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´╗┐Title: The Critique of Pure Reason
Author: Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804
Language: English
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By Immanuel Kant

Translated by J. M. D. Meiklejohn


Human reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to consider
questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented by its own
nature, but which it cannot answer, as they transcend every faculty of
the mind.

It falls into this difficulty without any fault of its own. It begins
with principles, which cannot be dispensed with in the field of
experience, and the truth and sufficiency of which are, at the same
time, insured by experience. With these principles it rises, in
obedience to the laws of its own nature, to ever higher and more remote
conditions. But it quickly discovers that, in this way, its labours must
remain ever incomplete, because new questions never cease to present
themselves; and thus it finds itself compelled to have recourse to
principles which transcend the region of experience, while they are
regarded by common sense without distrust. It thus falls into confusion
and contradictions, from which it conjectures the presence of latent
errors, which, however, it is unable to discover, because the principles
it employs, transcending the limits of experience, cannot be tested
by that criterion. The arena of these endless contests is called

Time was, when she was the queen of all the sciences; and, if we take
the will for the deed, she certainly deserves, so far as regards the
high importance of her object-matter, this title of honour. Now, it is
the fashion of the time to heap contempt and scorn upon her; and the
matron mourns, forlorn and forsaken, like Hecuba:

    Modo maxima rerum,
    Tot generis, natisque potens...
    Nunc trahor exul, inops.
           --Ovid, Metamorphoses. xiii

At first, her government, under the administration of the dogmatists,
was an absolute despotism. But, as the legislative continued to show
traces of the ancient barbaric rule, her empire gradually broke up, and
intestine wars introduced the reign of anarchy; while the sceptics,
like nomadic tribes, who hate a permanent habitation and settled mode
of living, attacked from time to time those who had organized themselves
into civil communities. But their number was, very happily, small; and
thus they could not entirely put a stop to the exertions of those who
persisted in raising new edifices, although on no settled or uniform
plan. In recent times the hope dawned upon us of seeing those disputes
settled, and the legitimacy of her claims established by a kind of
physiology of the human understanding--that of the celebrated Locke. But
it was found that--although it was affirmed that this so-called queen
could not refer her descent to any higher source than that of common
experience, a circumstance which necessarily brought suspicion on
her claims--as this genealogy was incorrect, she persisted in the
advancement of her claims to sovereignty. Thus metaphysics necessarily
fell back into the antiquated and rotten constitution of dogmatism, and
again became obnoxious to the contempt from which efforts had been
made to save it. At present, as all methods, according to the general
persuasion, have been tried in vain, there reigns nought but weariness
and complete indifferentism--the mother of chaos and night in the
scientific world, but at the same time the source of, or at least the
prelude to, the re-creation and reinstallation of a science, when it has
fallen into confusion, obscurity, and disuse from ill directed effort.

For it is in reality vain to profess indifference in regard to such
inquiries, the object of which cannot be indifferent to humanity.
Besides, these pretended indifferentists, however much they may try to
disguise themselves by the assumption of a popular style and by changes
on the language of the schools, unavoidably fall into metaphysical
declarations and propositions, which they profess to regard with so much
contempt. At the same time, this indifference, which has arisen in the
world of science, and which relates to that kind of knowledge which
we should wish to see destroyed the last, is a phenomenon that well
deserves our attention and reflection. It is plainly not the effect of
the levity, but of the matured judgement* of the age, which refuses to
be any longer entertained with illusory knowledge, It is, in fact, a
call to reason, again to undertake the most laborious of all tasks--that
of self-examination, and to establish a tribunal, which may secure it
in its well-grounded claims, while it pronounces against all baseless
assumptions and pretensions, not in an arbitrary manner, but according
to its own eternal and unchangeable laws. This tribunal is nothing less
than the critical investigation of pure reason.

[*Footnote: We very often hear complaints of the shallowness of the
present age, and of the decay of profound science. But I do not think
that those which rest upon a secure foundation, such as mathematics,
physical science, etc., in the least deserve this reproach, but that
they rather maintain their ancient fame, and in the latter case, indeed,
far surpass it. The same would be the case with the other kinds of
cognition, if their principles were but firmly established. In the
absence of this security, indifference, doubt, and finally, severe
criticism are rather signs of a profound habit of thought. Our age
is the age of criticism, to which everything must be subjected. The
sacredness of religion, and the authority of legislation, are by many
regarded as grounds of exemption from the examination of this tribunal.
But, if they on they are exempted, they become the subjects of just
suspicion, and cannot lay claim to sincere respect, which reason accords
only to that which has stood the test of a free and public examination.]

I do not mean by this a criticism of books and systems, but a critical
inquiry into the faculty of reason, with reference to the cognitions
to which it strives to attain without the aid of experience; in other
words, the solution of the question regarding the possibility or
impossibility of metaphysics, and the determination of the origin, as
well as of the extent and limits of this science. All this must be done
on the basis of principles.

This path--the only one now remaining--has been entered upon by me; and
I flatter myself that I have, in this way, discovered the cause of--and
consequently the mode of removing--all the errors which have hitherto
set reason at variance with itself, in the sphere of non-empirical
thought. I have not returned an evasive answer to the questions of
reason, by alleging the inability and limitation of the faculties of the
mind; I have, on the contrary, examined them completely in the light
of principles, and, after having discovered the cause of the doubts and
contradictions into which reason fell, have solved them to its perfect
satisfaction. It is true, these questions have not been solved as
dogmatism, in its vain fancies and desires, had expected; for it can
only be satisfied by the exercise of magical arts, and of these I have
no knowledge. But neither do these come within the compass of our mental
powers; and it was the duty of philosophy to destroy the illusions which
had their origin in misconceptions, whatever darling hopes and valued
expectations may be ruined by its explanations. My chief aim in this
work has been thoroughness; and I make bold to say that there is not a
single metaphysical problem that does not find its solution, or at
least the key to its solution, here. Pure reason is a perfect unity; and
therefore, if the principle presented by it prove to be insufficient for
the solution of even a single one of those questions to which the very
nature of reason gives birth, we must reject it, as we could not be
perfectly certain of its sufficiency in the case of the others.

While I say this, I think I see upon the countenance of the reader signs
of dissatisfaction mingled with contempt, when he hears declarations
which sound so boastful and extravagant; and yet they are beyond
comparison more moderate than those advanced by the commonest author of
the commonest philosophical programme, in which the dogmatist professes
to demonstrate the simple nature of the soul, or the necessity of a
primal being. Such a dogmatist promises to extend human knowledge beyond
the limits of possible experience; while I humbly confess that this
is completely beyond my power. Instead of any such attempt, I confine
myself to the examination of reason alone and its pure thought; and I do
not need to seek far for the sum-total of its cognition, because it
has its seat in my own mind. Besides, common logic presents me with
a complete and systematic catalogue of all the simple operations of
reason; and it is my task to answer the question how far reason can go,
without the material presented and the aid furnished by experience.

So much for the completeness and thoroughness necessary in the execution
of the present task. The aims set before us are not arbitrarily
proposed, but are imposed upon us by the nature of cognition itself.

The above remarks relate to the matter of our critical inquiry. As
regards the form, there are two indispensable conditions, which any one
who undertakes so difficult a task as that of a critique of pure reason,
is bound to fulfil. These conditions are certitude and clearness.

As regards certitude, I have fully convinced myself that, in this sphere
of thought, opinion is perfectly inadmissible, and that everything which
bears the least semblance of an hypothesis must be excluded, as of no
value in such discussions. For it is a necessary condition of every
cognition that is to be established upon a priori grounds that it shall
be held to be absolutely necessary; much more is this the case with an
attempt to determine all pure a priori cognition, and to furnish the
standard--and consequently an example--of all apodeictic (philosophical)
certitude. Whether I have succeeded in what I professed to do, it is for
the reader to determine; it is the author's business merely to adduce
grounds and reasons, without determining what influence these ought to
have on the mind of his judges. But, lest anything he may have said may
become the innocent cause of doubt in their minds, or tend to weaken the
effect which his arguments might otherwise produce--he may be allowed
to point out those passages which may occasion mistrust or difficulty,
although these do not concern the main purpose of the present work. He
does this solely with the view of removing from the mind of the reader
any doubts which might affect his judgement of the work as a whole, and
in regard to its ultimate aim.

I know no investigations more necessary for a full insight into the
nature of the faculty which we call understanding, and at the same time
for the determination of the rules and limits of its use, than those
undertaken in the second chapter of the "Transcendental Analytic," under
the title of "Deduction of the Pure Conceptions of the Understanding";
and they have also cost me by far the greatest labour--labour which, I
hope, will not remain uncompensated. The view there taken, which goes
somewhat deeply into the subject, has two sides, The one relates to the
objects of the pure understanding, and is intended to demonstrate and
to render comprehensible the objective validity of its a priori
conceptions; and it forms for this reason an essential part of the
Critique. The other considers the pure understanding itself, its
possibility and its powers of cognition--that is, from a subjective
point of view; and, although this exposition is of great importance, it
does not belong essentially to the main purpose of the work, because the
grand question is what and how much can reason and understanding, apart
from experience, cognize, and not, how is the faculty of thought itself
possible? As the latter is an inquiry into the cause of a given effect,
and has thus in it some semblance of an hypothesis (although, as I shall
show on another occasion, this is really not the fact), it would seem
that, in the present instance, I had allowed myself to enounce a mere
opinion, and that the reader must therefore be at liberty to hold
a different opinion. But I beg to remind him that, if my subjective
deduction does not produce in his mind the conviction of its certitude
at which I aimed, the objective deduction, with which alone the present
work is properly concerned, is in every respect satisfactory.

As regards clearness, the reader has a right to demand, in the first
place, discursive or logical clearness, that is, on the basis of
conceptions, and, secondly, intuitive or aesthetic clearness, by means
of intuitions, that is, by examples or other modes of illustration
in concreto. I have done what I could for the first kind of
intelligibility. This was essential to my purpose; and it thus became
the accidental cause of my inability to do complete justice to the
second requirement. I have been almost always at a loss, during the
progress of this work, how to settle this question. Examples and
illustrations always appeared to me necessary, and, in the first sketch
of the Critique, naturally fell into their proper places. But I very
soon became aware of the magnitude of my task, and the numerous problems
with which I should be engaged; and, as I perceived that this critical
investigation would, even if delivered in the driest scholastic manner,
be far from being brief, I found it unadvisable to enlarge it still more
with examples and explanations, which are necessary only from a popular
point of view. I was induced to take this course from the consideration
also that the present work is not intended for popular use, that those
devoted to science do not require such helps, although they are always
acceptable, and that they would have materially interfered with my
present purpose. Abbe Terrasson remarks with great justice that, if we
estimate the size of a work, not from the number of its pages, but from
the time which we require to make ourselves master of it, it may be said
of many a book that it would be much shorter, if it were not so short.
On the other hand, as regards the comprehensibility of a system of
speculative cognition, connected under a single principle, we may say
with equal justice: many a book would have been much clearer, if it had
not been intended to be so very clear. For explanations and examples,
and other helps to intelligibility, aid us in the comprehension of
parts, but they distract the attention, dissipate the mental power of
the reader, and stand in the way of his forming a clear conception of
the whole; as he cannot attain soon enough to a survey of the system,
and the colouring and embellishments bestowed upon it prevent his
observing its articulation or organization--which is the most important
consideration with him, when he comes to judge of its unity and

The reader must naturally have a strong inducement to co-operate
with the present author, if he has formed the intention of erecting a
complete and solid edifice of metaphysical science, according to the
plan now laid before him. Metaphysics, as here represented, is the only
science which admits of completion--and with little labour, if it
is united, in a short time; so that nothing will be left to
future generations except the task of illustrating and applying it
didactically. For this science is nothing more than the inventory of all
that is given us by pure reason, systematically arranged. Nothing can
escape our notice; for what reason produces from itself cannot lie
concealed, but must be brought to the light by reason itself, so soon
as we have discovered the common principle of the ideas we seek. The
perfect unity of this kind of cognitions, which are based upon pure
conceptions, and uninfluenced by any empirical element, or any peculiar
intuition leading to determinate experience, renders this completeness
not only practicable, but also necessary.

    Tecum habita, et noris quam sit tibi curta supellex.
           --Persius. Satirae iv. 52.

Such a system of pure speculative reason I hope to be able to publish
under the title of Metaphysic of Nature*. The content of this work
(which will not be half so long) will be very much richer than that
of the present Critique, which has to discover the sources of this
cognition and expose the conditions of its possibility, and at the same
time to clear and level a fit foundation for the scientific edifice. In
the present work, I look for the patient hearing and the impartiality
of a judge; in the other, for the good-will and assistance of a
co-labourer. For, however complete the list of principles for this
system may be in the Critique, the correctness of the system requires
that no deduced conceptions should be absent. These cannot be presented
a priori, but must be gradually discovered; and, while the synthesis of
conceptions has been fully exhausted in the Critique, it is necessary
that, in the proposed work, the same should be the case with their
analysis. But this will be rather an amusement than a labour.

     [*Footnote: In contradistinction to the Metaphysic of
     Ethics. This work was never published.]


Whether the treatment of that portion of our knowledge which lies within
the province of pure reason advances with that undeviating certainty
which characterizes the progress of science, we shall be at no loss to
determine. If we find those who are engaged in metaphysical pursuits,
unable to come to an understanding as to the method which they ought
to follow; if we find them, after the most elaborate preparations,
invariably brought to a stand before the goal is reached, and compelled
to retrace their steps and strike into fresh paths, we may then feel
quite sure that they are far from having attained to the certainty of
scientific progress and may rather be said to be merely groping about in
the dark. In these circumstances we shall render an important service to
reason if we succeed in simply indicating the path along which it must
travel, in order to arrive at any results--even if it should be found
necessary to abandon many of those aims which, without reflection, have
been proposed for its attainment.

That logic has advanced in this sure course, even from the earliest
times, is apparent from the fact that, since Aristotle, it has been
unable to advance a step and, thus, to all appearance has reached its
completion. For, if some of the moderns have thought to enlarge its
domain by introducing psychological discussions on the mental faculties,
such as imagination and wit, metaphysical, discussions on the origin
of knowledge and the different kinds of certitude, according to
the difference of the objects (idealism, scepticism, and so on), or
anthropological discussions on prejudices, their causes and remedies:
this attempt, on the part of these authors, only shows their ignorance
of the peculiar nature of logical science. We do not enlarge but
disfigure the sciences when we lose sight of their respective limits and
allow them to run into one another. Now logic is enclosed within limits
which admit of perfectly clear definition; it is a science which has for
its object nothing but the exposition and proof of the formal laws of
all thought, whether it be a priori or empirical, whatever be its
origin or its object, and whatever the difficulties--natural or
accidental--which it encounters in the human mind.

The early success of logic must be attributed exclusively to the
narrowness of its field, in which abstraction may, or rather must,
be made of all the objects of cognition with their characteristic
distinctions, and in which the understanding has only to deal with
itself and with its own forms. It is, obviously, a much more difficult
task for reason to strike into the sure path of science, where it has to
deal not simply with itself, but with objects external to itself. Hence,
logic is properly only a propaedeutic--forms, as it were, the vestibule
of the sciences; and while it is necessary to enable us to form a
correct judgement with regard to the various branches of knowledge,
still the acquisition of real, substantive knowledge is to be sought
only in the sciences properly so called, that is, in the objective

Now these sciences, if they can be termed rational at all, must contain
elements of a priori cognition, and this cognition may stand in a
twofold relation to its object. Either it may have to determine the
conception of the object--which must be supplied extraneously, or it
may have to establish its reality. The former is theoretical, the latter
practical, rational cognition. In both, the pure or a priori element
must be treated first, and must be carefully distinguished from that
which is supplied from other sources. Any other method can only lead to
irremediable confusion.

Mathematics and physics are the two theoretical sciences which have to
determine their objects a priori. The former is purely a priori, the
latter is partially so, but is also dependent on other sources of

In the earliest times of which history affords us any record,
mathematics had already entered on the sure course of science, among
that wonderful nation, the Greeks. Still it is not to be supposed that
it was as easy for this science to strike into, or rather to construct
for itself, that royal road, as it was for logic, in which reason has
only to deal with itself. On the contrary, I believe that it must
have remained long--chiefly among the Egyptians--in the stage of
blind groping after its true aims and destination, and that it was
revolutionized by the happy idea of one man, who struck out and
determined for all time the path which this science must follow,
and which admits of an indefinite advancement. The history of this
intellectual revolution--much more important in its results than the
discovery of the passage round the celebrated Cape of Good Hope--and of
its author, has not been preserved. But Diogenes Laertius, in naming
the supposed discoverer of some of the simplest elements of geometrical
demonstration--elements which, according to the ordinary opinion, do not
even require to be proved--makes it apparent that the change introduced
by the first indication of this new path, must have seemed of the utmost
importance to the mathematicians of that age, and it has thus been
secured against the chance of oblivion. A new light must have flashed on
the mind of the first man (Thales, or whatever may have been his name)
who demonstrated the properties of the isosceles triangle. For he found
that it was not sufficient to meditate on the figure, as it lay before
his eyes, or the conception of it, as it existed in his mind, and thus
endeavour to get at the knowledge of its properties, but that it was
necessary to produce these properties, as it were, by a positive a
priori construction; and that, in order to arrive with certainty at
a priori cognition, he must not attribute to the object any other
properties than those which necessarily followed from that which he had
himself, in accordance with his conception, placed in the object.

A much longer period elapsed before physics entered on the highway of
science. For it is only about a century and a half since the wise Bacon
gave a new direction to physical studies, or rather--as others were
already on the right track--imparted fresh vigour to the pursuit of
this new direction. Here, too, as in the case of mathematics, we find
evidence of a rapid intellectual revolution. In the remarks which follow
I shall confine myself to the empirical side of natural science.

When Galilei experimented with balls of a definite weight on the
inclined plane, when Torricelli caused the air to sustain a weight which
he had calculated beforehand to be equal to that of a definite column of
water, or when Stahl, at a later period, converted metals into lime, and
reconverted lime into metal, by the addition and subtraction of certain
elements; [Footnote: I do not here follow with exactness the history of
the experimental method, of which, indeed, the first steps are involved
in some obscurity.] a light broke upon all natural philosophers. They
learned that reason only perceives that which it produces after its
own design; that it must not be content to follow, as it were, in the
leading-strings of nature, but must proceed in advance with principles
of judgement according to unvarying laws, and compel nature to reply
its questions. For accidental observations, made according to no
preconceived plan, cannot be united under a necessary law. But it is
this that reason seeks for and requires. It is only the principles of
reason which can give to concordant phenomena the validity of laws, and
it is only when experiment is directed by these rational principles that
it can have any real utility. Reason must approach nature with the view,
indeed, of receiving information from it, not, however, in the character
of a pupil, who listens to all that his master chooses to tell him,
but in that of a judge, who compels the witnesses to reply to those
questions which he himself thinks fit to propose. To this single idea
must the revolution be ascribed, by which, after groping in the dark for
so many centuries, natural science was at length conducted into the path
of certain progress.

We come now to metaphysics, a purely speculative science, which occupies
a completely isolated position and is entirely independent of the
teachings of experience. It deals with mere conceptions--not, like
mathematics, with conceptions applied to intuition--and in it, reason is
the pupil of itself alone. It is the oldest of the sciences, and would
still survive, even if all the rest were swallowed up in the abyss of
an all-destroying barbarism. But it has not yet had the good fortune to
attain to the sure scientific method. This will be apparent; if we
apply the tests which we proposed at the outset. We find that reason
perpetually comes to a stand, when it attempts to gain a priori the
perception even of those laws which the most common experience confirms.
We find it compelled to retrace its steps in innumerable instances, and
to abandon the path on which it had entered, because this does not
lead to the desired result. We find, too, that those who are engaged in
metaphysical pursuits are far from being able to agree among themselves,
but that, on the contrary, this science appears to furnish an arena
specially adapted for the display of skill or the exercise of strength
in mock-contests--a field in which no combatant ever yet succeeded in
gaining an inch of ground, in which, at least, no victory was ever yet
crowned with permanent possession.

This leads us to inquire why it is that, in metaphysics, the sure path
of science has not hitherto been found. Shall we suppose that it is
impossible to discover it? Why then should nature have visited our
reason with restless aspirations after it, as if it were one of our
weightiest concerns? Nay, more, how little cause should we have to place
confidence in our reason, if it abandons us in a matter about which,
most of all, we desire to know the truth--and not only so, but even
allures us to the pursuit of vain phantoms, only to betray us in the
end? Or, if the path has only hitherto been missed, what indications do
we possess to guide us in a renewed investigation, and to enable us to
hope for greater success than has fallen to the lot of our predecessors?

It appears to me that the examples of mathematics and natural
philosophy, which, as we have seen, were brought into their present
condition by a sudden revolution, are sufficiently remarkable to fix our
attention on the essential circumstances of the change which has proved
so advantageous to them, and to induce us to make the experiment of
imitating them, so far as the analogy which, as rational sciences, they
bear to metaphysics may permit. It has hitherto been assumed that our
cognition must conform to the objects; but all attempts to ascertain
anything about these objects a priori, by means of conceptions, and thus
to extend the range of our knowledge, have been rendered abortive by
this assumption. Let us then make the experiment whether we may not
be more successful in metaphysics, if we assume that the objects must
conform to our cognition. This appears, at all events, to accord better
with the possibility of our gaining the end we have in view, that is to
say, of arriving at the cognition of objects a priori, of determining
something with respect to these objects, before they are given to us. We
here propose to do just what Copernicus did in attempting to explain
the celestial movements. When he found that he could make no progress by
assuming that all the heavenly bodies revolved round the spectator,
he reversed the process, and tried the experiment of assuming that the
spectator revolved, while the stars remained at rest. We may make
the same experiment with regard to the intuition of objects. If the
intuition must conform to the nature of the objects, I do not see how
we can know anything of them a priori. If, on the other hand, the object
conforms to the nature of our faculty of intuition, I can then easily
conceive the possibility of such an a priori knowledge. Now as I cannot
rest in the mere intuitions, but--if they are to become cognitions--must
refer them, as representations, to something, as object, and must
determine the latter by means of the former, here again there are two
courses open to me. Either, first, I may assume that the conceptions,
by which I effect this determination, conform to the object--and in this
case I am reduced to the same perplexity as before; or secondly, I may
assume that the objects, or, which is the same thing, that experience,
in which alone as given objects they are cognized, conform to my
conceptions--and then I am at no loss how to proceed. For experience
itself is a mode of cognition which requires understanding. Before
objects, are given to me, that is, a priori, I must presuppose in myself
laws of the understanding which are expressed in conceptions a
priori. To these conceptions, then, all the objects of experience must
necessarily conform. Now there are objects which reason thinks, and
that necessarily, but which cannot be given in experience, or, at least,
cannot be given so as reason thinks them. The attempt to think these
objects will hereafter furnish an excellent test of the new method of
thought which we have adopted, and which is based on the principle that
we only cognize in things a priori that which we ourselves place in

     [*Footnote: This method, accordingly, which we have borrowed
     from the natural philosopher, consists in seeking for the
     elements of pure reason in that which admits of confirmation
     or refutation by experiment. Now the propositions of pure
     reason, especially when they transcend the limits of
     possible experience, do not admit of our making any
     experiment with their objects, as in natural science. Hence,
     with regard to those conceptions and principles which we
     assume a priori, our only course ill be to view them from
     two different sides. We must regard one and the same
     conception, on the one hand, in relation to experience as an
     object of the senses and of the understanding, on the other
     hand, in relation to reason, isolated and transcending the
     limits of experience, as an object of mere thought. Now if
     we find that, when we regard things from this double point
     of view, the result is in harmony with the principle of pure
     reason, but that, when we regard them from a single point of
     view, reason is involved in self-contradiction, then the
     experiment will establish the correctness of this

This attempt succeeds as well as we could desire, and promises to
metaphysics, in its first part--that is, where it is occupied with
conceptions a priori, of which the corresponding objects may be given in
experience--the certain course of science. For by this new method we are
enabled perfectly to explain the possibility of a priori cognition, and,
what is more, to demonstrate satisfactorily the laws which lie a
priori at the foundation of nature, as the sum of the objects of
experience--neither of which was possible according to the procedure
hitherto followed. But from this deduction of the faculty of a priori
cognition in the first part of metaphysics, we derive a surprising
result, and one which, to all appearance, militates against the great
end of metaphysics, as treated in the second part. For we come to the
conclusion that our faculty of cognition is unable to transcend the
limits of possible experience; and yet this is precisely the most
essential object of this science. The estimate of our rational cognition
a priori at which we arrive is that it has only to do with phenomena,
and that things in themselves, while possessing a real existence,
lie beyond its sphere. Here we are enabled to put the justice of this
estimate to the test. For that which of necessity impels us to transcend
the limits of experience and of all phenomena is the unconditioned,
which reason absolutely requires in things as they are in themselves,
in order to complete the series of conditions. Now, if it appears that
when, on the one hand, we assume that our cognition conforms to its
objects as things in themselves, the unconditioned cannot be thought
without contradiction, and that when, on the other hand, we assume that
our representation of things as they are given to us, does not conform
to these things as they are in themselves, but that these objects, as
phenomena, conform to our mode of representation, the contradiction
disappears: we shall then be convinced of the truth of that which we
began by assuming for the sake of experiment; we may look upon it as
established that the unconditioned does not lie in things as we
know them, or as they are given to us, but in things as they are in
themselves, beyond the range of our cognition.*

     [*Footnote: This experiment of pure reason has a great
     similarity to that of the chemists, which they term the
     experiment of reduction, or, more usually, the synthetic
     process. The analysis of the metaphysician separates pure
     cognition a priori into two heterogeneous elements, viz.,
     the cognition of things as phenomena, and of things in
     themselves. Dialectic combines these again into harmony with
     the necessary rational idea of the unconditioned, and finds
     that this harmony never results except through the above
     distinction, which is, therefore, concluded to be just.]

But, after we have thus denied the power of speculative reason to make
any progress in the sphere of the supersensible, it still remains for
our consideration whether data do not exist in practical cognition
which may enable us to determine the transcendent conception of the
unconditioned, to rise beyond the limits of all possible experience
from a practical point of view, and thus to satisfy the great ends of
metaphysics. Speculative reason has thus, at least, made room for such
an extension of our knowledge: and, if it must leave this space vacant,
still it does not rob us of the liberty to fill it up, if we can,
by means of practical data--nay, it even challenges us to make the

     [*Footnote: So the central laws of the movements of the
     heavenly bodies established the truth of that which
     Copernicus, first, assumed only as a hypothesis, and, at the
     same time, brought to light that invisible force (Newtonian
     attraction) which holds the universe together. The latter
     would have remained forever undiscovered, if Copernicus had
     not ventured on the experiment--contrary to the senses but
     still just--of looking for the observed movements not in the
     heavenly bodies, but in the spectator. In this Preface I
     treat the new metaphysical method as a hypothesis with the
     view of rendering apparent the first attempts at such a
     change of method, which are always hypothetical. But in the
     Critique itself it will be demonstrated, not hypothetically,
     but apodeictically, from the nature of our representations
     of space and time, and from the elementary conceptions of
     the understanding.]

This attempt to introduce a complete revolution in the procedure
of metaphysics, after the example of the geometricians and natural
philosophers, constitutes the aim of the Critique of Pure Speculative
Reason. It is a treatise on the method to be followed, not a system of
the science itself. But, at the same time, it marks out and defines both
the external boundaries and the internal structure of this science.
For pure speculative reason has this peculiarity, that, in choosing the
various objects of thought, it is able to define the limits of its own
faculties, and even to give a complete enumeration of the possible
modes of proposing problems to itself, and thus to sketch out the entire
system of metaphysics. For, on the one hand, in cognition a priori,
nothing must be attributed to the objects but what the thinking subject
derives from itself; and, on the other hand, reason is, in regard to
the principles of cognition, a perfectly distinct, independent unity, in
which, as in an organized body, every member exists for the sake of
the others, and all for the sake of each, so that no principle can be
viewed, with safety, in one relationship, unless it is, at the same
time, viewed in relation to the total use of pure reason. Hence, too,
metaphysics has this singular advantage--an advantage which falls to the
lot of no other science which has to do with objects--that, if once it
is conducted into the sure path of science, by means of this criticism,
it can then take in the whole sphere of its cognitions, and can thus
complete its work, and leave it for the use of posterity, as a capital
which can never receive fresh accessions. For metaphysics has to deal
only with principles and with the limitations of its own employment as
determined by these principles. To this perfection it is, therefore,
bound, as the fundamental science, to attain, and to it the maxim may
justly be applied:

    Nil actum reputans, si quid superesset agendum.

But, it will be asked, what kind of a treasure is this that we propose
to bequeath to posterity? What is the real value of this system of
metaphysics, purified by criticism, and thereby reduced to a permanent
condition? A cursory view of the present work will lead to the
supposition that its use is merely negative, that it only serves to
warn us against venturing, with speculative reason, beyond the limits
of experience. This is, in fact, its primary use. But this, at once,
assumes a positive value, when we observe that the principles with which
speculative reason endeavours to transcend its limits lead inevitably,
not to the extension, but to the contraction of the use of reason,
inasmuch as they threaten to extend the limits of sensibility, which
is their proper sphere, over the entire realm of thought and, thus,
to supplant the pure (practical) use of reason. So far, then, as this
criticism is occupied in confining speculative reason within its proper
bounds, it is only negative; but, inasmuch as it thereby, at the same
time, removes an obstacle which impedes and even threatens to destroy
the use of practical reason, it possesses a positive and very important
value. In order to admit this, we have only to be convinced that there
is an absolutely necessary use of pure reason--the moral use--in which
it inevitably transcends the limits of sensibility, without the aid
of speculation, requiring only to be insured against the effects of a
speculation which would involve it in contradiction with itself. To deny
the positive advantage of the service which this criticism renders
us would be as absurd as to maintain that the system of police is
productive of no positive benefit, since its main business is to prevent
the violence which citizen has to apprehend from citizen, that so each
may pursue his vocation in peace and security. That space and time are
only forms of sensible intuition, and hence are only conditions of the
existence of things as phenomena; that, moreover, we have no conceptions
of the understanding, and, consequently, no elements for the cognition
of things, except in so far as a corresponding intuition can be given
to these conceptions; that, accordingly, we can have no cognition of
an object, as a thing in itself, but only as an object of sensible
intuition, that is, as phenomenon--all this is proved in the analytical
part of the Critique; and from this the limitation of all possible
speculative cognition to the mere objects of experience, follows as a
necessary result. At the same time, it must be carefully borne in mind
that, while we surrender the power of cognizing, we still reserve the
power of thinking objects, as things in themselves.* For, otherwise,
we should require to affirm the existence of an appearance, without
something that appears--which would be absurd. Now let us suppose, for a
moment, that we had not undertaken this criticism and, accordingly,
had not drawn the necessary distinction between things as objects
of experience and things as they are in themselves. The principle of
causality, and, by consequence, the mechanism of nature as determined by
causality, would then have absolute validity in relation to all things
as efficient causes. I should then be unable to assert, with regard to
one and the same being, e.g., the human soul, that its will is free, and
yet, at the same time, subject to natural necessity, that is, not free,
without falling into a palpable contradiction, for in both propositions
I should take the soul in the same signification, as a thing in general,
as a thing in itself--as, without previous criticism, I could not but
take it. Suppose now, on the other hand, that we have undertaken this
criticism, and have learnt that an object may be taken in two senses,
first, as a phenomenon, secondly, as a thing in itself; and that,
according to the deduction of the conceptions of the understanding, the
principle of causality has reference only to things in the first sense.
We then see how it does not involve any contradiction to assert, on the
one hand, that the will, in the phenomenal sphere--in visible action--is
necessarily obedient to the law of nature, and, in so far, not free;
and, on the other hand, that, as belonging to a thing in itself, it is
not subject to that law, and, accordingly, is free. Now, it is true that
I cannot, by means of speculative reason, and still less by empirical
observation, cognize my soul as a thing in itself and consequently,
cannot cognize liberty as the property of a being to which I ascribe
effects in the world of sense. For, to do so, I must cognize this being
as existing, and yet not in time, which--since I cannot support my
conception by any intuition--is impossible. At the same time, while
I cannot cognize, I can quite well think freedom, that is to say, my
representation of it involves at least no contradiction, if we bear in
mind the critical distinction of the two modes of representation (the
sensible and the intellectual) and the consequent limitation of the
conceptions of the pure understanding and of the principles which flow
from them. Suppose now that morality necessarily presupposed liberty,
in the strictest sense, as a property of our will; suppose that reason
contained certain practical, original principles a priori, which were
absolutely impossible without this presupposition; and suppose, at the
same time, that speculative reason had proved that liberty was
incapable of being thought at all. It would then follow that the
moral presupposition must give way to the speculative affirmation, the
opposite of which involves an obvious contradiction, and that liberty
and, with it, morality must yield to the mechanism of nature; for
the negation of morality involves no contradiction, except on the
presupposition of liberty. Now morality does not require the speculative
cognition of liberty; it is enough that I can think it, that its
conception involves no contradiction, that it does not interfere with
the mechanism of nature. But even this requirement we could not satisfy,
if we had not learnt the twofold sense in which things may be taken; and
it is only in this way that the doctrine of morality and the doctrine of
nature are confined within their proper limits. For this result,
then, we are indebted to a criticism which warns us of our unavoidable
ignorance with regard to things in themselves, and establishes the
necessary limitation of our theoretical cognition to mere phenomena.

     [*Footnote: In order to cognize an object, I must be able to
     prove its possibility, either from its reality as attested
     by experience, or a priori, by means of reason. But I can
     think what I please, provided only I do not contradict
     myself; that is, provided my conception is a possible
     thought, though I may be unable to answer for the existence
     of a corresponding object in the sum of possibilities. But
     something more is required before I can attribute to such a
     conception objective validity, that is real possibility--the
     other possibility being merely logical. We are not, however,
     confined to theoretical sources of cognition for the means
     of satisfying this additional requirement, but may derive
     them from practical sources.]

The positive value of the critical principles of pure reason in relation
to the conception of God and of the simple nature of the soul, admits of
a similar exemplification; but on this point I shall not dwell. I
cannot even make the assumption--as the practical interests of
morality require--of God, freedom, and immortality, if I do not deprive
speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insight. For to
arrive at these, it must make use of principles which, in fact, extend
only to the objects of possible experience, and which cannot be applied
to objects beyond this sphere without converting them into phenomena,
and thus rendering the practical extension of pure reason impossible.
I must, therefore, abolish knowledge, to make room for belief. The
dogmatism of metaphysics, that is, the presumption that it is possible
to advance in metaphysics without previous criticism, is the true source
of the unbelief (always dogmatic) which militates against morality.

Thus, while it may be no very difficult task to bequeath a legacy
to posterity, in the shape of a system of metaphysics constructed in
accordance with the Critique of Pure Reason, still the value of such a
bequest is not to be depreciated. It will render an important service
to reason, by substituting the certainty of scientific method for that
random groping after results without the guidance of principles, which
has hitherto characterized the pursuit of metaphysical studies. It will
render an important service to the inquiring mind of youth, by leading
the student to apply his powers to the cultivation of genuine science,
instead of wasting them, as at present, on speculations which can never
lead to any result, or on the idle attempt to invent new ideas and
opinions. But, above all, it will confer an inestimable benefit on
morality and religion, by showing that all the objections urged against
them may be silenced for ever by the Socratic method, that is to say, by
proving the ignorance of the objector. For, as the world has never been,
and, no doubt, never will be without a system of metaphysics of one kind
or another, it is the highest and weightiest concern of philosophy to
render it powerless for harm, by closing up the sources of error.

This important change in the field of the sciences, this loss of its
fancied possessions, to which speculative reason must submit, does not
prove in any way detrimental to the general interests of humanity. The
advantages which the world has derived from the teachings of pure reason
are not at all impaired. The loss falls, in its whole extent, on the
monopoly of the schools, but does not in the slightest degree touch the
interests of mankind. I appeal to the most obstinate dogmatist, whether
the proof of the continued existence of the soul after death, derived
from the simplicity of its substance; of the freedom of the will in
opposition to the general mechanism of nature, drawn from the subtle but
impotent distinction of subjective and objective practical necessity;
or of the existence of God, deduced from the conception of an ens
realissimum--the contingency of the changeable, and the necessity of
a prime mover, has ever been able to pass beyond the limits of the
schools, to penetrate the public mind, or to exercise the slightest
influence on its convictions. It must be admitted that this has not been
the case and that, owing to the unfitness of the common understanding
for such subtle speculations, it can never be expected to take place. On
the contrary, it is plain that the hope of a future life arises from the
feeling, which exists in the breast of every man, that the temporal
is inadequate to meet and satisfy the demands of his nature. In like
manner, it cannot be doubted that the clear exhibition of duties
in opposition to all the claims of inclination, gives rise to the
consciousness of freedom, and that the glorious order, beauty, and
providential care, everywhere displayed in nature, give rise to the
belief in a wise and great Author of the Universe. Such is the genesis
of these general convictions of mankind, so far as they depend on
rational grounds; and this public property not only remains undisturbed,
but is even raised to greater importance, by the doctrine that the
schools have no right to arrogate to themselves a more profound insight
into a matter of general human concernment than that to which the great
mass of men, ever held by us in the highest estimation, can without
difficulty attain, and that the schools should, therefore, confine
themselves to the elaboration of these universally comprehensible and,
from a moral point of view, amply satisfactory proofs. The change,
therefore, affects only the arrogant pretensions of the schools, which
would gladly retain, in their own exclusive possession, the key to the
truths which they impart to the public.

Quod mecum nescit, solus vult scire videri.

At the same time it does not deprive the speculative philosopher of
his just title to be the sole depositor of a science which benefits the
public without its knowledge--I mean, the Critique of Pure Reason. This
can never become popular and, indeed, has no occasion to be so; for
finespun arguments in favour of useful truths make just as little
impression on the public mind as the equally subtle objections brought
against these truths. On the other hand, since both inevitably force
themselves on every man who rises to the height of speculation, it
becomes the manifest duty of the schools to enter upon a thorough
investigation of the rights of speculative reason and, thus, to prevent
the scandal which metaphysical controversies are sure, sooner or later,
to cause even to the masses. It is only by criticism that metaphysicians
(and, as such, theologians too) can be saved from these controversies
and from the consequent perversion of their doctrines. Criticism
alone can strike a blow at the root of materialism, fatalism, atheism,
free-thinking, fanaticism, and superstition, which are universally
injurious--as well as of idealism and scepticism, which are dangerous
to the schools, but can scarcely pass over to the public. If governments
think proper to interfere with the affairs of the learned, it would be
more consistent with a wise regard for the interests of science, as well
as for those of society, to favour a criticism of this kind, by which
alone the labours of reason can be established on a firm basis, than to
support the ridiculous despotism of the schools, which raise a loud cry
of danger to the public over the destruction of cobwebs, of which the
public has never taken any notice, and the loss of which, therefore, it
can never feel.

This critical science is not opposed to the dogmatic procedure of reason
in pure cognition; for pure cognition must always be dogmatic, that is,
must rest on strict demonstration from sure principles a priori--but to
dogmatism, that is, to the presumption that it is possible to make
any progress with a pure cognition, derived from (philosophical)
conceptions, according to the principles which reason has long been in
the habit of employing--without first inquiring in what way and by what
right reason has come into the possession of these principles. Dogmatism
is thus the dogmatic procedure of pure reason without previous criticism
of its own powers, and in opposing this procedure, we must not be
supposed to lend any countenance to that loquacious shallowness which
arrogates to itself the name of popularity, nor yet to scepticism, which
makes short work with the whole science of metaphysics. On the contrary,
our criticism is the necessary preparation for a thoroughly scientific
system of metaphysics which must perform its task entirely a priori, to
the complete satisfaction of speculative reason, and must, therefore,
be treated, not popularly, but scholastically. In carrying out the
plan which the Critique prescribes, that is, in the future system
of metaphysics, we must have recourse to the strict method of the
celebrated Wolf, the greatest of all dogmatic philosophers. He was the
first to point out the necessity of establishing fixed principles, of
clearly defining our conceptions, and of subjecting our demonstrations
to the most severe scrutiny, instead of rashly jumping at conclusions.
The example which he set served to awaken that spirit of profound and
thorough investigation which is not yet extinct in Germany. He would
have been peculiarly well fitted to give a truly scientific character to
metaphysical studies, had it occurred to him to prepare the field by a
criticism of the organum, that is, of pure reason itself. That he failed
to perceive the necessity of such a procedure must be ascribed to the
dogmatic mode of thought which characterized his age, and on this point
the philosophers of his time, as well as of all previous times, have
nothing to reproach each other with. Those who reject at once the method
of Wolf, and of the Critique of Pure Reason, can have no other aim
but to shake off the fetters of science, to change labour into sport,
certainty into opinion, and philosophy into philodoxy.

In this second edition, I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to
remove the difficulties and obscurity which, without fault of mine
perhaps, have given rise to many misconceptions even among acute
thinkers. In the propositions themselves, and in the demonstrations by
which they are supported, as well as in the form and the entire plan of
the work, I have found nothing to alter; which must be attributed
partly to the long examination to which I had subjected the whole before
offering it to the public and partly to the nature of the case. For pure
speculative reason is an organic structure in which there is nothing
isolated or independent, but every Single part is essential to all the
rest; and hence, the slightest imperfection, whether defect or positive
error, could not fail to betray itself in use. I venture, further, to
hope, that this system will maintain the same unalterable character for
the future. I am led to entertain this confidence, not by vanity, but by
the evidence which the equality of the result affords, when we proceed,
first, from the simplest elements up to the complete whole of pure
reason and, and then, backwards from the whole to each part. We find
that the attempt to make the slightest alteration, in any part, leads
inevitably to contradictions, not merely in this system, but in
human reason itself. At the same time, there is still much room for
improvement in the exposition of the doctrines contained in this work.
In the present edition, I have endeavoured to remove misapprehensions of
the aesthetical part, especially with regard to the conception of time;
to clear away the obscurity which has been found in the deduction of
the conceptions of the understanding; to supply the supposed want of
sufficient evidence in the demonstration of the principles of the pure
understanding; and, lastly, to obviate the misunderstanding of the
paralogisms which immediately precede the rational psychology. Beyond
this point--the end of the second main division of the "Transcendental
Dialectic"--I have not extended my alterations,* partly from want
of time, and partly because I am not aware that any portion of the
remainder has given rise to misconceptions among intelligent and
impartial critics, whom I do not here mention with that praise which is
their due, but who will find that their suggestions have been attended
to in the work itself.

     [*Footnote: The only addition, properly so called--and that
     only in the method of proof--which I have made in the
     present edition, consists of a new refutation of
     psychological idealism, and a strict demonstration--the only
     one possible, as I believe--of the objective reality of
     external intuition. However harmless idealism may be
     considered--although in reality it is not so--in regard to
     the essential ends of metaphysics, it must still remain a
     scandal to philosophy and to the general human reason to be
     obliged to assume, as an article of mere belief, the
     existence of things external to ourselves (from which, yet,
     we derive the whole material of cognition for the internal
     sense), and not to be able to oppose a satisfactory proof to
     any one who may call it in question. As there is some
     obscurity of expression in the demonstration as it stands in
     the text, I propose to alter the passage in question as
     follows: "But this permanent cannot be an intuition in me.
     For all the determining grounds of my existence which can be
     found in me are representations and, as such, do themselves
     require a permanent, distinct from them, which may determine
     my existence in relation to their changes, that is, my
     existence in time, wherein they change." It may, probably,
     be urged in opposition to this proof that, after all, I am
     only conscious immediately of that which is in me, that is,
     of my representation of external things, and that,
     consequently, it must always remain uncertain whether
     anything corresponding to this representation does or does
     not exist externally to me. But I am conscious, through
     internal experience, of my existence in time (consequently,
     also, of the determinability of the former in the latter),
     and that is more than the simple consciousness of my
     representation. It is, in fact, the same as the empirical
     consciousness of my existence, which can only be determined
     in relation to something, which, while connected with my
     existence, is external to me. This consciousness of my
     existence in time is, therefore, identical with the
     consciousness of a relation to something external to me, and
     it is, therefore, experience, not fiction, sense, not
     imagination, which inseparably connects the external with my
     internal sense. For the external sense is, in itself, the
     relation of intuition to something real, external to me; and
     the reality of this something, as opposed to the mere
     imagination of it, rests solely on its inseparable
     connection with internal experience as the condition of its
     possibility. If with the intellectual consciousness of my
     existence, in the representation: I am, which accompanies
     all my judgements, and all the operations of my
     understanding, I could, at the same time, connect a
     determination of my existence by intellectual intuition,
     then the consciousness of a relation to something external
     to me would not be necessary. But the internal intuition in
     which alone my existence can be determined, though preceded
     by that purely intellectual consciousness, is itself
     sensible and attached to the condition of time. Hence this
     determination of my existence, and consequently my internal
     experience itself, must depend on something permanent which
     is not in me, which can be, therefore, only in something
     external to me, to which I must look upon myself as being
     related. Thus the reality of the external sense is
     necessarily connected with that of the internal, in order to
     the possibility of experience in general; that is, I am just
     as certainly conscious that there are things external to me
     related to my sense as I am that I myself exist as
     determined in time. But in order to ascertain to what given
     intuitions objects, external me, really correspond, in other
     words, what intuitions belong to the external sense and not
     to imagination, I must have recourse, in every particular
     case, to those rules according to which experience in
     general (even internal experience) is distinguished from
     imagination, and which are always based on the proposition
     that there really is an external experience. We may add the
     remark that the representation of something permanent in
     existence, is not the same thing as the permanent
     representation; for a representation may be very variable
     and changing--as all our representations, even that of
     matter, are--and yet refer to something permanent, which
     must, therefore, be distinct from all my representations and
     external to me, the existence of which is necessarily
     included in the determination of my own existence, and with
     it constitutes one experience--an experience which would not
     even be possible internally, if it were not also at the same
     time, in part, external. To the question How? we are no more
     able to reply, than we are, in general, to think the
     stationary in time, the coexistence of which with the
     variable, produces the conception of change.]

In attempting to render the exposition of my views as intelligible as
possible, I have been compelled to leave out or abridge various passages
which were not essential to the completeness of the work, but which many
readers might consider useful in other respects, and might be unwilling
to miss. This trifling loss, which could not be avoided without swelling
the book beyond due limits, may be supplied, at the pleasure of the
reader, by a comparison with the first edition, and will, I hope, be
more than compensated for by the greater clearness of the exposition as
it now stands.

I have observed, with pleasure and thankfulness, in the pages of
various reviews and treatises, that the spirit of profound and thorough
investigation is not extinct in Germany, though it may have been
overborne and silenced for a time by the fashionable tone of a licence
in thinking, which gives itself the airs of genius, and that the
difficulties which beset the paths of criticism have not prevented
energetic and acute thinkers from making themselves masters of the
science of pure reason to which these paths conduct--a science which is
not popular, but scholastic in its character, and which alone can hope
for a lasting existence or possess an abiding value. To these deserving
men, who so happily combine profundity of view with a talent for lucid
exposition--a talent which I myself am not conscious of possessing--I
leave the task of removing any obscurity which may still adhere to the
statement of my doctrines. For, in this case, the danger is not that
of being refuted, but of being misunderstood. For my own part, I must
henceforward abstain from controversy, although I shall carefully attend
to all suggestions, whether from friends or adversaries, which may be
of use in the future elaboration of the system of this propaedeutic. As,
during these labours, I have advanced pretty far in years this month
I reach my sixty-fourth year--it will be necessary for me to economize
time, if I am to carry out my plan of elaborating the metaphysics of
nature as well as of morals, in confirmation of the correctness of the
principles established in this Critique of Pure Reason, both speculative
and practical; and I must, therefore, leave the task of clearing up the
obscurities of the present work--inevitable, perhaps, at the outset--as
well as, the defence of the whole, to those deserving men, who have made
my system their own. A philosophical system cannot come forward armed
at all points like a mathematical treatise, and hence it may be quite
possible to take objection to particular passages, while the organic
structure of the system, considered as a unity, has no danger to
apprehend. But few possess the ability, and still fewer the inclination,
to take a comprehensive view of a new system. By confining the view to
particular passages, taking these out of their connection and comparing
them with one another, it is easy to pick out apparent contradictions,
especially in a work written with any freedom of style. These
contradictions place the work in an unfavourable light in the eyes of
those who rely on the judgement of others, but are easily reconciled
by those who have mastered the idea of the whole. If a theory possesses
stability in itself, the action and reaction which seemed at first to
threaten its existence serve only, in the course of time, to smooth
down any superficial roughness or inequality, and--if men of insight,
impartiality, and truly popular gifts, turn their attention to it--to
secure to it, in a short time, the requisite elegance also.

Konigsberg, April 1787.


I. Of the difference between Pure and Empirical Knowledge

That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt. For
how is it possible that the faculty of cognition should be awakened into
exercise otherwise than by means of objects which affect our senses, and
partly of themselves produce representations, partly rouse our powers
of understanding into activity, to compare to connect, or to separate
these, and so to convert the raw material of our sensuous impressions
into a knowledge of objects, which is called experience? In respect of
time, therefore, no knowledge of ours is antecedent to experience, but
begins with it.

But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, it by no means
follows that all arises out of experience. For, on the contrary, it is
quite possible that our empirical knowledge is a compound of that which
we receive through impressions, and that which the faculty of cognition
supplies from itself (sensuous impressions giving merely the occasion),
an addition which we cannot distinguish from the original element given
by sense, till long practice has made us attentive to, and skilful
in separating it. It is, therefore, a question which requires close
investigation, and not to be answered at first sight, whether there
exists a knowledge altogether independent of experience, and even of
all sensuous impressions? Knowledge of this kind is called a priori,
in contradistinction to empirical knowledge, which has its sources a
posteriori, that is, in experience.

But the expression, "a priori," is not as yet definite enough adequately
to indicate the whole meaning of the question above started. For, in
speaking of knowledge which has its sources in experience, we are wont
to say, that this or that may be known a priori, because we do not
derive this knowledge immediately from experience, but from a general
rule, which, however, we have itself borrowed from experience. Thus,
if a man undermined his house, we say, "he might know a priori that
it would have fallen;" that is, he needed not to have waited for the
experience that it did actually fall. But still, a priori, he could not
know even this much. For, that bodies are heavy, and, consequently, that
they fall when their supports are taken away, must have been known to
him previously, by means of experience.

By the term "knowledge a priori," therefore, we shall in the sequel
understand, not such as is independent of this or that kind of
experience, but such as is absolutely so of all experience. Opposed
to this is empirical knowledge, or that which is possible only a
posteriori, that is, through experience. Knowledge a priori is either
pure or impure. Pure knowledge a priori is that with which no empirical
element is mixed up. For example, the proposition, "Every change has
a cause," is a proposition a priori, but impure, because change is a
conception which can only be derived from experience.

II. The Human Intellect, even in an Unphilosophical State, is in
Possession of Certain Cognitions "a priori".

The question now is as to a criterion, by which we may securely
distinguish a pure from an empirical cognition. Experience no doubt
teaches us that this or that object is constituted in such and such a
manner, but not that it could not possibly exist otherwise. Now, in
the first place, if we have a proposition which contains the idea
of necessity in its very conception, it is a if, moreover, it is not
derived from any other proposition, unless from one equally involving
the idea of necessity, it is absolutely priori. Secondly, an empirical
judgement never exhibits strict and absolute, but only assumed and
comparative universality (by induction); therefore, the most we can say
is--so far as we have hitherto observed, there is no exception to this
or that rule. If, on the other hand, a judgement carries with it strict
and absolute universality, that is, admits of no possible exception, it
is not derived from experience, but is valid absolutely a priori.

Empirical universality is, therefore, only an arbitrary extension of
validity, from that which may be predicated of a proposition valid in
most cases, to that which is asserted of a proposition which holds good
in all; as, for example, in the affirmation, "All bodies are heavy."
When, on the contrary, strict universality characterizes a judgement,
it necessarily indicates another peculiar source of knowledge, namely,
a faculty of cognition a priori. Necessity and strict universality,
therefore, are infallible tests for distinguishing pure from empirical
knowledge, and are inseparably connected with each other. But as in the
use of these criteria the empirical limitation is sometimes more
easily detected than the contingency of the judgement, or the unlimited
universality which we attach to a judgement is often a more convincing
proof than its necessity, it may be advisable to use the criteria
separately, each being by itself infallible.

Now, that in the sphere of human cognition we have judgements which are
necessary, and in the strictest sense universal, consequently pure a
priori, it will be an easy matter to show. If we desire an example from
the sciences, we need only take any proposition in mathematics. If we
cast our eyes upon the commonest operations of the understanding, the
proposition, "Every change must have a cause," will amply serve our
purpose. In the latter case, indeed, the conception of a cause so
plainly involves the conception of a necessity of connection with an
effect, and of a strict universality of the law, that the very notion of
a cause would entirely disappear, were we to derive it, like Hume, from
a frequent association of what happens with that which precedes; and the
habit thence originating of connecting representations--the necessity
inherent in the judgement being therefore merely subjective. Besides,
without seeking for such examples of principles existing a priori
in cognition, we might easily show that such principles are the
indispensable basis of the possibility of experience itself, and
consequently prove their existence a priori. For whence could our
experience itself acquire certainty, if all the rules on which it
depends were themselves empirical, and consequently fortuitous? No one,
therefore, can admit the validity of the use of such rules as first
principles. But, for the present, we may content ourselves with having
established the fact, that we do possess and exercise a faculty of pure
a priori cognition; and, secondly, with having pointed out the proper
tests of such cognition, namely, universality and necessity.

Not only in judgements, however, but even in conceptions, is an a
priori origin manifest. For example, if we take away by degrees from
our conceptions of a body all that can be referred to mere
sensuous experience--colour, hardness or softness, weight, even
impenetrability--the body will then vanish; but the space which it
occupied still remains, and this it is utterly impossible to annihilate
in thought. Again, if we take away, in like manner, from our empirical
conception of any object, corporeal or incorporeal, all properties which
mere experience has taught us to connect with it, still we cannot think
away those through which we cogitate it as substance, or adhering to
substance, although our conception of substance is more determined than
that of an object. Compelled, therefore, by that necessity with which
the conception of substance forces itself upon us, we must confess that
it has its seat in our faculty of cognition a priori.

III. Philosophy stands in need of a Science which shall Determine the
Possibility, Principles, and Extent of Human Knowledge "a priori"

Of far more importance than all that has been above said, is the
consideration that certain of our cognitions rise completely above the
sphere of all possible experience, and by means of conceptions, to which
there exists in the whole extent of experience no corresponding object,
seem to extend the range of our judgements beyond its bounds. And just
in this transcendental or supersensible sphere, where experience affords
us neither instruction nor guidance, lie the investigations of reason,
which, on account of their importance, we consider far preferable to,
and as having a far more elevated aim than, all that the understanding
can achieve within the sphere of sensuous phenomena. So high a value
do we set upon these investigations, that even at the risk of error, we
persist in following them out, and permit neither doubt nor disregard
nor indifference to restrain us from the pursuit. These unavoidable
problems of mere pure reason are God, freedom (of will), and
immortality. The science which, with all its preliminaries, has for its
especial object the solution of these problems is named metaphysics--a
science which is at the very outset dogmatical, that is, it confidently
takes upon itself the execution of this task without any previous
investigation of the ability or inability of reason for such an

Now the safe ground of experience being thus abandoned, it seems
nevertheless natural that we should hesitate to erect a building with
the cognitions we possess, without knowing whence they come, and on the
strength of principles, the origin of which is undiscovered. Instead of
thus trying to build without a foundation, it is rather to be expected
that we should long ago have put the question, how the understanding can
arrive at these a priori cognitions, and what is the extent, validity,
and worth which they may possess? We say, "This is natural enough,"
meaning by the word natural, that which is consistent with a just and
reasonable way of thinking; but if we understand by the term, that
which usually happens, nothing indeed could be more natural and
more comprehensible than that this investigation should be left
long unattempted. For one part of our pure knowledge, the science of
mathematics, has been long firmly established, and thus leads us to form
flattering expectations with regard to others, though these may be of
quite a different nature. Besides, when we get beyond the bounds of
experience, we are of course safe from opposition in that quarter;
and the charm of widening the range of our knowledge is so great that,
unless we are brought to a standstill by some evident contradiction, we
hurry on undoubtingly in our course. This, however, may be avoided, if
we are sufficiently cautious in the construction of our fictions, which
are not the less fictions on that account.

Mathematical science affords us a brilliant example, how far,
independently of all experience, we may carry our a priori knowledge.
It is true that the mathematician occupies himself with objects and
cognitions only in so far as they can be represented by means of
intuition. But this circumstance is easily overlooked, because the said
intuition can itself be given a priori, and therefore is hardly to be
distinguished from a mere pure conception. Deceived by such a proof of
the power of reason, we can perceive no limits to the extension of our
knowledge. The light dove cleaving in free flight the thin air, whose
resistance it feels, might imagine that her movements would be far
more free and rapid in airless space. Just in the same way did Plato,
abandoning the world of sense because of the narrow limits it sets to
the understanding, venture upon the wings of ideas beyond it, into the
void space of pure intellect. He did not reflect that he made no real
progress by all his efforts; for he met with no resistance which might
serve him for a support, as it were, whereon to rest, and on which he
might apply his powers, in order to let the intellect acquire momentum
for its progress. It is, indeed, the common fate of human reason in
speculation, to finish the imposing edifice of thought as rapidly as
possible, and then for the first time to begin to examine whether the
foundation is a solid one or no. Arrived at this point, all sorts
of excuses are sought after, in order to console us for its want of
stability, or rather, indeed, to enable Us to dispense altogether with
so late and dangerous an investigation. But what frees us during the
process of building from all apprehension or suspicion, and flatters
us into the belief of its solidity, is this. A great part, perhaps the
greatest part, of the business of our reason consists in the analysation
of the conceptions which we already possess of objects. By this means we
gain a multitude of cognitions, which although really nothing more than
elucidations or explanations of that which (though in a confused manner)
was already thought in our conceptions, are, at least in respect of
their form, prized as new introspections; whilst, so far as regards
their matter or content, we have really made no addition to our
conceptions, but only disinvolved them. But as this process does furnish
a real priori knowledge, which has a sure progress and useful results,
reason, deceived by this, slips in, without being itself aware of it,
assertions of a quite different kind; in which, to given conceptions it
adds others, a priori indeed, but entirely foreign to them, without our
knowing how it arrives at these, and, indeed, without such a question
ever suggesting itself. I shall therefore at once proceed to examine the
difference between these two modes of knowledge.

IV. Of the Difference Between Analytical and Synthetical Judgements.

In all judgements wherein the relation of a subject to the predicate is
cogitated (I mention affirmative judgements only here; the application
to negative will be very easy), this relation is possible in two
different ways. Either the predicate B belongs to the subject A, as
somewhat which is contained (though covertly) in the conception A; or
the predicate B lies completely out of the conception A, although
it stands in connection with it. In the first instance, I term the
judgement analytical, in the second, synthetical. Analytical judgements
(affirmative) are therefore those in which the connection of the
predicate with the subject is cogitated through identity; those in which
this connection is cogitated without identity, are called synthetical
judgements. The former may be called explicative, the latter
augmentative judgements; because the former add in the predicate
nothing to the conception of the subject, but only analyse it into its
constituent conceptions, which were thought already in the subject,
although in a confused manner; the latter add to our conceptions of the
subject a predicate which was not contained in it, and which no analysis
could ever have discovered therein. For example, when I say, "All bodies
are extended," this is an analytical judgement. For I need not go beyond
the conception of body in order to find extension connected with it, but
merely analyse the conception, that is, become conscious of the manifold
properties which I think in that conception, in order to discover this
predicate in it: it is therefore an analytical judgement. On the other
hand, when I say, "All bodies are heavy," the predicate is something
totally different from that which I think in the mere conception of
a body. By the addition of such a predicate, therefore, it becomes a
synthetical judgement.

Judgements of experience, as such, are always synthetical. For it would
be absurd to think of grounding an analytical judgement on experience,
because in forming such a judgement I need not go out of the sphere of
my conceptions, and therefore recourse to the testimony of experience
is quite unnecessary. That "bodies are extended" is not an empirical
judgement, but a proposition which stands firm a priori. For before
addressing myself to experience, I already have in my conception all the
requisite conditions for the judgement, and I have only to extract
the predicate from the conception, according to the principle of
contradiction, and thereby at the same time become conscious of the
necessity of the judgement, a necessity which I could never learn from
experience. On the other hand, though at first I do not at all include
the predicate of weight in my conception of body in general, that
conception still indicates an object of experience, a part of the
totality of experience, to which I can still add other parts; and this I
do when I recognize by observation that bodies are heavy. I can
cognize beforehand by analysis the conception of body through the
characteristics of extension, impenetrability, shape, etc., all which
are cogitated in this conception. But now I extend my knowledge, and
looking back on experience from which I had derived this conception
of body, I find weight at all times connected with the above
characteristics, and therefore I synthetically add to my conceptions
this as a predicate, and say, "All bodies are heavy." Thus it is
experience upon which rests the possibility of the synthesis of
the predicate of weight with the conception of body, because both
conceptions, although the one is not contained in the other, still
belong to one another (only contingently, however), as parts of a whole,
namely, of experience, which is itself a synthesis of intuitions.

But to synthetical judgements a priori, such aid is entirely wanting. If
I go out of and beyond the conception A, in order to recognize another
B as connected with it, what foundation have I to rest on, whereby to
render the synthesis possible? I have here no longer the advantage of
looking out in the sphere of experience for what I want. Let us take,
for example, the proposition, "Everything that happens has a cause." In
the conception of "something that happens," I indeed think an existence
which a certain time antecedes, and from this I can derive analytical
judgements. But the conception of a cause lies quite out of the above
conception, and indicates something entirely different from "that which
happens," and is consequently not contained in that conception. How
then am I able to assert concerning the general conception--"that which
happens"--something entirely different from that conception, and to
recognize the conception of cause although not contained in it, yet as
belonging to it, and even necessarily? what is here the unknown = X,
upon which the understanding rests when it believes it has found, out of
the conception A a foreign predicate B, which it nevertheless considers
to be connected with it? It cannot be experience, because the principle
adduced annexes the two representations, cause and effect, to the
representation existence, not only with universality, which experience
cannot give, but also with the expression of necessity, therefore
completely a priori and from pure conceptions. Upon such synthetical,
that is augmentative propositions, depends the whole aim of our
speculative knowledge a priori; for although analytical judgements are
indeed highly important and necessary, they are so, only to arrive at
that clearness of conceptions which is requisite for a sure and extended
synthesis, and this alone is a real acquisition.

V. In all Theoretical Sciences of Reason, Synthetical Judgements "a
priori" are contained as Principles.

1. Mathematical judgements are always synthetical. Hitherto this fact,
though incontestably true and very important in its consequences, seems
to have escaped the analysts of the human mind, nay, to be in
complete opposition to all their conjectures. For as it was found that
mathematical conclusions all proceed according to the principle of
contradiction (which the nature of every apodeictic certainty requires),
people became persuaded that the fundamental principles of the science
also were recognized and admitted in the same way. But the notion is
fallacious; for although a synthetical proposition can certainly be
discerned by means of the principle of contradiction, this is possible
only when another synthetical proposition precedes, from which the
latter is deduced, but never of itself.

Before all, be it observed, that proper mathematical propositions are
always judgements a priori, and not empirical, because they carry
along with them the conception of necessity, which cannot be given by
experience. If this be demurred to, it matters not; I will then limit my
assertion to pure mathematics, the very conception of which implies that
it consists of knowledge altogether non-empirical and a priori.

We might, indeed at first suppose that the proposition 7 + 5 = 12 is a
merely analytical proposition, following (according to the principle of
contradiction) from the conception of a sum of seven and five. But if we
regard it more narrowly, we find that our conception of the sum of seven
and five contains nothing more than the uniting of both sums into one,
whereby it cannot at all be cogitated what this single number is which
embraces both. The conception of twelve is by no means obtained by
merely cogitating the union of seven and five; and we may analyse our
conception of such a possible sum as long as we will, still we shall
never discover in it the notion of twelve. We must go beyond these
conceptions, and have recourse to an intuition which corresponds to
one of the two--our five fingers, for example, or like Segner in his
Arithmetic five points, and so by degrees, add the units contained in
the five given in the intuition, to the conception of seven. For I first
take the number 7, and, for the conception of 5 calling in the aid of
the fingers of my hand as objects of intuition, I add the units, which I
before took together to make up the number 5, gradually now by means of
the material image my hand, to the number 7, and by this process, I
at length see the number 12 arise. That 7 should be added to 5, I have
certainly cogitated in my conception of a sum = 7 + 5, but not that
this sum was equal to 12. Arithmetical propositions are therefore always
synthetical, of which we may become more clearly convinced by trying
large numbers. For it will thus become quite evident that, turn and
twist our conceptions as we may, it is impossible, without having
recourse to intuition, to arrive at the sum total or product by means of
the mere analysis of our conceptions. Just as little is any principle
of pure geometry analytical. "A straight line between two points is the
shortest," is a synthetical proposition. For my conception of straight
contains no notion of quantity, but is merely qualitative. The
conception of the shortest is therefore fore wholly an addition, and by
no analysis can it be extracted from our conception of a straight line.
Intuition must therefore here lend its aid, by means of which, and thus
only, our synthesis is possible.

Some few principles preposited by geometricians are, indeed, really
analytical, and depend on the principle of contradiction. They serve,
however, like identical propositions, as links in the chain of method,
not as principles--for example, a = a, the whole is equal to itself,
or (a+b) --> a, the whole is greater than its part. And yet even these
principles themselves, though they derive their validity from pure
conceptions, are only admitted in mathematics because they can be
presented in intuition. What causes us here commonly to believe that
the predicate of such apodeictic judgements is already contained in our
conception, and that the judgement is therefore analytical, is merely
the equivocal nature of the expression. We must join in thought a
certain predicate to a given conception, and this necessity cleaves
already to the conception. But the question is, not what we must join
in thought to the given conception, but what we really think therein,
though only obscurely, and then it becomes manifest that the predicate
pertains to these conceptions, necessarily indeed, yet not as thought
in the conception itself, but by virtue of an intuition, which must be
added to the conception.

2. The science of natural philosophy (physics) contains in itself
synthetical judgements a priori, as principles. I shall adduce two
propositions. For instance, the proposition, "In all changes of the
material world, the quantity of matter remains unchanged"; or, that, "In
all communication of motion, action and reaction must always be equal."
In both of these, not only is the necessity, and therefore their origin
a priori clear, but also that they are synthetical propositions. For in
the conception of matter, I do not cogitate its permanency, but merely
its presence in space, which it fills. I therefore really go out of and
beyond the conception of matter, in order to think on to it something
a priori, which I did not think in it. The proposition is therefore not
analytical, but synthetical, and nevertheless conceived a priori; and so
it is with regard to the other propositions of the pure part of natural

3. As to metaphysics, even if we look upon it merely as an attempted
science, yet, from the nature of human reason, an indispensable one, we
find that it must contain synthetical propositions a priori. It is not
merely the duty of metaphysics to dissect, and thereby analytically to
illustrate the conceptions which we form a priori of things; but we seek
to widen the range of our a priori knowledge. For this purpose, we must
avail ourselves of such principles as add something to the original
conception--something not identical with, nor contained in it, and by
means of synthetical judgements a priori, leave far behind us the limits
of experience; for example, in the proposition, "the world must have a
beginning," and such like. Thus metaphysics, according to the proper aim
of the science, consists merely of synthetical propositions a priori.

VI. The Universal Problem of Pure Reason.

It is extremely advantageous to be able to bring a number of
investigations under the formula of a single problem. For in this
manner, we not only facilitate our own labour, inasmuch as we define it
clearly to ourselves, but also render it more easy for others to decide
whether we have done justice to our undertaking. The proper problem of
pure reason, then, is contained in the question: "How are synthetical
judgements a priori possible?"

That metaphysical science has hitherto remained in so vacillating a
state of uncertainty and contradiction, is only to be attributed to the
fact that this great problem, and perhaps even the difference between
analytical and synthetical judgements, did not sooner suggest itself
to philosophers. Upon the solution of this problem, or upon sufficient
proof of the impossibility of synthetical knowledge a priori, depends
the existence or downfall of the science of metaphysics. Among
philosophers, David Hume came the nearest of all to this problem; yet it
never acquired in his mind sufficient precision, nor did he regard the
question in its universality. On the contrary, he stopped short at the
synthetical proposition of the connection of an effect with its cause
(principium causalitatis), insisting that such proposition a priori
was impossible. According to his conclusions, then, all that we term
metaphysical science is a mere delusion, arising from the fancied
insight of reason into that which is in truth borrowed from experience,
and to which habit has given the appearance of necessity. Against
this assertion, destructive to all pure philosophy, he would have been
guarded, had he had our problem before his eyes in its universality. For
he would then have perceived that, according to his own argument, there
likewise could not be any pure mathematical science, which assuredly
cannot exist without synthetical propositions a priori--an absurdity
from which his good understanding must have saved him.

In the solution of the above problem is at the same time comprehended
the possibility of the use of pure reason in the foundation and
construction of all sciences which contain theoretical knowledge
a priori of objects, that is to say, the answer to the following

How is pure mathematical science possible?

How is pure natural science possible?

Respecting these sciences, as they do certainly exist, it may with
propriety be asked, how they are possible?--for that they must be
possible is shown by the fact of their really existing.* But as to
metaphysics, the miserable progress it has hitherto made, and the fact
that of no one system yet brought forward, far as regards its true
aim, can it be said that this science really exists, leaves any one at
liberty to doubt with reason the very possibility of its existence.

     [*Footnote: As to the existence of pure natural science, or
     physics, perhaps many may still express doubts. But we have
     only to look at the different propositions which are
     commonly treated of at the commencement of proper
     (empirical) physical science--those, for example, relating
     to the permanence of the same quantity of matter, the vis
     inertiae, the equality of action and reaction, etc.--to be
     soon convinced that they form a science of pure physics
     (physica pura, or rationalis), which well deserves to be
     separately exposed as a special science, in its whole
     extent, whether that be great or confined.]

Yet, in a certain sense, this kind of knowledge must unquestionably be
looked upon as given; in other words, metaphysics must be considered
as really existing, if not as a science, nevertheless as a natural
disposition of the human mind (metaphysica naturalis). For human
reason, without any instigations imputable to the mere vanity of great
knowledge, unceasingly progresses, urged on by its own feeling of
need, towards such questions as cannot be answered by any empirical
application of reason, or principles derived therefrom; and so there
has ever really existed in every man some system of metaphysics. It will
always exist, so soon as reason awakes to the exercise of its power
of speculation. And now the question arises: "How is metaphysics, as a
natural disposition, possible?" In other words, how, from the nature
of universal human reason, do those questions arise which pure reason
proposes to itself, and which it is impelled by its own feeling of need
to answer as well as it can?

But as in all the attempts hitherto made to answer the questions which
reason is prompted by its very nature to propose to itself, for example,
whether the world had a beginning, or has existed from eternity, it has
always met with unavoidable contradictions, we must not rest satisfied
with the mere natural disposition of the mind to metaphysics, that is,
with the existence of the faculty of pure reason, whence, indeed, some
sort of metaphysical system always arises; but it must be possible to
arrive at certainty in regard to the question whether we know or do not
know the things of which metaphysics treats. We must be able to arrive
at a decision on the subjects of its questions, or on the ability or
inability of reason to form any judgement respecting them; and therefore
either to extend with confidence the bounds of our pure reason, or to
set strictly defined and safe limits to its action. This last question,
which arises out of the above universal problem, would properly run
thus: "How is metaphysics possible as a science?"

Thus, the critique of reason leads at last, naturally and necessarily,
to science; and, on the other hand, the dogmatical use of reason without
criticism leads to groundless assertions, against which others equally
specious can always be set, thus ending unavoidably in scepticism.

Besides, this science cannot be of great and formidable prolixity,
because it has not to do with objects of reason, the variety of which is
inexhaustible, but merely with Reason herself and her problems; problems
which arise out of her own bosom, and are not proposed to her by the
nature of outward things, but by her own nature. And when once Reason
has previously become able completely to understand her own power in
regard to objects which she meets with in experience, it will be easy to
determine securely the extent and limits of her attempted application to
objects beyond the confines of experience.

We may and must, therefore, regard the attempts hitherto made to
establish metaphysical science dogmatically as non-existent. For what of
analysis, that is, mere dissection of conceptions, is contained in one
or other, is not the aim of, but only a preparation for metaphysics
proper, which has for its object the extension, by means of synthesis,
of our a priori knowledge. And for this purpose, mere analysis is
of course useless, because it only shows what is contained in these
conceptions, but not how we arrive, a priori, at them; and this it is
her duty to show, in order to be able afterwards to determine their
valid use in regard to all objects of experience, to all knowledge in
general. But little self-denial, indeed, is needed to give up these
pretensions, seeing the undeniable, and in the dogmatic mode of
procedure, inevitable contradictions of Reason with herself, have long
since ruined the reputation of every system of metaphysics that has
appeared up to this time. It will require more firmness to remain
undeterred by difficulty from within, and opposition from without, from
endeavouring, by a method quite opposed to all those hitherto followed,
to further the growth and fruitfulness of a science indispensable to
human reason--a science from which every branch it has borne may be cut
away, but whose roots remain indestructible.

VII. Idea and Division of a Particular Science, under the Name of a
Critique of Pure Reason.

From all that has been said, there results the idea of a particular
science, which may be called the Critique of Pure Reason. For reason
is the faculty which furnishes us with the principles of knowledge a
priori. Hence, pure reason is the faculty which contains the principles
of cognizing anything absolutely a priori. An organon of pure reason
would be a compendium of those principles according to which alone
all pure cognitions a priori can be obtained. The completely extended
application of such an organon would afford us a system of pure reason.
As this, however, is demanding a great deal, and it is yet doubtful
whether any extension of our knowledge be here possible, or, if so,
in what cases; we can regard a science of the mere criticism of pure
reason, its sources and limits, as the propaedeutic to a system of
pure reason. Such a science must not be called a doctrine, but only a
critique of pure reason; and its use, in regard to speculation, would be
only negative, not to enlarge the bounds of, but to purify, our reason,
and to shield it against error--which alone is no little gain. I apply
the term transcendental to all knowledge which is not so much occupied
with objects as with the mode of our cognition of these objects, so
far as this mode of cognition is possible a priori. A system of such
conceptions would be called transcendental philosophy. But this, again,
is still beyond the bounds of our present essay. For as such a science
must contain a complete exposition not only of our synthetical a priori,
but of our analytical a priori knowledge, it is of too wide a range for
our present purpose, because we do not require to carry our analysis
any farther than is necessary to understand, in their full extent, the
principles of synthesis a priori, with which alone we have to do. This
investigation, which we cannot properly call a doctrine, but only a
transcendental critique, because it aims not at the enlargement, but
at the correction and guidance, of our knowledge, and is to serve as a
touchstone of the worth or worthlessness of all knowledge a priori, is
the sole object of our present essay. Such a critique is consequently,
as far as possible, a preparation for an organon; and if this new
organon should be found to fail, at least for a canon of pure reason,
according to which the complete system of the philosophy of pure reason,
whether it extend or limit the bounds of that reason, might one day
be set forth both analytically and synthetically. For that this is
possible, nay, that such a system is not of so great extent as to
preclude the hope of its ever being completed, is evident. For we have
not here to do with the nature of outward objects, which is infinite,
but solely with the mind, which judges of the nature of objects, and,
again, with the mind only in respect of its cognition a priori. And the
object of our investigations, as it is not to be sought without, but,
altogether within, ourselves, cannot remain concealed, and in all
probability is limited enough to be completely surveyed and fairly
estimated, according to its worth or worthlessness. Still less let the
reader here expect a critique of books and systems of pure reason; our
present object is exclusively a critique of the faculty of pure reason
itself. Only when we make this critique our foundation, do we possess
a pure touchstone for estimating the philosophical value of ancient
and modern writings on this subject; and without this criterion, the
incompetent historian or judge decides upon and corrects the groundless
assertions of others with his own, which have themselves just as little

Transcendental philosophy is the idea of a science, for which the
Critique of Pure Reason must sketch the whole plan architectonically,
that is, from principles, with a full guarantee for the validity and
stability of all the parts which enter into the building. It is the
system of all the principles of pure reason. If this Critique itself
does not assume the title of transcendental philosophy, it is only
because, to be a complete system, it ought to contain a full analysis of
all human knowledge a priori. Our critique must, indeed, lay before us a
complete enumeration of all the radical conceptions which constitute the
said pure knowledge. But from the complete analysis of these conceptions
themselves, as also from a complete investigation of those derived from
them, it abstains with reason; partly because it would be deviating from
the end in view to occupy itself with this analysis, since this process
is not attended with the difficulty and insecurity to be found in the
synthesis, to which our critique is entirely devoted, and partly because
it would be inconsistent with the unity of our plan to burden this
essay with the vindication of the completeness of such an analysis and
deduction, with which, after all, we have at present nothing to do. This
completeness of the analysis of these radical conceptions, as well as
of the deduction from the conceptions a priori which may be given by the
analysis, we can, however, easily attain, provided only that we are
in possession of all these radical conceptions, which are to serve as
principles of the synthesis, and that in respect of this main purpose
nothing is wanting.

To the Critique of Pure Reason, therefore, belongs all that constitutes
transcendental philosophy; and it is the complete idea of transcendental
philosophy, but still not the science itself; because it only proceeds
so far with the analysis as is necessary to the power of judging
completely of our synthetical knowledge a priori.

The principal thing we must attend to, in the division of the parts of
a science like this, is that no conceptions must enter it which contain
aught empirical; in other words, that the knowledge a priori must be
completely pure. Hence, although the highest principles and fundamental
conceptions of morality are certainly cognitions a priori, yet they do
not belong to transcendental philosophy; because, though they certainly
do not lay the conceptions of pain, pleasure, desires, inclinations,
etc. (which are all of empirical origin), at the foundation of its
precepts, yet still into the conception of duty--as an obstacle to
be overcome, or as an incitement which should not be made into a
motive--these empirical conceptions must necessarily enter, in the
construction of a system of pure morality. Transcendental philosophy is
consequently a philosophy of the pure and merely speculative reason.
For all that is practical, so far as it contains motives, relates to
feelings, and these belong to empirical sources of cognition.

If we wish to divide this science from the universal point of view of
a science in general, it ought to comprehend, first, a Doctrine of the
Elements, and, secondly, a Doctrine of the Method of pure reason. Each
of these main divisions will have its subdivisions, the separate reasons
for which we cannot here particularize. Only so much seems necessary, by
way of introduction of premonition, that there are two sources of human
knowledge (which probably spring from a common, but to us unknown root),
namely, sense and understanding. By the former, objects are given to
us; by the latter, thought. So far as the faculty of sense may contain
representations a priori, which form the conditions under which objects
are given, in so far it belongs to transcendental philosophy. The
transcendental doctrine of sense must form the first part of our science
of elements, because the conditions under which alone the objects
of human knowledge are given must precede those under which they are



SS I. Introductory.

In whatsoever mode, or by whatsoever means, our knowledge may relate
to objects, it is at least quite clear that the only manner in which it
immediately relates to them is by means of an intuition. To this as the
indispensable groundwork, all thought points. But an intuition can take
place only in so far as the object is given to us. This, again, is only
possible, to man at least, on condition that the object affect the
mind in a certain manner. The capacity for receiving representations
(receptivity) through the mode in which we are affected by objects,
objects, is called sensibility. By means of sensibility, therefore,
objects are given to us, and it alone furnishes us with intuitions; by
the understanding they are thought, and from it arise conceptions. But
an thought must directly, or indirectly, by means of certain signs,
relate ultimately to intuitions; consequently, with us, to sensibility,
because in no other way can an object be given to us.

The effect of an object upon the faculty of representation, so far as
we are affected by the said object, is sensation. That sort of intuition
which relates to an object by means of sensation is called an empirical
intuition. The undetermined object of an empirical intuition is called
phenomenon. That which in the phenomenon corresponds to the sensation,
I term its matter; but that which effects that the content of the
phenomenon can be arranged under certain relations, I call its form. But
that in which our sensations are merely arranged, and by which they are
susceptible of assuming a certain form, cannot be itself sensation. It
is, then, the matter of all phenomena that is given to us a posteriori;
the form must lie ready a priori for them in the mind, and consequently
can be regarded separately from all sensation.

I call all representations pure, in the transcendental meaning of
the word, wherein nothing is met with that belongs to sensation. And
accordingly we find existing in the mind a priori, the pure form of
sensuous intuitions in general, in which all the manifold content of the
phenomenal world is arranged and viewed under certain relations. This
pure form of sensibility I shall call pure intuition. Thus, if I take
away from our representation of a body all that the understanding thinks
as belonging to it, as substance, force, divisibility, etc., and also
whatever belongs to sensation, as impenetrability, hardness, colour,
etc.; yet there is still something left us from this empirical
intuition, namely, extension and shape. These belong to pure intuition,
which exists a priori in the mind, as a mere form of sensibility, and
without any real object of the senses or any sensation.

The science of all the principles of sensibility a priori, I call
transcendental aesthetic.* There must, then, be such a science
forming the first part of the transcendental doctrine of elements, in
contradistinction to that part which contains the principles of pure
thought, and which is called transcendental logic.

     [Footnote: The Germans are the only people who at present
     use this word to indicate what others call the critique of
     taste. At the foundation of this term lies the disappointed
     hope, which the eminent analyst, Baumgarten, conceived, of
     subjecting the criticism of the beautiful to principles of
     reason, and so of elevating its rules into a science. But
     his endeavours were vain. For the said rules or criteria
     are, in respect to their chief sources, merely empirical,
     consequently never can serve as determinate laws a priori,
     by which our judgement in matters of taste is to be
     directed. It is rather our judgement which forms the proper
     test as to the correctness of the principles. On this
     account it is advisable to give up the use of the term as
     designating the critique of taste, and to apply it solely to
     that doctrine, which is true science--the science of the
     laws of sensibility--and thus come nearer to the language
     and the sense of the ancients in their well-known division
     of the objects of cognition into aiotheta kai noeta, or to
     share it with speculative philosophy, and employ it partly
     in a transcendental, partly in a psychological

In the science of transcendental aesthetic accordingly, we shall first
isolate sensibility or the sensuous faculty, by separating from it all
that is annexed to its perceptions by the conceptions of understanding,
so that nothing be left but empirical intuition. In the next place we
shall take away from this intuition all that belongs to sensation,
so that nothing may remain but pure intuition, and the mere form of
phenomena, which is all that the sensibility can afford a priori. From
this investigation it will be found that there are two pure forms of
sensuous intuition, as principles of knowledge a priori, namely, space
and time. To the consideration of these we shall now proceed.

