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The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant

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the functions of reason.

Reason, considered as the faculty of a certain logical form of
cognition, is the faculty of conclusion, that is, of mediate
judgement--by means of the subsumption of the condition of a possible
judgement under the condition of a given judgement. The given judgement
is the general rule (major). The subsumption of the condition of
another possible judgement under the condition of the rule is the
minor. The actual judgement, which enounces the assertion of the rule
in the subsumed case, is the conclusion (conclusio). The rule
predicates something generally under a certain condition. The condition
of the rule is satisfied in some particular case. It follows that what
was valid in general under that condition must also be considered as
valid in the particular case which satisfies this condition. It is very
plain that reason attains to a cognition, by means of acts of the
understanding which constitute a series of conditions. When I arrive at
the proposition, "All bodies are changeable," by beginning with the
more remote cognition (in which the conception of body does not appear,
but which nevertheless contains the condition of that conception), "All
compound is changeable," by proceeding from this to a less remote
cognition, which stands under the condition of the former, "Bodies are
compound," and hence to a third, which at length connects for me the
remote cognition (changeable) with the one before me, "Consequently,
bodies are changeable"--I have arrived at a cognition (conclusion)
through a series of conditions (premisses). Now every series, whose
exponent (of the categorical or hypothetical judgement) is given, can
be continued; consequently the same procedure of reason conducts us to
the ratiocinatio polysyllogistica, which is a series of syllogisms,
that can be continued either on the side of the conditions (per
prosyllogismos) or of the conditioned (per episyllogismos) to an
indefinite extent.

But we very soon perceive that the chain or series of prosyllogisms,
that is, of deduced cognitions on the side of the grounds or
conditions of a given cognition, in other words, the ascending
series of syllogisms must have a very different relation to the
faculty of reason from that of the descending series, that is, the
progressive procedure of reason on the side of the conditioned by
means of episyllogisms. For, as in the former case the cognition
(conclusio) is given only as conditioned, reason can attain to this
cognition only under the presupposition that all the members of the
series on the side of the conditions are given (totality in the series
of premisses), because only under this supposition is the judgement
we may be considering possible a priori; while on the side of the
conditioned or the inferences, only an incomplete and becoming, and
not a presupposed or given series, consequently only a potential
progression, is cogitated. Hence, when a cognition is contemplated
as conditioned, reason is compelled to consider the series of
conditions in an ascending line as completed and given in their
totality. But if the very same condition is considered at the same
time as the condition of other cognitions, which together constitute
a series of inferences or consequences in a descending line, reason
may preserve a perfect indifference, as to how far this progression
may extend a parte posteriori, and whether the totality of this series
is possible, because it stands in no need of such a series for the
purpose of arriving at the conclusion before it, inasmuch as this
conclusion is sufficiently guaranteed and determined on grounds a
parte priori. It may be the case, that upon the side of the conditions
the series of premisses has a first or highest condition, or it may
not possess this, and so be a parte priori unlimited; but it must,
nevertheless, contain totality of conditions, even admitting that we
never could succeed in completely apprehending it; and the whole
series must be unconditionally true, if the conditioned, which is
considered as an inference resulting from it, is to be held as true.
This is a requirement of reason, which announces its cognition as
determined a priori and as necessary, either in itself--and in this
case it needs no grounds to rest upon--or, if it is deduced, as a
member of a series of grounds, which is itself unconditionally true.

SECTION III. System of Transcendental Ideas.

We are not at present engaged with a logical dialectic, which
makes complete abstraction of the content of cognition and aims only
at unveiling the illusory appearance in the form of syllogisms. Our
subject is transcendental dialectic, which must contain, completely
a priori, the origin of certain cognitions drawn from pure reason,
and the origin of certain deduced conceptions, the object of which
cannot be given empirically and which therefore lie beyond the
sphere of the faculty of understanding. We have observed, from the
natural relation which the transcendental use of our cognition, in
syllogisms as well as in judgements, must have to the logical, that
there are three kinds of dialectical arguments, corresponding to the
three modes of conclusion, by which reason attains to cognitions on
principles; and that in all it is the business of reason to ascend
from the conditioned synthesis, beyond which the understanding never
proceeds, to the unconditioned which the understanding never can

Now the most general relations which can exist in our
representations are: 1st, the relation to the subject; 2nd, the
relation to objects, either as phenomena, or as objects of thought
in general. If we connect this subdivision with the main division,
all the relations of our representations, of which we can form either
a conception or an idea, are threefold: 1. The relation to the
subject; 2. The relation to the manifold of the object as a
phenomenon; 3. The relation to all things in general.

Now all pure conceptions have to do in general with the
synthetical unity of representations; conceptions of pure reason
(transcendental ideas), on the other hand, with the unconditional
synthetical unity of all conditions. It follows that all
transcendental ideas arrange themselves in three classes, the first
of which contains the absolute (unconditioned) unity of the thinking
subject, the second the absolute unity of the series of the conditions
of a phenomenon, the third the absolute unity of the condition of
all objects of thought in general.

The thinking subject is the object-matter of Psychology; the sum
total of all phenomena (the world) is the object-matter of
Cosmology; and the thing which contains the highest condition of the
possibility of all that is cogitable (the being of all beings) is
the object-matter of all Theology. Thus pure reason presents us with
the idea of a transcendental doctrine of the soul (psychologia
rationalis), of a transcendental science of the world (cosmologia
rationalis), and finally of a transcendental doctrine of God
(theologia transcendentalis). Understanding cannot originate even
the outline of any of these sciences, even when connected with the
highest logical use of reason, that is, all cogitable syllogisms-
for the purpose of proceeding from one object (phenomenon) to all
others, even to the utmost limits of the empirical synthesis. They
are, on the contrary, pure and genuine products, or problems, of
pure reason.

What modi of the pure conceptions of reason these transcendental
ideas are will be fully exposed in the following chapter. They
follow the guiding thread of the categories. For pure reason never
relates immediately to objects, but to the conceptions of these
contained in the understanding. In like manner, it will be made
manifest in the detailed explanation of these ideas--how reason,
merely through the synthetical use of the same function which it
employs in a categorical syllogism, necessarily attains to the
conception of the absolute unity of the thinking subject--how the
logical procedure in hypothetical ideas necessarily produces the
idea of the absolutely unconditioned in a series of given
conditions, and finally--how the mere form of the disjunctive
syllogism involves the highest conception of a being of all beings:
a thought which at first sight seems in the highest degree

An objective deduction, such as we were able to present in the
case of the categories, is impossible as regards these
transcendental ideas. For they have, in truth, no relation to any
object, in experience, for the very reason that they are only ideas.
But a subjective deduction of them from the nature of our reason is
possible, and has been given in the present chapter.

It is easy to perceive that the sole aim of pure reason is the
absolute totality of the synthesis on the side of the conditions,
and that it does not concern itself with the absolute completeness
on the Part of the conditioned. For of the former alone does she stand
in need, in order to preposit the whole series of conditions, and thus
present them to the understanding a priori. But if we once have a
completely (and unconditionally) given condition, there is no
further necessity, in proceeding with the series, for a conception
of reason; for the understanding takes of itself every step
downward, from the condition to the conditioned. Thus the
transcendental ideas are available only for ascending in the series
of conditions, till we reach the unconditioned, that is, principles.
As regards descending to the conditioned, on the other hand, we find
that there is a widely extensive logical use which reason makes of
the laws of the understanding, but that a transcendental use thereof
is impossible; and that when we form an idea of the absolute totality
of such a synthesis, for example, of the whole series of all future
changes in the world, this idea is a mere ens rationis, an arbitrary
fiction of thought, and not a necessary presupposition of reason.
For the possibility of the conditioned presupposes the totality of
its conditions, but not of its consequences. Consequently, this conception
is not a transcendental idea--and it is with these alone that we are
at present occupied.

Finally, it is obvious that there exists among the transcendental
ideas a certain connection and unity, and that pure reason, by means
of them, collects all its cognitions into one system. From the
cognition of self to the cognition of the world, and through these
to the supreme being, the progression is so natural, that it seems
to resemble the logical march of reason from the premisses to the
conclusion.* Now whether there lies unobserved at the foundation of
these ideas an analogy of the same kind as exists between the
logical and transcendental procedure of reason, is another of those
questions, the answer to which we must not expect till we arrive at
a more advanced stage in our inquiries. In this cursory and
preliminary view, we have, meanwhile, reached our aim. For we have
dispelled the ambiguity which attached to the transcendental
conceptions of reason, from their being commonly mixed up with other
conceptions in the systems of philosophers, and not properly
distinguished from the conceptions of the understanding; we have
exposed their origin and, thereby, at the same time their
determinate number, and presented them in a systematic connection,
and have thus marked out and enclosed a definite sphere for pure reason.

[*Footnote: The science of Metaphysics has for the proper object of
its inquiries only three grand ideas: GOD, FREEDOM, and IMMORTALITY,
and it aims at showing, that the second conception, conjoined with
the first, must lead to the third, as a necessary conclusion. All the
other subjects with which it occupies itself, are merely means for
the attainment and realization of these ideas. It does not require
these ideas for the construction of a science of nature, but, on the
contrary, for the purpose of passing beyond the sphere of nature. A
complete insight into and comprehension of them would render Theology,
Ethics, and, through the conjunction of both, Religion, solely
dependent on the speculative faculty of reason. In a systematic
representation of these ideas the above-mentioned arrangement--the
synthetical one--would be the most suitable; but in the
investigation which must necessarily precede it, the analytical, which
reverses this arrangement, would be better adapted to our purpose,
as in it we should proceed from that which experience immediately
presents to us--psychology, to cosmology, and thence to theology.]



It may be said that the object of a merely transcendental idea is
something of which we have no conception, although the idea may be
a necessary product of reason according to its original laws. For,
in fact, a conception of an object that is adequate to the idea given
by reason, is impossible. For such an object must be capable of
being presented and intuited in a Possible experience. But we should
express our meaning better, and with less risk of being misunderstood,
if we said that we can have no knowledge of an object, which perfectly
corresponds to an idea, although we may possess a problematical
conception thereof.

Now the transcendental (subjective) reality at least of the pure
conceptions of reason rests upon the fact that we are led to such
ideas by a necessary procedure of reason. There must therefore be
syllogisms which contain no empirical premisses, and by means of which
we conclude from something that we do know, to something of which we
do not even possess a conception, to which we, nevertheless, by an
unavoidable illusion, ascribe objective reality. Such arguments are,
as regards their result, rather to be termed sophisms than syllogisms,
although indeed, as regards their origin, they are very well
entitled to the latter name, inasmuch as they are not fictions or
accidental products of reason, but are necessitated by its very
nature. They are sophisms, not of men, but of pure reason herself,
from which the Wisest cannot free himself. After long labour he may
be able to guard against the error, but he can never be thoroughly
rid of the illusion which continually mocks and misleads him.

