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Title: A Commentary to Kant's 'Critique of Pure Reason'
Author: Smith, Norman Kemp
Language: English
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                              A COMMENTARY
                          KANT’S ‘CRITIQUE OF
                              PURE REASON’


                       NORMAN KEMP SMITH, D.PHIL.

                               AUTHOR OF

                       MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
                      ST. MARTIN’S STREET, LONDON


                             TO THE MEMORY


                             ROBERT ADAMSON


                          GRATEFULLY DEDICATED


The _Critique of Pure Reason_ is more obscure and difficult than even a
metaphysical treatise has any right to be. The difficulties are not
merely due to defects of exposition; they multiply rather than diminish
upon detailed study; and, as I shall endeavour to show in this
_Commentary_, are traceable to two main causes, the composite nature of
the text, written at various dates throughout the period 1772-1780, and
the conflicting tendencies of Kant’s own thinking.

The _Commentary_ is both expository and critical; and in exposition no
less than in criticism I have sought to subordinate the treatment of
textual questions and of minor issues to the systematic discussion of
the central problems. Full use is made of the various selections from
Kant’s private papers that have appeared, at intervals, since the
publication of his _Lectures on Metaphysics_ in 1821. Their significance
has not hitherto been generally recognised in English books upon Kant.
They seem to me to be of capital importance for the right understanding
of the _Critique_.

Some apology is perhaps required for publishing a work of this character
at the present moment. It was completed, and arrangements made for its
publication, shortly before the outbreak of war. The printers have, I
understand, found in it a useful stop-gap to occupy them in the
intervals of more pressing work; and now that the type must be released,
I trust that in spite of, or even because of, the overwhelming
preoccupations of the war, there may be some few readers to whom the
volume may be not unwelcome. That even amidst the distractions of actual
campaigning metaphysical speculation can serve as a refuge and a solace
is shown by the memorable example of General Smuts. He has himself told
us that on his raid into Cape Colony in the South African War he carried
with him for evening reading the _Critique of Pure Reason_. Is it
surprising that our British generals, pitted against so unconventional
an opponent, should have been worsted in the battle of wits?

The _Critique of Pure Reason_ is a philosophical classic that marks a
turning-point in the history of philosophy, and no interpretation, even
though now attempted after the lapse of a hundred years, can hope to be
adequate or final. Some things are clearer to us than they were to
Kant’s contemporaries; in other essential ways our point of view has
receded from his, and the historical record, that should determine our
judgments, is far from complete. But there is a further difficulty of an
even more serious character. The _Critique_ deals with issues that are
still controversial, and their interpretation is possible only from a
definite standpoint. The limitations of this standpoint and of the
philosophical _milieu_ in which it has been acquired unavoidably
intervene to distort or obscure our apprehension of the text. Arbitrary
and merely personal judgments I have, however, endeavoured to avoid. My
sole aim has been to reach, as far as may prove feasible, an unbiassed
understanding of Kant’s great work.

Among German commentators I owe most to Vaihinger, Adickes, B. Erdmann,
Cohen, and Riehl, especially to the first named. The chief English
writers upon Kant are Green, Caird, and Adamson. In so far as Green and
Caird treat the Critical philosophy as a half-way stage to the Hegelian
standpoint I find myself frequently in disagreement with them; but my
indebtedness to their writings is much greater than my occasional
criticisms of their views may seem to imply. With Robert Adamson I
enjoyed the privilege of personal discussions at a time when his earlier
view of Kant’s teaching was undergoing revision in a more radical manner
than is apparent even in his posthumously published University lectures.
To the stimulus of his suggestions the writing of this _Commentary_ is
largely due.

My first study of the _Critique_ was under the genial and inspiring
guidance of Sir Henry Jones. With characteristic kindliness he has read
through my manuscript and has disclosed to me many defects of
exposition and argument. The same service has been rendered me by
Professor G. Dawes Hicks, whose criticisms have been very valuable,
particularly since they come from a student of Kant who on many
fundamental points takes an opposite view from my own.

I have also to thank my colleague, Professor Oswald Veblen, for much
helpful discussion of Kant’s doctrines of space and time, and of
mathematical reasoning.

Mr. H. H. Joachim has read the entire proofs, and I have made frequent
modifications to meet his very searching criticisms. I have also
gratefully adopted his revisions of my translations from the _Critique_.
Similar acknowledgments are due to my colleague, Professor A. A. Bowman,
and to my friend Dr. C. W. Hendel.

I have in preparation a translation of the _Critique of Pure Reason_,
and am responsible for the translations of all passages given in the
present work. In quoting from Kant’s other writings, I have made use of
the renderings of Abbott, Bernard, and Mahaffy; but have occasionally
allowed myself the liberty of introducing alterations.

Should readers who are already well acquainted with the _Critique_
desire to use my _Commentary_ for its systematic discussions of Kant’s
teaching, rather than as an accompaniment to their study of the text, I
may refer them to those sections which receive italicised headings in
the table of contents.

                                              NORMAN KEMP SMITH.

LONDON, _January 1918_.





     Kant's Method of composing the _Critique of Pure Reason_        xix


     Kant's Relation to Hume and to Leibniz                          xxv


     1. The Nature of the _a priori_                              xxxiii
     2. Kant's Contribution to the Science of Logic                xxxvi
     3. The Nature of Consciousness                                xxxix
     4. Phenomenalism, Kant's Substitute for Subjectivism            xlv
     5. The Distinction between Human and Animal Intelligence      xlvii
     6. The Nature and Conditions of Self-Consciousness                l
     7. Kant's threefold Distinction between Sensibility,
        Understanding, and Reason                                    lii
     8. The place of the _Critique of Pure Reason_ in
        Kant's Philosophical System                                   lv


_Title_                                                                1
_Motto_                                                                4
_Dedication to Freiherr von Zedlitz_                                   6

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION                                           8

    _Comment on Preface_                                              10
    _Dogmatism_, _Scepticism_, _Criticism_                            13

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION                                         17

    _The Copernican Hypothesis_                                       22

INTRODUCTION                                                          26

    _Comment upon the Argument of Kant's Introduction_                33
    _How are Synthetic_ a priori _Judgments possible?_                43
    _The Analytic and Synthetic Methods_                              44
    _Purpose and Scope of the Critique_                               56
    _Kant's relation to Hume_                                         61
    _Meaning of the term Transcendental_                              73


Part I. THE TRANSCENDENTAL AESTHETIC                              79-166

    _Definition of Terms_                                             79
    _Kant's conflicting Views of Space_                               88

  Section I. SPACE                                                    99

    _Kant's Attitude to the Problems of Modern Geometry_             117

  Section II. TIME                                                   123

    _Kant's Views regarding the Nature of Arithmetical Science_      128
    _Kant's conflicting Views of Time_                               134
    General Observations on the Transcendental Aesthetic             143
    _The Distinction between Appearance and Illusion_                148
    _Kant's Relation to Berkeley_                                    155
    _The Paradox of Incongruous Counterparts_                        161

Part II. THE TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC                                    167

  Introduction                                                       167

         I. Logic in General                                         167
        II. Transcendental Logic                                     170
       III. The Division of General Logic into Analytic
            and Dialectic                                            172

  Division I. THE TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC                            174

    Book I. THE ANALYTIC OF CONCEPTS                                 175

                 OF THE UNDERSTANDING                                175

      Section I. The Logical Use of the Understanding                176
             _Comment on Kant's Argument_                            176
             _Stages in the Development of Kant's
              Metaphysical Deduction_                                186

      Section II. The Logical Function of the Understanding
                  in Judgment                                        192

      Section III. The Categories on Pure Concepts of the
                   Understanding                                     194

               _Distinction between Logical Forms and Categories_    195



        _Analysis of the Text: the Four Stages in the
         Development of Kant's Views_                            202-234

          I. _Enumeration of the Four Stages_                        203

         II. _Detailed Analysis of the Four Stages_                  204
             _Kant's Doctrine of the Transcendental Object_          204

        III. _Evidence yielded by the "Reflexionen" and "Lose
             Blätter" in Support of the Analysis of the
             Text_                                                   231

         IV. _Connected Statement and Discussion of Kant's
             Subjective and Objective Deductions in the
             First Edition_                                          234

        _Distinction between the Subjective and the Objective
        Deductions_                                                  235

        _The Subjective Deduction in its initial empirical
        Stages_                                                      245

        _Objective Deduction as given in the First Edition_          248

        _The later Stages of the Subjective Deduction_               263

        _The Distinction between Phenomenalism and Subjectivism_     270

        _Transcendental Deduction of the Categories in the
        Second Edition_                                              284

        _The Doctrine of Inner Sense_                                291

        _Kant's Refutations of Idealism_                             298

        _Inner Sense and Apperception_                               321

  Book II. THE ANALYTIC OF PRINCIPLES                                332

               THE UNDERSTANDING                                     334


      1. The Axioms of Intuition                                     347

      2. The Anticipations of Perception                             349

      3. The Analogies of Experience                                 355

        _A._ First Analogy                                           358

        _B._ Second Analogy                                          363

          _Schopenhauer's Criticism of Kant's Argument_              365

          _Kant's Subjectivist and Phenomenalist Views
          of the Causal Relation_                                    373

          _Reply to Further Criticisms of Kant's Argument_           377


          _C._ Third Analogy                                         381

            _Schopenhauer's Criticism of Kant's Argument_            387

        4. The Postulates of Empirical Thought in General            391

                   PHENOMENA AND NOUMENA                             404

        _Relevant Passages in the Section on Amphiboly_              410

        _Alterations in the Second Edition_                          412

        _Comment on Kant's Argument_                                 414

      Appendix. The Amphiboly of the Concepts of Reflection          418

  Division II. THE TRANSCENDENTAL DIALECTIC                          424

        _Introductory Comment upon the composite Origin and
        conflicting Tendencies of the Dialectic_                     425

        _The History and Development of Kant's Views in
        regard to the Problems of the Dialectic_                     431

    Introduction                                                     441

       I. Transcendental Illusion                                    441

      II. Pure Reason as the Seat of Transcendental Illusion         442

    Book I. THE CONCEPTS OF PURE REASON                              446

      Section I. Ideas in General                                    447

      Section II. The Transcendental Ideas                           450

      Section III. System of the Transcendental Ideas                453


      Chapter I. THE PARALOGISMS OF PURE REASON                      455

          First Paralogism: of Substantiality                        457

          Second Paralogism: of Simplicity                           458

          Third Paralogism: of Personality                           461

          Fourth Paralogism: of Ideality                             462

        _Second Edition Statement of the Paralogisms_                466

        _Is the Notion of the Self a necessary Idea of Reason?_      473

      Chapter II. THE ANTINOMY OF PURE REASON                        478

        Section I. System of the Cosmological Ideas                  478

        Section II. Antithetic of Pure Reason                        480

          _Comment on Kant's Method of Argument_                     481

          First Antinomy                                             483

          Second Antinomy                                            488

          Third Antinomy                                             492

          Fourth Antinomy                                            495


Section III. The Interest of Reason in this Self-Conflict            498

Section IV. Of the Transcendental Problems of Pure
Reason in so far as they absolutely must
be capable of Solution                                               499

Section V. Sceptical Representation of the Cosmological
Questions                                                            501

Section VI. Transcendental Idealism as the Key to the
Solution of the Cosmological Dialectic                               503

Section VII. Critical Decision of the Cosmological
Conflict of Reason with itself                                       504

Section VIII. The Regulative Principle of Pure Reason
in regard to the Cosmological Ideas                                  506

Section IX. The Empirical Employment of the Regulative
Principles of Reason in regard
to all Cosmological Ideas                                            508

Solution of the First and Second Antinomies                          508

Remarks on the Distinction between the
Mathematical-Transcendental and the
Dynamical-Transcendental Ideas                                       510

_Comment on Kant's Method of Argument_                               510

Solution of the Third Antinomy                                       512

Possibility of harmonising Causality through
Freedom with the Universal Law of
Natural Necessity                                                    513

Explanation of the Relation of Freedom to
Necessity of Nature                                                  514

_Comment on Kant's Method of Argument_                               517

Solution of the Fourth Antinomy                                      518

Concluding Note on the whole Antinomy
of Pure Reason                                                       519

_Concluding Comment on Kant's Doctrine
of the Antinomies_                                                   519

Chapter III. THE IDEAL OF PURE REASON                                522

Sections I. and II. The Transcendental Ideal                         522

_Comment on Kant's Method of
Argument_                                                            524

Section III. The Speculative Arguments in Proof of the
Existence of a Supreme Being                                         525

Section IV. The Impossibility of an Ontological Proof                527

_Comment on Kant's Method of Argument_                               528


Section V. The Impossibility of a Cosmological Proof
of the Existence of God                                              531

_Comment on Kant's Method of Argument_                               533

Discovery and Explanation of the Transcendental
Illusion in all Transcendental
Proof of the Existence of a necessary
Being                                                                534

_Comment on Kant's Method of Argument_                               535

Section VI. The Impossibility of the Physico-Theological
Proof                                                                538

Section VII. Criticism of all Theology based on speculative
Principles of Reason                                                 541

_Concluding Comment_                                                 541

APPENDIX TO THE TRANSCENDENTAL DIALECTIC                             543

The Regulative Employment of the Ideas of Pure Reason                543

_Hypotheses not permissible in Philosophy_                           543

On the Final Purpose of the Natural Dialectic of Human
Reason                                                               552

_Concluding Comment on the Dialectic_                                558


THE TRANSCENDENTAL DOCTRINE OF METHODS                               563

Chapter I. THE DISCIPLINE OF PURE REASON                             563

Section I. The Discipline of Pure Reason in its Dogmatic
Employment                                                           563

Section II. The Discipline of Pure Reason in its
Polemical Employment                                                 567

Section III. The Discipline of Pure Reason in regard
to Hypotheses                                                        568

Section IV. The Discipline of Pure Reason in regard
to its Proofs                                                        568

Chapter II. THE CANON OF PURE REASON                                 569

Section I. The Ultimate End of the Pure Use of our
Reason                                                               569

Section II. The Ideal of the Highest Good, as a Determining
Ground of the Ultimate End of
Pure Reason                                                          570

Section III. Opining, Knowing, and Believing                         576

Chapter III. THE ARCHITECTONIC OF PURE REASON                        579

Chapter IV. THE HISTORY OF PURE REASON                               582


_A more detailed Statement of Kant's Relations to his Philosophical
Predecessors_                                                        583

INDEX                                                                607


In all references to the _Kritik der Reinen Vernunft_ I have given the
original pagings of both the first and second editions. References to
Kant’s other works are, whenever possible, to the volumes thus far
issued in the new Berlin edition. As the _Reflexionen Kants zur Kritik
der reinen Vernunft_ had not been published in this edition at the time
when the _Commentary_ was completed, the numbering given is that of B.
Erdmann’s edition of 1884.


Berlin edition of Kant’s works                                    _W_

Pagings in the first edition of the _Kritik der reinen Vernunft_   A

Pagings in the second edition                                      B

Adickes’ edition of the _Kritik der reinen Vernunft_ (1889)       _K_




Seldom, in the history of literature, has a work been more
conscientiously and deliberately thought out, or more hastily thrown
together, than the _Critique of Pure Reason_. The following is the
account which Kant in a letter to Moses Mendelssohn (August 16, 1783)
has given of its composition:

     ”[Though the _Critique_ is] the outcome of reflection which had
     occupied me for a period of at least twelve years, I brought it to
     completion in the greatest haste within some four to five months,
     giving the closest attention to the content, but with little
     thought of the exposition or of rendering it easy of comprehension
     by the reader--a decision which I have never regretted, since
     otherwise, had I any longer delayed, and sought to give it a more
     popular form, the work would probably never have been completed at
     all. This defect can, however, be gradually removed, now that the
     work exists in a rough form.”[2]

These statements must be allowed the greater weight as Kant, in another
letter (to Garve, August 7, 1783), has given them in almost the same

     “I freely admit that I have not expected that my book should meet
     with an immediate favourable reception. The exposition of the
     materials which for more than twelve successive years I had been
     carefully maturing, was not composed in a sufficiently suitable
     manner for general comprehension. For the perfecting of its
     exposition several years would have been required, whereas I
     brought it to completion in some four to five months, in the fear
     that, on longer delay, so prolonged a labour might finally become
     burdensome, and that my increasing years (I am already in my
     sixtieth year) would perhaps incapacitate me, while I am still the
     sole possessor of my complete system.”[3]

The twelve years here referred to are 1769-1780; the phrase “at least
twelve years” indicates Kant’s appreciation of the continuity of his
mental development. Hume’s first influence upon Kant is probably to be
dated prior to 1760. The choice, however, of the year 1769 is not
arbitrary; it is the year of Kant’s adoption of the semi-Critical
position recorded in the _Inaugural Dissertation_ (1770).[4] The “four
to five months” may be dated in the latter half of 1780. The printing of
the _Critique_ was probably commenced in December or January 1780-1781.

But the _Critique_ is not merely defective in clearness or popularity of
exposition. That is a common failing of metaphysical treatises,
especially when they are in the German language, and might pass without
special remark. What is much more serious, is that Kant flatly
contradicts himself in almost every chapter; and that there is hardly a
technical term which is not employed by him in a variety of different
and conflicting senses. As a writer, he is the least exact of all the
great thinkers.

So obvious are these inconsistencies that every commentator has felt
constrained to offer some explanation of their occurrence. Thus Caird
has asserted that Kant opens his exposition from the non-Critical
standpoint of ordinary consciousness, and that he discloses the final
position, towards which he has all along been working, only through
repeated modifications of his preliminary statements. Such a view,
however, cannot account either for the specific manner of occurrence or
for the actual character of the contradictions of which the _Critique_
affords so many examples. These are by no means limited to the opening
sections of its main divisions; and careful examination of the text
shows that they have no such merely expository origin. The publication
of Kant’s _Reflexionen_ and _Lose Blätter_, and the devoted labours of
Benno Erdmann, Vaihinger, Adickes, Reicke and others, have, indeed,
placed the issue upon an entirely new plane. It can now be proved that
the _Critique_ is not a unitary work, and that in the five months in
which, as Kant tells us, it was “brought to completion” (_zu Stande
gebracht_), it was not actually written, but was pieced together by the
combining of manuscripts written at various dates throughout the period

Kant’s correspondence in these years contains the repeated assertion
that he expected to be able to complete the work within some three or
six months. This implies that it was already, at least as early as 1777,
in great part committed to writing. In 1780 Kant must therefore have
had a large body of manuscript at his disposal. The recently published
_Lose Blätter_ are, indeed, part of it. And as we shall have constant
occasion to observe, the _Critique_ affords ample evidence of having
been more or less mechanically constructed through the piecing together
of older manuscript, supplemented, no doubt, by the insertion of
connecting links, and modified by occasional alterations to suit the new
context. Kant, it would almost seem, objected to nothing so much as the
sacrifice of an argument once consecrated by committal to paper. If it
could be inserted, no matter at what cost of repetition, or even
confusion, he insisted upon its insertion. Thus the _Subjective_ and
_Objective Deductions_ of the first edition can, as we shall find, be
broken up into at least four distinct layers, which, like geological
strata, remain to the bewilderment of the reader who naturally expects a
unified system, but to the enlightenment of the student, once the clues
that serve to identify and to date them have been detected. To cite
another example: in the _Second Analogy_, as given in the first edition,
the main thesis is demonstrated in no less than five distinct proofs,
some of which are repetitions; and when Kant restated the argument in
the second edition, he allowed the five proofs to remain, but
superimposed still another upon them. Kant does, indeed, in the second
edition omit some few passages from various parts of the _Critique_; but
this is in the main owing to his desire to protect himself against
serious misunderstanding to which, as he found, he had very unguardedly
laid himself open. The alterations of the second edition are chiefly of
the nature of additions.

Adickes’ theory[5] that Kant in the “four to five months” composed a
brief outline of his entire argument, and that it was upon the framework
of this outline that the _Critique_ was elaborated out of the older
manuscript, may possibly be correct. It has certainly enabled Adickes to
cast much light upon many textual problems. But his own supplementary
hypothesis in regard to the section on the _Antinomies_, namely, that it
formed an older and separate treatise, may very profitably be further
extended. Surely it is unlikely that with the expectation, continued
over many years, of completion within a few months, Kant did not
possess, at least for the _Aesthetic_, _Dialectic_, and _Methodology_, a
general outline, that dated further back than 1780. And doubtless this
outline was itself altered, patched, and recast, in proportion as
insight into the problems of the _Analytic_, the problems, that is to
say, which caused publication to be so long deferred, deepened and took
final form.

The composite character of the _Critique_ is largely concealed by the
highly elaborate, and extremely artificial, arrangement of its parts. To
the general plan, based upon professedly logical principles, Kant has
himself given the title, architectonic; and he carries it out with a
thoroughness to which all other considerations, and even at times those
of sound reasoning, are made to give way. Indeed, he clings to it with
the unreasoning affection which not infrequently attaches to a favourite
hobby. He lovingly elaborates even its minor detail, and is rewarded by
a framework so extremely complicated that the most heterogeneous
contents can be tidily arranged, side by side, in its many compartments.
By its uniformity and rigour it gives the appearance of systematic order
even when such order is wholly absent.

But we have still to consider the chief reason for the contradictory
character of the contents of the _Critique_. It is inseparably bound up
with what may perhaps be regarded as Kant’s supreme merit as a
philosophical thinker, especially as shown in the first
_Critique_,--namely, his open-minded recognition of the complexity of
his problems, and of the many difficulties which lie in the way of any
solution which he is himself able to propound. Kant’s method of working
seems to have consisted in alternating between the various possible
solutions, developing each in turn, in the hope that some midway
position, which would share in the merits of all, might finally disclose
itself. When, as frequently happened, such a midway solution could not
be found, he developed his thought along the parallel lines of the
alternative views.

     “You know that I do not approach reasonable objections with the
     intention merely of refuting them, but that in thinking them over I
     always weave them into my judgments, and afford them the
     opportunity of overturning all my most cherished beliefs. I
     entertain the hope that by thus viewing my judgments impartially
     from the standpoint of others some third view that will improve
     upon my previous insight may be obtainable.... Long experience has
     taught me that insight into a subject which I am seeking to master
     is not to be forced, or even hastened, by sheer effort, but demands
     a fairly prolonged period during which I return again and again to
     the same concepts, viewing them in all their aspects and in their
     widest possible connections, while in the intervals the sceptical
     spirit awakens, and makes trial whether my conclusions can
     withstand a searching criticism.”[6] “In mental labour of so
     delicate a character nothing is more harmful than preoccupation
     with extraneous matters. The mind, though not constantly on the
     stretch, must still, alike in its idle and in its favourable
     moments, lie uninterruptedly open to any chance suggestion which
     may present itself. Relaxations and diversions must maintain its
     powers in freedom and mobility, so that it may be enabled to view
     the object afresh from every side, and so to enlarge its point of
     view from a microscopic to a universal outlook that it adopts in
     turn every conceivable standpoint, verifying the observations of
     each by means of all the others.”[7] “I am not of the opinion of
     the well-meaning writer who has recommended us never to allow
     doubts in regard to a matter upon which we have once made up our
     minds. In pure philosophy that is not feasible. Indeed the
     understanding has in itself a natural objection to any such
     procedure. We must consider propositions in all their various
     applications; even when they may not seem to require a special
     proof, we must make trial of their opposites, and in this way fight
     for delay, until the truth becomes in all respects evident.”[8]

That these are no mere pious expressions of good intention, but
represent Kant’s actual method of working, is amply proved by the
contents of the _Critique_. We find Kant constantly alternating between
opposed standpoints, to no one of which he quite definitely commits
himself, and constantly restating his principles in the effort to remove
the objections to which, as he recognises, they continue to lie open.
The _Critique_, as already stated, is not the exposition of a single
unified system, but is the record of Kant’s manifold attempts to
formulate and to solve his many-sided problems. Even those portions of
the _Critique_ which embody his latest views show that Kant is still
unwilling to sacrifice insight to consistency. When he is guilty of
special pleading--for he cannot be altogether absolved even from that
charge--it is in the interests of his logical architectonic, for which,
as I have said, he cherishes a quite unreasoning affection, and not of
his central principles. So far from concealing difficulties, or unduly
dwelling upon the favouring considerations, Kant himself emphasises the
outstanding objections to which his conclusions remain subject. If his
teaching is on certain points very definite, it is in other hardly less
important respects largely tentative.

The value of Kant’s _Critique_ as an introduction to modern philosophy
is greatly enhanced by this method of procedure. The student who has
steeped himself in the atmosphere of the _Critique_, however
dissatisfied he may perhaps be with many of its doctrines, has become
familiar with the main requirements which a really adequate metaphysics
must fulfil, or at least will have acquired a due sense of the
complexity of the problems with which it deals.

Recognition of the composite nature of the text will safeguard us in two
ways. In the first place, citation of single passages is quite
inconclusive. Not only must all the relevant passages be collated; they
must be interpreted in the light of an historical understanding of the
various stages in Kant’s development. We must also be prepared to find
that on certain main questions Kant hesitates between opposed positions,
and that he nowhere definitively commits himself to any quite final
expression of view.

Secondly, we cannot proceed on the assumption that Kant’s maturest
teaching comes where, had the _Critique_ been a unitary work, composed
upon a definite and previously thought out plan, we should naturally
expect to find it, namely, in its concluding portions. The teaching of
much of the _Dialectic_, especially in its account of the nature of the
phenomenal world and of its relation to the knowing mind, is only
semi-Critical. This is also true of Kant’s _Introduction_ to the
_Critique_. Introductions are usually written last; and probably Kant’s
_Introduction_ was written after the completion of the _Aesthetic_, of
the _Dialectic_, and of the _Analytic_ in its earlier forms. But it
bears all the signs of having been composed prior to the working out of
several of his most characteristic doctrines in the central parts of the

Thus both Kant’s introductory statements of the aims and purposes of the
_Critique_, and his application of his results in the solution of
metaphysical problems, fail to represent in any adequate fashion the new
and revolutionary principles to which he very gradually but successfully
worked his way. The key to the _Critique_ is given in the central
portions of the _Analytic_, especially in the _Deduction of the
Categories_. The other parts of the _Critique_ reveal the Critical
doctrines only as gradually emerging from the entangling influence of
pre-Critical assumptions. Their teaching has to be radically remodelled
before they can be made to harmonise with what, in view both of their
intrinsic character and of the corresponding alterations in the second
edition, must be regarded as Kant’s maturest utterances.

This was a task which Kant never himself attempted. For no sooner had he
attained to comparative clearness in regard to his new Critical
principles and briefly expounded them in the _Analytic_ of the first
edition, than he hastened to apply them in the spheres of morality,
aesthetics, and teleology. When the _Critique_ appeared in 1781 he was
fifty-seven years of age; and he seems to have feared that if he
allowed these purely theoretical problems, which had already occupied
his main attention for “at least twelve years,” to detain him longer, he
would be debarred from developing and placing on permanent record the
new metaphysics of ethics which, as the references in the first
_Critique_ show, had already begun to shape itself in his mind. To have
expended further energy upon the perfecting of his theoretical
philosophy would have endangered its own best fruits. Even the
opportunity in 1787 of a second edition of the _Critique_ he used very
sparingly, altering or adding only where occasional current
criticism--his puzzled contemporaries having still for the most part
maintained a discreet silence--had clearly shown that his modes of
exposition were incomplete or misleading.



Kant’s manner of formulating his fundamental problem--How are synthetic
_a priori_ judgments possible?--may well seem to the modern reader to
imply an unduly scholastic and extremely rationalistic method of
approach. Kant’s reasons for adopting it have, unfortunately, been
largely obscured, owing to the mistaken interpretation which has usually
been given to certain of his personal utterances. They have been
supposed to prove that the immediate occasion of the above formula was
Hume’s discussion of the problem of causality in the _Enquiry into the
Human Understanding_. Kant, it is argued, could not have been acquainted
with Hume’s earlier and more elaborate _Treatise on Human Nature_, of
which there was then no translation; and his references to Hume must
therefore concern only the later work.

Vaihinger has done valuable service in disputing this reading of Kant’s
autobiographical statements. Kant does not himself make direct mention
of the _Enquiry_, and the passages in the _Critique_ and in the
_Prolegomena_[9] in which Hume’s teaching is under consideration seem
rather to point to the wider argument of the _Treatise_. This is a
matter of no small importance; for if Vaihinger’s view can be
established, it will enable us to appreciate, in a manner otherwise
impossible, how Kant should have come to regard the problem of _a priori
synthesis_ as being the most pressing question in the entire field of
speculative philosophy.

The essential difference between the _Treatise_ and the _Enquiry_, from
the standpoint of their bearing upon Critical issues, lies in the wider
scope and more radical character of the earlier work. The _Enquiry_
discusses the problem of causality only in the form in which it emerges
in _particular_ causal judgments, _i.e._ as to our grounds for asserting
that this or that effect is due to this or that cause. In the
_Treatise_, Hume raises the broader question as to our right to
postulate that events must always be causally determined. In other
words, he there questions the validity of the _universal_ causal
principle, that whatever begins to exist must have a cause of existence;
and he does so on the explicit ground that it demands as necessary the
connecting of two concepts, that of an event and that of an antecedent
cause, between which _no connection of any kind_ can be detected by the
mind. The principle, that is to say, is not self-evident; it is
synthetic. The concept of an event and the concept of a cause are quite
separate and distinct ideas. Events can be conceived without our
requiring to think antecedent events upon which they are dependent. Nor
is the principle capable of demonstration. For if it be objected that in
questioning its validity we are committing ourselves to the impossible
assertion that events arise out of nothing, such argument is only
applicable if the principle be previously granted. If events do not
require a cause, it is as little necessary to seek their source in a
generation out of nothing as in anything positive. Similarly, when it is
argued that as all the parts of time and space are uniform, there must
be a cause determining an event to happen at one moment and in one place
rather than at some other time or place, the principle is again assumed.
There is no greater difficulty in supposing the time and place to be
fixed without a cause than in supposing the existence to be so
determined. The principle, Hume concludes, is non-rational in character.
It is an instrument useful for the organisation of experience; and for
that reason nature has determined us to its formation and acceptance.
Properly viewed, it expresses a merely instinctive belief, and is
explicable only in the naturalistic manner of our other propensities, as
necessary to the fulfilling of some practical need. “Nature has
determined us to judge as well as to breathe and feel.”

From this naturalistic position Hume makes a no less vigorous attack
upon the empirical philosophies which profess to establish general
principles by inductive inference from the facts of experience. If the
principles which lie at the basis of our experience are non-rational in
character, the same must be true of our empirical judgments. They may
correctly describe the uniformities that have hitherto occurred in the
sequences of our sensations, and may express the natural expectations to
which they spontaneously give rise; but they must never be regarded as
capable of serving as a basis for inference. In eliminating _a priori_
principles, and appealing exclusively to sense-experience, the
empiricist removes all grounds of distinction between inductive
inference and custom-bred expectation. And since from this standpoint
the possibility of universal or abstract concepts--so Hume argues--must
also be denied, deductive inference must likewise be eliminated from
among the possible instruments at the disposal of the mind. So-called
inference is never the source of our beliefs; it is our fundamental
natural beliefs, as determined by the constitution of our nature in its
reaction upon external influences, that generate those expectations
which, however they may masquerade in logical costume, have as purely
natural a source as our sensations and feelings. Such, briefly and
dogmatically stated, is the sum and substance of Hume’s teaching.[10]

Now it was these considerations that, as it would seem, awakened Kant to
the problem of _a priori synthesis_. He was, and to the very last
remained, in entire agreement with Hume’s contention that the principle
of causality is neither self-evident nor capable of logical
demonstration, and he at once realised that what is true of this
principle must also hold of all the other principles fundamental to
science and philosophy. Kant further agreed that inductive inference
from the data of experience is only possible upon the prior acceptance
of rational principles independently established; and that we may not,
therefore, look to experience for proof of their validity. Thus with the
rejection of self-evidence as a feature of the _a priori_, and with the
consequent admission of its synthetic character, Kant is compelled to
acquiesce in the inevitableness of the dilemma which Hume propounds.
Either Hume’s sceptical conclusions must be accepted, or we must be able
to point to some criterion which is not subject to the defects of the
rationalist and empirical methods of proof, and which is adequate to
determine the validity or invalidity of general principles. Is there any
such alternative? Such is Kant’s problem as expressed in the formula:
How are synthetic _a priori_ judgments possible?

It is a very remarkable historical fact that notwithstanding the
clearness and cogency of Hume’s argument, and the appearance of such
competent thinkers as Thomas Reid in Scotland, Lambert and Crusius in
Germany, no less than thirty years should have elapsed before Hume found
a single reader capable of appreciating the teaching of the _Treatise_
at its true value.[11] Even Kant himself was not able from his reading
of the _Enquiry_ in 1756-1762 to realise the importance and bearing of
the main problem.[12] Though in the _Enquiry_ the wider issue regarding
the general principle of causality is not raised, the bearing of Hume’s
discussion, when interpreted in the light of Kant’s own teaching, is
sufficiently clear; and accordingly we cannot be absolutely certain that
it was not a re-reading of the _Enquiry_ or a recalling of its
argument[13] that suggested to Kant the central problem of his Critical
philosophy. The probability, however, is rather that this awakening took
place only indirectly through his becoming acquainted with the wider
argument of the _Treatise_ as revealed in James Beattie’s extremely
crude and unsympathetic criticism of Hume’s philosophy.[14] Beattie had
great natural ability, and considerable literary power. His prose
writings have a lucidity, a crispness, and a felicity of illustration
which go far to explain their widespread popularity in the latter half
of the eighteenth century. Their literary quality is, however, more than
counterbalanced by the absence of any genuine appreciation of the
deeper, speculative implications and consequences of the problems
discussed. And this being so, he is naturally at his worst in
criticising Hume. In insisting, as he does, upon the absurd practical
results[15] that would follow from the adoption of Hume’s sceptical
conclusions, he is merely exploiting popular prejudice in the
philosophical arena. That, however, may be forgiven him, if, as would
seem to be the case, the quotations which he gives verbatim from Hume’s
_Treatise_ really first revealed to Kant the scope and innermost meaning
of Hume’s analysis of the causal problem.

The evidence in support of this contention is entirely circumstantial.
The German translation of Beattie’s _Essay on the Nature and
Immutability of Truth_ was published at Easter 1772, _i.e._ in the year
in which Kant, in the process of his own independent development, came,
as is shown by his famous letter to Herz,[16] to realise the mysterious,
problematic character of _a priori_ knowledge _of the independently
real_. He was then, however, still entirely unconscious of the deeper
problem which at once emerges upon recognition that _a priori_
principles, quite apart from all question of their objective validity,
are synthetic in form. We know that Kant was acquainted with Beattie’s
work; for he twice refers to Beattie’s criticism of Hume.[17] What more
probable than that he read the translation in the year of its
publication, or at least at some time not very long subsequent to the
date of the letter to Herz? The passages which Beattie quotes from the
_Treatise_ are exactly those that were necessary to reveal the full
scope of Hume’s revolutionary teaching in respect to the general
principle of causality. There seems, indeed, little doubt that this must
have been the channel through which Hume’s influence chiefly acted. Thus
at last, by a circuitous path, through the quotations of an adversary,
Hume awakened philosophy from its dogmatic slumber,[18] and won for his
argument that appreciation which despite its cogency it had for thirty
years so vainly demanded.

Let us now turn our attention to the rationalist philosophy in which
Kant was educated. Hume’s contention that experience cannot by itself
justify any inductive inference, forms the natural bridge over which we
can best pass to the contrasting standpoint of Leibniz. Hume and Leibniz
find common ground in denouncing empiricism. Both agree in regarding it
as the mongrel offspring of conflicting principles. If rationalism
cannot hold its own, the alternative is not the finding of firm foothold
in concrete experience, but only such consolation as a sceptical
philosophy may afford.[19] The overthrow of rationalism means the
destruction of metaphysics in every form. Even mathematics and the
natural sciences will have to be viewed as fulfilling a practical end,
not as satisfying a theoretical need. But though Leibniz’s criticism of
empiricism is, in its main contention, identical with that of Hume, it
is profoundly different both in its orientation and in the conclusions
to which it leads. While Hume maintains that induction must be regarded
as a non-rational process of merely instinctive anticipation, Leibniz
argues to the self-legislative character of pure thought.
Sense-experience reveals reality only in proportion as it embodies
principles derived from the inherent character of thought itself.
Experience conforms to _a priori_ principles, and so can afford an
adequate basis for scientific induction.

There is a passage in Hume’s _Enquiry_ which may be employed to
illustrate the boldly speculative character of Leibniz’s interpretation
of the nature and function of human thought. “Nothing ... [seems] more
unbounded than the thought of man, which not only escapes all human
power and authority, but is not even restrained within the limits of
nature and reality.... While the body is confined to one planet, along
which it creeps with pain and difficulty, the thought can in an instant
transport us into the most distant regions of the universe.... What
never was seen, or heard of, may yet be conceived; nor is anything
beyond the power of thought, except what implies an absolute
contradiction.” This passage in which Hume means to depict a false
belief, already sufficiently condemned by the absurdity of its claims,
expresses for Leibniz the wonderful but literal truth. Thought is the
revealer of an eternal unchanging reality, and its validity is in no
way dependent upon its verification through sense. When Voltaire in his
_Ignorant Philosopher_ remarks that “it would be very singular that all
nature, all the planets, should obey eternal laws, and that there should
be a little animal, five feet high, who, in contempt of these laws,
could act as he pleased, solely according to his caprice,”[20] he is
forgetting that this same animal of five feet can contain the stellar
universe in thought within himself, and has therefore a dignity which is
not expressible in any such terms as his size may seem, for vulgar
estimation, to imply. Man, though dependent upon the body and confined
to one planet, has the sun and stars as the playthings of his mind.
Though finite in his mortal conditions, he is divinely infinite in his

Leibniz thus boldly challenges the sceptical view of the function of
reason. Instead of limiting thought to the translating of sense-data
into conceptual forms, he claims for it a creative power which enables
it out of its own resources to discover for itself, not only the actual
constitution of the material world, but also the immensely wider realm
of possible entities. The real, he maintains, is only one of the many
kingdoms which thought discovers for itself in the universe of truth. It
is the most comprehensive and the most perfect, but still only one out
of innumerable others which unfold themselves to the mind in pure
thought. Truth is not the abstracting of the universal aspects in
things, not a copy of reality, dependent upon it for meaning and
significance. Truth is wider than reality, is logically prior to it, and
instead of being dependent upon the actual, legislates for it. Leibniz
thus starts from the possible, as discovered by pure thought, to
determine in an _a priori_ manner the nature of the real.

This Leibnizian view of thought may seem, at first sight, to be merely
the re-emergence of the romantic, rationalistic ideal of Descartes and
Malebranche. So to regard it would, however, be a serious injustice. It
was held with full consciousness of its grounds and implications, and
reality was metaphysically reinterpreted so as to afford it a genuine
basis. There was nothing merely mystical and nothing undefined in its
main tenets. Leibniz differs from Malebranche in being himself a
profound mathematician, the co-discoverer with Newton of the
differential calculus. He also differs from Descartes in possessing an
absorbing interest in the purely logical aspects of the problem of
method; and was therefore equipped in a supreme degree for determining
in genuinely scientific fashion the philosophical significance and value
of the mathematical disciplines.

Hume and Leibniz are thus the two protagonists that dwarf all others.
They realised as neither Malebranche, Locke, nor Berkeley, neither Reid,
Lambert, Crusius, nor Mendelssohn ever did, the really crucial issues
which must ultimately decide between the competing possibilities. Each
maintained, in the manner prescribed by his general philosophy, one of
what then appeared to be the only two possible views of the function of
thought. The alternatives were these: (_a_) Thought is merely a
practical instrument for the convenient interpretation of our human
experience; it has no objective or metaphysical validity of any kind;
(_b_) Thought legislates universally; it reveals the wider universe of
the eternally possible; and prior to all experience can determine the
fundamental conditions to which that experience must conform. Or to
interpret this opposition in logical terms: (_a_) The fundamental
principles of experience are synthetic judgments in which no relation is
discoverable between subject and predicate, and which for that reason
can be justified neither _a priori_ nor by experience; (_b_) all
principles are analytic, and can therefore be justified by pure thought.

The problem of Kant’s _Critique_, broadly stated, consists in the
examination and critical estimate of these two opposed views. There is
no problem, scientific, moral, or religious, which is not vitally
affected by the decision which of these alternatives we are to adopt, or
what reconciliation of their conflicting claims we hope to achieve.
Since Kant’s day, largely owing to the establishment of the evolution
theory, this problem has become only the more pressing. The
naturalistic, instrumental view of thought seems to be immensely
reinforced by biological authority. Thought would seem to be reduced to
the level of sense-affection, and to be an instrument developed through
natural processes for the practical purposes of adaptation. Yet the
counter-view has been no less powerfully strengthened by the victorious
march of the mathematical sciences. They have advanced beyond the limits
of Euclidean space, defining possibilities such as no experience reveals
to us. The Leibnizian view has also been reinforced by the successes of
physical science in determining what would seem to be the actual,
objective character of the independently real. Kant was a rationalist by
education, temperament, and conviction. Consequently his problem was to
reconcile Leibniz’s view of the function of thought with Hume’s proof of
the synthetic character of the causal principle. He strives to
determine how much of Leibniz’s belief in the legislative power of pure
reason can be retained after full justice has been done to Hume’s
damaging criticisms. The fundamental principles upon which all
experience and all knowledge ultimately rest are _synthetic_ in nature:
how is it possible that they should also be _a priori_? Such is the
problem that was Kant’s troublous inheritance from his philosophical
progenitors, Hume and Leibniz.[21]


In indicating some of the main features of Kant’s general teaching, I
shall limit myself to those points which seem most helpful in
preliminary orientation, or which are necessary for guarding against the
misunderstandings likely to result from the very radical changes in
terminology and in outlook that have occurred in the hundred and thirty
years since the publication of the _Critique_. Statements which thus
attempt to present in outline, and in modern terms, the more general
features of Kant’s philosophical teaching will doubtless seem to many of
my readers dogmatic in form and highly questionable in content. They
must stand or fall by the results obtained through detailed examination
of Kant’s _ipsissima verba_. Such justification as I can give for them
will be found in the body of the _Commentary_.


The fundamental presupposition upon which Kant’s argument rests--a
presupposition never itself investigated but always assumed--is that
universality and necessity cannot be reached by any process that is
empirical in character. By way of this initial assumption Kant arrives
at the conclusion that the _a priori_, the distinguishing
characteristics of which are universality and necessity, is not given in
sense but is imposed by the mind; or in other less ambiguous terms, is
not part of the matter of experience but constitutes its form. The
matter of experience is here taken as equivalent to sensation; while
sensation, in turn, is regarded as being the non-relational.

The explanation of Kant’s failure either to investigate or to prove this
assumption has already been indicated. Leibniz proceeds upon the
assumption of its truth no less confidently than Hume, and as Kant’s
main task consisted in reconciling what he regarded as being the
elements of truth in their opposed philosophies, he very naturally felt
secure in rearing his system upon the one fundamental presupposition on
which they were able to agree. It lay outside the field of controversy,
and possessed for Kant, as it had possessed for Hume and for Leibniz,
that authoritative and axiomatic character which an unchallenged
preconception tends always to acquire.

The general thesis, that the universal and necessary elements in
experience constitute its form, Kant specifies in the following
determinate manner. The form is fixed for all experience, that is to
say, it is one and the same in each and every experience, however simple
or however complex. It is to be detected in consciousness of duration no
less than in consciousness of objects or in consciousness of self. For,
as Kant argues, consciousness of duration involves the capacity to
distinguish between subjective and objective succession, and likewise
involves recognition[22] with its necessary component
self-consciousness. Or to state the same point of view in another way,
human experience is a temporal process and yet is always a consciousness
of meaning. As temporal, its states are ordered successively, that is,
externally to one another; but the consciousness which they constitute
is at each and every moment the awareness of some single unitary meaning
by reference to which the contents of the successive experiences are
organised. The problem of knowledge may therefore be described as being
the analysis of the consciousness of duration, of objectivity, and of
self-consciousness, or alternatively as the analysis of our awareness of
meaning. Kant arrives at the conclusion that the conditions of all four
are one and the same.[23]

Kant thus teaches that experience in all its embodiments and in each of
its momentary states can be analysed into an endlessly variable material
and a fixed set of relational elements. And as no one of the relational
factors can be absent without at once nullifying all the others, they
together constitute what must be regarded as the determining form and
structure of every mental process that is cognitive in character.
Awareness, that is to say, is identical with the act of judgment, and
therefore involves everything that a judgment, in its distinction from
any mere association of ideas, demands for its possibility.

Kant’s position, when thus stated, differs from that of Leibniz only in
its clearer grasp of the issues and difficulties involved, and
consequently in the more subtle, pertinacious, and thoroughgoing
character of the argument by which it is established. Its revolutionary
character first appears when Kant further argues, in extension of the
teaching of Hume, that the formal, relational elements are of a
_synthetic_ nature. The significance and scope of this conclusion can
hardly be exaggerated. No other Kantian tenet is of more fundamental
importance.[24] With it the main consequences of Kant’s Critical
teaching are indissolubly bound up. _As the principles which lie at the
basis of our knowledge are synthetic, they have no intrinsic necessity,
and cannot possess the absolute authority ascribed to them by the
rationalists._ They are prescribed to human reason, but cannot be shown
to be inherently rational in any usual sense of that highly ambiguous
term. They can be established only as brute conditions, verifiable in
fact though not demonstrable in pure theory (if there be any such
thing), of our actual experience. They are conditions of
_sense_-experience, and that means of our knowledge of appearances,
never legitimately applicable in the deciphering of ultimate reality.
They are valid within the realm of experience, useless for the
construction of a metaphysical theory of things in themselves. This
conclusion is reinforced when we recognise that human experience, even
in its fundamental features (_e.g._ the temporal and the spatial), might
conceivably be altogether different from what it actually is, and that
its presuppositions are always, therefore, of the same contingent
character. Even the universality and necessity which Kant claims to have
established for his _a priori_ principles are of this nature. Their
necessity is always for us extrinsic; they can be postulated only if,
and so long as, we are assuming the occurrence of human

Thus Kant is a rationalist of a new and unique type. He believes in, and
emphasises the importance of, the _a priori_. With it alone, he
contends, is the _Critique_ competent to deal. But it is an _a priori_
which cannot be shown to be more than relative. It does, indeed, enable
us to conceive the known as relative, and to entertain in thought the
possibility of an Absolute; but this it can do without itself possessing
independent validity. For though the proof of the _a priori_ is not
empirical in the sense of being inductive, neither is it logical in the
sense of being deduced from necessities of thought. Its “transcendental”
proof can be executed only so long as experience is granted as actual;
and so long as the fundamental characteristics of this experience are
kept in view.

Lastly, the _a priori_ factors are purely relational. They have no
inherent content from which clues bearing on the supersensible can be
obtained. Their sole function is to serve in the interpretation of
contents otherwise supplied.

The _a priori_, then, is merely relational, without inherent content; it
is synthetic, and therefore incapable of independent or metaphysical
proof; it is relative to an experience which is only capable of yielding
appearances. The _a priori_ is as merely factual as the experience which
it conditions.

Even in the field of morality Kant held fast to this conviction.
Morality, no less than knowledge, presupposes _a priori_ principles.
These, however, are never self-evident, and cannot be established by any
mere appeal to intuition. They have authority only to the extent to
which they can be shown to be the indispensable presuppositions of a
moral consciousness that is undeniably actual.[25]

That the _a priori_ is of this character must be clearly understood.
Otherwise the reader will be pursued by a feeling of the unreality, of
the merely historical or antiquarian significance, of the entire
discussion. He may, if he pleases, substitute the term formal or
relational for _a priori_. And if he bears in mind that by the
relational Kant is here intending those elements in knowledge which
render possible the relations constitutive of _meaning_, he will
recognise that the Critical discussion is by no means antiquated, but
still remains one of the most important issues in the entire field of
philosophical enquiry.


The above conclusions have an important bearing upon logical doctrine.
Just as modern geometry originates in a sceptical treatment of the axiom
of parallels, so modern, idealist logic rests upon Kant’s demonstration
of the revolutionary consequences of Hume’s sceptical teaching. If
principles are never self-evident, and yet are not arrived at by
induction from experience, by what alternative method can they be
established? In answer to this question, Kant outlines the position
which is now usually entitled the _Coherence_ theory of truth.[26] That
theory, though frequently ascribed to Hegel, has its real sources in the
_Critique of Pure Reason_. It expresses that modification in the
Leibnizian rationalism which is demanded by Hume’s discovery of the
synthetic character of the causal axiom. Neither the deductive methods
of the Cartesian systems nor the inductive methods of the English
philosophies can any longer be regarded as correctly describing the
actual processes of scientific proof.

General principles are either presuppositions or postulates. If _a
priori_, they are presupposed in all conscious awareness; as above
indicated, they have a _de facto_ validity within the experience which
they thus make possible. If more special in nature, they are the
postulates to which we find ourselves committed in the process of
solving specific problems; and they are therefore discovered by the
method of trial and failure.[27] They are valid in proportion as they
enable us to harmonise appearances, and to adjudicate to each a kind of
reality consistent with that assigned to every other.

Proof of fact is similar in general character. The term fact is
eulogistic, not merely descriptive; it marks the possession of cognitive
significance in regard to some body of knowledge, actual or possible. It
can be applied to particular appearances only in so far as we can
determine their conditions, and can show that as thus conditioned the
mode of their existence is relevant to the enquiry that is being
pursued. The convergence of parallel lines is fact from the standpoint
of psychological investigation; from the point of view of their physical
existence it is merely appearance. Ultimately, of course, everything is
real, including what we entitle appearance;[28] but in the articulation
of human experience such distinctions are indispensable, and the
criteria that define them are prescribed by the context in which they
are being employed.

Thus facts cannot be established apart from principles, nor principles
apart from facts. The proof of a principle is its adequacy to the
interpretation of all those appearances that can be shown to be in any
respect relevant to it, while the test of an asserted fact, _i.e._ of
our description of a given appearance, is its conformity to the
principles that make insight possible.

Though the method employed in the _Critique_ is entitled by Kant the
“transcendental method,” it is really identical in general character
with the hypothetical method of the natural sciences. It proceeds by
enquiring what conditions must be postulated in order that the
admittedly given may be explained and accounted for.[29] Starting from
the given, it also submits its conclusions to confirmation by the given.
Considered as a method, there is nothing metaphysical or high-flying
about it save the name. None the less, Kant is in some degree justified
in adopting the special title. In view of the unique character of the
problem to be dealt with, the method calls for very careful statement,
and has to be defended against the charge of inapplicability in the
philosophical field.

The fundamental thesis of the Coherence theory finds explicit
formulation in Kant’s doctrine of the judgment: the doctrine, that
awareness is identical with the act of judging, and that judgment is
always complex, involving both factual and interpretative elements.
Synthetic, relational factors are present in _all_ knowledge, even in
knowledge that may seem, on superficial study, to be purely analytic or
to consist merely of sense-impressions. Not contents alone, but contents
interpreted in terms of some specific setting, are the sole possible
objects of human thought. Even when, by forced abstraction, particulars
and universals are held mentally apart, they are still being apprehended
through judgments, and therefore through mental processes that involve
both. They stand in relations of mutual implication within a _de facto_
system; and together they constitute it.

This is the reason why in modern logic, as in Kant’s _Critique_, the
theory of the judgment receives so much more attention than the theory
of reasoning. For once the above view of the judgment has been
established, all the main points in the doctrine of reasoning follow of
themselves as so many corollaries. Knowledge starts neither from
sense-data nor from general principles, but from the complex situation
in which the human race finds itself at the dawn of self-consciousness.
That situation is organised in terms of our mental equipment; and this
already existing, rudimentary system is what has made practicable
further advance; to create a system _ab initio_ is altogether
impossible. The starting-point does not, however, by itself alone
determine our conclusions. Owing to the creative activities of the mind,
regulative principles are active in all consciousness; and under their
guidance the experienced order, largely practical in satisfaction of the
instinctive desires, is transformed into a comprehended order,
controlled in view of Ideal ends. Logic is the science of the processes
whereby this transformation is brought about. An essentially
metaphysical discipline, it cannot be isolated from the general body of
philosophical teaching; it is not formal, but transcendental; in
defining the factors and processes that constitute knowledge, its chief
preoccupation is with ultimate issues.

In calling his new logic “transcendental” Kant, it is true, also intends
to signify that it is supplementary to, not a substitute for, the older
logic, which he professes to accept.[30] Moreover his intuitional theory
of mathematical science, his doctrine of the “pure concept,” his
attributive view of the judgment--all of them survivals from his
pre-Critical period[31]--frequently set him at cross-purposes with
himself. His preoccupation, too, with the problem of the _a priori_
leads him to underestimate the part played in knowledge by the merely
empirical. But despite all inconsistencies, and notwithstanding his
perverse preference for outlandish modes of expression, he succeeds in
enforcing with sufficient clearness the really fundamental tenets of the
Coherence view.


I shall now approach Kant’s central position from another direction,
namely, as an answer to the problem of the nature of consciousness. We
are justified, I think, in saying that Kant was the first in modern
times to raise the problem of the nature of awareness, and of the
conditions of its possibility. Though Descartes is constantly speaking
of consciousness, he defines it in merely negative terms, through its
opposition to matter; and when he propounds the question how material
bodies can be known by the immaterial mind, his mode of dealing with it
shows that his real interest lies not in the nature of consciousness but
in the character of the existences which it reveals. His answer,
formulated in terms of the doctrine of representative perception, and
based on the supposed teaching of physics and physiology, is that
material bodies through their action on the sense-organs and brain
generate images or duplicates of themselves. These images, existing not
in outer space but only in consciousness, are, he asserts, mental in
nature; and being mental they are, he would seem to conclude,
immediately and necessarily apprehended by the mind. Thus Descartes
gives us, not an analysis of the knowing process, but only a
subjectivist interpretation of the nature of the _objects_ upon which it
is directed.

Quite apart, then, from the question as to whether Descartes’ doctrine
of representative perception rests on a correct interpretation of the
teaching of the natural sciences--Kant was ultimately led to reject the
doctrine--it is obvious that the main epistemological problem, _i.e._
the problem how awareness is possible, and in what it consists, has so
far not so much as even been raised. Descartes and his successors
virtually assume that consciousness is an ultimate, unanalysable form of
awareness, and that all that can reasonably be demanded of the
philosopher is that he explain what objects are actually presented to
it, and under what conditions their presentation can occur. On
Descartes’ view they are conditioned by antecedent physical and
physiological processes; according to Berkeley they are due to the
creative activity of a Divine Being; according to Hume nothing
whatsoever can be determined as to their originating causes. But all
three fail to recognise that even granting the objects to be of the
character asserted, namely, mental, the further problem still remains
for consideration, how they come to be consciously apprehended, and in
what such awareness consists.

Certain interpretations of the nature of the knowing process are, of
course, to be found in the writings of Descartes and his successors. But
they are so much a matter of unexamined presupposition that they never
receive exact formulation, and alternate with one another in quite a
haphazard fashion. We may consider three typical views.

1. There is, Descartes frequently seems to imply--the same assumption is
evident throughout Locke’s _Essay_--a self that stands behind all mental
states, observing and apprehending them. Consciousness is the power
which this self has of contemplating both itself and its ideas.
Obviously this is a mere ignoring of the issue. If we assume an
observer, we _ipso facto_ postulate a process of observation, but we
have not explained or even defined it.

2. There is also in Descartes a second, very different, view of
consciousness, namely, as a diaphanous medium analogous to light. Just
as light is popularly conceived as revealing the objects upon which it
falls, so consciousness is regarded as revealing to us our inner states.
This view of consciousness, for reasons which I shall indicate shortly,
is entirely inadequate to the facts for which we have to account. It is
no more tenable than the corresponding view of light.

3. In Hume we find this latter theory propounded in what may at first
sight seem a more satisfactory form, but is even less satisfactory.
Sensations, images, feelings, he argues, are _states_ of consciousness,
one might almost say _pieces_ of consciousness, _i.e._ they are
conceived as carrying their own consciousness with them. Red, for
instance, is spoken of as a sensation, and is consequently viewed both
as being a sense-content, _i.e._ something sensed or apprehended, and
also at the same time as the sensing or awareness of it. This view is
unable to withstand criticism. There is really no more ground for
asserting that red colour carries with it consciousness of itself than
for saying that a table does. The illegitimacy of the assertion is
concealed from us by the fact that tables appear to exist when there is
no consciousness present, whereas redness cannot be proved to exist
independently of consciousness--it may or may not do so. Many
present-day thinkers, continuing the tradition of the English
associationists, hold to this pre-Kantian view. Sensations, feelings,
etc., are, it is implied, pieces of consciousness, forms of awareness;
through their varying combinations they constitute the complex
experiences of the animal and human mind.

Kant’s teaching is developed in direct opposition to all such views. If
we discard his antiquated terminology, and state his position in current
terms, we find that it amounts to the assertion that _consciousness is
in all cases awareness of meaning_. There is no awareness, however
rudimentary or primitive, that does not involve the apprehension of
meaning. Meaning and awareness are correlative terms; each must be
studied in its relation to the other. And inasmuch as meaning is a
highly complex object of apprehension, awareness cannot be regarded as
ultimate or as unanalysable. It can be shown to rest upon a complexity
of generative conditions and to involve a variety of distinct factors.

There are thus, from the Kantian standpoint, two all-sufficient reasons
why the diaphanous view of consciousness, _i.e._ any view which treats
consciousness merely as a medium whereby the existent gets itself
reported, must be regarded as untenable. In the first place, as already
remarked, it is based on the false assumption that consciousness is an
ultimate, and that we are therefore dispensed from all further
investigation of its nature. Kant claims to have distinguished
successfully the many components which go to constitute it; and he also
professes to have shown that until such analysis has been made, there
can be no sufficient basis for a philosophical treatment either of the
problems of sense-perception or of the logical problems of judgment and
inference. The diaphanous view, with its mirror-like mode of
representation, might allow of the side-by-sideness of associated
contents; it can never account for the processes whereby the associated
contents come to be apprehended.

Secondly, the diaphanous view ignores the fundamental distinction
between meaning and existence. Existences rest, so to speak, on their
own bottom; they are self-centred even at the very moment of their
reaction to external influences. Meaning, on the other hand, always
involves the interpretation of what is given in the light of wider
considerations that lend it significance. In the awareness of meaning
the given, the actually presented, is in some way transcended, and this
transcendence is what has chiefly to be reckoned with in any attempt to
explain the conscious process. Kant is giving expression to this thesis
when he contends that all awareness, no matter how rudimentary or
apparently simple, is an act of judgment, and therefore involves the
relational categories. _Not passive contemplation but active judgment,
not mere conception but inferential interpretation, is the fundamental
form, and the only form, in which our consciousness exists._ This, of
course, commits Kant to the assertion that there is no mode of cognition
that can be described as immediate or unreflective. There is an
immediate _element_ in all knowledge, but our consciousness of it is
always conditioned and accompanied by interpretative processes, and in
their absence there can be no awareness of any kind.

By way of this primary distinction between existence and meaning Kant
advances to all those other distinctions which characterise our human
experience, between appearance and reality, between the real and the
Ideal, between that which is judged and the criteria which control and
direct the judging process. Just because all awareness is awareness of
meaning, our human experience becomes intelligible as a purposive
activity that directs itself according to Ideal standards.

The contrast between the Kantian and the Cartesian views of
consciousness can be defined in reference to another important issue.
The diaphanous view commits its adherents to a very definite
interpretation of the nature of relations. Since they regard
consciousness as passive and receptive, they have to maintain that
relations can be known only in so far as they are apprehended in a
manner analogous to the contents themselves. I do not, of course, wish
to imply that this view of relational knowledge is in all cases and in
all respects illegitimate. Kant, as we shall find, has carried the
opposite view to an impossible extreme, assuming without further
argument that what has been shown to be true of certain types of
relation (for instance, of the causal and substance-attribute
relations) must be true of all relations, even of those that constitute
space and time. It cannot be denied that, as William James and others
have very rightly insisted, such relations as the space-relations are
_in some degree or manner_ presentational. This does not, however,
justify James in concluding, as he at times seems inclined to do, that
all relations are directly experienced. Such procedure lays him open to
the same charge of illegitimate reasoning. But even if we could grant
James’s thesis in its widest form, the all-important Critical question
would still remain: in what does awareness, whether of presented
contents or of presented relations, consist, and how is it possible? In
answering this question Kant is led to the conclusion that consciousness
must be regarded as an activity, and as supplying certain of the
conditions of its own possibility. Its contribution is of a uniform and
constant nature; it consists, as already noted, of certain relational
factors whose presence can be detected in each and every act of

There is one other respect in which Kant’s view of consciousness differs
from that of his Cartesian predecessors.[32] Consciousness, he
maintains, does not reveal itself, but only its objects. In other words,
there is no awareness of awareness. So far as our mental states and
processes can be known at all, they are known in the same objective
manner in which we apprehend existences in space.[33] Now if that be so,
a very important consequence follows. If there is no awareness of
awareness, but only of meanings all of which are objective, there can be
no consciousness of the generative, synthetic processes that constitute
consciousness _on its subjective side_. For consciousness, being an
_act_ of awareness in which _meaning_ is apprehended, has a twofold
nature, and must be very differently described according to the aspect
which at any one time we may have in view. When we regard it on its
_objective_ side as awareness of _meaning_, we are chiefly concerned
with the various factors that are necessary to meaning and that enter
into its constitution. That is to say, our analysis is essentially
logical. When, on the other hand, we consider consciousness as an _act_
of awareness, our problem is ontological or as it may be entitled
(though the term is in this reference somewhat misleading, since the
enquiry as defined by Kant is essentially metaphysical) psychological in
character. Between these two aspects there is this very important
difference. The logical factors constitutive of meaning can be
exhaustively known; they are elements in the meanings which
consciousness reveals; whereas the synthetic processes are postulated
solely in view of these constituent factors, and in order to account for
them. The processes, that is to say, are known only through that which
they condition, and on Kant’s teaching we are entirely ruled out from
attempting to comprehend even their possibility.[34] They must be
thought as occurring, but they cannot be known, _i.e._ their nature
cannot be definitely specified. The postulating of them marks a gap in
our knowledge, and extends our insight only in the degree that it
discloses our ignorance. As consciousness rests upon, and is made
possible by, these processes, it can never be explained in terms of the
objective world to which our sense-experience, and therefore, as Kant
argues, our specific knowledge, is exclusively limited. The mind can
unfold its contents in the sunshine of consciousness, only because its
roots strike deep into a soil that the light does not penetrate. These
processes, thus postulated, Kant regards as the source of the _a priori_
elements, and as the agency through which the synthetic connections
necessary to all consciousness are brought about.

According to Kant’s Critical teaching, therefore, consciousness, though
analysable, is not such as can ever be rendered completely
comprehensible. When all is said, it remains for us a merely _de facto_
form of existence, and has to be taken just for what it presents itself
as being. It is actually such as to make possible the logical processes
of judgment and inference. It is actually such as to render possible a
satisfactory proof of the scientific validity, within the field of
sense-experience, of the principle of causality, and of such other
principles as are required in the development of the positive sciences.
It is also such as to render comprehensible the controlling influence of
Ideal standards. But when we come to the question, how is consciousness
of this type and form possible, that is, to the question of its
metaphysical significance and of the generative conditions upon which it
rests, we find, Kant maintains, that we have no data sufficient to
justify any decisive answer.

The ontological, creative, or dynamical aspect of consciousness, I may
further insist, must be constantly borne in mind if the Critical
standpoint is to be properly viewed. The logical analysis is, indeed,
for the purposes of the central portions of the _Critique_ much the more
important, and alone allows of detailed, exhaustive development; but the
other is no less essential for an appreciation of Kant’s attitude
towards the more strictly metaphysical problems of the _Dialectic_.

Hegel and his disciples have been the chief culprits in subordinating,
or rather in entirely eliminating, this aspect of Kant’s teaching. Many
of the inconsistencies of which they accuse Kant exist only if Kant’s
teaching be first reduced to a part of itself. To eliminate the
ontological implications of his theory of consciousness is, by
anticipation, to render many of his main conclusions entirely untenable,
and in particular to destroy the force of his fundamental distinction
between appearance and reality. If consciousness knows itself in its
ultimate nature--and such is Hegel’s contention--one half of reality is
taken out of the obscurity in which, on Kant’s reading of the situation,
it is condemned to lie hidden. Man is more knowable than nature, and is
the key to nature; such is Hegel’s position, crudely stated. Contrast
therewith the teaching of Kant. We can know nature more completely
(though still very incompletely) than we can ever hope to comprehend the
conditions that make possible and actual man’s spiritual life. The moral
consciousness is an autonomously acting source of independent values,
and though a standing miracle, must be taken for all that on independent
and separate enquiry it is found to be. Hegel, in his endeavour to
establish an intellectual monism, does violence to some of the highest
interests which he professes to be safeguarding. Kant, while outlining
in Idea a Kingdom of Ends, remains satisfied with a pluralistic
distinction between the intellectual and the moral categories. The
antithesis of the two philosophies is in some degree the ancient
opposition between Aristotle and Plato, restated in modern terms.


The revolutionary character of the above conclusions is shown by the
difficulty which Kant himself found in breaking away from many of the
presuppositions that underlie the views which he was renouncing; and
this is nowhere more evident than in his constant alternation throughout
the _Critique_ between a _subjectivism_[35] that is thoroughly
Cartesian--we might almost, allowing for his rationalism, say
Berkeleian--in character, and a radically different position which may
be entitled _phenomenalism_. The latter is alone genuinely Critical, and
presents Kant’s teaching in its maturest form. For though first
formulated only in those portions of the _Analytic_ that are late in
date of writing, and in those passages of the second edition which
supplement them, it would seem to be the only logical outcome of Kant’s
other main doctrines.

I have especially in mind Kant’s fundamental distinction between
appearance and reality; it has an all-important bearing upon the
Cartesian opposition between the mental and the material, and especially
upon the question as to what view ought to be taken of our so-called
_subjective_ experiences. The objective is for the Cartesians the
independently real; the subjective is asserted to have an altogether
different kind of existence in what is named the field of consciousness.
Kant’s phenomenalist restatement of this distinction is too complex and
subtle to be made intelligible in the brief space available in this
_Introduction_--it is expounded in the body of the _Commentary_[36]--but
its general character I may indicate in a few sentences. All
subjectivist modes of stating the problem of knowledge, such as we find
in Hume and in Leibniz no less than in Descartes, Locke, and Berkeley,
are, Kant finally concluded, illegitimate and question-begging. Our
so-called subjective states, whether they be sensations, feelings, or
desires, are _objective_ in the sense that they are _objects_ for
consciousness.[37] Our mental states do not run parallel with the system
of natural existences; nor are they additional to it. They do not
constitute our consciousness of nature; they are themselves part of the
natural order which consciousness reveals. They compose the empirical
self which is an objective existence, integrally connected with the
material environment in terms of which alone it can be understood. The
subjective is not opposite in nature to the objective, but a sub-species
within it. While, however, the psychical is thus to be regarded as a
class of known appearances, and as forming together with the physical a
single system of nature, this entire order is, in Kant’s view,
conditioned by an underlying realm of noumenal existence; and when the
question of the possibility of the _knowing_, that is, of the
_experiencing_ of such a comprehensive natural system, is raised, it is
to this noumenal sphere that we are referred. Everything experienced,
even a sensation or feeling, is an event, but the experiencing of it is
an act of awareness, and calls for an explanation of an altogether
different kind.

Thus the problem of knowledge, stated in adequate Critical terms, is not
how we can advance from the merely subjective to knowledge of the
independently real,[38] but how, if everything known forms part of a
comprehensive natural system, consciousness and the complex factors
which contribute to its possibility are to be interpreted. On this
latter question, as already indicated, Kant, though debarring both
subjectivism and materialism, otherwise adopts a non-committal attitude.
So long as we continue within the purely theoretical domain, there are a
number of alternatives between which there are no sufficient data for
deciding. To debar subjectivism is not to maintain the illusory or
phenomenal character of the individual self; and to rule out materialism
is not to assert that the unconscious may not generate and account for
the conscious. In other words, they are ruled out not for any ulterior
reasons derived from their supposed metaphysical consequences, but
solely because they are based on palpable misinterpretations of the
cognitive situation that generates those very problems to which they
profess to be an answer.


The inwardness of Kant’s Critical standpoint may perhaps be made clearer
by a brief consideration of his view of animal intelligence. We are
accustomed nowadays to test a psychology of human consciousness by its
capacity to render conceivable an evolution from lower forms. How does
Kant’s teaching emerge from such a test?

It may at once be admitted that Kant has made no special study of animal
behaviour, and was by no means competent to speak with authority in
regard to its conditions. Indeed it is evident that anything which he
may have to say upon this question is entirely of the nature of a
deduction from results obtained in the human sphere. But when this has
been admitted, and we are therefore prepared to find the problems
approached from the point of view of the difference rather than of the
kinship between man and the animals, we can recognise that, so far as
the independent study of human consciousness is concerned, there is a
certain compensating advantage in Kant’s pre-Darwinian standpoint. For
it leaves him free from that desire which exercises so constant, and
frequently so deleterious an influence, upon many workers in the field
of psychology, namely, to maintain at all costs, in anticipation of
conclusions not yet by any means established, the fundamental identity
of animal and human intelligence. This besetting desire all too easily
tends to the minimising of differences that may perhaps with fuller
insight be found to involve no breach of continuity, but which in the
present state of our knowledge cannot profitably be interpreted save in
terms of their differentiating peculiarities.

The current controversy between mechanism and vitalism enforces the
point which I desire to make. Biological problems, as many biologists
are now urging, can be most profitably discussed in comparative
independence of ultimate issues, entirely in view of their own domestic
circumstances. For only when the actual constitution of organic
compounds has been more completely determined than has hitherto been
possible can the broader questions be adequately dealt with. In other
words, the differences must be known before the exact nature and degree
of the continuity can be defined. They cannot be anticipated by any mere
deduction from general principles.

The value of Kant’s analysis of human consciousness is thus closely
bound up with his frank recognition of its inherent complexity. Not
simplification, but specification, down to the bedrock of an irreducible
minimum of correlated factors, is the governing motive of his Critical
enquiries. His results have therefore the great advantage of being
inspired by no considerations save such as are prescribed by the actual
subject-matter under investigation. As already noted, Kant maintains
that human consciousness is always an awareness of meaning, and that
consequently it can find expression only in judgments which involve
together with their other factors the element of recognition or

This decides for Kant the character of the distinction to be drawn
between animal and human intelligence. As animals, in his view, cannot
be regarded as possessing a capacity of self-consciousness, they must
also be denied all awareness of meaning. However complicated the
associative organisation of their ideas may be, it never rises to the
higher level of logical judgment. For the same reason, though their
ideas may be schematic in outline, and in their bearing on behaviour may
therefore have the same efficiency as general concepts, they cannot
become universal in the logical sense. “Animals have apprehensions, but
not apperceptions, and cannot, therefore, make their representations
universal.”[39] In support of this position Kant might have pointed to
the significant fact that animals are so teachable up to a certain
point, and so unteachable beyond it. They can be carried as far as
associative suggestion will allow, but not a step further. To this day
it remains true--at least I venture the assertion--that no animal has
ever been conclusively shown to be capable of apprehending a sign as a
sign. Animals may seem to do so owing to the influence of associated
ideas, but are, as it would appear, debarred from crossing the boundary
line which so sharply distinguishes associative suggestion from
reflective knowledge.

But Kant is committed to a further assertion. If animals are devoid of
all awareness of meaning, they must also be denied anything analogous to
what we must signify by the term consciousness. Their experience must
fall apart into events, that may, perhaps, be described as mental, but
cannot be taken as equivalent to an act of awareness. “_Apprehensio
bruta_ without consciousness,”[40] such is Kant’s view of the animal
mind. Its mental states, like all other natural existences, are events
in time, explicable in the same naturalistic fashion as the bodily
processes by which they are conditioned; they can not be equated with
that human consciousness which enables us to reflect upon them, and to
determine the conditions of their temporal happening.

The distinction which Kant desires to draw is ultimately that between
events and consciousness of events. Even if events are psychical in
character, consisting of sensations and feelings, there will still
remain as fundamental the distinction between what is simply a member of
the causal series of natural events and the consciousness through which
the series is apprehended. Kant’s most explicit statements occur in a
letter to Herz.[41] He is referring to data of the senses which cannot
be self-consciously apprehended:

     “I should not be able to know that I have them, and they would
     therefore be for me, as a cognitive being, absolutely nothing.
     They might still (if I conceive myself as an animal) exist in me (a
     being unconscious of my own existence) as representations ...,
     connected according to an empirical law of association, exercising
     influence upon feeling and desire, and so always disporting
     themselves with regularity, without my thereby acquiring the least
     cognition of anything, not even of these my own states.”[42]

As to whether Kant is justified in maintaining that the distinction
between animal and human consciousness coincides with the distinction
between associative and logical or reflective thinking, I am not
concerned to maintain. This digression has been introduced solely for
the purpose of defining more precisely the central tenets of Kant’s
Critical teaching.


We have still to consider what is perhaps the most serious of all the
misunderstandings to which Kant has laid himself open, and which is in
large part responsible for the widespread belief that his Critical
principles, when consistently developed, must finally eventuate in some
such metaphysics as that of Fichte and Hegel. I refer to the view that
Kant in postulating synthetic processes as conditioning consciousness is
postulating a noumenal self as exercising these activities, and is
therefore propounding a _metaphysical explanation_ of the synthetic, _a
priori_ factors in human experience.[43]

Kant’s language is frequently ambiguous. The Leibnizian spiritualism, to
which in his pre-Critical period he had unquestioningly held, continued
to influence his terminology, and so to prevent his Critical principles
from obtaining consistent expression. This much can be said in support
of the above interpretation of Kant’s position. But in all other
respects such a reading of his philosophy is little better than a parody
of his actual teaching. For Kant is very well aware that the problem of
knowledge is not to be solved in any such easy and high-handed fashion.
In the _Critique_ he teaches quite explicitly that to profess to explain
the presence of _a priori_ factors in human experience by means of a
self assumed for that very purpose would be a flagrant violation, not
only of Critical principles, but even of the elementary maxims of
scientific reasoning. In the first place, explanation by reference to
the activities of such a self would be explanation by faculties, by the
unknown; it is a cause that will explain anything and everything equally
well or badly.[44] Self-consciousness has, indeed, to be admitted as a
fact;[45] and from its occurrence Kant draws important conclusions in
regard to the conditions which make experience possible. But, in so
doing, Kant never intends to maintain that we are justified in
postulating as part of those conditions, or as condition of those
conditions, a noumenal self. The conditions which make experience
possible, whatever they may be, are also the conditions which make
self-consciousness possible. Since the self is known only as appearance,
it cannot be asserted to be the conditioning ground of appearance.

This first objection is not explicitly stated by Kant, but it is implied
in a second argument which finds expression both in the _Deduction of
the Categories_ and in the chapter on the _Paralogisms_. The only self
that we know to exist is the _conscious_ self. Now, as Kant claims to
have proved, the self can be thus conscious, even of itself, only in so
far as it is conscious of objects. Consequently we have no right to
assume that the self can precede such consciousness as its generating
cause. That would be to regard the self as existing prior to its own
conditions, working in darkness to create itself as a source of light.

But there is also a third reason why Kant’s Critical solution of the
problem of knowledge must not be stated in spiritualist terms.
Self-consciousness, as he shows, is itself _relational_ in character. It
is a fundamental factor in human experience, not because the self can
be shown to be the agency to which relations are due, but solely
because, itself a case of recognition, it is at the same time a
necessary condition of recognition, and recognition is indispensably
presupposed in all consciousness of meaning.[46] Awareness of meaning is
the fundamental mystery, and retains its profoundly mysterious character
even when self-consciousness has been thus detected as an essential
constituent. For self-consciousness does not explain the possibility of
meaning; it is itself, as I have just remarked, only one case of
recognition, and so is itself only an instance, though indeed the
supreme and most important instance, of what we must intend by the term
meaning. All awareness, not excepting that of the knowing self, rests
upon noumenal conditions whose specific nature it does not itself
reveal. Only on moral grounds, never through any purely theoretical
analysis of cognitive experience, can it be proved that the self is an
abiding personality, and that in conscious, personal form it belongs to
the order of noumenal reality.


Even so summary a statement of Critical teaching as I am attempting in
this _Introduction_ would be very incomplete without some reference to
Kant’s threefold distinction between the forms of sensibility, the
categories of the understanding, and the Ideas of Reason.

On investigating space and time Kant discovers that they cannot be
classed either with the data of the bodily senses or with the concepts
of the understanding. They are sensuous (_i.e._ are not abstract but
concrete, not ways of thinking but modes of existence), yet at the same
time are _a priori_. They thus stand apart by themselves. Each is unique
in its kind, is single, and is an infinite existence. To describe them
is to combine predicates seemingly contradictory. In Kant’s own phrase,
they are monstrosities (_Undinge_), none the less incomprehensible that
they are undeniably actual. To them, primarily, are due those problems
which have been a standing challenge to philosophy since the time of
Zeno the Eleatic, and which Kant has entitled “antinomies of Reason.”

In contrast of sensibility Kant sets the intellectual faculties,
understanding and Reason. In the understanding originate certain pure
concepts, or as he more usually names them, categories. The chief of
these are the categories of “relation”--substance, causality and
reciprocity. They combine with the forms of sensibility and the manifold
of sense to yield the consciousness of an empirical order, interpretable
in accordance with universal laws.

To the faculty of Reason Kant ascribes what he entitles Ideas. The Ideas
differ from space, time, and the categories in being not “constitutive”
but “regulative.” They demand an _unconditionedness_ of existence and a
_completeness_ of explanation which can never be found in actual
experience. Their function is threefold. In the first place, they render
the mind dissatisfied with the haphazard collocations of ordinary
experience, and define the goal for its scientific endeavours. Secondly,
they determine for us the criteria that distinguish between truth and
falsity.[47] And thirdly, in so doing, they likewise make possible the
distinction between appearance and reality, revealing to us an
irreconcilable conflict between the ultimate aims of science and the
human conditions, especially the spatial and temporal conditions under
which these aims are realised. The Ideas of Reason are the second main
factor in the “antinomies.”

The problem of the _Critique_, the analysis of our awareness of meaning,
is a single problem, and each of the above elements involves all the
others. Kant, however, for reasons into which I need not here enter, has
assigned part of the problem to what he entitles the _Transcendental
Aesthetic_, and another part to the _Transcendental Dialectic_. Only
what remains is dealt with in what is really the most important of the
three divisions, the _Transcendental Analytic_. But as the problem is
one and indivisible, the discussions in all three sections are condemned
to incompleteness save in so far as Kant, by happy inconsistency,
transgresses the limits imposed by his method of treatment. The
_Aesthetic_ really does no more than prepare the ground for the more
adequate analysis of space and time given in the _Analytic_ and
_Dialectic_, while the problem of the _Analytic_ is itself incompletely
stated until the more comprehensive argument of the _Dialectic_ is taken
into account.[48] Thus the statement in the _Aesthetic_ that space and
time are _given_ to the mind by the sensuous faculty of receptivity is
modified in the _Analytic_ through recognition of the part which the
syntheses and concepts of the understanding must play in the
construction of these forms; and in the _Dialectic_ their apprehension
is further found to involve an Idea of Reason. Similarly, in the
concluding chapter of the _Analytic_, in discussing the grounds for
distinguishing between appearance and reality, Kant omits all reference
to certain important considerations which first emerge into view in the
course of the _Dialectic_. Yet, though no question is more vital to
Critical teaching, the reader is left under the impression that the
treatment given in the _Analytic_ is complete and final.