SECTION I. Of Space.

SS 2. Metaphysical Exposition of this Conception.

By means of the external sense (a property of the mind), we represent
to ourselves objects as without us, and these all in space. Herein alone
are their shape, dimensions, and relations to each other determined
or determinable. The internal sense, by means of which the mind
contemplates itself or its internal state, gives, indeed, no intuition
of the soul as an object; yet there is nevertheless a determinate form,
under which alone the contemplation of our internal state is possible,
so that all which relates to the inward determinations of the mind is
represented in relations of time. Of time we cannot have any external
intuition, any more than we can have an internal intuition of space.
What then are time and space? Are they real existences? Or, are they
merely relations or determinations of things, such, however, as would
equally belong to these things in themselves, though they should never
become objects of intuition; or, are they such as belong only to the
form of intuition, and consequently to the subjective constitution of
the mind, without which these predicates of time and space could not be
attached to any object? In order to become informed on these points,
we shall first give an exposition of the conception of space. By
exposition, I mean the clear, though not detailed, representation of
that which belongs to a conception; and an exposition is metaphysical
when it contains that which represents the conception as given a priori.

1. Space is not a conception which has been derived from outward
experiences. For, in order that certain sensations may relate to
something without me (that is, to something which occupies a different
part of space from that in which I am); in like manner, in order that
I may represent them not merely as without, of, and near to each other,
but also in separate places, the representation of space must already
exist as a foundation. Consequently, the representation of space cannot
be borrowed from the relations of external phenomena through experience;
but, on the contrary, this external experience is itself only possible
through the said antecedent representation.

2. Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for
the foundation of all external intuitions. We never can imagine or make
a representation to ourselves of the non-existence of space, though
we may easily enough think that no objects are found in it. It must,
therefore, be considered as the condition of the possibility of
phenomena, and by no means as a determination dependent on them, and
is a representation a priori, which necessarily supplies the basis for
external phenomena.

3. Space is no discursive, or as we say, general conception of the
relations of things, but a pure intuition. For, in the first place, we
can only represent to ourselves one space, and, when we talk of divers
spaces, we mean only parts of one and the same space. Moreover, these
parts cannot antecede this one all-embracing space, as the component
parts from which the aggregate can be made up, but can be cogitated only
as existing in it. Space is essentially one, and multiplicity in it,
consequently the general notion of spaces, of this or that space,
depends solely upon limitations. Hence it follows that an a priori
intuition (which is not empirical) lies at the root of all our
conceptions of space. Thus, moreover, the principles of geometry--for
example, that "in a triangle, two sides together are greater than the
third," are never deduced from general conceptions of line and triangle,
but from intuition, and this a priori, with apodeictic certainty.

4. Space is represented as an infinite given quantity. Now every
conception must indeed be considered as a representation which
is contained in an infinite multitude of different possible
representations, which, therefore, comprises these under itself; but
no conception, as such, can be so conceived, as if it contained within
itself an infinite multitude of representations. Nevertheless, space
is so conceived of, for all parts of space are equally capable of being
produced to infinity. Consequently, the original representation of space
is an intuition a priori, and not a conception.

SS 3. Transcendental Exposition of the Conception of Space.

By a transcendental exposition, I mean the explanation of a conception,
as a principle, whence can be discerned the possibility of other
synthetical a priori cognitions. For this purpose, it is requisite,
firstly, that such cognitions do really flow from the given conception;
and, secondly, that the said cognitions are only possible under the
presupposition of a given mode of explaining this conception.

Geometry is a science which determines the properties of space
synthetically, and yet a priori. What, then, must be our representation
of space, in order that such a cognition of it may be possible? It must
be originally intuition, for from a mere conception, no propositions can
be deduced which go out beyond the conception, and yet this happens in
geometry. (Introd. V.) But this intuition must be found in the mind a
priori, that is, before any perception of objects, consequently must be
pure, not empirical, intuition. For geometrical principles are always
apodeictic, that is, united with the consciousness of their necessity,
as: "Space has only three dimensions." But propositions of this kind
cannot be empirical judgements, nor conclusions from them. (Introd. II.)
Now, how can an external intuition anterior to objects themselves, and
in which our conception of objects can be determined a priori, exist
in the human mind? Obviously not otherwise than in so far as it has its
seat in the subject only, as the formal capacity of the subject's being
affected by objects, and thereby of obtaining immediate representation,
that is, intuition; consequently, only as the form of the external sense
in general.

Thus it is only by means of our explanation that the possibility of
geometry, as a synthetical science a priori, becomes comprehensible.
Every mode of explanation which does not show us this possibility,
although in appearance it may be similar to ours, can with the utmost
certainty be distinguished from it by these marks.

SS 4. Conclusions from the foregoing Conceptions.

(a) Space does not represent any property of objects as things in
themselves, nor does it represent them in their relations to each other;
in other words, space does not represent to us any determination of
objects such as attaches to the objects themselves, and would remain,
even though all subjective conditions of the intuition were abstracted.
For neither absolute nor relative determinations of objects can be
intuited prior to the existence of the things to which they belong, and
therefore not a priori.

(b) Space is nothing else than the form of all phenomena of the external
sense, that is, the subjective condition of the sensibility, under which
alone external intuition is possible. Now, because the receptivity or
capacity of the subject to be affected by objects necessarily antecedes
all intuitions of these objects, it is easily understood how the form
of all phenomena can be given in the mind previous to all actual
perceptions, therefore a priori, and how it, as a pure intuition, in
which all objects must be determined, can contain principles of the
relations of these objects prior to all experience.

It is therefore from the human point of view only that we can speak
of space, extended objects, etc. If we depart from the subjective
condition, under which alone we can obtain external intuition, or,
in other words, by means of which we are affected by objects, the
representation of space has no meaning whatsoever. This predicate is
only applicable to things in so far as they appear to us, that is, are
objects of sensibility. The constant form of this receptivity, which
we call sensibility, is a necessary condition of all relations in which
objects can be intuited as existing without us, and when abstraction of
these objects is made, is a pure intuition, to which we give the name
of space. It is clear that we cannot make the special conditions of
sensibility into conditions of the possibility of things, but only of
the possibility of their existence as far as they are phenomena. And
so we may correctly say that space contains all which can appear to us
externally, but not all things considered as things in themselves,
be they intuited or not, or by whatsoever subject one will. As to the
intuitions of other thinking beings, we cannot judge whether they are or
are not bound by the same conditions which limit our own intuition,
and which for us are universally valid. If we join the limitation of
a judgement to the conception of the subject, then the judgement will
possess unconditioned validity. For example, the proposition, "All
objects are beside each other in space," is valid only under the
limitation that these things are taken as objects of our sensuous
intuition. But if I join the condition to the conception and say, "All
things, as external phenomena, are beside each other in space," then the
rule is valid universally, and without any limitation. Our expositions,
consequently, teach the reality (i.e., the objective validity) of space
in regard of all which can be presented to us externally as object, and
at the same time also the ideality of space in regard to objects when
they are considered by means of reason as things in themselves, that is,
without reference to the constitution of our sensibility. We maintain,
therefore, the empirical reality of space in regard to all possible
external experience, although we must admit its transcendental ideality;
in other words, that it is nothing, so soon as we withdraw the condition
upon which the possibility of all experience depends and look upon space
as something that belongs to things in themselves.

But, with the exception of space, there is no representation, subjective
and referring to something external to us, which could be called
objective a priori. For there are no other subjective representations
from which we can deduce synthetical propositions a priori, as we can
from the intuition of space. (See SS 3.) Therefore, to speak accurately,
no ideality whatever belongs to these, although they agree in this
respect with the representation of space, that they belong merely to the
subjective nature of the mode of sensuous perception; such a mode, for
example, as that of sight, of hearing, and of feeling, by means of the
sensations of colour, sound, and heat, but which, because they are
only sensations and not intuitions, do not of themselves give us
the cognition of any object, least of all, an a priori cognition. My
purpose, in the above remark, is merely this: to guard any one
against illustrating the asserted ideality of space by examples quite
insufficient, for example, by colour, taste, etc.; for these must be
contemplated not as properties of things, but only as changes in the
subject, changes which may be different in different men. For, in such
a case, that which is originally a mere phenomenon, a rose, for example,
is taken by the empirical understanding for a thing in itself, though to
every different eye, in respect of its colour, it may appear different.
On the contrary, the transcendental conception of phenomena in space is
a critical admonition, that, in general, nothing which is intuited in
space is a thing in itself, and that space is not a form which belongs
as a property to things; but that objects are quite unknown to us in
themselves, and what we call outward objects, are nothing else but mere
representations of our sensibility, whose form is space, but whose
real correlate, the thing in itself, is not known by means of these
representations, nor ever can be, but respecting which, in experience,
no inquiry is ever made.


SS 5. Metaphysical Exposition of this Conception.

1. Time is not an empirical conception. For neither coexistence nor
succession would be perceived by us, if the representation of time did
not exist as a foundation a priori. Without this presupposition we could
not represent to ourselves that things exist together at one and the
same time, or at different times, that is, contemporaneously, or in

2. Time is a necessary representation, lying at the foundation of all
our intuitions. With regard to phenomena in general, we cannot think
away time from them, and represent them to ourselves as out of and
unconnected with time, but we can quite well represent to ourselves time
void of phenomena. Time is therefore given a priori. In it alone is all
reality of phenomena possible. These may all be annihilated in thought,
but time itself, as the universal condition of their possibility, cannot
be so annulled.

3. On this necessity a priori is also founded the possibility of
apodeictic principles of the relations of time, or axioms of time in
general, such as: "Time has only one dimension," "Different times are
not coexistent but successive" (as different spaces are not successive
but coexistent). These principles cannot be derived from experience, for
it would give neither strict universality, nor apodeictic certainty. We
should only be able to say, "so common experience teaches us," but not
"it must be so." They are valid as rules, through which, in general,
experience is possible; and they instruct us respecting experience, and
not by means of it.

4. Time is not a discursive, or as it is called, general conception, but
a pure form of the sensuous intuition. Different times are merely parts
of one and the same time. But the representation which can only be
given by a single object is an intuition. Besides, the proposition that
different times cannot be coexistent could not be derived from a general
conception. For this proposition is synthetical, and therefore cannot
spring out of conceptions alone. It is therefore contained immediately
in the intuition and representation of time.

5. The infinity of time signifies nothing more than that every
determined quantity of time is possible only through limitations of one
time lying at the foundation. Consequently, the original representation,
time, must be given as unlimited. But as the determinate representation
of the parts of time and of every quantity of an object can only be
obtained by limitation, the complete representation of time must not
be furnished by means of conceptions, for these contain only partial
representations. Conceptions, on the contrary, must have immediate
intuition for their basis.

SS 6 Transcendental Exposition of the Conception of Time.

I may here refer to what is said above (SS 5, 3), where, for or sake of
brevity, I have placed under the head of metaphysical exposition, that
which is properly transcendental. Here I shall add that the conception
of change, and with it the conception of motion, as change of place, is
possible only through and in the representation of time; that if this
representation were not an intuition (internal) a priori, no conception,
of whatever kind, could render comprehensible the possibility of change,
in other words, of a conjunction of contradictorily opposed predicates
in one and the same object, for example, the presence of a thing in a
place and the non-presence of the same thing in the same place. It
is only in time that it is possible to meet with two contradictorily
opposed determinations in one thing, that is, after each other. Thus
our conception of time explains the possibility of so much synthetical
knowledge a priori, as is exhibited in the general doctrine of motion,
which is not a little fruitful.

SS 7. Conclusions from the above Conceptions.

(a) Time is not something which subsists of itself, or which inheres
in things as an objective determination, and therefore remains, when
abstraction is made of the subjective conditions of the intuition of
things. For in the former case, it would be something real, yet without
presenting to any power of perception any real object. In the latter
case, as an order or determination inherent in things themselves, it
could not be antecedent to things, as their condition, nor discerned or
intuited by means of synthetical propositions a priori. But all this is
quite possible when we regard time as merely the subjective condition
under which all our intuitions take place. For in that case, this form
of the inward intuition can be represented prior to the objects, and
consequently a priori.

(b) Time is nothing else than the form of the internal sense, that is,
of the intuitions of self and of our internal state. For time cannot be
any determination of outward phenomena. It has to do neither with
shape nor position; on the contrary, it determines the relation of
representations in our internal state. And precisely because this
internal intuition presents to us no shape or form, we endeavour to
supply this want by analogies, and represent the course of time by a
line progressing to infinity, the content of which constitutes a series
which is only of one dimension; and we conclude from the properties of
this line as to all the properties of time, with this single exception,
that the parts of the line are coexistent, whilst those of time are
successive. From this it is clear also that the representation of time
is itself an intuition, because all its relations can be expressed in an
external intuition.

(c) Time is the formal condition a priori of all phenomena whatsoever.
Space, as the pure form of external intuition, is limited as a condition
a priori to external phenomena alone. On the other hand, because all
representations, whether they have or have not external things for their
objects, still in themselves, as determinations of the mind, belong to
our internal state; and because this internal state is subject to the
formal condition of the internal intuition, that is, to time--time is a
condition a priori of all phenomena whatsoever--the immediate condition
of all internal, and thereby the mediate condition of all external
phenomena. If I can say a priori, "All outward phenomena are in space,
and determined a priori according to the relations of space," I can
also, from the principle of the internal sense, affirm universally, "All
phenomena in general, that is, all objects of the senses, are in time
and stand necessarily in relations of time."

If we abstract our internal intuition of ourselves and all external
intuitions, possible only by virtue of this internal intuition and
presented to us by our faculty of representation, and consequently take
objects as they are in themselves, then time is nothing. It is only
of objective validity in regard to phenomena, because these are things
which we regard as objects of our senses. It no longer objective we,
make abstraction of the sensuousness of our intuition, in other words,
of that mode of representation which is peculiar to us, and speak of
things in general. Time is therefore merely a subjective condition of
our (human) intuition (which is always sensuous, that is, so far as we
are affected by objects), and in itself, independently of the mind
or subject, is nothing. Nevertheless, in respect of all phenomena,
consequently of all things which come within the sphere of our
experience, it is necessarily objective. We cannot say, "All things are
in time," because in this conception of things in general, we abstract
and make no mention of any sort of intuition of things. But this is
the proper condition under which time belongs to our representation
of objects. If we add the condition to the conception, and say, "All
things, as phenomena, that is, objects of sensuous intuition, are
in time," then the proposition has its sound objective validity and
universality a priori.

What we have now set forth teaches, therefore, the empirical reality of
time; that is, its objective validity in reference to all objects which
can ever be presented to our senses. And as our intuition is always
sensuous, no object ever can be presented to us in experience, which
does not come under the conditions of time. On the other hand, we deny
to time all claim to absolute reality; that is, we deny that it, without
having regard to the form of our sensuous intuition, absolutely inheres
in things as a condition or property. Such properties as belong to
objects as things in themselves never can be presented to us through
the medium of the senses. Herein consists, therefore, the transcendental
ideality of time, according to which, if we abstract the subjective
conditions of sensuous intuition, it is nothing, and cannot be
reckoned as subsisting or inhering in objects as things in themselves,
independently of its relation to our intuition. This ideality, like that
of space, is not to be proved or illustrated by fallacious analogies
with sensations, for this reason--that in such arguments or
illustrations, we make the presupposition that the phenomenon, in which
such and such predicates inhere, has objective reality, while in this
case we can only find such an objective reality as is itself empirical,
that is, regards the object as a mere phenomenon. In reference to this
subject, see the remark in Section I (SS 4)

SS 8. Elucidation.

Against this theory, which grants empirical reality to time, but denies
to it absolute and transcendental reality, I have heard from intelligent
men an objection so unanimously urged that I conclude that it must
naturally present itself to every reader to whom these considerations
are novel. It runs thus: "Changes are real" (this the continual change
in our own representations demonstrates, even though the existence of
all external phenomena, together with their changes, is denied). Now,
changes are only possible in time, and therefore time must be something
real. But there is no difficulty in answering this. I grant the whole
argument. Time, no doubt, is something real, that is, it is the real
form of our internal intuition. It therefore has subjective reality,
in reference to our internal experience, that is, I have really
the representation of time and of my determinations therein. Time,
therefore, is not to be regarded as an object, but as the mode of
representation of myself as an object. But if I could intuite myself,
or be intuited by another being, without this condition of sensibility,
then those very determinations which we now represent to ourselves as
changes, would present to us a knowledge in which the representation
of time, and consequently of change, would not appear. The empirical
reality of time, therefore, remains, as the condition of all our
experience. But absolute reality, according to what has been said above,
cannot be granted it. Time is nothing but the form of our internal
intuition.* If we take away from it the special condition of our
sensibility, the conception of time also vanishes; and it inheres not
in the objects themselves, but solely in the subject (or mind) which
intuites them.

     [*Footnote: I can indeed say "my representations follow one
     another, or are successive"; but this means only that we are
     conscious of them as in a succession, that is, according to
     the form of the internal sense. Time, therefore, is not a
     thing in itself, nor is it any objective determination
     pertaining to, or inherent in things.]

But the reason why this objection is so unanimously brought against
our doctrine of time, and that too by disputants who cannot start any
intelligible arguments against the doctrine of the ideality of space,
is this--they have no hope of demonstrating apodeictically the absolute
reality of space, because the doctrine of idealism is against them,
according to which the reality of external objects is not capable of
any strict proof. On the other hand, the reality of the object of
our internal sense (that is, myself and my internal state) is clear
immediately through consciousness. The former--external objects in
space--might be a mere delusion, but the latter--the object of my
internal perception--is undeniably real. They do not, however, reflect
that both, without question of their reality as representations, belong
only to the genus phenomenon, which has always two aspects, the one, the
object considered as a thing in itself, without regard to the mode
of intuiting it, and the nature of which remains for this very reason
problematical, the other, the form of our intuition of the object,
which must be sought not in the object as a thing in itself, but in
the subject to which it appears--which form of intuition nevertheless
belongs really and necessarily to the phenomenal object.

Time and space are, therefore, two sources of knowledge, from which, a
priori, various synthetical cognitions can be drawn. Of this we find
a striking example in the cognitions of space and its relations, which
form the foundation of pure mathematics. They are the two pure forms
of all intuitions, and thereby make synthetical propositions a priori
possible. But these sources of knowledge being merely conditions of our
sensibility, do therefore, and as such, strictly determine their own
range and purpose, in that they do not and cannot present objects as
things in themselves, but are applicable to them solely in so far as
they are considered as sensuous phenomena. The sphere of phenomena is
the only sphere of their validity, and if we venture out of this, no
further objective use can be made of them. For the rest, this formal
reality of time and space leaves the validity of our empirical knowledge
unshaken; for our certainty in that respect is equally firm, whether
these forms necessarily inhere in the things themselves, or only in our
intuitions of them. On the other hand, those who maintain the absolute
reality of time and space, whether as essentially subsisting, or only
inhering, as modifications, in things, must find themselves at utter
variance with the principles of experience itself. For, if they decide
for the first view, and make space and time into substances, this being
the side taken by mathematical natural philosophers, they must admit
two self-subsisting nonentities, infinite and eternal, which exist (yet
without there being anything real) for the purpose of containing in
themselves everything that is real. If they adopt the second view of
inherence, which is preferred by some metaphysical natural philosophers,
and regard space and time as relations (contiguity in space or
succession in time), abstracted from experience, though represented
confusedly in this state of separation, they find themselves in that
case necessitated to deny the validity of mathematical doctrines a
priori in reference to real things (for example, in space)--at all
events their apodeictic certainty. For such certainty cannot be found in
an a posteriori proposition; and the conceptions a priori of space and
time are, according to this opinion, mere creations of the imagination,
having their source really in experience, inasmuch as, out of relations
abstracted from experience, imagination has made up something which
contains, indeed, general statements of these relations, yet of which
no application can be made without the restrictions attached thereto by
nature. The former of these parties gains this advantage, that they
keep the sphere of phenomena free for mathematical science. On the other
hand, these very conditions (space and time) embarrass them greatly,
when the understanding endeavours to pass the limits of that sphere. The
latter has, indeed, this advantage, that the representations of space
and time do not come in their way when they wish to judge of objects,
not as phenomena, but merely in their relation to the understanding.
Devoid, however, of a true and objectively valid a priori intuition,
they can neither furnish any basis for the possibility of mathematical
cognitions a priori, nor bring the propositions of experience into
necessary accordance with those of mathematics. In our theory of
the true nature of these two original forms of the sensibility, both
difficulties are surmounted.

In conclusion, that transcendental aesthetic cannot contain any more
than these two elements--space and time, is sufficiently obvious from
the fact that all other conceptions appertaining to sensibility,
even that of motion, which unites in itself both elements, presuppose
something empirical. Motion, for example, presupposes the perception
of something movable. But space considered in itself contains nothing
movable, consequently motion must be something which is found in space
only through experience--in other words, an empirical datum. In like
manner, transcendental aesthetic cannot number the conception of change
among its data a priori; for time itself does not change, but only
something which is in time. To acquire the conception of change,
therefore, the perception of some existing object and of the succession
of its determinations, in one word, experience, is necessary.

SS 9. General Remarks on Transcendental Aesthetic.

I. In order to prevent any misunderstanding, it will be requisite,
in the first place, to recapitulate, as clearly as possible, what
our opinion is with respect to the fundamental nature of our sensuous
cognition in general. We have intended, then, to say that all our
intuition is nothing but the representation of phenomena; that
the things which we intuite, are not in themselves the same as our
representations of them in intuition, nor are their relations in
themselves so constituted as they appear to us; and that if we take away
the subject, or even only the subjective constitution of our senses in
general, then not only the nature and relations of objects in space and
time, but even space and time themselves disappear; and that these, as
phenomena, cannot exist in themselves, but only in us. What may be
the nature of objects considered as things in themselves and without
reference to the receptivity of our sensibility is quite unknown to us.
We know nothing more than our mode of perceiving them, which is peculiar
to us, and which, though not of necessity pertaining to every animated
being, is so to the whole human race. With this alone we have to do.
Space and time are the pure forms thereof; sensation the matter. The
former alone can we cognize a priori, that is, antecedent to all actual
perception; and for this reason such cognition is called pure intuition.
The latter is that in our cognition which is called cognition a
posteriori, that is, empirical intuition. The former appertain
absolutely and necessarily to our sensibility, of whatsoever kind our
sensations may be; the latter may be of very diversified character.
Supposing that we should carry our empirical intuition even to the very
highest degree of clearness, we should not thereby advance one step
nearer to a knowledge of the constitution of objects as things in
themselves. For we could only, at best, arrive at a complete cognition
of our own mode of intuition, that is of our sensibility, and this
always under the conditions originally attaching to the subject, namely,
the conditions of space and time; while the question: "What are objects
considered as things in themselves?" remains unanswerable even after the
most thorough examination of the phenomenal world.

To say, then, that all our sensibility is nothing but the confused
representation of things containing exclusively that which belongs
to them as things in themselves, and this under an accumulation of
characteristic marks and partial representations which we cannot
distinguish in consciousness, is a falsification of the conception
of sensibility and phenomenization, which renders our whole doctrine
thereof empty and useless. The difference between a confused and a clear
representation is merely logical and has nothing to do with content.
No doubt the conception of right, as employed by a sound understanding,
contains all that the most subtle investigation could unfold from
it, although, in the ordinary practical use of the word, we are not
conscious of the manifold representations comprised in the conception.
But we cannot for this reason assert that the ordinary conception is a
sensuous one, containing a mere phenomenon, for right cannot appear as
a phenomenon; but the conception of it lies in the understanding, and
represents a property (the moral property) of actions, which belongs to
them in themselves. On the other hand, the representation in intuition
of a body contains nothing which could belong to an object considered as
a thing in itself, but merely the phenomenon or appearance of something,
and the mode in which we are affected by that appearance; and this
receptivity of our faculty of cognition is called sensibility, and
remains toto caelo different from the cognition of an object in itself,
even though we should examine the content of the phenomenon to the very

It must be admitted that the Leibnitz-Wolfian philosophy has assigned an
entirely erroneous point of view to all investigations into the nature
and origin of our cognitions, inasmuch as it regards the distinction
between the sensuous and the intellectual as merely logical, whereas
it is plainly transcendental, and concerns not merely the clearness
or obscurity, but the content and origin of both. For the faculty of
sensibility not only does not present us with an indistinct and confused
cognition of objects as things in themselves, but, in fact, gives us no
knowledge of these at all. On the contrary, so soon as we abstract in
thought our own subjective nature, the object represented, with the
properties ascribed to it by sensuous intuition, entirely disappears,
because it was only this subjective nature that determined the form of
the object as a phenomenon.

In phenomena, we commonly, indeed, distinguish that which essentially
belongs to the intuition of them, and is valid for the sensuous faculty
of every human being, from that which belongs to the same intuition
accidentally, as valid not for the sensuous faculty in general, but for
a particular state or organization of this or that sense. Accordingly,
we are accustomed to say that the former is a cognition which represents
the object itself, whilst the latter presents only a particular
appearance or phenomenon thereof. This distinction, however, is
only empirical. If we stop here (as is usual), and do not regard the
empirical intuition as itself a mere phenomenon (as we ought to do), in
which nothing that can appertain to a thing in itself is to be found,
our transcendental distinction is lost, and we believe that we cognize
objects as things in themselves, although in the whole range of the
sensuous world, investigate the nature of its objects as profoundly
as we may, we have to do with nothing but phenomena. Thus, we call the
rainbow a mere appearance of phenomenon in a sunny shower, and the
rain, the reality or thing in itself; and this is right enough, if we
understand the latter conception in a merely physical sense, that is,
as that which in universal experience, and under whatever conditions of
sensuous perception, is known in intuition to be so and so determined,
and not otherwise. But if we consider this empirical datum generally,
and inquire, without reference to its accordance with all our senses,
whether there can be discovered in it aught which represents an object
as a thing in itself (the raindrops of course are not such, for they
are, as phenomena, empirical objects), the question of the relation of
the representation to the object is transcendental; and not only are the
raindrops mere phenomena, but even their circular form, nay, the space
itself through which they fall, is nothing in itself, but both are mere
modifications or fundamental dispositions of our sensuous intuition,
whilst the transcendental object remains for us utterly unknown.

The second important concern of our aesthetic is that it does not obtain
favour merely as a plausible hypothesis, but possess as undoubted a
character of certainty as can be demanded of any theory which is to
serve for an organon. In order fully to convince the reader of this
certainty, we shall select a case which will serve to make its validity
apparent, and also to illustrate what has been said in SS 3.

Suppose, then, that space and time are in themselves objective, and
conditions of the--possibility of objects as things in themselves. In
the first place, it is evident that both present us, with very
many apodeictic and synthetic propositions a priori, but especially
space--and for this reason we shall prefer it for investigation at
present. As the propositions of geometry are cognized synthetically a
priori, and with apodeictic certainty, I inquire: Whence do you obtain
propositions of this kind, and on what basis does the understanding
rest, in order to arrive at such absolutely necessary and universally
valid truths?

There is no other way than through intuitions or conceptions, as such;
and these are given either a priori or a posteriori. The latter, namely,
empirical conceptions, together with the empirical intuition on which
they are founded, cannot afford any synthetical proposition, except such
as is itself also empirical, that is, a proposition of experience. But
an empirical proposition cannot possess the qualities of necessity and
absolute universality, which, nevertheless, are the characteristics of
all geometrical propositions. As to the first and only means to arrive
at such cognitions, namely, through mere conceptions or intuitions a
priori, it is quite clear that from mere conceptions no synthetical
cognitions, but only analytical ones, can be obtained. Take, for
example, the proposition: "Two straight lines cannot enclose a space,
and with these alone no figure is possible," and try to deduce it
from the conception of a straight line and the number two; or take the
proposition: "It is possible to construct a figure with three straight
lines," and endeavour, in like manner, to deduce it from the mere
conception of a straight line and the number three. All your endeavours
are in vain, and you find yourself forced to have recourse to intuition,
as, in fact, geometry always does. You therefore give yourself an object
in intuition. But of what kind is this intuition? Is it a pure a
priori, or is it an empirical intuition? If the latter, then neither an
universally valid, much less an apodeictic proposition can arise from
it, for experience never can give us any such proposition. You must,
therefore, give yourself an object a priori in intuition, and upon that
ground your synthetical proposition. Now if there did not exist within
you a faculty of intuition a priori; if this subjective condition were
not in respect to its form also the universal condition a priori under
which alone the object of this external intuition is itself possible;
if the object (that is, the triangle) were something in itself, without
relation to you the subject; how could you affirm that that which
lies necessarily in your subjective conditions in order to construct a
triangle, must also necessarily belong to the triangle in itself? For
to your conceptions of three lines, you could not add anything new (that
is, the figure); which, therefore, must necessarily be found in the
object, because the object is given before your cognition, and not by
means of it. If, therefore, space (and time also) were not a mere form
of your intuition, which contains conditions a priori, under which alone
things can become external objects for you, and without which subjective
conditions the objects are in themselves nothing, you could not
construct any synthetical proposition whatsoever regarding external
objects. It is therefore not merely possible or probable, but
indubitably certain, that space and time, as the necessary conditions
of all our external and internal experience, are merely subjective
conditions of all our intuitions, in relation to which all objects are
therefore mere phenomena, and not things in themselves, presented to us
in this particular manner. And for this reason, in respect to the form
of phenomena, much may be said a priori, whilst of the thing in itself,
which may lie at the foundation of these phenomena, it is impossible to
say anything.

II. In confirmation of this theory of the ideality of the external as
well as internal sense, consequently of all objects of sense, as mere
phenomena, we may especially remark that all in our cognition that
belongs to intuition contains nothing more than mere relations. (The
feelings of pain and pleasure, and the will, which are not cognitions,
are excepted.) The relations, to wit, of place in an intuition
(extension), change of place (motion), and laws according to which this
change is determined (moving forces). That, however, which is present in
this or that place, or any operation going on, or result taking place
in the things themselves, with the exception of change of place, is not
given to us by intuition. Now by means of mere relations, a thing cannot
be known in itself; and it may therefore be fairly concluded, that, as
through the external sense nothing but mere representations of relations
are given us, the said external sense in its representation can contain
only the relation of the object to the subject, but not the essential
nature of the object as a thing in itself.

The same is the case with the internal intuition, not only because,
in the internal intuition, the representation of the external senses
constitutes the material with which the mind is occupied; but because
time, in which we place, and which itself antecedes the consciousness
of, these representations in experience, and which, as the formal
condition of the mode according to which objects are placed in the mind,
lies at the foundation of them, contains relations of the successive,
the coexistent, and of that which always must be coexistent with
succession, the permanent. Now that which, as representation, can
antecede every exercise of thought (of an object), is intuition; and
when it contains nothing but relations, it is the form of the intuition,
which, as it presents us with no representation, except in so far as
something is placed in the mind, can be nothing else than the mode in
which the mind is affected by its own activity, to wit--its presenting
to itself representations, consequently the mode in which the mind is
affected by itself; that is, it can be nothing but an internal sense in
respect to its form. Everything that is represented through the medium
of sense is so far phenomenal; consequently, we must either refuse
altogether to admit an internal sense, or the subject, which is the
object of that sense, could only be represented by it as phenomenon, and
not as it would judge of itself, if its intuition were pure spontaneous
activity, that is, were intellectual. The difficulty here lies wholly in
the question: How can the subject have an internal intuition of itself?
But this difficulty is common to every theory. The consciousness of
self (apperception) is the simple representation of the "ego"; and if by
means of that representation alone, all the manifold representations in
the subject were spontaneously given, then our internal intuition
would be intellectual. This consciousness in man requires an internal
perception of the manifold representations which are previously given in
the subject; and the manner in which these representations are given in
the mind without spontaneity, must, on account of this difference
(the want of spontaneity), be called sensibility. If the faculty of
self-consciousness is to apprehend what lies in the mind, it must all
act that and can in this way alone produce an intuition of self. But the
form of this intuition, which lies in the original constitution of the
mind, determines, in the representation of time, the manner in which the
manifold representations are to combine themselves in the mind;
since the subject intuites itself, not as it would represent itself
immediately and spontaneously, but according to the manner in which the
mind is internally affected, consequently, as it appears, and not as it

III. When we say that the intuition of external objects, and also the
self-intuition of the subject, represent both, objects and subject, in
space and time, as they affect our senses, that is, as they appear--this
is by no means equivalent to asserting that these objects are mere
illusory appearances. For when we speak of things as phenomena, the
objects, nay, even the properties which we ascribe to them, are looked
upon as really given; only that, in so far as this or that property
depends upon the mode of intuition of the subject, in the relation
of the given object to the subject, the object as phenomenon is to be
distinguished from the object as a thing in itself. Thus I do not say
that bodies seem or appear to be external to me, or that my soul seems
merely to be given in my self-consciousness, although I maintain that
the properties of space and time, in conformity to which I set both, as
the condition of their existence, abide in my mode of intuition, and not
in the objects in themselves. It would be my own fault, if out of that
which I should reckon as phenomenon, I made mere illusory appearance.*
But this will not happen, because of our principle of the ideality
of all sensuous intuitions. On the contrary, if we ascribe objective
reality to these forms of representation, it becomes impossible to avoid
changing everything into mere appearance. For if we regard space
and time as properties, which must be found in objects as things in
themselves, as sine quibus non of the possibility of their existence,
and reflect on the absurdities in which we then find ourselves involved,
inasmuch as we are compelled to admit the existence of two infinite
things, which are nevertheless not substances, nor anything really
inhering in substances, nay, to admit that they are the necessary
conditions of the existence of all things, and moreover, that they must
continue to exist, although all existing things were annihilated--we
cannot blame the good Berkeley for degrading bodies to mere illusory
appearances. Nay, even our own existence, which would in this case
depend upon the self-existent reality of such a mere nonentity as time,
would necessarily be changed with it into mere appearance--an absurdity
which no one has as yet been guilty of.

     [*Footnote: The predicates of the phenomenon can be affixed
     to the object itself in relation to our sensuous faculty;
     for example, the red colour or the perfume to the rose. But
     (illusory) appearance never can be attributed as a predicate
     to an object, for this very reason, that it attributes to
     this object in itself that which belongs to it only in
     relation to our sensuous faculty, or to the subject in
     general, e.g., the two handles which were formerly ascribed
     to Saturn. That which is never to be found in the object
     itself, but always in the relation of the object to the
     subject, and which moreover is inseparable from our
     representation of the object, we denominate phenomenon. Thus
     the predicates of space and time are rightly attributed to
     objects of the senses as such, and in this there is no
     illusion. On the contrary, if I ascribe redness of the rose
     as a thing in itself, or to Saturn his handles, or extension
     to all external objects, considered as things in themselves,
     without regarding the determinate relation of these objects
     to the subject, and without limiting my judgement to that
     relation--then, and then only, arises illusion.]

IV. In natural theology, where we think of an object--God--which never
can be an object of intuition to us, and even to himself can never be
an object of sensuous intuition, we carefully avoid attributing to
his intuition the conditions of space and time--and intuition all his
cognition must be, and not thought, which always includes limitation.
But with what right can we do this if we make them forms of objects as
things in themselves, and such, moreover, as would continue to exist as
a priori conditions of the existence of things, even though the things
themselves were annihilated? For as conditions of all existence in
general, space and time must be conditions of the existence of the
Supreme Being also. But if we do not thus make them objective forms
of all things, there is no other way left than to make them subjective
forms of our mode of intuition--external and internal; which is called
sensuous, because it is not primitive, that is, is not such as gives in
itself the existence of the object of the intuition (a mode of intuition
which, so far as we can judge, can belong only to the Creator), but is
dependent on the existence of the object, is possible, therefore, only
on condition that the representative faculty of the subject is affected
by the object.

It is, moreover, not necessary that we should limit the mode of
intuition in space and time to the sensuous faculty of man. It may well
be that all finite thinking beings must necessarily in this respect
agree with man (though as to this we cannot decide), but sensibility
does not on account of this universality cease to be sensibility, for
this very reason, that it is a deduced (intuitus derivativus), and not
an original (intuitus originarius), consequently not an intellectual
intuition, and this intuition, as such, for reasons above mentioned,
seems to belong solely to the Supreme Being, but never to a being
dependent, quoad its existence, as well as its intuition (which its
existence determines and limits relatively to given objects). This
latter remark, however, must be taken only as an illustration, and not
as any proof of the truth of our aesthetical theory.

SS 10. Conclusion of the Transcendental Aesthetic.

We have now completely before us one part of the solution of the grand
general problem of transcendental philosophy, namely, the question: "How
are synthetical propositions a priori possible?" That is to say, we have
shown that we are in possession of pure a priori intuitions, namely,
space and time, in which we find, when in a judgement a priori we pass
out beyond the given conception, something which is not discoverable in
that conception, but is certainly found a priori in the intuition which
corresponds to the conception, and can be united synthetically with it.
But the judgements which these pure intuitions enable us to make, never
reach farther than to objects of the senses, and are valid only for
objects of possible experience.


INTRODUCTION. Idea of a Transcendental Logic.

I. Of Logic in General.

Our knowledge springs from two main sources in the mind, first of which
is the faculty or power of receiving representations (receptivity for
impressions); the second is the power of cognizing by means of these
representations (spontaneity in the production of conceptions). Through
the first an object is given to us; through the second, it is, in
relation to the representation (which is a mere determination of the
mind), thought. Intuition and conceptions constitute, therefore, the
elements of all our knowledge, so that neither conceptions without
an intuition in some way corresponding to them, nor intuition without
conceptions, can afford us a cognition. Both are either pure or
empirical. They are empirical, when sensation (which presupposes the
actual presence of the object) is contained in them; and pure, when no
sensation is mixed with the representation. Sensations we may call
the matter of sensuous cognition. Pure intuition consequently contains
merely the form under which something is intuited, and pure conception
only the form of the thought of an object. Only pure intuitions and pure
conceptions are possible a priori; the empirical only a posteriori.

We apply the term sensibility to the receptivity of the mind for
impressions, in so far as it is in some way affected; and, on the other
hand, we call the faculty of spontaneously producing representations,
or the spontaneity of cognition, understanding. Our nature is so
constituted that intuition with us never can be other than sensuous,
that is, it contains only the mode in which we are affected by objects.
On the other hand, the faculty of thinking the object of sensuous
intuition is the understanding. Neither of these faculties has a
preference over the other. Without the sensuous faculty no object
would be given to us, and without the understanding no object would
be thought. Thoughts without content are void; intuitions without
conceptions, blind. Hence it is as necessary for the mind to make its
conceptions sensuous (that is, to join to them the object in intuition),
as to make its intuitions intelligible (that is, to bring them under
conceptions). Neither of these faculties can exchange its proper
function. Understanding cannot intuite, and the sensuous faculty cannot
think. In no other way than from the united operation of both, can
knowledge arise. But no one ought, on this account, to overlook the
difference of the elements contributed by each; we have rather great
reason carefully to separate and distinguish them. We therefore
distinguish the science of the laws of sensibility, that is, aesthetic,
from the science of the laws of the understanding, that is, logic.

Now, logic in its turn may be considered as twofold--namely, as logic
of the general, or of the particular use of the understanding. The first
contains the absolutely necessary laws of thought, without which no use
whatsoever of the understanding is possible, and gives laws therefore to
the understanding, without regard to the difference of objects on which
it may be employed. The logic of the particular use of the understanding
contains the laws of correct thinking upon a particular class of
objects. The former may be called elemental logic--the latter, the
organon of this or that particular science. The latter is for the
most part employed in the schools, as a propaedeutic to the sciences,
although, indeed, according to the course of human reason, it is the
last thing we arrive at, when the science has been already matured, and
needs only the finishing touches towards its correction and completion;
for our knowledge of the objects of our attempted science must be
tolerably extensive and complete before we can indicate the laws by
which a science of these objects can be established.

General logic is again either pure or applied. In the former, we
abstract all the empirical conditions under which the understanding is
exercised; for example, the influence of the senses, the play of the
fantasy or imagination, the laws of the memory, the force of habit, of
inclination, etc., consequently also, the sources of prejudice--in a
word, we abstract all causes from which particular cognitions
arise, because these causes regard the understanding under certain
circumstances of its application, and, to the knowledge of them
experience is required. Pure general logic has to do, therefore, merely
with pure a priori principles, and is a canon of understanding and
reason, but only in respect of the formal part of their use, be the
content what it may, empirical or transcendental. General logic is
called applied, when it is directed to the laws of the use of the
understanding, under the subjective empirical conditions which
psychology teaches us. It has therefore empirical principles, although,
at the same time, it is in so far general, that it applies to the
exercise of the understanding, without regard to the difference of
objects. On this account, moreover, it is neither a canon of the
understanding in general, nor an organon of a particular science, but
merely a cathartic of the human understanding.

In general logic, therefore, that part which constitutes pure logic must
be carefully distinguished from that which constitutes applied (though
still general) logic. The former alone is properly science, although
short and dry, as the methodical exposition of an elemental doctrine of
the understanding ought to be. In this, therefore, logicians must always
bear in mind two rules:

1. As general logic, it makes abstraction of all content of the
cognition of the understanding, and of the difference of objects, and
has to do with nothing but the mere form of thought.

2. As pure logic, it has no empirical principles, and consequently
draws nothing (contrary to the common persuasion) from psychology, which
therefore has no influence on the canon of the understanding. It is a
demonstrated doctrine, and everything in it must be certain completely a

What I called applied logic (contrary to the common acceptation of this
term, according to which it should contain certain exercises for the
scholar, for which pure logic gives the rules), is a representation
of the understanding, and of the rules of its necessary employment
in concreto, that is to say, under the accidental conditions of the
subject, which may either hinder or promote this employment, and which
are all given only empirically. Thus applied logic treats of attention,
its impediments and consequences, of the origin of error, of the state
of doubt, hesitation, conviction, etc., and to it is related pure
general logic in the same way that pure morality, which contains only
the necessary moral laws of a free will, is related to practical ethics,
which considers these laws under all the impediments of feelings,
inclinations, and passions to which men are more or less subjected, and
which never can furnish us with a true and demonstrated science, because
it, as well as applied logic, requires empirical and psychological

II. Of Transcendental Logic.

General logic, as we have seen, makes abstraction of all content of
cognition, that is, of all relation of cognition to its object, and
regards only the logical form in the relation of cognitions to each
other, that is, the form of thought in general. But as we have both pure
and empirical intuitions (as transcendental aesthetic proves), in like
manner a distinction might be drawn between pure and empirical thought
(of objects). In this case, there would exist a kind of logic, in which
we should not make abstraction of all content of cognition; for or logic
which should comprise merely the laws of pure thought (of an object),
would of course exclude all those cognitions which were of empirical
content. This kind of logic would also examine the origin of our
cognitions of objects, so far as that origin cannot be ascribed to the
objects themselves; while, on the contrary, general logic has nothing
to do with the origin of our cognitions, but contemplates our
representations, be they given primitively a priori in ourselves, or be
they only of empirical origin, solely according to the laws which the
understanding observes in employing them in the process of thought, in
relation to each other. Consequently, general logic treats of the form
of the understanding only, which can be applied to representations, from
whatever source they may have arisen.

And here I shall make a remark, which the reader must bear well in mind
in the course of the following considerations, to wit, that not every
cognition a priori, but only those through which we cognize that and how
certain representations (intuitions or conceptions) are applied or are
possible only a priori; that is to say, the a priori possibility of
cognition and the a priori use of it are transcendental. Therefore
neither is space, nor any a priori geometrical determination of space,
a transcendental Representation, but only the knowledge that such a
representation is not of empirical origin, and the possibility of its
relating to objects of experience, although itself a priori, can be
called transcendental. So also, the application of space to objects
in general would be transcendental; but if it be limited to objects of
sense it is empirical. Thus, the distinction of the transcendental
and empirical belongs only to the critique of cognitions, and does not
concern the relation of these to their object.

Accordingly, in the expectation that there may perhaps be conceptions
which relate a priori to objects, not as pure or sensuous intuitions,
but merely as acts of pure thought (which are therefore conceptions,
but neither of empirical nor aesthetical origin)--in this expectation,
I say, we form to ourselves, by anticipation, the idea of a science
of pure understanding and rational cognition, by means of which we may
cogitate objects entirely a priori. A science of this kind, which should
determine the origin, the extent, and the objective validity of such
cognitions, must be called transcendental logic, because it has not,
like general logic, to do with the laws of understanding and reason
in relation to empirical as well as pure rational cognitions without
distinction, but concerns itself with these only in an a priori relation
to objects.

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

The old question with which people sought to push logicians into a
corner, so that they must either have recourse to pitiful sophisms or
confess their ignorance, and consequently the vanity of their whole art,
is this: "What is truth?" The definition of the word truth, to wit,
"the accordance of the cognition with its object," is presupposed in
the question; but we desire to be told, in the answer to it, what is the
universal and secure criterion of the truth of every cognition.

To know what questions we may reasonably propose is in itself a strong
evidence of sagacity and intelligence. For if a question be in itself
absurd and unsusceptible of a rational answer, it is attended with the
danger--not to mention the shame that falls upon the person who proposes
it--of seducing the unguarded listener into making absurd answers, and
we are presented with the ridiculous spectacle of one (as the ancients
said) "milking the he-goat, and the other holding a sieve."

If truth consists in the accordance of a cognition with its object,
this object must be, ipso facto, distinguished from all others; for a
cognition is false if it does not accord with the object to which it
relates, although it contains something which may be affirmed of other
objects. Now an universal criterion of truth would be that which is
valid for all cognitions, without distinction of their objects. But
it is evident that since, in the case of such a criterion, we make
abstraction of all the content of a cognition (that is, of all relation
to its object), and truth relates precisely to this content, it must
be utterly absurd to ask for a mark of the truth of this content of
cognition; and that, accordingly, a sufficient, and at the same time
universal, test of truth cannot possibly be found. As we have already
termed the content of a cognition its matter, we shall say: "Of the
truth of our cognitions in respect of their matter, no universal test
can be demanded, because such a demand is self-contradictory."

On the other hand, with regard to our cognition in respect of its mere
form (excluding all content), it is equally manifest that logic, in
so far as it exhibits the universal and necessary laws of the
understanding, must in these very laws present us with criteria of
truth. Whatever contradicts these rules is false, because thereby the
understanding is made to contradict its own universal laws of thought;
that is, to contradict itself. These criteria, however, apply solely to
the form of truth, that is, of thought in general, and in so far they
are perfectly accurate, yet not sufficient. For although a cognition
may be perfectly accurate as to logical form, that is, not
self-contradictory, it is notwithstanding quite possible that it may
not stand in agreement with its object. Consequently, the merely logical
criterion of truth, namely, the accordance of a cognition with the
universal and formal laws of understanding and reason, is nothing more
than the conditio sine qua non, or negative condition of all truth.
Farther than this logic cannot go, and the error which depends not
on the form, but on the content of the cognition, it has no test to

General logic, then, resolves the whole formal business of understanding
and reason into its elements, and exhibits them as principles of all
logical judging of our cognitions. This part of logic may, therefore, be
called analytic, and is at least the negative test of truth, because all
cognitions must first of an be estimated and tried according to these
laws before we proceed to investigate them in respect of their content,
in order to discover whether they contain positive truth in regard to
their object. Because, however, the mere form of a cognition, accurately
as it may accord with logical laws, is insufficient to supply us with
material (objective) truth, no one, by means of logic alone, can venture
to predicate anything of or decide concerning objects, unless he has
obtained, independently of logic, well-grounded information about them,
in order afterwards to examine, according to logical laws, into the use
and connection, in a cohering whole, of that information, or, what is
still better, merely to test it by them. Notwithstanding, there lies so
seductive a charm in the possession of a specious art like this--an
art which gives to all our cognitions the form of the understanding,
although with respect to the content thereof we may be sadly
deficient--that general logic, which is merely a canon of judgement, has
been employed as an organon for the actual production, or rather for
the semblance of production, of objective assertions, and has thus
been grossly misapplied. Now general logic, in its assumed character of
organon, is called dialectic.

Different as are the significations in which the ancients used this
term for a science or an art, we may safely infer, from their actual
employment of it, that with them it was nothing else than a logic of
illusion--a sophistical art for giving ignorance, nay, even intentional
sophistries, the colouring of truth, in which the thoroughness of
procedure which logic requires was imitated, and their topic employed
to cloak the empty pretensions. Now it may be taken as a safe and useful
warning, that general logic, considered as an organon, must always be
a logic of illusion, that is, be dialectical, for, as it teaches us
nothing whatever respecting the content of our cognitions, but merely
the formal conditions of their accordance with the understanding, which
do not relate to and are quite indifferent in respect of objects, any
attempt to employ it as an instrument (organon) in order to extend and
enlarge the range of our knowledge must end in mere prating; any one
being able to maintain or oppose, with some appearance of truth, any
single assertion whatever.

Such instruction is quite unbecoming the dignity of philosophy. For
these reasons we have chosen to denominate this part of logic dialectic,
in the sense of a critique of dialectical illusion, and we wish the term
to be so understood in this place.

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

In transcendental logic we isolate the understanding (as in
transcendental aesthetic the sensibility) and select from our cognition
merely that part of thought which has its origin in the understanding
alone. The exercise of this pure cognition, however, depends upon this
as its condition, that objects to which it may be applied be given to
us in intuition, for without intuition the whole of our cognition
is without objects, and is therefore quite void. That part of
transcendental logic, then, which treats of the elements of pure
cognition of the understanding, and of the principles without which no
object at all can be thought, is transcendental analytic, and at the
same time a logic of truth. For no cognition can contradict it, without
losing at the same time all content, that is, losing all reference to an
object, and therefore all truth. But because we are very easily seduced
into employing these pure cognitions and principles of the understanding
by themselves, and that even beyond the boundaries of experience, which
yet is the only source whence we can obtain matter (objects) on which
those pure conceptions may be employed--understanding runs the risk of
making, by means of empty sophisms, a material and objective use of
the mere formal principles of the pure understanding, and of passing
judgements on objects without distinction--objects which are not given
to us, nay, perhaps cannot be given to us in any way. Now, as it ought
properly to be only a canon for judging of the empirical use of the
understanding, this kind of logic is misused when we seek to employ
it as an organon of the universal and unlimited exercise of the
understanding, and attempt with the pure understanding alone to judge
synthetically, affirm, and determine respecting objects in general. In
this case the exercise of the pure understanding becomes dialectical.
The second part of our transcendental logic must therefore be a critique
of dialectical illusion, and this critique we shall term transcendental
dialectic--not meaning it as an art of producing dogmatically
such illusion (an art which is unfortunately too current among
the practitioners of metaphysical juggling), but as a critique of
understanding and reason in regard to their hyperphysical use. This
critique will expose the groundless nature of the pretensions of
these two faculties, and invalidate their claims to the discovery
and enlargement of our cognitions merely by means of transcendental
principles, and show that the proper employment of these faculties is to
test the judgements made by the pure understanding, and to guard it from
sophistical delusion.




Transcendental analytic is the dissection of the whole of our a priori
knowledge into the elements of the pure cognition of the understanding.
In order to effect our purpose, it is necessary: (1) That the
conceptions be pure and not empirical; (2) That they belong not to
intuition and sensibility, but to thought and understanding; (3) That
they be elementary conceptions, and as such, quite different from
deduced or compound conceptions; (4) That our table of these elementary
conceptions be complete, and fill up the whole sphere of the pure
understanding. Now this completeness of a science cannot be accepted
with confidence on the guarantee of a mere estimate of its existence in
an aggregate formed only by means of repeated experiments and attempts.
The completeness which we require is possible only by means of an idea
of the totality of the a priori cognition of the understanding, and
through the thereby determined division of the conceptions which form
the said whole; consequently, only by means of their connection in
a system. Pure understanding distinguishes itself not merely from
everything empirical, but also completely from all sensibility. It is
a unity self-subsistent, self-sufficient, and not to be enlarged by any
additions from without. Hence the sum of its cognition constitutes
a system to be determined by and comprised under an idea; and the
completeness and articulation of this system can at the same time
serve as a test of the correctness and genuineness of all the parts of
cognition that belong to it. The whole of this part of transcendental
logic consists of two books, of which the one contains the conceptions,
and the other the principles of pure understanding.


SS 2. Analytic of Conceptions.

By the term Analytic of Conceptions, I do not understand the analysis
of these, or the usual process in philosophical investigations of
dissecting the conceptions which present themselves, according to
their content, and so making them clear; but I mean the hitherto little
attempted dissection of the faculty of understanding itself, in order to
investigate the possibility of conceptions a priori, by looking for them
in the understanding alone, as their birthplace, and analysing the pure
use of this faculty. For this is the proper duty of a transcendental
philosophy; what remains is the logical treatment of the conceptions in
philosophy in general. We shall therefore follow up the pure conceptions
even to their germs and beginnings in the human understanding, in which
they lie, until they are developed on occasions presented by experience,
and, freed by the same understanding from the empirical conditions
attaching to them, are set forth in their unalloyed purity.

CHAPTER I. Of the Transcendental Clue to the Discovery of all Pure
Conceptions of the Understanding.

SS 3. Introductory.

When we call into play a faculty of cognition, different conceptions
manifest themselves according to the different circumstances, and
make known this faculty, and assemble themselves into a more or less
extensive collection, according to the time or penetration that has been
applied to the consideration of them. Where this process, conducted as
it is mechanically, so to speak, will end, cannot be determined with
certainty. Besides, the conceptions which we discover in this haphazard
manner present themselves by no means in order and systematic unity,
but are at last coupled together only according to resemblances to
each other, and arranged in series, according to the quantity of their
content, from the simpler to the more complex--series which are anything
but systematic, though not altogether without a certain kind of method
in their construction.

Transcendental philosophy has the advantage, and moreover the duty, of
searching for its conceptions according to a principle; because these
conceptions spring pure and unmixed out of the understanding as
an absolute unity, and therefore must be connected with each other
according to one conception or idea. A connection of this kind, however,
furnishes us with a ready prepared rule, by which its proper place
may be assigned to every pure conception of the understanding, and the
completeness of the system of all be determined a priori--both which
would otherwise have been dependent on mere choice or chance.

SS 4. SECTION 1. Of defined above Use of understanding in General.

The understanding was defined above only negatively, as a non-sensuous
faculty of cognition. Now, independently of sensibility, we cannot
possibly have any intuition; consequently, the understanding is no
faculty of intuition. But besides intuition there is no other mode of
cognition, except through conceptions; consequently, the cognition of
every, at least of every human, understanding is a cognition through
conceptions--not intuitive, but discursive. All intuitions, as sensuous,
depend on affections; conceptions, therefore, upon functions. By the
word function I understand the unity of the act of arranging diverse
representations under one common representation. Conceptions, then, are
based on the spontaneity of thought, as sensuous intuitions are on the
receptivity of impressions. Now, the understanding cannot make any
other use of these conceptions than to judge by means of them. As no
representation, except an intuition, relates immediately to its object,
a conception never relates immediately to an object, but only to
some other representation thereof, be that an intuition or itself a
conception. A judgement, therefore, is the mediate cognition of an
object, consequently the representation of a representation of it. In
every judgement there is a conception which applies to, and is valid for
many other conceptions, and which among these comprehends also a given
representation, this last being immediately connected with an object.
For example, in the judgement--"All bodies are divisible," our
conception of divisible applies to various other conceptions; among
these, however, it is here particularly applied to the conception of
body, and this conception of body relates to certain phenomena which
occur to us. These objects, therefore, are mediately represented by the
conception of divisibility. All judgements, accordingly, are functions
of unity in our representations, inasmuch as, instead of an immediate, a
higher representation, which comprises this and various others, is used
for our cognition of the object, and thereby many possible cognitions
are collected into one. But we can reduce all acts of the understanding
to judgements, so that understanding may be represented as the faculty
of judging. For it is, according to what has been said above, a faculty
of thought. Now thought is cognition by means of conceptions. But
conceptions, as predicates of possible judgements, relate to some
representation of a yet undetermined object. Thus the conception of body
indicates something--for example, metal--which can be cognized by means
of that conception. It is therefore a conception, for the reason alone
that other representations are contained under it, by means of which
it can relate to objects. It is therefore the predicate to a possible
judgement; for example: "Every metal is a body." All the functions of
the understanding therefore can be discovered, when we can completely
exhibit the functions of unity in judgements. And that this may be
effected very easily, the following section will show.

SS 5. SECTION II. Of the Logical Function of the Understanding in

If we abstract all the content of a judgement, and consider only the
intellectual form thereof, we find that the function of thought in a
judgement can be brought under four heads, of which each contains three
momenta. These may be conveniently represented in the following table:

                         Quantity of judgements

                      2                           3
                    Quality                   Relation
                  Affirmative                Categorical
                  Negative                   Hypothetical
                  Infinite                   Disjunctive


As this division appears to differ in some, though not essential points,
from the usual technique of logicians, the following observations,
for the prevention of otherwise possible misunderstanding, will not be
without their use.

1. Logicians say, with justice, that in the use of judgements in
syllogisms, singular judgements may be treated like universal ones.
For, precisely because a singular judgement has no extent at all, its
predicate cannot refer to a part of that which is contained in the
conception of the subject and be excluded from the rest. The predicate
is valid for the whole conception just as if it were a general
conception, and had extent, to the whole of which the predicate applied.
On the other hand, let us compare a singular with a general judgement,
merely as a cognition, in regard to quantity. The singular judgement
relates to the general one, as unity to infinity, and is therefore in
itself essentially different. Thus, if we estimate a singular judgement
(judicium singulare) not merely according to its intrinsic validity as a
judgement, but also as a cognition generally, according to its quantity
in comparison with that of other cognitions, it is then entirely
different from a general judgement (judicium commune), and in a complete
table of the momenta of thought deserves a separate place--though,
indeed, this would not be necessary in a logic limited merely to the
consideration of the use of judgements in reference to each other.

2. In like manner, in transcendental logic, infinite must be
distinguished from affirmative judgements, although in general logic
they are rightly enough classed under affirmative. General logic
abstracts all content of the predicate (though it be negative), and
only considers whether the said predicate be affirmed or denied of the
subject. But transcendental logic considers also the worth or content of
this logical affirmation--an affirmation by means of a merely negative
predicate, and inquires how much the sum total of our cognition gains
by this affirmation. For example, if I say of the soul, "It is not
mortal"--by this negative judgement I should at least ward off error.
Now, by the proposition, "The soul is not mortal," I have, in respect of
the logical form, really affirmed, inasmuch as I thereby place the soul
in the unlimited sphere of immortal beings. Now, because of the whole
sphere of possible existences, the mortal occupies one part, and the
immortal the other, neither more nor less is affirmed by the proposition
than that the soul is one among the infinite multitude of things
which remain over, when I take away the whole mortal part. But by this
proceeding we accomplish only this much, that the infinite sphere of
all possible existences is in so far limited that the mortal is excluded
from it, and the soul is placed in the remaining part of the extent
of this sphere. But this part remains, notwithstanding this exception,
infinite, and more and more parts may be taken away from the whole
sphere, without in the slightest degree thereby augmenting or
affirmatively determining our conception of the soul. These judgements,
therefore, infinite in respect of their logical extent, are, in
respect of the content of their cognition, merely limitative; and are
consequently entitled to a place in our transcendental table of all
the momenta of thought in judgements, because the function of the
understanding exercised by them may perhaps be of importance in the
field of its pure a priori cognition.

3. All relations of thought in judgements are those (a) of the predicate
to the subject; (b) of the principle to its consequence; (c) of the
divided cognition and all the members of the division to each other. In
the first of these three classes, we consider only two conceptions; in
the second, two judgements; in the third, several judgements in relation
to each other. The hypothetical proposition, "If perfect justice exists,
the obstinately wicked are punished," contains properly the relation to
each other of two propositions, namely, "Perfect justice exists," and
"The obstinately wicked are punished." Whether these propositions are in
themselves true is a question not here decided. Nothing is cogitated
by means of this judgement except a certain consequence. Finally, the
disjunctive judgement contains a relation of two or more propositions to
each other--a relation not of consequence, but of logical opposition, in
so far as the sphere of the one proposition excludes that of the other.
But it contains at the same time a relation of community, in so far as
all the propositions taken together fill up the sphere of the cognition.
The disjunctive judgement contains, therefore, the relation of the parts
of the whole sphere of a cognition, since the sphere of each part is a
complemental part of the sphere of the other, each contributing to
form the sum total of the divided cognition. Take, for example, the
proposition, "The world exists either through blind chance, or through
internal necessity, or through an external cause." Each of these
propositions embraces a part of the sphere of our possible cognition
as to the existence of a world; all of them taken together, the whole
sphere. To take the cognition out of one of these spheres, is equivalent
to placing it in one of the others; and, on the other hand, to place
it in one sphere is equivalent to taking it out of the rest. There is,
therefore, in a disjunctive judgement a certain community of cognitions,
which consists in this, that they mutually exclude each other, yet
thereby determine, as a whole, the true cognition, inasmuch as, taken
together, they make up the complete content of a particular given
cognition. And this is all that I find necessary, for the sake of what
follows, to remark in this place.

4. The modality of judgements is a quite peculiar function, with this
distinguishing characteristic, that it contributes nothing to the
content of a judgement (for besides quantity, quality, and relation,
there is nothing more that constitutes the content of a judgement), but
concerns itself only with the value of the copula in relation to thought
in general. Problematical judgements are those in which the affirmation
or negation is accepted as merely possible (ad libitum). In the
assertorical, we regard the proposition as real (true); in the
apodeictical, we look on it as necessary.* Thus the two judgements
(antecedens et consequens), the relation of which constitutes a
hypothetical judgement, likewise those (the members of the division) in
whose reciprocity the disjunctive consists, are only problematical. In
the example above given the proposition, "There exists perfect justice,"
is not stated assertorically, but as an ad libitum judgement, which
someone may choose to adopt, and the consequence alone is assertorical.
Hence such judgements may be obviously false, and yet, taken
problematically, be conditions of our cognition of the truth. Thus
the proposition, "The world exists only by blind chance," is in the
disjunctive judgement of problematical import only: that is to say, one
may accept it for the moment, and it helps us (like the indication of
the wrong road among all the roads that one can take) to find out the
true proposition. The problematical proposition is, therefore, that
which expresses only logical possibility (which is not objective);
that is, it expresses a free choice to admit the validity of such a
proposition--a merely arbitrary reception of it into the understanding.
The assertorical speaks of logical reality or truth; as, for example,
in a hypothetical syllogism, the antecedens presents itself in a
problematical form in the major, in an assertorical form in the minor,
and it shows that the proposition is in harmony with the laws of the
understanding. The apodeictical proposition cogitates the assertorical
as determined by these very laws of the understanding, consequently as
affirming a priori, and in this manner it expresses logical
necessity. Now because all is here gradually incorporated with the
understanding--inasmuch as in the first place we judge problematically;
then accept assertorically our judgement as true; lastly, affirm it as
inseparably united with the understanding, that is, as necessary and
apodeictical--we may safely reckon these three functions of modality as
so many momenta of thought.

     [*Footnote: Just as if thought were in the first instance a
     function of the understanding; in the second, of judgement;
     in the third, of reason. A remark which will be explained in
     the sequel.]

SS 6. SECTION III. Of the Pure Conceptions of the Understanding, or                   Categories.

General logic, as has been repeatedly said, makes abstraction of all
content of cognition, and expects to receive representations from some
other quarter, in order, by means of analysis, to convert them into
conceptions. On the contrary, transcendental logic has lying before
it the manifold content of a priori sensibility, which transcendental
aesthetic presents to it in order to give matter to the pure conceptions
of the understanding, without which transcendental logic would have no
content, and be therefore utterly void. Now space and time contain an
infinite diversity of determinations of pure a priori intuition, but are
nevertheless the condition of the mind's receptivity, under which alone
it can obtain representations of objects, and which, consequently, must
always affect the conception of these objects. But the spontaneity of
thought requires that this diversity be examined after a certain manner,
received into the mind, and connected, in order afterwards to form a
cognition out of it. This Process I call synthesis.

By the word synthesis, in its most general signification, I understand
the process of joining different representations to each other and of
comprehending their diversity in one cognition. This synthesis is pure
when the diversity is not given empirically but a priori (as that in
space and time). Our representations must be given previously to any
analysis of them; and no conceptions can arise, quoad their content,
analytically. But the synthesis of a diversity (be it given a priori or
empirically) is the first requisite for the production of a cognition,
which in its beginning, indeed, may be crude and confused, and therefore
in need of analysis--still, synthesis is that by which alone the
elements of our cognitions are collected and united into a certain
content, consequently it is the first thing on which we must fix our
attention, if we wish to investigate the origin of our knowledge.

Synthesis, generally speaking, is, as we shall afterwards see, the mere
operation of the imagination--a blind but indispensable function of the
soul, without which we should have no cognition whatever, but of the
working of which we are seldom even conscious. But to reduce this
synthesis to conceptions is a function of the understanding, by means of
which we attain to cognition, in the proper meaning of the term.

Pure synthesis, represented generally, gives us the pure conception of
the understanding. But by this pure synthesis, I mean that which rests
upon a basis of a priori synthetical unity. Thus, our numeration (and
this is more observable in large numbers) is a synthesis according to
conceptions, because it takes place according to a common basis of unity
(for example, the decade). By means of this conception, therefore, the
unity in the synthesis of the manifold becomes necessary.

By means of analysis different representations are brought under one
conception--an operation of which general logic treats. On the other
hand, the duty of transcendental logic is to reduce to conceptions, not
representations, but the pure synthesis of representations. The first
thing which must be given to us for the sake of the a priori cognition
of all objects, is the diversity of the pure intuition; the synthesis
of this diversity by means of the imagination is the second; but this
gives, as yet, no cognition. The conceptions which give unity to this
pure synthesis, and which consist solely in the representation of
this necessary synthetical unity, furnish the third requisite for
the cognition of an object, and these conceptions are given by the

The same function which gives unity to the different representation in
a judgement, gives also unity to the mere synthesis of different
representations in an intuition; and this unity we call the pure
conception of the understanding. Thus, the same understanding, and by
the same operations, whereby in conceptions, by means of analytical
unity, it produced the logical form of a judgement, introduces, by means
of the synthetical unity of the manifold in intuition, a transcendental
content into its representations, on which account they are called pure
conceptions of the understanding, and they apply a priori to objects, a
result not within the power of general logic.

In this manner, there arise exactly so many pure conceptions of the
understanding, applying a priori to objects of intuition in general, as
there are logical functions in all possible judgements. For there is no
other function or faculty existing in the understanding besides those
enumerated in that table. These conceptions we shall, with Aristotle,
call categories, our purpose being originally identical with his,
notwithstanding the great difference in the execution.

                     TABLE OF THE CATEGORIES

                    1                         2

              Of Quantity                Of Quality
              Unity                      Reality
              Plurality                  Negation
              Totality                   Limitation

                      Of Relation
   Of Inherence and Subsistence (substantia et accidens)
   Of Causality and Dependence (cause and effect)
   Of Community (reciprocity between the agent and patient)

                     Of Modality

This, then, is a catalogue of all the originally pure conceptions of
the synthesis which the understanding contains a priori, and these
conceptions alone entitle it to be called a pure understanding; inasmuch
as only by them it can render the manifold of intuition conceivable,
in other words, think an object of intuition. This division is made
systematically from a common principle, namely the faculty of judgement
(which is just the same as the power of thought), and has not arisen
rhapsodically from a search at haphazard after pure conceptions,
respecting the full number of which we never could be certain, inasmuch
as we employ induction alone in our search, without considering that in
this way we can never understand wherefore precisely these conceptions,
and none others, abide in the pure understanding. It was a design worthy
of an acute thinker like Aristotle, to search for these fundamental
conceptions. Destitute, however, of any guiding principle, he picked
them up just as they occurred to him, and at first hunted out ten, which
he called categories (predicaments). Afterwards be believed that he
had discovered five others, which were added under the name of post
predicaments. But his catalogue still remained defective. Besides,
there are to be found among them some of the modes of pure sensibility
(quando, ubi, situs, also prius, simul), and likewise an empirical
conception (motus)--which can by no means belong to this genealogical
register of the pure understanding. Moreover, there are deduced
conceptions (actio, passio) enumerated among the original conceptions,
and, of the latter, some are entirely wanting.

With regard to these, it is to be remarked, that the categories, as the
true primitive conceptions of the pure understanding, have also their
pure deduced conceptions, which, in a complete system of transcendental
philosophy, must by no means be passed over; though in a merely critical
essay we must be contented with the simple mention of the fact.

Let it be allowed me to call these pure, but deduced conceptions of
the understanding, the predicables of the pure understanding, in
contradistinction to predicaments. If we are in possession of the
original and primitive, the deduced and subsidiary conceptions can
easily be added, and the genealogical tree of the understanding
completely delineated. As my present aim is not to set forth a complete
system, but merely the principles of one, I reserve this task for
another time. It may be easily executed by any one who will refer to the
ontological manuals, and subordinate to the category of causality,
for example, the predicables of force, action, passion; to that of
community, those of presence and resistance; to the categories of
modality, those of origination, extinction, change; and so with the
rest. The categories combined with the modes of pure sensibility, or
with one another, afford a great number of deduced a priori conceptions;
a complete enumeration of which would be a useful and not unpleasant,
but in this place a perfectly dispensable, occupation.

I purposely omit the definitions of the categories in this treatise.
I shall analyse these conceptions only so far as is necessary for the
doctrine of method, which is to form a part of this critique. In
a system of pure reason, definitions of them would be with justice
demanded of me, but to give them here would only bide from our view
the main aim of our investigation, at the same time raising doubts and
objections, the consideration of which, without injustice to our main
purpose, may be very well postponed till another opportunity. Meanwhile,
it ought to be sufficiently clear, from the little we have already said
on this subject, that the formation of a complete vocabulary of pure
conceptions, accompanied by all the requisite explanations, is not only
a possible, but an easy undertaking. The compartments already exist;
it is only necessary to fill them up; and a systematic topic like the
present, indicates with perfect precision the proper place to which each
conception belongs, while it readily points out any that have not yet
been filled up.

SS 7.

Our table of the categories suggests considerations of some importance,
which may perhaps have significant results in regard to the scientific
form of all rational cognitions. For, that this table is useful in the
theoretical part of philosophy, nay, indispensable for the sketching
of the complete plan of a science, so far as that science rests upon
conceptions a priori, and for dividing it mathematically, according to
fixed principles, is most manifest from the fact that it contains all
the elementary conceptions of the understanding, nay, even the form of a
system of these in the understanding itself, and consequently indicates
all the momenta, and also the internal arrangement of a projected
speculative science, as I have elsewhere shown. [Footnote: In the
Metaphysical Principles of Natural Science.] Here follow some of these

I. This table, which contains four classes of conceptions of the
understanding, may, in the first instance, be divided into two classes,
the first of which relates to objects of intuition--pure as well as
empirical; the second, to the existence of these objects, either in
relation to one another, or to the understanding.

The former of these classes of categories I would entitle the
mathematical, and the latter the dynamical categories. The former, as we
see, has no correlates; these are only to be found in the second
class. This difference must have a ground in the nature of the human

II. The number of the categories in each class is always the same,
namely, three--a fact which also demands some consideration, because
in all other cases division a priori through conceptions is necessarily
dichotomy. It is to be added, that the third category in each triad
always arises from the combination of the second with the first.

Thus totality is nothing else but plurality contemplated as unity;
limitation is merely reality conjoined with negation; community is the
causality of a substance, reciprocally determining, and determined by
other substances; and finally, necessity is nothing but existence,
which is given through the possibility itself. Let it not be supposed,
however, that the third category is merely a deduced, and not a
primitive conception of the pure understanding. For the conjunction of
the first and second, in order to produce the third conception, requires
a particular function of the understanding, which is by no means
identical with those which are exercised in the first and second. Thus,
the conception of a number (which belongs to the category of totality)
is not always possible, where the conceptions of multitude and unity
exist (for example, in the representation of the infinite). Or, if I
conjoin the conception of a cause with that of a substance, it does not
follow that the conception of influence, that is, how one substance can
be the cause of something in another substance, will be understood from
that. Thus it is evident that a particular act of the understanding is
here necessary; and so in the other instances.

III. With respect to one category, namely, that of community, which is
found in the third class, it is not so easy as with the others to
detect its accordance with the form of the disjunctive judgement which
corresponds to it in the table of the logical functions.

In order to assure ourselves of this accordance, we must observe that in
every disjunctive judgement, the sphere of the judgement (that is,
the complex of all that is contained in it) is represented as a whole
divided into parts; and, since one part cannot be contained in the
other, they are cogitated as co-ordinated with, not subordinated to each
other, so that they do not determine each other unilaterally, as in a
linear series, but reciprocally, as in an aggregate--(if one member of
the division is posited, all the rest are excluded; and conversely).

Now a like connection is cogitated in a whole of things; for one thing
is not subordinated, as effect, to another as cause of its existence,
but, on the contrary, is co-ordinated contemporaneously and
reciprocally, as a cause in relation to the determination of the others
(for example, in a body--the parts of which mutually attract and repel
each other). And this is an entirely different kind of connection from
that which we find in the mere relation of the cause to the effect (the
principle to the consequence), for in such a connection the consequence
does not in its turn determine the principle, and therefore does not
constitute, with the latter, a whole--just as the Creator does not with
the world make up a whole. The process of understanding by which it
represents to itself the sphere of a divided conception, is employed
also when we think of a thing as divisible; and in the same manner as
the members of the division in the former exclude one another, and yet
are connected in one sphere, so the understanding represents to itself
the parts of the latter, as having--each of them--an existence (as
substances), independently of the others, and yet as united in one

SS 8.

In the transcendental philosophy of the ancients there exists one more
leading division, which contains pure conceptions of the understanding,
and which, although not numbered among the categories, ought, according
to them, as conceptions a priori, to be valid of objects. But in this
case they would augment the number of the categories; which cannot
be. These are set forth in the proposition, so renowned among the
schoolmen--"Quodlibet ens est UNUM, VERUM, BONUM." Now, though the
inferences from this principle were mere tautological propositions,
and though it is allowed only by courtesy to retain a place in modern
metaphysics, yet a thought which maintained itself for such a length
of time, however empty it seems to be, deserves an investigation of its
origin, and justifies the conjecture that it must be grounded in some
law of the understanding, which, as is often the case, has only been
erroneously interpreted. These pretended transcendental predicates are,
in fact, nothing but logical requisites and criteria of all cognition
of objects, and they employ, as the basis for this cognition, the
categories of quantity, namely, unity, plurality, and totality. But
these, which must be taken as material conditions, that is, as belonging
to the possibility of things themselves, they employed merely in a
formal signification, as belonging to the logical requisites of all
cognition, and yet most unguardedly changed these criteria of thought
into properties of objects, as things in themselves. Now, in every
cognition of an object, there is unity of conception, which may be
called qualitative unity, so far as by this term we understand only the
unity in our connection of the manifold; for example, unity of the theme
in a play, an oration, or a story. Secondly, there is truth in respect
of the deductions from it. The more true deductions we have from a given
conception, the more criteria of its objective reality. This we might
call the qualitative plurality of characteristic marks, which belong
to a conception as to a common foundation, but are not cogitated as a
quantity in it. Thirdly, there is perfection--which consists in this,
that the plurality falls back upon the unity of the conception, and
accords completely with that conception and with no other. This we may
denominate qualitative completeness. Hence it is evident that these
logical criteria of the possibility of cognition are merely the three
categories of quantity modified and transformed to suit an unauthorized
manner of applying them. That is to say, the three categories, in
which the unity in the production of the quantum must be homogeneous
throughout, are transformed solely with a view to the connection of
heterogeneous parts of cognition in one act of consciousness, by
means of the quality of the cognition, which is the principle of that
connection. Thus the criterion of the possibility of a conception
(not of its object) is the definition of it, in which the unity of the
conception, the truth of all that may be immediately deduced from it,
and finally, the completeness of what has been thus deduced, constitute
the requisites for the reproduction of the whole conception. Thus also,
the criterion or test of an hypothesis is the intelligibility of the
received principle of explanation, or its unity (without help from any
subsidiary hypothesis)--the truth of our deductions from it (consistency
with each other and with experience)--and lastly, the completeness of
the principle of the explanation of these deductions, which refer
to neither more nor less than what was admitted in the hypothesis,
restoring analytically and a posteriori, what was cogitated
synthetically and a priori. By the conceptions, therefore, of unity,
truth, and perfection, we have made no addition to the transcendental
table of the categories, which is complete without them. We have, on
the contrary, merely employed the three categories of quantity, setting
aside their application to objects of experience, as general logical
laws of the consistency of cognition with itself.

CHAPTER II Of the Deduction of the Pure Conceptions of the

SS 9. SECTION I Of the Principles of a Transcendental Deduction in

Teachers of jurisprudence, when speaking of rights and claims,
distinguish in a cause the question of right (quid juris) from the
question of fact (quid facti), and while they demand proof of both, they
give to the proof of the former, which goes to establish right or claim
in law, the name of deduction. Now we make use of a great number of
empirical conceptions, without opposition from any one; and consider
ourselves, even without any attempt at deduction, justified in attaching
to them a sense, and a supposititious signification, because we have
always experience at hand to demonstrate their objective reality. There
exist also, however, usurped conceptions, such as fortune, fate, which
circulate with almost universal indulgence, and yet are occasionally
challenged by the question, "quid juris?" In such cases, we have great
difficulty in discovering any deduction for these terms, inasmuch as we
cannot produce any manifest ground of right, either from experience or
from reason, on which the claim to employ them can be founded.

Among the many conceptions, which make up the very variegated web of
human cognition, some are destined for pure use a priori, independent
of all experience; and their title to be so employed always requires
a deduction, inasmuch as, to justify such use of them, proofs from
experience are not sufficient; but it is necessary to know how these
conceptions can apply to objects without being derived from experience.
I term, therefore, an examination of the manner in which conceptions can
apply a priori to objects, the transcendental deduction of conceptions,
and I distinguish it from the empirical deduction, which indicates the
mode in which conception is obtained through experience and reflection
thereon; consequently, does not concern itself with the right, but only
with the fact of our obtaining conceptions in such and such a manner. We
have already seen that we are in possession of two perfectly different
kinds of conceptions, which nevertheless agree with each other in this,
that they both apply to objects completely a priori. These are
the conceptions of space and time as forms of sensibility, and the
categories as pure conceptions of the understanding. To attempt an
empirical deduction of either of these classes would be labour in vain,
because the distinguishing characteristic of their nature consists in
this, that they apply to their objects, without having borrowed anything
from experience towards the representation of them. Consequently, if
a deduction of these conceptions is necessary, it must always be

Meanwhile, with respect to these conceptions, as with respect to all our
cognition, we certainly may discover in experience, if not the principle
of their possibility, yet the occasioning causes of their production. It
will be found that the impressions of sense give the first occasion
for bringing into action the whole faculty of cognition, and for the
production of experience, which contains two very dissimilar elements,
namely, a matter for cognition, given by the senses, and a certain form
for the arrangement of this matter, arising out of the inner fountain
of pure intuition and thought; and these, on occasion given by sensuous
impressions, are called into exercise and produce conceptions. Such
an investigation into the first efforts of our faculty of cognition to
mount from particular perceptions to general conceptions is undoubtedly
of great utility; and we have to thank the celebrated Locke for having
first opened the way for this inquiry. But a deduction of the pure a
priori conceptions of course never can be made in this way, seeing that,
in regard to their future employment, which must be entirely independent
of experience, they must have a far different certificate of birth
to show from that of a descent from experience. This attempted
physiological derivation, which cannot properly be called deduction,
because it relates merely to a quaestio facti, I shall entitle an
explanation of the possession of a pure cognition. It is therefore
manifest that there can only be a transcendental deduction of these
conceptions and by no means an empirical one; also, that all attempts
at an empirical deduction, in regard to pure a priori conceptions, are
vain, and can only be made by one who does not understand the altogether
peculiar nature of these cognitions.

But although it is admitted that the only possible deduction of pure
a priori cognition is a transcendental deduction, it is not, for
that reason, perfectly manifest that such a deduction is absolutely
necessary. We have already traced to their sources the conceptions of
space and time, by means of a transcendental deduction, and we have
explained and determined their objective validity a priori. Geometry,
nevertheless, advances steadily and securely in the province of pure
a priori cognitions, without needing to ask from philosophy any
certificate as to the pure and legitimate origin of its fundamental
conception of space. But the use of the conception in this science
extends only to the external world of sense, the pure form of the
intuition of which is space; and in this world, therefore, all
geometrical cognition, because it is founded upon a priori intuition,
possesses immediate evidence, and the objects of this cognition are
given a priori (as regards their form) in intuition by and through the
cognition itself. With the pure conceptions of understanding, on the
contrary, commences the absolute necessity of seeking a transcendental
deduction, not only of these conceptions themselves, but likewise of
space, because, inasmuch as they make affirmations concerning objects
not by means of the predicates of intuition and sensibility, but of pure
thought a priori, they apply to objects without any of the conditions
of sensibility. Besides, not being founded on experience, they are not
presented with any object in a priori intuition upon which, antecedently
to experience, they might base their synthesis. Hence results, not only
doubt as to the objective validity and proper limits of their use, but
that even our conception of space is rendered equivocal; inasmuch as we
are very ready with the aid of the categories, to carry the use of this
conception beyond the conditions of sensuous intuition--and, for this
reason, we have already found a transcendental deduction of it needful.
The reader, then, must be quite convinced of the absolute necessity of
a transcendental deduction, before taking a single step in the field of
pure reason; because otherwise he goes to work blindly, and after he
has wondered about in all directions, returns to the state of utter
ignorance from which he started. He ought, moreover, clearly to
recognize beforehand the unavoidable difficulties in his undertaking,
so that he may not afterwards complain of the obscurity in which the
subject itself is deeply involved, or become too soon impatient of
the obstacles in his path; because we have a choice of only two
things--either at once to give up all pretensions to knowledge
beyond the limits of possible experience, or to bring this critical
investigation to completion.