Of these dialectical arguments there are three kinds,
corresponding to the number of the ideas which their conclusions
present. In the argument or syllogism of the first class, I
conclude, from the transcendental conception of the subject contains
no manifold, the absolute unity of the subject itself, of which I
cannot in this manner attain to a conception. This dialectical
argument I shall call the transcendental paralogism. The second
class of sophistical arguments is occupied with the transcendental
conception of the absolute totality of the series of conditions for
a given phenomenon, and I conclude, from the fact that I have always
a self-contradictory conception of the unconditioned synthetical unity
of the series upon one side, the truth of the opposite unity, of which
I have nevertheless no conception. The condition of reason in these
dialectical arguments, I shall term the antinomy of pure reason.
Finally, according to the third kind of sophistical argument, I
conclude, from the totality of the conditions of thinking objects in
general, in so far as they can be given, the absolute synthetical
unity of all conditions of the possibility of things in general;
that is, from things which I do not know in their mere
transcendental conception, I conclude a being of all beings which I
know still less by means of a transcendental conception, and of
whose unconditioned necessity I can form no conception whatever.
This dialectical argument I shall call the ideal of pure reason.

CHAPTER I. Of the Paralogisms of Pure Reason.

The logical paralogism consists in the falsity of an argument in
respect of its form, be the content what it may. But a
transcendental paralogism has a transcendental foundation, and
concludes falsely, while the form is correct and unexceptionable. In
this manner the paralogism has its foundation in the nature of human
reason, and is the parent of an unavoidable, though not insoluble,
mental illusion.

We now come to a conception which was not inserted in the general
list of transcendental conceptions, and yet must be reckoned with
them, but at the same time without in the least altering, or
indicating a deficiency in that table. This is the conception, or,
if the term is preferred, the judgement, "I think." But it is
readily perceived that this thought is as it were the vehicle of all
conceptions in general, and consequently of transcendental conceptions
also, and that it is therefore regarded as a transcendental
conception, although it can have no peculiar claim to be so ranked,
inasmuch as its only use is to indicate that all thought is
accompanied by consciousness. At the same time, pure as this
conception is from empirical content (impressions of the senses), it
enables us to distinguish two different kinds of objects. "I," as
thinking, am an object of the internal sense, and am called soul. That
which is an object of the external senses is called body. Thus the
expression, "I," as a thinking being, designates the object-matter
of psychology, which may be called "the rational doctrine of the
soul," inasmuch as in this science I desire to know nothing of the
soul but what, independently of all experience (which determines me
in concreto), may be concluded from this conception "I," in so far
as it appears in all thought.

Now, the rational doctrine of the soul is really an undertaking of
this kind. For if the smallest empirical element of thought, if any
particular perception of my internal state, were to be introduced
among the grounds of cognition of this science, it would not be a
rational, but an empirical doctrine of the soul. We have thus before
us a pretended science, raised upon the single proposition, "I think,"
whose foundation or want of foundation we may very properly, and
agreeably with the nature of a transcendental philosophy, here
examine. It ought not to be objected that in this proposition, which
expresses the perception of one's self, an internal experience is
asserted, and that consequently the rational doctrine of the soul
which is founded upon it, is not pure, but partly founded upon an
empirical principle. For this internal perception is nothing more than
the mere apperception, "I think," which in fact renders all
transcendental conceptions possible, in which we say, "I think
substance, cause, etc." For internal experience in general and its
possibility, or perception in general, and its relation to other
perceptions, unless some particular distinction or determination
thereof is empirically given, cannot be regarded as empirical
cognition, but as cognition of the empirical, and belongs to the
investigation of the possibility of every experience, which is
certainly transcendental. The smallest object of experience (for
example, only pleasure or pain), that should be included in the
general representation of self-consciousness, would immediately change
the rational into an empirical psychology.

"I think" is therefore the only text of rational psychology, from
which it must develop its whole system. It is manifest that this
thought, when applied to an object (myself), can contain nothing but
transcendental predicates thereof; because the least empirical
predicate would destroy the purity of the science and its independence
of all experience.

But we shall have to follow here the guidance of the categories-
only, as in the present case a thing, "I," as thinking being, is at
first given, we shall--not indeed change the order of the categories
as it stands in the table--but begin at the category of substance,
by which at the a thing a thing is represented and proceeds
backwards through the series. The topic of the rational doctrine of
the soul, from which everything else it may contain must be deduced,
is accordingly as follows:

1 2
The Soul is SUBSTANCE As regards its quality
it is SIMPLE

As regards the different
times in which it exists,
it is numerically identical,
that is UNITY, not Plurality.

It is in relation to possible objects in space*

[*Footnote: The reader, who may not so easily perceive the
psychological sense of these expressions, taken here in their
transcendental abstraction, and cannot guess why the latter attribute
of the soul belongs to the category of existence, will find the
expressions sufficiently explained and justified in the sequel. I have,
moreover, to apologize for the Latin terms which have been employed,
instead of their German synonyms, contrary to the rules of correct
writing. But I judged it better to sacrifice elegance to perspicuity.]

From these elements originate all the conceptions of pure
psychology, by combination alone, without the aid of any other
principle. This substance, merely as an object of the internal
sense, gives the conception of Immateriality; as simple substance,
that of Incorruptibility; its identity, as intellectual substance,
gives the conception of Personality; all these three together,
Spirituality. Its relation to objects in space gives us the conception
of connection (commercium) with bodies. Thus it represents thinking
substance as the principle of life in matter, that is, as a soul
(anima), and as the ground of Animality; and this, limited and
determined by the conception of spirituality, gives us that of

Now to these conceptions relate four paralogisms of a transcendental
psychology, which is falsely held to be a science of pure reason.
touching the nature of our thinking being. We can, however, lay at
the foundation of this science nothing but the simple and in itself
perfectly contentless representation "I" which cannot even be called
a conception, but merely a consciousness which accompanies all
conceptions. By this "I," or "He," or "It," who or which thinks,
nothing more is represented than a transcendental subject of thought
= x, which is cognized only by means of the thoughts that are its
predicates, and of which, apart from these, we cannot form the least
conception. Hence in a perpetual circle, inasmuch as we must always
employ it, in order to frame any judgement respecting it. And this
inconvenience we find it impossible to rid ourselves of, because
consciousness in itself is not so much a representation distinguishing
a particular object, as a form of representation in general, in so
far as it may be termed cognition; for in and by cognition alone do
I think anything.

It must, however, appear extraordinary at first sight that the
condition under which I think, and which is consequently a property
of my subject, should be held to be likewise valid for every existence
which thinks, and that we can presume to base upon a seemingly
empirical proposition a judgement which is apodeictic and universal,
to wit, that everything which thinks is constituted as the voice of
my consciousness declares it to be, that is, as a self-conscious being.
The cause of this belief is to be found in the fact that we
necessarily attribute to things a priori all the properties which
constitute conditions under which alone we can cogitate them. Now I
cannot obtain the least representation of a thinking being by means
of external experience, but solely through self-consciousness. Such
objects are consequently nothing more than the transference of this
consciousness of mine to other things which can only thus be
represented as thinking beings. The proposition, "I think," is, in
the present case, understood in a problematical sense, not in so far
as it contains a perception of an existence (like the Cartesian "Cogito,
ergo sum"),[Footnote: "I think, therefore I am."] but in regard to
its mere possibility--for the purpose of discovering what properties
may be inferred from so simple a proposition and predicated of the
subject of it.

If at the foundation of our pure rational cognition of thinking
beings there lay more than the mere Cogito--if we could likewise
call in aid observations on the play of our thoughts, and the thence
derived natural laws of the thinking self, there would arise an
empirical psychology which would be a kind of physiology of the
internal sense and might possibly be capable of explaining the
phenomena of that sense. But it could never be available for
discovering those properties which do not belong to possible
experience (such as the quality of simplicity), nor could it make
any apodeictic enunciation on the nature of thinking beings: it
would therefore not be a rational psychology.

Now, as the proposition "I think" (in the problematical sense)
contains the form of every judgement in general and is the constant
accompaniment of all the categories, it is manifest that conclusions
are drawn from it only by a transcendental employment of the
understanding. This use of the understanding excludes all empirical
elements; and we cannot, as has been shown above, have any
favourable conception beforehand of its procedure. We shall
therefore follow with a critical eye this proposition through all
the predicaments of pure psychology; but we shall, for brevity's sake,
allow this examination to proceed in an uninterrupted connection.

Before entering on this task, however, the following general
remark may help to quicken our attention to this mode of argument.
It is not merely through my thinking that I cognize an object, but
only through my determining a given intuition in relation to the unity
of consciousness in which all thinking consists. It follows that I
cognize myself, not through my being conscious of myself as
thinking, but only when I am conscious of the intuition of myself as
determined in relation to the function of thought. All the modi of
self-consciousness in thought are hence not conceptions of objects
(conceptions of the understanding--categories); they are mere
logical functions, which do not present to thought an object to be
cognized, and cannot therefore present my Self as an object. Not the
consciousness of the determining, but only that of the determinable
self, that is, of my internal intuition (in so far as the manifold
contained in it can be connected conformably with the general
condition of the unity of apperception in thought), is the object.

1. In all judgements I am the determining subject of that relation
which constitutes a judgement. But that the I which thinks, must be
considered as in thought always a subject, and as a thing which cannot
be a predicate to thought, is an apodeictic and identical proposition.
But this proposition does not signify that I, as an object, am, for
myself, a self-subsistent being or substance. This latter statement-
an ambitious one--requires to be supported by data which are not to
be discovered in thought; and are perhaps (in so far as I consider
the thinking self merely as such) not to be discovered in the thinking
self at all.

2. That the I or Ego of apperception, and consequently in all
thought, is singular or simple, and cannot be resolved into a
plurality of subjects, and therefore indicates a logically simple
subject--this is self-evident from the very conception of an Ego,
and is consequently an analytical proposition. But this is not
tantamount to declaring that the thinking Ego is a simple substance-
for this would be a synthetical proposition. The conception of
substance always relates to intuitions, which with me cannot be
other than sensuous, and which consequently lie completely out of
the sphere of the understanding and its thought: but to this sphere
belongs the affirmation that the Ego is simple in thought. It would
indeed be surprising, if the conception of "substance," which in other
cases requires so much labour to distinguish from the other elements
presented by intuition--so much trouble, too, to discover whether it
can be simple (as in the case of the parts of matter)--should be
presented immediately to me, as if by revelation, in the poorest
mental representation of all.