Partly as a consequence of this, partly owing to Kant’s inconsistent
retention of earlier modes of thinking, there are traceable throughout
the _Critique_ two opposed views of the nature of the distinction
between appearance and reality. On the one view, this distinction is
mediated by the relational categories of the understanding, especially
by that of causality; on the other view, it is grounded in the Ideas of
Reason. The former sets appearance in opposition to reality; the latter
regards the distinction in a more tenable fashion, as being between
realities less and more comprehensively conceived.[49]

A similar defect is caused by Kant’s isolation of immanent from
transcendent metaphysics.[50] The former is dealt with only in the
_Analytic_, the latter only in the _Dialectic_. The former, Kant
asserts, is made possible by the forms of sensibility and the categories
of the understanding; the latter he traces to an illegitimate employment
of the Ideas of Reason. Such a mode of statement itself reveals the
impossibility of any sharp distinction between the immanent and the
transcendent. If science is conditioned by Ideals which arouse the mind
to further acquisitions, and at the same time reveal the limitations to
which our knowledge is for ever condemned to remain subject; if, in
other words, everything known, in being correctly known, must be
apprehended as appearance (_i.e._ as a subordinate existence within a
more comprehensive reality), the distinction between the immanent and
the transcendent falls within and not beyond the domain of our total
experience. The meaning which our consciousness discloses in each of its
judgments is an essentially metaphysical one. It involves the thought,
though not the knowledge, of something more than what the experienced
can ever itself be found to be. The metaphysical is immanent in our
knowledge; the transcendent is merely a name for this immanent factor
when it is falsely viewed as capable of isolation and of independent
treatment. By Kant’s own showing, the task of the _Dialectic_ is not
merely to refute the pretensions of transcendent metaphysics, but to
develop the above general thesis, in confirmation of the positive
conclusions established in the _Analytic_. The _Critique_ will then
supply the remedy for certain evils to which the human mind has hitherto
been subject.

     “_The Critique of Pure Reason_ is a preservative against a malady
     which has its source in our rational nature. This malady is the
     opposite of the love of home (the home-sickness) which binds us to
     our fatherland. It is a longing to pass out beyond our immediate
     confines and to relate ourselves to other worlds.”[51]


The positive character of Kant’s conclusions cannot be properly
appreciated save in the wider perspectives that open to view in the
_Critique of Practical Reason_ and in the _Critique of Judgment_. Though
in the _Critique of Pure Reason_ a distinction is drawn between
theoretical and moral belief, it is introduced in a somewhat casual
manner, and there is no clear indication of the far-reaching
consequences that follow in its train. Unfortunately also, even in his
later writings, Kant is very unfair to himself in his methods of
formulating the distinction. His real intention is to show that
scientific knowledge is not coextensive with human insight; but he
employs a misleading terminology, contrasting knowledge with faith,
scientific demonstration with practical belief.

As already indicated, the term knowledge has, in the Critical
philosophy, a much narrower connotation than in current speech. It is
limited to _sense_-experience, and to such inferences therefrom as can
be obtained by the only methods that Kant is willing to recognise,
namely, the mathematico-physical. Aesthetic, moral and religious
experience, and even organic phenomena, are excluded from the field of
possible knowledge.

In holding to this position, Kant is, of course, the child of his time.
The absolute sufficiency of the Newtonian physics is a presupposition of
all his utterances on this theme. Newton, he believes, has determined in
a quite final manner the principles, methods and limits of scientific
investigation. For though Kant himself imposes upon science a further
limitation, namely, to appearances, he conceives himself, in so doing,
not as weakening Newton’s natural philosophy, but as securing it against
all possible objections. And to balance the narrow connotation thus
assigned to the term knowledge, he has to give a correspondingly wide
meaning to the terms faith, moral belief, subjective principles of
interpretation. If this be not kept constantly in mind, the reader is
certain to misconstrue the character and tendencies of Kant’s actual

But though the advances made by the sciences since Kant’s time have
rendered this mode of delimiting the field of knowledge altogether
untenable, his method of defining the sources of _philosophical insight_
has proved very fruitful, and has many adherents at the present day.
What Kant does--stated in broad outline--is to distinguish between the
problems of _existence_ and the problems of _value_, assigning the
former to science and the latter to philosophy.[52] Theoretical
philosophy, represented in his system by the _Critique of Pure Reason_,
takes as its province the logical values, that is, the distinction of
truth and falsity, and defining their criteria determines the nature and
limits of our theoretical insight. Kant finds that these criteria enable
us to distinguish between truth and falsity only on the empirical plane.
Beyond making possible a distinction between appearance and reality,
they have no applicability in the metaphysical sphere.

The _Critique of Practical Reason_ deals with values of a very different
character. The faculty of Reason, which, as already noted,[53] renders
our consciousness a purposive agency controlled by Ideal standards, is
also, Kant maintains, the source of the moral sanctions. But whereas in
the theoretical field it subdues our minds to the discipline of
experience, and restrains our intellectual ambitions within the limits
of the empirical order, it here summons us to sacrifice every natural
impulse and every secular advantage to the furtherance of an end that
has absolute value. In imposing duties, it raises our life from the
“pragmatic”[54] level of a calculating expediency to the higher plane of
a categorical imperative.

The categorical imperative at once humbles and exalts; it discloses our
limitations, but does so through the greatness of the vocation to which
it calls us.

     “This principle of morality, just on account of the universality of
     the legislation which makes it the formal supreme determining
     principle of our will, without regard to any subjective
     differences, is declared by the Reason to be a law for all
     rational beings.... It is, therefore, not limited to men only, but
     applies to all finite beings that possess Reason and Will; nay, it
     even includes the Infinite Being as the Supreme Intelligence.”[55]

Consequently, in employing moral ends in the interpretation of the
Universe, we are not picturing the Divine under human limitations, but
are discounting these limitations in the light of the one form of value
that is known to us as absolute.

     “_Duty!_ ... What origin is worthy of thee and where is to be found
     the root of thy noble descent ... a root to be derived from which
     is the indispensable condition of the only worth that men can give

In his earlier years Kant had accepted the current, Leibnizian view that
human excellence consists in intellectual enlightenment, and that it is
therefore reserved for an _élite_, privileged with the leisure and
endowed with the special abilities required for its enjoyment. From this
arid intellectualism he was delivered through the influence of Rousseau.

     “I am by disposition an enquirer. I feel the consuming thirst for
     knowledge, the eager unrest to advance ever further, and the
     delights of discovery. There was a time when I believed that this
     is what confers real dignity upon human life, and I despised the
     common people who know nothing. Rousseau has set me right. This
     imagined advantage vanishes. I learn to honour men, and should
     regard myself as of much less use than the common labourer, if I
     did not believe that my philosophy will restore to all men the
     common rights of humanity.”[57]

These common rights Kant formulates in a purely individualist manner.
For here also, in his lack of historic sense and in his distrust alike
of priests and of statesmen, he is the child of his time. In the
education and discipline of the soul he looks to nothing so artificial
and humanly limited--Kant so regards them--as religious tradition and
social institutions. Human rights, he believes, do not vary with time
and place; and for their enjoyment man requires no initiation and no
equipment beyond what is supplied by Nature herself. It is from this
standpoint that Kant adduces, as the twofold and sufficient inspiration
to the rigours and sublimities of the spiritual life, the starry heavens
above us and the moral law within. They are ever-present influences on
the life of man. The naked eye reveals the former; of the latter all men
are immediately aware. In their universal appeal they are of the very
substance of human existence. Philosophy may avail to counteract certain
of the hindrances which prevent them from exercising their native
influence; it cannot be a substitute for the inspiration which they
alone can yield.

Thus the categorical imperative, in endowing the human soul with an
intrinsic value, singles it out from all other natural existences, and
strengthens it to face, with equanimity, the cold immensities of the
cosmic system. For though the heavens arouse in us a painful feeling of
our insignificance as animal existences, they intensify our
consciousness of a sublime destiny, as bearers of a rival, and indeed a
superior, dignity.

In one fundamental respect Kant broke with the teaching of Rousseau,
namely, in questioning his doctrine of the natural goodness and
indefinite perfectibility of human nature.[58] Nothing, Kant maintains,
is good without qualification except the good will; and even that,
perhaps, is never completely attained in any single instance. The
exercise of duty demands a perpetual vigilance, under the ever-present
consciousness of continuing demerit.

     “I am willing to admit out of love of humanity that most of our
     actions are indeed correct, but if we examine them more closely we
     everywhere come upon the dear self which is always
     prominent....”[59] “Nothing but moral fanaticism and exaggerated
     self-conceit is infused into the mind by exhortation to actions as
     noble, sublime and magnanimous. Thereby men are led into the
     delusion that it is not duty, that is, respect for the law, whose
     yoke ... they must bear, whether they like it or not, that
     constitutes the determining principle of their actions, and which
     always humbles them while they _obey_ it. They then fancy that
     those actions are expected from them, not from duty, but as pure
     merit.... In this way they engender a vain high-flying fantastic
     way of thinking, flattering themselves with a spontaneous goodness
     of heart that needs neither spur nor bridle, nor any

In asserting the goodness and self-sufficiency of our natural impulses
Rousseau is the spokesman of a philosophy which has dominated social and
political theory since his day, and which is still prevalent. This
philosophy, in Kant’s view, is disastrous in its consequences. As a
reading of human nature and of our moral vocation, it is hardly less
false than the Epicurean teaching, which finds in the pursuit of
pleasure the motive of all our actions. A naturalistic ethics, in either
form, is incapacitated, by the very nature of its controlling
assumptions, from appreciating the distinguishing features of the moral
consciousness. Neither the successes nor the failures of man’s spiritual
endeavour can be rightly understood from any such standpoint. The human
race, in its endurance and tenacity, in its dauntless courage and in its
soaring spirit, reveals the presence of a _prevenient_ influence,
_non-natural_ in character; and only if human nature be taken as
including this higher, directive power, can it assume to itself the
eulogy which Rousseau so mistakenly passes upon the natural and
undisciplined tendencies of the human heart. For as history
demonstrates, while _men_ are weak, _humanity_ is marvellous.

     “There is one thing in our soul which, when we take a right view of
     it, we cannot cease to regard with the highest astonishment, and in
     regard to which admiration is right and indeed elevating, and that
     is our original moral capacity in general.... Even the
     incomprehensibility of this capacity,[61] a capacity which
     proclaims a Divine origin, must rouse man’s spirit to enthusiasm
     and strengthen it for any sacrifices which respect for his duty may
     impose on him.”[62]

We are not here concerned with the detail of Kant’s ethical teaching, or
with the manner in which he establishes the freedom of the will, and
justifies belief in the existence of God and the immortality of the
soul. In many respects his argument lies open to criticism. There is an
unhappy contrast between the largeness of his fundamental thesis and
the formal, doctrinaire manner in which it is developed. Indeed, in the
_Critique of Practical Reason_ the individualist, deistic, rationalistic
modes of thinking of his time are much more in evidence than in any
other of his chief writings; and incidentally he also displays a curious
insensibility--again characteristic of his period--to all that is
specific in the religious attitude. But when due allowances have been
made, we can still maintain that in resting his constructive views upon
the supreme value of the moral personality Kant has influenced
subsequent philosophy in hardly less degree than by his teaching in the
_Critique of Pure Reason_.[63]

The two _Critiques_, in method of exposition and argument, in general
outcome, and indeed in the total impression they leave upon the mind,
are extraordinarily different. In the _Critique of Pure Reason_ Kant is
meticulously scrupulous in testing the validity of each link in his
argument. Constantly he retraces his steps; and in many of his chief
problems he halts between competing solutions. Kant’s sceptical spirit
is awake, and it refuses to cease from its questionings. In the
_Critique of Practical Reason_, on the other hand, there is an austere
simplicity of argument, which advances, without looking to right or
left, from a few simple principles direct to their ultimate
consequences. The impressiveness of the first _Critique_ consists in its
appreciation of the _complexity_ of the problems, and in the care with
which their various, conflicting aspects are separately dealt with. The
second _Critique_ derives its force from the fundamental conviction upon
which it is based.

Such, then, stated in the most general terms, is the manner in which
Kant conceives the _Critique of Pure Reason_ as contributing to the
establishment of a humanistic philosophy. It clears the ground for the
practical Reason, and secures it in the autonomous control of its own
domain. While preserving to the intellect and to science certain
definitely prescribed rights, Kant places in the forefront of his system
the moral values; and he does so under the conviction that in living up
to the opportunities, in whatever rank of life, of our common heritage,
we obtain a truer and deeper insight into ultimate issues than can be
acquired through the abstruse subtleties of metaphysical speculation.

I may again draw attention to the consequences which follow from Kant’s
habitual method of isolating his problems. Truth is a value of universal
jurisdiction, and from its criteria the judgments of moral and other
values can claim no exemption. Existences and values do not constitute
independent orders. They interpenetrate, and neither can be adequately
dealt with apart from the considerations appropriate to the other. In
failing to co-ordinate his problems, Kant has over-emphasised the
negative aspects of his logical enquiries and has formulated his ethical
doctrines in a needlessly dogmatic form.

These defects are, however, in some degree remedied in the last of his
chief works, the _Critique of Judgment_. In certain respects it is the
most interesting of all Kant’s writings. The qualities of both the
earlier _Critiques_ here appear in happy combination, while in addition
his concrete interests are more in evidence, to the great enrichment of
his abstract argument. Many of the doctrines of the _Critique of Pure
Reason_, especially those that bear on the problems of teleology, are
restated in a less negative manner, and in their connection with the
kindred problems of natural beauty and the fine arts. For though the
final decision in all metaphysical questions is still reserved to moral
considerations, Kant now takes a more catholic view of the field of
philosophy. He allows, though with characteristic reservations, that the
_empirical_ evidence obtainable through examination of the broader
features of our total experience is of genuinely philosophical value,
and that it can safely be employed to amplify and confirm the
independent convictions of the moral consciousness. The embargo which in
the _Critique of Pure Reason_, in matters metaphysical, is placed upon
all tentative and probable reasoning is thus tacitly removed; and the
term knowledge again acquires the wider meaning very properly ascribed
to it in ordinary speech.



The term critique or criticism, as employed by Kant, is of English
origin. It appears in seventeenth and eighteenth century English,
chiefly in adjectival form, as a literary and artistic term--for
instance, in the works of Pope, who was Kant’s favourite English poet.
Kant was the first to employ it in German, extending it from the field
of aesthetics to that of general philosophy. A reference in Kant’s
_Logic_[64] to Home’s _Elements of Criticism_[65] would seem to indicate
that it was Home’s use of the term which suggested to him its wider
employment. “Critique of pure reason,” in its primary meaning, signifies
the passing of critical judgments upon pure reason. In this sense Kant
speaks of his time as “the age of criticism (_Zeitalter der Kritik_).”
Frequently, however, he takes the term more specifically as meaning a
critical investigation leading to positive as well as to negative
results. Occasionally, especially in the _Dialectic_, it also signifies
a discipline applied to pure reason, limiting it within due bounds. The
first appearance of the word in Kant’s writings is in 1765 in the
_Nachricht_[66] of his lectures for the winter term 1765-1766. Kant
seldom employs the corresponding adjective, critical (_kritisch_). His
usual substitute for it is the term transcendental.

_Pure_ (_rein_) has here a very definite meaning. It is the absolutely
_a priori_. Negatively it signifies that which is independent of
experience. Positively it signifies that which originates from reason
itself, and which is characterised by universality and necessity.[67] By
“pure reason” Kant therefore means reason in so far as it supplies out
of itself, independently of experience, _a priori_ elements that as such
are characterised by universality and necessity.

_Reason_ (_Vernunft_) is used in the _Critique_ in three different
meanings. In the above title it is employed in its widest sense, as the
source of all _a priori_ elements. It includes what is _a priori_ in
sensibility as well as in understanding (_Verstand_). In its narrowest
sense it is distinct even from understanding, and signifies that faculty
which renders the mind dissatisfied with its ordinary and scientific
knowledge, and which leads it to demand a completeness and
unconditionedness which can never be found in the empirical sphere.
Understanding conditions science; reason generates metaphysic.
Understanding has categories; reason has its Ideas. Thirdly, Kant
frequently employs understanding and reason as synonymous terms,
dividing the mind only into the two faculties, sensibility and
spontaneity. Thus in A 1-2, understanding and reason are used
promiscuously, and in place of _reine Vernunft_ we find _reiner
Verstand_. As already stated, the term reason, as employed in Kant’s
title, ought properly to be taken in its widest sense. Sensibility falls
within reason in virtue of the _a priori_ forms which it contains. Kant
does not himself, however, always interpret the title in this strict
sense. The triple use of the term is an excellent example of the
looseness and carelessness with which he employs even the most important
and fundamental of his technical terms. Only the context can reveal the
particular meaning to be assigned in each case.

The phrase “_of_ pure reason” (_der reinen Vernunft_) has, as Vaihinger
points out,[68] a threefold ambiguity. (1) Sometimes it is a genitive
objective. The critical enquiry is directed upon pure reason as its
object. This corresponds to the view of the _Critique_ as merely a
treatise on method. (2) Sometimes it is a genitive subjective. The
critical enquiry is undertaken by and executed through pure reason. This
expresses the view of the _Critique_ as itself a system of pure rational
knowledge. (3) At other times it has a reflexive meaning. Pure reason is
subject and object at once. It is both subject-matter and method or
instrument. Through the _Critique_ it attains to self-knowledge. The
_Critique_ is the critical examination of pure reason by itself. The
first view would seem to be the original and primary meaning of the
title. The second view very early took its place alongside it, and
appears in many passages. The third view must be taken as representing
Kant’s final interpretation of the title; it is on the whole the most
adequate to the actual content and scope of the _Critique_. For the
_Critique_ is not merely a treatise on method; it is also a system of
pure rational knowledge. It professes to establish, in an exhaustive and
final manner, the _a priori_ principles which determine the possibility,
conditions, and limits of pure rational knowledge.[69]


     De nobis ipsis silemus: De re autem, quae agitur, petimus: ut
     homines eam non opinionem, sed opus esse cogitent; ac pro certo
     habeant, non sectae nos alicuius, aut placiti, sed utilitatis et
     amplitudinis humanae fundamenta moliri. Deinde ut suis commodis
     aequi ... in commune consulant ... et ipsi in partem veniant.
     Praeterea ut bene sperent, neque instaurationem nostram ut quiddam
     infinitum et ultra mortale fingant, et animo concipiant; quum
     revera sit infiniti erroris finis et terminus legitimus.

This motto, which was added in the second edition, is taken from the
preface to Bacon’s _Instauratio Magna_, of which the _Novum Organum_ is
the second part. As the first part of the _Instauratio_ is represented
only by the later, separately published, _De Augmentis Scientiarum_,
this preface originally appeared, and is still usually given, as
introductory to the _Novum Organum_.

The complete passage (in which I have indicated Kant’s omissions) is
rendered as follows in the translation of Ellis and Spedding:[70]

     “Of myself I say nothing; but in behalf of the business which is in
     hand I entreat men to believe that it is not an opinion to be held,
     but a work to be done; and to be well assured that I am labouring
     to lay the foundation, not of any sect or doctrine, but of human
     utility and power. Next, I ask them to deal fairly by their own
     interests [and laying aside all emulations and prejudices in favour
     of this or that opinion], to join in consultation for the common
     good; and [being now freed and guarded by the securities and helps
     which I offer from the errors and impediments of the way] to come
     forward themselves and take part [in that which remains to be
     done]. Moreover, to be of good hope, nor to imagine that this
     Instauration of mine is a thing infinite and beyond the power of
     man, when it is in fact the true end and termination of infinite

The opening sentence of Bacon’s preface might also have served as a
fitting motto to the _Critique_:

     “It seems to me that men do not rightly understand either their
     store or their strength, but overrate the one and underrate the

Or again the following:

     “I have not sought nor do I seek either to enforce or to ensnare
     men’s judgments, but I lead them to things themselves and the
     concordances of things, that they may see for themselves what they
     have, what they can dispute, what they can add and contribute to
     the common stock.... And by these means I suppose that I have
     established for ever a true and lawful marriage between the
     empirical and the rational faculty, the unkind and ill-starred
     divorce and separation of which has thrown into confusion all the
     affairs of the human family.”




Karl Abraham, Freiherr von Zedlitz had been entrusted, as Minister
(1771-1788) to Frederick the Great, with the oversight and direction of
the Prussian system of education. He held Kant in the highest
esteem.[71] In February 1778 we find him writing to thank Kant for the
pleasure he had found in perusing notes of his lectures on physical
geography, and requesting the favour of a complete copy.[72] A week
later he invited Kant to accept a professorship of philosophy in
Halle,[73] which was then much the most important university centre in
Germany. Upon Kant’s refusal he repeated the offer, with added
inducements, including the title of Hofrat.[74] Again, in August of the
same year, he writes that he is attending, upon Mendelssohn’s
recommendation (and doubtless also in the hope of receiving from this
indirect source further light upon Kant’s own teaching in a favourite
field), the lectures on anthropology of Kant’s disciple and friend,
Marcus Herz. The letter concludes with a passage which may perhaps have
suggested to Kant the appropriateness of dedicating his _Critique_ to so
wise and discerning a patron of true philosophy.

     “Should your inventive power extend so far, suggest to me the means
     of holding back the students in the universities from the bread and
     butter studies, and of making them understand that their modicum of
     law, even their theology and medicine, will be immensely more
     easily acquired and safely applied, if they are in possession of
     more philosophical knowledge. They can be judges, advocates,
     preachers and physicians only for a few hours each day; but in
     these and all the remainder of the day they are men, and have need
     of other sciences. In short, you must instruct me how this is to be
     brought home to students. Printed injunctions, laws,
     regulations--these are even worse than bread and butter study

A Minister of Education who thus ranks philosophy above professional
studies, and both as more important than all academic machinery, holds
his office by divine right.


Detailed discussion of the _Prefaces_ is not advisable. The problems
which they raise can best be treated in the order in which they come up
in the _Critique_ itself. I shall dwell only on the minor incidental
difficulties of the text, and on those features in Kant’s exposition
which are peculiar to the _Prefaces_, or which seem helpful in the way
of preliminary orientation. I shall first briefly restate the argument
of the _Preface_ to the first edition, and then add the necessary

Human reason is ineradicably metaphysical. It is haunted by questions
which, though springing from its very nature, none the less transcend
its powers. Such a principle, for instance, as that of causality, in
carrying us to more and more remote conditions, forces us to realise
that by such regress our questions can never be answered. However far we
recede in time, and however far we proceed in space, we are still no
nearer to a final answer to our initial problems, and are therefore
compelled to take refuge in postulates of a different kind, such, for
instance, as that there must be a first unconditioned cause from which
the empirical series of causes and effects starts, or that space is
capable of existing as a completed whole. But these assumptions plunge
reason in darkness and involve it in contradictions. They are the
sources of all the troubles of the warring schools. Error lies somewhere
concealed in them--the more thoroughly concealed that they surpass the
limits of possible experience. Until such error has been detected and
laid bare, metaphysical speculation must remain the idlest of all tasks.

In the latter part of the eighteenth century metaphysics had fallen, as
Kant here states, into disrepute. The wonderful success with which the
mathematical and natural sciences were being developed served only to
emphasise by contrast the ineffectiveness of the metaphysical
disciplines. Indifference to philosophy was the inevitable outcome, and
was due, not to levity, but to the matured judgment of the age, which
refused to be any longer put off with such pretended knowledge. But
since the philosophical sciences aim at that knowledge which, if
attainable, we should be least willing to dispense with, the failure of
philosophy is really a summons to reason to take up anew the most
difficult of all its tasks. It must once and for all determine either
the possibility or the impossibility of metaphysics. It must establish

     “...a tribunal which will assure to reason its lawful claims, and
     which will also be able to dismiss all groundless pretensions, not
     by despotic decrees, but in accordance with its own eternal and
     unalterable laws. This tribunal is no other than the _Critique of
     Pure Reason_.”[76] “Our age is, in especial degree, the age of
     criticism (_Kritik_), and to such criticism everything must submit.
     Religion, through its sanctity, and law-giving, through its
     majesty, may seek to exempt themselves from it. But they then
     awaken just suspicion, and cannot claim the sincere respect which
     reason accords only to that which has been able to sustain the test
     of free and open examination.”[77]

As has already been emphasised in the preceding historical sketch, Kant
had learnt to trust the use of reason, and was a rationalist by
education, temperament, and conviction. He here classifies philosophies
as dogmatic and sceptical; and under the latter rubric he includes all
empirical systems. ‘Empiricism’ and ‘scepticism’ he interprets as
practically synonymous terms. The defect of the dogmatists is that they
have not critically examined their methods of procedure, and in the
absence of an adequate distinction between appearance and reality have
interpreted the latter in terms of the former. The defect of the
empiricists and sceptics is that they have misrepresented the nature of
the faculty of reason, ignoring its claims and misreading its functions,
and accordingly have gone even further astray than their dogmatic
opponents. All knowledge worthy of the name is _a priori_ knowledge. It
possesses universality and necessity, and as such must rest on pure
reason. Wherever there is science, there is an element of pure reason.
Whether or not pure reason can also extend to the unconditioned is the
question which decides the possibility of constructive metaphysics. This
is what Kant means when he declares that the _Critique_ is a criticism
of the power of reason, in respect of all knowledge after which it may
strive independently of experience. Pure reason is the subject-matter of
the enquiry; it is also the instrument through which the enquiry is
made.[78] Nothing empirical or merely hypothetical has any place in it,
either as subject-matter or as method of argument.

From this position Kant draws several important consequences. First,
since pure reason means that faculty whereby we gain knowledge
independently of all experience, it can be isolated and its whole nature
exhaustively determined. Indeed pure reason (Kant seeks to prove) is so
perfect a unity that if “its principle” should be found insufficient to
the solution of a single one of all the questions which are presented to
it by its own nature, we should be justified in forthwith rejecting it
as also incompetent to answer with complete certainty any one of the
other questions. In metaphysics it must be either all or nothing,[79]
either final and complete certainty or else absolute failure.

     “While I am saying this I can fancy that I detect in the face of
     the reader an expression of indignation mingled with contempt at
     pretensions seemingly so arrogant and vainglorious; and yet they
     are incomparably more moderate than the claims of all those writers
     who on the lines of the usual programme profess to prove the simple
     nature of the soul or the necessity of a first beginning of the

In so doing they pretend to define realities which lie beyond the limits
of possible experience; the _Critique_ seeks only to deal with that
faculty of reason which manifests itself to us within our own minds.
Formal logic shows how completely and systematically the simple acts of
reason can be enumerated. Aristotle created this science of logic
complete at a stroke. Kant professes to have established an equally
final metaphysics; and as logic is not a science proper, but rather a
propaedeutic to all science, metaphysics, thus interpreted, is the only
one of all the sciences which can immediately attain to such

     “For it is nothing but the inventory of all our possessions through
     pure reason, systematically arranged. In this field nothing can
     escape us. What reason produces entirely out of itself cannot lie
     concealed, but is brought to light by reason itself immediately the
     common principle has been discovered.”[81]

Secondly, the _Critique_ also claims certainty. With the removal of
everything empirical, and the reduction of its subject-matter to pure
reason, all mere opinion or hypothesis is likewise eliminated.
Probabilities or hypotheses can have no place in a _Critique of Pure
Reason_.[82] Everything must be derived according to _a priori_
principles from pure conceptions in which there is no intermixture of
experience or any special intuition.

       *       *       *       *       *

This _Preface_ to the first edition, considered as introductory to the
_Critique_, is misleading for two reasons. First, because in it Kant is
preoccupied almost exclusively with the problems of metaphysics in the
strict ontological sense, that is to say, with the problems of the
_Dialectic_. The problems of the _Analytic_, which is the very heart of
the _Critique_, are almost entirely ignored. They are, it is true,
referred to in A x-xi, but the citation is quite externally
intercalated; it receives no support or extension from the other parts
of the _Preface_. This results in a second defect, namely, that Kant
fails to indicate the more empirical features of his new Critical
standpoint. Since ultimate reality is supersensuous, metaphysics, as
above conceived, can have no instrument save pure reason. The subjects
of its enquiry, God, freedom, and immortality, if they are to be known
at all, can be determined only through _a priori_ speculation. This
fact, fundamental and all-important for Kant, was completely ignored in
the popular eclectic philosophies of the time. They professed to derive
metaphysical conclusions from empirical evidence. They substituted, as
Kant has pointed out,[83] “a physiology of the human understanding” for
the Critical investigation of the claims of reason, and anthropology for
ethics. They were blind to the dogmatism of which they are thereby
guilty. They assumed those very points which most call for proof,
namely, that reason is adequate to the solution of metaphysical
problems, and that all existence is so fundamentally of one type that we
can argue from the sensuous to the supersensuous, from appearance to
reality. When they fell into difficulties, they pleaded the
insufficiency of human reason, and yet were all the while
unquestioningly relying upon it in the drawing of the most tremendous
inferences. Such, for instance, are the assumptions which underlie Moses
Mendelssohn’s contention that since animals as well as men agree in the
apprehension of space, it must be believed to be absolutely real.[84]
These assumptions also determine Priestley’s assertion that though every
event has its cause, there is one causeless happening, namely, the
creative act to which the existence of the world is due.[85] On such
terms, metaphysics is too patently easy to be even plausible.
“Indifference, doubt, and, in final issue, severe criticism, are truer
signs of a profound habit of thought.”[86] The matter of experience
affords no data for metaphysical inference. In the _a priori_ forms of
experience, and there alone, can metaphysics hope to find a basis, if
any basis is really discoverable.

This is Kant’s reason for so emphatically insisting that the problem of
the _Critique_ is to determine “how much we can hope to achieve by
reason, when all the material and assistance of experience is taken
away.”[87] But in keeping only this one point in view Kant greatly
misrepresents the problems and scope of the _Critique_. Throughout the
_Preface_ he speaks the language of the _Aufklärung_. Even in the very
act of limiting the scope of reason, he overstresses its powers, and
omits reference to its empirical conditions. It is well to contrast this
teaching with such a passage as the following:

     “The position of all genuine idealists from the Eleatics to
     Berkeley is contained in this formula: ‘All cognition through the
     senses and experience is nothing but mere illusion, and only in the
     ideas of pure understanding and Reason is there truth.’ The
     fundamental principle ruling all my idealism, on the contrary, is
     this: ‘All cognition of things solely from pure understanding or
     pure Reason is nothing but mere illusion, and only in experience is
     there truth.’”[88]

But that passage is equally inadequate as a complete expression of
Kant’s Critical philosophy. The truth lies midway between it and the
teaching of the _Preface_ to the first edition. Pure reason is as
defective an instrument of knowledge as is factual experience. Though
the primary aim of metaphysics is to determine our relation to the
absolutely real, and though that can only be done by first determining
the nature and possible scope of _a priori_ principles, such principles
are found on investigation to possess only empirical validity. The
central question of the _Critique_ thus becomes the problem of the
validity of their empirical employment. The interrelation of these two
problems, that of the _a priori_ and that of experience, and Kant’s
attitude towards them, cannot be considered till later. The defects of
the _Preface_ to the first edition are in part corrected by the
extremely valuable _Preface_ substituted in the second edition. But some
further points in this first _Preface_ must be considered.

=Prescribed by the very nature of reason itself.=[89]--Metaphysics exists
as a “natural disposition,” and its questions are not therefore merely

     “As natural disposition (_Naturanlage_) ... metaphysics is real.
     For human reason, without being moved merely by the idle desire for
     extent and variety of knowledge, proceeds impetuously, driven on
     by an inward need, to questions such as cannot be answered by any
     empirical employment of reason, or by principles thence derived.
     Thus in all men, as soon as their reason has become ripe for
     speculation, there has always existed and will always continue to
     exist some kind of metaphysics.”[90]

Hence results what Kant entitles _transcendental illusion_.

     “The cause of this transcendental illusion is that there are
     fundamental rules and maxims for the employment of Reason,
     subjectively regarded as a faculty of human knowledge, and that
     these rules and maxims have all the appearance of being objective
     principles. We take the subjective necessity of a connection of our
     concepts, _i.e._ a connection necessitated for the advantage of the
     understanding, for an objective necessity in the determination of
     things in themselves. This is an illusion which can no more be
     prevented than we can prevent the sea from appearing higher at the
     horizon than at the shore, since we see it through higher light
     rays; or to cite a still better example, than the astronomer can
     prevent the moon from appearing larger at its rising, although he
     is not deceived by this illusion.... There exists, then, a natural
     and unavoidable dialectic of pure Reason, not one in which a
     bungler might entangle himself through lack of knowledge, or one
     which some sophist has artificially invented to confuse thinking
     people, but one which is inseparable from human Reason, and which,
     even after its deceiving power has been exposed, will not cease to
     play tricks with it and continually to entrap it into momentary
     aberrations that will ever and again call for correction.”[91]

=Dogmatism.=[92]--According to Kant there are three possible standpoints
in philosophy--the dogmatic, the sceptical, and the critical. All
preceding thinkers come under the first two heads. A dogmatist is one
who assumes that human reason can comprehend ultimate reality, and who
proceeds upon this assumption. He does not, before proceeding to
construct a metaphysics, enquire whether it is possible. Dogmatism
expresses itself (to borrow Vaihinger’s convenient mode of
definition[93]) through three factors--_rationalism_, _realism_, and
_transcendence_. Descartes and Leibniz are typical dogmatists. As
rationalists they hold that it is possible to determine from pure _a
priori_ principles the ultimate nature of God, of the soul, and of the
material universe. They are realists in that they assert that by human
thought the complete nature of objective reality can be determined. They
also adopt the attitude of transcendence. Through pure thought they go
out beyond the sensible and determine the supersensuous. Scepticism
(Kant, as above stated,[94] regards it as being in effect equivalent to
empiricism) may similarly be defined through the three terms,
_empiricism_, _subjectivism_, _immanence_. A sceptic can never be a
rationalist. He must reduce knowledge to sense-experience. For this
reason also his knowledge is infected by subjective conditions; through
sensation we cannot hope to determine the nature of the objectively
real. This attitude is also that of immanence; knowledge is limited to
the sphere of sense-experience. Criticism has similarly its three
constitutive factors, _rationalism_, _subjectivism_, _immanence_. It
agrees with dogmatism in maintaining that only through _a priori_
principles can true knowledge be obtained. Such knowledge is, however,
subjective[95] in its origin, and for that reason it is also only of
immanent application; knowledge is possible only in the sphere of
sense-experience. Dogmatism claims that knowledge arises independently
of experience and extends beyond it. Empiricism holds that knowledge
arises out of sense-experience and is valid only within it. Criticism
teaches that knowledge arises independently of particular experience but
is valid only for experience.

The following passages in the _Methodology_ give Kant’s view of the
historical and relative values of the two false methods:

     “The sceptic is the taskmaster who constrains the dogmatic reasoner
     to develop a sound critique of the understanding and reason. When
     the latter has been made to advance thus far, he need fear no
     further challenge, since he has learned to distinguish his real
     possessions from that which lies entirely beyond them, and to which
     he can therefore lay no claim.... Thus the sceptical procedure
     cannot of itself yield any satisfying answer to the questions of
     reason, but none the less it prepares the way by awakening its
     circumspection, and by indicating the radical measures which are
     adequate to secure it in its legitimate possessions.”[96] “The
     first step in matters of pure reason, marking its infancy, is
     _dogmatic_. The second step is _sceptical_, and indicates that
     experience has rendered our judgment wiser and more circumspect.
     But a third step, such as can be taken only by fully matured
     judgment, is now necessary.... This is not the censorship but the
     critique of reason, whereby not its present bounds but its
     determinate [and necessary] limits, not its ignorance on this or
     that point, but in regard to all possible questions of a certain
     kind, are demonstrated from principles, and not merely arrived at
     by way of conjecture. Scepticism is thus a resting-place for human
     reason, where it can reflect upon its dogmatic wanderings and make
     survey of the region in which it finds itself, so that for the
     future it may be able to choose its path with more certainty. But
     it is no dwelling-place for permanent settlement. That can be
     obtained only through perfect certainty in our knowledge, alike of
     the objects themselves and of the limits within which all our
     knowledge of objects is enclosed.”[97]

=Locke.=[98]--Cf. A 86 = B 119; A 270 = B 327; B 127.

=On the unfavourable contrast between mathematics and
metaphysics.=[99]--Cf. _Ueber die Deutlichkeit der Grundsätze_ (1764),
_erste Betrachtung_, and below, pp. 40, 563 ff.

=The age of criticism.=[100]--Kant considered himself as contributing to
the further advance of the eighteenth century Enlightenment.[101] In
view, however, of the contrast between eighteenth and nineteenth century
thought, and of the real affiliations and ultimate consequences of
Kant’s teaching, it seems truer to regard the Critical philosophy as at
once completing and transcending the _Aufklärung_. Kant breaks with many
of its most fundamental assumptions.

=The Critique of Pure Reason.=[102]--Kant here defines the _Critique_ as
directed upon pure reason.[103] Further, it is a criticism of knowledge
which is “independent of all experience,” or, as Kant adds “free from
all experience.” Such phrases, in this context, really mean
_transcendent_. The _Critique_ is here taken as being a Critical
investigation of transcendent metaphysics, of its sources, scope, and

=Opinion or hypothesis not permissible.=[105]--Cf. below, p. 543 ff.

=I know no enquiries, etc.=[106]--The important questions raised by this
paragraph are discussed below, p. 235 ff.

=Jean Terrasson= (1670-1750).[107]--The quotation is from his work
posthumously published (1754), and translated from the French by Frau
Gottsched under the title _Philosophie nach ihrem allgemeinen Einflusse
auf alle Gegenstände des Geistes und der Sitten_ (1762). Terrasson is
also referred to by Kant in his _Anthropologie_, §§ 44 and 77. Terrasson
would seem to be the author of the _Traité de l’infini créé_ which has
been falsely ascribed to Malebranche. I have translated this latter
treatise in the _Philosophical Review_ (July 1905).

=Such a system of pure speculative reason.=[108]--The relation in which
this system would stand to the _Critique_ is discussed below, pp. 71-2.
Speculative does not with Kant mean transcendent, but merely theoretical
as opposed to practical. Cf. B 25, A 15 = B 29, A 845 = B 873.

=Under the title: Metaphysics of Nature.=[109]--No such work, at least
under this title, was ever completed by Kant. In the Kantian terminology
“nature” signifies “all that is.” Cf. below, p. 580.


I shall again give a brief explanatory paraphrase, before proceeding to
detailed comment. The main points of the preface of the first edition
are repeated. “Metaphysics soars above all teaching of experience, and
rests on concepts only. In it reason has to be her own pupil.”[110] But
Kant immediately proceeds to a further point. That logic should have
attained the secure method of science is due to its limitation to the
mere _a priori_ form of knowledge. For metaphysics this is far more
difficult, since it “_has to deal not with itself alone, but also with

The words which I have italicised form a very necessary correction of
the first edition preface, according to which the _Critique_ would seem
to “treat only of reason and its pure thinking.” A further difference
follows. The second edition preface, in thus emphasising the objective
aspect of the problem, is led to characterise in a more complete manner
the method to be followed in the Critical enquiry. How can the
_Critique_, if it is concerned, as both editions agree in insisting,
only with the _a priori_ which originates in human reason, solve the
specifically metaphysical problem, viz. that of determining the
independently real? How can an idea in us refer to, and constitute
knowledge of, an object? The larger part of the preface to the second
edition is devoted to the Critical solution of this problem. The
argument of the _Dialectic_ is no longer emphasised at the expense of
the _Analytic_.

Kant points out that as a matter of historical fact each of the two
rational sciences, mathematics and physics, first entered upon the
assured path of knowledge by a sudden revolution, and by the adoption of
a method which in its general characteristics is common to both. This
method consists, not in being led by nature as in leading-strings, but
in interrogating nature in accordance with what reason produces on its
own plan. The method of the geometrician does not consist in the study
of figures presented to the senses. That would be an empirical (in
Kant’s view, sceptical) method. Geometrical propositions could not then
be regarded as possessing universality and necessity. Nor does the
geometrician employ a dogmatic method, that of studying the mere
conception of a figure. By that means no new knowledge could ever be
attained. The actual method consists in interpreting the sensible
figures through conceptions that have been rigorously defined, and in
accordance with which the figures have been constructively generated.
The first discovery of this method, by Thales or some other Greek, was
“far more important than the discovery of the passage round the
celebrated Cape of Good Hope.”[112]

Some two thousand years elapsed before Galileo formulated a
corresponding method for physical science. He relied neither on mere
observation nor on his own conceptions. He determined the principles
according to which alone concordant phenomena can be admitted as laws of
nature, and then by experiment compelled nature to answer the questions
which these principles suggest. Here again the method is neither merely
empirical nor purely dogmatic. It possesses the advantages of both.

Metaphysics is ripe for a similar advance. It must be promoted to the
rank of positive science by the transforming power of an analogous
method. The fundamental and distinguishing characteristic of
mathematical and physical procedure is the legislative power to which
reason lays claim. Such procedure, if generalised and extended, will
supply the required method of the new philosophy. Reason must be
regarded as self-legislative in all the domains of our possible
knowledge. _Objects must be viewed as conforming to human thought, not
human thought to the independently real._ This is the “hypothesis” to
which Kant has given the somewhat misleading title, “Copernican.”[113]
The _method of procedure_ which it prescribes is, he declares, analogous
to that which was followed by Copernicus, and will be found to be as
revolutionary in its consequences. In terms of this hypothesis a
complete and absolutely certain metaphysics, valid now and for all time,
can be created at a stroke. The earliest and oldest enterprise of the
human mind will achieve a new beginning. Metaphysics, the mother of all
the sciences, will renew her youth, and will equal in assurance, as she
surpasses in dignity, the offspring of her womb.

From this new standpoint Kant develops phenomenalism on rationalist
lines. He professes to prove that though our knowledge is only of
appearances, it is conditioned by _a priori_ principles. His “Copernican
hypothesis,” so far from destroying positive science, is, he claims,
merely a philosophical extension of the method which it has long been
practising. Since all science worthy of the name involves _a priori_
elements, it can be accounted for only in terms of the new hypothesis.
Only if objects are regarded as conforming to our forms of intuition,
and to our modes of conception, can they be anticipated by _a priori_
reasoning. Science can be _a priori_ just because, properly understood,
it is not a rival of metaphysics, and does not attempt to define the
absolutely real.

But such a statement at once suggests what may at first seem a most
fatal objection. Though the new standpoint may account for the _a
priori_ in experience and science, it can be of no avail in metaphysics.
If the _a priori_ concepts have a mental origin, they can have no
validity for the independently real. If we can know only what we
ourselves originate, things in themselves must be unknown, and
metaphysics must be impossible. But in this very consequence the new
hypothesis first reveals its full advantages. It leads to an
interpretation of metaphysics which is as new and as revolutionary[114]
as that which it gives to natural science. Transcendent metaphysics is
indeed impossible, but in harmony with man’s practical and moral
vocation, its place is more efficiently taken by an immanent metaphysics
on the one hand, and by a metaphysics of ethics on the other. Together
these constitute the new and final philosophy which Kant claims to have
established by his Critical method. Its chief task is to continue “that
noblest enterprise of antiquity,”[115] the distinguishing of appearances
from things in themselves. The unconditioned is that which alone will
satisfy speculative reason; its determination is the ultimate
presupposition of metaphysical enquiry. But so long as the empirical
world is regarded as true reality, totality or unconditionedness cannot
possibly be conceived--is, indeed, inherently self-contradictory. On the
new hypothesis there is no such difficulty. By the proof that things in
themselves are unknowable, a sphere is left open within which the
unconditioned can be sought. For though this sphere is closed to
speculative reason, the unconditioned can be determined from data
yielded by reason in its practical activity. The hypothesis which at
first seems to destroy metaphysics proves on examination to be its
necessary presupposition. The “Copernican hypothesis” which conditions
science will also account for metaphysics properly conceived.

Upon this important point Kant dwells at some length. Even the negative
results of the _Critique_ are, he emphasises, truly positive in their
ultimate consequences. The dogmatic extension of speculative reason
really leads to the narrowing of its employment, for the principles of
which it then makes use involve the subjecting of things in themselves
to the limiting conditions of sensibility. All attempts to construe the
unconditioned in terms that will satisfy reason are by such procedure
ruled out from the very start. To demonstrate this is the fundamental
purpose and chief aim of the _Critique_. Space and time are merely forms
of sensuous intuition; the concepts of understanding can yield knowledge
only in their connection with them. Though the concepts in their purity
possess a quite general meaning, this is not sufficient to constitute
knowledge. The conception of causality, for instance, necessarily
involves the notion of time-sequence; apart from time it is the bare,
empty, and entirely unspecified conception of a sufficient ground.
Similarly, the category of substance signifies the permanent in time and
space; as a form of pure reason it has a quite indefinite meaning
signifying merely that which is always a subject and never a predicate.
In the absence of further specification, it remains entirely problematic
in its reference. The fact, however, that the categories of the
understanding possess, in independence of sensibility, even this quite
general significance is all-important. Originating in pure reason they
have a wider scope than the forms of sense, and enable us to conceive,
though not to gain knowledge of, things in themselves.[116] Our dual
nature, as being at once sensuous and supersensuous, opens out to us the
apprehension of both.

Kant illustrates his position by reference to the problem of the freedom
of the will. As thought is wider than sense, and reveals to us the
existence of a noumenal realm, we are enabled to reconcile belief in the
freedom of the will with the mechanism of nature. We can recognise that
within the phenomenal sphere everything without exception is causally
determined, and yet at the same time maintain that the whole order of
nature is grounded in noumenal conditions. We can assert of one and the
same being that its will is subject to the necessity of nature and that
it is free--mechanically determined in its visible actions, free in its
real supersensible existence. We have, indeed, no knowledge of the soul,
and therefore cannot assert on theoretical grounds that it possesses any
such freedom. The very possibility of freedom transcends our powers of
comprehension. The proof that it can at least be conceived without
contradiction is, however, all-important. For otherwise no arguments
from the nature of the moral consciousness could be of the least avail;
before a palpable contradiction every argument is bound to give way.
Now, for the first time, the doctrine of morals and the doctrine of
nature can be independently developed, without conflict, each in
accordance with its own laws. The same is true in regard to the
existence of God and the immortality of the soul. By means of the
Critical distinction between the empirical and the supersensible worlds,
_these conceptions are now for the first time rendered possible of
belief_. “I had to remove _knowledge_, in order to make room for
_belief_.”[117] “This loss affects only the _monopoly of the schools_,
in no respect the _interests of humanity_.”[118]

Lastly, Kant emphasises the fact that the method of the _Critique_ must
be akin to that of dogmatism. It must be rational _a priori_. To adopt
any other method of procedure is “to shake off the fetters of _science_
altogether, and thus to change work into play, certainty into opinion,
philosophy into philodoxy.”[119] And Kant repeats the claims of the
preface of the first edition as to the completeness and finality of his
system. “This system will, as I hope, maintain through the future this
same unchangeableness.”[120]

=Logic.=[121]--For Kant’s view of the logic of Aristotle as complete and
perfect, cf. below, pp. 184-5. Kant compares metaphysics to mathematics
and physics on the one hand, and to formal logic on the other. The
former show the possibility of attaining to the secure path of science
by a sudden and single revolution; the latter demonstrates the
possibility of creating a science complete and entire at a stroke.
Thanks to the new Critical method, metaphysics may be enabled, Kant
claims, to parallel both achievements at once.

=Theoretical and practical reason.=[122]--Such comment as is necessary
upon this distinction is given below. Cf. p. 569 ff.

=Hitherto it has been supposed that all knowledge must conform to the
objects.=[123]--This statement is historically correct. That assumption
did actually underlie one and all of the pre-Kantian philosophies. At
the same time, it is true that Kant’s phenomenalist standpoint is
partially anticipated by Hume, by Malebranche and by Leibniz, especially
by the first named. Hume argues that to condemn knowledge on the ground
that it can never copy or truly reveal any external reality is to
misunderstand its true function. Our sense perceptions and our general
principles are so determined by nature as to render feasible only a
practical organisation of life. When we attempt to derive from them a
consistent body of knowledge, failure is the inevitable result.[124]
Malebranche, while retaining the absolutist view of conceptual
knowledge, propounds a similar theory of sense-perception.[125] Our
perceptions are, as he shows, permeated through and through, from end to
end, with illusion. Such illusions justify themselves by their practical
usefulness, but they likewise prove that theoretical insight is not the
purpose of our sense-experience. Kant’s Copernican hypothesis consists
in great part of an extension of this view to our conceptual, scientific
knowledge. But he differs both from Malebranche and from Hume in that he
develops his phenomenalism on rationalist lines. He professes to show
that though our knowledge is only of the phenomenal, it is conditioned
by _a priori_ principles. The resulting view of the distinction between
appearance and reality has kinship with that of Leibniz.[126] The
phenomena of science, though only appearances, are none the less _bene
fundata_. Our scientific knowledge, though not equivalent to
metaphysical apprehension of the ultimately real, can be progressively
developed by scientific methods.

=The two “parts” of metaphysics.=[127]--Kant is here drawing the important
distinction, which is one result of his new standpoint, between
_immanent_ and _transcendent_ metaphysics. It is unfortunate that he
does not do so in a more explicit manner, with full recognition of its
novelty and of its far-reaching significance. Many ambiguities in his
exposition here and elsewhere would then have been obviated.[128]

=The unconditioned which Reason postulates in all things by themselves,
by necessity and by right.=[129]--Points are here raised the discussion
of which must be deferred. Cf. below, pp. 429-31, 433-4, 558-61.

=The Critique is a treatise on method, not a system of the science
itself.=[130]--Cf. A xv.; B xxxvi.; and especially A 11 = B 24, below pp.

=The Copernican hypothesis.=[131]--Kant’s comparison of his new hypothesis
to that of Copernicus has generally been misunderstood. The reader very
naturally conceives the Copernican revolution in terms of its main
ultimate consequence, the reduction of the earth from its proud position
of central pre-eminence. But that does not bear the least analogy to
the intended consequences of the Critical philosophy. The direct
opposite is indeed true. Kant’s hypothesis is inspired by the avowed
purpose of neutralising the naturalistic implications of the Copernican
astronomy. His aim is nothing less than the firm establishment of what
may perhaps be described as a Ptolemaic, anthropocentric metaphysics.
Such naturalistic philosophy as that of Hume may perhaps be described as
Copernican, but the Critical philosophy, as humanistic, has genuine
kinship with the Greek standpoint.

Even some of Kant’s best commentators have interpreted the analogy in
the above manner.[132] It is so interpreted by T. H. Green[133] and by
J. Hutchison Stirling.[134] Caird in his _Critical Philosophy of Kant_
makes not the least mention of the analogy, probably for the reason that
while reading it in the same fashion as Green, he recognised the
inappropriateness of the comparison as thus taken. The analogy is stated
in typically ambiguous fashion by Lange[135] and by Höffding.[136] S.
Alexander, while very forcibly insisting upon the Ptolemaic character of
the Kantian philosophy, also endorses this interpretation in the
following terms:

     “It is very ironical that Kant himself signalised the revolution
     which he believed himself to be effecting as a Copernican
     revolution. But there is nothing Copernican in it except that he
     believed it to be a revolution. If every change is Copernican which
     reverses the order of the terms with which it deals, which declares
     A to depend on B when B had before been declared to depend on A,
     then Kant--who believed that he had reversed the order of
     dependence of mind and things--was right in saying that he effected
     a Copernican revolution. But he was not right in any other sense.
     For his revolution, so far as it was one, was accurately

As the second edition preface is not covered by the published volumes of
Vaihinger’s _Commentary_, the point has not been taken up by him.

Now Kant’s own statements are entirely unambiguous and do not justify
any such interpretation as that of Green and Alexander. As it seems to
me, they have missed the real point of the analogy. The misunderstanding
would never have been possible save for our neglect of the scientific
classics. Kant must have had first-hand acquaintance with Copernicus’
_De Revolutionibus_, and the comparison which he draws assumes similar
knowledge on the part of his readers. Copernicus by his proof of the
“hypothesis” (his own term) of the earth’s motion sought only to achieve
a more harmonious ordering of the Ptolemaic universe. And as thus merely
a simplification of the traditional cosmology, his treatise could
fittingly be dedicated to the reigning Pope. The sun upon which our
terrestrial life depends was still regarded as uniquely distinct from
the fixed stars; and our earth was still located in the central region
of a universe that was conceived in the traditional manner as being
single and spherical. Giordano Bruno was the first, a generation later,
to realise the revolutionary consequences to which the new teaching,
consistently developed, must inevitably lead. It was he who first taught
what we have now come to regard as an integral part of Copernicus’
revolution, the doctrine of innumerable planetary systems side by side
with one another in infinite space.

Copernicus’ argument starts from the Aristotelian principle of relative
motion. To quote Copernicus’ exact words:

     “All apprehended change of place is due to movement either of the
     observed object or of the observer, or to differences in movements
     that are occurring simultaneously in both. For if the observed
     object and the observer are moving in the same direction with equal
     velocity, no motion can be detected. Now it is from the earth that
     we visually apprehend the revolution of the heavens. If, then, any
     movement is ascribed to the earth, that motion will generate the
     appearance of itself in all things which are external to it, though
     as occurring in the opposite direction, as if everything were
     passing across the earth. This will be especially true of the daily
     revolution. For it seems to seize upon the whole world, and indeed
     upon everything that is around the earth, though not upon the earth
     itself.... As the heavens, which contain and cover everything, are
     the common locus of things, it is not at all evident why it should
     be to the containing rather than to the contained, to the located
     rather than to the locating, that a motion is to be ascribed.”[138]

The apparently objective movements of the fixed stars and of the sun are
mere appearances, due to the projection of our own motion into the

     “The first and highest of all the spheres is that of the fixed
     stars, self-containing and all-containing, and consequently
     immobile, in short the locus of the universe, by relation to which
     the motion and position of all the other heavenly bodies have to be

Now it is this doctrine, and this doctrine alone, to which Kant is
referring in the passages before us, namely, Copernicus’ hypothesis of a
subjective explanation of apparently objective motions. And further, in
thus comparing his Critical procedure to that of Copernicus, he is
concerned more with the positive than with the negative consequences of
their common hypothesis. For it is chiefly from the point of view of the
_constructive_ parts of the _Aesthetic_, _Analytic_, and _Dialectic_
that the comparison is formulated. By means of the Critical hypothesis
Kant professes on the one hand to account for our scientific knowledge,
and on the other to safeguard our legitimate metaphysical aspirations.
The spectator projects his own motion into the heavens; human reason
legislates for the domain of natural science. The sphere of the fixed
stars is proved to be motionless; things in themselves are freed from
the limitations of space and time. “Copernicus dared, in a manner
contradictory of the senses but yet true, to seek the observed
movements, not in the heavenly bodies, but in the spectator.”[140]

In view of Kant’s explicit elimination of all _hypotheses_ from the
_Critique_[141] the employment of that term would seem to be
illegitimate. He accordingly here states that though in the _Preface_
his Critical theory is formulated as an hypothesis only, in the
_Critique_ itself its truth is demonstrated _a priori_.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Distinction between knowing and thinking.=[142]--Since according to
Critical teaching the limits of sense-experience are the limits of
knowledge, the term knowledge has for Kant a very limited denotation,
and leaves open a proportionately wide field for what he entitles
thought. Though things in themselves are unknowable, their existence may
still be recognised in thought.


I shall first[143] give a restatement, partly historical and partly
explanatory, of Kant’s main argument as contained in the enlarged
_Introduction_ of the second edition.

There were two stages in the process by which Kant came to full
realisation of the Critical problem. There is first the problem as
formulated in his letter of 1772 to Herz: how the _a priori_ can yield
knowledge of the independently real.[144] This, as he there states it,
is an essentially metaphysical problem. It is the problem of the
possibility of transcendent metaphysics. He became aware of it when
reflecting upon the function which he had ascribed to intellect in the
_Dissertation_. Then, secondly, this problem was immeasurably deepened,
and at the same time the proper line for its treatment was discovered,
through the renewed influence which Hume at some date subsequent to
February 1772 exercised upon Kant’s thought.[145] Hume awakened Kant to
what may be called the _immanent_ problem involved in the very
conception of _a priori_ knowledge as such. The primary problem to be
solved is not how we advance by means of _a priori_ ideas to the
independently real, but how we are able to advance beyond a subject term
to a predicate which it does not appear to contain. The problem is
indeed capable of solution, just because it takes this _logical_ form.
Here as elsewhere, ontological questions are viewed by Kant as soluble
only to the extent to which they can be restated in logical terms. Now
also the enquiry becomes twofold: how and in what degree are _a priori_
synthetic judgments possible, first in their employment within the
empirical sphere (the problem of immanent metaphysics) and secondly in
their application to things in themselves (the problem of transcendent
metaphysics). The outcome of the Critical enquiry is to establish the
legitimacy of immanent metaphysics and the impossibility of all
transcendent speculation.

The argument of Kant’s _Introduction_ follows the above sequence. It
starts by defining the problem of metaphysical knowledge _a priori_, and
through it leads up to the logical problem of the _a priori_ synthetic
judgment. In respect of time all knowledge begins _with_ experience. But
it does not therefore follow that it all arises _from_ experience. Our
experience may be a compound of that which we receive through
impressions, and of that which pure reason supplies from itself.[146]
The question as to whether or not any such _a priori_ actually exists,
is one that can be answered only after further enquiry. The two
inseparable criteria of the _a priori_ are necessity and universality.
That neither can be imparted to a proposition by experience was Kant’s
confirmed and unquestioned belief. He inherited this view both from
Leibniz and from Hume. It is one of the presuppositions of his argument.
Experience can reveal only co-existence or sequence. It enables us only
to assert that so far as we have hitherto observed, there is no
exception to this or that rule. A generalisation, based on observation,
can never possess a wider universality than the limited experience for
which it stands. If, therefore, necessary and universal judgments can
anywhere be found in our knowledge, the existence of an _a priori_ that
originates independently of experience is _ipso facto_

The contrast between empirical and _a priori_ judgments, as formulated
from the dogmatic standpoint, is the most significant and striking fact
in the whole range of human knowledge. _A priori_ judgments claim
absolute necessity. They allow of no possible exception. They are valid
not only for us, but also for all conceivable beings, however different
the specific conditions of their existence, whether they live on the
planet Mars or in some infinitely remote region of stellar space, and no
matter how diversely their bodily senses may be organised. Through these
judgments a creature five feet high, and correspondingly limited by
temporal conditions, legislates for all existence and for all time.
Empirical judgments, on the other hand, possess only a hypothetical
certainty. We recognise that they may be overturned through some
addition to our present experience, and that they may not hold for
beings on other planets or for beings with senses differently
constituted. Whereas the opposite of a rational judgment is not even
conceivable, the opposite of an empirical judgment is always possible.
The one depends upon the inherent and inalienable nature of our
thinking; the other is bound up with the contingent material of sense.
The one claims absolute or metaphysical truth: the other is a merely
tentative _résumé_ of a limited experience.

The possibility of such _a priori_ judgments had hitherto been
questioned only by those who sought to deny to them all possible
objective validity. Kant, as a rationalist, has no doubt as to their
actual existence. In the _Introduction_ to the second edition he bluntly
asserts their _de facto_ existence, citing as instances the propositions
of mathematics and the fundamental principles of physical science. Their
possibility can be accounted for through the assumption of _a priori_
forms and principles.[148] But with equal emphasis he questions the
validity of their _metaphysical_ employment. For that is an entirely
different matter. We then completely transcend the world of the senses
and pass into a sphere where experience can neither guide nor correct
us. In this sphere the _a priori_ is illegitimately taken as being at
once the source of our professed knowledge and also the sole criterion
of its own claims.

This is the problem, semi-Critical, semi-dogmatic, which is formulated
in the letter of 1772 to Herz.[149] What right have we to regard ideas,
which as _a priori_ originate from within, as being valid of things in
themselves? In so doing we are assuming a pre-established harmony
between our human faculties and the ultimately real; and that is an
assumption which by its very nature is incapable of demonstration. The
proofs offered by Malebranche and by Leibniz are themselves speculative,
and consequently presuppose the conclusion which they profess to
establish.[150] As above stated, Kant obtained his answer to this
problem by way of the logical enquiry into the nature and conditions of
_a priori_ judgment.

One of the chief causes, Kant declares, why hitherto metaphysical
speculation has passed unchallenged among those who practise it, is the
confusion of two very different kinds of judgment, the analytic and the
synthetic. Much the greater portion of what reason finds to do consists
in the analysis of our concepts of objects.

     “As this procedure yields real knowledge _a priori_, which
     progresses in secure and useful fashion, reason is so far misled as
     surreptitiously to introduce, without itself being aware of so
     doing, assertions of an entirely different order, in which reason
     attaches to given concepts others completely foreign to them--and
     moreover attaches them _a priori_. And yet one does not know how
     reason comes to do this. This is a question which is never as much
     as thought of.”[151]

The concepts which are analytically treated may be either empirical or
_a priori_. When they are empirical, the judgments which they involve
can have no wider application than the experience to which they give
expression; and in any case can only reveal what has all along been
thought, though confusedly, in the term which serves as subject of the
proposition. They can never reveal anything different in kind from the
contents actually experienced. This limitation, to which the analysis of
empirical concepts is subject, was admitted by both empiricists and
rationalists. The latter sought, however, to escape its consequences by
basing their metaphysics upon concepts which are purely _a priori_, and
which by their _a priori_ content may carry us beyond the experienced.
But here also Kant asserts a _non possibile_. _A priori_ concepts, he
seeks to show, are in all cases purely logical functions without
content, and accordingly are as little capable as are empirical concepts
of carrying us over to the supersensible. This is an objection which
holds quite independently of that already noted, namely, that their
objective validity would involve a pre-established harmony.

What, then, is the nature and what are the generating conditions of
synthetic judgments that are also _a priori_? In all judgments there is
a relation between subject and predicate, and that can be of two kinds.
Either the predicate B belongs to the subject A, or B lies outside the
sphere of the concept A though somehow connected with it. In the former
case the judgment is analytic; in the latter it is synthetic. The one
simply unfolds what has all along been conceived in the subject concept;
the other ascribes to the concept of the subject a predicate which
cannot be found in it by any process of analysis. Thus the judgment ‘all
bodies are extended’ is analytic. The concept of body already contains
that of extension, and is impossible save through it. On the other hand,
the judgment ‘all bodies are heavy’ is synthetic. For not body as such,
but only bodies which are in interaction with other bodies, are found to
develop this property. Bodies can very well be conceived as not
influencing one another in any such manner.

There is no difficulty in accounting for analytic judgments. They can
all be justified by the principle of contradiction. Being analytic, they
can be established _a priori_. Nor, Kant here claims, is there any
difficulty in regard to synthetic judgments that are empirical. Though
the predicate is not contained in the subject concept, they belong to
each other (though accidentally) as parts of a given empirical whole.
Experience is the _x_ which lies beyond the concept A, and on which
rests the possibility of the synthesis of B with A. In regard, however,
to synthetic judgments which are likewise _a priori_, the matter is very
different. Hitherto, both by the sensationalists and by the
rationalists, all synthetic judgments have been regarded as empirical,
and all _a priori_ judgments as analytic. The only difference between
the opposed schools lies in the relative value which they ascribe to the
two types of judgment. For Hume the only really fruitful judgments are
the synthetic judgments _a posteriori_; analytic judgments are of quite
secondary value; they can never extend our knowledge, but only clarify
its existing content. For Leibniz, on the other hand, true knowledge
consists only in the analysis of our _a priori_ concepts, which he
regards as possessing an intrinsic and fruitful content; synthetic
judgments are always empirical, and as such are purely contingent.[152]

Thus for pre-Kantian philosophy analytic is interchangeable with _a
priori_, and synthetic with _a posteriori_. Kant’s Critical problem
arose from the startling discovery that the _a priori_ and the synthetic
do not exclude one another. A judgment may be synthetic and yet also _a
priori_. He appears to have made this discovery under the influence of
Hume, through study of the general principle of causality--every event
must have a cause.[153] In that judgment there seems to be no connection
of any kind discoverable between the subject (the conception of an event
as something happening in time) and the predicate (the conception of
another event preceding it as an originating cause); and yet we not
merely ascribe the one to the other but assert that they are necessarily
connected. We can conceive an event as sequent upon a preceding empty
time; none the less, in physical enquiry, the causal principle is
accepted as an established truth. Here, then, is a new and altogether
unique type of judgment, of thoroughly paradoxical nature. So entirely
is it without apparent basis, that Hume, who first deciphered its
strange character, felt constrained to ascribe our belief in it to an
unreasoning and merely instinctive, ‘natural’ habit or custom.

Kant found, however, that the paradoxical characteristics of the causal
principle also belong to mathematical and physical judgments. This fact
makes it impossible to accept Hume’s sceptical conclusion. If even the
assertion 7 + 5 = 12 is both synthetic and _a priori_, it is obviously
impossible to question the validity of judgments that possess these
characteristics. But they do not for that reason any the less urgently
press for explanation. Such an enquiry might not, indeed, be necessary
were we concerned only with scientific knowledge. For the natural
sciences justify themselves by their practical successes and by their
steady unbroken development. But metaphysical judgments are also of this
type; and until the conditions which make _a priori_ synthetic judgment
possible have been discovered, the question as to the legitimacy of
metaphysical speculation cannot be decided. Such judgments are plainly
mysterious, and urgently call for further enquiry.

The problem to be solved concerns the ground of our ascription to the
subject concept, as necessarily belonging to it, a predicate which seems
to have no discoverable relation to it. What is the unknown _x_ on which
the understanding rests in asserting the connection? It cannot be
repeated experience; for the judgments in question claim necessity. Nor
can such judgments be proved by means of a logical test, such as the
inconceivability of the opposite. The absence of all apparent connection
between subject and predicate removes that possibility. These, however,
are the only two methods of proof hitherto recognised in science and
philosophy. The problem demands for its solution nothing less than the
discovery and formulation of an entirely novel method of proof.

The three main classes of _a priori_ synthetic judgments are, Kant
proceeds, the mathematical, the physical, and the metaphysical. The
synthetic character of mathematical judgments has hitherto escaped
observation owing to their being proved (as is required of all apodictic
certainty) according to the principle of contradiction. It is therefrom
inferred that they rest on the authority of that principle, and are
therefore analytic. That, however, is an illegitimate inference; for
though the truth of a synthetic proposition can be thus demonstrated,
that can only be if another synthetic principle is first presupposed. It
can never be proved that its truth, as a separate judgment, is demanded
by the principle of contradiction. That 7 + 5 must equal 12 does not
follow analytically from the conception of the sum of seven and five.
This conception contains nothing beyond the union of both numbers into
one; it does not tell us what is the single number that combines both.
That five should be added to seven is no doubt implied in the
conception, but not that the sum should be twelve. To discover that, we
must, Kant maintains, go beyond the concepts and appeal to intuition.
This is more easily recognised when we take large numbers. We then
clearly perceive that, turn and twist our concepts as we may, we can
never, by means of mere analysis of them, and without the help of
intuition, arrive at the sum that is wanted. The fundamental
propositions of geometry, the so-called axioms, are similarly synthetic,
_e.g._ that the straight line between two points is the shortest. The
concept ‘straight’ only defines direction; it says nothing as to

As an instance of a synthetic _a priori_ judgment in physical science
Kant cites the principle: the quantity of matter remains constant
throughout all changes. In the conception of matter we do not conceive
its permanency, but only its presence in the space which it fills. The
opposite of the principle is thoroughly conceivable.

Metaphysics is _meant_ to contain _a priori_ knowledge. For it seeks to
determine that of which we can have no experience, as _e.g._ that the
world must have a first beginning. And if, as will be proved, our _a
priori_ concepts have no content, which through analysis might yield
such judgments, these judgments also must be synthetic.

Here, then, we find the essential problem of pure reason. Expressed in a
single formula, it runs: How are synthetic _a priori_ judgments
possible? To ask this question is to enquire, first, how pure
mathematics is possible; secondly, how pure natural science is possible;
and thirdly, how metaphysics is possible. That philosophy has hitherto
remained in so vacillating a state of ignorance and contradiction is
entirely due to the neglect of this problem of _a priori_ synthesis.
“Its solution is the question of life and death to metaphysics.” Hume
came nearest to realising the problem, but he discovered it in too
narrow a form to appreciate its full significance and its revolutionary

     “Greater firmness will be required if we are not to be deterred by
     inward difficulties and outward opposition from endeavouring,
     through application of a method entirely different from any
     hitherto employed, to further the growth and fruitfulness of a
     science indispensable to human reason--a science whose every branch
     may be cut away but whose root cannot be destroyed.”[154]

These statements are decidedly ambiguous, owing to Kant’s failure to
distinguish in any uniform and definite manner between immanent and
transcendent metaphysics.[155] The term metaphysics is used to cover
both. Sometimes it signifies the one, sometimes the other; while in
still other passages its meaning is neutral. But if we draw the
distinction, Kant’s answer is that a genuine and valid immanent
metaphysics is for the first time rendered possible by his _Critique_;
its positive content is expounded in the _Analytic_. Transcendent
metaphysics, on the other hand, is criticised in the _Dialectic_; it is
never possible. The existing speculative sciences transgress the limits
of experience and yield only a pretence of knowledge. This determination
of the limits of our possible _a priori_ knowledge is the second great
achievement of the _Critique_. Thus the _Critique_ serves a twofold
purpose. It establishes a new _a priori_ system of metaphysics, and also
determines on principles equally _a priori_ the ultimate limits beyond
which metaphysics can never advance. The two results, positive and
negative, are inseparable and complementary. Neither should be
emphasised to the neglect of the other.


This _Introduction_, though a document of great historical importance as
being the first definite formulation of the generating problem of Kant’s
new philosophy, is extremely unsatisfactory as a statement of Critical
teaching. The argument is developed in terms of distinctions which are
borrowed from the traditional logic, and which are not in accordance
with the transcendental principles that Kant is professing to establish.
This is, indeed, a criticism which may be passed upon the _Critique_ as
a whole. Though Kant was conscious of opening a new era in the history
of philosophy, and compares his task with that of Thales, Copernicus,
Bacon and Galileo, it may still be said that he never fully appreciated
the greatness of his own achievement. He invariably assumes that the
revolutionary consequences of his teaching will not extend to the sphere
of pure logic. They concern, as he believed, only our metaphysical
theories regarding the nature of reality and the determining conditions
of our human experience. As formal logic prescribes the axiomatic
principles according to which all thinking must proceed, its validity is
not affected by the other philosophical disciplines, and is superior to
the considerations that determine their truth or falsity. Its
distinctions may be securely relied upon in the pioneer labours of
Critical investigation. This was, of course, a very natural assumption
for Kant to make; and many present-day thinkers will maintain that it is
entirely justified. Should that be our attitude, we may approve of
Kant’s general method of procedure, but shall be compelled to dissent
from much in his argument and from many of his chief conclusions. If, on
the other hand, we regard formal logic as in any degree adequate only as
a theory of the thought processes involved in the formation and
application of the generic or class concept,[156] we shall be prepared
to find that the equating of this highly specialised logic with logic in
general has resulted in the adoption of distinctions which may be fairly
adequate for the purposes in view of which they have been formulated,
but which must break down when tested over a wider field. So far from
condemning Kant for departing in his later teaching from these hard and
fast distinctions, we shall welcome every sign of his increasing

Kant was not, of course, so blind to the real bearing of his principles
as to fail to recognise that they have logical implications.[157] He
speaks of the new metaphysics which he has created as being a
transcendental logic. It is very clear, however, that even while so
doing he does not regard it as in any way alternative to the older
logic, but as moving upon a different plane, and as yielding results
which in no way conflict with anything that formal logic may teach.
Indeed Kant ascribes to the traditional logic an almost sacrosanct
validity. Both the general framework of the _Critique_ and the
arrangement of the minor subdivisions are derived from it. It is
supposed to afford an adequate account of discursive thinking, and such
supplement as it may receive is regarded as simply an extension of its
carefully delimited field. There are two logics, that of discursive or
analytic reasoning, and that of synthetic interpretation. The one is
formal; the other is transcendental. The one was created by Aristotle,
complete at a stroke; Kant professes to have formulated the other in an
equally complete and final manner.

This latter claim, which is expressed in the most unqualified terms in
the _Prefaces_ to the first and second editions, is somewhat startling
to a modern reader, and would seem to imply the adoption of an
ultra-rationalistic attitude, closely akin to that of Wolff.

     “In this work I have made completeness my chief aim, and I venture
     to assert that there is not a single metaphysical problem which has
     not been solved, or for the solution of which the key at least has
     not been supplied. Reason is, indeed, so perfect a unity that if
     its principle were insufficient for the solution of even a single
     one of all the questions to which it itself gives birth, we should
     be justified in forthwith rejecting it as incompetent to answer,
     with perfect certainty, any one of the other questions.”[158]
     “Metaphysics has this singular advantage, such as falls to the lot
     of no other science which deals with objects (for _logic_ is
     concerned only with the form of thought in general), that should
     it, through this _Critique_, be set upon the secure path of
     science, it is capable of acquiring exhaustive knowledge of its
     entire field. It can finish its work and bequeath it to posterity
     as a capital that can never be added to. For metaphysics has to
     deal only with principles, and with the limits of their employment
     as determined by these principles themselves. Since it is a
     fundamental science, it is under obligation to achieve this
     completeness. We must be able to say of it: _nil actum reputans, si
     quid superesset agendum_.”[159]

These sanguine expectations--by no means supported by the after-history
of Kant’s system--are not really due to Kant’s immodest over-estimate of
the importance of his work. They would rather seem to be traceable, on
the one hand to his continuing acceptance of rationalistic assumptions
proper only to the philosophy which he is displacing, and on the other
to his failure to appreciate the full extent of the revolutionary
consequences which his teaching was destined to produce in the then
existing philosophical disciplines. Kant, like all the greatest
reformers, left his work in the making. Both his results and his methods
call for modification and extension in the light of the insight which
they have themselves rendered possible. Indeed, Kant was himself
constantly occupied in criticising and correcting his own acquired
views; and this is nowhere more evident than in the contrast between the
teaching of this _Introduction_ and that of the central portions of the
_Analytic_. But even the later expressions of his maturer views reveal
the persisting conflict. They betray the need for further
reconstruction, even in the very act of disavowing it. Not an additional
logic, but the demonstration of the imperative need for a complete
revisal of the whole body of logical science, is the first, and in many
respects the chief, outcome of his Critical enquiries.

The broader bearings of the situation may perhaps be indicated as
follows. If our account of Kant’s awakening from his dogmatic
slumber[160] be correct, it consisted in his recognition that
self-evidence will not suffice to guarantee any general principle. The
fundamental principles of our experience are synthetic. That is to say,
their opposite is in all cases conceivable. Combining this conclusion
with his previous conviction that they can never be proved by induction
from observed facts, he was faced with the task of establishing
rationalism upon a new and altogether novel basis. If neither empirical
facts nor intuitive self-evidence may be appealed to, in what manner can
proof proceed? And how can we make even a beginning of demonstration, if
our very principles have themselves to be established? Principles are
never self-evident, and yet principles are indispensable. Such was
Kant’s unwavering conviction as regards the fundamental postulates alike
of knowledge and of conduct.

This is only another way of stating that Kant is the real founder of the
_Coherence_ theory of truth.[161] He never himself employs the term
Coherence, and he constantly adopts positions which are more in harmony
with a _Correspondence_ view of the nature and conditions of knowledge.
But all that is most vital in his teaching, and has proved really
fruitful in its after-history, would seem to be in line with the
positions which have since been more explicitly developed by such
writers as Lotze, Sigwart, Green, Bradley, Bosanquet, Jones and Dewey,
and which in their tenets all derive from Hegel’s restatement of Kant’s
logical doctrines. From this point of view principles and facts mutually
establish one another, the former proving themselves by their capacity
to account for the relevant phenomena, and the latter distinguishing
themselves from irrelevant accompaniments by their conformity to the
principles which make insight possible. In other words, all proof
conforms in general type to the hypothetical method of the natural
sciences. Kant’s so-called transcendental method, the method by which he
establishes the validity of the categories, is itself, as we have
already observed,[162] of this character. Secondly, the distinction
between the empirical and the _a priori_ must not be taken (as Kant
himself takes it in his earlier, and occasionally even in his later
utterances) as marking a distinction between two kinds of knowledge.
They are elements inseparably involved in all knowledge. And lastly, the
contrast between analysis and synthesis becomes a difference not of kind
but of degree. Nothing can exist or be conceived save as fitted into a
system which gives it meaning and decides as to its truth. In the degree
to which it can be studied in relative independence of the supporting
system analysis will suffice; in the degree to which it refers us to
this system it calls for synthetic interpretation. But ultimately the
needs of adequate understanding must constrain us to the employment of
both methods of enquiry. Nothing can be known save in terms of the wider
whole to which it belongs.

There is, however, one important respect in which Kant diverges in very
radical fashion from the position of Hegel. The final whole to which all
things must be referred is represented to us only through an “Idea,” for
which no corresponding reality can ever be found. The system which
decides what is to be regarded as _empirically_ real is the mechanical
system of natural science. We have no sufficient theoretical criterion
of absolute reality.

These somewhat general considerations may be made more definite if we
now endeavour to determine in what specific respects the distinctions
employed in the _Introduction_ fail to harmonise with the central
doctrines of the _Analytic_.

In the first place, Kant states his problem in reference only to the
attributive judgment. The other types of relational judgment are
entirely ignored. For even when he cites judgments of other relational
types, such as the propositions of arithmetic and geometry, or that
which gives expression to the causal axiom, he interprets them on the
lines of the traditional theory of the categorical proposition. As we
shall find,[163] it is with the relational categories, and consequently
with the various types of relational judgment to which they give rise,
that the _Critique_ is alone directly concerned. Even the attributive
judgment is found on examination to be of this nature. What it expresses
is not the inclusion of an attribute within a given group of attributes,
but the organisation of a complex manifold in terms of the dual category
of substance and attribute.

Secondly, this exclusively attributive interpretation of the judgment
leads Kant to draw, in his _Introduction_, a hard and fast distinction
between the analytic and the synthetic proposition--a distinction which,
when stated in such extreme fashion, obscures the real implications of
the argument of the _Analytic_. For Kant here propounds[164] as an
exhaustive division the two alternatives: (_a_) inclusion of the
predicate concept within the subject concept, and (_b_) the falling of
the predicate concept entirely outside it. He adds, indeed, that in the
latter case the two concepts may still be in some way connected with one
another; but this is a concession of which he takes no account in his
subsequent argument. He leaves unconsidered the third possibility, that
every judgment is both analytic and synthetic. If concepts are not
independent entities,[165] as Kant, in agreement with Leibniz, still
continues to maintain, but can function only as members of an
articulated system, concepts will be distinguishable from one another,
and yet will none the less involve one another. In so far as the
distinguishable elements in a judgment are directly related, the
judgment may _seem_ purely analytic; in so far as they are related only
in an indirect manner through a number of intermediaries, they may
_seem_ to be purely synthetic. But in every case there is an internal
articulation which is describable as synthesis, and an underlying unity
that in subordinating all differences realises more adequately than any
mere identity the demand for connection between subject and predicate.
In other words, all judgments will, on this view, be of the relational
type. Even the attributive judgment, as above noted, is no mere
assertion of identity. It is always expressed in terms of the dual
category of substance and attribute, connecting by a _relation_ contents
that as contents may be extremely diverse.