We have been able, with very little trouble, to make it comprehensible
how the conceptions of space and time, although a priori cognitions,
must necessarily apply to external objects, and render a synthetical
cognition of these possible, independently of all experience. For
inasmuch as only by means of such pure form of sensibility an object can
appear to us, that is, be an object of empirical intuition, space and
time are pure intuitions, which contain a priori the condition of the
possibility of objects as phenomena, and an a priori synthesis in these
intuitions possesses objective validity.

On the other hand, the categories of the understanding do not represent
the conditions under which objects are given to us in intuition; objects
can consequently appear to us without necessarily connecting themselves
with these, and consequently without any necessity binding on the
understanding to contain a priori the conditions of these objects. Thus
we find ourselves involved in a difficulty which did not present itself
in the sphere of sensibility, that is to say, we cannot discover how the
subjective conditions of thought can have objective validity, in other
words, can become conditions of the possibility of all cognition of
objects; for phenomena may certainly be given to us in intuition without
any help from the functions of the understanding. Let us take, for
example, the conception of cause, which indicates a peculiar kind of
synthesis, namely, that with something, A, something entirely different,
B, is connected according to a law. It is not a priori manifest why
phenomena should contain anything of this kind (we are of course
debarred from appealing for proof to experience, for the objective
validity of this conception must be demonstrated a priori), and it hence
remains doubtful a priori, whether such a conception be not quite void
and without any corresponding object among phenomena. For that objects
of sensuous intuition must correspond to the formal conditions of
sensibility existing a priori in the mind is quite evident, from the
fact that without these they could not be objects for us; but that they
must also correspond to the conditions which understanding requires for
the synthetical unity of thought is an assertion, the grounds for
which are not so easily to be discovered. For phenomena might be so
constituted as not to correspond to the conditions of the unity of
thought; and all things might lie in such confusion that, for example,
nothing could be met with in the sphere of phenomena to suggest a law of
synthesis, and so correspond to the conception of cause and effect;
so that this conception would be quite void, null, and without
significance. Phenomena would nevertheless continue to present objects
to our intuition; for mere intuition does not in any respect stand in
need of the functions of thought.

If we thought to free ourselves from the labour of these investigations
by saying: "Experience is constantly offering us examples of the
relation of cause and effect in phenomena, and presents us with abundant
opportunity of abstracting the conception of cause, and so at the same
time of corroborating the objective validity of this conception"; we
should in this case be overlooking the fact, that the conception of
cause cannot arise in this way at all; that, on the contrary, it must
either have an a priori basis in the understanding, or be rejected as a
mere chimera. For this conception demands that something, A, should
be of such a nature that something else, B, should follow from it
necessarily, and according to an absolutely universal law. We may
certainly collect from phenomena a law, according to which this or that
usually happens, but the element of necessity is not to be found in it.
Hence it is evident that to the synthesis of cause and effect belongs a
dignity, which is utterly wanting in any empirical synthesis; for it is
no mere mechanical synthesis, by means of addition, but a dynamical one;
that is to say, the effect is not to be cogitated as merely annexed to
the cause, but as posited by and through the cause, and resulting from
it. The strict universality of this law never can be a characteristic
of empirical laws, which obtain through induction only a comparative
universality, that is, an extended range of practical application. But
the pure conceptions of the understanding would entirely lose all their
peculiar character, if we treated them merely as the productions of

SS 10. Transition to the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories.

There are only two possible ways in which synthetical representation and
its objects can coincide with and relate necessarily to each other,
and, as it were, meet together. Either the object alone makes the
representation possible, or the representation alone makes the object
possible. In the former case, the relation between them is only
empirical, and an a priori representation is impossible. And this is the
case with phenomena, as regards that in them which is referable to mere
sensation. In the latter case--although representation alone (for of its
causality, by means of the will, we do not here speak) does not produce
the object as to its existence, it must nevertheless be a priori
determinative in regard to the object, if it is only by means of the
representation that we can cognize anything as an object. Now there
are only two conditions of the possibility of a cognition of objects;
firstly, intuition, by means of which the object, though only as
phenomenon, is given; secondly, conception, by means of which the object
which corresponds to this intuition is thought. But it is evident from
what has been said on aesthetic that the first condition, under which
alone objects can be intuited, must in fact exist, as a formal basis for
them, a priori in the mind. With this formal condition of sensibility,
therefore, all phenomena necessarily correspond, because it is
only through it that they can be phenomena at all; that is, can be
empirically intuited and given. Now the question is whether there do
not exist, a priori in the mind, conceptions of understanding also, as
conditions under which alone something, if not intuited, is yet thought
as object. If this question be answered in the affirmative, it follows
that all empirical cognition of objects is necessarily conformable to
such conceptions, since, if they are not presupposed, it is impossible
that anything can be an object of experience. Now all experience
contains, besides the intuition of the senses through which an object
is given, a conception also of an object that is given in intuition.
Accordingly, conceptions of objects in general must lie as a
priori conditions at the foundation of all empirical cognition; and
consequently, the objective validity of the categories, as a priori
conceptions, will rest upon this, that experience (as far as regards the
form of thought) is possible only by their means. For in that case they
apply necessarily and a priori to objects of experience, because only
through them can an object of experience be thought.

The whole aim of the transcendental deduction of all a priori
conceptions is to show that these conceptions are a priori conditions
of the possibility of all experience. Conceptions which afford us the
objective foundation of the possibility of experience are for that very
reason necessary. But the analysis of the experiences in which they are
met with is not deduction, but only an illustration of them, because
from experience they could never derive the attribute of necessity.
Without their original applicability and relation to all possible
experience, in which all objects of cognition present themselves, the
relation of the categories to objects, of whatever nature, would be
quite incomprehensible.

The celebrated Locke, for want of due reflection on these points, and
because he met with pure conceptions of the understanding in experience,
sought also to deduce them from experience, and yet proceeded so
inconsequently as to attempt, with their aid, to arrive it cognitions
which lie far beyond the limits of all experience. David Hume perceived
that, to render this possible, it was necessary that the conceptions
should have an a priori origin. But as he could not explain how it was
possible that conceptions which are not connected with each other in the
understanding must nevertheless be thought as necessarily connected in
the object--and it never occurred to him that the understanding itself
might, perhaps, by means of these conceptions, be the author of the
experience in which its objects were presented to it--he was forced
to drive these conceptions from experience, that is, from a subjective
necessity arising from repeated association of experiences erroneously
considered to be objective--in one word, from habit. But he proceeded
with perfect consequence and declared it to be impossible, with such
conceptions and the principles arising from them, to overstep the limits
of experience. The empirical derivation, however, which both of these
philosophers attributed to these conceptions, cannot possibly be
reconciled with the fact that we do possess scientific a priori
cognitions, namely, those of pure mathematics and general physics.

The former of these two celebrated men opened a wide door to
extravagance--(for if reason has once undoubted right on its side,
it will not allow itself to be confined to set limits, by vague
recommendations of moderation); the latter gave himself up entirely
to scepticism--a natural consequence, after having discovered, as he
thought, that the faculty of cognition was not trustworthy. We now
intend to make a trial whether it be not possible safely to conduct
reason between these two rocks, to assign her determinate limits, and
yet leave open for her the entire sphere of her legitimate activity.

I shall merely premise an explanation of what the categories are. They
are conceptions of an object in general, by means of which its intuition
is contemplated as determined in relation to one of the logical
functions of judgement. The following will make this plain. The function
of the categorical judgement is that of the relation of subject to
predicate; for example, in the proposition: "All bodies are divisible."
But in regard to the merely logical use of the understanding, it still
remains undetermined to which Of these two conceptions belongs the
function Of subject and to which that of predicate. For we could also
say: "Some divisible is a body." But the category of substance, when
the conception of a body is brought under it, determines that; and its
empirical intuition in experience must be contemplated always as subject
and never as mere predicate. And so with all the other categories.

SS 11. SECTION II Transcendental Deduction of the pure Conceptions of
the Understanding.

Of the Possibility of a Conjunction of the manifold representations
given by Sense.

The manifold content in our representations can be given in an intuition
which is merely sensuous--in other words, is nothing but susceptibility;
and the form of this intuition can exist a priori in our faculty of
representation, without being anything else but the mode in which the
subject is affected. But the conjunction (conjunctio) of a manifold in
intuition never can be given us by the senses; it cannot therefore
be contained in the pure form of sensuous intuition, for it is a
spontaneous act of the faculty of representation. And as we must, to
distinguish it from sensibility, entitle this faculty understanding; so
all conjunction whether conscious or unconscious, be it of the manifold
in intuition, sensuous or non-sensuous, or of several conceptions--is
an act of the understanding. To this act we shall give the general
appellation of synthesis, thereby to indicate, at the same time, that
we cannot represent anything as conjoined in the object without having
previously conjoined it ourselves. Of all mental notions, that of
conjunction is the only one which cannot be given through objects, but
can be originated only by the subject itself, because it is an act of
its purely spontaneous activity. The reader will easily enough perceive
that the possibility of conjunction must be grounded in the very nature
of this act, and that it must be equally valid for all conjunction, and
that analysis, which appears to be its contrary, must, nevertheless,
always presuppose it; for where the understanding has not previously
conjoined, it cannot dissect or analyse, because only as conjoined by
it, must that which is to be analysed have been given to our faculty of

But the conception of conjunction includes, besides the conception of
the manifold and of the synthesis of it, that of the unity of it also.
Conjunction is the representation of the synthetical unity of the
manifold.* This idea of unity, therefore, cannot arise out of that of
conjunction; much rather does that idea, by combining itself with the
representation of the manifold, render the conception of conjunction
possible. This unity, which a priori precedes all conceptions of
conjunction, is not the category of unity (SS 6); for all the categories
are based upon logical functions of judgement, and in these functions we
already have conjunction, and consequently unity of given conceptions.
It is therefore evident that the category of unity presupposes
conjunction. We must therefore look still higher for this unity (as
qualitative, SS 8), in that, namely, which contains the ground of the
unity of diverse conceptions in judgements, the ground, consequently, of
the possibility of the existence of the understanding, even in regard to
its logical use.

     [*Footnote: Whether the representations are in themselves
     identical, and consequently whether one can be thought
     analytically by means of and through the other, is a
     question which we need not at present consider. Our
     Consciousness of the one, when we speak of the manifold, is
     always distinguishable from our consciousness of the other;
     and it is only respecting the synthesis of this (possible)
     consciousness that we here treat.]

SS 12. Of the Originally Synthetical Unity of Apperception.

The "I think" must accompany all my representations, for otherwise
something would be represented in me which could not be thought; in
other words, the representation would either be impossible, or at least
be, in relation to me, nothing. That representation which can be given
previously to all thought is called intuition. All the diversity or
manifold content of intuition, has, therefore, a necessary relation to
the "I think," in the subject in which this diversity is found. But this
representation, "I think," is an act of spontaneity; that is to say,
it cannot be regarded as belonging to mere sensibility. I call it pure
apperception, in order to distinguish it from empirical; or primitive
apperception, because it is self-consciousness which, whilst it gives
birth to the representation "I think," must necessarily be capable of
accompanying all our representations. It is in all acts of consciousness
one and the same, and unaccompanied by it, no representation can exist
for me. The unity of this apperception I call the transcendental unity
of self-consciousness, in order to indicate the possibility of a priori
cognition arising from it. For the manifold representations which are
given in an intuition would not all of them be my representations,
if they did not all belong to one self-consciousness, that is, as my
representations (even although I am not conscious of them as such), they
must conform to the condition under which alone they can exist together
in a common self-consciousness, because otherwise they would not all
without exception belong to me. From this primitive conjunction follow
many important results.

For example, this universal identity of the apperception of the manifold
given in intuition contains a synthesis of representations and is
possible only by means of the consciousness of this synthesis. For the
empirical consciousness which accompanies different representations
is in itself fragmentary and disunited, and without relation to the
identity of the subject. This relation, then, does not exist because I
accompany every representation with consciousness, but because I join
one representation to another, and am conscious of the synthesis of
them. Consequently, only because I can connect a variety of given
representations in one consciousness, is it possible that I
can represent to myself the identity of consciousness in these
representations; in other words, the analytical unity of apperception
is possible only under the presupposition of a synthetical unity.* The
thought, "These representations given in intuition belong all of them
to me," is accordingly just the same as, "I unite them in one
self-consciousness, or can at least so unite them"; and although
this thought is not itself the consciousness of the synthesis of
representations, it presupposes the possibility of it; that is to
say, for the reason alone that I can comprehend the variety of my
representations in one consciousness, do I call them my representations,
for otherwise I must have as many-coloured and various a self as are
the representations of which I am conscious. Synthetical unity of the
manifold in intuitions, as given a priori, is therefore the foundation
of the identity of apperception itself, which antecedes a priori all
determinate thought. But the conjunction of representations into a
conception is not to be found in objects themselves, nor can it be,
as it were, borrowed from them and taken up into the understanding by
perception, but it is on the contrary an operation of the understanding
itself, which is nothing more than the faculty of conjoining a priori
and of bringing the variety of given representations under the unity of
apperception. This principle is the highest in all human cognition.

     [*Footnote: All general conceptions--as such--depend, for
     their existence, on the analytical unity of consciousness.
     For example, when I think of red in general, I thereby think
     to myself a property which (as a characteristic mark) can be
     discovered somewhere, or can be united with other
     representations; consequently, it is only by means of a
     forethought possible synthetical unity that I can think to
     myself the analytical. A representation which is cogitated
     as common to different representations, is regarded as
     belonging to such as, besides this common representation,
     contain something different; consequently it must be
     previously thought in synthetical unity with other although
     only possible representations, before I can think in it the
     analytical unity of consciousness which makes it a conceptas
     communis. And thus the synthetical unity of apperception is
     the highest point with which we must connect every operation
     of the understanding, even the whole of logic, and after it
     our transcendental philosophy; indeed, this faculty is the
     understanding itself.]

This fundamental principle of the necessary unity of apperception is
indeed an identical, and therefore analytical, proposition; but it
nevertheless explains the necessity for a synthesis of the manifold
given in an intuition, without which the identity of self-consciousness
would be incogitable. For the ego, as a simple representation, presents
us with no manifold content; only in intuition, which is quite different
from the representation ego, can it be given us, and by means of
conjunction it is cogitated in one self-consciousness. An understanding,
in which all the manifold should be given by means of consciousness
itself, would be intuitive; our understanding can only think and must
look for its intuition to sense. I am, therefore, conscious of my
identical self, in relation to all the variety of representations given
to me in an intuition, because I call all of them my representations. In
other words, I am conscious myself of a necessary a priori synthesis of
my representations, which is called the original synthetical unity of
apperception, under which rank all the representations presented to me,
but that only by means of a synthesis.

SS 13. The Principle of the Synthetical Unity of Apperception is the
highest Principle of all exercise of the Understanding.

The supreme principle of the possibility of all intuition in relation to
sensibility was, according to our transcendental aesthetic, that all the
manifold in intuition be subject to the formal conditions of space and
time. The supreme principle of the possibility of it in relation to the
understanding is that all the manifold in it be subject to conditions
of the originally synthetical unity or apperception.* To the former
of these two principles are subject all the various representations of
intuition, in so far as they are given to us; to the latter, in so far
as they must be capable of conjunction in one consciousness; for
without this nothing can be thought or cognized, because the given
representations would not have in common the act Of the apperception "I
think" and therefore could not be connected in one self-consciousness.

     [*Footnote: Space and time, and all portions thereof, are
     intuitions; consequently are, with a manifold for their
     content, single representations. (See the Transcendental
     Aesthetic.) Consequently, they are not pure conceptions, by
     means of which the same consciousness is found in a great
     number of representations; but, on the contrary, they are
     many representations contained in one, the consciousness of
     which is, so to speak, compounded. The unity of
     consciousness is nevertheless synthetical and, therefore,
     primitive. From this peculiar character of consciousness
     follow many important consequences. (See SS 21.)]

Understanding is, to speak generally, the faculty Of cognitions. These
consist in the determined relation of given representation to an object.
But an object is that, in the conception of which the manifold in a
given intuition is united. Now all union of representations requires
unity of consciousness in the synthesis of them. Consequently, it is
the unity of consciousness alone that constitutes the possibility of
representations relating to an object, and therefore of their objective
validity, and of their becoming cognitions, and consequently, the
possibility of the existence of the understanding itself.

The first pure cognition of understanding, then, upon which is founded
all its other exercise, and which is at the same time perfectly
independent of all conditions of mere sensuous intuition, is the
principle of the original synthetical unity of apperception. Thus the
mere form of external sensuous intuition, namely, space, affords us,
per se, no cognition; it merely contributes the manifold in a priori
intuition to a possible cognition. But, in order to cognize something
in space (for example, a line), I must draw it, and thus produce
synthetically a determined conjunction of the given manifold, so that
the unity of this act is at the same time the unity of consciousness
(in the conception of a line), and by this means alone is an object (a
determinate space) cognized. The synthetical unity of consciousness
is, therefore, an objective condition of all cognition, which I do
not merely require in order to cognize an object, but to which every
intuition must necessarily be subject, in order to become an object for
me; because in any other way, and without this synthesis, the manifold
in intuition could not be united in one consciousness.

This proposition is, as already said, itself analytical, although it
constitutes the synthetical unity, the condition of all thought; for
it states nothing more than that all my representations in any given
intuition must be subject to the condition which alone enables me to
connect them, as my representation with the identical self, and so to
unite them synthetically in one apperception, by means of the general
expression, "I think."

But this principle is not to be regarded as a principle for every
possible understanding, but only for the understanding by means of whose
pure apperception in the thought I am, no manifold content is given. The
understanding or mind which contained the manifold in intuition, in and
through the act itself of its own self-consciousness, in other words, an
understanding by and in the representation of which the objects of
the representation should at the same time exist, would not require a
special act of synthesis of the manifold as the condition of the unity
of its consciousness, an act of which the human understanding, which
thinks only and cannot intuite, has absolute need. But this principle is
the first principle of all the operations of our understanding, so that
we cannot form the least conception of any other possible understanding,
either of one such as should be itself intuition, or possess a sensuous
intuition, but with forms different from those of space and time.

SS 14. What Objective Unity of Self-consciousness is.

It is by means of the transcendental unity of apperception that all
the manifold, given in an intuition is united into a conception of
the object. On this account it is called objective, and must be
distinguished from the subjective unity of consciousness, which is a
determination of the internal sense, by means of which the said manifold
in intuition is given empirically to be so united. Whether I can be
empirically conscious of the manifold as coexistent or as successive,
depends upon circumstances, or empirical conditions. Hence the empirical
unity of consciousness by means of association of representations,
itself relates to a phenomenal world and is wholly contingent. On the
contrary, the pure form of intuition in time, merely as an intuition,
which contains a given manifold, is subject to the original unity of
consciousness, and that solely by means of the necessary relation of
the manifold in intuition to the "I think," consequently by means of
the pure synthesis of the understanding, which lies a priori at the
foundation of all empirical synthesis. The transcendental unity of
apperception is alone objectively valid; the empirical which we do not
consider in this essay, and which is merely a unity deduced from the
former under given conditions in concreto, possesses only subjective
validity. One person connects the notion conveyed in a word with one
thing, another with another thing; and the unity of consciousness in
that which is empirical, is, in relation to that which is given by
experience, not necessarily and universally valid.

SS 15. The Logical Form of all Judgements consists in the Objective
Unity of Apperception of the Conceptions contained therein.

I could never satisfy myself with the definition which logicians give of
a judgement. It is, according to them, the representation of a relation
between two conceptions. I shall not dwell here on the faultiness of
this definition, in that it suits only for categorical and not for
hypothetical or disjunctive judgements, these latter containing a
relation not of conceptions but of judgements themselves--a blunder from
which many evil results have followed.* It is more important for our
present purpose to observe, that this definition does not determine in
what the said relation consists.

     [*Footnote: The tedious doctrine of the four syllogistic
     figures concerns only categorical syllogisms; and although
     it is nothing more than an artifice by surreptitiously
     introducing immediate conclusions (consequentiae immediatae)
     among the premises of a pure syllogism, to give ism' give
     rise to an appearance of more modes of drawing a conclusion
     than that in the first figure, the artifice would not have
     had much success, had not its authors succeeded in bringing
     categorical judgements into exclusive respect, as those to
     which all others must be referred--a doctrine, however,
     which, according to SS 5, is utterly false.]

But if I investigate more closely the relation of given cognitions in
every judgement, and distinguish it, as belonging to the understanding,
from the relation which is produced according to laws of the
reproductive imagination (which has only subjective validity), I find
that judgement is nothing but the mode of bringing given cognitions
under the objective unit of apperception. This is plain from our use
of the term of relation is in judgements, in order to distinguish the
objective unity of given representations from the subjective unity.
For this term indicates the relation of these representations to the
original apperception, and also their necessary unity, even although the
judgement is empirical, therefore contingent, as in the judgement: "All
bodies are heavy." I do not mean by this, that these representations
do necessarily belong to each other in empirical intuition, but that by
means of the necessary unity of appreciation they belong to each other
in the synthesis of intuitions, that is to say, they belong to each
other according to principles of the objective determination of all
our representations, in so far as cognition can arise from them,
these principles being all deduced from the main principle of the
transcendental unity of apperception. In this way alone can there arise
from this relation a judgement, that is, a relation which has objective
validity, and is perfectly distinct from that relation of the very same
representations which has only subjective validity--a relation, to wit,
which is produced according to laws of association. According to these
laws, I could only say: "When I hold in my hand or carry a body, I feel
an impression of weight"; but I could not say: "It, the body, is
heavy"; for this is tantamount to saying both these representations
are conjoined in the object, that is, without distinction as to the
condition of the subject, and do not merely stand together in my
perception, however frequently the perceptive act may be repeated.

SS 16. All Sensuous Intuitions are subject to the Categories, as
Conditions under which alone the manifold Content of them can be united
in one Consciousness.

The manifold content given in a sensuous intuition comes necessarily
under the original synthetical unity of apperception, because thereby
alone is the unity of intuition possible (SS 13). But that act of the
understanding, by which the manifold content of given representations
(whether intuitions or conceptions) is brought under one apperception,
is the logical function of judgements (SS 15). All the manifold,
therefore, in so far as it is given in one empirical intuition, is
determined in relation to one of the logical functions of judgement, by
means of which it is brought into union in one consciousness. Now the
categories are nothing else than these functions of judgement so far as
the manifold in a given intuition is determined in relation to them
(SS 9). Consequently, the manifold in a given intuition is necessarily
subject to the categories of the understanding.

SS 17. Observation.

The manifold in an intuition, which I call mine, is represented by means
of the synthesis of the understanding, as belonging to the necessary
unity of self-consciousness, and this takes place by means of the
category.* The category indicates accordingly that the empirical
consciousness of a given manifold in an intuition is subject to a
pure self-consciousness a priori, in the same manner as an empirical
intuition is subject to a pure sensuous intuition, which is also
a priori. In the above proposition, then, lies the beginning of a
deduction of the pure conceptions of the understanding. Now, as the
categories have their origin in the understanding alone, independently
of sensibility, I must in my deduction make abstraction of the mode in
which the manifold of an empirical intuition is given, in order to
fix my attention exclusively on the unity which is brought by the
understanding into the intuition by means of the category. In what
follows (SS 22), it will be shown, from the mode in which the empirical
intuition is given in the faculty of sensibility, that the unity which
belongs to it is no other than that which the category (according to SS
16) imposes on the manifold in a given intuition, and thus, its a
priori validity in regard to all objects of sense being established, the
purpose of our deduction will be fully attained.

     [*Footnote: The proof of this rests on the represented unity
     of intuition, by means of which an object is given, and
     which always includes in itself a synthesis of the manifold
     to be intuited, and also the relation of this latter to
     unity of apperception.]

But there is one thing in the above demonstration of which I could not
make abstraction, namely, that the manifold to be intuited must be given
previously to the synthesis of the understanding, and independently of
it. How this takes place remains here undetermined. For if I cogitate
an understanding which was itself intuitive (as, for example, a divine
understanding which should not represent given objects, but by whose
representation the objects themselves should be given or produced), the
categories would possess no significance in relation to such a faculty
of cognition. They are merely rules for an understanding, whose whole
power consists in thought, that is, in the act of submitting the
synthesis of the manifold which is presented to it in intuition from
a very different quarter, to the unity of apperception; a faculty,
therefore, which cognizes nothing per se, but only connects and
arranges the material of cognition, the intuition, namely, which must
be presented to it by means of the object. But to show reasons for this
peculiar character of our understandings, that it produces unity of
apperception a priori only by means of categories, and a certain kind
and number thereof, is as impossible as to explain why we are endowed
with precisely so many functions of judgement and no more, or why time
and space are the only forms of our intuition.

SS 18. In Cognition, its Application to Objects of Experience is
the only legitimate use of the Category.

To think an object and to cognize an object are by no means the same
thing. In cognition there are two elements: firstly, the conception,
whereby an object is cogitated (the category); and, secondly, the
intuition, whereby the object is given. For supposing that to the
conception a corresponding intuition could not be given, it would
still be a thought as regards its form, but without any object, and no
cognition of anything would be possible by means of it, inasmuch as, so
far as I knew, there existed and could exist nothing to which my
thought could be applied. Now all intuition possible to us is sensuous;
consequently, our thought of an object by means of a pure conception of
the understanding, can become cognition for us only in so far as this
conception is applied to objects of the senses. Sensuous intuition is
either pure intuition (space and time) or empirical intuition--of that
which is immediately represented in space and time by means of sensation
as real. Through the determination of pure intuition we obtain a priori
cognitions of objects, as in mathematics, but only as regards their form
as phenomena; whether there can exist things which must be intuited
in this form is not thereby established. All mathematical conceptions,
therefore, are not per se cognition, except in so far as we presuppose
that there exist things which can only be represented conformably to the
form of our pure sensuous intuition. But things in space and time
are given only in so far as they are perceptions (representations
accompanied with sensation), therefore only by empirical representation.
Consequently the pure conceptions of the understanding, even when
they are applied to intuitions a priori (as in mathematics), produce
cognition only in so far as these (and therefore the conceptions of the
understanding by means of them) can be applied to empirical intuitions.
Consequently the categories do not, even by means of pure intuition
afford us any cognition of things; they can only do so in so far as they
can be applied to empirical intuition. That is to say, the categories
serve only to render empirical cognition possible. But this is what
we call experience. Consequently, in cognition, their application to
objects of experience is the only legitimate use of the categories.

SS 19.

The foregoing proposition is of the utmost importance, for it determines
the limits of the exercise of the pure conceptions of the understanding
in regard to objects, just as transcendental aesthetic determined the
limits of the exercise of the pure form of our sensuous intuition.
Space and time, as conditions of the possibility of the presentation
of objects to us, are valid no further than for objects of sense,
consequently, only for experience. Beyond these limits they represent
to us nothing, for they belong only to sense, and have no reality apart
from it. The pure conceptions of the understanding are free from this
limitation, and extend to objects of intuition in general, be the
intuition like or unlike to ours, provided only it be sensuous, and not
intellectual. But this extension of conceptions beyond the range of our
intuition is of no advantage; for they are then mere empty conceptions
of objects, as to the possibility or impossibility of the existence of
which they furnish us with no means of discovery. They are mere forms
of thought, without objective reality, because we have no intuition to
which the synthetical unity of apperception, which alone the categories
contain, could be applied, for the purpose of determining an object. Our
sensuous and empirical intuition can alone give them significance and

If, then, we suppose an object of a non-sensuous intuition to be given
we can in that case represent it by all those predicates which are
implied in the presupposition that nothing appertaining to sensuous
intuition belongs to it; for example, that it is not extended, or in
space; that its duration is not time; that in it no change (the effect
of the determinations in time) is to be met with, and so on. But it
is no proper knowledge if I merely indicate what the intuition of the
object is not, without being able to say what is contained in it, for I
have not shown the possibility of an object to which my pure conception
of understanding could be applicable, because I have not been able to
furnish any intuition corresponding to it, but am only able to say that
our intuition is not valid for it. But the most important point is
this, that to a something of this kind not one category can be found
applicable. Take, for example, the conception of substance, that is,
something that can exist as subject, but never as mere predicate; in
regard to this conception I am quite ignorant whether there can really
be anything to correspond to such a determination of thought, if
empirical intuition did not afford me the occasion for its application.
But of this more in the sequel.

SS 20. Of the Application of the Categories to Objects of the
Senses in general.

The pure conceptions of the understanding apply to objects of intuition
in general, through the understanding alone, whether the intuition be
our own or some other, provided only it be sensuous, but are, for
this very reason, mere forms of thought, by means of which alone no
determined object can be cognized. The synthesis or conjunction of the
manifold in these conceptions relates, we have said, only to the unity
of apperception, and is for this reason the ground of the possibility
of a priori cognition, in so far as this cognition is dependent on the
understanding. This synthesis is, therefore, not merely transcendental,
but also purely intellectual. But because a certain form of sensuous
intuition exists in the mind a priori which rests on the receptivity
of the representative faculty (sensibility), the understanding, as a
spontaneity, is able to determine the internal sense by means of the
diversity of given representations, conformably to the synthetical
unity of apperception, and thus to cogitate the synthetical unity of
the apperception of the manifold of sensuous intuition a priori, as the
condition to which must necessarily be submitted all objects of human
intuition. And in this manner the categories as mere forms of thought
receive objective reality, that is, application to objects which are
given to us in intuition, but that only as phenomena, for it is only of
phenomena that we are capable of a priori intuition.

This synthesis of the manifold of sensuous intuition, which is possible
and necessary a priori, may be called figurative (synthesis speciosa),
in contradistinction to that which is cogitated in the mere category
in regard to the manifold of an intuition in general, and is
called connection or conjunction of the understanding (synthesis
intellectualis). Both are transcendental, not merely because they
themselves precede a priori all experience, but also because they form
the basis for the possibility of other cognition a priori.

But the figurative synthesis, when it has relation only to the
originally synthetical unity of apperception, that is to the
transcendental unity cogitated in the categories, must, to be
distinguished from the purely intellectual conjunction, be entitled the
transcendental synthesis of imagination. Imagination is the faculty of
representing an object even without its presence in intuition. Now, as
all our intuition is sensuous, imagination, by reason of the subjective
condition under which alone it can give a corresponding intuition to the
conceptions of the understanding, belongs to sensibility. But in so far
as the synthesis of the imagination is an act of spontaneity, which is
determinative, and not, like sense, merely determinable, and which is
consequently able to determine sense a priori, according to its form,
conformably to the unity of apperception, in so far is the imagination
a faculty of determining sensibility a priori, and its synthesis of
intuitions according to the categories must be the transcendental
synthesis of the imagination. It is an operation of the understanding on
sensibility, and the first application of the understanding to objects
of possible intuition, and at the same time the basis for the
exercise of the other functions of that faculty. As figurative, it is
distinguished from the merely intellectual synthesis, which is produced
by the understanding alone, without the aid of imagination. Now, in
so far as imagination is spontaneity, I sometimes call it also the
productive imagination, and distinguish it from the reproductive, the
synthesis of which is subject entirely to empirical laws, those of
association, namely, and which, therefore, contributes nothing to the
explanation of the possibility of a priori cognition, and for this
reason belongs not to transcendental philosophy, but to psychology.

We have now arrived at the proper place for explaining the paradox which
must have struck every one in our exposition of the internal sense (SS
6), namely--how this sense represents us to our own consciousness, only
as we appear to ourselves, not as we are in ourselves, because, to wit,
we intuite ourselves only as we are inwardly affected. Now this appears
to be contradictory, inasmuch as we thus stand in a passive relation
to ourselves; and therefore in the systems of psychology, the internal
sense is commonly held to be one with the faculty of apperception, while
we, on the contrary, carefully distinguish them.

That which determines the internal sense is the understanding, and its
original power of conjoining the manifold of intuition, that is, of
bringing this under an apperception (upon which rests the possibility
of the understanding itself). Now, as the human understanding is not in
itself a faculty of intuition, and is unable to exercise such a power,
in order to conjoin, as it were, the manifold of its own intuition, the
synthesis of understanding is, considered per se, nothing but the unity
of action, of which, as such, it is self-conscious, even apart from
sensibility, by which, moreover, it is able to determine our internal
sense in respect of the manifold which may be presented to it
according to the form of sensuous intuition. Thus, under the name of a
transcendental synthesis of imagination, the understanding exercises an
activity upon the passive subject, whose faculty it is; and so we
are right in saying that the internal sense is affected thereby.
Apperception and its synthetical unity are by no means one and the
same with the internal sense. The former, as the source of all our
synthetical conjunction, applies, under the name of the categories, to
the manifold of intuition in general, prior to all sensuous intuition of
objects. The internal sense, on the contrary, contains merely the form
of intuition, but without any synthetical conjunction of the manifold
therein, and consequently does not contain any determined intuition,
which is possible only through consciousness of the determination of
the manifold by the transcendental act of the imagination (synthetical
influence of the understanding on the internal sense), which I have
named figurative synthesis.

This we can indeed always perceive in ourselves. We cannot cogitate a
geometrical line without drawing it in thought, nor a circle without
describing it, nor represent the three dimensions of space without
drawing three lines from the same point perpendicular to one another. We
cannot even cogitate time, unless, in drawing a straight line (which is
to serve as the external figurative representation of time), we fix
our attention on the act of the synthesis of the manifold, whereby we
determine successively the internal sense, and thus attend also to the
succession of this determination. Motion as an act of the subject (not
as a determination of an object),* consequently the synthesis of the
manifold in space, if we make abstraction of space and attend merely to
the act by which we determine the internal sense according to its form,
is that which produces the conception of succession. The understanding,
therefore, does by no means find in the internal sense any such
synthesis of the manifold, but produces it, in that it affects this
sense. At the same time, how "I who think" is distinct from the "I"
which intuites itself (other modes of intuition being cogitable as at
least possible), and yet one and the same with this latter as the same
subject; how, therefore, I am able to say: "I, as an intelligence and
thinking subject, cognize myself as an object thought, so far as I am,
moreover, given to myself in intuition--only, like other phenomena, not
as I am in myself, and as considered by the understanding, but merely as
I appear"--is a question that has in it neither more nor less difficulty
than the question--"How can I be an object to myself?" or this--"How I
can be an object of my own intuition and internal perceptions?" But that
such must be the fact, if we admit that space is merely a pure form
of the phenomena of external sense, can be clearly proved by the
consideration that we cannot represent time, which is not an object of
external intuition, in any other way than under the image of a line,
which we draw in thought, a mode of representation without which we
could not cognize the unity of its dimension, and also that we are
necessitated to take our determination of periods of time, or of points
of time, for all our internal perceptions from the changes which
we perceive in outward things. It follows that we must arrange the
determinations of the internal sense, as phenomena in time, exactly in
the same manner as we arrange those of the external senses in space. And
consequently, if we grant, respecting this latter, that by means of them
we know objects only in so far as we are affected externally, we must
also confess, with regard to the internal sense, that by means of it we
intuite ourselves only as we are internally affected by ourselves; in
other words, as regards internal intuition, we cognize our own subject
only as phenomenon, and not as it is in itself.**

     [*Footnote: Motion of an object in space does not belong to
     a pure science, consequently not to geometry; because, that
     a thing is movable cannot be known a priori, but only from
     experience. But motion, considered as the description of a
     space, is a pure act of the successive synthesis of the
     manifold in external intuition by means of productive
     imagination, and belongs not only to geometry, but even to
     transcendental philosophy.]

     [**Footnote: I do not see why so much difficulty should be
     found in admitting that our internal sense is affected by
     ourselves. Every act of attention exemplifies it. In such an
     act the understanding determines the internal sense by the
     synthetical conjunction which it cogitates, conformably to
     the internal intuition which corresponds to the manifold in
     the synthesis of the understanding. How much the mind is
     usually affected thereby every one will be able to perceive
     in himself.]

SS 21.

On the other hand, in the transcendental synthesis of the manifold
content of representations, consequently in the synthetical unity of
apperception, I am conscious of myself, not as I appear to myself,
nor as I am in myself, but only that "I am." This representation is a
thought, not an intuition. Now, as in order to cognize ourselves, in
addition to the act of thinking, which subjects the manifold of every
possible intuition to the unity of apperception, there is necessary a
determinate mode of intuition, whereby this manifold is given; although
my own existence is certainly not mere phenomenon (much less mere
illusion), the determination of my existence* Can only take place
conformably to the form of the internal sense, according to the
particular mode in which the manifold which I conjoin is given in
internal intuition, and I have therefore no knowledge of myself as I am,
but merely as I appear to myself. The consciousness of self is thus
very far from a knowledge of self, in which I do not use the categories,
whereby I cogitate an object, by means of the conjunction of the
manifold in one apperception. In the same way as I require, for the sake
of the cognition of an object distinct from myself, not only the thought
of an object in general (in the category), but also an intuition
by which to determine that general conception, in the same way do I
require, in order to the cognition of myself, not only the consciousness
of myself or the thought that I think myself, but in addition an
intuition of the manifold in myself, by which to determine this thought.
It is true that I exist as an intelligence which is conscious only of
its faculty of conjunction or synthesis, but subjected in relation to
the manifold which this intelligence has to conjoin to a limitative
conjunction called the internal sense. My intelligence (that is, I) can
render that conjunction or synthesis perceptible only according to
the relations of time, which are quite beyond the proper sphere of the
conceptions of the understanding and consequently cognize itself in
respect to an intuition (which cannot possibly be intellectual, nor
given by the understanding), only as it appears to itself, and not as it
would cognize itself, if its intuition were intellectual.

     [*Footnote: The "I think" expresses the act of determining
     my own existence. My existence is thus already given by the
     act of consciousness; but the mode in which I must determine
     my existence, that is, the mode in which I must place the
     manifold belonging to my existence, is not thereby given.
     For this purpose intuition of self is required, and this
     intuition possesses a form given a priori, namely, time,
     which is sensuous, and belongs to our receptivity of the
     determinable. Now, as I do not possess another intuition of
     self which gives the determining in me (of the spontaneity
     of which I am conscious), prior to the act of determination,
     in the same manner as time gives the determinable, it is
     clear that I am unable to determine my own existence as that
     of a spontaneous being, but I am only able to represent to
     myself the spontaneity of my thought, that is, of my
     determination, and my existence remains ever determinable in
     a purely sensuous manner, that is to say, like the existence
     of a phenomenon. But it is because of this spontaneity that
     I call myself an intelligence.]

SS 22. Transcendental Deduction of the universally possible employment
in experience of the Pure Conceptions of the Understanding.

In the metaphysical deduction, the a priori origin of categories was
proved by their complete accordance with the general logical of thought;
in the transcendental deduction was exhibited the possibility of the
categories as a priori cognitions of objects of an intuition in general
(SS 16 and 17).At present we are about to explain the possibility of
cognizing, a priori, by means of the categories, all objects which can
possibly be presented to our senses, not, indeed, according to the form
of their intuition, but according to the laws of their conjunction or
synthesis, and thus, as it were, of prescribing laws to nature and even
of rendering nature possible. For if the categories were inadequate
to this task, it would not be evident to us why everything that is
presented to our senses must be subject to those laws which have an a
priori origin in the understanding itself.

I premise that by the term synthesis of apprehension I understand
the combination of the manifold in an empirical intuition, whereby
perception, that is, empirical consciousness of the intuition (as
phenomenon), is possible.

We have a priori forms of the external and internal sensuous intuition
in the representations of space and time, and to these must the
synthesis of apprehension of the manifold in a phenomenon be always
comformable, because the synthesis itself can only take place according
to these forms. But space and time are not merely forms of sensuous
intuition, but intuitions themselves (which contain a manifold), and
therefore contain a priori the determination of the unity of this
manifold.* (See the Transcendent Aesthetic.) Therefore is unity of the
synthesis of the manifold without or within us, consequently also a
conjunction to which all that is to be represented as determined in
space or time must correspond, given a priori along with (not in) these
intuitions, as the condition of the synthesis of all apprehension
of them. But this synthetical unity can be no other than that of the
conjunction of the manifold of a given intuition in general, in a
primitive act of consciousness, according to the categories, but applied
to our sensuous intuition. Consequently all synthesis, whereby alone
is even perception possible, is subject to the categories. And,
as experience is cognition by means of conjoined perceptions, the
categories are conditions of the possibility of experience and are
therefore valid a priori for all objects of experience.

     [*Footnote: Space represented as an object (as geometry
     really requires it to be) contains more than the mere form
     of the intuition; namely, a combination of the manifold
     given according to the form of sensibility into a
     representation that can be intuited; so that the form of the
     intuition gives us merely the manifold, but the formal
     intuition gives unity of representation. In the aesthetic, I
     regarded this unity as belonging entirely to sensibility,
     for the purpose of indicating that it antecedes all
     conceptions, although it presupposes a synthesis which does
     not belong to sense, through which alone, however, all our
     conceptions of space and time are possible. For as by means
     of this unity alone (the understanding determining the
     sensibility) space and time are given as intuitions, it
     follows that the unity of this intuition a priori belongs to
     space and time, and not to the conception of the
     understanding (SS 20).]

When, then, for example, I make the empirical intuition of a house by
apprehension of the manifold contained therein into a perception, the
necessary unity of space and of my external sensuous intuition lies
at the foundation of this act, and I, as it were, draw the form of the
house conformably to this synthetical unity of the manifold in space.
But this very synthetical unity remains, even when I abstract the form
of space, and has its seat in the understanding, and is in fact the
category of the synthesis of the homogeneous in an intuition; that is
to say, the category of quantity, to which the aforesaid synthesis of
apprehension, that is, the perception, must be completely conformable.*

     [*Footnote: In this manner it is proved, that the synthesis
     of apprehension, which is empirical, must necessarily be
     conformable to the synthesis of apperception, which is
     intellectual, and contained a priori in the category. It is
     one and the same spontaneity which at one time, under the
     name of imagination, at another under that of understanding,
     produces conjunction in the manifold of intuition.]

To take another example, when I perceive the freezing of water, I
apprehend two states (fluidity and solidity), which, as such, stand
toward each other mutually in a relation of time. But in the time, which
I place as an internal intuition, at the foundation of this phenomenon,
I represent to myself synthetical unity of the manifold, without which
the aforesaid relation could not be given in an intuition as determined
(in regard to the succession of time). Now this synthetical unity,
as the a priori condition under which I conjoin the manifold of an
intuition, is, if I make abstraction of the permanent form of my
internal intuition (that is to say, of time), the category of cause, by
means of which, when applied to my sensibility, I determine everything
that occurs according to relations of time. Consequently apprehension in
such an event, and the event itself, as far as regards the possibility
of its perception, stands under the conception of the relation of cause
and effect: and so in all other cases.

Categories are conceptions which prescribe laws a priori to phenomena,
consequently to nature as the complex of all phenomena (natura
materialiter spectata). And now the question arises--inasmuch as these
categories are not derived from nature, and do not regulate themselves
according to her as their model (for in that case they would be
empirical)--how it is conceivable that nature must regulate herself
according to them, in other words, how the categories can determine a
priori the synthesis of the manifold of nature, and yet not derive their
origin from her. The following is the solution of this enigma.

It is not in the least more difficult to conceive how the laws of the
phenomena of nature must harmonize with the understanding and with its a
priori form--that is, its faculty of conjoining the manifold--than it
is to understand how the phenomena themselves must correspond with the
a priori form of our sensuous intuition. For laws do not exist in the
phenomena any more than the phenomena exist as things in themselves.
Laws do not exist except by relation to the subject in which the
phenomena inhere, in so far as it possesses understanding, just as
phenomena have no existence except by relation to the same existing
subject in so far as it has senses. To things as things in themselves,
conformability to law must necessarily belong independently of an
understanding to cognize them. But phenomena are only representations
of things which are utterly unknown in respect to what they are in
themselves. But as mere representations, they stand under no law of
conjunction except that which the conjoining faculty prescribes. Now
that which conjoins the manifold of sensuous intuition is imagination,
a mental act to which understanding contributes unity of intellectual
synthesis, and sensibility, manifoldness of apprehension. Now as all
possible perception depends on the synthesis of apprehension, and this
empirical synthesis itself on the transcendental, consequently on the
categories, it is evident that all possible perceptions, and therefore
everything that can attain to empirical consciousness, that is, all
phenomena of nature, must, as regards their conjunction, be subject to
the categories. And nature (considered merely as nature in general)
is dependent on them, as the original ground of her necessary
conformability to law (as natura formaliter spectata). But the pure
faculty (of the understanding) of prescribing laws a priori to phenomena
by means of mere categories, is not competent to enounce other or more
laws than those on which a nature in general, as a conformability to law
of phenomena of space and time, depends. Particular laws, inasmuch
as they concern empirically determined phenomena, cannot be entirely
deduced from pure laws, although they all stand under them. Experience
must be superadded in order to know these particular laws; but in regard
to experience in general, and everything that can be cognized as an
object thereof, these a priori laws are our only rule and guide.

SS 23. Result of this Deduction of the Conceptions of the

We cannot think any object except by means of the categories; we cannot
cognize any thought except by means of intuitions corresponding to these
conceptions. Now all our intuitions are sensuous, and our cognition,
in so far as the object of it is given, is empirical. But empirical
cognition is experience; consequently no a priori cognition is possible
for us, except of objects of possible experience.*

     [Footnote: Lest my readers should stumble at this assertion,
     and the conclusions that may be too rashly drawn from it, I
     must remind them that the categories in the act of thought
     are by no means limited by the conditions of our sensuous
     intuition, but have an unbounded sphere of action. It is
     only the cognition of the object of thought, the determining
     of the object, which requires intuition. In the absence of
     intuition, our thought of an object may still have true and
     useful consequences in regard to the exercise of reason by
     the subject. But as this exercise of reason is not always
     directed on the determination of the object, in other words,
     on cognition thereof, but also on the determination of the
     subject and its volition, I do not intend to treat of it in
     this place.]

But this cognition, which is limited to objects of experience, is not
for that reason derived entirely, from, experience, but--and this
is asserted of the pure intuitions and the pure conceptions of the
understanding--there are, unquestionably, elements of cognition, which
exist in the mind a priori. Now there are only two ways in which a
necessary harmony of experience with the conceptions of its objects can
be cogitated. Either experience makes these conceptions possible, or
the conceptions make experience possible. The former of these statements
will not bold good with respect to the categories (nor in regard to pure
sensuous intuition), for they are a priori conceptions, and therefore
independent of experience. The assertion of an empirical origin would
attribute to them a sort of generatio aequivoca. Consequently, nothing
remains but to adopt the second alternative (which presents us with a
system, as it were, of the epigenesis of pure reason), namely, that on
the part of the understanding the categories do contain the grounds of
the possibility of all experience. But with respect to the questions
how they make experience possible, and what are the principles of the
possibility thereof with which they present us in their application to
phenomena, the following section on the transcendental exercise of the
faculty of judgement will inform the reader.

It is quite possible that someone may propose a species of
preformation-system of pure reason--a middle way between the two--to
wit, that the categories are neither innate and first a priori
principles of cognition, nor derived from experience, but are merely
subjective aptitudes for thought implanted in us contemporaneously with
our existence, which were so ordered and disposed by our Creator,
that their exercise perfectly harmonizes with the laws of nature which
regulate experience. Now, not to mention that with such an hypothesis
it is impossible to say at what point we must stop in the employment of
predetermined aptitudes, the fact that the categories would in this case
entirely lose that character of necessity which is essentially involved
in the very conception of them, is a conclusive objection to it. The
conception of cause, for example, which expresses the necessity of an
effect under a presupposed condition, would be false, if it rested only
upon such an arbitrary subjective necessity of uniting certain empirical
representations according to such a rule of relation. I could not then
say--"The effect is connected with its cause in the object (that is,
necessarily)," but only, "I am so constituted that I can think this
representation as so connected, and not otherwise." Now this is just
what the sceptic wants. For in this case, all our knowledge, depending
on the supposed objective validity of our judgement, is nothing but
mere illusion; nor would there be wanting people who would deny any such
subjective necessity in respect to themselves, though they must feel it.
At all events, we could not dispute with any one on that which merely
depends on the manner in which his subject is organized.

Short view of the above Deduction.

The foregoing deduction is an exposition of the pure conceptions of the
understanding (and with them of all theoretical a priori cognition), as
principles of the possibility of experience, but of experience as
the determination of all phenomena in space and time in general--of
experience, finally, from the principle of the original synthetical
unity of apperception, as the form of the understanding in relation to
time and space as original forms of sensibility.

I consider the division by paragraphs to be necessary only up to this
point, because we had to treat of the elementary conceptions. As we
now proceed to the exposition of the employment of these, I shall not
designate the chapters in this manner any further.


Analytic of Principles.

General logic is constructed upon a plan which coincides exactly
with the division of the higher faculties of cognition. These are,
understanding, judgement, and reason. This science, accordingly, treats
in its analytic of conceptions, judgements, and conclusions in exact
correspondence with the functions and order of those mental powers which
we include generally under the generic denomination of understanding.

As this merely formal logic makes abstraction of all content of
cognition, whether pure or empirical, and occupies itself with the mere
form of thought (discursive cognition), it must contain in its analytic
a canon for reason. For the form of reason has its law, which, without
taking into consideration the particular nature of the cognition about
which it is employed, can be discovered a priori, by the simple analysis
of the action of reason into its momenta.

Transcendental logic, limited as it is to a determinate content, that of
pure a priori cognitions, to wit, cannot imitate general logic in this
division. For it is evident that the transcendental employment of reason
is not objectively valid, and therefore does not belong to the logic
of truth (that is, to analytic), but as a logic of illusion, occupies
a particular department in the scholastic system under the name of
transcendental dialectic.

Understanding and judgement accordingly possess in transcendental logic
a canon of objectively valid, and therefore true exercise, and are
comprehended in the analytical department of that logic. But reason,
in her endeavours to arrive by a priori means at some true statement
concerning objects and to extend cognition beyond the bounds of possible
experience, is altogether dialectic, and her illusory assertions cannot
be constructed into a canon such as an analytic ought to contain.

Accordingly, the analytic of principles will be merely a canon for
the faculty of judgement, for the instruction of this faculty in its
application to phenomena of the pure conceptions of the understanding,
which contain the necessary condition for the establishment of a priori
laws. On this account, although the subject of the following chapters is
the especial principles of understanding, I shall make use of the
term Doctrine of the faculty of judgement, in order to define more
particularly my present purpose.

INTRODUCTION. Of the Transcendental Faculty of judgement in General.

If understanding in general be defined as the faculty of laws or rules,
the faculty of judgement may be termed the faculty of subsumption under
these rules; that is, of distinguishing whether this or that does or
does not stand under a given rule (casus datae legis). General logic
contains no directions or precepts for the faculty of judgement, nor
can it contain any such. For as it makes abstraction of all content of
cognition, no duty is left for it, except that of exposing analytically
the mere form of cognition in conceptions, judgements, and conclusions,
and of thereby establishing formal rules for all exercise of the
understanding. Now if this logic wished to give some general direction
how we should subsume under these rules, that is, how we should
distinguish whether this or that did or did not stand under them, this
again could not be done otherwise than by means of a rule. But this
rule, precisely because it is a rule, requires for itself direction from
the faculty of judgement. Thus, it is evident that the understanding
is capable of being instructed by rules, but that the judgement is a
peculiar talent, which does not, and cannot require tuition, but
only exercise. This faculty is therefore the specific quality of the
so-called mother wit, the want of which no scholastic discipline can

For although education may furnish, and, as it were, engraft upon a
limited understanding rules borrowed from other minds, yet the power of
employing these rules correctly must belong to the pupil himself; and no
rule which we can prescribe to him with this purpose is, in the absence
or deficiency of this gift of nature, secure from misuse.* A physician
therefore, a judge or a statesman, may have in his head many admirable
pathological, juridical, or political rules, in a degree that may enable
him to be a profound teacher in his particular science, and yet in the
application of these rules he may very possibly blunder--either because
he is wanting in natural judgement (though not in understanding) and,
whilst he can comprehend the general in abstracto, cannot distinguish
whether a particular case in concreto ought to rank under the former; or
because his faculty of judgement has not been sufficiently exercised by
examples and real practice. Indeed, the grand and only use of examples,
is to sharpen the judgement. For as regards the correctness and
precision of the insight of the understanding, examples are commonly
injurious rather than otherwise, because, as casus in terminis they
seldom adequately fulfil the conditions of the rule. Besides, they often
weaken the power of our understanding to apprehend rules or laws
in their universality, independently of particular circumstances of
experience; and hence, accustom us to employ them more as formulae than
as principles. Examples are thus the go-cart of the judgement, which
he who is naturally deficient in that faculty cannot afford to dispense

     [*Footnote: Deficiency in judgement is properly that which
     is called stupidity; and for such a failing we know no
     remedy. A dull or narrow-minded person, to whom nothing is
     wanting but a proper degree of understanding, may be
     improved by tuition, even so far as to deserve the epithet
     of learned. But as such persons frequently labour under a
     deficiency in the faculty of judgement, it is not uncommon
     to find men extremely learned who in the application of
     their science betray a lamentable degree this irremediable

But although general logic cannot give directions to the faculty of
judgement, the case is very different as regards transcendental logic,
insomuch that it appears to be the especial duty of the latter to secure
and direct, by means of determinate rules, the faculty of judgement in
the employment of the pure understanding. For, as a doctrine, that is,
as an endeavour to enlarge the sphere of the understanding in regard to
pure a priori cognitions, philosophy is worse than useless, since from
all the attempts hitherto made, little or no ground has been gained.
But, as a critique, in order to guard against the mistakes of the
faculty of judgement (lapsus judicii) in the employment of the few pure
conceptions of the understanding which we possess, although its use is
in this case purely negative, philosophy is called upon to apply all its
acuteness and penetration.

But transcendental philosophy has this peculiarity, that besides
indicating the rule, or rather the general condition for rules, which is
given in the pure conception of the understanding, it can, at the same
time, indicate a priori the case to which the rule must be applied.
The cause of the superiority which, in this respect, transcendental
philosophy possesses above all other sciences except mathematics, lies
in this: it treats of conceptions which must relate a priori to their
objects, whose objective validity consequently cannot be demonstrated a
posteriori, and is, at the same time, under the obligation of presenting
in general but sufficient tests, the conditions under which objects can
be given in harmony with those conceptions; otherwise they would be
mere logical forms, without content, and not pure conceptions of the

Our transcendental doctrine of the faculty of judgement will contain
two chapters. The first will treat of the sensuous condition under which
alone pure conceptions of the understanding can be employed--that is, of
the schematism of the pure understanding. The second will treat of those
synthetical judgements which are derived a priori from pure conceptions
of the understanding under those conditions, and which lie a priori at
the foundation of all other cognitions, that is to say, it will treat of
the principles of the pure understanding.


CHAPTER I. Of the Schematism at of the Pure Conceptions of the

In all subsumptions of an object under a conception, the representation
of the object must be homogeneous with the conception; in other words,
the conception must contain that which is represented in the object to
be subsumed under it. For this is the meaning of the expression: "An
object is contained under a conception." Thus the empirical conception
of a plate is homogeneous with the pure geometrical conception of a
circle, inasmuch as the roundness which is cogitated in the former is
intuited in the latter.

But pure conceptions of the understanding, when compared with empirical
intuitions, or even with sensuous intuitions in general, are quite
heterogeneous, and never can be discovered in any intuition. How then
is the subsumption of the latter under the former, and consequently
the application of the categories to phenomena, possible?--For it is
impossible to say, for example: "Causality can be intuited through the
senses and is contained in the phenomenon."--This natural and important
question forms the real cause of the necessity of a transcendental
doctrine of the faculty of judgement, with the purpose, to wit, of
showing how pure conceptions of the understanding can be applied to
phenomena. In all other sciences, where the conceptions by which the
object is thought in the general are not so different and heterogeneous
from those which represent the object in concreto--as it is given, it
is quite unnecessary to institute any special inquiries concerning the
application of the former to the latter.

Now it is quite clear that there must be some third thing, which on the
one side is homogeneous with the category, and with the phenomenon on
the other, and so makes the application of the former to the latter
possible. This mediating representation must be pure (without any
empirical content), and yet must on the one side be intellectual, on the
other sensuous. Such a representation is the transcendental schema.

The conception of the understanding contains pure synthetical unity of
the manifold in general. Time, as the formal condition of the
manifold of the internal sense, consequently of the conjunction of all
representations, contains a priori a manifold in the pure intuition. Now
a transcendental determination of time is so far homogeneous with the
category, which constitutes the unity thereof, that it is universal and
rests upon a rule a priori. On the other hand, it is so far homogeneous
with the phenomenon, inasmuch as time is contained in every empirical
representation of the manifold. Thus an application of the category to
phenomena becomes possible, by means of the transcendental determination
of time, which, as the schema of the conceptions of the understanding,
mediates the subsumption of the latter under the former.

After what has been proved in our deduction of the categories, no
one, it is to be hoped, can hesitate as to the proper decision of
the question, whether the employment of these pure conceptions of the
understanding ought to be merely empirical or also transcendental;
in other words, whether the categories, as conditions of a possible
experience, relate a priori solely to phenomena, or whether, as
conditions of the possibility of things in general, their application
can be extended to objects as things in themselves. For we have
there seen that conceptions are quite impossible, and utterly without
signification, unless either to them, or at least to the elements of
which they consist, an object be given; and that, consequently, they
cannot possibly apply to objects as things in themselves without regard
to the question whether and how these may be given to us; and, further,
that the only manner in which objects can be given to us is by means of
the modification of our sensibility; and, finally, that pure a priori
conceptions, in addition to the function of the understanding in the
category, must contain a priori formal conditions of sensibility (of the
internal sense, namely), which again contain the general condition under
which alone the category can be applied to any object. This formal
and pure condition of sensibility, to which the conception of the
understanding is restricted in its employment, we shall name the
schema of the conception of the understanding, and the procedure of the
understanding with these schemata we shall call the schematism of the
pure understanding.

The schema is, in itself, always a mere product of the imagination. But,
as the synthesis of imagination has for its aim no single intuition, but
merely unity in the determination of sensibility, the schema is clearly
distinguishable from the image. Thus, if I place five points one after
another.... this is an image of the number five. On the other hand, if
I only think a number in general, which may be either five or a hundred,
this thought is rather the representation of a method of representing in
an image a sum (e.g., a thousand) in conformity with a conception, than
the image itself, an image which I should find some little difficulty in
reviewing, and comparing with the conception. Now this representation
of a general procedure of the imagination to present its image to a
conception, I call the schema of this conception.

In truth, it is not images of objects, but schemata, which lie at the
foundation of our pure sensuous conceptions. No image could ever be
adequate to our conception of a triangle in general. For the generalness
of the conception it never could attain to, as this includes under
itself all triangles, whether right-angled, acute-angled, etc., whilst
the image would always be limited to a single part of this sphere. The
schema of the triangle can exist nowhere else than in thought, and it
indicates a rule of the synthesis of the imagination in regard to pure
figures in space. Still less is an object of experience, or an image
of the object, ever to the empirical conception. On the contrary, the
conception always relates immediately to the schema of the imagination,
as a rule for the determination of our intuition, in conformity with a
certain general conception. The conception of a dog indicates a
rule, according to which my imagination can delineate the figure of a
four-footed animal in general, without being limited to any particular
individual form which experience presents to me, or indeed to any
possible image that I can represent to myself in concreto. This
schematism of our understanding in regard to phenomena and their mere
form, is an art, hidden in the depths of the human soul, whose true
modes of action we shall only with difficulty discover and unveil. Thus
much only can we say: "The image is a product of the empirical faculty
of the productive imagination--the schema of sensuous conceptions (of
figures in space, for example) is a product, and, as it were, a monogram
of the pure imagination a priori, whereby and according to which
images first become possible, which, however, can be connected with the
conception only mediately by means of the schema which they indicate,
and are in themselves never fully adequate to it." On the other hand,
the schema of a pure conception of the understanding is something that
cannot be reduced into any image--it is nothing else than the pure
synthesis expressed by the category, conformably, to a rule of unity
according to conceptions. It is a transcendental product of the
imagination, a product which concerns the determination of the internal
sense, according to conditions of its form (time) in respect to all
representations, in so far as these representations must be conjoined a
priori in one conception, conformably to the unity of apperception.

Without entering upon a dry and tedious analysis of the essential
requisites of transcendental schemata of the pure conceptions of the
understanding, we shall rather proceed at once to give an explanation
of them according to the order of the categories, and in connection

For the external sense the pure image of all quantities (quantorum) is
space; the pure image of all objects of sense in general, is time.
But the pure schema of quantity (quantitatis) as a conception of
the understanding, is number, a representation which comprehends the
successive addition of one to one (homogeneous quantities). Thus, number
is nothing else than the unity of the synthesis of the manifold in
a homogeneous intuition, by means of my generating time itself in my
apprehension of the intuition.

Reality, in the pure conception of the understanding, is that which
corresponds to a sensation in general; that, consequently, the
conception of which indicates a being (in time). Negation is that the
conception of which represents a not-being (in time). The opposition of
these two consists therefore in the difference of one and the same
time, as a time filled or a time empty. Now as time is only the form of
intuition, consequently of objects as phenomena, that which in objects
corresponds to sensation is the transcendental matter of all objects
as things in themselves (Sachheit, reality). Now every sensation has
a degree or quantity by which it can fill time, that is to say, the
internal sense in respect of the representation of an object, more or
less, until it vanishes into nothing (= 0 = negatio). Thus there is
a relation and connection between reality and negation, or rather a
transition from the former to the latter, which makes every reality
representable to us as a quantum; and the schema of a reality as the
quantity of something in so far as it fills time, is exactly this
continuous and uniform generation of the reality in time, as we descend
in time from the sensation which has a certain degree, down to the
vanishing thereof, or gradually ascend from negation to the quantity

The schema of substance is the permanence of the real in time; that is,
the representation of it as a substratum of the empirical determination
of time; a substratum which therefore remains, whilst all else changes.
(Time passes not, but in it passes the existence of the changeable. To
time, therefore, which is itself unchangeable and permanent, corresponds
that which in the phenomenon is unchangeable in existence, that is,
substance, and it is only by it that the succession and coexistence of
phenomena can be determined in regard to time.)

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

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

The schema of possibility is the accordance of the synthesis of
different representations with the conditions of time in general (as,
for example, opposites cannot exist together at the same time in
the same thing, but only after each other), and is therefore the
determination of the representation of a thing at any time.

The schema of reality is existence in a determined time.

The schema of necessity is the existence of an object in all time.

It is clear, from all this, that the schema of the category of quantity
contains and represents the generation (synthesis) of time itself, in
the successive apprehension of an object; the schema of quality the
synthesis of sensation with the representation of time, or the filling
up of time; the schema of relation the relation of perceptions to each
other in all time (that is, according to a rule of the determination
of time): and finally, the schema of modality and its categories, time
itself, as the correlative of the determination of an object--whether it
does belong to time, and how. The schemata, therefore, are nothing but
a priori determinations of time according to rules, and these, in regard
to all possible objects, following the arrangement of the categories,
relate to the series in time, the content in time, the order in time,
and finally, to the complex or totality in time.

Hence it is apparent that the schematism of the understanding, by means
of the transcendental synthesis of the imagination, amounts to nothing
else than the unity of the manifold of intuition in the internal
sense, and thus indirectly to the unity of apperception, as a function
corresponding to the internal sense (a receptivity). Thus, the schemata
of the pure conceptions of the understanding are the true and only
conditions whereby our understanding receives an application to objects,
and consequently significance. Finally, therefore, the categories are
only capable of empirical use, inasmuch as they serve merely to subject
phenomena to the universal rules of synthesis, by means of an a priori
necessary unity (on account of the necessary union of all consciousness
in one original apperception); and so to render them susceptible of a
complete connection in one experience. But within this whole of possible
experience lie all our cognitions, and in the universal relation to this
experience consists transcendental truth, which antecedes all empirical
truth, and renders the latter possible.

It is, however, evident at first sight, that although the schemata of
sensibility are the sole agents in realizing the categories, they do,
nevertheless, also restrict them, that is, they limit the categories
by conditions which lie beyond the sphere of understanding--namely, in
sensibility. Hence the schema is properly only the phenomenon, or the
sensuous conception of an object in harmony with the category. (Numerus
est quantitas phaenomenon--sensatio realitas phaenomenon; constans
et perdurabile rerum substantia phaenomenon--aeternitas, necessitas,
phaenomena, etc.) Now, if we remove a restrictive condition, we thereby
amplify, it appears, the formerly limited conception. In this way, the
categories in their pure signification, free from all conditions of
sensibility, ought to be valid of things as they are, and not, as the
schemata represent them, merely as they appear; and consequently the
categories must have a significance far more extended, and wholly
independent of all schemata. In truth, there does always remain to the
pure conceptions of the understanding, after abstracting every sensuous
condition, a value and significance, which is, however, merely logical.
But in this case, no object is given them, and therefore they have no
meaning sufficient to afford us a conception of an object. The notion
of substance, for example, if we leave out the sensuous determination
of permanence, would mean nothing more than a something which can be
cogitated as subject, without the possibility of becoming a predicate to
anything else. Of this representation I can make nothing, inasmuch as
it does not indicate to me what determinations the thing possesses which
must thus be valid as premier subject. Consequently, the categories,
without schemata are merely functions of the understanding for the
production of conceptions, but do not represent any object. This
significance they derive from sensibility, which at the same time
realizes the understanding and restricts it.

CHAPTER II. System of all Principles of the Pure Understanding.

In the foregoing chapter we have merely considered the general
conditions under which alone the transcendental faculty of judgement
is justified in using the pure conceptions of the understanding for
synthetical judgements. Our duty at present is to exhibit in systematic
connection those judgements which the understanding really produces a
priori. For this purpose, our table of the categories will certainly
afford us the natural and safe guidance. For it is precisely the
categories whose application to possible experience must constitute all
pure a priori cognition of the understanding; and the relation of which
to sensibility will, on that very account, present us with a complete
and systematic catalogue of all the transcendental principles of the use
of the understanding.

Principles a priori are so called, not merely because they contain
in themselves the grounds of other judgements, but also because they
themselves are not grounded in higher and more general cognitions. This
peculiarity, however, does not raise them altogether above the need of
a proof. For although there could be found no higher cognition, and
therefore no objective proof, and although such a principle rather
serves as the foundation for all cognition of the object, this by no
means hinders us from drawing a proof from the subjective sources of the
possibility of the cognition of an object. Such a proof is necessary,
moreover, because without it the principle might be liable to the
imputation of being a mere gratuitous assertion.

In the second place, we shall limit our investigations to those
principles which relate to the categories. For as to the principles
of transcendental aesthetic, according to which space and time are
the conditions of the possibility of things as phenomena, as also the
restriction of these principles, namely, that they cannot be applied to
objects as things in themselves--these, of course, do not fall within
the scope of our present inquiry. In like manner, the principles of
mathematical science form no part of this system, because they are
all drawn from intuition, and not from the pure conception of the
understanding. The possibility of these principles, however, will
necessarily be considered here, inasmuch as they are synthetical
judgements a priori, not indeed for the purpose of proving their
accuracy and apodeictic certainty, which is unnecessary, but merely to
render conceivable and deduce the possibility of such evident a priori

But we shall have also to speak of the principle of analytical
judgements, in opposition to synthetical judgements, which is the proper
subject of our inquiries, because this very opposition will free the
theory of the latter from all ambiguity, and place it clearly before our
eyes in its true nature.


SECTION I. Of the Supreme Principle of all Analytical Judgements.

Whatever may be the content of our cognition, and in whatever manner
our cognition may be related to its object, the universal, although only
negative conditions of all our judgements is that they do not contradict
themselves; otherwise these judgements are in themselves (even without
respect to the object) nothing. But although there may exist no
contradiction in our judgement, it may nevertheless connect conceptions
in such a manner that they do not correspond to the object, or without
any grounds either a priori or a posteriori for arriving at such a
judgement, and thus, without being self-contradictory, a judgement may
nevertheless be either false or groundless.

Now, the proposition: "No subject can have a predicate that contradicts
it," is called the principle of contradiction, and is a universal but
purely negative criterion of all truth. But it belongs to logic alone,
because it is valid of cognitions, merely as cognitions and without
respect to their content, and declares that the contradiction entirely
nullifies them. We can also, however, make a positive use of this
principle, that is, not merely to banish falsehood and error (in so far
as it rests upon contradiction), but also for the cognition of truth.
For if the judgement is analytical, be it affirmative or negative,
its truth must always be recognizable by means of the principle of
contradiction. For the contrary of that which lies and is cogitated
as conception in the cognition of the object will be always properly
negatived, but the conception itself must always be affirmed of the
object, inasmuch as the contrary thereof would be in contradiction to
the object.

We must therefore hold the principle of contradiction to be the
universal and fully sufficient Principle of all analytical cognition.
But as a sufficient criterion of truth, it has no further utility or
authority. For the fact that no cognition can be at variance with this
principle without nullifying itself, constitutes this principle the sine
qua non, but not the determining ground of the truth of our cognition.
As our business at present is properly with the synthetical part of our
knowledge only, we shall always be on our guard not to transgress this
inviolable principle; but at the same time not to expect from it any
direct assistance in the establishment of the truth of any synthetical

There exists, however, a formula of this celebrated principle--a
principle merely formal and entirely without content--which contains a
synthesis that has been inadvertently and quite unnecessarily mixed up
with it. It is this: "It is impossible for a thing to be and not to be
at the same time." Not to mention the superfluousness of the addition of
the word impossible to indicate the apodeictic certainty, which ought to
be self-evident from the proposition itself, the proposition is affected
by the condition of time, and as it were says: "A thing = A, which is
something = B, cannot at the same time be non-B." But both, B as well
as non-B, may quite well exist in succession. For example, a man who is
young cannot at the same time be old; but the same man can very well
be at one time young, and at another not young, that is, old. Now the
principle of contradiction as a merely logical proposition must not
by any means limit its application merely to relations of time, and
consequently a formula like the preceding is quite foreign to its
true purpose. The misunderstanding arises in this way. We first of all
separate a predicate of a thing from the conception of the thing, and
afterwards connect with this predicate its opposite, and hence do
not establish any contradiction with the subject, but only with its
predicate, which has been conjoined with the subject synthetically--a
contradiction, moreover, which obtains only when the first and second
predicate are affirmed in the same time. If I say: "A man who is
ignorant is not learned," the condition "at the same time" must be
added, for he who is at one time ignorant, may at another be learned.
But if I say: "No ignorant man is a learned man," the proposition is
analytical, because the characteristic ignorance is now a constituent
part of the conception of the subject; and in this case the
negative proposition is evident immediately from the proposition of
contradiction, without the necessity of adding the condition "the
same time." This is the reason why I have altered the formula of this
principle--an alteration which shows very clearly the nature of an
analytical proposition.

SECTION II. Of the Supreme Principle of all Synthetical Judgements.

The explanation of the possibility of synthetical judgements is a task
with which general logic has nothing to do; indeed she needs not even
be acquainted with its name. But in transcendental logic it is the most
important matter to be dealt with--indeed the only one, if the question
is of the possibility of synthetical judgements a priori, the conditions
and extent of their validity. For when this question is fully decided,
it can reach its aim with perfect ease, the determination, to wit, of
the extent and limits of the pure understanding.

In an analytical judgement I do not go beyond the given conception,
in order to arrive at some decision respecting it. If the judgement is
affirmative, I predicate of the conception only that which was already
cogitated in it; if negative, I merely exclude from the conception its
contrary. But in synthetical judgements, I must go beyond the given
conception, in order to cogitate, in relation with it, something quite
different from that which was cogitated in it, a relation which is
consequently never one either of identity or contradiction, and by means
of which the truth or error of the judgement cannot be discerned merely
from the judgement itself.

Granted, then, that we must go out beyond a given conception, in order
to compare it synthetically with another, a third thing is necessary, in
which alone the synthesis of two conceptions can originate. Now what
is this tertium quid that is to be the medium of all synthetical
judgements? It is only a complex in which all our representations are
contained, the internal sense to wit, and its form a priori, time.

The synthesis of our representations rests upon the imagination; their
synthetical unity (which is requisite to a judgement), upon the unity
of apperception. In this, therefore, is to be sought the possibility of
synthetical judgements, and as all three contain the sources of a priori
representations, the possibility of pure synthetical judgements also;
nay, they are necessary upon these grounds, if we are to possess
a knowledge of objects, which rests solely upon the synthesis of

If a cognition is to have objective reality, that is, to relate to an
object, and possess sense and meaning in respect to it, it is necessary
that the object be given in some way or another. Without this, our
conceptions are empty, and we may indeed have thought by means of them,
but by such thinking we have not, in fact, cognized anything, we have
merely played with representation. To give an object, if this expression
be understood in the sense of "to present" the object, not mediately
but immediately in intuition, means nothing else than to apply the
representation of it to experience, be that experience real or only
possible. Space and time themselves, pure as these conceptions are from
all that is empirical, and certain as it is that they are represented
fully a priori in the mind, would be completely without objective
validity, and without sense and significance, if their necessary use
in the objects of experience were not shown. Nay, the representation
of them is a mere schema, that always relates to the reproductive
imagination, which calls up the objects of experience, without which
they have no meaning. And so it is with all conceptions without

The possibility of experience is, then, that which gives objective
reality to all our a priori cognitions. Now experience depends upon the
synthetical unity of phenomena, that is, upon a synthesis according to
conceptions of the object of phenomena in general, a synthesis without
which experience never could become knowledge, but would be merely a
rhapsody of perceptions, never fitting together into any connected text,
according to rules of a thoroughly united (possible) consciousness, and
therefore never subjected to the transcendental and necessary unity
of apperception. Experience has therefore for a foundation, a priori
principles of its form, that is to say, general rules of unity in
the synthesis of phenomena, the objective reality of which rules, as
necessary conditions even of the possibility of experience can
which rules, as necessary conditions--even of the possibility of
experience--can always be shown in experience. But apart from this
relation, a priori synthetical propositions are absolutely impossible,
because they have no third term, that is, no pure object, in which the
synthetical unity can exhibit the objective reality of its conceptions.

Although, then, respecting space, or the forms which productive
imagination describes therein, we do cognize much a priori in
synthetical judgements, and are really in no need of experience for this
purpose, such knowledge would nevertheless amount to nothing but a busy
trifling with a mere chimera, were not space to be considered as the
condition of the phenomena which constitute the material of external
experience. Hence those pure synthetical judgements do relate, though
but mediately, to possible experience, or rather to the possibility of
experience, and upon that alone is founded the objective validity of
their synthesis.

While then, on the one hand, experience, as empirical synthesis, is
the only possible mode of cognition which gives reality to all other
synthesis; on the other hand, this latter synthesis, as cognition a
priori, possesses truth, that is, accordance with its object, only in
so far as it contains nothing more than what is necessary to the
synthetical unity of experience.

Accordingly, the supreme principle of all synthetical judgements is:
"Every object is subject to the necessary conditions of the synthetical
unity of the manifold of intuition in a possible experience."

A priori synthetical judgements are possible when we apply the formal
conditions of the a priori intuition, the synthesis of the imagination,
and the necessary unity of that synthesis in a transcendental
apperception, to a possible cognition of experience, and say: "The
conditions of the possibility of experience in general are at the same
time conditions of the possibility of the objects of experience, and
have, for that reason, objective validity in an a priori synthetical

SECTION III. Systematic Representation of all Synthetical Principles of
the Pure Understanding.

That principles exist at all is to be ascribed solely to the pure
understanding, which is not only the faculty of rules in regard to that
which happens, but is even the source of principles according to which
everything that can be presented to us as an object is necessarily
subject to rules, because without such rules we never could attain
to cognition of an object. Even the laws of nature, if they are
contemplated as principles of the empirical use of the understanding,
possess also a characteristic of necessity, and we may therefore at
least expect them to be determined upon grounds which are valid a
priori and antecedent to all experience. But all laws of nature, without
distinction, are subject to higher principles of the understanding,
inasmuch as the former are merely applications of the latter to
particular cases of experience. These higher principles alone therefore
give the conception, which contains the necessary condition, and, as it
were, the exponent of a rule; experience, on the other hand, gives the
case which comes under the rule.

There is no danger of our mistaking merely empirical principles for
principles of the pure understanding, or conversely; for the character
of necessity, according to conceptions which distinguish the latter,
and the absence of this in every empirical proposition, how extensively
valid soever it may be, is a perfect safeguard against confounding
them. There are, however, pure principles a priori, which nevertheless I
should not ascribe to the pure understanding--for this reason, that they
are not derived from pure conceptions, but (although by the mediation
of the understanding) from pure intuitions. But understanding is the
faculty of conceptions. Such principles mathematical science possesses,
but their application to experience, consequently their objective
validity, nay the possibility of such a priori synthetical cognitions
(the deduction thereof) rests entirely upon the pure understanding.

On this account, I shall not reckon among my principles those of
mathematics; though I shall include those upon the possibility and
objective validity a priori, of principles of the mathematical science,
which, consequently, are to be looked upon as the principle of these,
and which proceed from conceptions to intuition, and not from intuition
to conceptions.

In the application of the pure conceptions of the understanding to
possible experience, the employment of their synthesis is either
mathematical or dynamical, for it is directed partly on the intuition
alone, partly on the existence of a phenomenon. But the a priori
conditions of intuition are in relation to a possible experience
absolutely necessary, those of the existence of objects of a possible
empirical intuition are in themselves contingent. Hence the principles
of the mathematical use of the categories will possess a character of
absolute necessity, that is, will be apodeictic; those, on the other
hand, of the dynamical use, the character of an a priori necessity
indeed, but only under the condition of empirical thought in an
experience, therefore only mediately and indirectly. Consequently
they will not possess that immediate evidence which is peculiar to the
former, although their application to experience does not, for that
reason, lose its truth and certitude. But of this point we shall be
better able to judge at the conclusion of this system of principles.

The table of the categories is naturally our guide to the table of
principles, because these are nothing else than rules for the objective
employment of the former. Accordingly, all principles of the pure
understanding are:

                           of Intuition

               2                                    3
          Anticipations                          Analogies
          of Perception                        of Experience
                          Postulates of
                        Empirical Thought
                           in general

These appellations I have chosen advisedly, in order that we might
not lose sight of the distinctions in respect of the evidence and the
employment of these principles. It will, however, soon appear that--a
fact which concerns both the evidence of these principles, and the
a priori determination of phenomena--according to the categories of
quantity and quality (if we attend merely to the form of these), the
principles of these categories are distinguishable from those of the two
others, in as much as the former are possessed of an intuitive, but
the latter of a merely discursive, though in both instances a complete,
certitude. I shall therefore call the former mathematical, and the
latter dynamical principles.* It must be observed, however, that by
these terms I mean just as little in the one case the principles of
mathematics as those of general (physical) dynamics in the other. I have
here in view merely the principles of the pure understanding, in
their application to the internal sense (without distinction of the
representations given therein), by means of which the sciences of
mathematics and dynamics become possible. Accordingly, I have named
these principles rather with reference to their application than their
content; and I shall now proceed to consider them in the order in which
they stand in the table.

     [*Footnote: All combination (conjunctio) is either
     composition (compositio) or connection (nexus). The former
     is the synthesis of a manifold, the parts of which do not
     necessarily belong to each other. For example, the two
     triangles into which a square is divided by a diagonal, do
     not necessarily belong to each other, and of this kind is
     the synthesis of the homogeneous in everything that can be
     mathematically considered. This synthesis can be divided
     into those of aggregation and coalition, the former of which
     is applied to extensive, the latter to intensive quantities.
     The second sort of combination (nexus) is the synthesis of a
     manifold, in so far as its parts do belong necessarily to
     each other; for example, the accident to a substance, or the
     effect to the cause. Consequently it is a synthesis of that
     which though heterogeneous, is represented as connected a
     priori. This combination--not an arbitrary one--I entitle
     dynamical because it concerns the connection of the
     existence of the manifold. This, again, may be divided into
     the physical synthesis, of the phenomena divided among each
     other, and the metaphysical synthesis, or the connection of
     phenomena a priori in the faculty of cognition.]


The principle of these is: All Intuitions are Extensive Quantities.


All phenomena contain, as regards their form, an intuition in space and
time, which lies a priori at the foundation of all without exception.
Phenomena, therefore, cannot be apprehended, that is, received into
empirical consciousness otherwise than through the synthesis of a
manifold, through which the representations of a determinate space
or time are generated; that is to say, through the composition of the
homogeneous and the consciousness of the synthetical unity of this
manifold (homogeneous). Now the consciousness of a homogeneous manifold
in intuition, in so far as thereby the representation of an object
is rendered possible, is the conception of a quantity (quanti).
Consequently, even the perception of an object as phenomenon is possible
only through the same synthetical unity of the manifold of the given
sensuous intuition, through which the unity of the composition of the
homogeneous manifold in the conception of a quantity is cogitated;
that is to say, all phenomena are quantities, and extensive quantities,
because as intuitions in space or time they must be represented by
means of the same synthesis through which space and time themselves are

An extensive quantity I call that wherein the representation of the
parts renders possible (and therefore necessarily antecedes) the
representation of the whole. I cannot represent to myself any line,
however small, without drawing it in thought, that is, without
generating from a point all its parts one after another, and in this
way alone producing this intuition. Precisely the same is the case with
every, even the smallest, portion of time. I cogitate therein only the
successive progress from one moment to another, and hence, by means of
the different portions of time and the addition of them, a determinate
quantity of time is produced. As the pure intuition in all phenomena
is either time or space, so is every phenomenon in its character of
intuition an extensive quantity, inasmuch as it can only be cognized
in our apprehension by successive synthesis (from part to part). All
phenomena are, accordingly, to be considered as aggregates, that is, as
a collection of previously given parts; which is not the case with
every sort of quantities, but only with those which are represented and
apprehended by us as extensive.

On this successive synthesis of the productive imagination, in the
generation of figures, is founded the mathematics of extension, or
geometry, with its axioms, which express the conditions of sensuous
intuition a priori, under which alone the schema of a pure conception of
external intuition can exist; for example, "be tween two points only one
straight line is possible," "two straight lines cannot enclose a space,"
etc. These are the axioms which properly relate only to quantities
(quanta) as such.