3. The proposition of the identity of my Self amidst all the
manifold representations of which I am conscious, is likewise a
proposition lying in the conceptions themselves, and is consequently
analytical. But this identity of the subject, of which I am
conscious in all its representations, does not relate to or concern
the intuition of the subject, by which it is given as an object.
This proposition cannot therefore enounce the identity of the
person, by which is understood the consciousness of the identity of
its own substance as a thinking being in all change and variation of
circumstances. To prove this, we should require not a mere analysis
of the proposition, but synthetical judgements based upon a given

4. I distinguish my own existence, as that of a thinking being, from
that of other things external to me--among which my body also is
reckoned. This is also an analytical proposition, for other things
are exactly those which I think as different or distinguished from
myself. But whether this consciousness of myself is possible without
things external to me; and whether therefore I can exist merely as
a thinking being (without being man)--cannot be known or inferred from
this proposition.

Thus we have gained nothing as regards the cognition of myself as
object, by the analysis of the consciousness of my Self in thought.
The logical exposition of thought in general is mistaken for a
metaphysical determination of the object.

Our Critique would be an investigation utterly superfluous, if there
existed a possibility of proving a priori, that all thinking beings
are in themselves simple substances, as such, therefore, possess the
inseparable attribute of personality, and are conscious of their
existence apart from and unconnected with matter. For we should thus
have taken a step beyond the world of sense, and have penetrated
into the sphere of noumena; and in this case the right could not be
denied us of extending our knowledge in this sphere, of establishing
ourselves, and, under a favouring star, appropriating to ourselves
possessions in it. For the proposition: "Every thinking being, as
such, is simple substance," is an a priori synthetical proposition;
because in the first place it goes beyond the conception which is
the subject of it, and adds to the mere notion of a thinking being
the mode of its existence, and in the second place annexes a predicate
(that of simplicity) to the latter conception--a predicate which it
could not have discovered in the sphere of experience. It would follow
that a priori synthetical propositions are possible and legitimate,
not only, as we have maintained, in relation to objects of possible
experience, and as principles of the possibility of this experience
itself, but are applicable to things in themselves--an inference which
makes an end of the whole of this Critique, and obliges us to fall
back on the old mode of metaphysical procedure. But indeed the
danger is not so great, if we look a little closer into the question.

There lurks in the procedure of rational Psychology a paralogism,
which is represented in the following syllogism:

That which cannot be cogitated otherwise than as subject, does not
exist otherwise than as subject, and is therefore substance.

A thinking being, considered merely as such, cannot be cogitated
otherwise than as subject.

Therefore it exists also as such, that is, as substance.

In the major we speak of a being that can be cogitated generally and
in every relation, consequently as it may be given in intuition. But
in the minor we speak of the same being only in so far as it regards
itself as subject, relatively to thought and the unity of
consciousness, but not in relation to intuition, by which it is
presented as an object to thought. Thus the conclusion is here arrived
at by a Sophisma figurae dictionis.*

[*Footnote: Thought is taken in the two premisses in two totally
different senses. In the major it is considered as relating and applying
to objects in general, consequently to objects of intuition also. In the
minor, we understand it as relating merely to self-consciousness. In
this sense, we do not cogitate an object, but merely the relation to the
self-consciousness of the subject, as the form of thought. In the former
premiss we speak of things which cannot be cogitated otherwise than as
subjects. In the second, we do not speak of things, but of thought (all
objects being abstracted), in which the Ego is always the subject of
consciousness. Hence the conclusion cannot be, "I cannot exist otherwise
than as subject"; but only "I can, in cogitating my existence, employ my
Ego only as the subject of the judgement." But this is an identical
proposition, and throws no light on the mode of my existence.]

That this famous argument is a mere paralogism, will be plain to any
one who will consider the general remark which precedes our exposition
of the principles of the pure understanding, and the section on
noumena. For it was there proved that the conception of a thing, which
can exist per se--only as a subject and never as a predicate,
possesses no objective reality; that is to say, we can never know
whether there exists any object to correspond to the conception;
consequently, the conception is nothing more than a conception, and
from it we derive no proper knowledge. If this conception is to
indicate by the term substance, an object that can be given, if it
is to become a cognition, we must have at the foundation of the
cognition a permanent intuition, as the indispensable condition of
its objective reality. For through intuition alone can an object be
given. But in internal intuition there is nothing permanent, for the
Ego is but the consciousness of my thought. If then, we appeal merely
to thought, we cannot discover the necessary condition of the application
of the conception of substance--that is, of a subject existing per
se--to the subject as a thinking being. And thus the conception of
the simple nature of substance, which is connected with the objective
reality of this conception, is shown to be also invalid, and to be,
in fact, nothing more than the logical qualitative unity of
self-consciousness in thought; whilst we remain perfectly ignorant
whether the subject is composite or not.

Refutation of the Argument of Mendelssohn for the
Substantiality or Permanence of the Soul.

This acute philosopher easily perceived the insufficiency of the
common argument which attempts to prove that the soul--it being
granted that it is a simple being--cannot perish by dissolution or
decomposition; he saw it is not impossible for it to cease to be by
extinction, or disappearance. He endeavoured to prove in his Phaedo,
that the soul cannot be annihilated, by showing that a simple being
cannot cease to exist. Inasmuch as, he said, a simple existence cannot
diminish, nor gradually lose portions of its being, and thus be by
degrees reduced to nothing (for it possesses no parts, and therefore
no multiplicity), between the moment in which it is, and the moment
in which it is not, no time can be discovered--which is impossible.
But this philosopher did not consider that, granting the soul to possess
this simple nature, which contains no parts external to each other
and consequently no extensive quantity, we cannot refuse to it any
less than to any other being, intensive quantity, that is, a degree
of reality in regard to all its faculties, nay, to all that constitutes
its existence. But this degree of reality can become less and less
through an infinite series of smaller degrees. It follows,
therefore, that this supposed substance--this thing, the permanence
of which is not assured in any other way, may, if not by decomposition,
by gradual loss (remissio) of its powers (consequently by
elanguescence, if I may employ this expression), be changed into
nothing. For consciousness itself has always a degree, which may be
lessened.* Consequently the faculty of being conscious may be
diminished; and so with all other faculties. The permanence of the
soul, therefore, as an object of the internal sense, remains
undemonstrated, nay, even indemonstrable. Its permanence in life is
evident, per se, inasmuch as the thinking being (as man) is to itself,
at the same time, an object of the external senses. But this does
not authorize the rational psychologist to affirm, from mere
conceptions, its permanence beyond life.*[2]

[*Footnote: Clearness is not, as logicians maintain, the consciousness
of a representation. For a certain degree of consciousness, which may
not, however, be sufficient for recollection, is to be met with in
many dim representations. For without any consciousness at all, we
should not be able to recognize any difference in the obscure
representations we connect; as we really can do with many conceptions,
such as those of right and justice, and those of the musician, who
strikes at once several notes in improvising a piece of music. But
a representation is clear, in which our consciousness is sufficient
for the consciousness of the difference of this representation from
others. If we are only conscious that there is a difference, but are
not conscious of the difference--that is, what the difference is-
the representation must be termed obscure. There is, consequently,
an infinite series of degrees of consciousness down to its entire

[*[2]Footnote: There are some who think they have done enough to establish
a new possibility in the mode of the existence of souls, when they
have shown that there is no contradiction in their hypotheses on
this subject. Such are those who affirm the possibility of thought--of
which they have no other knowledge than what they derive from its
use in connecting empirical intuitions presented in this our human
life--after this life has ceased. But it is very easy to embarrass
them by the introduction of counter-possibilities, which rest upon
quite as good a foundation. Such, for example, is the possibility of
the division of a simple substance into several substances; and
conversely, of the coalition of several into one simple substance.
For, although divisibility presupposes composition, it does not
necessarily require a composition of substances, but only of the
degrees (of the several faculties) of one and the same substance.
Now we can cogitate all the powers and faculties of the soul--even
that of consciousness--as diminished by one half, the substance
still remaining. In the same way we can represent to ourselves without
contradiction, this obliterated half as preserved, not in the soul,
but without it; and we can believe that, as in this case every.
thing that is real in the soul, and has a degree--consequently its
entire existence--has been halved, a particular substance would
arise out of the soul. For the multiplicity, which has been divided,
formerly existed, but not as a multiplicity of substances, but of
every reality as the quantum of existence in it; and the unity of
substance was merely a mode of existence, which by this division alone
has been transformed into a plurality of subsistence. In the same
manner several simple substances might coalesce into one, without
anything being lost except the plurality of subsistence, inasmuch as
the one substance would contain the degree of reality of all the
former substances. Perhaps, indeed, the simple substances, which
appear under the form of matter, might (not indeed by a mechanical
or chemical influence upon each other, but by an unknown influence,
of which the former would be but the phenomenal appearance), by means
of such a dynamical division of the parent-souls, as intensive
quantities, produce other souls, while the former repaired the loss
thus sustained with new matter of the same sort. I am far from
allowing any value to such chimeras; and the principles of our
analytic have clearly proved that no other than an empirical use of
the categories--that of substance, for example--is possible. But if
the rationalist is bold enough to construct, on the mere authority
of the faculty of thought--without any intuition, whereby an object
is given--a self-subsistent being, merely because the unity of
apperception in thought cannot allow him to believe it a composite
being, instead of declaring, as he ought to do, that he is unable to
explain the possibility of a thinking nature; what ought to hinder
the materialist, with as complete an independence of experience, to
employ the principle of the rationalist in a directly opposite manner--
still preserving the formal unity required by his opponent?]

If, now, we take the above propositions--as they must be accepted as
valid for all thinking beings in the system of rational psychology--in
synthetical connection, and proceed, from the category of relation,
with the proposition: "All thinking beings are, as such, substances,"
backwards through the series, till the circle is completed; we come at
last to their existence, of which, in this system of rational
psychology, substances are held to be conscious, independently of
external things; nay, it is asserted that, in relation to the
permanence which is a necessary characteristic of substance, they can
of themselves determine external things. It follows that idealism--at
least problematical idealism, is perfectly unavoidable in this
rationalistic system. And, if the existence of outward things is not
held to be requisite to the determination of the existence of a
substance in time, the existence of these outward things at all, is a
gratuitous assumption which remains without the possibility of a proof.

But if we proceed analytically--the "I think" as a proposition
containing in itself an existence as given, consequently modality
being the principle--and dissect this proposition, in order to
ascertain its content, and discover whether and how this Ego
determines its existence in time and space without the aid of anything
external; the propositions of rationalistic psychology would not begin
with the conception of a thinking being, but with a reality, and the
properties of a thinking being in general would be deduced from the
mode in which this reality is cogitated, after everything empirical
had been abstracted; as is shown in the following table:

I think,

2 3
as Subject, as simple Subject,

as identical Subject,
in every state of my thought.