This would seem to be the view to which Kant’s Critical teaching, when
consistently developed, is bound to lead. For in insisting that the
synthetic character of a judgment need not render it invalid, and that
all the fundamental principles and most of the derivative judgments of
the positive sciences are of this nature, Kant is really maintaining
that the justification of a judgment is always to be looked for beyond
its own boundaries in some implied context of coherent experience. But
though the value of his argument lies in clear-sighted recognition of
the synthetic factor in all genuine knowledge, its cogency is greatly
obscured by his continued acceptance of the possibility of judgments
that are purely analytic. Thus there is little difficulty in detecting
the synthetic character of the proposition: all bodies are heavy. Yet
the reader has first been required to admit the analytic character of
the proposition: all bodies are extended. The two propositions are
really identical in logical character. Neither can be recognised as true
save in terms of a comprehensive theory of physical existence. If matter
must exist in a state of distribution in order that its parts may
acquire through mutual attraction the property of weight, the size of a
body, or even its possessing any extension whatsoever, may similarly
depend upon specific conditions such as may conceivably not be
universally realised. We find the same difficulty when we are called
upon to decide whether the judgment 7 + 5 = 12 is analytic or purely
synthetic. Kant speaks as if the concepts of 7, 5, and 12 were
independent entities, each with its own quite separate connotation. But
obviously they can only be formed in the light of the various connected
concepts which go to constitute our system of numeration. The
proposition has meaning only when interpreted in the light of this
conceptual system. It is not, indeed, a self-evident identical
proposition; but neither is the connection asserted so entirely
synthetic that intuition will alone account for its possibility. That,
however, brings us to the third main defect in Kant’s argument.

When Kant states[166] that in synthetic judgments we require, besides
the concept of the subject, something else on which the understanding
can rely in knowing that a predicate, not contained in the concept,
nevertheless belongs to it, he entitles this something _x_. In the case
of empirical judgments, this _x_ is brute experience. Such judgments,
Kant implies, are _merely_ empirical. No element of necessity is
involved, not even in an indirect manner; in reference to empirical
judgments there is no problem of _a priori synthesis_. Now in
formulating the issue in this way, Kant is obscuring the essential
purpose of his whole enquiry. He may, without essential detriment to his
central position, still continue to preserve a hard-and-fast distinction
between analytic and synthetic judgments. In so doing he is only failing
to perceive the ultimate consequences of his final results. But in
viewing empirical judgments as lacking in every element of necessity, he
is destroying the very ground upon which he professes to base the _a
priori_ validity of general principles. All judgments involve relational
factors of an _a priori_ character. The appeal to experience is the
appeal to an implied system of nature. Only when fitted into the context
yielded by such a system can an empirical proposition have meaning, and
only in the light of such a presupposed system can its truth be
determined. It can be true at all, only if it can be regarded as
necessarily holding, under the same conditions, for all minds
constituted like our own. Assertion of a contingent relation--as in the
proposition: this horse is white--is not equivalent to contingency of
assertion. Colour is a variable quality of the genus horse, but in the
individual horse is necessarily determined in some particular mode. If a
horse is naturally white, it is necessarily white. Though, therefore, in
the above proposition, necessity receives no explicit verbal expression,
it is none the less implied.

In other words, the distinction between the empirical and the _a priori_
is not, as Kant inconsistently assumes in this _Introduction_, a
distinction between two kinds of synthesis or judgment, but between two
elements inseparably involved in every judgment. Experience is
transcendentally conditioned. Judgment is in all cases the expression of
a relation which implies an organised system of supporting propositions;
and for the articulation of this system _a priori_ factors are
indispensably necessary.

But the most flagrant example of Kant’s failure to live up to his own
Critical principles is to be found in his doctrine of pure intuition. It
represents a position which he adopted in the pre-Critical period. It is
prefigured in _Ueber die Deutlichkeit der Grundsätze_ (1764),[167] and
in _Von dem ersten Grunde des Unterschiedes der Gegenden im Raume_
(1768),[168] and is definitely expounded in the _Dissertation_
(1770).[169] That Kant continued to hold this doctrine, and that he
himself regarded it as an integral part of his system, does not, of
course, suffice to render it genuinely Critical. As a matter of fact, it
is really as completely inconsistent with his Critical standpoint as is
the view of the empirical proposition which we have just been
considering. An appeal to our fingers or to points[170] is as little
capable, in and by itself, of justifying any _a priori_ judgment as are
the sense-contents of grounding an empirical judgment. Even when Kant is
allowed the benefit of his own more careful statements,[171] and is
taken as asserting that arithmetical propositions are based on a pure _a
priori_ intuition which can find only approximate expression in sensuous
terms, his statements run counter to the main tendencies of his Critical
teaching, as well as to the recognised methods of the mathematical
sciences. Intuition may, as Poincaré and others have maintained, be an
indispensable element in all mathematical concepts; it cannot afford
_proof_ of any general theorem. The conceptual system which directs our
methods of decimal counting is what gives meaning to the judgment 7 + 5
= 12; it is also what determines that judgment as true. The appeal to
intuition in numerical judgments must be regarded only as a means of
imaginatively realising in a concrete form the abstract relations of
some such governing system, or else as a means of detecting relations
not previously known. The last thing in the world which such a method
can yield is universal demonstration. This is equally evident in regard
to geometrical propositions. That a straight line is the shortest
distance between two points, cannot be proved by any mere appeal to
intuition. The judgment will hold if it can be assumed that space is
Euclidean in character; and to justify that assumption it must be shown
that Euclidean concepts are adequate to the interpretation of our
intuitional data. Should space possess a curvature, the above
proposition might cease to be universally valid. Space is not a simple,
unanalysable datum. Though intuitionally apprehended, it demands for its
precise determination the whole body of geometrical science.[172]

The comparative simplicity of Kant’s intuitional theory of mathematical
science, supported as it is by the seemingly fundamental distinction
between abstract concepts of reflective thinking and the construction of
concepts[173] in geometry and arithmetic, has made it intelligible even
to those to whom the very complicated argument of the _Analytic_ makes
no appeal. It would also seem to be inseparably bound up with what from
the popular point of view is the most striking of all Kant’s theoretical
doctrines, namely, his view that space and time are given subjective
forms, and that the assertion of their independent reality must result
in those contradictions to which Kant has given the title antinomy. For
these reasons his intuitional theory of mathematical science has
received attention out of all proportion to its importance. Its
pre-Critical character has been more or less overlooked, and instead of
being interpreted in the light of Critical principles, it has been
allowed to obscure the sounder teaching of the _Analytic_. In this
matter Schopenhauer is a chief culprit. He not only takes the views of
mathematical science expounded in the _Introduction_ and _Aesthetic_ as
being in line with Kant’s main teaching, but expounds them in an even
more unqualified fashion than does Kant himself.

There are thus four main defects in the argument of this _Introduction_,
regarded as representative of Critical teaching. (1) Its problems are
formulated exclusively in terms of the attributive judgment; the other
forms of relational judgment are ignored. (2) It maintains that
judgments are either merely analytic or completely synthetic. (3) It
proceeds in terms of a further division of judgments into those that are
purely empirical and those that are _a priori_. (4) It seems to assert
that the justification for mathematical judgments is intuitional. All
these four positions are in some degree retained throughout the
_Critique_, but not in the unqualified manner of this _Introduction_. In
the _Analytic_, judgment in all its possible forms is shown to be a
synthetic combination of a given manifold in terms of relational
categories. This leads to a fourfold conclusion. In the first place,
judgment must be regarded as essentially relational. Secondly, the _a
priori_ and the empirical must not be taken as two separate kinds of
knowledge, but as two elements involved in all knowledge. Thirdly,
analysis and synthesis must not be viewed as co-ordinate processes;
synthesis is the more fundamental; it conditions all analysis. And
lastly, it must be recognised that nothing is merely given; intuitional
experience, whether sensuous or _a priori_, is conditioned by processes
of conceptual interpretation. Though the consequences which follow from
these conclusions, if fully developed, would carry us far beyond any
point which Kant himself reached in the progressive maturing of his
views, the next immediate steps would still be on the strict lines of
the Critical principles, and would involve the sacrifice only of such
pre-Critical doctrines as that of the intuitive character of
mathematical proof. Such correction of Kant’s earlier positions is the
necessary complement of his own final discovery that sense-intuition is
incapable of grounding even the so-called empirical judgment.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Introduction_ to the first edition bears all the signs of having
been written previous to the central portions of the _Analytic_.[174]
That it was not, however, written prior to the _Aesthetic_ seems
probable. The opening sections of the _Aesthetic_ represent what is
virtually an independent introduction which takes no account of the
preceding argument, and which redefines terms and distinctions that have
already been dwelt upon. The extensive additions which Kant made in
recasting the _Introduction_ for the second edition are in many respects
a great improvement. In the first edition Kant had not, except when
speaking of the possibility of constructing the concepts of mathematical
science, referred to the synthetic character of mathematical judgments.
This is now dwelt upon in adequate detail. Kant’s reason for not making
the revision more radical was doubtless his unwillingness to undertake
the still more extensive alterations which this would have involved. Had
he expanded the opening statement of the second edition _Introduction_,
that even our empirical knowledge is a compound of the sensuous and the
_a priori_, an entirely new _Introduction_ would have become necessary.
The additions made are therefore only such as will not markedly conflict
with the main tenor of the argument of the first edition.


Treatment of detailed points will be simplified if we now consider in
systematic fashion the many difficulties that present themselves in
connection with Kant’s mode of formulating his central problem: _How are
synthetic_ a priori _judgments possible?_ This formula is less definite
and precise than would at first sight appear. The central phrase
‘synthetic _a priori_’ is sufficiently exact (the meaning to be attached
to the _a priori_ has already been considered[175]), but ambiguities of
the most various kinds lurk in the seemingly innocent and simple terms
with which the formula begins and ends:

     A. ‘How’ has two very different meanings:

     (_a_) _How_ possible = _in what manner_ possible = wie.

     (_b_) _How_ possible = _in how far_ possible, _i.e. whether_
     possible = _ob_.

In connection with these two meanings of the term ‘how,’ we shall have
to consider the distinction between the synthetic method employed in the
_Critique_ and the analytic method employed in the _Prolegomena_.

     B. ‘Possible’ has a still wider range of application.
     Vaihinger[176] distinguishes within it no less than three pairs of
     alternative meanings:

     (_a_) Psychological and logical possibility.

     (_b_) Possibility of explanation and possibility of existence.

     (_c_) Real and ideal possibility.

A. Kant personally believed that the possibility of valid _a priori_
synthetic judgment is proved by the existing sciences of mathematics and
physics. And that being so, there were for Kant two very different
methods which could be employed in accounting for their possibility, the
synthetic or progressive, and the analytic or regressive. The synthetic
method would start from given, ordinary experience (in its simplest
form, as consciousness of time), to discover its conditions, and from
them to prove the validity of knowledge that is _a priori_. The analytic
method would start “from the sought as if it were given,” that is, from
the existence of _a priori_ synthetic judgments, and, assuming them as
valid, would determine the conditions under which alone such validity
can be possible. The precise formulation of these two methods, the
determination of their interrelations, of their value and comparative
scope, is a matter of great importance, and must therefore be considered
at some length.

The synthetic method may easily be confounded with the analytic method.
For in the process of its argument it makes use of analysis. By
analysing ordinary experience in the form in which it is given, it
determines (in the _Aesthetic_ and in the _Analytic of Concepts_) the
fundamental elements of which knowledge is composed, and the generating
conditions from which it results. From these the validity of the _a
priori_ principles that underlie mathematics and physics can (in the
_Analytic of Principles_) be directly deduced. The fundamental
differentiating feature, therefore, of the so-called synthetic method is
not its synthetic procedure, since in great part, in the solution of the
most difficult portion of its task, it employs an analytic method, but
only its attitude towards the one question of the validity of _a priori_
synthetic knowledge. It does not postulate this validity as a premiss,
but proves it as a consequence of conditions which are independently
established. By a preliminary regress upon the conditions of our _de
facto_ consciousness it acquires data from which it is enabled to
advance by a synthetic, progressive or deductive procedure to the
establishment of the validity of synthetic _a priori_ judgments. The
analytic method, on the other hand, makes no attempt to prove the
validity of _a priori_ knowledge. It seeks only to discover the
conditions under which such knowledge, if granted to exist, can possess
validity, and in the light of which its paradoxical and apparently
contradictory features can be viewed as complementary to one another.
The conditions, thus revealed, will render the validity of knowledge
conceivable, will account for it once it has been assumed; but they do
not prove it. The validity is a premiss; the whole argument rests upon
the assumption of its truth. The conditions are only postulated _as
conditions_; and their reality becomes uncertain, if the validity, which
presupposes them, is itself called in question. Immediately we attempt
to reverse the procedure, and to prove validity from these conditions,
our argument must necessarily adopt the synthetic form; and that, as has
been indicated, involves the prior application of a very different and
much more thorough process of analysis. The distinction between the two
methods may therefore be stated as follows. In the synthetic method the
grounds which are employed to explain _a priori_ knowledge are such as
also at the same time suffice to prove its validity. In the analytic
method they are grounds of explanation, but not of proof. They are
themselves proved only in so far as the assumption of validity is
previously granted.

The analytic procedure which is involved in the complete synthetic
method ought, however, for the sake of clearness, to be classed as a
separate, third, method. And as such I shall henceforth regard it. It
establishes by an independent line of argument the existence of _a
priori_ factors, and also their objective validity as conditions
necessary to the very possibility of experience. So viewed, it is the
most important and the most fundamental of the three methods. The
argument which it embodies constitutes the very heart of the _Critique_.
It is, indeed, Kant’s new transcendental method; and in the future, in
order to avoid confusion with the analytic method of the _Prolegomena_,
I shall refer to it always by this title. It is because the
transcendental method is an integral part of the complete, synthetic
method, but cannot be consistently made a part of the analytic method,
that the synthetic method alone serves as an adequate expression of the
Kantian standpoint. This new transcendental method is proof by reference
to the possibility of experience. Experience is given as psychological
fact. The conditions which can alone account for it, as psychological
fact, also suffice to prove its objective validity; but at the same time
they limit that validity to the phenomenal realm.

We have next to enquire to what extent these methods are consistently
employed in the _Critique_. This is a problem over which there has been
much controversy, but which seems to have been answered in a quite final
manner by Vaihinger. It is universally recognised that the _Critique_
professes to follow the synthetic method, and that the _Prolegomena_,
for the sake of a simpler and more popular form of exposition, adopts
the analytic method. How far these two works live up to their
professions, especially the _Critique_ in its two editions, is the only
point really in question. Vaihinger found two diametrically opposed
views dividing the field. Paulsen, Riehl, and Windelband maintain the
view that Kant starts from the fact that mathematics, pure natural
science, and metaphysics contain synthetic _a priori_ judgments claiming
to be valid. Kant’s problem is to test these claims; and his answer is
that they are valid in mathematics and pure natural science, but not in
metaphysics. Paulsen, and those who follow him, further contend that in
the first edition this method is in the main consistently held to, but
that in the second edition, owing to the occasional employment
(especially in the _Introduction_) of the analytic method of the
_Prolegomena_, the argument is perverted and confused: Kant assumes what
he ought first to have proved. Fischer, on the other hand, and in a
kindred manner also B. Erdmann, maintain that Kant never actually
doubted the validity of synthetic _a priori_ judgments; starting from
their validity, in order to explain it, Kant discovers the conditions
upon which it rests, and in so doing is able to show that these
conditions are not of such a character as to justify the professed
judgments of metaphysics.

Vaihinger[177] combines portions of both views, while completely
accepting neither. Hume’s profound influence upon the development and
formulation of Kant’s Critical problem can hardly be exaggerated, but it
ought not to prevent us from realising that this problem, _in its first
form_, was quite independently discovered. As the letter of 1772 to Herz
clearly shows,[178] Kant was brought to the problem, how an idea in us
can relate to an object, by the inner development of his own views,
through reflection upon the view of thought which he had developed in
the _Dissertation_ of 1770. The conformity between thought and things is
in that letter presented, not as a sceptical objection, but as an actual
fact calling for explanation. He does not ask whether there is such
conformity, but only how it should be possible. Even after the further
complication, that thought is synthetic as well as _a priori_, came into
view through the influence of Hume, the problem still continued to
present itself to Kant in this non-sceptical light. And this largely
determines the wording of his exposition, even in passages in which the
demands of the synthetic method are being quite amply fulfilled. Kant,
as it would seem, never himself doubted the validity of the mathematical
sciences. But since their validity is not beyond possible impeachment,
and since metaphysical knowledge, which is decidedly questionable,
would appear to be of somewhat similar type, Kant was constrained to
recognise that, from the point of view of strict proof, such assumption
of validity is not really legitimate. Though, therefore, the analytic
method would have resolved Kant’s own original difficulty, only the
synthetic method is fully adequate to the situation.

Kant accordingly sets himself to prove that whether or not we are ready
(as he himself is) to recognise the validity of scientific judgments,
the correctness of this assumption can be firmly established. And being
thus able to prove its correctness, he for that very reason does not
hesitate to employ it in his introductory statement. The problem, he
says, is that of ‘understanding’ how synthetic _a priori_ judgments can
be valid. A ‘difficulty,’ a ‘mystery,’ a ‘secret,’ lies concealed in
them. How can a predicate be ascribed to a subject term which does not
contain it? And even more strangely (if that be possible), how can _a
priori_ judgments legislate for objects which are independent
existences? Such judgments, even if valid beyond all disputing, would
still call for explanation. This is, indeed, Kant’s original and ground
problem. As already indicated, no one, save only Hume, had hitherto
perceived its significance. Plato, Malebranche, and Crusius may have
dwelt upon it, but only to suggest explanations still stranger and more
mystical than the mysterious fact itself.[179]

Paulsen is justified in maintaining that Kant, in both editions of the
_Critique_, recognises the validity of mathematics and pure natural
science. The fact of their validity is less explicitly dwelt upon in the
first edition, but is none the less taken for granted. The sections
transferred from the _Prolegomena_ to the _Introduction_ of the second
edition make no essential change, except merely in the emphasis with
which Kant’s belief in the existence of valid _a priori_ synthetic
judgments is insisted upon. As has already been stated, only by virtue
of this initial assumption is Kant in position to maintain that there is
an alternative to the strict synthetic method. The _problem_ from which
he starts is common to both methods, and for that reason the formulation
used in the _Prolegomena_ can also be employed in the _Introduction_ to
the _Critique_. Only in their manner of solving the problem need they
differ.[180] Kant’s Critical problem first begins with this
presupposition of validity, and does not exist save through it.[181] He
does not first seek to discover whether such judgments are valid, and
then to explain them. He accepts them as valid, but develops a method of
argument which suffices for proof as well as for explanation. The
argument being directed to both points simultaneously, and establishing
both with equal cogency, it may legitimately be interpreted in either
way, merely as explanation, or also as proof. Kant does not profess or
attempt to keep exclusively to any one line of statement. Against the
dogmatists he insists upon the necessity of _explaining_ the validity of
_a priori_ synthetic judgments, against the sceptics upon the
possibility of _proving_ their validity. And constantly he uses
ambiguous terms, such as ‘justification’ (_Rechtfertigung_),
‘possibility,’ that may indifferently be read in either sense. But
though the fundamental demand which characterises the synthetic method
in its distinction from the analytic thus falls into the background, and
is only occasionally insisted upon, it is none the less fulfilled. So
far as regards the main argument of the _Critique_ in either edition,
the validity of synthetic _a priori_ judgments is not required as a
premiss. It is itself independently proved.

The manner in which Kant thus departs from the strict application of the
synthetic method may be illustrated by an analysis of his argument in
the _Aesthetic_.[182] Only in the arguments of the first edition in
regard to space and time is the synthetic method employed in its ideal
and rigorous form. For the most part, even in the first edition, instead
of showing how the _a priori_ character of pure and applied mathematics
follows from conclusions independently established, he assumes both pure
and applied mathematics to be given as valid, and seeks only to show how
the independently established results of the _Aesthetic_ enable him to
explain and render comprehensible their recognised characteristics. This
is not, indeed, any very essential modification of the synthetic method;
for his independently established results suffice for deducing all that
they are used to explain. The validity of mathematics is not employed as
a premiss. Kant’s argument is, however, made less clear by the above

Further difficulty is caused by Kant’s occasional employment, even in
the first edition, of the analytic method. He several times cites as an
argument in support of his view of space the fact that it alone will
account for the existing science of geometry. That is to say, he employs
geometry, viewed as valid, to _prove_ the correctness of his view of
space.[183] Starting from that science as given, he enquires what are
the conditions which can alone render it possible. These conditions are
found to coincide with those independently established. Now this is a
valid argument when employed in due subordination to the main synthetic
method. It offers welcome _confirmation_ of the results of that method.
It amounts in fact to this, that having proved (by application of the
transcendental method) the mathematical sciences to be valid, everything
which their validity necessarily implies must be granted. Kant’s
reasoning here becomes circular, but it is none the less valid on that
account. This further complication of the argument is, however,
dangerously apt to mislead the reader. It is in great part the cause of
the above division among Kant’s commentators. The method employed in the
_Prolegomena_ is simply this form of argument systematised and cut free
from all dependence upon the transcendental method of proof.[184]

The whole matter is, however, still further complicated by the
distinction, which we have already noted, between real and ideal
possibility. Are the given synthetic _a priori_ judgments valid? That is
one question. Can the Critical philosophy discover, completely
enumerate, and prove in a manner never before done, all the possible
synthetic _a priori_ principles? That is a very different problem, and
when raised brings us to the further discussion of Kant’s transcendental
method. The question at issue is no longer merely whether or not certain
given judgments are valid, and how, if valid, they are to be accounted
for. The question is now that of discovering and of proving principles
which have not been established by any of the special sciences. This
shifting of the problem is concealed from Kant himself by his omission
to distinguish between the undemonstrated axioms of the mathematical
sciences and their derivative theorems, between the principles employed
by the physicist without enquiry into their validity and the special
laws based upon empirical evidence.

As regards the mathematical axioms, the problem is fairly simple. As we
shall see later, in the _Aesthetic_, they do not require a deduction in
the strict transcendental sense. They really fall outside the
application of the transcendental method. They require only an
“exposition.” But in regard to the fundamental principles of natural
science we are presented with the problem of discovery as well as of
proof. Unlike the axioms of the mathematician, they are frequently left
unformulated. And many postulates, such as that there is a _lex continui
in natura_, are current in general thought, and claim equal validity
with the causal principle. Kant has thus to face the question whether in
addition to those principles employed more or less explicitly by the
scientist, others, such as might go to form an immanent metaphysics of
nature, may not also be possible.

B. (_a_)[185] =Psychological and logical possibility.=--Both have to be
recognised and accounted for. Let us consider each in order.

(1) =Psychological possibility.=--What are the _subjective_ conditions of
_a priori_ synthetic judgments? _Through what mental faculties_ are they
rendered possible? Kant replies by developing what may be called a
transcendental psychology. They depend upon space and time as forms of
sensibility, upon the _a priori_ concepts of understanding, and upon the
synthetic activities by which the imagination schematises these concepts
and reduces the given manifold to the unity of apperception. This
transcendental psychology is the necessary complement of the more purely
epistemological analysis.[186] But on this point Kant’s utterances are
extremely misleading. His Critical enquiry has, he declares, nothing in
common with psychology. In the _Preface_ to the first edition we find
the following passage: “This enquiry ... [into] the pure understanding
itself, its possibility and the cognitive faculties upon which it rests
..., although of great importance for my chief purpose, does not form an
essential part of it.”[187] The question, he adds, “how is the faculty
of thought itself possible?... is as it were a search for the cause of a
given effect, and therefore is of the nature of an hypothesis [or ‘mere
opinion’], though, as I shall show elsewhere, this is not really so.”
The concluding words of this passage very fairly express Kant’s
hesitating and inconsistent procedure. Though he has so explicitly
eliminated from the central enquiry of the _Critique_ all psychological
determination of the mental powers, statements as to their constitution
are none the less implied, and are involved in his epistemological
justification alike of _a priori_ knowledge and of ordinary experience.
If we bear in mind that Kant is here attempting to outline the possible
causes of given effects, and that his conclusions are therefore
necessarily of a more hypothetical character than those obtained by
logical analysis, we shall be prepared to allow him considerable liberty
in their formulation. But in certain respects his statements are precise
and definite--the view, for instance, of sensations as non-spatial, of
time as a form of inner sense, of the productive imagination as
pre-conditioning our consciousness, of spontaneity as radically distinct
from receptivity, of the pure forms of thought as not acquired through
sense, etc. No interpretation which ignores or under-estimates this
psychological or subjective aspect of his teaching can be admitted as

(2) =Logical or epistemological possibility.=--How can synthetic _a
priori_ judgments be _valid_? This question itself involves a twofold
problem. How, despite their synthetic character, can they possess truth,
_i.e._ how can we pass from their subject terms to their predicates? And
secondly, how, in view of their origin in our human reason, can they be
objectively valid, _i.e._ legislate for the independently real? How can
we pass beyond the subject-predicate relation to real things? This
latter is the Critical problem in the form in which it appears in Kant’s
letter of 1772 to Herz.[189] The former is the problem of synthesis
which was later discovered.

(_b_) (1) =Possibility of explanation and= (2) =possibility of
existence.=--(1) How can synthetic _a priori_ judgments be _accounted
for_? How, despite their seemingly inconsistent and apparently
paradoxical aspects, can their validity (their validity as well as their
actuality being taken for granted) be rendered _comprehensible_? (2) The
validity of such judgments has been called in question by the
empiricists, and is likewise inexplicable even from the dogmatic
standpoint of the rationalists. How, then, can these judgments _be
possible at all_? These two meanings of the term ‘possible’ connect with
the ambiguity, above noted, in the term ‘how.’ The former problem can be
solved by an analytic method; the latter demands the application of the
more radical method of synthetic reconstruction.

(_c_) =Real and ideal possibility.=[190]--We have to distinguish between
the possible validity of those propositions which the mathematical and
physical sciences profess to have established and the possible validity
of those principles such as that of causality, which are postulated by
the sciences, but which the sciences do not attempt to prove, and which
in certain cases they do not even formulate. The former constitute an
actually existent body of scientific knowledge, demonstrated in
accordance with the demands of scientific method. The latter are
employed by the scientist, but are not investigated by him. The science
into which they can be fitted has still to be created; and though some
of the principles composing it may be known, others remain to be
discovered. All of them demand such proof and demonstration as they have
never yet received.[191] This new and ideal science is the scientific
metaphysics which Kant professes to inaugurate by means of the
_Critique_. In reference to the special sciences, possibility means the
conditions of the actually given. In reference to the new and ideal
metaphysics, possibility signifies the conditions of the realisation of
that which is sought. In view of this distinction, the formula--How are
synthetic _a priori_ judgments possible?--will thus acquire two very
different meanings. (1) How are the existing _a priori_ synthetic
judgments to be accounted for? (2) How may all the really fundamental
judgments of that type be exhaustively discovered and proved? Even in
regard to immanent metaphysics Kant interprets the formula in both ways.
This is due to his frequent confusion of immanent metaphysics with the
principles of natural science. Its propositions are then regarded as
given, and only their general validity calls for proof. It is, however,
in the problem of ideal possibility that the essential problem of the
_Critique_ lies; and that is a further reason why it cannot be
adequately dealt with, save by means of the synthetic method.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Experience.=--Throughout the _Introduction_ the term _experience_[192]
has (even at times in one and the same sentence) two quite distinct
meanings, (1) as product of sense and understanding acting
co-operatively, and (2) as the raw material (the impressions) of sense.
Considerable confusion is thereby caused.

=Understanding and reason=[193] are here, as often elsewhere in the
_Critique_, used as equivalent terms. Throughout the entire two first
sections of the _Introduction_ to the second edition the term reason
does not occur even once. As first mentioned,[194] it is taken as the
source of metaphysical judgments.

=General (a priori) truths have an inner necessity and must be clear and
certain by themselves.=[195]--These statements are not in accordance with
Kant’s new Critical teaching.[196] They have remained uncorrected from a
previous way of thinking. This must be one reason for the recasting of
this paragraph in the second edition.

=Even with (unter) our experiences there is mingled knowledge which must
be of a priori origin.=[197]--Kant is here distinguishing the _immanent a
priori_, such as that involved in any causal judgment, from the
_transcendent a priori_ dwelt upon in the next paragraph. The latter is
expressed through metaphysical judgments, such as ‘God exists,’ ‘the
soul is immortal.’

=Original concepts and judgments derived from them.=[198]--Cf. B 5-6.

=Pure.=--In the title of the section the term _pure_[199] (_rein_) is, as
the subsequent argument shows, taken as exactly equivalent to _a
priori_. As Vaihinger notes, the adjective _apriorisch_ had not yet been
invented. The opposite of pure is here empirical (_empirisch_).[200]

=All our knowledge begins with experience.=[201]--This is a stronger
statement than any in the corresponding paragraphs of the first edition.
Had Kant proceeded to develop its consequences, he would have had to
recast the entire _Introduction_, setting the problem of empirical
knowledge alongside that of the _a priori_.[202] As it is, he is
forced[203] to subdivide the absolutely _a priori_ into the pure and the

=By objects which affect (rühren) our senses. The raw material of
sensuous impressions.=[205]--These incidental statements call for
discussion. Cf. below, pp. 80-8, 120-1, 274 ff.

=A knowledge of objects which we call experience.=[206]--Kant does not
keep to this definition. The term experience is still used in its other
and narrower sense, as in the very next paragraph, when Kant states that
knowledge does not, perhaps, arise solely from experience (= sense

=In respect of time.=[207]--This statement, taken as an account of Kant’s
teaching in the _Critique_, is subject to two reservations. In the
_Aesthetic_[208] Kant sometimes claims a temporal antecedence for the _a
priori_. And secondly, the _a priori_ is not for Kant merely logical. It
also possesses a dynamical priority.[209]

=Even experience itself is a compound.=[210]--The “even” seems to refer to
the distinction drawn in A 2 between the immanent and the transcendent
_a priori_.[211]

=It is therefore a question whether there exists such knowledge
independent of experience.=[212]--This question was not raised in the
first edition.[213] The alternative methods, analytic and synthetic, are
discussed above, p. 44 ff.

=Such knowledge is called a priori and is distinguished from empirical
knowledge.=[214]--Throughout the _Introduction_, in both editions
equally, Kant fails to state the problems of the _Critique_ in a
sufficiently comprehensive manner. He speaks as if the _Critique_ dealt
only with the absolutely _a priori_, in its two forms, as immanent
scientific knowledge and as transcendent speculation. It also deals with
the equally important and still more fundamental problem of accounting
for the possibility of _experience_.[215] Our empirical knowledge
involves an _a priori_ element, and may not therefore be opposed to _a
priori_ knowledge in the manner of the passage before us.

=This term a priori is not yet definite enough.=[216]--It is frequently
employed in a merely relative sense. Thus we can say of a person who
undermines the foundations of his house that he might have known _a
priori_ that it would collapse, that is, that he need not wait for the
experience of its actual fall. But still he could not know this entirely
_a priori_; he had first to learn from experience that bodies are heavy,
and will fall when their supports are taken away. But as dealt with in
the _Critique_ the term _a priori_ is used in an absolute sense, to
signify that knowledge which is independent, not of this or that
experience only, but of all impressions of the senses. Thus far Kant’s
position is comparatively clear; but he proceeds to distinguish two
forms within the absolutely _a priori_, namely, mixed and pure. The
absolutely _a priori_ is mixed when it contains an empirical element,
pure when it does not. (“Pure” is no longer taken in the meaning which
it has in the title of the section.[217] It signifies not the _a priori_
as such, but only one subdivision of it.) Thus after defining absolutely
_a priori_ knowledge as independent of all experience, Kant takes it in
one of its forms as involving empirical elements. The example which he
gives of an absolutely _a priori_ judgment, which yet is not pure, is
the principle: every change has its cause. “Change” is an empirical
concept, but the synthetic relation asserted is absolutely _a priori_.
In the next section[218] this same proposition is cited as a _pure_
judgment _a priori_--“pure” being again used in its more general meaning
as synonymous with _a priori_. This confusion results from Kant’s
exclusive preoccupation with the _a priori_, and consequent failure to
give due recognition to the correlative problem of the empirical
judgment. The omitted factor retaliates by thus forcing its way into
Kant’s otherwise clean-cut divisions. Also, it is not true that the
relative _a priori_ falls outside the sphere of the Critical enquiry.
Such judgment expresses necessity or objectivity, and for that reason
demands a transcendental justification no less urgently than the
absolutely _a priori_. The finding of such justification is, indeed, the
central problem of the _Analytic_.[219]

The subdivisions of the _a priori_ may be tabulated thus:

                      { Relative, _e.g._ every unsupported house must
                      { fall.
  _A priori_ knowledge{          { Mixed, _e.g._ every change has its cause.
                      { Absolute { Pure, _e.g._ a straight line is the shortest
                      {          { distance between two points.

The term _pure_ (_rein_) thus acquires a second meaning distinct from
that defined above.[220] It is no longer employed as identical with _a
priori_, but as a subdivision of it, meaning _unmixed_. Its opposite is
no longer the empirical, but the impure or mixed. Owing, however, to the
fact that “pure” (in its first meaning) is identical with the _a
priori_, it shares in all the different connotations of the latter, and
accordingly is also employed to denote that which is _not relative_. But
“pure” has yet another meaning peculiar to itself. The phrase
“independent of experience” has in reference to “pure” an ambiguity from
which it does not suffer in its connection with “_a priori_” (since
mathematical knowledge, whether pure or applied, is always regarded by
Kant as _a priori_). It may signify either independence as regards
_content and validity_, or independence as regards _scope_. The latter
meaning is narrower than the former. By the former meaning it denotes
that which originates, and can possess truth, independently of
experience. By the latter it signifies that which is not only
independent of sense but also applies to the non-sensuous. In this
latter meaning pure knowledge therefore signifies transcendent
knowledge. Its opposite is the immanent. The various meanings of “pure”
(four in number) may be tabulated as follows:

  (_a_) (1) _A priori_: independent of experience as regards origin
                and validity. (Its opposite = empirical.)

               { (2) Absolutely independent of experience. (Its
               { opposite = relative.)

               { (3) Unmixed with experience. (Its opposite =
               { impure or mixed.)

  (_b_) (4) Independent of experience as regards scope = transcendent.
                     (Its opposite = immanent.)

All these varied meanings contribute to the ambiguity of the title of
the _Critique_. Kant himself employs the title in all of the following

1. Critique of absolutely pure _a priori_ knowledge, determination of
its sources, conditions, scope and limits.

2. Critique of all _a priori_ knowledge, relative as well as absolute,
in so far as it depends upon _a priori_ principles, determination, etc.

3. Critique of all knowledge, whether _a priori_ or empirical,
determination, etc.

4. Critique of transcendent knowledge, its sources and limits.

Further meanings could also be enumerated but can be formulated by the
reader for himself in the light of the ambiguities just noted.[221] The
special context in each case can alone decide how the title is to be
understood. If a really adequate definition of the purpose and scope of
the _Critique_ is sought by the reader, he must construct it for
himself. The following may perhaps serve. _The_ Critique _is an enquiry
into the sources, conditions, scope and limits of our knowledge, both a
priori and empirical, resulting in the construction of a new system of
immanent metaphysics; in the light of the conclusions thus reached, it
also yields an analysis and explanation of the transcendental illusion
to which transcendent metaphysics, both as a natural disposition and as
a professed science, is due._

Kant further complicates matters by offering a second division of the
absolutely _a priori_,[222] viz. into the original and the derivative.
Also, by implication, he classes relative _a priori_ judgments among the
propositions to be reckoned with by the _Critique_; and yet in B 4 he
speaks of the proposition, all bodies are heavy, as merely

=A criterion.=[224]--Necessity and universality are valid criteria of the
_a priori_ (= the non-empirical). This follows from Kant’s view[225] of
the empirical as synonymous with the contingent (_zufällig_). Experience
gives only the actual; the _a priori_ alone yields that which cannot be

     “Necessity and strict universality are thus safe criteria of _a
     priori_ knowledge, and are inseparable from one another. But since
     in the employment of these criteria the empirical limitation of
     judgments is sometimes more easily shown than their contingency,
     or since, as frequently happens, their unlimited universality can
     be more convincingly proved than their necessity, it is advisable
     to use the two criteria separately, each being by itself

Now Kant is here, of course, assuming the main point to be established,
namely, that experience is incapable of accounting for such universality
and necessity as are required for our knowledge, both ordinary and
scientific. We have already considered this assumption,[227] and have
also anticipated misunderstanding by noting the important qualifications
to which, from Kant’s new Critical standpoint, the terms ‘necessity’ and
‘universality’ become subject.[228] The very specific meaning in which
Kant employs the term _a priori_ must likewise be borne in mind. Though
negatively the _a priori_ is independent of experience, positively it
originates in our human reason. The necessity and universality which
differentiate the _a priori_ distinguish it only from the humanly
accidental. The _a priori_ has no absolute validity. From a metaphysical
standpoint, it is itself contingent. As already stated,[229] all truth
is for Kant merely _de facto_. The necessary is not that which cannot be
conceived to be otherwise, nor is it the unconditioned. Our reason
legislates only for the world of appearance. But as yet Kant gives no
hint of this revolutionary reinterpretation of the rationalist criteria.
One of the chief unfortunate consequences of the employment in this
_Introduction_ of the analytic method of the _Prolegomena_ is that it
tends to mislead the reader by seeming to commit Kant to a logical _a
priori_ of the Leibnizian type.

=To show that, if experience is to be possible, [pure a priori
propositions] are indispensable, and so to prove their existence a
priori.=[230]--At first sight Kant would seem to be here referring to the
alternative synthetic method of procedure, _i.e._ to the
_transcendental_ proof of the _a priori_. The next sentence shows,
however, that neither in intention nor in fact is that really so. He
argues only that _a priori_ principles, such as the principle of
causality, are necessary in order to give “certainty” to our experience;
such a principle must be postulated if inductive inference is to be
valid. Experience could have no [scientific] certainty, “if all rules
according to which it proceeds were themselves in turn empirical, and
therefore contingent. They could hardly be regarded as first
principles.” There is no attempt here to prove that empirical knowledge
_as such_ necessarily involves the _a priori_. Also the method of
argument, though it seeks to establish the _necessity_ of the _a
priori_, is not transcendental or Critical in character. It is merely a
repetition of the kind of argument which both Hume and Leibniz had
already directed against the sensationalist position.[231] Very
strangely, considering that these sentences have been added in the
second edition, and therefore subsequent to the writing of the objective
deduction, Kant gives no indication of the deeper problem to which he
finally penetrated. The explanation is, probably, that to do so would
have involved the recasting of the entire _Introduction_. Even on the
briefest reference, the hard-and-fast distinction between the _a priori_
and the empirical, as two distinct and separate classes of judgment,
would have been undermined, and the reader would have been made to feel
the insufficiency of the analysis upon which it is based.[232] The
existence of the deeper view is betrayed only through careless
employment of the familiar phrase “possibility of experience.” For, as
here used, it is not really meant. “Certainty of experience”--a very
different matter--is the meaning that alone will properly fit the

=Reason and understanding.=[233]--They are here distinguished, having been
hitherto, in A 1-2, employed as synonymous. The former carries us beyond
the field of all possible experience; the latter is limited to the world
of sense. Thus both _Reason_ and _understanding_ are here used in their
narrowest meaning.

=These inevitable problems of pure Reason itself are God, freedom, and
immortality. The science which, with all its methods, is in its final
intention directed solely to the solution of these problems, is called
metaphysics.=[234]--These sentences are characteristic of the second
edition with its increased emphasis upon the positive results of the
_Critique_ on the one hand, and with its attitude of increased favour
towards transcendent metaphysics on the other. The one change would seem
to be occasioned by the nature of the criticisms passed upon the first
edition, as, for instance, by Moses Mendelssohn who describes Kant as
“the all-destroyer” (_der alles zermalmende_). The other is due to
Kant’s preoccupation with the problems of ethics and of teleology. The
above statements are repeated with even greater emphasis in B 395
_n_.[235] The definition here given of metaphysics is not strictly kept
to by Kant. As above noted,[236] Kant really distinguishes within it two
forms, immanent and transcendent. In so doing, however, he still[237]
regards transcendent metaphysics as the more important. Immanent
metaphysics is chiefly of value as contributing to the solution of the
“inevitable problems of pure Reason.”

=A 3-4 = B 7-8.=--The reasons, here cited by Kant, for the failure of
philosophical thinking to recognise the difference between immanent and
transcendent judgments are: (1) the misunderstood character, and
consequent misleading influence, of _a priori_ mathematical judgments;
(2) the fact that once we are beyond the sensible sphere, experience can
never contradict us; (3) natural delight in the apparent enlargement of
our knowledge; (4) the ease with which logical contradictions can be
avoided; (5) neglect of the distinction between analytic and synthetic
_a priori_ judgments. Vaihinger points out[238] that in the
_Fortschritte_[239] Kant adds a sixth reason--confusion of the concepts
of understanding with the Ideas of Reason. Upon the first of the above
reasons the best comment is that of the _Methodology_.[240] But the
reader must likewise bear in mind that in B xvi Kant develops his new
philosophical method on the analogy of the mathematical method. The
latter is, he claims, _mutatis mutandis_, the true method of
_legitimate_ speculation, _i.e._ of immanent metaphysics. The one
essential difference (as noted by Kant[241]), which has been overlooked
by the dogmatists, is that philosophy gains its knowledge from concepts,
mathematics from the construction of concepts.

=Remain investigations only.=[242]--Cf. _Prolegomena_, § 35.

=The analysis of our concepts of objects.=[243]--Vaihinger’s
interpretation, that the concepts here referred to are those which we
“form _a priori_ of things,”[244] seems correct.[245] The rationalists
sought to deduce the whole body of rational psychology from the _a
priori_ conception of the soul as a simple substance, and of rational
theology from the _a priori_ conception of God as the all-perfect Being.

     =Analytic and synthetic judgments.=[246]--“All analytic judgments
     depend wholly on the law of contradiction, and are in their nature
     _a priori_ cognitions, whether the concepts that supply them with
     matter be empirical or not. For the predicate of an affirmative
     analytic judgment is already contained in the concept of the
     subject, of which it cannot be denied without contradiction. In the
     same way its opposite is necessarily denied of the subject in an
     analytic, but negative, judgment by the same law of
     contradiction.... For this very reason all analytic judgments are
     _a priori_ even when the concepts are empirical, as, for example,
     gold is a yellow metal; for to know this I require no experience
     beyond my concept of gold as a yellow metal: it is, in fact, the
     very concept, and I need only analyse it, without looking beyond it
     elsewhere.... [Synthetic judgments, _a posteriori_ and _a priori_]
     agree in this, that they cannot possibly spring solely from the
     principle of analysis, the law of contradiction. They require a
     quite different principle. From whatever they may be deduced, the
     deduction must, it is true, always be in accordance with the
     principle of contradiction. For that principle must never be
     violated. But at the same time everything cannot be deduced from

In A 594 = B 622 analytic judgments are also spoken of as identical; but
in the _Fortschritte_[248] this use of terms is criticised:

     “Judgments are analytic if their predicate only represents clearly
     (_explicite_) what was thought obscurely (_implicite_) in the
     concept of the subject, _e.g._ all bodies are extended. Were we to
     call such judgments identical only confusion would result. For
     identical judgments contribute nothing to the clearness of the
     concept, and that must be the purpose of all judging. Identical
     judgments are therefore empty, _e.g._ all bodies are bodily (or to
     use another term material) beings. Analytic judgments do, indeed,
     ground themselves upon identity and can be resolved into it; but
     they are not identical. For they demand analysis and serve for the
     explanation of the concept. In identical judgments, on the other
     hand, _idem_ is defined _per idem_, and nothing at all is

Vaihinger[249] cites the following contrasted examples of analytic and
synthetic judgments:

_Analytic._--(_a_) Substance is that which exists only as subject in
which qualities inhere.[250] (_b_) Every effect has a cause.[5] (_c_)
Everything conditioned presupposes a condition.

_Synthetic._--(_a_) Substance is permanent. (_b_) Every event has a
cause.[251] (=c=) Everything conditioned presupposes an unconditioned.

=B 11-12.=--The first half of this paragraph is transcribed practically
word for word from the _Prolegomena_.[252] The second half is a close
restatement of an omitted paragraph of the first edition. The chief
addition lies in the concluding statement, that “experience is itself a
synthetic connection of intuitions.” This is in keeping with statements
made in the deduction of the categories in the second edition,[253] and
in the paragraph inserted in the proof of the second analogy in the
second edition.[254] The _x_ has strangely been omitted in the second
edition in reference to empirical judgments, though retained in
reference to synthetic _a priori_ judgments.

=The proposition: everything which happens has its cause.=[255]--As we
have already observed,[256] Hume influenced Kant at two distinct periods
in his philosophical development--in 1756-1763, and again at some time
(not quite definitely datable) after February 1772. The first influence
concerned the character of concrete causal judgments; the second related
to the causal axiom. Though there are few distinctions which are more
important for understanding the _Critique_ than that of the difference
between these two questions, it has nowhere been properly emphasised by
Kant, and in several of the references to Hume, which occur in the
_Critique_ and in the _Prolegomena_, the two problems are confounded in
a most unfortunate manner. The passages in the _Introduction_[257] are
clear and unambiguous; the influence exercised by Hume subsequent to
February 1772 is quite adequately stated. The causal axiom claims to be
_a priori_, and is, as Hume asserts, likewise synthetic. Consequently
there are only two alternatives, each decisive and far-reaching. Either
valid _a priori_ synthesis must, contrary to all previous philosophical
belief, be possible, or “everything which we call metaphysics must turn
out to be a mere delusion of reason.” The solution of this problem is “a
question of life and death to metaphysics.” To this appreciation of
Hume, Kant adds criticism. Hume did not sufficiently universalise his
problem. Had he done so, he would have recognised that pure mathematics
involves _a priori_ synthesis no less necessarily than do the
metaphysical disciplines. From denying the possibility of mathematical
science “his good sense would probably have saved him.” Hume’s problem,
thus viewed, finds its final and complete expression in the formula: How
are synthetic _a priori_ judgments possible?

In A 760 = B 788 the account differs in two respects: first, it
discusses the metaphysical validity of the causal axiom as well as its
intrinsic possibility as a judgment; and secondly, reference is made to
the conception of causality as well as to the axiom. The implied
criticism of Hume is correspondingly modified. Otherwise, it entirely
harmonises with the passages in the _Introduction_.

     “Hume dwelt especially upon the principle of causality, and quite
     rightly observed that its truth, and even the objective validity of
     the concept of efficient cause in general, is based on no insight,
     _i.e._ on no _a priori_ knowledge, and that its authority cannot
     therefore be ascribed to its necessity, but merely to its general
     utility in the course of experience and to a certain subjective
     necessity which it thereby acquires, and which he entitles custom.
     From the incapacity of our reason to make use of this principle in
     any manner that transcends experience he inferred the nullity of
     all pretensions of reason to advance beyond the empirical.”

Now so far, in these references to Hume, Kant has had in view only the
problems of mathematical and physical science and of metaphysics. The
problems involved in the possibility of empirical knowledge are left
entirely aside. His account of Hume’s position and of his relation to
Hume suffers change immediately these latter problems are raised. And
unfortunately it is a change for the worse. The various problems treated
by Hume are then confounded together, and the issues are somewhat
blurred. Let us take the chief passages in which this occurs. In A 764 =
B 792 ff. Kant gives the following account of Hume’s argument. Hume,
recognising the impossibility of predicting an effect by analysis of the
concept of the cause, or of discovering a cause from the concept of the
effect, viewed all concrete causal judgments as merely contingent, and
therefrom inferred the contingency of the causal axiom. In so doing
Hume, Kant argues, confuses the legitimate and purely _a priori_
inference from a given event to _some_ antecedent with the very
different inference, possible only through special experience, to a
_specific_ cause. Now this is an entire misrepresentation of Hume’s real
achievement, and may perhaps be explained, at least in part, as being
due to the fact that Kant was acquainted with Hume’s _Treatise_ only
through the indirect medium of Beattie’s quotations. Hume committed no
such blunder. He clearly recognised the distinction between the problem
of the validity of the causal axiom and the problem of the validity of
concrete causal judgments. He does not argue from the contingency of
concrete causal laws to the contingency of the universal principle, but
shows, as Kant himself recognises,[258] that the principle is neither
self-evident nor demonstrable _a priori_. And as necessity cannot be
revealed by experience, neither is the principle derivable from that
source. Consequently, Hume concludes, it cannot be regarded as
objectively valid. It must be due to a subjective instinct or natural
belief. (The two problems are similarly confounded by Kant in A 217 = B

In the _Introduction_ to the _Prolegomena_ there is no such confusion
of the two problems, but matters are made even worse by the omission of
all reference to Hume’s analysis of the causal axiom. Only Hume’s
treatment of the concept of causality is dwelt upon. This is the more
unfortunate, and has proved the more misleading, in that it is here that
Kant makes his most explicit acknowledgment of his indebtedness to Hume.
In §§ 27 ff. of the _Prolegomena_ both problems reappear, but are again
confounded. The section is preceded by sentences in which the problem of
experience is emphasised; and in keeping with these prefatory remarks,
Kant represents “Hume’s _crux metaphysicorum_” as concerning only the
concept of causality (viewed as a synthetic, and professedly _a priori_,
connection between concrete existences). Yet in § 30 the causal axiom is
also referred to, and together they are taken as constituting “Hume’s

Now if we bear in mind that Hume awakened Kant to both problems--how _a
priori_ knowledge is possible, and how experience is possible--this
confusion can easily be understood. Kant had already in the early
‘sixties studied Hume with profound admiration and respect.[259] In the
period subsequent to 1772 this admiration had only deepened; and
constantly, as we may believe, Kant had returned with fresh relish to
Hume’s masterly analyses of causality and of inductive inference. It is
not, therefore, surprising that as the years passed, and as the other
elements in Hume’s teaching revealed to him, through the inner growth of
his own views, their full worth and significance, he should allow the
contribution that had more specifically awakened him to fall into the
background, and should, in vague fashion, ascribe to Hume’s teaching as
a whole the specific influence which was really due to one particular
part. By 1783, the date of the _Prolegomena_, Kant’s first enthusiasm
over the discovery of the fundamental problem of _a priori_ synthesis
had somewhat abated, and the problem of experience had more or less
taken its place. This would seem to be the reason why in the
_Prolegomena_ he thus deals with both aspects of Hume’s problem, and why
in so doing he gives a subordinate place to Hume’s treatment of the
causal axiom. But though the misunderstanding may be thus accounted for,
it must none the less be deplored. For the reader is seriously misled,
and much that is central to the Critical philosophy is rendered obscure.
The influence which Kant in the _Prolegomena_ thus ascribes to Hume was
not that which really awakened him from his dogmatic slumber, but is in
part that which he had assimilated at least as early as 1763, and in
part that which acted upon him with renewed force when he was struggling
(probably between 1778 and 1780) with the problems involved in the
deduction of the categories. It was Hume’s treatment of the causal
axiom, and that alone, which, at some time subsequent to February 1772,
was the really effective influence in producing the Copernican

=Purely a priori and out of mere concepts.=[261]--Vaihinger’s comment
seems correct: Kant means only that neither actual experience nor pure
intuition can be resorted to. This does not contradict the complementary
assertion,[262] that the principle, everything which happens has its
cause, can be known _a priori_, not immediately from the concepts
involved in it, but only indirectly[263] through the relation of these
concepts to possible experience. “Possible experience,” even though it
stands for “something purely contingent,” is itself a concept.
Vaihinger[264] quotes Apelt upon this “mysterious” type of judgment.

     “Metaphysics is synthetic knowledge from mere concepts, not like
     mathematics from their construction in intuition, and yet these
     synthetic propositions cannot be known from bare concepts, _i.e._
     not analytically. The necessity of the connection in those
     propositions is to be apprehended through thought alone, and yet is
     not to rest upon the form of thought, the principle of
     contradiction. The conception of a kind of knowledge which arises
     from bare concepts, and yet is synthetic, eludes our grasp. The
     problem is: How can one concept be necessarily connected with
     another, without also at the same time being contained in it?”

The paragraphs in B 14 to B 17 are almost verbal transcripts from
_Prolegomena_, § 2 _c_, 2 ff.

=Mathematical judgments are one and all (insgesammt)
synthetic.=[265]--This assertion is carelessly made, and does not
represent Kant’s real view. In B 16 he himself recognises the existence
of analytic mathematical judgments, but unduly minimises their number
and importance.

=All mathematical conclusions proceed according to the principle of
contradiction.=[266]--To the objection made by Paulsen that Kant, in
admitting that mathematical judgments can be deduced from others by
means of the principle of contradiction, ought consistently to have
recognised as synthetic only axioms and principles, Vaihinger replies as

     “The proposition--the angles of a triangle are together equal to
     two right angles--Kant regards as synthetic. It is indeed deduced
     from the axiom of parallels (with the aid of auxiliary lines), and
     to that extent is understood in accordance with the principle of
     contradiction.... The angles in the triangle constitute a special
     case of the angles in the parallel lines which are intersected by
     other lines. The principle of contradiction thus serves as vehicle
     in the deduction, because once the identity of A and A´ is
     recognised, the predicate _b_, which belongs to A, must also be
     ascribed to A´. But the proposition is not for that reason itself
     analytic in the Kantian sense. In the analytic proposition the
     predicate is derived from the analysis of the subject concept. But
     that does not happen in this case. The synthetic proposition can
     never be derived _in and by itself_ from the principle of
     contradiction; ... but only with the aid of that principle _from
     other propositions_. Besides, in this deduction intuition must
     always be resorted to; and that makes an essential difference.
     Without it the identity of A and A´ cannot become known.”

=Pure mathematics.=[268]--“Pure,” as thus currently used, is opposed only
to applied, not to empirical. Kant here arbitrarily reads the latter
opposition into it. Under this guise he begs the point in dispute.

7 + 5 = 12.[269]--Though 7 + 5 = 12 expresses an identity or equality,
it is an equality of the _objects_ or _magnitudes_, 7 + 5 and 12, not of
the concepts through which we think them.[270] Analysis of the concepts
can never reveal this equality. Only by constructing the concepts in
intuition can it be recognised by the mind. This example has been
already cited in the first edition.[271] It is further elaborated in the
_Prolegomena_, § 2 _c_, and is here transcribed. Kant’s mode of stating
his position is somewhat uncertain. He alternates between “the
representation of 7 and 5,” “the representation of the combination of 7
and 5,”[272] and “the concepts 7 and 5.”[273] His view would seem to be
that there are _three_ concepts involved. For the concept of 7 we must
substitute the intuition of 7 points, for the concept of 5 the intuition
of 5 points, and for the concept of their sum the intuitive operation of

=Call in the assistance of intuition, for instance our five
fingers.=[274]--This statement, repeated from the _Prolegomena_,[275]
does not represent Kant’s real position. The views which he has
expressed upon the nature of arithmetical science are of the most
contradictory character,[276] but to one point he definitely commits
himself, namely, that, like geometrical science, it rests, not (as here
asserted) upon empirical, but upon pure intuition.[277] Except
indirectly, by the reference to larger numbers, Kant here ignores his
own important distinction between image and schema.[278] The above
statement would also make arithmetic dependent upon space.

=Segner: Anfangsgründe der Arithmetik=,[279] translated from the Latin,
second edition, Halle, 1773.

=Natural science (physica) contains synthetic a priori
judgments.=[280]--There is here a complication to which Vaihinger[281]
has been the first to draw attention. In the _Prolegomena_[282] Kant
emphasises the distinction between physics and pure or universal science
of nature.[283] The latter treats only the _a priori_ form of nature
(_i.e._ its necessary conformity to law), and is therefore a
propaedeutic to physics which involves further empirical factors. For
two reasons, however, this universal natural science falls short of its
ideal. First, it contains empirical elements, such as the concepts of
motion, impenetrability, inertia, etc. Secondly, it refers only to the
objects of external sense, and not, as we should expect in a universal
science, to natural existences without exception, _i.e._ to the objects
of psychology as well as of physics.[284] But among its principles there
are, Kant adds, a few which are purely _a priori_ and possess the
universality required: _e.g._ such propositions as that _substance is
permanent_, and that _every event has a cause_. Now these are the
examples which ought to have been cited in the passage before us. Those
actually given fall entirely outside the scope of the _Critique_. They
are treated only in the _Metaphysische Anfangsgründe_. They belong to
the relatively, not to the absolutely, pure science of nature. The
source of the confusion Vaihinger again traces to Kant’s failure to hold
fast to the important distinction between immanent and transcendent
metaphysics.[285] His so-called pure or universal natural science
(nature, as above noted, signifying for Kant “all that is”) is really
_immanent metaphysics_, and the propositions in regard to substance and
causality ought therefore to be classed as metaphysical. This, indeed,
is how they are viewed in the earlier sections of the _Prolegomena_. The
distinction later drawn in § 15 is ignored. Pure natural science is
identified with mathematical physics, and the propositions which in §
15 are spoken of as belonging to pure universal natural science are now
regarded as metaphysical. “Genuinely metaphysical judgments are one and
all synthetic.... For instance, the proposition--everything which in
things is substance is permanent--is a synthetic, and properly
metaphysical judgment.”[286] In § 5 the principle of causality is also
cited as an example of a synthetic _a priori_ judgment in metaphysics.
But Kant still omits to draw a distinction between immanent and
transcendent metaphysics; and as a consequence his classification of
synthetic _a priori_ judgments remains thoroughly confused. They are
taken as belonging to three spheres, mathematics, physics (in the
relative sense), and metaphysics. The implication is that this threefold
distinction corresponds to the threefold division of the _Doctrine of
Elements_ into _Aesthetic_, _Analytic_, and _Dialectic_. Yet, as a
matter of fact, the propositions of mathematical physics, in so far as
they are examples of applied mathematics, are dealt with in the
_Aesthetic_, and in so far as they involve concepts of motion and the
like fall entirely outside the scope of the _Critique_, while the
_Analytic_ deals with those _metaphysical_ judgments (such as the
principle of causality) which are of immanent employment.[287]

As the new paragraphs in the _Introduction_ to the second edition are
transferred without essential modification from the _Prolegomena_, they
are open to the same criticism. To harmonise B 17 with the real teaching
of the _Critique_, it must be entirely recast. Instead of “natural
science” (_physica_) we must read “pure universal natural science [=
immanent metaphysics],” and for the examples given we must substitute
those principles of substance and causality which are dealt with in the
_Analytic_. The next paragraph deals with metaphysics in its
transcendent form, and accordingly states the problem peculiar to the

=Metaphysics.=[288]--This paragraph deals _explicitly_ only with
transcendent judgments, but as the terms used are ambiguous, it is
possible that those of immanent metaphysics are also referred to. The
paragraph is not taken from the _Prolegomena_. The corresponding
passage[289] in the _Prolegomena_ deals only with the judgments of
immanent metaphysics.

=The real problem of pure reason is contained in the question: How are
synthetic a priori judgments possible?=[290]--Cf. above, pp. 26 ff., 33
ff., 43 ff.

=David Hume.=[291]--Cf. above, pp. 61 ff.

=A theoretical knowledge.=[292]--_i.e._ Kant explicitly leaves aside the
further problem, whether such judgments may not also be possible in the
practical (moral) and other spheres.

=How is pure natural science possible?=[293]--The note which Kant appends
shows that he is here taking natural science in the relative sense.[294]
The same irrelevant instances are again cited.

=As these sciences really exist.=[295]--Cf. below, p. 44 ff.

=The poor progress which metaphysics has hitherto made.=[296]--Cf.
_Preface_ to the second edition; _Prolegomena_, § 4, and A 175 ff.

=How is metaphysics as a science possible?=[297]--We may now consider how
this and the three preceding questions are related to one another and to
the various divisions of the _Critique_.[298] The four subordinate
questions within the main problem--How are synthetic _a priori_
judgments possible?--are here stated by Kant as:

1. =How is pure mathematics possible?=

2. =How is pure natural science possible?=

3. =How is metaphysics as natural disposition possible?=

4. =How is metaphysics as science possible?=

There is little difficulty as regards 1 and 2. The first is dealt with
in the _Aesthetic_, and the second[299] in the _Analytic_, though, owing
to the complexity of the problems, the _Aesthetic_ and _Analytic_ are
wider than either query, and cannot be completely separated. Applied
mathematics is dealt with in the _Analytic_ as well as in the
_Aesthetic_, and in both the determination of the limits of scientific
knowledge is equally important with that of accounting for its positive
acquisitions. The third and fourth questions raise all manner of
difficulties. Notwithstanding the identical mode of formulation, they do
not run on all fours with the two preceding. The first two are taken as
referring to actually existing and valid sciences. It is the ground of
their _objective validity_ that is sought. But what is investigated in
the third question falsely lays claim to the title of science; we can
enquire only as to the ground of its _subjective_ possibility. In the
fourth question, the problem takes still another form. Kant now seeks to
determine _whether_ a new, not yet existing, science of metaphysics is
possible, and _in what manner_ it can be validly constructed. The
manifoldness of the problems is thus concealed by the fixity of the
common formula.[300] Now with what divisions of the _Critique_ are the
two last questions connected? It has been suggested[301] that the third
question is dealt with in the _Dialectic_ and the fourth in the
_Methodology_, the four questions thus corresponding to the four main
divisions of the _Critique_. But this view is untenable, especially in
its view of the fourth question. The division of the _Critique_ is by
dichotomy into _doctrine of elements_ and _doctrine of methods_, the
former including the _Aesthetic_ and _Logic_, and the _Logic_ being
again divided into _Analytic_ and _Dialectic_. Its problems stand in an
equally complex subordination; they cannot be isolated from one another,
and set merely side by side. Secondly, it has been maintained[302] that
the third question is dealt with in the introduction to the _Dialectic_
(in its doctrine of Ideas), and the fourth in the _Dialectic_ proper.
This view is fairly satisfactory as regards the third question, but
would involve the conclusion that the fourth question refers only to
transcendent metaphysics, and that it therefore receives a negative
answer. But that is not Kant’s view of metaphysics _as a science_. The
_Critique_ is intended to issue in a new and genuine body of
metaphysical teaching.

The key to the whole problem of the four questions is not to be found in
the _Critique_. This section is transcribed from §§ 4-5 of the
_Prolegomena_, and is consequently influenced by the general arrangement
of the latter work. This fourfold division was indeed devised for the
purposes of the argument of the _Prolegomena_, which is developed on the
analytic method, and for that reason it cannot be reconciled with the
very different structure of the _Critique_. Yet even the _Prolegomena_
suffers from confusion, due[303] to Kant’s failure to distinguish
between universal and relative natural science on the one hand, and
between immanent and transcendent metaphysics on the other. The four
questions do not coincide with those of the _Critique_. Instead of the
third--how is metaphysics as natural disposition possible?--we find:
_how is metaphysics in general possible?_ In §§ 4, 5, Kant’s argument is
clear and straightforward. Pure mathematical science and mathematical
physics are actually existing sciences. The synthetic _a priori_
judgments which they contain must be recognised as valid. Metaphysics
makes similar claims. But, as is sufficiently proved by the absence of
agreement among philosophers, its professions are without ground. It
transgresses the limits of possible experience, and contains only
pretended knowledge. This false transcendent metaphysics is refuted in
the _Dialectic_. Kant was, however, equally convinced that an _immanent_
metaphysics is possible, and that its grounds and justification had been
successfully given in the _Analytic_. His problem as formulated in the
_Prolegomena_ is accordingly threefold: (1) how are the existing
rational sciences, mathematical and physical, possible? (2) _in the
light of the insight acquired by this investigation_, what is the origin
and explanation of the existing pretended sciences of transcendent
metaphysics? and (3) in what manner can we establish a positive
metaphysics that will harmonise with reason’s true vocation? So far all
is clear and definite. But the unresolved difficulty, as to the relation
in which natural science and immanent metaphysics stand to one another,
brings confusion in its train. As already noted,[304] in § 15 natural
science is displaced by immanent metaphysics (though not under that
name); and as a result the fourth question reduces to the second, and
the above threefold problem has to be completely restated. The
_Prolegomena_ has, however, already been divided into four parts; and in
the last division Kant still continues to treat the fourth question as
distinct from that which has been dealt with in the second division,
though, as his answer shows, they are essentially the same. The answer
given is that metaphysics as a science is possible only in and through
the _Critique_, and that though the whole _Critique_ is required for
this purpose, the _content_ of the new science is embodied in the

In the second edition of the _Critique_ the confusion between natural
science and immanent metaphysics still persists, and a new source of
ambiguity is added through the reformulation of the third question. It
is now limited to the problem of the _subjective_ origin of metaphysics
as a natural disposition. The fourth question has therefore to be
widened, so as to include transcendent as well as immanent, the old as
well as the new, metaphysics. But save for this one alteration the
entire section is inspired by considerations foreign to the _Critique_;
this section, like B 17, must be recast before it will harmonise with
the subsequent argument.

=Every kind of knowledge is called pure, etc.=[305]--These sentences are
omitted in the second edition. They have been rendered unnecessary by
the further and more adequate definition of “pure” given in B 3 ff.

=Reason is the faculty which supplies the principles of knowledge a
priori.=[306]--This statement should, as Vaihinger points out, be
interpreted in the light of A 299 = B 355.

     “Reason, like understanding, can be employed in a merely formal,
     _i.e._ logical manner, wherein it abstracts from all content of
     knowledge. But it is also capable of a real use,[307] since it
     contains within itself the source of certain concepts and
     principles, which it does not borrow either from the senses or from
     the understanding.”

Reason is taken in the first of the above meanings. Reason in its real
use, when extended so as to include pure sensibility and
understanding,[308] is the pure reason referred to in the next sentence
of the _Critique. A priori_ is here used to signify the relatively _a
priori_; in the next sentence it denotes the absolutely _a priori_.

=An Organon of pure reason.=[309]--What follows, from this point to the
middle of the next section, is a good example of Kant’s patchwork method
of piecing together old manuscript in the composition of the _Critique_.
There seems to be no way of explaining its bewildering contradictions
save by accepting Vaihinger’s[310] conclusion that it consists of three
separate accounts, written at different times, and representing
different phases in the development of Kant’s views.

I. The first account, beginning with the above words and ending with
“already a considerable gain” (_schon sehr viel gewonnen ist_), is
evidently the oldest. It reveals the influence of the _Dissertation_. It

  1. =Critique= of pure reason ( = _Propaedeutic_).
  2. =Organon= of pure reason.
  3. =System= of pure reason.

1. =Critique= is a critical examination (_Beurtheilung_) of pure reason,
its sources and limits. The implication (obscured by the direct relating
of _Critique_ to _System_) is that it prepares the way for the

2. =Organon= comprehends all the principles by which pure knowledge can be
acquired and actually established.

3. =System= is the complete application of such an _Organon_.

This classification is, as Paulsen[311] was the first to remark, an
adaptation of the _Dissertation_ standpoint.

II. The second account begins: “I entitle all knowledge transcendental,”
but is broken by the third account--from “Such a _Critique_” to the end
of the paragraph--which has been inserted into the middle of it. It is
then continued in the next section. It distinguishes:

1. =Critique= of pure reason.

2. =Transcendental philosophy.=

1. =Critique= contains the principles of all _a priori synthetical_
knowledge, tracing an architectonic plan which guarantees the
completeness and certainty of all the parts.

2. =Transcendental philosophy= contains their complete analytic
development, and is therefore the system of such knowledge.

III. The third account (“Such a _Critique_” to end of paragraph) in its
main divisions follows the first account: 1. _Critique_, 2. _Organon_ or
_Canon_, 3. _System_. But they are now defined in a different manner.
_Critique_ is a propaedeutic for the _Organon_. But _Organon_, which
signifies the totality of the principles through which pure knowledge is
attained and extended,[312] may not be possible. In that case the
_Critique_ is a preparation only for a _Canon_, _i.e._ the totality of
the principles of the _proper_ employment of reason.[313] The _Organon_
or _Canon_, in turn, will render possible a _System_ of the philosophy
of pure reason, the former yielding a system in extension of _a priori_
knowledge, the latter a system which defines the limits of _a priori_

It is impossible to reduce these divergencies to a single consistent
view. They illustrate the varying sense in which Kant uses the term
“metaphysics.” In the first account, even though that account is based
on a distinction drawn in the _Dissertation_, the _system_ of
metaphysics is immanent; in the second it is also transcendent; in the
third it is neutral.[314]

=Propaedeutic.=[315]--That the _Critique_ is only propaedeutic to a
_System_ of pure reason was later denied by Kant in the following
emphatic terms:

     “I must here observe that I cannot understand the attempt to
     ascribe to me the view that I have sought to supply only a
     Propaedeutic to transcendental philosophy, not the System of this
     philosophy. Such a view could never have entered my thoughts, for I
     have myself praised the systematic completeness (_das vollendete
     Ganze_) of the pure philosophy in the _Critique of Pure Reason_ as
     the best mark of its truth.”[316]

Kant thus finally, after much vacillation in his use of the terms, came
to the conclusion that _Critique_, _Transcendental Philosophy_, and
_System_ all coincide. Meantime he has forgotten his own previous and
conflicting utterances on this point.

=As regards speculation negative only.=[317]--“Speculation” here signifies
the theoretical, as opposed to the practical.[318] The qualifying phrase
is in line with other passages of the second edition, in which it is
emphasised that the conclusions of the _Critique_ are positive in their
practical (moral) bearing.[319]

=Transcendental=--=transcendent.=[320]--Kant was the first to distinguish
between these two terms. In the scholastic period, in which they first
appear, they were exactly synonymous, the term transcendent being the
more usual. The verb, to transcend, appears in Augustine in its widest
metaphysical sense. “Transcende et te ipsum.” “Cuncta corpora
transcenderunt [Platonici] quaerentes Deum; omnem animam mutabilesque
omnes spiritus transcenderunt quaerentes summum Deum.”[321] The first
employment of the term in a more specific or technical sense occurs in a
treatise, _De natura generis_, falsely ascribed to Thomas Aquinas. In
this treatise _ens_, _res_, _aliquid_, _unum_, _bonum_, _verum_ are
entitled _transcendentia_. To understand the meaning in which the word
is here used, we have, it would seem,[322] to take account of the
influence exercised upon Aquinas by a mystical work of Arabian origin,
entitled _De causis_. It contained reference to the Neo-Platonic
distinction between the Aristotelian categories, which the
Neo-Platonists regarded as being derivative, and the more universal
concepts, _ens_, _unum_, _verum_, _bonum_. To these latter concepts
Aquinas gave a theological application. _Ens_ pertains to essence,
_unum_ to the person of the Father, _verum_ to the person of the Son,
_bonum_ to the person of the Holy Ghost. In the _De natura generis_ the
number of these supreme concepts is increased to six by the addition of
_res_ and _aliquid_, and as just stated the title _transcendentia_ is
also now applied for the first time. In this meaning the term
transcendent and its synonym transcendental are of frequent occurrence
in Scholastic writings. The _transcendentia_ or _transcendentalia_ are
those concepts which so transcend the categories as to be themselves
predicable of the categories. They are the “_termini vel proprietates
rebus omnibus cuiusque generis convenientes_.” Thus Duns Scotus speaks
of _ens_ as the highest of the “_transcendental_” concepts. The term
also occurs in a more or less similar sense in the writings of
Campanella, Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, and Spinoza. The last named
gives a psychological explanation of the “termini _Transcendentales_ ...
ut Ens, Res, Aliquid” as standing for ideas that are in the highest
degree confused owing to the multiplicity of the images which have
neutralised one another in the process of their generation.[323]
Berkeley also speaks of the “transcendental maxims” which lie outside
the field of mathematical enquiry, but which influence all the
particular sciences.[324] Evidently the term has become generalised
beyond its stricter scholastic meaning. Lambert employs transcendent in
an even looser sense to signify concepts which represent what is common
to both the corporeal and the intellectual world.[325] We may, indeed,
assert that in Kant’s time the terms transcendent and transcendental,
while still remaining synonymous, and though used on the lines of their
original Scholastic connotation, had lost all definiteness of meaning
and all usefulness of application. Kant took advantage of this situation
to distinguish sharply between them, and to impose upon each a meaning
suitable to his new Critical teaching.

“Transcendental” is primarily employed by Kant as a name for a certain
kind of knowledge. Transcendental knowledge is knowledge not of objects,
but of the nature and conditions of our _a priori_ cognition of them. In
other words, _a priori_ knowledge must not be asserted, simply because
it is _a priori_, to be transcendental; this title applies only to such
knowledge as constitutes a _theory_ or _science_ of the _a priori_.[326]
Transcendental knowledge and transcendental philosophy must therefore be
taken as coinciding; and as thus coincident, they signify the science of
the possibility, nature, and limits of _a priori_ knowledge. The term
similarly applies to the subdivisions of the _Critique_. The _Aesthetic_
is transcendental in that it establishes the _a priori_ character of the
forms of sensibility; the _Analytic_ in that it determines the _a
priori_ principles of understanding, and the part which they play in the
constitution of knowledge; the _Dialectic_ in that it defines and limits
the _a priori_ Ideas of Reason, to the perverting power of which all
false metaphysics is due. That this is the primary and fundamental
meaning common to the various uses of the term is constantly overlooked
by Max Müller. Thus in A 15 = B 30 he translates _transcendentale
Sinnenlehre_ “doctrine of transcendental sense” instead of as
“transcendental doctrine of sense.” In transforming _transcendentale
Elementarlehre_ into “elements of transcendentalism” he avoids the above
error, but only by inventing a word which has no place in Kant’s own

But later in the _Critique_ Kant employs the term transcendental in a
second sense, namely, to denote the _a priori_ factors in knowledge. All
representations which are _a priori_ and yet are applicable to objects
are transcendental. The term is then defined through its distinction
from the empirical on the one hand, and from the transcendent on the
other. An intuition or conception is transcendental when it originates
in pure reason, and yet at the same time goes to constitute an _a
priori_ knowledge of objects. The contrast between the transcendental
and the transcendent, as similarly determined upon by Kant, is equally
fundamental, but is of quite different character. That is transcendent
which lies entirely beyond experience; whereas the transcendental
signifies those _a priori_ elements which underlie experience as its
necessary conditions. The transcendent is always unknowable. The
transcendental is that which by conditioning experience renders all
knowledge, whether _a priori_ or empirical, possible. The direct
opposite of the transcendent is the immanent, which as such includes
both the transcendental and the empirical. Thus while Kant employs the
term transcendental in a very special sense which he has himself
arbitrarily determined, he returns to the original etymological meaning
of the term transcendent. It gains a specifically Critical meaning only
through being used to expound the doctrine that all knowledge is limited
to sense-experience. The attempt to find some similar etymological
justification for Kant’s use of the term transcendental has led
Schopenhauer and Kuno Fischer to assert that Kant entitles his
philosophy transcendental because it transcends both the dogmatism and
the scepticism of all previous systems![327] Another attempt has been
made by Stirling[328] and Watson,[329] who assert, at least by
implication, that the transcendental is a species of the transcendent,
in that while the latter transcends the scope of experience, the former
transcends its sense-content. Kant himself, however, nowhere attempts to
justify his use of the term by any such argument.

A third meaning of the term transcendental arises through its extension
from the _a priori_ intuitions and concepts to the processes and
faculties to which they are supposed to be due. Thus Kant speaks of the
transcendental syntheses of apprehension, reproduction, and recognition,
and of the transcendental faculties of imagination and understanding. In
this sense the transcendental becomes a title for the conditions which
render experience possible. And inasmuch as processes and faculties can
hardly be entitled _a priori_, Kant has in this third application of the
term departed still further from his first definition of it.[330]

The distinction between the transcendental and the transcendent may be
illustrated by reference to the Ideas of reason. Regarded as regulative
only, _i.e._ merely as ideals which inspire the understanding in the
pursuit of knowledge, they are transcendental. Interpreted as
constitutive, _i.e._ as representing absolute realities, they are
transcendent. Yet, despite the fundamental character of this
distinction, so careless is Kant in the use of his technical terms that
he also employs transcendental as exactly equivalent in meaning to
transcendent. This is of constant occurrence, but only two instances
need here be cited. In the important phrase “transcendental ideality of
space and time” the term transcendental is used in place of the term
transcendent. For what Kant is asserting is that judged from a
_transcendent_ point of view, _i.e._ from the point of view of the thing
in itself, space is only subjectively real.[331] The phrase is indeed
easily capable of the orthodox interpretation, but, as the context
clearly shows, that is not the way in which it is actually being used by
Kant. Another equally surprising example is to be found in the title
“transcendental dialectic.” Though it is defined in A 63-4 = B 88 in
correct fashion, in A 297 = B 354 and A 308-9 = B 365-6 it is
interpreted as treating of the illusion involved in transcendent
judgments, and so virtually as meaning _transcendent_ dialectic.[332]

=Not a Critique of books and systems.=[333]--Kant here inserts a statement
from the omitted _Preface_ to the first edition.[334] He now adds that
the _Critique_ will supply a criterion for the valuation of all other

=A 13 = B 27.=--Kant’s reason for omitting the title of Section II in the
second edition was no doubt its inconsistency with the assertion of its
opening sentence, viz. that the _Critique_ is _not_ transcendental
philosophy, but only a preparation for it. Instead of it, Kant has
introduced the more appropriate heading placed over the preceding

=The highest principles of morals do not belong to transcendental
philosophy.=[335]--Cf. A 801 = B 829. The alteration made in this passage
in the second edition[336] indicates a transition towards the opposite
view which Kant developed in the _Critique of Practical Reason_.[337]

=The division of this science.=[338]--Kant in this paragraph alternates in
the most bewildering fashion between the _Critique_ and _Transcendental
Philosophy_. In this first sentence the _Critique_ seems to be referred
to. Later it is _Transcendental Philosophy_ that is spoken of.

=Doctrine of Elements and Doctrine of Methods.=[339]--Cf. A 707 ff. = B
735 ff., and below, pp. 438, 563.

=Two stems, sensibility and understanding, which may perhaps spring from
a common root.=[340]--Kant sometimes seems to suggest[341] that
imagination is this common root. It belongs both to sensibility and to
understanding, and is passive as well as spontaneous. But when so
viewed, imagination is virtually regarded as an unknown supersensuous
power, “concealed in the depths of the soul.”[342] The supersensuous is
the point of union of our disparate human faculties, as well as of
nature and freedom, mechanism and teleology.

=The transcendental doctrine of sense would necessarily constitute the
first part of the Science of Elements.=[343]--“Necessarily constitute the
first part” translates _zum ersten Theile gehören müssen_. This
Vaihinger explains as an archaic mode of expression, equivalent to
_ausmachen_. The point is important because, if translated quite
literally, it might seem to conflict with the division actually
followed, and to support the alternative division given in the _Critique
of Practical Reason_. The first _Critique_ is divided thus:

  I. Doctrine of Elements.
    1. Aesthetic.
    2. Logic.
      (_a_) Analytic.
      (_b_) Dialectic.

  II. Doctrine of Methods.

In the _Critique of Practical Reason_[344] a much more satisfactory
division is suggested:

  I. Doctrine of Elements.
    1. Analytic.
      (_a_) Aesthetic (Sense).
      (_b_) Logic (Understanding).
    2. Dialectic.

  II. Doctrine of Methods.

The first division rests on somewhat irrelevant distinctions derived
from the traditional logic; the other is more directly inspired by the
distinctions which naturally belong to Kant’s own philosophical system.