But, as regards the quantity of a thing (quantitas), that is to say, the
answer to the question: "How large is this or that object?" although, in
respect to this question, we have various propositions synthetical and
immediately certain (indemonstrabilia); we have, in the proper sense of
the term, no axioms. For example, the propositions: "If equals be added
to equals, the wholes are equal"; "If equals be taken from equals,
the remainders are equal"; are analytical, because I am immediately
conscious of the identity of the production of the one quantity with
the production of the other; whereas axioms must be a priori synthetical
propositions. On the other hand, the self-evident propositions as to the
relation of numbers, are certainly synthetical but not universal, like
those of geometry, and for this reason cannot be called axioms, but
numerical formulae. That 7 + 5 = 12 is not an analytical proposition.
For neither in the representation of seven, nor of five, nor of the
composition of the two numbers, do I cogitate the number twelve.
(Whether I cogitate the number in the addition of both, is not at
present the question; for in the case of an analytical proposition,
the only point is whether I really cogitate the predicate in the
representation of the subject.) But although the proposition is
synthetical, it is nevertheless only a singular proposition. In so far
as regard is here had merely to the synthesis of the homogeneous (the
units), it cannot take place except in one manner, although our use
of these numbers is afterwards general. If I say: "A triangle can
be constructed with three lines, any two of which taken together are
greater than the third," I exercise merely the pure function of the
productive imagination, which may draw the lines longer or shorter and
construct the angles at its pleasure. On the contrary, the number seven
is possible only in one manner, and so is likewise the number twelve,
which results from the synthesis of seven and five. Such propositions,
then, cannot be termed axioms (for in that case we should have an
infinity of these), but numerical formulae.

This transcendental principle of the mathematics of phenomena greatly
enlarges our a priori cognition. For it is by this principle alone that
pure mathematics is rendered applicable in all its precision to objects
of experience, and without it the validity of this application would not
be so self-evident; on the contrary, contradictions and confusions have
often arisen on this very point. Phenomena are not things in themselves.
Empirical intuition is possible only through pure intuition (of space
and time); consequently, what geometry affirms of the latter, is
indisputably valid of the former. All evasions, such as the statement
that objects of sense do not conform to the rules of construction in
space (for example, to the rule of the infinite divisibility of lines or
angles), must fall to the ground. For, if these objections hold good, we
deny to space, and with it to all mathematics, objective validity, and
no longer know wherefore, and how far, mathematics can be applied to
phenomena. The synthesis of spaces and times as the essential form of
all intuition, is that which renders possible the apprehension of a
phenomenon, and therefore every external experience, consequently all
cognition of the objects of experience; and whatever mathematics in its
pure use proves of the former, must necessarily hold good of the latter.
All objections are but the chicaneries of an ill-instructed reason,
which erroneously thinks to liberate the objects of sense from the
formal conditions of our sensibility, and represents these, although
mere phenomena, as things in themselves, presented as such to our
understanding. But in this case, no a priori synthetical cognition of
them could be possible, consequently not through pure conceptions of
space and the science which determines these conceptions, that is to
say, geometry, would itself be impossible.


The principle of these is: In all phenomena the Real, that which is an
object of sensation, has Intensive Quantity, that is, has a Degree.


Perception is empirical consciousness, that is to say, a consciousness
which contains an element of sensation. Phenomena as objects of
perception are not pure, that is, merely formal intuitions, like space
and time, for they cannot be perceived in themselves.

     [Footnote: They can be perceived only as phenomena, and some
     part of them must always belong to the non-ego; whereas pure
     intuitions are entirely the products of the mind itself, and
     as such are coguized IN THEMSELVES.--Tr]

They contain, then, over and above the intuition, the materials for an
object (through which is represented something existing in space or
time), that is to say, they contain the real of sensation, as a
representation merely subjective, which gives us merely the
consciousness that the subject is affected, and which we refer to some
external object. Now, a gradual transition from empirical consciousness
to pure consciousness is possible, inasmuch as the real in this
consciousness entirely vanishes, and there remains a merely formal
consciousness (a priori) of the manifold in time and space; consequently
there is possible a synthesis also of the production of the quantity of
a sensation from its commencement, that is, from the pure intuition = 0
onwards up to a certain quantity of the sensation. Now as sensation in
itself is not an objective representation, and in it is to be found
neither the intuition of space nor of time, it cannot possess any
extensive quantity, and yet there does belong to it a quantity (and that
by means of its apprehension, in which empirical consciousness can
within a certain time rise from nothing = 0 up to its given amount),
consequently an intensive quantity. And thus we must ascribe intensive
quantity, that is, a degree of influence on sense to all objects of
perception, in so far as this perception contains sensation.

All cognition, by means of which I am enabled to cognize and determine
a priori what belongs to empirical cognition, may be called an
anticipation; and without doubt this is the sense in which Epicurus
employed his expression prholepsis. But as there is in phenomena
something which is never cognized a priori, which on this account
constitutes the proper difference between pure and empirical cognition,
that is to say, sensation (as the matter of perception), it follows,
that sensation is just that element in cognition which cannot be at
all anticipated. On the other hand, we might very well term the pure
determinations in space and time, as well in regard to figure as to
quantity, anticipations of phenomena, because they represent a priori
that which may always be given a posteriori in experience. But suppose
that in every sensation, as sensation in general, without any particular
sensation being thought of, there existed something which could be
cognized a priori, this would deserve to be called anticipation in a
special sense--special, because it may seem surprising to forestall
experience, in that which concerns the matter of experience, and which
we can only derive from itself. Yet such really is the case here.

Apprehension*, by means of sensation alone, fills only one moment, that
is, if I do not take into consideration a succession of many sensations.
As that in the phenomenon, the apprehension of which is not a successive
synthesis advancing from parts to an entire representation, sensation
has therefore no extensive quantity; the want of sensation in a moment
of time would represent it as empty, consequently = 0. That which in
the empirical intuition corresponds to sensation is reality (realitas
phaenomenon); that which corresponds to the absence of it, negation = 0.
Now every sensation is capable of a diminution, so that it can decrease,
and thus gradually disappear. Therefore, between reality in a phenomenon
and negation, there exists a continuous concatenation of many possible
intermediate sensations, the difference of which from each other is
always smaller than that between the given sensation and zero, or
complete negation. That is to say, the real in a phenomenon has always a
quantity, which however is not discoverable in apprehension, inasmuch as
apprehension take place by means of mere sensation in one instant, and
not by the successive synthesis of many sensations, and therefore does
not progress from parts to the whole. Consequently, it has a quantity,
but not an extensive quantity.

     [*Footnote: Apprehension is the Kantian word for preception, in the
largest sense in which we employ that term. It is the genus which
includes under i, as species, perception proper and sensation

Now that quantity which is apprehended only as unity, and in which
plurality can be represented only by approximation to negation = O,
I term intensive quantity. Consequently, reality in a phenomenon has
intensive quantity, that is, a degree. If we consider this reality as
cause (be it of sensation or of another reality in the phenomenon, for
example, a change), we call the degree of reality in its character of
cause a momentum, for example, the momentum of weight; and for this
reason, that the degree only indicates that quantity the apprehension of
which is not successive, but instantaneous. This, however, I touch upon
only in passing, for with causality I have at present nothing to do.

Accordingly, every sensation, consequently every reality in phenomena,
however small it may be, has a degree, that is, an intensive quantity,
which may always be lessened, and between reality and negation there
exists a continuous connection of possible realities, and possible
smaller perceptions. Every colour--for example, red--has a degree,
which, be it ever so small, is never the smallest, and so is it always
with heat, the momentum of weight, etc.

This property of quantities, according to which no part of them is the
smallest possible (no part simple), is called their continuity. Space
and time are quanta continua, because no part of them can be
given, without enclosing it within boundaries (points and moments),
consequently, this given part is itself a space or a time. Space,
therefore, consists only of spaces, and time of times. Points and
moments are only boundaries, that is, the mere places or positions of
their limitation. But places always presuppose intuitions which are to
limit or determine them; and we cannot conceive either space or time
composed of constituent parts which are given before space or time.
Such quantities may also be called flowing, because synthesis (of the
productive imagination) in the production of these quantities is a
progression in time, the continuity of which we are accustomed to
indicate by the expression flowing.

All phenomena, then, are continuous quantities, in respect both to
intuition and mere perception (sensation, and with it reality). In the
former case they are extensive quantities; in the latter, intensive.
When the synthesis of the manifold of a phenomenon is interrupted, there
results merely an aggregate of several phenomena, and not properly a
phenomenon as a quantity, which is not produced by the mere continuation
of the productive synthesis of a certain kind, but by the repetition of
a synthesis always ceasing. For example, if I call thirteen dollars a
sum or quantity of money, I employ the term quite correctly, inasmuch as
I understand by thirteen dollars the value of a mark in standard silver,
which is, to be sure, a continuous quantity, in which no part is the
smallest, but every part might constitute a piece of money, which would
contain material for still smaller pieces. If, however, by the words
thirteen dollars I understand so many coins (be their value in silver
what it may), it would be quite erroneous to use the expression a
quantity of dollars; on the contrary, I must call them aggregate, that
is, a number of coins. And as in every number we must have unity as the
foundation, so a phenomenon taken as unity is a quantity, and as such
always a continuous quantity (quantum continuum).

Now, seeing all phenomena, whether considered as extensive or intensive,
are continuous quantities, the proposition: "All change (transition of a
thing from one state into another) is continuous," might be proved here
easily, and with mathematical evidence, were it not that the causality
of a change lies, entirely beyond the bounds of a transcendental
philosophy, and presupposes empirical principles. For of the possibility
of a cause which changes the condition of things, that is, which
determines them to the contrary to a certain given state, the
understanding gives us a priori no knowledge; not merely because it has
no insight into the possibility of it (for such insight is absent in
several a priori cognitions), but because the notion of change concerns
only certain determinations of phenomena, which experience alone can
acquaint us with, while their cause lies in the unchangeable. But seeing
that we have nothing which we could here employ but the pure fundamental
conceptions of all possible experience, among which of course nothing
empirical can be admitted, we dare not, without injuring the unity of
our system, anticipate general physical science, which is built upon
certain fundamental experiences.

Nevertheless, we are in no want of proofs of the great influence
which the principle above developed exercises in the anticipation of
perceptions, and even in supplying the want of them, so far as to shield
us against the false conclusions which otherwise we might rashly draw.

If all reality in perception has a degree, between which and negation
there is an endless sequence of ever smaller degrees, and if,
nevertheless, every sense must have a determinate degree of receptivity
for sensations; no perception, and consequently no experience is
possible, which can prove, either immediately or mediately, an entire
absence of all reality in a phenomenon; in other words, it is impossible
ever to draw from experience a proof of the existence of empty space or
of empty time. For in the first place, an entire absence of reality in
a sensuous intuition cannot of course be an object of perception;
secondly, such absence cannot be deduced from the contemplation of any
single phenomenon, and the difference of the degrees in its reality; nor
ought it ever to be admitted in explanation of any phenomenon. For if
even the complete intuition of a determinate space or time is thoroughly
real, that is, if no part thereof is empty, yet because every reality
has its degree, which, with the extensive quantity of the phenomenon
unchanged, can diminish through endless gradations down to nothing (the
void), there must be infinitely graduated degrees, with which space or
time is filled, and the intensive quantity in different phenomena may
be smaller or greater, although the extensive quantity of the intuition
remains equal and unaltered.

We shall give an example of this. Almost all natural philosophers,
remarking a great difference in the quantity of the matter of different
kinds in bodies with the same volume (partly on account of the momentum
of gravity or weight, partly on account of the momentum of resistance
to other bodies in motion), conclude unanimously that this volume
(extensive quantity of the phenomenon) must be void in all bodies,
although in different proportion. But who would suspect that these for
the most part mathematical and mechanical inquirers into nature should
ground this conclusion solely on a metaphysical hypothesis--a sort of
hypothesis which they profess to disparage and avoid? Yet this they
do, in assuming that the real in space (I must not here call it
impenetrability or weight, because these are empirical conceptions)
is always identical, and can only be distinguished according to its
extensive quantity, that is, multiplicity. Now to this presupposition,
for which they can have no ground in experience, and which consequently
is merely metaphysical, I oppose a transcendental demonstration, which
it is true will not explain the difference in the filling up of spaces,
but which nevertheless completely does away with the supposed necessity
of the above-mentioned presupposition that we cannot explain the said
difference otherwise than by the hypothesis of empty spaces. This
demonstration, moreover, has the merit of setting the understanding
at liberty to conceive this distinction in a different manner, if the
explanation of the fact requires any such hypothesis. For we perceive
that although two equal spaces may be completely filled by matters
altogether different, so that in neither of them is there left a single
point wherein matter is not present, nevertheless, every reality has its
degree (of resistance or of weight), which, without diminution of the
extensive quantity, can become less and less ad infinitum, before it
passes into nothingness and disappears. Thus an expansion which fills
a space--for example, caloric, or any other reality in the phenomenal
world--can decrease in its degrees to infinity, yet without leaving the
smallest part of the space empty; on the contrary, filling it with those
lesser degrees as completely as another phenomenon could with greater.
My intention here is by no means to maintain that this is really
the case with the difference of matters, in regard to their
specific gravity; I wish only to prove, from a principle of the pure
understanding, that the nature of our perceptions makes such a mode of
explanation possible, and that it is erroneous to regard the real in
a phenomenon as equal quoad its degree, and different only quoad its
aggregation and extensive quantity, and this, too, on the pretended
authority of an a priori principle of the understanding.

Nevertheless, this principle of the anticipation of perception must
somewhat startle an inquirer whom initiation into transcendental
philosophy has rendered cautious. We must naturally entertain some
doubt whether or not the understanding can enounce any such synthetical
proposition as that respecting the degree of all reality in phenomena,
and consequently the possibility of the internal difference of sensation
itself--abstraction being made of its empirical quality. Thus it is a
question not unworthy of solution: "How the understanding can pronounce
synthetically and a priori respecting phenomena, and thus anticipate
these, even in that which is peculiarly and merely empirical, that,
namely, which concerns sensation itself?"

The quality of sensation is in all cases merely empirical, and cannot
be represented a priori (for example, colours, taste, etc.). But the
real--that which corresponds to sensation--in opposition to negation =
0, only represents something the conception of which in itself contains
a being (ein seyn), and signifies nothing but the synthesis in an
empirical consciousness. That is to say, the empirical consciousness in
the internal sense can be raised from 0 to every higher degree, so that
the very same extensive quantity of intuition, an illuminated surface,
for example, excites as great a sensation as an aggregate of many other
surfaces less illuminated. We can therefore make complete abstraction
of the extensive quantity of a phenomenon, and represent to ourselves
in the mere sensation in a certain momentum, a synthesis of homogeneous
ascension from 0 up to the given empirical consciousness, All sensations
therefore as such are given only a posteriori, but this property
thereof, namely, that they have a degree, can be known a priori. It
is worthy of remark, that in respect to quantities in general, we can
cognize a priori only a single quality, namely, continuity; but in
respect to all quality (the real in phenomena), we cannot cognize a
priori anything more than the intensive quantity thereof, namely, that
they have a degree. All else is left to experience.


The principle of these is: Experience is possible only through the
representation of a necessary connection of Perceptions.


Experience is an empirical cognition; that is to say, a cognition
which determines an object by means of perceptions. It is therefore a
synthesis of perceptions, a synthesis which is not itself contained in
perception, but which contains the synthetical unity of the manifold of
perception in a consciousness; and this unity constitutes the essential
of our cognition of objects of the senses, that is, of experience (not
merely of intuition or sensation). Now in experience our perceptions
come together contingently, so that no character of necessity in their
connection appears, or can appear from the perceptions themselves,
because apprehension is only a placing together of the manifold of
empirical intuition, and no representation of a necessity in the
connected existence of the phenomena which apprehension brings together,
is to be discovered therein. But as experience is a cognition of objects
by means of perceptions, it follows that the relation of the existence
of the existence of the manifold must be represented in experience not
as it is put together in time, but as it is objectively in time. And as
time itself cannot be perceived, the determination of the existence of
objects in time can only take place by means of their connection in
time in general, consequently only by means of a priori connecting
conceptions. Now as these conceptions always possess the character of
necessity, experience is possible only by means of a representation of
the necessary connection of perception.

The three modi of time are permanence, succession, and coexistence.
Accordingly, there are three rules of all relations of time in
phenomena, according to which the existence of every phenomenon is
determined in respect of the unity of all time, and these antecede all
experience and render it possible.

The general principle of all three analogies rests on the necessary
unity of apperception in relation to all possible empirical
consciousness (perception) at every time, consequently, as this unity
lies a priori at the foundation of all mental operations, the principle
rests on the synthetical unity of all phenomena according to their
relation in time. For the original apperception relates to our internal
sense (the complex of all representations), and indeed relates a priori
to its form, that is to say, the relation of the manifold empirical
consciousness in time. Now this manifold must be combined in original
apperception according to relations of time--a necessity imposed by the
a priori transcendental unity of apperception, to which is subjected all
that can belong to my (i.e., my own) cognition, and therefore all that
can become an object for me. This synthetical and a priori determined
unity in relation of perceptions in time is therefore the rule: "All
empirical determinations of time must be subject to rules of the general
determination of time"; and the analogies of experience, of which we are
now about to treat, must be rules of this nature.

These principles have this peculiarity, that they do not concern
phenomena, and the synthesis of the empirical intuition thereof, but
merely the existence of phenomena and their relation to each other in
regard to this existence. Now the mode in which we apprehend a thing in
a phenomenon can be determined a priori in such a manner that the rule
of its synthesis can give, that is to say, can produce this a priori
intuition in every empirical example. But the existence of phenomena
cannot be known a priori, and although we could arrive by this path at
a conclusion of the fact of some existence, we could not cognize that
existence determinately, that is to say, we should be incapable of
anticipating in what respect the empirical intuition of it would be
distinguishable from that of others.

The two principles above mentioned, which I called mathematical, in
consideration of the fact of their authorizing the application of
mathematic phenomena, relate to these phenomena only in regard to their
possibility, and instruct us how phenomena, as far as regards their
intuition or the real in their perception, can be generated according
to the rules of a mathematical synthesis. Consequently, numerical
quantities, and with them the determination of a phenomenon as a
quantity, can be employed in the one case as well as in the other. Thus,
for example, out of 200,000 illuminations by the moon, I might compose
and give a priori, that is construct, the degree of our sensations
of the sun-light.* We may therefore entitle these two principles

   [*Footnote: Kant's meaning is: The two principles enunciated under
the heads of "Axioms of Intuition," and "Anticipations of Perception,"
authorize the application to phenomena of determinations of size and
number, that is of mathematic. For example, I may compute the light of
the sun, and say that its quantity is a certain number of times
greater than that of the moon. In the same way, heat is measured by the
comparison of its different effects on water, &c., and on mercury in a

The case is very different with those principles whose province it is to
subject the existence of phenomena to rules a priori. For as existence
does not admit of being constructed, it is clear that they must only
concern the relations of existence and be merely regulative principles.
In this case, therefore, neither axioms nor anticipations are to be
thought of. Thus, if a perception is given us, in a certain relation of
time to other (although undetermined) perceptions, we cannot then say
a priori, what and how great (in quantity) the other perception
necessarily connected with the former is, but only how it is connected,
quoad its existence, in this given modus of time. Analogies in
philosophy mean something very different from that which they represent
in mathematics. In the latter they are formulae, which enounce the
equality of two relations of quantity, and are always constitutive, so
that if two terms of the proportion are given, the third is also
given, that is, can be constructed by the aid of these formulae. But in
philosophy, analogy is not the equality of two quantitative but of two
qualitative relations. In this case, from three given terms, I can
give a priori and cognize the relation to a fourth member, but not this
fourth term itself, although I certainly possess a rule to guide me in
the search for this fourth term in experience, and a mark to assist me
in discovering it. An analogy of experience is therefore only a rule
according to which unity of experience must arise out of perceptions in
respect to objects (phenomena) not as a constitutive, but merely as
a regulative principle. The same holds good also of the postulates of
empirical thought in general, which relate to the synthesis of mere
intuition (which concerns the form of phenomena), the synthesis of
perception (which concerns the matter of phenomena), and the synthesis
of experience (which concerns the relation of these perceptions). For
they are only regulative principles, and clearly distinguishable from
the mathematical, which are constitutive, not indeed in regard to the
certainty which both possess a priori, but in the mode of evidence
thereof, consequently also in the manner of demonstration.

But what has been observed of all synthetical propositions, and must
be particularly remarked in this place, is this, that these
analogies possess significance and validity, not as principles of the
transcendental, but only as principles of the empirical use of the
understanding, and their truth can therefore be proved only as such, and
that consequently the phenomena must not be subjoined directly under the
categories, but only under their schemata. For if the objects to which
those principles must be applied were things in themselves, it would
be quite impossible to cognize aught concerning them synthetically a
priori. But they are nothing but phenomena; a complete knowledge
of which--a knowledge to which all principles a priori must at
last relate--is the only possible experience. It follows that these
principles can have nothing else for their aim than the conditions of
the empirical cognition in the unity of synthesis of phenomena. But this
synthesis is cogitated only in the schema of the pure conception of the
understanding, of whose unity, as that of a synthesis in general, the
category contains the function unrestricted by any sensuous condition.
These principles will therefore authorize us to connect phenomena
according to an analogy, with the logical and universal unity of
conceptions, and consequently to employ the categories in the principles
themselves; but in the application of them to experience, we shall use
only their schemata, as the key to their proper application, instead of
the categories, or rather the latter as restricting conditions, under
the title of "formulae" of the former.


Principle of the Permanence of Substance.

In all changes of phenomena, substance is permanent, and the quantum
thereof in nature is neither increased nor diminished.


All phenomena exist in time, wherein alone as substratum, that is, as
the permanent form of the internal intuition, coexistence and succession
can be represented. Consequently time, in which all changes of phenomena
must be cogitated, remains and changes not, because it is that in which
succession and coexistence can be represented only as determinations
thereof. Now, time in itself cannot be an object of perception. It
follows that in objects of perception, that is, in phenomena, there must
be found a substratum which represents time in general, and in which
all change or coexistence can be perceived by means of the relation of
phenomena to it. But the substratum of all reality, that is, of all that
pertains to the existence of things, is substance; all that pertains
to existence can be cogitated only as a determination of substance.
Consequently, the permanent, in relation to which alone can all
relations of time in phenomena be determined, is substance in the
world of phenomena, that is, the real in phenomena, that which, as the
substratum of all change, remains ever the same. Accordingly, as this
cannot change in existence, its quantity in nature can neither be
increased nor diminished.

Our apprehension of the manifold in a phenomenon is always successive,
is Consequently always changing. By it alone we could, therefore,
never determine whether this manifold, as an object of experience, is
coexistent or successive, unless it had for a foundation something fixed
and permanent, of the existence of which all succession and coexistence
are nothing but so many modes (modi of time). Only in the permanent,
then, are relations of time possible (for simultaneity and succession
are the only relations in time); that is to say, the permanent is the
substratum of our empirical representation of time itself, in which
alone all determination of time is possible. Permanence is, in fact,
just another expression for time, as the abiding correlate of all
existence of phenomena, and of all change, and of all coexistence. For
change does not affect time itself, but only the phenomena in time (just
as coexistence cannot be regarded as a modus of time itself, seeing
that in time no parts are coexistent, but all successive). If we were
to attribute succession to time itself, we should be obliged to cogitate
another time, in which this succession would be possible. It is only
by means of the permanent that existence in different parts of the
successive series of time receives a quantity, which we entitle
duration. For in mere succession, existence is perpetually vanishing and
recommencing, and therefore never has even the least quantity. Without
the permanent, then, no relation in time is possible. Now, time in
itself is not an object of perception; consequently the permanent in
phenomena must be regarded as the substratum of all determination of
time, and consequently also as the condition of the possibility of
all synthetical unity of perceptions, that is, of experience; and all
existence and all change in time can only be regarded as a mode in
the existence of that which abides unchangeably. Therefore, in all
phenomena, the permanent is the object in itself, that is, the substance
(phenomenon); but all that changes or can change belongs only to the
mode of the existence of this substance or substances, consequently to
its determinations.

I find that in all ages not only the philosopher, but even the common
understanding, has preposited this permanence as a substratum of all
change in phenomena; indeed, I am compelled to believe that they
will always accept this as an indubitable fact. Only the philosopher
expresses himself in a more precise and definite manner, when he says:
"In all changes in the world, the substance remains, and the accidents
alone are changeable." But of this decidedly synthetical proposition, I
nowhere meet with even an attempt at proof; nay, it very rarely has the
good fortune to stand, as it deserves to do, at the head of the pure and
entirely a priori laws of nature. In truth, the statement that substance
is permanent, is tautological. For this very permanence is the ground
on which we apply the category of substance to the phenomenon; and
we should have been obliged to prove that in all phenomena there is
something permanent, of the existence of which the changeable is nothing
but a determination. But because a proof of this nature cannot be
dogmatical, that is, cannot be drawn from conceptions, inasmuch as it
concerns a synthetical proposition a priori, and as philosophers never
reflected that such propositions are valid only in relation to possible
experience, and therefore cannot be proved except by means of a
deduction of the possibility of experience, it is no wonder that while
it has served as the foundation of all experience (for we feel the need
of it in empirical cognition), it has never been supported by proof.

A philosopher was asked: "What is the weight of smoke?" He answered:
"Subtract from the weight of the burnt wood the weight of the remaining
ashes, and you will have the weight of the smoke." Thus he presumed it
to be incontrovertible that even in fire the matter (substance) does not
perish, but that only the form of it undergoes a change. In like manner
was the saying: "From nothing comes nothing," only another inference
from the principle or permanence, or rather of the ever-abiding
existence of the true subject in phenomena. For if that in the
phenomenon which we call substance is to be the proper substratum of all
determination of time, it follows that all existence in past as well as
in future time, must be determinable by means of it alone. Hence we are
entitled to apply the term substance to a phenomenon, only because we
suppose its existence in all time, a notion which the word permanence
does not fully express, as it seems rather to be referable to future
time. However, the internal necessity perpetually to be, is inseparably
connected with the necessity always to have been, and so the expression
may stand as it is. "Gigni de nihilo nihil; in nihilum nil posse
reverti,"* are two propositions which the ancients never parted, and
which people nowadays sometimes mistakenly disjoin, because they imagine
that the propositions apply to objects as things in themselves, and that
the former might be inimical to the dependence (even in respect of its
substance also) of the world upon a supreme cause. But this apprehension
is entirely needless, for the question in this case is only of phenomena
in the sphere of experience, the unity of which never could be possible,
if we admitted the possibility that new things (in respect of their
substance) should arise. For in that case, we should lose altogether
that which alone can represent the unity of time, to wit, the identity
of the substratum, as that through which alone all change possesses
complete and thorough unity. This permanence is, however, nothing but
the manner in which we represent to ourselves the existence of things in
the phenomenal world.

   [*Footnote: Persius, Satirae, iii.83-84.]

The determinations of a substance, which are only particular modes of
its existence, are called accidents. They are always real, because they
concern the existence of substance (negations are only determinations,
which express the non-existence of something in the substance). Now,
if to this real in the substance we ascribe a particular existence (for
example, to motion as an accident of matter), this existence is called
inherence, in contradistinction to the existence of substance, which we
call subsistence. But hence arise many misconceptions, and it would be a
more accurate and just mode of expression to designate the accident
only as the mode in which the existence of a substance is positively
determined. Meanwhile, by reason of the conditions of the logical
exercise of our understanding, it is impossible to avoid separating,
as it were, that which in the existence of a substance is subject to
change, whilst the substance remains, and regarding it in relation to
that which is properly permanent and radical. On this account, this
category of substance stands under the title of relation, rather because
it is the condition thereof than because it contains in itself any

Now, upon this notion of permanence rests the proper notion of the
conception change. Origin and extinction are not changes of that which
originates or becomes extinct. Change is but a mode of existence, which
follows on another mode of existence of the same object; hence all that
changes is permanent, and only the condition thereof changes. Now since
this mutation affects only determinations, which can have a beginning
or an end, we may say, employing an expression which seems somewhat
paradoxical: "Only the permanent (substance) is subject to change; the
mutable suffers no change, but rather alternation, that is, when certain
determinations cease, others begin."

Change, when, cannot be perceived by us except in substances, and origin
or extinction in an absolute sense, that does not concern merely a
determination of the permanent, cannot be a possible perception, for
it is this very notion of the permanent which renders possible the
representation of a transition from one state into another, and from
non-being to being, which, consequently, can be empirically cognized
only as alternating determinations of that which is permanent. Grant
that a thing absolutely begins to be; we must then have a point of time
in which it was not. But how and by what can we fix and determine
this point of time, unless by that which already exists? For a void
time--preceding--is not an object of perception; but if we connect this
beginning with objects which existed previously, and which continue to
exist till the object in question in question begins to be, then the
latter can only be a determination of the former as the permanent. The
same holds good of the notion of extinction, for this presupposes the
empirical representation of a time, in which a phenomenon no longer

Substances (in the world of phenomena) are the substratum of all
determinations of time. The beginning of some, and the ceasing to be of
other substances, would utterly do away with the only condition of the
empirical unity of time; and in that case phenomena would relate to two
different times, in which, side by side, existence would pass; which is
absurd. For there is only one time in which all different times must be
placed, not as coexistent, but as successive.

Accordingly, permanence is a necessary condition under which alone
phenomena, as things or objects, are determinable in a possible
experience. But as regards the empirical criterion of this necessary
permanence, and with it of the substantiality of phenomena, we shall
find sufficient opportunity to speak in the sequel.


Principle of the Succession of Time According to the Law of Causality.
All changes take place according to the law of the connection of Cause
and Effect.


(That all phenomena in the succession of time are only changes, that
is, a successive being and non-being of the determinations of substance,
which is permanent; consequently that a being of substance itself which
follows on the non-being thereof, or a non-being of substance which
follows on the being thereof, in other words, that the origin or
extinction of substance itself, is impossible--all this has been fully
established in treating of the foregoing principle. This principle
might have been expressed as follows: "All alteration (succession) of
phenomena is merely change"; for the changes of substance are not origin
or extinction, because the conception of change presupposes the same
subject as existing with two opposite determinations, and consequently
as permanent. After this premonition, we shall proceed to the proof.)

I perceive that phenomena succeed one another, that is to say, a state
of things exists at one time, the opposite of which existed in a former
state. In this case, then, I really connect together two perceptions in
time. Now connection is not an operation of mere sense and intuition,
but is the product of a synthetical faculty of imagination, which
determines the internal sense in respect of a relation of time. But
imagination can connect these two states in two ways, so that either the
one or the other may antecede in time; for time in itself cannot be an
object of perception, and what in an object precedes and what follows
cannot be empirically determined in relation to it. I am only conscious,
then, that my imagination places one state before and the other after;
not that the one state antecedes the other in the object. In other
words, the objective relation of the successive phenomena remains
quite undetermined by means of mere perception. Now in order that this
relation may be cognized as determined, the relation between the two
states must be so cogitated that it is thereby determined as necessary,
which of them must be placed before and which after, and not conversely.
But the conception which carries with it a necessity of synthetical
unity, can be none other than a pure conception of the understanding
which does not lie in mere perception; and in this case it is the
conception of "the relation of cause and effect," the former of which
determines the latter in time, as its necessary consequence, and not as
something which might possibly antecede (or which might in some cases
not be perceived to follow). It follows that it is only because we
subject the sequence of phenomena, and consequently all change, to the
law of causality, that experience itself, that is, empirical cognition
of phenomena, becomes possible; and consequently, that phenomena
themselves, as objects of experience, are possible only by virtue of
this law.

Our apprehension of the manifold of phenomena is always successive. The
representations of parts succeed one another. Whether they succeed one
another in the object also, is a second point for reflection, which
was not contained in the former. Now we may certainly give the name of
object to everything, even to every representation, so far as we are
conscious thereof; but what this word may mean in the case of phenomena,
not merely in so far as they (as representations) are objects, but only
in so far as they indicate an object, is a question requiring deeper
consideration. In so far as they, regarded merely as representations,
are at the same time objects of consciousness, they are not to be
distinguished from apprehension, that is, reception into the synthesis
of imagination, and we must therefore say: "The manifold of phenomena is
always produced successively in the mind." If phenomena were things in
themselves, no man would be able to conjecture from the succession of
our representations how this manifold is connected in the object; for
we have to do only with our representations. How things may be in
themselves, without regard to the representations through which they
affect us, is utterly beyond the sphere of our cognition. Now although
phenomena are not things in themselves, and are nevertheless the only
thing given to us to be cognized, it is my duty to show what sort of
connection in time belongs to the manifold in phenomena themselves,
while the representation of this manifold in apprehension is always
successive. For example, the apprehension of the manifold in the
phenomenon of a house which stands before me, is successive. Now
comes the question whether the manifold of this house is in itself
successive--which no one will be at all willing to grant. But, so
soon as I raise my conception of an object to the transcendental
signification thereof, I find that the house is not a thing in itself,
but only a phenomenon, that is, a representation, the transcendental
object of which remains utterly unknown. What then am I to understand
by the question: "How can the manifold be connected in the phenomenon
itself--not considered as a thing in itself, but merely as a
phenomenon?" Here that which lies in my successive apprehension is
regarded as representation, whilst the phenomenon which is given
me, notwithstanding that it is nothing more than a complex of these
representations, is regarded as the object thereof, with which my
conception, drawn from the representations of apprehension, must
harmonize. It is very soon seen that, as accordance of the cognition
with its object constitutes truth, the question now before us can
only relate to the formal conditions of empirical truth; and that the
phenomenon, in opposition to the representations of apprehension, can
only be distinguished therefrom as the object of them, if it is subject
to a rule which distinguishes it from every other apprehension, and
which renders necessary a mode of connection of the manifold. That in
the phenomenon which contains the condition of this necessary rule of
apprehension, is the object.

Let us now proceed to our task. That something happens, that is to say,
that something or some state exists which before was not, cannot be
empirically perceived, unless a phenomenon precedes, which does not
contain in itself this state. For a reality which should follow upon
a void time, in other words, a beginning, which no state of things
precedes, can just as little be apprehended as the void time itself.
Every apprehension of an event is therefore a perception which follows
upon another perception. But as this is the case with all synthesis
of apprehension, as I have shown above in the example of a house, my
apprehension of an event is not yet sufficiently distinguished from
other apprehensions. But I remark also that if in a phenomenon which
contains an occurrence, I call the antecedent state of my perception,
A, and the following state, B, the perception B can only follow A in
apprehension, and the perception A cannot follow B, but only precede
it. For example, I see a ship float down the stream of a river. My
perception of its place lower down follows upon my perception of its
place higher up the course of the river, and it is impossible that,
in the apprehension of this phenomenon, the vessel should be perceived
first below and afterwards higher up the stream. Here, therefore, the
order in the sequence of perceptions in apprehension is determined;
and by this order apprehension is regulated. In the former example, my
perceptions in the apprehension of a house might begin at the roof and
end at the foundation, or vice versa; or I might apprehend the manifold
in this empirical intuition, by going from left to right, and from right
to left. Accordingly, in the series of these perceptions, there was no
determined order, which necessitated my beginning at a certain point, in
order empirically to connect the manifold. But this rule is always to be
met with in the perception of that which happens, and it makes the order
of the successive perceptions in the apprehension of such a phenomenon

I must, therefore, in the present case, deduce the subjective sequence
of apprehension from the objective sequence of phenomena, for
otherwise the former is quite undetermined, and one phenomenon is not
distinguishable from another. The former alone proves nothing as to the
connection of the manifold in an object, for it is quite arbitrary.
The latter must consist in the order of the manifold in a phenomenon,
according to which order the apprehension of one thing (that which
happens) follows that of another thing (which precedes), in conformity
with a rule. In this way alone can I be authorized to say of the
phenomenon itself, and not merely of my own apprehension, that a certain
order or sequence is to be found therein. That is, in other words, I
cannot arrange my apprehension otherwise than in this order.

In conformity with this rule, then, it is necessary that in that which
antecedes an event there be found the condition of a rule, according to
which in this event follows always and necessarily; but I cannot reverse
this and go back from the event, and determine (by apprehension) that
which antecedes it. For no phenomenon goes back from the succeeding
point of time to the preceding point, although it does certainly relate
to a preceding point of time; from a given time, on the other hand,
there is always a necessary progression to the determined succeeding
time. Therefore, because there certainly is something that follows, I
must of necessity connect it with something else, which antecedes, and
upon which it follows, in conformity with a rule, that is necessarily,
so that the event, as conditioned, affords certain indication of a
condition, and this condition determines the event.

Let us suppose that nothing precedes an event, upon which this event
must follow in conformity with a rule. All sequence of perception
would then exist only in apprehension, that is to say, would be merely
subjective, and it could not thereby be objectively determined what
thing ought to precede, and what ought to follow in perception. In such
a case, we should have nothing but a play of representations, which
would possess no application to any object. That is to say, it would
not be possible through perception to distinguish one phenomenon from
another, as regards relations of time; because the succession in the act
of apprehension would always be of the same sort, and therefore there
would be nothing in the phenomenon to determine the succession, and to
render a certain sequence objectively necessary. And, in this case, I
cannot say that two states in a phenomenon follow one upon the other,
but only that one apprehension follows upon another. But this is merely
subjective, and does not determine an object, and consequently cannot be
held to be cognition of an object--not even in the phenomenal world.

Accordingly, when we know in experience that something happens, we
always presuppose that something precedes, whereupon it follows in
conformity with a rule. For otherwise I could not say of the object that
it follows; because the mere succession in my apprehension, if it be
not determined by a rule in relation to something preceding, does not
authorize succession in the object. Only, therefore, in reference to
a rule, according to which phenomena are determined in their sequence,
that is, as they happen, by the preceding state, can I make my
subjective synthesis (of apprehension) objective, and it is only under
this presupposition that even the experience of an event is possible.

No doubt it appears as if this were in thorough contradiction to all
the notions which people have hitherto entertained in regard to the
procedure of the human understanding. According to these opinions, it
is by means of the perception and comparison of similar consequences
following upon certain antecedent phenomena that the understanding is
led to the discovery of a rule, according to which certain events always
follow certain phenomena, and it is only by this process that we attain
to the conception of cause. Upon such a basis, it is clear that this
conception must be merely empirical, and the rule which it furnishes
us with--"Everything that happens must have a cause"--would be just as
contingent as experience itself. The universality and necessity of the
rule or law would be perfectly spurious attributes of it. Indeed, it
could not possess universal validity, inasmuch as it would not in this
case be a priori, but founded on deduction. But the same is the case
with this law as with other pure a priori representations (e.g., space
and time), which we can draw in perfect clearness and completeness from
experience, only because we had already placed them therein, and by that
means, and by that alone, had rendered experience possible. Indeed,
the logical clearness of this representation of a rule, determining
the series of events, is possible only when we have made use thereof in
experience. Nevertheless, the recognition of this rule, as a condition
of the synthetical unity of phenomena in time, was the ground of
experience itself and consequently preceded it a priori.

It is now our duty to show by an example that we never, even in
experience, attribute to an object the notion of succession or effect
(of an event--that is, the happening of something that did not
exist before), and distinguish it from the subjective succession of
apprehension, unless when a rule lies at the foundation, which compels
us to observe this order of perception in preference to any other, and
that, indeed, it is this necessity which first renders possible the
representation of a succession in the object.

We have representations within us, of which also we can be conscious.
But, however widely extended, however accurate and thoroughgoing this
consciousness may be, these representations are still nothing more than
representations, that is, internal determinations of the mind in this or
that relation of time. Now how happens it that to these representations
we should set an object, or that, in addition to their subjective
reality, as modifications, we should still further attribute to them
a certain unknown objective reality? It is clear that objective
significancy cannot consist in a relation to another representation
(of that which we desire to term object), for in that case the question
again arises: "How does this other representation go out of itself, and
obtain objective significancy over and above the subjective, which
is proper to it, as a determination of a state of mind?" If we try to
discover what sort of new property the relation to an object gives to
our subjective representations, and what new importance they thereby
receive, we shall find that this relation has no other effect than
that of rendering necessary the connection of our representations in a
certain manner, and of subjecting them to a rule; and that conversely,
it is only because a certain order is necessary in the relations of time
of our representations, that objective significancy is ascribed to them.

In the synthesis of phenomena, the manifold of our representations is
always successive. Now hereby is not represented an object, for by means
of this succession, which is common to all apprehension, no one thing is
distinguished from another. But so soon as I perceive or assume that in
this succession there is a relation to a state antecedent, from which
the representation follows in accordance with a rule, so soon do I
represent something as an event, or as a thing that happens; in other
words, I cognize an object to which I must assign a certain determinate
position in time, which cannot be altered, because of the preceding
state in the object. When, therefore, I perceive that something happens,
there is contained in this representation, in the first place, the fact,
that something antecedes; because, it is only in relation to this that
the phenomenon obtains its proper relation of time, in other words,
exists after an antecedent time, in which it did not exist. But it can
receive its determined place in time only by the presupposition
that something existed in the foregoing state, upon which it follows
inevitably and always, that is, in conformity with a rule. From all this
it is evident that, in the first place, I cannot reverse the order
of succession, and make that which happens precede that upon which
it follows; and that, in the second place, if the antecedent state be
posited, a certain determinate event inevitably and necessarily
follows. Hence it follows that there exists a certain order in our
representations, whereby the present gives a sure indication of some
previously existing state, as a correlate, though still undetermined, of
the existing event which is given--a correlate which itself relates to
the event as its consequence, conditions it, and connects it necessarily
with itself in the series of time.

If then it be admitted as a necessary law of sensibility, and
consequently a formal condition of all perception, that the preceding
necessarily determines the succeeding time (inasmuch as I cannot arrive
at the succeeding except through the preceding), it must likewise be an
indispensable law of empirical representation of the series of time
that the phenomena of the past determine all phenomena in the succeeding
time, and that the latter, as events, cannot take place, except in so
far as the former determine their existence in time, that is to say,
establish it according to a rule. For it is of course only in phenomena
that we can empirically cognize this continuity in the connection of

For all experience and for the possibility of experience, understanding
is indispensable, and the first step which it takes in this sphere is
not to render the representation of objects clear, but to render the
representation of an object in general, possible. It does this by
applying the order of time to phenomena, and their existence. In other
words, it assigns to each phenomenon, as a consequence, a place in
relation to preceding phenomena, determined a priori in time, without
which it could not harmonize with time itself, which determines a place
a priori to all its parts. This determination of place cannot be derived
from the relation of phenomena to absolute time (for it is not an
object of perception); but, on the contrary, phenomena must reciprocally
determine the places in time of one another, and render these necessary
in the order of time. In other words, whatever follows or happens, must
follow in conformity with a universal rule upon that which was contained
in the foregoing state. Hence arises a series of phenomena, which, by
means of the understanding, produces and renders necessary exactly
the same order and continuous connection in the series of our possible
perceptions, as is found a priori in the form of internal intuition
(time), in which all our perceptions must have place.

That something happens, then, is a perception which belongs to a
possible experience, which becomes real only because I look upon the
phenomenon as determined in regard to its place in time, consequently as
an object, which can always be found by means of a rule in the connected
series of my perceptions. But this rule of the determination of a thing
according to succession in time is as follows: "In what precedes may be
found the condition, under which an event always (that is, necessarily)
follows." From all this it is obvious that the principle of cause and
effect is the principle of possible experience, that is, of objective
cognition of phenomena, in regard to their relations in the succession
of time.

The proof of this fundamental proposition rests entirely on the
following momenta of argument. To all empirical cognition belongs the
synthesis of the manifold by the imagination, a synthesis which is
always successive, that is, in which the representations therein always
follow one another. But the order of succession in imagination is not
determined, and the series of successive representations may be taken
retrogressively as well as progressively. But if this synthesis is a
synthesis of apprehension (of the manifold of a given phenomenon), then
the order is determined in the object, or to speak more accurately,
there is therein an order of successive synthesis which determines an
object, and according to which something necessarily precedes, and
when this is posited, something else necessarily follows. If, then,
my perception is to contain the cognition of an event, that is, of
something which really happens, it must be an empirical judgement,
wherein we think that the succession is determined; that is, it
presupposes another phenomenon, upon which this event follows
necessarily, or in conformity with a rule. If, on the contrary, when I
posited the antecedent, the event did not necessarily follow, I should
be obliged to consider it merely as a subjective play of my imagination,
and if in this I represented to myself anything as objective, I must
look upon it as a mere dream. Thus, the relation of phenomena (as
possible perceptions), according to which that which happens is, as
to its existence, necessarily determined in time by something which
antecedes, in conformity with a rule--in other words, the relation of
cause and effect--is the condition of the objective validity of
our empirical judgements in regard to the sequence of perceptions,
consequently of their empirical truth, and therefore of experience. The
principle of the relation of causality in the succession of phenomena is
therefore valid for all objects of experience, because it is itself the
ground of the possibility of experience.

Here, however, a difficulty arises, which must be resolved. The
principle of the connection of causality among phenomena is limited in
our formula to the succession thereof, although in practice we find that
the principle applies also when the phenomena exist together in the same
time, and that cause and effect may be simultaneous. For example, there
is heat in a room, which does not exist in the open air. I look about
for the cause, and find it to be the fire, Now the fire as the cause is
simultaneous with its effect, the heat of the room. In this case, then,
there is no succession as regards time, between cause and effect, but
they are simultaneous; and still the law holds good. The greater part of
operating causes in nature are simultaneous with their effects, and
the succession in time of the latter is produced only because the cause
cannot achieve the total of its effect in one moment. But at the
moment when the effect first arises, it is always simultaneous with the
causality of its cause, because, if the cause had but a moment before
ceased to be, the effect could not have arisen. Here it must be
specially remembered that we must consider the order of time and not the
lapse thereof. The relation remains, even though no time has elapsed.
The time between the causality of the cause and its immediate effect may
entirely vanish, and the cause and effect be thus simultaneous, but the
relation of the one to the other remains always determinable according
to time. If, for example, I consider a leaden ball, which lies upon a
cushion and makes a hollow in it, as a cause, then it is simultaneous
with the effect. But I distinguish the two through the relation of time
of the dynamical connection of both. For if I lay the ball upon the
cushion, then the hollow follows upon the before smooth surface; but
supposing the cushion has, from some cause or another, a hollow, there
does not thereupon follow a leaden ball.

Thus, the law of succession of time is in all instances the only
empirical criterion of effect in relation to the causality of the
antecedent cause. The glass is the cause of the rising of the
water above its horizontal surface, although the two phenomena are
contemporaneous. For, as soon as I draw some water with the glass from
a larger vessel, an effect follows thereupon, namely, the change of the
horizontal state which the water had in the large vessel into a concave,
which it assumes in the glass.

This conception of causality leads us to the conception of action; that
of action, to the conception of force; and through it, to the conception
of substance. As I do not wish this critical essay, the sole purpose of
which is to treat of the sources of our synthetical cognition a priori,
to be crowded with analyses which merely explain, but do not enlarge
the sphere of our conceptions, I reserve the detailed explanation of the
above conceptions for a future system of pure reason. Such an analysis,
indeed, executed with great particularity, may already be found in
well-known works on this subject. But I cannot at present refrain from
making a few remarks on the empirical criterion of a substance, in so
far as it seems to be more evident and more easily recognized through
the conception of action than through that of the permanence of a

Where action (consequently activity and force) exists, substance also
must exist, and in it alone must be sought the seat of that fruitful
source of phenomena. Very well. But if we are called upon to explain
what we mean by substance, and wish to avoid the vice of reasoning in
a circle, the answer is by no means so easy. How shall we conclude
immediately from the action to the permanence of that which acts, this
being nevertheless an essential and peculiar criterion of substance
(phenomenon)? But after what has been said above, the solution of
this question becomes easy enough, although by the common mode
of procedure--merely analysing our conceptions--it would be quite
impossible. The conception of action indicates the relation of the
subject of causality to the effect. Now because all effect consists
in that which happens, therefore in the changeable, the last subject
thereof is the permanent, as the substratum of all that changes, that
is, substance. For according to the principle of causality, actions are
always the first ground of all change in phenomena and, consequently,
cannot be a property of a subject which itself changes, because if this
were the case, other actions and another subject would be necessary to
determine this change. From all this it results that action alone, as
an empirical criterion, is a sufficient proof of the presence of
substantiality, without any necessity on my part of endeavouring to
discover the permanence of substance by a comparison. Besides, by this
mode of induction we could not attain to the completeness which the
magnitude and strict universality of the conception requires. For that
the primary subject of the causality of all arising and passing away,
all origin and extinction, cannot itself (in the sphere of phenomena)
arise and pass away, is a sound and safe conclusion, a conclusion which
leads us to the conception of empirical necessity and permanence
in existence, and consequently to the conception of a substance as

When something happens, the mere fact of the occurrence, without
regard to that which occurs, is an object requiring investigation.
The transition from the non-being of a state into the existence of it,
supposing that this state contains no quality which previously existed
in the phenomenon, is a fact of itself demanding inquiry. Such an event,
as has been shown in No. A, does not concern substance (for substance
does not thus originate), but its condition or state. It is therefore
only change, and not origin from nothing. If this origin be regarded as
the effect of a foreign cause, it is termed creation, which cannot be
admitted as an event among phenomena, because the very possibility of
it would annihilate the unity of experience. If, however, I regard all
things not as phenomena, but as things in themselves and objects of
understanding alone, they, although substances, may be considered as
dependent, in respect of their existence, on a foreign cause. But this
would require a very different meaning in the words, a meaning which
could not apply to phenomena as objects of possible experience.

How a thing can be changed, how it is possible that upon one state
existing in one point of time, an opposite state should follow in
another point of time--of this we have not the smallest conception a
priori. There is requisite for this the knowledge of real powers, which
can only be given empirically; for example, knowledge of moving forces,
or, in other words, of certain successive phenomena (as movements) which
indicate the presence of such forces. But the form of every change,
the condition under which alone it can take place as the coming into
existence of another state (be the content of the change, that is, the
state which is changed, what it may), and consequently the succession of
the states themselves can very well be considered a priori, in relation
to the law of causality and the conditions of time.*

   [*Footnote: It must be remarked that I do not speak of the change of
certain relations, but of the change of the state. Thus, when a body
moves in a uniform manner, it does not change its state (of motion); but
only when all motion increases or decreases.]

When a substance passes from one state, a, into another state, b,
the point of time in which the latter exists is different from, and
subsequent to that in which the former existed. In like manner, the
second state, as reality (in the phenomenon), differs from the first, in
which the reality of the second did not exist, as b from zero. That is
to say, if the state, b, differs from the state, a, only in respect to
quantity, the change is a coming into existence of b -a, which in the
former state did not exist, and in relation to which that state is = O.

Now the question arises how a thing passes from one state = a, into
another state = b. Between two moments there is always a certain time,
and between two states existing in these moments there is always a
difference having a certain quantity (for all parts of phenomena are in
their turn quantities). Consequently, every transition from one state
into another is always effected in a time contained between two moments,
of which the first determines the state which leaves, and the second
determines the state into the thing passes. The thing leaves, and the
second determines the state into which the thing Both moments, then, are
limitations of the time of a change, consequently of the intermediate
state between both, and as such they belong to the total of the change.
Now every change has a cause, which evidences its causality in the whole
time during which the charge takes place. The cause, therefore, does not
produce the change all at once or in one moment, but in a time, so that,
as the time gradually increases from the commencing instant, a, to its
completion at b, in like manner also, the quantity of the reality (b -
a) is generated through the lesser degrees which are contained between
the first and last. All change is therefore possible only through a
continuous action of the causality, which, in so far as it is uniform,
we call a momentum. The change does not consist of these momenta, but is
generated or produced by them as their effect.

Such is the law of the continuity of all change, the ground of which is
that neither time itself nor any phenomenon in time consists of parts
which are the smallest possible, but that, notwithstanding, the state
of a thing passes in the process of a change through all these parts, as
elements, to its second state. There is no smallest degree of reality
in a phenomenon, just as there is no smallest degree in the quantity of
time; and so the new state of reality grows up out of the former state,
through all the infinite degrees thereof, the differences of which one
from another, taken all together, are less than the difference between o
and a.

It is not our business to inquire here into the utility of this
principle in the investigation of nature. But how such a proposition,
which appears so greatly to extend our knowledge of nature, is possible
completely a priori, is indeed a question which deserves investigation,
although the first view seems to demonstrate the truth and reality of
the principle, and the question, how it is possible, may be considered
superfluous. For there are so many groundless pretensions to the
enlargement of our knowledge by pure reason that we must take it as a
general rule to be mistrustful of all such, and without a thoroughgoing
and radical deduction, to believe nothing of the sort even on the
clearest dogmatical evidence.

Every addition to our empirical knowledge, and every advance made in
the exercise of our perception, is nothing more than an extension of the
determination of the internal sense, that is to say, a progression
in time, be objects themselves what they may, phenomena, or pure
intuitions. This progression in time determines everything, and is
itself determined by nothing else. That is to say, the parts of the
progression exist only in time, and by means of the synthesis thereof,
and are not given antecedently to it. For this reason, every transition
in perception to anything which follows upon another in time, is a
determination of time by means of the production of this perception.
And as this determination of time is, always and in all its parts, a
quantity, the perception produced is to be considered as a quantity
which proceeds through all its degrees--no one of which is the smallest
possible--from zero up to its determined degree. From this we perceive
the possibility of cognizing a priori a law of changes--a law,
however, which concerns their form merely. We merely anticipate our own
apprehension, the formal condition of which, inasmuch as it is itself to
be found in the mind antecedently to all given phenomena, must certainly
be capable of being cognized a priori.

Thus, as time contains the sensuous condition a priori of the
possibility of a continuous progression of that which exists to
that which follows it, the understanding, by virtue of the unity of
apperception, contains the condition a priori of the possibility of a
continuous determination of the position in time of all phenomena, and
this by means of the series of causes and effects, the former of which
necessitate the sequence of the latter, and thereby render universally
and for all time, and by consequence, objectively, valid the empirical
cognition of the relations of time.


Principle of Coexistence, According to the Law of Reciprocity or

All substances, in so far as they can be perceived in space at the same
time, exist in a state of complete reciprocity of action.


Things are coexistent, when in empirical intuition the perception of the
one can follow upon the perception of the other, and vice versa--which
cannot occur in the succession of phenomena, as we have shown in the
explanation of the second principle. Thus I can perceive the moon and
then the earth, or conversely, first the earth and then the moon; and
for the reason that my perceptions of these objects can reciprocally
follow each other, I say, they exist contemporaneously. Now coexistence
is the existence of the manifold in the same time. But time itself is
not an object of perception; and therefore we cannot conclude from the
fact that things are placed in the same time, the other fact, that
the perception of these things can follow each other reciprocally. The
synthesis of the imagination in apprehension would only present to us
each of these perceptions as present in the subject when the other is
not present, and contrariwise; but would not show that the objects are
coexistent, that is to say, that, if the one exists, the other also
exists in the same time, and that this is necessarily so, in order that
the perceptions may be capable of following each other reciprocally.
It follows that a conception of the understanding or category of the
reciprocal sequence of the determinations of phenomena (existing, as
they do, apart from each other, and yet contemporaneously), is requisite
to justify us in saying that the reciprocal succession of perceptions
has its foundation in the object, and to enable us to represent
coexistence as objective. But that relation of substances in which
the one contains determinations the ground of which is in the other
substance, is the relation of influence. And, when this influence is
reciprocal, it is the relation of community or reciprocity. Consequently
the coexistence of substances in space cannot be cognized in experience
otherwise than under the precondition of their reciprocal action. This
is therefore the condition of the possibility of things themselves as
objects of experience.

Things are coexistent, in so far as they exist in one and the same time.
But how can we know that they exist in one and the same time? Only
by observing that the order in the synthesis of apprehension of the
manifold is arbitrary and a matter of indifference, that is to say, that
it can proceed from A, through B, C, D, to E, or contrariwise from E
to A. For if they were successive in time (and in the order, let
us suppose, which begins with A), it is quite impossible for the
apprehension in perception to begin with E and go backwards to A,
inasmuch as A belongs to past time and, therefore, cannot be an object
of apprehension.

Let us assume that in a number of substances considered as phenomena
each is completely isolated, that is, that no one acts upon another.
Then I say that the coexistence of these cannot be an object of
possible perception and that the existence of one cannot, by any mode of
empirical synthesis, lead us to the existence of another. For we imagine
them in this case to be separated by a completely void space, and thus
perception, which proceeds from the one to the other in time, would
indeed determine their existence by means of a following perception, but
would be quite unable to distinguish whether the one phenomenon follows
objectively upon the first, or is coexistent with it.

Besides the mere fact of existence, then, there must be something by
means of which A determines the position of B in time and, conversely,
B the position of A; because only under this condition can substances
be empirically represented as existing contemporaneously. Now that alone
determines the position of another thing in time which is the cause of
it or of its determinations. Consequently every substance (inasmuch
as it can have succession predicated of it only in respect of its
determinations) must contain the causality of certain determinations in
another substance, and at the same time the effects of the causality of
the other in itself. That is to say, substances must stand (mediately or
immediately) in dynamical community with each other, if coexistence is
to be cognized in any possible experience. But, in regard to objects of
experience, that is absolutely necessary without which the experience of
these objects would itself be impossible. Consequently it is absolutely
necessary that all substances in the world of phenomena, in so far
as they are coexistent, stand in a relation of complete community of
reciprocal action to each other.

The word community has in our language [Footnote: German] two meanings,
and contains the two notions conveyed in the Latin communio and
commercium. We employ it in this place in the latter sense--that of a
dynamical community, without which even the community of place (communio
spatii) could not be empirically cognized. In our experiences it is easy
to observe that it is only the continuous influences in all parts of
space that can conduct our senses from one object to another; that the
light which plays between our eyes and the heavenly bodies produces a
mediating community between them and us, and thereby evidences their
coexistence with us; that we cannot empirically change our position
(perceive this change), unless the existence of matter throughout the
whole of space rendered possible the perception of the positions we
occupy; and that this perception can prove the contemporaneous existence
of these places only through their reciprocal influence, and thereby
also the coexistence of even the most remote objects--although in this
case the proof is only mediate. Without community, every perception (of
a phenomenon in space) is separated from every other and isolated, and
the chain of empirical representations, that is, of experience, must,
with the appearance of a new object, begin entirely de novo, without the
least connection with preceding representations, and without standing
towards these even in the relation of time. My intention here is by no
means to combat the notion of empty space; for it may exist where our
perceptions cannot exist, inasmuch as they cannot reach thereto, and
where, therefore, no empirical perception of coexistence takes place.
But in this case it is not an object of possible experience.

The following remarks may be useful in the way of explanation. In the
mind, all phenomena, as contents of a possible experience, must exist in
community (communio) of apperception or consciousness, and in so far as
it is requisite that objects be represented as coexistent and connected,
in so far must they reciprocally determine the position in time of each
other and thereby constitute a whole. If this subjective community is
to rest upon an objective basis, or to be applied to substances as
phenomena, the perception of one substance must render possible the
perception of another, and conversely. For otherwise succession, which
is always found in perceptions as apprehensions, would be predicated of
external objects, and their representation of their coexistence be thus
impossible. But this is a reciprocal influence, that is to say, a
real community (commercium) of substances, without which therefore the
empirical relation of coexistence would be a notion beyond the reach of
our minds. By virtue of this commercium, phenomena, in so far as
they are apart from, and nevertheless in connection with each other,
constitute a compositum reale. Such composita are possible in many
different ways. The three dynamical relations then, from which all
others spring, are those of inherence, consequence, and composition.

These, then, are the three analogies of experience. They are nothing
more than principles of the determination of the existence of phenomena
in time, according to the three modi of this determination; to wit, the
relation to time itself as a quantity (the quantity of existence, that
is, duration), the relation in time as a series or succession, finally,
the relation in time as the complex of all existence (simultaneity).
This unity of determination in regard to time is thoroughly dynamical;
that is to say, time is not considered as that in which experience
determines immediately to every existence its position; for this is
impossible, inasmuch as absolute time is not an object of perception,
by means of which phenomena can be connected with each other. On
the contrary, the rule of the understanding, through which alone
the existence of phenomena can receive synthetical unity as regards
relations of time, determines for every phenomenon its position in time,
and consequently a priori, and with validity for all and every time.

By nature, in the empirical sense of the word, we understand the
totality of phenomena connected, in respect of their existence,
according to necessary rules, that is, laws. There are therefore certain
laws (which are moreover a priori) which make nature possible; and all
empirical laws can exist only by means of experience, and by virtue of
those primitive laws through which experience itself becomes possible.
The purpose of the analogies is therefore to represent to us the unity
of nature in the connection of all phenomena under certain exponents,
the only business of which is to express the relation of time (in so far
as it contains all existence in itself) to the unity of apperception,
which can exist in synthesis only according to rules. The combined
expression of all is this: "All phenomena exist in one nature, and
must so exist, inasmuch as without this a priori unity, no unity of
experience, and consequently no determination of objects in experience,
is possible."

As regards the mode of proof which we have employed in treating of these
transcendental laws of nature, and the peculiar character of we must
make one remark, which will at the same time be important as a guide
in every other attempt to demonstrate the truth of intellectual and
likewise synthetical propositions a priori. Had we endeavoured to prove
these analogies dogmatically, that is, from conceptions; that is to say,
had we employed this method in attempting to show that everything which
exists, exists only in that which is permanent--that every thing or
event presupposes the existence of something in a preceding state,
upon which it follows in conformity with a rule--lastly, that in the
manifold, which is coexistent, the states coexist in connection with
each other according to a rule, all our labour would have been utterly
in vain. For more conceptions of things, analyse them as we may, cannot
enable us to conclude from the existence of one object to the existence
of another. What other course was left for us to pursue? This only, to
demonstrate the possibility of experience as a cognition in which
at last all objects must be capable of being presented to us, if the
representation of them is to possess any objective reality. Now in this
third, this mediating term, the essential form of which consists in
the synthetical unity of the apperception of all phenomena, we found
a priori conditions of the universal and necessary determination as
to time of all existences in the world of phenomena, without which the
empirical determination thereof as to time would itself be impossible,
and we also discovered rules of synthetical unity a priori, by means of
which we could anticipate experience. For want of this method, and from
the fancy that it was possible to discover a dogmatical proof of the
synthetical propositions which are requisite in the empirical employment
of the understanding, has it happened that a proof of the principle of
sufficient reason has been so often attempted, and always in vain.
The other two analogies nobody has ever thought of, although they have
always been silently employed by the mind,* because the guiding thread
furnished by the categories was wanting, the guide which alone can
enable us to discover every hiatus, both in the system of conceptions
and of principles.

   [*Footnote: The unity of the universe, in which all phenomena to be
connected, is evidently a mere consequence of the admitted principle
of the community of all substances which are coexistent. For were
substances isolated, they could not as parts constitute a whole, and
were their connection (reciprocal action of the manifold) not necessary
from the very fact of coexistence, we could not conclude from the fact
of the latter as a merely ideal relation to the former as a real one. We
have, however, shown in its place that community is the proper ground
of the possibility of an empirical cognition of coexistence, and that
we may therefore properly reason from the latter to the former as its


1. That which agrees with the formal conditions (intuition and
conception) of experience, is possible.

2. That which coheres with the material conditions of experience
(sensation), is real.

3. That whose coherence with the real is determined according to
universal conditions of experience is (exists) necessary.


The categories of modality possess this peculiarity, that they do not in
the least determine the object, or enlarge the conception to which they
are annexed as predicates, but only express its relation to the faculty
of cognition. Though my conception of a thing is in itself complete, I
am still entitled to ask whether the object of it is merely possible,
or whether it is also real, or, if the latter, whether it is also
necessary. But hereby the object itself is not more definitely
determined in thought, but the question is only in what relation it,
including all its determinations, stands to the understanding and its
employment in experience, to the empirical faculty of judgement, and to
the reason of its application to experience.

For this very reason, too, the categories of modality are nothing
more than explanations of the conceptions of possibility, reality, and
necessity, as employed in experience, and at the same time, restrictions
of all the categories to empirical use alone, not authorizing the
transcendental employment of them. For if they are to have something
more than a merely logical significance, and to be something more than
a mere analytical expression of the form of thought, and to have a
relation to things and their possibility, reality, or necessity, they
must concern possible experience and its synthetical unity, in which
alone objects of cognition can be given.

The postulate of the possibility of things requires also, that the
conception of the things agree with the formal conditions of our
experience in general. But this, that is to say, the objective form of
experience, contains all the kinds of synthesis which are requisite for
the cognition of objects. A conception which contains a synthesis
must be regarded as empty and, without reference to an object, if its
synthesis does not belong to experience--either as borrowed from it,
and in this case it is called an empirical conception, or such as is the
ground and a priori condition of experience (its form), and in this
case it is a pure conception, a conception which nevertheless belongs to
experience, inasmuch as its object can be found in this alone. For where
shall we find the criterion or character of the possibility of an object
which is cogitated by means of an a priori synthetical conception, if
not in the synthesis which constitutes the form of empirical cognition
of objects? That in such a conception no contradiction exists is indeed
a necessary logical condition, but very far from being sufficient
to establish the objective reality of the conception, that is, the
possibility of such an object as is thought in the conception. Thus, in
the conception of a figure which is contained within two straight lines,
there is no contradiction, for the conceptions of two straight lines and
of their junction contain no negation of a figure. The impossibility in
such a case does not rest upon the conception in itself, but upon the
construction of it in space, that is to say, upon the conditions of
space and its determinations. But these have themselves objective
reality, that is, they apply to possible things, because they contain a
priori the form of experience in general.

And now we shall proceed to point out the extensive utility and
influence of this postulate of possibility. When I represent to myself a
thing that is permanent, so that everything in it which changes belongs
merely to its state or condition, from such a conception alone I never
can cognize that such a thing is possible. Or, if I represent to myself
something which is so constituted that, when it is posited,
something else follows always and infallibly, my thought contains no
self-contradiction; but whether such a property as causality is to
be found in any possible thing, my thought alone affords no means
of judging. Finally, I can represent to myself different things
(substances) which are so constituted that the state or condition of one
causes a change in the state of the other, and reciprocally; but whether
such a relation is a property of things cannot be perceived from these
conceptions, which contain a merely arbitrary synthesis. Only from the
fact, therefore, that these conceptions express a priori the relations
of perceptions in every experience, do we know that they possess
objective reality, that is, transcendental truth; and that independent
of experience, though not independent of all relation to form of an
experience in general and its synthetical unity, in which alone objects
can be empirically cognized.

But when we fashion to ourselves new conceptions of substances, forces,
action, and reaction, from the material presented to us by perception,
without following the example of experience in their connection, we
create mere chimeras, of the possibility of which we cannot discover any
criterion, because we have not taken experience for our instructress,
though we have borrowed the conceptions from her. Such fictitious
conceptions derive their character of possibility not, like the
categories, a priori, as conceptions on which all experience depends,
but only, a posteriori, as conceptions given by means of experience
itself, and their possibility must either be cognized a posteriori
and empirically, or it cannot be cognized at all. A substance which is
permanently present in space, yet without filling it (like that tertium
quid between matter and the thinking subject which some have tried to
introduce into metaphysics), or a peculiar fundamental power of the mind
of intuiting the future by anticipation (instead of merely inferring
from past and present events), or, finally, a power of the mind to place
itself in community of thought with other men, however distant they may
be--these are conceptions the possibility of which has no ground to rest
upon. For they are not based upon experience and its known laws; and,
without experience, they are a merely arbitrary conjunction of thoughts,
which, though containing no internal contradiction, has no claim to
objective reality, neither, consequently, to the possibility of such an
object as is thought in these conceptions. As far as concerns reality,
it is self-evident that we cannot cogitate such a possibility in
concreto without the aid of experience; because reality is concerned
only with sensation, as the matter of experience, and not with the form
of thought, with which we can no doubt indulge in shaping fancies.

But I pass by everything which derives its possibility from reality in
experience, and I purpose treating here merely of the possibility of
things by means of a priori conceptions. I maintain, then, that the
possibility of things is not derived from such conceptions per se, but
only when considered as formal and objective conditions of an experience
in general.

It seems, indeed, as if the possibility of a triangle could be cognized
from the conception of it alone (which is certainly independent of
experience); for we can certainly give to the conception a corresponding
object completely a priori, that is to say, we can construct it. But as
a triangle is only the form of an object, it must remain a mere product
of the imagination, and the possibility of the existence of an object
corresponding to it must remain doubtful, unless we can discover some
other ground, unless we know that the figure can be cogitated under the
conditions upon which all objects of experience rest. Now, the facts
that space is a formal condition a priori of external experience,
that the formative synthesis, by which we construct a triangle in
imagination, is the very same as that we employ in the apprehension of a
phenomenon for the purpose of making an empirical conception of it, are
what alone connect the notion of the possibility of such a thing, with
the conception of it. In the same manner, the possibility of continuous
quantities, indeed of quantities in general, for the conceptions of them
are without exception synthetical, is never evident from the conceptions
in themselves, but only when they are considered as the formal
conditions of the determination of objects in experience. And where,
indeed, should we look for objects to correspond to our conceptions, if
not in experience, by which alone objects are presented to us? It is,
however, true that without antecedent experience we can cognize and
characterize the possibility of things, relatively to the formal
conditions, under which something is determined in experience as an
object, consequently, completely a priori. But still this is possible
only in relation to experience and within its limits.

The postulate concerning the cognition of the reality of things requires
perception, consequently conscious sensation, not indeed immediately,
that is, of the object itself, whose existence is to be cognized, but
still that the object have some connection with a real perception, in
accordance with the analogies of experience, which exhibit all kinds of
real connection in experience.

From the mere conception of a thing it is impossible to conclude its
existence. For, let the conception be ever so complete, and containing
a statement of all the determinations of the thing, the existence of
it has nothing to do with all this, but only with thew question whether
such a thing is given, so that the perception of it can in every case
precede the conception. For the fact that the conception of it precedes
the perception, merely indicates the possibility of its existence; it
is perception which presents matter to the conception, that is the sole
criterion of reality. Prior to the perception of the thing, however, and
therefore comparatively a priori, we are able to cognize its existence,
provided it stands in connection with some perceptions according to the
principles of the empirical conjunction of these, that is, in conformity
with the analogies of perception. For, in this case, the existence
of the supposed thing is connected with our perception in a possible
experience, and we are able, with the guidance of these analogies, to
reason in the series of possible perceptions from a thing which we do
really perceive to the thing we do not perceive. Thus, we cognize
the existence of a magnetic matter penetrating all bodies from the
perception of the attraction of the steel-filings by the magnet,
although the constitution of our organs renders an immediate perception
of this matter impossible for us. For, according to the laws of
sensibility and the connected context of our perceptions, we should
in an experience come also on an immediate empirical intuition of
this matter, if our senses were more acute--but this obtuseness has
no influence upon and cannot alter the form of possible experience in
general. Our knowledge of the existence of things reaches as far as our
perceptions, and what may be inferred from them according to empirical
laws, extend. If we do not set out from experience, or do not proceed
according to the laws of the empirical connection of phenomena, our
pretensions to discover the existence of a thing which we do not
immediately perceive are vain. Idealism, however, brings forward
powerful objections to these rules for proving existence mediately. This
is, therefore, the proper place for its refutation.


Idealism--I mean material idealism--is the theory which declares the
existence of objects in space without us to be either () doubtful
and indemonstrable, or (2) false and impossible. The first is the
problematical idealism of Descartes, who admits the undoubted certainty
of only one empirical assertion (assertio), to wit, "I am." The second
is the dogmatical idealism of Berkeley, who maintains that space,
together with all the objects of which it is the inseparable condition,
is a thing which is in itself impossible, and that consequently the
objects in space are mere products of the imagination. The dogmatical
theory of idealism is unavoidable, if we regard space as a property
of things in themselves; for in that case it is, with all to which it
serves as condition, a nonentity. But the foundation for this kind of
idealism we have already destroyed in the transcendental aesthetic.
Problematical idealism, which makes no such assertion, but only alleges
our incapacity to prove the existence of anything besides ourselves by
means of immediate experience, is a theory rational and evidencing a
thorough and philosophical mode of thinking, for it observes the rule
not to form a decisive judgement before sufficient proof be shown. The
desired proof must therefore demonstrate that we have experience of
external things, and not mere fancies. For this purpose, we must prove,
that our internal and, to Descartes, indubitable experience is itself
possible only under the previous assumption of external experience.


The simple but empirically determined consciousness of my own existence
proves the existence of external objects in space.


I am conscious of my own existence as determined in time. All
determination in regard to time presupposes the existence of something
permanent in perception. But this permanent something cannot be
something in me, for the very reason that my existence in time is itself
determined by this permanent something. It follows that the perception
of this permanent existence is possible only through a thing without
me and not through the mere representation of a thing without me.
Consequently, the determination of my existence in time is possible only
through the existence of real things external to me. Now, consciousness
in time is necessarily connected with the consciousness of the
possibility of this determination in time. Hence it follows that
consciousness in time is necessarily connected also with the existence
of things without me, inasmuch as the existence of these things is the
condition of determination in time. That is to say, the consciousness of
my own existence is at the same time an immediate consciousness of the
existence of other things without me.

Remark I. The reader will observe, that in the foregoing proof the game
which idealism plays is retorted upon itself, and with more justice.
It assumed that the only immediate experience is internal and that from
this we can only infer the existence of external things. But, as
always happens, when we reason from given effects to determined causes,
idealism has reasoned with too much haste and uncertainty, for it
is quite possible that the cause of our representations may lie in
ourselves, and that we ascribe it falsely to external things. But our
proof shows that external experience is properly immediate,* that only
by virtue of it--not, indeed, the consciousness of our own existence,
but certainly the determination of our existence in time, that is,
internal experience--is possible. It is true, that the representation
"I am," which is the expression of the consciousness which can accompany
all my thoughts, is that which immediately includes the existence of a
subject. But in this representation we cannot find any knowledge of the
subject, and therefore also no empirical knowledge, that is, experience.
For experience contains, in addition to the thought of something
existing, intuition, and in this case it must be internal intuition,
that is, time, in relation to which the subject must be determined.
But the existence of external things is absolutely requisite for this
purpose, so that it follows that internal experience is itself possible
only mediately and through external experience.

   [*Footnote: The immediate consciousness of the existence of external
things is, in the preceding theorem, not presupposed, but proved, by the
possibility of this consciousness understood by us or not. The question
as to the possibility of it would stand thus: "Have we an internal
sense, but no external sense, and is our belief in external perception
a mere delusion?" But it is evident that, in order merely to fancy to
ourselves anything as external, that is, to present it to the sense in
intuition we must already possess an external sense, and must thereby
distinguish immediately the mere receptivity of an external intuition
from the spontaneity which characterizes every act of imagination. For
merely to imagine also an external sense, would annihilate the faculty
of intuition itself which is to be determined by the imagination.]

Remark II. Now with this view all empirical use of our faculty of
cognition in the determination of time is in perfect accordance.
Its truth is supported by the fact that it is possible to perceive a
determination of time only by means of a change in external relations
(motion) to the permanent in space (for example, we become aware of the
sun's motion by observing the changes of his relation to the objects
of this earth). But this is not all. We find that we possess nothing
permanent that can correspond and be submitted to the conception of a
substance as intuition, except matter. This idea of permanence is not
itself derived from external experience, but is an a priori necessary
condition of all determination of time, consequently also of the
internal sense in reference to our own existence, and that through
the existence of external things. In the representation "I," the
consciousness of myself is not an intuition, but a merely intellectual
representation produced by the spontaneous activity of a thinking
subject. It follows, that this "I" has not any predicate of intuition,
which, in its character of permanence, could serve as correlate to
the determination of time in the internal sense--in the same way as
impenetrability is the correlate of matter as an empirical intuition.

Remark III. From the fact that the existence of external things is a
necessary condition of the possibility of a determined consciousness
of ourselves, it does not follow that every intuitive representation
of external things involves the existence of these things, for their
representations may very well be the mere products of the imagination
(in dreams as well as in madness); though, indeed, these are themselves
created by the reproduction of previous external perceptions, which,
as has been shown, are possible only through the reality of external
objects. The sole aim of our remarks has, however, been to prove
that internal experience in general is possible only through external
experience in general. Whether this or that supposed experience be
purely imaginary must be discovered from its particular determinations
and by comparing these with the criteria of all real experience.

Finally, as regards the third postulate, it applies to material
necessity in existence, and not to merely formal and logical necessity
in the connection of conceptions. Now as we cannot cognize completely
a priori the existence of any object of sense, though we can do so
comparatively a priori, that is, relatively to some other previously
given existence--a cognition, however, which can only be of such an
existence as must be contained in the complex of experience, of which
the previously given perception is a part--the necessity of existence
can never be cognized from conceptions, but always, on the contrary,
from its connection with that which is an object of perception. But the
only existence cognized, under the condition of other given phenomena,
as necessary, is the existence of effects from given causes in
conformity with the laws of causality. It is consequently not the
necessity of the existence of things (as substances), but the necessity
of the state of things that we cognize, and that not immediately, but by
means of the existence of other states given in perception, according
to empirical laws of causality. Hence it follows that the criterion of
necessity is to be found only in the law of possible experience--that
everything which happens is determined a priori in the phenomenon by
its cause. Thus we cognize only the necessity of effects in nature, the
causes of which are given us. Moreover, the criterion of necessity
in existence possesses no application beyond the field of possible
experience, and even in this it is not valid of the existence of things
as substances, because these can never be considered as empirical
effects, or as something that happens and has a beginning. Necessity,
therefore, regards only the relations of phenomena according to the
dynamical law of causality, and the possibility grounded thereon, of
reasoning from some given existence (of a cause) a priori to another
existence (of an effect). "Everything that happens is hypothetically
necessary," is a principle which subjects the changes that take place in
the world to a law, that is, to a rule of necessary existence, without
which nature herself could not possibly exist. Hence the proposition,
"Nothing happens by blind chance (in mundo non datur casus)," is an
a priori law of nature. The case is the same with the proposition,
"Necessity in nature is not blind," that is, it is conditioned,
consequently intelligible necessity (non datur fatum). Both laws subject
the play of change to "a nature of things (as phenomena)," or, which
is the same thing, to the unity of the understanding, and through
the understanding alone can changes belong to an experience, as the
synthetical unity of phenomena. Both belong to the class of dynamical
principles. The former is properly a consequence of the principle of
causality--one of the analogies of experience. The latter belongs to the
principles of modality, which to the determination of causality adds the
conception of necessity, which is itself, however, subject to a rule of
the understanding. The principle of continuity forbids any leap in the
series of phenomena regarded as changes (in mundo non datur saltus); and
likewise, in the complex of all empirical intuitions in space, any
break or hiatus between two phenomena (non datur hiatus)--for we can so
express the principle, that experience can admit nothing which proves
the existence of a vacuum, or which even admits it as a part of an
empirical synthesis. For, as regards a vacuum or void, which we may
cogitate as out and beyond the field of possible experience (the world),
such a question cannot come before the tribunal of mere understanding,
which decides only upon questions that concern the employment of given
phenomena for the construction of empirical cognition. It is rather a
problem for ideal reason, which passes beyond the sphere of a possible
experience and aims at forming a judgement of that which surrounds and
circumscribes it, and the proper place for the consideration of it is
the transcendental dialectic. These four propositions, "In mundo non
datur hiatus, non datur saltus, non datur casus, non datur fatum," as
well as all principles of transcendental origin, we could very easily
exhibit in their proper order, that is, in conformity with the order
of the categories, and assign to each its proper place. But the already
practised reader will do this for himself, or discover the clue to such
an arrangement. But the combined result of all is simply this, to admit
into the empirical synthesis nothing which might cause a break in or
be foreign to the understanding and the continuous connection of all
phenomena, that is, the unity of the conceptions of the understanding.
For in the understanding alone is the unity of experience, in which all
perceptions must have their assigned place, possible.

Whether the field of possibility be greater than that of reality,
and whether the field of the latter be itself greater than that of
necessity, are interesting enough questions, and quite capable
of synthetic solution, questions, however, which come under the
jurisdiction of reason alone. For they are tantamount to asking whether
all things as phenomena do without exception belong to the complex and
connected whole of a single experience, of which every given
perception is a part which therefore cannot be conjoined with any
other phenomena--or, whether my perceptions can belong to more than one
possible experience? The understanding gives to experience, according
to the subjective and formal conditions, of sensibility as well as of
apperception, the rules which alone make this experience possible.
Other forms of intuition besides those of space and time, other forms of
understanding besides the discursive forms of thought, or of cognition
by means of conceptions, we can neither imagine nor make intelligible
to ourselves; and even if we could, they would still not belong to
experience, which is the only mode of cognition by which objects are
presented to us. Whether other perceptions besides those which belong
to the total of our possible experience, and consequently whether some
other sphere of matter exists, the understanding has no power to decide,
its proper occupation being with the synthesis of that which is given.
Moreover, the poverty of the usual arguments which go to prove the
existence of a vast sphere of possibility, of which all that is real
(every object of experience) is but a small part, is very remarkable.
"All real is possible"; from this follows naturally, according to the
logical laws of conversion, the particular proposition: "Some possible
is real." Now this seems to be equivalent to: "Much is possible that is
not real." No doubt it does seem as if we ought to consider the sum of
the possible to be greater than that of the real, from the fact that
something must be added to the former to constitute the latter. But this
notion of adding to the possible is absurd. For that which is not in
the sum of the possible, and consequently requires to be added to it,
is manifestly impossible. In addition to accordance with the formal
conditions of experience, the understanding requires a connection with
some perception; but that which is connected with this perception is
real, even although it is not immediately perceived. But that another
series of phenomena, in complete coherence with that which is given
in perception, consequently more than one all-embracing experience is
possible, is an inference which cannot be concluded from the data given
us by experience, and still less without any data at all. That which is
possible only under conditions which are themselves merely possible, is
not possible in any respect. And yet we can find no more certain ground
on which to base the discussion of the question whether the sphere of
possibility is wider than that of experience.

I have merely mentioned these questions, that in treating of the
conception of the understanding, there might be no omission of anything
that, in the common opinion, belongs to them. In reality, however, the
notion of absolute possibility (possibility which is valid in every
respect) is not a mere conception of the understanding, which can be
employed empirically, but belongs to reason alone, which passes the
bounds of all empirical use of the understanding. We have, therefore,
contented ourselves with a merely critical remark, leaving the subject
to be explained in the sequel.

