, the thesis has also the advantage of popularity; and this certainly forms no small part of its claim to favor. The common understanding finds not the least difficulty in the idea of the unconditioned beginning of all synthesis. Being more accustomed to descend to consequences than to ascend to grounds, it does not puzzle over the possibility of the absolutely first; on the contrary, it finds comfort in such concepts, and at the same time a fixed point to which the thread by which it guides its movements can be attached. In the restless ascent from the conditioned to the condition, always with one foot in the air, there can be no satisfaction.

In the determination of the cosmological ideas we find on the side of empiricism, that is, of the antithesis: first, no such practical interest (due to pure principles of reason) as is provided for the thesis by morals and religion. On the contrary, pure empiricism appears to deprive them of all power and influence. If there is no primordial being distinct from the world, if the world is without beginning and therefore without an Author, if our will is not free, and the soul is divisible and perishable like matter, moral ideas and principles lose all validity, and share in the fate of the transcendental ideas which served as their theoretical support.

But secondly, in compensation, empiricism yields advantages to the speculative interest of reason, which are very [426] attractive and far surpass those which dogmatic teaching bearing on the ideas of reason can offer. According to the principle of empiricism the understanding is always on its own proper ground, namely, the field of genuinely possible experiences, investigating their laws, and by means of these laws affording indefinite extension to the sure and comprehensible knowledge which it supplies. Here every object, both in itself and in its relations, can and ought to be represented in intuition, or at least in concepts for which the corresponding images can be clearly and distinctly provided in given similar intuitions. There is no necessity to leave the chain of the natural order and to resort to ideas, the objects of which are not known, because, as mere thought-entities, they can never be given. Indeed, the understanding is not permitted to leave its proper business, and under the pretence of having brought it to completion to pass over into the sphere of idealizing reason and of transcendent concepts -- a sphere in which it is no longer necessary for it to observe and investigate in accordance with the laws of nature, but only to think and to invent in the assurance that it cannot be refuted by the facts of nature, not being bound by the evidence which they yield, but presuming to pass them by or even to subordinate them to a higher authority, namely, that of pure reason.

The empiricist will never allow, therefore, that any epoch of nature is to be taken as the absolutely first, or that any limit of his insight into the extent of nature is to be regarded as the widest possible. Nor does he permit any transition from the objects of nature -- which he can analyze through observation and mathematics, and synthetically determine in intuition (the extended) -- to those which neither sense nor imagination can ever represent in concreto (the simple). Nor will he admit the legitimacy of assuming in nature itself any power that operates independently of the laws of nature (freedom), and so of encroaching upon the business of the understanding, which is that of investigating, according to necessary rules, the origin of appearances. And, lastly, he will not grant that a cause ought ever to be sought outside nature, in an original being. We know nothing but nature, since it alone can present objects to us and instruct us in regard to their laws. [427]

If the empirical philosopher had no other purpose in propounding his antithesis than to subdue the rashness and presumption of those who so far misconstrue the true vocation of reason as to boast of insight and knowledge just where true insight and knowledge cease, and to represent as furthering speculative interests that which is valid only in relation to practical interests (in order, as may suit their convenience, to break the thread of physical enquiries, and then under the pretence of extending knowledge to fasten it to transcendental ideas, through which we really know only that we know nothing); if, I say, the empiricist were satisfied with this, his principle would be a maxim urging moderation in our pretensions, modesty in our assertions, and yet at the same time the greatest possible extension of our understanding, through the teacher fittingly assigned to us, namely, through experience. If such were our procedure, we should not be cut off from employing intellectual presuppositions and faith on behalf of our practical interest; only they could never be permitted to assume the title and dignity of science and rational insight. Knowledge, which as such is speculative, can have no other object than that supplied by experience; if we transcend the limits thus imposed, the synthesis which seeks, independently of experience, new species of knowledge, lacks that substratum of intuition upon which alone it can be exercised.

But when empiricism itself, as frequently happens, becomes dogmatic in its attitude towards ideas, and confidently denies whatever lies beyond the sphere of its intuitive knowledge, it betrays the same lack of modesty; and this is all the more reprehensible owing to the irreparable injury which is thereby caused to the practical interests of reason.