The _Aesthetic_ opens with a series of definitions. =Intuition=
(_Anschauung_) is knowledge (_Erkenntnis_) which is in immediate
relation to objects (_sich auf Gegenstände unmittelbar bezieht_). Each
term in this definition calls for comment. _Anschauung_ etymologically
applies only to visual sensation. Kant extends it to cover sensations of
all the senses. The current term was _Empfindung_. Kant’s reason for
introducing the term intuition in place of sensation was evidently the
fact that the latter could not be made to cover space and time. We can
speak of pure intuitions, but not of pure sensations. _Knowledge_ is
used in a very wide sense, not strictly consistent with A 50-1 = B
74-5.[345] The phrase _sich bezieht_ is quite indefinite and ambiguous.
Its meaning will depend upon the interpretation of its context. _Object_
is used in its widest and most indefinite meaning. It may be taken as
signifying content (_Inhalt_, a term which does not occur in this
passage, but which Kant elsewhere employs[346]). That, at least, is the
meaning which best fits the context. For when Kant adds that intuition
relates itself to objects _immediately_, it becomes clear that he has in
mind its distinction from conception (_Begriff_) which as expressing the
universal is related to objects only indirectly, representing some one
or more attributes of the _given_ objects. Ultimately the whole content
of conception must be given.[347] The phrase “relates itself to objects”
may, therefore, be paraphrased “has some content, such as red or cold,
as its immediate object.” Through the content of intuition the whole
material of thought is supplied. Intuition in itself is blind, but not
empty. “Thoughts without content are empty; intuitions without concepts
are blind.”[348]

But the phrase “is in relation to objects” has also for Kant a second
meaning, implied in the above, but supplementary to it. As he states in
the very next sentence, intuition can have an object, meaning thereby a
content, only in so far as that content is _given_. The material of
thought must be supplied; it cannot be invented.[349] The only mode,
however, in which it can be supplied, at least to the human mind, is
through the affecting of the mind by “the object.” This is an excellent
instance of Kant’s careless mode of expressing himself. In the first
part of the sentence object means _object of intuition_. In the latter
part it signifies the _cause of intuition_. And on Kant’s view the two
cannot coincide. The object which affects the mind is independently
real; the immediate object of the intuition is a sense-content, which
Kant, following the universally accepted view of his time, regards as
purely subjective. The term object is thus used in two quite distinct
meanings within one and the same sentence.

Kant’s definition of intuition, when stated quite explicitly, and
cleared of all ambiguity, is therefore as follows. _Intuition is the
immediate apprehension of a content which as given is due to the action
of an independently real object upon the mind._ This definition is
obviously not meant to be a description of intuition as it presents
itself to introspection, but to be a reflective statement of its
indispensable conditions. Also it has in view only empirical intuitions.
It does not cover the pure intuitions space and time.[350] Though space
and time are given, and though each possesses an intrinsic content,
these contents are not due to the action of objects upon the

     “An intuition is such a representation as immediately depends upon
     the presence of the object. Hence it seems impossible _originally_
     to intuit _a priori_ because intuition would in that event take
     place without either a former or a present object to refer to, and
     by consequence could not be intuition.”[351]

This interpretation is borne out by Kant’s answer to Beck when the
latter objected that only through subsumption under the categories can a
representation become objective. Kant replies in a marginal note, the
meaning of which, though difficult to decipher, admits of a fairly
definite interpretation.

     “The determining of a concept through intuition so as to yield
     knowledge of the object falls within the province of the faculty of
     judgment, but not the relation of the intuition to an object in
     general [_i.e._ the view of it as having a content which is given
     and which is therefore due to some object], for that is merely the
     logical use of the representation, whereby it is thought as falling
     within the province of knowledge. On the other hand, if this single
     representation is related only to the subject, the use is aesthetic
     (feeling), and the representation cannot be an act of

=Mind= (_Gemüt_) is a neutral term without metaphysical implications.[353]
It is practically equivalent to the term which is substituted for it in
the next paragraph, power of representation (_Vorstellungsfähigkeit_).
=Representation= (_Vorstellung_) Kant employs in the widest possible
meaning. It covers any and every cognitive state. The definition here
given of =sensibility=--“the capacity (receptivity) to obtain
representations through the mode in which we are affected by
objects”--is taken directly over from the _Dissertation_.[354] In this
definition, as in that of intuition, Kant, without argument or question,
postulates the existence of independently existing objects. The
existence of given sensations presupposes the existence of things in
themselves. Sensibility is spoken of as the source both of objects and
of intuitions. This is legitimate since object and intuition mutually
imply one another; the latter is the apprehension of the former. By
“objects” is obviously meant what in the third paragraph is called the
matter of appearances, _i.e._ sensations in their objective aspect, as
qualities or contents. The term “object” is similarly employed in the
last line of this first paragraph.

=Understanding= (_Verstand_) is defined only in its logical or discursive
employment. Kant wisely defers all reference to its more fundamental
synthetic activities. _In us_ (_bei uns_) is an indirect reference to
the possibility of intellectual (non-sensuous) intuition which is
further developed in other parts of the _Aesthetic_.[355] Sensuous
intuition is due to affection by an object. In intellectual intuition
the mind must produce the object in the act of apprehending it.[356]

Kant’s definition of intuition applies, as already noted, only to
empirical intuition. He proceeds[357] to define the relation in which
=sensation= (_Empfindung_) stands to empirical intuition. What he here
says amounts to the assertion that through sensation intuition acquires
its object, _i.e._ that _sensation is the content of intuition_. And
that being so, it is also through sensation that empirical intuition
acquires its relation to the object (= thing in itself) which causes it.
(That would seem to be the meaning of the ambiguous second sentence; but
it still remains uncertain whether the opposition intended is to pure or
to intellectual intuition.) If this interpretation of the paragraph be
correct, sensation is counted as belonging exclusively to the content
side of subjective apprehension. But Kant views sensation in an even
more definite manner than he here indicates. Though sensation is given,
it likewise involves a reaction of the mind.

     “Whatever is sensuous in knowledge depends upon the subject’s
     peculiar nature, in so far as it is capable of this or that
     modification upon the presence of the object.”[358]

Thus for Kant sensation is a modification or state of the subject,
produced by affection through an object. The affection produces a
modification or state of the subject, and this subjective modification
is the sensation.

     “Sensation is a perception [_Perception_] which relates itself
     solely to the subject as the modification of its state.”[359]

This view of sensation, as subjective, was universally held in Kant’s
day. He accepts it without argument or question. That it could possibly
be challenged never seems to have occurred to him. He is equally
convinced that it establishes the existence of an actually present

     “Sensation argues the presence of something, but depends as to its
     quality upon the nature of the subject.”[360] “Sensation
     presupposes the actual presence of the object.”[361]

Kant’s view of sensation, as developed in the _Aesthetic_,[362] thus
involves three points: (1) It must be counted as belonging to the
content side of mental apprehension. (2) Though a quality or content, it
is purely subjective, depending upon the nature of our sensibility. (3)
It is due to the action of some object upon the sensibility.

Kant distinguishes between =sensation= (_Empfindung_) and =feeling=
(_Gefühl_).[363] It had been usual to employ them as synonyms.

     “We understand by the word sensation an objective representation of
     the senses; and in order to preclude the danger of being
     misunderstood, we shall denote that which must always remain merely
     subjective and can constitute absolutely no representation of an
     object by the ordinary (_sonst üblichen_) term feeling.”[364]

=Appearance= (_Erscheinung_) is here defined as the undetermined object of
an intuition. By undetermined object is meant, as we have seen, the
object in so far as it consists of the given sense contents. When these
contents are interpreted through the categories they become _phenomena_.

     “Appearances so far as they are thought as objects according to the
     unity of the categories are called phenomena.”[365]

But this distinction between appearance and phenomenon is not held to by
Kant. He more usually speaks of the categorised objects as appearances.
The term phenomenon is of comparatively rare occurrence in the
_Critique_. This has been concealed from English readers, as both
Meiklejohn and Max Müller almost invariably translate _Erscheinung_
phenomenon. The statement that appearance is the _object_ of an
empirical intuition raises a very fundamental and difficult question,
namely, as to the relation in which representation stands to the
represented.[366] Frequently Kant’s argument implies this distinction,
yet constantly he speaks and argues as if it were non-existent. We have
to recognise two tendencies in Kant, subjectivist and
phenomenalist.[367] When the former tendency is in the ascendent, he
regards all appearances, all phenomena, all empirical objects, as
representations, modifications of the sensibility, merely subjective.
When, on the other hand, his thinking is dominated by the latter
tendency, appearances gain an existence independent of the individual
mind. They are known through subjective representations, but must not be
directly equated with them. They have a genuine objectivity. To this
distinction, and its consequences, we shall have frequent occasion to

The phenomenalist standpoint is dominant in these first two paragraphs
of the _Aesthetic_, and it finds still more pronounced expression in
the opening of the third paragraph. “That in the appearances which
_corresponds_ (_correspondirt_) to sensation, I call its matter.” This
sentence, through the use of the term corresponds, clearly implies a
distinction between sensation and the real object apprehended in and
through it. That, in turn, involves a threefold distinction, between
sensation as subjective content (= appearance in the strict sense), the
real enduring object in space (= phenomenon, the categorised object,
appearance in its wider and more usual sense), and the thing in
itself.[368] Yet in the immediately following sentence Kant says that
“the matter of all appearance is given _a posteriori_.” By “matter of
appearance” Kant must there mean sensations, for they alone are given _a
posteriori_.[369] On this view the phenomena or empirical objects reduce
to, and consist of, sensations. The intermediate term of the above
threefold distinction is eliminated. The matter of appearance does not
correspond to, but itself _is_, sensation. Thus in these successive
sentences the two conflicting tendencies of Kant’s teaching find verbal
expression. They intervene even in the preliminary definition of his
terms. This fundamental conflict cannot, however, be profitably
discussed at this stage.

The =manifold of appearance= (_das Mannichfaltige der Erscheinung_). The
meaning to be assigned to this phrase must depend upon the settlement of
the above question.[370] But in this passage it allows only of a
subjectivist interpretation, whereby sensations _are_ appearance. The
given sensations as such constitute a manifold; as objects in space they
are already ordered. Kant’s more usual phrase is “the manifold of
intuition.” His adoption of the term “manifold” (the _varia_ of the
_Dissertation_) expresses his conviction that synthesis is indispensable
for all knowledge, and also his correlative view that nothing absolutely
simple can be apprehended in sense-experience. By the manifold Kant does
not mean, however, as some of his commentators would seem to imply, the
chaotic or disordered. The emphasis is on manifoldness or plurality, as
calling for reduction to unity and system. The unity has to be _found_
in it, not introduced into it forcibly from the outside. The manifold
has to be _interpreted_, even though the principles of interpretation
may originate independently of it. Though, for instance, the manifold
as given is not in space and time, the specific space and time relations
assigned by us are determined for us by the inherent nature of the
manifold itself.[371]

The form of appearance is defined--if the definition given in the first
edition be translated literally--as “that which causes (_dasjenige,
welches macht dass_) the manifold of appearance to be intuited as
ordered in certain relations.” This phrase is employed by Kant in other
connections, and, as Vaihinger points out,[372] need not necessarily
indicate activity. “Sensation is that in our knowledge which causes it
to be called _a posteriori_ knowledge.”[373] In the second edition Kant
altered the text from “_geordnet angeschaut wird_” to “_geordnet werden
kann_.” The reason probably was that the first edition’s wording might
seem to imply that the form is (as the _Dissertation_ taught) capable in
and by itself of ordering the manifold. Throughout the second edition
Kant makes more prominent the part which understanding plays in the
apprehension of space.[374]

This distinction between matter and form is central in Kant’s
system.[375] As he himself says:

     “These are two conceptions which underlie all other reflection, so
     inseparably are they bound up with all employment of the
     understanding. The one [matter] signifies the determinable in
     general, the other [form] its determination.”[376]

On the side of matter falls the manifold, given, empirical, contingent
material of sense; on the side of form fall the unifying, _a priori_,
synthetic, relational instruments of sensibility and thought. For Kant
these latter are no mere abstractions, capable of being _distinguished_
by the mind; they differ from the matter of experience in nature, in
function, and in origin. Upon this dualistic mode of conceiving the two
factors depends the strength as well as the weakness of his position. To
its perverting influence most of the unsatisfactory features of his
doctrine of space and time can be directly traced. But to it is also due
his appreciation of the new Critical problems, with their revolutionary
consequences, as developed in the _Analytic_.

Kant proceeds to argue: (_a_) that the distinction is between two
elements of fundamentally different nature and origin. The matter is
given _a posteriori_ in sensation; the form, as distinct from all
sensation, must lie ready _a priori_ in the mind. (_b_) Kant also argues
that form, because of its separate origin, is capable of being
contemplated apart from all sensation. The above statements rest upon
the unexpressed assumption that sensations have no spatial attributes of
any kind.[377] In themselves they have only intensive, not extensive,
magnitude.[378] Kant assumes this without question, and without the
least attempt at proof.[379] The assumption appears in Kant’s writings
as early as 1768 as a self-evident principle;[380] and throughout the
_Critique_ is treated as a premiss for argument, never as a statement
calling for proof. The only kind of supporting argument which is even
indirectly suggested by Kant is that space cannot by itself act upon the
senses.[381] This would seem to be his meaning when he declares[382]
that it is no object, but only an _ens imaginarium_. “Space is no object
of the senses.”[383] Such argument, however, presupposes that space can
be conceived apart from objects. It is no proof that an extended object
may not yield extended sensations. Kant completely ignores the
possibility that formal relations may be given in and with the
sensations. If our sensibility, in consequence of the action of objects
upon it, is able to generate qualitative sensations, why, as Vaihinger
very pertinently enquires,[384] should it be denied the power of also
producing, in consequence of these same causes, impressions of
quantitative formal nature? Sensations, on Kant’s view, are the product
of mind much more than of objects. Why, then, may not space itself be
sensational?[385] From the point of view of empirical science there is
no such radical difference between cause and effect in the latter case
as exists in the former. As Herbert Spencer has remarked,[386] Kant
makes the enormous assumption

     “...that no differences among our sensations are determined by any
     differences in the _non-ego_ (for to say that they are so
     determined is to say that the form under which the _non-ego_ exists
     produces an effect upon the _ego_); and as it similarly follows
     that the order of coexistence and sequence among these sensations
     is not determined by any order in the _non-ego_; we are compelled
     to conclude that all these differences and changes in the _ego_ are

Kant’s argument in the _Dissertation_ is exactly of this nature.

     “Objects do not strike the senses by their form. In order,
     therefore, that the various impressions from the object acting on
     the sense may coalesce into some whole of representation, there is
     required an inner principle of the mind through which in accordance
     with stable and innate laws that manifold may take on some

In the paragraph before us Kant may, at first sight, seem to offer an
argument. He is really only restating his premiss. “That wherein alone
sensations can be arranged (_sich ordnen_[388]) and placed in a certain
form cannot itself again be sensation.” Now, of course, if the term
sensation is to be limited to the sense qualities, _i.e._ to content or
matter, conceived as existing apart from all formal relations, the
formal elements cannot possibly be sensational. The legitimacy of that
limitation is, however, the question at issue. It cannot be thus decided
by an arbitrary verbal distinction.

     “Were the contention that the relations of sensations are not
     themselves sensed correct, the inference to the pure apriority of
     the form of our perception would be inevitable. For sensation is
     the sole form of interaction between consciousness and reality....
     But that contention is false. The relations of sensations, their
     determined coexistence and sequence, impress consciousness, just as
     do the sensations. We feel this impression in the compulsion which
     the determinateness of the empirical manifolds lays upon the
     perceiving consciousness. The mere affection of consciousness by
     these relations does not, indeed, by itself suffice for their
     apprehension; but neither does it suffice for the apprehension of
     the sensation itself. Thus there is in these respects no difference
     between the matter and the form of appearance.”[389]

In this way, then, by means of his definition of sensation, Kant
surreptitiously introduces his fundamental assumption. That assumption
reappears as the conclusion that since the form of appearance cannot be
sensation, it does not arise through the action of the object, and
consequently must be _a priori_. Though the paragraph seems to offer an
argument in support of the apriority of space and time, it is found on
examination merely to unfold a position adopted without the slightest
attempt at proof.[390]

=The form of appearance must lie ready in the mind.=[391]--Comment upon
this, in order to be adequate, had best take the form of a systematic
discussion of Kant’s views, here and elsewhere, of space as an _a
priori_ form of intuition. As already stated, the definition which Kant
gives of intuition--as knowledge which stands in immediate relation to
objects--applies only to empirical intuition. Though by the term object
Kant, in so far as he is definite, means content, that content is such
as can arise only through the action of some independent object upon the
sensibility. In other words, the content apprehended must be sensuous.
Now such a view of intuition obviously does not apply to pure intuition.
As the concluding line of the paragraph before us states, pure intuition
“can be contemplated in separation from all sensation;” and as the next
paragraph adds, it exists in the mind “without any actual object of the
senses.” Yet Kant does not mean to imply that it is without content of
any kind. “This pure form of sensibility may also itself be called pure
intuition.”[392] “It can be known before all actual perception, and for
that reason is called pure intuition.”[393] Though, therefore, pure
intuition has an intrinsic content, and is the immediate apprehension of
that content, it stands in no relation to any actual independent object.
The content as well as the form is _a priori_. That, however, raises
wider questions, and these we must now discuss.

Here, as in most of his fundamental positions, Kant entertains divergent
and mutually contradictory doctrines. Only in his later utterances does
he in any degree commit himself to one consistent view. The position to
which he finally inclines must not, however, be allowed to dominate the
interpretation of his earlier statements. The _Aesthetic_ calls for its
own separate exegesis, quite as if it formed by itself an independent
work. Its problems are discussed from a standpoint more or less peculiar
to itself. The commentator has the twofold task of stating its
argumentation both in its conflict with, and in its relation to, the
other parts of the _Critique_.

One essential difference between Kant’s earlier and later treatments of
space is that in his earlier utterances it is viewed almost exclusively
as a psychological _a priori_. The logical aspect of the problem first
receives anything like adequate recognition in the _Analytic_. If we
keep this important fact in mind, two distinct and contradictory views
of the psychological nature of space intuition can be traced throughout
the _Aesthetic_. On one view, it antedates experience as an actual,
completed, conscious intuition. On the other view, it precedes
experience only as a potential disposition. We rule ourselves out from
understanding Kant’s most explicit utterances if we refuse to recognise
the existence of both views. Kant’s commentators have too frequently
shut their eyes to the first view, and have then blamed Kant for using
misleading expressions. It is always safer to take Kant quite literally.
He nearly always means exactly what he says at the time when he says it.
Frequently he holds views which run completely counter to present-day
psychology, and on several occasions he flatly contradicts what he has
with equal emphasis maintained in other contexts. The aspects of Kant’s
problems are so complex and various, and he is so preoccupied in doing
complete justice to each in turn, that the question of the mutual
consistency of his results is much less considered than is ideally

The two views can be more explicitly formulated. The first view alone is
straightforward and unambiguous. Space lies ready (_liegt bereit_) in
the mind, _i.e._ it does not arise. Prior even to sense-experience it
exists as a _conscious_ intuition. For this reason it can be
contemplated apart from all sensation. It still remains when all sense
content is thought away, and yet is not a mere form. In independence of
the sensuous manifold it possesses a pure manifold of its own. The
ground thesis of the second view--that space, prior to sense-experience,
exists only as a permanent endowment of the mind--is likewise
unambiguous. But in its development Kant throws consistency to the
winds. The possible ways in which, on the second view, consciousness of
space may be gained, can be tabulated as follows:

     (_a_) By reflection upon the activity of the mind in the
     construction of experience, yielding the intuition of a pure
     manifold; or (_b_) by reflection upon the space-endowed products of
     experience.[394] The latter mode of reflection may reveal:

        (α) A pure manifold distinct from the manifold of
                     sense; or

        (β) Space as a form of the sensuous manifold.

There are thus three different ways (_a_, α, β) in
which the second view can be developed: (_a_) represents the view of the
_Dissertation_ (1770), of the reply to Eberhard (1790), and of those
parts of the first edition’s deduction of the categories which are of
very early origin; (α) represents the final standpoint of the
_Analytic_; (β), the prevailing view of the present day, is
nowhere accepted by Kant.[395]

Kant’s utterances in the _Aesthetic_ are all of them coloured by the
first main view. We can best approach them by way of the contrasted
teaching of the _Dissertation_ of 1770. The teaching there formulated
practically coincides, as above stated, with (_a_) of the second main
view. Space, he maintains, is neither innate nor acquired from

     “Certainly both conceptions [of time and of space] are undoubtedly
     acquired, not indeed by abstraction from our sensations of objects
     (for sensation gives the matter, not the form of human cognition),
     but from the mind’s own action in co-ordinating its sensations in
     accordance with unchanging laws. Each represents, as it were, an
     immutable type, and so can be known intuitively. Sensations excite
     this act of mind but do not contribute to the intuition. There is
     here nothing innate except this law of the mind according to which
     it conjoins in a certain manner the sensations derived from the
     presence of some object.”[396]

How this view is to be reconciled with the contention, no less
explicitly maintained,[397] that space is not only a form of intuition
but itself a pure intuition, Kant does not make clear. Reflection upon
an activity of the mind may yield the representation of space as a form;
it is difficult to comprehend how it should also yield an _a priori_

Kant nowhere in the _Critique_ directly discusses the question whether
the representation of space is innate or acquired. Such suggestions as
occur refer (with the solitary exceptions of A 196 = B 241 and B 166
ff.)[398] only to the categories,[399] or as in the _Prolegomena_[400]
to the Ideas of reason. But in 1790 Kant in his reply to Eberhard[401]
again formulates the view of the _Dissertation_. The _Critique_ allows,
he there says, of no innate representations. All, without exception, are
acquired. But of certain representations there is an original
acquisition (_ursprüngliche Erwerbung_). Their ground (_Grund_) is
inborn. In the case of space this ground is the mind’s peculiar capacity
for acquiring sensations in accordance with its subjective

     “This first formal ground is alone inborn, not the space
     representation itself. For it always requires impressions to
     determine the faculty of knowledge to the representation of an
     object (which in every case is its own action). Thus arises the
     formal intuition, which we name space, as an originally acquired
     representation (the form of outer objects in general), the ground
     of which (as mere receptivity) is likewise inborn, and the
     acquisition of which long antedates the determinate _conception_ of
     things which are in accordance with this form.”[403]

That last remark is confusing. Kant cannot mean that the representation
of space is acquired prior to sense-experience, but only that since the
mind gains it by reflection upon its own activity, it is among the first
things to be apprehended--an extremely questionable assertion, could
the premisses be granted. If “the determinate conception of things”
comes late, still later must come the determinate conception of anything
so abstract as pure space. The above passage thus repeats without
essential modification the teaching of the _Dissertation_, and is open
to the same objections. This teaching coincides with that of Leibniz in
his _Nouveaux Essais_; and in formulating it in the _Dissertation_ Kant
was very probably influenced by Leibniz. Though it is an improvement
upon the more extreme forms of the Cartesian doctrine of innate ideas,
it does not go sufficiently far.

Now while Kant thus in 1770 and in 1790 so emphatically teaches that the
representation of space is not innate, he none the less, in the
intermediate period represented by the _Aesthetic_, would seem to
maintain the reactionary view. Space is no mere potential disposition.
As a conscious representation it lies ready in the mind. What, then,
were the causes which constrained Kant to go back upon his own better
views and to adopt so retrograde a position? The answer must be
conjectural, but may perhaps be found in the other main point in which
the teaching of the _Aesthetic_ is distinguished from that of the
_Dissertation_. Throughout the _Critique_ Kant insists that space is a
form of _receptivity_. It is _given_ to the mind. It has nothing to do
with spontaneity or understanding, and therefore cannot be acquired by
reflection upon any activity of the mind. But neither can it, as _a
priori_, be acquired from without. Consequently it cannot be acquired at
all. But if given, and yet not acquired, it must as a representation lie
ready in the mind from the very birth of consciousness. Constrained by
such reasoning, Kant views it as given in all its completeness just as
truly as is a sensation of colour or sound. This conclusion may not be
satisfactory. Kant’s candid recognition of it is, however, greatly
preferable to the blurring of the issue by most of his commentators.

Kant came, no doubt, to the more consistent position of the _Aesthetic_
chiefly through further reflection upon the arguments of the
_Dissertation_,[404] and especially by recognition of the fact that
though reflection upon an activity of the mind may be regarded as
yielding a form of intuition, it can hardly be capable of yielding a
pure manifold which can be substituted for, and take the place of, the
manifold of sense. There are for Kant only two ways of escape from this
unhappy quandary: (_a_) Either he must return to the _Dissertation_
position, and admit that the mind is active in the construction of
space. This he does in the 1790 reply to Eberhard, but only by
misrepresenting his own teaching in the _Critique_. In order
consistently to maintain that space is acquired by reflection upon an
activity of the mind, he would have to recast the entire _Aesthetic_, as
well as much of the _Analytic_, and to do so in ways which cannot
genuinely harmonise with the main tendencies of his teaching.[405] (_b_)
No such obstacle lay in the way of an alternative modification of his
position. Kant might very easily have given up the contention that space
is a pure intuition. If he had been willing to recognise that the sole
possible manifold of intuition is sensuous, he could then have
maintained that though space is innate as a potential form of
receptivity, it is acquired only through reflection upon the
space-endowed products of sensibility. So obvious are the advantages of
this position, so completely does it harmonise with the facts of
experience and with the teaching of modern psychology, and so obscure
are the various passages in which Kant touches on this central issue,
that many of his most competent commentators are prepared to regard it
as being the actual teaching of the _Critique_. The evidence[406] seems
to me, however, to refute this interpretation of Kant’s position. The
traditional, Cartesian, semi-mystical worship of mathematical truth, as
altogether independent of the contingencies of sense-experience, and as
a body of knowledge absolutely distinct in origin from the merely
empirical sciences, influences Kant’s thinking even at the very moment
when he is maintaining, in opposition to the Cartesians, that its
subject matter is a merely subjective intuition. Kant, as it would seem,
still maintains that there is a pure manifold of intuition distinct from
the manifold of sense; and so by the inevitable logic of his thought is
constrained to view space as innate in conscious form. This is not, of
course, a conclusion which he could permanently stand by, but its
elimination would have involved a more radical revision of his whole
view of pure intuition and of mathematical science than he was willing
to undertake. Though in the _Analytic_ he has come to recognise[407]
that it is acquired by reflection upon _objects_, to the end he would
seem to persist in the difficult contention that such reflection yields
a pure manifold distinct from the manifold of sense.[408] His belief
that mathematical science is based upon pure intuition prevented him
from recognising that though space may be a pure form of intuition, it
can never by itself constitute a complete intuition. Its sole possible
_content_ is the manifold of sense. But even apart from the fact that
our apprehension of space is always empirically conditioned, Kant’s view
of mathematical propositions as grounded in intuition is, as already
observed, not itself tenable. For though intuitions may perhaps be the
ultimate subject matter of geometry, concepts are its sole possible
instruments. Intuitions yield scientific insight in exact proportion to
our powers of restating their complex content in the terms of abstract
thought. Until the evidence which they supply has been thus
intellectually tested and defined, they cannot be accepted as justifying
even the simplest proposition.[409]

The complicated ambiguities of Kant’s treatment of space may be
illustrated and further clarified by discussion of another difficulty.
Is space a _totum analyticum_ or a _totum syntheticum_? Does the whole
precondition the parts, or does it arise through combination of the
parts? Or to ask another but connected question, do we intuit
infinitude, or is it conceptually apprehended only as the presupposition
of our limited intuitions? To these questions diametrically opposite
answers can be cited from the _Critique_. As we have above noted, Kant
teaches in the _Aesthetic_ that space is given as a whole, and that the
parts arise only by limitation of it. But in A 162 = B 203 we find him
also teaching that a magnitude is to be entitled extensive

     “...when the representation of the parts makes possible, and
     therefore necessarily precedes, the representation of the whole. I
     cannot represent to myself a line, however small, without drawing
     it in thought, _i.e._ generating from a point all its parts one
     after another, and thus for the first time recording this

He adds in the second edition[411] that extensive magnitude cannot be
apprehended save through a “synthesis of the manifold,” a “combination
of the homogeneous.”

The note which Kant appends to B 136 is a very strange combination of
both views. It first of all reaffirms the doctrine of the _Aesthetic_
that space and time are not concepts, but intuitions within which as in
a unity a multitude of representations are contained; and then proceeds
to argue that space and time, as thus _composite_, must presuppose an
antecedent synthesis. In A 505 = B 533 we find a similar attempt to
combine both assertions.

     “The parts of a given appearance are first given through and in the
     regress of _decomposing synthesis_ (_decomponirenden Synthesis_).”

The clash of conflicting tenets which Kant is striving to reconcile
could hardly find more fitting expression than in this assertion of an
_analytic synthesis_. The same conflict appears, though in a less
violent form, in A 438 = B 466.

     “Space should properly be called not _compositum_ but _totum_,
     since its parts are possible only in the whole, not the whole
     through the parts. It might, indeed, be said to be a _compositum_
     that is _ideale_, but not _reale_. That, however, is a mere

The arguments by which Kant proves space to be an _a priori_ intuition
rest upon the view that _space is given as infinite_, and that _its
parts arise through limitation of this prior-existent whole_. But a
principle absolutely fundamental to the entire _Critique_ is the counter
principle, that all analysis rests upon and presupposes a previously
exercised synthesis. _Synthesis or totality as such can never be given._
Only in so far as a whole is synthetically constructed can it be
apprehended by the mind. _Representation of the parts precedes and
renders possible representation of the whole._

The solution of the dilemma arising out of these diverse views demands
the drawing of two distinctions. First, between a synthesised totality
and a principle of synthesis; the former may involve a prior synthesis;
the latter does not depend upon synthesis, but expresses the
predetermined nature of some special form of synthesis. Secondly, it
demands a distinction between the _a priori_ manifolds of space and time
and the empirical manifold which is apprehended in and through them.
This, as we have already noted, is a distinction difficult to take quite
seriously, and is entirely unsupported by psychological evidence. But it
would seem to be insisted upon by Kant, and to have been a determining
factor in the formulation of several of his main doctrines.

In terms of the first distinction we are compelled to recognise that the
view of space which underlies the _Aesthetic_ is out of harmony with the
teaching of the _Analytic_. In the _Aesthetic_ Kant interprets space not
merely as a form of intuition but also as a formal intuition, which is
given complete in its totality, and which is capable of being
apprehended independently of its empirical contents, and even prior to
them. That would seem to be the view of space which is presupposed in
Kant’s explanation of pure mathematical science. The passages from the
_Analytic_, quoted above, are, however, its express recantation. Space,
as the intuition of a manifold, is a _totum syntheticum_, not a _totum
analyticum_. It is constructed, not given. The divergence of views
between the _Aesthetic_ and the _Analytic_ springs out of the difficulty
of meeting at once the logical demands of a world which Kant conceives
objectively, and the psychological demands which arise when this same
world is conceived as subjectively conditioned. In principle, the whole
precedes the parts; in the process of being brought into existence as an
intuition, the parts precede the whole. The principle which determines
our apprehension of any space, however small or however large, is that
it exists in and through universal space. This is the principle which
underlies both the synthetic construction of space and also its
apprehension once it is constructed. In principle, therefore, _i.e._ in
the order of logical thought, the whole precedes the parts.[413] The
process, however, which this principle governs and directs, cannot start
with space as a whole, but must advance to it through synthesis of
smaller parts.

But Kant does not himself recognise any conflict between this teaching
and the doctrine of the _Aesthetic_. He seems to himself merely to be
making more definite a position which he has consistently held all
along; and this was possible owing to his retention and more efficient
formulation of the second of the two distinctions mentioned above, viz.
that between the manifold of sense and the manifold of intuition. This
distinction enables him to graft the new view upon the old, and so in
the very act of insisting upon the indispensableness of the conceptual
syntheses of understanding, none the less to maintain his view of
geometry as an intuitive science.[414]

     “Space and time contain a manifold of pure _a priori_ intuition,
     but at the same time are conditions of the receptivity of our
     mind--conditions under which alone it can receive representations
     of objects, and which therefore must also affect the concept of
     them. But if this manifold is to be known, the spontaneity of our
     thinking requires that it be gone through in a certain way, taken
     up, and connected. This action I name synthesis.... Such a
     synthesis is pure, if the manifold is not empirical, but is given
     _a priori_, as is that of space and of time.”[415]

Thus Kant recognises that space, as apprehended by us, is constructed,
not given, and so by implication that the infinitude of space is a
principle of apprehension, not a given intuition. But he also holds to
the view that it contains a pure, and presumably infinite, manifold,
given as such.[416] In what this pure manifold consists, and how the
description of it as a manifold, demanding synthesis for its
apprehension, is to be reconciled with its continuity, Kant nowhere even
attempts to explain. Nor does he show what the simple elements are from
which the synthesis of apprehension and reproduction in pure intuition
might start. The unity and multiplicity of space are, indeed, as he
himself recognises,[417] inseparably involved in one another; and
recognition of this fact must render it extremely difficult to assign
them to separate faculties. For the same reason it is impossible to
distinguish temporally, as Kant so frequently does, the processes of
synthesis and of analysis, making the former in all cases precede the
latter in time. The very nature of space and time, and, as he came to
recognise, the very nature of all Ideas of reason, in so far as they
involve the notion of the unconditioned, conflict with such a view.

Even when Kant is dealing with space as a principle of synthesis, he
speaks with no very certain voice. In the _Analytic_ it is ascribed to
the co-operation of sensibility and understanding. In the _Dialectic_ it
is, by implication, ascribed to Reason; and in the _Metaphysical First
Principles_ it is explicitly so ascribed.

     “Absolute space cannot be object of experience; for space without
     matter is no object of perception, and yet it is a necessary
     conception of Reason, and therefore nothing but a mere Idea.”[418]
     “Absolute space is not necessary as a conception of an actual
     object, but as an Idea which can serve as rule....”[419]

Kant’s teaching in the _Critique of Judgment_ is a further development
of this position.

     “The mind listens to the voice of Reason which, for every given
     magnitude--even for those that can never be entirely apprehended,
     although (in sensible representation) they are judged as entirely
     given--requires totality.... It does not even except the infinite
     (space and past time) from this requirement; on the contrary, it
     renders it unavoidable to think the infinite (in the judgment of
     common reason) as _entirely given_ (in its totality). But the
     infinite is absolutely (not merely comparatively) great. Compared
     with it everything else (of the same kind of magnitudes) is small.
     But what is most important is that the mere ability to think it as
     _a whole_ indicates a faculty of mind which surpasses every
     standard of sense.... The _bare capability of thinking_ the given
     infinite without contradiction requires in the human mind a faculty
     itself supersensible. For it is only by means of this faculty and
     its Idea of a noumenon ... that the infinite of the world of sense,
     in the pure intellectual estimation of magnitude, can be
     _completely_ comprehended _under_ one concept.... Nature is,
     therefore, sublime in those of its phenomena, whose intuition
     brings with it the Idea of its infinity.... For just as imagination
     and _understanding_, in judging of the beautiful, generate a
     subjective purposiveness of the mental powers by means of their
     harmony, so imagination and _Reason_ do so by means of their

Kant has here departed very far indeed from the position of the





     =Space: First Argument.=--“Space is not an empirical concept
     (_Begriff_) which has been abstracted from outer experiences. For
     in order that certain sensations be related to something outside me
     (_i.e._ to something in another region of space from that in which
     I find myself), and similarly in order that I may be able to
     represent them as outside [and _alongside_][423] one another, and
     accordingly as not only [qualitatively] different but as in
     different places, the representation of space must be presupposed
     (_muss schon zum Grunde liegen_). The representation of space
     cannot, therefore, be empirically obtained at second-hand from the
     relations of outer appearance. This outer experience is itself
     possible at all only through that representation.”[424]

The first sentence states the thesis of the argument: _space is not an
empirical concept abstracted from outer experiences_. The use of the
term _Begriff_ in the title of the section, and also in this sentence,
is an instance of the looseness with which Kant employs his terms. It is
here synonymous with the term representation (_Vorstellung_), which
covers intuitions as well as general or discursive concepts.
Consequently, the contradiction is only verbal, not real, when Kant
proceeds to prove that the concept of space is an intuition, not a
concept. But this double employment of the term is none the less
misleading. When Kant employs it in a strict sense, it signifies solely
the general class concept.[425] All true concepts are for Kant of that
single type. He has not re-defined the term concept in any manner which
would render it applicable to the relational categories. For
unfortunately, and very strangely, he never seems to have raised the
question whether categories are not also concepts. The application to
the forms of understanding of the separate title categories seems to
have contented him. Much that is obscure and even contradictory in his
teaching might have been prevented had he recognised that the term
concept is a generic title which includes, as its sub-species, both
general notions and relational categories.

Kant’s limitation of the term concept to the merely generic,[426] and
his consequent equating of the categorical proposition with the
assertion of the substance-attribute relation,[427] would seem in large
part to be traceable to his desire to preserve for himself, in the
pioneer labours of his Critical enquiries, the guiding clues of the
distinctions drawn in the traditional logic. Kant insists on holding to
them, at least in outward appearance, at whatever sacrifice of strict
consistency. Critical doctrine is made to conform to the exigencies of
an artificial framework, with which its own tenets are only in very
imperfect harmony. Appreciation of the ramifying influence, and, as
regards the detail of exposition, of the far-reaching consequences, of
this desire to conform to the time-honoured rubrics, is indeed an
indispensable preliminary to any adequate estimate whether of the
strength or of the defects of the Critical doctrines. As a separate and
ever-present influence in the determining of Kant’s teaching, this
factor may conveniently and compendiously be entitled Kant’s logical
_architectonic_.[428] We shall have frequent occasion to observe its

The second sentence gives expression to the fact through which Kant
proves his thesis. Certain sensations, those of the special senses as
distinguished from the organic sensations,[430] are related to something
which stands in a different region of space from the embodied self, and
consequently are apprehended as differing from one another not only in
quality but also in spatial position. As is proved later in the
_Analytic_, thought plays an indispensable part in constituting this
reference of sensations to objects. Kant here, however, makes no mention
of this further complication. He postulates, as he may legitimately do
at this stage, the fact that our sensations are thus objectively
interpreted, and limits his enquiry to the spatial factor. Now the
argument, as Vaihinger justly points out,[431] hinges upon the
assumption which Kant has already embodied[432] in his definition of the
“form” of sense, viz. that sensations are non-spatial, purely
qualitative. Though this is an assumption of which Kant nowhere attempts
to give proof, it serves none the less as an unquestioned premiss from
which he draws all-important conclusions. This first argument on space
derives its force entirely from it.

The proof that the representation of space is non-empirical may
therefore be explicitly stated as follows. As sensations are non-spatial
and differ only qualitatively, the representation of space must have
been added to them. And not being supplied by the given sensations, it
must, as the only alternative, have been contributed by the mind. The
representation of space, so far from being derived from external
experience, is what first renders it possible. As a subjective form that
lies ready in the mind, it precedes experience and co-operates in
generating it. This proof of the apriority of space is thus proof of the
priority of the _representation_ of space to every empirical perception.

In thus interpreting Kant’s argument as proving more than the thesis of
the first sentence claims, we are certainly reading into the proof more
than Kant has himself given full expression to. But, as is clearly shown
by the argument of the next section, we are only stating what Kant
actually takes the argument as having proved, namely, that the
representation of space is not only non-empirical but is likewise of
subjective origin and precedes experience in temporal fashion.

The point of view which underlies and inspires the argument can be
defined even more precisely. Kant’s conclusion may be interpreted in
either of two ways. The form of space may precede experience only as a
potentiality. Existing as a power of co-ordination,[433] it will come to
consciousness only indirectly through the addition which it makes to the
given sensations. Though subjective in origin, it will be revealed to
the mind only in and through experience. This view may indeed be
reconciled with the terms of the proof. But a strictly literal
interpretation of its actual wording is more in keeping with what, as we
shall find, is the general trend of the _Aesthetic_ as a whole. We are
then confronted by a very different and extremely paradoxical view,
which may well seem too naive to be accepted by the modern reader, but
which we seem forced,[434] none the less, to regard as the view actually
presented in the text before us. Kant here asserts, in the most explicit
manner, that the mind, in order to construe sensations in spatial terms,
must already be in possession of a _representation_ of space, and that
it is in the light of this representation that it apprehends sensations.
The conscious representation of space precedes in time external
experience. Such, then, would seem to be Kant’s first argument on space.
It seeks to establish a negative conclusion, viz. that space is not
derived from experience. But, in so doing, it also yields a positive
psychological explanation of its origin.

Those commentators[435] who refuse to recognise that Kant’s problem is
in any degree psychological, or that Kant himself so regards it, and who
consequently seek to interpret the _Aesthetic_ from the point of view of
certain portions of the _Analytic_, give a very different statement of
this first argument. They state it in purely logical terms.[436] Its
problem, they claim, is not that of determining the origin of our
representation of space, but only its logical relation to our specific
sense-experiences. The notion of space in general precedes, as an
indispensable logical presupposition, all particular specification of
the space relation. Consciousness of space as a whole is not constructed
from consciousness of partial spaces; on the contrary, the latter is
only possible in and through the former.

Such an argument does of course represent a valuable truth; and it alone
harmonises with much in Kant’s maturer teaching;[437] but we must not
therefore conclude that it is also the teaching of the _Aesthetic_. The
_Critique_ contains too great a variety of tendencies, too rich a
complexity of issues, to allow of such simplification. It loses more
than it gains by such rigorous pruning of the luxuriant secondary
tendencies of its exposition and thought. And above all, this procedure
involves the adoption by the commentator of impossible responsibilities,
those of deciding what is essential and valuable in Kant’s thought and
what is irrelevant. The value and suggestiveness of Kant’s philosophy
largely consist in his sincere appreciation of conflicting tendencies,
and in his persistent attempt to reduce them to unity with the least
possible sacrifice. But in any case the logical interpretation
misrepresents this particular argument. Kant is not here distinguishing
between space in general and its specific modifications. He is
maintaining that no space relation can be revealed in sensation. It is
not only that the apprehension of any limited space presupposes the
representation of space as a whole. Both partial and infinite space are
of mental origin; sensation, as such, is non-spatial, purely subjective.
And lastly, the fact that Kant means to assert that space is not only
logically presupposed but is subjectively generated, is sufficiently
borne out by his frequent employment elsewhere in the _Aesthetic_ of
such phrases as “the subjective condition of sensibility,” “lying ready
in our minds,” and “necessarily preceding [as the form of the subject’s
receptivity] all intuitions of objects.”

=Second Argument.=--Having proved by the first argument that the
representation of space is not of empirical origin, Kant in the second
argument proceeds to establish the positive conclusion that it is _a
priori_.[438] The proof, when all its assumptions are rendered explicit,
runs as follows. _Thesis_: Space is a necessary representation, and
consequently is _a priori_. _Proof_: It is impossible to imagine the
absence of space, though it is possible to imagine it as existing
without objects to fill it. A representation which it is impossible for
the mind to be without is a necessary representation. But necessity is
one of the two criteria of the _a priori_. The proof of the necessary
character of space is therefore also a proof of its being _a priori_.

The argument, more freely stated, is that what is empirically given from
without can be thought away, and that since space cannot be thus
eliminated, it must be grounded in our subjective organisation, _i.e._
must be psychologically _a priori_. The argument, as stated by Kant,
emphasises the apriority, not the subjectivity, of space, but none the
less the asserted apriority is psychological, not logical in character.
For the criterion employed is not the impossibility of thinking
otherwise, but our incapacity to represent this specific element as
absent. The ground upon which the whole argument is made to rest is the
merely brute fact (asserted by Kant) of our incapacity to think except
in terms of space.

The argument is, however, complicated by the drawing of a further
consequence, which follows as a corollary from the main conclusion.
From the subjective necessity of space follows its objective necessity.
Space being necessary _a priori_, objects can only be apprehended in and
through it. Consequently it is not dependent upon the objects
apprehended, but itself underlies outer appearances as the condition of
their possibility. This corollary is closely akin to the first argument
on space, and differs from it only in orientation. The first argument
has a psychological purpose. It maintains that the representation of
space precedes external experience, causally conditioning it. The
corollary has a more objective aim. It concludes that space is a
necessary constituent of the external experience thus generated. The one
proves that space is a necessary _subjective antecedent_; the other that
it is a necessary _objective ingredient_.[439]

To consider the proof in detail. The exact words which Kant employs in
stating the _nervus probandi_ of the argument are that we can never
_represent_ (_eine Vorstellung davon machen_) space as non-existent,
though we can very well _think_ (_denken_) it as being empty of objects.
The terms _Vorstellung_ and _denken_ are vague and misleading. Kant
himself recognises that it is possible to conceive that there are beings
who intuit objects in some other manner than in space. He cannot
therefore mean that we are unable to _think_ or _conceive_ space as
non-existent. He must mean that we cannot in imagination intuit it as
absent. It is the necessary form of all our intuitions, and therefore
also of imagination, which is intuitive in character. Our consciousness
is dependent upon given intuitions for its whole content, and to that
extent space is a form with which the mind can never by any possibility
dispense. Pure thought enables it to realise this _de facto_ limitation,
but not to break free from it. Even in admitting the possibility of
other beings who are not thus constituted, the mind still recognises its
own ineluctable limitations.

Kant offers no proof of his assertion that space can be intuited in
image as empty of all sensible content; and as a matter of fact the
assertion is false. Doubtless the use of the vague term _Vorstellung_ is
in great part responsible for Kant’s mistaken position. So long as
imagination and thought are not clearly distinguished, the assertion is
correspondingly indefinite. Pure space may possibly be _conceived_, but
it can also be conceived as altogether non-existent. If, on the other
hand, our imaginative power is alone in question, the asserted fact
must be categorically denied. With the elimination of all sensible
content space itself ceases to be a possible image. Kant’s proof thus
rests upon a misstatement of fact.

In a second respect Kant’s proof is open to criticism. He takes the
impossibility of imagining space as absent as proof that it originates
from within. The argument is valid only if no other psychological
explanation can be given of this necessity, as for instance through
indissoluble association or through its being an invariable element in
the given sensations. Kant’s ignoring of these possibilities is due to
his unquestioning belief that sensations are non-spatial, purely
qualitative. That is a presupposition whose truth is necessary to the
cogency of the argument.

=Third Argument.=--This argument, which was omitted in the second edition,
will be considered in its connection with the transcendental exposition
into which it was then merged.

=Fourth (in second edition, Third) Argument.=--The next two arguments seek
to show that space is not a discursive or general concept but an
intuition. The first proof falls into two parts, (_a_) We can represent
only a single space. For though we speak of many spaces, we mean only
parts of one and the same single space. Space must therefore be an
intuition. For only intuition is thus directly related to a single
individual. A concept always refers indirectly, _per notas communes_, to
a plurality of individuals. (_b_) The parts of space cannot precede the
one all-comprehensive space. They can be thought only in and through it.
They arise through limitation of it. Now the parts (_i.e._ the
attributes) which compose a concept precede it in thought. Through
combination of them the concept is formed. Space cannot, therefore, be a
concept. Consequently it must, as the only remaining alternative, be an
intuition. Only in an intuition does the whole precede the parts. In a
concept the parts always precede the whole. Intuition stands for
multiplicity in unity, conception for unity in multiplicity.

The first part of the argument refers to the extension, the second part
to the intension of the space representation. In both aspects it appears
as intuitional.[440]

Kant, in repeating his thesis as a conclusion from the above grounds,
confuses the reader by an addition which is not strictly relevant to the
argument, viz. by the statement that this intuition must be
non-empirical and _a priori_. This is simply a recapitulation of what
has been established in the preceding proofs. It is not, as might at
first sight appear, part of the conclusion established by the argument
under consideration. The reader is the more apt to be misled owing to
the fact that very obviously arguments for the non-empirical and for the
_a priori_ character of space _can_ be derived from proof (_b_). That
space is non-empirical would follow from the fact that representation of
space as a whole is necessary for the apprehension of any part of it.
Empirical intuition can only yield the apprehension of a limited space.
The apprehension of the comprehensive space within which it falls must
therefore be non-empirical.

     “As we intuitively apprehend (_anschauend erkennen_) not only the
     space of the object which affects our senses, but the whole space,
     space cannot arise out of the actual affection of the senses, but
     must precede it in time (_vor ihr vorhergehen_).”[441]

But in spite of its forcibleness this argument is nowhere presented in
the _Critique_.

Similarly, in so far as particular spaces can be conceived only in and
through space as a whole, and in so far as the former are limitations of
the one antecedent space, the intuition which underlies all external
perception must be _a priori_. This is in essentials a stronger and more
cogent mode of formulating the second argument on space. But again, and
very strangely, it is nowhere employed by Kant in this form.

The concluding sentence, ambiguously introduced by the words _so werden
auch_, is tacked on to the preceding argument. Interpreted in the light
of § 15 C of the _Dissertation_,[442] and of the corresponding
fourth[443] argument[444] on time, it may be taken as offering further
proof that space is an intuition. The concepts of line and triangle,
however attentively contemplated, will never reveal the proposition that
in every triangle two sides taken together are greater than the third.
An _a priori_ intuition will alone account for such apodictic knowledge.
This concluding sentence thus really belongs to the transcendental
exposition; and as such ought, like the third argument, to have been
omitted in the second edition.

Kant’s proof rests on the assumption that there are only two kinds of
representation, intuitions and concepts, and also in equal degree upon
the further assumption that all concepts are of one and the same
type.[445] Intuition is, for Kant, the apprehension of an individual.
Conception is always the representation of a class or genus. Intuition
is immediately related to the individual. Conception is reflective or
discursive; it apprehends a plurality of objects indirectly through the
representation of those marks which are common to them all.[446]
Intuition and conception having been defined in this manner, the proof
that space is single or individual, and that in it the whole precedes
the parts, is proof conclusive that it is an intuition, not a
conception. Owing, however, to the narrowness of the field assigned to
conception, the realm occupied by intuition is proportionately wide, and
the conclusion is not as definite and as important as might at first
sight appear. By itself, it amounts merely to the statement, which no
one need challenge, that space is not a generic class concept.
Incidentally certain unique characteristics of space are, indeed,
forcibly illustrated; but the implied conclusion that space on account
of these characteristics must belong to receptivity, not to
understanding, does not by any means follow. It has not, for instance,
been proved that space and time are radically distinct from the
categories, _i.e._ from the relational forms of understanding.

In 1770, while Kant still held to the metaphysical validity of the pure
forms of thought, the many difficulties which result from the ascription
of independent reality to space and time were, doubtless, a sufficient
reason for regarding the latter as subjective and sensuous. But upon
adoption of the Critical standpoint such argument is no longer valid. If
all our forms of thought may be subjective, the existence of antinomies
has no real bearing upon the question whether space and time do or do
not have a different constitution and a different mental origin from the
categories. The antinomies, that is to say, may perhaps suffice to prove
that space and time are subjective; they certainly do not establish
their sensuous character.

But though persistence of the older, un-Critical opposition between the
intellectual and the sensuous was partly responsible for Kant’s
readiness to regard as radical the very obvious differences between a
category such as that of substance and attribute and the visual or
tactual extendedness with which objects are endowed, it can hardly be
viewed as the really decisive influence. That would rather seem to be
traceable to Kant’s conviction that mathematical knowledge is unique
both in fruitfulness and in certainty, and to his further belief that it
owes this distinction to the _content_ character of the _a priori_
forms upon which it rests. For though the categories of the physical
sciences are likewise _a priori_, they are exclusively
_relational_,[447] and serve only to organise a material that is
empirically given. To account for the superiority of mathematical
knowledge Kant accordingly felt constrained to regard space and time as
not merely _forms_ in terms of which we interpret the matter of sense,
but as also themselves intuited _objects_, and as therefore possessing a
character altogether different from anything which can be ascribed to
the pure understanding. The opposition between forms of sense and
categories of the understanding, in the strict Kantian mode of
envisaging that opposition, is thus inseparably bound up with Kant’s
doctrine of space and time as being not only forms of intuition, but as
also in their purity and independence themselves intuitions. _Even the
sensuous subject matter of pure mathematics_--so Kant would seem to
contend--_is_ a priori _in nature_. If this latter view be
questioned--and to the modern reader it is indeed a stone of
stumbling--much of the teaching of the _Aesthetic_ will have to be
modified or at least restated.

=Fifth (in second edition, Fourth) Argument.=--This argument is quite
differently stated in the two editions of the _Critique_, though the
purpose of the argument is again in both cases to prove that space is an
intuition, not a general concept. In the first edition this is proved by
reference to the fact that space is given as an infinite magnitude. This
characteristic of our space representation cannot be accounted for so
long as it is regarded as a concept. A general conception of space which
would abstract out those properties and relations which are common to
all spaces, to a foot as well as to an ell, could not possibly determine
anything in regard to magnitude. For since spaces differ in magnitude,
any one magnitude cannot be a common quality. Space is, however, given
us as determined in magnitude, namely, as being of infinite magnitude;
and if a general conception of space relations cannot determine
magnitude, still less can it determine infinite magnitude. Such infinity
must be derived from limitlessness in the progression of intuition. Our
conceptual representations of infinite magnitude must be derivative
products, acquired from this intuitive source.

In the argument of the second edition the thesis is again established by
reference to the infinity of space. But in all other respects the
argument differs from that of the first edition. A general conception,
which abstracts out common qualities from a plurality of particulars,
contains an infinite number of possible different representations
_under_ it; but it cannot be thought as containing an infinite number of
representations _in_ it. Space must, however, be thought in this latter
manner, for it contains an infinite number of coexisting parts.[448]
Since, then, space cannot be a concept, it must be an intuition.

The definiteness of this conclusion is somewhat obscured by the further
characterisation of the intuition of space as _a priori_, and by the
statement that it is the _original_ (_ursprüngliche_) representation
which is of this intuitive nature. The first addition must here, again,
just as in the fourth argument, be regarded as merely a recapitulation
of what has already been established, not a conclusion from the present
argument. The introduction of the word ‘original’ seems to be part of
Kant’s reply to the objections which had already been made to his
admission in the first edition that there is a conception as well as an
intuition of space. It is the _original given intuition_ of space which
renders such reflective conception possible.

The chief difficulty of these proofs arises out of the assertion which
they seem to involve that space is given as actually infinite. There are
apparently, on this point, two views in Kant, which were retained up to
the very last, and which are closely connected with his two
representations of space, on the one hand as a _formal intuition_ given
in its purity and in its completeness, and on the other hand as the
_form of intuition_, which exists only so far as it is constructed, and
which is dependent for its content upon given matter.

=Third Argument, and Transcendental Exposition of Space.=--The distinction
between the metaphysical and the transcendental expositions, introduced
in the second edition of the _Critique_,[449] is one which Kant seems to
have first made clear to himself in the process of writing the
_Prolegomena_.[450] It is a genuine improvement, marking an important
distinction. It separates out two comparatively independent lines of
argument. The terms in which the distinction is stated are not, however,
felicitous. Kant’s reason for adopting the title metaphysical is
indicated in the _Prolegomena_:[451]

     “As concerns the sources of metaphysical cognition, its very
     concept implies that they cannot be empirical.... For it must not
     be physical but metaphysical knowledge, _i.e._ knowledge lying
     beyond experience.... It is therefore _a priori_ knowledge, coming
     from pure understanding and pure Reason.”

The metaphysical exposition, it would therefore seem, is so entitled
because it professes to prove that space is _a priori_, not empirical,
and to do so by analysis of its concept.[452] Now by Kant’s own
definition of the term transcendental, as the theory of the _a priori_,
this exposition might equally well have been named the transcendental
exposition. In any case it is an essential and chief part of the
_Transcendental Aesthetic_. Such division of the _Transcendental
Aesthetic_ into a metaphysical and a transcendental part involves a
twofold use, wider and narrower, of one and the same term. Only as
descriptive of the whole _Aesthetic_ is transcendental employed in the
sense defined.

Exposition (_Erörterung_, Lat. _expositio_) is Kant’s substitute for the
more ordinary term definition. Definition is the term which we should
naturally have expected; but as Kant holds that no =given= concept,
whether _a priori_ or empirical, can be defined in the strict
sense,[453] the substitutes the term exposition, using it to signify
such definition of the nature of space as is possible to us. To complete
the parallelism Kant speaks of the transcendental enquiry as also an
exposition. It is, however, in no sense a definition. Kant’s terms here,
as so often elsewhere, are employed in a more or less arbitrary and
extremely inexact manner.

The distinction between the two expositions is taken by Kant as follows.
The metaphysical exposition determines the nature of the concept of
space, and shows it to be a given _a priori_ intuition. The
transcendental exposition shows how space, when viewed in this manner,
renders comprehensible the possibility of synthetic _a priori_

The omission of the third argument on space from the second edition, and
its incorporation into the new transcendental exposition, is certainly
an improvement. In its location in the first edition, it breaks in upon
the continuity of Kant’s argument without in any way contributing to the
further definition of the concept of space. Also, in emphasising that
mathematical knowledge depends upon the _construction_ of concepts,[454]
Kant presupposes that space is intuitional; and that has not yet been

The argument follows the strict, rigorous, synthetic method. From the
already demonstrated _a priori_ character of space, Kant deduces the
apodictic certainty of all geometrical principles. But though the
paragraph thus expounds a consequence that follows from the _a priori_
character of space, not an argument in support of it, something in the
nature of an argument is none the less implied. The fact that this view
of the representation of space alone renders mathematical science
possible can be taken as confirming this interpretation of its nature.
Such an argument, though circular, is none the less cogent.
Consideration of Kant’s further statements, that were space known in a
merely empirical manner we could not be sure that in all cases only one
straight line is possible between two points, or that space will always
be found to have three dimensions, must meantime be deferred.[455]

In the new transcendental exposition Kant adopts the analytic method of
the _Prolegomena_, and accordingly presents his argument in independence
of the results already established. He starts from the assumption of the
admitted validity of geometry, as being a body of synthetic _a priori_
knowledge. Yet this, as we have already noted, does not invalidate the
argument; in both the first and the last paragraphs it is implied that
the _a priori_ and intuitive characteristics of space have already been
proved. From the synthetic character of geometrical propositions Kant
argues[456] that space must be an intuition. Through pure concepts no
synthetic knowledge is possible. Then from the apodictic character of
geometry he infers that space exists in us as pure and _a priori_;[457]
no experience can ever reveal necessity. But geometry also exists as an
applied science; and to account for our power of anticipating
experience, we must view space as existing only in the perceiving
subject as the form of its sensibility. If it precedes objects as the
necessary subjective condition of their apprehension, we can to that
extent predetermine the conditions of their existence.

In the concluding paragraph Kant says that this is the only explanation
which can be given of the possibility of geometry. He does not
distinguish between pure and applied geometry, though the proof which
he has given of each differs in a fundamental respect. Pure geometry
presupposes only that space is an _a priori_ intuition; applied geometry
demands that space be conceived as the _a priori_ form of external
sense. Only in reference to applied geometry does the Critical problem
arise:--viz. how we can form synthetic judgments _a priori_ which yet
are valid of objects; or, in other words, how judgments based upon a
subjective form can be objectively valid. But any attempt, at this
point, to define the nature and possibility of applied geometry must
anticipate a result which is first established in _Conclusion b_.[458]
Though, therefore, the substitution of this transcendental exposition
for the third space argument is a decided improvement, Kant, in
extending it so as to cover applied as well as pure mathematics,
overlooks the real sequence of his argument in the first edition. The
employment of the analytic method, breaking in, as it does, upon the
synthetic development of Kant’s original argument, is a further

It may be noted that in the third paragraph Kant takes the fact that
geometry can be applied to objects as proof of the subjectivity of
space.[460] He refuses to recognise the possibility that space may be
subjective as a form of receptivity, and yet also be a mode in which
things in themselves exist. This, as regards its conclusion, though not
as regards its argument, is therefore an anticipation of _Conclusion a_.
In the last paragraph Kant is probably referring to the views both of
Leibniz and of Berkeley.


=Conclusion a.=--_Thesis_: Space is not a property of things in
themselves,[462] nor a relation of them to one another. Proof: The
properties of things in themselves can never be intuited prior to their
existence, _i.e. a priori_. Space, as already proved, is intuited in
this manner. In other words, the apriority of space is by itself
sufficient proof of its subjectivity.

This argument has been the subject of a prolonged controversy between
Trendelenburg and Kuno Fischer.[463] Trendelenburg was able to prove his
main point, namely, that the above argument is quite inconclusive. Kant
recognises only two alternatives, either space as objective is known _a
posteriori_, or being an _a priori_ representation it is subjective in
origin. There exists a third alternative, namely, that though our
intuition of space is subjective in origin, space is itself an inherent
property of things in themselves. The central thesis of the rationalist
philosophy of the Enlightenment was, indeed, that the independently real
can be known by _a priori_ thinking. Even granting the validity of
Kant’s later conclusion, first drawn in the next paragraph, that space
is the subjective form of all external intuition, that would only prove
that it does not belong to _appearances_, prior to our apprehension of
them; nothing is thereby proved in regard to the character of things in
themselves. We anticipate by _a priori_ reasoning only the nature of
appearances, never the constitution of things in themselves. Therefore
space, even though _a priori_, may belong to the independently real. The
above argument cannot prove the given thesis.

Vaihinger contends[464] that the reason why Kant does not even attempt
to argue in support of the principle, that the _a priori_ must be purely
subjective, is that he accepts it as self-evident. This explanation does
not, however, seem satisfactory. But Vaihinger supplies the data for
modification of his own assertion. It was, it would seem, the existence
of the antinomies which first and chiefly led Kant to assert the
subjectivity of space and time.[465] For as he then believed that a
satisfactory solution of the antinomies is possible only on the
assumption of the subjectivity of space and time, he regarded their
subjectivity as being conclusively established, and accordingly failed
to examine with sufficient care the validity of his additional proof
from their apriority. This would seem to be confirmed by the fact that
when later,[466] in reply to criticisms of the arguments of the first
edition, he so far modified his position as to offer reasons in support
of the above general principle, even then he nowhere discussed the
principle in reference to the forms of sense. All his discussions
concern only the possible independent reality of the forms of
thought.[467] To the very last Kant would seem to have regarded the
above argument as an independent, and by itself a sufficient, proof of
the subjectivity of space.

The refutation of Trendelenburg’s argument which is offered by
Caird[468] is inconclusive. Caird assumes the chief point at issue,
first by ignoring the possibility that space may be known _a priori_ in
reference to appearances and yet at the same time be transcendently
real; and secondly by ignoring the fact that to deny spatial properties
to things in themselves is as great a violation of Critical principles
as to assert them. One point, however, in Caird’s reply to Trendelenburg
calls for special consideration, viz. Caird’s contention that Kant did
actually take account of the third alternative, rejecting it as
involving the “absurd” hypothesis of a pre-established harmony.[469]
Undoubtedly Kant did so. But the contention has no relevancy to the
point before us. The doctrine of pre-established harmony is a
metaphysical theory which presupposes the possibility of gaining
knowledge of things in themselves. For that reason alone Kant was bound
to reject it. A metaphysical proof of the validity of metaphysical
judgments is, from the Critical point of view, a contradiction in terms.
As the validity of _all_ speculations is in doubt, a proof which is
speculative cannot meet our difficulties. And also, as Kant himself
further points out, the pre-established harmony, even if granted, can
afford no solution of the Critical problem how _a priori_ judgments can
be passed upon the independently real. The judgments, thus guaranteed,
could only possess _de facto_ validity; we could never be assured of
their necessity.[470] It is chiefly in these two inabilities that Kant
locates the “absurdity” of a theory of pre-established harmony. The
refutation of that theory does not, therefore, amount to a disproof of
the possibility which we are here considering.

=Conclusion b.=--The next paragraph maintains two theses: (_a_) that space
is the form of all outer intuition; (_b_) that this fact explains what
is otherwise entirely inexplicable and paradoxical, namely, that we can
make _a priori_ judgments which yet apply to the objects experienced.
The first thesis, that the pure intuition of space is only conceivable
as the form of appearances of outer sense, is propounded in the opening
sentence without argument and even without citation of grounds. The
statement thus suddenly made is not anticipated save by the opening
sentences of the section on space.[471] It is an essentially new
doctrine. Hitherto Kant has spoken of space only as an _a priori_
intuition. The further assertion that as such it must necessarily be
conceived as the form of outer sense (_i.e._ not only as a formal
intuition but also as a form of intuition), calls for the most definite
and explicit proof. None, however, is given. It is really a conclusion
from points all too briefly cited by Kant in the general _Introduction_,
namely, from his distinction between the matter and the form of sense.
The assertions there made, in a somewhat casual manner, are here,
without notification to the reader, employed as premisses to ground the
above assertion. His thesis is not, therefore, as by its face value it
would seem to profess to be, an inference from the points established in
the preceding expositions. It interprets these conclusions in the light
of points considered in the _Introduction_; and thereby arrives at a new
and all-important interpretation of the nature of the _a priori_
intuition of space.

The second thesis employs the first to explain how prior to all
experience we can determine the relations of objects. Since (_a_) space
is merely the form of outer sense, and (_b_) accordingly exists in the
mind prior to all empirical intuition, all appearances must exist in
space, and we can predetermine them from the pure intuition of space
that is given to us _a priori_. Space, when thus viewed as the _a
priori_ form of outer sense, renders comprehensible the validity of
applied mathematics.

As we have already noted,[472] Kant in the second edition obscures the
sequence of his argument by offering in the new transcendental
exposition a justification of applied as well as of pure geometry. In so
doing he anticipates the conclusion which is first drawn in this later
paragraph. This would have been avoided had Kant given two separate
transcendental expositions. First, an exposition of pure mathematics,
placed immediately after the metaphysical exposition; for pure
mathematics is exclusively based upon the results of the metaphysical
exposition. And secondly, an exposition of applied mathematics,
introduced after _Conclusion b_. The explanation of applied geometry is
really the more essential and central of the two, as it alone involves
the truly Critical problem, how judgments formed _a priori_ can yet
apply to objects. _Conclusion b_ constitutes, as Vaihinger rightly
insists,[473] the very heart of the _Aesthetic_. The arrangement of
Kant’s argument diverts the reader’s attention from where it ought
properly to centre.

The use which Kant makes of the _Prolegomena_ in his statement of the
new transcendental exposition is one cause of the confusion. The
exposition is a brief summary of the corresponding _Prolegomena_[474]
sections. In introducing this summary into the _Critique_ Kant
overlooked the fact that in referring to applied mathematics he is
anticipating a point first established in _Conclusion b_. The real
cause, however, of the trouble is common to both editions, namely Kant’s
failure clearly to appreciate the fundamental distinction between the
view that space is an _a priori_ intuition and the view that it is the
_a priori_ form of all external intuition, _i.e._ of outer sense. He
does not seem to have fully realised how very different are those two
views. In consequence of this he fails to distinguish between the
transcendental expositions of pure and applied geometry.[475]

=Third paragraph.=--Kant proceeds to develop the subjectivist conclusions
which follow from _a_ and _b_.

     “We may say that space contains all things which can appear to us
     externally, but not all things in themselves, whether intuited or
     not, nor again all things intuited by any and every subject.”[476]

This sentence makes two assertions: (_a_) space does not belong to
things in and by themselves; (_b_) space is not a necessary form of
intuition for all subjects whatsoever.

The grounds for the former assertion are not here considered, and that
is doubtless the reason why the _oder nicht_ is excised in Kant’s
private copy of the _Critique_. As we have seen, Kant does not anywhere
in the _Aesthetic_ even attempt to offer argument in support of this
assertion. In defence of (_a_) Kant propounds for the first time the
view of sensibility as a limitation. Space is a limiting condition to
which human intuition is subject. Whether the intuitions of other
thinking beings are subject to the same limitation, we have no means of
deciding. But for all human beings, Kant implies, the same conditions
must hold universally.[477]

In the phrase “transcendental ideality of space”[478] Kant, it may be
noted, takes the term ideality as signifying subjectivity, and the term
transcendental as equivalent to transcendent. He is stating that judged
from a _transcendent_ point of view, _i.e._ from the point of view of
the thing in itself, space has a merely subjective or “empirical”
reality. This is an instance of Kant’s careless use of the term
transcendental. Space is empirically real, but taken _transcendently_,
is merely ideal.[479]


This is an appropriate point at which to consider the consistency of
Kant’s teaching with modern developments in geometry. Kant’s attitude
has very frequently been misrepresented. As he here states, he is
willing to recognise that the forms of intuition possessed by other
races of finite beings may not coincide with those of the human species.
But in so doing he does not mean to assert the possibility of other
_spatial_ forms, _i.e._ of spaces that are non-Euclidean. In his
pre-Critical period Kant had indeed attempted to deduce the
three-dimensional character of space as a consequence of the law of
gravitation; and recognising that that law is in itself arbitrary, he
concluded that God might, by establishing different relations of
gravitation, have given rise to spaces of different properties and

     “A science of all these possible kinds of space would undoubtedly
     be the highest enterprise which a finite understanding could
     undertake in the field of geometry.”[480]

But from the time of Kant’s adoption, in 1770, of the Critical view of
space as being the universal form of our outer sense, he seems to have
definitely rejected all such possibilities. Space, to be space at all,
must be Euclidean; the uniformity of space is a presupposition of the _a
priori_ certainty of geometrical science.[481] One of the criticisms
which in the _Dissertation_[482] he passes upon the empirical view of
mathematical science is that it would leave open the possibility that
“a space may some time be discovered endowed with other fundamental
properties, or even perhaps that we may happen upon a two-sided
rectilinear figure.” This is the argument which reappears in the third
argument on space in the first edition of the _Critique_.[483] The same
examples are employed with a somewhat different wording.

     “It would not even be necessary that there should be only one
     straight line between two points, though experience invariably
     shows this to be so. What is derived from experience has only
     comparative universality, namely, that which is obtained through
     induction. We should therefore only be able to say that, so far as
     hitherto observed, no space has been found which has more than
     three dimensions.”

But that Kant should have failed to recognise the possibility of other
spaces does not by itself point to any serious defect in his position.
There is no essential difficulty in reconciling the recognition of such
spaces with his fundamental teaching. He admits that other races of
finite beings may perhaps intuit through _non-spatial_ forms of
sensibility; he might quite well have recognised that those other forms
of intuition, though not Euclidean, are still spatial. It is in another
and more vital respect that Kant’s teaching lies open to criticism. Kant
is convinced that space is given to us in intuition as being definitely
and irrevocably Euclidean in character. Both our intuition and our
thinking, when we reflect upon space, are, he implies, bound down to,
and limited by, the conditions of Euclidean space. And it is in this
positive assumption, and not merely in his ignoring of the possibility
of other spaces, that he comes into conflict with the teaching of modern
geometry. For in making the above assumption Kant is asserting that we
definitely know physical space to be three-dimensional, and that by no
elaboration of concepts can we so remodel it in thought that the axiom
of parallels will cease to hold. Euclidean space, Kant implies, is
_given_ to us as an unyielding form that rigidly resists all attempts at
conceptual reconstruction. Being quite independent of thought and being
given as complete, it has no inchoate plasticity of which thought might
take advantage. The modern geometer is not, however, prepared to admit
that _intuitional_ space has any definiteness or preciseness of nature
apart from the concepts through which it is apprehended; and he
therefore allows, as at least possible, that upon clarification of our
concepts space may be discovered to be radically different from what it
at first sight appears to be. In any case, the perfecting of the
concepts must have some effect upon their object. But even--as the
modern geometer further maintains--should our space be definitely
proved, upon analytic and empirical investigation, to be Euclidean in
character, other possibilities will still remain open for speculative
thought. For though the nature of our intuitional data may constrain us
to interpret them through one set of concepts rather than through
another, the competing sets of alternative concepts will represent
genuine possibilities beyond what the actual is found to embody.

Thus the defect of Kant’s teaching, in regard to space, as judged in the
light of the later teaching of geometrical science, is closely bound up
with his untenable isolation of the _a priori_ of sensibility from the
_a priori_ of understanding.[484] Space, being thus viewed as
independent of thought, has to be regarded as limiting and restricting
thought by the unalterable nature of its initial presentation. And
unfortunately this is a position which Kant continued to hold, despite
his increasing recognition of the part which concepts must play in the
various mathematical sciences. In the deduction of the first edition we
find him stating that synthesis of apprehension is necessary to all
representation of space and time.[485] He further recognises that all
arithmetical processes are syntheses _according to concepts_.[486] And
in the _Prolegomena_[487] there occurs the following significant

     “Do these laws of nature lie in space, and does the understanding
     learn them by merely endeavouring to find out the fruitful meaning
     that lies in space; or do they inhere in the understanding and in
     the way in which it determines space according to the conditions of
     the synthetical unity towards which its concepts are all directed?
     Space is something so uniform and as to all particular properties
     so indeterminate, that we should certainly not seek a store of laws
     of nature in it. That which determines space to the form of a
     circle or to the figures of a cone or a sphere, is, on the
     contrary, the understanding, so far as it contains the ground of
     the unity of these constructions. The mere universal form of
     intuition, called space, must therefore be the substratum of all
     intuitions determinable to particular objects, and in it, of
     course, the condition of the possibility and of the variety of
     these intuitions lies. But the unity of the objects is solely
     determined by the understanding, and indeed in accordance with
     conditions which are proper to the nature of the understanding....”

Obviously Kant is being driven by the spontaneous development of his own
thinking towards a position much more consistent with present-day
teaching, and completely at variance with the hard and fast severance
between sensibility and understanding which he had formulated in the
_Dissertation_ and has retained in the _Aesthetic_. In the above
_Prolegomena_ passage a plasticity is being allowed to space, sufficient
to permit of essential modification in the conceptual processes through
which it is articulated. But, as I have just stated, that did not lead
Kant to disavow the conclusions which he had drawn from his previous

This defect in Kant’s doctrine of space, as expounded in the
_Aesthetic_, indicates a further imperfection in his argument. He
asserts that the form of space cannot vary from one human being to
another, and that for this reason the judgments which express it are
universally valid. Now, in so far as Kant’s initial datum is
consciousness of time,[488] he is entirely justified in assuming that
everything which can be shown to be a necessary condition of such
consciousness must be uniform for all human minds. But as his argument
is not that consciousness of _Euclidean_ space is necessary to
consciousness of time, but only that consciousness of the _permanent_ in
space is a required condition, he has not succeeded in showing the
necessary uniformity of the human mind as regards the specific mode in
which it intuits space. The permanent might still be apprehended as
permanent, and therefore as yielding a possible basis for consciousness
of sequence, even if it were apprehended in some four-dimensional form.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Fourth Paragraph.=--The next paragraph raises one of the central problems
of the _Critique_, namely, the question as to the kind of reality
possessed by appearances. Are they subjective, like taste or colour? Or
have they a reality at least relatively independent of the individual
percipient? In other words, is Kant’s position subjectivism or
phenomenalism? Kant here alternates between these positions. This fourth
paragraph is coloured by his phenomenalism, whereas in the immediately
following fifth paragraph his subjectivism gains the upper hand. The
taste of wine, he there states, is purely subjective, because dependent
upon the particular constitution of the gustatory organ on which the
wine acts. Similarly, colours are not properties of the objects which
cause them.

     “They are only modifications of the sense of sight which is
     affected in a certain manner by the light.... They are connected
     with the appearances only as effects accidentally added by the
     particular constitution of the sense organs.”[489]

Space, on the other hand, is a necessary constituent of the outer
objects. In contrast to the subjective sensations of taste and colour,
it possesses objectivity. This mode of distinguishing between space and
the matter of sense implies that extended objects are not mere ideas,
but are sufficiently independent to be capable of acting upon the sense
organs, and of thereby generating the sensations of the secondary

Kant, it must be observed, refers only to taste and colour. He says
nothing in regard to weight, impenetrability, and the like. These are
revealed through sensation, and therefore on his view ought to be in
exactly the same position as taste or colour. But if so, the relative
independence of the extended object can hardly be maintained. Kant’s
distinction between space and the sense qualities cannot, indeed, be
made to coincide with the Cartesian distinction between primary and
secondary qualities.

A second difference, from Kant’s point of view, between space and the
sense qualities is that the former can be represented _a priori_, in
complete separation from everything empirical, whereas the latter can
only be known _a posteriori_. This, as we have seen, is a very
questionable assertion. The further statement that all determinations of
space can be represented in the same _a priori_ fashion is even more
questionable. At most the difference is only between a homogeneous
subjective form yielded by outer sense and the endlessly varied and
consequently unpredictable contents revealed by the special senses. The
contention that the former can be known apart from the latter implies
the existence of a pure manifold additional to the manifold of sense.

=Fifth Paragraph.=--In the next paragraph Kant emphasises the distinction
between the empirical and the transcendental meanings of the term
appearance. A rose, viewed _empirically_, as a thing with an intrinsic
independent nature, may appear of different colour to different

     “The _transcendental_ conception of appearances in space, on the
     other hand, is a Critical reminder that nothing intuited in space
     is a thing in itself, that space is not a form inhering in things
     in themselves ... and that what we call outer objects are nothing
     but mere representations of our sensibility, the form of which is

In other words, the distinction drawn in the preceding paragraph between
colour as a subjective effect and space as an objective existence is no
longer maintained. Kant, when thus developing his position on
subjectivist lines, allows no kind of independent existence to anything
in the known world. Objects as known are mere Ideas (_blosse
Vorstellungen unserer Sinnlichkeit_), the sole correlate of which is the
unknowable thing in itself. But even in this paragraph both tendencies
find expression. “Colour, taste, etc., must not rightly be regarded as
properties of things, but only as changes in the subject.” This implies
a threefold distinction between subjective sensations, empirical objects
in space, and the thing in itself. The material world, investigated by
science, is recognised as possessing a relatively independent mode of

=Substituted Fourth Paragraph of second edition.=--In preparing the second
edition Kant himself evidently felt the awkwardness of this abrupt
juxtaposition of the two very different points of view; and he
accordingly adopts a non-committal attitude, substituting a logical
distinction for the ontological. Space yields synthetic judgments _a
priori_; the sense qualities do not. Only in the concluding sentence
does there emerge any definite phenomenalist implication. The sense
qualities, “as they are mere sensations and not intuitions, in
themselves reveal no object, least of all [an object] _a priori_.”[490]
The assertion that the secondary qualities have no _ideality_ implies a
new and stricter use of the term ideal than we find anywhere in the
first edition--a use which runs counter to Kant’s own constant
employment of the term. On this interpretation it is made to signify
what though subjective is also _a priori_. Here, as in many of the
alterations of the second edition, Kant is influenced by the desire to
emphasise the points which distinguish his idealism from that of





=Time: First Argument.=--This argument is in all respects the same as the
first argument on space. The thesis is that the representation[491] of
time is not of empirical origin. The proof is based on the fact that
this representation must be previously given in order that the
perception of coexistence or succession be possible. It also runs on all
fours with the first argument in the _Dissertation_.