Before concluding this fourth section, and at the same time the system
of all principles of the pure understanding, it seems proper to
mention the reasons which induced me to term the principles of modality
postulates. This expression I do not here use in the sense which some
more recent philosophers, contrary to its meaning with mathematicians,
to whom the word properly belongs, attach to it--that of a proposition,
namely, immediately certain, requiring neither deduction nor proof. For
if, in the case of synthetical propositions, however evident they may
be, we accord to them without deduction, and merely on the strength
of their own pretensions, unqualified belief, all critique of the
understanding is entirely lost; and, as there is no want of bold
pretensions, which the common belief (though for the philosopher this is
no credential) does not reject, the understanding lies exposed to every
delusion and conceit, without the power of refusing its assent to those
assertions, which, though illegitimate, demand acceptance as veritable
axioms. When, therefore, to the conception of a thing an a priori
determination is synthetically added, such a proposition must obtain, if
not a proof, at least a deduction of the legitimacy of its assertion.

The principles of modality are, however, not objectively synthetical,
for the predicates of possibility, reality, and necessity do not in
the least augment the conception of that of which they are affirmed,
inasmuch as they contribute nothing to the representation of the object.
But as they are, nevertheless, always synthetical, they are so merely
subjectively. That is to say, they have a reflective power, and apply
to the conception of a thing, of which, in other respects, they affirm
nothing, the faculty of cognition in which the conception originates
and has its seat. So that if the conception merely agree with the formal
conditions of experience, its object is called possible; if it is in
connection with perception, and determined thereby, the object is real;
if it is determined according to conceptions by means of the connection
of perceptions, the object is called necessary. The principles of
modality therefore predicate of a conception nothing more than the
procedure of the faculty of cognition which generated it. Now a
postulate in mathematics is a practical proposition which contains
nothing but the synthesis by which we present an object to ourselves,
and produce the conception of it, for example--"With a given line,
to describe a circle upon a plane, from a given point"; and such a
proposition does not admit of proof, because the procedure, which it
requires, is exactly that by which alone it is possible to generate the
conception of such a figure. With the same right, accordingly, can we
postulate the principles of modality, because they do not augment* the
conception of a thing but merely indicate the manner in which it is
connected with the faculty of cognition.

   [*Footnote: When I think the reality of a thing, I do really think more
than the possibility, but not in the thing; for that can never contain
more in reality than was contained in its complete possibility. But
while the notion of possibility is merely the notion of a position of
thing in relation to the understanding (its empirical use), reality is
the conjunction of the thing with perception.]


It is very remarkable that we cannot perceive the possibility of a thing
from the category alone, but must always have an intuition, by which
to make evident the objective reality of the pure conception of the
understanding. Take, for example, the categories of relation. How (1)
a thing can exist only as a subject, and not as a mere determination of
other things, that is, can be substance; or how (2), because something
exists, some other thing must exist, consequently how a thing can be a
cause; or how (3), when several things exist, from the fact that one
of these things exists, some consequence to the others follows,
and reciprocally, and in this way a community of substances can be
possible--are questions whose solution cannot be obtained from mere
conceptions. The very same is the case with the other categories; for
example, how a thing can be of the same sort with many others, that is,
can be a quantity, and so on. So long as we have not intuition we cannot
know whether we do really think an object by the categories, and where
an object can anywhere be found to cohere with them, and thus the truth
is established, that the categories are not in themselves cognitions,
but mere forms of thought for the construction of cognitions from given
intuitions. For the same reason is it true that from categories alone
no synthetical proposition can be made. For example: "In every existence
there is substance," that is, something that can exist only as a subject
and not as mere predicate; or, "Everything is a quantity"--to construct
propositions such as these, we require something to enable us to go out
beyond the given conception and connect another with it. For the same
reason the attempt to prove a synthetical proposition by means of mere
conceptions, for example: "Everything that exists contingently has a
cause," has never succeeded. We could never get further than proving
that, without this relation to conceptions, we could not conceive the
existence of the contingent, that is, could not a priori through the
understanding cognize the existence of such a thing; but it does not
hence follow that this is also the condition of the possibility of the
thing itself that is said to be contingent. If, accordingly; we look
back to our proof of the principle of causality, we shall find that we
were able to prove it as valid only of objects of possible experience,
and, indeed, only as itself the principle of the possibility of
experience, Consequently of the cognition of an object given in
empirical intuition, and not from mere conceptions. That, however,
the proposition: "Everything that is contingent must have a cause," is
evident to every one merely from conceptions, is not to be denied. But
in this case the conception of the contingent is cogitated as involving
not the category of modality (as that the non-existence of which can
be conceived) but that of relation (as that which can exist only as
the consequence of something else), and so it is really an identical
proposition: "That which can exist only as a consequence, has a cause."
In fact, when we have to give examples of contingent existence, we
always refer to changes, and not merely to the possibility of conceiving
the opposite.* But change is an event, which, as such, is possible only
through a cause, and considered per se its non-existence is therefore
possible, and we become cognizant of its contingency from the fact that
it can exist only as the effect of a cause. Hence, if a thing is assumed
to be contingent, it is an analytical proposition to say, it has a

   [*Footnote: We can easily conceive the non-existence of matter; but the
ancients did not thence infer its contingency. But even the alternation
of the existence and non-existence of a given state in a thing, in
which all change consists, by no means proves the contingency of that
state--the ground of proof being the reality of its opposite. For
example, a body is in a state of rest after motion, but we cannot infer
the contingency of the motion from the fact that the former is the
opposite of the latter. For this opposite is merely a logical and not a
real opposite to the other. If we wish to demonstrate the contingency of
the motion, what we ought to prove is that, instead of the motion which
took place in the preceding point of time, it was possible for the body
to have been then in rest, not, that it is afterwards in rest; for in
this case, both opposites are perfectly consistent with each other.]

But it is still more remarkable that, to understand the possibility of
things according to the categories and thus to demonstrate the objective
reality of the latter, we require not merely intuitions, but external
intuitions. If, for example, we take the pure conceptions of relation,
we find that (1) for the purpose of presenting to the conception of
substance something permanent in intuition corresponding thereto and
thus of demonstrating the objective reality of this conception, we
require an intuition (of matter) in space, because space alone is
permanent and determines things as such, while time, and with it all
that is in the internal sense, is in a state of continual flow; (2)
in order to represent change as the intuition corresponding to the
conception of causality, we require the representation of motion as
change in space; in fact, it is through it alone that changes, the
possibility of which no pure understanding can perceive, are capable
of being intuited. Change is the connection of determinations
contradictorily opposed to each other in the existence of one and the
same thing. Now, how it is possible that out of a given state one
quite opposite to it in the same thing should follow, reason without
an example can not only not conceive, but cannot even make intelligible
without intuition; and this intuition is the motion of a point in space;
the existence of which in different spaces (as a consequence of opposite
determinations) alone makes the intuition of change possible. For, in
order to make even internal change cognitable, we require to represent
time, as the form of the internal sense, figuratively by a line, and the
internal change by the drawing of that line (motion), and consequently
are obliged to employ external intuition to be able to represent the
successive existence of ourselves in different states. The proper ground
of this fact is that all change to be perceived as change presupposes
something permanent in intuition, while in the internal sense no
permanent intuition is to be found. Lastly, the objective possibility
of the category of community cannot be conceived by mere reason, and
consequently its objective reality cannot be demonstrated without an
intuition, and that external in space. For how can we conceive the
possibility of community, that is, when several substances exist, that
some effect on the existence of the one follows from the existence
of the other, and reciprocally, and therefore that, because something
exists in the latter, something else must exist in the former, which
could not be understood from its own existence alone? For this is the
very essence of community--which is inconceivable as a property of
things which are perfectly isolated. Hence, Leibnitz, in attributing to
the substances of the world--as cogitated by the understanding alone--a
community, required the mediating aid of a divinity; for, from their
existence, such a property seemed to him with justice inconceivable. But
we can very easily conceive the possibility of community (of
substances as phenomena) if we represent them to ourselves as in space,
consequently in external intuition. For external intuition contains
in itself a priori formal external relations, as the conditions of the
possibility of the real relations of action and reaction, and
therefore of the possibility of community. With the same ease can it
be demonstrated, that the possibility of things as quantities, and
consequently the objective reality of the category of quantity, can be
grounded only in external intuition, and that by its means alone is the
notion of quantity appropriated by the internal sense. But I must avoid
prolixity, and leave the task of illustrating this by examples to the
reader's own reflection.

The above remarks are of the greatest importance, not only for the
confirmation of our previous confutation of idealism, but still more
when the subject of self-cognition by mere internal consciousness
and the determination of our own nature without the aid of external
empirical intuitions is under discussion, for the indication of the
grounds of the possibility of such a cognition.

The result of the whole of this part of the analytic of principles is,
therefore: "All principles of the pure understanding are nothing more
than a priori principles of the possibility of experience, and to
experience alone do all a priori synthetical propositions apply and
relate"; indeed, their possibility itself rests entirely on this

CHAPTER III Of the Ground of the Division of all Objects into Phenomena
and Noumena.

We have now not only traversed the region of the pure understanding and
carefully surveyed every part of it, but we have also measured it, and
assigned to everything therein its proper place. But this land is an
island, and enclosed by nature herself within unchangeable limits. It is
the land of truth (an attractive word), surrounded by a wide and stormy
ocean, the region of illusion, where many a fog-bank, many an iceberg,
seems to the mariner, on his voyage of discovery, a new country, and,
while constantly deluding him with vain hopes, engages him in dangerous
adventures, from which he never can desist, and which yet he never can
bring to a termination. But before venturing upon this sea, in order
to explore it in its whole extent, and to arrive at a certainty whether
anything is to be discovered there, it will not be without advantage if
we cast our eyes upon the chart of the land that we are about to
leave, and to ask ourselves, firstly, whether we cannot rest perfectly
contented with what it contains, or whether we must not of necessity
be contented with it, if we can find nowhere else a solid foundation to
build upon; and, secondly, by what title we possess this land itself,
and how we hold it secure against all hostile claims? Although, in the
course of our analytic, we have already given sufficient answers to
these questions, yet a summary recapitulation of these solutions may
be useful in strengthening our conviction, by uniting in one point the
momenta of the arguments.

We have seen that everything which the understanding draws from itself,
without borrowing from experience, it nevertheless possesses only
for the behoof and use of experience. The principles of the pure
understanding, whether constitutive a priori (as the mathematical
principles), or merely regulative (as the dynamical), contain nothing
but the pure schema, as it were, of possible experience. For experience
possesses its unity from the synthetical unity which the understanding,
originally and from itself, imparts to the synthesis of the imagination
in relation to apperception, and in a priori relation to and agreement
with which phenomena, as data for a possible cognition, must stand. But
although these rules of the understanding are not only a priori true,
but the very source of all truth, that is, of the accordance of our
cognition with objects, and on this ground, that they contain the basis
of the possibility of experience, as the ensemble of all cognition, it
seems to us not enough to propound what is true--we desire also to
be told what we want to know. If, then, we learn nothing more by this
critical examination than what we should have practised in the merely
empirical use of the understanding, without any such subtle inquiry,
the presumption is that the advantage we reap from it is not worth
the labour bestowed upon it. It may certainly be answered that no rash
curiosity is more prejudicial to the enlargement of our knowledge than
that which must know beforehand the utility of this or that piece
of information which we seek, before we have entered on the needful
investigations, and before one could form the least conception of its
utility, even though it were placed before our eyes. But there is
one advantage in such transcendental inquiries which can be made
comprehensible to the dullest and most reluctant learner--this, namely,
that the understanding which is occupied merely with empirical exercise,
and does not reflect on the sources of its own cognition, may exercise
its functions very well and very successfully, but is quite unable to do
one thing, and that of very great importance, to determine, namely,
the bounds that limit its employment, and to know what lies within
or without its own sphere. This purpose can be obtained only by
such profound investigations as we have instituted. But if it cannot
distinguish whether certain questions lie within its horizon or not, it
can never be sure either as to its claims or possessions, but must lay
its account with many humiliating corrections, when it transgresses, as
it unavoidably will, the limits of its own territory, and loses itself
in fanciful opinions and blinding illusions.

That the understanding, therefore, cannot make of its a priori
principles, or even of its conceptions, other than an empirical use,
is a proposition which leads to the most important results. A
transcendental use is made of a conception in a fundamental proposition
or principle, when it is referred to things in general and considered
as things in themselves; an empirical use, when it is referred merely to
phenomena, that is, to objects of a possible experience. That the latter
use of a conception is the only admissible one is evident from the
reasons following. For every conception are requisite, firstly, the
logical form of a conception (of thought) general; and, secondly, the
possibility of presenting to this an object to which it may apply.
Failing this latter, it has no sense, and utterly void of content,
although it may contain the logical function for constructing a
conception from certain data. Now, object cannot be given to a
conception otherwise than by intuition, and, even if a pure intuition
antecedent to the object is a priori possible, this pure intuition can
itself obtain objective validity only from empirical intuition, of which
it is itself but the form. All conceptions, therefore, and with them
all principles, however high the degree of their a priori possibility,
relate to empirical intuitions, that is, to data towards a possible
experience. Without this they possess no objective validity, but are
mere play of imagination or of understanding with images or notions. Let
us take, for example, the conceptions of mathematics, and first in its
pure intuitions. "Space has three dimensions"--"Between two points there
can be only one straight line," etc. Although all these principles,
and the representation of the object with which this science occupies
itself, are generated in the mind entirely a priori, they would
nevertheless have no significance if we were not always able to exhibit
their significance in and by means of phenomena (empirical objects).
Hence it is requisite that an abstract conception be made sensuous,
that is, that an object corresponding to it in intuition be forthcoming,
otherwise the conception remains, as we say, without sense, that
is, without meaning. Mathematics fulfils this requirement by the
construction of the figure, which is a phenomenon evident to the senses.
The same science finds support and significance in number; this in its
turn finds it in the fingers, or in counters, or in lines and points.
The conception itself is always produced a priori, together with the
synthetical principles or formulas from such conceptions; but the proper
employment of them, and their application to objects, can exist nowhere
but in experience, the possibility of which, as regards its form, they
contain a priori.

That this is also the case with all of the categories and the principles
based upon them is evident from the fact that we cannot render
intelligible the possibility of an object corresponding to them without
having recourse to the conditions of sensibility, consequently, to the
form of phenomena, to which, as their only proper objects, their use
must therefore be confined, inasmuch as, if this condition is removed,
all significance, that is, all relation to an object, disappears, and
no example can be found to make it comprehensible what sort of things we
ought to think under such conceptions.

The conception of quantity cannot be explained except by saying that
it is the determination of a thing whereby it can be cogitated how
many times one is placed in it. But this "how many times" is based upon
successive repetition, consequently upon time and the synthesis of the
homogeneous therein. Reality, in contradistinction to negation, can be
explained only by cogitating a time which is either filled therewith or
is void. If I leave out the notion of permanence (which is existence in
all time), there remains in the conception of substance nothing but the
logical notion of subject, a notion of which I endeavour to realize by
representing to myself something that can exist only as a subject. But
not only am I perfectly ignorant of any conditions under which this
logical prerogative can belong to a thing, I can make nothing out of
the notion, and draw no inference from it, because no object to which
to apply the conception is determined, and we consequently do not know
whether it has any meaning at all. In like manner, if I leave out the
notion of time, in which something follows upon some other thing in
conformity with a rule, I can find nothing in the pure category, except
that there is a something of such a sort that from it a conclusion may
be drawn as to the existence of some other thing. But in this case
it would not only be impossible to distinguish between a cause and an
effect, but, as this power to draw conclusions requires conditions of
which I am quite ignorant, the conception is not determined as to the
mode in which it ought to apply to an object. The so-called principle:
"Everything that is contingent has a cause," comes with a gravity and
self-assumed authority that seems to require no support from without.
But, I ask, what is meant by contingent? The answer is that the
non-existence of which is possible. But I should like very well to know
by what means this possibility of non-existence is to be cognized, if we
do not represent to ourselves a succession in the series of phenomena,
and in this succession an existence which follows a non-existence, or
conversely, consequently, change. For to say, that the non-existence
of a thing is not self-contradictory is a lame appeal to a logical
condition, which is no doubt a necessary condition of the existence of
the conception, but is far from being sufficient for the real objective
possibility of non-existence. I can annihilate in thought every existing
substance without self-contradiction, but I cannot infer from this their
objective contingency in existence, that is to say, the possibility of
their non-existence in itself. As regards the category of community,
it may easily be inferred that, as the pure categories of substance and
causality are incapable of a definition and explanation sufficient to
determine their object without the aid of intuition, the category
of reciprocal causality in the relation of substances to each other
(commercium) is just as little susceptible thereof. Possibility,
existence, and necessity nobody has ever yet been able to explain
without being guilty of manifest tautology, when the definition has been
drawn entirely from the pure understanding. For the substitution of the
logical possibility of the conception--the condition of which is that
it be not self-contradictory, for the transcendental possibility of
things--the condition of which is that there be an object corresponding
to the conception, is a trick which can only deceive the inexperienced.*

   [*Footnote: In one word, to none of these conceptions belongs a
corresponding object, and consequently their real possibility cannot
be demonstrated, if we take away sensuous intuition--the only intuition
which we possess--and there then remains nothing but the logical
possibility, that is, the fact that the conception or thought is
possible--which, however, is not the question; what we want to know
being, whether it relates to an object and thus possesses any meaning.]

It follows incontestably, that the pure conceptions of the understanding
are incapable of transcendental, and must always be of empirical use
alone, and that the principles of the pure understanding relate only
to the general conditions of a possible experience, to objects of the
senses, and never to things in general, apart from the mode in which we
intuite them.

Transcendental analytic has accordingly this important result, to wit,
that the understanding is competent' effect nothing a priori, except the
anticipation of the form of a possible experience in general, and that,
as that which is not phenomenon cannot be an object of experience, it
can never overstep the limits of sensibility, within which alone
objects are presented to us. Its principles are merely principles of
the exposition of phenomena, and the proud name of an ontology, which
professes to present synthetical cognitions a priori of things in
general in a systematic doctrine, must give place to the modest title of
analytic of the pure understanding.

Thought is the act of referring a given intuition to an object. If
the mode of this intuition is unknown to us, the object is merely
transcendental, and the conception of the understanding is employed only
transcendentally, that is, to produce unity in the thought of a manifold
in general. Now a pure category, in which all conditions of sensuous
intuition--as the only intuition we possess--are abstracted, does not
determine an object, but merely expresses the thought of an object in
general, according to different modes. Now, to employ a conception, the
function of judgement is required, by which an object is subsumed under
the conception, consequently the at least formal condition, under which
something can be given in intuition. Failing this condition of judgement
(schema), subsumption is impossible; for there is in such a case
nothing given, which may be subsumed under the conception. The merely
transcendental use of the categories is therefore, in fact, no use at
all and has no determined, or even, as regards its form, determinable
object. Hence it follows that the pure category is incompetent to
establish a synthetical a priori principle, and that the principles of
the pure understanding are only of empirical and never of transcendental
use, and that beyond the sphere of possible experience no synthetical a
priori principles are possible.

It may be advisable, therefore, to express ourselves thus. The pure
categories, apart from the formal conditions of sensibility, have
a merely transcendental meaning, but are nevertheless not of
transcendental use, because this is in itself impossible, inasmuch as
all the conditions of any employment or use of them (in judgements) are
absent, to wit, the formal conditions of the subsumption of an object
under these conceptions. As, therefore, in the character of pure
categories, they must be employed empirically, and cannot be employed
transcendentally, they are of no use at all, when separated from
sensibility, that is, they cannot be applied to an object. They are
merely the pure form of the employment of the understanding in respect
of objects in general and of thought, without its being at the same time
possible to think or to determine any object by their means. But there
lurks at the foundation of this subject an illusion which it is very
difficult to avoid. The categories are not based, as regards their
origin, upon sensibility, like the forms of intuition, space, and time;
they seem, therefore, to be capable of an application beyond the sphere
of sensuous objects. But this is not the case. They are nothing but mere
forms of thought, which contain only the logical faculty of uniting a
priori in consciousness the manifold given in intuition. Apart, then,
from the only intuition possible for us, they have still less meaning
than the pure sensuous forms, space and time, for through them an object
is at least given, while a mode of connection of the manifold, when the
intuition which alone gives the manifold is wanting, has no meaning at
all. At the same time, when we designate certain objects as phenomena or
sensuous existences, thus distinguishing our mode of intuiting them from
their own nature as things in themselves, it is evident that by this
very distinction we as it were place the latter, considered in this
their own nature, although we do not so intuite them, in opposition to
the former, or, on the other hand, we do so place other possible
things, which are not objects of our senses, but are cogitated by the
understanding alone, and call them intelligible existences (noumena).
Now the question arises whether the pure conceptions of our
understanding do possess significance in respect of these latter, and
may possibly be a mode of cognizing them.

But we are met at the very commencement with an ambiguity, which may
easily occasion great misapprehension. The understanding, when it terms
an object in a certain relation phenomenon, at the same time forms out
of this relation a representation or notion of an object in itself, and
hence believes that it can form also conceptions of such objects. Now as
the understanding possesses no other fundamental conceptions besides the
categories, it takes for granted that an object considered as a thing
in itself must be capable of being thought by means of these pure
conceptions, and is thereby led to hold the perfectly undetermined
conception of an intelligible existence, a something out of the sphere
of our sensibility, for a determinate conception of an existence which
we can cognize in some way or other by means of the understanding.

If, by the term noumenon, we understand a thing so far as it is not an
object of our sensuous intuition, thus making abstraction of our mode of
intuiting it, this is a noumenon in the negative sense of the word. But
if we understand by it an object of a non-sensuous intuition, we in this
case assume a peculiar mode of intuition, an intellectual intuition, to
wit, which does not, however, belong to us, of the very possibility of
which we have no notion--and this is a noumenon in the positive sense.

The doctrine of sensibility is also the doctrine of noumena in the
negative sense, that is, of things which the understanding is obliged to
cogitate apart from any relation to our mode of intuition, consequently
not as mere phenomena, but as things in themselves. But the
understanding at the same time comprehends that it cannot employ its
categories for the consideration of things in themselves, because these
possess significance only in relation to the unity of intuitions in
space and time, and that they are competent to determine this unity by
means of general a priori connecting conceptions only on account of the
pure ideality of space and time. Where this unity of time is not to be
met with, as is the case with noumena, the whole use, indeed the whole
meaning of the categories is entirely lost, for even the possibility of
things to correspond to the categories is in this case incomprehensible.
On this point, I need only refer the reader to what I have said at the
commencement of the General Remark appended to the foregoing chapter.
Now, the possibility of a thing can never be proved from the fact that
the conception of it is not self-contradictory, but only by means of
an intuition corresponding to the conception. If, therefore, we wish to
apply the categories to objects which cannot be regarded as phenomena,
we must have an intuition different from the sensuous, and in this case
the objects would be a noumena in the positive sense of the word. Now,
as such an intuition, that is, an intellectual intuition, is no part of
our faculty of cognition, it is absolutely impossible for the categories
to possess any application beyond the limits of experience. It may be
true that there are intelligible existences to which our faculty of
sensuous intuition has no relation, and cannot be applied, but our
conceptions of the understanding, as mere forms of thought for our
sensuous intuition, do not extend to these. What, therefore, we call
noumenon must be understood by us as such in a negative sense.

If I take away from an empirical intuition all thought (by means of the
categories), there remains no cognition of any object; for by means of
mere intuition nothing is cogitated, and, from the existence of such
or such an affection of sensibility in me, it does not follow that this
affection or representation has any relation to an object without
me. But if I take away all intuition, there still remains the form of
thought, that is, the mode of determining an object for the manifold
of a possible intuition. Thus the categories do in some measure really
extend further than sensuous intuition, inasmuch as they think objects
in general, without regard to the mode (of sensibility) in which
these objects are given. But they do not for this reason apply to and
determine a wider sphere of objects, because we cannot assume that such
can be given, without presupposing the possibility of another than
the sensuous mode of intuition, a supposition we are not justified in

I call a conception problematical which contains in itself no
contradiction, and which is connected with other cognitions as a
limitation of given conceptions, but whose objective reality cannot
be cognized in any manner. The conception of a noumenon, that is, of a
thing which must be cogitated not as an object of sense, but as a
thing in itself (solely through the pure understanding), is not
self-contradictory, for we are not entitled to maintain that sensibility
is the only possible mode of intuition. Nay, further, this conception is
necessary to restrain sensuous intuition within the bounds of phenomena,
and thus to limit the objective validity of sensuous cognition; for
things in themselves, which lie beyond its province, are called noumena
for the very purpose of indicating that this cognition does not extend
its application to all that the understanding thinks. But, after all,
the possibility of such noumena is quite incomprehensible, and beyond
the sphere of phenomena, all is for us a mere void; that is to say,
we possess an understanding whose province does problematically extend
beyond this sphere, but we do not possess an intuition, indeed, not even
the conception of a possible intuition, by means of which objects beyond
the region of sensibility could be given us, and in reference to which
the understanding might be employed assertorically. The conception of a
noumenon is therefore merely a limitative conception and therefore only
of negative use. But it is not an arbitrary or fictitious notion, but
is connected with the limitation of sensibility, without, however, being
capable of presenting us with any positive datum beyond this sphere.

The division of objects into phenomena and noumena, and of the
world into a mundus sensibilis and intelligibilis is therefore quite
inadmissible in a positive sense, although conceptions do certainly
admit of such a division; for the class of noumena have no determinate
object corresponding to them, and cannot therefore possess objective
validity. If we abandon the senses, how can it be made conceivable
that the categories (which are the only conceptions that could serve as
conceptions for noumena) have any sense or meaning at all, inasmuch
as something more than the mere unity of thought, namely, a possible
intuition, is requisite for their application to an object? The
conception of a noumenon, considered as merely problematical, is,
however, not only admissible, but, as a limitative conception of
sensibility, absolutely necessary. But, in this case, a noumenon is not
a particular intelligible object for our understanding; on the contrary,
the kind of understanding to which it could belong is itself a problem,
for we cannot form the most distant conception of the possibility of an
understanding which should cognize an object, not discursively by
means of categories, but intuitively in a non-sensuous intuition. Our
understanding attains in this way a sort of negative extension. That is
to say, it is not limited by, but rather limits, sensibility, by giving
the name of noumena to things, not considered as phenomena, but as
things in themselves. But it at the same time prescribes limits to
itself, for it confesses itself unable to cognize these by means of the
categories, and hence is compelled to cogitate them merely as an unknown

I find, however, in the writings of modern authors, an entirely
different use of the expressions, mundus sensibilis and intelligibilis,
which quite departs from the meaning of the ancients--an acceptation in
which, indeed, there is to be found no difficulty, but which at the same
time depends on mere verbal quibbling. According to this meaning,
some have chosen to call the complex of phenomena, in so far as it is
intuited, mundus sensibilis, but in so far as the connection thereof is
cogitated according to general laws of thought, mundus intelligibilis.
Astronomy, in so far as we mean by the word the mere observation of the
starry heaven, may represent the former; a system of astronomy, such as
the Copernican or Newtonian, the latter. But such twisting of words is a
mere sophistical subterfuge, to avoid a difficult question, by modifying
its meaning to suit our own convenience. To be sure, understanding and
reason are employed in the cognition of phenomena; but the question is,
whether these can be applied when the object is not a phenomenon and in
this sense we regard it if it is cogitated as given to the understanding
alone, and not to the senses. The question therefore is whether, over
and above the empirical use of the understanding, a transcendental use
is possible, which applies to the noumenon as an object. This question
we have answered in the negative.

When therefore we say, the senses represent objects as they appear, the
understanding as they are, the latter statement must not be understood
in a transcendental, but only in an empirical signification, that is,
as they must be represented in the complete connection of phenomena, and
not according to what they may be, apart from their relation to possible
experience, consequently not as objects of the pure understanding. For
this must ever remain unknown to us. Nay, it is also quite unknown to us
whether any such transcendental or extraordinary cognition is possible
under any circumstances, at least, whether it is possible by means of
our categories. Understanding and sensibility, with us, can determine
objects only in conjunction. If we separate them, we have intuitions
without conceptions, or conceptions without intuitions; in both cases,
representations, which we cannot apply to any determinate object.

If, after all our inquiries and explanations, any one still hesitates to
abandon the mere transcendental use of the categories, let him attempt
to construct with them a synthetical proposition. It would, of course,
be unnecessary for this purpose to construct an analytical proposition,
for that does not extend the sphere of the understanding, but, being
concerned only about what is cogitated in the conception itself, it
leaves it quite undecided whether the conception has any relation to
objects, or merely indicates the unity of thought--complete abstraction
being made of the modi in which an object may be given: in such a
proposition, it is sufficient for the understanding to know what lies
in the conception--to what it applies is to it indifferent. The attempt
must therefore be made with a synthetical and so-called transcendental
principle, for example: "Everything that exists, exists as substance,"
or, "Everything that is contingent exists as an effect of some other
thing, viz., of its cause." Now I ask, whence can the understanding draw
these synthetical propositions, when the conceptions contained therein
do not relate to possible experience but to things in themselves
(noumena)? Where is to be found the third term, which is always
requisite PURE site in a synthetical proposition, which may connect
in the same proposition conceptions which have no logical (analytical)
connection with each other? The proposition never will be demonstrated,
nay, more, the possibility of any such pure assertion never can
be shown, without making reference to the empirical use of the
understanding, and thus, ipso facto, completely renouncing pure
and non-sensuous judgement. Thus the conception of pure and merely
intelligible objects is completely void of all principles of its
application, because we cannot imagine any mode in which they might be
given, and the problematical thought which leaves a place open for
them serves only, like a void space, to limit the use of empirical
principles, without containing at the same time any other object of
cognition beyond their sphere.


Of the Equivocal Nature or Amphiboly of the Conceptions of Reflection
from the Confusion of the Transcendental with the Empirical use of the

Reflection (reflexio) is not occupied about objects themselves, for the
purpose of directly obtaining conceptions of them, but is that state of
the mind in which we set ourselves to discover the subjective conditions
under which we obtain conceptions. It is the consciousness of the
relation of given representations to the different sources or faculties
of cognition, by which alone their relation to each other can be
rightly determined. The first question which occurs in considering our
representations is to what faculty of cognition do they belong? To the
understanding or to the senses? Many judgements are admitted to be true
from mere habit or inclination; but, because reflection neither precedes
nor follows, it is held to be a judgement that has its origin in the
understanding. All judgements do not require examination, that is,
investigation into the grounds of their truth. For, when they are
immediately certain (for example: "Between two points there can be only
one straight line"), no better or less mediate test of their truth can
be found than that which they themselves contain and express. But
all judgement, nay, all comparisons require reflection, that is, a
distinction of the faculty of cognition to which the given conceptions
belong. The act whereby I compare my representations with the faculty of
cognition which originates them, and whereby I distinguish whether they
are compared with each other as belonging to the pure understanding
or to sensuous intuition, I term transcendental reflection. Now, the
relations in which conceptions can stand to each other are those of
identity and difference, agreement and opposition, of the internal and
external, finally, of the determinable and the determining (matter
and form). The proper determination of these relations rests on the
question, to what faculty of cognition they subjectively belong, whether
to sensibility or understanding? For, on the manner in which we solve
this question depends the manner in which we must cogitate these

Before constructing any objective judgement, we compare the conceptions
that are to be placed in the judgement, and observe whether there exists
identity (of many representations in one conception), if a general
judgement is to be constructed, or difference, if a particular; whether
there is agreement when affirmative; and opposition when negative
judgements are to be constructed, and so on. For this reason we ought
to call these conceptions, conceptions of comparison (conceptus
comparationis). But as, when the question is not as to the logical form,
but as to the content of conceptions, that is to say, whether the things
themselves are identical or different, in agreement or opposition,
and so on, the things can have a twofold relation to our faculty
of cognition, to wit, a relation either to sensibility or to the
understanding, and as on this relation depends their relation to
each other, transcendental reflection, that is, the relation of given
representations to one or the other faculty of cognition, can alone
determine this latter relation. Thus we shall not be able to discover
whether the things are identical or different, in agreement or
opposition, etc., from the mere conception of the things by means
of comparison (comparatio), but only by distinguishing the mode
of cognition to which they belong, in other words, by means of
transcendental reflection. We may, therefore, with justice say, that
logical reflection is mere comparison, for in it no account is taken of
the faculty of cognition to which the given conceptions belong, and
they are consequently, as far as regards their origin, to be treated
as homogeneous; while transcendental reflection (which applies to the
objects themselves) contains the ground of the possibility of objective
comparison of representations with each other, and is therefore very
different from the former, because the faculties of cognition to which
they belong are not even the same. Transcendental reflection is a duty
which no one can neglect who wishes to establish an a priori judgement
upon things. We shall now proceed to fulfil this duty, and thereby throw
not a little light on the question as to the determination of the proper
business of the understanding.

1. Identity and Difference. When an object is presented to us several
times, but always with the same internal determinations (qualitas et
quantitas), it, if an object of pure understanding, is always the same,
not several things, but only one thing (numerica identitas); but if a
phenomenon, we do not concern ourselves with comparing the conception of
the thing with the conception of some other, but, although they may be
in this respect perfectly the same, the difference of place at the same
time is a sufficient ground for asserting the numerical difference of
these objects (of sense). Thus, in the case of two drops of water, we
may make complete abstraction of all internal difference (quality and
quantity), and, the fact that they are intuited at the same time in
different places, is sufficient to justify us in holding them to
be numerically different. Leibnitz regarded phenomena as things in
themselves, consequently as intelligibilia, that is, objects of pure
understanding (although, on account of the confused nature of their
representations, he gave them the name of phenomena), and in this
case his principle of the indiscernible (principium identatis
indiscernibilium) is not to be impugned. But, as phenomena are objects
of sensibility, and, as the understanding, in respect of them, must be
employed empirically and not purely or transcendentally, plurality
and numerical difference are given by space itself as the condition of
external phenomena. For one part of space, although it may be perfectly
similar and equal to another part, is still without it, and for this
reason alone is different from the latter, which is added to it in order
to make up a greater space. It follows that this must hold good of
all things that are in the different parts of space at the same time,
however similar and equal one may be to another.

2. Agreement and Opposition. When reality is represented by the pure
understanding (realitas noumenon), opposition between realities is
incogitable--such a relation, that is, that when these realities are
connected in one subject, they annihilate the effects of each other and
may be represented in the formula 3 -3 = 0. On the other hand, the
real in a phenomenon (realitas phaenomenon) may very well be in mutual
opposition, and, when united in the same subject, the one may completely
or in part annihilate the effect or consequence of the other; as in the
case of two moving forces in the same straight line drawing or
impelling a point in opposite directions, or in the case of a pleasure
counterbalancing a certain amount of pain.

3. The Internal and External. In an object of the pure understanding,
only that is internal which has no relation (as regards its existence)
to anything different from itself. On the other hand, the internal
determinations of a substantia phaenomenon in space are nothing
but relations, and it is itself nothing more than a complex of mere
relations. Substance in space we are cognizant of only through forces
operative in it, either drawing others towards itself (attraction),
or preventing others from forcing into itself (repulsion and
impenetrability). We know no other properties that make up the
conception of substance phenomenal in space, and which we term matter.
On the other hand, as an object of the pure understanding, every
substance must have internal determination and forces. But what other
internal attributes of such an object can I think than those which my
internal sense presents to me? That, to wit, which in either itself
thought, or something analogous to it. Hence Leibnitz, who looked upon
things as noumena, after denying them everything like external relation,
and therefore also composition or combination, declared that all
substances, even the component parts of matter, were simple substances
with powers of representation, in one word, monads.

4. Matter and Form. These two conceptions lie at the foundation of all
other reflection, so inseparably are they connected with every mode of
exercising the understanding. The former denotes the determinable in
general, the second its determination, both in a transcendental sense,
abstraction being made of every difference in that which is given, and
of the mode in which it is determined. Logicians formerly termed the
universal, matter, the specific difference of this or that part of
the universal, form. In a judgement one may call the given conceptions
logical matter (for the judgement), the relation of these to each other
(by means of the copula), the form of the judgement. In an object, the
composite parts thereof (essentialia) are the matter; the mode in which
they are connected in the object, the form. In respect to things
in general, unlimited reality was regarded as the matter of all
possibility, the limitation thereof (negation) as the form, by which
one thing is distinguished from another according to transcendental
conceptions. The understanding demands that something be given (at least
in the conception), in order to be able to determine it in a certain
manner. Hence, in a conception of the pure understanding, the matter
precedes the form, and for this reason Leibnitz first assumed the
existence of things (monads) and of an internal power of representation
in them, in order to found upon this their external relation and the
community their state (that is, of their representations). Hence, with
him, space and time were possible--the former through the relation of
substances, the latter through the connection of their determinations
with each other, as causes and effects. And so would it really be,
if the pure understanding were capable of an immediate application
to objects, and if space and time were determinations of things in
themselves. But being merely sensuous intuitions, in which we determine
all objects solely as phenomena, the form of intuition (as a subjective
property of sensibility) must antecede all matter (sensations),
consequently space and time must antecede all phenomena and all data
of experience, and rather make experience itself possible. But the
intellectual philosopher could not endure that the form should precede
the things themselves and determine their possibility; an objection
perfectly correct, if we assume that we intuite things as they are,
although with confused representation. But as sensuous intuition is a
peculiar subjective condition, which is a priori at the foundation of
all perception, and the form of which is primitive, the form must be
given per se, and so far from matter (or the things themselves which
appear) lying at the foundation of experience (as we must conclude,
if we judge by mere conceptions), the very possibility of itself
presupposes, on the contrary, a given formal intuition (space and time).


Let me be allowed to term the position which we assign to a
conception either in the sensibility or in the pure understanding, the
transcendental place. In this manner, the appointment of the position
which must be taken by each conception according to the difference
in its use, and the directions for determining this place to all
conceptions according to rules, would be a transcendental topic, a
doctrine which would thoroughly shield us from the surreptitious devices
of the pure understanding and the delusions which thence arise, as it
would always distinguish to what faculty of cognition each conception
properly belonged. Every conception, every title, under which many
cognitions rank together, may be called a logical place. Upon this is
based the logical topic of Aristotle, of which teachers and rhetoricians
could avail themselves, in order, under certain titles of thought, to
observe what would best suit the matter they had to treat, and thus
enable themselves to quibble and talk with fluency and an appearance of

Transcendental topic, on the contrary, contains nothing more than the
above-mentioned four titles of all comparison and distinction, which
differ from categories in this respect, that they do not represent the
object according to that which constitutes its conception (quantity,
reality), but set forth merely the comparison of representations, which
precedes our conceptions of things. But this comparison requires a
previous reflection, that is, a determination of the place to which the
representations of the things which are compared belong, whether,
to wit, they are cogitated by the pure understanding, or given by

Conceptions may be logically compared without the trouble of inquiring
to what faculty their objects belong, whether as noumena, to the
understanding, or as phenomena, to sensibility. If, however, we wish to
employ these conceptions in respect of objects, previous transcendental
reflection is necessary. Without this reflection I should make a very
unsafe use of these conceptions, and construct pretended synthetical
propositions which critical reason cannot acknowledge and which
are based solely upon a transcendental amphiboly, that is, upon a
substitution of an object of pure understanding for a phenomenon.

For want of this doctrine of transcendental topic, and consequently
deceived by the amphiboly of the conceptions of reflection, the
celebrated Leibnitz constructed an intellectual system of the world,
or rather, believed himself competent to cognize the internal nature of
things, by comparing all objects merely with the understanding and the
abstract formal conceptions of thought. Our table of the conceptions of
reflection gives us the unexpected advantage of being able to exhibit
the distinctive peculiarities of his system in all its parts, and at the
same time of exposing the fundamental principle of this peculiar mode of
thought, which rested upon naught but a misconception. He compared all
things with each other merely by means of conceptions, and naturally
found no other differences than those by which the understanding
distinguishes its pure conceptions one from another. The conditions
of sensuous intuition, which contain in themselves their own means of
distinction, he did not look upon as primitive, because sensibility
was to him but a confused mode of representation and not any particular
source of representations. A phenomenon was for him the representation
of the thing in itself, although distinguished from cognition by the
understanding only in respect of the logical form--the former with its
usual want of analysis containing, according to him, a certain mixture
of collateral representations in its conception of a thing, which it is
the duty of the understanding to separate and distinguish. In one word,
Leibnitz intellectualized phenomena, just as Locke, in his system
of noogony (if I may be allowed to make use of such expressions),
sensualized the conceptions of the understanding, that is to say,
declared them to be nothing more than empirical or abstract conceptions
of reflection. Instead of seeking in the understanding and sensibility
two different sources of representations, which, however, can present us
with objective judgements of things only in conjunction, each of
these great men recognized but one of these faculties, which, in their
opinion, applied immediately to things in themselves, the other having
no duty but that of confusing or arranging the representations of the

Accordingly, the objects of sense were compared by Leibnitz as things in
general merely in the understanding.

1st. He compares them in regard to their identity or difference--as
judged by the understanding. As, therefore, he considered merely the
conceptions of objects, and not their position in intuition, in
which alone objects can be given, and left quite out of sight the
transcendental locale of these conceptions--whether, that is, their
object ought to be classed among phenomena, or among things in
themselves, it was to be expected that he should extend the application
of the principle of indiscernibles, which is valid solely of conceptions
of things in general, to objects of sense (mundus phaenomenon), and that
he should believe that he had thereby contributed in no small degree to
extend our knowledge of nature. In truth, if I cognize in all its inner
determinations a drop of water as a thing in itself, I cannot look upon
one drop as different from another, if the conception of the one is
completely identical with that of the other. But if it is a phenomenon
in space, it has a place not merely in the understanding (among
conceptions), but also in sensuous external intuition (in space), and in
this case, the physical locale is a matter of indifference in regard to
the internal determinations of things, and one place, B, may contain
a thing which is perfectly similar and equal to another in a place, A,
just as well as if the two things were in every respect different from
each other. Difference of place without any other conditions, makes the
plurality and distinction of objects as phenomena, not only possible in
itself, but even necessary. Consequently, the above so-called law is not
a law of nature. It is merely an analytical rule for the comparison of
things by means of mere conceptions.

2nd. The principle: "Realities (as simple affirmations) never logically
contradict each other," is a proposition perfectly true respecting the
relation of conceptions, but, whether as regards nature, or things in
themselves (of which we have not the slightest conception), is without
any the least meaning. For real opposition, in which A -B is = 0,
exists everywhere, an opposition, that is, in which one reality united
with another in the same subject annihilates the effects of the other--a
fact which is constantly brought before our eyes by the different
antagonistic actions and operations in nature, which, nevertheless, as
depending on real forces, must be called realitates phaenomena. General
mechanics can even present us with the empirical condition of this
opposition in an a priori rule, as it directs its attention to the
opposition in the direction of forces--a condition of which the
transcendental conception of reality can tell us nothing. Although M.
Leibnitz did not announce this proposition with precisely the pomp of
a new principle, he yet employed it for the establishment of
new propositions, and his followers introduced it into their
Leibnitzio-Wolfian system of philosophy. According to this principle,
for example, all evils are but consequences of the limited nature of
created beings, that is, negations, because these are the only opposite
of reality. (In the mere conception of a thing in general this is really
the case, but not in things as phenomena.) In like manner, the upholders
of this system deem it not only possible, but natural also, to connect
and unite all reality in one being, because they acknowledge no other
sort of opposition than that of contradiction (by which the conception
itself of a thing is annihilated), and find themselves unable to
conceive an opposition of reciprocal destruction, so to speak, in which
one real cause destroys the effect of another, and the conditions of
whose representation we meet with only in sensibility.

3rd. The Leibnitzian monadology has really no better foundation than on
this philosopher's mode of falsely representing the difference of
the internal and external solely in relation to the understanding.
Substances, in general, must have something inward, which is therefore
free from external relations, consequently from that of composition
also. The simple--that which can be represented by a unit--is therefore
the foundation of that which is internal in things in themselves. The
internal state of substances cannot therefore consist in place, shape,
contact, or motion, determinations which are all external relations,
and we can ascribe to them no other than that whereby we internally
determine our faculty of sense itself, that is to say, the state of
representation. Thus, then, were constructed the monads, which were to
form the elements of the universe, the active force of which consists in
representation, the effects of this force being thus entirely confined
to themselves.

For the same reason, his view of the possible community of substances
could not represent it but as a predetermined harmony, and by no means
as a physical influence. For inasmuch as everything is occupied only
internally, that is, with its own representations, the state of the
representations of one substance could not stand in active and living
connection with that of another, but some third cause operating on all
without exception was necessary to make the different states correspond
with one another. And this did not happen by means of assistance applied
in each particular case (systema assistentiae), but through the unity of
the idea of a cause occupied and connected with all substances, in which
they necessarily receive, according to the Leibnitzian school, their
existence and permanence, consequently also reciprocal correspondence,
according to universal laws.

4th. This philosopher's celebrated doctrine of space and time, in which
he intellectualized these forms of sensibility, originated in the same
delusion of transcendental reflection. If I attempt to represent by the
mere understanding, the external relations of things, I can do so only
by employing the conception of their reciprocal action, and if I wish
to connect one state of the same thing with another state, I must avail
myself of the notion of the order of cause and effect. And thus Leibnitz
regarded space as a certain order in the community of substances, and
time as the dynamical sequence of their states. That which space and
time possess proper to themselves and independent of things, he ascribed
to a necessary confusion in our conceptions of them, whereby that which
is a mere form of dynamical relations is held to be a self-existent
intuition, antecedent even to things themselves. Thus space and time
were the intelligible form of the connection of things (substances and
their states) in themselves. But things were intelligible substances
(substantiae noumena). At the same time, he made these conceptions valid
of phenomena, because he did not allow to sensibility a peculiar mode of
intuition, but sought all, even the empirical representation of objects,
in the understanding, and left to sense naught but the despicable task
of confusing and disarranging the representations of the former.

But even if we could frame any synthetical proposition concerning things
in themselves by means of the pure understanding (which is impossible),
it could not apply to phenomena, which do not represent things in
themselves. In such a case I should be obliged in transcendental
reflection to compare my conceptions only under the conditions of
sensibility, and so space and time would not be determinations of things
in themselves, but of phenomena. What things may be in themselves, I
know not and need not know, because a thing is never presented to me
otherwise than as a phenomenon.

I must adopt the same mode of procedure with the other conceptions
of reflection. Matter is substantia phaenomenon. That in it which is
internal I seek to discover in all parts of space which it occupies, and
in all the functions and operations it performs, and which are indeed
never anything but phenomena of the external sense. I cannot therefore
find anything that is absolutely, but only what is comparatively
internal, and which itself consists of external relations. The
absolutely internal in matter, and as it should be according to the pure
understanding, is a mere chimera, for matter is not an object for
the pure understanding. But the transcendental object, which is the
foundation of the phenomenon which we call matter, is a mere nescio
quid, the nature of which we could not understand, even though someone
were found able to tell us. For we can understand nothing that does not
bring with it something in intuition corresponding to the expressions
employed. If, by the complaint of being unable to perceive the internal
nature of things, it is meant that we do not comprehend by the pure
understanding what the things which appear to us may be in themselves,
it is a silly and unreasonable complaint; for those who talk thus really
desire that we should be able to cognize, consequently to intuite,
things without senses, and therefore wish that we possessed a faculty
of cognition perfectly different from the human faculty, not merely in
degree, but even as regards intuition and the mode thereof, so that thus
we should not be men, but belong to a class of beings, the possibility
of whose existence, much less their nature and constitution, we have
no means of cognizing. By observation and analysis of phenomena we
penetrate into the interior of nature, and no one can say what progress
this knowledge may make in time. But those transcendental questions
which pass beyond the limits of nature, we could never answer, even
although all nature were laid open to us, because we have not the power
of observing our own mind with any other intuition than that of our
internal sense. For herein lies the mystery of the origin and source
of our faculty of sensibility. Its application to an object, and the
transcendental ground of this unity of subjective and objective, lie too
deeply concealed for us, who cognize ourselves only through the
internal sense, consequently as phenomena, to be able to discover in our
existence anything but phenomena, the non-sensuous cause of which we at
the same time earnestly desire to penetrate to.

The great utility of this critique of conclusions arrived at by the
processes of mere reflection consists in its clear demonstration of the
nullity of all conclusions respecting objects which are compared
with each other in the understanding alone, while it at the same time
confirms what we particularly insisted on, namely, that, although
phenomena are not included as things in themselves among the objects of
the pure understanding, they are nevertheless the only things by which
our cognition can possess objective reality, that is to say, which give
us intuitions to correspond with our conceptions.

When we reflect in a purely logical manner, we do nothing more than
compare conceptions in our understanding, to discover whether both have
the same content, whether they are self-contradictory or not, whether
anything is contained in either conception, which of the two is given,
and which is merely a mode of thinking that given. But if I apply these
conceptions to an object in general (in the transcendental sense),
without first determining whether it is an object of sensuous or
intellectual intuition, certain limitations present themselves, which
forbid us to pass beyond the conceptions and render all empirical use
of them impossible. And thus these limitations prove that the
representation of an object as a thing in general is not only
insufficient, but, without sensuous determination and independently of
empirical conditions, self-contradictory; that we must therefore make
abstraction of all objects, as in logic, or, admitting them, must think
them under conditions of sensuous intuition; that, consequently, the
intelligible requires an altogether peculiar intuition, which we do not
possess, and in the absence of which it is for us nothing; while, on the
other hand phenomena cannot be objects in themselves. For, when I merely
think things in general, the difference in their external relations
cannot constitute a difference in the things themselves; on the
contrary, the former presupposes the latter, and if the conception of
one of two things is not internally different from that of the other,
I am merely thinking the same thing in different relations. Further,
by the addition of one affirmation (reality) to the other, the positive
therein is really augmented, and nothing is abstracted or withdrawn
from it; hence the real in things cannot be in contradiction with or
opposition to itself--and so on.

The true use of the conceptions of reflection in the employment of the
understanding has, as we have shown, been so misconceived by Leibnitz,
one of the most acute philosophers of either ancient or modern times,
that he has been misled into the construction of a baseless system of
intellectual cognition, which professes to determine its objects without
the intervention of the senses. For this reason, the exposition of the
cause of the amphiboly of these conceptions, as the origin of these
false principles, is of great utility in determining with certainty the
proper limits of the understanding.

It is right to say whatever is affirmed or denied of the whole of a
conception can be affirmed or denied of any part of it (dictum de omni
et nullo); but it would be absurd so to alter this logical proposition
as to say whatever is not contained in a general conception is likewise
not contained in the particular conceptions which rank under it; for
the latter are particular conceptions, for the very reason that
their content is greater than that which is cogitated in the general
conception. And yet the whole intellectual system of Leibnitz is based
upon this false principle, and with it must necessarily fall to the
ground, together with all the ambiguous principles in reference to the
employment of the understanding which have thence originated.

Leibnitz's principle of the identity of indiscernibles or
indistinguishables is really based on the presupposition that, if in the
conception of a thing a certain distinction is not to be found, it is
also not to be met with in things themselves; that, consequently,
all things are completely identical (numero eadem) which are not
distinguishable from each other (as to quality or quantity) in our
conceptions of them. But, as in the mere conception of anything
abstraction has been made of many necessary conditions of intuition,
that of which abstraction has been made is rashly held to be
non-existent, and nothing is attributed to the thing but what is
contained in its conception.

The conception of a cubic foot of space, however I may think it, is
in itself completely identical. But two cubic feet in space are
nevertheless distinct from each other from the sole fact of their being
in different places (they are numero diversa); and these places are
conditions of intuition, wherein the object of this conception is
given, and which do not belong to the conception, but to the faculty of
sensibility. In like manner, there is in the conception of a thing no
contradiction when a negative is not connected with an affirmative;
and merely affirmative conceptions cannot, in conjunction, produce any
negation. But in sensuous intuition, wherein reality (take for example,
motion) is given, we find conditions (opposite directions)--of which
abstraction has been made in the conception of motion in general--which
render possible a contradiction or opposition (not indeed of a logical
kind)--and which from pure positives produce zero = 0. We are therefore
not justified in saying that all reality is in perfect agreement
and harmony, because no contradiction is discoverable among its
conceptions.* According to mere conceptions, that which is internal
is the substratum of all relations or external determinations. When,
therefore, I abstract all conditions of intuition, and confine myself
solely to the conception of a thing in general, I can make abstraction
of all external relations, and there must nevertheless remain a
conception of that which indicates no relation, but merely internal
determinations. Now it seems to follow that in everything (substance)
there is something which is absolutely internal and which antecedes all
external determinations, inasmuch as it renders them possible; and
that therefore this substratum is something which does not contain any
external relations and is consequently simple (for corporeal things are
never anything but relations, at least of their parts external to
each other); and, inasmuch as we know of no other absolutely internal
determinations than those of the internal sense, this substratum is not
only simple, but also, analogously with our internal sense, determined
through representations, that is to say, all things are properly monads,
or simple beings endowed with the power of representation. Now all this
would be perfectly correct, if the conception of a thing were the
only necessary condition of the presentation of objects of external
intuition. It is, on the contrary, manifest that a permanent phenomenon
in space (impenetrable extension) can contain mere relations, and
nothing that is absolutely internal, and yet be the primary substratum
of all external perception. By mere conceptions I cannot think anything
external, without, at the same time, thinking something internal, for
the reason that conceptions of relations presuppose given things, and
without these are impossible. But, as an intuition there is something
(that is, space, which, with all it contains, consists of purely formal,
or, indeed, real relations) which is not found in the mere conception of
a thing in general, and this presents to us the substratum which could
not be cognized through conceptions alone, I cannot say: because a thing
cannot be represented by mere conceptions without something absolutely
internal, there is also, in the things themselves which are contained
under these conceptions, and in their intuition nothing external to
which something absolutely internal does not serve as the foundation.
For, when we have made abstraction of all the conditions of intuition,
there certainly remains in the mere conception nothing but the internal
in general, through which alone the external is possible. But this
necessity, which is grounded upon abstraction alone, does not obtain in
the case of things themselves, in so far as they are given in intuition
with such determinations as express mere relations, without having
anything internal as their foundation; for they are not things of a
thing of which we can neither for they are not things in themselves, but
only phenomena. What we cognize in matter is nothing but relations (what
we call its internal determinations are but comparatively internal). But
there are some self-subsistent and permanent, through which a determined
object is given. That I, when abstraction is made of these relations,
have nothing more to think, does not destroy the conception of a thing
as phenomenon, nor the conception of an object in abstracto, but it does
away with the possibility of an object that is determinable according to
mere conceptions, that is, of a noumenon. It is certainly startling to
hear that a thing consists solely of relations; but this thing is simply
a phenomenon, and cannot be cogitated by means of the mere categories:
it does itself consist in the mere relation of something in general to
the senses. In the same way, we cannot cogitate relations of things in
abstracto, if we commence with conceptions alone, in any other manner
than that one is the cause of determinations in the other; for that is
itself the conception of the understanding or category of relation. But,
as in this case we make abstraction of all intuition, we lose altogether
the mode in which the manifold determines to each of its parts its
place, that is, the form of sensibility (space); and yet this mode
antecedes all empirical causality.

   [*Footnote: If any one wishes here to have recourse to the usual
subterfuge, and to say, that at least realitates noumena cannot be in
opposition to each other, it will be requisite for him to adduce an
example of this pure and non-sensuous reality, that it may be understood
whether the notion represents something or nothing. But an example
cannot be found except in experience, which never presents to us
anything more than phenomena; and thus the proposition means nothing
more than that the conception which contains only affirmatives does not
contain anything negative--a proposition nobody ever doubted.]

If by intelligible objects we understand things which can be thought
by means of the pure categories, without the need of the schemata of
sensibility, such objects are impossible. For the condition of the
objective use of all our conceptions of understanding is the mode of
our sensuous intuition, whereby objects are given; and, if we make
abstraction of the latter, the former can have no relation to an object.
And even if we should suppose a different kind of intuition from our
own, still our functions of thought would have no use or signification
in respect thereof. But if we understand by the term, objects of a
non-sensuous intuition, in respect of which our categories are not
valid, and of which we can accordingly have no knowledge (neither
intuition nor conception), in this merely negative sense noumena must be
admitted. For this is no more than saying that our mode of intuition is
not applicable to all things, but only to objects of our senses,
that consequently its objective validity is limited, and that room is
therefore left for another kind of intuition, and thus also for things
that may be objects of it. But in this sense the conception of a
noumenon is problematical, that is to say, it is the notion of that it
that it is possible, nor that it is impossible, inasmuch as we do not
know of any mode of intuition besides the sensuous, or of any other sort
of conceptions than the categories--a mode of intuition and a kind of
conception neither of which is applicable to a non-sensuous object. We
are on this account incompetent to extend the sphere of our objects
of thought beyond the conditions of our sensibility, and to assume the
existence of objects of pure thought, that is, of noumena, inasmuch as
these have no true positive signification. For it must be confessed
of the categories that they are not of themselves sufficient for the
cognition of things in themselves and, without the data of sensibility,
are mere subjective forms of the unity of the understanding. Thought is
certainly not a product of the senses, and in so far is not limited by
them, but it does not therefore follow that it may be employed purely
and without the intervention of sensibility, for it would then be
without reference to an object. And we cannot call a noumenon an object
of pure thought; for the representation thereof is but the problematical
conception of an object for a perfectly different intuition and
a perfectly different understanding from ours, both of which are
consequently themselves problematical. The conception of a noumenon is
therefore not the conception of an object, but merely a problematical
conception inseparably connected with the limitation of our sensibility.
That is to say, this conception contains the answer to the question:
"Are there objects quite unconnected with, and independent of, our
intuition?"--a question to which only an indeterminate answer can be
given. That answer is: "Inasmuch as sensuous intuition does not apply
to all things without distinction, there remains room for other and
different objects." The existence of these problematical objects
is therefore not absolutely denied, in the absence of a determinate
conception of them, but, as no category is valid in respect of them,
neither must they be admitted as objects for our understanding.

Understanding accordingly limits sensibility, without at the same time
enlarging its own field. While, moreover, it forbids sensibility to
apply its forms and modes to things in themselves and restricts it
to the sphere of phenomena, it cogitates an object in itself, only,
however, as a transcendental object, which is the cause of a phenomenon
(consequently not itself a phenomenon), and which cannot be thought
either as a quantity or as reality, or as substance (because these
conceptions always require sensuous forms in which to determine an
object)--an object, therefore, of which we are quite unable to say
whether it can be met with in ourselves or out of us, whether it would
be annihilated together with sensibility, or, if this were taken away,
would continue to exist. If we wish to call this object a noumenon,
because the representation of it is non-sensuous, we are at liberty
to do so. But as we can apply to it none of the conceptions of our
understanding, the representation is for us quite void, and is available
only for the indication of the limits of our sensuous intuition, thereby
leaving at the same time an empty space, which we are competent to
fill by the aid neither of possible experience, nor of the pure

The critique of the pure understanding, accordingly, does not permit us
to create for ourselves a new field of objects beyond those which are
presented to us as phenomena, and to stray into intelligible worlds;
nay, it does not even allow us to endeavour to form so much as a
conception of them. The specious error which leads to this--and which is
a perfectly excusable one--lies in the fact that the employment of the
understanding, contrary to its proper purpose and destination, is made
transcendental, and objects, that is, possible intuitions, are made to
regulate themselves according to conceptions, instead of the conceptions
arranging themselves according to the intuitions, on which alone their
own objective validity rests. Now the reason of this again is that
apperception, and with it thought, antecedes all possible determinate
arrangement of representations. Accordingly we think something in
general and determine it on the one hand sensuously, but, on the other,
distinguish the general and in abstracto represented object from this
particular mode of intuiting it. In this case there remains a mode of
determining the object by mere thought, which is really but a logical
form without content, which, however, seems to us to be a mode of
the existence of the object in itself (noumenon), without regard to
intuition which is limited to our senses.

Before ending this transcendental analytic, we must make an addition,
which, although in itself of no particular importance, seems to be
necessary to the completeness of the system. The highest conception,
with which a transcendental philosophy commonly begins, is the division
into possible and impossible. But as all division presupposes a divided
conception, a still higher one must exist, and this is the conception of
an object in general--problematically understood and without its being
decided whether it is something or nothing. As the categories are the
only conceptions which apply to objects in general, the distinguishing
of an object, whether it is something or nothing, must proceed according
to the order and direction of the categories.

1. To the categories of quantity, that is, the conceptions of all, many,
and one, the conception which annihilates all, that is, the conception
of none, is opposed. And thus the object of a conception, to which no
intuition can be found to correspond, is = nothing. That is, it is a
conception without an object (ens rationis), like noumena, which cannot
be considered possible in the sphere of reality, though they must not
therefore be held to be impossible--or like certain new fundamental
forces in matter, the existence of which is cogitable without
contradiction, though, as examples from experience are not forthcoming,
they must not be regarded as possible.

2. Reality is something; negation is nothing, that is, a conception of
the absence of an object, as cold, a shadow (nihil privativum).

3. The mere form of intuition, without substance, is in itself no
object, but the merely formal condition of an object (as phenomenon),
as pure space and pure time. These are certainly something, as forms
of intuition, but are not themselves objects which are intuited (ens

4. The object of a conception which is self-contradictory, is nothing,
because the conception is nothing--is impossible, as a figure composed
of two straight lines (nihil negativum).

The table of this division of the conception of nothing (the
corresponding division of the conception of something does not require
special description) must therefore be arranged as follows:


                As Empty Conception
                 without object,
                  ens rationis
           2                               3
     Empty object of               Empty intuition
      a conception,                without object,
     nihil privativum              ens imaginarium
                   Empty object
                 without conception,
                  nihil negativum

We see that the ens rationis is distinguished from the nihil negativum
or pure nothing by the consideration that the former must not be
reckoned among possibilities, because it is a mere fiction--though
not self-contradictory, while the latter is completely opposed to
all possibility, inasmuch as the conception annihilates itself. Both,
however, are empty conceptions. On the other hand, the nihil privativum
and ens imaginarium are empty data for conceptions. If light be not
given to the senses, we cannot represent to ourselves darkness, and if
extended objects are not perceived, we cannot represent space. Neither
the negation, nor the mere form of intuition can, without something
real, be an object.



I. Of Transcendental Illusory Appearance.

We termed dialectic in general a logic of appearance. This does not
signify a doctrine of probability; for probability is truth, only
cognized upon insufficient grounds, and though the information it gives
us is imperfect, it is not therefore deceitful. Hence it must not be
separated from the analytical part of logic. Still less must phenomenon
and appearance be held to be identical. For truth or illusory appearance
does not reside in the object, in so far as it is intuited, but in the
judgement upon the object, in so far as it is thought. It is, therefore,
quite correct to say that the senses do not err, not because they always
judge correctly, but because they do not judge at all. Hence truth and
error, consequently also, illusory appearance as the cause of error, are
only to be found in a judgement, that is, in the relation of an object
to our understanding. In a cognition which completely harmonizes with
the laws of the understanding, no error can exist. In a representation
of the senses--as not containing any judgement--there is also no error.
But no power of nature can of itself deviate from its own laws. Hence
neither the understanding per se (without the influence of another
cause), nor the senses per se, would fall into error; the former could
not, because, if it acts only according to its own laws, the effect (the
judgement) must necessarily accord with these laws. But in accordance
with the laws of the understanding consists the formal element in all
truth. In the senses there is no judgement--neither a true nor a false
one. But, as we have no source of cognition besides these two, it
follows that error is caused solely by the unobserved influence of
the sensibility upon the understanding. And thus it happens that the
subjective grounds of a judgement and are confounded with the objective,
and cause them to deviate from their proper determination,* just as a
body in motion would always of itself proceed in a straight line, but
if another impetus gives to it a different direction, it will then
start off into a curvilinear line of motion. To distinguish the peculiar
action of the understanding from the power which mingles with it, it is
necessary to consider an erroneous judgement as the diagonal between two
forces, that determine the judgement in two different directions, which,
as it were, form an angle, and to resolve this composite operation into
the simple ones of the understanding and the sensibility. In pure
a priori judgements this must be done by means of transcendental
reflection, whereby, as has been already shown, each representation
has its place appointed in the corresponding faculty of cognition, and
consequently the influence of the one faculty upon the other is made

   [*Footnote: Sensibility, subjected to the understanding, as the object
upon which the understanding employs its functions, is the source of
real cognitions. But, in so far as it exercises an influence upon the
action of the understanding and determines it to judgement, sensibility
is itself the cause of error.]

It is not at present our business to treat of empirical illusory
appearance (for example, optical illusion), which occurs in the
empirical application of otherwise correct rules of the understanding,
and in which the judgement is misled by the influence of imagination.
Our purpose is to speak of transcendental illusory appearance, which
influences principles--that are not even applied to experience, for in
this case we should possess a sure test of their correctness--but which
leads us, in disregard of all the warnings of criticism, completely
beyond the empirical employment of the categories and deludes us with
the chimera of an extension of the sphere of the pure understanding.
We shall term those principles the application of which is confined
entirely within the limits of possible experience, immanent; those,
on the other hand, which transgress these limits, we shall call
transcendent principles. But by these latter I do not understand
principles of the transcendental use or misuse of the categories, which
is in reality a mere fault of the judgement when not under due restraint
from criticism, and therefore not paying sufficient attention to the
limits of the sphere in which the pure understanding is allowed to
exercise its functions; but real principles which exhort us to break
down all those barriers, and to lay claim to a perfectly new field of
cognition, which recognizes no line of demarcation. Thus transcendental
and transcendent are not identical terms. The principles of the
pure understanding, which we have already propounded, ought to be
of empirical and not of transcendental use, that is, they are not
applicable to any object beyond the sphere of experience. A principle
which removes these limits, nay, which authorizes us to overstep them,
is called transcendent. If our criticism can succeed in exposing the
illusion in these pretended principles, those which are limited in their
employment to the sphere of experience may be called, in opposition to
the others, immanent principles of the pure understanding.

Logical illusion, which consists merely in the imitation of the form of
reason (the illusion in sophistical syllogisms), arises entirely from
a want of due attention to logical rules. So soon as the attention
is awakened to the case before us, this illusion totally disappears.
Transcendental illusion, on the contrary, does not cease to exist, even
after it has been exposed, and its nothingness clearly perceived by
means of transcendental criticism. Take, for example, the illusion in
the proposition: "The world must have a beginning in time." The cause of
this is as follows. In our reason, subjectively considered as a faculty
of human cognition, there exist fundamental rules and maxims of its
exercise, which have completely the appearance of objective principles.
Now from this cause it happens that the subjective necessity of a
certain connection of our conceptions, is regarded as an objective
necessity of the determination of things in themselves. This illusion it
is impossible to avoid, just as we cannot avoid perceiving that the sea
appears to be higher at a distance than it is near the shore, because we
see the former by means of higher rays than the latter, or, which is a
still stronger case, as even the astronomer cannot prevent himself from
seeing the moon larger at its rising than some time afterwards, although
he is not deceived by this illusion.

Transcendental dialectic will therefore content itself with exposing
the illusory appearance in transcendental judgements, and guarding us
against it; but to make it, as in the case of logical illusion, entirely
disappear and cease to be illusion is utterly beyond its power. For we
have here to do with a natural and unavoidable illusion, which rests
upon subjective principles and imposes these upon us as objective, while
logical dialectic, in the detection of sophisms, has to do merely with
an error in the logical consequence of the propositions, or with an
artificially constructed illusion, in imitation of the natural error.
There is, therefore, a natural and unavoidable dialectic of pure
reason--not that in which the bungler, from want of the requisite
knowledge, involves himself, nor that which the sophist devises for the
purpose of misleading, but that which is an inseparable adjunct of human
reason, and which, even after its illusions have been exposed, does not
cease to deceive, and continually to lead reason into momentary errors,
which it becomes necessary continually to remove.

II. Of Pure Reason as the Seat of Transcendental Illusory Appearance.


All our knowledge begins with sense, proceeds thence to understanding,
and ends with reason, beyond which nothing higher can be discovered in
the human mind for elaborating the matter of intuition and subjecting it
to the highest unity of thought. At this stage of our inquiry it is my
duty to give an explanation of this, the highest faculty of cognition,
and I confess I find myself here in some difficulty. Of reason, as of
the understanding, there is a merely formal, that is, logical use, in
which it makes abstraction of all content of cognition; but there is
also a real use, inasmuch as it contains in itself the source of certain
conceptions and principles, which it does not borrow either from the
senses or the understanding. The former faculty has been long defined by
logicians as the faculty of mediate conclusion in contradistinction to
immediate conclusions (consequentiae immediatae); but the nature of the
latter, which itself generates conceptions, is not to be understood
from this definition. Now as a division of reason into a logical and
a transcendental faculty presents itself here, it becomes necessary to
seek for a higher conception of this source of cognition which shall
comprehend both conceptions. In this we may expect, according to the
analogy of the conceptions of the understanding, that the logical
conception will give us the key to the transcendental, and that the
table of the functions of the former will present us with the clue to
the conceptions of reason.

In the former part of our transcendental logic, we defined the
understanding to be the faculty of rules; reason may be distinguished
from understanding as the faculty of principles.

The term principle is ambiguous, and commonly signifies merely a
cognition that may be employed as a principle, although it is not in
itself, and as regards its proper origin, entitled to the distinction.
Every general proposition, even if derived from experience by the
process of induction, may serve as the major in a syllogism; but it is
not for that reason a principle. Mathematical axioms (for example, there
can be only one straight line between two points) are general a priori
cognitions, and are therefore rightly denominated principles, relatively
to the cases which can be subsumed under them. But I cannot for
this reason say that I cognize this property of a straight line from
principles--I cognize it only in pure intuition.

Cognition from principles, then, is that cognition in which I cognize
the particular in the general by means of conceptions. Thus every
syllogism is a form of the deduction of a cognition from a principle.
For the major always gives a conception, through which everything that
is subsumed under the condition thereof is cognized according to a
principle. Now as every general cognition may serve as the major in a
syllogism, and the understanding presents us with such general a
priori propositions, they may be termed principles, in respect of their
possible use.

But if we consider these principles of the pure understanding in
relation to their origin, we shall find them to be anything rather
than cognitions from conceptions. For they would not even be possible
a priori, if we could not rely on the assistance of pure intuition (in
mathematics), or on that of the conditions of a possible experience.
That everything that happens has a cause, cannot be concluded from the
general conception of that which happens; on the contrary the principle
of causality instructs us as to the mode of obtaining from that which
happens a determinate empirical conception.

Synthetical cognitions from conceptions the understanding cannot supply,
and they alone are entitled to be called principles. At the same time,
all general propositions may be termed comparative principles.

It has been a long-cherished wish--that (who knows how late), may one
day, be happily accomplished--that the principles of the endless variety
of civil laws should be investigated and exposed; for in this way alone
can we find the secret of simplifying legislation. But in this case,
laws are nothing more than limitations of our freedom upon conditions
under which it subsists in perfect harmony with itself; they
consequently have for their object that which is completely our own
work, and of which we ourselves may be the cause by means of these
conceptions. But how objects as things in themselves--how the nature of
things is subordinated to principles and is to be determined, according
to conceptions, is a question which it seems well nigh impossible to
answer. Be this, however, as it may--for on this point our investigation
is yet to be made--it is at least manifest from what we have said that
cognition from principles is something very different from cognition by
means of the understanding, which may indeed precede other cognitions
in the form of a principle, but in itself--in so far as it is
synthetical--is neither based upon mere thought, nor contains a general
proposition drawn from conceptions alone.

The understanding may be a faculty for the production of unity of
phenomena by virtue of rules; the reason is a faculty for the production
of unity of rules (of the understanding) under principles. Reason,
therefore, never applies directly to experience, or to any sensuous
object; its object is, on the contrary, the understanding, to the
manifold cognition of which it gives a unity a priori by means of
conceptions--a unity which may be called rational unity, and which is
of a nature very different from that of the unity produced by the

The above is the general conception of the faculty of reason, in so
far as it has been possible to make it comprehensible in the absence of
examples. These will be given in the sequel.


A distinction is commonly made between that which is immediately
cognized and that which is inferred or concluded. That in a figure
which is bounded by three straight lines there are three angles, is an
immediate cognition; but that these angles are together equal to two
right angles, is an inference or conclusion. Now, as we are constantly
employing this mode of thought and have thus become quite accustomed to
it, we no longer remark the above distinction, and, as in the case of
the so-called deceptions of sense, consider as immediately perceived,
what has really been inferred. In every reasoning or syllogism, there
is a fundamental proposition, afterwards a second drawn from it, and
finally the conclusion, which connects the truth in the first with the
truth in the second--and that infallibly. If the judgement concluded
is so contained in the first proposition that it can be deduced from
it without the meditation of a third notion, the conclusion is called
immediate (consequentia immediata); I prefer the term conclusion of
the understanding. But if, in addition to the fundamental cognition, a
second judgement is necessary for the production of the conclusion, it
is called a conclusion of the reason. In the proposition: All men are
mortal, are contained the propositions: Some men are mortal, Nothing
that is not mortal is a man, and these are therefore immediate
conclusions from the first. On the other hand, the proposition: all the
learned are mortal, is not contained in the main proposition (for the
conception of a learned man does not occur in it), and it can be deduced
from the main proposition only by means of a mediating judgement.

In every syllogism I first cogitate a rule (the major) by means of
the understanding. In the next place I subsume a cognition under the
condition of the rule (and this is the minor) by means of the judgement.
And finally I determine my cognition by means of the predicate of the
rule (this is the conclusio), consequently, I determine it a priori
by means of the reason. The relations, therefore, which the major
proposition, as the rule, represents between a cognition and its
condition, constitute the different kinds of syllogisms. These are just
threefold--analogously with all judgements, in so far as they differ
in the mode of expressing the relation of a cognition in the
understanding--namely, categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive.

When as often happens, the conclusion is a judgement which may follow
from other given judgements, through which a perfectly different object
is cogitated, I endeavour to discover in the understanding whether the
assertion in this conclusion does not stand under certain conditions
according to a general rule. If I find such a condition, and if the
object mentioned in the conclusion can be subsumed under the given
condition, then this conclusion follows from a rule which is also valid
for other objects of cognition. From this we see that reason endeavours
to subject the great variety of the cognitions of the understanding to
the smallest possible number of principles (general conditions), and
thus to produce in it the highest unity.


Can we isolate reason, and, if so, is it in this case a peculiar source
of conceptions and judgements which spring from it alone, and through
which it can be applied to objects; or is it merely a subordinate
faculty, whose duty it is to give a certain form to given cognitions--a
form which is called logical, and through which the cognitions of the
understanding are subordinated to each other, and lower rules to higher
(those, to wit, whose condition comprises in its sphere the condition
of the others), in so far as this can be done by comparison? This is the
question which we have at present to answer. Manifold variety of rules
and unity of principles is a requirement of reason, for the purpose of
bringing the understanding into complete accordance with itself, just as
understanding subjects the manifold content of intuition to conceptions,
and thereby introduces connection into it. But this principle prescribes
no law to objects, and does not contain any ground of the possibility of
cognizing or of determining them as such, but is merely a subjective
law for the proper arrangement of the content of the understanding.
The purpose of this law is, by a comparison of the conceptions of the
understanding, to reduce them to the smallest possible number, although,
at the same time, it does not justify us in demanding from objects
themselves such a uniformity as might contribute to the convenience and
the enlargement of the sphere of the understanding, or in expecting that
it will itself thus receive from them objective validity. In one word,
the question is: "does reason in itself, that is, does pure reason
contain a priori synthetical principles and rules, and what are those

The formal and logical procedure of reason in syllogisms gives
us sufficient information in regard to the ground on which the
transcendental principle of reason in its pure synthetical cognition
will rest.

1. Reason, as observed in the syllogistic process, is not applicable to
intuitions, for the purpose of subjecting them to rules--for this is the
province of the understanding with its categories--but to conceptions
and judgements. If pure reason does apply to objects and the intuition
of them, it does so not immediately, but mediately--through the
understanding and its judgements, which have a direct relation to
the senses and their intuition, for the purpose of determining their
objects. The unity of reason is therefore not the unity of a possible
experience, but is essentially different from this unity, which is that
of the understanding. That everything which happens has a cause, is not
a principle cognized and prescribed by reason. This principle makes the
unity of experience possible and borrows nothing from reason, which,
without a reference to possible experience, could never have produced by
means of mere conceptions any such synthetical unity.

2. Reason, in its logical use, endeavours to discover the general
condition of its judgement (the conclusion), and a syllogism is itself
nothing but a judgement by means of the subsumption of its condition
under a general rule (the major). Now as this rule may itself be
subjected to the same process of reason, and thus the condition of the
condition be sought (by means of a prosyllogism) as long as the process
can be continued, it is very manifest that the peculiar principle of
reason in its logical use is to find for the conditioned cognition of
the understanding the unconditioned whereby the unity of the former is

But this logical maxim cannot be a principle of pure reason, unless we
admit that, if the conditioned is given, the whole series of conditions
subordinated to one another--a series which is consequently itself
unconditioned--is also given, that is, contained in the object and its

But this principle of pure reason is evidently synthetical; for,
analytically, the conditioned certainly relates to some condition, but
not to the unconditioned. From this principle also there must originate
different synthetical propositions, of which the pure understanding is
perfectly ignorant, for it has to do only with objects of a possible
experience, the cognition and synthesis of which is always conditioned.
The unconditioned, if it does really exist, must be especially
considered in regard to the determinations which distinguish it from
whatever is conditioned, and will thus afford us material for many a
priori synthetical propositions.

The principles resulting from this highest principle of pure reason
will, however, be transcendent in relation to phenomena, that is to
say, it will be impossible to make any adequate empirical use of this
principle. It is therefore completely different from all principles of
the understanding, the use made of which is entirely immanent, their
object and purpose being merely the possibility of experience. Now our
duty in the transcendental dialectic is as follows. To discover whether
the principle that the series of conditions (in the synthesis of
phenomena, or of thought in general) extends to the unconditioned is
objectively true, or not; what consequences result therefrom affecting
the empirical use of the understanding, or rather whether there exists
any such objectively valid proposition of reason, and whether it is not,
on the contrary, a merely logical precept which directs us to ascend
perpetually to still higher conditions, to approach completeness in the
series of them, and thus to introduce into our cognition the highest
possible unity of reason. We must ascertain, I say, whether this
requirement of reason has not been regarded, by a misunderstanding, as
a transcendental principle of pure reason, which postulates a thorough
completeness in the series of conditions in objects themselves. We
must show, moreover, the misconceptions and illusions that intrude into
syllogisms, the major proposition of which pure reason has supplied--a
proposition which has perhaps more of the character of a petitio than
of a postulatum--and that proceed from experience upwards to its
conditions. The solution of these problems is our task in transcendental
dialectic, which we are about to expose even at its source, that lies
deep in human reason. We shall divide it into two parts, the first of
which will treat of the transcendent conceptions of pure reason, the
second of transcendent and dialectical syllogisms.


The conceptions of pure reason--we do not here speak of the possibility
of them--are not obtained by reflection, but by inference or
conclusion. The conceptions of understanding are also cogitated a priori
antecedently to experience, and render it possible; but they contain
nothing but the unity of reflection upon phenomena, in so far as these
must necessarily belong to a possible empirical consciousness. Through
them alone are cognition and the determination of an object possible. It
is from them, accordingly, that we receive material for reasoning, and
antecedently to them we possess no a priori conceptions of objects from
which they might be deduced, On the other hand, the sole basis of
their objective reality consists in the necessity imposed on them, as
containing the intellectual form of all experience, of restricting their
application and influence to the sphere of experience.

But the term, conception of reason, or rational conception, itself
indicates that it does not confine itself within the limits of
experience, because its object-matter is a cognition, of which every
empirical cognition is but a part--nay, the whole of possible experience
may be itself but a part of it--a cognition to which no actual
experience ever fully attains, although it does always pertain to it.
The aim of rational conceptions is the comprehension, as that of the
conceptions of understanding is the understanding of perceptions.
If they contain the unconditioned, they relate to that to which all
experience is subordinate, but which is never itself an object of
experience--that towards which reason tends in all its conclusions from
experience, and by the standard of which it estimates the degree
of their empirical use, but which is never itself an element in an
empirical synthesis. If, notwithstanding, such conceptions possess
objective validity, they may be called conceptus ratiocinati
(conceptions legitimately concluded); in cases where they do not,
they have been admitted on account of having the appearance of
being correctly concluded, and may be called conceptus ratiocinantes
(sophistical conceptions). But as this can only be sufficiently
demonstrated in that part of our treatise which relates to the
dialectical conclusions of reason, we shall omit any consideration of
it in this place. As we called the pure conceptions of the understanding
categories, we shall also distinguish those of pure reason by a new name
and call them transcendental ideas. These terms, however, we must in the
first place explain and justify.

SECTION I--Of Ideas in General.

Despite the great wealth of words which European languages possess, the
thinker finds himself often at a loss for an expression exactly suited
to his conception, for want of which he is unable to make himself
intelligible either to others or to himself. To coin new words is a
pretension to legislation in language which is seldom successful; and,
before recourse is taken to so desperate an expedient, it is advisable
to examine the dead and learned languages, with the hope and the
probability that we may there meet with some adequate expression of the
notion we have in our minds. In this case, even if the original meaning
of the word has become somewhat uncertain, from carelessness or want of
caution on the part of the authors of it, it is always better to adhere
to and confirm its proper meaning--even although it may be doubtful
whether it was formerly used in exactly this sense--than to make our
labour vain by want of sufficient care to render ourselves intelligible.

For this reason, when it happens that there exists only a single word to
express a certain conception, and this word, in its usual acceptation,
is thoroughly adequate to the conception, the accurate distinction of
which from related conceptions is of great importance, we ought not to
employ the expression improvidently, or, for the sake of variety and
elegance of style, use it as a synonym for other cognate words. It
is our duty, on the contrary, carefully to preserve its peculiar
signification, as otherwise it easily happens that when the attention of
the reader is no longer particularly attracted to the expression, and it
is lost amid the multitude of other words of very different import, the
thought which it conveyed, and which it alone conveyed, is lost with it.