The contrast between the teaching of Epicurus{11} and that of Plato is of this nature. [428]

Each of the two types of philosophy says more than it knows. The former encourages and furthers knowledge, though to the prejudice of the practical; the latter supplies excellent practical principles, but it permits reason to indulge in ideal explanations of natural appearances, in regard to which a speculative knowledge is alone possible to us -- to the neglect of physical investigation.

Finally, as regards the third factor which has to be considered in a preliminary choice between the two conflicting parties, it is extremely surprising that empiricism should be so universally unpopular. The common understanding, it might be supposed, would eagerly adopt a programme which promises to satisfy it through exclusively empirical knowledge and the rational connections there revealed -- in preference to the transcendental dogmatism which compels it to rise to concepts far outstripping the insight and rational faculties of the most practiced thinkers. But this is precisely what commends such dogmatism to the common understanding. For it then finds itself in a position in which the most learned can claim no advantage over it. If it understands little or nothing about these matters, no one can boast of understanding much more; and though in regard to them it cannot express itself in so scholastically correct a manner as those with special training, nevertheless there is no end to the plausible arguments which it can propound, wandering as it does amidst mere ideas, about which no one knows anything, and in regard to which it is therefore free to be as eloquent as it pleases; [429] whereas when matters that involve the investigation of nature are in question, it has to stand silent and to admit its ignorance. Thus indolence and vanity combine in sturdy support of these principles. Besides, although the philosopher finds it extremely hard to accept a principle for which he can give no justification, still more to employ concepts the objective reality of which he is unable to establish, nothing is more usual in the case of the common understanding. It insists upon having something from which it can make a confident start. The difficulty of even conceiving this presupposed starting-point does not disquiet it. Since it is unaware what conceiving really means, it never occurs to it to reflect upon the assumption; it accepts as known whatever is familiar to it through frequent use. For the common understanding, indeed, all speculative interests pale before the practical; and it imagines that it comprehends and knows what its fears or hopes incite it to assume or to believe. Thus empiricism is entirely devoid of the popularity of transcendentally idealizing reason; and however prejudicial such empiricism may be to the highest practical principles, there is no need to fear that it will ever pass the limits of the Schools, and acquire any considerable influence in the general life or any real favor among the multitude.

Human reason is by nature architectonic. That is to say, it regards all our knowledge as belonging to a possible system, and therefore allows only such principles as do not at any rate make it impossible for any knowledge that we may attain to combine into a system with other knowledge. But the propositions of the antithesis are of such a kind that they render the completion of the edifice of knowledge quite impossible. They maintain that there is always to be found beyond every state of the world a more ancient state, in every part yet other parts similarly divisible, prior to every event still another event which itself again is likewise generated, and that in existence in general everything is conditioned, an unconditioned and first existence being nowhere discernible. Since, therefore, the antithesis thus refuses to admit as first or as a beginning anything that could serve as a foundation for building, a [430] complete edifice of knowledge is, on such assumptions, altogether impossible. Thus the architectonic interest of reason -- the demand not for empirical but for pure a priori unity of reason -- forms a natural recommendation for the assertions of the thesis.

If men could free themselves from all such interests, and consider the assertions of reason irrespective of their consequences, solely in view of the intrinsic force of their grounds, and were the only way of escape from their perplexities to give adhesion to one or other of the opposing parties, their state would be one of continuous vacillation. To-day it would be their conviction that the human will is free; to-morrow, dwelling in reflection upon the indissoluble chain of nature, they would hold that freedom is nothing but self-deception, that everything is simply nature. If, however, they were summoned to action, this play of the merely speculative reason would, like a dream, at once cease, and they would choose their principles exclusively in accordance with practical interests. Since, however, it is fitting that a reflective and enquiring being should devote a certain amount of time to the examination of his own reason, entirely divesting himself of all partiality and openly submitting his observations to the judgment of others, no one can be blamed for, much less prohibited from, presenting for trial the two opposing parties, leaving them, terrorized by no threats, to defend themselves as best they can, before a jury of like standing with themselves, that is, before a jury of fallible men.