     “_The idea of time does not originate in, but is presupposed by the
     senses._ When a number of things act upon the senses, it is only by
     means of the idea of time that they can be represented whether as
     simultaneous or as successive. Nor does succession generate the
     conception of time; but stimulates us to form it. Thus the notion
     of time, even if acquired through experience, is very badly defined
     as being a series of actual things existing one _after_ another.
     For I can understand what the word _after_ signifies only if I
     already know what time means. For those things are _after_ one
     another which exist at _different_ times, as those are
     _simultaneous_ which exist at one and the same time.”[492]

=Second Argument.=--Kant again applies to time the argument already
employed by him in dealing with space. The thesis is that time is given
_a priori_. Proof is found in the fact that it cannot be thought away,
_i.e._ in the fact of its subjective necessity. From this subjective
necessity follows its objective necessity, so far as all appearances are
concerned. In the second edition Kant added a phrase--“as the general
condition of their possibility”--which is seriously misleading. The
concluding sentence is thereby made to read as if Kant were arguing from
the objective necessity of time, _i.e._ from its necessity as a
constituent in the appearances apprehended, to its apriority. It is
indeed possible that Kant himself regarded this objective necessity of
time as contributing to the proof of its apriority. But no such argument
can be accepted. Time may be necessary to appearances, _once appearances
are granted_. This does not, however, prove that it must therefore
precede them _a priori_. This alteration in the second edition is an
excellent, though unfortunate, example of Kant’s invincible carelessness
in the exposition of his thought. It has contributed to a misreading by
Herbart and others of this and of the corresponding argument on space.

     “Let us not talk of an absolute space as the presupposition of all
     our constructed figures. Possibility is nothing but thought, and it
     arises only when it is thought. Space is nothing but possibility,
     for it contains nothing save images of the existent; and absolute
     space is nothing save the abstracted general possibility of such
     constructions, abstracted from it after completion of the
     construction. The necessity of the representation of space ought
     never to have played any rôle in philosophy. To think away space is
     to think away the _possibility_ of that which has been previously
     posited as _actual_. Obviously that is impossible, and the opposite
     is necessary.”[493]

Were Kant really arguing here and in the second argument on space solely
from the _objective_ necessity of time and space, this criticism would
be unanswerable. But even taking the argument in its first edition form,
as an argument from the _psychological_ necessity of time, it lies open
to the same objection as the argument on space. It rests upon a false
statement of fact. We cannot retain time in the absence of all
appearances of outer and inner sense. With the removal of the given
manifold, time itself must vanish.

=Fourth Argument.=[494]--This argument differs only slightly, and mainly
through omissions,[495] from the fourth[496] of the arguments in regard
to space; but a few minor points call for notice. (_a_) In the first
sentence, instead of intuition, which alone is under consideration in
its contrast to conception, Kant employs the phrase “pure form of
intuition.” (_b_) In the third sentence Kant uses the quite untenable
phrase “given through a single object (_Gegenstand_).” Time is not
given from without, nor is it due to an object. (_c_) The concluding
sentences properly belong to the transcendental exposition. They are
here introduced, not in the ambiguous manner of the fourth[1] argument
on space, but explicitly as a further argument in proof of the intuitive
character of time. The synthetic proposition which Kant cites is taken
neither from the science of motion nor from arithmetic. It expresses the
nature of time itself, and for that reason is immediately contained in
the intuition of time.

=Fifth Argument.=--This argument differs fundamentally from the
corresponding argument on space, whether of the first or of the second
edition, and must therefore be independently analysed. The thesis is
again that time is an intuition. Proof is derived from the fact that
time is a representation in which the parts arise only through
limitation, and in which, therefore, the whole must precede the parts.
The original (_ursprüngliche_) time-representation, _i.e._ the
fundamental representation through limitation of which the parts arise
as secondary products, must be an intuition.

To this argument Kant makes two explanatory additions. (_a_) As
particular times arise through limitation of one single time, time must
in its original intuition be given as infinite, _i.e._ as unlimited. The
infinitude of time is not, therefore, as might seem to be implied by the
prominence given to it, and by analogy with the final arguments of both
the first and the second edition, a part of the proof that it is an
intuition, but only a consequence of the feature by which its intuitive
character is independently established. The unwary reader, having in
mind the corresponding argument on space, is almost inevitably misled.
All reference to infinitude could, so far as this argument is concerned,
have been omitted. The mode in which the argument opens seems indeed to
indicate that Kant was not himself altogether clear as to the
cross-relations between the arguments on space and time respectively.
The real parallel to this argument is to be found in the second part of
the fourth[1] argument on space. That part was omitted by Kant in his
fourth argument on time, and is here developed into a separate argument.
This is, of course, a further cause of confusion to the reader, who is
not prepared for such arbitrary rearrangement. Indeed it is not
surprising to find that when Kant became the reader of his own work, in
preparing it for the second edition, he was himself misled by the
intricate perversity of his exposition. In re-reading the argument he
seems to have forgotten that it represents the second part of the
fourth[497] argument on space. Interpreting it in the light of the
fifth[498] argument on space which he had been recasting for the second
edition, it seemed to him possible, by a slight alteration, to bring
this argument on time into line with that new proof.[499] This
unfortunately results in the perverting of the entire paragraph. The
argument demands an opposition between intuition in which the whole
precedes the parts, and conception in which the parts precede the whole.
In order to bring the opposition into line with the new argument on
space, according to which a conception contains an infinite number of
parts, not in it, but only under it, Kant substitutes for the previous
parenthesis the statement that “concepts contain only partial
representations,” meaning, apparently, that their constituent elements
are merely abstracted attributes, not real concrete parts, or in other
words, not strictly parts at all, but only partial representations. But
this does not at all agree with the context. The point at issue is
thereby obscured.

(_b_) The main argument rests upon and presupposes a very definite view
as to the manner in which alone, according to Kant, concepts are formed.
Only if this view be granted as true of all concepts without exception
is the argument cogent. This doctrine[500] of the concept is accordingly
stated by Kant in the words of the parenthesis. The partial
representations, _i.e._ the different properties which go to constitute
the object or content conceived, precede the representation of the
whole. “The aggregation of co-ordinate attributes (_Merkmale_)
constitutes the totality of the concept.”[501] Upon the use which Kant
thus makes of the traditional doctrine of the concept, and upon its lack
of consistency with his recognition of relational categories, we have
already dwelt.[502]

=Third Argument and the Transcendental Exposition.=--The third argument
ought to have been omitted in the second edition, and its substance
incorporated in the new transcendental exposition, as was done with the
corresponding argument concerning space. The excuse which Kant offers
for not making the change, namely, his desire for brevity, is not valid.
By insertion in the new section the whole matter could have been stated
just as briefly as before.

The purpose of the transcendental exposition has been already defined.
It is to show how time, when viewed in the manner required by the
results of the metaphysical deduction, as an _a priori_ intuition,
renders synthetic _a priori_ judgments possible.

This exposition, as it appears in the third argument of the first
edition, grounds the apodictic character of two axioms in regard to
time[503] on the proved apriority of the representation of time, and
then by implication finds in these axioms a fresh proof of the apriority
of time.

The new transcendental exposition extends the above by two further
statements: (_a_) that only through the intuition of time can any
conception of change, and therewith of motion (as change of place), be
formed; and (_b_) that it is because the intuition of time is an _a
priori_ intuition that the synthetic _a priori_ propositions of the
“general doctrine of motion” are possible. To take each in turn. (_a_)
Save by reference to time the conception of motion is
self-contradictory. It involves the ascription to one and the same thing
of contradictory predicates, _e.g._ that an object both is and is not in
a certain place. From this fact, that time makes possible what is not
possible in pure conception, Kant, in his earlier rationalistic period,
had derived a proof of the subjectivity of time.[504] (_b_) In 1786 in
the _Metaphysical First Principles of Natural Science_ Kant had
developed the fundamental principles of the general science of motion.
He takes the opportunity of the second edition (1787) of the _Critique_
to assign this place to them in his general system. The implication is
that the doctrine of motion stands to time in the relation in which
geometry stands to space. Kant is probably here replying, as Vaihinger
has suggested,[505] to an objection made by Garve to the first edition,
that no science, corresponding to geometry, is based on the intuition of
time. For two reasons, however, the analogy between mechanics and
geometry breaks down. In the first place, the conception of motion is
empirical; and in the second place, it presupposes space as well as

Kant elsewhere explicitly disavows this view that the science of motion
is based on time. He had already done so in the preceding year (1786) in
the _Metaphysical First Principles_. He there points out[507] that as
time has only one dimension, mathematics is not applicable to the
phenomena of inner sense. At most we can determine in regard to them (in
addition, of course, to the two axioms already cited) only the law that
all these changes are continuous. Also in Kant’s _Ueber Philosophie
überhaupt_ (written some time between 1780 and 1790, and very probably
in or about the year 1789) we find the following utterance:

     “The general doctrine of time, unlike the pure doctrine of space
     (geometry), does not yield sufficient material for a whole

Why, then, should Kant in 1787 have so inconsistently departed from his
own teaching? This is a question to which I can find no answer.
Apparently without reason, and contrary to his more abiding judgment, he
here repeats the suggestion which he had casually thrown out in the
_Dissertation_[509] of 1770:

     “Pure mathematics treats of space in geometry and of time in pure

But in the _Dissertation_ the point is only touched upon in passing. The
context permits of the interpretation that while geometry deals with
space, mechanics deals with time in addition to space.


In the _Dissertation_, and again in the chapter on _Schematism_ in the
_Critique_ itself, still another view is suggested, namely, that the
science of arithmetic is also concerned with the intuition of time. The
passage just quoted from the _Dissertation_ proceeds as follows:

     “Pure mathematics treats of space in geometry and of time in pure
     mechanics. To these has to be added a certain concept which is in
     itself intellectual, but which demands for its concrete
     actualisation (_actuatio_) the auxiliary notions of time and space
     (in the successive addition and in the juxtaposition of a
     plurality). This is the concept of number which is dealt with in

This view of arithmetic is to be found in both editions of the
_Critique_. Arithmetic depends upon the synthetic activity of the
understanding; the conceptual element is absolutely essential.

     “Our counting (as is easily seen in the case of large numbers) is a
     synthesis according to concepts, because it is executed according
     to a common ground of unity, as, for instance, the decade
     (_Dekadik_).”[511] “The pure image ... of all objects of the senses
     in general is time. But the pure _schema_ of quantity, in so far as
     it is a concept of the understanding, is _number_, a representation
     which combines the successive addition of one to one (homogeneous).
     Thus number is nothing but the unity of the synthesis of the
     manifold of a homogeneous intuition in general, whereby I generate
     time itself in the apprehension of the intuition.”[512]

This is also the teaching of the _Methodology_.[513] Now it may be
observed that in none of these passages is arithmetic declared to be the
_science of time_, or even to be based on the intuition of time. In
1783, however, in the _Prolegomena_, Kant expresses himself in much more
ambiguous terms, for his words imply that there is a parallelism between
geometry and arithmetic.

     “Geometry is based upon the pure intuition of space. Arithmetic
     produces its concepts of number through successive addition of
     units in time, and pure mechanics especially can produce its
     concepts of motion only by means of the representation of

The passage is by no means explicit; the “especially” (_vornehmlich_)
seems to indicate a feeling on Kant’s part that the description which he
is giving of arithmetic is not really satisfactory. Unfortunately this
casual statement, though never repeated by Kant in any of his other
writings, was developed by Schulze in his _Erläuterungen_.

     “Since geometry has space and arithmetic has counting as its object
     (and counting can only take place by means of time), it is evident
     in what manner geometry and arithmetic, that is to say pure
     mathematics, is possible.”[515]

Largely, as it would seem,[516] through Schulze, whose _Erläuterungen_
did much to spread Kant’s teaching, this view came to be the current
understanding of Kant’s position. The nature of arithmetic, as thus
popularly interpreted, is expounded by Schopenhauer in the following

     “In time every moment is conditioned by the preceding. The ground
     of existence, as law of the sequence, is thus simple, because time
     has only one dimension, and no manifoldness of relations can be
     possible in it. Every moment is conditioned by the preceding; only
     through the latter can we attain to the former; only because the
     latter was, and has elapsed, does the former now exist. All
     counting rests upon this nexus of the parts of time; its words
     merely serve to mark the single steps of the succession. This is
     true of the whole of arithmetic, which throughout teaches nothing
     but the methodical abbreviations of counting. Every number
     presupposes the preceding numbers as grounds of its existence; I
     can only reach them through all the preceding, and only by means of
     this insight into the ground of its existence do I know that, where
     ten are, there are also eight, six, four.”[517]

Schulze was at once challenged to show that this was really Kant’s
teaching, and the passage which he cited was Kant’s definition of the
schema of number, above quoted.[518] It is therefore advisable that we
should briefly discuss the many difficulties which this passage
involves. What does Kant mean by asserting that in the apprehension of
number we generate time? Does he merely mean that time is required for
the process of counting? Counting is a process through which numerical
relations are discovered; and it undoubtedly occupies time. But so do
all processes of apprehension, in the study of geometry no less than of
arithmetic. That this is not Kant’s meaning, and that it is not even
what Schulze, notwithstanding his seemingly explicit mode of statement,
intends to assert, is clearly shown by a letter written by Kant to
Schulze in November 1788. Schulze, it appears, had spoken of this very

     “_Time, as you justly remark, has no influence upon the properties
     of numbers_ (as pure determinations of quantity), such as it may
     have upon the nature of those changes (of quantity) which are
     possible only in connection with a specific property of inner sense
     and its form (time). _The science of number, notwithstanding the
     succession which every construction of quantity demands, is a pure
     intellectual synthesis which we represent to ourselves in thought._
     But so far as _quanta_ are to be numerically determined, they must
     be given to us in such a way that we can apprehend their intuition
     in successive order, and such that their _apprehension_ can be
     subject to time....”[519]

No more definite statement could be desired of the fact that though in
arithmetical science as in other fields of study our processes of
apprehension are subject to time, the quantitative relations determined
by the science are independent of time and are intellectually

But if the above psychological interpretation of Kant’s teaching is
untenable, how is his position to be defined? We must bear in mind the
doctrine which Kant had already developed in his pre-Critical period,
that mathematical differs from philosophical knowledge in that its
concepts can have concrete individual form.[520] In the _Critique_ this
difference is expressed in the statement that the mathematical sciences
alone are able to _construct_ their concepts. And as they are _pure_
mathematical sciences, this construction is supposed to take place by
means of the _a priori_ manifold of space and of time. Now though Kant
had a fairly definite notion of what he meant by the construction of
geometrical figures in space, his various utterances seem to show that
in regard to the nature of arithmetical and algebraic construction he
had never really attempted to arrive at any precision of view. To judge
by the passage already quoted[521] from the _Dissertation_, Kant
regarded space as no less necessary than time to the construction or
intuition of number. ”[The intellectual concept of number] demands for
its concrete actualisation the auxiliary notions of time _and space_ (in
the successive addition and in the _juxtaposition of a plurality_)” A
similar view appears in the _Critique_ in A 140 = B 179 and in B 15. In
conformity, however, with the general requirements of his doctrine of
_Schematism_, Kant defines the schema of number in exclusive reference
to time; and, as we have noted, it is to this definition that Schulze
appeals in support of his view of arithmetic as the science of counting
and therefore of time. It at least shows that Kant perceived _some_ form
of connection to exist between arithmetic and time. But in this matter
Kant’s position was probably simply a corollary from his general view of
the nature of mathematical science, and in particular of his view of
geometry, the “exemplar”[522] of all the others. Mathematical science,
as such, is based on intuition;[523] therefore arithmetic, which is one
of its departments, must be so likewise. No attempt, however, is made
to define the nature of the intuitions in which it has its source.
Sympathetically interpreted, his statements may be taken as suggesting
that arithmetic is the study of _series_ which find concrete expression
in the order of sequent times. The following estimate, given by
Cassirer,[524] does ample justice both to the true and to the false
elements in Kant’s doctrine.

     ”[Even discounting Kant’s insistence upon the conceptual character
     of arithmetical science, and] allowing that he derives arithmetical
     concepts and propositions from the _pure intuition of time_, this
     teaching, to whatever objections it may lie open, has certainly not
     the merely _psychological_ meaning which the majority of its
     critics have ascribed to it. If it contained only the trivial
     thought, that the empirical act of counting requires time, it would
     be completely refuted by the familiar objection which B. Beneke has
     formulated: ‘The fact that time elapses in the process of counting
     can prove nothing; for what is there over which time does not
     flow?’ It is easily seen that Kant is only concerned with the
     ‘transcendental’ determination of the concept of time, according to
     which it appears as the type of an ordered sequence. William
     [Rowan] Hamilton, who adopts Kant’s doctrine, has defined algebra
     as ‘science of pure time or _order in progression_.’ That the whole
     content of arithmetical concepts can really be obtained from the
     fundamental concept of _order_ in unbroken development, is
     completely confirmed by Russell’s exposition. As against the
     Kantian theory it must, of course, be emphasised, that it is not
     the _concrete_ form of time intuition which constitutes the
     _ground_ of the concept of number, but that on the contrary the
     pure logical concepts of sequence and of order are already
     implicitly contained and embodied in that concrete form.”

Much of the unsatisfactoriness of Kant’s argument is traceable to his
mode of conceiving the “construction”[525] of mathematical concepts. All
concepts, he seems to hold, even those of geometry and arithmetic, are
abstract class concepts--the concept of triangle representing the
properties common to all triangles, and the concept of seven the
properties common to all groups that are seven. Mathematical concepts
differ, however, from other concepts in that they are capable of _a
priori_ construction, that is, of having their objects represented in
pure intuition. Now this is an extremely unfortunate mode of statement.
It implies that mathematical concepts have a dual mode of existence,
first as abstracted, and secondly as constructed. Such a position is not
tenable. The concept of seven, in its primary form, is not abstracted
from a variety of particular groups of seven; it is already involved in
the apprehension of each of them as being seven. Nor is it a concept
that is itself constructed. It may perhaps be described as being the
representation of something constructed; but that something is not
itself. It represents the process or method generative of the complex
for which it stands. Thus Kant’s distinction between the intuitive
nature of mathematical knowledge and the merely discursive character of
conceptual knowledge is at once inspired by the very important
distinction between the product of construction and the product of
abstraction, and yet at the same time is also obscured by the quite
inadequate manner in which that latter distinction has been formulated.
Kant has again adhered to the older logic even in the very act of
revising its conclusions; and in so doing he has sacrificed the Critical
doctrines of the _Analytic_ to the pre-Critical teaching of the
_Dissertation_ and _Aesthetic_. _Mathematical concepts are of the same
general type as the categories; their primary function is not to clarify
intuitions, but to make them possible._ They are derivable from
intuition only in so far as they have contributed to its constitution.
If intuition contains factors additional to the concepts through which
it is interpreted, these factors must remain outside the realm of
mathematical science, until such time as conceptual analysis has proved
itself capable of further extension.

I may now summarise this general discussion. Though Kant in the first
edition of the _Critique_ had spoken of the mathematical sciences as
based upon the intuition of space and time, he had not, despite his
constant tendency to conceive space and time as parallel forms of
existence, based any separate mathematical discipline upon time. His
definition of number, in the chapter on _Schematism_, had recognised the
essentially conceptual character of arithmetic, and had connected it
with time only in a quite indirect manner. A passage in the
_Prolegomena_ is the one place in all Kant’s writings in which he would
seem to assert, though in brief and quite indefinite terms, that
arithmetic is related to time as geometry is related to space. No such
view of arithmetic is to be found in the second edition of the
_Critique_. In the transcendental exposition of time, added in the
second edition, only pure mechanics is mentioned. This would seem to
indicate that Kant had made the above statement carelessly, without due
thought, and that on further reflection he found himself unable to stand
by it. The omission is the more significant in that Kant refers to
arithmetic in the passages added in the second edition _Introduction_.
The teaching of these passages, apart from the asserted necessity of
appealing to fingers or points,[526] harmonises with the view so
briefly outlined in the _Analytic_. Arithmetic is a conceptual science;
though it finds in ordered sequence its intuitional material, it cannot
be adequately defined as being the science of time.


These _Conclusions_ do not run parallel with the corresponding
_Conclusions_ in regard to space. In the first paragraph there are two
differences. (_a_) Kant takes account of a view not considered under
space, viz. that time is a self-existing substance. He rejects it on a
ground which is difficult to reconcile with his recognition of a
manifold of intuition as well as a manifold of sense, namely that it
would then be something real without being a real object. In A 39 = B 57
and B 70 Kant describes space and time, so conceived, as _unendliche
Undinge_. (_b_) Kant introduces into his first _Conclusion_ the
argument[528] that only by conceiving time as the form of inner
intuition can we justify _a priori_ synthetic judgments in regard to

=Second Paragraph (Conclusion b).=--This latter statement is repeated at
the opening of the second _Conclusion_. The emphasis is no longer,
however, upon the term “form” but upon the term “inner”; and Kant
proceeds to make assertions which by no means follow from the five
arguments, and which must be counted amongst the most difficult and
controversial tenets of the whole _Critique_. (_a_) Time is not a
determination of outer appearances. For it belongs neither to their
shape nor to their position--and prudently at this point the property of
motion is smuggled out of view under cover of an etc. _Time does not
determine the relation of appearances to one another, but only_ the
relation of representations _in our inner state_.[529] It is the form
only of the intuition of ourselves and of our inner state.[530]
Obviously these are assertions which Kant cannot possibly hold to in
this unqualified form. In the very next paragraph they are modified and
restated. (_b_) As this inner intuition supplies no shape (_Gestalt_),
we seek to make good this deficiency by means of analogies. We represent
the time-sequence through a line progressing to infinity in which the
manifold constitutes a series of only one dimension. From the properties
of this line, with the one exception that its parts are simultaneous
whereas those of time are always successive, we conclude to all the
properties of time.

The wording of the passage seems to imply that such symbolisation of
time through space is helpful but not indispensably necessary for its
apprehension. That it is indispensably necessary is, however, the view
to which Kant finally settled down.[531] But he has not yet come to
clearness on this point. The passage has all the signs of having been
written prior to the _Analytic_. Though Kant seems to have held
consistently to the view that time has, in or by itself, only one
dimension,[532] the difficulties involved drove him to recognise that
this is true only of time as the order of our representations. It is not
true of the objective time apprehended in and through our
representations. When later Kant came to hold that consciousness of time
is conditioned by consciousness of space, he apparently also adopted the
view that, by reference to space, time indirectly acquires simultaneity
as an additional mode. The objective spatial world is in time, but in a
time which shows simultaneity as well as succession. In the
_Dissertation_[533] Kant had criticised Leibniz and his followers for
neglecting simultaneity, “the most important consequence of time.”

     “Though time has only one dimension, yet the _ubiquity_ of time (to
     employ Newton’s term), through which all things sensuously
     thinkable are _at some time_, adds another dimension to the
     quantity of actual things, in so far as they hang, as it were, upon
     the same point of time. For if we represent time by a straight line
     extended to infinity, and simultaneous things at any point of time
     by lines successively erected [perpendicular to the first line],
     the surface thus generated will represent the _phenomenal world_
     both as to substance and as to accidents.”

Similarly in A 182 = B 226 of the _Critique_ Kant states that
simultaneity is not a mode of time,[534] since none of the parts of time
can be simultaneous, and yet also teaches in A 177 = B 219 that, as the
order of _appearances_, time possesses in addition to succession the two
modes, duration and simultaneity. The significance of this distinction
between time as the order of our inner states, and time as the order of
objective appearances, we shall consider immediately.

A connected question is as to whether or not Kant teaches the
possibility of simultaneous apprehension. In the _Aesthetic_ and
_Dialectic_ he certainly does so. Space is given as containing
coexisting parts, and[535] can be intuited as such without successive
synthesis of its parts. In the _Analytic_, on the other hand, the
opposite would seem to be implied.[536] The apprehension of a manifold
can only be obtained through the successive addition or generation of
its parts.

(_c_) Lastly, Kant argues that the fact that all the relations of time
can be expressed in an outer intuition is proof that the representation
of time is itself intuition. But surely if, as Kant later taught, time
can be apprehended at all only in and through space, that, taken alone,
would rather be a reason for denying it to be itself intuition. In any
case it is difficult to follow Kant in his contention that the intuition
of time is similar in general character to that of space.[537]

=Third Paragraph (Conclusion c).=--Kant now reopens the question as to the
relation in which time stands to outer appearances. As already noted, he
has argued in the beginning of the previous paragraph that it cannot be
a determination of outer appearances, but only of representations in our
inner state. External appearances, however, as Kant recognises, can be
known only in and through representations. To that extent they belong to
inner sense, and consequently (such is Kant’s argument) are themselves
subject to time. Time, as the immediate condition of our
representations, is also the mediate condition of appearances.
Therefore, Kant concludes, “all _appearances_, _i.e._ all _objects_ of
the senses, are in time, and necessarily stand in time-relations.”

Now quite obviously this argument is invalid if the distinction between
representations and their objects is a real and genuine one. For if so,
it does not at all follow that because our _representations_ of objects
are in time that the objects themselves are in time. In other words, the
argument is valid only from the standpoint of extreme subjectivism,
according to which objects are, in Kant’s own phraseology, _blosse
Vorstellungen_. But the argument is employed to establish a realist
conclusion, that outer objects, as objects, stand in time-relations to
one another. In contradiction of the previous paragraph he is now
maintaining that time is a determination of outer appearances, and that
it reveals itself in the motion of bodies as well as in the flux of our
inner states.

The distinction between representations and their objects also makes it
possible for Kant both to assert and to deny that simultaneity is a mode
of time. “No two years can be coexistent. Time has only one dimension.
But existence (_das Dasein_), measured through time, has two dimensions,
succession and simultaneity.” There are, for Kant, two orders of time,
subjective and objective. Recognition of the latter (emphasised and
developed in the _Analytic_)[538] is, however, irreconcilable with his
contention that time is merely the form of inner sense.

We have here one of the many objections to which Kant’s doctrine of time
lies open. It is the most vulnerable tenet in his whole system. A mere
list of the points which Kant leaves unsettled suffices to show how
greatly he was troubled in his own mind by the problems to which it
gives rise. (1) The nature of the _a priori_ knowledge which time
yields. Kant ascribes to this source sometimes only the two axioms in
regard to time, sometimes pure mechanics, and sometimes also arithmetic.
(2) Whether time only allows of, or whether it demands, representation
through space. Sometimes Kant makes the one assertion, sometimes the
other. (3) Whether it is possible to apprehend the coexistent without
successive synthesis of its parts. This possibility is asserted in the
_Aesthetic_ and _Dialectic_, denied in the _Analytic_. (4) Whether
simultaneity is a mode of time. (5) Whether, and in what manner,
appearances of outer sense are in time. Kant’s answer to 4 and to 5
varies according as he identifies or distinguishes representations and
empirical objects.

The manifold difficulties to which a theory of time thus lies open are
probably the reason why Kant, in the _Critique_, reverses the order in
which he had treated time and space in the _Dissertation_.[539] But the
placing of space before time is none the less unfortunate. It greatly
tends to conceal from the reader the central position which Kant has
assigned to time in the _Analytic_. Consciousness of time is the
fundamental fact, taken as bare fact, by reference to which Kant gains
his transcendental proof of the categories and principles of
understanding.[540] In the _Analytic_ space, by comparison, falls very
much into the background. A further reason for the reversal may have
been Kant’s Newtonian view of geometry as the mathematical science _par
excellence_.[541] In view of his formulation of the Critical problem as
that of accounting for synthetic _a priori_ judgments, he would then
naturally be led to throw more emphasis on space.

To sum up our main conclusions. Kant’s view of time as a form merely of
inner sense, and as having only one dimension, connects with his
subjectivism. His view of it as inhering in objects, and as having
duration and simultaneity as two of its modes, is bound up with his
phenomenalism. Further discussion of these difficulties must therefore
be deferred until we are in a position to raise the more fundamental
problem as to the nature of the distinction between a representation and
its object.[542] Motion is not an inner state. Yet it involves time as
directly as does the flow of our feelings and ideas. Kant’s assertion
that “time can no more be intuited externally than space can be intuited
as something in us,”[543] if taken quite literally, would involve both
the subjectivist assertion that motion of bodies is non-existent, and
also the phenomenalist contention that an extended object is altogether
distinct from a representation.

The _fourth_ and _fifth_ paragraphs call for no detailed analysis.[544]
Time is empirically real, transcendentally ideal--these terms having
exactly the same meaning and scope as in reference to space.[545] The
fourth sentence in the fifth paragraph is curiously inaccurate. As it
stands, it would imply that time is given through the senses. In the
concluding sentences Kant briefly summarises and applies the points
raised in these fourth and fifth paragraphs.


=First and Second Paragraphs.=--Kant here replies to a criticism which, as
he tells us in his letter of 1772 to Herz, was first made by Pastor
Schulze and by Lambert.[546] In that letter the objection and Kant’s
reply are stated as follows.

     “In accordance with the testimony of inner sense, changes are
     something real. But they are only possible on the assumption of
     time. Time is, therefore, something real which belongs to the
     determinations of things in themselves. Why, said I to myself, do
     we not argue in a parallel manner: ‘Bodies are real, in accordance
     with the outer senses. But bodies are possible only under the
     condition of space. Space is, therefore, something objective and
     real which inheres in the things themselves.’ The cause [of this
     differential treatment of space and of time] is the observation
     that in respect to outer things we cannot infer from the reality of
     representations the reality of their objects, whereas in inner
     sense the thought or the existing of the thought and of myself are
     one and the same. Herein lies the key to the difficulty.
     Undoubtedly I must think my own state under the form of time, and
     the form of the inner sensibility consequently gives me the
     appearance of changes. Now I do not deny that changes are something
     real any more than I deny that bodies are something real, but I
     thereby mean only that something real corresponds to the
     appearance. I may not even say the inner appearance undergoes
     change (_verändere sich_), for how could I observe this change
     unless it appeared to my inner sense? _To the objection that this
     leads to the conclusion that all things in the world objectively
     and in themselves are unchangeable, I would reply that they are
     neither changeable nor unchangeable._ As Baumgarten states in § 18
     of his _Metaphysica_, the absolutely impossible is hypothetically
     neither possible nor impossible, since it cannot be mentally
     entertained under any condition whatsoever; so in similar manner
     _the things of the world are objectively or in themselves neither
     in one and the same state nor in different states at different
     times, for thus understood [viz. as things in themselves] they are
     not represented in time at all_.”[547]

Thus Kant’s contention, both in this letter and in the passage before
us, is that even our inner states would not reveal change if they could
be apprehended by us or by some other being apart from the subjective
form of our inner sense. We may not say that our inner states undergo
change, or that they succeed one another, but only that to us they
necessarily appear as so doing.[548] Time is no more than subjectively
real.[549] As Körner writes to Schiller: “Without time man would indeed
_exist_ but not _appear_. Not his reality but only his appearance is
dependent upon the condition of time.” “Man _is_ not, but only
_appears_, when he undergoes change.”[550] The objects of inner sense
stand in exactly the same position as those of outer sense. Both are
appearances, and neither can be identified with the absolutely real. As
Kant argues later in the _Critique_,[551] inner processes are not known
with any greater certainty or immediacy than are outer objects; the
reality of time as subjective proves its unreality in relation to things
in themselves. The statement that the constitution of things in
themselves is “problematic” is an exceptional mode of expression for
Kant. Usually--as indeed throughout the whole context of this
passage[552]--he asserts that though things in themselves are
unknowable, we can with absolute certainty maintain that they are
neither in space nor in time. Upon this point we have already dwelt in
discussing Trendelenburg’s controversy with Fischer.[553]

=Third Paragraph.=--The third and fourth paragraphs of this section ought
to have had a separate heading. They summarise the total argument of the
_Aesthetic_ in regard to space as well as time, distinguish its tenets
from those of Newton and of Leibniz, and draw a general conclusion. The
summary follows the strict synthetic method. The opening sentences
illustrate Kant’s failure to distinguish between the problems of pure
and of applied mathematics, and also show how completely he tends to
conceive mathematics as typified by geometry. The criticism of
alternative views traverses the ground of the famous controversy between
Leibniz and Clarke. Their _Streitschriften_ were, as we have good
circumstantial grounds for believing,[554] a chief influence in the
development of Kant’s own views. Kant, who originally held the
Leibnizian position, was by 1768[555] more or less converted to the
Newtonian teaching, and in the _Dissertation_ of 1770 developed his
subjectivist standpoint with the conscious intention of retaining the
advantages while remedying the defects of both alternatives.[556] For
convenience we may limit the discussion to space. (_a_) The view
propounded by Newton, and defended by Clarke, is that space has an
existence in and by itself, independent alike of the mind which
apprehends it and of the objects with which it is filled. (_b_) The view
held by Leibniz is that space is an empirical concept abstracted from
our confused sense-experience of the relations of real things.[557]

The criticism of (_a_) is twofold. First, it involves belief in an
eternal and infinite _Unding_. Secondly, it leads to metaphysical
difficulties, especially in regard to the existence of God. If space is
absolutely real, how is it to be reconciled with the omnipresence of
God? Newton’s view of space as the =sensorium Dei= can hardly be regarded
as satisfactory.

The objection to (_b_) is that it cannot account for the apodictic
certainty of geometry, nor guarantee its application to experience. The
concept of space, when regarded as of sensuous origin, is something that
may distort (and according to the Leibnizian teaching does actually
distort) what it professes to represent, and is something from which
restrictions that hold in the natural world have been omitted.[558] As
empirical, it cannot serve as basis for the universal and necessary
judgments of mathematical science.[559]

The first view has, however, the advantage of keeping the sphere of
appearances open for mathematical science. As space is infinite and
all-comprehensive, its laws hold universally. The second view has the
advantage of not subjecting reality to space conditions. These
advantages are retained, while the objections are removed, by the
teaching of the _Aesthetic_.

Kant further criticises the former view in A 46 ff. = B 64 ff. There is
no possibility of accounting for the _a priori_ synthetic judgments of
geometry save by assuming that space is the pure form of outer
intuition. For though the Newtonian view will justify the assertion that
the laws of space hold universally, it cannot explain how we come to
know them _a priori_. And assuming, as Kant constantly does, that space
cannot be both an _a priori_ form of intuition and also independently
real, he concludes that it is the former only.

In B 71 Kant also restates the metaphysical difficulties to which the
Newtonian view lies open. In natural theology we deal with an existence
which can never be the object of sensuous intuition, and which has to be
freed from all conditions of space and time. This is impossible if space
is so absolutely real that it would remain though all created things
were annihilated.

=Fourth Paragraph.=--Space and time are the only two forms of sensibility;
all other concepts belonging to the senses, such as motion and change,
are empirical.[560] As Kant has himself stated, no reason can be given
why space and time are the sole forms of our possible intuition:

     “Other forms of intuition than space and time, ... even if they
     were possible, we cannot render in any way conceivable and
     comprehensible to ourselves, and even assuming that we could do so,
     they still would not belong to experience, the only kind of
     knowledge in which objects are given to us.”[561]

The further statement,[562] frequently repeated in the _Critique_, that
time itself does not change, but only what is in time,[563] indicates
the extent to which Kant has been influenced by the Newtonian receptacle
view. As Bergson very justly points out, time, thus viewed as a
homogeneous medium, is really being conceived on the analogy of space.
“It is merely the phantom of space obsessing the reflective


=I. First Paragraph.=--“To avoid all misapprehension” Kant proceeds to
state “as clearly as possible” his view of sensuous knowledge. With this
end in view he sets himself to enforce two main points: (_a_) that as
space and time are only forms of sensibility, everything apprehended is
only appearance; (_b_) that this is not a mere hypothesis but is
completely certain. Kant expounds (_a_) indirectly through criticism of
the opposing views of Leibniz and of Locke. But before doing so he makes
in the next paragraph a twofold statement of his own conclusions.

=Second Paragraph.=--This paragraph states (_a_) that through intuition we
can represent only appearances, not things in themselves, and (_b_) that
the appearances thus known exist only in us. Both assertions have
implications, the discussion of which must be deferred to the
_Analytic_. The mention of the “relations of things by themselves” may,
as Vaihinger suggests,[565] be a survival from the time when (as in the
_Dissertation_[566]) Kant sought to reduce spatial to dynamical
relations. The assertion that things in themselves are completely
unknown to us goes beyond what the _Aesthetic_ can establish and what
Kant here requires to prove. His present thesis is only that no
knowledge of things in themselves can be acquired either through the
forms of space and time or through sensation; space and time are
determined solely by our pure sensibility, and sensations by our
empirical sensibility. Failure to recognise this is, in Kant’s view, one
of the chief defects of the Leibnizian system.

=Third and Fourth Paragraphs. Criticism of the Leibniz-Wolff
Interpretation of Sensibility and of Appearance.=--Leibniz vitiates both
conceptions. Sensibility does not differ from thought in clearness but
in content. It is a difference of kind.[567] They originate in different
sources, and neither can by any transformation be reduced to the other.

     “Even if an appearance could become completely transparent to us,
     such knowledge would remain _toto coelo_ different from knowledge
     of the object in itself.”[568] “Through observation and analysis of
     appearances we penetrate to the secrets of nature, and no one can
     say how far this may in time extend.... [But however far we
     advance, we shall never be able by means of] so ill-adapted an
     instrument of investigation [as our sensibility] to find anything
     except still other appearances, the non-sensuous cause of which we
     yet long to discover.”[569]

We should still know only in terms of the two inalienable forms of our
sensibility.[570] The dualism of thought and sense can never be
transcended by the human mind. By no extension of its sphere or
perfecting of its insight can sensuous knowledge be transformed into a
conceptual apprehension of purely intelligible entities.

Leibniz’s conception of appearances as things in themselves confusedly
apprehended is equally false, and for the same reasons.[571] Appearance
and reality are related as distinct existences, each of which has its
own intrinsic character and content. Through the former there can be no
hope of penetrating to the latter. Appearance is subjective in matter as
well as in form. For Leibniz our knowledge of appearances is a confused
knowledge of things in themselves. Properly viewed, it is the
apprehension, whether distinct or confused, of objects which are never
things in themselves. Sense-knowledge, such as we obtain in the science
of geometry, has often the highest degree of clearness. Conceptual
apprehension is all too frequently characterised by obscurity and

This criticism of Leibniz, as expounded in these two paragraphs, is
thoroughly misleading if taken as an adequate statement of Kant’s view
of the relations between sense and understanding, appearance and
reality. These paragraphs are really a restatement of a passage in the

     “It will thus be seen that we express the nature of the sensuous
     very inappropriately when we assert that it is the _more
     confusedly_ known, and the nature of the intellectual when we
     describe it as the _distinctly_ known. For these are merely logical
     distinctions, and obviously have nothing to do with the given facts
     which underlie all logical comparison. The sensuous may be
     absolutely distinct, and the intellectual extremely confused. That
     is shown on the one hand in _geometry_, the prototype of sensuous
     knowledge, and on the other in _metaphysics_, the instrument of all
     intellectual enquiry. Every one knows how zealously metaphysics has
     striven to dispel the mists of confusion which cloud the minds of
     men at large and yet has not always attained the happy results of
     the former science. Nevertheless each of these kinds of knowledge
     preserves the mark of the stock from which it has sprung. The
     former, however distinct, is on account of its origin entitled
     sensuous, while the latter, however confused, remains
     intellectual--as _e.g._ the _moral_ concepts, which are known not
     by way of experience, but through the pure intellect itself. I
     fear, however, that Wolff by this distinction between the sensuous
     and the intellectual, which for him is merely logical, has checked,
     perhaps wholly (to the great detriment of philosophy), that noblest
     enterprise of antiquity, the investigation of _the nature of
     phenomena and noumena_, turning men’s minds from such enquiries to
     what are very frequently only logical subleties.”[572]

The paragraphs before us give expression only to what is common to the
_Dissertation_ and to the _Critique_, and do so entirely from the
standpoint of the _Dissertation_. Thus the illustration of the
conception of “right” implies that things in themselves can be known
through the understanding. The conception, as Kant says, represents “a
moral property which belongs to actions in and by themselves.”
Similarly, in distinguishing the sensuous from “the intellectual,” he
says that through the former we do not apprehend things in themselves,
thus implying that things in themselves can be known through the pure
intellect. The view developed in the _Analytic_, alike of sensibility
and of appearance, is radically different. Sensibility and understanding
_may_ have a common source; and both are indispensably necessary for the
apprehension of appearance. Neither can function save in co-operation
with the other. Appearance does not differ from reality solely through
its sensuous content and form, but also in the intellectual order or
dispensation to which it is subject. But in the very act of thus
deepening the gulf between appearance and reality by counting even
understanding as contributing to the knowledge only of the former, he
was brought back to a position that has kinship with the Leibnizian view
of their interrelation. Since understanding is just as essential as
sensibility to the apprehension of appearances, and since understanding
differs from sensibility in the universality of its range, it enables us
to view appearances in their relation to ultimate reality, and so to
apprehend them as being, however subjective or phenomenal, ways in which
the thing in itself presents itself to us. Such a view is, however, on
Kant’s principles, quite consistent with the further contention, that
appearance does not differ from reality in a merely logical manner.
Factors that are peculiar to the realm of appearance have intervened to
transform the real; and in consequence even completed knowledge of the
phenomenal--if such can be conceived as possible--would not be
equivalent to knowledge of things in themselves.

=Fifth Paragraph. Criticism of Locke’s View of Appearance.=--This
paragraph discusses Locke’s doctrine[573] that the secondary qualities
are subjective, and that in the primary qualities we possess true
knowledge of things in themselves. The distinction is drawn upon
empirical grounds, namely, that while certain qualities are uniform for
more than one sense, and belong to objects under all conditions, others
are peculiar to the different senses, and arise only through the
accidental relation of objects to the special senses.[574] This
distinction is, Kant says, entirely justified from the physical
standpoint.[575] A rainbow is an appearance of which the raindrops
constitute the true empirical reality. But Locke and his followers
interpret this distinction wrongly. They ignore the more fundamental
transcendental (_i.e._ metaphysical) distinction between empirical
reality and the thing in itself. From the transcendental standpoint the
raindrops are themselves merely appearance. Even their round shape, and
the very space in which they fall; are only modifications of our
sensuous intuition. The ‘transcendental object’[576] remains unknown to

When Kant thus declares that the distinction between primary and
secondary qualities is justified (_richtig_) from the physical
standpoint, he is again[577] speaking from a phenomenalist point of
view. And it may be noted that in developing his transcendental
distinction he does not describe the raindrops as mere representations.
His phrase is much more indefinite. They are “modifications or
fundamental forms (_Grundlagen_) of our sensuous intuition.”

Kant does not here criticise the view of sensibility which underlies
Locke’s view of appearance. But he does so in A 271 = B 327, completing
the parallel and contrast between Leibniz and Locke.

     “Leibniz _intellectualised_ appearances, just as Locke, according
     to his system of noogony (if I may be allowed these expressions),
     _sensualised_ all concepts of the understanding, _i.e._ interpreted
     them as simply empirical or abstracted concepts of reflection.
     Instead of interpreting understanding and sensibility as two quite
     different sources of representations, which yet can supply
     objectively valid judgments of things only in _conjunction_ with
     each other, each of these great men holds only to one of the two,
     viewing it as in immediate relation to things in themselves. The
     other faculty is regarded as serving only to confuse or to order
     the representations which this selected faculty yields.”[578]

=Proof that the above View of Space and Time is not a mere Hypothesis,
but completely certain.=[579]--The proof, which as here recapitulated and
developed follows the analytic method, has already been considered in
connection with A 39 = B 56. It proceeds upon the assumption that space
cannot be both an _a priori_ form of intuition and also independently
real. The argument as a whole lacks clearness owing to Kant’s failure to
distinguish between the problems of pure and applied geometry, between
pure intuition and form of intuition. This is especially obvious in the
very unfortunate and misleading second application of the triangle
illustration.[580] Kant’s tendency to conceive mathematical science
almost exclusively in terms of geometry is likewise illustrated.

     “There is in regard to both [space and time] a large number of _a
     priori_ apodictic and synthetic propositions. This is especially
     true of space, which for this reason will be our chief illustration
     in this enquiry.”[581]

=II. Paragraphs added in the Second Edition.=[582]--Kant proceeds to offer
further proof of the ideality of the appearances (_a_) of outer and
(_b_) of inner sense. Such proof he finds in the fact that these
appearances consist solely of relations. (_a_) Outer appearances reduce
without remainder to relations of position in intuition (_i.e._ of
extension), of change of position (motion), and to the laws which
express in merely relational terms the motive forces by which such
change is determined. What it is that is thus present in space, or what
the dynamic agencies may be to which the motion is due, is never
revealed. But a real existent (_Sache an sich_) can never be known
through mere relations. Outer sense consequently reveals through its
representations only the relation of an object to the subject, not the
intrinsic inner nature of the object in itself (_Object an sich_).
Kant’s avoidance of the term _Ding an sich_ may be noted.[583]

(_b_) The same holds true of inner sense, not only because the
representations of outer sense constitute its proper (_eigentlichen_)
material, but also because time, in which these are set, contains only
relations of succession, coexistence, and duration. This time (which as
consisting only of relations can be nothing but a form[584]) is itself,
in turn, a mere relation. It is only the manner in which through its own
activity the mind is affected by itself. But in order to be affected by
itself it must have receptivity, in other words, sensibility. Time,
consequently, must be regarded as the form of this inner sense.

That everything represented in time, like that which is represented in
space, consists solely of relations, Kant does not, however, attempt to
prove. He is satisfied with repeating the conclusion reached in the
first edition of the _Aesthetic_, that, as time is the object of a
sense, it must of necessity be appearance. This, like everything which
Kant wrote upon inner sense, is profoundly unsatisfactory. The
obscurities of his argument are not to be excused on the ground that
“the difficulty, how a subject can have an internal intuition of itself,
is common to every theory.” For no great thinker,[585] except Locke, has
attempted to interpret inner consciousness on the analogy of the senses.
Discussion of the doctrine must meantime be deferred.[586]

=III. B 69.=--Kant here formulates the important distinction between
appearance (_Erscheinung_) and illusion (_Schein_). The main text is
clear so far as it goes; but the appended note is thoroughly confused.
Together they contain no less than three distinct and conflicting views
of illusion.[587] According to the main text, _Schein_ signifies a
representation, such as may occur in a dream, to which nothing real
corresponds. _Erscheinung_, on the other hand, is always the appearance
of a _given_ object; but since the qualities of that object depend
solely on our mode of intuition, we have to distinguish the object as
appearance from the object as thing in itself.

     ”[Every appearance] has two sides, the one by which the object is
     viewed in and by itself, ... the other by which the form of the
     intuition of the object is taken into account....”[588]

Obviously, when illusion is defined in the above manner, the assertion
that objects in space are mere appearances cannot be taken as meaning
that they are illusory.

But this view of illusion is peculiar to the passage before us and to A
38 = B 55. It occurs nowhere else, either in the _Critique_ or in the
_Prolegomena_; and it is not, as Kant has himself admitted,[589] really
relevant to the purposes of the _Critique_. The issues are more
adequately faced in the appended note, which, however, at the same time,
shows very clearly that Kant has not yet properly disentangled their
various strands. The above definition of appearance is too wide. It
covers illusory sense perception as well as appearance proper. The
further qualification must be added, that the predicates of appearance
are constant and are inseparable from its representation. Thus the space
predicates can be asserted of any external object. Redness and scent can
be ascribed to the rose. All of these are genuine appearances. If, on
the other hand, the two handles, as observed by Galileo, are attributed
to Saturn, roundness to a distant square tower, bentness to a straight
stick inserted in water, the result is mere illusion. The predicates, in
such cases, do not stand the test of further observation or of the
employment of other senses. Only in a certain position of its rings,
relatively to the observer, does Saturn _seem_ (_scheint_) to have two
handles. The distant tower only _seems_ to be round. The stick only
_seems_ to be bent. But the rose _is_ extended and _is_ red. Obviously
Kant is no longer viewing _Schein_ as equivalent to a merely mental
image. It now receives a second meaning. It is illusion in the modern,
psychological sense. It signifies an abnormal perception of an actually
present object. The distinction between appearance and illusion is now
reduced to a merely relative difference in constancy and universality of
appearance. Saturn necessarily appears to Galileo as possessing two
handles. A square tower viewed from the distance cannot appear to the
human eye otherwise than round. A stick inserted in water must appear
bent. If, however, Saturn be viewed under more favourable conditions, if
the distance from the tower be diminished, if the stick be removed from
the water, the empirical object will appear in a manner more in harmony
with the possible or actual experiences of touch. The distinction is
practical, rather than theoretical, in its justification. It says only
that certain sets of conditions may be expected to remain uniform;
those, for instance, physical, physiological, and psychical, which cause
a rose to appear red. Other sets of conditions, such as those which
cause the stick to appear bent, are exceptional, and for that reason the
bentness may be discounted as illusion. Among the relatively constant
are the space and time properties of bodies. To employ the terms of the
main text, it is not only by illusion that bodies seem to exist outside
me; they actually are there.

So long as we keep to the sphere of ordinary experience, and require no
greater exactitude than practical life demands, this distinction is, of
course, both important and valid. But Kant, by his references to Saturn,
raises considerations which, if faced, must complicate the problem and
place it upon an entirely different plane. If, in view of scientific
requirements, the conditions of observation are more rigorously
formulated, and if by artificial instruments of scientific precision we
modify the perceptions of our human senses, what before was ranked as
appearance becomes illusion; and no limit can be set to the
transformations which even our most normal human experiences may thus be
made to undergo. Even the most constant perceptions then yield to
variation. The most that can be asserted is that throughout all change
in the conditions of observation objects still continue to possess, in
however new and revolutionary a fashion, some kind of space and time
predicates. The application of this more rigorous scientific standard of
appearance thus leads to a fourfold distinction between ultimate
reality, scientific appearances, the appearances of ordinary
consciousness, and the illusions of ordinary consciousness. The
appearances of practical life are the illusions of science, and the
appearances of science would similarly be illusions to any being who
through ‘intuitive understanding’ could apprehend things in themselves.

But if the distinction between appearance and illusion is thus merely
relative to the varying nature of the conditions under which observation
takes place, it can afford no sufficient answer to the criticisms which
Kant is here professing to meet. Kant has in view those critics (such as
Lambert, Mendelssohn, and Garve) who had objected that if bodies in
space are representations existing, as he so often asserts, only “within
us,” their appearing to exist “outside us” is a complete illusion. These
critics have, indeed, found a vulnerable point in Kant’s teaching. The
only way in which he can effectively meet it is by frank recognition and
development of the phenomenalism with which his subjectivism comes into
so frequent conflict.[590] That certain perceptions are more constant
than others does not prove that all alike may not be classed as
illusory. The criticism concerns only the reality of extended objects.
From Kant’s own extreme subjectivist position they _are_ illusions of
the most thoroughgoing kind. If, as Kant so frequently maintains,
objects are representations and exist only “within us,” their existence
“outside us” must be denied. The criticism can be met only if Kant is
prepared consistently to formulate and defend his own alternative
teaching, that sensations arise through the action of external objects
upon the sense-organs, and that the world of physical science has
consequently a reality not reducible to mere representations in the
individual mind.

It may be objected that Kant has in the main text cited one essential
difference between his position and that which is being ascribed to him.
Extended objects, though mere representations, are yet due to, and
conditioned by, things in themselves. They are illusory only in regard
to their properties, not in regard to their existence. But this
distinction is not really relevant. The criticism, as just stated, is
directed only against Kant’s view of space. The fact that the spatial
world is a grounded and necessary illusion is not strictly relevant to
the matter in dispute. Kant has, indeed, elsewhere, himself admitted the
justice of the criticism. In A 780 = B 808 he cites as a possible
hypothesis, entirely in harmony with his main results, though not in any
degree established by them, the view

     “that this life is an appearance only, that is, a sensuous
     representation of purely spiritual life, and that the whole
     sensible world is a mere image (_ein blosses Bild_) which hovers
     before our present mode of knowledge, and like a dream has in
     itself no objective reality.”

Kant’s reply is thus really only verbal. He claims that illusion, if
constant, has earned the right to be called appearance. He accepts the
criticism, but restates it in his own terms. The underlying
phenomenalism which colours the position in his own thoughts, and for
which he has not been able to find any quite satisfactory formulation,
is the sole possible justification, if any such exists, for his
contention that the criticism does not apply. Such phenomenalism crops
out in the sentence, already partially quoted:

     “If I assert that the quality of space and time, according to
     which, as a condition of their existence, I posit both external
     objects and my own soul, lies in my mode of intuition and not in
     these objects in themselves, I am not saying that only by illusion
     do bodies seem to exist outside me or my soul to be given in my

But, so far, I have simplified Kant’s argument by leaving out of account
a third and entirely different view of illusion which is likewise
formulated in the appended note. In the middle of the second sentence,
and in the last sentence, illusion is defined as the attribution to the
thing in itself of what belongs to it only in its relation to the
senses. Illusion lies not in the object apprehended, but only in the
_judgment_ which we pass upon it. It is due, not to sense, but to
understanding.[592] Viewing illusion in this way, Kant is enabled to
maintain that his critics are guilty of “an unpardonable and almost
intentional misconception,”[593] since this is the very fallacy which he
himself has been most concerned to attack. As he has constantly
insisted, appearance is appearance just because it can never be a
revelation of the thing in itself.

Now the introduction of this third view reduces the argument of the
appended note to complete confusion. Its first occurrence as a
parenthesis in a sentence which is stating an opposed view would seem to
indicate that the note has been carelessly recast. Originally containing
only a statement of the second view, Kant has connected therewith the
view which he had already formulated in the first edition and in the
_Prolegomena_. But the two views cannot be combined. By the former
definition, illusion is necessitated but abnormal perception; according
to the latter, it is a preventable error of our conscious judgment. The
opposite of illusion is in the one case _appearance_, in the other
_truth_. The retention of the reference to Saturn, in the statement of
the third view at the end of the note, is further evidence of hasty
recasting. While the rose and the extended objects are there treated as
also things in themselves, Saturn is taken only in its phenomenal
existence. In view of the general confusion, it is a minor inconsistency
that Kant should here maintain, in direct opposition to A 28-9, that
secondary qualities can be attributed to the empirical object.

This passage from the second edition is a development of _Prolegomena_,
§ 13, iii. Kant there employs the term appearance in a quite indefinite
manner. For the most part he seems to mean by it any and every
sense-experience, whether normal or abnormal, and even to include under
it dream images. But it is also employed in the second of the above
meanings, as signifying those sense-perceptions which harmonise with
general experience. Illusion is throughout employed in the third of the
above meanings. Kant’s illustration, that of the apparently retrograde
movements of the planets, necessitates a distinction between apparent
and real motion in space, and consequently leads to the fruitful
distinction noted above. Kant gives, however, no sign that he is
conscious of the complicated problems involved.

In the interval between the _Prolegomena_ (1783) and the second edition
of the _Critique_ (1787) Mendelssohn had published (1785) his
_Morgenstunden_. In its introduction, entitled _Vorerkenntniss von
Wahrheit, Schein und Irrthum_,[594] he very carefully distinguishes
between illusion (_Sinnenschein_) and error of judgment (_Irrthum_).
This introduction Kant had read. In a letter to Schütz[595] he cites it
by title, and praises it as “acute, original, and of exemplary
clearness.” It is therefore the more inexcusable that he should again in
the second edition of the _Critique_ have confused these two so
radically different meanings of the term _Schein_. Mendelssohn, however,
drew no distinction between _Schein_ and _Erscheinung_. They were then
used as practically synonymous,[596] though of course _Schein_ was the
stronger term. Kant seems to have been the first to distinguish them
sharply and to attempt to define the one in opposition to the other. But
the very fact that _Erscheinung_ and _Schein_ were currently employed as
equivalent terms, and that the distinction, though one of his own
drawing, had been mentioned only in the most cursory manner in the first
edition of the _Critique_,[597] removes all justification for his retort
upon his critics of “unpardonable misconception.” His anger was really
due, not to the objection in itself, but to the implied comparison of
his position to that of Berkeley. Such comparison never failed to arouse
Kant’s wrath. For however much this accusation might be justified by his
own frequent lapses into subjectivism of the most extreme type, even its
partial truth was more than he was willing to admit. Berkeley represents
in his eyes, not merely a subjectivist interpretation of the outer
world, but the almost diametrical opposite of everything for which he
himself stood. Discussion of Kant’s relation to Berkeley had best,
however, be introduced through consideration of the passage immediately
following in which Kant refers to Berkeley by name.

=III. (Second Part) B 70.=--Kant urges that his doctrine of the ideality
of space and time, so far from reducing objects to mere illusion, is the
sole means of defending their genuine reality. If space and time had an
independent existence, they would have to be regarded as more real than
the bodies which occupy them. For on this view space and time would
continue to exist even if all their contents were removed; they would be
antecedent necessary conditions of all other existences. But space and
time thus interpreted are impossible conceptions.[598] The reality of
bodies is thereby made to depend upon _Undinge_. If this were the sole
alternative, “the good Bishop Berkeley [could] not be blamed for
degrading bodies to mere illusion.” We should, Kant maintains, have to
proceed still further, denying even our own existence. For had Berkeley
taken account of time as well as of space, a similar argument,
consistently developed in regard to time, would have constrained him to
reduce the self to the level of mere illusion. Belief in the reality of
things in themselves, whether spiritual or material, is defensible only
if space and time be viewed as subjective. In other words, Berkeley’s
idealism is an inevitable consequence of a realist view of space. But it
is also its _reductio ad absurdum_.

     [“Berkeley in his dogmatic idealism] maintains that space, with all
     the things of which it is the inseparable condition, is something
     impossible in itself, and he therefore regards the things in space
     as merely imaginary entities (_Einbildungen_). Dogmatic idealism is
     inevitable if space be interpreted as a property which belongs to
     things in themselves. For, when so regarded, space, and everything
     to which it serves as condition, is a non-entity (_Unding_). The
     ground upon which this idealism rests we have removed in the
     _Transcendental Aesthetic_.”[599]

The term _Schein_ is not employed throughout this passage in either of
the two meanings of the appended note, but in that of the main text. It
signifies a representation, to which no existence corresponds.


By idealism[600] Kant means any and every system which maintains that
the sensible world does not exist in the form in which it presents
itself to us. The position is typified in Kant’s mind by the Eleatics,
by Plato, and by Descartes, all of whom are rationalists. With the
denial of reality to sense-appearances they combine a belief in the
possibility of rationally comprehending its supersensible basis. Failing
to appreciate the true nature of the sensible, they misunderstand the
character of geometrical science, and falsely ascribe to pure
understanding a power of intellectual intuition. Kant’s criticisms of
Berkeley show very clearly that it is this more general position which
he has chiefly in view. To Berkeley Kant objects that only in
sense-experience is there truth, that it is sensibility, not
understanding, which possesses the power of _a priori_ intuition, and
that through pure understanding, acting in independence of sensibility,
no knowledge of any kind can be acquired. In other words, Kant classes
Berkeley with the rationalists. And, as we have already seen, he even
goes the length of regarding Berkeley’s position as the _reductio ad
absurdum_ of the realist view of space. Kant does, indeed,
recognise[601] that Berkeley differs from the other idealists, in
holding an empirical view of space, and consequently of geometry, but
this does not prevent Kant from maintaining that Berkeley’s thinking is
influenced by certain fundamental implications of the realist position.
Berkeley’s insight--such would seem to be Kant’s line of argument--is
perverted by the very view which he is attacking. Berkeley appreciates
only what is false in the Cartesian view of space; he is blind to the
important element of truth which it contains. Empiricist though he be,
he has no wider conception of the function and powers of sensibility
than have the realists from whom he separates himself off; and in order
to comprehend those existences to which alone he is willing to allow
true reality, he has therefore, like the rationalists, to fall back upon
pure reason.[602]

That Kant’s criticism of Berkeley should be extremely external is not,
therefore, surprising. He is interested in Berkeley’s positive teaching
only in so far as it enables him to illustrate the evil tendencies of a
mistaken idealism, which starts from a false view of the functions of
sensibility and of understanding, and of the nature of space and time.
The key to the true idealism lies, he claims, in the Critical problem,
how _a priori_ synthetic judgments can be possible. This is the
fundamental problem of metaphysics, and until it has been formulated and
answered no advance can be made.

     “My so-called (Critical) idealism is thus quite peculiar in that it
     overthrows ordinary idealism, and that through it alone _a priori_
     cognition, even that of geometry, attains objective reality, a
     thing which even the keenest realist could not assert till I had
     proved the ideality of space and time.”[603]

In order to make Kant’s account of Berkeley’s teaching really
comprehensible, we seem compelled to assume that he had never himself
actually read any of Berkeley’s own writings. Kant’s acquaintance with
the English language was most imperfect, and we have no evidence that he
had ever read a single English book.[604] When he quotes Pope and
Addison, he does so from German translations.[605] Subsequent to 1781 he
could, indeed, have had access to Berkeley’s _Dialogues between Hylas
and Philonous_[606] in a German translation; but in view of the account
which he continues to give of Berkeley’s teaching, it does not seem
likely[607] that he had availed himself of this opportunity. As to what
the indirect sources of Kant’s knowledge of Berkeley may have been, we
cannot decide with any certainty, but amongst them must undoubtedly be
reckoned Hume’s statements in regard to Berkeley in the _Enquiry_,[608]
and very probably also the references to Berkeley in Beattie’s _Nature
of Truth_.[609] From the former Kant would learn of Berkeley’s
empirical view of space and also of the sceptical tendencies of his
idealist teaching. From it he might also very naturally infer that
Berkeley denies all reality to objects. By Beattie Kant would be
confirmed in this latter view, and also in his contention that Berkeley
is unable to supply a criterion for distinguishing between reality and
dreams. Kant may also have received some impressions regarding Berkeley
from Hamann.

To take Kant’s criticisms of Berkeley more in detail. In the first
edition of the _Critique_[610] Kant passes two criticisms, without,
however, mentioning Berkeley by name: first, that he overlooks the
problem of time, and, like Descartes, ascribes complete reality to the
objects of inner sense. This is the cause of a second error, namely,
that he views the objects of outer sense as mere illusion (_blosser
Schein_). Proceeding, Kant argues that inner and outer sense are really
in the same position. Though they yield only appearances, these
appearances are conditioned by things in themselves. Through this
relation to things in themselves they are distinguished from all merely
subjective images. Berkeley is again referred to in the fourth
_Paralogism_.[611] His idealism is distinguished from that of Descartes.
The one is dogmatic; the other is sceptical. The one denies the
existence of matter; the other only doubts whether it is possible to
prove it. Berkeley claims, indeed, that there are contradictions in the
very conception of matter; and Kant remarks that this is an objection
which he will have to deal with in the section on the _Antinomies_. But
this promise Kant does not fulfil; and doubtless for the reason that,
however unwilling he may be to make the admission, on this point his own
teaching, especially in the _Dialectic_, frequently coincides with that
of Berkeley. So little, indeed, is Kant concerned in the first edition
to defend his position against the accusation of subjectivism, that in
this same section he praises the sceptical idealist as a “benefactor of
human reason.”

     “He compels us, even in the smallest advances of ordinary
     experience, to keep on the watch, lest we consider as a well-earned
     possession what we perhaps obtain only in an illegitimate manner.
     We are now in a position to appreciate the value of the objections
     of the idealist. They drive us by main force, unless we mean to
     contradict ourselves in our commonest assertions, to view all our
     perceptions, whether we call them inner or outer, as a
     consciousness only of what is dependent on our sensibility. They
     also compel us to regard the outer objects of these perceptions not
     as things in themselves, but only as representations, of which, as
     of every other representation, we can become immediately conscious,
     and which are entitled outer because they depend on what we call
     ‘outer sense’ whose intuition is space. Space itself, however, is
     nothing but an inner mode of representation in which certain
     perceptions are connected with one another.”[612]

These criticisms are restated in A 491-2 = B 519-20, with the further
addition that in denying the existence of extended beings “the empirical
idealist” removes the possibility of distinguishing between reality and
dreams. This is a new criticism. Kant is no longer referring to the
denial of unknowable things in themselves. He is now maintaining that
only the Critical standpoint can supply an immanent criterion whereby
real experiences may be distinguished from merely subjective happenings.
This point is further insisted upon in the _Prolegomena_,[613] but is
nowhere developed with any direct reference to Berkeley’s own personal
teaching. Kant assumes as established that any such criterion must rest
upon the _a priori_; and in this connection Berkeley is conveniently
made to figure as a thoroughgoing empiricist.

The _Critique_, on its publication, was at once attacked, especially in
the Garve-Feder review, as presenting an idealism similar to that of
Berkeley. As Erdmann has shown, the original plan of the _Prolegomena_
was largely modified in order to afford opportunity for reply to this
“unpardonable and almost intentional misconception.”[614] Kant’s
references to Berkeley, direct and indirect, now for the first time
manifest a polemical tone, exaggerating in every possible way the
difference between their points of view. Only the transcendental
philosophy can establish the possibility of _a priori_ knowledge, and so
it alone can afford a criterion for distinguishing between realities and
dreams. It alone will account for the possibility of geometrical
science; Berkeley’s idealism would render the claims of that science
wholly illusory. The Critical idealism transcends experience only so far
as is required to discover the conditions which make empirical cognition
possible; Berkeley’s idealism is ‘visionary’ and ‘mystical.’[615] Even
sceptical idealism now comes in for severe handling. It may be called
“dreaming idealism”; it makes things out of mere representations, and
like idealism in its dogmatic form it virtually denies the existence of
the only true reality, that of things in themselves. Sceptical idealism
misinterprets space by making it empirical, dogmatic idealism by
regarding it as an attribute of the real. Both entirely ignore the
problem of time. For these reasons they underestimate the powers of
sensibility (to which space and time belong as _a priori_ forms), and
exaggerate those of pure understanding.

     “The position of all genuine idealists from the Eleatics to
     Berkeley is contained in this formula: ‘All cognition through the
     senses and experience is nothing but mere illusion, and only in the
     ideas of pure understanding and Reason is there truth.’ The
     fundamental principle ruling all my idealism, on the contrary, is
     this: ‘All cognition of things solely from pure understanding or
     pure Reason is nothing but mere illusion and only in experience is
     there truth.’”[616]

This is an extremely inadequate statement of the Critical standpoint,
but it excellently illustrates Kant’s perverse interpretation of
Berkeley’s teaching.

To these criticisms Kant gives less heated but none the less explicit
expression in the second edition of the _Critique_. He is now much more
careful to avoid subjectivist modes of statement. His phenomenalist
tendencies are reinforced, and come to clearer expression of all that
they involve. The fourth _Paralogism_ with its sympathetic treatment of
empirical idealism is omitted, and in addition to the above passage Kant
inserts a new section, entitled _Refutation of Idealism_, in which he
states his position in a much more adequate manner.

=IV. B 71.=--Kant continues the argument of A 39.[617] If space and time
condition all existence, they will condition even divine existence, and
so must render God’s omniscience, which as such must be intuitive, not
discursive, difficult of conception. Upon this point Kant is more
explicit in the _Dissertation_.[618]

     “_Whatever is, is somewhere and sometime_, is a spurious axiom....
     By this spurious principle all beings, even though they be known
     intellectually, are restricted in their existence by conditions of
     space and time. Philosophers therefore discuss every form of idle
     question regarding the locations in the corporeal universe of
     substances that are immaterial--and of which for that very reason
     there can be no sensuous intuition nor any possible spatial
     representation--or regarding the seat of the soul, and the like.
     And since the sensuous mixes with the intellectual about as badly
     as square with round, it frequently happens that the one disputant
     appears as holding a sieve into which the other milks the he-goat.
     The presence of immaterial things in the corporeal world is
     virtual, not local, although it may conveniently be spoken of as
     local. Space contains the conditions of possible interaction only
     when it is between material bodies. What, however, in immaterial
     substances constitutes the external relations of force between them
     or between them and bodies, obviously eludes the human
     intellect.... But when men reach the conception of a highest and
     extra-mundane Being, words cannot describe the extent to which they
     are deluded by these shades that flit before the mind. They picture
     God as present in a place: they entangle Him in the world where He
     is supposed to fill all space at once. They hope to make up for the
     [spatial] limitation they thus impose by thinking of God’s place
     _per eminentiam_, _i.e._ as infinite. But to be present in
     different places at the same time is absolutely impossible, since
     different places are mutually external to one another, and
     consequently what is in several places is outside itself, and is
     therefore present to itself outside itself--which is a
     contradiction in terms. As to time, men have got into an
     inextricable maze by releasing it from the laws that govern sense
     knowledge, and what is more, transporting it beyond the confines of
     the world to the Being that dwells there, as a condition of His
     very existence. They thus torment their souls with absurd
     questions, for instance, why God did not fashion the world many
     centuries earlier. They persuade themselves that it is easily
     possible to conceive how God may discern present things, _i.e._
     what is actual in the time in which He is. But they consider that
     it is difficult to comprehend how He should foresee the things
     about to be, _i.e._ the actual in the time in which He is not yet.
     They proceed as if the existence of the Necessary Being descended
     successively through all the moments of a supposed time, and having
     already exhausted part of His duration, foresaw the eternal life
     that still lies before Him together with the events which [will]
     occur simultaneously [with that future life of His]. All these
     speculations vanish like smoke when the notion of time has been
     rightly discerned.”

The references in B 71-2 to the intuitive understanding are among the
many signs of Kant’s increased preoccupation, during the preparation of
the second edition, with the problems which it raises. Such
understanding is not sensuous, but intellectual; it is not derivative,
but original; the object itself is created in the act of intuition. Or,
as Kant’s position may perhaps be more adequately expressed, all of
God’s activities are creative, and are inseparable from the non-sensuous
intuition whereby both they and their products are apprehended by Him.
Kant’s reason for again raising this point may be Mendelssohn’s
theological defence of the reality of space in his
_Morgenstunden_.[619] Mendelssohn has there argued that just as
knowledge of independent reality is confirmed by the agreement of
different senses, and is rendered the more certain in proportion to the
number of senses which support the belief, so the validity of our
spatial perceptions is confirmed in proportion as men are found to agree
in this type of experience with one another, with the animals, and with
angelic beings. Such inductive inference will culminate in the proof
that even the Supreme Being apprehends things in this same spatial
manner.[620] Kant’s reply is that however general the intuition of space
may be among finite beings, it is sensuous and derivative, and therefore
must not be predicated of a Divine Being. For obvious reasons Kant has
not felt called upon to point out the inadequacy of this inductive
method to the solution of Critical problems. In A 42 Kant, arguing that
our forms of intuition are subjective, claims that they do not
necessarily belong to all beings, though they must belong to all
men.[621] He is quite consistent in now maintaining[622] that their
characteristics, as sensuous and derivative, do not necessarily preclude
their being the common possession of all finite beings.


The purpose, as already noted, of the above sections II. to IV., as
added in the second edition, is to afford ‘confirmation’ of the ideality
of space and time. That being so, it is noticeable that Kant has omitted
all reference to an argument embodied, for this same purpose, in § 13 of
the _Prolegomena_. The matter is of sufficient importance to call for
detailed consideration.[623]

As the argument of the _Prolegomena_ is somewhat complicated, it is
advisable to approach it in the light of its history in Kant’s earlier
writings. It was to his teacher Martin Knutzen that Kant owed his first
introduction to Newton’s cosmology; and from Knutzen he inherited the
problem of reconciling Newton’s mechanical view of nature and absolute
view of space with the orthodox Leibnizian tenets. In his first
published work[624] Kant seeks to prove that the very existence of
space is due to gravitational force, and that its three-dimensional
character is a consequence of the specific manner in which gravity acts.
Substances, he teaches, are unextended. Space results from the
connection and order established between them by the balancing of their
attractive and repulsive forces. And as the law of gravity is merely
contingent, other modes of interaction, and therefore other forms of
space, with more than three dimensions, must be recognised as possible.

     “A science of all these possible kinds of space would undoubtedly
     be the highest enterprise which a finite understanding could
     undertake in the field of geometry.”[625]

In the long interval between 1747 and 1768 Kant continued to hold to
some such compromise, retaining Leibniz’s view that space is derivative
and relative, and rejecting Newton’s view that it is prior to, and
pre-conditions, all the bodies that exist in it. But in that latter year
he published a pamphlet[626] in which, following in the steps of the
mathematician, Euler,[627] he drew attention to certain facts which
would seem quite conclusively to favour the Newtonian as against the
Leibnizian interpretation of space. The three dimensions of space are
primarily distinguishable by us only through the relation in which they
stand to our body. By relation to the plane that is at right angles to
our body we distinguish ‘above’ and ‘below’; and similarly through the
other two planes we determine what is ‘right’ and ‘left,’ ‘in front’ and
‘behind.’ Through these distinctions we are enabled to define
differences which cannot be expressed in any other manner. All species
of hops--so Kant maintains--wind themselves around their supports from
left to right, whereas all species of beans take the opposite direction.
All snail shells, with some three exceptions, turn, in descending from
their apex downwards, from left to right. This determinate direction of
movement, natural to each species, like the difference in spatial
configuration between a right and a left hand, or between a right hand
and its reflection in a mirror, involves in all cases a reference of the
given object to the wider space within which it falls, and ultimately to
space as a whole. Only so can its determinate character be distinguished
from its opposite counterpart. For as Kant points out, though the right
and the left hand are _counterparts_, that is to say, objects which have
a common definition so long as the arrangement of the parts of each is
determined in respect to its central line of reference, they are none
the less inwardly _incongruent_, since the one can never be made to
occupy the space of the other. As he adds in the _Prolegomena_, the
glove of one hand cannot be used for the other hand. This inner
incongruence compels us to distinguish them as different, and this
difference is only determinable by location of each in a single absolute
space that constrains everything within it to conform to the conditions
which it prescribes. In three-dimensional space everything must have a
right and a left side, and must therefore exhibit such inner differences
as those just noted. Spatial determinations are not, as Leibniz teaches,
subsequent to, and dependent upon, the relations of bodies to one
another; it is the former that determine the latter.

     “The reason why that which in the shape of a body exclusively
     concerns its relation to pure space can be apprehended by us only
     through its relation to other bodies, is that absolute space is not
     an object of any outer sensation, but a fundamental conception
     which makes all such differences possible.”[628]

Kant enforces his point by arguing that if the first portion of creation
were a human hand, it would have to be either a right or a left hand.
Also, a different act of creation would be demanded according as it was
the one or the other. But if the hand alone existed, and there were no
pre-existing space, there would be no inward difference in the relations
of its parts, and nothing outside it to differentiate it. It would
therefore be entirely indeterminate in nature, _i.e._ would suit either
side of the body, which is impossible.

This adoption of the Newtonian view of space in 1768 was an important
step forward in the development of Kant’s teaching, but could not, in
view of the many metaphysical difficulties to which it leads, be
permanently retained; and in the immediately following year--a year
which, as he tells us,[629] “gave great light”--he achieved the final
synthesis which enabled him to combine all that he felt to be essential
in the opposing views. Though space is an absolute and preconditioning
source of differences which are not conceptually resolvable, it is a
merely subjective form of our sensibility.

Now it is significant that when Kant expounds this view in the
_Dissertation_ of 1770, the argument from incongruous counterparts is no
longer employed to establish the absolute and pre-conditioning
character of space, but only to prove that it is a pure non-conceptual

     “Which things in a given space lie towards one side, and which lie
     towards the other, cannot by any intellectual penetration be
     discursively described or reduced to intellectual marks. For in
     solids that are completely similar and equal, but incongruent, such
     as the right and the left hand (conceived solely in terms of their
     extension), or spherical triangles from two opposite hemispheres,
     there is a diversity which renders impossible the coincidence of
     their spatial boundaries. This holds true, even though they can be
     substituted for one another in all those respects which can be
     expressed in marks that are capable of being made intelligible to
     the mind through speech. It is therefore evident that the
     diversity, that is, the incongruity, can only be apprehended by
     some species of pure intuition.”[630]

There is no mention of this argument in the first edition of the
_Critique_, and when it reappears in the _Prolegomena_ it is interpreted
in the light of an additional premiss, and is made to yield a very
different conclusion from that drawn in the _Dissertation_, and a
_directly opposite conclusion_ from that drawn in 1768. Instead of being
employed to establish either the intuitive character of space or its
absolute existence, it is cited as evidence in proof of its
subjectivity. As in 1768, it is spoken of as strange and paradoxical,
and many of the previous illustrations are used. The paradox consists in
the fact that bodies and spherical figures, conceptually considered, can
be absolutely identical, and yet for intuition remain diverse. This
paradox, Kant now maintains[631] in opposition to his 1768 argument,
proves that such bodies and the space within which they fall are not
independent existences. For were they things in themselves, they would
be adequately cognisable through the pure understanding, and could not
therefore conflict with its demands. Being conceptually identical, they
would necessarily be congruent in every respect. But if space is merely
the form of sensibility, the fact that in space the part is only
possible through the whole will apply to everything in it, and so will
generate a fundamental difference between conception and intuition.[632]
Things in themselves are, as such, unconditioned, and cannot, therefore,
be dependent upon anything beyond themselves. The objects of intuition,
in order to be possible, must be merely ideal.

Now the new premiss which differentiates this argument from that of
1768, and which brings Kant to so opposite a conclusion, is one which is
entirely out of harmony with the teaching of the _Critique_. In this
section of the _Prolegomena_ Kant has unconsciously reverted to the
dogmatic standpoint of the _Dissertation_, and is interpreting
understanding in the illegitimate manner which he so explicitly
denounces in the section on _Amphiboly_.

     “The mistake ... lies in employing the understanding contrary to
     its vocation transcendentally [_i.e._ transcendently] and in making
     objects, _i.e._ possible intuitions, conform to concepts, not
     concepts to possible intuitions, on which alone their objective
     validity rests.”[633]

The question why no mention of this argument is made in the second
edition of the _Critique_ is therefore answered. Kant had meantime, in
the interval between 1783 and 1787,[634] become aware of the
inconsistency of the position. So far from being a paradox, this assumed
conflict rests upon a false view of the function of the
understanding.[635] The relevant facts may serve to confirm the view of
space as an intuition in which the whole precedes the parts;[636] but
they can afford no evidence either of its absoluteness or of its
ideality. In 1768 they seem to Kant to prove its absoluteness, only
because the other alternative has not yet occurred to him. In 1783 they
seem to him to prove its ideality, only because he has not yet
completely succeeded in emancipating his thinking from the dogmatic
rationalism of the _Dissertation_.

As already noted,[637] Kant’s reason for here asserting that space is
intuitive in nature, namely, that in it the parts are conditioned by the
whole, is also his reason for elsewhere describing it as an Idea of
Reason. The further implication of the argument of the _Prolegomena_,
that in the noumenal sphere the whole is made possible only by its
unconditioned parts, raises questions the discussion of which must be
deferred. The problem recurs in the _Dialectic_ in connection with
Kant’s definition of the Idea of the unconditioned. In the Ideas of
Reason Kant comes to recognise the existence of concepts which do not
conform to the reflective type analysed by the traditional logic, and to
perceive that these Ideas can yield a deeper insight than any possible
to the discursive understanding. The above rationalistic assumption must
not, therefore, pass unchallenged. It may be that in the noumenal sphere
all partial realities are conditioned by an unconditioned whole.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Concluding Paragraph.=[638]--The wording of this paragraph is in keeping
with the increased emphasis which in the _Introduction_ to the second
edition is given to the problem, how _a priori_ synthetic judgments are
possible. Kant characteristically fails to distinguish between the
problems of pure and applied mathematics, with resulting
inconsecutiveness in his argumentation.





=I. Concerning Logic in General.=--This _Introduction_[639] which falls
into four divisions, is extremely diffuse, and contributes little that
is of more than merely architectonic value. It is a repetition of the
last section of the general _Introduction_, and of the introductory
paragraphs of the _Aesthetic_, but takes no account of the definitions
given in either of those two places. It does not, therefore, seem likely
that it could have been written in immediate sequence upon the
_Aesthetic_. It is probably later than the main body of the
_Analytic_.[640] In any case it is externally tacked on to it; as
Adickes has noted,[641] it is completely ignored in the opening section
of the _Analytic_.[642]

In treating of intuition in the first sentence, Kant seems to have in
view only empirical intuition.[643] Yet he at once proceeds to state
that intuition may be pure as well as empirical.[644] Also, in asserting
that “pure intuition contains only the form under which something is
intuited,” Kant would seem to be adopting the view that it does not
yield its own manifold, a conclusion which he does not, however, himself

In defining sensibility,[645] Kant again ignores pure intuition.
Sensuous intuition, it is stated, is the mode in which we are affected
by objects.[646] Understanding, in turn, is defined only in its
opposition to sensibility, in the ordinary meaning of that term.
Understanding is the faculty which yields thought of the object to which
sense-affection is due. It is “the power of thinking the object of
sensuous intuition”; and acts, it is implied, in and through pure
concepts which it supplies out of itself.