Now, inasmuch as it is not determined in this second proposition,
whether I can exist and be cogitated only as subject, and not also
as a predicate of another being, the conception of a subject is here
taken in a merely logical sense; and it remains undetermined,
whether substance is to be cogitated under the conception or not.
But in the third proposition, the absolute unity of apperception-
the simple Ego in the representation to which all connection and
separation, which constitute thought, relate, is of itself
important; even although it presents us with no information about
the constitution or subsistence of the subject. Apperception is
something real, and the simplicity of its nature is given in the
very fact of its possibility. Now in space there is nothing real
that is at the same time simple; for points, which are the only simple
things in space, are merely limits, but not constituent parts of
space. From this follows the impossibility of a definition on the
basis of materialism of the constitution of my Ego as a merely
thinking subject. But, because my existence is considered in the first
proposition as given, for it does not mean, "Every thinking being
exists" (for this would be predicating of them absolute necessity),
but only, "I exist thinking"; the proposition is quite empirical,
and contains the determinability of my existence merely in relation
to my representations in time. But as I require for this purpose
something that is permanent, such as is not given in internal
intuition; the mode of my existence, whether as substance or as
accident, cannot be determined by means of this simple
self-consciousness. Thus, if materialism is inadequate to explain
the mode in which I exist, spiritualism is likewise as insufficient;
and the conclusion is that we are utterly unable to attain to any
knowledge of the constitution of the soul, in so far as relates to
the possibility of its existence apart from external objects.

And, indeed, how should it be possible, merely by the aid of the
unity of consciousness--which we cognize only for the reason that it
is indispensable to the possibility of experience--to pass the
bounds of experience (our existence in this life); and to extend our
cognition to the nature of all thinking beings by means of the
empirical--but in relation to every sort of intuition, perfectly
undetermined--proposition, "I think"?

There does not then exist any rational psychology as a doctrine
furnishing any addition to our knowledge of ourselves. It is nothing
more than a discipline, which sets impassable limits to speculative
reason in this region of thought, to prevent it, on the one hand, from
throwing itself into the arms of a soulless materialism, and, on the
other, from losing itself in the mazes of a baseless spiritualism.
It teaches us to consider this refusal of our reason to give any
satisfactory answer to questions which reach beyond the limits of this
our human life, as a hint to abandon fruitless speculation; and to
direct, to a practical use, our knowledge of ourselves--which,
although applicable only to objects of experience, receives its
principles from a higher source, and regulates its procedure as if
our destiny reached far beyond the boundaries of experience and life.

From all this it is evident that rational psychology has its
origin in a mere misunderstanding. The unity of consciousness, which
lies at the basis of the categories, is considered to be an
intuition of the subject as an object; and the category of substance
is applied to the intuition. But this unity is nothing more than the
unity in thought, by which no object is given; to which therefore
the category of substance--which always presupposes a given intuition-
cannot be applied. Consequently, the subject cannot be cognized. The
subject of the categories cannot, therefore, for the very reason
that it cogitates these, frame any conception of itself as an object
of the categories; for, to cogitate these, it must lay at the
foundation its own pure self-consciousness--the very thing that it
wishes to explain and describe. In like manner, the subject, in
which the representation of time has its basis, cannot determine,
for this very reason, its own existence in time. Now, if the latter
is impossible, the former, as an attempt to determine itself by means
of the categories as a thinking being in general, is no less so.*

[*Footnote: The "I think" is, as has been already stated, an empirical
proposition, and contains the proposition, "I exist." But I cannot say,
"Everything, which thinks, exists"; for in this case the property of
thought would constitute all beings possessing it, necessary being Hence
my existence cannot be considered as an inference from the proposition,
"I think," as Descartes maintained--because in this case the major
premiss, "Everything, which thinks, exists," must precede--but the two
propositions are identical. The proposition, "I think," expresses an
undetermined empirical intuition, that perception (proving consequently
that sensation, which must belong to sensibility, lies at the foundation
of this proposition); but it precedes experience, whose province it is
to determine an object of perception by means of the categories in
relation to time; and existence in this proposition is not a category,
as it does not apply to an undetermined given object, but only to one of
which we have a conception, and about which we wish to know whether it
does or does not exist, out of, and apart from this conception. An
undetermined perception signifies here merely something real that has
been given, only, however, to thought in general--but not as a
phenomenon, nor as a thing in itself (noumenon), but only as something
that really exists, and is designated as such in the proposition, "I
think." For it must be remarked that, when I call the proposition, "I
think," an empirical proposition, I do not thereby mean that the Ego in
the proposition is an empirical representation; on the contrary, it is
purely intellectual, because it belongs to thought in general. But
without some empirical representation, which presents to the mind
material for thought, the mental act, "I think," would not take place;
and the empirical is only the condition of the application or employment
of the pure intellectual faculty.]

Thus, then, appears the vanity of the hope of establishing a cognition
which is to extend its rule beyond the limits of experience--a
cognition which is one of the highest interests of humanity; and thus is
proved the futility of the attempt of speculative philosophy in this
region of thought. But, in this interest of thought, the severity of
criticism has rendered to reason a not unimportant service, by the
demonstration of the impossibility of making any dogmatical affirmation
concerning an object of experience beyond the boundaries of experience.
She has thus fortified reason against all affirmations of the contrary.
Now, this can be accomplished in only two ways. Either our proposition
must be proved apodeictically; or, if this is unsuccessful, the sources
of this inability must be sought for, and, if these are discovered to
exist in the natural and necessary limitation of our reason, our
opponents must submit to the same law of renunciation and refrain from
advancing claims to dogmatic assertion.

But the right, say rather the necessity to admit a future life, upon
principles of the practical conjoined with the speculative use of
reason, has lost nothing by this renunciation; for the merely
speculative proof has never had any influence upon the common reason of
men. It stands upon the point of a hair, so that even the schools have
been able to preserve it from falling only by incessantly discussing it
and spinning it like a top; and even in their eyes it has never been
able to present any safe foundation for the erection of a theory. The
proofs which have been current among men, preserve their value
undiminished; nay, rather gain in clearness and unsophisticated power,
by the rejection of the dogmatical assumptions of speculative reason.
For reason is thus confined within her own peculiar province--the
arrangement of ends or aims, which is at the same time the arrangement
of nature; and, as a practical faculty, without limiting itself to the
latter, it is justified in extending the former, and with it our own
existence, beyond the boundaries of experience and life. If we turn our
attention to the analogy of the nature of living beings in this world,
in the consideration of which reason is obliged to accept as a
principle that no organ, no faculty, no appetite is useless, and that
nothing is superfluous, nothing disproportionate to its use, nothing
unsuited to its end; but that, on the contrary, everything is perfectly
conformed to its destination in life--we shall find that man, who alone
is the final end and aim of this order, is still the only animal that
seems to be excepted from it. For his natural gifts--not merely as
regards the talents and motives that may incite him to employ them, but
especially the moral law in him--stretch so far beyond all mere earthly
utility and advantage, that he feels himself bound to prize the mere
consciousness of probity, apart from all advantageous consequences--
even the shadowy gift of posthumous fame--above everything; and he is
conscious of an inward call to constitute himself, by his conduct in
this world--without regard to mere sublunary interests--the citizen of
a better. This mighty, irresistible proof--accompanied by an
ever-increasing knowledge of the conformability to a purpose in
everything we see around us, by the conviction of the boundless
immensity of creation, by the consciousness of a certain
illimitableness in the possible extension of our knowledge, and by a
desire commensurate therewith--remains to humanity, even after the
theoretical cognition of ourselves has failed to establish the
necessity of an existence after death.

Conclusion of the Solution of the Psychological Paralogism.

The dialectical illusion in rational psychology arises from our
confounding an idea of reason (of a pure intelligence) with the
conception--in every respect undetermined--of a thinking being in
general. I cogitate myself in behalf of a possible experience, at
the same time making abstraction of all actual experience; and infer
therefrom that I can be conscious of myself apart from experience
and its empirical conditions. I consequently confound the possible
abstraction of my empirically determined existence with the supposed
consciousness of a possible separate existence of my thinking self;
and I believe that I cognize what is substantial in myself as a
transcendental subject, when I have nothing more in thought than the
unity of consciousness, which lies at the basis of all determination
of cognition.

The task of explaining the community of the soul with the body
does not properly belong to the psychology of which we are here
speaking; because it proposes to prove the personality of the soul
apart from this communion (after death), and is therefore transcendent
in the proper sense of the word, although occupying itself with an
object of experience--only in so far, however, as it ceases to be an
object of experience. But a sufficient answer may be found to the
question in our system. The difficulty which lies in the execution
of this task consists, as is well known, in the presupposed
heterogeneity of the object of the internal sense (the soul) and the
objects of the external senses; inasmuch as the formal condition of
the intuition of the one is time, and of that of the other space also.
But if we consider that both kinds of objects do not differ
internally, but only in so far as the one appears externally to the
other--consequently, that what lies at the basis of phenomena, as a
thing in itself, may not be heterogeneous; this difficulty disappears.
There then remains no other difficulty than is to be found in the
question--how a community of substances is possible; a question
which lies out of the region of psychology, and which the reader,
after what in our analytic has been said of primitive forces and
faculties, will easily judge to be also beyond the region of human


On the Transition from Rational Psychology to Cosmology.

The proposition, "I think," or, "I exist thinking," is an
empirical proposition. But such a proposition must be based on
empirical intuition, and the object cogitated as a phenomenon; and
thus our theory appears to maintain that the soul, even in thought,
is merely a phenomenon; and in this way our consciousness itself, in
fact, abuts upon nothing.

Thought, per se, is merely the purely spontaneous logical function
which operates to connect the manifold of a possible intuition; and
it does not represent the subject of consciousness as a phenomenon--for
this reason alone, that it pays no attention to the question whether
the mode of intuiting it is sensuous or intellectual. I therefore do
not represent myself in thought either as I am, or as I appear to
myself; I merely cogitate myself as an object in general, of the
mode of intuiting which I make abstraction. When I represent myself
as the subject of thought, or as the ground of thought, these modes
of representation are not related to the categories of substance or
of cause; for these are functions of thought applicable only to our
sensuous intuition. The application of these categories to the Ego
would, however, be necessary, if I wished to make myself an object
of knowledge. But I wish to be conscious of myself only as thinking;
in what mode my Self is given in intuition, I do not consider, and
it may be that I, who think, am a phenomenon--although not in so far
as I am a thinking being; but in the consciousness of myself in mere
thought I am a being, though this consciousness does not present to
me any property of this being as material for thought.