Section 4


To profess to solve all problems and to answer all questions would be impudent boasting, and would argue such extravagant self-conceit as at once to forfeit all confidence. Nevertheless there are sciences the very nature of which requires that every question arising within their domain should be completely [431] answerable in terms of what is known, inasmuch as the answer must issue from the same sources from which the question proceeds. In these sciences it is not permissible to plead unavoidable ignorance; the solution can be demanded. We must be able, in every possible case, in accordance with a rule, to know what is right and what is wrong, since this concerns our obligation, and we have no obligation to that which we cannot know. In the explanation of natural appearances, on the other hand, much must remain uncertain and many questions insoluble, because what we know of nature is by no means sufficient, in all cases, to account for what has to be explained. The question, therefore, is whether in transcendental philosophy there is any question relating to an object presented to pure reason which is unanswerable by this reason, and whether we may rightly excuse ourselves from giving a decisive answer. In thus excusing ourselves, we should have to show that any knowledge which we can acquire still leaves us in complete uncertainty as to what should be ascribed to the object, and that while we do indeed have a concept sufficient to raise a question, we are entirely lacking in materials or power to answer the same.

Now I maintain that transcendental philosophy is unique in the whole field of speculative knowledge, in that no question which concerns an object given to pure reason can be insoluble for this same human reason, and that no excuse of an unavoidable ignorance, or of the problem's unfathomable depth, can release us from the obligation to answer it thoroughly and completely. That very concept which puts us in a position to ask the question must also qualify us to answer it, since, as in the case of right and wrong, the object is not to be met with outside the concept.

In transcendental philosophy, however, the only questions to which we have the right to demand a sufficient answer bearing on the constitution of the object, and from answering which the philosopher is not permitted to excuse himself on the plea of their impenetrable obscurity, are the cosmological. These questions [bearing on the constitution of the object] must refer exclusively to cosmological ideas. For the object must be given empirically, the question being only as to its conformity to an idea. If, on the other hand, the object is [432] transcendental, and therefore itself unknown; if, for instance, the question be whether that something, the appearance of which (in ourselves) is thought (soul), is in itself a simple being, whether there is an absolutely necessary cause of all things, and so forth, what we have then to do is in each case to seek an object for our idea; and we may well confess that this object is unknown to us, though not therefore impossible.{12} The cosmological ideas alone have the peculiarity that they can presuppose their object, and the empirical synthesis required for its concept, as being given. The question which arises out of these ideas refers only to the advance in this synthesis, that is, whether it should be carried so far as to contain absolute totality -- such totality, since it cannot be given in any experience, being no longer empirical. Since we are here dealing solely with a thing as object of a possible experience, not as a thing in itself, the answer to the transcendent cosmological question cannot lie anywhere save in the idea. We are not asking what is the constitution of any object in itself, nor as regards possible experience are we enquiring what can be given in concreto in any experience. Our sole question is as to what lies in the idea, to which the empirical synthesis can do no more than merely approximate; the question must therefore be capable of being solved entirely from the idea. Since the idea is a mere creature of reason, reason cannot disclaim its responsibility and saddle it upon the unknown object. [433]

It is not so extraordinary as at first seems the case, that a science should be in a position to demand and expect none but assured answers to all the questions within its domain (quaestiones domesticae), although up to the present they have perhaps not been found. In addition to transcendental philosophy, there are two pure rational sciences, one purely speculative, the other with a practical content, namely, pure mathematics and pure ethics. Has it ever been suggested that, because of our necessary ignorance of the conditions, it must remain uncertain what exact relation, in rational or irrational numbers, a diameter bears to a circle? Since no adequate solution in terms of rational numbers is possible, and no solution in terms of irrational numbers has yet been discovered, it was concluded that at least the impossibility of a solution can be known with certainty, and of this impossibility Lambert has given the required proof. In the universal principles of morals nothing can be uncertain, because the principles are either altogether void and meaningless, or must be derived from the concepts of our reason. In natural science, on the other hand, there is endless conjecture, and certainty is not to be counted upon. For the natural appearances are objects which are given to us independently of our concepts, and the key to them lies not in us and our pure thinking, but outside us; and therefore in many cases, since the key is not to be found, an assured solution is not to be expected. I am not, of course, here referring to those questions of the Transcendental Analytic which concern the deduction of our pure knowledge; we are at present treating only of the certainty of judgments with respect to their objects and not with respect to the source of our concepts themselves.