Plato employed the expression idea in a way that plainly showed he meant
by it something which is never derived from the senses, but which
far transcends even the conceptions of the understanding (with which
Aristotle occupied himself), inasmuch as in experience nothing perfectly
corresponding to them could be found. Ideas are, according to him,
archetypes of things themselves, and not merely keys to possible
experiences, like the categories. In his view they flow from the
highest reason, by which they have been imparted to human reason, which,
however, exists no longer in its original state, but is obliged with
great labour to recall by reminiscence--which is called philosophy--the
old but now sadly obscured ideas. I will not here enter upon any
literary investigation of the sense which this sublime philosopher
attached to this expression. I shall content myself with remarking that
it is nothing unusual, in common conversation as well as in written
works, by comparing the thoughts which an author has delivered upon a
subject, to understand him better than he understood himself inasmuch
as he may not have sufficiently determined his conception, and thus have
sometimes spoken, nay even thought, in opposition to his own opinions.

Plato perceived very clearly that our faculty of cognition has the
feeling of a much higher vocation than that of merely spelling out
phenomena according to synthetical unity, for the purpose of being able
to read them as experience, and that our reason naturally raises itself
to cognitions far too elevated to admit of the possibility of an
object given by experience corresponding to them--cognitions which are
nevertheless real, and are not mere phantoms of the brain.

This philosopher found his ideas especially in all that is practical,*
that is, which rests upon freedom, which in its turn ranks under
cognitions that are the peculiar product of reason. He who would derive
from experience the conceptions of virtue, who would make (as many
have really done) that, which at best can but serve as an imperfectly
illustrative example, a model for or the formation of a perfectly
adequate idea on the subject, would in fact transform virtue into a
nonentity changeable according to time and circumstance and utterly
incapable of being employed as a rule. On the contrary, every one is
conscious that, when any one is held up to him as a model of virtue, he
compares this so-called model with the true original which he possesses
in his own mind and values him according to this standard. But this
standard is the idea of virtue, in relation to which all possible
objects of experience are indeed serviceable as examples--proofs of
the practicability in a certain degree of that which the conception of
virtue demands--but certainly not as archetypes. That the actions of
man will never be in perfect accordance with all the requirements of the
pure ideas of reason, does not prove the thought to be chimerical. For
only through this idea are all judgements as to moral merit or demerit
possible; it consequently lies at the foundation of every approach to
moral perfection, however far removed from it the obstacles in human
nature--indeterminable as to degree--may keep us.

   [*Footnote: He certainly extended the application of his conception
to speculative cognitions also, provided they were given pure and
completely a priori, nay, even to mathematics, although this science
cannot possess an object otherwhere than in Possible experience.
I cannot follow him in this, and as little can I follow him in his
mystical deduction of these ideas, or in his hypostatization of them;
although, in truth, the elevated and exaggerated language which he
employed in describing them is quite capable of an interpretation more
subdued and more in accordance with fact and the nature of things.]

The Platonic Republic has become proverbial as an example--and a
striking one--of imaginary perfection, such as can exist only in the
brain of the idle thinker; and Brucker ridicules the philosopher
for maintaining that a prince can never govern well, unless he is
participant in the ideas. But we should do better to follow up this
thought and, where this admirable thinker leaves us without assistance,
employ new efforts to place it in clearer light, rather than carelessly
fling it aside as useless, under the very miserable and pernicious
pretext of impracticability. A constitution of the greatest possible
human freedom according to laws, by which the liberty of every
individual can consist with the liberty of every other (not of the
greatest possible happiness, for this follows necessarily from the
former), is, to say the least, a necessary idea, which must be placed
at the foundation not only of the first plan of the constitution of a
state, but of all its laws. And, in this, it not necessary at the outset
to take account of the obstacles which lie in our way--obstacles which
perhaps do not necessarily arise from the character of human nature, but
rather from the previous neglect of true ideas in legislation. For there
is nothing more pernicious and more unworthy of a philosopher, than the
vulgar appeal to a so-called adverse experience, which indeed would not
have existed, if those institutions had been established at the proper
time and in accordance with ideas; while, instead of this, conceptions,
crude for the very reason that they have been drawn from experience,
have marred and frustrated all our better views and intentions. The more
legislation and government are in harmony with this idea, the more rare
do punishments become and thus it is quite reasonable to maintain,
as Plato did, that in a perfect state no punishments at all would be
necessary. Now although a perfect state may never exist, the idea is
not on that account the less just, which holds up this maximum as the
archetype or standard of a constitution, in order to bring legislative
government always nearer and nearer to the greatest possible perfection.
For at what precise degree human nature must stop in its progress, and
how wide must be the chasm which must necessarily exist between the
idea and its realization, are problems which no one can or ought to
determine--and for this reason, that it is the destination of freedom to
overstep all assigned limits between itself and the idea.

But not only in that wherein human reason is a real causal agent and
where ideas are operative causes (of actions and their objects), that is
to say, in the region of ethics, but also in regard to nature herself,
Plato saw clear proofs of an origin from ideas. A plant, and animal,
the regular order of nature--probably also the disposition of the whole
universe--give manifest evidence that they are possible only by means
of and according to ideas; that, indeed, no one creature, under the
individual conditions of its existence, perfectly harmonizes with the
idea of the most perfect of its kind--just as little as man with
the idea of humanity, which nevertheless he bears in his soul as the
archetypal standard of his actions; that, notwithstanding, these ideas
are in the highest sense individually, unchangeably, and completely
determined, and are the original causes of things; and that the totality
of connected objects in the universe is alone fully adequate to that
idea. Setting aside the exaggerations of expression in the writings of
this philosopher, the mental power exhibited in this ascent from the
ectypal mode of regarding the physical world to the architectonic
connection thereof according to ends, that is, ideas, is an effort which
deserves imitation and claims respect. But as regards the principles of
ethics, of legislation, and of religion, spheres in which ideas
alone render experience possible, although they never attain to full
expression therein, he has vindicated for himself a position of peculiar
merit, which is not appreciated only because it is judged by the very
empirical rules, the validity of which as principles is destroyed by
ideas. For as regards nature, experience presents us with rules and is
the source of truth, but in relation to ethical laws experience is the
parent of illusion, and it is in the highest degree reprehensible to
limit or to deduce the laws which dictate what I ought to do, from what
is done.

We must, however, omit the consideration of these important subjects,
the development of which is in reality the peculiar duty and dignity of
philosophy, and confine ourselves for the present to the more humble but
not less useful task of preparing a firm foundation for those majestic
edifices of moral science. For this foundation has been hitherto
insecure from the many subterranean passages which reason in its
confident but vain search for treasures has made in all directions.
Our present duty is to make ourselves perfectly acquainted with the
transcendental use made of pure reason, its principles and ideas, that
we may be able properly to determine and value its influence and real
worth. But before bringing these introductory remarks to a close, I
beg those who really have philosophy at heart--and their number is but
small--if they shall find themselves convinced by the considerations
following as well as by those above, to exert themselves to preserve to
the expression idea its original signification, and to take care that
it be not lost among those other expressions by which all sorts of
representations are loosely designated--that the interests of science
may not thereby suffer. We are in no want of words to denominate
adequately every mode of representation, without the necessity of
encroaching upon terms which are proper to others. The following is
a graduated list of them. The genus is representation in general
(representatio). Under it stands representation with consciousness
(perceptio). A perception which relates solely to the subject as a
modification of its state, is a sensation (sensatio), an objective
perception is a cognition (cognitio). A cognition is either an intuition
or a conception (intuitus vel conceptus). The former has an immediate
relation to the object and is singular and individual; the latter has
but a mediate relation, by means of a characteristic mark which may be
common to several things. A conception is either empirical or pure. A
pure conception, in so far as it has its origin in the understanding
alone, and is not the conception of a pure sensuous image, is
called notio. A conception formed from notions, which transcends the
possibility of experience, is an idea, or a conception of reason. To
one who has accustomed himself to these distinctions, it must be quite
intolerable to hear the representation of the colour red called an idea.
It ought not even to be called a notion or conception of understanding.

SECTION II. Of Transcendental Ideas.

Transcendental analytic showed us how the mere logical form of
our cognition can contain the origin of pure conceptions a priori,
conceptions which represent objects antecedently to all experience, or
rather, indicate the synthetical unity which alone renders possible an
empirical cognition of objects. The form of judgements--converted into a
conception of the synthesis of intuitions--produced the categories
which direct the employment of the understanding in experience. This
consideration warrants us to expect that the form of syllogisms, when
applied to synthetical unity of intuitions, following the rule of the
categories, will contain the origin of particular a priori conceptions,
which we may call pure conceptions of reason or transcendental ideas,
and which will determine the use of the understanding in the totality of
experience according to principles.

The function of reason in arguments consists in the universality of
a cognition according to conceptions, and the syllogism itself is
a judgement which is determined a priori in the whole extent of its
condition. The proposition: "Caius is mortal," is one which may be
obtained from experience by the aid of the understanding alone; but my
wish is to find a conception which contains the condition under which
the predicate of this judgement is given--in this case, the conception
of man--and after subsuming under this condition, taken in its whole
extent (all men are mortal), I determine according to it the cognition
of the object thought, and say: "Caius is mortal."

Hence, in the conclusion of a syllogism we restrict a predicate to a
certain object, after having thought it in the major in its whole extent
under a certain condition. This complete quantity of the extent in
relation to such a condition is called universality (universalitas). To
this corresponds totality (universitas) of conditions in the synthesis
of intuitions. The transcendental conception of reason is therefore
nothing else than the conception of the totality of the conditions of
a given conditioned. Now as the unconditioned alone renders possible
totality of conditions, and, conversely, the totality of conditions is
itself always unconditioned; a pure rational conception in general
can be defined and explained by means of the conception of the
unconditioned, in so far as it contains a basis for the synthesis of the

To the number of modes of relation which the understanding cogitates by
means of the categories, the number of pure rational conceptions will
correspond. We must therefore seek for, first, an unconditioned of
the categorical synthesis in a subject; secondly, of the hypothetical
synthesis of the members of a series; thirdly, of the disjunctive
synthesis of parts in a system.

There are exactly the same number of modes of syllogisms, each of which
proceeds through prosyllogisms to the unconditioned--one to the subject
which cannot be employed as predicate, another to the presupposition
which supposes nothing higher than itself, and the third to an aggregate
of the members of the complete division of a conception. Hence the pure
rational conceptions of totality in the synthesis of conditions have a
necessary foundation in the nature of human reason--at least as modes of
elevating the unity of the understanding to the unconditioned. They
may have no valid application, corresponding to their transcendental
employment, in concreto, and be thus of no greater utility than
to direct the understanding how, while extending them as widely
as possible, to maintain its exercise and application in perfect
consistence and harmony.

But, while speaking here of the totality of conditions and of the
unconditioned as the common title of all conceptions of reason, we again
light upon an expression which we find it impossible to dispense with,
and which nevertheless, owing to the ambiguity attaching to it from long
abuse, we cannot employ with safety. The word absolute is one of the few
words which, in its original signification, was perfectly adequate to
the conception it was intended to convey--a conception which no other
word in the same language exactly suits, and the loss--or, which is
the same thing, the incautious and loose employment--of which must
be followed by the loss of the conception itself. And, as it is a
conception which occupies much of the attention of reason, its loss
would be greatly to the detriment of all transcendental philosophy. The
word absolute is at present frequently used to denote that something can
be predicated of a thing considered in itself and intrinsically. In this
sense absolutely possible would signify that which is possible in itself
(interne)--which is, in fact, the least that one can predicate of an
object. On the other hand, it is sometimes employed to indicate that
a thing is valid in all respects--for example, absolute sovereignty.
Absolutely possible would in this sense signify that which is possible
in all relations and in every respect; and this is the most that can be
predicated of the possibility of a thing. Now these significations do
in truth frequently coincide. Thus, for example, that which is
intrinsically impossible, is also impossible in all relations, that is,
absolutely impossible. But in most cases they differ from each other
toto caelo, and I can by no means conclude that, because a thing is in
itself possible, it is also possible in all relations, and therefore
absolutely. Nay, more, I shall in the sequel show that absolute
necessity does not by any means depend on internal necessity, and
that, therefore, it must not be considered as synonymous with it. Of an
opposite which is intrinsically impossible, we may affirm that it is in
all respects impossible, and that, consequently, the thing itself, of
which this is the opposite, is absolutely necessary; but I cannot reason
conversely and say, the opposite of that which is absolutely necessary
is intrinsically impossible, that is, that the absolute necessity of
things is an internal necessity. For this internal necessity is in
certain cases a mere empty word with which the least conception cannot
be connected, while the conception of the necessity of a thing in all
relations possesses very peculiar determinations. Now as the loss of a
conception of great utility in speculative science cannot be a matter of
indifference to the philosopher, I trust that the proper determination
and careful preservation of the expression on which the conception
depends will likewise be not indifferent to him.

In this enlarged signification, then, shall I employ the word absolute,
in opposition to that which is valid only in some particular respect;
for the latter is restricted by conditions, the former is valid without
any restriction whatever.

Now the transcendental conception of reason has for its object nothing
else than absolute totality in the synthesis of conditions and does not
rest satisfied till it has attained to the absolutely, that is, in all
respects and relations, unconditioned. For pure reason leaves to the
understanding everything that immediately relates to the object of
intuition or rather to their synthesis in imagination. The former
restricts itself to the absolute totality in the employment of
the conceptions of the understanding and aims at carrying out the
synthetical unity which is cogitated in the category, even to the
unconditioned. This unity may hence be called the rational unity of
phenomena, as the other, which the category expresses, may be termed the
unity of the understanding. Reason, therefore, has an immediate relation
to the use of the understanding, not indeed in so far as the latter
contains the ground of possible experience (for the conception of the
absolute totality of conditions is not a conception that can be employed
in experience, because no experience is unconditioned), but solely
for the purpose of directing it to a certain unity, of which the
understanding has no conception, and the aim of which is to collect into
an absolute whole all acts of the understanding. Hence the objective
employment of the pure conceptions of reason is always transcendent,
while that of the pure conceptions of the understanding must, according
to their nature, be always immanent, inasmuch as they are limited to
possible experience.

I understand by idea a necessary conception of reason, to which
no corresponding object can be discovered in the world of sense.
Accordingly, the pure conceptions of reason at present under
consideration are transcendental ideas. They are conceptions of pure
reason, for they regard all empirical cognition as determined by means
of an absolute totality of conditions. They are not mere fictions, but
natural and necessary products of reason, and have hence a necessary
relation to the whole sphere of the exercise of the understanding.
And, finally, they are transcendent, and overstep the limits of all
experiences, in which, consequently, no object can ever be presented
that would be perfectly adequate to a transcendental idea. When we use
the word idea, we say, as regards its object (an object of the pure
understanding), a great deal, but as regards its subject (that is, in
respect of its reality under conditions of experience), exceedingly
little, because the idea, as the conception of a maximum, can never be
completely and adequately presented in concreto. Now, as in the merely
speculative employment of reason the latter is properly the sole aim,
and as in this case the approximation to a conception, which is never
attained in practice, is the same thing as if the conception were
non-existent--it is commonly said of the conception of this kind, "it is
only an idea." So we might very well say, "the absolute totality of all
phenomena is only an idea," for, as we never can present an adequate
representation of it, it remains for us a problem incapable of solution.
On the other hand, as in the practical use of the understanding we have
only to do with action and practice according to rules, an idea of pure
reason can always be given really in concreto, although only partially,
nay, it is the indispensable condition of all practical employment of
reason. The practice or execution of the idea is always limited
and defective, but nevertheless within indeterminable boundaries,
consequently always under the influence of the conception of an absolute
perfection. And thus the practical idea is always in the highest degree
fruitful, and in relation to real actions indispensably necessary.
In the idea, pure reason possesses even causality and the power of
producing that which its conception contains. Hence we cannot say of
wisdom, in a disparaging way, "it is only an idea." For, for the very
reason that it is the idea of the necessary unity of all possible aims,
it must be for all practical exertions and endeavours the primitive
condition and rule--a rule which, if not constitutive, is at least

Now, although we must say of the transcendental conceptions of reason,
"they are only ideas," we must not, on this account, look upon them as
superfluous and nugatory. For, although no object can be determined by
them, they can be of great utility, unobserved and at the basis of
the edifice of the understanding, as the canon for its extended and
self-consistent exercise--a canon which, indeed, does not enable it to
cognize more in an object than it would cognize by the help of its own
conceptions, but which guides it more securely in its cognition. Not
to mention that they perhaps render possible a transition from our
conceptions of nature and the non-ego to the practical conceptions, and
thus produce for even ethical ideas keeping, so to speak, and connection
with the speculative cognitions of reason. The explication of all this
must be looked for in the sequel.

But setting aside, in conformity with our original purpose, the
consideration of the practical ideas, we proceed to contemplate reason
in its speculative use alone, nay, in a still more restricted sphere, to
wit, in the transcendental use; and here must strike into the same path
which we followed in our deduction of the categories. That is to say, we
shall consider the logical form of the cognition of reason, that we
may see whether reason may not be thereby a source of conceptions which
enables us to regard objects in themselves as determined synthetically a
priori, in relation to one or other of 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 reach.

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

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 in itself 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

            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 Immortality.

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 intuition.

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

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

   [*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 disappearance.]

   [*[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 beings.
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

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

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 the DEPENDENCE of the EXISTENCE
        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 value.

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

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

   [*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


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


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


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

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



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 Monadology.


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. The former imposes
upon understanding the difficulty of seeking the origin of events ever
higher and higher in the series of causes, inasmuch as causality is
always conditioned thereby; while it compensates this labour by the
guarantee of a unity complete and in conformity with law. The latter, on
the contrary, holds out to the understanding the promise of a point
of rest in the chain of causes, by conducting it to an unconditioned
causality, which professes to have the power of spontaneous origination,
but which, in its own utter blindness, deprives it of the guidance of
rules, by which alone a completely connected experience is possible.



The transcendental idea of freedom is far from constituting the entire
content of the psychological conception so termed, which is for the most
part empirical. It merely presents us with the conception of spontaneity
of action, as the proper ground for imputing freedom to the cause of a
certain class of objects. It is, however, the true stumbling-stone to
philosophy, which meets with unconquerable difficulties in the way of
its admitting this kind of unconditioned causality. That element in the
question of the freedom of the will, which has for so long a time placed
speculative reason in such perplexity, is properly only transcendental,
and concerns the question, whether there must be held to exist a faculty
of spontaneous origination of a series of successive things or states.
How such a faculty is possible is not a necessary inquiry; for in the
case of natural causality itself, we are obliged to content ourselves
with the a priori knowledge that such a causality must be presupposed,
although we are quite incapable of comprehending how the being of
one thing is possible through the being of another, but must for this
information look entirely to experience. Now we have demonstrated this
necessity of a free first beginning of a series of phenomena, only in so
far as it is required for the comprehension of an origin of the world,
all following states being regarded as a succession according to laws
of nature alone. But, as there has thus been proved the existence of a
faculty which can of itself originate a series in time--although we
are unable to explain how it can exist--we feel ourselves authorized to
admit, even in the midst of the natural course of events, a beginning,
as regards causality, of different successions of phenomena, and at the
same time to attribute to all substances a faculty of free action.
But we ought in this case not to allow ourselves to fall into a common
misunderstanding, and to suppose that, because a successive series in
the world can only have a comparatively first beginning--another state
or condition of things always preceding--an absolutely first beginning
of a series in the course of nature is impossible. For we are not
speaking here of an absolutely first beginning in relation to time, but
as regards causality alone. When, for example, I, completely of my own
free will, and independently of the necessarily determinative influence
of natural causes, rise from my chair, there commences with this event,
including its material consequences in infinitum, an absolutely
new series; although, in relation to time, this event is merely the
continuation of a preceding series. For this resolution and act of mine
do not form part of the succession of effects in nature, and are not
mere continuations of it; on the contrary, the determining causes of
nature cease to operate in reference to this event, which certainly
succeeds the acts of nature, but does not proceed from them. For
these reasons, the action of a free agent must be termed, in regard to
causality, if not in relation to time, an absolutely primal beginning of
a series of phenomena.

The justification of this need of reason to rest upon a free act as
the first beginning of the series of natural causes is evident from
the fact, that all philosophers of antiquity (with the exception of the
Epicurean school) felt themselves obliged, when constructing a theory of
the motions of the universe, to accept a prime mover, that is, a freely
acting cause, which spontaneously and prior to all other causes evolved
this series of states. They always felt the need of going beyond mere
nature, for the purpose of making a first beginning comprehensible.


The assertor of the all-sufficiency of nature in regard to causality
(transcendental Physiocracy), in opposition to the doctrine of freedom,
would defend his view of the question somewhat in the following manner.
He would say, in answer to the sophistical arguments of the opposite
party: If you do not accept a mathematical first, in relation to time,
you have no need to seek a dynamical first, in regard to causality. Who
compelled you to imagine an absolutely primal condition of the world,
and therewith an absolute beginning of the gradually progressing
successions of phenomena--and, as some foundation for this fancy of
yours, to set bounds to unlimited nature? Inasmuch as the substances in
the world have always existed--at least the unity of experience renders
such a supposition quite necessary--there is no difficulty in believing
also, that the changes in the conditions of these substances have always
existed; and, consequently, that a first beginning, mathematical or
dynamical, is by no means required. The possibility of such an infinite
derivation, without any initial member from which all the others result,
is certainly quite incomprehensible. But, if you are rash enough to
deny the enigmatical secrets of nature for this reason, you will find
yourselves obliged to deny also the existence of many fundamental
properties of natural objects (such as fundamental forces), which you
can just as little comprehend; and even the possibility of so simple
a conception as that of change must present to you insuperable
difficulties. For if experience did not teach you that it was real, you
never could conceive a priori the possibility of this ceaseless sequence
of being and non-being.

But if the existence of a transcendental faculty of freedom is
granted--a faculty of originating changes in the world--this faculty
must at least exist out of and apart from the world; although it is
certainly a bold assumption, that, over and above the complete content
of all possible intuitions, there still exists an object which cannot be
presented in any possible perception. But, to attribute to substances
in the world itself such a faculty, is quite inadmissible; for, in
this case; the connection of phenomena reciprocally determining and
determined according to general laws, which is termed nature, and along
with it the criteria of empirical truth, which enable us to distinguish
experience from mere visionary dreaming, would almost entirely
disappear. In proximity with such a lawless faculty of freedom, a system
of nature is hardly cogitable; for the laws of the latter would be
continually subject to the intrusive influences of the former, and
the course of phenomena, which would otherwise proceed regularly and
uniformly, would become thereby confused and disconnected.



There exists either in, or in connection with the world--either as a
part of it, or as the cause of it--an absolutely necessary being.


The world of sense, as the sum total of all phenomena, contains a series
of changes. For, without such a series, the mental representation of
the series of time itself, as the condition of the possibility of the
sensuous world, could not be presented to us.* But every change stands
under its condition, which precedes it in time and renders it necessary.
Now the existence of a given condition presupposes a complete series of
conditions up to the absolutely unconditioned, which alone is absolutely
necessary. It follows that something that is absolutely necessary must
exist, if change exists as its consequence. But this necessary thing
itself belongs to the sensuous world. For suppose it to exist out of and
apart from it, the series of cosmical changes would receive from it a
beginning, and yet this necessary cause would not itself belong to
the world of sense. But this is impossible. For, as the beginning of a
series in time is determined only by that which precedes it in time, the
supreme condition of the beginning of a series of changes must exist
in the time in which this series itself did not exist; for a beginning
supposes a time preceding, in which the thing that begins to be was
not in existence. The causality of the necessary cause of changes,
and consequently the cause itself, must for these reasons belong
to time--and to phenomena, time being possible only as the form of
phenomena. Consequently, it cannot be cogitated as separated from the
world of sense--the sum total of all phenomena. There is, therefore,
contained in the world, something that is absolutely necessary--whether
it be the whole cosmical series itself, or only a part of it.

   [*Footnote: Objectively, time, as the formal condition of the
possibility of change, precedes all changes; but subjectively, and in
consciousness, the representation of time, like every other, is given
solely by occasion of perception.]


An absolutely necessary being does not exist, either in the world, or
out of it--as its cause.


Grant that either the world itself is necessary, or that there is
contained in it a necessary existence. Two cases are possible. First,
there must either be in the series of cosmical changes a beginning,
which is unconditionally necessary, and therefore uncaused--which is at
variance with the dynamical law of the determination of all phenomena
in time; or, secondly, the series itself is without beginning, and,
although contingent and conditioned in all its parts, is nevertheless
absolutely necessary and unconditioned as a whole--which is
self-contradictory. For the existence of an aggregate cannot be
necessary, if no single part of it possesses necessary existence.

Grant, on the other band, that an absolutely necessary cause exists out
of and apart from the world. This cause, as the highest member in the
series of the causes of cosmical changes, must originate or begin* the
existence of the latter and their series. In this case it must also
begin to act, and its causality would therefore belong to time, and
consequently to the sum total of phenomena, that is, to the world.
It follows that the cause cannot be out of the world; which is
contradictory to the hypothesis. Therefore, neither in the world, nor
out of it (but in causal connection with it), does there exist any
absolutely necessary being.

   [*Footnote: The word begin is taken in two senses. The first is
active--the cause being regarded as beginning a series of conditions as
its effect (infit). The second is passive--the causality in the cause
itself beginning to operate (fit). I reason here from the first to the



To demonstrate the existence of a necessary being, I cannot be permitted
in this place to employ any other than the cosmological argument,
which ascends from the conditioned in phenomena to the unconditioned in
conception--the unconditioned being considered the necessary condition
of the absolute totality of the series. The proof, from the mere idea
of a supreme being, belongs to another principle of reason and requires
separate discussion.

The pure cosmological proof demonstrates the existence of a necessary
being, but at the same time leaves it quite unsettled, whether this
being is the world itself, or quite distinct from it. To establish
the truth of the latter view, principles are requisite, which are not
cosmological and do not proceed in the series of phenomena. We
should require to introduce into our proof conceptions of contingent
beings--regarded merely as objects of the understanding, and also
a principle which enables us to connect these, by means of mere
conceptions, with a necessary being. But the proper place for all such
arguments is a transcendent philosophy, which has unhappily not yet been

But, if we begin our proof cosmologically, by laying at the foundation
of it the series of phenomena, and the regress in it according to
empirical laws of causality, we are not at liberty to break off from
this mode of demonstration and to pass over to something which is not
itself a member of the series. The condition must be taken in exactly
the same signification as the relation of the conditioned to its
condition in the series has been taken, for the series must conduct us
in an unbroken regress to this supreme condition. But if this relation
is sensuous, and belongs to the possible empirical employment of
understanding, the supreme condition or cause must close the regressive
series according to the laws of sensibility and consequently, must
belong to the series of time. It follows that this necessary existence
must be regarded as the highest member of the cosmical series.

Certain philosophers have, nevertheless, allowed themselves the liberty
of making such a saltus (metabasis eis allo gonos). From the changes
in the world they have concluded their empirical contingency, that
is, their dependence on empirically-determined causes, and they thus
admitted an ascending series of empirical conditions: and in this they
are quite right. But as they could not find in this series any primal
beginning or any highest member, they passed suddenly from the empirical
conception of contingency to the pure category, which presents us with
a series--not sensuous, but intellectual--whose completeness does
certainly rest upon the existence of an absolutely necessary cause. Nay,
more, this intellectual series is not tied to any sensuous conditions;
and is therefore free from the condition of time, which requires it
spontaneously to begin its causality in time. But such a procedure is
perfectly inadmissible, as will be made plain from what follows.

In the pure sense of the categories, that is contingent the
contradictory opposite of which is possible. Now we cannot reason from
empirical contingency to intellectual. The opposite of that which is
changed--the opposite of its state--is actual at another time, and is
therefore possible. Consequently, it is not the contradictory opposite
of the former state. To be that, it is necessary that, in the same time
in which the preceding state existed, its opposite could have existed in
its place; but such a cognition is not given us in the mere phenomenon
of change. A body that was in motion = A, comes into a state of rest =
non-A. Now it cannot be concluded from the fact that a state opposite
to the state A follows it, that the contradictory opposite of A is
possible; and that A is therefore contingent. To prove this, we should
require to know that the state of rest could have existed in the very
same time in which the motion took place. Now we know nothing more than
that the state of rest was actual in the time that followed the state of
motion; consequently, that it was also possible. But motion at one time,
and rest at another time, are not contradictorily opposed to each other.
It follows from what has been said that the succession of opposite
determinations, that is, change, does not demonstrate the fact of
contingency as represented in the conceptions of the pure understanding;
and that it cannot, therefore, conduct us to the fact of the existence
of a necessary being. Change proves merely empirical contingency, that
is to say, that the new state could not have existed without a cause,
which belongs to the preceding time. This cause--even although it is
regarded as absolutely necessary--must be presented to us in time, and
must belong to the series of phenomena.


The difficulties which meet us, in our attempt to rise through the
series of phenomena to the existence of an absolutely necessary supreme
cause, must not originate from our inability to establish the truth of
our mere conceptions of the necessary existence of a thing. That is to
say, our objections not be ontological, but must be directed against
the causal connection with a series of phenomena of a condition which is
itself unconditioned. In one word, they must be cosmological and relate
to empirical laws. We must show that the regress in the series of
causes (in the world of sense) cannot conclude with an empirically
unconditioned condition, and that the cosmological argument from the
contingency of the cosmical state--a contingency alleged to arise from
change--does not justify us in accepting a first cause, that is, a prime
originator of the cosmical series.

The reader will observe in this antinomy a very remarkable contrast. The
very same grounds of proof which established in the thesis the existence
of a supreme being, demonstrated in the antithesis--and with equal
strictness--the non-existence of such a being. We found, first, that a
necessary being exists, because the whole time past contains the series
of all conditions, and with it, therefore, the unconditioned (the
necessary); secondly, that there does not exist any necessary being,
for the same reason, that the whole time past contains the series of
all conditions--which are themselves, therefore, in the aggregate,
conditioned. The cause of this seeming incongruity is as follows. We
attend, in the first argument, solely to the absolute totality of the
series of conditions, the one of which determines the other in time, and
thus arrive at a necessary unconditioned. In the second, we consider,
on the contrary, the contingency of everything that is determined in
the series of time--for every event is preceded by a time, in which the
condition itself must be determined as conditioned--and thus everything
that is unconditioned or absolutely necessary disappears. In both, the
mode of proof is quite in accordance with the common procedure of human
reason, which often falls into discord with itself, from considering an
object from two different points of view. Herr von Mairan regarded
the controversy between two celebrated astronomers, which arose from
a similar difficulty as to the choice of a proper standpoint, as a
phenomenon of sufficient importance to warrant a separate treatise
on the subject. The one concluded: the moon revolves on its own axis,
because it constantly presents the same side to the earth; the other
declared that the moon does not revolve on its own axis, for the same
reason. Both conclusions were perfectly correct, according to the point
of view from which the motions of the moon were considered.

SECTION III. Of the Interest of Reason in these Self-contradictions.

We have thus completely before us the dialectical procedure of the
cosmological ideas. No possible experience can present us with an object
adequate to them in extent. Nay, more, reason itself cannot cogitate
them as according with the general laws of experience. And yet they
are not arbitrary fictions of thought. On the contrary, reason, in
its uninterrupted progress in the empirical synthesis, is necessarily
conducted to them, when it endeavours to free from all conditions and
to comprehend in its unconditioned totality that which can only be
determined conditionally in accordance with the laws of experience.
These dialectical propositions are so many attempts to solve four
natural and unavoidable problems of reason. There are neither more, nor
can there be less, than this number, because there are no other series
of synthetical hypotheses, limiting a priori the empirical synthesis.

The brilliant claims of reason striving to extend its dominion beyond
the limits of experience, have been represented above only in dry
formulae, which contain merely the grounds of its pretensions. They
have, besides, in conformity with the character of a transcendental
philosophy, been freed from every empirical element; although the full
splendour of the promises they hold out, and the anticipations they
excite, manifests itself only when in connection with empirical
cognitions. In the application of them, however, and in the advancing
enlargement of the employment of reason, while struggling to rise from
the region of experience and to soar to those sublime ideas, philosophy
discovers a value and a dignity, which, if it could but make good its
assertions, would raise it far above all other departments of human
knowledge--professing, as it does, to present a sure foundation for our
highest hopes and the ultimate aims of all the exertions of reason.
The questions: whether the world has a beginning and a limit to its
extension in space; whether there exists anywhere, or perhaps, in my
own thinking Self, an indivisible and indestructible unity--or whether
nothing but what is divisible and transitory exists; whether I am a free
agent, or, like other beings, am bound in the chains of nature and fate;
whether, finally, there is a supreme cause of the world, or all our
thought and speculation must end with nature and the order of external
things--are questions for the solution of which the mathematician would
willingly exchange his whole science; for in it there is no satisfaction
for the highest aspirations and most ardent desires of humanity. Nay, it
may even be said that the true value of mathematics--that pride of human
reason--consists in this: that she guides reason to the knowledge of
nature--in her greater as well as in her less manifestations--in her
beautiful order and regularity--guides her, moreover, to an insight into
the wonderful unity of the moving forces in the operations of nature,
far beyond the expectations of a philosophy building only on experience;
and that she thus encourages philosophy to extend the province of reason
beyond all experience, and at the same time provides it with the most
excellent materials for supporting its investigations, in so far as
their nature admits, by adequate and accordant intuitions.

Unfortunately for speculation--but perhaps fortunately for the
practical interests of humanity--reason, in the midst of her highest
anticipations, finds herself hemmed in by a press of opposite and
contradictory conclusions, from which neither her honour nor her safety
will permit her to draw back. Nor can she regard these conflicting
trains of reasoning with indifference as mere passages at arms, still
less can she command peace; for in the subject of the conflict she has a
deep interest. There is no other course left open to her than to reflect
with herself upon the origin of this disunion in reason--whether it may
not arise from a mere misunderstanding. After such an inquiry, arrogant
claims would have to be given up on both sides; but the sovereignty
of reason over understanding and sense would be based upon a sure

We shall at present defer this radical inquiry and, in the meantime,
consider for a little what side in the controversy we should most
willingly take, if we were obliged to become partisans at all. As, in
this case, we leave out of sight altogether the logical criterion of
truth, and merely consult our own interest in reference to the question,
these considerations, although inadequate to settle the question of
right in either party, will enable us to comprehend how those who have
taken part in the struggle, adopt the one view rather than the other--no
special insight into the subject, however, having influenced their
choice. They will, at the same time, explain to us many other things
by the way--for example, the fiery zeal on the one side and the cold
maintenance of their cause on the other; why the one party has met with
the warmest approbations, and the other has always been repulsed by
irreconcilable prejudices.

There is one thing, however, that determines the proper point of view,
from which alone this preliminary inquiry can be instituted and carried
on with the proper completeness--and that is the comparison of the
principles from which both sides, thesis and antithesis, proceed. My
readers would remark in the propositions of the antithesis a complete
uniformity in the mode of thought and a perfect unity of principle. Its
principle was that of pure empiricism, not only in the explication
of the phenomena in the world, but also in the solution of the
transcendental ideas, even of that of the universe itself. The
affirmations of the thesis, on the contrary, were based, in addition to
the empirical mode of explanation employed in the series of phenomena,
on intellectual propositions; and its principles were in so far
not simple. I shall term the thesis, in view of its essential
characteristic, the dogmatism of pure reason.

On the side of Dogmatism, or of the thesis, therefore, in the
determination of the cosmological ideas, we find:

1. A practical interest, which must be very dear to every right-thinking
man. That the word has a beginning--that the nature of my thinking self
is simple, and therefore indestructible--that I am a free agent, and
raised above the compulsion of nature and her laws--and, finally, that
the entire order of things, which form the world, is dependent upon a
Supreme Being, from whom the whole receives unity and connection--these
are so many foundation-stones of morality and religion. The antithesis
deprives us of all these supports--or, at least, seems so to deprive us.

2. A speculative interest of reason manifests itself on this side. For,
if we take the transcendental ideas and employ them in the manner which
the thesis directs, we can exhibit completely a priori the entire
chain of conditions, and understand the derivation of the
conditioned--beginning from the unconditioned. This the antithesis does
not do; and for this reason does not meet with so welcome a reception.
For it can give no answer to our question respecting the conditions of
its synthesis--except such as must be supplemented by another question,
and so on to infinity. According to it, we must rise from a given
beginning to one still higher; every part conducts us to a still smaller
one; every event is preceded by another event which is its cause; and
the conditions of existence rest always upon other and still higher
conditions, and find neither end nor basis in some self-subsistent thing
as the primal being.

3. This side has also the advantage of popularity; and this constitutes
no small part of its claim to favour. The common understanding does not
find the least difficulty in the idea of the unconditioned beginning of
all synthesis--accustomed, as it is, rather to follow our consequences
than to seek for a proper basis for cognition. In the conception of an
absolute first, moreover--the possibility of which it does not inquire
into--it is highly gratified to find a firmly-established point
of departure for its attempts at theory; while in the restless and
continuous ascent from the conditioned to the condition, always with one
foot in the air, it can find no satisfaction.

On the side of the antithesis, or Empiricism, in the determination of
the cosmological ideas:

1. We cannot discover any such practical interest arising from pure
principles of reason as morality and religion present. On the contrary,
pure empiricism seems to empty them of all their power and influence.
If there does not exist a Supreme Being distinct from the world--if the
world is without beginning, consequently without a Creator--if our wills
are not free, and the soul is divisible and subject to corruption just
like matter--the ideas and principles of morality lose all validity and
fall with the transcendental ideas which constituted their theoretical

2. But empiricism, in compensation, holds out to reason, in its
speculative interests, certain important advantages, far exceeding any
that the dogmatist can promise us. For, when employed by the empiricist,
understanding is always upon its proper ground of investigation--the
field of possible experience, the laws of which it can explore, and thus
extend its cognition securely and with clear intelligence without being
stopped by limits in any direction. Here can it and ought it to find and
present to intuition its proper object--not only in itself, but in all
its relations; or, if it employ conceptions, upon this ground it can
always present the corresponding images in clear and unmistakable
intuitions. It is quite unnecessary for it to renounce the guidance of
nature, to attach itself to ideas, the objects of which it cannot know;
because, as mere intellectual entities, they cannot be presented in
any intuition. On the contrary, it is not even permitted to abandon
its proper occupation, under the pretence that it has been brought to
a conclusion (for it never can be), and to pass into the region of
idealizing reason and transcendent conceptions, which it is not required
to observe and explore the laws of nature, but merely to think and to
imagine--secure from being contradicted by facts, because they have not
been called as witnesses, but passed by, or perhaps subordinated to the
so-called higher interests and considerations of pure reason.

Hence the empiricist will never allow himself to accept any epoch of
nature for the first--the absolutely primal state; he will not believe
that there can be limits to his outlook into her wide domains, nor pass
from the objects of nature, which he can satisfactorily explain by
means of observation and mathematical thought--which he can determine
synthetically in intuition, to those which neither sense nor imagination
can ever present in concreto; he will not concede the existence of a
faculty in nature, operating independently of the laws of nature--a
concession which would introduce uncertainty into the procedure of the
understanding, which is guided by necessary laws to the observation of
phenomena; nor, finally, will he permit himself to seek a cause beyond
nature, inasmuch as we know nothing but it, and from it alone receive an
objective basis for all our conceptions and instruction in the unvarying
laws of things.

In truth, if the empirical philosopher had no other purpose in the
establishment of his antithesis than to check the presumption of a
reason which mistakes its true destination, which boasts of its insight
and its knowledge, just where all insight and knowledge cease to
exist, and regards that which is valid only in relation to a practical
interest, as an advancement of the speculative interests of the mind
(in order, when it is convenient for itself, to break the thread of our
physical investigations, and, under pretence of extending our cognition,
connect them with transcendental ideas, by means of which we really know
only that we know nothing)--if, I say, the empiricist rested satisfied
with this benefit, the principle advanced by him would be a maxim
recommending moderation in the pretensions of reason and modesty in its
affirmations, and at the same time would direct us to the right mode
of extending the province of the understanding, by the help of the only
true teacher, experience. In obedience to this advice, intellectual
hypotheses and faith would not be called in aid of our practical
interests; nor should we introduce them under the pompous titles of
science and insight. For speculative cognition cannot find an objective
basis any other where than in experience; and, when we overstep its
limits our synthesis, which requires ever new cognitions independent of
experience, has no substratum of intuition upon which to build.

But if--as often happens--empiricism, in relation to ideas, becomes
itself dogmatic and boldly denies that which is above the sphere of its
phenomenal cognition, it falls itself into the error of intemperance--an
error which is here all the more reprehensible, as thereby the practical
interest of reason receives an irreparable injury.

And this constitutes the opposition between Epicureanism* and Platonism.

   [*Footnote: It is, however, still a matter of doubt whether Epicurus
ever propounded these principles as directions for the objective
employment of the understanding. If, indeed, they were nothing more than
maxims for the speculative exercise of reason, he gives evidence therein
a more genuine philosophic spirit than any of the philosophers of
antiquity. That, in the explanation of phenomena, we must proceed as
if the field of inquiry had neither limits in space nor commencement
in time; that we must be satisfied with the teaching of experience in
reference to the material of which the world is posed; that we must not
look for any other mode of the origination of events than that which is
determined by the unalterable laws of nature; and finally, that we not
employ the hypothesis of a cause distinct from the world to account for
a phenomenon or for the world itself--are principles for the extension
of speculative philosophy, and the discovery of the true sources of the
principles of morals, which, however little conformed to in the present
day, are undoubtedly correct. At the same time, any one desirous of
ignoring, in mere speculation, these dogmatical propositions, need not
for that reason be accused of denying them.]

Both Epicurus and Plato assert more in their systems than they know. The
former encourages and advances science--although to the prejudice of
the practical; the latter presents us with excellent principles for the
investigation of the practical, but, in relation to everything regarding
which we can attain to speculative cognition, permits reason to append
idealistic explanations of natural phenomena, to the great injury of
physical investigation.

3. In regard to the third motive for the preliminary choice of a party
in this war of assertions, it seems very extraordinary that empiricism
should be utterly unpopular. We should be inclined to believe that the
common understanding would receive it with pleasure--promising as it
does to satisfy it without passing the bounds of experience and its
connected order; while transcendental dogmatism obliges it to rise to
conceptions which far surpass the intelligence and ability of the most
practised thinkers. But in this, in truth, is to be found its real
motive. For the common understanding thus finds itself in a situation
where not even the most learned can have the advantage of it. If it
understands little or nothing about these transcendental conceptions, no
one can boast of understanding any more; and although it may not express
itself in so scholastically correct a manner as others, it can busy
itself with reasoning and arguments without end, wandering among mere
ideas, about which one can always be very eloquent, because we know
nothing about them; while, in the observation and investigation of
nature, it would be forced to remain dumb and to confess its utter
ignorance. Thus indolence and vanity form of themselves strong
recommendations of these principles. Besides, although it is a hard
thing for a philosopher to assume a principle, of which he can give to
himself no reasonable account, and still more to employ conceptions, the
objective reality of which cannot be established, nothing is more usual
with the common understanding. It wants something which will allow it
to go to work with confidence. The difficulty of even comprehending
a supposition does not disquiet it, because--not knowing what
comprehending means--it never even thinks of the supposition it may be
adopting as a principle; and regards as known that with which it
has become familiar from constant use. And, at last, all speculative
interests disappear before the practical interests which it holds dear;
and it fancies that it understands and knows what its necessities
and hopes incite it to assume or to believe. Thus the empiricism of
transcendentally idealizing reason is robbed of all popularity; and,
however prejudicial it may be to the highest practical principles, there
is no fear that it will ever pass the limits of the schools, or acquire
any favour or influence in society or with the multitude.

Human reason is by nature architectonic. That is to say, it regards all
cognitions as parts of a possible system, and hence accepts only such
principles as at least do not incapacitate a cognition to which we may
have attained from being placed along with others in a general system.
But the propositions of the antithesis are of a character which renders
the completion of an edifice of cognitions impossible. According to
these, beyond one state or epoch of the world there is always to be
found one more ancient; in every part always other parts themselves
divisible; preceding every event another, the origin of which
must itself be sought still higher; and everything in existence is
conditioned, and still not dependent on an unconditioned and primal
existence. As, therefore, the antithesis will not concede the existence
of a first beginning which might be available as a foundation, a
complete edifice of cognition, in the presence of such hypothesis, is
utterly impossible. Thus the architectonic interest of reason, which
requires a unity--not empirical, but a priori and rational--forms a
natural recommendation for the assertions of the thesis in our antinomy.

But if any one could free himself entirely from all considerations
of interest, and weigh without partiality the assertions of reason,
attending only to their content, irrespective of the consequences which
follow from them; such a person, on the supposition that he knew no
other way out of the confusion than to settle the truth of one or
other of the conflicting doctrines, would live in a state of continual
hesitation. Today, he would feel convinced that the human will is free;
to-morrow, considering the indissoluble chain of nature, he would look
on freedom as a mere illusion and declare nature to be all-in-all. But,
if he were called to action, the play of the merely speculative reason
would disappear like the shapes of a dream, and practical interest would
dictate his choice of principles. But, as it well befits a reflective
and inquiring being to devote certain periods of time to the examination
of its own reason--to divest itself of all partiality, and frankly to
communicate its observations for the judgement and opinion of others; so
no one can be blamed for, much less prevented from, placing both
parties on their trial, with permission to end themselves, free
from intimidation, before intimidation, before a sworn jury of equal
condition with themselves--the condition of weak and fallible men.

SECTION IV. Of the necessity imposed upon Pure Reason of
presenting a Solution of its Transcendental Problems.

To avow an ability to solve all problems and to answer all questions
would be a profession certain to convict any philosopher of extravagant
boasting and self-conceit, and at once to destroy the confidence that
might otherwise have been reposed in him. There are, however, sciences
so constituted that every question arising within their sphere must
necessarily be capable of receiving an answer from the knowledge already
possessed, for the answer must be received from the same sources whence
the question arose. In such sciences it is not allowable to excuse
ourselves on the plea of necessary and unavoidable ignorance; a solution
is absolutely requisite. The rule of right and wrong must help us to the
knowledge of what is right or wrong in all possible cases; otherwise,
the idea of obligation or duty would be utterly null, for we cannot have
any obligation to that which we cannot know. On the other hand, in our
investigations of the phenomena of nature, much must remain uncertain,
and many questions continue insoluble; because what we know of nature
is far from being sufficient to explain all the phenomena that are
presented to our observation. Now the question is: Whether there is in
transcendental philosophy any question, relating to an object presented
to pure reason, which is unanswerable by this reason; and whether we
must regard the subject of the question as quite uncertain, so far as
our knowledge extends, and must give it a place among those subjects, of
which we have just so much conception as is sufficient to enable us
to raise a question--faculty or materials failing us, however, when we
attempt an answer.

Now I maintain that, among all speculative cognition, the peculiarity of
transcendental philosophy is that there is no question, relating to an
object presented to pure reason, which is insoluble by this reason; and
that the profession of unavoidable ignorance--the problem being alleged
to be beyond the reach of our faculties--cannot free us from the
obligation to present a complete and satisfactory answer. For the very
conception which enables us to raise the question must give us the power
of answering it; inasmuch as the object, as in the case of right and
wrong, is not to be discovered out of the conception.

But, in transcendental philosophy, it is only the cosmological questions
to which we can demand a satisfactory answer in relation to the
constitution of their object; and the philosopher is not permitted to
avail himself of the pretext of necessary ignorance and impenetrable
obscurity. These questions relate solely to the cosmological ideas. For
the object must be given in experience, and the question relates to the
adequateness of the object to an idea. If the object is transcendental
and therefore itself unknown; if the question, for example, is whether
the object--the something, the phenomenon of which (internal--in
ourselves) is thought--that is to say, the soul, is in itself a simple
being; or whether there is a cause of all things, which is absolutely
necessary--in such cases we are seeking for our idea an object, of which
we may confess that it is unknown to us, though we must not on that
account assert that it is impossible.* The cosmological ideas alone
posses the peculiarity that we can presuppose the object of them and the
empirical synthesis requisite for the conception of that object to be
given; and the question, which arises from these ideas, relates merely
to the progress of this synthesis, in so far as it must contain absolute
totality--which, however, is not empirical, as it cannot be given in any
experience. Now, as the question here is solely in regard to a thing as
the object of a possible experience and not as a thing in itself, the
answer to the transcendental cosmological question need not be sought
out of the idea, for the question does not regard an object in itself.
The question in relation to a possible experience is not, "What can be
given in an experience in concreto" but "what is contained in the idea,
to which the empirical synthesis must approximate." The question must
therefore be capable of solution from the idea alone. For the idea is
a creation of reason itself, which therefore cannot disclaim the
obligation to answer or refer us to the unknown object.

   [*Footnote: The question, "What is the constitution of a transcendental
object?" is unanswerable--we are unable to say what it is; but we can
perceive that the question itself is nothing; because it does not relate
to any object that can be presented to us. For this reason, we must
consider all the questions raised in transcendental psychology as
answerable and as really answered; for they relate to the transcendental
subject of all internal phenomena, which is not itself phenomenon and
consequently not given as an object, in which, moreover, none of
the categories--and it is to them that the question is properly
directed--find any conditions of its application. Here, therefore, is a
case where no answer is the only proper answer. For a question regarding
the constitution of a something which cannot be cogitated by any
determined predicate, being completely beyond the sphere of objects and
experience, is perfectly null and void.]

It is not so extraordinary, as it at first sight appears, that a science
should demand and expect satisfactory answers to all the questions that
may arise within its own sphere (questiones domesticae), although, up to
a certain time, these answers may not have been discovered. There are,
in addition to transcendental philosophy, only two pure sciences
of reason; the one with a speculative, the other with a practical
content--pure mathematics and pure ethics. Has any one ever heard
it alleged that, from our complete and necessary ignorance of the
conditions, it is uncertain what exact relation the diameter of a circle
bears to the circle in rational or irrational numbers? By the former
the sum cannot be given exactly, by the latter only approximately; and
therefore we decide that the impossibility of a solution of the question
is evident. Lambert presented us with a demonstration of this. In the
general principles of morals there can be nothing uncertain, for the
propositions are either utterly without meaning, or must originate
solely in our rational conceptions. On the other hand, there must be
in physical science an infinite number of conjectures, which can never
become certainties; because the phenomena of nature are not given as
objects dependent on our conceptions. The key to the solution of such
questions cannot, therefore, be found in our conceptions, or in pure
thought, but must lie without us and for that reason is in many cases
not to be discovered; and consequently a satisfactory explanation cannot
be expected. The questions of transcendental analytic, which relate to
the deduction of our pure cognition, are not to be regarded as of the
same kind as those mentioned above; for we are not at present treating
of the certainty of judgements in relation to the origin of our
conceptions, but only of that certainty in relation to objects.

We cannot, therefore, escape the responsibility of at least a critical
solution of the questions of reason, by complaints of the limited nature
of our faculties, and the seemingly humble confession that it is beyond
the power of our reason to decide, whether the world has existed from
all eternity or had a beginning--whether it is infinitely extended, or
enclosed within certain limits--whether anything in the world is simple,
or whether everything must be capable of infinite divisibility--whether
freedom can originate phenomena, or whether everything is absolutely
dependent on the laws and order of nature--and, finally, whether there
exists a being that is completely unconditioned and necessary, or
whether the existence of everything is conditioned and consequently
dependent on something external to itself, and therefore in its own
nature contingent. For all these questions relate to an object, which
can be given nowhere else than in thought. This object is the absolutely
unconditioned totality of the synthesis of phenomena. If the conceptions
in our minds do not assist us to some certain result in regard to these
problems, we must not defend ourselves on the plea that the object
itself remains hidden from and unknown to us. For no such thing or
object can be given--it is not to be found out of the idea in our minds.
We must seek the cause of our failure in our idea itself, which is an
insoluble problem and in regard to which we obstinately assume that
there exists a real object corresponding and adequate to it. A clear
explanation of the dialectic which lies in our conception, will very
soon enable us to come to a satisfactory decision in regard to such a

The pretext that we are unable to arrive at certainty in regard to these
problems may be met with this question, which requires at least a plain
answer: "From what source do the ideas originate, the solution of which
involves you in such difficulties? Are you seeking for an explanation
of certain phenomena; and do you expect these ideas to give you the
principles or the rules of this explanation?" Let it be granted, that
all nature was laid open before you; that nothing was hid from your
senses and your consciousness. Still, you could not cognize in concreto
the object of your ideas in any experience. For what is demanded is not
only this full and complete intuition, but also a complete synthesis and
the consciousness of its absolute totality; and this is not possible by
means of any empirical cognition. It follows that your question--your
idea--is by no means necessary for the explanation of any phenomenon;
and the idea cannot have been in any sense given by the object itself.
For such an object can never be presented to us, because it cannot be
given by any possible experience. Whatever perceptions you may attain
to, you are still surrounded by conditions--in space, or in time--and
you cannot discover anything unconditioned; nor can you decide whether
this unconditioned is to be placed in an absolute beginning of the
synthesis, or in an absolute totality of the series without beginning.
A whole, in the empirical signification of the term, is always merely
comparative. The absolute whole of quantity (the universe), of division,
of derivation, of the condition of existence, with the question--whether
it is to be produced by finite or infinite synthesis, no possible
experience can instruct us concerning. You will not, for example, be
able to explain the phenomena of a body in the least degree better,
whether you believe it to consist of simple, or of composite parts;
for a simple phenomenon--and just as little an infinite series of
composition--can never be presented to your perception. Phenomena
require and admit of explanation, only in so far as the conditions of
that explanation are given in perception; but the sum total of that
which is given in phenomena, considered as an absolute whole, is itself
a perception--and we cannot therefore seek for explanations of this
whole beyond itself, in other perceptions. The explanation of this whole
is the proper object of the transcendental problems of pure reason.

Although, therefore, the solution of these problems is unattainable
through experience, we must not permit ourselves to say that it is
uncertain how the object of our inquiries is constituted. For the object
is in our own mind and cannot be discovered in experience; and we have
only to take care that our thoughts are consistent with each other,
and to avoid falling into the amphiboly of regarding our idea as a
representation of an object empirically given, and therefore to be
cognized according to the laws of experience. A dogmatical solution is
therefore not only unsatisfactory but impossible. The critical solution,
which may be a perfectly certain one, does not consider the question
objectively, but proceeds by inquiring into the basis of the cognition
upon which the question rests.

SECTION V. Sceptical Exposition of the Cosmological Problems
presented in the four Transcendental Ideas.

We should be quite willing to desist from the demand of a dogmatical
answer to our questions, if we understood beforehand that, be the answer
what it may, it would only serve to increase our ignorance, to throw
us from one incomprehensibility into another, from one obscurity
into another still greater, and perhaps lead us into irreconcilable
contradictions. If a dogmatical affirmative or negative answer is
demanded, is it at all prudent to set aside the probable grounds of
a solution which lie before us and to take into consideration what
advantage we shall gain, if the answer is to favour the one side or the
other? If it happens that in both cases the answer is mere nonsense,
we have in this an irresistible summons to institute a critical
investigation of the question, for the purpose of discovering whether
it is based on a groundless presupposition and relates to an idea, the
falsity of which would be more easily exposed in its application and
consequences than in the mere representation of its content. This is the
great utility of the sceptical mode of treating the questions addressed
by pure reason to itself. By this method we easily rid ourselves of
the confusions of dogmatism, and establish in its place a temperate
criticism, which, as a genuine cathartic, will successfully remove
the presumptuous notions of philosophy and their consequence--the vain
pretension to universal science.

If, then, I could understand the nature of a cosmological idea and
perceive, before I entered on the discussion of the subject at all,
that, whatever side of the question regarding the unconditioned of the
regressive synthesis of phenomena it favoured--it must either be too
great or too small for every conception of the understanding--I would
be able to comprehend how the idea, which relates to an object of
experience--an experience which must be adequate to and in accordance
with a possible conception of the understanding--must be completely void
and without significance, inasmuch as its object is inadequate, consider
it as we may. And this is actually the case with all cosmological
conceptions, which, for the reason above mentioned, involve reason, so
long as it remains attached to them, in an unavoidable antinomy. For

First, that the world has no beginning--in this case it is too large
for our conception; for this conception, which consists in a successive
regress, cannot overtake the whole eternity that has elapsed. Grant
that it has a beginning, it is then too small for the conception of
the understanding. For, as a beginning presupposes a time preceding, it
cannot be unconditioned; and the law of the empirical employment of the
understanding imposes the necessity of looking for a higher condition of
time; and the world is, therefore, evidently too small for this law.

The same is the case with the double answer to the question regarding
the extent, in space, of the world. For, if it is infinite and
unlimited, it must be too large for every possible empirical conception.
If it is finite and limited, we have a right to ask: "What determines
these limits?" Void space is not a self-subsistent correlate of things,
and cannot be a final condition--and still less an empirical condition,
forming a part of a possible experience. For how can we have any
experience or perception of an absolute void? But the absolute totality
of the empirical synthesis requires that the unconditioned be an
empirical conception. Consequently, a finite world is too small for our

Secondly, if every phenomenon (matter) in space consists of an infinite
number of parts, the regress of the division is always too great for our
conception; and if the division of space must cease with some member
of the division (the simple), it is too small for the idea of the
unconditioned. For the member at which we have discontinued our division
still admits a regress to many more parts contained in the object.

Thirdly, suppose that every event in the world happens in accordance
with the laws of nature; the causality of a cause must itself be
an event and necessitates a regress to a still higher cause, and
consequently the unceasing prolongation of the series of conditions
a parte priori. Operative nature is therefore too large for every
conception we can form in the synthesis of cosmical events.

If we admit the existence of spontaneously produced events, that is, of
free agency, we are driven, in our search for sufficient reasons, on an
unavoidable law of nature and are compelled to appeal to the empirical
law of causality, and we find that any such totality of connection in
our synthesis is too small for our necessary empirical conception.

Fourthly, if we assume the existence of an absolutely necessary
being--whether it be the world or something in the world, or the cause
of the world--we must place it in a time at an infinite distance from
any given moment; for, otherwise, it must be dependent on some other and
higher existence. Such an existence is, in this case, too large for our
empirical conception, and unattainable by the continued regress of any

But if we believe that everything in the world--be it condition or
conditioned--is contingent; every given existence is too small for our
conception. For in this case we are compelled to seek for some other
existence upon which the former depends.

We have said that in all these cases the cosmological idea is either
too great or too small for the empirical regress in a synthesis, and
consequently for every possible conception of the understanding. Why did
we not express ourselves in a manner exactly the reverse of this and,
instead of accusing the cosmological idea of over stepping or of falling
short of its true aim, possible experience, say that, in the first case,
the empirical conception is always too small for the idea, and in the
second too great, and thus attach the blame of these contradictions to
the empirical regress? The reason is this. Possible experience can alone
give reality to our conceptions; without it a conception is merely an
idea, without truth or relation to an object. Hence a possible empirical
conception must be the standard by which we are to judge whether an
idea is anything more than an idea and fiction of thought, or whether it
relates to an object in the world. If we say of a thing that in
relation to some other thing it is too large or too small, the former is
considered as existing for the sake of the latter, and requiring to
be adapted to it. Among the trivial subjects of discussion in the old
schools of dialectics was this question: "If a ball cannot pass through
a hole, shall we say that the ball is too large or the hole too small?"
In this case it is indifferent what expression we employ; for we do
not know which exists for the sake of the other. On the other hand, we
cannot say: "The man is too long for his coat"; but: "The coat is too
short for the man."

We are thus led to the well-founded suspicion that the cosmological
ideas, and all the conflicting sophistical assertions connected with
them, are based upon a false and fictitious conception of the mode in
which the object of these ideas is presented to us; and this suspicion
will probably direct us how to expose the illusion that has so long led
us astray from the truth.

SECTION VI. Transcendental Idealism as the Key to theSolution
of Pure Cosmological Dialectic.

In the transcendental aesthetic we proved that everything intuited in
space and time, all objects of a possible experience, are nothing but
phenomena, that is, mere representations; and that these, as
presented to us--as extended bodies, or as series of changes--have no
self-subsistent existence apart from human thought. This doctrine I
call Transcendental Idealism.* The realist in the transcendental
sense regards these modifications of our sensibility, these mere
representations, as things subsisting in themselves.

   [*Footnote: I have elsewhere termed this theory formal idealism, to
distinguish it from material idealism, which doubts or denies the
existence of external things. To avoid ambiguity, it seems advisable in
many cases to employ this term instead of that mentioned in the text.]

It would be unjust to accuse us of holding the long-decried theory of
empirical idealism, which, while admitting the reality of space, denies,
or at least doubts, the existence of bodies extended in it, and thus
leaves us without a sufficient criterion of reality and illusion. The
supporters of this theory find no difficulty in admitting the reality of
the phenomena of the internal sense in time; nay, they go the length
of maintaining that this internal experience is of itself a sufficient
proof of the real existence of its object as a thing in itself.

Transcendental idealism allows that the objects of external
intuition--as intuited in space, and all changes in time--as represented
by the internal sense, are real. For, as space is the form of that
intuition which we call external, and, without objects in space, no
empirical representation could be given us, we can and ought to regard
extended bodies in it as real. The case is the same with representations
in time. But time and space, with all phenomena therein, are not in
themselves things. They are nothing but representations and cannot exist
out of and apart from the mind. Nay, the sensuous internal intuition of
the mind (as the object of consciousness), the determination of which
is represented by the succession of different states in time, is not
the real, proper self, as it exists in itself--not the transcendental
subject--but only a phenomenon, which is presented to the sensibility of
this, to us, unknown being. This internal phenomenon cannot be admitted
to be a self-subsisting thing; for its condition is time, and time
cannot be the condition of a thing in itself. But the empirical truth
of phenomena in space and time is guaranteed beyond the possibility of
doubt, and sufficiently distinguished from the illusion of dreams
or fancy--although both have a proper and thorough connection in an
experience according to empirical laws. The objects of experience then
are not things in themselves, but are given only in experience, and have
no existence apart from and independently of experience. That there may
be inhabitants in the moon, although no one has ever observed them, must
certainly be admitted; but this assertion means only, that we may in the
possible progress of experience discover them at some future time. For
that which stands in connection with a perception according to the
laws of the progress of experience is real. They are therefore really
existent, if they stand in empirical connection with my actual or real
consciousness, although they are not in themselves real, that is, apart
from the progress of experience.

There is nothing actually given--we can be conscious of nothing as
real, except a perception and the empirical progression from it to other
possible perceptions. For phenomena, as mere representations, are real
only in perception; and perception is, in fact, nothing but the reality
of an empirical representation, that is, a phenomenon. To call a
phenomenon a real thing prior to perception means either that we must
meet with this phenomenon in the progress of experience, or it means
nothing at all. For I can say only of a thing in itself that it exists
without relation to the senses and experience. But we are speaking here
merely of phenomena in space and time, both of which are determinations
of sensibility, and not of things in themselves. It follows that
phenomena are not things in themselves, but are mere representations,
which if not given in us--in perception--are non-existent.

The faculty of sensuous intuition is properly a receptivity--a capacity
of being affected in a certain manner by representations, the relation
of which to each other is a pure intuition of space and time--the pure
forms of sensibility. These representations, in so far as they are
connected and determinable in this relation (in space and time)
according to laws of the unity of experience, are called objects. The
non-sensuous cause of these representations is completely unknown to us
and hence cannot be intuited as an object. For such an object could not
be represented either in space or in time; and without these conditions
intuition or representation is impossible. We may, at the same time,
term the non-sensuous cause of phenomena the transcendental object--but
merely as a mental correlate to sensibility, considered as a
receptivity. To this transcendental object we may attribute the whole
connection and extent of our possible perceptions, and say that it is
given and exists in itself prior to all experience. But the phenomena,
corresponding to it, are not given as things in themselves, but in
experience alone. For they are mere representations, receiving from
perceptions alone significance and relation to a real object, under
the condition that this or that perception--indicating an object--is in
complete connection with all others in accordance with the rules of the
unity of experience. Thus we can say: "The things that really existed
in past time are given in the transcendental object of experience." But
these are to me real objects, only in so far as I can represent to my
own mind, that a regressive series of possible perceptions--following
the indications of history, or the footsteps of cause and effect--in
accordance with empirical laws--that, in one word, the course of the
world conducts us to an elapsed series of time as the condition of the
present time. This series in past time is represented as real, not in
itself, but only in connection with a possible experience. Thus, when
I say that certain events occurred in past time, I merely assert the
possibility of prolonging the chain of experience, from the present
perception, upwards to the conditions that determine it according to

If I represent to myself all objects existing in all space and time, I
do not thereby place these in space and time prior to all experience; on
the contrary, such a representation is nothing more than the notion of
a possible experience, in its absolute completeness. In experience alone
are those objects, which are nothing but representations, given. But,
when I say they existed prior to my experience, this means only that
I must begin with the perception present to me and follow the track
indicated until I discover them in some part or region of experience.
The cause of the empirical condition of this progression--and
consequently at what member therein I must stop, and at what point
in the regress I am to find this member--is transcendental, and hence
necessarily incognizable. But with this we have not to do; our concern
is only with the law of progression in experience, in which objects,
that is, phenomena, are given. It is a matter of indifference, whether
I say, "I may in the progress of experience discover stars, at a hundred
times greater distance than the most distant of those now visible," or,
"Stars at this distance may be met in space, although no one has,
or ever will discover them." For, if they are given as things in
themselves, without any relation to possible experience, they are for me
non-existent, consequently, are not objects, for they are not contained
in the regressive series of experience. But, if these phenomena must be
employed in the construction or support of the cosmological idea of an
absolute whole, and when we are discussing a question that oversteps the
limits of possible experience, the proper distinction of the different
theories of the reality of sensuous objects is of great importance,
in order to avoid the illusion which must necessarily arise from the
misinterpretation of our empirical conceptions.

SECTION VII. Critical Solution of the Cosmological Problem.

The antinomy of pure reason is based upon the following dialectical
argument: "If that which is conditioned is given, the whole series
of its conditions is also given; but sensuous objects are given as
conditioned; consequently..." This syllogism, the major of which seems
so natural and evident, introduces as many cosmological ideas as there
are different kinds of conditions in the synthesis of phenomena, in
so far as these conditions constitute a series. These ideas require
absolute totality in the series, and thus place reason in inextricable
embarrassment. Before proceeding to expose the fallacy in this
dialectical argument, it will be necessary to have a correct
understanding of certain conceptions that appear in it.

In the first place, the following proposition is evident, and
indubitably certain: "If the conditioned is given, a regress in the
series of all its conditions is thereby imperatively required." For the
very conception of a conditioned is a conception of something related
to a condition, and, if this condition is itself conditioned, to
another condition--and so on through all the members of the series.
This proposition is, therefore, analytical and has nothing to fear
from transcendental criticism. It is a logical postulate of reason:
to pursue, as far as possible, the connection of a conception with its

If, in the second place, both the conditioned and the condition are
things in themselves, and if the former is given, not only is the
regress to the latter requisite, but the latter is really given with
the former. Now, as this is true of all the members of the series, the
entire series of conditions, and with them the unconditioned, is at the
same time given in the very fact of the conditioned, the existence of
which is possible only in and through that series, being given. In
this case, the synthesis of the conditioned with its condition, is a
synthesis of the understanding merely, which represents things as they
are, without regarding whether and how we can cognize them. But if
I have to do with phenomena, which, in their character of mere
representations, are not given, if I do not attain to a cognition of
them (in other words, to themselves, for they are nothing more than
empirical cognitions), I am not entitled to say: "If the conditioned
is given, all its conditions (as phenomena) are also given." I cannot,
therefore, from the fact of a conditioned being given, infer the
absolute totality of the series of its conditions. For phenomena are
nothing but an empirical synthesis in apprehension or perception, and
are therefore given only in it. Now, in speaking of phenomena it does
not follow that, if the conditioned is given, the synthesis which
constitutes its empirical condition is also thereby given and
presupposed; such a synthesis can be established only by an actual
regress in the series of conditions. But we are entitled to say in this
case that a regress to the conditions of a conditioned, in other
words, that a continuous empirical synthesis is enjoined; that, if the
conditions are not given, they are at least required; and that we are
certain to discover the conditions in this regress.

We can now see that the major, in the above cosmological syllogism,
takes the conditioned in the transcendental signification which it has
in the pure category, while the minor speaks of it in the empirical
signification which it has in the category as applied to phenomena.
There is, therefore, a dialectical fallacy in the syllogism--a sophisma
figurae dictionis. But this fallacy is not a consciously devised one,
but a perfectly natural illusion of the common reason of man. For,
when a thing is given as conditioned, we presuppose in the major its
conditions and their series, unperceived, as it were, and unseen;
because this is nothing more than the logical requirement of complete
and satisfactory premisses for a given conclusion. In this case, time
is altogether left out in the connection of the conditioned with
the condition; they are supposed to be given in themselves, and
contemporaneously. It is, moreover, just as natural to regard phenomena
(in the minor) as things in themselves and as objects presented to the
pure understanding, as in the major, in which complete abstraction was
made of all conditions of intuition. But it is under these conditions
alone that objects are given. Now we overlooked a remarkable distinction
between the conceptions. The synthesis of the conditioned with its
condition, and the complete series of the latter (in the major) are not
limited by time, and do not contain the conception of succession. On the
contrary, the empirical synthesis and the series of conditions in the
phenomenal world--subsumed in the minor--are necessarily successive and
given in time alone. It follows that I cannot presuppose in the minor,
as I did in the major, the absolute totality of the synthesis and of
the series therein represented; for in the major all the members of the
series are given as things in themselves--without any limitations or
conditions of time, while in the minor they are possible only in and
through a successive regress, which cannot exist, except it be actually
carried into execution in the world of phenomena.

After this proof of the viciousness of the argument commonly employed
in maintaining cosmological assertions, both parties may now be justly
dismissed, as advancing claims without grounds or title. But the process
has not been ended by convincing them that one or both were in the
wrong and had maintained an assertion which was without valid grounds
of proof. Nothing seems to be clearer than that, if one maintains: "The
world has a beginning," and another: "The world has no beginning," one
of the two must be right. But it is likewise clear that, if the evidence
on both sides is equal, it is impossible to discover on what side the
truth lies; and the controversy continues, although the parties have
been recommended to peace before the tribunal of reason. There remains,
then, no other means of settling the question than to convince the
parties, who refute each other with such conclusiveness and ability,
that they are disputing about nothing, and that a transcendental
illusion has been mocking them with visions of reality where there is
none. The mode of adjusting a dispute which cannot be decided upon its
own merits, we shall now proceed to lay before our readers.

Zeno of Elea, a subtle dialectician, was severely reprimanded by Plato
as a sophist, who, merely from the base motive of exhibiting his
skill in discussion, maintained and subverted the same proposition by
arguments as powerful and convincing on the one side as on the other. He
maintained, for example, that God (who was probably nothing more, in his
view, than the world) is neither finite nor infinite, neither in motion
nor in rest, neither similar nor dissimilar to any other thing. It
seemed to those philosophers who criticized his mode of discussion
that his purpose was to deny completely both of two self-contradictory
propositions--which is absurd. But I cannot believe that there is any
justice in this accusation. The first of these propositions I shall
presently consider in a more detailed manner. With regard to the others,
if by the word of God he understood merely the Universe, his meaning
must have been--that it cannot be permanently present in one place--that
is, at rest--nor be capable of changing its place--that is, of
moving--because all places are in the universe, and the universe itself
is, therefore, in no place. Again, if the universe contains in itself
everything that exists, it cannot be similar or dissimilar to any other
thing, because there is, in fact, no other thing with which it can be
compared. If two opposite judgements presuppose a contingent impossible,
or arbitrary condition, both--in spite of their opposition (which is,
however, not properly or really a contradiction)--fall away; because the
condition, which ensured the validity of both, has itself disappeared.

If we say: "Everybody has either a good or a bad smell," we have omitted
a third possible judgement--it has no smell at all; and thus both
conflicting statements may be false. If we say: "It is either
good-smelling or not good-smelling (vel suaveolens vel non-suaveolens),"
both judgements are contradictorily opposed; and the contradictory
opposite of the former judgement--some bodies are not
good-smelling--embraces also those bodies which have no smell at all. In
the preceding pair of opposed judgements (per disparata), the contingent
condition of the conception of body (smell) attached to both conflicting
statements, instead of having been omitted in the latter, which is
consequently not the contradictory opposite of the former.

If, accordingly, we say: "The world is either infinite in extension, or
it is not infinite (non est infinitus)"; and if the former proposition
is false, its contradictory opposite--the world is not infinite--must
be true. And thus I should deny the existence of an infinite, without,
however affirming the existence of a finite world. But if we construct
our proposition thus: "The world is either infinite or finite
(non-infinite)," both statements may be false. For, in this case, we
consider the world as per se determined in regard to quantity, and
while, in the one judgement, we deny its infinite and consequently,
perhaps, its independent existence; in the other, we append to the
world, regarded as a thing in itself, a certain determination--that
of finitude; and the latter may be false as well as the former, if the
world is not given as a thing in itself, and thus neither as finite nor
as infinite in quantity. This kind of opposition I may be allowed to
term dialectical; that of contradictories may be called analytical
opposition. Thus then, of two dialectically opposed judgements both may
be false, from the fact, that the one is not a mere contradictory of
the other, but actually enounces more than is requisite for a full and
complete contradiction.

When we regard the two propositions--"The world is infinite in
quantity," and, "The world is finite in quantity," as contradictory
opposites, we are assuming that the world--the complete series of
phenomena--is a thing in itself. For it remains as a permanent quantity,
whether I deny the infinite or the finite regress in the series of
its phenomena. But if we dismiss this assumption--this transcendental
illusion--and deny that it is a thing in itself, the contradictory
opposition is metamorphosed into a merely dialectical one; and the
world, as not existing in itself--independently of the regressive series
of my representations--exists in like manner neither as a whole which is
infinite nor as a whole which is finite in itself. The universe exists
for me only in the empirical regress of the series of phenomena and not
per se. If, then, it is always conditioned, it is never completely or as
a whole; and it is, therefore, not an unconditioned whole and does not
exist as such, either with an infinite, or with a finite quantity.

What we have here said of the first cosmological idea--that of the
absolute totality of quantity in phenomena--applies also to the
others. The series of conditions is discoverable only in the regressive
synthesis itself, and not in the phenomenon considered as a thing in
itself--given prior to all regress. Hence I am compelled to say: "The
aggregate of parts in a given phenomenon is in itself neither finite nor
infinite; and these parts are given only in the regressive synthesis
of decomposition--a synthesis which is never given in absolute
completeness, either as finite, or as infinite." The same is the case
with the series of subordinated causes, or of the conditioned up to the
unconditioned and necessary existence, which can never be regarded as in
itself, ind in its totality, either as finite or as infinite; because,
as a series of subordinate representations, it subsists only in the
dynamical regress and cannot be regarded as existing previously to this
regress, or as a self-subsistent series of things.

Thus the antinomy of pure reason in its cosmological ideas disappears.
For the above demonstration has established the fact that it is merely
the product of a dialectical and illusory opposition, which arises from
the application of the idea of absolute totality--admissible only as a
condition of things in themselves--to phenomena, which exist only in
our representations, and--when constituting a series--in a successive
regress. This antinomy of reason may, however, be really profitable to
our speculative interests, not in the way of contributing any dogmatical
addition, but as presenting to us another material support in our
critical investigations. For it furnishes us with an indirect proof
of the transcendental ideality of phenomena, if our minds were
not completely satisfied with the direct proof set forth in the
Trancendental Aesthetic. The proof would proceed in the following
dilemma. If the world is a whole existing in itself, it must be either
finite or infinite. But it is neither finite nor infinite--as has been
shown, on the one side, by the thesis, on the other, by the antithesis.
Therefore the world--the content of all phenomena--is not a whole
existing in itself. It follows that phenomena are nothing, apart
from our representations. And this is what we mean by transcendental

This remark is of some importance. It enables us to see that the proofs
of the fourfold antinomy are not mere sophistries--are not fallacious,
but grounded on the nature of reason, and valid--under the supposition
that phenomena are things in themselves. The opposition of the
judgements which follow makes it evident that a fallacy lay in the
initial supposition, and thus helps us to discover the true constitution
of objects of sense. This transcendental dialectic does not favour
scepticism, although it presents us with a triumphant demonstration of
the advantages of the sceptical method, the great utility of which is
apparent in the antinomy, where the arguments of reason were allowed to
confront each other in undiminished force. And although the result of
these conflicts of reason is not what we expected--although we have
obtained no positive dogmatical addition to metaphysical science--we
have still reaped a great advantage in the correction of our judgements
on these subjects of thought.

SECTION VIII. Regulative Principle of Pure Reason in relation to the
Cosmological Ideas.

The cosmological principle of totality could not give us any certain
knowledge in regard to the maximum in the series of conditions in the
world of sense, considered as a thing in itself. The actual regress in
the series is the only means of approaching this maximum. This principle
of pure reason, therefore, may still be considered as valid--not as an
axiom enabling us to cogitate totality in the object as actual, but as
a problem for the understanding, which requires it to institute and
to continue, in conformity with the idea of totality in the mind, the
regress in the series of the conditions of a given conditioned. For in
the world of sense, that is, in space and time, every condition which
we discover in our investigation of phenomena is itself conditioned;
because sensuous objects are not things in themselves (in which case an
absolutely unconditioned might be reached in the progress of cognition),
but are merely empirical representations the conditions of which must
always be found in intuition. The principle of reason is therefore
properly a mere rule--prescribing a regress in the series of conditions
for given phenomena, and prohibiting any pause or rest on an absolutely
unconditioned. It is, therefore, not a principle of the possibility
of experience or of the empirical cognition of sensuous
objects--consequently not a principle of the understanding; for every
experience is confined within certain proper limits determined by the
given intuition. Still less is it a constitutive principle of reason
authorizing us to extend our conception of the sensuous world beyond all
possible experience. It is merely a principle for the enlargement and
extension of experience as far as is possible for human faculties. It
forbids us to consider any empirical limits as absolute. It is, hence, a
principle of reason, which, as a rule, dictates how we ought to proceed
in our empirical regress, but is unable to anticipate or indicate prior
to the empirical regress what is given in the object itself. I have
termed it for this reason a regulative principle of reason; while the
principle of the absolute totality of the series of conditions,
as existing in itself and given in the object, is a constitutive
cosmological principle. This distinction will at once demonstrate the
falsehood of the constitutive principle, and prevent us from attributing
(by a transcendental subreptio) objective reality to an idea, which is
valid only as a rule.

In order to understand the proper meaning of this rule of pure reason,
we must notice first that it cannot tell us what the object is, but only
how the empirical regress is to be proceeded with in order to attain to
the complete conception of the object. If it gave us any information in
respect to the former statement, it would be a constitutive principle--a
principle impossible from the nature of pure reason. It will not
therefore enable us to establish any such conclusions as: "The series
of conditions for a given conditioned is in itself finite," or, "It is
infinite." For, in this case, we should be cogitating in the mere idea
of absolute totality, an object which is not and cannot be given in
experience; inasmuch as we should be attributing a reality objective and
independent of the empirical synthesis, to a series of phenomena. This
idea of reason cannot then be regarded as valid--except as a rule for
the regressive synthesis in the series of conditions, according to
which we must proceed from the conditioned, through all intermediate and
subordinate conditions, up to the unconditioned; although this goal is
unattained and unattainable. For the absolutely unconditioned cannot be
discovered in the sphere of experience.

We now proceed to determine clearly our notion of a synthesis which
can never be complete. There are two terms commonly employed for this
purpose. These terms are regarded as expressions of different and
distinguishable notions, although the ground of the distinction has
never been clearly exposed. The term employed by the mathematicians
is progressus in infinitum. The philosophers prefer the expression
progressus in indefinitum. Without detaining the reader with an
examination of the reasons for such a distinction, or with remarks
on the right or wrong use of the terms, I shall endeavour clearly to
determine these conceptions, so far as is necessary for the purpose in
this Critique.

We may, with propriety, say of a straight line, that it may be produced
to infinity. In this case the distinction between a progressus in
infinitum and a progressus in indefinitum is a mere piece of subtlety.
For, although when we say, "Produce a straight line," it is more correct
to say in indefinitum than in infinitum; because the former means,
"Produce it as far as you please," the second, "You must not cease to
produce it"; the expression in infinitum is, when we are speaking of the
power to do it, perfectly correct, for we can always make it longer if
we please--on to infinity. And this remark holds good in all cases, when
we speak of a progressus, that is, an advancement from the condition to
the conditioned; this possible advancement always proceeds to infinity.
We may proceed from a given pair in the descending line of generation
from father to son, and cogitate a never-ending line of descendants from
it. For in such a case reason does not demand absolute totality in the
series, because it does not presuppose it as a condition and as given
(datum), but merely as conditioned, and as capable of being given

Very different is the case with the problem: "How far the regress, which
ascends from the given conditioned to the conditions, must extend";
whether I can say: "It is a regress in infinitum," or only "in
indefinitum"; and whether, for example, setting out from the human
beings at present alive in the world, I may ascend in the series of
their ancestors, in infinitum--mr whether all that can be said is, that
so far as I have proceeded, I have discovered no empirical ground for
considering the series limited, so that I am justified, and indeed,
compelled to search for ancestors still further back, although I am not
obliged by the idea of reason to presuppose them.