     “Without sensibility objects would not be given to us [_i.e._ the
     impressions, in themselves merely subjective contents, through
     which alone independent objects can be revealed to us, would be
     wanting]; without understanding they would not be thought by us
     [_i.e._ they would be apprehended only in the form in which they
     are given, viz. as subjective modes of our sensibility].”

Kant has not yet developed the thesis which the central argument of the
_Analytic_ is directed to prove, namely, that save through the
combination of intuition and conception no consciousness whatsoever is
possible. In these paragraphs he still implies that though concepts
without intuition are empty they are not meaningless, and that though
intuitions without concepts are blind they are not empty.[647] Their
union is necessary for genuine knowledge, but not for the existence of
consciousness as such.

     “It is just as necessary to make our concepts sensuous, _i.e._ to
     add to them their object in intuition, as to make our intuitions
     intelligible, _i.e._ to bring them under concepts.”

Kant’s final Critical teaching is very different from this. Concepts are
not first given in their purity, nor is “their object” added in
intuition. Only through concepts is apprehension of an object possible,
and only in and through such apprehension do concepts come to
consciousness. Nor are intuitions “made intelligible” by being “brought
under concepts.” Only as thus conceptually interpreted can they exist
for consciousness. The co-operation of concept and intuition is
necessary for consciousness in any and every form, even the simplest and
most indefinite. Consciousness of the subjective is possible only in and
through consciousness of the objective, and _vice versa_. The dualistic
separation of sensibility from understanding persists, however, even in
Kant’s later utterances; and, as above stated,[648] to this sharp
opposition are due both the strength and the weakness of Kant’s
teaching. Intuition and conception must, he here insists, be carefully
distinguished. _Aesthetic_ is the “science of the rules of sensibility
in general.” _Logic_ is the “science of the rules of understanding in

Kant’s classification of the various kinds of logic[649] may be
exhibited as follows:

                  { pure
        { general { applied
  Logic { special
        { transcendental

Adickes[650] criticises Kant’s classification as defective, owing to the
omission of the intermediate concept ‘ordinary.’ Adickes therefore gives
the following table:

  ||               |
  ||transcendental |       ordinary
  ||               |_________________________
  ||               |         |
  ||               | special |  general
  ||               |         |_______________
  ||               |         |      |
  ||               |         | pure | applied
  ||               |         |      |

General logic is a logic of elements, _i.e._ of the absolutely necessary
laws of thought, in abstraction from all differences in the objects
dealt with, _i.e._ from all content, whether empirical or
transcendental. It is a canon of the understanding in its general
discursive or analytic employment. When it is pure, it takes no account
of the empirical psychological conditions under which the understanding
has to act. When it is developed as an applied logic, it proceeds to
formulate rules for the employment of understanding under these
subjective conditions. It is then neither canon, nor organon, but simply
a catharticon of the ordinary understanding. Special logic is the
organon of this or that science, _i.e._ of the rules governing correct
thinking in regard to a certain class of objects. Only pure general
logic is a pure doctrine of reason. It alone is absolutely independent
of sensibility, of everything empirical, and therefore of psychology.
Such pure logic is a body of demonstrative teaching, completely _a
priori_. It stands to applied logic in the same relation as pure to
applied ethics.

     “Some logicians, indeed, affirm that logic presupposes
     _psychological_ principles. But it is just as inappropriate to
     bring principles of this kind into logic as to derive the science
     of morals from life. If we were to take the principles from
     psychology, that is, from observations on our understanding, we
     should merely see _how_ thought takes place, and _how_ it is
     affected by the manifold subjective hindrances and conditions; so
     that this would lead only to the knowledge of _contingent_ laws.
     But in logic the question is not of _contingent_, but of
     _necessary_ laws; not how we do think, but how we ought to think.
     The rules of logic, then, must not be derived from the
     _contingent_, but from the _necessary_ use of the understanding
     which without any psychology a man finds in himself. In logic we do
     not want to know how the understanding is and thinks, and how it
     has hitherto proceeded in thinking, but how it ought to proceed in
     thinking. Its business is to teach us the correct use of reason,
     that is, the use which is consistent with itself.”[651]

By a canon Kant means a system of _a priori_ principles for the correct
employment of a certain faculty of knowledge.[652] By an organon Kant
means instruction as to how knowledge may be extended, how new knowledge
may be acquired. A canon formulates positive principles through the
application of which a faculty can be directed and disciplined. A canon
is therefore a discipline based on positive principles of correct use.
The term discipline is, however, reserved by Kant[653] to signify a
purely negative teaching, which seeks only to prevent error and to check
the tendency to deviate from rules. When a faculty has no correct use
(as, for instance, pure speculative reason), it is subject only to a
discipline, not to a canon. A discipline is thus “a separate, negative
code,” “a system of caution and self-examination.” It is further
distinguished from a canon by its taking account of other than purely _a
priori_ conditions. It is related to a pure canon much as applied is
related to general logic. As a canon supplies principles for the
_directing_ of a faculty, its distinction from an organon obviously
cannot be made hard and fast. But here as elsewhere Kant, though
rigorous and almost pedantic in the drawing of distinctions, is
correspondingly careless in their application. He describes special
logic as the organon of this or that science.[654] We should expect from
the definition given in the preceding sentence that it would rather be
viewed as a canon. In A 46 = B 63 Kant speaks of the _Aesthetic_ as an

=II. Concerning Transcendental Logic.=--It is with the distinction between
general and transcendental logic that Kant is chiefly concerned. It is a
distinction which he has himself invented, and which is of fundamental
importance for the purposes of the _Critique_. Transcendental logic is
the new science which he seeks to expound in this second main division
of the _Doctrine of Elements_. The distinction, from which all the
differences between the two sciences follow, is that while general logic
abstracts from all differences in the objects known, transcendental
logic abstracts only from empirical content. On the supposition, not yet
proved by Kant, but asserted in anticipation, that there exist pure _a
priori_ concepts which are valid of objects, there will exist a science
distinct in nature and different in purpose from general logic. The two
logics will agree in being _a priori_, but otherwise they will differ in
all essential respects.

The reference in A 55 = B 79 to the forms of intuition is somewhat
ambiguous. Kant might be taken as meaning that in transcendental logic
abstraction is made not only from everything empirical but also from all
intuition. That is not, however, Kant’s real view, or at least not his
final view. In sections A 76-7 = B 102, A 130-1 = B 170, and A 135-6 = B
174-5, which are probably all of later origin, he states his position in
the clearest terms. Transcendental logic, he there declares, differs
from general logic in that it is not called upon to abstract from the
pure _a priori_ manifolds of intuition.[655] This involves, it may be
noted, the recognition, so much more pronounced in the later
developments of Kant’s Critical teaching, of space and time as not
merely forms for the apprehension of sensuous manifolds but as
themselves presenting to the mind independent manifolds of _a priori_

As the term _transcendental_ indicates, the new logic will have as its
central problems the origin, scope, conditions and possibility of valid
_a priori_ knowledge of objects. None of these problems are treated in
general logic, which deals only with the understanding itself. The
question which it raises is, as Kant says in his _Logic_,[656] _How can
the understanding know itself?_ The question dealt with by
transcendental logic we may formulate in a corresponding way: _How can
the understanding possess pure a priori knowledge of objects?_ It is a
canon of pure understanding in so far as that faculty is capable of
synthetic, objective knowledge _a priori_.[657] General logic involves,
it is true, the idea of reference to objects,[658] but the possibility
of such reference is not itself investigated. In general logic the
understanding deals only with itself. It assumes indeed that all objects
must conform to its laws, but this assumption plays no part in the
science itself.

A further point, not here dwelt upon by Kant, calls for notice, namely,
that the activities of understanding dealt with by general logic are its
merely discursive activities,--those of discrimination and comparison;
whereas those dealt with by transcendental logic are the originative
activities through which it produces _a priori_ concepts from within
itself, and through which it attains, independently of experience, to an
_a priori_ determination of objects. Otherwise stated, general logic
deals only with analytic thinking, transcendental logic with the
synthetic activities that are involved in the generation of the complex
contents which form the subject matter of the analytic procedure.

=III. Concerning the Division of General Logic into Analytic and
Dialectic.=[659]--The following passage from Kant’s _Logic_[660] forms an
excellent and sufficient comment upon the first four paragraphs of this

     “An important perfection of knowledge, nay, the essential and
     inseparable condition of all its perfection, is truth. Truth is
     said to consist in the agreement of knowledge with the object.
     According to this merely verbal definition, then, my knowledge, in
     order to be true, must agree with the object. Now I can only
     compare the object with my knowledge by this means, namely _by
     having knowledge of it_. My knowledge, then, is to be verified by
     itself, which is far from being sufficient for truth. For as the
     object is external to me, I can only judge whether my knowledge of
     the object agrees with my knowledge of the object. Such a circle in
     explanation was called by the ancients Diallelos. And, indeed, the
     logicians were accused of this fallacy by the sceptics, who
     remarked that this account of truth was as if a man before a
     judicial tribunal should make a statement, and appeal in support of
     it to a witness whom no one knows, but who defends his own
     credibility by saying that the man who had called him as a witness
     is an honourable man. The charge was certainly well-founded. The
     solution of the problem referred to is, however, absolutely
     impossible for any man.

     “The question is in fact this: whether and how far there is a
     certain, universal, and practically applicable criterion of truth.
     For this is the meaning of the question, What is truth?...

     “A _universal material_ criterion of truth is not possible; the
     phrase is indeed self-contradictory. For being _universal_ it would
     necessarily abstract from all distinction of objects, and yet being
     a material criterion, it must be concerned with just this
     distinction in order to be able to determine whether a cognition
     agrees with the very object to which it refers, and not merely with
     some object or other, by which nothing would be said. But
     _material_ truth must consist in this agreement of a cognition with
     the definite object to which it refers. For a cognition which is
     true in reference to one object may be false in reference to other
     objects. It is therefore absurd to demand a universal material
     criterion of truth, which is at once to abstract and not to
     abstract from all distinction of objects.

     “But if we ask for a universal _formal_ criterion of truth, it is
     very easy to decide that there may be such a criterion. For formal
     truth consists simply in the agreement of the cognition with itself
     when we abstract from all objects whatever, and from every
     distinction of objects. And hence the universal formal criteria of
     truth are nothing but universal logical marks of agreement of
     cognitions with themselves, or, what is the same thing, with the
     general laws of the understanding and the Reason. These formal
     universal criteria are certainly not sufficient for objective
     truth, but yet they are to be viewed as its _conditio sine qua
     non_. For before the question, whether the cognition agrees with
     the object, must come the question, whether it agrees with itself
     (as to form). And this is the business of logic.”[661]

The remaining paragraphs[662] of Section III. may similarly be compared
with the following passage from an earlier section of Kant’s

     “Analytic discovers, by means of analysis, all the activities of
     reason which we exercise in thought. It is therefore an analytic of
     the form of understanding and of Reason, and is justly called the
     logic of truth, since it contains the necessary rules of all
     (formal) truth, without which truth our knowledge is untrue in
     itself, even apart from its objects. It is therefore nothing more
     than a canon for deciding on the formal correctness of our

     “Should we desire to use this merely theoretical and general
     doctrine as a practical art, that is, as an organon, it would
     become a _dialectic_, _i.e. a logic of semblance_ (_ars sophistica
     disputatoria_), arising out of an abuse of the analytic, inasmuch
     as by the mere logical form there is contrived the semblance of
     true knowledge, the characters of which must, on the contrary, be
     derived from agreement with objects, and therefore from the

     “In former times dialectic was studied with great diligence. This
     art presented false principles in the semblance of truth, and
     sought, in accordance with these, to maintain things in semblance.
     Amongst the Greeks the dialecticians were advocates and
     rhetoricians who could lead the populace wherever they chose,
     because the populace lets itself be deluded with semblance.
     Dialectic was therefore at that time the art of semblance. In
     logic, also, it was for a long time treated under the name of the
     _art of disputation_, and during that period all logic and
     philosophy was the cultivation by certain chatterboxes of the art
     of semblance. But nothing can be more unworthy of a philosopher
     than the cultivation of such an art. Dialectic in this form,
     therefore, must be altogether suppressed, and instead of it there
     must be introduced into logic a critical examination of this

     “We should then have two parts of logic: the _analytic_, which will
     treat of the formal criteria of truth, and the _dialectic_, which
     will contain the marks and rules by which we can know that
     something does not agree with the formal criteria of truth,
     although it seems to agree with them. Dialectic in this form would
     have its use as a _cathartic_ of the understanding.”

Dialectic is thus interpreted in a merely negative sense. It is, Kant
says, a catharticon. So far from being an organon, it is not even a
canon. It is merely a discipline.[664] By this manner of defining
dialectic Kant causes some confusion. It does not do justice to the
scope and purpose of that section of the _Critique_ to which it gives
its name.[665]

=IV. Concerning the Division of Transcendental Logic into Transcendental
Analytic and Dialectic.=--The term object[666] is used throughout this
section in two quite distinct senses. In the second and third sentences
it is employed in its wider meaning as equivalent to content or matter.
In the fourth sentence it is used in the narrower and stricter sense,
more proper to the term, namely, as meaning ‘thing.’ Again, in the fifth
sentence content (_Inhalt_) would seem to be identified with object in
the narrower sense, while in the sixth sentence matter (_Materie_, a
synonym for content) appears to be identified with object in the wider
sense. _Transcendental Dialectic_, in accordance with the above account
of its logical correlate, is defined in a manner which does justice only
to the negative side of its teaching. Its function is viewed as merely
that of protecting the pure understanding against sophistical




The chief point of this section[668] lies in its insistence that, as the
_Analytic_ is concerned only with the pure understanding, the _a priori_
concepts with which it deals must form a unity or system. Understanding
is viewed as a separate faculty, and virtually hypostatised. As a
separate faculty, it must, it is implied, be an independent unity,
self-containing and complete. Its concepts are determined in number,
constitution, and interrelation, by its inherent character. They
originate independently of all differences in the material which they
are employed to organise.



=Introductory Paragraph.=--Kant’s view of the understanding as a separate
faculty is in evidence again in this paragraph.[669] The _Analytic_ is a
“dissection of the faculty of the understanding.” _A priori_ concepts
are to be sought nowhere but in the understanding itself, as their
birthplace. There “they lie ready till at last, on the occasion of
experience, they become developed.” But such statements fail to do
justice to Kant’s real teaching. They would seem to reveal the
persisting influence of the pre-Critical standpoint of the



That the understanding is “an absolute unity” is repeated. From this
assertion, thus dogmatically made, without even an attempt at argument,
Kant deduces the important conclusion that the pure concepts,
originating from such a source, “must be connected with each other
according to _one_ concept or idea (_Begriff oder Idee_).” And he adds
the equally unproved assertion:

     “But such a connection supplies a rule by which we are enabled to
     assign its proper place to each pure concept of the understanding
     and by which we can determine in an _a priori_ manner their
     systematic completeness. Otherwise we should be dependent in these
     matters on our own discretionary judgment or merely on chance.”

In the next section he sets himself to discover from an examination of
analytic thinking what this rule or principle actually is, and in so
doing he for the first time discloses, in any degree at all adequate,
the real nature of the position which he is seeking to develop. He
connects the required principle with the nature of the act of judging,
considered as a function of unity.

=Section I. The Logical Use of the Understanding.=--This section,[670]
viewed as introductory to the metaphysical deduction of the categories,
is extremely unsatisfactory. It directs attention to the wrong points,
and conceals rather than defines Kant’s real position. Its argumentation
is also contorted and confused, and only by the most patient analysis
can it be straightened out. The commentator has presented to him a
twofold task from which there is no escape. He must render the argument
consistent by such modification as will harmonise it with Kant’s later
and more deliberate positions, and he must explain why Kant has
presented it in this misleading manner.

The title of the section would seem to imply that only the discursive
activities of understanding are to be dealt with. That is, indeed, in
the main true. Confusion results, however, from the clashing of this
avowed intention with the ultimate purpose in view of which the argument
is propounded. Kant is seeking to prove that we can derive from the more
accessible procedure of the discursive understanding a clue sufficient
for determining those pre-logical activities which have to be postulated
in terms of his new Copernican hypothesis. But though that is the real
intention of this section, it has, unfortunately, not been explicitly
recognised, and can be divined by the reader only after he has mastered
the later portions of the _Analytic_. Kant’s argument has also the
further defect that no sufficient statement is given either of the
nature of the discursive concept or of its relation to judgment. These
lacunae we must fill out as best we can from his utterances elsewhere. I
shall first state Kant’s view of the distinction between discursive and
synthetic thinking, and then examine his treatment of the nature of the
concept and of its relation to judgment.

As already noted,[671] the distinction between transcendental and
general logic marks for Kant all-important differences in the use of the
understanding. In the one employment the understanding, by creative
synthetic activities, generates from the given manifold the complex
objects of sense-experience. In so doing it interprets and organises the
manifold through concepts which originate _from within itself_. By the
other it discriminates and compares, and thereby derives _from the
content of sense-experience_ the generic concepts of the traditional
logic. Now Kant would seem to argue in this section that if the
difference in the origin of the concepts in those two cases be left out
of account, and if we attend only to the quite general character of
their respective activities, they will be found to agree in one
fundamental feature, namely, that they express functions of unity. Each
is based on the spontaneity of thought--on the spontaneity of synthetic
interpretation on the one hand, of discrimination and comparison on the
other. This feature common to the two types of activity can be further
defined as being the unity of the act whereby a multiplicity is
comprehended under a single representation. In the judgment “every metal
is a body” the variety of metals is reduced to unity through the concept
body. In an analogous manner the synthetic understanding organises a
manifold of intuition through some such form of unity as that of
substance and attribute. That is the category which underlies the above
proposition, and which renders possible the specific unity of the total
judgment. To quote the sentence with which in a later section Kant
introduces his table of categories:

     “The same understanding, and by the same operations by which in
     concepts, by means of analytic unity, it has produced the logical
     form of a judgment, introduces, by means of the synthetic unity of
     the manifold in intuition in general, a transcendental element into
     its representations....”[672]

Now Kant’s exposition is extremely misleading. As his later utterances
show, his real argument is by no means that which is here given. We
shall have occasion to observe that Kant is unable to prove, and does
not ultimately profess to prove, that it is “the same understanding,”
and still less that it is “the same operations,” which are exercised in
discursive and in creative thinking. But this is a criticism which it
would be premature to introduce at this stage. We must proceed to it by
way of preliminary analysis of the above exposition. Kant’s argument
does not rest upon any such analogy as that just drawn, between the
concepts formed by consciously comparing contents and the concepts which
originate from within the understanding itself. Both, it is true, are
functions of unity, but otherwise there is, according to Kant’s own
teaching, not the least resemblance between them. A generic or abstract
concept expresses common qualities found in each of a number of complex
contents. It is itself a content. A category, on the other hand, is
always a function of unity whereby contents are interpreted. It is not a
content, but a form for the organisation of content.[673] It can gain
expression only in the total act of judging, not in any one element such
as the discursive concept. But though the analogy drawn by Kant thus
breaks down, his argument is continued in a new and very different form.
It is no longer made to rest on any supposed resemblance between
discursive and creative thinking, regarded as co-ordinate and
independent activities. It now consists in the proof that the former
presupposes and is conditioned by the latter. Through study of the
understanding in its more accessible discursive procedure, we may hope
to discover the synthetic forms according to which it has proceeded in
its pre-logical activities. When we determine the various forms of
analytic judgment, the categories which are involved in synthetic
thinking reveal themselves to consciousness.

Thus in spite of Kant’s insistence upon the conceptual predicate, and
upon the unity to which it gives expression, immediately he proceeds to
the deduction of the categories, the emphasis is shifted to the unity
which underlies the judgment as a whole. What constitutes such
propositions as “all bodies are divisible,” “every metal is a body,” a
unique and separate type of judgment is not the character of the
predicate, but the category of substance and attribute whereby the
predicate is related to the subject. To that category they owe their
specific form; and it is a function of unity for which the discursive
understanding can never account. As Kant states in the _Prolegomena_, if
genuine judgments, that is, judgments that are “objectively valid,” are

     “...it will be found that they never consist of mere intuitions
     connected only (as is commonly believed) by comparison in a
     judgment. They would be impossible were not a pure concept of the
     understanding superadded to the concepts abstracted from
     intuition. The abstract concepts are subsumed under a pure concept,
     and in this manner only can they be connected in an objectively
     valid judgment.”[674]

Thus the analogy between discursive and _a priori_ concepts is no sooner
drawn than it is set aside as irrelevant. Though generic concepts rest
upon functions of unity, and though (as we shall see immediately) they
exist only as factors in the total act of judging, there is otherwise
not the least resemblance between them and the categories.[675] The clue
to the categories is not to be found in the inherent characteristics of
analytic thinking, or of its specific products (namely, concepts), but
solely in what, after all abstraction, it must still retain from the
products which synthetic thinking creates. Each type of analytic
judgment will be found on examination to involve some specific function
whereby the conceptual factors are related to, and unified with, the
other elements in the judgment. This function of unity is in each case
an _a priori_ category of the understanding. That is the thesis which
underlies the concluding sentence of this section.

     “The functions of the understanding [_i.e._ the _a priori_ concepts
     of understanding] can be discovered in their completeness, if it is
     possible to state exhaustively the functions of unity [_i.e._ the
     forms of relation] in judgments.”

The adoption of such a position involves, it may be noted, the giving up
of the assertion, which is so emphatically made in the passage above
quoted, that it is _by the same activities_ that the understanding
discursively forms abstract concepts and creatively organises the
manifold of sense. That is in no respect true. There is no real
identity--there is not even analogy--between the processes of comparison
and abstraction on the one hand and those of synthetic interpretation on
the other. The former are merely reflective: the latter are genuinely
creative. Discursive activities are conscious processes, and are under
our control: the synthetic processes, are non-conscious; only their
finished products appear within the conscious field. This, however, is
to anticipate a conclusion which was among the last to be realised by
Kant himself, namely that there is no proof that these two types of
activity are ascribable to one and the same source. The synthetic
activities--as he himself finally came to hold--are due to a faculty of

     “Synthesis in general ... is the mere result of the power of
     imagination, a blind but indispensable function of the soul,
     without which we should have no knowledge whatsoever, but of which
     we are scarcely ever conscious.”[676]

This sentence occurs in a passage which is undoubtedly a later
interpolation.[677] The “scarcely ever” (_selten nur einmal_) indicates
Kant’s lingering reluctance to recognise this fundamental fact,
destructive of so much in his earlier views, even though it completes
and reinforces his chief ultimate conclusions. With this admission Kant
also gives up his sole remaining ground for the contention that there
must be a complete parallelism between discursive and creative thinking.
If they arise from such different sources, we have no right to assume,
without specific proof, that they must coincide in the forms of their
activity. This is a point to which we shall return in discussing Kant’s
formulation of the principle which is supposed to guarantee the
completeness of the table of categories.

This unavowed change in point of view is the main cause of confusion in
this section. Its other defects are chiefly those of omission. Kant
fails to develop in sufficient detail his view of the nature of the
discursive concept, or to make sufficiently clear the grounds for his
assertion that conception as an activity of the understanding is
identical with judgment. To take the former point first. Kant’s mode of
viewing the discursive concept finds expression in the following passage
in the _Introduction_ to his _Logic_:[678]

     “Human knowledge is on the side of the understanding _discursive_;
     that is, it takes place by means of ideas which make what is common
     to many things the ground of knowledge: and hence by means of
     attributes as such. We therefore cognise things only by means of
     attributes. An attribute is that in a thing which constitutes part
     of our cognition of it; or, what is the same, a partial conception
     so far as it is considered as a ground of cognition of the whole
     conception. _All our concepts, therefore, are attributes, and all
     thought is nothing but conception by means of attributes._”

The limitations of Kant’s view of the concept could hardly find more
definite expression. The only type of judgment which receives
recognition is the categorical, interpreted in the traditional

     “To compare something as a mark with a thing, is called ‘to judge.’
     The thing itself is the subject, the mark [or attribute] is the
     predicate. The comparison is expressed by the word ‘is,’ ... which
     when used without qualification indicates that the predicate is a
     mark [or attribute] of the subject, but when combined with the sign
     of negation states that the predicate is a mark opposed to the

Kant’s view of analytic thinking is entirely dominated by the
substance-attribute teaching of the traditional logic. A concept must,
in its connotation, be an abstracted attribute, and in its denotation
represent a class. Relational thinking, and the concepts of relation,
are ignored. Thus, in the _Aesthetic_, as we have already noted,[681]
Kant maintains that since space and time are not generic class concepts
they must be intuitions. This argument, honestly employed by Kant, shows
how completely unconscious he was of the revolutionary consequences of
his new standpoint. Even in the very act of insisting upon the
relational character of the categories, he still continues to speak of
the concept as if it must necessarily conform to the generic type. In
this, as in so many other respects, transcendental logic is not, as he
would profess, supplementary to general logic; it is its tacit
recantation. Modern logic, as developed by Lotze, Sigwart, Bradley, and
Bosanquet, is, in large part, the recasting of general logic in terms of
the results reached by Kant’s transcendental enquiries. Meantime,
sufficient has been said to indicate the strangely limited character of
Kant’s doctrine of the logical concept.

But on one fundamental point Kant breaks entirely free from the
traditional logic. The following passage occurs in the above-quoted
pamphlet on _The Mistaken Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic Figures_:

     “It is clear that in the ordinary treatment of logic there is a
     serious error in that distinct and complete concepts are treated
     before judgments and ratiocinations, although the former are only
     possible by means of the latter.” “I say, then, first, that a
     _distinct_ concept is possible only by means of a _judgment_, a
     _complete_ concept only by means of a _ratiocination_. In fact, in
     order that a concept should be distinct, I must clearly recognise
     something as an attribute of a thing, and this is a judgment. In
     order to have a distinct concept of body, I clearly represent to
     myself impenetrability as an attribute of it. Now this
     representation is nothing but the thought, ‘a body is
     impenetrable.’ Here it is to be observed that this judgment is not
     the distinct concept itself, but is the act by which it is
     realised; for the idea of the thing which arises after this act is
     distinct. It is easy to show that a complete concept is only
     possible by means of a ratiocination: for this it is sufficient to
     refer to the first section of this essay. We might say, therefore,
     that a distinct concept is one which is made clear by a judgment,
     and a complete concept one which is made distinct by a
     ratiocination. If the completeness is of the first degree, the
     ratiocination is simple; if of the second or third degree, it is
     only possible by means of a chain of reasoning which the
     understanding abridges in the manner of a sorites.... Secondly, as
     it is quite evident that the completeness of a concept and its
     distinctness do not require different faculties of the mind (since
     the same capacity which recognises something immediately as an
     attribute in a thing is also employed to recognise in this
     attribute another attribute, and thus to conceive the thing by
     means of a remote attribute), so also it is evident that
     understanding and reason, that is, the power of cognising
     distinctly and the power of forming ratiocinations, are not
     different faculties. Both consist in the power of judging, but when
     we judge mediately we reason.”[682]

In the section before us this same standpoint is maintained, but is
expressed in a much less satisfactory manner. Concepts are no longer
spoken of as complete judgments. In the above passages Kant always
speaks of the concept as the subject of the proposition; it is now
treated only as a predicate.[683] This difference is significant. The
concept as subject can represent the judgment as a whole (or at least it
does so from the traditional standpoint to which Kant holds); the
concept as predicate is merely one element, even though it be a unifying
element, in the total act of judging. This falling away from his own
maturer standpoint would seem to be due to Kant’s lack of clearness as
to the nature of the analogy which he is here drawing between analytic
and synthetic thinking. It is connected with his mistaken, and merely
temporary, comparison of _a priori_ with discursive concepts. His
position in 1762 alone harmonises with his essential teaching. Now, as
then, he is prepared to view judgment as the sole ultimate activity of
the understanding, and therefore to define understanding as the faculty
of judging.

But the new Critical standpoint compels Kant to reinterpret this
definition in a manner which involves a still more radical
transformation of the traditional doctrine. The categories constitute a
unique type of concept, and condition the processes of discursive
thought. They are embodied in the complex contents from which analytic
thinking starts; and however far the processes of discursive comparison
and abstraction be carried, one or other of these categories must still
persist, determining the form which the analytic judgment is to take.
The categorical judgment can formulate itself only by means of the _a
priori_ concept of subject and attribute, the hypothetical only by means
of the pure concept of ground and consequence, and so with the others.
And there are in consequence just as many categories as there are forms
of the analytic judgment. This is how the principle of the metaphysical
deduction must be interpreted when the later and deeper results of the
transcendental deduction are properly taken into account. In deducing
the forms of the understanding from the modes of discursive judgment
Kant is virtually maintaining that analytic judgment involves the same
problems as does judgment of the synthetic type. The categories can be
derived from the forms of discursive judgment only because they are the
conditions in and through which it becomes possible.

But though Kant, both here and in the central portions of the
_Analytic_, seems to be on the very brink of this conclusion, it is
never explicitly drawn. As we shall see,[684] it would have involved the
further admission that there is no absolute guarantee of the
completeness of the table of categories, and no satisfactory method of
determining their interrelations. To the very last general logic is
isolated from transcendental logic. The Critical enquiry is formulated
as if it concerned only such judgments as are explicitly synthetic. The
principle of the metaphysical deduction is not, therefore, stated by
Kant himself in the above manner; and we have still to decide the
difficult question as to what the principle employed by Kant in the
deduction actually is.

Kant makes a twofold demand upon the principle. It must enable us to
discover the categories, and it must also in so doing enable us to view
them as together forming a systematic whole, and so as having their
completeness guaranteed by other than merely empirical considerations.
The principle is stated sometimes in a broader and sometimes in a more
specific form; for on this point also Kant speaks with no very certain
voice.[685] The broader formulation of the principle is that all acts of
understanding are judgments, and that therefore the possible ultimate _a
priori_ forms of understanding are identical with the possible ultimate
forms of the judgment.[686] The more specific and correct formulation is
that to every form of analytic judgment there corresponds a pure concept
of understanding. The first statement of the principle is obviously
inadequate. It merely reformulates the problem as being a problem not of
conception but of judgment. If a principle is required to guarantee the
completeness of our list of _a priori_ concepts, it will equally be
required to guarantee the completeness of our list of judgments. Even if
the above principle be more explicitly formulated, as in the
_Prolegomena_,[687] where judging is defined as the act of understanding
which comprises all its other acts, it will not enable us to guarantee
the completeness of any list of the forms of judgment or to determine
their systematic interrelation. We are therefore thrown back upon the
second view. This, however, only brings us face to face with the further
question, what principle guarantees the completeness of the table of
analytic judgments. And to that query Kant has absolutely no answer. The
reader’s questionings break vainly upon his invincible belief in the
adequacy and finality of the classification yielded by the traditional

The _fons et origo_ of all the confusions and obscurities of this
section are thus traceable to Kant’s attitude towards formal logic. He
might criticise it for ignoring the interdependence of conception,
judgment, and reasoning; he might reject the second, third, and fourth
syllogistic figures; and he might even admit that its classification of
the forms of judgment is not as explicit as might be desired; but
however many provisos he made and defects he acknowledged, they were to
him merely minor matters, and he accepted its teaching as complete and
final. This unwavering faith in the fundamental distinctions of the
traditional logic was indeed, as we shall have constant occasion to
observe, an ever present influence in determining alike the general
framework and much of the detail of Kant’s Critical teaching. The
defects of the traditional logic were very clearly indicated in his own
transcendental logic. He showed that synthetic thinking is fundamental;
that by its distinctions the forms and activities of analytic thought
are predetermined; that judgment in its various forms can be understood
only by a regress upon the synthetic concepts to which these forms are
due; that notions are not merely of the generic type, but that there are
also categories of relation. None the less, to the very last, Kant
persisted in regarding general logic as a separate discipline, and as
quite adequate in its current form. He continued to ignore the fact that
the analytic judgment, no less than the synthetic judgment, demands a
transcendental justification.

The resulting situation is strangely perverse. In the very act of
revolutionising the traditional logic, Kant relies upon its prestige and
upon the assumed finality of its results to make good the shortcomings
of the logic which is to displace it. By Kant’s own admission
transcendental logic is incapable of guaranteeing that completeness upon
which, throughout the whole _Critique_, so great an emphasis is laid.
General logic is allowed an independent status, sufficient to justify
its authority being appealed to; and the principle which is supposed to
guarantee the completeness of the table of categories is so formulated
as to contain no suggestion of the dependence of discursive upon
synthetic thinking. Formal logic, Kant would seem to hold, can supply a
criterion for the classification of the ultimate forms of judgment just
because its task is relatively simple, and is independent of all
epistemological views as to the nature, scope, and conditions of the
thought process. Since formal logic is a completed and perfectly _a
priori_ science, which has stood the test of 2000 years, and remains
practically unchanged to the present day, its results can be accepted as
final, and can be employed without question in all further enquiries.
Analytic thinking is scientifically treated in general logic; the
_Critique_ is concerned only with the possibility and conditions of
synthetic judgment. The table of analytic judgments therefore supplies a
complete and absolutely guaranteed list of the possible categories of
the understanding. But the perverseness of this whole procedure is shown
by the manner in which, as we shall find, Kant recasts, extends, or
alters, to suit his own purposes, the actual teaching of the traditional

As noted above,[688] the asserted parallelism of analytic and synthetic
judgment rests upon the further assumption that discursive thinking and
synthetic interpretation are the outcome of one and the same faculty of
understanding. It is implied, in accordance with the attitude of the
pre-Critical _Dissertation_, that understanding, viewed as the faculty
to which all thought processes are due, has certain laws in accordance
with which it necessarily acts in all its operations, and that these
must therefore be discoverable from analytic no less than from synthetic
thinking. The mingling of truth and falsity in this assumption has
already been indicated. Such truth as it contains is due to the fact
that analytic thinking is not co-ordinate with, but is dependent upon,
and determined by, the forms of synthetic thinking. Its falsity consists
in its ignoring of what thus gives it partial truth. The results of the
transcendental deduction call for a complete recasting of the entire
argument of the metaphysical deduction. And when this is done, there is
no longer any ground for the contention that the number of the
categories is determinable on _a priori_ grounds. On Kant’s own
fundamental doctrine of the synthetic, and therefore merely _de facto_,
character of all _a priori_ principles, the necessity of the categories
is only demonstrable by reference to the contingent fact of actual
experience. The possible conceptual forms are relative to actual and
ultimate differences in the contingent sensuous material; and being thus
relative, they cannot possibly be systematised on purely _a priori_
grounds. This Kant has himself admitted in a passage added in the second
edition,[689] though apparently without full consciousness of the
important consequences which must follow.

     “This peculiarity of our understanding that it can produce _a
     priori_ unity of apperception solely by means of the categories,
     and only by such and so many, is as little capable of further
     explanation as why we have just these and no other functions of
     judgment, or why space and time are the only forms of our possible


The character of the metaphysical deduction will be placed in a clearer
light if we briefly trace the stages, so far as they can be
reconstructed, through which it passed in Kant’s mind. We may start from
the _Dissertation_ of 1770. Kant there modifies his earlier Wolffian
standpoint, developing it, probably under the direct influence of the
recently published _Nouveaux Essais_, on more genuinely Leibnizian

     “The use of the intellect ... is twofold. By the one use concepts,
     both of things and of relations, are themselves _given_. This is
     the _real use_. By the other use concepts, whencesoever given, are
     merely _subordinated_ to each other, the lower to the higher (the
     common attributes), and compared with one another according to the
     principle of contradiction. This is called the _logical use_....
     Empirical concepts, therefore, do not become intellectual in the
     _real sense_ by reduction to greater universality, and do not pass
     beyond the type of sensuous cognition. However high the abstraction
     be carried, they must always remain sensuous. But in dealing with
     things _strictly intellectual_, in regard to which the _use of the
     intellect_ is _real_, intellectual concepts (of objects as well as
     of relations), are given by the very nature of the intellect. They
     are not abstracted from any use of the senses, and do not contain
     any form of sensuous knowledge as such. We must here note the
     extreme ambiguity of the word _abstract_.... An intellectual
     concept _abstracts_ from everything sensuous; it is not
     _abstracted_ from things sensuous. It would perhaps be more
     correctly named _abstracting_ than _abstract_. It is therefore
     preferable to call the intellectual concepts _pure ideas_, and
     those which are given only empirically _abstract ideas_.”[690] “I
     fear, however, that Wolff, by this distinction between the sensuous
     and the intellectual, which for him is merely logical, has checked,
     perhaps wholly (to the great detriment of philosophy), that noblest
     enterprise of antiquity, the investigation of _the nature of
     phenomena and noumena_, turning men’s minds from such enquiries to
     what are very frequently only logical subtleties. Philosophy, in so
     far as it contains the _first principles_ of the use of the _pure
     intellect_, is _metaphysics_.... As empirical principles are not to
     be found in metaphysics, the concepts to be met with in it are not
     to be sought in the senses but in the very nature of the pure
     intellect. They are not _connate_ concepts, but are _abstracted_
     from laws inherent in the mind (_legibus menti insitis_), and are
     therefore _acquired_. Such are the concepts of possibility,
     existence, necessity, substance, cause, etc. with their opposites
     or correlates. They never enter as parts into any sensuous
     representation, and therefore cannot in any fashion be abstracted
     from such representations.”[691]

The _etcetera_, with which in that last passage Kant concludes his list
of pure intellectual concepts, indicates a problem that must very soon
have made itself felt. That it did so, appears from his letter to Herz
(February 21, 1772). He there informs his correspondent, that, in
developing his _Transcendentalphilosophie_ (the first occurrence of that
title in Kant’s writings), he has

     “...sought to reduce all concepts of completely pure reason to a
     fixed number of categories [this term also appearing for the first
     time], not in the manner of Aristotle, who in his ten predicaments
     merely set them side by side in a sort of order, just as he might
     happen upon them, but as they distribute themselves of themselves
     according to _some few principles_ of the understanding.”[692]

Though in this same letter Kant professes to have solved his problems,
and to be in a position to publish his _Critique of Pure Reason_ (this
title is already employed) “within some three months,” the phrase “some
few principles” clearly shows that he has not yet developed the teaching
embodied in the metaphysical deduction. For its keynote is insistence
upon the necessity of a _single_ principle, sufficient to reduce them
not merely to classes but to system. The difficulty of discovering such
a principle must have been one of the causes which delayed completion of
the _Critique_. The only data at our disposal for reconstructing the
various stages through which Kant’s views may have passed in the period
between February 1772 and 1781 are the _Reflexionen_, but they are
sufficiently ample to allow of our doing so with considerable

In the _Dissertation_ Kant had traced the concepts of space and time, no
less than the concepts of understanding, to mental activities.

     “Both concepts [space and time] are undoubtedly acquired. They are
     not, however, abstracted from the sensing of objects (for sensation
     gives the matter, not the form of human cognition). As immutable
     types they are intuitively apprehended from the activity whereby
     the mind co-ordinates its sensuous data in accordance with
     perpetual laws.”[694]

Now the _Dissertation_ is quite vague as to how the “mind” (_animus_),
active in accordance with laws generative of the intuitions space and
time, differs from “understanding” (_intellectus_), active in accordance
with laws generative of pure concepts. Kant’s reasons, apart from the
intuitive character of space and time, for contrasting the former with
the latter, as the sensuous with the intellectual, were the existence of
the antinomies and his belief that through pure concepts the absolutely
real can be known. When, however, that belief was questioned by him, and
he had come to regard the categories as no less subjective than the
intuitional forms, the antinomies ceased to afford any ground for thus
distinguishing between them. The intuitional nature of space and time,
while certainly peculiar to them, is in itself no proof that they belong
to the sensuous side of the mind.[695]

A difficulty which immediately faced Kant, from the new Critical
standpoint, was that of distinguishing between space and time, on the
one hand, and the categories on the other. This is borne out by the
_Reflexionen_ and by the following passage in the _Prolegomena_.[696]

     “Only after long reflection, expended in the investigation of the
     pure non-empirical elements of human knowledge, did I at last
     succeed in distinguishing and separating with certainty the pure
     elementary concepts of sensibility (space and time) from those of
     the understanding.”

The first stage in the development of the metaphysical deduction would
seem to have consisted in the attempt to view the categories as acquired
by reflection upon the activities of the understanding in “comparing,
combining, or separating”;[697] and among the _notiones rationales_,
_notiones intellectus puri_, thus gained, the idea of space is specially
noted. The following list is also given:

     “The concepts of existence (reality), possibility, necessity,
     ground, unity and plurality, parts, all, none, composite and
     simple, space, time, change, motion, substance and accident, power
     and action, and everything that belongs to ontology proper.”[698]

In _Reflexionen_, ii. 507 and 509, the fundamental feature of such
rational concepts is found in their _relational_ character. They all
agree in being concepts of form.[699]

Quite early, however, Kant seems to have developed the view, which has
created so many more difficulties than it resolves, that space and time
are given to consciousness through outer and inner sense. Though still
frequently spoken of as concepts, they are definitely referred to the
receptive, non-spontaneous, side of the mind. This is at once a return
to the _Dissertation_ standpoint, and a decided modification of its
teaching. It holds to the point of view of the _Dissertation_ in so far
as it regards them as sensuous, and departs from it in tracing them to

The passage quoted from the letter of 1772 to Herz may perhaps be
connected with the stage revealed in the _Reflexionen_ already cited.
“Comparing, combining, and separating” may be the “some few principles
of the understanding” there referred to. That, however, is doubtful, for
the next stage in the development likewise resulted in a threefold
division. This second stage finds varied expression in _Reflexionen_,
ii. 483, 522, 528, 556-63. These, in so far as they agree, distinguish
three classes of categories--of thesis, of analysis, and of synthesis.
The first covers the categories of quality and modality, the second
those of quantity, the third those of relation.

_Reflexionen_, ii. 528 is as follows:

  [Thesis = ]    “The metaphysical concepts are, first, absolute:
                     possibility and existence; secondly, relative:
                (_a_) Unity and plurality: _omnitudo_ and _particularitas_.

  [Analysis = ] (_b_) Limits: the first, the last: _infinitum_, _finitum_.
                    [Anticipates the later category of limitation.]

                 (_c_) Connection: co-ordination: whole and part
  [Synthesis = ]     [anticipates the later category of reciprocity],
                     simple and compound; subordination:
                      (1) Subject and predicate.
                      (2) Ground and consequence.

This, and the connected _Reflexionen_ enumerated above, are of interest
as proving that Kant’s table of categories was in all essentials
complete before the idea had occurred to him of further systematising it
or of guaranteeing its completeness by reference to the logical
classification of the forms of judgment. They also justify us in the
belief that when Kant set himself to discover such a unifying principle
the above list of categories and the existing logical classifications
must have mutually influenced one another, each undergoing such
modification as seemed necessary to render the parallelism complete.
This, as we shall find, is what actually happened. The logical table,
for instance, induced Kant to distinguish the categories of quality from
those of modality, while numerous changes were made in the logical table
itself in order that it might yield the categories required.

But the most important alteration, the introduction of the threefold
division of each sub-heading, is not thus explicable, as exclusively due
to one or other of the two factors. The adoption of this threefold
arrangement in place of the dichotomous divisions of the logical
classification and of the haphazard enumerations of Kant’s own previous
lists, seems to be due to the twofold circumstance that he had already
distinguished three categories of synthesis or relation (always the most
important for Kant), and that this sufficiently harmonised with the
logical distinction between categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive
judgments. He then sought to modify the logical divisions by addition in
each case of a third, and finding that this helped him to obtain the
categories required, the threefold division became for him (as it
remained for Hegel) an almost mystical dogma of transcendental
philosophy.[701] In so far as it involved recognition that the hard and
fast opposites of the traditional logic (such as the universal and the
particular, the affirmative and the negative) are really aspects
inseparably involved in every judgment and in all existence, it
constituted an advance in the direction both of a deeper rationalism and
of a more genuine empiricism. But in so far as it was due to the desire
to guarantee completeness on _a priori_ grounds, and so was inspired by
a persistent overestimate of our _a priori_ powers, it has been
decidedly harmful. Much of the useless “architectonic” of the _Critique_
is due to this scholastic prejudice.

This fundamental alteration in the table of logical judgments is
introduced with the naive assertion that “varieties of thought in
judgments,” unimportant in general logic, “may be of importance in the
field of its pure _a priori_ knowledge.” In the _Critique of
Judgment_[702] we find the following passage:

     “It has been made a difficulty that my divisions in pure philosophy
     have almost always been threefold. But this lies in the nature of
     the case. If an _a priori_ division is to be made, it must be
     either analytic, according to the principle of contradiction, and
     then it is always twofold (_quodlibet ens est aut A aut non A_); or
     else synthetic. And if in this latter case it is derived from _a
     priori_ concepts (not as in mathematics from the _a priori_
     intuition corresponding to the concept) the division must
     necessarily be a trichotomy. For according to what is requisite for
     synthetic unity in general, there must be (1) a condition, (2) a
     conditioned, and (3) the concept which arises from the union of
     these two.”

The last stage, as expressed in the _Critique_, was, as we have already
noted, merely an application of his earlier position that all thinking
is judging. This appreciation of the inseparable connection of the
categories with the act of judging is sound in principle, and is
pregnant with many of the most valuable results of the Critical
teaching. But these fruitful consequences follow only upon the lines
developed in the _transcendental_ deduction. They are bound up with
Kant’s fundamental Copernican discovery that the categories are forms of
_synthesis_, and accordingly express _functions_ or _relations_. The
categories can no longer be viewed, in the manner of the
_Dissertation_,[703] as yielding concepts of _objects_. The view of the
concept which we find in the _Dissertation_ is, indeed, applied in the
_Critique_ to space and time--they are taken as in themselves
intuitions, not as merely _forms_ of intuition--but the categories are
recognised as being of an altogether relational character. Though _a
priori_, they are not, in and by themselves, complete objects of
consciousness, and accordingly can reveal no object. They are
_functions_, not _contents_. That, however, is to anticipate. We must
first discharge, as briefly as possible, the ungrateful task of dwelling
further upon the laboured, arbitrary, and self-contradictory character
of the detailed working out of the metaphysical deduction. The deduction
is given in Sections II. and III.

=Section II. The Logical Function of the Understanding in
Judgment.=[704]--Kant’s introductory statement may here be noted. If, he
says, we leave out of consideration the content of any judgment, and
attend only to the mere form, we “find” that the function of thought in
a judgment “can” be brought under four heads, each with three
subdivisions. But Kant himself, in this same section, recognises in the
frankest and most explicit manner, that the necessary distinctions are
only to be obtained by taking account of the matter as well as of the
form of judgments. And even after this contradiction is discounted, the
term “find” may be allowed as legitimate only if the word “can” is
correspondingly emphasised. The distinctions were not derived from any
existing logic. They were reached only by the freest possible handling
of the classifications currently employed. Examination of the table of
judgments, and comparison of it with the table of categories, supply
conclusive evidence that the former has been rearranged, in highly
artificial fashion, so as to yield a more or less predetermined list of
required categories.

=1. Quantity.=--Kant here frankly departs from the classification of
judgments followed in formal logic; and the reason which he gives for so
doing is in direct contradiction to his demand that only the form of
judgment must be taken into account. The “quantity of knowledge” here
referred to is determinable, not from the form, but only from the
content of the judgment. Also, the statement that the singular judgment
stands to the universal as unity to infinity (_Unendlichkeit_) is
decidedly open to question. The universal is itself a form of unity, as
Kant virtually admits in deriving, as he does, the category of unity
from the universal judgment.

=2. Quality.=--Kant makes a similar modification in the logical treatment
of quality, by distinguishing between affirmative and infinite
judgments. The proposition, A is not-B, is to be viewed as neither
affirmative nor negative. As the _content_ of the predicate includes the
infinite number of things that are not-B, the judgment is infinite.
Kant, in a very artificial and somewhat arbitrary manner, contrives to
define it as limitative in character, and so as sharing simultaneously
in the nature both of affirmation and of negation. The way is thus
prepared for the “discovery” of the category of limitation.

=3. Relation.=--Wolff, Baumgarten, Meier, Baumeister, Reimarus, and
Lambert, with very minor differences, agree in the following

           {Simple = Categorical
  Judgments{         {Copulative (_i.e._ categorical with more
           {         {than one subject or more than one
           {Complex  {predicate).

Kant omits the copulative judgment, and by ignoring the distinction
between simple and complex judgments (which in Reimarus, and also less
definitely in Wolff, is connected with the distinction between
conditional and unconditional judgments) contrives to bring the
remaining three types of judgment under the new heading of “relation.”
They had never before been thus co-ordinated, and had never before been
subsumed under this particular title. It is by no means clear why such
distinctions as those between simple and complex, conditioned and
unconditioned, should be ignored, and why the copulative judgment should
not be recognised as well as the hypothetical. Kant’s criterion of
importance and unimportance in the distinctions employed by the
logicians of his day was wholly personal to himself; and, though hard to
define, was certainly not dictated by any logic that is traceable to
Aristotelian sources. His exposition is throughout controlled by
foreknowledge of the particular categories which he desires to

=4. Modality.=--Neither Wolff nor Reimarus gives any account of
modality.[706] Baumgarten classifies judgments as pure or modal
(existing in _four_ forms, necessity, contingency, possibility,
impossibility). Baumeister and Thomasius also recognise four forms of
modality. Meier distinguishes between pure judgment (_judicium purum_)
and impure judgment (_judicium modale_, _modificatum_, _complexum qua
copula_), but does not classify the forms of modality. Lambert
alone[707] classifies judgments as “possible, actual (_wirklich_),
necessary, and their opposite.” But when Kant adopts this threefold
division, the inclusion of actuality renders the general title
“modality” inapplicable in its traditional sense. The expression of
actuality in the assertoric judgment involves no adverbial modification
of the predicate. Also, in its “affirmative” and “categorical” forms it
has already been made to yield two other categories.

Kant speaks of the problematic, the assertoric, and the apodictic forms
of judgment as representing the stages through which knowledge passes in
the process of its development.

     “These three functions of modality are so many momenta of thought
     in general.”

This statement has been eulogised by Caird,[708] as being an
anticipation of the Hegelian dialectic. As a matter of fact, Kant’s
remark is irrelevant and misleading. The advance from consciousness of
the problematic, through determination of it as actual to its
explanation as necessary, represents only a psychological order in the
mind of the individual. Logically, knowledge of the possible rests on
and implies prior knowledge of the actual and of the necessities that
constitute the actual.[709]

=Section III.[710] The Categories or Pure Concepts of the
Understanding.=--The first three pages of this section, beginning
“General logic abstracts,” and concluding with the word “rest on the
understanding,” would seem to be a later interpolation. Embodying, as
they do, some of the fundamental ideas of the transcendental deduction,
they express Kant’s final method of distinguishing between general and
transcendental logic. But they are none the less out of harmony with the
other sections of the metaphysical deduction. They are of the nature of
an after-thought, even though that afterthought represents a more mature
and adequate standpoint. In A 55-7, where Kant defines the distinction
between general and transcendental logic, the latter is formulated in
entire independence of all reference to pure intuition.[711] Kant,
indeed, argues[712] that just as there are both pure and empirical
intuitions, so there are both pure and empirical concepts. But there is
no indication that he has yet realised the close interdependence of the
two types of _a priori_ elements. Even when he proceeds in A 62 to
remark that the empirical employment of pure concepts is conditioned by
the fact that objects are given in intuition, no special reference is
made to “the manifold of pure _a priori_ intuition.” Now, however, Kant
emphasises, as the fundamental characteristic of transcendental logic,
its possession of a pure manifold through reference to which its pure
concepts gain meaning. Thus not only does transcendental logic not
abstract from the pure _a priori_ concepts, it likewise possesses an _a
priori_ material.[713] It is in this twofold manner that it is now
regarded as differing from formal logic.

The accounts given of the metaphysical deduction by Cohen,[714]
Caird,[715] Riehl,[716] and Watson[717] are vitiated by failure to
remark that this latter standpoint is a late development, and is out of
keeping with the rest of the deduction. Riehl’s exposition has, however,
the merit of comparative consistency. He explicitly recognises the
important consequence which at once follows from acceptance of this
later view, namely, that it is by their implying space and time that the
categories differ from the notions which determine the forms of
judgment; in other words, that the _categories are actualised only as
schemata_. The category of substance, for instance, differs from the
merely logical notion of a propositional subject, in being the concept
of that which is _always_ a subject, and _never_ a predicate; and such a
conception has specific meaning for us only as the _permanent in time_.
Logical subjects and predicates, quantitative relations apart, are
interchangeable. The relation between them is the analytic relation of
identity. The concept of subject, on the other hand, transcendentally
viewed, that is, as a _category_, is the apprehension of what is
_permanent_, in synthetic distinction from, and relation to, its
changing attributes. In other words, the transcendental distinction
between _substance_ and _accidents_ is substituted for that of _subject_
and _predicate_. Similarly the logical relation of _ground_ and
_consequence_, conceived as expressive of logical identity, gives way to
the synthetic temporal relation of _cause_ and _effect_. And so with all
the other pure forms. As categories, they are schemata. Kant has
_virtually_ recognised this by the names which he gives to the
categories of relation. But the proper recognition of the necessary
interdependence of the intuitional and conceptual forms came too late to
prevent him from distinguishing between categories and schemata, and so
from creating for himself the artificial difficulties of the section on

In A 82 Kant states that he intentionally omits definitions of the
categories. He had good reason for so doing. The attempt would have
landed him in manifold difficulties, since his views were not yet
sufficiently ripe to allow of his perceiving the way of escape. In A 241
(omitted in second edition) Kant makes, however, the directly counter
statement that definition of the categories is not possible, giving as
his reason that, in isolation from the conditions of sensibility, they
are merely logical functions, “without the slightest indication as to
how they can possess meaning and objective validity.”[718]

It cannot be too often repeated that the _Critique_ is not a unitary
work, but the patchwork record of twelve years of continuous
development. Certain portions of the transcendental deduction, of which
A 76-9 is one, represent the latest of all the many stages; and their
teaching, when accepted, calls for a radical recasting of the
metaphysical deduction. The bringing of the entire _Critique_ into line
with its maturest parts would have been an Herculean task; and it was
one to which Kant, then fifty-seven years of age, was very rightly
unwilling to sacrifice the time urgently needed for the writing of his
other _Critiques_. The passage before us is one of the many
interpolations by which Kant endeavoured to give an external unity to
what, on close study, is found to be the plain record of successive and
conflicting views. Meantime, in dealing with this passage, we are
concerned only to note that if this later mode of defining
transcendental logic be accepted, far-reaching modifications in Kant’s
Critical teaching have to be made. The other points developed in A 76-9
we discuss below[719] in their proper connection.

=The same Function, etc.=[720]--This passage has already been sufficiently
commented upon.[721] Kant here expresses in quite inadequate fashion the
standpoint of the transcendental deduction. The implication is that
analytic and synthetic thinking are co-ordinate, one and the same
faculty exercising, on these two levels, the same operations. The true
Critical teaching is that synthetic thinking is alone fundamental, and
that only by a regress upon it can judgments be adequately accounted
for. This passage, like the preceding, may be of later origin than the
main sections of the metaphysical deduction.

=Term “Categories”[722] borrowed from Aristotle.=--Cf. below, p. 198.

=Table of Categories. Quantity.=--Kant derives the category of unity from
the universal,[723] and that of totality (_Allheit_)[724] from the
singular. These derivations are extremely artificial. In _Reflexionen_,
ii. 563, Kant takes the more natural line of identifying totality with
the universal, and unity with the singular. Probably[725] the reason of
Kant’s change of view is the necessity of obtaining totality by
combining unity with multiplicity. That can only be done if universality
is thus equated with unity. Watson’s explanation,[726] that Kant has
reversed the order of the categories, seems to be erroneous.

=Quality.=--Cf. above, p. 192.

=Relation.=--The correlation of the categorical judgment with the
conception of substance and attribute is only possible[727] owing to
Kant’s neglect of the relational judgment and to the dominance in his
logical teaching of the Aristotelian substance-attribute view of
predication. The correlation is also open to question in that the
relation of subject and predicate terms in a logical judgment is a
reversible one. It is a long step from the merely grammatical subject to
the conception of that which is always a subject and never a predicate.

Kant’s identification of the category of community or reciprocity with
the disjunctive judgment, though at first sight the most arbitrary of
all, is not more so than many of the others. Its essential correctness
has been insisted upon in recent logic by Sigwart, Bradley, and
Bosanquet. In Kant’s own personal view[728] co-ordination in the form of
co-existence is only possible through reciprocal interaction. The
relation of whole and part (the parts in their relations of reciprocal
exclusion exhausting and constituting a genuine whole) thus becomes, in
its application to actual existences, that of reciprocal causation. The
reverse likewise holds; interaction is only possible between existences
which together constitute a unity.[729] Kant returns to this point in
_Note_ 3, added in the second edition.[730] The objection which Kant
there considers has been very pointedly stated by Schopenhauer.

     “What real analogy is there between the problematical determination
     of a concept by disjunctive predicates and the thought of
     reciprocity? The two are indeed absolutely opposed, for in the
     disjunctive judgment the actual affirmation of one of the two
     alternative propositions is also necessarily the negation of the
     other; if, on the other hand, we think of two things in the
     relation of reciprocity, the affirmation of one is also necessarily
     the affirmation of the other, and _vice versa_.”[731]

The answer to this criticism is on the lines suggested by Kant. The
various judgments which constitute a disjunction do not, _when viewed as
parts of the disjunction_, merely negate one another; they mutually
presuppose one another in the total complex. Schopenhauer also fails to
observe that in locating the part of a real whole in one part of space,
we exclude it from all the others.[732]

=Modality.=--The existence of separate categories of modality seems
highly doubtful. The concepts of the possible and of the probable may be
viewed as derivative; the notion of existence does not seem to differ
from that of reality; and necessity seems in ultimate analysis to reduce
to the concept of ground and consequence. These are points which will be
discussed later.[733]

Aristotle’s ten categories[734] are enumerated by Kant in _Reflexionen_,
ii. 522,[735] as: (1) _substantia_, _accidens_, (2) _qualitas_, (3)
_quantitas_, (4) _relatio_, (5) _actio_, (6) _passio_, (7) _quando_, (8)
_ubi_, (9) _situs_, (10) _habitus_; and the five post-predicaments as:
_oppositum_, _prius_, _simul_, _motus_, _habere_. Eliminating _quando_,
_ubi_, _situs_, _prius_, and _simul_ as being modes of sensibility;
_actio_ and _passio_ as being complex and derivative; and also omitting
_habitus_ (condition) and _habere_, as being too general and indefinite
in meaning to constitute separate categories; we are then left with
_substantia_, _qualitas_, _quantitas_, _relatio_, and _oppositum_. The
most serious defect in this reduced list, from the Kantian point of
view, is its omission of causality. It is, however, a curious
coincidence that when substance is taken as a form of _relatio_, and
_oppositum_ as a form of quality, we are left with the three groups,
quality, quantity, relation. Only modality is lacking to complete Kant’s
own fourfold grouping. None the less, as the study of Kant’s
_Reflexionen_ sufficiently proves,[736] it was by an entirely different
route that Kant travelled to his metaphysical deduction. Watson does not
seem to have any ground for his contention[737] that the above modified
list of Aristotle’s categories “gave Kant his starting-point.” It was
there indeed, as the reference to Aristotle in his letter of 1772 to
Herz shows, that he first looked for assistance, only, however, to be
disappointed in his expectations.

=Derivative concepts.=[738]--Cf. above, pp. 66, 71-2.

=I reserve this task for another occasion.=[739]--Cf. A 204 = B 249; A 13;
above, p. 66 ff., and below, pp. 379-80.

=Definitions of categories omitted.=[740]--Cf. above, pp. 195-6, and A 241
there cited; also below, pp. 339-42, 404-5.

=Note 1.=[741]--On this distinction between mathematical and dynamical
categories cf. below, pp. 345-7, 510-11.

=Note 2.=[742]--This remark is inserted to meet a criticism which had been
made by Johann Schulze,[743] and to which Kant in February 1784 had
replied in terms almost identical with those of the present passage.

     “The third category certainly springs from the connection of the
     first and second, not, indeed, from their mere combination, but
     from a connection the possibility of which constitutes a concept
     that is a special category. For this reason the third category may
     not be applicable in instances in which the other two apply: _e.g._
     _one_ year, _many_ years of future time, are real concepts, but the
     _totality_ of future years, that is, the collective unity of a
     future eternity, conceived as entire (so to say, as completed), is
     something that cannot be thought. But even in those cases in which
     the third category is applicable, it always contains something more
     than the first and the second taken separately and together, namely
     the _derivation_ of the second from the first, a process which is
     not always practicable. Necessity, for example, is nothing else
     than existence, _in so far as_ it can be inferred from possibility.
     Community is the reciprocal _causality_ of _substances_ in respect
     of their determinations. But that determinations of one substance
     can be produced by another substance, is something that we may not
     simply assume; it is one of those connections without which there
     could be no reciprocal relation of things in space, and therefore
     no outer experience. In a word, I find that just as the conclusion
     of a syllogism indicates, in addition to the operations of
     understanding and judgment in the premisses, _a special operation
     peculiar to reason_ ..., so also the third category is a special,
     and in part original, concept. For instance, the concepts,
     _quantum_, _compositum_, _totum_, come under the categories unity,
     plurality, totality, but a _quantum_ thought as _compositum_ would
     not yield the concept of totality unless the concept of the
     _quantum_ is thought as determinable through the _composition_, and
     in certain _quanta_, such as infinite space, that cannot be

Kant’s assertion that in certain cases the third category is not
applicable is misleading. His proof of the validity of the category of
reciprocity in the third _Analogy_ really consists in showing that it is
necessary to the apprehension of spatial co-existence;[745] and if, as
Kant maintains, consciousness of space is necessary to consciousness of
time, it is thereby proved to be involved in each and every act of
consciousness. It is presupposed in the apprehension even of substantial
existence and of causal sequence. His proof that it is a unique
category, distinct from the mere combination of the categories of
substance and causality, does not, therefore, assume what his words in
the above letter would seem to imply, that it is only occasionally
employed. The same remark holds in regard to totality; it is presupposed
even in the apprehension of a single year. Kant’s references, both here
and in other parts of the _Critique_,[746] to totality in its bearing
upon the conception of infinitude, reveal considerable lack of
clearness as to the relation in which it stands to the Idea of the
unconditioned. Sometimes, as in this letter, he would seem to be
identifying them; elsewhere this confusion is avoided. In B 111 totality
is defined as multiplicity regarded as unity, and in A 142-3 = B 182 its
schema is defined as number. (The identification of totality with number
has led Kant to say in B 111 that number is not applicable in the
representation of the infinite, a much more questionable assertion than
that of the letter above quoted.) The statement that necessity is
existence in so far as it can be inferred from possibility, or that it
is existence given through possibility, is similarly misleading. Kant’s
true position is that all three are necessary to the conception of any
one of the three.

Thus Kant’s reply to Schulze, alike in his letter and in _Note 2_, fails
to indicate with any real adequacy the true bearing of Critical teaching
in this matter; and consequently fails to reveal the full force of his
position. Only in terms of totality can unity and plurality be
apprehended; only through the reciprocal relations which determine
co-existence can we acquire consciousness of either permanence or
sequence; only in terms of necessity can either existence or possibility
be defined. The third category is not derived from a prior knowledge of
the subordinate categories. It represents in each case a higher complex
within which alone the simpler relations defined by the simpler concepts
can exist or have meaning.

=B 113-16, § 12.=--This section, of no intrinsic importance, is an example
of Kant’s loving devotion to this “architectonic.” His reasoning is
extremely artificial, especially in its attempt to connect “unity,
truth, and perfection” with the three categories of quantity. The
_Reflexionen_ show how greatly Kant was preoccupied with these three
concepts, seeking either to base a table of categories upon them (B.
Erdmann’s interpretation), or to reduce them to categories (Adickes’
interpretation). For some time Kant himself ranked with those who[747]
“incautiously made these criteria of thought to be properties of the
things in themselves.” In _Reflexionen_, ii. 903,[748] we find the
following statement: “Unity (connection, agreement), truth (quality),
completeness (quantity).” In ii. 916[749] Kant makes trial to connect
them, as conceptions of possibility, with the categories of relation. In
ii. 911 and 912 the later view, that they are logical in character and
function, appears, but leads to their being set in relation to the three
faculties of understanding, judgment, and reason. This is conjectured
by B. Erdmann to have been Kant’s view at the time of the first edition.
ii. 915, 919, 920 present the view expounded in the section before
us.[750] Erdmann[751] remarks that in this section Kant “is settling
accounts with certain thoughts which in the ’seventies had yielded
suggestions for the transformation of ontology into the transcendental



=First edition Subjective and Objective Deductions.=--In dealing with the
transcendental deduction, as given in the first edition, we can make use
of the masterly and convincing analysis which Vaihinger[752] (building
upon Adickes’ previous results, but developing an independent and quite
original interpretation) has given of its inconsecutive and strangely
bewildering argumentation. Vaihinger’s analysis is an excellent example
of detective genius in the field of scholarship. From internal evidence,
circumstantially supported by the _Reflexionen_ and _Lose Blätter_, he
is able to prove that the deduction is composed of manuscripts,
externally pieced together, and representing no less than four distinct
stages in the slow and gradual development of Kant’s views. Like
geological deposits, they remain to record the processes by which the
final result has come to be. Though they do not in their present setting
represent the correct chronological order, that may be determined once
the proper clues to their disentanglement have been duly discovered.
That discovery is itself, however, no easy task; for the unexpected,
while lending colour and incident to the commentator’s enterprise,
baffles his natural expectations at every turn. The first stage is one
in which Kant _dispenses_ with the categories, and in which, when they
are referred to, they are taken as applying _to things in themselves_.
The last stage, worked out, as there is ground for believing, in the
haste and excitement of the final revision, is not represented in the
_Prolegomena_ or in the second edition of the _Critique_, the author
retracing his steps and resuming the standpoint of the stage which
preceded it. The fortunate accident of Kant’s having jotted down upon
the back of a dated paper the record of his passing thought (one of the
few _Lose Blätter_ that are thus datable) is the culminating incident in
this philosophical drama. It felicitously serves as a keystone in the
body of evidence supported by general reasoning.

Before becoming acquainted with Vaihinger’s analysis I had observed
Kant’s ascription to empirical concepts of the functions elsewhere
allotted to the categories, but had been hopelessly puzzled as to how
such teaching could be fitted into his general system. Vaihinger’s view
of it as a pre-Critical survival would seem to be the only possible
satisfactory solution. For the view which I have taken of Kant’s
doctrine of the transcendental object as also pre-Critical, and for its
employment as a clue to the dating of passages, I am myself alone

The order of my exposition will be as follows:[753]

I. Enumeration, in chronological order, of the four stages which compose
the deduction of the first edition, and citation of the passages which
represent each separate stage.

II. Detailed analysis, again in chronological order, of each successive
stage, with exposition of the views which it embodies.

III. Examination of the evidence yielded by the _Reflexionen_ and _Lose
Blätter_ in support of the above analysis.

IV. Connected statement and discussion of the total argument of the

=I. Enumeration of the Four Stages=

OF THE CATEGORIES.--This stage is represented by[754]: (_a_) II. 3 (from
beginning of the third paragraph to end of 3) = A 104-10; (_b_) I. § 13
(the entire section) = A 84-92 (retained in second edition as B 116-24).
_a_ discusses the problem of the reference of sensations to an object,
_b_ that of the objective validity of the categories. _b_ is therefore
transitional to the second stage.

PRODUCTIVE IMAGINATION.--This stage is represented by: (_a_) I. [§ 14]
(with the exception of its concluding paragraph) = A 92-4 (retained in
second edition as B 124-7); (_b_) II. (the first four paragraphs) = A
95-7; (_c_) II. 4 (the entire section) = A 110-14.

(_a_) III. β (from beginning of seventh paragraph to end of
twelfth) = A 119-23; (_b_) III. α (from beginning of third
paragraph to end of sixth) = A 116-19; (_c_) I. § 14 (Concluding
paragraph) = A 94-5; (_d_) III. δ (from beginning of sixteenth
paragraph to end of section preceding summary) = A 126-8; (_e_)
S(ummary) (in conclusion to III.) = A 128-30; (_f_) III. γ (from
beginning of thirteenth paragraph to end of fifteenth) = A 123-6; (_g_)
I(ntroduction) (from beginning of section to end of second paragraph) =
A 115-16; (_h_) § 10 T(ransitional to the fourth stage) = A 76-9
(retained as B 102-4).

stage is represented by: (_a_) II. 1-3 (from opening of 1 to end of
second paragraph in 3) = A 98-104; (_b_) II. (the two paragraphs
immediately preceding _a_) = A 97-8.

=II. Detailed Analysis of the Four Stages=

=First Stage.=--A 104-10; A 84-92 (B 116-24).

=A 104-10=; II. § 3.--This is the one passage in the _Critique_ in which
Kant explicitly defines his doctrine of the “transcendental object”; and
careful examination of the text shows that by it he means the _thing in
itself_, conceived as being the object of our representations. Such
teaching is, of course, thoroughly un-Critical; and as I shall try to
show, this was very early realised by Kant himself. The passages in
which the phrase “transcendental object” occurs are, like the section
before us, in every instance of early origin. It is significant that the
transcendental object is not again referred to in the deduction of the
first edition.[755] Though it reappears in the chapter on phenomena and
noumena, it does so in a passage which Kant excised in the second
edition. The paragraphs which he then substituted make no mention of it.
The doctrine is of frequent occurrence in the _Dialectic_, and combines
with other independent evidence to show that the larger part of the
_Dialectic_ is of early origin. That the doctrine of the transcendental
object is thus a pre-Critical or semi-Critical survival has, so far as I
am aware, not hitherto been observed by any writer upon Kant. It has
invariably been interpreted in the light of the sections in which it
does not occur, and, as thus toned down and tempered to something
altogether different from what it really stands for, has been taken as
an essential and characteristic tenet of the Critical philosophy. It was
in the course of an attempt to interpret Kant’s entire argument in the
light of his doctrine of the transcendental object that I first came to
detect its absence from all his later utterances. But it is important to
recognise that the difficulties which would result from its retention
are quite insuperable, and would by themselves, even in the absence of
all external evidence of Kant’s rejection of it, compel us to regard it
as a survival of pre-Critical thinking. As Vaihinger does not seem to
have detected the un-Critical character of this doctrine, it is the more
significant that he should, on other grounds, have felt constrained to
regard the passage in which it is expounded as embodying the earliest
stage in the development of the deduction. He would seem to continue in
the orthodox view so far as to hold that though the doctrine of the
transcendental object is here stated in pre-Critical terms, it was
permanently retained by Kant in altered form.

The doctrine of the transcendental object, as here expounded, is as

     “Appearances are themselves nothing but sensuous representations
     which must not be taken as capable of existing in themselves (_an
     sich_) with exactly the same character (_in ebenderselben Art_)
     outside our power of representation.”[756]

These sense-representations are our only possible representations, and
when we speak of an object corresponding to them, we must be conceiving
an object in general, equal to _x_.

     “They have their object, but an object which can never be intuited
     by us, and which may therefore be named the non-empirical, _i.e._
     transcendental object = _x_.”[757]

This object is conceived as being that which prevents our
representations from occurring at haphazard, necessitating their order
in such manner that, manifold and varied as they may be, they can yet be
self-consistent in their several groupings, and so possess that unity
which is essential to the concept of an object.

     “The pure concept of this transcendental object, which in fact
     throughout all our knowledge is always one and the same, is that
     which can alone confer upon all our empirical concepts relation in
     general to an object, _i.e._ objective reality.”[758]

What renders this doctrine impossible of permanent retention was that it
allowed of no objective existence mediate between the merely subjective
and the thing in itself. On such teaching there is no room for the
empirical object; and immediately upon the recognition of that latter
phenomenal form of existence in space, Kant was constrained to recognise
that it is in the empirical object, not in the thing in itself, that the
contents of our representations are grounded and unified. Any other view
must involve the application of the categories, especially those of
substance and causality, to the thing in itself. The entire empirical
world has still to be conceived as grounded in the non-empirical, but
that is a very different contention from the thesis that the thing in
itself is the object and the sole object of our representations. The
doctrine of the transcendental object has thus a twofold defect: it
advocates an extreme subjectivism, and yet at the same time applies the
categories to the thing in itself.

But the latter consequence is one which could not, at the stage
represented by this section, be appreciated by Kant. For, as we shall
find, he is endeavouring to solve the problem of the reference of
sense-representation to an object without assumption of _a priori_
categories. It is in _empirical_ concepts, conditioned only by a
transcendental apperception, that he professes to discover the grounds
and conditions of this objective reference. Let us follow Kant’s
argument in detail. The section opens[759] with what may be a reference
to the _Aesthetic_, and proceeds to deal with the first of the two
problems cited in the 1772 letter to Herz[760]--how
_sense_-representations stand related to their object. The exact terms
in which this question was there formulated should be noted.

     “I propounded to myself this question: on what ground rests the
     relation of that in us which we name representation (_Vorstellung_)
     to the object. If the representation contains only the mode in
     which the subject is affected by the object, it is easily
     understood how it should accord (_gemäss sei_) with that object as
     an effect with its cause, and how [therefore] this determination of
     our mind should be able to _represent_ something, _i.e._ have an
     object. The passive or sensuous representations have thus a
     comprehensible (_begreifliche_) relation to objects, and the
     principles, which are borrowed from the nature of our soul, have a
     comprehensible validity for all things in so far as they are to be
     objects of the senses.”[761]

Thus in 1772 there was here no real problem for Kant. The assumed fact,
that our representations are generated in us by the action of
independent existences, is taken as sufficient explanation of their
being referred to objects.

The section of the _Critique_ under consideration shows that Kant had
come to realise the inadequacy of this explanation quite early, indeed
prior to his solution of the second and further question which in that
same letter is spoken of as “the key to the whole secret” of
metaphysics. On what grounds, he now asks, is a subjective idea, _even
though it be a sense impression_, capable of yielding consciousness of
an object? In the letter to Herz the use of the term representation
(_Vorstellung_) undoubtedly helped to conceal this problem. It is now
emphasised that appearances are nothing but sense representations, and
must never be regarded as objects capable of existing in themselves,
with exactly the same character, outside our power of representation.
Now also Kant employs, in place of the phrase “in accord with,” the much
more definite term “corresponding to.” He points out that when we speak
of an object _corresponding_ to our knowledge, we imply that it is
distinct from that knowledge. Consciousness of such an object must
therefore be acquired from some other source than the given impressions.
In other words, Kant is now prepared to withdraw his statement that “the
passive or sensuous representations have an [easily] comprehensible
relation to objects.” In and by themselves they are purely subjective,
and can involve no such concept. The latter is a thought (_Gedanke_), a
concept (_Begriff_), additional to, and distinct from, the given
impressions. Its possibility, as regards both origin[762] and validity,
must be “deduced.”

There then results this first and very peculiar form of the
transcendental deduction. That part of it which persists in the
successive stages rests upon an explicitly developed distinction between
empirical and transcendental apperception. Kant teaches, in agreement
with Hume, though, as we may believe, independently of his direct
influence, that there is no single empirical state of the self which is
constant throughout experience.[763]

     “The consciousness of the self, according to the determinations of
     our state in inner perception, is merely empirical, and always in
     process of change.... That which has to be represented as of
     necessity numerically identical cannot be thought as such through
     empirical data. There must be a condition which precedes all
     experience, and renders experience itself possible, if a
     transcendental pre-supposition of this kind is to be rendered
     valid.... This pure, original, unchangeable consciousness I shall
     name transcendental apperception.”[764]

Kant would seem to have first developed this view in a quite crude form.
The consciousness of the self, he seems to have held, consists in its
awareness of its own unceasing activities. As consciousness of
_activity_, it is entirely distinct in nature and in origin from all
apprehension of sense impressions.[765] This teaching is a natural
extension of the doctrine of the _Dissertation_,[766] that such pure
notions as those of possibility, existence, necessity, substance, cause,
are “acquired by attending to the actions of the mind on the occasion of
experience.” Kant would very naturally hold that consciousness of the
identity and unity of the self is obtained in a similar manner. Such,
indeed, is the teaching of the section before us.

     “No knowledge can take place in us ... without that unity of
     consciousness which precedes all data of intuitions, and in
     relation to which all representation of objects is alone
     possible.”[767] “It is precisely this transcendental apperception
     that constructs out of (_macht aus_) all possible appearances,
     which are capable of coexisting in one experience, a connection of
     all these representations according to laws. For this unity of
     consciousness would be impossible if the mind could not become
     conscious, in the knowledge of the manifold, of the identity of the
     function whereby it combines it synthetically in one knowledge.
     Thus the mind’s original and necessary consciousness of the
     identity of itself is at the same time a consciousness of an
     equally necessary unity of the synthesis of all appearances
     according to concepts, _i.e._ according to rules.... For the mind
     could not possibly think the identity of itself in the manifold of
     its representations, and indeed _a priori_, if it did not have
     before its eyes the identity of its action....”[768]

That is to say, the self is the sole source of all unity. As a pure and
original unity it precedes experience; to its synthetic activities all
conceptual unity is due; and by reflection upon the constancy of these
activities it comes to consciousness of its own identity.

     “...even the purest objective unity, namely that of the _a priori_
     concepts (space and time), is possible only through relation of
     the intuitions to [transcendental apperception]. The numerical
     unity of this apperception is therefore the _a priori_ condition of
     all concepts, just as the manifoldness of space and of time is of
     the intuitions of sensibility.”[769]

To this consciousness of the abiding unity of the self Kant also traces
the notion of the transcendental object. The latter, he would seem to
argue, is formed by analogy from the former.

     “This object is nothing else than the subjective representation (of
     the subject) itself, but made general, for I am the original of all
     objects.”[770] “The mind, through its original and underived
     thinking, is itself the pattern (_Urbild_) of such a
     synthesis.”[771] “I would not represent anything as outside me, and
     so make [subjective] appearances into objective experience if the
     representations were not related to something which is parallel to
     my ego, and so in that way referred by me to another subject.”[772]

These quotations from the _Lose Blätter_ would seem to contain the key
to Kant’s extremely enigmatic statement in A 105, that “the unity which
the object makes necessary can be nothing else than the formal unity of
consciousness in its synthesis of the manifold of its representations,”
and again in A 109, that “this relation [of representations to an
object] is nothing else than the necessary unity of consciousness.”[773]

But this does not complete the sum-total of the functions which Kant is
at this stage prepared to assign to apperception. It mediates our
consciousness of the transcendental object in still another manner,
namely, by rendering possible the formation of the _empirical_ concepts
which unify and direct its synthetic activities. This is, indeed, the
feature in which this form of the deduction diverges most radically from
all later positions. Space and time are, it would seem, regarded as
being the sole _a priori_ concepts.[774] The instruments through which
the unity of apperception acts, and through which the thought of an
object becomes possible, are _empirical_ concepts. Such general concepts
as “body” or “triangle” serve as rules constraining the synthetic
processes of apprehension and reproduction to take place in such
unitary fashion as is required for unitary consciousness. The notion of
objectivity is specified in terms of the necessities which these
empirical concepts thus impose.