The obligation of an at least critical solution of the questions which reason thus propounds to itself, we cannot, therefore, escape by complaints of the narrow limits of our reason, and by confessing, under the pretext of a humility based on self-knowledge, that it is beyond the power of our reason to determine whether the world exists from eternity or has a beginning; whether cosmical space is filled with beings to infinitude, [434] or is enclosed within certain limits; whether anything in the world is simple, or everything such as to be infinitely divisible; whether there is generation and production through freedom, or whether everything depends on the chain of events in the natural order; and finally whether there exists any being completely unconditioned and necessary in itself, or whether everything is conditioned in its existence and therefore dependent on external things and itself contingent. All these questions refer to an object which can be found nowhere save in our thoughts, namely, to the absolutely unconditioned totality of the synthesis of appearances. If from our own concepts we are unable to assert and determine anything certain, we must not throw the blame upon the object as concealing itself from us. Since such an object is nowhere to be met with outside our idea, it is not possible for it to be given. The cause of failure we must seek in our idea itself. For so long as we obstinately persist in assuming that there is an actual object corresponding to the idea, the problem, as thus viewed, allows of no solution. A clear exposition of the dialectic which lies within our concept itself would soon yield us complete certainty how we ought to judge in reference to such a question.

The pretext that we are unable to obtain certainty in regard to these problems can be at once met with the following question which certainly calls for a clear answer: Whence come those ideas, the solution of which involves us in such difficulty? Is it, perchance, appearances that demand explanation, and do we, in accordance with these ideas, have to seek only the principles or rules of their exposition? Even if we suppose the whole of nature to be spread out before us, and that of all that is presented to our intuition nothing is concealed from our senses and consciousness, yet still through no experience could the object of our ideas be known by us in concreto. For that purpose, in addition to this exhaustive intuition, we should require what is not possible through any empirical knowledge, namely, a completed synthesis and the consciousness of its absolute totality. Accordingly our question does not require to be raised in the explanation of any given appearance, and is therefore not a question which can be regarded as imposed on us by the object itself. The object can never come before us, since it cannot be given through any possible experience. In all [435] possible perceptions we always remain involved in conditions, whether in space or in time, and come upon nothing unconditioned requiring us to determine whether this unconditioned is to be located in an absolute beginning of synthesis, or in an absolute totality of a series that has no beginning. In its empirical meaning, the term 'whole' is always only comparative. The absolute whole of quantity (the universe), the whole of division, of derivation, of the condition of existence in general, with all questions as to whether it is brought about through finite synthesis or through a synthesis requiring infinite extension, have nothing to do with any possible experience. We should not, for instance, in any wise be able to explain the appearances of a body better, or even differently, in assuming that it consisted either of simple or of inexhaustibly composite parts; for neither a simple appearance nor an infinite composition can ever come before us. Appearances demand explanation only so far as the conditions of their explanation are given in perception; but all that may ever be given in this way, when taken together in an absolute whole, is not itself a perception. Yet it is just the explanation of this very whole that is demanded in the transcendental problems of reason.

Thus the solution of these problems can never be found in experience, and this is precisely the reason why we should not say that it is uncertain what should be ascribed to the object [of our idea]. For as our object is only in our brain, and cannot be given outside it, we have only to take care to be at one with ourselves, and to avoid that amphiboly which transforms our idea into a supposed representation of an object that is empirically given and therefore to be known according to the laws of experience. The dogmatic solution is therefore not only uncertain, but impossible. The critical solution, which allows of complete certainty, does not consider the question objectively, but in relation to the foundation of the knowledge upon which the question is based.