But the proposition, "I think," in so far as it declares, "I exist
thinking," is not the mere representation of a logical function. It
determines the subject (which is in this case an object also) in
relation to existence; and it cannot be given without the aid of the
internal sense, whose intuition presents to us an object, not as a
thing in itself, but always as a phenomenon. In this proposition there
is therefore something more to be found than the mere spontaneity of
thought; there is also the receptivity of intuition, that is, my
thought of myself applied to the empirical intuition of myself. Now,
in this intuition the thinking self must seek the conditions of the
employment of its logical functions as categories of substance, cause,
and so forth; not merely for the purpose of distinguishing itself as
an object in itself by means of the representation "I," but also for
the purpose of determining the mode of its existence, that is, of
cognizing itself as noumenon. But this is impossible, for the internal
empirical intuition is sensuous, and presents us with nothing but
phenomenal data, which do not assist the object of pure
consciousness in its attempt to cognize itself as a separate
existence, but are useful only as contributions to experience.

But, let it be granted that we could discover, not in experience, but
in certain firmly-established a priori laws of the use of pure reason--
laws relating to our existence, authority to consider ourselves as
legislating a priori in relation to our own existence and as
determining this existence; we should, on this supposition, find
ourselves possessed of a spontaneity, by which our actual existence
would be determinable, without the aid of the conditions of empirical
intuition. We should also become aware that in the consciousness of
our existence there was an a priori content, which would serve to
determine our own existence--an existence only sensuously
determinable--relatively, however, to a certain internal faculty
in relation to an intelligible world.

But this would not give the least help to the attempts of rational
psychology. For this wonderful faculty, which the consciousness of
the moral law in me reveals, would present me with a principle of the
determination of my own existence which is purely intellectual--but
by what predicates? By none other than those which are given in
sensuous intuition. Thus I should find myself in the same position
in rational psychology which I formerly occupied, that is to say, I
should find myself still in need of sensuous intuitions, in order to
give significance to my conceptions of substance and cause, by means
of which alone I can possess a knowledge of myself: but these
intuitions can never raise me above the sphere of experience. I should
be justified, however, in applying these conceptions, in regard to
their practical use, which is always directed to objects of
experience--in conformity with their analogical significance when
employed theoretically--to freedom and its subject. At the same
time, I should understand by them merely the logical functions of
subject and predicate, of principle and consequence, in conformity
with which all actions are so determined, that they are capable of
being explained along with the laws of nature, conformably to the
categories of substance and cause, although they originate from a very
different principle. We have made these observations for the purpose
of guarding against misunderstanding, to which the doctrine of our
intuition of self as a phenomenon is exposed. We shall have occasion
to perceive their utility in the sequel.

CHAPTER II. The Antinomy of Pure Reason.

We showed in the introduction to this part of our work, that all
transcendental illusion of pure reason arose from dialectical
arguments, the schema of which logic gives us in its three formal
species of syllogisms--just as the categories find their logical
schema in the four functions of all judgements. The first kind of
these sophistical arguments related to 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 of which, as the principle, enounces the relation of a
predicate to a subject. The second kind of dialectical argument will
therefore be concerned, following the analogy with hypothetical
syllogisms, with the unconditioned unity of the objective conditions
in the phenomenon; and, in this way, the theme of the third kind to
be treated of in the following chapter will be the unconditioned unity
of the objective conditions of the possibility of objects in general.

But it is worthy of remark that the transcendental paralogism
produced in the mind only a one-third illusion, in regard to the
idea of the subject of our thought; and the conceptions of reason gave
no ground to maintain the contrary proposition. The advantage is
completely on the side of Pneumatism; although this theory itself
passes into naught, in the crucible of pure reason.

Very different is the case when we apply reason to the objective
synthesis of phenomena. Here, certainly, reason establishes, with much
plausibility, its principle of unconditioned unity; but it very soon
falls into such contradictions that it is compelled, in relation to
cosmology, to renounce its pretensions.

For here a new phenomenon of human reason meets us--a perfectly
natural antithetic, which does not require to be sought for by
subtle sophistry, but into which reason of itself unavoidably falls.
It is thereby preserved, to be sure, from the slumber of a fancied
conviction--which a merely one-sided illusion produces; but it is at
the same time compelled, either, on the one hand, to abandon itself
to a despairing scepticism, or, on the other, to assume a dogmatical
confidence and obstinate persistence in certain assertions, without
granting a fair hearing to the other side of the question. Either is
the death of a sound philosophy, although the former might perhaps
deserve the title of the euthanasia of pure reason.

Before entering this region of discord and confusion, which the
conflict of the laws of pure reason (antinomy) produces, we shall
present the reader with some considerations, in explanation and
justification of the method we intend to follow in our treatment of
this subject. I term all transcendental ideas, in so far as they
relate to the absolute totality in the synthesis of phenomena,
cosmical conceptions; partly on account of this unconditioned
totality, on which the conception of the world-whole is based--a
conception, which is itself an idea--partly because they relate solely
to the synthesis of phenomena--the empirical synthesis; while, on
the other hand, the absolute totality in the synthesis of the
conditions of all possible things gives rise to an ideal of pure
reason, which is quite distinct from the cosmical conception, although
it stands in relation with it. Hence, as the paralogisms of pure
reason laid the foundation for a dialectical psychology, the
antinomy of pure reason will present us with the transcendental
principles of a pretended pure (rational) cosmology--not, however,
to declare it valid and to appropriate it, but--as the very term of
a conflict of reason sufficiently indicates, to present it as an
idea which cannot be reconciled with phenomena and experience.

SECTION I. System of Cosmological Ideas.

That We may be able to enumerate with systematic precision these
ideas according to a principle, we must remark, in the first place,
that it is from the understanding alone that pure and transcendental
conceptions take their origin; that the reason does not properly
give birth to any conception, but only frees the conception of the
understanding from the unavoidable limitation of a possible
experience, and thus endeavours to raise it above the empirical,
though it must still be in connection with it. This happens from the
fact that, for a given conditioned, reason demands absolute totality
on the side of the conditions (to which the understanding submits
all phenomena), and thus makes of the category a transcendental
idea. This it does that it may be able to give absolute completeness
to the empirical synthesis, by continuing it to the unconditioned
(which is not to be found in experience, but only in the idea). Reason
requires this according to the principle: If the conditioned is
given the whole of the conditions, and consequently the absolutely
unconditioned, is also given, whereby alone the former was possible.
First, then, the transcendental ideas are properly nothing but
categories elevated to the unconditioned; and they may be arranged
in a table according to the titles of the latter. But, secondly, all
the categories are not available for this purpose, but only those in
which the synthesis constitutes a series--of conditions subordinated
to, not co-ordinated with, each other. Absolute totality is required
of reason only in so far as concerns the ascending series of the
conditions of a conditioned; not, consequently, when the question
relates to the descending series of consequences, or to the
aggregate of the co-ordinated conditions of these consequences. For,
in relation to a given conditioned, conditions are presupposed and
considered to be given along with it. On the other hand, as the
consequences do not render possible their conditions, but rather
presuppose them--in the consideration of the procession of
consequences (or in the descent from the given condition to the
conditioned), we may be quite unconcerned whether the series ceases
or not; and their totality is not a necessary demand of reason.

Thus we cogitate--and necessarily--a given time completely elapsed
up to a given moment, although that time is not determinable by us.
But as regards time future, which is not the condition of arriving
at the present, in order to conceive it; it is quite indifferent
whether we consider future time as ceasing at some point, or as
prolonging itself to infinity. Take, for example, the series m, n,
o, in which n is given as conditioned in relation to m, but at the
same time as the condition of o, and let the series proceed upwards
from the conditioned n to m (l, k, i, etc.), and also downwards from
the condition n to the conditioned o (p, q, r, etc.)--I must
presuppose the former series, to be able to consider n as given, and
n is according to reason (the totality of conditions) possible only
by means of that series. But its possibility does not rest on the
following series o, p, q, r, which for this reason cannot be
regarded as given, but only as capable of being given (dabilis).

I shall term the synthesis of the series on the side of the
conditions--from that nearest to the given phenomenon up to the more
remote--regressive; that which proceeds on the side of the
conditioned, from the immediate consequence to the more remote, I
shall call the progressive synthesis. The former proceeds in
antecedentia, the latter in consequentia. The cosmological ideas are
therefore occupied with the totality of the regressive synthesis,
and proceed in antecedentia, not in consequentia. When the latter
takes place, it is an arbitrary and not a necessary problem of pure
reason; for we require, for the complete understanding of what is
given in a phenomenon, not the consequences which succeed, but the
grounds or principles which precede.

In order to construct the table of ideas in correspondence with
the table of categories, we take first the two primitive quanta of
all our intuitions, time and space. Time is in itself a series (and
the formal condition of all series), and hence, in relation to a given
present, we must distinguish a priori in it the antecedentia as
conditions (time past) from the consequentia (time future).
Consequently, the transcendental idea of the absolute totality of
the series of the conditions of a given conditioned, relates merely
to all past time. According to the idea of reason, the whole past time,
as the condition of the given moment, is necessarily cogitated as
given. But, as regards space, there exists in it no distinction
between progressus and regressus; for it is an aggregate and not a
series--its parts existing together at the same time. I can consider
a given point of time in relation to past time only as conditioned,
because this given moment comes into existence only through the past
time rather through the passing of the preceding time. But as the
parts of space are not subordinated, but co-ordinated to each other,
one part cannot be the condition of the possibility of the other;
and space is not in itself, like time, a series. But the synthesis
of the manifold parts of space--(the syntheses whereby we apprehend
space)--is nevertheless successive; it takes place, therefore, in
time, and contains a series. And as in this series of aggregated
spaces (for example, the feet in a rood), beginning with a given
portion of space, those which continue to be annexed form the
condition of the limits of the former--the measurement of a space must
also be regarded as a synthesis of the series of the conditions of
a given conditioned. It differs, however, in this respect from that
of time, that the side of the conditioned is not in itself
distinguishable from the side of the condition; and, consequently,
regressus and progressus in space seem to be identical. But,
inasmuch as one part of space is not given, but only limited, by and
through another, we must also consider every limited space as
conditioned, in so far as it presupposes some other space as the
condition of its limitation, and so on. As regards limitation,
therefore, our procedure in space is also a regressus, and the
transcendental idea of the absolute totality of the synthesis in a
series of conditions applies to space also; and I am entitled to
demand the absolute totality of the phenomenal synthesis in space as
well as in time. Whether my demand can be satisfied is a question to
be answered in the sequel.