     “We think a triangle as object in so far as we are conscious of the
     combination of three straight lines according to a rule by which
     such an intuition can at all times be generated. This unity of rule
     determines the whole manifold and limits it to conditions which
     make the unity of apperception possible; and the concept of this
     unity [of rule] is the representation of the object.... All
     knowledge demands a concept, ... and a concept is always, as
     regards its form, something general, something that serves as a
     rule. Thus the concept of body serves as a rule to our knowledge of
     outer appearances, in accordance with the unity of the manifold
     which is thought through it.... The concept of body necessitates
... the representation of extension, and therewith of
     impenetrability, shape, etc.”[775]

Such is the manner in which Kant accounts for our concept of the
transcendental object. It consists of two main elements: first, the
notion of an unknown _x_, to which representations may be referred; and
secondly, the consciousness of this _x_ as exercising compulsion upon
the order of our thinking. The former notion is framed on the pattern of
the transcendental subject; it is conceived as another but unknown
subject. The consciousness of it as a source of external necessity is
mediated by the empirical concepts which transcendental apperception
also makes possible. And from this explanation of the _origin_ of the
concept of the transcendental object Kant derives the proof of its
_validity_.[776] It is indispensable for the realisation by the unitary
self of a unitary consciousness.

     “This relation [of representations to an object] is nothing else
     than the necessary unity of consciousness, and therefore also of
     the synthesis of the manifold, by a common (_gemeinschaftlich_)
     functioning of the mind, which unites it in one

Through instruments empirical in origin, and subjectively necessary, the
notion of an objective necessity is rendered possible to the mind.

It is not surprising that Kant did not permanently hold to this view of
the empirical concept. The objections are obvious. Such a view of the
function of general concepts renders unintelligible their own first
formation. For as they are empirical, they can only be acquired by
conscious processes that do not involve them. That is to say,
consciousness of objects follows upon a prior consciousness in and
through which concepts, such as that of body, are discovered and formed.
Yet, as the argument claims, general concepts are the indispensable
conditions of unitary consciousness. How through a consciousness that is
not yet unified can general concepts be formed? Also it is difficult to
see how empirical concepts can be viewed as directly conditioned by, and
as immediately due to, anything so general as pure apperception. These
objections Kant must have come very quickly to recognise. This was the
first part of his teaching to be modified. In the immediately succeeding
stage,[778] so far as the stages can be reconstructed from the survivals
in the _Critique_, the empirical concepts are displaced once and for all
by the _a priori_ categories.

The only sentences which can be regarded as possibly conflicting with
the above interpretation are those two (in the second last and in the
last paragraphs) in which the phrase “rules _a priori_” occurs. Even
granting (what is at least questionable as regards the first) that the
words are meant to be taken together, it does not follow that Kant is
here speaking of categories. For contrary to his usual teaching he
speaks of the concept of body as a source of necessity. If so, it may
well, with equal looseness, be spoken of as _a priori_. That is indeed
done, by implication, in the second and third paragraphs, where he
speaks of a rule (referring to “body and triangle”) as making the
synthesis of reproduction “_a priori_ necessary.” Such assertions are
completely inconsistent with Kant’s Critical teaching, but so is the
entire section.

The setting in which the passage before us occurs has its own special
interest.[779] When Kant, as it would seem, on the very eve of the
publication of the _Critique_, developed the doctrine of a threefold
synthesis culminating in a “synthesis of recognition in the concept,” he
must have bethought himself of this earlier position, and have completed
his subjective deduction by incorporation, probably with occasional
alterations of phrasing, of the older manuscript. This procedure has
bewildered even the most discerning among Kant’s readers; but now,
thanks to Vaihinger’s convincing analysis, it may be welcomed as of
illuminating interest in the historical study of Kant’s development.

I may here draw attention to the two important respects in which the
positions revealed in this section continued to influence Kant’s later
teaching: namely, in the emphasis laid upon the transcendental unity of
apperception, and in the view of objectivity as involving the thought of
the thing in itself.

The excessive emphasis which in this first stage is laid upon the
transcendental unity of apperception persists throughout the later forms
of the deduction, and, as I shall try to show, does so to the detriment
of the argument. Though its functions are considerably diminished, they
are still exaggerated; this is perhaps in part due to its having been in
this early stage regarded as in and by itself the sole ultimate ground
of unitary experience. There were, however, two other influences at
work. Kant continued to employ the terminology of his earlier view, and
in his less watchful moments was betrayed thereby into conflict with his
considered teaching. But even more important was the influence of his
personal convictions. He was irrevocably committed in his own private
thinking to a belief in the spiritual and abiding character of the self;
and this belief frequently colours, in illegitimate ways, the expression
of his views. This is especially evident in some of the alterations[780]
of the second edition, written as they were at a time when he was
chiefly preoccupied with moral problems.

As regards the other factor, the view adopted in regard to the nature of
objectivity, there is ample evidence that even after the empirical
concepts had been displaced by the categories Kant still continued for
some time (possibly for several years in the earlier and middle
’seventies) to hold to his doctrine of the transcendental object.
Passages which expound it in this later form occur in the _Note on
Amphiboly_ and throughout the _Dialectic_.[781] That this may not be
taken for his final teaching is equally certain. The entire first layer
of the deduction of the first edition, all the relevant passages in the
chapter on phenomena and noumena, and some of those in the _Dialectic_,
were omitted in the second edition; and nowhere, either in the other
portions of the deduction of the first edition, or in the deduction of
the second edition, or in any passages added elsewhere in the second
edition, is such teaching to be found.

A brief statement of Kant’s doctrine of the transcendental object _in
its later form_ seems advisable at this point; it is required in order
to complete and to confirm the interpretation which I have given of the
earlier exposition. At the same time I shall endeavour to show that the
sections in which the doctrine occurs, though later than the first layer
of the deduction of the first edition, are all of comparatively early
origin, and that they reveal not the least trace of Kant’s more mature,
phenomenalist view of the empirical world in space.

We may begin with the passages in the chapter on phenomena and noumena.
The meaning in which the term transcendental is employed is there made
sufficiently clear.

     “The transcendental employment of a concept in any principle
     consists in its being referred to things _in general and in

That is to say, the term transcendental, as used in the phrase
transcendental object, is not employed in any sense which would oppose
it to the transcendent. In so far as the thought of the thing in itself
is a necessary ingredient in the concept of objectivity, it is a
condition of apperception, and therefore of possible experience; in
other words, _the thought of a transcendent object is one of the
transcendental conditions of our experience_. As Kant is constantly
interchanging the terms transcendent and transcendental, such an
explanation of the phrase is perhaps superfluous; but if any is called
for, the above would seem to suffice. As we shall have occasion to
observe,[783] other factors besides the _a priori_ must be reckoned
among the conditions of experience; and to both types of conditions Kant
applies the epithet transcendental.

In the chapter on phenomena and noumena Kant enquires at considerable
length whether the categories (meaning, of course, the pure forms of
understanding, not their schematised correlates) allow of transcendental
(_i.e._ transcendent) employment. The passages in which this discussion
occurs[784] would seem, however, to be highly composite; many
paragraphs, or portions of paragraphs, are of much later date than
others. We may therefore limit our attention to those in which the
phrase transcendental object is actually employed, _i.e._ to those which
appear only in the first edition.

     “All our representations are referred by the understanding to some
     object; and since appearances are merely representations, the
     understanding refers them to a _something_ as the object of
     sensuous intuition. But this something, thus conceived (_in so
     fern_), is only the transcendental object; and by that is meant a
     something = x, of which we know, and with the present constitution
     of our understanding can know, nothing whatsoever, but which, as a
     correlate of the unity of apperception, can serve only for the
     unity of the manifold in sensuous intuition. By means of this
     unity the understanding combines the manifold into the concept of
     an object. This transcendental object cannot be separated from the
     sense data, for nothing then remains over through which it might be
     thought. Consequently it is not in itself an object of knowledge,
     but only the representation of appearances under the concept of an
     object in general which is determinable through the manifold of
     those appearances. Precisely for this reason also the categories do
     not represent a special object given to the understanding alone,
     but only serve to specify the transcendental object (the concept of
     something in general) through that which is given in sensibility,
     in order thereby to know appearances empirically under concepts of
     objects.”[785] “The object to which I relate appearance in general
     is the transcendental object, _i.e._ the completely indeterminate
     thought of _something_ in general. This cannot be entitled the
     _noumenon_ [_i.e._ the thing in itself more specifically determined
     as being the object of a purely intelligible intuition];[786] for I
     know nothing of what it is in itself, and have no concept of it
     save as the object of a sensuous intuition in general, and so as
     being one and the same for all appearances.”[787]

Otherwise stated, Kant’s teaching is as follows. The thought of the
thing in itself remains altogether indeterminate; it does not _specify_
its object, and therefore yields no knowledge of it; none the less it is
a necessary ingredient in the concept of objectivity as such. The object
as specified in terms of sense is _mere representation_; the object as
genuinely objective can only be thought. The correlate of the unity of
apperception is the thought of the thing in itself. This is what Kant is
really asserting, though in a hesitating manner which would seem to
indicate that he is himself already more or less conscious of its
unsatisfactory and un-Critical character.

The phrase transcendental object occurs once in the second
_Analogy_[788] and twice in the _Note on Amphiboly_.[789] The passage in
the second _Analogy_ may very well, in view of the kind of subjectivism
which it expounds, be of early date of writing. By transcendental object
Kant there quite obviously means the thing in itself. From the first
reference in the _Note on Amphiboly_ no definite conclusions can be
drawn. The argument is too closely bound up with his criticism of
Leibniz to allow of his own independent standpoint being properly
developed. There is, however, nothing in it which compels us to regard
it as of late origin; and quite evidently Kant here means by the
transcendental object the thing in itself. The phrase _substantia
phaenomenon_ is not, as might at first sight seem, equivalent to the
empirical object of Kant’s phenomenalist teaching. It is an adaptation
of Leibnizian phraseology.[790] The second reference in the _Note on
Amphiboly_ occurs in a passage which may perhaps be of later
origin;[791] but the transcendental object is there mentioned only in
order to afford opportunity for the statements that it cannot be thought
through any of the categories, that we are completely ignorant whether
it is within or without us, and whether if sensibility were removed it
would vanish or remain, and that it can therefore serve only as a
limiting concept. We here observe it in the very process of being
eliminated. As we shall find, Kant’s teaching is ill-expressed in the
sections on _Amphiboly_; so much so that they could not be recast
without seriously disturbing the balance of his architectonic. They were
therefore allowed to remain unaltered in the second edition.

We may now pass to the _Dialectic_. The subjectivist doctrine of the
transcendental object is there expressed in a much more uncompromising
manner. Let us first consider the references to the transcendental
object in the _Paralogisms_ and in the subsequent _Reflection_. The
phrase transcendental object occurs twice in the second _Paralogism_,
once in the third, twice in the fourth, and three times in the
_Reflection_;[792] and in all these cases there is not the least
uncertainty as to its denotation. It is taken as equivalent to the thing
in itself, and is expounded as a necessary ingredient in the
consciousness of our subjective representations as noumenally grounded.

     “What matter may be as a thing in itself (transcendental object) is
     completely unknown to us, though, owing to its being represented as
     something external, its permanence as appearance can indeed be
     observed.”[793] “We can indeed admit that something, which may be
     (in the transcendental[794] sense) ‘outside us,’ is the cause of
     our outer intuitions, but this is not the object of which we are
     thinking in the representations of matter and of corporeal things,
     for these are merely appearances, _i.e._ mere kinds of
     representation which are never to be met with save in us, and whose
     actuality depends on immediate consciousness just as does the
     consciousness of my own thoughts. The transcendental object is
     equally unknown in respect to inner and to outer intuition.”[795]

Here Kant at one and the same time distinguishes between, and confounds
together, representation and its empirical object. What is alone clear
is that by the transcendental object he means simply the thing in itself
viewed as the cause of our sensations. In A 358 it is used in a wider
sense as also comprehending the noumenal conditions which underlie the
conscious subject.

     “...this something which underlies the outer appearances and which
     so affects our sense that it obtains the representations of space,
     matter, shape, etc., this something viewed as noumenon (or better
     as transcendental object) might also at the same time be the
     subject that does our thinking....”

Similarly in A 379-80:

     “Though the I, as represented through inner sense in time, and
     objects in space outside me, are specifically quite distinct
     appearances, they are not for that reason thought as being
     different things. Neither the transcendental object which underlies
     outer appearances, nor that which underlies inner intuition, is in
     itself either matter or a thinking being, but is a ground (to us
     unknown) of the appearances which supply to us the empirical
     concepts of the former as well as of the latter kind.”

The references in the _Reflection on the Paralogisms_ are of the same
general character and are equally definite.[796] A 390-1 has special
interest in that it explicitly states that to appearances, taken as Kant
invariably takes them throughout the _Paralogisms_ in the first edition
as mere subjective representations, the category of causality, and
therefore by implication the category of substance, is inapplicable.

     “No one could dream of asserting that that which he has once come
     to recognise as mere representation is an outer cause.”

We may now turn to the passages in the chapter on the _Antinomies_.

     “The non-sensuous cause of our representations is completely
     unknown to us, and therefore we cannot intuit it as object.... We
     may, however, entitle the purely intelligible cause of appearances
     in general the transcendental object.... To this transcendental
     object we can ascribe the whole extent and connection of our
     possible perceptions....”[797]

Appearances can be regarded as real only to the extent to which they are
actually experienced. Otherwise they exist only in some unknown noumenal
form of which we can acquire no definite concept, and which is
therefore really nothing to us. This, Kant declares, is true even of
that immemorial past of which we are ourselves the product.

     “...all the events which have taken place in the immense periods
     that have preceded my own existence mean really nothing but the
     possibility of extending the chain of experience from the present
     perception back to the conditions which determine it in time.”[798]

In other words, we may not claim that such events, empirically
conceived, have ever actually existed in any such empirical form. A
similar interpretation is given to the assertion of the present reality
of what has never been actually experienced.

     “Moreover, in outcome it is a matter of indifference whether I say
     that in the empirical progress in space I can meet with stars a
     hundred times farther removed than the outermost now perceptible to
     me, or whether I say that they are perhaps to be met with in
     cosmical space even though no human being has ever perceived or
     ever will perceive them. For though they might be given as things
     in themselves, without relation to possible experience, they are
     still nothing for me, and therefore are not objects, save in so far
     as they are contained in the series of the empirical regress.”[799]
     “The cause of the empirical conditions of this process, that which
     determines what members I shall meet with and how far by means of
     such members I can carry out the regress, is transcendental and is
     therefore necessarily unknown to me.”[800]

Such is the form in which Kant’s pre-Critical doctrine of the
transcendental object survives in the _Critique_.[801] It contains no
trace of the teaching of the objective deduction of the first and second
edition or of the teaching of the refutation of idealism in the second
edition. It closely resembles Mill’s doctrine of the permanent
possibilities of sensation, and is almost equally subjectivist in
character. As already noted,[802] it also lies open to the further
objection that it involves an illegitimate application of the categories
to things in themselves. As Kant started from the naïve and natural
assumption that reference of representations to objects must be their
reference to things in themselves, he also took over the current
Cartesian view that it is by an inference in terms of the category of
causality that we advance from a representation to its cause. The thing
in itself is regarded as the sole true substance and as the real cause
of everything which happens in the natural world. Appearances, being
representations merely, are wholly transitory and completely
inefficacious. _Not only, therefore, are the categories regarded as
valid of things in themselves, they are also declared to have no
possible application to phenomena._ Sense appearances do not, on this
view, constitute the mechanical world of the natural sciences; they have
a purely subjective, more or less epi-phenomenal, existence in the mind
of each separate observer. It was very gradually, in the process of
developing his own Critical teaching, that Kant came to realise the very
different position to which he was thereby committed. The categories,
including that of causality, are pre-empted for the _empirical_ object
which is now regarded as immediately apprehended; and the function of
mediating the reference of phenomena to things in themselves now falls
to the Ideas of Reason. The distinction between appearance and reality
is no longer that between representations and their noumenal causes, but
between the limited and relative character of the entire world in space
and time and the unconditioned demanded by Reason. But these are
questions whose discussion must meantime be deferred.[803]

I may now briefly summarise the evidence in favour of the view that the
doctrine of the transcendental object is a pre-Critical or semi-Critical
survival and must not be taken as forming part of Kant’s final and
considered position. (I) Of the six sections in which the phrase
transcendental object occurs, three[804] were omitted in the second
edition, and in the passages which were substituted for them it receives
no mention. There are various reasons which can be suggested in
explanation of the retention of the other three[805] in the second
edition. The _Note on Amphiboly_ was too unsatisfactory as a whole to
encourage Kant to improve upon it in detail. The other two are outside
the limit at which Kant thought good to terminate all attempts to
improve, whether in major or in minor matters, the text of the first
edition.[806] To have recast the _Antinomies_ as he had recast the
_Paralogisms_ would have involved alterations much too extensive. Also,
there were no outside polemical influences--or at least none acting
quite directly--such as undoubtedly reinforced his other reasons for
revising the _Paralogisms_. (2) Secondly, the transcendental object is
not mentioned in the later layers of the deduction of the first edition,
nor in the deduction of the second edition, nor in any passage or note
added in the second edition. That Kant should thus suddenly cease to
employ a phrase to which he had accustomed himself is the more
significant in view of his conservative preference for the adapting of
familiar terminology to new uses. It can only be explained as due to his
recognition of the completely untenable character of the teaching to
which it had given expression. As the object of knowledge is always
empirical, it can never legitimately be called transcendental. (3)
Thirdly, the general teaching of the passages in which the phrase
transcendental object occurs is by itself sufficient proof of their
early origin. They reveal not the least trace of the deepened insight of
his final standpoints. As we know, it was certain difficulties involved
in the working out of the objective deduction that delayed the
publication of the _Critique_ for so many years; and the sections which
deal with these difficulties contain Kant’s maturest teaching. In them
he seems to withdraw definitely from the positions to which he had
unwarily committed himself by his un-Critical doctrine of the
transcendental object. I now pass to the second section constitutive of
the first stage.

=A 84-92=B 116-24, I. § 13.=--Just as in II. § 3 Kant deals solely with
the first of the two questions formulated in the letter of 1772 to
Herz--the reference of _sense_-representations to an object,--so in I. §
13 he raises only the second--that of the objective validity of
_intellectual_ representations (now spoken of as pure concepts of
understanding, or pure _a priori_ concepts, and only in one sentence as
categories). And just as in the former section he carries the problem a
step further, yet without attaining to the true Critical position, so in
this latter he still assumes that it is the application of these pure
concepts to real independent objects, _i.e._ to _things in themselves_,
which calls for justification. We must again consider the exact terms in
which this problem is formulated in the letter to Herz.[807]

     “Similarly, if that in us which is called a representation, were
     active in relation to the object, that is to say, if the object
     itself were produced by the representation (as on the view that the
     ideas in the Divine Mind are the archetypes of things), the
     conformity of representations with objects might be understood. We
     can thus render comprehensible at least the possibility of two
     kinds of intelligence--of an _intellectus archetypus_, on whose
     intuition the things themselves are grounded, and of an
     _intellectus ectypus_ which derives the data of its logical
     procedure from the sensuous intuition of things. But our
     understanding (leaving moral ends out of account) is not the cause
     of the object through its representations, nor is the object the
     cause of its intellectual representations (_in sensu reali_).
     Hence, the pure concepts of the understanding cannot be abstracted
     from the data of the senses, nor do they express our capacity for
     receiving representations through the senses. But, whilst they have
     their sources in the nature of the soul, they originate there
     neither as the result of the action of the object upon it, nor as
     themselves producing the object. In the _Dissertation_ I was
     content to explain the nature of these intellectual representations
     in a merely negative manner, viz. as not being modifications of the
     soul produced by the object. But I silently passed over the further
     question, how such representations, which refer to an object and
     yet are not the result of an affection due to that object, can be
     possible. I had maintained that the sense representations represent
     things as they appear, the intellectual representations things as
     they are. But how then are these things given to us, if not by the
     manner in which they affect us? And if such intellectual
     representations are due to our own inner activity, whence comes the
     agreement which they are supposed to have with objects, which yet
     are not their products? How comes it that the axioms of pure reason
     about these objects agree with the latter, when this agreement has
     not been in any way assisted by experience? In mathematics such
     procedure is legitimate, because its objects only _are_ quantities
     for us, and can only be represented as quantities, in so far as we
     can generate their representation by repeating a unit a number of
     times. Hence the concepts of quantity can be self-producing, and
     their principles can therefore be determined _a priori_. But when
     we ask how the understanding can form to itself completely _a
     priori_ concepts of things in their _qualitative_ determination,
     with which these things must of necessity agree, or formulate in
     regard to their possibility principles which are independent of
     experience, but with which experience must exactly conform,--we
     raise a question, that of the origin of the agreement of our
     faculty of understanding with the things in themselves, over which
     obscurity still hangs.”[808]

The section before us represents the same general standpoint as that
given in the above letter. Here, too, it is the validity of the _a
priori_ concepts in reference to _things in themselves_ that is under
consideration. The implication of Kant’s argument is that the
categories, being neither determinable nor discoverable by means of
experience, will only apply to appearances if they determine, or rather
reveal, the actual non-experienced nature of things in themselves. These
pure concepts, it is implied, owing to their combined _a priori_ and
intellectual characteristics, make this inherent claim. Either they are
altogether empty and illusory, or such unlimited validity must be
granted to them. Kant, that is to say, still holds, as in the
_Dissertation_, that sense-representations reveal things as they
_appear_, intellectual representations things as they _are_.

     “We have either to surrender completely all claims to judgments of
     pure reason, in the most esteemed of all fields, that which extends
     beyond the limits of all possible experience, or we must bring this
     Critical investigation to perfection.”[809]

The pure concepts, unlike space, “apply to objects generally, apart from
the conditions of sensibility.”[810] But here also, as in the letter to
Herz, the strange and problematic character of such knowledge is clearly

Kant’s discussion of the concept of causality in A 90 may seem to
conflict with the above contention--that it is its applicability to
things in themselves which Kant is considering. But this difficulty
vanishes if we bear in mind that here, as in the _Dissertation_, there
is no such distinction as we find in Kant’s later more genuinely
phenomenalist position, between the objects causing our sensations and
_things in themselves_.[3] The purely intelligible object, supposed to
remain after elimination of the empirical and _a priori_ sensory
factors, is the thing in itself. The objects apprehended through sense
are real, only not in their sensuous form.

There are two connected facts which together may perhaps be taken as
evidence that I. § 13 is later than II. 3 _b_. Intellectual concepts are
reinstated alongside the _a priori_ concepts of space and time. Kant has
evidently in the meantime given up the attempt to construe the former as
empirical in origin. That that attempt was earlier in time would seem to
be proved by the further fact, that the _a priori_ concepts are here
viewed as performing the same kind of function as that ascribed in II. 3
_b_ to concepts that are empirical. They are conditions of the
“synthetic unity of thought.”[811] This view of the function of concepts
is certainly fundamental and important, and Kant permanently retained it
from his previous abortive method of ‘deduction.’ But it was a long step
from the discovery of the distinction between empirical and _a priori_
concepts to its fruitful application. That involved appreciation of the
further fact that the two problems, separately stated in the letter to
Herz and separately dealt with in II. 3 _b_ and in I. § 13--the problem
of the relation of _sense_-representations, and the problem of the
relation of _intellectual_ representations, to an object,--are indeed
one and the same, soluble from one and the same standpoint, by one and
the same method of deduction, namely, by reference to the possibility of
experience. Only in and through relation to an object can
sense-representations be apprehended; and only as conditions of such
sense-experience are the categories objectively valid. Relation to an
object is constituted by the categories, and is necessary in reference
to sense-representations, because only thereby is consciousness of any
kind possible at all.

That this truly Critical position had not been attained when I. § 13 was
written,[812] is shown not only by its concentration on the single
problem of the validity of _a priori_ concepts, but also by its repeated
assertion that representations can be consciously apprehended
independently of all relation to the faculty of understanding. The
directly counter assertion appears, however, in the sections (I. § 14,
II.: first four paragraphs) which immediately follow in the text of the
_Critique_--indicating that in the period represented by these latter
the revolutionary discovery, the truly Copernican hypothesis, had at
last been achieved. They constitute the second stage, and to it we may
now proceed.

=Second Stage.=--A 92-4 = B 124-7; A 95-7; A 110-14.

=A 92-4=, I. § 14 (with the exception of the concluding classification of
mental powers).--This section makes a fresh start; it stands in no
necessary relation to any preceding section. The problem is still
formulated, in its opening sentences, in terms reminiscent of the letter
to Herz; but otherwise the standpoint is entirely new, and save for the
wording of a single sentence (A 93: “if not intuited, yet”), is
genuinely Critical. The phrase “possibility of experience” now appears,
and is at once assigned the central rôle. The words “if not intuited,
yet” in A 93 may possibly have been inserted later in order to tone down
the flagrant contradiction with the preceding paragraphs. In any case,
even this qualification is explicitly retracted in A 94.

=A 95-7.=--The same standpoint appears in the first three paragraphs of
Section II. The categories are “the _a priori_ conditions on which the
possibility of experience depends.”[813] By the categories alone “can an
object be thought.”[814] The further important point that only in their
empirical employment do the categories have use and meaning is
excellently developed.

     “An _a priori_ concept not referring to experience would be the
     logical form only of a concept, but not the concept itself by which
     something is thought.”[815]

=A 110-14, II. 4.=--In this section also the argument starts afresh,
indicating (if such evidence were required) that, like I. § 14, it must
have been written independently of its present context. But the argument
is now advanced one step further. The categories are recognised as
simultaneously conditioning both unity of consciousness and objectivity.

     “There is but one experience ... as there is but one space and one
     time....” “The _a priori_ conditions of a possible experience are
     at the same time conditions of the possibility of objects of
     experience”[816] “...the necessity of these categories rests on the
     relation which our whole sensibility, and with it also all possible
     appearances, have to the original unity of apperception....”[817]

Now also it is _emphasised_ that save in and through _a priori_ concepts
no representations can exist for consciousness.

     “They would then belong to no experience, would be without an
     object, a blind play of representations, less even than a
     dream.”[818] They “would be to us the same as nothing.”[819]

The wording is still not altogether unambiguous, but the main point is
made sufficiently clear.

These paragraphs are the earliest in which traces of a genuine
phenomenalism can be detected. The transcendental object, one and the
same for all our knowledge, is not referred to. ‘Objects’ (in the
plural) is the term which is used wherever the context permits. The
empirical object is thus made to intervene between the thing in itself
and the subjective representations. But the distinction between
empirical objects and subjective representations on the one hand, and
between empirical objects and things in themselves on the other, is not
yet drawn in any really clear and definite manner.

A similar phenomenalist tendency crops out in Kant’s distinction[820]
between objective affinity and subjective association.

     “The ground of the possibility of the association of the manifold,
     so far as it lies in the object, is named the affinity of the

None the less Kant’s subjectivism finds one of its most decided
expressions in A 114.

=Third Stage.=--A 119-23 = III. β; A 116-19 = III. α; A
94-5 = I. § 14 C(oncluding paragraph); A 126-8 = III. δ; A
128-30 = S(ummary); A 123-6 = III. γ; A 115-16 = III.
I(ntroduction); A 76-9 (B 102-4) = § 10 T(ransition to fourth stage).

=A 119-23, III. β= (from the beginning of the seventh paragraph
to the end of the twelfth). The doctrine of objective affinity already
developed in the above sections is now made to rest upon a new faculty,
the productive imagination. As Vaihinger remarks, the wording of this
section would seem to indicate that it is Kant’s first attempt at
formulating that new doctrine. He has not as yet got over his own
surprise at the revolutionary nature of the conclusions to which he
feels himself driven by the exigencies of Critical teaching. He finds
that it is deepening into consequences which may lead very far from the
current psychology and from his own previous views regarding the nature
and conditions of the knowing process and of personality. As evidence
that this section was not written continuously with II. 4,[1] we have
the further fact that though the doctrine of objective affinity is dwelt
upon, it is described afresh, with no reference to the preceding
account. Also, the empirical processes of apprehension and reproduction,
already mentioned in A 104-10, are now ascribed to the empirical
imagination which is carefully distinguished from the productive.

III. α repeats “from above” the argument given in III. β “from below.”
It insists upon the close connection between the categories (first
introduced in II. 4[821]) with the productive imagination of III. β.

Vaihinger places III. δ next in order, on account of the
connection of its argument with III. α.[822] But it dwells only
upon the chief outcome of the total argument, viz. that the orderliness
of nature is due to understanding. That productive imagination is not
mentioned, is taken by Vaihinger to signify Kant’s recognition that it
can be postulated only hypothetically, and that as doctrine it is not
absolutely essential to the strict deduction.

S summarises the entire argument, and in it “pure imagination” receives

Within this third stage III. γ is subsequent to the above four
sections. For it carries the doctrine of productive imagination one step
further. In III. β, III. α, and S, productive
imagination has been treated merely as an auxiliary function of pure

     “The unity of apperception in relation to the synthesis of
     imagination is the _understanding_; and the same unity with
     reference to the transcendental synthesis of the imagination is the
     _pure understanding_.”[823]

It is now treated as a separate and distinct faculty. So far from being
a function of understanding, its synthesis “by itself, though carried
out _a priori_, is always sensuous.”[824] It is

     “one of the fundamental faculties of the human soul.... The two
     extreme ends, sensibility and understanding, must be brought into
     connection with each other by means of this transcendental function
     of imagination.”[825]

In this section there also appears a new element which would seem to
connect it with the next following stage, namely, the addition to the
series, apprehension, association, and reproduction, of the further
process, recognition. As here introduced it is extremely ambiguous in
character. It is counted as being empirical, and yet as containing _a
priori_ concepts. This decidedly hybrid process would seem to represent
Kant’s first formulation of the even more ambiguous process, which
corresponds to it in the fourth stage.

In III. I recognition is again mentioned, but this time in a form still
more akin to its treatment in the fourth stage. It is not recognition
through categories, but, as a form in apperception, is the

     “empirical consciousness of the identity of the reproductive
     representations with the appearances by which they were

In all other respects, however, the above six sections agree (along with
I. § 14 C) in holding to a threefold division of mental powers:
sensibility, imagination, and apperception. This third stage is thereby
marked off sufficiently clearly from the second stage in which pure
imagination is wanting, and from the fourth stage in which it is
dissolved into a threefold _a priori_ synthesis.

In both I. § 14 C and in III. I the classification which underlies the
third stage is explicitly formulated. Their statements harmoniously
combine to yield the following tabular statement:

1. The _synopsis_ of the manifold--_a priori_ through sense, _i.e._ in
pure intuition.

2. The synthesis of this manifold--through pure transcendental

3. The unity of this synthesis--through pure original transcendental

At this point Vaihinger adds to the above section the earlier passage §
10 T.[827] It is even more definitely than III. γ and III. I
transitional to the fourth stage. It must be classed within the third
stage, as it holds to the above threefold classification. But it
modifies that classification in two respects. First, in that it does not
employ the term _synopsis_, but only speaks of pure intuition as
required to yield us a manifold. The term synopsis, as used by Kant, is,
however, decidedly misleading.[828] His invariable teaching is that all
connection is due to synthesis. By synopsis, therefore, which he
certainly does not employ as synonymous with synthesis, can be meant
only apprehension of external side-by-sideness. It never signifies
anything except apprehension of the lowest possible order. Kant’s
omission of the term, therefore, tends to clearness of statement.
Secondly, the classification is also modified by the substitution of
understanding for the unity of apperception. Apperception is, however,
so obscurely treated in all of the above sections, that this cannot be
regarded as a vital alteration. What is new in this section, and seems
to connect it in a curious and interesting manner with sections in the
fourth stage, is its doctrine of

     “a manifold of _a priori_ sensibility.” “Space and time contain a
     manifold of pure _a priori_ intuition.”[829]

That is, in this connection, an entirely new doctrine. In all the
previous sections of the deduction (previous in the assumed order of
original writing) the manifold supplied through intuition is taken as
being empirical, and as consisting of sensations. Kant here also adds
that the manifold, “whether given empirically or _a priori_,”[830] must
be synthesised before it can be known.

     “The spontaneity of our thought requires that this manifold [of
     pure _a priori_ intuition] should be run through in a certain
     manner, taken up, and connected, in order that a knowledge may be
     formed out of it. This action I call synthesis.”

=Fourth Stage.--A 98-104; A 97-8.=--As already noted, there are in Kant
two persistent but conflicting interpretations of the nature of the
synthetic processes exercised by imagination and understanding, the
subjectivist and the phenomenalist.[831] Now, on the former view,
imagination is simply understanding _at work_. In other words,
imagination is merely the active synthesising side of a faculty whose
complementary aspect appears in the logical unity of the concept. From
this point of view the transcendental and the empirical factors may be
taken as forming a single series. The transcendental and the empirical
processes will vary together, some form of transcendental activity
corresponding to every fundamental form of empirical activity and _vice
versa_. Such an inference only follows _if_ the subjectivist standpoint
be accepted to the exclusion of the phenomenalist point of view. But
since Kant constantly alternates between them, and never quite
definitely formulates them in their distinction and opposition; since,
in fact, they were rather of the nature of obscurely felt tendencies
than of formulated standpoints, it is quite intelligible that an
inference derived from the one should be drawn even at the very time
when the other is being more explicitly developed. This, it would seem,
is what actually happened. When we come to consider the evidence
derivable from the _Reflexionen_ and _Lose Blätter_, we shall find
support for the view that after January 1780, on the very eve of the
publication of the _Critique_, while the revolutionary, phenomenalist
consequences of the Critical hypothesis were becoming clearer to him, he
unguardedly allowed the above inference to lead him to recast his
previous views in a decidedly subjectivist manner. The view that
transcendental imagination has a special and unique activity altogether
different in type from any of its empirical processes, namely, the
“productive,” is now allowed to drop; and in place of it Kant develops
the view that transcendental functions run exactly parallel with the
empirical processes of apprehension, reproduction, and recognition.
Accordingly, in place of the classification presented in the third
stage, we find a new and radically different one introduced into the
text, without the least indication that Kant’s standpoint has meantime
changed. It is given in A 97:

A. =Synopsis= of the manifold through sense.

B. =Synthesis.=

    1. Synthesis of apprehension of representations in [inner] intuition.
    2. Synthesis of reproduction of representations in imagination.
    3. Synthesis of recognition of representations in the concept.

And Kant adds in explanation that “these point to three subjective
sources of knowledge which make the understanding itself possible, and
which in so doing make all experience possible, in so far as it is an
empirical product of the understanding.” What, now, are these three
subjective sources of knowledge? They certainly are not those classified
in the table of the third stage. _A_ roughly coincides with its first
member; consequently _B_ 1 is left without proper correlate. _B_ 2 is
altogether different from the previous synthesis of imagination, for in
the earlier table transcendental imagination is regarded as being solely
productive, _never_ reproductive.[832] It is now asserted to be
reproductive--a contradiction of one of his own most emphatic
contentions, which can only be accounted for by some such explanation as
we are here stating. Nothing is lacking as regards explicitness in the
statement of this new position. “...the _reproductive_ synthesis of
imagination belongs to the transcendental acts of the soul, and, in
reference to it [viz. to the reproductive synthesis], we will call this
power too the transcendental power of the imagination.”[833] Lastly,
even B 3 does not coincide with the pure apperception of the other
table. B 3 is more akin to the recognition which in the third stage is
declared to be always empirical. In any case, it is recognition _in the
concept_; and though that may ultimately involve and condition
transcendental apperception, it remains, in the manner in which it is
here developed by Kant, something very different. But this is a point to
which we shall return. There is an added complication, running through
this entire stage, which first requires to be disentangled. The
transcendental syntheses are declared to condition the pure
representations of space and time no less than those of

     “This synthesis of apprehension also must be executed _a priori_,
     _i.e._ in reference to representations which are not empirical. For
     without it we could not have the _a priori_ representations either
     of space or of time, since these can be generated only through the
     synthesis of the manifold which sensibility presents in its
     original receptivity. Thus we have a pure synthesis of
     apprehension”[834] “...if I draw a line in thought or desire to
     think of the time from one noon to another, or merely represent to
     myself a certain number, I must, firstly, apprehend these manifold
     representations one after the other. But if the preceding
     representations (the first parts of the line, the antecedent parts
     of time or the units serially represented) were always to drop out
     of my thought, and were not reproduced when I advance to those that
     follow, no complete representation, and none of all the
     aforementioned thoughts, not even the purest and first basal
     representations of space and time, could ever arise.”[835]

This, as Vaihinger remarks, is a point of sufficient importance to
justify separate treatment. But it is introduced quite incidentally by
Kant, and obscures quite as much as it clarifies the main argument.

It is convenient to start with the second synthesis. Kant’s argument is
much clearer in regard to it than in regard to the other two. He
distinguishes between empirical and transcendental reproduction.
Reproduction in ordinary experience, in accordance with the laws of
association, is merely empirical. The _de facto_ conformity of
appearances to rules is what renders such empirical reproduction

     “...otherwise our faculty of empirical imagination would never find
     any opportunity of action suited to its capacities, and would
     remain hidden within the mind as a dead, and to us unknown

Kant proceeds to argue, consistently with his doctrine of objective
affinity, that empirical reproduction is itself transcendentally
conditioned. The form, however, in which this argument is developed is
peculiar to the section before us, and is entirely new.

     “If we can show that even our purest _a priori_ intuitions yield no
     knowledge, save in so far as they contain such connection of the
     manifold as will make possible a thoroughgoing synthesis of
     reproduction, this synthesis of the imagination must be grounded,
     prior to all experience, on _a priori_ principles; and since
     experience necessarily presupposes that appearances can be
     reproduced, we shall have to assume a pure transcendental synthesis
     of the imagination as conditioning even the possibility of all

In the concluding paragraph Kant makes clear that he regards this
_transcendental_ activity as being exercised in a twofold manner: in
relation to the _empirically_ given manifold as well as in relation to
the _a priori_ given manifold. How this transcendental activity is to be
distinguished from the empirical is not further explained. I discuss
this point below.[838]

The argument of the section on the synthesis of _apprehension_, to which
we may now turn back, suffers from serious ambiguity. It is not clear
whether a distinction, analogous to that between empirical and
transcendental reproduction, is being made in reference to apprehension.
The actual wording of its two last paragraphs would lead to that
conclusion. That, however, is a view which would seem to be excluded by
the wider context. Kant is dealing with the synthesis of apprehension in
_inner_ intuition, _i.e._ in time. By the fundamental principles of his
teaching such intuition must always be transcendental. Empirical
apprehension can only concern the data of the special senses. The
process of apprehension referred to in the middle paragraph must
therefore itself be transcendental.

But it is in dealing with the synthesis of _recognition_ that the
argument is most obscure. It is idle attempting to discover any possible
distinction between an empirical and a transcendental process of
recognition. For the transcendental process here appears as being the
consciousness that what we are thinking now is the same as what we
thought a moment before; and it is illustrated not by reference to the
pure intuitions of space and time, but only by the process of counting.
It may be argued that empirical recognition is mediated by
transcendental factors--by pure concepts and by apperception. But unless
we are to take transcendental recognition as synonymous with
transcendental apperception, which Kant’s actual teaching does not seem
to justify us in doing, such considerations will not enable us to
distinguish two forms of recognition. Apart, however, from this
difficulty, there is the further one that the concepts in and through
which the recognition is executed are here described as being empirical.
The only key that will solve the mystery of this extraordinary section,
hopelessly inexplicable when viewed as a single continuous whole, is, it
would seem, the theory of Vaihinger, namely,[839] that from the third
paragraph onwards (already dealt with as forming the first stage of the
deduction) Kant is making use of manuscript which represents the
_earliest_ form in which his explanation of the consciousness of objects
was developed, with the strange result that this section is a
combination of the latest and of the earliest forms of the deduction.
While seeking to make out a parallelism between the empirical, conscious
activities of imagination and understanding on the one hand, and its
transcendental functions on the other, he must have bethought himself of
the earlier attempt to explain consciousness of objects through
empirical concepts conditioned by transcendental apperception, and so
have attempted to expound the third form of synthesis by means of it.
As thus extended it involves a distinction between transcendental and
empirical apperception, and upon that the discussion, so far as it
concerns anything akin to recognition, altogether turns. But there is
not the least further mention of recognition itself. As transcendental,
it cannot be taken as the equivalent of empirical apperception; and as a
synthesis through concepts, can hardly coincide with pure apperception.
The title of the section, “the synthesis of recognition in the concept,”
is thus no real indication of the astonishing fare prepared for the
reader. The doctrine of a threefold synthesis seems to have occurred to
Kant on the very eve of the publication of the _Critique_. The passage
expounding it may well have been hurriedly composed, and when unforeseen
difficulties accumulated, especially in regard to recognition as a
transcendental process, Kant must have resolved simply to close the
matter by inserting the older manuscript.

=III. Evidence yielded by the “Reflexionen” and “Lose Blätter” in support
of the above analysis.=

The evidence, derived by Vaihinger from the _Reflexionen_ and _Lose
Blätter_, briefly outlined, is as follows.[840] (1) In the _Reflexionen
zur Anthropologie_ relevant passages are few in number, and represent a
standpoint very close to that of the 1770 _Dissertation_. Imagination is
treated only as an empirical faculty.[841] Recognition, which is only
once mentioned,[842] is also viewed as merely empirical. The
understanding is spoken of as the faculty through which objects are
thought.[843] The categories are not mentioned, and it is stated that
the understanding yields only ideas of reflection. “All knowledge of
things is derived, as regards its matter, from sensation--the
understanding gives only ideas of reflection.”[844] So far, these
_Reflexionen_ would seem to coincide, more or less, with the first stage
of the deduction. They contain, however, no reference to
_transcendental_ apperception; and are therefore regarded by Vaihinger
as representing a still earlier standpoint.

(2) In the _Reflexionen zur Kritik der reinen Vernunft_ there is a very
large and valuable body of relevant passages. No. 925 must be of the
same date as the letter of 1772 to Herz; it formulates its problem in
practically identical terms.[845] Nos. 946-52 and 955 may belong to the
period of the first stage. For though the doctrine of the transcendental
object as the opposite counterpart of the transcendental subject is not
mentioned, the spiritualist view of the self is prominent. In No. 946 it
is asserted that the representation of an object is “made by us through

     “Free actions are already given _a priori_, namely our own.”[846]
     “To pass universal objective judgments, and to do so apodictically,
     reason must be free from subjective grounds of determination. For
     were it so determined the judgment would be merely accidental,
     namely in accordance with its subjective cause. Thus reason is
     conscious _a priori_ of its freedom in objectively necessary
     judgments in so far as it apprehends them as exclusively grounded
     through their relation to the object.”[847] “Transcendental freedom
     is the necessary hypothesis of all rules, and therefore of all
     employment of the understanding.”[848] “Appearances are
     representations whereby we are affected. The representation of our
     free self-activity does not involve affection, and accordingly is
     not appearance, but apperception.”[849]

It is significant that the categories receive no mention.

Almost all the other _Reflexionen_ would seem to have originated in the
period of the second stage of the deduction; but they still betray a
strong spiritualist bias.

     “Impressions are not yet representations, for they must be related
     to something else which is an action. Now the reaction of the mind
     is an action which relates to the impression, and which if taken
     alone[850] may in its special forms receive the title
     categories.”[851] “We can know the connection of things in the
     world only if we produce it through a universal action, and so out
     of a principle of inner power (_aus einem Prinzip der inneren
     Potestas_): substance, ground, combination.”[852]

These _Reflexionen_ recognise only the categories of relation,[853] and
must therefore be prior to the twelvefold classification. There is not
the least trace of the characteristic doctrines of the third and fourth
stages of the deduction, viz. of the transcendental function of the
imagination or of a threefold transcendental synthesis. The nature of
apprehension is also most obscure. It is frequently equated with

(3) The _Lose Blätter aus Kants Nachlass_ (Heft I.) contains fragments
which also belong to the second stage of the deduction, but which would
seem to be of somewhat earlier date than the above _Reflexionen_.[854]
They have interesting points of contact with the first stage. Thus
though the phrase transcendental object does not occur in them, the
object of knowledge is equated with _x_, and is regarded in the manner
of the first stage as the opposite counterpart of the unity of the
self.[855] These fragments belong, however, to the second stage in
virtue of their recognition of the _a priori_ categories of relation.
There is also here, as is in the _Reflexionen_, great lack of clearness
regarding the nature of apprehension; and there is still no mention of
the transcendental faculty of imagination. Fragment 8 is definitely
datable. It covers the free spaces of a letter of invitation dated May
20, 1775.[856] Fragment B 12[857] belongs to a different period from the
above. This is sufficiently evident from its contents; but fortunately
the paper upon which it is written--an official document in the
handwriting of the Rector of the Philosophical Faculty of
Königsberg--enables us to decide the exact year of its origin. It is
dated January 20, 1780. The fragment must therefore be subsequent to
that date. Now in it transcendental imagination appears as a third
faculty alongside sensibility and understanding, and a distinction is
definitely drawn between its empirical and its transcendental
employment. The former conditions the synthesis of apprehension; the
latter conditions the synthetic unity of apperception. It further
distinguishes between reproductive and productive imagination, and
ascribes the former exclusively to the empirical imagination. In all
these respects it stands in complete agreement with the teaching of the
third stage of the deduction. The fact that this fragment is subsequent
to January 1780 would seem to prove that even at that late date Kant was
struggling with his deduction.[858] But the most interesting of all
Vaihinger’s conclusions has still to be mentioned. He points out that at
the time when this fragment was composed Kant had not yet developed the
doctrine characteristic of the fourth stage, namely, of a threefold
transcendental synthesis. Moreover, as he observes, the statement which
it explicitly contains, that reproductive imagination is always
empirical, is inconsistent with any such doctrine. The teaching of the
fourth stage must consequently be ascribed to an even later date.[859]

(4) The _Lose Blätter_ (Heft II.), though almost exclusively devoted to
moral and legal questions, contain in E 67[860] a relevant passage which
Reicke regards as belonging to the ‘eighties, but which Adickes and
Vaihinger agree in dating “shortly before 1781.” On Vaihinger’s view it
is a preliminary study for the passages of the fourth stage of the
deduction. But such exact dating is not essential to Vaihinger’s
argument. It is undoubtedly quite late, and contains the following

     “All representations, whatever their origin, are yet ultimately as
     representations modifications of inner sense, and their unity must
     be viewed from this point of view. A spontaneity of synthesis
     corresponds to their receptivity: either of apprehension as
     sensations or of reproduction as images (_Einbildungen_) or of
     recognition as concepts.”

This is the doctrine from which the deduction of the first edition
_starts_; it was, it would seem, _the last to be developed_.[861] That
we find no trace of it in the _Prolegomena_, and that it is not only
eliminated from the second edition, but is expressly disavowed,[862]
would seem to indicate that it had been hastily adopted on the very eve
of publication, and that upon reflection Kant had felt constrained
definitively to discard it. The threefold synthesis can be verified on
the empirical level, but there is no evidence that there exist
corresponding transcendental activities.

=IV. Connected Statement and Discussion of Kant’s Subjective and
Objective Deductions in the First Edition=

Such are the varying and conflicting forms in which Kant has presented
his deduction of the categories. We may now apply our results to obtain
a connected statement of the essentials of his argument. The following
exposition, which endeavours to emphasise its main broad features, to
distinguish its various steps, and to disentangle its complex and
conflicting tendencies, will, I trust, yield to the reader such steady
orientation as is necessary in so bewildering a labyrinth. In the
meantime I shall take account only of the deductions of the first
edition,[863] and from them shall strive to construct the ideal
statement to which they severally approximate. Any single relatively
consistent and complete deduction that is thus to serve as a standard
exposition must, like the root-languages of philology, be typical or
archetypal, representing the argument at which Kant aimed; it cannot be
one of the alternative expositions which he himself gives. Such
reconstruction of an argument which Kant has failed to express in a
final and genuinely adequate form must, of course, lie open to all the
dangers of arbitrary and personal interpretation. It is an extremely
adventurous undertaking, and will have to be carefully guarded by
constant reference to Kant’s _ipsissima verba_. Proof of its historical
validity will consist in its capacity to render intelligible Kant’s own
departures from it, and in its power of explaining the reasons of his so
doing. Its expository value will be in proportion to the assistance
which it may afford to the reader in deciphering the actual texts.

Our first task is to make clear the nature of the distinction which Kant
draws between the “subjective” and the “objective” deductions. This is a
distinction of great importance, and raises issues of a fundamental
character. In regard to it students of Kant take widely different views.
For it brings to a definite issue many of the chief controversies
regarding Critical teaching. Kant has made some very definite statements
in regard to it; and one of the opposing schools of interpretation finds
its chief and strongest arguments in the words which he employs. But for
reasons which will appear in due course, adherence to the letter of the
_Critique_ would in this case involve the commentator in great
difficulties. We have no option except to adopt the invidious position
of maintaining that we may now, after the interval of a hundred years
and the labours of so many devoted students, profess to understand Kant
better than he understood himself. For such procedure we may indeed cite
his own authority.

     “Not infrequently, upon comparing the thoughts which an author has
     expressed in regard to his subject, whether in ordinary
     conversation or in writing, we find that we can understand him
     better than he understood himself. As he has not sufficiently
     determined his concept, he has sometimes spoken, or even thought,
     in opposition to his own intention.”[864]

Let us, then, consider first the distinction between the two types of
deduction in the form in which it is drawn by Kant. In the _Preface_ to
the first edition,[865] Kant states that his transcendental deduction of
the categories has two sides, and assigns to them the titles subjective
and objective.

     “This enquiry, which is somewhat deeply grounded, has two sides.
     The one refers to the objects of pure understanding, and is
     intended to expound and render intelligible the objective validity
     of its _a priori_ concepts. It is therefore essential to my
     purposes. The other seeks to investigate the pure understanding
     itself, its possibility and the cognitive faculties upon which it
     rests. Although this latter exposition is of great importance for
     my chief purpose, it does not form an essential part of it. For the
     chief question is always simply this,--what and how much can the
     understanding and Reason know apart from all experience? not--how
     is the faculty of thought itself possible? The latter is as it were
     a search for the cause of a given effect; and therefore is of the
     nature of an hypothesis (though, as I shall show elsewhere, this is
     not really so); and I would appear to be taking the liberty simply
     of expressing an opinion, in which case the reader would be free to
     express a different opinion.[866] For this reason I must forestall
     the reader’s criticism by pointing out that the objective
     deduction, with which I am here chiefly concerned, retains its full
     force even if my subjective deduction should fail to produce that
     complete conviction for which I hope....”

The subjective deduction seeks to determine the subjective conditions
which are required to render knowledge possible, or to use less
ambiguous terms the generative processes to whose agency human knowledge
is due. It is consequently psychological in character. The objective
deduction, on the other hand, is so named because it deals not with
psychological processes but with questions of objective validity. It
enquires how concepts which are _a priori_, and which as _a priori_ must
be taken to originate in pure reason, can yet be valid of objects. In
other words, the objective deduction is logical, or, to use a
post-Kantian term, epistemological in character.

It is indeed true, as Kant here insists, that the subjective deduction
does not concern itself in any quite direct fashion with the Critical
problem--how _a priori_ ideas can relate to objects. “Although of great
importance for my chief purpose, it does not form an essential part of
it.” This, no doubt, is one reason why Kant omitted it when he revised
the _Critique_ for the second edition.[867] None the less it is, as he
here says, important; and what exactly that importance amounts to, and
whether it is really true that it has such minor importance as to be
rightly describable as unessential, is what we have to decide.

Though empirical psychology, in so far as it investigates the temporal
development of our experience, is, as Kant very justly claims, entirely
distinct in aim and method from the Critical enquiry, the same cannot be
said of a psychology which, for convenience, and on the lines of Kant’s
own employment of terms, may be named transcendental.[868] For it will
deal, not with the temporal development of the concrete and varied
aspects of consciousness, but with the more fundamental question of the
generative conditions indispensably necessary to consciousness as such,
_i.e._ to consciousness in each and every one of its possible
embodiments. In the definition above given of the objective deduction, I
have intentionally indicated Kant’s unquestioning conviction that the _a
priori_ originates independently of the objects to which it is applied.
This independent origin is only describable in mental or psychological
terms. The _a priori_ originates from within; it is due to the specific
conditions upon which human thinking rests. Now this interpretation of
the _a priori_ renders the teaching contained in the subjective
deduction much more essential than Kant is himself willing to recognise.
The conclusions arrived at may be highly schematic in conception, and
extremely conjectural in detail; they are none the less required to
supplement the results of the more purely logical analysis. For though
in the second edition the sections devoted to the subjective deduction
are suppressed, their teaching, and the distinctions which they draw
between the different mental processes, continue to be employed in the
exposition of the objective deduction, and indeed are presupposed
throughout the _Critique_ as a whole. They are indispensably necessary
in order to render really definite many of the contentions which the
objective deduction itself contains. To eliminate the subjective
deduction is not to cut away these presuppositions, but only to leave
them in the obscure region of the undefined. They will still continue to
influence our mode of formulating and of solving the Critical problem,
but will do so as untested and vaguely outlined assumptions, acting as
unconscious influences rather than as established principles. For these
reasons the omission of the subjective deduction is to be deplored. The
explicit statement of the implied psychological conditions is preferable
to their employment without prior definition and analysis. The deduction
of the second edition rests throughout upon the initial and
indispensable assumption, that though connection or synthesis can never
be given, it is yet the generative source of all consciousness of order
and relation. Factors which are transcendental in the strict or logical
meaning of the term rest upon processes that are transcendental in a
psychological sense.

This last phrase, ‘transcendental in a psychological sense,’ calls for a
word of justification. The synthetic processes generative of experience
are not, of course, transcendental in the strict sense. For they are not
_a priori_ in the manner of the categories. None the less they are
discoverable by the same transcendental method, namely, as being, like
the categories, indispensably necessary to the possibility of
experience. They differ from the categories in that they are not
immanent in experience, constituent of it, and cannot therefore be known
in their intrinsic nature. As they fall outside the field of
consciousness, they can only be hypothetically postulated. None the
less, formal categories and generative processes, definable elements and
problematic postulates, alike agree in being conditions _sine qua non_
of experience. And further, in terms of Kant’s presupposed psychology,
the latter are the source to which the former are due. There would thus
seem to be sufficient justification for extending the term
transcendental to cover both; and in so doing we are following the path
which Kant himself willingly travelled. For such would seem to have been
his unexpressed reasons for ascribing, as he does, the synthetic
generative processes to what he himself names transcendental faculties.

This disposes of Kant’s chief reason for refusing to recognise the
subjective deduction as a genuine part of the Critical enquiry, namely,
the contention upon which he lays such emphasis in the prefaces both of
the first and of the second edition,[869] that in transcendental
philosophy nothing hypothetical, nothing in any degree dependent upon
general reasoning from contingent fact, can have any place. That
contention proves untenable even within the domain of his purely logical
analyses. The very essence of his transcendental method consists in the
establishment of _a priori_ elements through proof of their connection
with factual experience. Kant is here revealing how greatly his mind is
still biased by the Leibnizian rationalism from which he is breaking
away. His _a priori_ cannot establish itself save in virtue of
hypothetical reasoning.[870] His transcendental method, rightly
understood, does not differ in essential nature from the hypothetical
method of the natural sciences; it does so only in the nature of its
starting-point, and in the character of the analyses which that
starting-point prescribes. And if hypothetical reasoning may be allowed
in the establishment of the logical _a priori_, there is no sufficient
reason why it may not also be employed for the determination of
dynamical factors. The sole question is as to whether the hypotheses
conform to the logical requirements and so raise themselves to a
different level from mere opinion and conjecture.[871] As Kant himself
says,[872] though his conclusions in the subjective deduction may seem
to be hypothetical in the illegitimate sense, they are not really so.
From the experience in view of which they are postulated they receive at
once the proof of their actuality and the material for their

We may now return to the question of the nature of the two deductions.
The complex character of their interrelations may be outlined as

1. Though the subjective deduction is in its later stages coextensive
with its objective counterpart, in its earlier stages it moves wholly on
what may be called the empirical level. The data which it analyses and
the conditions which it postulates are both alike empirical. The
objective deduction, on the other hand, deals from start to finish with
the _a priori_.

2. The later stages of the subjective deduction are based upon the
results of the objective deduction. The existence and validity of _a
priori_ factors having been demonstrated by transcendental, _i.e._
logical, analysis, the subjective deduction can be extended from the
lower to the higher level, and can proceed to establish for the _a
priori_ elements what in its earlier stages it has determined for
empirical consciousness, namely, the nature of the generative processes
which require to be postulated as their ground and origin. When the two
deductions are properly distinguished the objective deduction has,
therefore, to be placed midway between the initial and the final stages
of the subjective deduction.

3. The two deductions concentrate upon different aspects of experience.
In the subjective deduction experience is chiefly viewed as a _temporal
process_ in which the given falls apart into successive events, which,
in and by themselves, are incapable of constituting a unified
consciousness. The fundamental characteristic of human experience, from
this point of view, is that it is _serial_ in character. Though it is an
apprehension of time, it is itself also a process in time. In the
objective deduction, on the other hand, the time element is much less
prominent. Awareness of _objects_ is the subject-matter to which
analysis is chiefly devoted. This difference very naturally follows from
the character of the two deductions. The subjective enquiry is mainly
interested in the conditions generative of experience, and finds its
natural point of departure in the problem by what processes a unified
experience is constructed out of a succession of distinct happenings.
The objective deduction presents the logical problem of validity in its
most striking form, in our awareness of objects; the objective is
contrasted with the subjective as being that which is universally and
necessarily the same for all observers. Ultimately each of the two
deductions must yield an analysis of both types of
consciousness--awareness of time and awareness of objects; _a priori_
factors are involved in the former no less than in the latter, and both
are conditioned by generative processes. Unfortunately the manner in
which this is done in the _Critique_ causes very serious
misunderstanding. The problem of the psychological conditions generative
of consciousness of objects is raised[873] before the logical analysis
of the objective deduction has established the data necessary for its
profitable discussion. The corresponding defect in the objective
deduction is of a directly opposite character, but is even more
unfortunate in its effects. The results obtained from the analysis of
our awareness of objects are not, within the limits of the objective
deduction, applied in further analysis of our consciousness of time.
That is first done, and even then by implication rather than by explicit
argument, in the _Analytic of Principles_. This has the twofold evil
consequence, that the relations holding between the two deductions are
very greatly obscured, and that the reader is not properly prepared for
the important use to which the results of the objective deduction are
put in the _Analytic of Principles_. For it is there assumed--a quite
legitimate inference from the objective deduction, but one whose
legitimacy Kant has nowhere dwelt upon and explained--that to be
conscious of time we must be conscious of it as existing in two distinct
orders, subjective and objective. To be conscious of time we must be
conscious of objects, and to be conscious of objects we must be able to
distinguish between the order of our ideas and the order of the changes
(if any) in that which is known by their means.

Thus the two deductions, properly viewed in their full scope, play into
one another’s hands. The objective deduction is necessary to complete
the analysis of time-consciousness given in the subjective deduction,
and the extension of the analysis of object-consciousness to the
explanation of time-consciousness is necessary in order to make quite
definite and clear the full significance of the conclusions to which the
objective enquiry has led.[874]

One last point remains for consideration. Experience is a highly
ambiguous term, and to fulfil the rôle assigned to it by Kant’s
transcendental method--that of establishing the reality of the
conditions of its own possibility--its actuality must lie beyond the
sphere of all possible controversy. It must be itself a datum, calling
indeed for explanation, but not itself making claims that are in any
degree subject to possible challenge. Now if we abstract from all those
particularising factors which are irrelevant in this connection, we are
left with only three forms of experience--experience of self, experience
of objects, and experience of time. The two former are open to question.
They may be illusory, as Hume has argued. And as their validity, or
rather actuality, calls for establishment, they cannot fulfil the
demands which the transcendental method exacts from the experience whose
possibility is to yield proof of its discoverable conditions.
Consciousness of time, on the other hand, is a fact whose actuality,
however problematic in its conditions, and however mysterious in its
intrinsic nature, cannot, even by the most metaphysical of subtleties,
be in any manner or degree challenged. It is an unquestioned possession
of the human mind. Whether time itself is real we are not metaphysically
certain, but that, whatever be its reality or unreality, we are
conscious of it in the form of change, is beyond all manner of doubt.
Consciousness of time is the _factual_ experience, as conditions of
whose possibility the _a priori_ factors are transcendentally proved.
In so far as they can be shown to be its indispensable conditions, its
mere existence proves their reality. And such in effect is the ultimate
character of Kant’s proof of the objective validity of the categories.
They are proved in that it is shown that only in and through them is
consciousness of time possible.

The argument gains immeasurably in clearness when this is
recognised;[875] and the deduction of the first edition of the
_Critique_, in spite of its contorted character, remains in my view
superior to that of the second edition owing to this more explicit
recognition of the temporal aspect of consciousness and to employment of
it as the initial starting-point. Analysis at once reveals that though
consciousness of time is undeniably actual, it is conditioned in complex
ways, and that among the conditions indispensably necessary to its
possibility are both consciousness of self and consciousness of an
objective order of existence. Starting from the undeniable we are thus
brought to the problematic; but owing to the factual character of the
starting-point we can substantiate what would otherwise remain open to

As this method of formulating Kant’s argument gives greater prominence
to the temporal factor than Kant himself does in his statement of the
deductions, the reader may very rightly demand further evidence that I
am not, by this procedure, setting the deductions in a false or
arbitrary perspective. Any statement of Kant’s position in other than
his own _ipsissima verba_ is necessarily, in large part, a matter of
interpretation, and proof of its correctness must ultimately consist in
the success with which it can be applied in unravelling the manifold
strands that compose his tortuous and many-sided argument; but the
following special considerations may be cited in advance. Those parts of
the _Critique_, such as the chief paragraphs of the subjective deduction
and the chapter on _Schematism_, which are demonstrably late in date of
writing, agree in assigning greater prominence to the temporal aspect of
experience. This is also true of those numerous passages added in the
second edition which deal with inner sense. All of these show an
increasing appreciation of the central rôle which time must play in the
Critical enquiries. Secondly, proof of the validity of _specific_
categories is given, as we shall find,[876] not in the objective
deduction of the _Analytic of Concepts_, but only in the _Analytic of
Principles_. What Kant gives in the former is only the quite general
demonstration that forms of unity, such as are involved in all judgment,
are demanded for the possibility of experience. Now when proof of the
specific categories does come, in the _Analytic of Principles_, it is
manifestly based on the analysis of time-experience. In the three
_Analogies_, for example, Kant’s demonstration of the objective validity
of the categories of relation consists in the proof that they are
necessary conditions of the possibility of our time-consciousness. That
is to say, the transcendental method of proof, when developed in full
detail, in reference to some specific category, agrees with the
formulation which I have given of the subjective and objective
deductions. In the third place, Kant started from a spiritualist
standpoint, akin to that of Leibniz,[877] and only very gradually broke
away from the many illegitimate assumptions which it involves. But this
original starting-point reveals its persisting influence in the
excessive emphasis which Kant continued to lay upon the unity of
apperception. He frequently speaks[878] as if it were an ultimate
self-justifying principle, by reference to which the validity of all
presupposed conditions can be established. But that, as I have already
argued, is a legitimate method of procedure only if it has previously
been established that self-consciousness is involved in all
consciousness, that is, involved even in consciousness of sequence and
duration. And as just stated, the deductions of specific categories,
given in the _Analytic of Principles_, fulfil these requirements of
complete proof. They start from the time-consciousness, not from

I shall now summarise these introductory discussions in a brief
tabulated outline of the main steps in the argument of the two
deductions, and shall add a concluding note upon their interconnection.

=Subjective Deduction.=--1. Consciousness of time is an experience whose
actuality cannot be questioned; by its actuality it will therefore
establish the reality of everything that can be proved to be its
indispensable condition.

2. Among the conditions indispensably necessary to all consciousness of
time are synthetic processes whereby the contents of consciousness,
occurring in successive moments, are combined and unified. These
processes are processes of apprehension, reproduction, and recognition.

3. Recognition, in turn, is conditioned by self-consciousness.

4. As no consciousness is possible without self-consciousness, the
synthetic processes must have completed themselves before such
self-consciousness is possible, and consequently are not verifiable by
introspection but only by hypothetical construction.

[1, 2, 3, and 4 are steps which can be stated independently of the
argument of the objective deduction.]

5. Self-consciousness presupposes consciousness of objects, and
consciousness of objects presupposes the synthetic activities of
productive imagination whereby the matter of sense is organised in
accordance with the categories. These productive activities also are
verifiable only by conjectural inference, and only upon their completion
can consciousness of any kind make its appearance.

6. Consciousness of self and consciousness of objects thus alike rest
upon a complexity of non-phenomenal conditions. For anything that
critical analysis can prove to the contrary, consciousness and
personality may not be ultimates. They may be resultants due to
realities fundamentally different from themselves.

[5 is a conclusion obtained only by means of the argument of the
objective deduction. 6 is a further conclusion, first explicitly drawn
by Kant in the _Dialectic_.]

=Objective Deduction.=--1. The starting-point coincides with that of the
subjective deduction. Consciousness of time is an experience by whose
actuality we can establish the reality of its indispensable conditions.

2. Among the conditions necessary to all consciousness of time is

3. Self-consciousness, in turn, is itself conditioned by consciousness
of objects.

4. Consciousness of objects is possible only if the categories have
validity within the sphere of sense-experience.

5. Conclusion.--The empirical validity of the categories, and
consequently the empirical validity of our consciousness alike of the
self and of objects, must be granted as a _conditio sine qua non_ of our
consciousness of time. They are the indispensable conditions of that
fundamental experience.

As above stated,[879] the preliminary stages of the subjective deduction
prepare the way for the argument of the objective deduction, while the
results obtained by the latter render possible the concluding steps of
the former. That is to say, the objective deduction has to be
intercalated midway between the opening and the concluding stages of the
subjective deduction. It may also be observed that whereas the objective
deduction embodies the main positive teaching of the _Analytic_, in that
it establishes the possibility of natural science and of a metaphysics
of experience, the subjective deduction is more directly concerned with
the subject-matter of the _Dialectic_, reinforcing, as it does, the more
negative consequences which follow from the teaching of the objective
deduction--the impossibility of transcendent speculation. It stands in
peculiarly close connection with the teaching of the section on the
_Paralogisms_. We may now proceed to a detailed statement of the
argument of the two deductions.


In the opening of the subjective deduction Kant is careful to give due
prominence to the temporal aspect of our human experience.

     “...all the contents of our knowledge are ultimately subject to the
     formal condition of inner sense, that is, to time, as that wherein
     they must all be ordered, connected, and brought into relation to
     one another. This is a general remark which the reader must bear in
     mind as being a fundamental presupposition of my entire

Consciousness of time is thus the starting-point of the deduction.
Analysis reveals it as highly complex; and the purpose of the deduction
is to discover, and, as far as may be possible, to define its various
conditions. The argument can best be expounded by reference to a single
concrete example--say, our experience of a series of contents, _a_, _b_,
_c_, _d_, _e_, _f_, as in succession to one another and as together
making up the total six. In order that such an experience may be
possible the successive members of the series must be held together
simultaneously before the mind. Obviously, if the earlier members
dropped out of consciousness before the mind reached _f_, _f_ could not
be apprehended as having followed upon them. There must be a synthesis
of apprehension of the successive items.

Such a synthesis of apprehension is, however, only possible through
reproduction of the earlier experiences. If when the mind has passed
from _a_ to _f_, _f_ is apprehended as having followed upon _a_, _b_,
_c_, _d_, _e_, such consciousness is only possible in so far as these
earlier contents are reproduced in image. Synthesis of apprehension is
conditioned by synthesis of reproduction in imagination.

     “But if the preceding representations (the first parts of [a] line,
     the earlier moments of time or the units represented in sequent
     order) were always to drop out of my thought, and were not
     reproduced when I advance to those that follow, no complete
     representation, and none of all the aforementioned thoughts, not
     even the purest and first basal representations of space and time,
     could ever arise.”[881]

In order, however, that the reproduced images may fulfil their function,
they must be recognised as standing for or representing contents which
the self has just experienced.

     “Without the consciousness that what we are thinking is the same as
     what we thought a moment before, all reproduction in the series of
     representations would be in vain.”[882]

Each reproduced image would in its present state be a new experience,
and would not help in the least towards gaining consciousness of order
or number in the succession of our experiences. Recognition is,
therefore, a third form of synthesis, indispensably necessary to
consciousness of time. But further, the recognition is recognition of a
succession as forming a unity or whole, and that unity is always

     “The word concept (_Begriff_) might of itself have suggested this
     remark. For it is this unitary consciousness which unites into a
     single representation a manifold that has been successively
     intuited and then subsequently reproduced.”[883] “If in counting I
     forgot that the units ... have been added to one another in
     succession, I should never recognise what the sum-total is that is
     being produced through the successive addition of unit to unit; and
     so would remain ignorant of the number. For the concept of this
     number is nothing but the consciousness of this unity of

The synthesis of recognition is thus a synthesis which takes place in
and through empirical concepts. In the instance which we have chosen,
the empirical concept is that of the number six.

The analysis, however, is not yet complete. Just as reproduction
conditions apprehension and both rest on recognition, so in turn
recognition presupposes a still further condition, namely,
self-consciousness. For it is obvious, once the fact is pointed out,
that the recognition of reproduced images as standing for past
experiences can only be possible in so far as there is an abiding self
which is conscious of its identity throughout the succession. Such an
act of recognition is, indeed, merely one particular form or concrete
instance of self-consciousness. The unity of the empirical concept in
and through which recognition takes place finds its indispensable
correlate in the unity of an empirical self. Thus an analysis of our
consciousness, even though conducted wholly on the empirical level, that
is, without the least reference to the _a priori_, leads by simple and
cogent argument to the conclusion that it is conditioned by complex
synthetic processes, and that these syntheses in turn presuppose a unity
which finds twofold expression for itself, objectively through a concept
and subjectively in self-consciousness.

So far I have stated the argument solely in reference to serial
consciousness. Kant renders his argument needlessly complex and
diminishes its force by at once extending it so as to cover the
connected problem, how we become aware of objects. This occurs in the
section on the synthesis of reproduction. An analysis of our
consciousness of objects, as distinct from consciousness of the
immediately successive, forces us to postulate further empirical
conditions. Since the reproductive imagination, to whose agency the
apprehension of complex unitary existences is psychologically due, acts
through the machinery of association, it presupposes constancy in the
apprehended manifold.

     “If cinnabar were sometimes red, sometimes black, sometimes light,
     sometimes heavy, if a man changed sometimes into this and sometimes
     into that animal form, if the country on the longest day were
     sometimes covered with fruits, sometimes with ice and snow, my
     empirical imagination would never even have occasion when
     representing red colour to bring to mind heavy cinnabar....”[885]

This passage may be compared with the one which occurs in the section on
the synthesis of recognition. Our representations, in order to
constitute knowledge, must have the unity of some concept; the manifold
cannot be apprehended save in so far as this is possible.

     “All knowledge demands a concept, though that concept may be quite
     imperfect or obscure. But a concept is always, as regards its form,
     something general which serves as a rule. The concept of body, for
     instance, as the unity of the manifold which is thought through it,
     serves as a rule to our knowledge of outer appearances.... It
     necessitates in the perception of something outside us the
     representation of extension, and therewith the representations of
     impenetrability, form, etc.”[886]

So far the deduction still moves on the empirical level. When Kant,
however, proceeds to insist[887] that this empirical postulate itself
rests upon a transcendental condition, the argument is thrown into
complete confusion, and the reader is bewildered by the sudden
anticipation of one of the most difficult and subtle conclusions of the
objective deduction. The same confusion is also caused throughout these
sections as a whole by Kant’s description of the various syntheses as
being transcendental.[888] They cannot properly be so described. The
concepts referred to as unifying the syntheses, and the
self-consciousness which is proved to condition the syntheses, are all
empirical. They present themselves in concrete form, and presuppose
characteristics due to the special contingent nature of the given
manifold; as Kant states in so many words in the second edition.

     “Whether I can become _empirically_ conscious of the manifold as
     simultaneous or as successive depends on circumstances or empirical
     conditions. The empirical unity of consciousness, through
     association of representations, therefore itself relates to an
     appearance, and is wholly contingent.”[889]

The argument in these preliminary stages of the subjective deduction, in
so far as it is employed to yield proof that all consciousness involves
the unity of concepts and the unity of self-consciousness, is
independent of any reference to the categories, and consequently to
transcendental conditions. In accordance with the plan of exposition
above stated, we may now pass to the objective deduction.


The transition from the preliminary stages of the subjective deduction
to the objective deduction may be made by further analysis either of the
objective unity of empirical concepts or of the subjective unity of
empirical self-consciousness. It is the former line which the argument
of the first edition follows. Kant is asking what is meant by an object
corresponding to our representations,[890] and answers by his objective
deduction. He substitutes the empirical for the transcendental
object,[891] and in so doing propounds one of the central and most
revolutionary tenets of the Critical philosophy. Existence takes a
threefold, not a merely dual form. Besides representations and things in
themselves, there exist the objects of our representations--the extended
world of ordinary experience and of science. Such a threefold
distinction is prefigured in the Leibnizian metaphysics, and is more or
less native to every philosophy that is genuinely speculative. Kant
himself claims Plato as his philosophical progenitor. The originality is
not in the bare thesis, but in the fruitful, tenacious, and consistent
manner in which it is developed through detailed analysis of our actual

In its first stages the argument largely coincides with the argument of
the paragraphs which deal with the transcendental object. When we
examine the objective, we find that the primary characteristic
distinguishing it from the subjective is that it lays a compulsion upon
our minds, constraining us to think about it in a certain way. By an
object is meant something which will not allow us to think at haphazard.
Cinnabar is an object which constrains us to think it as heavy and red.
An object is thus the external source of a necessity to which our
thinking has to conform. The two arguments first begin to diverge when
Kant sets himself to demonstrate that our consciousness of this external
necessity is made possible by categories which originate from within.

For this conclusion Kant prepares the way by an analysis of the second
main characteristic constitutive of an object, viz. its unity. This
unity is of a twofold nature, involving either the category of substance
and attribute or the category of cause and effect. The two categories
are ultimately inseparable, but lead us to conceive the object in two
distinct modes. When we interpret an object through the _a priori_
concept of substance and attribute, we assert that all the contents of
our perceptions of it are capable of being regarded as qualities of one
and the same identical substance. No one of its qualities can be
incongruent with any other, and all of them together, in their unity,
must be expressive of its substantial nature.

The causal interpretation of the object is, however, the more important,
and is that which is chiefly emphasised by Kant. It is, indeed, simply a
further and more adequate mode of expressing the substantial unity of
the object. All the qualities must be causally bound up with one another
in such a way that the nature of each is determined by the nature of all
the others, and that if any one quality be changed all the others must
undergo corresponding alterations. Viewed in this manner, in terms of
the category of causality, an object signifies a necessitated
combination of interconnected qualities or effects. But since no such
form of _necessitation_ can be revealed in the manifold of sense, our
_consciousness_ of compulsion cannot originate from without, and must be
due to those _a priori_ forms which, though having their source within,
control and direct our interpretation of the given. Though the objective
compulsion is not itself due to the mind, our _consciousness_ of it has
this mental _a priori_ source. The concept of an object consists in the
thought of a manifold so determined in its specific order and groupings
as to be interpretable in terms of the categories of substance and

But the problem of the deduction proper is not yet raised. On the one
hand, Kant has defined what the concept of the objective must be taken
as involving, and on the other, has pointed out that since the given as
given is an unconnected manifold, any categories through which it may be
interpreted must be of independent origin; but it still remains to be
proved that the above is a valid as well as a possible mode of
construing the given appearances. The categories, as _a priori_
concepts, originate from within. By what right may we assert that they
not only relate to an object, but even constitute the very concept of
it? Are appearances legitimately interpretable in any such manner? It
was, we may believe, in the process of answering this question that Kant
came to realise that the objects of our representations must no longer
be regarded as things in themselves. For, as he finds, a solution is
possible only on the further assumption that the mind is legislating
merely for the world of sense-experience, and is making no assertion in
regard to the absolutely and independently real. Kant’s method of proof
is the transcendental, _i.e._ he seeks to demonstrate that this
interpretation of the given is indispensably necessary as being a _sine
qua non_ of its possible apprehension. This is achieved by means of the
conclusion already established through the preliminary steps of the
subjective deduction, namely, that all consciousness involves
self-consciousness. Kant’s proof of the objective validity of the
categories consists in showing that only by means of the interpretation
of appearances as _empirically_ objective is self-consciousness possible
at all.

The self-consciousness of the subjective deduction, in the preliminary
form above stated, is, however, itself empirical. Kant, developing on
more strictly Critical lines the argument which had accompanied his
earlier doctrine of the transcendental object, now proceeds to maintain
in what is at once the most fruitful and the most misleading of his
tenets, that the ultimate ground of the possibility of consciousness and
therefore also of empirical self-consciousness is the transcendental
unity of apperception. Such apperception, to use Kant’s ambiguous
phraseology, precedes experience as its _a priori_ condition. The
interpretation of given appearances through _a priori_ categories is a
necessity of consciousness because it is a condition of
self-consciousness; and it is a condition of self-consciousness because
it alone will account for the transcendental apperception upon which all
empirical self-consciousness ultimately depends.

One chief reason why Kant’s deduction is found so baffling and illusive
is that it rests upon an interpretation of the unity of apperception
which is very definitely drawn, but to which Kant himself gives only the
briefest and most condensed expression. I shall therefore take the
liberty of restating it in more explicit terms. The true or
transcendental self has no content of its own through which it can gain
knowledge of itself. It is mere identity, I am I. In other words,
self-consciousness is a mere _form_ through which contents that never
themselves constitute the self are yet apprehended as being objects to
the self. Thus though the self in being conscious of time or duration
must be conscious of itself as _identical_ throughout the succession of
its experiences, that identity can never be discovered in those
experiences; it can only be thought as a condition of them. The
continuity of memory, for instance, is not a possible substitute for
transcendental apperception. As the subjective deduction demonstrates,
self-consciousness conditions memory, and cannot therefore be reduced to
or be generated by it.[892] When, however, such considerations are
allowed their due weight, the necessity of postulating a transcendental
unity becomes only the more evident. Though it can never itself be found
among appearances, it is an interpretation which we are none the less
compelled to give to appearances.

To summarise before proceeding. We have obtained two important
conclusions: first, that all consciousness involves self-consciousness;
and secondly, that self-consciousness is a mere form, in terms of which
contents that do not constitute the self are apprehended as existing for
the self. The first leads up to the second, and the second is equivalent
to the assertion that there can be no such thing as a pure
self-consciousness, _i.e._ a consciousness in which the self is aware of
itself and of nothing but itself. Self-consciousness, to be possible at
all, must at the same time be a consciousness of something that is
not-self. Only one further step is now required for the completion of
the deduction, namely, proof that this not-self, consciousness of which
is necessary to the possibility of self-consciousness, must consist in
empirical objects apprehended in terms of the categories. For proof Kant
again appeals to the indispensableness of apperception. As no intuitions
can enter consciousness which are not capable of being related to the
self, they must be so related to one another that, notwithstanding their
variety and diversity, the self can still be conscious of itself as
identical throughout them all. In other words, no intuition can be
related to the self that is incapable of being combined together with
all the other intuitions to form a unitary consciousness. I may here
quote from the text of the second edition:[893]

     “...only in so far as I can grasp the manifold of the
     representations in one consciousness, do I call them one and all
     mine. For otherwise I should have as many-coloured and diverse a
     self as I have representations of which I am conscious to myself.”