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{1} The absolute totality of the series of conditions to a given conditioned is always unconditioned, since outside it there are no further conditions in respect of which it could be conditioned. But this absolute totality of such a series is only an idea, or rather a problematic concept, the possibility of which has to be investigated, especially in regard to the manner in which the unconditioned (the transcendental idea really at issue) is involved therein. [Back]

{2} Nature, taken adjectivally (formaliter), signifies the connection of the determinations of a thing according to an inner principle of causality. By nature, on the other hand, taken substantivally (materialiter), is meant the sum of appearances in so far as they stand, in virtue of an inner principle of causality, in thoroughgoing interconnection. In the first sense we speak of the nature of fluid matter, of fire, etc. The word is then employed in an adjectival manner. When, on the other hand, we speak of the things of nature, we have in mind a self-subsisting whole. [Back]

{3} The antinomies follow one another in the order of the transcendental ideas above enumerated.[Back]

{4} An indeterminate quantum can be intuited as a whole when it is such that though enclosed within limits we do not require to construct its totality through measurement, that is, through the successive synthesis of its parts. For the limits, in cutting off anything further, themselves determine its completeness. [Back]

{5} The concept of totality is in this case simply the representation of the completed synthesis of its parts; for, since we cannot obtain the concept from the intuition of the whole -- that being in this case impossible -- we can apprehend it only through the synthesis of the parts viewed as carried, at least in idea, to the completion of the infinite. [Back]

{6} Space is merely the form of outer intuition (formal intuition). It is not a real object which can be outwardly intuited. Space, as prior to all things which determine (occupy or limit) it, or rather which give an empirical intuition in accordance with its form, is, under the name of absolute space, nothing but the mere possibility of outer appearances in so far as they either exist in themselves or can be added to given appearances. Empirical intuition is not, therefore, a composite of appearances and space (of perception and empty intuition). The one is not the correlate of the other in a synthesis; they are connected in one and the same empirical intuition as matter and form of the intuition. If we attempt to set one of these two factors outside the other, space outside all appearances, there arise all sorts of empty determinations of outer intuition, which yet are not possible perceptions. For example, a determination of the relation of the motion (or rest) of the world to infinite empty space is a determination which can never be perceived, and is therefore the predicate of a mere thought-entity. [Back]

{7} It will be evident that what we here desire to say is that empty space, so far as it is limited by appearances, that is, empty space within the world, is at least not contradictory of transcendental principles and may therefore, so far as they are concerned, be admitted. This does not, however, amount to an assertion of its possibility. [Back]

{8} This quantum therefore contains a quantity (of given units) which is greater than any number -- which is the mathematical concept of the infinite. [Back]

{9} Time, as the formal condition of the possibility of changes, is indeed objectively prior to them; subjectively, however, in actual consciousness, the representation of time, like every other, is given only in connection with perceptions. [Back]

{10} The word 'begin' is taken in two senses; first as active, signifying that as cause it begins (infit) a series of states which is its effect; secondly as passive, signifying the causality which begins to operate (fit) in the cause itself. I reason here from the former to the latter meaning. [Back]

{11} It is, however, open to question whether Epicurus ever propounded these principles as objective assertions. If perhaps they were for him nothing more than maxims for the speculative employment of reason, then he showed in this regard a more genuine philosophical spirit than any other of the philosophers of antiquity. That, in explaining the appearances, we must proceed as if the field of our enquiry were not circumscribed by any limit or beginning of the world; that we must assume the material composing the world to be such as it must be if we are to learn about it from experience; that we must postulate no other mode of the production of events than one which will enable them to be [regarded as] determined through unalterable laws of nature; and finally that no use must be made of any cause distinct from the world -- all these principles still [retain their value]. They are very sound principles (though seldom observed) for extending the scope of speculative philosophy, while at the same time [enabling us] to discover the principles of morality without depending for this discovery upon alien [i.e. non-moral, theoretical] sources; and it does not follow in the least that those who require us, so long as we are occupied with mere speculation, to ignore these dogmatic propositions [that there is a limit and beginning to the world, a Divine Cause, etc. ], can justly be accused of wishing to deny them. [Back]

{12} Although to the question, what is the constitution of a transcendental object, no answer can be given stating what it is, we can yet reply that the question itself is nothing, because there is no given object [corresponding] to it. Accordingly all questions dealt with in the transcendental doctrine of the soul are answerable in this latter manner, and have indeed been so answered; its questions refer to the transcendental subject of all inner appearances, which is not itself appearance and consequently not given as object, and in which none of the categories (and it is to them that the question is really directed) meet with the conditions required for their application. We have here a case where the common saying holds, that no answer is itself an answer. A question as to the constitution of that something which cannot be thought through any determinate predicate -- inasmuch as it is completely outside the sphere of those objects which can be given to us -- is entirely null and void. [Back]

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