My answer to this question is: "If the series is given in empirical
intuition as a whole, the regress in the series of its internal
conditions proceeds in infinitum; but, if only one member of the series
is given, from which the regress is to proceed to absolute totality, the
regress is possible only in indefinitum." For example, the division of
a portion of matter given within certain limits--of a body, that
is--proceeds in infinitum. For, as the condition of this whole is its
part, and the condition of the part a part of the part, and so on, and
as in this regress of decomposition an unconditioned indivisible member
of the series of conditions is not to be found; there are no reasons
or grounds in experience for stopping in the division, but, on the
contrary, the more remote members of the division are actually and
empirically given prior to this division. That is to say, the division
proceeds to infinity. On the other hand, the series of ancestors of
any given human being is not given, in its absolute totality, in any
experience, and yet the regress proceeds from every genealogical member
of this series to one still higher, and does not meet with any empirical
limit presenting an absolutely unconditioned member of the series.
But as the members of such a series are not contained in the empirical
intuition of the whole, prior to the regress, this regress does not
proceed to infinity, but only in indefinitum, that is, we are called
upon to discover other and higher members, which are themselves always

In neither case--the regressus in infinitum, nor the regressus in
indefinitum, is the series of conditions to be considered as actually
infinite in the object itself. This might be true of things in
themselves, but it cannot be asserted of phenomena, which, as conditions
of each other, are only given in the empirical regress itself. Hence,
the question no longer is, "What is the quantity of this series of
conditions in itself--is it finite or infinite?" for it is nothing in
itself; but, "How is the empirical regress to be commenced, and how
far ought we to proceed with it?" And here a signal distinction in
the application of this rule becomes apparent. If the whole is given
empirically, it is possible to recede in the series of its internal
conditions to infinity. But if the whole is not given, and can only
be given by and through the empirical regress, I can only say: "It
is possible to infinity, to proceed to still higher conditions in
the series." In the first case, I am justified in asserting that more
members are empirically given in the object than I attain to in the
regress (of decomposition). In the second case, I am justified only in
saying, that I can always proceed further in the regress, because no
member of the series is given as absolutely conditioned, and thus
a higher member is possible, and an inquiry with regard to it is
necessary. In the one case it is necessary to find other members of the
series, in the other it is necessary to inquire for others, inasmuch as
experience presents no absolute limitation of the regress. For, either
you do not possess a perception which absolutely limits your empirical
regress, and in this case the regress cannot be regarded as complete;
or, you do possess such a limitative perception, in which case it is not
a part of your series (for that which limits must be distinct from
that which is limited by it), and it is incumbent you to continue your
regress up to this condition, and so on.

These remarks will be placed in their proper light by their application
in the following section.

SECTION IX. Of the Empirical Use of the Regulative Principle of
Reason with regard to the Cosmological Ideas.

We have shown that no transcendental use can be made either of the
conceptions of reason or of understanding. We have shown, likewise, that
the demand of absolute totality in the series of conditions in the world
of sense arises from a transcendental employment of reason, resting on
the opinion that phenomena are to be regarded as things in themselves.
It follows that we are not required to answer the question respecting
the absolute quantity of a series--whether it is in itself limited or
unlimited. We are only called upon to determine how far we must proceed
in the empirical regress from condition to condition, in order to
discover, in conformity with the rule of reason, a full and correct
answer to the questions proposed by reason itself.

This principle of reason is hence valid only as a rule for the extension
of a possible experience--its invalidity as a principle constitutive of
phenomena in themselves having been sufficiently demonstrated. And thus,
too, the antinomial conflict of reason with itself is completely put an
end to; inasmuch as we have not only presented a critical solution of
the fallacy lurking in the opposite statements of reason, but have shown
the true meaning of the ideas which gave rise to these statements. The
dialectical principle of reason has, therefore, been changed into a
doctrinal principle. But in fact, if this principle, in the subjective
signification which we have shown to be its only true sense, may be
guaranteed as a principle of the unceasing extension of the employment
of our understanding, its influence and value are just as great as if
it were an axiom for the a priori determination of objects. For such
an axiom could not exert a stronger influence on the extension and
rectification of our knowledge, otherwise than by procuring for the
principles of the understanding the most widely expanded employment in
the field of experience.

I. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the
Composition of Phenomena in the Universe.

Here, as well as in the case of the other cosmological problems, the
ground of the regulative principle of reason is the proposition that
in our empirical regress no experience of an absolute limit, and
consequently no experience of a condition, which is itself absolutely
unconditioned, is discoverable. And the truth of this proposition itself
rests upon the consideration that such an experience must represent
to us phenomena as limited by nothing or the mere void, on which our
continued regress by means of perception must abut--which is impossible.

Now this proposition, which declares that every condition attained in
the empirical regress must itself be considered empirically conditioned,
contains the rule in terminis, which requires me, to whatever extent
I may have proceeded in the ascending series, always to look for some
higher member in the series--whether this member is to become known to
me through experience, or not.

Nothing further is necessary, then, for the solution of the first
cosmological problem, than to decide, whether, in the regress to the
unconditioned quantity of the universe (as regards space and time),
this never limited ascent ought to be called a regressus in infinitum or

The general representation which we form in our minds of the series of
all past states or conditions of the world, or of all the things which
at present exist in it, is itself nothing more than a possible empirical
regress, which is cogitated--although in an undetermined manner--in the
mind, and which gives rise to the conception of a series of conditions
for a given object.* Now I have a conception of the universe, but not
an intuition--that is, not an intuition of it as a whole. Thus I cannot
infer the magnitude of the regress from the quantity or magnitude of the
world, and determine the former by means of the latter; on the contrary,
I must first of all form a conception of the quantity or magnitude
of the world from the magnitude of the empirical regress. But of this
regress I know nothing more than that I ought to proceed from every
given member of the series of conditions to one still higher. But the
quantity of the universe is not thereby determined, and we cannot affirm
that this regress proceeds in infinitum. Such an affirmation would
anticipate the members of the series which have not yet been reached,
and represent the number of them as beyond the grasp of any empirical
synthesis; it would consequently determine the cosmical quantity
prior to the regress (although only in a negative manner)--which is
impossible. For the world is not given in its totality in any intuition:
consequently, its quantity cannot be given prior to the regress. It
follows that we are unable to make any declaration respecting the
cosmical quantity in itself--not even that the regress in it is a
regress in infinitum; we must only endeavour to attain to a conception
of the quantity of the universe, in conformity with the rule which
determines the empirical regress in it. But this rule merely requires
us never to admit an absolute limit to our series--how far soever we may
have proceeded in it, but always, on the contrary, to subordinate every
phenomenon to some other as its condition, and consequently to proceed
to this higher phenomenon. Such a regress is, therefore, the regressus
in indefinitum, which, as not determining a quantity in the object, is
clearly distinguishable from the regressus in infinitum.

   [*Footnote: The cosmical series can neither be greater nor smaller than
the possible empirical regress, upon which its conception is based. And
as this regress cannot be a determinate infinite regress, still less a
determinate finite (absolutely limited), it is evident that we cannot
regard the world as either finite or infinite, because the regress,
which gives us the representation of the world, is neither finite nor

It follows from what we have said that we are not justified in declaring
the world to be infinite in space, or as regards past time. For this
conception of an infinite given quantity is empirical; but we cannot
apply the conception of an infinite quantity to the world as an object
of the senses. I cannot say, "The regress from a given perception to
everything limited either in space or time, proceeds in infinitum," for
this presupposes an infinite cosmical quantity; neither can I say, "It
is finite," for an absolute limit is likewise impossible in experience.
It follows that I am not entitled to make any assertion at all
respecting the whole object of experience--the world of sense; I must
limit my declarations to the rule according to which experience or
empirical knowledge is to be attained.

To the question, therefore, respecting the cosmical quantity, the first
and negative answer is: "The world has no beginning in time, and no
absolute limit in space."

For, in the contrary case, it would be limited by a void time on the
one hand, and by a void space on the other. Now, since the world, as a
phenomenon, cannot be thus limited in itself for a phenomenon is not a
thing in itself; it must be possible for us to have a perception of this
limitation by a void time and a void space. But such a perception--such
an experience is impossible; because it has no content. Consequently,
an absolute cosmical limit is empirically, and therefore absolutely,

   [*Footnote: The reader will remark that the proof presented above is
very different from the dogmatical demonstration given in the antithesis
of the first antinomy. In that demonstration, it was taken for granted
that the world is a thing in itself--given in its totality prior to
all regress, and a determined position in space and time was denied to
it--if it was not considered as occupying all time and all space. Hence
our conclusion differed from that given above; for we inferred in the
antithesis the actual infinity of the world.]

From this follows the affirmative answer: "The regress in the series
of phenomena--as a determination of the cosmical quantity, proceeds in
indefinitum." This is equivalent to saying: "The world of sense has no
absolute quantity, but the empirical regress (through which alone the
world of sense is presented to us on the side of its conditions) rests
upon a rule, which requires it to proceed from every member of the
series, as conditioned, to one still more remote (whether through
personal experience, or by means of history, or the chain of cause and
effect), and not to cease at any point in this extension of the possible
empirical employment of the understanding." And this is the proper and
only use which reason can make of its principles.

The above rule does not prescribe an unceasing regress in one kind of
phenomena. It does not, for example, forbid us, in our ascent from an
individual human being through the line of his ancestors, to expect that
we shall discover at some point of the regress a primeval pair, or to
admit, in the series of heavenly bodies, a sun at the farthest possible
distance from some centre. All that it demands is a perpetual progress
from phenomena to phenomena, even although an actual perception is not
presented by them (as in the case of our perceptions being so weak
as that we are unable to become conscious of them), since they,
nevertheless, belong to possible experience.

Every beginning is in time, and all limits to extension are in space.
But space and time are in the world of sense. Consequently phenomena
in the world are conditionally limited, but the world itself is not
limited, either conditionally or unconditionally.

For this reason, and because neither the world nor the cosmical series
of conditions to a given conditioned can be completely given, our
conception of the cosmical quantity is given only in and through the
regress and not prior to it--in a collective intuition. But the regress
itself is really nothing more than the determining of the cosmical
quantity, and cannot therefore give us any determined conception of
it--still less a conception of a quantity which is, in relation to a
certain standard, infinite. The regress does not, therefore, proceed to
infinity (an infinity given), but only to an indefinite extent, for or
the of presenting to us a quantity--realized only in and through the
regress itself.

II. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the Division
of a Whole given in Intuition.

When I divide a whole which is given in intuition, I proceed from a
conditioned to its conditions. The division of the parts of the whole
(subdivisio or decompositio) is a regress in the series of these
conditions. The absolute totality of this series would be actually
attained and given to the mind, if the regress could arrive at simple
parts. But if all the parts in a continuous decomposition are themselves
divisible, the division, that is to say, the regress, proceeds from the
conditioned to its conditions in infinitum; because the conditions (the
parts) are themselves contained in the conditioned, and, as the latter
is given in a limited intuition, the former are all given along with it.
This regress cannot, therefore, be called a regressus in indefinitum, as
happened in the case of the preceding cosmological idea, the regress
in which proceeded from the conditioned to the conditions not given
contemporaneously and along with it, but discoverable only through the
empirical regress. We are not, however, entitled to affirm of a whole
of this kind, which is divisible in infinitum, that it consists of an
infinite number of parts. For, although all the parts are contained in
the intuition of the whole, the whole division is not contained therein.
The division is contained only in the progressing decomposition--in the
regress itself, which is the condition of the possibility and actuality
of the series. Now, as this regress is infinite, all the members
(parts) to which it attains must be contained in the given whole as an
aggregate. But the complete series of division is not contained therein.
For this series, being infinite in succession and always incomplete,
cannot represent an infinite number of members, and still less a
composition of these members into a whole.

To apply this remark to space. Every limited part of space presented to
intuition is a whole, the parts of which are always spaces--to whatever
extent subdivided. Every limited space is hence divisible to infinity.

Let us again apply the remark to an external phenomenon enclosed in
limits, that is, a body. The divisibility of a body rests upon the
divisibility of space, which is the condition of the possibility of the
body as an extended whole. A body is consequently divisible to infinity,
though it does not, for that reason, consist of an infinite number of

It certainly seems that, as a body must be cogitated as substance
in space, the law of divisibility would not be applicable to it as
substance. For we may and ought to grant, in the case of space, that
division or decomposition, to any extent, never can utterly annihilate
composition (that is to say, the smallest part of space must still
consist of spaces); otherwise space would entirely cease to
exist--which is impossible. But, the assertion on the other band that
when all composition in matter is annihilated in thought, nothing
remains, does not seem to harmonize with the conception of substance,
which must be properly the subject of all composition and must remain,
even after the conjunction of its attributes in space--which constituted
a body--is annihilated in thought. But this is not the case with
substance in the phenomenal world, which is not a thing in itself
cogitated by the pure category. Phenomenal substance is not an absolute
subject; it is merely a permanent sensuous image, and nothing more than
an intuition, in which the unconditioned is not to be found.

But, although this rule of progress to infinity is legitimate and
applicable to the subdivision of a phenomenon, as a mere occupation or
filling of space, it is not applicable to a whole consisting of a number
of distinct parts and constituting a quantum discretum--that is to say,
an organized body. It cannot be admitted that every part in an organized
whole is itself organized, and that, in analysing it to infinity, we
must always meet with organized parts; although we may allow that the
parts of the matter which we decompose in infinitum, may be organized.
For the infinity of the division of a phenomenon in space rests
altogether on the fact that the divisibility of a phenomenon is given
only in and through this infinity, that is, an undetermined number of
parts is given, while the parts themselves are given and determined only
in and through the subdivision; in a word, the infinity of the division
necessarily presupposes that the whole is not already divided in se.
Hence our division determines a number of parts in the whole--a number
which extends just as far as the actual regress in the division; while,
on the other hand, the very notion of a body organized to infinity
represents the whole as already and in itself divided. We expect,
therefore, to find in it a determinate, but at the same time, infinite,
number of parts--which is self-contradictory. For we should thus have a
whole containing a series of members which could not be completed in
any regress--which is infinite, and at the same time complete in an
organized composite. Infinite divisibility is applicable only to a
quantum continuum, and is based entirely on the infinite divisibility
of space, But in a quantum discretum the multitude of parts or units is
always determined, and hence always equal to some number. To what extent
a body may be organized, experience alone can inform us; and although,
so far as our experience of this or that body has extended, we may not
have discovered any inorganic part, such parts must exist in possible
experience. But how far the transcendental division of a phenomenon
must extend, we cannot know from experience--it is a question which
experience cannot answer; it is answered only by the principle of reason
which forbids us to consider the empirical regress, in the analysis of
extended body, as ever absolutely complete.

Concluding Remark on the Solution of the Transcendental Mathematical
Ideas--and Introductory to the Solution of the Dynamical Ideas.

We presented the antinomy of pure reason in a tabular form, and we
endeavoured to show the ground of this self-contradiction on the part
of reason, and the only means of bringing it to a conclusion--namely, by
declaring both contradictory statements to be false. We represented
in these antinomies the conditions of phenomena as belonging to the
conditioned according to relations of space and time--which is the
usual supposition of the common understanding. In this respect, all
dialectical representations of totality, in the series of conditions
to a given conditioned, were perfectly homogeneous. The condition was
always a member of the series along with the conditioned, and thus the
homogeneity of the whole series was assured. In this case the regress
could never be cogitated as complete; or, if this was the case, a member
really conditioned was falsely regarded as a primal member, consequently
as unconditioned. In such an antinomy, therefore, we did not consider
the object, that is, the conditioned, but the series of conditions
belonging to the object, and the magnitude of that series. And thus
arose the difficulty--a difficulty not to be settled by any decision
regarding the claims of the two parties, but simply by cutting the
knot--by declaring the series proposed by reason to be either too long
or too short for the understanding, which could in neither case make its
conceptions adequate with the ideas.

But we have overlooked, up to this point, an essential difference
existing between the conceptions of the understanding which reason
endeavours to raise to the rank of ideas--two of these indicating a
mathematical, and two a dynamical synthesis of phenomena. Hitherto, it
was necessary to signalize this distinction; for, just as in our general
representation of all transcendental ideas, we considered them under
phenomenal conditions, so, in the two mathematical ideas, our discussion
is concerned solely with an object in the world of phenomena. But as
we are now about to proceed to the consideration of the dynamical
conceptions of the understanding, and their adequateness with ideas, we
must not lose sight of this distinction. We shall find that it opens up
to us an entirely new view of the conflict in which reason is involved.
For, while in the first two antinomies, both parties were dismissed, on
the ground of having advanced statements based upon false hypothesis; in
the present case the hope appears of discovering a hypothesis which may
be consistent with the demands of reason, and, the judge completing the
statement of the grounds of claim, which both parties had left in an
unsatisfactory state, the question may be settled on its own merits,
not by dismissing the claimants, but by a comparison of the arguments on
both sides. If we consider merely their extension, and whether they are
adequate with ideas, the series of conditions may be regarded as all
homogeneous. But the conception of the understanding which lies at the
basis of these ideas, contains either a synthesis of the homogeneous
(presupposed in every quantity--in its composition as well as in its
division) or of the heterogeneous, which is the case in the dynamical
synthesis of cause and effect, as well as of the necessary and the

Thus it happens that in the mathematical series of phenomena no other
than a sensuous condition is admissible--a condition which is itself a
member of the series; while the dynamical series of sensuous conditions
admits a heterogeneous condition, which is not a member of the series,
but, as purely intelligible, lies out of and beyond it. And thus reason
is satisfied, and an unconditioned placed at the head of the series
of phenomena, without introducing confusion into or discontinuing it,
contrary to the principles of the understanding.

Now, from the fact that the dynamical ideas admit a condition of
phenomena which does not form a part of the series of phenomena, arises
a result which we should not have expected from an antinomy. In former
cases, the result was that both contradictory dialectical statements
were declared to be false. In the present case, we find the conditioned
in the dynamical series connected with an empirically unconditioned,
but non-sensuous condition; and thus satisfaction is done to the
understanding on the one hand and to the reason on the other.* While,
moreover, the dialectical arguments for unconditioned totality in mere
phenomena fall to the ground, both propositions of reason may be shown
to be true in their proper signification. This could not happen in
the case of the cosmological ideas which demanded a mathematically
unconditioned unity; for no condition could be placed at the head of
the series of phenomena, except one which was itself a phenomenon and
consequently a member of the series.

   [*Footnote: For the understanding cannot admit among phenomena a
condition which is itself empirically unconditioned. But if it is
possible to cogitate an intelligible condition--one which is not a
member of the series of phenomena--for a conditioned phenomenon, without
breaking the series of empirical conditions, such a condition may be
admissible as empirically unconditioned, and the empirical regress
continue regular, unceasing, and intact.]

III. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the
Deduction of Cosmical Events from their Causes.

There are only two modes of causality cogitable--the causality of nature
or of freedom. The first is the conjunction of a particular state with
another preceding it in the world of sense, the former following the
latter by virtue of a law. Now, as the causality of phenomena is
subject to conditions of time, and the preceding state, if it had always
existed, could not have produced an effect which would make its first
appearance at a particular time, the causality of a cause must itself be
an effect--must itself have begun to be, and therefore, according to the
principle of the understanding, itself requires a cause.

We must understand, on the contrary, by the term freedom, in the
cosmological sense, a faculty of the spontaneous origination of a state;
the causality of which, therefore, is not subordinated to another cause
determining it in time. Freedom is in this sense a pure transcendental
idea, which, in the first place, contains no empirical element; the
object of which, in the second place, cannot be given or determined in
any experience, because it is a universal law of the very possibility
of experience, that everything which happens must have a cause, that
consequently the causality of a cause, being itself something that has
happened, must also have a cause. In this view of the case, the whole
field of experience, how far soever it may extend, contains nothing that
is not subject to the laws of nature. But, as we cannot by this means
attain to an absolute totality of conditions in reference to the series
of causes and effects, reason creates the idea of a spontaneity, which
can begin to act of itself, and without any external cause determining
it to action, according to the natural law of causality.

It is especially remarkable that the practical conception of freedom
is based upon the transcendental idea, and that the question of
the possibility of the former is difficult only as it involves the
consideration of the truth of the latter. Freedom, in the practical
sense, is the independence of the will of coercion by sensuous impulses.
A will is sensuous, in so far as it is pathologically affected (by
sensuous impulses); it is termed animal (arbitrium brutum), when it is
pathologically necessitated. The human will is certainly an arbitrium
sensitivum, not brutum, but liberum; because sensuousness does not
necessitate its action, a faculty existing in man of self-determination,
independently of all sensuous coercion.

It is plain that, if all causality in the world of sense were
natural--and natural only--every event would be determined by another
according to necessary laws, and that, consequently, phenomena, in
so far as they determine the will, must necessitate every action as a
natural effect from themselves; and thus all practical freedom would
fall to the ground with the transcendental idea. For the latter
presupposes that although a certain thing has not happened, it ought to
have happened, and that, consequently, its phenomenal cause was not so
powerful and determinative as to exclude the causality of our will--a
causality capable of producing effects independently of and even in
opposition to the power of natural causes, and capable, consequently, of
spontaneously originating a series of events.

Here, too, we find it to be the case, as we generally found in the
self-contradictions and perplexities of a reason which strives to pass
the bounds of possible experience, that the problem is properly not
physiological, but transcendental. The question of the possibility
of freedom does indeed concern psychology; but, as it rests upon
dialectical arguments of pure reason, its solution must engage the
attention of transcendental philosophy. Before attempting this solution,
a task which transcendental philosophy cannot decline, it will
be advisable to make a remark with regard to its procedure in the
settlement of the question.

If phenomena were things in themselves, and time and space forms of the
existence of things, condition and conditioned would always be members
of the same series; and thus would arise in the present case the
antinomy common to all transcendental ideas--that their series is either
too great or too small for the understanding. The dynamical ideas, which
we are about to discuss in this and the following section, possess the
peculiarity of relating to an object, not considered as a quantity, but
as an existence; and thus, in the discussion of the present question,
we may make abstraction of the quantity of the series of conditions,
and consider merely the dynamical relation of the condition to the
conditioned. The question, then, suggests itself, whether freedom is
possible; and, if it is, whether it can consist with the universality
of the natural law of causality; and, consequently, whether we enounce a
proper disjunctive proposition when we say: "Every effect must have its
origin either in nature or in freedom," or whether both cannot exist
together in the same event in different relations. The principle of
an unbroken connection between all events in the phenomenal world, in
accordance with the unchangeable laws of nature, is a well-established
principle of transcendental analytic which admits of no exception. The
question, therefore, is: "Whether an effect, determined according to
the laws of nature, can at the same time be produced by a free agent, or
whether freedom and nature mutually exclude each other?" And here, the
common but fallacious hypothesis of the absolute reality of phenomena
manifests its injurious influence in embarrassing the procedure
of reason. For if phenomena are things in themselves, freedom is
impossible. In this case, nature is the complete and all-sufficient
cause of every event; and condition and conditioned, cause and effect
are contained in the same series, and necessitated by the same law. If,
on the contrary, phenomena are held to be, as they are in fact, nothing
more than mere representations, connected with each other in accordance
with empirical laws, they must have a ground which is not phenomenal.
But the causality of such an intelligible cause is not determined or
determinable by phenomena; although its effects, as phenomena, must be
determined by other phenomenal existences. This cause and its causality
exist therefore out of and apart from the series of phenomena; while
its effects do exist and are discoverable in the series of empirical
conditions. Such an effect may therefore be considered to be free in
relation to its intelligible cause, and necessary in relation to the
phenomena from which it is a necessary consequence--a distinction which,
stated in this perfectly general and abstract manner, must appear in
the highest degree subtle and obscure. The sequel will explain. It is
sufficient, at present, to remark that, as the complete and unbroken
connection of phenomena is an unalterable law of nature, freedom is
impossible--on the supposition that phenomena are absolutely real. Hence
those philosophers who adhere to the common opinion on this subject can
never succeed in reconciling the ideas of nature and freedom.

Possibility of Freedom in Harmony with the Universal Law of Natural

That element in a sensuous object which is not itself sensuous, I may be
allowed to term intelligible. If, accordingly, an object which must be
regarded as a sensuous phenomenon possesses a faculty which is not an
object of sensuous intuition, but by means of which it is capable of
being the cause of phenomena, the causality of an object or existence of
this kind may be regarded from two different points of view. It may be
considered to be intelligible, as regards its action--the action of
a thing which is a thing in itself, and sensuous, as regards its
effects--the effects of a phenomenon belonging to the sensuous world. We
should accordingly, have to form both an empirical and an intellectual
conception of the causality of such a faculty or power--both, however,
having reference to the same effect. This twofold manner of cogitating
a power residing in a sensuous object does not run counter to any of
the conceptions which we ought to form of the world of phenomena or of
a possible experience. Phenomena--not being things in themselves--must
have a transcendental object as a foundation, which determines them as
mere representations; and there seems to be no reason why we should not
ascribe to this transcendental object, in addition to the property of
self-phenomenization, a causality whose effects are to be met with in
the world of phenomena, although it is not itself a phenomenon. But
every effective cause must possess a character, that is to say, a law of
its causality, without which it would cease to be a cause. In the above
case, then, every sensuous object would possess an empirical character,
which guaranteed that its actions, as phenomena, stand in complete and
harmonious connection, conformably to unvarying natural laws, with all
other phenomena, and can be deduced from these, as conditions, and that
they do thus, in connection with these, constitute a series in the order
of nature. This sensuous object must, in the second place, possess an
intelligible character, which guarantees it to be the cause of those
actions, as phenomena, although it is not itself a phenomenon nor
subordinate to the conditions of the world of sense. The former may
be termed the character of the thing as a phenomenon, the latter the
character of the thing as a thing in itself.

Now this active subject would, in its character of intelligible subject,
be subordinate to no conditions of time, for time is only a condition
of phenomena, and not of things in themselves. No action would begin or
cease to be in this subject; it would consequently be free from the law
of all determination of time--the law of change, namely, that everything
which happens must have a cause in the phenomena of a preceding
state. In one word, the causality of the subject, in so far as it is
intelligible, would not form part of the series of empirical conditions
which determine and necessitate an event in the world of sense. Again,
this intelligible character of a thing cannot be immediately cognized,
because we can perceive nothing but phenomena, but it must be capable of
being cogitated in harmony with the empirical character; for we always
find ourselves compelled to place, in thought, a transcendental object
at the basis of phenomena although we can never know what this object is
in itself.

In virtue of its empirical character, this subject would at the same
time be subordinate to all the empirical laws of causality, and, as a
phenomenon and member of the sensuous world, its effects would have
to be accounted for by a reference to preceding phenomena. Eternal
phenomena must be capable of influencing it; and its actions, in
accordance with natural laws, must explain to us how its empirical
character, that is, the law of its causality, is to be cognized in and
by means of experience. In a word, all requisites for a complete and
necessary determination of these actions must be presented to us by

In virtue of its intelligible character, on the other hand (although we
possess only a general conception of this character), the subject
must be regarded as free from all sensuous influences, and from
all phenomenal determination. Moreover, as nothing happens in this
subject--for it is a noumenon, and there does not consequently exist in
it any change, demanding the dynamical determination of time, and for
the same reason no connection with phenomena as causes--this active
existence must in its actions be free from and independent of natural
necessity, for or necessity exists only in the world of phenomena. It
would be quite correct to say that it originates or begins its effects
in the world of sense from itself, although the action productive of
these effects does not begin in itself. We should not be in this case
affirming that these sensuous effects began to exist of themselves,
because they are always determined by prior empirical conditions--by
virtue of the empirical character, which is the phenomenon of the
intelligible character--and are possible only as constituting a
continuation of the series of natural causes. And thus nature and
freedom, each in the complete and absolute signification of these terms,
can exist, without contradiction or disagreement, in the same action.

Exposition of the Cosmological Idea of Freedom in Harmony with the
Universal Law of Natural Necessity.

I have thought it advisable to lay before the reader at first merely
a sketch of the solution of this transcendental problem, in order to
enable him to form with greater ease a clear conception of the course
which reason must adopt in the solution. I shall now proceed to exhibit
the several momenta of this solution, and to consider them in their

The natural law that everything which happens must have a cause, that
the causality of this cause, that is, the action of the cause (which
cannot always have existed, but must be itself an event, for it precedes
in time some effect which it has originated), must have itself a
phenomenal cause, by which it is determined and, and, consequently, all
events are empirically determined in an order of nature--this law, I
say, which lies at the foundation of the possibility of experience,
and of a connected system of phenomena or nature is a law of the
understanding, from which no departure, and to which no exception, can
be admitted. For to except even a single phenomenon from its operation
is to exclude it from the sphere of possible experience and thus to
admit it to be a mere fiction of thought or phantom of the brain.

Thus we are obliged to acknowledge the existence of a chain of causes,
in which, however, absolute totality cannot be found. But we need
not detain ourselves with this question, for it has already been
sufficiently answered in our discussion of the antinomies into which
reason falls, when it attempts to reach the unconditioned in the series
of phenomena. If we permit ourselves to be deceived by the illusion of
transcendental idealism, we shall find that neither nature nor freedom
exists. Now the question is: "Whether, admitting the existence of
natural necessity in the world of phenomena, it is possible to consider
an effect as at the same time an effect of nature and an effect of
freedom--or, whether these two modes of causality are contradictory and

No phenomenal cause can absolutely and of itself begin a series. Every
action, in so far as it is productive of an event, is itself an event or
occurrence, and presupposes another preceding state, in which its cause
existed. Thus everything that happens is but a continuation of a series,
and an absolute beginning is impossible in the sensuous world. The
actions of natural causes are, accordingly, themselves effects, and
presuppose causes preceding them in time. A primal action which forms an
absolute beginning, is beyond the causal power of phenomena.

Now, is it absolutely necessary that, granting that all effects are
phenomena, the causality of the cause of these effects must also be a
phenomenon and belong to the empirical world? Is it not rather possible
that, although every effect in the phenomenal world must be connected
with an empirical cause, according to the universal law of nature, this
empirical causality may be itself the effect of a non-empirical and
intelligible causality--its connection with natural causes remaining
nevertheless intact? Such a causality would be considered, in reference
to phenomena, as the primal action of a cause, which is in so far,
therefore, not phenomenal, but, by reason of this faculty or power,
intelligible; although it must, at the same time, as a link in the chain
of nature, be regarded as belonging to the sensuous world.

A belief in the reciprocal causality of phenomena is necessary, if
we are required to look for and to present the natural conditions of
natural events, that is to say, their causes. This being admitted as
unexceptionably valid, the requirements of the understanding, which
recognizes nothing but nature in the region of phenomena, are satisfied,
and our physical explanations of physical phenomena may proceed in their
regular course, without hindrance and without opposition. But it is no
stumbling-block in the way, even assuming the idea to be a pure fiction,
to admit that there are some natural causes in the possession of a
faculty which is not empirical, but intelligible, inasmuch as it is not
determined to action by empirical conditions, but purely and solely upon
grounds brought forward by the understanding--this action being still,
when the cause is phenomenized, in perfect accordance with the laws of
empirical causality. Thus the acting subject, as a causal phenomenon,
would continue to preserve a complete connection with nature and
natural conditions; and the phenomenon only of the subject (with all
its phenomenal causality) would contain certain conditions, which, if we
ascend from the empirical to the transcendental object, must necessarily
be regarded as intelligible. For, if we attend, in our inquiries with
regard to causes in the world of phenomena, to the directions of nature
alone, we need not trouble ourselves about the relation in which the
transcendental subject, which is completely unknown to us, stands to
these phenomena and their connection in nature. The intelligible ground
of phenomena in this subject does not concern empirical questions. It
has to do only with pure thought; and, although the effects of this
thought and action of the pure understanding are discoverable in
phenomena, these phenomena must nevertheless be capable of a full and
complete explanation, upon purely physical grounds and in accordance
with natural laws. And in this case we attend solely to their empirical
and omit all consideration of their intelligible character (which is the
transcendental cause of the former) as completely unknown, except in so
far as it is exhibited by the latter as its empirical symbol. Now let us
apply this to experience. Man is a phenomenon of the sensuous world and,
at the same time, therefore, a natural cause, the causality of which
must be regulated by empirical laws. As such, he must possess an
empirical character, like all other natural phenomena. We remark this
empirical character in his actions, which reveal the presence of certain
powers and faculties. If we consider inanimate or merely animal nature,
we can discover no reason for ascribing to ourselves any other than a
faculty which is determined in a purely sensuous manner. But man, to
whom nature reveals herself only through sense, cognizes himself not
only by his senses, but also through pure apperception; and this in
actions and internal determinations, which he cannot regard as sensuous
impressions. He is thus to himself, on the one hand, a phenomenon,
but on the other hand, in respect of certain faculties, a purely
intelligible object--intelligible, because its action cannot be ascribed
to sensuous receptivity. These faculties are understanding and reason.
The latter, especially, is in a peculiar manner distinct from all
empirically-conditioned faculties, for it employs ideas alone in the
consideration of its objects, and by means of these determines the
understanding, which then proceeds to make an empirical use of its
own conceptions, which, like the ideas of reason, are pure and

That reason possesses the faculty of causality, or that at least we are
compelled so to represent it, is evident from the imperatives, which in
the sphere of the practical we impose on many of our executive powers.
The words I ought express a species of necessity, and imply a connection
with grounds which nature does not and cannot present to the mind of
man. Understanding knows nothing in nature but that which is, or has
been, or will be. It would be absurd to say that anything in nature
ought to be other than it is in the relations of time in which it
stands; indeed, the ought, when we consider merely the course of nature,
has neither application nor meaning. The question, "What ought to happen
in the sphere of nature?" is just as absurd as the question, "What ought
to be the properties of a circle?" All that we are entitled to ask is,
"What takes place in nature?" or, in the latter case, "What are the
properties of a circle?"

But the idea of an ought or of duty indicates a possible action, the
ground of which is a pure conception; while the ground of a merely
natural action is, on the contrary, always a phenomenon. This action
must certainly be possible under physical conditions, if it is
prescribed by the moral imperative ought; but these physical or natural
conditions do not concern the determination of the will itself, they
relate to its effects alone, and the consequences of the effect in the
world of phenomena. Whatever number of motives nature may present to
my will, whatever sensuous impulses--the moral ought it is beyond their
power to produce. They may produce a volition, which, so far from
being necessary, is always conditioned--a volition to which the ought
enunciated by reason, sets an aim and a standard, gives permission or
prohibition. Be the object what it may, purely sensuous--as pleasure,
or presented by pure reason--as good, reason will not yield to grounds
which have an empirical origin. Reason will not follow the order
of things presented by experience, but, with perfect spontaneity,
rearranges them according to ideas, with which it compels empirical
conditions to agree. It declares, in the name of these ideas, certain
actions to be necessary which nevertheless have not taken place and
which perhaps never will take place; and yet presupposes that it
possesses the faculty of causality in relation to these actions. For,
in the absence of this supposition, it could not expect its ideas to
produce certain effects in the world of experience.

Now, let us stop here and admit it to be at least possible that reason
does stand in a really causal relation to phenomena. In this case it
must--pure reason as it is--exhibit an empirical character. For every
cause supposes a rule, according to which certain phenomena follow as
effects from the cause, and every rule requires uniformity in these
effects; and this is the proper ground of the conception of a cause--as
a faculty or power. Now this conception (of a cause) may be termed the
empirical character of reason; and this character is a permanent one,
while the effects produced appear, in conformity with the various
conditions which accompany and partly limit them, in various forms.

Thus the volition of every man has an empirical character, which is
nothing more than the causality of his reason, in so far as its effects
in the phenomenal world manifest the presence of a rule, according to
which we are enabled to examine, in their several kinds and degrees, the
actions of this causality and the rational grounds for these actions,
and in this way to decide upon the subjective principles of the
volition. Now we learn what this empirical character is only from
phenomenal effects, and from the rule of these which is presented by
experience; and for this reason all the actions of man in the world
of phenomena are determined by his empirical character, and the
co-operative causes of nature. If, then, we could investigate all the
phenomena of human volition to their lowest foundation in the mind,
there would be no action which we could not anticipate with certainty,
and recognize to be absolutely necessary from its preceding conditions.
So far as relates to this empirical character, therefore, there can be
no freedom; and it is only in the light of this character that we can
consider the human will, when we confine ourselves to simple observation
and, as is the case in anthropology, institute a physiological
investigation of the motive causes of human actions.

But when we consider the same actions in relation to reason--not for the
purpose of explaining their origin, that is, in relation to speculative
reason, but to practical reason, as the producing cause of these
actions--we shall discover a rule and an order very different from those
of nature and experience. For the declaration of this mental faculty may
be that what has and could not but take place in the course of nature,
ought not to have taken place. Sometimes, too, we discover, or believe
that we discover, that the ideas of reason did actually stand in a
causal relation to certain actions of man; and that these actions have
taken place because they were determined, not by empirical causes, but
by the act of the will upon grounds of reason.

Now, granting that reason stands in a causal relation to phenomena; can
an action of reason be called free, when we know that, sensuously, in
its empirical character, it is completely determined and absolutely
necessary? But this empirical character is itself determined by the
intelligible character. The latter we cannot cognize; we can only
indicate it by means of phenomena, which enable us to have an immediate
cognition only of the empirical character.* An action, then, in so far
as it is to be ascribed to an intelligible cause, does not result from
it in accordance with empirical laws. That is to say, not the conditions
of pure reason, but only their effects in the internal sense, precede
the act. Pure reason, as a purely intelligible faculty, is not subject
to the conditions of time. The causality of reason in its intelligible
character does not begin to be; it does not make its appearance at a
certain time, for the purpose of producing an effect. If this were not
the case, the causality of reason would be subservient to the natural
law of phenomena, which determines them according to time, and as a
series of causes and effects in time; it would consequently cease to
be freedom and become a part of nature. We are therefore justified in
saying: "If reason stands in a causal relation to phenomena, it is a
faculty which originates the sensuous condition of an empirical
series of effects." For the condition, which resides in the reason, is
non-sensuous, and therefore cannot be originated, or begin to be. And
thus we find--what we could not discover in any empirical series--a
condition of a successive series of events itself empirically
unconditioned. For, in the present case, the condition stands out of and
beyond the series of phenomena--it is intelligible, and it
consequently cannot be subjected to any sensuous condition, or to any
time-determination by a preceding cause.

   [*Footnote: The real morality of actions--their merit or demerit, and
even that of our own conduct, is completely unknown to us. Our estimates
can relate only to their empirical character. How much is the result
of the action of free will, how much is to be ascribed to nature and
to blameless error, or to a happy constitution of temperament (merito
fortunae), no one can discover, nor, for this reason, determine with
perfect justice.]

But, in another respect, the same cause belongs also to the series
of phenomena. Man is himself a phenomenon. His will has an empirical
character, which is the empirical cause of all his actions. There is
no condition--determining man and his volition in conformity with this
character--which does not itself form part of the series of effects
in nature, and is subject to their law--the law according to which an
empirically undetermined cause of an event in time cannot exist.
For this reason no given action can have an absolute and spontaneous
origination, all actions being phenomena, and belonging to the world of
experience. But it cannot be said of reason, that the state in which it
determines the will is always preceded by some other state determining
it. For reason is not a phenomenon, and therefore not subject to
sensuous conditions; and, consequently, even in relation to its
causality, the sequence or conditions of time do not influence reason,
nor can the dynamical law of nature, which determines the sequence of
time according to certain rules, be applied to it.

Reason is consequently the permanent condition of all actions of the
human will. Each of these is determined in the empirical character of
the man, even before it has taken place. The intelligible character, of
which the former is but the sensuous schema, knows no before or after;
and every action, irrespective of the time-relation in which it stands
with other phenomena, is the immediate effect of the intelligible
character of pure reason, which, consequently, enjoys freedom of
action, and is not dynamically determined either by internal or external
preceding conditions. This freedom must not be described, in a merely
negative manner, as independence of empirical conditions, for in this
case the faculty of reason would cease to be a cause of phenomena; but
it must be regarded, positively, as a faculty which can spontaneously
originate a series of events. At the same time, it must not be supposed
that any beginning can take place in reason; on the contrary, reason,
as the unconditioned condition of all action of the will, admits of no
time-conditions, although its effect does really begin in a series of
phenomena--a beginning which is not, however, absolutely primal.

I shall illustrate this regulative principle of reason by an example,
from its employment in the world of experience; proved it cannot be by
any amount of experience, or by any number of facts, for such arguments
cannot establish the truth of transcendental propositions. Let us take a
voluntary action--for example, a falsehood--by means of which a man
has introduced a certain degree of confusion into the social life
of humanity, which is judged according to the motives from which it
originated, and the blame of which and of the evil consequences arising
from it, is imputed to the offender. We at first proceed to examine the
empirical character of the offence, and for this purpose we endeavour
to penetrate to the sources of that character, such as a defective
education, bad company, a shameless and wicked disposition, frivolity,
and want of reflection--not forgetting also the occasioning causes which
prevailed at the moment of the transgression. In this the procedure is
exactly the same as that pursued in the investigation of the series of
causes which determine a given physical effect. Now, although we believe
the action to have been determined by all these circumstances, we do
not the less blame the offender. We do not blame him for his unhappy
disposition, nor for the circumstances which influenced him, nay, not
even for his former course of life; for we presuppose that all these
considerations may be set aside, that the series of preceding conditions
may be regarded as having never existed, and that the action may
be considered as completely unconditioned in relation to any state
preceding, just as if the agent commenced with it an entirely new series
of effects. Our blame of the offender is grounded upon a law of reason,
which requires us to regard this faculty as a cause, which could have
and ought to have otherwise determined the behaviour of the culprit,
independently of all empirical conditions. This causality of reason we
do not regard as a co-operating agency, but as complete in itself. It
matters not whether the sensuous impulses favoured or opposed the
action of this causality, the offence is estimated according to its
intelligible character--the offender is decidedly worthy of blame, the
moment he utters a falsehood. It follows that we regard reason, in
spite of the empirical conditions of the act, as completely free, and
therefore, therefore, as in the present case, culpable.

The above judgement is complete evidence that we are accustomed to think
that reason is not affected by sensuous conditions, that in it no change
takes place--although its phenomena, in other words, the mode in
which it appears in its effects, are subject to change--that in it no
preceding state determines the following, and, consequently, that
it does not form a member of the series of sensuous conditions which
necessitate phenomena according to natural laws. Reason is present and
the same in all human actions and at all times; but it does not itself
exist in time, and therefore does not enter upon any state in which it
did not formerly exist. It is, relatively to new states or conditions,
determining, but not determinable. Hence we cannot ask: "Why did not
reason determine itself in a different manner?" The question ought to
be thus stated: "Why did not reason employ its power of causality
to determine certain phenomena in a different manner?" But this is
a question which admits of no answer. For a different intelligible
character would have exhibited a different empirical character; and,
when we say that, in spite of the course which his whole former life has
taken, the offender could have refrained from uttering the falsehood,
this means merely that the act was subject to the power and
authority--permissive or prohibitive--of reason. Now, reason is not
subject in its causality to any conditions of phenomena or of time; and
a difference in time may produce a difference in the relation of
phenomena to each other--for these are not things and therefore not
causes in themselves--but it cannot produce any difference in the
relation in which the action stands to the faculty of reason.

Thus, then, in our investigation into free actions and the causal power
which produced them, we arrive at an intelligible cause, beyond which,
however, we cannot go; although we can recognize that it is free, that
is, independent of all sensuous conditions, and that, in this way, it
may be the sensuously unconditioned condition of phenomena. But for what
reason the intelligible character generates such and such phenomena
and exhibits such and such an empirical character under certain
circumstances, it is beyond the power of our reason to decide. The
question is as much above the power and the sphere of reason as the
following would be: "Why does the transcendental object of our external
sensuous intuition allow of no other form than that of intuition in
space?" But the problem, which we were called upon to solve, does not
require us to entertain any such questions. The problem was merely
this--whether freedom and natural necessity can exist without opposition
in the same action. To this question we have given a sufficient
answer; for we have shown that, as the former stands in a relation to a
different kind of condition from those of the latter, the law of the one
does not affect the law of the other and that, consequently, both can
exist together in independence of and without interference with each

The reader must be careful to remark that my intention in the above
remarks has not been to prove the actual existence of freedom, as a
faculty in which resides the cause of certain sensuous phenomena. For,
not to mention that such an argument would not have a transcendental
character, nor have been limited to the discussion of pure
conceptions--all attempts at inferring from experience what cannot be
cogitated in accordance with its laws, must ever be unsuccessful. Nay,
more, I have not even aimed at demonstrating the possibility of freedom;
for this too would have been a vain endeavour, inasmuch as it is beyond
the power of the mind to cognize the possibility of a reality or of a
causal power by the aid of mere a priori conceptions. Freedom has been
considered in the foregoing remarks only as a transcendental idea, by
means of which reason aims at originating a series of conditions in
the world of phenomena with the help of that which is sensuously
unconditioned, involving itself, however, in an antinomy with the laws
which itself prescribes for the conduct of the understanding. That this
antinomy is based upon a mere illusion, and that nature and freedom are
at least not opposed--this was the only thing in our power to prove, and
the question which it was our task to solve.

IV. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the
Dependence of Phenomenal Existences.

In the preceding remarks, we considered the changes in the world of
sense as constituting a dynamical series, in which each member is
subordinated to another--as its cause. Our present purpose is to avail
ourselves of this series of states or conditions as a guide to
an existence which may be the highest condition of all changeable
phenomena, that is, to a necessary being. Our endeavour to reach,
not the unconditioned causality, but the unconditioned existence, of
substance. The series before us is therefore a series of conceptions,
and not of intuitions (in which the one intuition is the condition of
the other).

But it is evident that, as all phenomena are subject to change and
conditioned in their existence, the series of dependent existences
cannot embrace an unconditioned member, the existence of which would
be absolutely necessary. It follows that, if phenomena were things
in themselves, and--as an immediate consequence from this
supposition--condition and conditioned belonged to the same series of
phenomena, the existence of a necessary being, as the condition of the
existence of sensuous phenomena, would be perfectly impossible.

An important distinction, however, exists between the dynamical and the
mathematical regress. The latter is engaged solely with the combination
of parts into a whole, or with the division of a whole into its parts;
and therefore are the conditions of its series parts of the series,
and to be consequently regarded as homogeneous, and for this reason, as
consisting, without exception, of phenomena. If the former regress, on
the contrary, the aim of which is not to establish the possibility of
an unconditioned whole consisting of given parts, or of an unconditioned
part of a given whole, but to demonstrate the possibility of the
deduction of a certain state from its cause, or of the contingent
existence of substance from that which exists necessarily, it is not
requisite that the condition should form part of an empirical series
along with the conditioned.

In the case of the apparent antinomy with which we are at present
dealing, there exists a way of escape from the difficulty; for it is
not impossible that both of the contradictory statements may be true
in different relations. All sensuous phenomena may be contingent, and
consequently possess only an empirically conditioned existence, and yet
there may also exist a non-empirical condition of the whole series,
or, in other words, a necessary being. For this necessary being, as an
intelligible condition, would not form a member--not even the highest
member--of the series; the whole world of sense would be left in its
empirically determined existence uninterfered with and uninfluenced.
This would also form a ground of distinction between the modes of
solution employed for the third and fourth antinomies. For, while in the
consideration of freedom in the former antinomy, the thing itself--the
cause (substantia phaenomenon)--was regarded as belonging to the series
of conditions, and only its causality to the intelligible world--we are
obliged in the present case to cogitate this necessary being as purely
intelligible and as existing entirely apart from the world of sense
(as an ens extramundanum); for otherwise it would be subject to the
phenomenal law of contingency and dependence.

In relation to the present problem, therefore, the regulative principle
of reason is that everything in the sensuous world possesses an
empirically conditioned existence--that no property of the sensuous
world possesses unconditioned necessity--that we are bound to expect,
and, so far as is possible, to seek for the empirical condition of every
member in the series of conditions--and that there is no sufficient
reason to justify us in deducing any existence from a condition which
lies out of and beyond the empirical series, or in regarding any
existence as independent and self-subsistent; although this should not
prevent us from recognizing the possibility of the whole series being
based upon a being which is intelligible, and for this reason free from
all empirical conditions.

But it has been far from my intention, in these remarks, to prove the
existence of this unconditioned and necessary being, or even to evidence
the possibility of a purely intelligible condition of the existence or
all sensuous phenomena. As bounds were set to reason, to prevent it from
leaving the guiding thread of empirical conditions and losing itself in
transcendent theories which are incapable of concrete presentation; so
it was my purpose, on the other band, to set bounds to the law of the
purely empirical understanding, and to protest against any attempts
on its part at deciding on the possibility of things, or declaring the
existence of the intelligible to be impossible, merely on the ground
that it is not available for the explanation and exposition of
phenomena. It has been shown, at the same time, that the contingency
of all the phenomena of nature and their empirical conditions is quite
consistent with the arbitrary hypothesis of a necessary, although purely
intelligible condition, that no real contradiction exists between them
and that, consequently, both may be true. The existence of such an
absolutely necessary being may be impossible; but this can never be
demonstrated from the universal contingency and dependence of sensuous
phenomena, nor from the principle which forbids us to discontinue the
series at some member of it, or to seek for its cause in some sphere
of existence beyond the world of nature. Reason goes its way in the
empirical world, and follows, too, its peculiar path in the sphere of
the transcendental.

The sensuous world contains nothing but phenomena, which are mere
representations, and always sensuously conditioned; things in themselves
are not, and cannot be, objects to us. It is not to be wondered at,
therefore, that we are not justified in leaping from some member of
an empirical series beyond the world of sense, as if empirical
representations were things in themselves, existing apart from their
transcendental ground in the human mind, and the cause of whose
existence may be sought out of the empirical series. This would
certainly be the case with contingent things; but it cannot be with mere
representations of things, the contingency of which is itself merely a
phenomenon and can relate to no other regress than that which determines
phenomena, that is, the empirical. But to cogitate an intelligible
ground of phenomena, as free, moreover, from the contingency of the
latter, conflicts neither with the unlimited nature of the empirical
regress, nor with the complete contingency of phenomena. And the
demonstration of this was the only thing necessary for the solution of
this apparent antinomy. For if the condition of every conditioned--as
regards its existence--is sensuous, and for this reason a part of
the same series, it must be itself conditioned, as was shown in the
antithesis of the fourth antinomy. The embarrassments into which a
reason, which postulates the unconditioned, necessarily falls, must,
therefore, continue to exist; or the unconditioned must be placed in the
sphere of the intelligible. In this way, its necessity does not require,
nor does it even permit, the presence of an empirical condition: and it
is, consequently, unconditionally necessary.

The empirical employment of reason is not affected by the assumption
of a purely intelligible being; it continues its operations on the
principle of the contingency of all phenomena, proceeding from empirical
conditions to still higher and higher conditions, themselves empirical.
Just as little does this regulative principle exclude the assumption
of an intelligible cause, when the question regards merely the pure
employment of reason--in relation to ends or aims. For, in this case, an
intelligible cause signifies merely the transcendental and to us unknown
ground of the possibility of sensuous phenomena, and its existence,
necessary and independent of all sensuous conditions, is not
inconsistent with the contingency of phenomena, or with the unlimited
possibility of regress which exists in the series of empirical

Concluding Remarks on the Antinomy of Pure Reason.

So long as the object of our rational conceptions is the
totality of conditions in the world of phenomena, and the
satisfaction, from this source, of the requirements of reason,
so long are our ideas transcendental and cosmological.
But when we set the unconditioned--which is the aim of
all our inquiries--in a sphere which lies out of the
world of sense and possible experience, our ideas become transcendent.
They are then not merely serviceable towards the completion of the
exercise of reason (which remains an idea, never executed, but always
to be pursued); they detach themselves completely from experience and
construct for themselves objects, the material of which has not been
presented by experience, and the objective reality of which is not based
upon the completion of the empirical series, but upon pure a priori
conceptions. The intelligible object of these transcendent ideas may
be conceded, as a transcendental object. But we cannot cogitate it as
a thing determinable by certain distinct predicates relating to its
internal nature, for it has no connection with empirical conceptions;
nor are we justified in affirming the existence of any such object.
It is, consequently, a mere product of the mind alone. Of all the
cosmological ideas, however, it is that occasioning the fourth antinomy
which compels us to venture upon this step. For the existence of
phenomena, always conditioned and never self-subsistent, requires us
to look for an object different from phenomena--an intelligible object,
with which all contingency must cease. But, as we have allowed ourselves
to assume the existence of a self-subsistent reality out of the field
of experience, and are therefore obliged to regard phenomena as merely a
contingent mode of representing intelligible objects employed by beings
which are themselves intelligences--no other course remains for us than
to follow analogy and employ the same mode in forming some conception
of intelligible things, of which we have not the least knowledge, which
nature taught us to use in the formation of empirical conceptions.
Experience made us acquainted with the contingent. But we are at present
engaged in the discussion of things which are not objects of experience;
and must, therefore, deduce our knowledge of them from that which is
necessary absolutely and in itself, that is, from pure conceptions.
Hence the first step which we take out of the world of sense obliges
us to begin our system of new cognition with the investigation of
a necessary being, and to deduce from our conceptions of it all our
conceptions of intelligible things. This we propose to attempt in the
following chapter.

CHAPTER III. The Ideal of Pure Reason.

SECTION I. Of the Ideal in General.

We have seen that pure conceptions do not present objects to the mind,
except under sensuous conditions; because the conditions of objective
reality do not exist in these conceptions, which contain, in fact,
nothing but the mere form of thought. They may, however, when applied to
phenomena, be presented in concreto; for it is phenomena that present to
them the materials for the formation of empirical conceptions, which
are nothing more than concrete forms of the conceptions of the
understanding. But ideas are still further removed from objective
reality than categories; for no phenomenon can ever present them to the
human mind in concreto. They contain a certain perfection, attainable
by no possible empirical cognition; and they give to reason a systematic
unity, to which the unity of experience attempts to approximate, but can
never completely attain.

But still further removed than the idea from objective reality is the
Ideal, by which term I understand the idea, not in concreto, but in
individuo--as an individual thing, determinable or determined by the
idea alone. The idea of humanity in its complete perfection supposes not
only the advancement of all the powers and faculties, which constitute
our conception of human nature, to a complete attainment of their
final aims, but also everything which is requisite for the complete
determination of the idea; for of all contradictory predicates, only
one can conform with the idea of the perfect man. What I have termed
an ideal was in Plato's philosophy an idea of the divine mind--an
individual object present to its pure intuition, the most perfect of
every kind of possible beings, and the archetype of all phenomenal

Without rising to these speculative heights, we are bound to confess
that human reason contains not only ideas, but ideals, which possess,
not, like those of Plato, creative, but certainly practical power--as
regulative principles, and form the basis of the perfectibility of
certain actions. Moral conceptions are not perfectly pure conceptions of
reason, because an empirical element--of pleasure or pain--lies at the
foundation of them. In relation, however, to the principle, whereby
reason sets bounds to a freedom which is in itself without law, and
consequently when we attend merely to their form, they may be considered
as pure conceptions of reason. Virtue and wisdom in their perfect purity
are ideas. But the wise man of the Stoics is an ideal, that is to say, a
human being existing only in thought and in complete conformity with the
idea of wisdom. As the idea provides a rule, so the ideal serves as an
archetype for the perfect and complete determination of the copy. Thus
the conduct of this wise and divine man serves us as a standard of
action, with which we may compare and judge ourselves, which may help
us to reform ourselves, although the perfection it demands can never be
attained by us. Although we cannot concede objective reality to these
ideals, they are not to be considered as chimeras; on the contrary,
they provide reason with a standard, which enables it to estimate, by
comparison, the degree of incompleteness in the objects presented to
it. But to aim at realizing the ideal in an example in the world of
experience--to describe, for instance, the character of the perfectly
wise man in a romance--is impracticable. Nay more, there is something
absurd in the attempt; and the result must be little edifying, as
the natural limitations, which are continually breaking in upon the
perfection and completeness of the idea, destroy the illusion in the
story and throw an air of suspicion even on what is good in the idea,
which hence appears fictitious and unreal.

Such is the constitution of the ideal of reason, which is always based
upon determinate conceptions, and serves as a rule and a model for
limitation or of criticism. Very different is the nature of the ideals
of the imagination. Of these it is impossible to present an intelligible
conception; they are a kind of monogram, drawn according to no
determinate rule, and forming rather a vague picture--the production of
many diverse experiences--than a determinate image. Such are the ideals
which painters and physiognomists profess to have in their minds, and
which can serve neither as a model for production nor as a standard for
appreciation. They may be termed, though improperly, sensuous ideals, as
they are declared to be models of certain possible empirical intuitions.
They cannot, however, furnish rules or standards for explanation or

In its ideals, reason aims at complete and perfect determination
according to a priori rules; and hence it cogitates an object, which
must be completely determinable in conformity with principles, although
all empirical conditions are absent, and the conception of the object is
on this account transcendent.

SECTION II. Of the Transcendental Ideal (Prototypon Trancendentale).

Every conception is, in relation to that which is not contained in
it, undetermined and subject to the principle of determinability. This
principle is that, of every two contradictorily opposed predicates, only
one can belong to a conception. It is a purely logical principle, itself
based upon the principle of contradiction; inasmuch as it makes complete
abstraction of the content and attends merely to the logical form of the

But again, everything, as regards its possibility, is also subject to
the principle of complete determination, according to which one of all
the possible contradictory predicates of things must belong to it.
This principle is not based merely upon that of contradiction; for,
in addition to the relation between two contradictory predicates,
it regards everything as standing in a relation to the sum of
possibilities, as the sum total of all predicates of things, and, while
presupposing this sum as an a priori condition, presents to the mind
everything as receiving the possibility of its individual existence from
the relation it bears to, and the share it possesses in, the aforesaid
sum of possibilities.* The principle of complete determination relates
the content and not to the logical form. It is the principle of the
synthesis of all the predicates which are required to constitute the
complete conception of a thing, and not a mere principle analytical
representation, which enounces that one of two contradictory predicates
must belong to a conception. It contains, moreover, a transcendental
presupposition--that, namely, of the material for all possibility, which
must contain a priori the data for this or that particular possibility.

   [*Footnote: Thus this principle declares everything to possess a
relation to a common correlate--the sum-total of possibility, which, if
discovered to exist in the idea of one individual thing, would establish
the affinity of all possible things, from the identity of the ground of
their complete determination. The determinability of every conception
is subordinate to the universality (Allgemeinheit, universalitas) of
the principle of excluded middle; the determination of a thing to the
totality (Allheit, universitas) of all possible predicates.]

The proposition, everything which exists is completely determined, means
not only that one of every pair of given contradictory attributes, but
that one of all possible attributes, is always predicable of the thing;
in it the predicates are not merely compared logically with each other,
but the thing itself is transcendentally compared with the sum-total of
all possible predicates. The proposition is equivalent to saying: "To
attain to a complete knowledge of a thing, it is necessary to possess a
knowledge of everything that is possible, and to determine it thereby in
a positive or negative manner." The conception of complete determination
is consequently a conception which cannot be presented in its totality
in concreto, and is therefore based upon an idea, which has its seat in
the reason--the faculty which prescribes to the understanding the laws
of its harmonious and perfect exercise.

Now, although this idea of the sum-total of all possibility, in so far
as it forms the condition of the complete determination of everything,
is itself undetermined in relation to the predicates which may
constitute this sum-total, and we cogitate in it merely the sum-total of
all possible predicates--we nevertheless find, upon closer examination,
that this idea, as a primitive conception of the mind, excludes a
large number of predicates--those deduced and those irreconcilable with
others, and that it is evolved as a conception completely determined a
priori. Thus it becomes the conception of an individual object, which
is completely determined by and through the mere idea, and must
consequently be termed an ideal of pure reason.

When we consider all possible predicates, not merely logically, but
transcendentally, that is to say, with reference to the content which
may be cogitated as existing in them a priori, we shall find that
some indicate a being, others merely a non-being. The logical negation
expressed in the word not does not properly belong to a conception, but
only to the relation of one conception to another in a judgement, and is
consequently quite insufficient to present to the mind the content of a
conception. The expression not mortal does not indicate that a non-being
is cogitated in the object; it does not concern the content at all. A
transcendental negation, on the contrary, indicates non-being in itself,
and is opposed to transcendental affirmation, the conception of which
of itself expresses a being. Hence this affirmation indicates a reality,
because in and through it objects are considered to be something--to be
things; while the opposite negation, on the other band, indicates a
mere want, or privation, or absence, and, where such negations alone
are attached to a representation, the non-existence of anything
corresponding to the representation.

Now a negation cannot be cogitated as determined, without cogitating at
the same time the opposite affirmation. The man born blind has not the
least notion of darkness, because he has none of light; the vagabond
knows nothing of poverty, because he has never known what it is to be in
comfort;* the ignorant man has no conception of his ignorance, because
he has no conception of knowledge. All conceptions of negatives are
accordingly derived or deduced conceptions; and realities contain the
data, and, so to speak, the material or transcendental content of the
possibility and complete determination of all things.

   [*Footnote: The investigations and calculations of astronomers have
taught us much that is wonderful; but the most important lesson we have
received from them is the discovery of the abyss of our ignorance in
relation to the universe--an ignorance the magnitude of which reason,
without the information thus derived, could never have conceived.
This discovery of our deficiencies must produce a great change in the
determination of the aims of human reason.]

If, therefore, a transcendental substratum lies at the foundation of the
complete determination of things--a substratum which is to form the fund
from which all possible predicates of things are to be supplied, this
substratum cannot be anything else than the idea of a sum-total of
reality (omnitudo realitatis). In this view, negations are nothing but
limitations--a term which could not, with propriety, be applied to
them, if the unlimited (the all) did not form the true basis of our

This conception of a sum-total of reality is the conception of a thing
in itself, regarded as completely determined; and the conception of an
ens realissimum is the conception of an individual being, inasmuch as
it is determined by that predicate of all possible contradictory
predicates, which indicates and belongs to being. It is, therefore, a
transcendental ideal which forms the basis of the complete determination
of everything that exists, and is the highest material condition of
its possibility--a condition on which must rest the cogitation of all
objects with respect to their content. Nay, more, this ideal is the only
proper ideal of which the human mind is capable; because in this case
alone a general conception of a thing is completely determined by and
through itself, and cognized as the representation of an individuum.

The logical determination of a conception is based upon a disjunctive
syllogism, the major of which contains the logical division of the
extent of a general conception, the minor limits this extent to a
certain part, while the conclusion determines the conception by this
part. The general conception of a reality cannot be divided a priori,
because, without the aid of experience, we cannot know any determinate
kinds of reality, standing under the former as the genus. The
transcendental principle of the complete determination of all things is
therefore merely the representation of the sum-total of all reality; it
is not a conception which is the genus of all predicates under
itself, but one which comprehends them all within itself. The complete
determination of a thing is consequently based upon the limitation of
this total of reality, so much being predicated of the thing, while all
that remains over is excluded--a procedure which is in exact agreement
with that of the disjunctive syllogism and the determination of the
objects in the conclusion by one of the members of the division.
It follows that reason, in laying the transcendental ideal at the
foundation of its determination of all possible things, takes a course
in exact analogy with that which it pursues in disjunctive syllogisms--a
proposition which formed the basis of the systematic division of all
transcendental ideas, according to which they are produced in complete
parallelism with the three modes of syllogistic reasoning employed by
the human mind.

It is self-evident that reason, in cogitating the necessary complete
determination of things, does not presuppose the existence of a being
corresponding to its ideal, but merely the idea of the ideal--for
the purpose of deducing from the unconditional totality of complete
determination, The ideal is therefore the prototype of all things,
which, as defective copies (ectypa), receive from it the material of
their possibility, and approximate to it more or less, though it is
impossible that they can ever attain to its perfection.

The possibility of things must therefore be regarded as derived--except
that of the thing which contains in itself all reality, which must be
considered to be primitive and original. For all negations--and they
are the only predicates by means of which all other things can be
distinguished from the ens realissimum--are mere limitations of a
greater and a higher--nay, the highest reality; and they consequently
presuppose this reality, and are, as regards their content, derived from
it. The manifold nature of things is only an infinitely various mode of
limiting the conception of the highest reality, which is their common
substratum; just as all figures are possible only as different modes of
limiting infinite space. The object of the ideal of reason--an object
existing only in reason itself--is also termed the primal being (ens
originarium); as having no existence superior to him, the supreme being
(ens summum); and as being the condition of all other beings, which rank
under it, the being of all beings (ens entium). But none of these terms
indicate the objective relation of an actually existing object to
other things, but merely that of an idea to conceptions; and all our
investigations into this subject still leave us in perfect uncertainty
with regard to the existence of this being.

A primal being cannot be said to consist of many other beings with an
existence which is derivative, for the latter presuppose the former, and
therefore cannot be constitutive parts of it. It follows that the ideal
of the primal being must be cogitated as simple.

The deduction of the possibility of all other things from this primal
being cannot, strictly speaking, be considered as a limitation, or as a
kind of division of its reality; for this would be regarding the primal
being as a mere aggregate--which has been shown to be impossible,
although it was so represented in our first rough sketch. The highest
reality must be regarded rather as the ground than as the sum-total
of the possibility of all things, and the manifold nature of things be
based, not upon the limitation of the primal being itself, but upon the
complete series of effects which flow from it. And thus all our powers
of sense, as well as all phenomenal reality, phenomenal reality, may be
with propriety regarded as belonging to this series of effects,
while they could not have formed parts of the idea, considered as an
aggregate. Pursuing this track, and hypostatizing this idea, we shall
find ourselves authorized to determine our notion of the Supreme Being
by means of the mere conception of a highest reality, as one, simple,
all-sufficient, eternal, and so on--in one word, to determine it in its
unconditioned completeness by the aid of every possible predicate.
The conception of such a being is the conception of God in its
transcendental sense, and thus the ideal of pure reason is the
object-matter of a transcendental theology.

But, by such an employment of the transcendental idea, we should be over
stepping the limits of its validity and purpose. For reason placed
it, as the conception of all reality, at the basis of the complete
determination of things, without requiring that this conception be
regarded as the conception of an objective existence. Such an existence
would be purely fictitious, and the hypostatizing of the content of
the idea into an ideal, as an individual being, is a step perfectly
unauthorized. Nay, more, we are not even called upon to assume the
possibility of such an hypothesis, as none of the deductions drawn
from such an ideal would affect the complete determination of things in
general--for the sake of which alone is the idea necessary.

It is not sufficient to circumscribe the procedure and the dialectic
of reason; we must also endeavour to discover the sources of this
dialectic, that we may have it in our power to give a rational
explanation of this illusion, as a phenomenon of the human mind. For
the ideal, of which we are at present speaking, is based, not upon an
arbitrary, but upon a natural, idea. The question hence arises: How
happens it that reason regards the possibility of all things as deduced
from a single possibility, that, to wit, of the highest reality, and
presupposes this as existing in an individual and primal being?

The answer is ready; it is at once presented by the procedure of
transcendental analytic. The possibility of sensuous objects is a
relation of these objects to thought, in which something (the empirical
form) may be cogitated a priori; while that which constitutes the
matter--the reality of the phenomenon (that element which corresponds to
sensation)--must be given from without, as otherwise it could not even
be cogitated by, nor could its possibility be presentable to the mind.
Now, a sensuous object is completely determined, when it has been
compared with all phenomenal predicates, and represented by means of
these either positively or negatively. But, as that which constitutes
the thing itself--the real in a phenomenon, must be given, and that, in
which the real of all phenomena is given, is experience, one, sole, and
all-embracing--the material of the possibility of all sensuous objects
must be presupposed as given in a whole, and it is upon the limitation
of this whole that the possibility of all empirical objects, their
distinction from each other and their complete determination, are based.
Now, no other objects are presented to us besides sensuous objects, and
these can be given only in connection with a possible experience; it
follows that a thing is not an object to us, unless it presupposes
the whole or sum-total of empirical reality as the condition of
its possibility. Now, a natural illusion leads us to consider this
principle, which is valid only of sensuous objects, as valid with regard
to things in general. And thus we are induced to hold the empirical
principle of our conceptions of the possibility of things, as phenomena,
by leaving out this limitative condition, to be a transcendental
principle of the possibility of things in general.

We proceed afterwards to hypostatize this idea of the sum-total of all
reality, by changing the distributive unity of the empirical exercise
of the understanding into the collective unity of an empirical whole--a
dialectical illusion, and by cogitating this whole or sum of experience
as an individual thing, containing in itself all empirical reality.
This individual thing or being is then, by means of the above-mentioned
transcendental subreption, substituted for our notion of a thing which
stands at the head of the possibility of all things, the real conditions
of whose complete determination it presents.*

   [*Footnote: This ideal of the ens realissimum--although merely a
mental representation--is first objectivized, that is, has an objective
existence attributed to it, then hypostatized, and finally, by the
natural progress of reason to the completion of unity, personified, as
we shall show presently. For the regulative unity of experience is not
based upon phenomena themselves, but upon the connection of the variety
of phenomena by the understanding in a consciousness, and thus the unity
of the supreme reality and the complete determinability of all things,
seem to reside in a supreme understanding, and, consequently, in a
conscious intelligence.]

SECTION III. Of the Arguments employed by Speculative Reason in
Proof of the Existence of a Supreme Being.

Notwithstanding the pressing necessity which reason feels, to form some
presupposition that shall serve the understanding as a proper basis
for the complete determination of its conceptions, the idealistic and
factitious nature of such a presupposition is too evident to allow
reason for a moment to persuade itself into a belief of the objective
existence of a mere creation of its own thought. But there are other
considerations which compel reason to seek out some resting place in the
regress from the conditioned to the unconditioned, which is not given
as an actual existence from the mere conception of it, although it
alone can give completeness to the series of conditions. And this is
the natural course of every human reason, even of the most uneducated,
although the path at first entered it does not always continue to
follow. It does not begin from conceptions, but from common experience,
and requires a basis in actual existence. But this basis is insecure,
unless it rests upon the immovable rock of the absolutely necessary. And
this foundation is itself unworthy of trust, if it leave under and above
it empty space, if it do not fill all, and leave no room for a why or a
wherefore, if it be not, in one word, infinite in its reality.

If we admit the existence of some one thing, whatever it may be, we must
also admit that there is something which exists necessarily. For what is
contingent exists only under the condition of some other thing, which
is its cause; and from this we must go on to conclude the existence of a
cause which is not contingent, and which consequently exists necessarily
and unconditionally. Such is the argument by which reason justifies its
advances towards a primal being.

Now reason looks round for the conception of a being that may be
admitted, without inconsistency, to be worthy of the attribute of
absolute necessity, not for the purpose of inferring a priori, from
the conception of such a being, its objective existence (for if reason
allowed itself to take this course, it would not require a basis in
given and actual existence, but merely the support of pure conceptions),
but for the purpose of discovering, among all our conceptions of
possible things, that conception which possesses no element inconsistent
with the idea of absolute necessity. For that there must be some
absolutely necessary existence, it regards as a truth already
established. Now, if it can remove every existence incapable of
supporting the attribute of absolute necessity, excepting one--this
must be the absolutely necessary being, whether its necessity is
comprehensible by us, that is, deducible from the conception of it
alone, or not.

Now that, the conception of which contains a therefore to every
wherefore, which is not defective in any respect whatever, which is
all-sufficient as a condition, seems to be the being of which we can
justly predicate absolute necessity--for this reason, that, possessing
the conditions of all that is possible, it does not and cannot itself
require any condition. And thus it satisfies, in one respect at least,
the requirements of the conception of absolute necessity. In this
view, it is superior to all other conceptions, which, as deficient and
incomplete, do not possess the characteristic of independence of all
higher conditions. It is true that we cannot infer from this that what
does not contain in itself the supreme and complete condition--the
condition of all other things--must possess only a conditioned
existence; but as little can we assert the contrary, for this supposed
being does not possess the only characteristic which can enable reason
to cognize by means of an a priori conception the unconditioned and
necessary nature of its existence.

The conception of an ens realissimum is that which best agrees with
the conception of an unconditioned and necessary being. The former
conception does not satisfy all the requirements of the latter; but
we have no choice, we are obliged to adhere to it, for we find that we
cannot do without the existence of a necessary being; and even although
we admit it, we find it out of our power to discover in the whole sphere
of possibility any being that can advance well-grounded claims to such a

The following is, therefore, the natural course of human reason. It
begins by persuading itself of the existence of some necessary being. In
this being it recognizes the characteristics of unconditioned existence.
It then seeks the conception of that which is independent of all
conditions, and finds it in that which is itself the sufficient
condition of all other things--in other words, in that which contains
all reality. But the unlimited all is an absolute unity, and is
conceived by the mind as a being one and supreme; and thus reason
concludes that the Supreme Being, as the primal basis of all things,
possesses an existence which is absolutely necessary.

This conception must be regarded as in some degree satisfactory, if we
admit the existence of a necessary being, and consider that there exists
a necessity for a definite and final answer to these questions. In such
a case, we cannot make a better choice, or rather we have no choice at
all, but feel ourselves obliged to declare in favour of the absolute
unity of complete reality, as the highest source of the possibility
of things. But if there exists no motive for coming to a definite
conclusion, and we may leave the question unanswered till we have fully
weighed both sides--in other words, when we are merely called upon to
decide how much we happen to know about the question, and how much we
merely flatter ourselves that we know--the above conclusion does not
appear to be so great advantage, but, on the contrary, seems defective
in the grounds upon which it is supported.

For, admitting the truth of all that has been said, that, namely, the
inference from a given existence (my own, for example) to the existence
of an unconditioned and necessary being is valid and unassailable;
that, in the second place, we must consider a being which contains all
reality, and consequently all the conditions of other things, to
be absolutely unconditioned; and admitting too, that we have thus
discovered the conception of a thing to which may be attributed, without
inconsistency, absolute necessity--it does not follow from all this that
the conception of a limited being, in which the supreme reality does not
reside, is therefore incompatible with the idea of absolute necessity.
For, although I do not discover the element of the unconditioned in the
conception of such a being--an element which is manifestly existent in
the sum-total of all conditions--I am not entitled to conclude that its
existence is therefore conditioned; just as I am not entitled to affirm,
in a hypothetical syllogism, that where a certain condition does not
exist (in the present, completeness, as far as pure conceptions are
concerned), the conditioned does not exist either. On the contrary,
we are free to consider all limited beings as likewise unconditionally
necessary, although we are unable to infer this from the general
conception which we have of them. Thus conducted, this argument is
incapable of giving us the least notion of the properties of a necessary
being, and must be in every respect without result.

This argument continues, however, to possess a weight and an authority,
which, in spite of its objective insufficiency, it has never been
divested of. For, granting that certain responsibilities lie upon us,
which, as based on the ideas of reason, deserve to be respected and
submitted to, although they are incapable of a real or practical
application to our nature, or, in other words, would be responsibilities
without motives, except upon the supposition of a Supreme Being to give
effect and influence to the practical laws: in such a case we should be
bound to obey our conceptions, which, although objectively insufficient,
do, according to the standard of reason, preponderate over and are
superior to any claims that may be advanced from any other quarter.
The equilibrium of doubt would in this case be destroyed by a practical
addition; indeed, Reason would be compelled to condemn herself, if she
refused to comply with the demands of the judgement, no superior to
which we know--however defective her understanding of the grounds of
these demands might be.

This argument, although in fact transcendental, inasmuch as it rests
upon the intrinsic insufficiency of the contingent, is so simple and
natural, that the commonest understanding can appreciate its value.
We see things around us change, arise, and pass away; they, or their
condition, must therefore have a cause. The same demand must again be
made of the cause itself--as a datum of experience. Now it is natural
that we should place the highest causality just where we place supreme
causality, in that being, which contains the conditions of all possible
effects, and the conception of which is so simple as that of an
all-embracing reality. This highest cause, then, we regard as absolutely
necessary, because we find it absolutely necessary to rise to it, and
do not discover any reason for proceeding beyond it. Thus, among all
nations, through the darkest polytheism glimmer some faint sparks of
monotheism, to which these idolaters have been led, not from reflection
and profound thought, but by the study and natural progress of the
common understanding.

There are only three modes of proving the existence of a Deity, on the
grounds of speculative reason.

All the paths conducting to this end begin either from determinate
experience and the peculiar constitution of the world of sense, and
rise, according to the laws of causality, from it to the highest
cause existing apart from the world--or from a purely indeterminate
experience, that is, some empirical existence--or abstraction is made of
all experience, and the existence of a supreme cause is concluded from a
priori conceptions alone. The first is the physico-theological argument,
the second the cosmological, the third the ontological. More there are
not, and more there cannot be.

I shall show it is as unsuccessful on the one path--the empirical--as on
the other--the transcendental, and that it stretches its wings in vain,
to soar beyond the world of sense by the mere might of speculative
thought. As regards the order in which we must discuss those arguments,
it will be exactly the reverse of that in which reason, in the progress
of its development, attains to them--the order in which they are
placed above. For it will be made manifest to the reader that, although
experience presents the occasion and the starting-point, it is the
transcendental idea of reason which guides it in its pilgrimage and
is the goal of all its struggles. I shall therefore begin with an
examination of the transcendental argument, and afterwards inquire what
additional strength has accrued to this mode of proof from the addition
of the empirical element.

SECTION IV. Of the Impossibility of an Ontological Proof of the
Existence of God.

It is evident from what has been said that the conception of an
absolutely necessary being is a mere idea, the objective reality of
which is far from being established by the mere fact that it is a
need of reason. On the contrary, this idea serves merely to indicate a
certain unattainable perfection, and rather limits the operations
than, by the presentation of new objects, extends the sphere of the
understanding. But a strange anomaly meets us at the very threshold;
for the inference from a given existence in general to an absolutely
necessary existence seems to be correct and unavoidable, while the
conditions of the understanding refuse to aid us in forming any
conception of such a being.

Philosophers have always talked of an absolutely necessary being,
and have nevertheless declined to take the trouble of conceiving
whether--and how--a being of this nature is even cogitable, not to
mention that its existence is actually demonstrable. A verbal definition
of the conception is certainly easy enough: it is something the
non-existence of which is impossible. But does this definition throw
any light upon the conditions which render it impossible to cogitate the
non-existence of a thing--conditions which we wish to ascertain, that we
may discover whether we think anything in the conception of such a
being or not? For the mere fact that I throw away, by means of the word
unconditioned, all the conditions which the understanding habitually
requires in order to regard anything as necessary, is very far from
making clear whether by means of the conception of the unconditionally
necessary I think of something, or really of nothing at all.

Nay, more, this chance-conception, now become so current, many have
endeavoured to explain by examples which seemed to render any inquiries
regarding its intelligibility quite needless. Every geometrical
proposition--a triangle has three angles--it was said, is absolutely
necessary; and thus people talked of an object which lay out of the
sphere of our understanding as if it were perfectly plain what the
conception of such a being meant.

All the examples adduced have been drawn, without exception, from
judgements, and not from things. But the unconditioned necessity of
a judgement does not form the absolute necessity of a thing. On the
contrary, the absolute necessity of a judgement is only a conditioned
necessity of a thing, or of the predicate in a judgement. The
proposition above-mentioned does not enounce that three angles
necessarily exist, but, upon condition that a triangle exists, three
angles must necessarily exist--in it. And thus this logical necessity
has been the source of the greatest delusions. Having formed an a
priori conception of a thing, the content of which was made to embrace
existence, we believed ourselves safe in concluding that, because
existence belongs necessarily to the object of the conception (that is,
under the condition of my positing this thing as given), the existence
of the thing is also posited necessarily, and that it is therefore
absolutely necessary--merely because its existence has been cogitated in
the conception.

If, in an identical judgement, I annihilate the predicate in thought,
and retain the subject, a contradiction is the result; and hence I say,
the former belongs necessarily to the latter. But if I suppress both
subject and predicate in thought, no contradiction arises; for there is
nothing at all, and therefore no means of forming a contradiction. To
suppose the existence of a triangle and not that of its three angles,
is self-contradictory; but to suppose the non-existence of both triangle
and angles is perfectly admissible. And so is it with the conception of
an absolutely necessary being. Annihilate its existence in thought, and
you annihilate the thing itself with all its predicates; how then can
there be any room for contradiction? Externally, there is nothing
to give rise to a contradiction, for a thing cannot be necessary
externally; nor internally, for, by the annihilation or suppression of
the thing itself, its internal properties are also annihilated. God is
omnipotent--that is a necessary judgement. His omnipotence cannot be
denied, if the existence of a Deity is posited--the existence, that is,
of an infinite being, the two conceptions being identical. But when you
say, God does not exist, neither omnipotence nor any other predicate
is affirmed; they must all disappear with the subject, and in this
judgement there cannot exist the least self-contradiction.

You have thus seen that when the predicate of a judgement is annihilated
in thought along with the subject, no internal contradiction can arise,
be the predicate what it may. There is no possibility of evading the
conclusion--you find yourselves compelled to declare: There are certain
subjects which cannot be annihilated in thought. But this is
nothing more than saying: There exist subjects which are absolutely
necessary--the very hypothesis which you are called upon to establish.
For I find myself unable to form the slightest conception of a thing
which when annihilated in thought with all its predicates, leaves
behind a contradiction; and contradiction is the only criterion of
impossibility in the sphere of pure a priori conceptions.

Against these general considerations, the justice of which no one can
dispute, one argument is adduced, which is regarded as furnishing a
satisfactory demonstration from the fact. It is affirmed that there is
one and only one conception, in which the non-being or annihilation of
the object is self-contradictory, and this is the conception of an ens
realissimum. It possesses, you say, all reality, and you feel yourselves
justified in admitting the possibility of such a being. (This I am
willing to grant for the present, although the existence of a conception
which is not self-contradictory is far from being sufficient to prove
the possibility of an object.)* Now the notion of all reality embraces
in it that of existence; the notion of existence lies, therefore, in
the conception of this possible thing. If this thing is annihilated
in thought, the internal possibility of the thing is also annihilated,
which is self-contradictory.

   [*Footnote: A conception is always possible, if it is not
self-contradictory. This is the logical criterion of possibility,
distinguishing the object of such a conception from the nihil negativum.
But it may be, notwithstanding, an empty conception, unless the
objective reality of this synthesis, but which it is generated, is
demonstrated; and a proof of this kind must be based upon principles
of possible experience, and not upon the principle of analysis or
contradiction. This remark may be serviceable as a warning against
concluding, from the possibility of a conception--which is logical--the
possibility of a thing--which is real.]

I answer: It is absurd to introduce--under whatever term disguised--into
the conception of a thing, which is to be cogitated solely in reference
to its possibility, the conception of its existence. If this is
admitted, you will have apparently gained the day, but in reality have
enounced nothing but a mere tautology. I ask, is the proposition,
this or that thing (which I am admitting to be possible) exists, an
analytical or a synthetical proposition? If the former, there is no
addition made to the subject of your thought by the affirmation of its
existence; but then the conception in your minds is identical with
the thing itself, or you have supposed the existence of a thing to
be possible, and then inferred its existence from its internal
possibility--which is but a miserable tautology. The word reality in the
conception of the thing, and the word existence in the conception of the
predicate, will not help you out of the difficulty. For, supposing you
were to term all positing of a thing reality, you have thereby posited
the thing with all its predicates in the conception of the subject
and assumed its actual existence, and this you merely repeat in the
predicate. But if you confess, as every reasonable person must, that
every existential proposition is synthetical, how can it be
maintained that the predicate of existence cannot be denied without
contradiction?--a property which is the characteristic of analytical
propositions, alone.