Secondly, the real in space--that is, matter--is conditioned. Its
internal conditions are its parts, and the parts of parts its remote
conditions; so that in this case we find a regressive synthesis, the
absolute totality of which is a demand of reason. But this cannot be
obtained otherwise than by a complete division of parts, whereby the
real in matter becomes either nothing or that which is not matter,
that is to say, the simple. Consequently we find here also a series
of conditions and a progress to the unconditioned.

Thirdly, as regards the categories of a real relation between
phenomena, the category of substance and its accidents is not suitable
for the formation of a transcendental idea; that is to say, reason has
no ground, in regard to it, to proceed regressively with conditions.
For accidents (in so far as they inhere in a substance) are
co-ordinated with each other, and do not constitute a series. And, in
relation to substance, they are not properly subordinated to it, but
are the mode of existence of the substance itself. The conception of
the substantial might nevertheless seem to be an idea of the
transcendental reason. But, as this signifies nothing more than the
conception of an object in general, which subsists in so far as we
cogitate in it merely a transcendental subject without any predicates;
and as the question here is of an unconditioned in the series of
phenomena--it is clear that the substantial can form no member thereof.
The same holds good of substances in community, which are mere
aggregates and do not form a series. For they are not subordinated to
each other as conditions of the possibility of each other; which,
however, may be affirmed of spaces, the limits of which are never
determined in themselves, but always by some other space. It is,
therefore, only in the category of causality that we can find a series
of causes to a given effect, and in which we ascend from the latter, as
the conditioned, to the former as the conditions, and thus answer the
question of reason.

Fourthly, the conceptions of the possible, the actual, and the
necessary do not conduct us to any series--excepting only in so far
as the contingent in existence must always be regarded as conditioned,
and as indicating, according to a law of the understanding, a
condition, under which it is necessary to rise to a higher, till in
the totality of the series, reason arrives at unconditioned necessity.

There are, accordingly, only four cosmological ideas, corresponding
with the four titles of the categories. For we can select only such as
necessarily furnish us with a series in the synthesis of the manifold.

The absolute Completeness
of the
of the given totality of all phenomena.

The absolute Completeness
of the
of given totality in a phenomenon.

The absolute Completeness
of the
of a phenomenon.

The absolute Completeness
of what is changeable in a phenomenon.

We must here remark, in the first place, that the idea of absolute
totality relates to nothing but the exposition of phenomena, and
therefore not to the pure conception of a totality of things.
Phenomena are here, therefore, regarded as given, and reason
requires the absolute completeness of the conditions of their
possibility, in so far as these conditions constitute a series-
consequently an absolutely (that is, in every respect) complete
synthesis, whereby a phenomenon can be explained according to the laws
of the understanding.

Secondly, it is properly the unconditioned alone that reason seeks
in this serially and regressively conducted synthesis of conditions.
It wishes, to speak in another way, to attain to completeness in the
series of premisses, so as to render it unnecessary to presuppose
others. This unconditioned is always contained in the absolute
totality of the series, when we endeavour to form a representation
of it in thought. But this absolutely complete synthesis is itself
but an idea; for it is impossible, at least before hand, to know whether
any such synthesis is possible in the case of phenomena. When we
represent all existence in thought by means of pure conceptions of
the understanding, without any conditions of sensuous intuition, we
may say with justice that for a given conditioned the whole series
of conditions subordinated to each other is also given; for the former
is only given through the latter. But we find in the case of phenomena
a particular limitation of the mode in which conditions are given,
that is, through the successive synthesis of the manifold of
intuition, which must be complete in the regress. Now whether this
completeness is sensuously possible, is a problem. But the idea of
it lies in the reason--be it possible or impossible to connect with
the idea adequate empirical conceptions. Therefore, as in the absolute
totality of the regressive synthesis of the manifold in a phenomenon
(following the guidance of the categories, which represent it as a
series of conditions to a given conditioned) the unconditioned is
necessarily contained--it being still left unascertained whether and
how this totality exists; reason sets out from the idea of totality,
although its proper and final aim is the unconditioned--of the whole
series, or of a part thereof.

This unconditioned may be cogitated--either as existing only in
the entire series, all the members of which therefore would be without
exception conditioned and only the totality absolutely
unconditioned--and in this case the regressus is called infinite; or
the absolutely unconditioned is only a part of the series, to which
the other members are subordinated, but which Is not itself
submitted to any other condition.* In the former case the series is
a parte priori unlimited (without beginning), that is, infinite, and
nevertheless completely given. But the regress in it is never
completed, and can only be called potentially infinite. In the
second case there exists a first in the series. This first is
called, in relation to past time, the beginning of the world; in
relation to space, the limit of the world; in relation to the parts
of a given limited whole, the simple; in relation to causes, absolute
spontaneity (liberty); and in relation to the existence of
changeable things, absolute physical necessity.

[*Footnote: The absolute totality of the series of conditions to a
given conditioned is always unconditioned; because beyond it there
exist no other conditions, on which it might depend. But the absolute
totality of such a series is only an idea, or rather a problematical
conception, the possibility of which must be investigated-
particularly in relation to the mode in which the unconditioned, as
the transcendental idea which is the real subject of inquiry, may be
contained therein.]

We possess two expressions, world and nature, which are generally
interchanged. The first denotes the mathematical total of all
phenomena and the totality of their synthesis--in its progress by
means of composition, as well as by division. And the world is
termed nature,* when it is regarded as a dynamical whole--when our
attention is not directed to the aggregation in space and time, for
the purpose of cogitating it as a quantity, but to the unity in the
existence of phenomena. In this case the condition of that which
happens is called a cause; the unconditioned causality of the cause
in a phenomenon is termed liberty; the conditioned cause is called
in a more limited sense a natural cause. The conditioned in existence
is termed contingent, and the unconditioned necessary. The
unconditioned necessity of phenomena may be called natural necessity.

[*Footnote: Nature, understood adjective (formaliter), signifies the
complex of the determinations of a thing, connected according to an
internal principle of causality. On the other hand, we understand by
nature, substantive (materialiter), the sum total of phenomena, in
so far as they, by virtue of an internal principle of causality, are
connected with each other throughout. In the former sense we speak
of the nature of liquid matter, of fire, etc., and employ the word
only adjective; while, if speaking of the objects of nature, we have
in our minds the idea of a subsisting whole.]

The ideas which we are at present engaged in discussing I have
called cosmological ideas; partly because by the term world is
understood the entire content of all phenomena, and our ideas are
directed solely to the unconditioned among phenomena; partly also,
because world, in the transcendental sense, signifies the absolute
totality of the content of existing things, and we are directing our
attention only to the completeness of the synthesis--although,
properly, only in regression. In regard to the fact that these ideas
are all transcendent, and, although they do not transcend phenomena
as regards their mode, but are concerned solely with the world of sense
(and not with noumena), nevertheless carry their synthesis to a degree
far above all possible experience--it still seems to me that we can,
with perfect propriety, designate them cosmical conceptions. As
regards the distinction between the mathematically and the dynamically
unconditioned which is the aim of the regression of the synthesis,
I should call the two former, in a more limited signification,
cosmical conceptions, the remaining two transcendent physical
conceptions. This distinction does not at present seem to be of
particular importance, but we shall afterwards find it to be of some

SECTION II. Antithetic of Pure Reason.

Thetic is the term applied to every collection of dogmatical
propositions. By antithetic I do not understand dogmatical
assertions of the opposite, but the self-contradiction of seemingly
dogmatical cognitions (thesis cum antithesis), in none of which we
can discover any decided superiority. Antithetic is not, therefore,
occupied with one-sided statements, but is engaged in considering
the contradictory nature of the general cognitions of reason and its
causes. Transcendental antithetic is an investigation into the
antinomy of pure reason, its causes and result. If we employ our
reason not merely in the application of the principles of the
understanding to objects of experience, but venture with it beyond
these boundaries, there arise certain sophistical propositions or
theorems. These assertions have the following peculiarities: They
can find neither confirmation nor confutation in experience; and
each is in itself not only self-consistent, but possesses conditions
of its necessity in the very nature of reason--only that, unluckily,
there exist just as valid and necessary grounds for maintaining the
contrary proposition.

The questions which naturally arise in the consideration of this
dialectic of pure reason, are therefore: 1st. In what propositions
is pure reason unavoidably subject to an antinomy? 2nd. What are the
causes of this antinomy? 3rd. Whether and in what way can reason
free itself from this self-contradiction?

A dialectical proposition or theorem of pure reason must,
according to what has been said, be distinguishable from all
sophistical propositions, by the fact that it is not an answer to an
arbitrary question, which may be raised at the mere pleasure of any
person, but to one which human reason must necessarily encounter in
its progress. In the second place, a dialectical proposition, with
its opposite, does not carry the appearance of a merely artificial
illusion, which disappears as soon as it is investigated, but a
natural and unavoidable illusion, which, even when we are no longer
deceived by it, continues to mock us and, although rendered
harmless, can never be completely removed.

This dialectical doctrine will not relate to the unity of
understanding in empirical conceptions, but to the unity of reason
in pure ideas. The conditions of this doctrine are--inasmuch as it
must, as a synthesis according to rules, be conformable to the
understanding, and at the same time as the absolute unity of the
synthesis, to the reason--that, if it is adequate to the unity of
reason, it is too great for the understanding, if according with the
understanding, it is too small for the reason. Hence arises a mutual
opposition, which cannot be avoided, do what we will.

These sophistical assertions of dialectic open, as it were, a
battle-field, where that side obtains the victory which has been
permitted to make the attack, and he is compelled to yield who has
been unfortunately obliged to stand on the defensive. And hence,
champions of ability, whether on the right or on the wrong side, are
certain to carry away the crown of victory, if they only take care
to have the right to make the last attack, and are not obliged to
sustain another onset from their opponent. We can easily believe
that this arena has been often trampled by the feet of combatants,
that many victories have been obtained on both sides, but that the
last victory, decisive of the affair between the contending parties,
was won by him who fought for the right, only if his adversary was
forbidden to continue the tourney. As impartial umpires, we must lay
aside entirely the consideration whether the combatants are fighting
for the right or for the wrong side, for the true or for the false,
and allow the combat to be first decided. Perhaps, after they have
wearied more than injured each other, they will discover the
nothingness of their cause of quarrel and part good friends.

This method of watching, or rather of originating, a conflict of
assertions, not for the purpose of finally deciding in favour of
either side, but to discover whether the object of the struggle is
not a mere illusion, which each strives in vain to reach, but which
would be no gain even when reached--this procedure, I say, may be
termed the sceptical method. It is thoroughly distinct from
scepticism--the principle of a technical and scientific ignorance,
which undermines the foundations of all knowledge, in order, if
possible, to destroy our belief and confidence therein. For the
sceptical method aims at certainty, by endeavouring to discover in
a conflict of this kind, conducted honestly and intelligently on both
sides, the point of misunderstanding; just as wise legislators derive,
from the embarrassment of judges in lawsuits, information in regard
to the defective and ill-defined parts of their statutes. The antinomy
which reveals itself in the application of laws, is for our limited
wisdom the best criterion of legislation. For the attention of reason,
which in abstract speculation does not easily become conscious of
its errors, is thus roused to the momenta in the determination of
its principles.

But this sceptical method is essentially peculiar to
transcendental philosophy, and can perhaps be dispensed with in
every other field of investigation. In mathematics its use would be
absurd; because in it no false assertions can long remain hidden,
inasmuch as its demonstrations must always proceed under the
guidance of pure intuition, and by means of an always evident
synthesis. In experimental philosophy, doubt and delay may be very
useful; but no misunderstanding is possible, which cannot be easily
removed; and in experience means of solving the difficulty and putting
an end to the dissension must at last be found, whether sooner or
later. Moral philosophy can always exhibit its principles, with
their practical consequences, in concreto--at least in possible
experiences, and thus escape the mistakes and ambiguities of
abstraction. But transcendental propositions, which lay claim to
insight beyond the region of possible experience, cannot, on the one
hand, exhibit their abstract synthesis in any a priori intuition, nor,
on the other, expose a lurking error by the help of experience.
Transcendental reason, therefore, presents us with no other
criterion than that of an attempt to reconcile such assertions, and
for this purpose to permit a free and unrestrained conflict between
them. And this we now proceed to arrange.*

[*Footnote: The antinomies stand in the order of the four
transcendental ideas above detailed.]



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


Granted that the world has no beginning in time; up to every given
moment of time, an eternity must have elapsed, and therewith passed
away an infinite series of successive conditions or states of things
in the world. Now the infinity of a series consists in the fact that
it never can be completed by means of a successive synthesis. It
follows that an infinite series already elapsed is impossible and
that, consequently, a beginning of the world is a necessary
condition of its existence. And this was the first thing to be proved.

As regards the second, let us take the opposite for granted. In this
case, the world must be an infinite given total of coexistent
things. Now we cannot cogitate the dimensions of a quantity, which
is not given within certain limits of an intuition,* in any other
way than by means of the synthesis of its parts, and the total of such
a quantity only by means of a completed synthesis, or the repeated
addition of unity to itself. Accordingly, to cogitate the world, which
fills all spaces, as a whole, the successive synthesis of the parts
of an infinite world must be looked upon as completed, that is to say,
an infinite time must be regarded as having elapsed in the enumeration
of all co-existing things; which is impossible. For this reason an
infinite aggregate of actual things cannot be considered as a given
whole, consequently, not as a contemporaneously given whole. The world
is consequently, as regards extension in space, not infinite, but
enclosed in limits. And this was the second thing to be proved.

[*Footnote: We may consider an undetermined quantity as a whole, when
it is enclosed within limits, although we cannot construct or ascertain
its totality by measurement, that is, by the successive synthesis of
its parts. For its limits of themselves determine its completeness
as a whole.]


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


For let it be granted that it has a beginning. A beginning is an
existence which is preceded by a time in which the thing does not
exist. On the above supposition, it follows that there must have
been a time in which the world did not exist, that is, a void time.
But in a void time the origination of a thing is impossible; because
no part of any such time contains a distinctive condition of being,
in preference to that of non-being (whether the supposed thing
originate of itself, or by means of some other cause). Consequently,
many series of things may have a beginning in the world, but the world
itself cannot have a beginning, and is, therefore, in relation to past
time, infinite.

As regards the second statement, let us first take the opposite
for granted--that the world is finite and limited in space; it follows
that it must exist in a void space, which is not limited. We should
therefore meet not only with a relation of things in space, but also
a relation of things to space. Now, as the world is an absolute whole,
out of and beyond which no object of intuition, and consequently no
correlate to which can be discovered, this relation of the world to
a void space is merely a relation to no object. But such a relation,
and consequently the limitation of the world by void space, is
nothing. Consequently, the world, as regards space, is not limited,
that is, it is infinite in regard to extension.*

[*Footnote: Space is merely the form of external intuition (formal
intuition), and not a real object which can be externally perceived.
Space, prior to all things which determine it (fill or limit it),
or, rather, which present an empirical intuition conformable to it,
is, under the title of absolute space, nothing but the mere
possibility of external phenomena, in so far as they either exist in
themselves, or can annex themselves to given intuitions. Empirical
intuition is therefore not a composition of phenomena and space (of
perception and empty intuition). The one is not the correlate of the
other in a synthesis, but they are vitally connected in the same
empirical intuition, as matter and form. If we wish to set one of
these two apart from the other--space from phenomena--there arise
all sorts of empty determinations of external intuition, which are
very far from being possible perceptions. For example, motion or
rest of the world in an infinite empty space, or a determination of
the mutual relation of both, cannot possibly be perceived, and is
therefore merely the predicate of a notional entity.]



In bringing forward these conflicting arguments, I have not been
on the search for sophisms, for the purpose of availing myself of
special pleading, which takes advantage of the carelessness of the
opposite party, appeals to a misunderstood statute, and erects its
unrighteous claims upon an unfair interpretation. Both proofs
originate fairly from the nature of the case, and the advantage
presented by the mistakes of the dogmatists of both parties has been
completely set aside.

The thesis might also have been unfairly demonstrated, by the
introduction of an erroneous conception of the infinity of a given
quantity. A quantity is infinite, if a greater than itself cannot
possibly exist. The quantity is measured by the number of given units-
which are taken as a standard--contained in it. Now no number can be
the greatest, because one or more units can always be added. It
follows that an infinite given quantity, consequently an infinite
world (both as regards time and extension) is impossible. It is,
therefore, limited in both respects. In this manner I might have
conducted my proof; but the conception given in it does not agree with
the true conception of an infinite whole. In this there is no
representation of its quantity, it is not said how large it is;
consequently its conception is not the conception of a maximum. We
cogitate in it merely its relation to an arbitrarily assumed unit,
in relation to which it is greater than any number. Now, just as the
unit which is taken is greater or smaller, the infinite will be
greater or smaller; but the infinity, which consists merely in the
relation to this given unit, must remain always the same, although
the absolute quantity of the whole is not thereby cognized.

The true (transcendental) conception of infinity is: that the
successive synthesis of unity in the measurement of a given quantum
can never be completed.* Hence it follows, without possibility of
mistake, that an eternity of actual successive states up to a given
(the present) moment cannot have elapsed, and that the world must
therefore have a beginning.

[*Footnote: The quantum in this sense contains a congeries of given
units, which is greater than any number--and this is the mathematical
conception of the infinite.]

In regard to the second part of the thesis, the difficulty as to
an infinite and yet elapsed series disappears; for the manifold of
a world infinite in extension is contemporaneously given. But, in
order to cogitate the total of this manifold, as we cannot have the
aid of limits constituting by themselves this total in intuition, we
are obliged to give some account of our conception, which in this case
cannot proceed from the whole to the determined quantity of the parts,
but must demonstrate the possibility of a whole by means of a
successive synthesis of the parts. But as this synthesis must
constitute a series that cannot be completed, it is impossible for
us to cogitate prior to it, and consequently not by means of it, a
totality. For the conception of totality itself is in the present case
the representation of a completed synthesis of the parts; and this
completion, and consequently its conception, is impossible.


The proof in favour of the infinity of the cosmical succession and
the cosmical content is based upon the consideration that, in the
opposite case, a void time and a void space must constitute the limits
of the world. Now I am not unaware, that there are some ways of
escaping this conclusion. It may, for example, be alleged, that a
limit to the world, as regards both space and time, is quite possible,
without at the same time holding the existence of an absolute time
before the beginning of the world, or an absolute space extending
beyond the actual world--which is impossible. I am quite well
satisfied with the latter part of this opinion of the philosophers
of the Leibnitzian school. Space is merely the form of external
intuition, but not a real object which can itself be externally
intuited; it is not a correlate of phenomena, it is the form of
phenomena itself. Space, therefore, cannot be regarded as absolutely
and in itself something determinative of the existence of things,
because it is not itself an object, but only the form of possible
objects. Consequently, things, as phenomena, determine space; that
is to say, they render it possible that, of all the possible
predicates of space (size and relation), certain may belong to
reality. But we cannot affirm the converse, that space, as something
self-subsistent, can determine real things in regard to size or shape,
for it is in itself not a real thing. Space (filled or void)* may
therefore be limited by phenomena, but phenomena cannot be limited
by an empty space without them. This is true of time also. All this
being granted, it is nevertheless indisputable, that we must assume
these two nonentities, void space without and void time before the
world, if we assume the existence of cosmical limits, relatively to
space or time.

[*Footnote: It is evident that what is meant here is, that empty space,
in so far as it is limited by phenomena--space, that is, within the
world--does not at least contradict transcendental principles, and
may therefore, as regards them, be admitted, although its possibility
cannot on that account be affirmed.]

For, as regards the subterfuge adopted by those who endeavour to
evade the consequence--that, if the world is limited as to space and
time, the infinite void must determine the existence of actual
things in regard to their dimensions--it arises solely from the fact
that instead of a sensuous world, an intelligible world--of which
nothing is known--is cogitated; instead of a real beginning (an
existence, which is preceded by a period in which nothing exists),
an existence which presupposes no other condition than that of time;
and, instead of limits of extension, boundaries of the universe. But
the question relates to the mundus phaenomenon, and its quantity;
and in this case we cannot make abstraction of the conditions of
sensibility, without doing away with the essential reality of this
world itself. The world of sense, if it is limited, must necessarily
lie in the infinite void. If this, and with it space as the a priori
condition of the possibility of phenomena, is left out of view, the
whole world of sense disappears. In our problem is this alone
considered as given. The mundus intelligibilis is nothing but the
general conception of a world, in which abstraction has been made of
all conditions of intuition, and in relation to which no synthetical
proposition--either affirmative or negative--is possible.



Every composite substance in the world consists of simple parts; and
there exists nothing that is not either itself simple, or composed
of simple parts.


For, grant that composite substances do not consist of simple parts;
in this case, if all combination or composition were annihilated in
thought, no composite part, and (as, by the supposition, there do
not exist simple parts) no simple part would exist. Consequently, no
substance; consequently, nothing would exist. Either, then, it is
impossible to annihilate composition in thought; or, after such
annihilation, there must remain something that subsists without
composition, that is, something that is simple. But in the former case
the composite could not itself consist of substances, because with
substances composition is merely a contingent relation, apart from
which they must still exist as self-subsistent beings. Now, as this
case contradicts the supposition, the second must contain the truth-
that the substantial composite in the world consists of simple parts.