I should have a reasonable hope of putting an end for ever to this
sophistical mode of argumentation, by a strict definition of the
conception of existence, did not my own experience teach me that the
illusion arising from our confounding a logical with a real predicate (a
predicate which aids in the determination of a thing) resists almost all
the endeavours of explanation and illustration. A logical predicate may
be what you please, even the subject may be predicated of itself;
for logic pays no regard to the content of a judgement. But the
determination of a conception is a predicate, which adds to and enlarges
the conception. It must not, therefore, be contained in the conception.

Being is evidently not a real predicate, that is, a conception of
something which is added to the conception of some other thing. It is
merely the positing of a thing, or of certain determinations in it.
Logically, it is merely the copula of a judgement. The proposition, God
is omnipotent, contains two conceptions, which have a certain object or
content; the word is, is no additional predicate--it merely indicates
the relation of the predicate to the subject. Now, if I take the subject
(God) with all its predicates (omnipotence being one), and say: God is,
or, There is a God, I add no new predicate to the conception of God,
I merely posit or affirm the existence of the subject with all its
predicates--I posit the object in relation to my conception. The content
of both is the same; and there is no addition made to the conception,
which expresses merely the possibility of the object, by my cogitating
the object--in the expression, it is--as absolutely given or existing.
Thus the real contains no more than the possible. A hundred real dollars
contain no more than a hundred possible dollars. For, as the latter
indicate the conception, and the former the object, on the supposition
that the content of the former was greater than that of the latter, my
conception would not be an expression of the whole object, and would
consequently be an inadequate conception of it. But in reckoning my
wealth there may be said to be more in a hundred real dollars than in a
hundred possible dollars--that is, in the mere conception of them.
For the real object--the dollars--is not analytically contained in my
conception, but forms a synthetical addition to my conception (which
is merely a determination of my mental state), although this objective
reality--this existence--apart from my conceptions, does not in the
least degree increase the aforesaid hundred dollars.

By whatever and by whatever number of predicates--even to the complete
determination of it--I may cogitate a thing, I do not in the least
augment the object of my conception by the addition of the statement:
This thing exists. Otherwise, not exactly the same, but something more
than what was cogitated in my conception, would exist, and I could not
affirm that the exact object of my conception had real existence. If I
cogitate a thing as containing all modes of reality except one, the mode
of reality which is absent is not added to the conception of the thing
by the affirmation that the thing exists; on the contrary, the thing
exists--if it exist at all--with the same defect as that cogitated in
its conception; otherwise not that which was cogitated, but something
different, exists. Now, if I cogitate a being as the highest reality,
without defect or imperfection, the question still remains--whether this
being exists or not? For, although no element is wanting in the possible
real content of my conception, there is a defect in its relation to my
mental state, that is, I am ignorant whether the cognition of the object
indicated by the conception is possible a posteriori. And here the cause
of the present difficulty becomes apparent. If the question regarded an
object of sense merely, it would be impossible for me to confound the
conception with the existence of a thing. For the conception merely
enables me to cogitate an object as according with the general
conditions of experience; while the existence of the object permits me
to cogitate it as contained in the sphere of actual experience. At the
same time, this connection with the world of experience does not in the
least augment the conception, although a possible perception has been
added to the experience of the mind. But if we cogitate existence by the
pure category alone, it is not to be wondered at, that we should find
ourselves unable to present any criterion sufficient to distinguish it
from mere possibility.

Whatever be the content of our conception of an object, it is necessary
to go beyond it, if we wish to predicate existence of the object. In the
case of sensuous objects, this is attained by their connection according
to empirical laws with some one of my perceptions; but there is no means
of cognizing the existence of objects of pure thought, because it must
be cognized completely a priori. But all our knowledge of existence (be
it immediately by perception, or by inferences connecting some object
with a perception) belongs entirely to the sphere of experience--which
is in perfect unity with itself; and although an existence out of
this sphere cannot be absolutely declared to be impossible, it is a
hypothesis the truth of which we have no means of ascertaining.

The notion of a Supreme Being is in many respects a highly useful idea;
but for the very reason that it is an idea, it is incapable of enlarging
our cognition with regard to the existence of things. It is not even
sufficient to instruct us as to the possibility of a being which we
do not know to exist. The analytical criterion of possibility, which
consists in the absence of contradiction in propositions, cannot
be denied it. But the connection of real properties in a thing is a
synthesis of the possibility of which an a priori judgement cannot be
formed, because these realities are not presented to us specifically;
and even if this were to happen, a judgement would still be impossible,
because the criterion of the possibility of synthetical cognitions must
be sought for in the world of experience, to which the object of an idea
cannot belong. And thus the celebrated Leibnitz has utterly failed in
his attempt to establish upon a priori grounds the possibility of this
sublime ideal being.

The celebrated ontological or Cartesian argument for the existence of
a Supreme Being is therefore insufficient; and we may as well hope
to increase our stock of knowledge by the aid of mere ideas, as the
merchant to augment his wealth by the addition of noughts to his cash

SECTION V. Of the Impossibility of a Cosmological Proof of the
Existence of God.

It was by no means a natural course of proceeding, but, on the contrary,
an invention entirely due to the subtlety of the schools, to attempt
to draw from a mere idea a proof of the existence of an object
corresponding to it. Such a course would never have been pursued,
were it not for that need of reason which requires it to suppose the
existence of a necessary being as a basis for the empirical regress, and
that, as this necessity must be unconditioned and a priori, reason is
bound to discover a conception which shall satisfy, if possible, this
requirement, and enable us to attain to the a priori cognition of such
a being. This conception was thought to be found in the idea of an ens
realissimum, and thus this idea was employed for the attainment of a
better defined knowledge of a necessary being, of the existence of
which we were convinced, or persuaded, on other grounds. Thus reason was
seduced from her natural courage; and, instead of concluding with the
conception of an ens realissimum, an attempt was made to begin with it,
for the purpose of inferring from it that idea of a necessary existence
which it was in fact called in to complete. Thus arose that unfortunate
ontological argument, which neither satisfies the healthy common sense
of humanity, nor sustains the scientific examination of the philosopher.

The cosmological proof, which we are about to examine, retains the
connection between absolute necessity and the highest reality; but,
instead of reasoning from this highest reality to a necessary existence,
like the preceding argument, it concludes from the given unconditioned
necessity of some being its unlimited reality. The track it pursues,
whether rational or sophistical, is at least natural, and not only goes
far to persuade the common understanding, but shows itself deserving of
respect from the speculative intellect; while it contains, at the
same time, the outlines of all the arguments employed in natural
theology--arguments which always have been, and still will be, in
use and authority. These, however adorned, and hid under whatever
embellishments of rhetoric and sentiment, are at bottom identical
with the arguments we are at present to discuss. This proof, termed by
Leibnitz the argumentum a contingentia mundi, I shall now lay before the
reader, and subject to a strict examination.

It is framed in the following manner: If something exists, an
absolutely necessary being must likewise exist. Now I, at least, exist.
Consequently, there exists an absolutely necessary being. The minor
contains an experience, the major reasons from a general experience to
the existence of a necessary being.* Thus this argument really begins at
experience, and is not completely a priori, or ontological. The
object of all possible experience being the world, it is called the
cosmological proof. It contains no reference to any peculiar property
of sensuous objects, by which this world of sense might be distinguished
from other possible worlds; and in this respect it differs from the
physico-theological proof, which is based upon the consideration of the
peculiar constitution of our sensuous world.

   [*Footnote: This inference is too well known to require more detailed
discussion. It is based upon the spurious transcendental law of
causality, that everything which is contingent has a cause, which, if
itself contingent, must also have a cause; and so on, till the series of
subordinated causes must end with an absolutely necessary cause, without
which it would not possess completeness.]

The proof proceeds thus: A necessary being can be determined only in one
way, that is, it can be determined by only one of all possible opposed
predicates; consequently, it must be completely determined in and by its
conception. But there is only a single conception of a thing possible,
which completely determines the thing a priori: that is, the conception
of the ens realissimum. It follows that the conception of the ens
realissimum is the only conception by and in which we can cogitate a
necessary being. Consequently, a Supreme Being necessarily exists.

In this cosmological argument are assembled so many sophistical
propositions that speculative reason seems to have exerted in it all
her dialectical skill to produce a transcendental illusion of the most
extreme character. We shall postpone an investigation of this argument
for the present, and confine ourselves to exposing the stratagem by
which it imposes upon us an old argument in a new dress, and appeals
to the agreement of two witnesses, the one with the credentials of pure
reason, and the other with those of empiricism; while, in fact, it is
only the former who has changed his dress and voice, for the purpose
of passing himself off for an additional witness. That it may possess
a secure foundation, it bases its conclusions upon experience, and thus
appears to be completely distinct from the ontological argument, which
places its confidence entirely in pure a priori conceptions. But this
experience merely aids reason in making one step--to the existence of a
necessary being. What the properties of this being are cannot be learned
from experience; and therefore reason abandons it altogether, and
pursues its inquiries in the sphere of pure conception, for the purpose
of discovering what the properties of an absolutely necessary being
ought to be, that is, what among all possible things contain the
conditions (requisita) of absolute necessity. Reason believes that
it has discovered these requisites in the conception of an ens
realissimum--and in it alone, and hence concludes: The ens realissimum
is an absolutely necessary being. But it is evident that reason has
here presupposed that the conception of an ens realissimum is perfectly
adequate to the conception of a being of absolute necessity, that is,
that we may infer the existence of the latter from that of the former--a
proposition which formed the basis of the ontological argument, and
which is now employed in the support of the cosmological argument,
contrary to the wish and professions of its inventors. For the existence
of an absolutely necessary being is given in conceptions alone. But if
I say: "The conception of the ens realissimum is a conception of this
kind, and in fact the only conception which is adequate to our idea of a
necessary being," I am obliged to admit, that the latter may be inferred
from the former. Thus it is properly the ontological argument which
figures in the cosmological, and constitutes the whole strength of the
latter; while the spurious basis of experience has been of no further
use than to conduct us to the conception of absolute necessity, being
utterly insufficient to demonstrate the presence of this attribute in
any determinate existence or thing. For when we propose to ourselves
an aim of this character, we must abandon the sphere of experience, and
rise to that of pure conceptions, which we examine with the purpose of
discovering whether any one contains the conditions of the possibility
of an absolutely necessary being. But if the possibility of such a being
is thus demonstrated, its existence is also proved; for we may then
assert that, of all possible beings there is one which possesses
the attribute of necessity--in other words, this being possesses an
absolutely necessary existence.

All illusions in an argument are more easily detected when they are
presented in the formal manner employed by the schools, which we now
proceed to do.

If the proposition: "Every absolutely necessary being is likewise an ens
realissimum," is correct (and it is this which constitutes the nervus
probandi of the cosmological argument), it must, like all affirmative
judgements, be capable of conversion--the conversio per accidens, at
least. It follows, then, that some entia realissima are absolutely
necessary beings. But no ens realissimum is in any respect different
from another, and what is valid of some is valid of all. In this present
case, therefore, I may employ simple conversion, and say: "Every ens
realissimum is a necessary being." But as this proposition is determined
a priori by the conceptions contained in it, the mere conception of
an ens realissimum must possess the additional attribute of absolute
necessity. But this is exactly what was maintained in the ontological
argument, and not recognized by the cosmological, although it formed the
real ground of its disguised and illusory reasoning.

Thus the second mode employed by speculative reason of demonstrating the
existence of a Supreme Being, is not only, like the first, illusory
and inadequate, but possesses the additional blemish of an ignoratio
elenchi--professing to conduct us by a new road to the desired goal, but
bringing us back, after a short circuit, to the old path which we had
deserted at its call.

I mentioned above that this cosmological argument contains a perfect
nest of dialectical assumptions, which transcendental criticism does not
find it difficult to expose and to dissipate. I shall merely enumerate
these, leaving it to the reader, who must by this time be well practised
in such matters, to investigate the fallacies residing therein.

The following fallacies, for example, are discoverable in this mode of
proof: 1. The transcendental principle: "Everything that is contingent
must have a cause"--a principle without significance, except in the
sensuous world. For the purely intellectual conception of the contingent
cannot produce any synthetical proposition, like that of causality,
which is itself without significance or distinguishing characteristic
except in the phenomenal world. But in the present case it is employed
to help us beyond the limits of its sphere. 2. "From the impossibility
of an infinite ascending series of causes in the world of sense a first
cause is inferred"; a conclusion which the principles of the employment
of reason do not justify even in the sphere of experience, and still
less when an attempt is made to pass the limits of this sphere. 3.
Reason allows itself to be satisfied upon insufficient grounds, with
regard to the completion of this series. It removes all conditions
(without which, however, no conception of Necessity can take place);
and, as after this it is beyond our power to form any other conceptions,
it accepts this as a completion of the conception it wishes to form of
the series. 4. The logical possibility of a conception of the total
of reality (the criterion of this possibility being the absence of
contradiction) is confounded with the transcendental, which requires a
principle of the practicability of such a synthesis--a principle which
again refers us to the world of experience. And so on.

The aim of the cosmological argument is to avoid the necessity
of proving the existence of a necessary being priori from mere
conceptions--a proof which must be ontological, and of which we feel
ourselves quite incapable. With this purpose, we reason from an
actual existence--an experience in general, to an absolutely necessary
condition of that existence. It is in this case unnecessary to
demonstrate its possibility. For after having proved that it exists, the
question regarding its possibility is superfluous. Now, when we wish to
define more strictly the nature of this necessary being, we do not look
out for some being the conception of which would enable us to comprehend
the necessity of its being--for if we could do this, an empirical
presupposition would be unnecessary; no, we try to discover merely the
negative condition (conditio sine qua non), without which a being would
not be absolutely necessary. Now this would be perfectly admissible in
every sort of reasoning, from a consequence to its principle; but in
the present case it unfortunately happens that the condition of absolute
necessity can be discovered in but a single being, the conception of
which must consequently contain all that is requisite for demonstrating
the presence of absolute necessity, and thus entitle me to infer this
absolute necessity a priori. That is, it must be possible to reason
conversely, and say: The thing, to which the conception of the highest
reality belongs, is absolutely necessary. But if I cannot reason
thus--and I cannot, unless I believe in the sufficiency of the
ontological argument--I find insurmountable obstacles in my new path,
and am really no farther than the point from which I set out. The
conception of a Supreme Being satisfies all questions a priori regarding
the internal determinations of a thing, and is for this reason an ideal
without equal or parallel, the general conception of it indicating it
as at the same time an ens individuum among all possible things. But the
conception does not satisfy the question regarding its existence--which
was the purpose of all our inquiries; and, although the existence of a
necessary being were admitted, we should find it impossible to answer
the question: What of all things in the world must be regarded as such?

It is certainly allowable to admit the existence of an all-sufficient
being--a cause of all possible effects--for the purpose of enabling
reason to introduce unity into its mode and grounds of explanation with
regard to phenomena. But to assert that such a being necessarily exists,
is no longer the modest enunciation of an admissible hypothesis, but
the boldest declaration of an apodeictic certainty; for the cognition of
that which is absolutely necessary must itself possess that character.

The aim of the transcendental ideal formed by the mind is either to
discover a conception which shall harmonize with the idea of absolute
necessity, or a conception which shall contain that idea. If the one
is possible, so is the other; for reason recognizes that alone as
absolutely necessary which is necessary from its conception. But both
attempts are equally beyond our power--we find it impossible to satisfy
the understanding upon this point, and as impossible to induce it to
remain at rest in relation to this incapacity.

Unconditioned necessity, which, as the ultimate support and stay of
all existing things, is an indispensable requirement of the mind, is an
abyss on the verge of which human reason trembles in dismay. Even the
idea of eternity, terrible and sublime as it is, as depicted by Haller,
does not produce upon the mental vision such a feeling of awe and
terror; for, although it measures the duration of things, it does not
support them. We cannot bear, nor can we rid ourselves of the
thought that a being, which we regard as the greatest of all possible
existences, should say to himself: I am from eternity to eternity;
beside me there is nothing, except that which exists by my will; whence
then am I? Here all sinks away from under us; and the greatest, as the
smallest, perfection, hovers without stay or footing in presence of the
speculative reason, which finds it as easy to part with the one as with
the other.

Many physical powers, which evidence their existence by their effects,
are perfectly inscrutable in their nature; they elude all our powers
of observation. The transcendental object which forms the basis of
phenomena, and, in connection with it, the reason why our sensibility
possesses this rather than that particular kind of conditions, are and
must ever remain hidden from our mental vision; the fact is there, the
reason of the fact we cannot see. But an ideal of pure reason cannot
be termed mysterious or inscrutable, because the only credential of
its reality is the need of it felt by reason, for the purpose of giving
completeness to the world of synthetical unity. An ideal is not even
given as a cogitable object, and therefore cannot be inscrutable; on
the contrary, it must, as a mere idea, be based on the constitution of
reason itself, and on this account must be capable of explanation and
solution. For the very essence of reason consists in its ability to
give an account, of all our conceptions, opinions, and assertions--upon
objective, or, when they happen to be illusory and fallacious, upon
subjective grounds.

Detection and Explanation of the Dialectical Illusion in all
Transcendental Arguments for the Existence of a Necessary Being.

Both of the above arguments are transcendental; in other words, they do
not proceed upon empirical principles. For, although the cosmological
argument professed to lay a basis of experience for its edifice
of reasoning, it did not ground its procedure upon the peculiar
constitution of experience, but upon pure principles of reason--in
relation to an existence given by empirical consciousness; utterly
abandoning its guidance, however, for the purpose of supporting its
assertions entirely upon pure conceptions. Now what is the cause,
in these transcendental arguments, of the dialectical, but natural,
illusion, which connects the conceptions of necessity and supreme
reality, and hypostatizes that which cannot be anything but an idea?
What is the cause of this unavoidable step on the part of reason, of
admitting that some one among all existing things must be necessary,
while it falls back from the assertion of the existence of such a being
as from an abyss? And how does reason proceed to explain this anomaly
to itself, and from the wavering condition of a timid and reluctant
approbation--always again withdrawn--arrive at a calm and settled
insight into its cause?

It is something very remarkable that, on the supposition that something
exists, I cannot avoid the inference that something exists necessarily.
Upon this perfectly natural--but not on that account reliable--inference
does the cosmological argument rest. But, let me form any conception
whatever of a thing, I find that I cannot cogitate the existence of
the thing as absolutely necessary, and that nothing prevents me--be the
thing or being what it may--from cogitating its non-existence. I may
thus be obliged to admit that all existing things have a necessary
basis, while I cannot cogitate any single or individual thing as
necessary. In other words, I can never complete the regress through the
conditions of existence, without admitting the existence of a necessary
being; but, on the other hand, I cannot make a commencement from this

If I must cogitate something as existing necessarily as the basis of
existing things, and yet am not permitted to cogitate any individual
thing as in itself necessary, the inevitable inference is that necessity
and contingency are not properties of things themselves--otherwise an
internal contradiction would result; that consequently neither of
these principles are objective, but merely subjective principles
of reason--the one requiring us to seek for a necessary ground
for everything that exists, that is, to be satisfied with no other
explanation than that which is complete a priori, the other forbidding
us ever to hope for the attainment of this completeness, that is, to
regard no member of the empirical world as unconditioned. In this
mode of viewing them, both principles, in their purely heuristic and
regulative character, and as concerning merely the formal interest of
reason, are quite consistent with each other. The one says: "You must
philosophize upon nature," as if there existed a necessary primal basis
of all existing things, solely for the purpose of introducing systematic
unity into your knowledge, by pursuing an idea of this character--a
foundation which is arbitrarily admitted to be ultimate; while the
other warns you to consider no individual determination, concerning
the existence of things, as such an ultimate foundation, that is,
as absolutely necessary, but to keep the way always open for further
progress in the deduction, and to treat every determination as
determined by some other. But if all that we perceive must be regarded
as conditionally necessary, it is impossible that anything which is
empirically given should be absolutely necessary.

It follows from this that you must accept the absolutely necessary
as out of and beyond the world, inasmuch as it is useful only as a
principle of the highest possible unity in experience, and you cannot
discover any such necessary existence in the would, the second rule
requiring you to regard all empirical causes of unity as themselves

The philosophers of antiquity regarded all the forms of nature as
contingent; while matter was considered by them, in accordance with the
judgement of the common reason of mankind, as primal and necessary.
But if they had regarded matter, not relatively--as the substratum of
phenomena, but absolutely and in itself--as an independent existence,
this idea of absolute necessity would have immediately disappeared. For
there is nothing absolutely connecting reason with such an existence;
on the contrary, it can annihilate it in thought, always and without
self-contradiction. But in thought alone lay the idea of absolute
necessity. A regulative principle must, therefore, have been at
the foundation of this opinion. In fact, extension and
impenetrability--which together constitute our conception of
matter--form the supreme empirical principle of the unity of phenomena,
and this principle, in so far as it is empirically unconditioned,
possesses the property of a regulative principle. But, as every
determination of matter which constitutes what is real in it--and
consequently impenetrability--is an effect, which must have a cause, and
is for this reason always derived, the notion of matter cannot harmonize
with the idea of a necessary being, in its character of the principle of
all derived unity. For every one of its real properties, being derived,
must be only conditionally necessary, and can therefore be annihilated
in thought; and thus the whole existence of matter can be so annihilated
or suppressed. If this were not the case, we should have found in the
world of phenomena the highest ground or condition of unity--which is
impossible, according to the second regulative principle. It follows
that matter, and, in general, all that forms part of the world of sense,
cannot be a necessary primal being, nor even a principle of empirical
unity, but that this being or principle must have its place assigned
without the world. And, in this way, we can proceed in perfect
confidence to deduce the phenomena of the world and their existence from
other phenomena, just as if there existed no necessary being; and we
can at the same time, strive without ceasing towards the attainment of
completeness for our deduction, just as if such a being--the supreme
condition of all existences--were presupposed by the mind.

These remarks will have made it evident to the reader that the ideal of
the Supreme Being, far from being an enouncement of the existence of a
being in itself necessary, is nothing more than a regulative principle
of reason, requiring us to regard all connection existing between
phenomena as if it had its origin from an all-sufficient necessary
cause, and basing upon this the rule of a systematic and necessary unity
in the explanation of phenomena. We cannot, at the same time, avoid
regarding, by a transcendental subreptio, this formal principle as
constitutive, and hypostatizing this unity. Precisely similar is the
case with our notion of space. Space is the primal condition of all
forms, which are properly just so many different limitations of it; and
thus, although it is merely a principle of sensibility, we cannot help
regarding it as an absolutely necessary and self-subsistent thing--as
an object given a priori in itself. In the same way, it is quite natural
that, as the systematic unity of nature cannot be established as a
principle for the empirical employment of reason, unless it is based
upon the idea of an ens realissimum, as the supreme cause, we should
regard this idea as a real object, and this object, in its character
of supreme condition, as absolutely necessary, and that in this way a
regulative should be transformed into a constitutive principle. This
interchange becomes evident when I regard this supreme being, which,
relatively to the world, was absolutely (unconditionally) necessary,
as a thing per se. In this case, I find it impossible to represent this
necessity in or by any conception, and it exists merely in my own mind,
as the formal condition of thought, but not as a material and hypostatic
condition of existence.

SECTION VI. Of the Impossibility of a Physico-Theological Proof.

If, then, neither a pure conception nor the general experience of an
existing being can provide a sufficient basis for the proof of the
existence of the Deity, we can make the attempt by the only other
mode--that of grounding our argument upon a determinate experience of
the phenomena of the present world, their constitution and disposition,
and discover whether we can thus attain to a sound conviction of
the existence of a Supreme Being. This argument we shall term the
physico-theological argument. If it is shown to be insufficient,
speculative reason cannot present us with any satisfactory proof of the
existence of a being corresponding to our transcendental idea.

It is evident from the remarks that have been made in the preceding
sections, that an answer to this question will be far from being
difficult or unconvincing. For how can any experience be adequate
with an idea? The very essence of an idea consists in the fact that no
experience can ever be discovered congruent or adequate with it. The
transcendental idea of a necessary and all-sufficient being is so
immeasurably great, so high above all that is empirical, which is always
conditioned, that we hope in vain to find materials in the sphere of
experience sufficiently ample for our conception, and in vain seek the
unconditioned among things that are conditioned, while examples, nay,
even guidance is denied us by the laws of empirical synthesis.

If the Supreme Being forms a link in the chain of empirical conditions,
it must be a member of the empirical series, and, like the lower members
which it precedes, have its origin in some higher member of the series.
If, on the other hand, we disengage it from the chain, and cogitate it
as an intelligible being, apart from the series of natural causes--how
shall reason bridge the abyss that separates the latter from the former?
All laws respecting the regress from effects to causes, all synthetical
additions to our knowledge relate solely to possible experience and
the objects of the sensuous world, and, apart from them, are without

The world around us opens before our view so magnificent a spectacle of
order, variety, beauty, and conformity to ends, that whether we pursue
our observations into the infinity of space in the one direction, or
into its illimitable divisions in the other, whether we regard the world
in its greatest or its least manifestations--even after we have attained
to the highest summit of knowledge which our weak minds can reach, we
find that language in the presence of wonders so inconceivable has lost
its force, and number its power to reckon, nay, even thought fails to
conceive adequately, and our conception of the whole dissolves into an
astonishment without power of expression--all the more eloquent that it
is dumb. Everywhere around us we observe a chain of causes and effects,
of means and ends, of death and birth; and, as nothing has entered
of itself into the condition in which we find it, we are constantly
referred to some other thing, which itself suggests the same inquiry
regarding its cause, and thus the universe must sink into the abyss
of nothingness, unless we admit that, besides this infinite chain
of contingencies, there exists something that is primal and
self-subsistent--something which, as the cause of this phenomenal world,
secures its continuance and preservation.

This highest cause--what magnitude shall we attribute to it? Of the
content of the world we are ignorant; still less can we estimate its
magnitude by comparison with the sphere of the possible. But this
supreme cause being a necessity of the human mind, what is there to
prevent us from attributing to it such a degree of perfection as to
place it above the sphere of all that is possible? This we can easily
do, although only by the aid of the faint outline of an abstract
conception, by representing this being to ourselves as containing
in itself, as an individual substance, all possible perfection--a
conception which satisfies that requirement of reason which demands
parsimony in principles, which is free from self-contradiction, which
even contributes to the extension of the employment of reason in
experience, by means of the guidance afforded by this idea to order and
system, and which in no respect conflicts with any law of experience.

This argument always deserves to be mentioned with respect. It is the
oldest, the clearest, and that most in conformity with the common reason
of humanity. It animates the study of nature, as it itself derives its
existence and draws ever new strength from that source. It introduces
aims and ends into a sphere in which our observation could not of itself
have discovered them, and extends our knowledge of nature, by directing
our attention to a unity, the principle of which lies beyond nature.
This knowledge of nature again reacts upon this idea--its cause; and
thus our belief in a divine author of the universe rises to the power of
an irresistible conviction.

For these reasons it would be utterly hopeless to attempt to rob this
argument of the authority it has always enjoyed. The mind, unceasingly
elevated by these considerations, which, although empirical, are so
remarkably powerful, and continually adding to their force, will
not suffer itself to be depressed by the doubts suggested by subtle
speculation; it tears itself out of this state of uncertainty, the
moment it casts a look upon the wondrous forms of nature and the majesty
of the universe, and rises from height to height, from condition to
condition, till it has elevated itself to the supreme and unconditioned
author of all.

But although we have nothing to object to the reasonableness and utility
of this procedure, but have rather to commend and encourage it,
we cannot approve of the claims which this argument advances to
demonstrative certainty and to a reception upon its own merits, apart
from favour or support by other arguments. Nor can it injure the cause
of morality to endeavour to lower the tone of the arrogant sophist, and
to teach him that modesty and moderation which are the properties of a
belief that brings calm and content into the mind, without
prescribing to it an unworthy subjection. I maintain, then, that the
physico-theological argument is insufficient of itself to prove
the existence of a Supreme Being, that it must entrust this to the
ontological argument--to which it serves merely as an introduction, and
that, consequently, this argument contains the only possible ground of
proof (possessed by speculative reason) for the existence of this being.

The chief momenta in the physico-theological argument are as follow:
1. We observe in the world manifest signs of an arrangement full of
purpose, executed with great wisdom, and argument in whole of a
content indescribably various, and of an extent without limits. 2. This
arrangement of means and ends is entirely foreign to the things existing
in the world--it belongs to them merely as a contingent attribute;
in other words, the nature of different things could not of itself,
whatever means were employed, harmoniously tend towards certain
purposes, were they not chosen and directed for these purposes by a
rational and disposing principle, in accordance with certain fundamental
ideas. 3. There exists, therefore, a sublime and wise cause (or
several), which is not merely a blind, all-powerful nature, producing
the beings and events which fill the world in unconscious fecundity, but
a free and intelligent cause of the world. 4. The unity of this cause
may be inferred from the unity of the reciprocal relation existing
between the parts of the world, as portions of an artistic edifice--an
inference which all our observation favours, and all principles of
analogy support.

In the above argument, it is inferred from the analogy of certain
products of nature with those of human art, when it compels Nature to
bend herself to its purposes, as in the case of a house, a ship, or
a watch, that the same kind of causality--namely, understanding
and will--resides in nature. It is also declared that the internal
possibility of this freely-acting nature (which is the source of all
art, and perhaps also of human reason) is derivable from another and
superhuman art--a conclusion which would perhaps be found incapable of
standing the test of subtle transcendental criticism. But to neither of
these opinions shall we at present object. We shall only remark that
it must be confessed that, if we are to discuss the subject of cause
at all, we cannot proceed more securely than with the guidance of the
analogy subsisting between nature and such products of design--these
being the only products whose causes and modes of organization are
completely known to us. Reason would be unable to satisfy her own
requirements, if she passed from a causality which she does know, to
obscure and indemonstrable principles of explanation which she does not

According to the physico-theological argument, the connection and
harmony existing in the world evidence the contingency of the form
merely, but not of the matter, that is, of the substance of the world.
To establish the truth of the latter opinion, it would be necessary to
prove that all things would be in themselves incapable of this harmony
and order, unless they were, even as regards their substance, the
product of a supreme wisdom. But this would require very different
grounds of proof from those presented by the analogy with human art.
This proof can at most, therefore, demonstrate the existence of an
architect of the world, whose efforts are limited by the capabilities of
the material with which he works, but not of a creator of the world, to
whom all things are subject. Thus this argument is utterly insufficient
for the task before us--a demonstration of the existence of an
all-sufficient being. If we wish to prove the contingency of matter,
we must have recourse to a transcendental argument, which the
physico-theological was constructed expressly to avoid.

We infer, from the order and design visible in the universe, as a
disposition of a thoroughly contingent character, the existence of a
cause proportionate thereto. The conception of this cause must contain
certain determinate qualities, and it must therefore be regarded as the
conception of a being which possesses all power, wisdom, and so on, in
one word, all perfection--the conception, that is, of an all-sufficient
being. For the predicates of very great, astonishing, or immeasurable
power and excellence, give us no determinate conception of the thing,
nor do they inform us what the thing may be in itself. They merely
indicate the relation existing between the magnitude of the object and
the observer, who compares it with himself and with his own power of
comprehension, and are mere expressions of praise and reverence,
by which the object is either magnified, or the observing subject
depreciated in relation to the object. Where we have to do with the
magnitude (of the perfection) of a thing, we can discover no determinate
conception, except that which comprehends all possible perfection or
completeness, and it is only the total (omnitudo) of reality which is
completely determined in and through its conception alone.

Now it cannot be expected that any one will be bold enough to declare
that he has a perfect insight into the relation which the magnitude
of the world he contemplates bears (in its extent as well as in its
content) to omnipotence, into that of the order and design in the
world to the highest wisdom, and that of the unity of the world to
the absolute unity of a Supreme Being. Physico-theology is therefore
incapable of presenting a determinate conception of a supreme cause of
the world, and is therefore insufficient as a principle of theology--a
theology which is itself to be the basis of religion.

The attainment of absolute totality is completely impossible on the
path of empiricism. And yet this is the path pursued in the
physico-theological argument. What means shall we employ to bridge the

After elevating ourselves to admiration of the magnitude of the power,
wisdom, and other attributes of the author of the world, and finding we
can advance no further, we leave the argument on empirical grounds,
and proceed to infer the contingency of the world from the order and
conformity to aims that are observable in it. From this contingency we
infer, by the help of transcendental conceptions alone, the existence of
something absolutely necessary; and, still advancing, proceed from
the conception of the absolute necessity of the first cause to the
completely determined or determining conception thereof--the conception
of an all-embracing reality. Thus the physico-theological, failing
in its undertaking, recurs in its embarrassment to the cosmological
argument; and, as this is merely the ontological argument in disguise,
it executes its design solely by the aid of pure reason, although it at
first professed to have no connection with this faculty and to base its
entire procedure upon experience alone.

The physico-theologians have therefore no reason to regard with such
contempt the transcendental mode of argument, and to look down upon
it, with the conceit of clear-sighted observers of nature, as the
brain-cobweb of obscure speculatists. For, if they reflect upon and
examine their own arguments, they will find that, after following for
some time the path of nature and experience, and discovering themselves
no nearer their object, they suddenly leave this path and pass into the
region of pure possibility, where they hope to reach upon the wings of
ideas what had eluded all their empirical investigations. Gaining, as
they think, a firm footing after this immense leap, they extend their
determinate conception--into the possession of which they have come,
they know not how--over the whole sphere of creation, and explain their
ideal, which is entirely a product of pure reason, by illustrations
drawn from experience--though in a degree miserably unworthy of the
grandeur of the object, while they refuse to acknowledge that they have
arrived at this cognition or hypothesis by a very different road from
that of experience.

Thus the physico-theological is based upon the cosmological, and this
upon the ontological proof of the existence of a Supreme Being; and as
besides these three there is no other path open to speculative reason,
the ontological proof, on the ground of pure conceptions of reason, is
the only possible one, if any proof of a proposition so far transcending
the empirical exercise of the understanding is possible at all.

SECTION VII. Critique of all Theology based upon Speculative
Principles of Reason.

If by the term theology I understand the cognition of a primal being,
that cognition is based either upon reason alone (theologia rationalis)
or upon revelation (theologia revelata). The former cogitates its
object either by means of pure transcendental conceptions, as an ens
originarium, realissimum, ens entium, and is termed transcendental
theology; or, by means of a conception derived from the nature of our
own mind, as a supreme intelligence, and must then be entitled natural
theology. The person who believes in a transcendental theology alone,
is termed a deist; he who acknowledges the possibility of a natural
theology also, a theist. The former admits that we can cognize by pure
reason alone the existence of a Supreme Being, but at the same time
maintains that our conception of this being is purely transcendental,
and that all we can say of it is that it possesses all reality, without
being able to define it more closely. The second asserts that reason
is capable of presenting us, from the analogy with nature, with a more
definite conception of this being, and that its operations, as the cause
of all things, are the results of intelligence and free will. The former
regards the Supreme Being as the cause of the world--whether by the
necessity of his nature, or as a free agent, is left undetermined; the
latter considers this being as the author of the world.

Transcendental theology aims either at inferring the existence of a
Supreme Being from a general experience, without any closer reference
to the world to which this experience belongs, and in this case it is
called cosmotheology; or it endeavours to cognize the existence of such
a being, through mere conceptions, without the aid of experience, and is
then termed ontotheology.

Natural theology infers the attributes and the existence of an author of
the world, from the constitution of, the order and unity observable
in, the world, in which two modes of causality must be admitted to
exist--those of nature and freedom. Thus it rises from this world to a
supreme intelligence, either as the principle of all natural, or of
all moral order and perfection. In the former case it is termed
physico-theology, in the latter, ethical or moral-theology.*

   [*Footnote: Not theological ethics; for this science contains ethical
laws, which presuppose the existence of a Supreme Governor of the world;
while moral-theology, on the contrary, is the expression of a conviction
of the existence of a Supreme Being, founded upon ethical laws.]

As we are wont to understand by the term God not merely an eternal
nature, the operations of which are insensate and blind, but a Supreme
Being, who is the free and intelligent author of all things, and as it
is this latter view alone that can be of interest to humanity, we might,
in strict rigour, deny to the deist any belief in God at all, and
regard him merely as a maintainer of the existence of a primal being or
thing--the supreme cause of all other things. But, as no one ought to be
blamed, merely because he does not feel himself justified in maintaining
a certain opinion, as if he altogether denied its truth and asserted
the opposite, it is more correct--as it is less harsh--to say, the deist
believes in a God, the theist in a living God (summa intelligentia). We
shall now proceed to investigate the sources of all these attempts of
reason to establish the existence of a Supreme Being.

It may be sufficient in this place to define theoretical knowledge or
cognition as knowledge of that which is, and practical knowledge as
knowledge of that which ought to be. In this view, the theoretical
employment of reason is that by which I cognize a priori (as necessary)
that something is, while the practical is that by which I cognize a
priori what ought to happen. Now, if it is an indubitably certain,
though at the same time an entirely conditioned truth, that something
is, or ought to happen, either a certain determinate condition of this
truth is absolutely necessary, or such a condition may be arbitrarily
presupposed. In the former case the condition is postulated (per
thesin), in the latter supposed (per hypothesin). There are certain
practical laws--those of morality--which are absolutely necessary. Now,
if these laws necessarily presuppose the existence of some being, as the
condition of the possibility of their obligatory power, this being must
be postulated, because the conditioned, from which we reason to this
determinate condition, is itself cognized a priori as absolutely
necessary. We shall at some future time show that the moral laws
not merely presuppose the existence of a Supreme Being, but also, as
themselves absolutely necessary in a different relation, demand
or postulate it--although only from a practical point of view. The
discussion of this argument we postpone for the present.

When the question relates merely to that which is, not to that which
ought to be, the conditioned which is presented in experience is
always cogitated as contingent. For this reason its condition cannot be
regarded as absolutely necessary, but merely as relatively necessary,
or rather as needful; the condition is in itself and a priori a mere
arbitrary presupposition in aid of the cognition, by reason, of the
conditioned. If, then, we are to possess a theoretical cognition of
the absolute necessity of a thing, we cannot attain to this cognition
otherwise than a priori by means of conceptions; while it is impossible
in this way to cognize the existence of a cause which bears any relation
to an existence given in experience.

Theoretical cognition is speculative when it relates to an object
or certain conceptions of an object which is not given and cannot be
discovered by means of experience. It is opposed to the cognition of
nature, which concerns only those objects or predicates which can be
presented in a possible experience.

The principle that everything which happens (the empirically contingent)
must have a cause, is a principle of the cognition of nature, but not of
speculative cognition. For, if we change it into an abstract principle,
and deprive it of its reference to experience and the empirical, we
shall find that it cannot with justice be regarded any longer as a
synthetical proposition, and that it is impossible to discover any
mode of transition from that which exists to something entirely
different--termed cause. Nay, more, the conception of a cause likewise
that of the contingent--loses, in this speculative mode of employing
it, all significance, for its objective reality and meaning are
comprehensible from experience alone.

When from the existence of the universe and the things in it the
existence of a cause of the universe is inferred, reason is proceeding
not in the natural, but in the speculative method. For the principle of
the former enounces, not that things themselves or substances, but only
that which happens or their states--as empirically contingent, have
a cause: the assertion that the existence of substance itself is
contingent is not justified by experience, it is the assertion of a
reason employing its principles in a speculative manner. If, again, I
infer from the form of the universe, from the way in which all things
are connected and act and react upon each other, the existence of
a cause entirely distinct from the universe--this would again be a
judgement of purely speculative reason; because the object in this
case--the cause--can never be an object of possible experience. In both
these cases the principle of causality, which is valid only in the field
of experience--useless and even meaningless beyond this region, would be
diverted from its proper destination.

Now I maintain that all attempts of reason to establish a theology
by the aid of speculation alone are fruitless, that the principles of
reason as applied to nature do not conduct us to any theological truths,
and, consequently, that a rational theology can have no existence,
unless it is founded upon the laws of morality. For all synthetical
principles of the understanding are valid only as immanent in
experience; while the cognition of a Supreme Being necessitates their
being employed transcendentally, and of this the understanding is quite
incapable. If the empirical law of causality is to conduct us to
a Supreme Being, this being must belong to the chain of empirical
objects--in which case it would be, like all phenomena, itself
conditioned. If the possibility of passing the limits of experience be
admitted, by means of the dynamical law of the relation of an effect to
its cause, what kind of conception shall we obtain by this procedure?
Certainly not the conception of a Supreme Being, because experience
never presents us with the greatest of all possible effects, and it is
only an effect of this character that could witness to the existence
of a corresponding cause. If, for the purpose of fully satisfying the
requirements of Reason, we recognize her right to assert the existence
of a perfect and absolutely necessary being, this can be admitted
only from favour, and cannot be regarded as the result or irresistible
demonstration. The physico-theological proof may add weight to
others--if other proofs there are--by connecting speculation with
experience; but in itself it rather prepares the mind for theological
cognition, and gives it a right and natural direction, than establishes
a sure foundation for theology.

It is now perfectly evident that transcendental questions admit only
of transcendental answers--those presented a priori by pure conceptions
without the least empirical admixture. But the question in the present
case is evidently synthetical--it aims at the extension of our cognition
beyond the bounds of experience--it requires an assurance respecting the
existence of a being corresponding with the idea in our minds, to which
no experience can ever be adequate. Now it has been abundantly proved
that all a priori synthetical cognition is possible only as the
expression of the formal conditions of a possible experience; and that
the validity of all principles depends upon their immanence in the field
of experience, that is, their relation to objects of empirical cognition
or phenomena. Thus all transcendental procedure in reference to
speculative theology is without result.

If any one prefers doubting the conclusiveness of the proofs of our
analytic to losing the persuasion of the validity of these old and
time honoured arguments, he at least cannot decline answering the
question--how he can pass the limits of all possible experience by the
help of mere ideas. If he talks of new arguments, or of improvements
upon old arguments, I request him to spare me. There is certainly no
great choice in this sphere of discussion, as all speculative arguments
must at last look for support to the ontological, and I have, therefore,
very little to fear from the argumentative fecundity of the dogmatical
defenders of a non-sensuous reason. Without looking upon myself as a
remarkably combative person, I shall not decline the challenge to detect
the fallacy and destroy the pretensions of every attempt of speculative
theology. And yet the hope of better fortune never deserts those who
are accustomed to the dogmatical mode of procedure. I shall, therefore,
restrict myself to the simple and equitable demand that such reasoners
will demonstrate, from the nature of the human mind as well as from that
of the other sources of knowledge, how we are to proceed to extend
our cognition completely a priori, and to carry it to that point where
experience abandons us, and no means exist of guaranteeing the objective
reality of our conceptions. In whatever way the understanding may have
attained to a conception, the existence of the object of the conception
cannot be discovered in it by analysis, because the cognition of the
existence of the object depends upon the object's being posited and
given in itself apart from the conception. But it is utterly impossible
to go beyond our conception, without the aid of experience--which
presents to the mind nothing but phenomena, or to attain by the help
of mere conceptions to a conviction of the existence of new kinds of
objects or supernatural beings.

But although pure speculative reason is far from sufficient to
demonstrate the existence of a Supreme Being, it is of the highest
utility in correcting our conception of this being--on the supposition
that we can attain to the cognition of it by some other means--in making
it consistent with itself and with all other conceptions of intelligible
objects, clearing it from all that is incompatible with the conception
of an ens summun, and eliminating from it all limitations or admixtures
of empirical elements.

Transcendental theology is still therefore, notwithstanding its
objective insufficiency, of importance in a negative respect; it is
useful as a test of the procedure of reason when engaged with pure
ideas, no other than a transcendental standard being in this case
admissible. For if, from a practical point of view, the hypothesis of
a Supreme and All-sufficient Being is to maintain its validity without
opposition, it must be of the highest importance to define this
conception in a correct and rigorous manner--as the transcendental
conception of a necessary being, to eliminate all phenomenal elements
(anthropomorphism in its most extended signification), and at the
same time to overflow all contradictory assertions--be they atheistic,
deistic, or anthropomorphic. This is of course very easy; as the same
arguments which demonstrated the inability of human reason to affirm
the existence of a Supreme Being must be alike sufficient to prove the
invalidity of its denial. For it is impossible to gain from the pure
speculation of reason demonstration that there exists no Supreme Being,
as the ground of all that exists, or that this being possesses none
of those properties which we regard as analogical with the dynamical
qualities of a thinking being, or that, as the anthropomorphists would
have us believe, it is subject to all the limitations which sensibility
imposes upon those intelligences which exist in the world of experience.

A Supreme Being is, therefore, for the speculative reason, a mere ideal,
though a faultless one--a conception which perfects and crowns the
system of human cognition, but the objective reality of which can
neither be proved nor disproved by pure reason. If this defect is ever
supplied by a moral theology, the problematic transcendental theology
which has preceded, will have been at least serviceable as demonstrating
the mental necessity existing for the conception, by the complete
determination of it which it has furnished, and the ceaseless testing of
the conclusions of a reason often deceived by sense, and not always in
harmony with its own ideas. The attributes of necessity, infinitude,
unity, existence apart from the world (and not as a world soul),
eternity (free from conditions of time), omnipresence (free from
conditions of space), omnipotence, and others, are pure transcendental
predicates; and thus the accurate conception of a Supreme Being, which
every theology requires, is furnished by transcendental theology alone.


Of the Regulative Employment of the Ideas of Pure Reason.

The result of all the dialectical attempts of pure reason not only
confirms the truth of what we have already proved in our Transcendental
Analytic, namely, that all inferences which would lead us beyond the
limits of experience are fallacious and groundless, but it at the same
time teaches us this important lesson, that human reason has a natural
inclination to overstep these limits, and that transcendental ideas
are as much the natural property of the reason as categories are of the
understanding. There exists this difference, however, that while the
categories never mislead us, outward objects being always in perfect
harmony therewith, ideas are the parents of irresistible illusions, the
severest and most subtle criticism being required to save us from the
fallacies which they induce.

Whatever is grounded in the nature of our powers will be found to be in
harmony with the final purpose and proper employment of these powers,
when once we have discovered their true direction and aim. We are
entitled to suppose, therefore, that there exists a mode of employing
transcendental ideas which is proper and immanent; although, when we
mistake their meaning, and regard them as conceptions of actual things,
their mode of application is transcendent and delusive. For it is not
the idea itself, but only the employment of the idea in relation to
possible experience, that is transcendent or immanent. An idea is
employed transcendently, when it is applied to an object falsely
believed to be adequate with and to correspond to it; imminently, when
it is applied solely to the employment of the understanding in the
sphere of experience. Thus all errors of subreptio--of misapplication,
are to be ascribed to defects of judgement, and not to understanding or

Reason never has an immediate relation to an object; it relates
immediately to the understanding alone. It is only through the
understanding that it can be employed in the field of experience. It
does not form conceptions of objects, it merely arranges them and gives
to them that unity which they are capable of possessing when the sphere
of their application has been extended as widely as possible. Reason
avails itself of the conception of the understanding for the sole
purpose of producing totality in the different series. This totality the
understanding does not concern itself with; its only occupation is the
connection of experiences, by which series of conditions in accordance
with conceptions are established. The object of reason is, therefore,
the understanding and its proper destination. As the latter brings unity
into the diversity of objects by means of its conceptions, so the former
brings unity into the diversity of conceptions by means of ideas; as
it sets the final aim of a collective unity to the operations of the
understanding, which without this occupies itself with a distributive
unity alone.

I accordingly maintain that transcendental ideas can never be employed
as constitutive ideas, that they cannot be conceptions of objects, and
that, when thus considered, they assume a fallacious and dialectical
character. But, on the other hand, they are capable of an admirable and
indispensably necessary application to objects--as regulative ideas,
directing the understanding to a certain aim, the guiding lines towards
which all its laws follow, and in which they all meet in one point. This
point--though a mere idea (focus imaginarius), that is, not a point from
which the conceptions of the understanding do really proceed, for it
lies beyond the sphere of possible experience--serves, notwithstanding,
to give to these conceptions the greatest possible unity combined with
the greatest possible extension. Hence arises the natural illusion which
induces us to believe that these lines proceed from an object which lies
out of the sphere of empirical cognition, just as objects reflected in
a mirror appear to be behind it. But this illusion--which we may hinder
from imposing upon us--is necessary and unavoidable, if we desire to
see, not only those objects which lie before us, but those which are at
a great distance behind us; that is to say, when, in the present case,
we direct the aims of the understanding, beyond every given experience,
towards an extension as great as can possibly be attained.

If we review our cognitions in their entire extent, we shall find that
the peculiar business of reason is to arrange them into a system, that
is to say, to give them connection according to a principle. This unity
presupposes an idea--the idea of the form of a whole (of cognition),
preceding the determinate cognition of the parts, and containing the
conditions which determine a priori to every part its place and relation
to the other parts of the whole system. This idea, accordingly, demands
complete unity in the cognition of the understanding--not the unity of
a contingent aggregate, but that of a system connected according to
necessary laws. It cannot be affirmed with propriety that this idea is a
conception of an object; it is merely a conception of the complete unity
of the conceptions of objects, in so far as this unity is available to
the understanding as a rule. Such conceptions of reason are not derived
from nature; on the contrary, we employ them for the interrogation and
investigation of nature, and regard our cognition as defective so long
as it is not adequate to them. We admit that such a thing as pure earth,
pure water, or pure air, is not to be discovered. And yet we require
these conceptions (which have their origin in the reason, so far as
regards their absolute purity and completeness) for the purpose of
determining the share which each of these natural causes has in every
phenomenon. Thus the different kinds of matter are all referred to
earths, as mere weight; to salts and inflammable bodies, as pure force;
and finally, to water and air, as the vehicula of the former, or the
machines employed by them in their operations--for the purpose of
explaining the chemical action and reaction of bodies in accordance with
the idea of a mechanism. For, although not actually so expressed, the
influence of such ideas of reason is very observable in the procedure of
natural philosophers.

If reason is the faculty of deducing the particular from the general,
and if the general be certain in se and given, it is only necessary
that the judgement should subsume the particular under the general,
the particular being thus necessarily determined. I shall term this
the demonstrative or apodeictic employment of reason. If, however,
the general is admitted as problematical only, and is a mere idea,
the particular case is certain, but the universality of the rule which
applies to this particular case remains a problem. Several particular
cases, the certainty of which is beyond doubt, are then taken and
examined, for the purpose of discovering whether the rule is applicable
to them; and if it appears that all the particular cases which can be
collected follow from the rule, its universality is inferred, and at the
same time, all the causes which have not, or cannot be presented to our
observation, are concluded to be of the same character with those which
we have observed. This I shall term the hypothetical employment of the

The hypothetical exercise of reason by the aid of ideas employed as
problematical conceptions is properly not constitutive. That is to say,
if we consider the subject strictly, the truth of the rule, which has
been employed as an hypothesis, does not follow from the use that is
made of it by reason. For how can we know all the possible cases
that may arise? some of which may, however, prove exceptions to
the universality of the rule. This employment of reason is merely
regulative, and its sole aim is the introduction of unity into the
aggregate of our particular cognitions, and thereby the approximating of
the rule to universality.

The object of the hypothetical employment of reason is therefore the
systematic unity of cognitions; and this unity is the criterion of the
truth of a rule. On the other hand, this systematic unity--as a mere
idea--is in fact merely a unity projected, not to be regarded as given,
but only in the light of a problem--a problem which serves, however, as
a principle for the various and particular exercise of the understanding
in experience, directs it with regard to those cases which are not
presented to our observation, and introduces harmony and consistency
into all its operations.

All that we can be certain of from the above considerations is that
this systematic unity is a logical principle, whose aim is to assist the
understanding, where it cannot of itself attain to rules, by means of
ideas, to bring all these various rules under one principle, and thus
to ensure the most complete consistency and connection that can be
attained. But the assertion that objects and the understanding by which
they are cognized are so constituted as to be determined to systematic
unity, that this may be postulated a priori, without any reference
to the interest of reason, and that we are justified in declaring all
possible cognitions--empirical and others--to possess systematic unity,
and to be subject to general principles from which, notwithstanding
their various character, they are all derivable such an assertion can
be founded only upon a transcendental principle of reason, which would
render this systematic unity not subjectively and logically--in its
character of a method, but objectively necessary.

We shall illustrate this by an example. The conceptions of the
understanding make us acquainted, among many other kinds of unity,
with that of the causality of a substance, which is termed power. The
different phenomenal manifestations of the same substance appear at
first view to be so very dissimilar that we are inclined to assume
the existence of just as many different powers as there are different
effects--as, in the case of the human mind, we have feeling,
consciousness, imagination, memory, wit, analysis, pleasure, desire
and so on. Now we are required by a logical maxim to reduce these
differences to as small a number as possible, by comparing them and
discovering the hidden identity which exists. We must inquire, for
example, whether or not imagination (connected with consciousness),
memory, wit, and analysis are not merely different forms of
understanding and reason. The idea of a fundamental power, the existence
of which no effort of logic can assure us of, is the problem to be
solved, for the systematic representation of the existing variety of
powers. The logical principle of reason requires us to produce as great
a unity as is possible in the system of our cognitions; and the more
the phenomena of this and the other power are found to be identical,
the more probable does it become, that they are nothing but different
manifestations of one and the same power, which may be called,
relatively speaking, a fundamental power. And so with other cases.

These relatively fundamental powers must again be compared with
each other, to discover, if possible, the one radical and absolutely
fundamental power of which they are but the manifestations. But this
unity is purely hypothetical. It is not maintained, that this unity does
really exist, but that we must, in the interest of reason, that is,
for the establishment of principles for the various rules presented by
experience, try to discover and introduce it, so far as is practicable,
into the sphere of our cognitions.

But the transcendental employment of the understanding would lead us to
believe that this idea of a fundamental power is not problematical, but
that it possesses objective reality, and thus the systematic unity
of the various powers or forces in a substance is demanded by the
understanding and erected into an apodeictic or necessary principle.
For, without having attempted to discover the unity of the various
powers existing in nature, nay, even after all our attempts have failed,
we notwithstanding presuppose that it does exist, and may be, sooner or
later, discovered. And this reason does, not only, as in the case
above adduced, with regard to the unity of substance, but where
many substances, although all to a certain extent homogeneous, are
discoverable, as in the case of matter in general. Here also does
reason presuppose the existence of the systematic unity of various
powers--inasmuch as particular laws of nature are subordinate to general
laws; and parsimony in principles is not merely an economical principle
of reason, but an essential law of nature.

We cannot understand, in fact, how a logical principle of unity can of
right exist, unless we presuppose a transcendental principle, by which
such a systematic unit--as a property of objects themselves--is regarded
as necessary a priori. For with what right can reason, in its logical
exercise, require us to regard the variety of forces which nature
displays, as in effect a disguised unity, and to deduce them from one
fundamental force or power, when she is free to admit that it is just
as possible that all forces should be different in kind, and that a
systematic unity is not conformable to the design of nature? In this
view of the case, reason would be proceeding in direct opposition to her
own destination, by setting as an aim an idea which entirely conflicts
with the procedure and arrangement of nature. Neither can we assert that
reason has previously inferred this unity from the contingent nature
of phenomena. For the law of reason which requires us to seek for this
unity is a necessary law, inasmuch as without it we should not possess
a faculty of reason, nor without reason a consistent and self-accordant
mode of employing the understanding, nor, in the absence of this, any
proper and sufficient criterion of empirical truth. In relation to this
criterion, therefore, we must suppose the idea of the systematic unity
of nature to possess objective validity and necessity.

We find this transcendental presupposition lurking in different forms in
the principles of philosophers, although they have neither recognized
it nor confessed to themselves its presence. That the diversities of
individual things do not exclude identity of species, that the various
species must be considered as merely different determinations of a
few genera, and these again as divisions of still higher races, and
so on--that, accordingly, a certain systematic unity of all possible
empirical conceptions, in so far as they can be deduced from higher and
more general conceptions, must be sought for, is a scholastic maxim or
logical principle, without which reason could not be employed by us. For
we can infer the particular from the general, only in so far as general
properties of things constitute the foundation upon which the particular

That the same unity exists in nature is presupposed by philosophers
in the well-known scholastic maxim, which forbids us unnecessarily to
augment the number of entities or principles (entia praeter necessitatem
non esse multiplicanda). This maxim asserts that nature herself assists
in the establishment of this unity of reason, and that the seemingly
infinite diversity of phenomena should not deter us from the expectation
of discovering beneath this diversity a unity of fundamental properties,
of which the aforesaid variety is but a more or less determined form.
This unity, although a mere idea, thinkers have found it necessary
rather to moderate the desire than to encourage it. It was considered
a great step when chemists were able to reduce all salts to two main
genera--acids and alkalis; and they regard this difference as itself a
mere variety, or different manifestation of one and the same fundamental
material. The different kinds of earths (stones and even metals)
chemists have endeavoured to reduce to three, and afterwards to two; but
still, not content with this advance, they cannot but think that behind
these diversities there lurks but one genus--nay, that even salts and
earths have a common principle. It might be conjectured that this is
merely an economical plan of reason, for the purpose of sparing itself
trouble, and an attempt of a purely hypothetical character, which,
when successful, gives an appearance of probability to the principle of
explanation employed by the reason. But a selfish purpose of this kind
is easily to be distinguished from the idea, according to which every
one presupposes that this unity is in accordance with the laws of
nature, and that reason does not in this case request, but requires,
although we are quite unable to determine the proper limits of this

If the diversity existing in phenomena--a diversity not of form (for
in this they may be similar) but of content--were so great that the
subtlest human reason could never by comparison discover in them the
least similarity (which is not impossible), in this case the logical law
of genera would be without foundation, the conception of a genus, nay,
all general conceptions would be impossible, and the faculty of the
understanding, the exercise of which is restricted to the world
of conceptions, could not exist. The logical principle of genera,
accordingly, if it is to be applied to nature (by which I mean objects
presented to our senses), presupposes a transcendental principle. In
accordance with this principle, homogeneity is necessarily presupposed
in the variety of phenomena (although we are unable to determine a
priori the degree of this homogeneity), because without it no empirical
conceptions, and consequently no experience, would be possible.

The logical principle of genera, which demands identity in phenomena, is
balanced by another principle--that of species, which requires variety
and diversity in things, notwithstanding their accordance in the same
genus, and directs the understanding to attend to the one no less than
to the other. This principle (of the faculty of distinction) acts as a
check upon the reason and reason exhibits in this respect a double and
conflicting interest--on the one hand, the interest in the extent (the
interest of generality) in relation to genera; on the other, that of the
content (the interest of individuality) in relation to the variety of
species. In the former case, the understanding cogitates more under its
conceptions, in the latter it cogitates more in them. This distinction
manifests itself likewise in the habits of thought peculiar to natural
philosophers, some of whom--the remarkably speculative heads--may be
said to be hostile to heterogeneity in phenomena, and have their
eyes always fixed on the unity of genera, while others--with a strong
empirical tendency--aim unceasingly at the analysis of phenomena,
and almost destroy in us the hope of ever being able to estimate the
character of these according to general principles.

The latter mode of thought is evidently based upon a logical principle,
the aim of which is the systematic completeness of all cognitions.
This principle authorizes me, beginning at the genus, to descend to the
various and diverse contained under it; and in this way extension, as
in the former case unity, is assured to the system. For if we merely
examine the sphere of the conception which indicates a genus, we cannot
discover how far it is possible to proceed in the division of that
sphere; just as it is impossible, from the consideration of the space
occupied by matter, to determine how far we can proceed in the division
of it. Hence every genus must contain different species, and these again
different subspecies; and as each of the latter must itself contain a
sphere (must be of a certain extent, as a conceptus communis), reason
demands that no species or sub-species is to be considered as the lowest
possible. For a species or sub-species, being always a conception, which
contains only what is common to a number of different things, does not
completely determine any individual thing, or relate immediately to
it, and must consequently contain other conceptions, that is, other
sub-species under it. This law of specification may be thus expressed:
entium varietates non temere sunt minuendae.

But it is easy to see that this logical law would likewise be without
sense or application, were it not based upon a transcendental law of
specification, which certainly does not require that the differences
existing phenomena should be infinite in number, for the logical
principle, which merely maintains the indeterminateness of the logical
sphere of a conception, in relation to its possible division, does not
authorize this statement; while it does impose upon the understanding
the duty of searching for subspecies to every species, and minor
differences in every difference. For, were there no lower conceptions,
neither could there be any higher. Now the understanding cognizes only
by means of conceptions; consequently, how far soever it may proceed
in division, never by mere intuition, but always by lower and lower
conceptions. The cognition of phenomena in their complete determination
(which is possible only by means of the understanding) requires an
unceasingly continued specification of conceptions, and a progression
to ever smaller differences, of which abstraction bad been made in the
conception of the species, and still more in that of the genus.

This law of specification cannot be deduced from experience; it can
never present us with a principle of so universal an application.
Empirical specification very soon stops in its distinction of
diversities, and requires the guidance of the transcendental law, as
a principle of the reason--a law which imposes on us the necessity of
never ceasing in our search for differences, even although these may not
present themselves to the senses. That absorbent earths are of different
kinds could only be discovered by obeying the anticipatory law of
reason, which imposes upon the understanding the task of discovering the
differences existing between these earths, and supposes that nature is
richer in substances than our senses would indicate. The faculty of the
understanding belongs to us just as much under the presupposition of
differences in the objects of nature, as under the condition that these
objects are homogeneous, because we could not possess conceptions, nor
make any use of our understanding, were not the phenomena included under
these conceptions in some respects dissimilar, as well as similar, in
their character.

Reason thus prepares the sphere of the understanding for the operations
of this faculty: 1. By the principle of the homogeneity of the diverse
in higher genera; 2. By the principle of the variety of the homogeneous
in lower species; and, to complete the systematic unity, it adds, 3.
A law of the affinity of all conceptions which prescribes a continuous
transition from one species to every other by the gradual increase of
diversity. We may term these the principles of the homogeneity, the
specification, and the continuity of forms. The latter results from the
union of the two former, inasmuch as we regard the systematic connection
as complete in thought, in the ascent to higher genera, as well as in
the descent to lower species. For all diversities must be related
to each other, as they all spring from one highest genus, descending
through the different gradations of a more and more extended

We may illustrate the systematic unity produced by the three logical
principles in the following manner. Every conception may be regarded as
a point, which, as the standpoint of a spectator, has a certain horizon,
which may be said to enclose a number of things that may be viewed,
so to speak, from that centre. Within this horizon there must be an
infinite number of other points, each of which has its own horizon,
smaller and more circumscribed; in other words, every species contains
sub-species, according to the principle of specification, and the
logical horizon consists of smaller horizons (subspecies), but not of
points (individuals), which possess no extent. But different horizons
or genera, which include under them so many conceptions, may have one
common horizon, from which, as from a mid-point, they may be surveyed;
and we may proceed thus, till we arrive at the highest genus, or
universal and true horizon, which is determined by the highest
conception, and which contains under itself all differences and
varieties, as genera, species, and subspecies.

To this highest standpoint I am conducted by the law of homogeneity,
as to all lower and more variously-determined conceptions by the law
of specification. Now as in this way there exists no void in the whole
extent of all possible conceptions, and as out of the sphere of these
the mind can discover nothing, there arises from the presupposition of
the universal horizon above mentioned, and its complete division, the
principle: Non datur vacuum formarum. This principle asserts that there
are not different primitive and highest genera, which stand isolated, so
to speak, from each other, but all the various genera are mere divisions
and limitations of one highest and universal genus; and hence follows
immediately the principle: Datur continuum formarum. This principle
indicates that all differences of species limit each other, and do not
admit of transition from one to another by a saltus, but only through
smaller degrees of the difference between the one species and the other.
In one word, there are no species or sub-species which (in the view of
reason) are the nearest possible to each other; intermediate species or
sub-species being always possible, the difference of which from each of
the former is always smaller than the difference existing between these.

The first law, therefore, directs us to avoid the notion that there
exist different primal genera, and enounces the fact of perfect
homogeneity; the second imposes a check upon this tendency to unity and
prescribes the distinction of sub-species, before proceeding to apply
our general conceptions to individuals. The third unites both the
former, by enouncing the fact of homogeneity as existing even in the
most various diversity, by means of the gradual transition from one
species to another. Thus it indicates a relationship between the
different branches or species, in so far as they all spring from the
same stem.

But this logical law of the continuum specierum (formarum logicarum)
presupposes a transcendental principle (lex continui in natura), without
which the understanding might be led into error, by following the
guidance of the former, and thus perhaps pursuing a path contrary to
that prescribed by nature. This law must, consequently, be based upon
pure transcendental, and not upon empirical, considerations. For, in the
latter case, it would come later than the system; whereas it is really
itself the parent of all that is systematic in our cognition of nature.
These principles are not mere hypotheses employed for the purpose
of experimenting upon nature; although when any such connection is
discovered, it forms a solid ground for regarding the hypothetical unity
as valid in the sphere of nature--and thus they are in this respect not
without their use. But we go farther, and maintain that it is manifest
that these principles of parsimony in fundamental causes, variety in
effects, and affinity in phenomena, are in accordance both with reason
and nature, and that they are not mere methods or plans devised for the
purpose of assisting us in our observation of the external world.

But it is plain that this continuity of forms is a mere idea, to which
no adequate object can be discovered in experience. And this for two
reasons. First, because the species in nature are really divided, and
hence form quanta discreta; and, if the gradual progression through
their affinity were continuous, the intermediate members lying between
two given species must be infinite in number, which is impossible.
Secondly, because we cannot make any determinate empirical use of this
law, inasmuch as it does not present us with any criterion of affinity
which could aid us in determining how far we ought to pursue the
graduation of differences: it merely contains a general indication that
it is our duty to seek for and, if possible, to discover them.

When we arrange these principles of systematic unity in the order
conformable to their employment in experience, they will stand thus:
Variety, Affinity, Unity, each of them, as ideas, being taken in the
highest degree of their completeness. Reason presupposes the existence
of cognitions of the understanding, which have a direct relation to
experience, and aims at the ideal unity of these cognitions--a unity
which far transcends all experience or empirical notions. The affinity
of the diverse, notwithstanding the differences existing between its
parts, has a relation to things, but a still closer one to the mere
properties and powers of things. For example, imperfect experience
may represent the orbits of the planets as circular. But we discover
variations from this course, and we proceed to suppose that the planets
revolve in a path which, if not a circle, is of a character very similar
to it. That is to say, the movements of those planets which do not form
a circle will approximate more or less to the properties of a circle,
and probably form an ellipse. The paths of comets exhibit still greater
variations, for, so far as our observation extends, they do not return
upon their own course in a circle or ellipse. But we proceed to the
conjecture that comets describe a parabola, a figure which is closely
allied to the ellipse. In fact, a parabola is merely an ellipse, with
its longer axis produced to an indefinite extent. Thus these principles
conduct us to a unity in the genera of the forms of these orbits, and,
proceeding farther, to a unity as regards the cause of the motions of
the heavenly bodies--that is, gravitation. But we go on extending our
conquests over nature, and endeavour to explain all seeming deviations
from these rules, and even make additions to our system which no
experience can ever substantiate--for example, the theory, in affinity
with that of ellipses, of hyperbolic paths of comets, pursuing which,
these bodies leave our solar system and, passing from sun to sun, unite
the most distant parts of the infinite universe, which is held together
by the same moving power.

The most remarkable circumstance connected with these principles is that
they seem to be transcendental, and, although only containing ideas
for the guidance of the empirical exercise of reason, and although this
empirical employment stands to these ideas in an asymptotic relation
alone (to use a mathematical term), that is, continually
approximate, without ever being able to attain to them, they possess,
notwithstanding, as a priori synthetical propositions, objective
though undetermined validity, and are available as rules for possible
experience. In the elaboration of our experience, they may also be
employed with great advantage, as heuristic [Footnote: From the Greek,
eurhioko.] principles. A transcendental deduction of them cannot be
made; such a deduction being always impossible in the case of ideas, as
has been already shown.

We distinguished, in the Transcendental Analytic, the dynamical
principles of the understanding, which are regulative principles of
intuition, from the mathematical, which are constitutive principles of
intuition. These dynamical laws are, however, constitutive in relation
to experience, inasmuch as they render the conceptions without which
experience could not exist possible a priori. But the principles of pure
reason cannot be constitutive even in regard to empirical conceptions,
because no sensuous schema corresponding to them can be discovered, and
they cannot therefore have an object in concreto. Now, if I grant that
they cannot be employed in the sphere of experience, as constitutive
principles, how shall I secure for them employment and objective
validity as regulative principles, and in what way can they be so

The understanding is the object of reason, as sensibility is the object
of the understanding. The production of systematic unity in all the
empirical operations of the understanding is the proper occupation of
reason; just as it is the business of the understanding to connect the
various content of phenomena by means of conceptions, and subject them
to empirical laws. But the operations of the understanding are, without
the schemata of sensibility, undetermined; and, in the same manner,
the unity of reason is perfectly undetermined as regards the conditions
under which, and the extent to which, the understanding ought to carry
the systematic connection of its conceptions. But, although it is
impossible to discover in intuition a schema for the complete systematic
unity of all the conceptions of the understanding, there must be some
analogon of this schema. This analogon is the idea of the maximum of the
division and the connection of our cognition in one principle. For we
may have a determinate notion of a maximum and an absolutely perfect,
all the restrictive conditions which are connected with an indeterminate
and various content having been abstracted. Thus the idea of reason
is analogous with a sensuous schema, with this difference, that the
application of the categories to the schema of reason does not present
a cognition of any object (as is the case with the application of the
categories to sensuous schemata), but merely provides us with a rule or
principle for the systematic unity of the exercise of the understanding.
Now, as every principle which imposes upon the exercise of the
understanding a priori compliance with the rule of systematic unity
also relates, although only in an indirect manner, to an object of
experience, the principles of pure reason will also possess objective
reality and validity in relation to experience. But they will not aim at
determining our knowledge in regard to any empirical object; they
will merely indicate the procedure, following which the empirical and
determinate exercise of the understanding may be in complete harmony and
connection with itself--a result which is produced by its being brought
into harmony with the principle of systematic unity, so far as that is
possible, and deduced from it.

I term all subjective principles, which are not derived from observation
of the constitution of an object, but from the interest which Reason
has in producing a certain completeness in her cognition of that object,
maxims of reason. Thus there are maxims of speculative reason, which are
based solely upon its speculative interest, although they appear to be
objective principles.

When principles which are really regulative are regarded as
constitutive, and employed as objective principles, contradictions must
arise; but if they are considered as mere maxims, there is no room for
contradictions of any kind, as they then merely indicate the different
interests of reason, which occasion differences in the mode of thought.
In effect, Reason has only one single interest, and the seeming
contradiction existing between her maxims merely indicates a difference
in, and a reciprocal limitation of, the methods by which this interest
is satisfied.

This reasoner has at heart the interest of diversity--in accordance
with the principle of specification; another, the interest of unity--in
accordance with the principle of aggregation. Each believes that
his judgement rests upon a thorough insight into the subject he is
examining, and yet it has been influenced solely by a greater or less
degree of adherence to some one of the two principles, neither of which
are objective, but originate solely from the interest of reason, and on
this account to be termed maxims rather than principles. When I observe
intelligent men disputing about the distinctive characteristics of men,
animals, or plants, and even of minerals, those on the one side assuming
the existence of certain national characteristics, certain well-defined
and hereditary distinctions of family, race, and so on, while the other
side maintain that nature has endowed all races of men with the same
faculties and dispositions, and that all differences are but the result
of external and accidental circumstances--I have only to consider for
a moment the real nature of the subject of discussion, to arrive at the
conclusion that it is a subject far too deep for us to judge of, and
that there is little probability of either party being able to speak
from a perfect insight into and understanding of the nature of the
subject itself. Both have, in reality, been struggling for the twofold
interest of reason; the one maintaining the one interest, the other the
other. But this difference between the maxims of diversity and unity
may easily be reconciled and adjusted; although, so long as they
are regarded as objective principles, they must occasion not only
contradictions and polemic, but place hinderances in the way of the
advancement of truth, until some means is discovered of reconciling
these conflicting interests, and bringing reason into union and harmony
with itself.

The same is the case with the so-called law discovered by Leibnitz, and
supported with remarkable ability by Bonnet--the law of the continuous
gradation of created beings, which is nothing more than an inference
from the principle of affinity; for observation and study of the order
of nature could never present it to the mind as an objective truth. The
steps of this ladder, as they appear in experience, are too far apart
from each other, and the so-called petty differences between different
kinds of animals are in nature commonly so wide separations that no
confidence can be placed in such views (particularly when we reflect
on the great variety of things, and the ease with which we can discover
resemblances), and no faith in the laws which are said to express
the aims and purposes of nature. On the other hand, the method of
investigating the order of nature in the light of this principle,
and the maxim which requires us to regard this order--it being still
undetermined how far it extends--as really existing in nature, is beyond
doubt a legitimate and excellent principle of reason--a principle which
extends farther than any experience or observation of ours and which,
without giving us any positive knowledge of anything in the region of
experience, guides us to the goal of systematic unity.

Of the Ultimate End of the Natural Dialectic of Human Reason.

The ideas of pure reason cannot be, of themselves and in their own
nature, dialectical; it is from their misemployment alone that fallacies
and illusions arise. For they originate in the nature of reason itself,
and it is impossible that this supreme tribunal for all the rights and
claims of speculation should be itself undeserving of confidence and
promotive of error. It is to be expected, therefore, that these ideas
have a genuine and legitimate aim. It is true, the mob of sophists raise
against reason the cry of inconsistency and contradiction, and affect to
despise the government of that faculty, because they cannot understand
its constitution, while it is to its beneficial influences alone
that they owe the position and the intelligence which enable them to
criticize and to blame its procedure.

We cannot employ an a priori conception with certainty, until we have
made a transcendental deduction therefore. The ideas of pure reason do
not admit of the same kind of deduction as the categories. But if they
are to possess the least objective validity, and to represent anything
but mere creations of thought (entia rationis ratiocinantis), a
deduction of them must be possible. This deduction will complete the
critical task imposed upon pure reason; and it is to this part Of our
labours that we now proceed.

There is a great difference between a thing's being presented to the
mind as an object in an absolute sense, or merely as an ideal object. In
the former case I employ my conceptions to determine the object; in the
latter case nothing is present to the mind but a mere schema, which does
not relate directly to an object, not even in a hypothetical sense, but
which is useful only for the purpose of representing other objects to
the mind, in a mediate and indirect manner, by means of their relation
to the idea in the intellect. Thus I say the conception of a supreme
intelligence is a mere idea; that is to say, its objective reality does
not consist in the fact that it has an immediate relation to an object
(for in this sense we have no means of establishing its objective
validity), it is merely a schema constructed according to the necessary
conditions of the unity of reason--the schema of a thing in general,
which is useful towards the production of the highest degree of
systematic unity in the empirical exercise of reason, in which we deduce
this or that object of experience from the imaginary object of this
idea, as the ground or cause of the said object of experience. In this
way, the idea is properly a heuristic, and not an ostensive, conception;
it does not give us any information respecting the constitution of an
object, it merely indicates how, under the guidance of the idea, we
ought to investigate the constitution and the relations of objects in
the world of experience. Now, if it can be shown that the three kinds
of transcendental ideas (psychological, cosmological, and theological),
although not relating directly to any object nor determining it, do
nevertheless, on the supposition of the existence of an ideal object,
produce systematic unity in the laws of the empirical employment of
the reason, and extend our empirical cognition, without ever being
inconsistent or in opposition with it--it must be a necessary maxim
of reason to regulate its procedure according to these ideas. And this
forms the transcendental deduction of all speculative ideas, not as
constitutive principles of the extension of our cognition beyond the
limits of our experience, but as regulative principles of the systematic
unity of empirical cognition, which is by the aid of these ideas
arranged and emended within its own proper limits, to an extent
unattainable by the operation of the principles of the understanding

I shall make this plainer. Guided by the principles involved in these
ideas, we must, in the first place, so connect all the phenomena,
actions, and feelings of the mind, as if it were a simple substance,
which, endowed with personal identity, possesses a permanent existence
(in this life at least), while its states, among which those of the
body are to be included as external conditions, are in continual change.
Secondly, in cosmology, we must investigate the conditions of all
natural phenomena, internal as well as external, as if they belonged to
a chain infinite and without any prime or supreme member, while we do
not, on this account, deny the existence of intelligible grounds of
these phenomena, although we never employ them to explain phenomena, for
the simple reason that they are not objects of our cognition. Thirdly,
in the sphere of theology, we must regard the whole system of
possible experience as forming an absolute, but dependent and
sensuously-conditioned unity, and at the same time as based upon a
sole, supreme, and all-sufficient ground existing apart from the world
itself--a ground which is a self-subsistent, primeval and creative
reason, in relation to which we so employ our reason in the field of
experience, as if all objects drew their origin from that archetype
of all reason. In other words, we ought not to deduce the internal
phenomena of the mind from a simple thinking substance, but deduce them
from each other under the guidance of the regulative idea of a simple
being; we ought not to deduce the phenomena, order, and unity of the
universe from a supreme intelligence, but merely draw from this idea
of a supremely wise cause the rules which must guide reason in its
connection of causes and effects.

Now there is nothing to hinder us from admitting these ideas to possess
an objective and hyperbolic existence, except the cosmological ideas,
which lead reason into an antinomy: the psychological and theological
ideas are not antinomial. They contain no contradiction; and how, then,
can any one dispute their objective reality, since he who denies it
knows as little about their possibility as we who affirm? And yet,
when we wish to admit the existence of a thing, it is not sufficient to
convince ourselves that there is no positive obstacle in the way; for
it cannot be allowable to regard mere creations of thought, which
transcend, though they do not contradict, all our conceptions, as real
and determinate objects, solely upon the authority of a speculative
reason striving to compass its own aims. They cannot, therefore, be
admitted to be real in themselves; they can only possess a comparative
reality--that of a schema of the regulative principle of the systematic
unity of all cognition. They are to be regarded not as actual things,
but as in some measure analogous to them. We abstract from the object
of the idea all the conditions which limit the exercise of our
understanding, but which, on the other hand, are the sole conditions of
our possessing a determinate conception of any given thing. And thus we
cogitate a something, of the real nature of which we have not the
least conception, but which we represent to ourselves as standing in a
relation to the whole system of phenomena, analogous to that in which
phenomena stand to each other.

By admitting these ideal beings, we do not really extend our cognitions
beyond the objects of possible experience; we extend merely the
empirical unity of our experience, by the aid of systematic unity, the
schema of which is furnished by the idea, which is therefore valid--not
as a constitutive, but as a regulative principle. For although we posit
a thing corresponding to the idea--a something, an actual existence--we
do not on that account aim at the extension of our cognition by means
of transcendent conceptions. This existence is purely ideal, and not
objective; it is the mere expression of the systematic unity which is to
be the guide of reason in the field of experience. There are no attempts
made at deciding what the ground of this unity may be, or what the real
nature of this imaginary being.

Thus the transcendental and only determinate conception of God, which
is presented to us by speculative reason, is in the strictest sense
deistic. In other words, reason does not assure us of the objective
validity of the conception; it merely gives us the idea of something, on
which the supreme and necessary unity of all experience is based. This
something we cannot, following the analogy of a real substance, cogitate
otherwise than as the cause of all things operating in accordance with
rational laws, if we regard it as an individual object; although we
should rest contented with the idea alone as a regulative principle
of reason, and make no attempt at completing the sum of the conditions
imposed by thought. This attempt is, indeed, inconsistent with the grand
aim of complete systematic unity in the sphere of cognition--a unity to
which no bounds are set by reason.

Hence it happens that, admitting a divine being, I can have no
conception of the internal possibility of its perfection, or of the
necessity of its existence. The only advantage of this admission is that
it enables me to answer all other questions relating to the contingent,
and to give reason the most complete satisfaction as regards the unity
which it aims at attaining in the world of experience. But I cannot
satisfy reason with regard to this hypothesis itself; and this proves
that it is not its intelligence and insight into the subject, but its
speculative interest alone which induces it to proceed from a point
lying far beyond the sphere of our cognition, for the purpose of being
able to consider all objects as parts of a systematic whole.

Here a distinction presents itself, in regard to the way in which we may
cogitate a presupposition--a distinction which is somewhat subtle, but
of great importance in transcendental philosophy. I may have sufficient
grounds to admit something, or the existence of something, in a
relative point of view (suppositio relativa), without being justified
in admitting it in an absolute sense (suppositio absoluta). This
distinction is undoubtedly requisite, in the case of a regulative
principle, the necessity of which we recognize, though we are ignorant
of the source and cause of that necessity, and which we assume to
be based upon some ultimate ground, for the purpose of being able to
cogitate the universality of the principle in a more determinate way.
For example, I cogitate the existence of a being corresponding to a
pure transcendental idea. But I cannot admit that this being exists
absolutely and in itself, because all of the conceptions by which I can
cogitate an object in a determinate manner fall short of assuring me
of its existence; nay, the conditions of the objective validity of my
conceptions are excluded by the idea--by the very fact of its being an
idea. The conceptions of reality, substance, causality, nay, even that
of necessity in existence, have no significance out of the sphere of
empirical cognition, and cannot, beyond that sphere, determine any
object. They may, accordingly, be employed to explain the possibility of
things in the world of sense, but they are utterly inadequate to explain
the possibility of the universe itself considered as a whole; because
in this case the ground of explanation must lie out of and beyond the
world, and cannot, therefore, be an object of possible experience.
Now, I may admit the existence of an incomprehensible being of this
nature--the object of a mere idea, relatively to the world of sense;
although I have no ground to admit its existence absolutely and in
itself. For if an idea (that of a systematic and complete unity, of
which I shall presently speak more particularly) lies at the foundation
of the most extended empirical employment of reason, and if this
idea cannot be adequately represented in concreto, although it is
indispensably necessary for the approximation of empirical unity to the
highest possible degree--I am not only authorized, but compelled,
to realize this idea, that is, to posit a real object corresponding
thereto. But I cannot profess to know this object; it is to me merely a
something, to which, as the ground of systematic unity in cognition, I
attribute such properties as are analogous to the conceptions employed
by the understanding in the sphere of experience. Following the analogy
of the notions of reality, substance, caus