It follows, as an immediate inference, that the things in the
world are all, without exception, simple beings--that composition is
merely an external condition pertaining to them--and that, although
we never can separate and isolate the elementary substances from the
state of composition, reason must cogitate these as the primary
subjects of all composition, and consequently, as prior thereto--and
as simple substances.


No composite thing in the world consists of simple parts; and
there does not exist in the world any simple substance.


Let it be supposed that a composite thing (as substance) consists of
simple parts. Inasmuch as all external relation, consequently all
composition of substances, is possible only in space; the space,
occupied by that which is composite, must consist of the same number
of parts as is contained in the composite. But space does not
consist of simple parts, but of spaces. Therefore, every part of the
composite must occupy a space. But the absolutely primary parts of
what is composite are simple. It follows that what is simple
occupies a space. Now, as everything real that occupies a space,
contains a manifold the parts of which are external to each other,
and is consequently composite--and a real composite, not of accidents
(for these cannot exist external to each other apart from substance),
but of substances--it follows that the simple must be a substantial
composite, which is self-contradictory.

The second proposition of the antithesis--that there exists in the
world nothing that is simple--is here equivalent to the following:
The existence of the absolutely simple cannot be demonstrated from
any experience or perception either external or internal; and the
absolutely simple is a mere idea, the objective reality of which
cannot be demonstrated in any possible experience; it is consequently,
in the exposition of phenomena, without application and object. For,
let us take for granted that an object may be found in experience
for this transcendental idea; the empirical intuition of such an
object must then be recognized to contain absolutely no manifold
with its parts external to each other, and connected into unity.
Now, as we cannot reason from the non-consciousness of such a manifold
to the impossibility of its existence in the intuition of an object,
and as the proof of this impossibility is necessary for the
establishment and proof of absolute simplicity; it follows that this
simplicity cannot be inferred from any perception whatever. As,
therefore, an absolutely simple object cannot be given in any
experience, and the world of sense must be considered as the sum total
of all possible experiences: nothing simple exists in the world.

This second proposition in the antithesis has a more extended aim
than the first. The first merely banishes the simple from the
intuition of the composite; while the second drives it entirely out
of nature. Hence we were unable to demonstrate it from the conception
of a given object of external intuition (of the composite), but we
were obliged to prove it from the relation of a given object to a
possible experience in general.



When I speak of a whole, which necessarily consists of simple parts,
I understand thereby only a substantial whole, as the true
composite; that is to say, I understand that contingent unity of the
manifold which is given as perfectly isolated (at least in thought),
placed in reciprocal connection, and thus constituted a unity. Space
ought not to be called a compositum but a totum, for its parts are
possible in the whole, and not the whole by means of the parts. It
might perhaps be called a compositum ideale, but not a compositum
reale. But this is of no importance. As space is not a composite of
substances (and not even of real accidents), if I abstract all
composition therein--nothing, not even a point, remains; for a point
is possible only as the limit of a space--consequently of a composite.
Space and time, therefore, do not consist of simple parts. That
which belongs only to the condition or state of a substance, even
although it possesses a quantity (motion or change, for example),
likewise does not consist of simple parts. That is to say, a certain
degree of change does not originate from the addition of many simple
changes. Our inference of the simple from the composite is valid
only of self-subsisting things. But the accidents of a state are not
self-subsistent. The proof, then, for the necessity of the simple,
as the component part of all that is substantial and composite, may
prove a failure, and the whole case of this thesis be lost, if we
carry the proposition too far, and wish to make it valid of everything
that is composite without distinction--as indeed has really now and
then happened. Besides, I am here speaking only of the simple, in so
far as it is necessarily given in the composite--the latter being
capable of solution into the former as its component parts. The proper
signification of the word monas (as employed by Leibnitz) ought to
relate to the simple, given immediately as simple substance (for
example, in consciousness), and not as an element of the composite.
As an clement, the term atomus would be more appropriate. And as I
wish to prove the existence of simple substances, only in relation
to, and as the elements of, the composite, I might term the antithesis
of the second Antinomy, transcendental Atomistic. But as this word
has long been employed to designate a particular theory of corporeal
phenomena (moleculae), and thus presupposes a basis of empirical
conceptions, I prefer calling it the dialectical principle of


Against the assertion of the infinite subdivisibility of matter
whose ground of proof is purely mathematical, objections have been
alleged by the Monadists. These objections lay themselves open, at
first sight, to suspicion, from the fact that they do not recognize
the clearest mathematical proofs as propositions relating to the
constitution of space, in so far as it is really the formal
condition of the possibility of all matter, but regard them merely
as inferences from abstract but arbitrary conceptions, which cannot
have any application to real things. Just as if it were possible to
imagine another mode of intuition than that given in the primitive
intuition of space; and just as if its a priori determinations did
not apply to everything, the existence of which is possible, from the
fact alone of its filling space. If we listen to them, we shall find
ourselves required to cogitate, in addition to the mathematical point,
which is simple--not, however, a part, but a mere limit of space-
physical points, which are indeed likewise simple, but possess the
peculiar property, as parts of space, of filling it merely by their
aggregation. I shall not repeat here the common and clear
refutations of this absurdity, which are to be found everywhere in
numbers: every one knows that it is impossible to undermine the
evidence of mathematics by mere discursive conceptions; I shall only
remark that, if in this case philosophy endeavours to gain an
advantage over mathematics by sophistical artifices, it is because
it forgets that the discussion relates solely to Phenomena and their
conditions. It is not sufficient to find the conception of the
simple for the pure conception of the composite, but we must
discover for the intuition of the composite (matter), the intuition
of the simple. Now this, according to the laws of sensibility, and
consequently in the case of objects of sense, is utterly impossible.
In the case of a whole composed of substances, which is cogitated
solely by the pure understanding, it may be necessary to be in
possession of the simple before composition is possible. But this does
not hold good of the Totum substantiale phaenomenon, which, as an
empirical intuition in space, possesses the necessary property of
containing no simple part, for the very reason that no part of space
is simple. Meanwhile, the Monadists have been subtle enough to
escape from this difficulty, by presupposing intuition and the
dynamical relation of substances as the condition of the possibility
of space, instead of regarding space as the condition of the
possibility of the objects of external intuition, that is, of
bodies. Now we have a conception of bodies only as phenomena, and,
as such, they necessarily presuppose space as the condition of all
external phenomena. The evasion is therefore in vain; as, indeed, we
have sufficiently shown in our Aesthetic. If bodies were things in
themselves, the proof of the Monadists would be unexceptionable.

The second dialectical assertion possesses the peculiarity of having
opposed to it a dogmatical proposition, which, among all such
sophistical statements, is the only one that undertakes to prove in
the case of an object of experience, that which is properly a
transcendental idea--the absolute simplicity of substance. The
proposition is that the object of the internal sense, the thinking
Ego, is an absolute simple substance. Without at present entering upon
this subject--as it has been considered at length in a former chapter-
I shall merely remark that, if something is cogitated merely as an
object, without the addition of any synthetical determination of its
intuition--as happens in the case of the bare representation, I--it
is certain that no manifold and no composition can be perceived in
such a representation. As, moreover, the predicates whereby I cogitate
this object are merely intuitions of the internal sense, there cannot
be discovered in them anything to prove the existence of a manifold
whose parts are external to each other, and, consequently, nothing
to prove the existence of real composition. Consciousness, therefore,
is so constituted that, inasmuch as the thinking subject is at the
same time its own object, it cannot divide itself--although it can
divide its inhering determinations. For every object in relation to
itself is absolute unity. Nevertheless, if the subject is regarded
externally, as an object of intuition, it must, in its character of
phenomenon, possess the property of composition. And it must always
be regarded in this manner, if we wish to know whether there is or
is not contained in it a manifold whose parts are external to each



Causality according to the laws of nature, is not the only causality
operating to originate the phenomena of the world. A causality of
freedom is also necessary to account fully for these phenomena.


Let it be supposed, that there is no other kind of causality than
that according to the laws of nature. Consequently, everything that
happens presupposes a previous condition, which it follows with
absolute certainty, in conformity with a rule. But this previous
condition must itself be something that has happened (that has
arisen in time, as it did not exist before), for, if it has always
been in existence, its consequence or effect would not thus
originate for the first time, but would likewise have always
existed. The causality, therefore, of a cause, whereby something
happens, is itself a thing that has happened. Now this again
presupposes, in conformity with the law of nature, a previous
condition and its causality, and this another anterior to the
former, and so on. If, then, everything happens solely in accordance
with the laws of nature, there cannot be any real first beginning of
things, but only a subaltern or comparative beginning. There cannot,
therefore, be a completeness of series on the side of the causes which
originate the one from the other. But the law of nature is that
nothing can happen without a sufficient a priori determined cause.
The proposition therefore--if all causality is possible only in accordance
with the laws of nature--is, when stated in this unlimited and general
manner, self-contradictory. It follows that this cannot be the only
kind of causality.

From what has been said, it follows that a causality must be
admitted, by means of which something happens, without its cause being
determined according to necessary laws by some other cause
preceding. That is to say, there must exist an absolute spontaneity
of cause, which of itself originates a series of phenomena which proceeds
according to natural laws--consequently transcendental freedom,
without which even in the course of nature the succession of phenomena
on the side of causes is never complete.


There is no such thing as freedom, but everything in the world
happens solely according to the laws of nature.


Granted, that there does exist freedom in the transcendental
sense, as a peculiar kind of causality, operating to produce events
in the world--a faculty, that is to say, of originating a state, and
consequently a series of consequences from that state. In this case,
not only the series originated by this spontaneity, but the
determination of this spontaneity itself to the production of the
series, that is to say, the causality itself must have an absolute
commencement, such that nothing can precede to determine this action
according to unvarying laws. But every beginning of action presupposes
in the acting cause a state of inaction; and a dynamically primal
beginning of action presupposes a state, which has no connection--as
regards causality--with the preceding state of the cause--which does
not, that is, in any wise result from it. Transcendental freedom is
therefore opposed to the natural law of cause and effect, and such
a conjunction of successive states in effective causes is destructive
of the possibility of unity in experience and for that reason not to
be found in experience--is consequently a mere fiction of thought.

We have, therefore, nothing but nature to which we must look for
connection and order in cosmical events. Freedom--independence of
the laws of nature--is certainly a deliverance from restraint, but
it is also a relinquishing of the guidance of law and rule. For it
cannot be alleged that, instead of the laws of nature, laws of freedom
may be introduced into the causality of the course of nature. For,
if freedom were determined according to laws, it would be no longer
freedom, but merely nature. Nature, therefore, and transcendental
freedom are distinguishable as conformity to law and lawlessness.

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