Or as it is stated in the first edition:[894]

     “We are _a priori_ aware of the complete identity of the self in
     respect of all representations which belong to our knowledge ... as
     a necessary condition of the possibility of all representations.”

These are the considerations which lead Kant to entitle the unity of
apperception _transcendental_. He so names it for the reason that,
though it is not itself _a priori_ in the manner of the categories, we
are yet enabled by its means to demonstrate that the unity which is
necessary for possible experience can be securely counted upon in the
manifold of all possible representations, and because (as he believed)
it also enables us to prove that the forms of such unity are the
categories of the understanding.

To the argument supporting this last conclusion Kant does not give the
attention which its importance would seem to deserve. He points out that
as the given is an unconnected manifold, its unity can be obtained only
by synthesis, and that such synthesis must conform to the conditions
prescribed by the unity of apperception. That these conditions coincide
with the categories he does not, however, attempt to prove. He
apparently believes that this has been already established in the
metaphysical deduction.[895] The forms of unity demanded by
apperception, he feels justified in assuming, are the categories. They
may be regarded as expressing the minimum of unity necessary to the
possibility of self-consciousness. If sensations cannot be interpreted
as the diverse attributes of unitary substances, if events cannot be
viewed as arising out of one another, if the entire world in space
cannot be conceived as a system of existences reciprocally
interdependent, all unity must vanish from experience, and apperception
will be utterly impossible.[896]

The successive steps of the total argument of the deduction, as given in
the first edition, are therefore as follows: Consciousness of time
involves empirical self-consciousness; empirical self-consciousness is
conditioned by a transcendental self-consciousness; and such
transcendental self-consciousness is itself, in turn, conditioned by
consciousness of objects. The argument thus completed becomes the proof
of mutual interdependence. Self-consciousness and consciousness of
objects, as polar opposites, mutually condition one another. Only
through consciousness of both simultaneously can consciousness of either
be attained. Only in and through reference to an object can an idea be
related to a self, and so be accompanied by that self-consciousness
which conditions recognition, and through recognition all the varying
forms in which our consciousness can occur. From the point of view,
however, of a Critical enquiry apperception is the more important of the
two forms of consciousness. For though each is the _causa existendi_ of
the other, self-consciousness has the unique distinction of being the
_causa cognoscendi_ of the objective and _a priori_ validity of the
forms of understanding.

     “The synthetic proposition, that all the variety of empirical
     consciousness must be combined in a single self-consciousness, is
     the absolutely first and synthetic principle of our thought in

We may at this point consider Kant’s doctrine of “objective affinity.”
It excellently enforces the main thesis which he is professing to
establish, namely, that the conditions of _unitary_ consciousness are
the conditions of _all_ consciousness. The language, however, in which
the doctrine is expounded is extremely obscure and difficult; and before
commenting upon Kant’s own methods of statement, it seems advisable to
paraphrase the argument in a somewhat free manner, and also to defer
consideration of the transcendental psychology which Kant has employed
in its exposition.[898] Association can subsist only between ideas, both
of which have occurred within the same conscious field. Now the
fundamental characteristic of consciousness, the very condition of its
existing at all, is its unity; and until this has been recognised, there
can be no understanding of the associative connection which arises under
the conditions which consciousness supplies. To attempt to explain the
unity of consciousness through the mechanism of association is to
explain an agency in terms of certain of its own effects. It is to
explain the fundamental in terms of the derivative, the conditions in
terms of what they have themselves made possible. Kant’s argument is
therefore as follows. Ideas do not become associated merely by
co-existing. They must occur together in a unitary consciousness; and
among the conditions necessary to the possibility of association are
therefore the conditions of the possibility of experience. Association
is transcendentally grounded. So far from accounting for the unity of
consciousness, it presupposes the latter as determining the conditions
under which alone it can come into play.

     “...how, I ask, is association itself possible?... On my principles
     the thorough-going affinity of appearances is easily explicable.
     All possible appearances belong as representations to the totality
     of a possible self-consciousness. But as this self-consciousness is
     a transcendental representation, numerical identity is inseparable
     from it and is _a priori_ certain. For nothing can come to our
     knowledge save in terms of this original apperception. Now, since
     this identity must necessarily enter into the synthesis of all the
     manifold of appearances, so far as the synthesis is to yield
     empirical knowledge, the appearances are subject to _a priori_
     conditions, with which the synthesis of their apprehension must be
     in complete accordance.... Thus all appearances stand in a
     thorough-going connection according to necessary laws, and
     therefore in a transcendental affinity of which the empirical is a
     mere consequence.”[899]

In other words, representations must exist in consciousness before they
can become associated; and they can exist in consciousness only if they
are consciously apprehended. But in order to be consciously apprehended,
they must conform to the transcendental conditions upon which all
consciousness rests; and in being thus apprehended they are set in
thoroughgoing unity to one another and to the self. They are apprehended
as belonging to an objective order or unity which is the correlate of
the unity of self-consciousness. This is what Kant entitles their
objective affinity; it is what conditions and makes possible their
associative or empirical connection.

This main point is very definitely stated in A 101.

     “If we can show that even our purest _a priori_ intuitions yield no
     knowledge, save in so far as they contain such a connection of the
     manifold as will make possible a thoroughgoing synthesis of
     reproduction, this synthesis of the imagination” [which acts
     through the machinery of association] “must be grounded, prior to
     all experience, on _a priori_ principles, and since experience
     necessarily presupposes that appearances can be reproduced, we
     shall have to assume a pure transcendental synthesis of the
     imagination” [_i.e._ such synthesis as is involved in the unity of
     consciousness] “as conditioning even the possibility of all

In A 121-2 Kant expresses his position in a more ambiguous manner. He
may seem to the reader merely to be arguing that a certain minimum of
regularity is necessary in order that representations may be associated,
and experience may be possible.[901] But the general tenor of the
passage as a whole, and especially its concluding sentences, enforce the
stronger, more consistent, thesis.

     ”[The] subjective and empirical ground of reproduction according to
     rules is named the association of representations. If this unity of
     association did not also have an objective ground, which makes it
     impossible that appearances should be apprehended by the
     imagination except under the condition of a possible synthetic
     unity of this apprehension, it would be entirely accidental that
     appearances should fit into a connected whole of human knowledge.
     For even though we had the power of associating perceptions, it
     would remain entirely undetermined and accidental whether they
     would themselves be associable; and should they not be associable,
     there might exist a multitude of perceptions, and indeed an entire
     sensibility, in which much empirical consciousness would arise in
     my mind, but in a state of separation, and without belonging to one
     consciousness of myself. That, however, is impossible. For only in
     so far as I ascribe all perceptions to one consciousness (original
     apperception), can I say in all perceptions that I am conscious of
     them. There must therefore be an objective ground (that is, one
     that can be recognised _a priori_, antecedently to all empirical
     laws of the imagination) upon which may rest the possibility, nay
     the necessity, of a law that extends to all appearances....”

Kant is not merely asserting that the associableness of ideas, and the
regularity of connection which that implies, must be postulated as a
condition of experience. That would be a mere begging of the issue; the
correctness of the postulate would not be independently proved. Kant is
really maintaining the much more important thesis, that the unity of
experience, _i.e._ of consciousness, is what makes association possible
at all. And since consciousness must be unitary in order to exist, there
cannot be any empirical consciousness in which the conditions of
association, and therefore of reproduction, are not to be found.

A further misunderstanding is apt to be caused by Kant’s statement that
associative affinity rests upon objective affinity. This seems to imply,
in the same manner as the passage which we have just considered, that
instead of proving that appearances are subject to law and order, he is
merely postulating that an abiding ground of such regularity must exist
in the noumenal conditions of the sense manifold. But he himself again
supplies the needful correction.

     “This [objective ground of all association of appearances] can
     nowhere be found, except in the principle of the unity of
     apperception in respect of all forms of knowledge which can belong
     to me. In accordance with this principle all appearances must so
     enter the mind, or be so apprehended, that they fit together to
     constitute the unity of apperception. This would be impossible
     without synthetic unity in their connection, and that unity is
     therefore also objectively necessary. The objective unity of all
     empirical consciousness in one consciousness, that of original
     apperception, is therefore the necessary condition of all (even of
     all _possible_) perception; and the affinity of all appearances,
     near or remote, is a necessary consequence of a synthesis in
     imagination which is grounded _a priori_ on rules.”[902]

The fundamental characteristic of consciousness is the unified form in
which alone it can exist; only when this unity is recognised as
indispensably necessary, and therefore as invariably present whenever
consciousness exists at all, can the inter-relations of the contents of
consciousness be properly defined.

If this main contention of the Critical teaching be accepted, Hume’s
associationist standpoint is no longer tenable. Association cannot be
taken to be an ultimate and inexplicable property of our mental states.
Nor is it a property which can be regarded as belonging to presentations
viewed as so many independent existences. It is conditioned by the unity
of consciousness, and therefore rests upon the “transcendental”
conditions which Critical analysis reveals. Since the unity of
consciousness conditions association, it cannot be explained as the
outcome and product of the mechanism of association.

In restating the objective deduction in the second edition, Kant has
omitted all reference to this doctrine of objective affinity. His
reasons for this omission were probably twofold. In the first place, it
has been expounded in terms of a transcendental psychology, which, as we
shall find, is conjectural in character. And secondly, the phrase
“objective affinity” is, as I have already pointed out, decidedly
misleading. It seems to imply that Kant is postulating, without
independent proof, that noumenal conditions must be such as to supply an
orderly manifold of sense data. But though the doctrine of objective
affinity is eliminated, its place is to some extent taken[903] by the
proof that all apprehension is an act of judgment and therefore involves
factors which cannot be reduced to, or explained in terms of,

There are a number of points in the deduction of the first edition which
call for further explanatory and critical comment. The first of these
concerns the somewhat misleading character of the term _a priori_ as
applied to the categories. It carries with it rationalistic associations
to which the Critical standpoint, properly understood, yields no
support. The categories are for Kant of merely _de facto_ nature. They
have no intrinsic validity. They are proved only as being the
indispensable conditions of what is before the mind as brute fact,
namely, conscious experience. By the _a priori_ is meant merely those
_relational_ factors which are required to supplement the given manifold
in order to constitute our actual consciousness. And, as Kant is careful
to point out, the experience, as conditions of which their validity is
thus established, is of a highly specific character, resting upon
synthesis of a manifold given in space and time. That is to say, their
indispensableness is proved only for a consciousness which in these
fundamental respects is constituted like our own.[904] And secondly, the
validity of the _a priori_ categories, even in our human thinking, is
established only in reference to that empirical world which is
constructed out of the given manifold in terms of the intuitive forms,
space and time. Their validity is a merely phenomenal validity. They are
valid of appearances, but not of things in themselves. The _a priori_ is
thus doubly _de facto_: first as a condition of brute fact, namely, the
actuality of our human consciousness; and secondly, as conditioning a
consciousness whose knowledge is limited to appearances. It is a
relative, not an absolute _a priori_. Acceptance of it does not,
therefore, commit us to rationalism in the ordinary meaning of that
term. Its credentials are conferred upon it by what is mere fact; it
does not represent an order superior to the actual and legislative for
it. In other words, it is Critical, not Leibnizian in character. No
transcendent metaphysics can be based upon it. In formulating this
doctrine of the _a priori_ as yielding objective insight and yet as
limited in the sphere of its application, the _Critique of Pure Reason_
marks an epoch in the history of scepticism, no less than in the
development of Idealist teaching.

There is one important link in the deduction, as above given, which is
hardly calculated to support the conclusions that depend upon it. Kant,
as we have already noted,[905] asserts that the categories express the
minimum of unity necessary for the possibility of apperception. A
contention so essential to the argument calls for the most careful
scrutiny and a meticulous exactitude of proof. As a matter of fact, such
proof is not to be found in any part of the deductions, whether of the
first or of the second editions. It is attempted only in the later
sections on the _Principles of Understanding_, and even there it is
developed, in any really satisfactory fashion, only in regard to the
categories of causality and reciprocity.[906] This proof, however, as
there given, is an argument which in originality, subtlety and force
goes far to atone for all shortcomings. It completes the objective
deduction by developing in masterly fashion (in spite of the diffuse and
ill-arranged character of the text) the central contention for which the
deduction stands. But in the transcendental deduction itself, we find
only such an argument--if it may be called an argument--as follows from
the identification of apperception with understanding.

     “The unity of apperception, in relation to the synthesis of
     imagination, is the understanding.... In understanding there are
     pure _a priori_ forms of knowledge which contain the necessary
     unity of pure synthesis of imagination in respect of all possible
     appearances. But these are the categories, _i.e._ pure concepts of

The point is again merely assumed in A 125-6. So also in A 126:

     “Although through experience we learn many laws, these are only
     special determinations of still higher laws, of which the highest,
     under which all others stand, originate _a priori_ in the
     understanding itself....”[908]

Again in A 129 it is argued that as we prescribe _a priori_ rules to
which all experience must conform, those rules cannot be derived from
experience, but must precede and condition it, and can do so only as
originating from ourselves (_aus uns selbst_).

     ”[They] precede all knowledge of the object as [their] intellectual
     form, and constitute a formal _a priori_ knowledge of all objects
     in so far as they are thought (categories).”

But this is only to repeat that such forms of unity as are necessary to
self-consciousness must be realised in all synthesis. It is no
sufficient proof that those forms of relation coincide with the
categories. As we shall find in considering the deduction of the second
edition, Kant to some extent came to recognise the existence of this gap
in his argument and sought to supply the missing steps. But his method
of so doing still ultimately consists in an appeal to the results of the
metaphysical deduction, and therefore rests upon his untenable belief in
the adequacy of formal logic. It fails to obviate the objection in any
satisfactory manner.

As regards the negative aspect of the conclusion reached--that the
validity of the categories is established only for appearances--Kant
maintains that this is a necessary corollary of their validity being _a
priori_. That things in themselves must conform to the conditions
demanded by the nature of our self-consciousness is altogether
impossible of proof. Even granting, what is indeed quite possible, that
things in themselves embody the pure forms of understanding, we still
cannot have any ground for maintaining that they must do so of necessity
and will be found to do so universally. For even if we could directly
experience things in themselves, and apprehend them as conforming to the
categories, such conformity would still be known only as contingent. But
when it is recognised that nature consists for us of nothing but
appearances, existing only in the mode in which they are experienced,
and therefore as necessarily conforming to the conditions under which
experience is alone possible, the paradoxical aspect of the apriority
ascribed to the categories at once vanishes. Proof of their _a priori_
validity presupposes the phenomenal character of the objects to which
they apply. They can be proved to be universal and necessarily valid of
objects only in so far as it can be shown that they have antecedently
conditioned and constituted them. The sole sufficient reason for
asserting them to be universally valid throughout experience is that
they are indispensably necessary for rendering it possible.[909] The
transcendental method of proof, _i.e._ proof by reference to the very
possibility of experience, is for this reason, as Kant so justly
emphasises, the sole type of argument capable of fulfilling the demands
which have to be met. It presupposes, and itself enforces, the truth of
the fundamental Critical distinction between appearances and things in

Kant entitles the unity of apperception _original_
(_ursprünglich_);[910] and we may now consider how far and in what sense
this title is applicable.[911] _From the point of view of method_ there
is the same justification for employing the term ‘original’ as for
entitling the unity of apperception transcendental.[912]
Self-consciousness is more fundamental or original than consciousness of
objects, in so far as[913] it is only from the subjective standpoint
which it represents that the objective deduction can demonstrate the
necessity of synthesis, and the empirical validity of the pure forms of
understanding. It is as a condition of the possibility of
self-consciousness that the objective employment of the categories is
proved to be legitimate. _In the development of the deduction_
self-consciousness is, therefore, more original than consciousness of
objects. Kant’s employment of the term is, however, extremely
misleading. For it would seem to imply that the self has been proved to
be original or ultimate in an ontological sense, as if it preceded
experience, and through its antecedent reality rendered objective
experience possible of achievement. Such a view is undoubtedly
reinforced by Kant’s transformation of apperception into a faculty--_das
Radicalvermögen aller unsrer Erkenntniss_[914]--and his consequent
identification of it with the understanding.[915] It then seems as if he
were maintaining that the transcendental ego is ultimate and is
independent of all conditions, and that to its synthetic activities the
various forms of objective consciousness are due.[916]

This unfortunate phraseology is directly traceable to the spiritualistic
or Leibnizian character of Kant’s earlier standpoint. In the
_Dissertation_ the self is viewed as an ultimate and unconditioned
existence, antecedent to experience and creatively generative of it. We
have already noted that a somewhat similar view is presented in the
_Critique_ in those paragraphs which Vaihinger identifies as embodying
the earliest stage in the development of the argument of the deduction.
The self is there described as coming to consciousness of its permanence
through reflection upon the constancy of its own synthetic activities.
Our consciousness of a transcendental object, and even the possibility
of the empirical concepts through which such consciousness is, in these
paragraphs, supposed to be mediated, are traced to this same source. To
the last this initial excess of emphasis upon the unity of apperception
remained characteristic of Kant’s Critical teaching; and though in the
later statements of his theory, its powers and prerogatives were very
greatly diminished, it still continued to play a somewhat exaggerated
rôle. The early spiritualistic views were embodied in a terminology
which he continued to employ; and unless the altered meaning of his
terms is recognised and allowed for, misunderstanding is bound to
result. The terms, having been forged under the influence of the older
views, are but ill adapted to the newer teaching which they are employed
to formulate.

There was also a second influence at work. When Kant was constrained in
the light of his new and unexpected results to recognise his older views
as lacking in theoretical justification, he still held to them in his
own personal thinking. For there is ample evidence that they continued
to represent his _Privatmeinungen_.[917]

Only, therefore, when these misleading influences, verbal, expository,
and personal, are discounted, do the results of the deduction appear in
their true proportions. Kant’s Critical philosophy does not profess to
prove that it is self-consciousness, or apperception, or a
transcendental ego, or anything describable in kindred terms, which
ultimately renders experience possible. The most that we can
legitimately postulate, as noumenally conditioning experience, are
“syntheses” (themselves, in their generative character, not
definable)[918] in accordance with the categories. For only upon the
completion of such syntheses do consciousness of self and consciousness
of objects come to exist. Consciousness of objects does, indeed,
according to the argument of the deduction, involve consciousness of
self; self-consciousness is the form of all consciousness. But, by the
same argument, it is equally true that only in and through
consciousness of objects is any self-consciousness possible at all.
Consciousness of self and consciousness of objects _mutually_ condition
one another. Only through consciousness of both simultaneously can
consciousness of either be attained. Self-consciousness is not
demonstrably in itself any more ultimate or original than is
consciousness of objects. Both alike are forms of experience which are
conditioned in complex ways. Upon the question as to whether or not
there is any such thing as abiding personality, the transcendental
deduction casts no direct light. Indeed consciousness of self, as the
more inclusive and complex form of awareness, may perhaps be regarded as
pointing to a greater variety of contributory and generative conditions.

Unfortunately Kant, for the reasons just stated, has not sufficiently
emphasised this more negative, or rather noncommittal, aspect of the
results of the deduction. But when later in the chapter on the
_Paralogisms_ he is brought face to face with the issue, and has
occasion to pronounce upon the question, he speaks with no uncertain
voice. In the theoretical sphere there is, he declares, no sufficient
proof of the spirituality, or unitary and ultimate character, of the
self. Like everything else the unity of apperception must be noumenally
conditioned, but it cannot be shown that in itself, _as
self-consciousness or apperception_, it represents any noumenal reality.
It may be a resultant, resting upon, and due to, a complexity of
generative conditions; and these conditions may be fundamentally
different in character from itself. They may, for all that we can prove
to the contrary, be of a non-conscious and non-personal nature. There is
nothing in our cognitive experience, and no result of the Critical
analysis of it, which is inconsistent with such a possibility.[919]
Those commentators, such as Cohen, Caird, and Watson, who more or less
follow Hegel in his criticism of Kant’s procedure, give an
interpretation of the transcendental deduction which makes it
inconsistent with the sceptical conclusions which the _Critique_ as a
whole is made by its author to support. Unbiassed study of the
_Analytic_, even if taken by itself in independence of the _Dialectic_,
does not favour such a view. The argument of the transcendental
deduction itself justifies no more than Kant is willing to allow in his
discussion of the nature of the self in the section on the
_Paralogisms_. It may, indeed, as Caird has so forcibly shown in his
massive work upon the Critical philosophy, be developed upon Hegelian
lines, but only through a process of essential reconstruction which
departs very far from many of Kant’s most cherished tenets, and which
does so in a spirit that radically conflicts with that which dominates
the _Critique_ as a whole.


The reader will have noted that several of the factors in Kant’s
exposition have so far been entirely ignored. The time has now come for
reckoning with them. They constitute, in my view, the later stages of
the subjective deduction. That is to say, they refer to the
transcendental generative powers which Kant, _on the strength of the
results obtained in the more objective enquiry_, feels justified in
postulating. Separate consideration of them tends to clearness of
statement. Kant’s constant alternation between the logical and the
dynamical standpoints is one of the many causes of the obscurity in his
argument. In this connection we shall also find opportunity to discuss
the fundamental conflict, to which I have already had occasion to refer,
between the subjectivist and the phenomenalist modes of developing the
Critical standpoint.

The conclusions arrived at in the objective deduction compelled Kant to
revise his previous psychological views. Hitherto he had held to the
Leibnizian theory that _a priori_ concepts are obtained by reflection
upon the mind’s native and fundamental modes of action. In the
_Dissertation_ he carefully distinguishes between the _logical_ and the
_real_ employment of the understanding. Through the former empirical
concepts are derived from concrete experience. Through the latter pure
concepts are creatively generated. Logical and real thinking agree,
however, Kant there argues, in being activities of the _conscious_ mind.
Both can be apprehended and adequately determined through the revealing
power of reflective consciousness. Such a standpoint is no longer
tenable for Kant. Now that he has shown that the consciousness of self
and the consciousness of objects mutually condition one another, and
that until both are attained neither is possible, he can no longer
regard the mind as even possibly conscious of the activities whereby
experience is brought about. The activities generative of consciousness
have to be recognised as themselves falling outside it. Not even in its
penumbra, through some vague form of apprehension, can they be detected.
Only the finished products of such activities, not the activities
themselves, can be presented to consciousness; and only by general
reasoning, inferential of agencies that lie outside the conscious
field, can we hope to determine them.

Now Kant appears to have been unwilling to regard the ‘understanding’ as
ever unconscious of its activities. Why he was unwilling, it does not
seem possible to explain; at most his rationalist leanings and Wolffian
training may be cited as contributing causes. To the end he continued to
speak of the understanding as the faculty whereby the _a priori_ is
brought to consciousness. In order to develop the distinctions demanded
by the new Critical attitude, he had therefore to introduce a new
faculty, capable of taking over the activities which have to be
recognised as non-conscious. For this purpose he selected the
imagination, giving to it the special title, _productive_ imagination.
The empirical reproductive processes hitherto alone recognised by
psychologists are not, he declares, exhaustive of the nature of the
imagination. It is also capable of _transcendental_ activity, and upon
this the “objective affinity” of appearances and the resulting
possibility of their empirical apprehension is made to rest. The
productive imagination is also viewed as rendering possible the
understanding, that is, the conscious apprehension of the _a priori_ as
an element embedded in objective experience. Such apprehension is
possible because in the pre-conscious elaboration of the given manifold
the productive imagination has conformed to those _a priori_ principles
which the understanding demands for the possibility of its own exercise
in conscious apprehension. Productive imagination acts in the manner
required to yield experiences which are capable of relation to the unity
of self-consciousness, _i.e._ of being found to conform to the unity of
the categories. Why it should act in this manner cannot be explained;
but it is none the less, on Critical principles, a legitimate
assumption, since only in so far as it does so can experience, which _de
facto_ exists, be possible in any form. As a condition _sine qua non_ of
actual and possible experience, the existence of such a faculty is, Kant
argues, a legitimate inference from the results of the transcendental

Though Kant’s insistence upon the conscious character of understanding
compels him to distinguish between it and the imagination, he has also
to recognise their kinship. If imagination can never act save in
conformity with the _a priori_ forms of understanding, some reason must
exist for their harmony. This twofold necessity of at once
distinguishing and connecting them is the cause of the hesitating and
extremely variable account which in both editions of the _Critique_ is
given of their relation. In several passages the understanding is
spoken of as simply imagination which has attained to consciousness of
its activities.[920] Elsewhere he explicitly states that they are
distinct and separate. From this second point of view Kant regards
imagination as mediating between sense and understanding, and, though
reducible to neither, akin to both.

Only on one point is Kant clear and definite, namely, that it is to
productive imagination that the _generation_ of unified experience is
primarily due. In it something of the fruitful and inexhaustible
character of noumenal reality is traceable. Doubtless one chief reason
for his choice of the title imagination is the creative character which
in popular thought has always been regarded as its essential feature. As
Kant, speaking of schematism, which is a process executed by the
imagination, states in A 141: “This schematism ... is an _art_ (_Kunst_)
concealed in the depths of the human soul.”[921] This description may
perhaps be interpreted in the light of Kant’s account of the creative
character of artistic genius in the _Critique of Judgment_, for there
also imagination figures as the truly originative or creative faculty of
the human spirit. To its noumenal character we may also trace its
capacity of combining those factors of sense and understanding which in
the realm of appearance remain persistently opposed.[922] Imagination
differs from the understanding chiefly in that it is at once more
comprehensive and also more truly creative. It supplements the
functional forms with a sensuous content, and applies them dynamically
in the generation of experience.

The schemata, which the productive imagination is supposed to construct,
are those generalised forms of temporal and spatial existence in which
alone the unity of experience necessary to apperception can be realised.
They are

     “pure (without admixture of anything empirical), and yet are in one
     aspect intellectual and in another sensuous.”[923]

Or as Kant describes the process in the chapter before us:[924]

     “We name the synthesis of the manifold in imagination
     transcendental, if without distinction of intuitions it is directed
     exclusively to the _a priori_ combination of the manifold; and the
     unity of this synthesis is entitled transcendental, if it is
     represented as _a priori_ necessary in relation to the original
     unity of apperception. As this unity of apperception conditions
     the possibility of all knowledge, the transcendental unity of the
     synthesis of imagination is the pure form of all possible
     knowledge. Hence, through it all objects of possible experience
     must be represented _a priori_.”

The schemata, thus transcendentally generated, are represented by Kant
as limiting and controlling the empirical processes of apprehension,
reproduction, and recognition. As no experience is attainable save in
terms of the schemata, they enable us to determine, on _a priori_
grounds, the degree of constancy and regularity that can be securely
counted upon in all experience. This is Kant’s psychological explanation
of what he has entitled “objective affinity.”[925] The empirical ground
of reproduction is the association of ideas; its transcendental ground
is an objective affinity which is “a necessary consequence of a
synthesis in imagination, grounded _a priori_ on rules.”[926]

     ”[The] subjective and empirical ground of reproduction according to
     rules is named the association of representations. If this unity of
     association did not also have an objective ground, which makes it
     impossible that appearances should be apprehended by the
     imagination except under the condition of a possible synthetic
     unity of this apprehension, it would be entirely accidental that
     appearances should fit into a connected whole of human
     knowledge.... There might exist a multitude of perceptions, and
     indeed an entire sensibility, in which much empirical consciousness
     would arise in my mind, but in a state of separation, and without
     belonging to one consciousness of myself. That, however, is
     impossible.” [As the subjective and objective deductions have
     demonstrated, where there is no self-consciousness there is no
     consciousness of any kind.] “There must therefore be an objective
     ground (that is, one that can be determined _a priori_,
     antecedently to all empirical laws of the imagination) upon which
     may rest the possibility, nay, the necessity of a law that extends
     to all appearances--the law, namely, that all appearances must be
     regarded as data of the senses which are associable in themselves
     and subject to general rules of universal connection in their
     reproduction. This objective ground of all association of
     appearances I entitle their _affinity_.... The objective unity of
     all empirical consciousness in one consciousness, that of original
     apperception, is the necessary condition of all possible
     perception; and the affinity of all appearances, near or remote, is
     a necessary consequence of a synthesis in imagination which is
     grounded _a priori_ on rules.”[927]

This part of Kant’s teaching is apt to seem more obscure than it is. For
the reader is not unnaturally disinclined to accept it in the very
literal sense in which it is stated. That Kant means, however, exactly
what he says, appears from the further consequence which he himself not
only recognises as necessary, but insists upon as valid. The doctrine of
objective affinity culminates in the conclusion[928] that it is “we
ourselves who introduce into the appearances that order and regularity
which we name nature.” The “we ourselves” refers to the mind in the
transcendental activities of the productive imagination. The conscious
processes of apprehension, reproduction, and recognition necessarily
conform to schemata, non-consciously generated, which express the
combined _a priori_ conditions of intuition and understanding required
for unitary consciousness.

Many points in this strange doctrine call for consideration. It rests,
in the first place, upon the assumption of a hard and fast distinction,
very difficult of acceptance, between transcendental and empirical
activities of the mind. Secondly, Kant’s assertion, that the empirical
manifolds can be relied upon to supply a satisfactory content for the
schemata, calls for more adequate justification than he himself adduces.
It is upon independent reality that the fixity of empirical
co-existences and sequences depends. Is not Kant practically assuming a
pre-established harmony in asserting that as the mind creates the _form_
of nature it can legislate _a priori_ for all possible experience?

As regards the first assumption Kant would seem to have been influenced
by the ambiguities of the term transcendental. It means, as we have
already noted,[929] either the science of the _a priori_, or the _a
priori_ itself, or the conditions which render experience possible. Even
the two latter meanings by no means coincide. The conditions of the
possibility of experience are not in all cases _a priori_. The manifold
of outer sense is as indispensable a precondition of experience as are
the forms of understanding, and yet is not _a priori_ in any valid sense
of that term. It does not, therefore, follow that because the activities
of productive imagination “transcendentally” condition experience, they
must themselves be _a priori_, and must, as Kant also maintains,[930]
deal with a pure _a priori_ manifold. Further, the separation between
transcendental and empirical activities of the mind must defeat the very
purpose for which the productive imagination is postulated, namely, in
order to account for the generation of a complex consciousness in which
no one element can temporally precede any of the others. If the
productive imagination generates only schemata, it will not account for
that complex experience in which consciousness of self and consciousness
of objects are indissolubly united. The introduction of the productive
imagination seems at first sight to promise recognition of the dynamical
aspect of our temporally sequent experience, and of that aspect in which
as appearance it refers us beyond itself to non-experienced conditions.
As employed, however, in the doctrines of schematism and of objective
affinity, the imagination exhibits a formalism hardly less extreme than
that of the understanding whose shortcomings it is supposed to make

In his second assumption Kant, as so often in the _Critique_, is
allowing his old-time rationalistic leanings to influence him in
underestimating the large part which the purely empirical must always
occupy in human experience, and in exaggerating the scope of the
inferences which can be drawn from the presence of the formal,
relational factors. But this is a point which we are not yet in a
position to discuss.[931]

Fortunately, if Vaihinger’s theory be accepted,[932] section A 98-104
enables us to follow the movement of Kant’s mind in the interval between
the formulating of the doctrine of productive imagination and the
publication of the _Critique_. He himself would seem to have recognised
the unsatisfactoriness of dividing up the total conditions of experience
into transcendental activities that issue in schemata, and supplementary
empirical processes which transform them into concrete, specific
consciousness. The alternative theory which he proceeds to propound is
at first sight much more satisfactory. It consists in duplicating each
of the various empirical processes with a transcendental faculty. There
are, he now declares, three transcendental powers--a transcendental
faculty of apprehension, a transcendental faculty of reproduction
(=imagination), and a transcendental faculty of recognition. Thus Kant’s
previous view that transcendental imagination has a special and unique
activity, namely, the productive, altogether different in type from any
of its empirical processes, is now allowed to drop; in place of it Kant
develops the view that the transcendental functions run exactly parallel
with the empirical processes.[933] But though such a position may at
first seem more promising than that which it displaces, it soon reveals
its unsatisfactoriness. The two types of mental activity, transcendental
and empirical, no longer, indeed, fall apart; but the difficulty now
arises of distinguishing in apprehension, reproduction, and recognition
any genuinely transcendental aspect.[934] Apprehension, reproduction,
and recognition are so essentially conscious processes that to view them
as also transcendental does not seem helpful. They contain elements that
are transcendental in the logical sense, but cannot be shown to
presuppose in any analogous fashion mental powers that are
transcendental in the dynamical sense. This is especially evident in
regard to recognition, which is described as being “the _consciousness_
that what we are thinking is the same as what we thought a moment
before.” In dealing with apprehension and reproduction the only real
difference which Kant is able to suggest, as existing between their
transcendental and their empirical activities, is that the former
synthesise the pure _a priori_ manifolds of space and time, and the
latter the contingent manifold of sense. But even this unsatisfactory
distinction he does not attempt to apply in the case of recognition. Nor
can we hold that by the transcendental synthesis of recognition Kant
means transcendental apperception. That is, of course, the suggestion
which at once occurs to the reader. But however possible it might be to
inject such a meaning into kindred passages elsewhere, it cannot be made
to fit the context of this particular section.

Vaihinger’s theory seems to be the only thread which will guide us
through this labyrinth. Kant, on the eve of the publication of the
_Critique_, recognising the unsatisfactoriness of his hard and fast
separation of transcendental from empirical processes, adopted the view
that some form of transcendental activity corresponds to every
fundamental form of empirical activity and _vice versa_. Hastily
developing this theory, he incorporated it into the _Critique_ alongside
his older doctrine. It does not, however, reappear in the _Prolegomena_,
and its teaching is explicitly withdrawn in the second edition of the
_Critique_. Its plausibility had entrapped him into its temporary
adoption, but the defects which it very soon revealed speedily led him
to reject it.

One feature of great significance calls for special notice. The
breakdown of this doctrine of a threefold transcendental synthesis did
not, as might naturally have been expected from what is stated in the
prefaces to the _Critique_ regarding the unessential and seemingly
conjectural character of the subjective deduction, lead Kant to despair
of developing a transcendental psychology. Though in the second edition
he cuts away the sections containing the earlier stages of the
subjective deduction,[935] and in recasting the other sections gives
greater prominence to the more purely logical analyses, the older
doctrine of productive imagination is reinstated in full force,[936] and
is again developed in[937] connection with the doctrine of pure _a
priori_ manifolds. Evidently, therefore, Kant was not disheartened by
the various difficulties which lie in the path of a transcendental
psychology, and it seems reasonable to conclude that there were powerful
reasons inclining him to its retention. I shall now attempt, to the best
of my powers, to explain--the task is a delicate and difficult one--what
we may believe these reasons to have been.[938]


A wider set of considerations than we have yet taken into account must
be borne in mind if certain broader and really vital implications of
Kant’s enquiry are to be properly viewed. The self has a twofold aspect.
It is at once animal in its conditions and potentially universal in its
powers of apprehension. Though man’s natural existence is that of an
animal organism, he can have consciousness of the spatial world out of
which his organism has arisen, and of the wider periods within which his
transitory existence falls. Ultimately such consciousness would seem to
connect man cognitively with reality as a whole. Now it is to this
universal or absolutist aspect of our consciousness, to its
transcendence of the embodied and separate self, that Kant is seeking to
do justice in his transcendental deductions, especially in his doctrine
of the transcendental unity of apperception. For he views that
apperception as conditioned by, and the correlate of, the consciousness
of objectivity. It involves the consciousness of a single cosmical time
and of a single cosmical space within which all events fall and within
which they form a whole of causally interdependent existences. That is
why he names it the _objective_ unity of apperception. It is that aspect
in which the self correlates with a wider reality, and through which it
stands in fundamental contrast to the merely subjective states and to
the individual conditions of its animal existence. The transcendental
self, so far from being identical with the empirical self, would seem to
be of directly opposite nature. The one would seem to point beyond the
realm of appearance, the other to be in its existence merely natural.
The fact that they are inextricably bound up with one another, and
co-operate in rendering experience possible, only makes the more
indispensable the duty of recognising their differing characters. Even
should they prove to be inseparable aspects of sense-experience, without
metaphysical implications, that would not obviate the necessity of
clearly distinguishing them. The distinction remains, whatever
explanation may be adopted of its speculative or other significance.

Now obviously in so fundamental an enquiry, dealing as it does with the
most complicated and difficult problem in the entire field of
metaphysics, no brief and compendious answer can cover all the various
considerations which are relevant and determining. The problem of the
deduction being what it is, the section dealing with it can hardly fail
to be the most difficult portion of the whole _Critique_. The
conclusions at which it arrives rest not merely upon the argument which
it contains but also upon the results more or less independently reached
in the other sections. The doctrine of the empirical object as
appearance requires for its development the various discussions
contained in the _Aesthetic_, in the sections on _Inner Sense_ and on
the _Refutation of Idealism_, in the chapters on _Phenomena and Noumena_
and on the _Antinomies_. The metaphysical consequences and implications
of Kant’s teaching in regard to the transcendental unity of apperception
are first revealed in the chapter on the _Paralogisms_. The view taken
of productive imagination is expanded in the section on _Schematism_. In
a word, the whole antecedent teaching of the _Critique_ is focussed, and
the entire subsequent development of the Critical doctrine is
anticipated, in this brief chapter.

But there are, of course, additional causes of the difficulty and
obscurity of the argument. One such cause has already been noted,
namely, that the _Critique_ is not a unitary work, developed from a
previously thought-out standpoint, but in large part consists of
manuscripts of very various dates, artificially pieced together by the
addition of connecting links. In no part of the _Critique_ is this so
obvious as in the _Analytic of Concepts_. Until this is recognised all
attempts to interpret the text in any impersonal fashion are doomed to
failure. For this reason I have prefaced our discussion by a statement
of Vaihinger’s analysis. No one who can accept it is any longer in
danger of underestimating this particular cause of the obscurity of
Kant’s deduction.

But the chief reason is one to which I have thus far made only passing
reference, and to which we may now give the attention which its
importance demands, namely, the tentative and experimental character of
Kant’s own final solutions. The arguments of the deduction are only
intelligible if viewed as an expression of the conflicting tendencies to
which Kant’s thought remained subject. He sought to allow due weight to
each of the divergent aspects of the experience which he was analysing,
and in so doing proceeded, as it would seem, simultaneously along the
parallel lines of what appeared to be the possible, alternative methods
of explanation. And to the end these opposing tendencies continued side
by side, to the confusion of those readers who seek for a single unified
teaching, but to the great illumination of those who are looking to
Kant, not for clear-cut or final solutions, but for helpful analysis and
for partial disentanglement of the complicated issues which go to
constitute these baffling problems.

The two chief tendencies which thus conflicted in Kant’s mind may be
named the subjectivist and the phenomenalist respectively. This conflict
remained, so to speak, underground, influencing the argument at every
point, but seldom itself becoming the subject of direct discussion. As
we shall find, it caused Kant to develop a twofold view of inner sense,
of causality, of the object of knowledge, and of the unity of
apperception. One of the few sections in the _Critique_ where it seems
on the point of emerging into clear consciousness is the section, added
in the second edition, on the _Refutation of Idealism_. But this section
owes its origin to polemical causes. It represents a position peculiar
to the maturer portions of the _Analytic_; the rest of the _Critique_ is
not rewritten so as to harmonise with it, or to develop the consequences
which consistent holding to it must involve.

I shall use the term _subjectivism_ (and its equivalent _subjective
idealism_) in the wide sense[939] which makes it applicable to the
teaching of Descartes and Locke, of Leibniz and Wolff, no less than to
that of Berkeley and Hume. A common element in all these philosophies is
the belief that subjective or mental states, “ideas” in the Lockean
sense, are the objects of consciousness, and further are the sole
possible objects of which it can have any direct or immediate awareness.
Knowledge is viewed as a process entirely internal to the individual
mind, and as carrying us further only in virtue of some additional
supervening process, inferential, conjectural, or instinctive. This
subjectivism also tends to combine with a view of consciousness as an
ultimate self-revealing property of a merely individual existence.[940]
For Descartes consciousness is the very essence, both of the mind and of
the self. It is indeed asserted to be exhaustive of the nature of both.
Though the self is described as possessing a faculty of will as well as
a power of thinking, all its activities are taken as being disclosed to
the mind through the revealing power of its fundamental attribute. The
individual mind is thus viewed as an existence in which everything takes
place in the open light of an all-pervasive consciousness. Leibniz, it
is true, taught the existence of subconscious perceptions, and so far
may seem to have anticipated Kant’s recognition of non-conscious
processes; but as formulated by Leibniz that doctrine has the defect
which frequently vitiates its modern counterpart, namely that it
represents the subconscious as analogous in nature to the conscious, and
as differing from it only in the accidental features of intensity and
clearness, or through temporary lack of control over the machinery of
reproductive association. The subconscious, as thus represented, merely
enlarges the private content of the individual mind; it in no respect
transcends it.

The genuinely Critical view of the generative conditions of experience
is radically different from this Leibnizian doctrine of _petites
perceptions_. It connects rather with Leibniz’s mode of conceiving the
origin of _a priori_ concepts. But even that teaching it restates in
such fashion as to free it from subjectivist implications. Leibniz’s
contention that the mind is conscious of its fundamental activities, and
that it is by reflection upon them that it gains all ultimate _a priori_
concepts, is no longer tenable in view of the conclusions established in
the objective deduction. Mental processes, in so far as they are
generative of experience, must fall outside the field of consciousness,
and as activities dynamically creative cannot be of the nature of ideas
or contents. They are not subconscious ideas but non-conscious
processes. They are not the submerged content of experience, but its
conditioning grounds. Their most significant characteristic has still,
however, to be mentioned. They must no longer be interpreted in
subjectivist terms, as originating in the separate existence of an
individual self. In conditioning experience they generate the only self
for which experience can vouch, and consequently, in the absence of full
and independent proof, must not be conceived as individually
circumscribed. The problem of knowledge, properly conceived, is no
longer how consciousness, individually conditioned, can lead us beyond
its own bounds, but what a consciousness, which is at once consciousness
of objects and also consciousness of a self, must imply for its
possibility. Kant thus obtains what is an almost invariable concomitant
of scientific and philosophical advance, namely a more correct and
scientific formulation of the problem to be solved. The older
formulation assumes the truth of the subjectivist standpoint; the
Critical problem, when thus stated, is at least free from preconceptions
of that particular brand. Assumptions which hitherto had been quite
unconsciously held, or else, if reflected upon, had been regarded as
axiomatic and self-evident, are now brought within the field of
investigation. Kant thereby achieves a veritable revolution; and with it
many of the most far-reaching consequences of the Critical teaching are
closely bound up.

This new standpoint, in contrast to _subjective_ idealism, may be named
_Critical_, or to employ the term which Kant himself applies both to his
transcendental deduction and to the unity of apperception, _objective_
idealism. But as the distinction between appearance and reality is no
less fundamental to the Critical attitude, we shall perhaps be less
likely to be misunderstood, or to seem to be identifying Kant’s
standpoint with the very different teaching of Hegel, if by preference
we employ the title _phenomenalism_.

In the transcendental deduction Kant, as above noted, is seeking to do
justice to the universal or absolutist aspect of our consciousness, to
its transcendence of the embodied and separate self. The unity of
apperception is entitled _objective_, because it is regarded as the
counterpart of a single cosmical time and of a single cosmical space
within which all events fall. Its objects are not mental states peculiar
to itself, nor even ideal contents numerically distinct from those in
other minds. It looks out upon a common world of genuinely independent
existence. In developing this position Kant is constrained to revise and
indeed completely to recast his previous views both as to the nature of
the synthetic processes, through which experience is constructed, and of
the given manifold, upon which they are supposed to act. From the
subjectivist point of view the synthetic activities consist of the
various cognitive processes of the individual mind, and the given
manifold consists of the sensations aroused by material bodies acting
upon the special senses. From the objective or phenomenalist standpoint
the synthetic processes are of a noumenal character, and the given
manifold is similarly viewed as being due to noumenal agencies acting,
not upon the sense-organs, which as appearances are themselves
noumenally conditioned, but upon what may be called “outer sense.” These
distinctions may first be made clear.

Sensations, Kant holds, have a twofold origin, noumenal and mechanical.
They are due in the first place to the action of things in themselves
upon the noumenal conditions of the self, and also in the second place
to the action of material bodies upon the sense-organs and the brain. To
take the latter first. Light reflected from objects, and acting on the
retina, gives rise to sensations of colour. For such causal
interrelations there exists, Kant teaches, the same kind of empirical
evidence as for the causal interaction of material bodies.[941] Our
sensational experiences are as truly events in time as are mechanical
happenings in space. In this way, however, we can account only for the
existence of our sensations and for the order in which they make their
appearance in or to consciousness, not for our awareness of them. To
state the point by means of an illustration. The impinging of one
billiard ball upon another accounts causally for the motion which then
appears in the second ball. But no one would dream of asserting that by
itself it accounts for our consciousness of that second motion. We may
contend that in an exactly similar manner, to the same extent, no more
and no less, the action of an object upon the brain accounts only for
the occurrence of a visual sensation as an event in the empirical time
sequence. A sensation just as little as a motion can carry its own
consciousness with it. To regard that as ever possible is ultimately to
endow events in time with the capacity of apprehending objects in space.
In dealing with causal connections in space and time we do not require
to discuss the problem of knowledge proper, namely, how it is possible
to have or acquire knowledge, whether of a motion in space or of a
sensation in time. When we raise that further question we have to adopt
a very different standpoint, and to take into account a much greater
complexity of conditions.

Kant applies this point of view no less rigorously to feelings,
emotions, and desires than to the sensations of the special senses. All
of them, he teaches, are ‘animal’[942] in character. They are one and
all conditioned by, and explicable only in terms of, the particular
constitution of the animal organism. They one and all belong to the
realm of appearance.[943]

The term ‘sensation’ may also, however, be applied in a wider sense to
signify the material of knowledge in so far as it is noumenally
conditioned. Thus viewed, sensations are due, not to the action of
physical stimuli upon the bodily organs, but to the affection by things
in themselves of those factors in the noumenal conditions of the self
which correspond to “sensibility.” Kant is culpably careless in failing
to distinguish those two very different meanings of the phrase ‘given
manifold.’ The language which he employs is thoroughly ambiguous. Just
as he frequently speaks as if the synthetic processes were conscious
activities exerted by the self, so also he frequently uses language
which implies that the manifold upon which these processes act is
identical with the sensations of the special senses. But the sensations
of the bodily senses, even if reducible to it, can at most form only
part of it. The synthetic processes, interpreting the manifold in
accordance with the fixed forms, space, time, and the categories,
generate the spatial world within which objects are apprehended as
causally interacting and as giving rise through their action upon the
sense-organs to the various special sensations as events in time.
Sensations, as mechanically caused, are thus on the same plane as other
appearances. They depend upon the same generating conditions as the
motions which produce them. As minor incidents within a more
comprehensive totality they cannot possibly represent the material out
of which the whole has been constructed. To explain the phenomenal world
as constructed out of the sensations of the special senses is virtually
to equate it with a small selection of its constituent parts. Such
professed explanation also commits the further absurdity of attempting
to account for the origin of the phenomenal world by means of events
which can exist only under the conditions which it itself supplies. The
manifold of the special senses and the primary manifold are radically
distinct. The former is due to material bodies acting upon the material
sense-organs. The latter is the product of noumenal agencies acting upon
“outer sense,” _i.e._ upon those noumenal conditions of the self which
constitute our “sensibility”; it is much more comprehensive than the
former; it must contain the material for all modes of objective
existence, including many that are usually regarded as purely

To turn, now, to the other aspect of experience. What are the factors
which condition its form? What must we postulate in order to account for
the existence of consciousness and for the unitary form in which alone
it can appear? Kant’s answer is again ambiguous. He fails sufficiently
to insist upon distinctions which yet are absolutely vital to any
genuine understanding of the new and revolutionary positions towards
which he is feeling his way. The synthetic processes which in the
subjective and objective deductions are proved to condition all
experience may be interpreted either as conscious or as non-conscious
activities, and may be ascribed either to the agency of the individual
self or to noumenal conditions which fall outside the realm of possible
definition. Now, though Kant’s own expositions remain thoroughly
ambiguous, the results of the Critical enquiry would seem--at least so
long as the fundamental distinction between matter and form is held to
and the temporally sequent aspect of experience is kept in view--to be
decisive in favour of the latter alternative in each case. The synthetic
processes must take place and complete themselves before any
consciousness can exist at all. And as they thus precondition
consciousness, they cannot themselves be known to be conscious; and not
being known to be conscious, it is not even certain that they may
legitimately be described as mental. We have, indeed, to conceive them
on the analogy of our mental processes, but that may only be because of
the limitation of our knowledge to the data of experience. Further, we
have no right to conceive them as the activities of a noumenal self. We
know the self only as conscious, and the synthetic processes, being the
generating conditions of consciousness, are also the generating
conditions of the only self for which our experience can vouch. Kant,
viewing as he does the temporal aspect of human experience as
fundamental, would seem to be justified in naming these processes
“synthetic.” For consciousness in its very nature would seem to involve
the carrying over of content from one time to other times, and the
construction of a more comprehensive total consciousness from the
elements thus combined. Kant is here analysing in its simplest and most
fundamental form that aspect of consciousness which William James has
described in the _Principles of Psychology_,[945] and which we may
entitle the telescoping of earlier mental states into the successive
experiences that include them. They telescope in a manner which can
never befall the successive events in a causal series, and which is not
explicable by any scheme of relations derivable from the physical

Obviously, what Kant does is to apply to the interpretation of the
noumenal conditions of our conscious experience a distinction derived by
analogy from conscious experience itself--the distinction, namely,
between our mental processes and the sensuous material with which they
deal. The application of such a distinction may be inevitable in any
attempt to explain human experience; but it can very easily, unless
carefully guarded, prove a source of serious misunderstanding. Just as
the synthetic processes which generate consciousness are not known to be
themselves conscious, so also the manifold cannot be identified with the
sensations of the bodily senses. These last are events in time, and are
effects not of noumenal but of mechanical causes.

Kant’s conclusion when developed on consistent Critical lines, and
therefore in phenomenalist terms, is twofold: positive, to the effect
that consciousness, for all that our analysis can prove to the contrary,
may be merely a resultant, derivative from and dependent upon a
complexity of conditions; and negative, to the effect that though these
conditions may by analogy be described as consisting of synthetic
processes acting upon a given material, they are in their real nature
unknowable by us. Even their bare possibility we cannot profess to
comprehend. We postulate them only because given experience is
demonstrably not self-explanatory and would seem to refer us for
explanation to some such antecedent generative grounds.

Kant, as we have already emphasised, obscures his position by the way in
which he frequently speaks of the transcendental unity of apperception
as the supreme condition of our experience. At times he even speaks as
if it were the source of the synthetic processes. That cannot, however,
be regarded as his real teaching. Self-consciousness (and the unity of
apperception, in so far as it finds expression through
self-consciousness) rests upon the same complexity of conditions as does
outer experience, and therefore may be merely a product or resultant. It
is, as he insists in the _Paralogisms_, the emptiest of all our
concepts, and can afford no sufficient ground for asserting the self to
be an abiding personality. We cannot by theoretical analysis of the
facts of experience or of the nature of self-consciousness prove
anything whatsoever in regard to the ultimate nature of the self.

Now Kant is here giving a new, and quite revolutionary, interpretation
of the distinction between the subjective and the objective. The
objective is for the Cartesians the independently real;[946] the
subjective is that which has an altogether different kind of existence
in what is entitled the field of consciousness. Kant, on the other hand,
from his phenomenalist standpoint, views existences as objective when
they are determined by purely physical causes, and as subjective when
they also depend upon physiological and psychological conditions. On
this latter view the difference between the two is no longer a
difference of kind; it becomes a difference merely of degree. Objective
existences, owing to the simplicity and recurrent character of their
conditions, are uniform. Subjective existences resting upon conditions
which are too complex to be frequently recurrent, are by contrast
extremely variable. But both types of existence are objective in the
sense that they are objects, and immediate objects, for consciousness.
Subjective states do not run parallel with the objective system of
natural existences, nor are they additional to it. For they do not
constitute our consciousness of nature; they are themselves part of the
natural order which consciousness reveals. That they contrast with
physical existences in being unextended and incapable of location in
space is what Kant would seem by implication to assert, but he
challenges Descartes’ right to infer from this particular difference a
complete diversity in their whole nature. Sensations, feelings,
emotions, and desires, so far as they are experienced by us, constitute
the empirical self which is an objective existence, integrally connected
with the material environment, in terms of which alone it can be
understood. In other words, the distinction between the subjective and
the objective is now made to fall within the system of natural law. The
subjective is not opposite in nature to the objective, but is a
subspecies within it.

The revolutionary character of this reformulation of Cartesian
distinctions may perhaps be expressed by saying that what Kant is really
doing is to substitute the distinction between appearance and reality
for the Cartesian dualism of the mental and the material. The psychical
is a title for a certain class of known existences, _i.e._ of
appearances; and they form together with the physical a single system.
But underlying this entire system, conditioning both physical and
psychical phenomena, is the realm of noumenal existence; and when the
question of the possibility of knowledge, that is, of the experiencing
of such a comprehensive natural system, is raised, it is to this
noumenal sphere that we are referred. Everything experienced, even a
sensation or desire, is an event; but the experiencing of it is an act
of awareness, and calls for an explanation of an altogether different

Thus Kant completely restates the problem of knowledge. The problem is
not how, starting from the subjective, the individual can come to
knowledge of the independently real; but how, if a common world is alone
immediately apprehended, the inner private life of the self-conscious
being can be possible, and how such inner experience is to be
interpreted. How does it come about that though sensations, feelings,
etc., are events no less mechanically conditioned than motions in space,
and constitute with the latter a single system conformed to natural law,
they yet differ from all other classes of natural events in that they
can be experienced only by a single consciousness. To this question Kant
replies in terms of his fundamental distinction between appearance and
reality. Though everything of which we are conscious may legitimately be
studied in terms of the natural system to which it belongs,
consciousness itself cannot be so regarded. In attempting to define it
we are carried beyond the phenomenal to its noumenal conditions. In
other words, it constitutes a problem, the complete data of which are
not at our disposal. This is by itself a sufficient reason for our
incapacity to explain why the states of each empirical self can never be
apprehended save by a single consciousness, or otherwise stated, why
each consciousness is limited, as regards sensations and feelings,
exclusively to those which arise in connection with some one animal
organism. It at least precludes us from dogmatically asserting that this
is due to their being subjective in the dualistic and Cartesian sense of
that term--namely, as constituting, or being states of, the knowing

A diagram may serve, though very crudely, to illustrate Kant’s
phenomenalist interpretation of the cognitive situation.

                                   /    \
             / The empirical world of our human consciousness   \
           /  +------+------+       +---+      +--------------+  \
          |   |             |       | l |      |              |  |
          |   |    ES^A     |       +---+      |     ES^B     |  |
          |   |             |       +---+      |              |  |
          |   |x^1 y^1 z^1  |       | m |      |  x^2 y^2 z^2 |  |
          |   |             |       +---+      |              |  |
          |   +-------------+       +---+      +--------------+  |
          |                         | n |                        |
           \                        +---+                       /
             \           /                       \           /
               \       /                           \       /
                 \   /                               \   /
                   V                                   V
                  NC^A                                NC^B

            ES^A = Empirical self of the conscious Being A.

            ES^B = Empirical self of the conscious Being B.

            NC^A = Noumenal conditions of the conscious Being A.

            NC^B = Noumenal conditions of the conscious Being B.

            l, m, n = Objects in space.

            x^1, y^1, z^1 = Sensations caused by objects l, m, n
            acting on the sense-organs of the empirical self A.

            x^2, y^2, z^2= Sensations caused by 1, m, n acting
            on the sense-organs of the empirical self B.

            NC^EW = Noumenal conditions of the empirical world.

Everything in this empirical world is equally open to the consciousness
of both A and B, save only certain psychical events that are conditioned
by physiological and psychological factors. x^1, y^1, z^1 can be
apprehended only by A; x^2, y^2, z^2 can be apprehended only by B.
Otherwise A and B experience one and the same world; the body of B is
perceived by A in the same manner in which he perceives his own body.
This is true _a fortiori_ of all other material existences. Further,
these material existences are known with the same immediacy as the
subjective states. As regards the relation in which NC^A, NC^B, and
NC^EW stand to one another, no assertions can be made, save, as above
indicated,[947] such conjectural statements as may precariously be
derived through argument by analogy from distinctions that fall within
our human experience.[948]

Kant’s phenomenalism thus involves an objectivist view of individual
selves and of their interrelations. They fall within the single common
world of space. Within this phenomenal world they stand in external,
mechanical relations to one another. They are apprehended as embodied,
with known contents, sensations, feelings, and desires, composing their
inner experience. There is, from this point of view, no problem of
knowledge. On this plane we have to deal only with events known, not
with any process of apprehension. Even the components of the empirical
self, the subject-matter of empirical psychology, are not processes of
apprehension, but apprehended existences. It is only when we make a
regress beyond the phenomenal as such to the conditions which render it
possible, that the problem of knowledge arises at all. And with this
regress we are brought to the real crux of the whole question--the
reconciliation of this phenomenalism with the conditions of our
self-consciousness. For we have then to take into account the
fundamental fact that each self is not only an animal existence within
the phenomenal world, but also in its powers of apprehension coequal
with it. The self known is external to the objects known; the self that
knows is conscious of itself as comprehending within the field of its
consciousness the wider universe in infinite space.

Such considerations would, at first sight, seem to force us to modify
our phenomenalist standpoint in the direction of subjectivism. For in
what other manner can we hope to unite the two aspects of the self, the
known conditions of its finite existence and the consciousness through
which it correlates with the universe as a whole? In the one aspect it
is a part of appearance; in the other it connects with that which makes
appearance possible at all.

Quite frequently it is the subjectivist solution which Kant seems to
adopt. Objects known are “mere representations,” “states of the
identical self.” Everything outside the individual mind is real;
appearances are purely individual in origin. But such a position is
inconsistent with the deeper implications of Kant’s Critical teaching,
and would involve the entire ignoring of the many suggestions which
point to a fundamentally different and much more adequate standpoint.
The individual is himself known only as appearance, and cannot,
therefore, be the medium in and through which appearances exist. Though
appearances exist only in and through consciousness, they are not due to
any causes which can legitimately be described as individual. From this
standpoint Kant would seem to distinguish between the grounds and
conditions of phenomenal existence and the special determining causes
of individual consciousness. Transcendental conditions generate
consciousness of the relatively permanent and objective world in space
and time; empirical conditions within this space and time world
determine the sensuous modes through which special portions of this
infinite and uniform world appear diversely to different minds.

This, however, is a point of view which is only suggested, and, as we
have already observed,[949] the form in which it is outlined suggests
many objections and difficulties. Consciousness of the objective world
in space and time does not exist complete with one portion of it more
specifically determined in terms of actual sense-perceptions. Rather the
consciousness of the single world in space and time is gradually
developed through and out of sense experience of limited portions of it.
We have still to consider the various sections in the _Analytic of
Principles_ (especially the section added in the second edition on the
_Refutation of Idealism_) and in the _Dialectic_, in which Kant further
develops this standpoint. But even after doing so, we shall be forced to
recognise that Kant leaves undiscussed many of the most obvious
objections to which his phenomenalism lies open. To the very last he
fails to state in any really adequate manner how from the phenomenalist
standpoint he would regard the world described in mechanical terms by
science as being related to the world of ordinary sense-experience,[950]
or how different individual consciousnesses are related to one another.
The new form, however, in which these old-time problems here emerge is
the best possible proof of the revolutionary character of Kant’s
Critical enquiries. For these problems are no longer formulated in
terms of the individualistic presuppositions which govern the thinking
of all Kant’s predecessors, even that of Hume. The concealed
presuppositions are now called in question, and are made the subject of
explicit discussion. But further comment must meantime be deferred.[951]


The argument of the second edition transcendental deduction can be
reduced to the following eight points:

(1)[952] It opens with the statement of a fundamental assumption which
Kant does not dream of questioning and of which he nowhere attempts to
offer proof. The representation of combination is the one kind of
representation which can never be given through sense. It is not so
given even in the pure forms of space and time yielded by outer and
inner sense.[953] It is due to an act of spontaneity, which as such must
be performed by the understanding. As it is one and the same for every
kind of combination, it may be called by the general name of synthesis.
And as all combination, without exception, is due to this source, its
dissolution, that is, analysis, which seems to be its opposite, always
presupposes it.

(2)[954] Besides the manifold and its synthesis a further factor is
involved in the conception of combination, namely, _the representation
of the unity_ of the manifold. The combination which is necessary to and
constitutes knowledge is _representation_ of the synthetical unity of
the manifold. This is a factor additional to synthesis and to the
manifold synthesised. For such representation cannot arise out of any
antecedent consciousness of synthesis. On the contrary, it is only
through supervention upon the unitary synthesis that the conception of
the combination becomes possible. In other words, the representation of
unity conditions _consciousness_ of synthesis, and therefore cannot be
the outcome or product of it. This is an application, or rather
generalisation, of a position which in the first edition is developed
only in reference to the empirical process of recognition. Recognition
preconditions consciousness, and therefore cannot be subsequent upon it.

(3)[955] The unity thus represented is not, however, that which is
expressed through the category of unity. The consciousness of unity
which is involved in the conception of synthesis is that of apperception
or transcendental self-consciousness. This is the highest and most
universal form of unity, for it is a presupposition of the unity of all
possible concepts, whether analytic or synthetic, in the various forms
of judgment.

(4)[956] A manifold though given is not for that reason also
represented. It must be possible for the ‘I think’ to accompany it and
all my other representations:

     “...for otherwise something would be represented in me which could
     not be thought at all; and that is equivalent to saying that the
     representation would be impossible or at least would be nothing to

But to ascribe a manifold as my representations to the identical self is
to comprehend them, as synthetically connected, in one
apperception.[958] Only what can be combined in one consciousness can be
related to the ‘I think.’ The analytic unity of self-consciousness
presupposes the synthetic unity of the manifold.

(5)[959] The unity of apperception is analytic or self-identical. It
expresses itself through the proposition, _I am I._ But being thus pure
identity without content of its own, it cannot be conscious of itself in
and by itself. Its unity and constancy can have meaning only through
contrast to the variety and changeableness of its specific experiences;
and yet, at the same time, it is also true that such manifoldness will
destroy all possibility of unity unless it be reconcileable with it. The
variety can contribute to the conditioning of apperception only in so
far as it is capable of being combined into a single consciousness.
Through synthetic unifying of the manifold the self comes to
consciousness both of itself and of the manifold.

(6)[960] The transcendental original unity of apperception is an
objective, not a merely subjective, unity. Its conditions are also the
conditions in and through which we acquire consciousness of objects. An
object is that in the conception of which the manifold of given
intuitions is combined. (This point, though central to the argument, is
more adequately developed in the first than in the second edition.) Such
combination requires unity of consciousness. Thus the same unity which
conditions apperception likewise conditions the relation of
representations to an object. The unity of pure apperception may
therefore be described as an _objective_ unity for two reasons: first,
because it can apprehend its own analytical unity only through discovery
of unity in the given, and secondly, for the reason that such
synthetical unifying of the manifold is also the process whereby
representations acquire reference to objects.

(7)[961] Kant reinforces this conclusion, and shows its further
significance, by analysis of the act of judgment. The logical definition
of judgment, as the representation of a relation between two concepts,
has many defects. These, however, are all traceable to its initial
failure to explain, or even to recognise, the nature of the assertion
which judgment as such claims to make. Judgment asserts relations of a
quite unique kind, altogether different from those which exist between
ideas connected through association. If, for instance, on seeing a body
the sensations of weight due to the attempt to raise it are suggested by
association, there is nothing but subjective sequence; but if we form
the judgment that the body is heavy, the two representations are then
connected together _in the object_. This is what is intended by the
copula ‘is.’ It is a relational term through which the objective unity
of given representations is distinguished from the subjective. It
indicates that the representations stand in objective relation under the
pure unity of apperception, and not merely in subjective relation owing
to the play of association in the individual mind. “Judgment is nothing
but the mode of bringing cognitions to the objective unity of
apperception,” _i.e._ of giving to them a validity which holds
independently of the subjective processes through which it is
apprehended. Objective relations are not, of course, all necessary or
universal; and a judgment may, therefore, assert a relation which is
empirical and contingent. None the less the fundamental distinction
between it and any mere relation of association still persists. The
empirical relation is still in the judgment asserted to be objective.
The subject and the predicate are asserted, in the particular case or
cases to which the judgment refers, to be connected in the object and
not merely in the mind of the subject. Or otherwise stated, though
subject and predicate are not themselves declared to be necessarily and
universally related to one another, their contingent relation has to be
viewed as objectively, and therefore necessarily, grounded. Judgment
always presupposes the existence of necessary relations even when it is
not concerned to assert them. Judgment is the organ of objective
knowledge, and is therefore bound up, indirectly when not directly,
with the universality and necessity which are the sole criteria of
knowledge. The judgment expressive of contingency is still judgment, and
is therefore no less necessary in its conditions, and no less objective
in its validity, than is a universal judgment of the scientific type. To
use Kant’s own terminology, judgment acquires objective validity through
participation in the necessary unity of apperception. In so doing it is
made to embody those principles of the objective determination of all
representations through which alone cognition is possible.

(8)[962] As judgment is nothing but the mode of bringing cognitions to
the objective unity of apperception, it follows that the categories,
which in the metaphysical deduction have been proved to be the possible
functions in judging, are the conditions in and through which such pure
apperception becomes possible. Apperception conditions experience, and
the unity which both demand for their possibility is that of the

       *       *       *       *       *

Before passing to the remaining sections of the deduction,[963] which
are supplementary rather than essential, I may add comment upon the
above points. Only (7) and (8) call for special consideration. They
represent a form of argument which has no counterpart in the first
edition. As we noted,[964] the first edition argument is defective owing
to its failure to demonstrate that the categories constitute the unity
which is necessary to knowledge. By introducing in the second edition
this analysis of judgment, and by showing the inseparable connection
between pure apperception, objective consciousness and judgment, this
defect is in some degree removed. As the categories correspond to the
possible functions of judgment, their objective validity is thereby
established. By this means also the connection which in Kant’s view
exists between the metaphysical and the transcendental deductions
receives for the first time proper recognition. The categories which in
the former deduction are discovered and systematised through _logical_
analysis of the _form_ of judgment, are in the latter deduction, through
_transcendental_ analysis of the _function_ of judgment, shown to be
just those forms of relation which are necessary to the possibility of
knowledge. It must, however, be noted that the transcendental argument
is brought to completion only through assumption of the adequacy of the
metaphysical deduction. No independent attempt is made to show that the
particular categories obtained in the metaphysical deduction are those
which are required, that there are no others, or that all the twelve are

(7) is a development of an argument which first appears in the
_Prolegomena_. The statement of it there given is, however, extremely
confused, owing to the distinction which Kant most unfortunately
introduces[965] between judgments of experience and judgments of
perception. That distinction is entirely worthless and can only serve to
mislead the reader. It cuts at the very root of Kant’s Critical
teaching. Judgments of perception involve, Kant says, no category of the
understanding, but only what he is pleased to call the “logical
connection of perceptions in a thinking subject.” What that may be he
nowhere explains, save by adding[966] that in it perceptions are
“compared and conjoined in a consciousness of my state” (also spoken of
by Kant as “empirical consciousness”), and not “in consciousness in

     “All our judgments are at first mere judgments of perception; they
     hold good merely for us (that is, for the individual subject), and
     we do not till afterwards give them a new reference, namely, to an
     object.... To illustrate the matter: that the room is warm, sugar
     sweet, and wormwood bitter--these are merely subjectively valid
     judgments. I do not at all demand that I myself should at all
     times, or that every other person should, find the facts to be what
     I now assert; they only express a reference of two sensations to
     the same subject, to myself, and that only in my present state of
     perception. Consequently they are not intended to be valid of the
     object. Such judgments I have named those of perception. Judgments
     of experience are of quite a different nature. What experience
     teaches me under certain circumstances, it must teach me always and
     teach everybody, and its validity is not limited to the subject or
     to its state at a particular time.”[967]

The illegitimacy and the thoroughly misleading character of this
distinction hardly require to be pointed out. Obviously Kant is here
confusing assertion of contingency and contingency of assertion.[968] A
judgment of contingency, in order to be valid, must itself be necessary.
Even a momentary state of the self is referable to an object in judgment
only if that object is causally, and therefore necessarily, concerned in
its production.[969]

The distinction is repeated in § 22 as follows:

     “Thinking is the combining of representations in one consciousness.
     This combination is either merely relative to the subject, and is
     contingent and subjective, or is absolute, and is necessary or
     objective. The combination of representations in one consciousness
     is judgment. Thinking, therefore, is the same as judging, or the
     relating of representations to judgments in general. Judgments,
     therefore, are either merely subjective, or they are objective.
     They are subjective when representations are related to a
     consciousness in one subject only, and are combined in it alone.
     They are objective when they are united in a consciousness in
     general, that is, necessarily.”[970]

To accept this distinction is to throw the entire argument into
confusion. This Kant seems to have himself recognised in the interval
between the _Prolegomena_ and the second edition of the _Critique_. For
in the section before us there is no trace of it. The opposition is no
longer between subjective and objective judgment, but only between
association of ideas and judgment which as such is always objective. The
distinction drawn in the _Prolegomena_ is only, indeed, a more definite
formulation of the distinction which runs through the first edition of
the _Critique_ between the indeterminate and the determinate object of
consciousness. The more definite formulation of it seems, however, to
have had the happy effect of enabling Kant to realise the illegitimacy
of any such distinction.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may now proceed to consider the remaining sections.[971] In section
21[972] Kant makes a very surprising statement. The above argument,
which he summarises in a sentence, yields, he declares, “the _beginning_
of a deduction of the pure concepts of understanding.” This can hardly
be taken as representing Kant’s real estimate of the significance of the
preceding argument, and would seem to be due to a temporary
preoccupation with the problems that centre in the doctrine of
schematism. So far, Kant adds in explanation, no account has been taken
of the particular manner in which the manifold of empirical intuition is
supplied to us.[973] The necessary supplement, consisting of a very
brief outline statement of the doctrine of schematism, is given in
section 26.[974] It differs from the teaching of the special chapter
devoted to schematism in emphasising space equally with time. The
doctrine of pure _a priori_ manifolds is incidentally asserted.[975]
Section 26 concludes by consideration of the question why appearances
must conform to the _a priori_ categories. It is no more surprising,
Kant claims, than that they should agree with the _a priori_ forms of
intuition. The categories and the intuitional forms are relative to the
same subject to which the appearances are relative; and the appearances
“as mere representations are subject to no law of connection save that
which the combining faculty prescribes.”

The summary of the deduction given in section 27 discusses the three
possible theories regarding the origin of pure concepts, viz. those of
_generatio aequivoca_ (out of experience), _epigenesis_, and
_preformation_. The first is disproved by the deduction. The second is
the doctrine of the deduction and fulfils all the requirements of
demonstration. The proof that the categories are at once independent of
experience and yet also universally valid for all experience is of the
strongest possible kind, namely, that they make experience itself
possible. The third theory, that the categories, while subjective and
self-discovered, originate in faculties which are implanted in us by our
Creator and which are so formed as to yield concepts in harmony with the
laws of nature, lies open to two main objections. In the first place,
this is an hypothesis capable of accounting equally well for any kind of
_a priori_ whatsoever; the predetermined powers of judgment can be
multiplied without limit. But a second objection is decisive, namely,
that on such a theory the categories would lack the particular kind of
necessity which is required. They would express only the necessities
imposed upon our thinking by the constitution of our minds, and would
not justify any assertion of necessary connection _in the object_. Kant
might also have added,[976] that this hypothesis is metaphysical, and
therefore offers in explanation of the _empirical_ validity of _a
priori_ concepts a theory which rests upon and involves their
_unconditioned_ employment. That is a criticism which is reinforced by
the teaching of the _Dialectic_.

To return now to the omitted sections 22 to 25. Section 22 makes no
fresh contribution to the argument of the first edition. Its teaching in
regard to pure intuition and mathematical knowledge has already been
commented upon. In section 23 Kant dwells upon an interesting
consequence of the argument of the deduction. The categories have a
wider scope than the pure forms of sense. Since the argument of the
deduction has shown that judgment is the indispensable instrument both
for reducing a manifold to the unity of apperception and also for
conferring upon representations a relation to an object, it follows that
the categories which are simply the possible functions of unity in
judgment are valid for any and every consciousness that is sensuously
conditioned and whose knowledge is therefore acquired through synthesis
of a given manifold. Though such consciousness may not intuit in terms
of space and time, it must none the less apprehend objects in terms of
the categories. The categories thus extend to _objects of sensuous
intuition in general_. They are not, however, valid of objects as such,
that is, of things in themselves. As empty relational forms they have
_meaning_ only in reference to a given matter; and as instruments for
the reduction of variety to the unity of apperception their _validity_
has been proved only for conscious and sensuous experience. Even if the
possibility of a non-sensuous intuitive understanding, capable of
apprehending things in themselves, be granted, we have no sufficient
ground for asserting that the forms which such understanding will employ
must coincide with the categories.[977] These are points which will come
up for discussion in connection with Kant’s more detailed argument in
the chapter on the distinction between phenomena and noumena.[978]

The heading to section 24 is decidedly misleading. The phrase “objects
of the senses in general” might be synonymous with “objects of intuition
in general” of the preceding section. To interpret it, however, by the
contents of the section, it means “objects of _our_ senses.” This
section ought, therefore, to form part of section 26, which in its
opening sentences supplies its proper introduction. (It may also be
noted that the opening sentences of section 24 are a needless repetition
of section 23. This would seem to show that it was not written in
immediate continuation of it.) The first three paragraphs of section 24
expound the same doctrine of schematism as that outlined in section 26,
save that time alone is referred to. The remaining paragraphs of section
24 deal with the connected doctrine of inner sense. Section 25 deals
with certain consequences which follow from that doctrine of inner


We have still to consider a doctrine of great importance in Kant’s
thinking, that of inner sense. The significance of this doctrine is
almost inversely proportionate to the scantiness and obscurity of the
passages in which it is expounded and developed. Much of the
indefiniteness and illusiveness of the current interpretations of Kant
would seem to be directly traceable to the commentator’s failure to
appreciate the position which it occupies in Kant’s system. Several of
Kant’s chief results are given as deductions from it, while it itself,
in turn, is largely inspired by the need for a secure basis upon which
these positions may be made to rest. The relation of the doctrine to its
consequences is thus twofold. Kant formulates it in order to safeguard
or rather to justify certain conclusions; and yet these conclusions have
themselves in part been arrived at owing to his readiness to accept such
a doctrine, and to what would seem to have been his almost instinctive
feeling of its kinship (notwithstanding the very crude form in which
alone he was able to formulate it) with Critical teaching. It was
probably one of the earliest of the many new tenets which Kant adopted
in the years immediately subsequent to the publication of the inaugural
_Dissertation_, but it first received adequate statement in the second
edition of the _Critique_. Kant took advantage of the second edition to
reply to certain criticisms to which his view of time had given rise,
and in so doing was compelled to formulate the doctrine of inner sense
in a much more explicit manner. Hitherto he had assumed its truth, but
had not, as it would seem, sufficiently reflected upon the various
connected conclusions to which he was thereby committed. This is one of
the many instances which show how what is most fundamental in Kant’s
thinking is frequently that of which he was himself least definitely
aware. Like other thinkers, he was most apt to discuss what he himself
was inclined to question and feel doubt over. The sources of his insight
as well as the causes of his failure often lay beyond the purview of his
explicitly developed tenets; and only under the stimulus of criticism
was he constrained and enabled to bring them within the circle of
reasoned conviction. We may venture the prophecy that if Kant had been
able to devote several years more to the maturing of the problems which
in the face of so many difficulties he had brought thus far, the
doctrine of inner sense, or rather the doctrines to which it gives
expression, would have been placed in the forefront of his teaching, and
their systematic interconnection, both in the way of ground and of
consequence, with all his chief tenets would have been traced and
securely established.

This would have involved, however, two very important changes. In the
first place, Kant would have had to recognise the unsatisfactory
character of the supposed analogy between inner and outer sense. As
already remarked,[980] no great thinker, except Locke, has attempted to
interpret inner consciousness on the analogy of the senses; and the
obscurities of Kant’s argument are not, therefore, to be excused on the
ground that “the difficulty, how a subject can have an internal
intuition of itself, is common to every theory.” Secondly, Kant would
have had to define the relation in which he conceived this part of his
teaching to stand to his theory of consciousness. But both these changes
could have been made without requiring that he should give up the
doctrines which are mainly responsible for his theory of inner sense,
namely, that there can be no awareness of awareness, but only of
existences which are objective, and that there is consequently no
consciousness of the generative, synthetic processes[981] which
constitute consciousness on its subjective side. It is largely in virtue
of these conclusions that Kant’s phenomenalism differs from the
subjective idealism of his predecessors. If we ignore or reject them,
merely because of the obviously unsatisfactory manner in which alone
Kant has been able to formulate them, we rule ourselves out from
understanding the intention and purpose of much that is most
characteristic of Critical teaching.

The doctrine of inner sense, as expounded by Locke, suffers from an
ambiguity which seems almost inseparable from it, namely, the confusion
between inner sense, on the one hand as a _sense_ in some degree
analogous in nature to what may be called outer sense, and on the other
as consisting in self-conscious reflection. This same confusion is
traceable throughout the _Critique_, and is, as we shall find, in large
part responsible for Kant’s failure to recognise, independently of
outside criticism, the central and indispensable part which this
doctrine is called upon to play in his system.

The doctrine is stated by Kant as follows. Just as outer sense is
affected by noumenal agencies, and so yields a manifold arranged in
terms of a form peculiar to it, namely, space, so inner sense is
affected by the mind itself and its inner state.[982] The manifold
thereby caused is arranged in terms of a form peculiar to inner sense,
namely, time. The content thus arranged falls into two main divisions.
On the one hand we have feelings, desires, volitions, that is, states of
the mind in the strict sense, subjective non-spatial existences. On the
other hand we have sensations, perceptions, images, concepts, in a word,
representations (_Vorstellungen_) of every possible type. These latter
all refer to the external world in space, and yet, according to Kant,
speaking from the limited point of view of a critique of _knowledge_,
form the proper content of inner sense. “...the representations of the
outer senses constitute the actual material with which we occupy our
minds,”[983] “the whole material of knowledge even for our inner
sense.”[984] (These statements, it may be observed, are first made in
the second edition.) As Kant explains himself in B 67-8, he would seem
to mean that the mind in the process of “setting” representations of
outer sense in space affects itself, and is therefore constrained to
arrange the given representations likewise in time. No new content,
additional to that of outer sense, is thereby generated, but what
previously as object of outer sense existed merely in space is now also
subjected to conditions of time. The representations of outer sense are
all by their very nature likewise representations of inner sense. To
outer sense is due both their content and their spatial form; to inner
sense they owe only the additional form of time; their content remains
unaffected in the process of being taken over by a second sense. This
yields such explanation as is possible of Kant’s assertion in A 33 that
“time can never be a determination of outer appearances.” He may be
taken as meaning that time is never a determination of outer sense _as
such_, but only of its contents as always likewise subject to the form
of inner sense.[985]

This is how Kant formulates his position from the extreme subjectivist
point of view which omits to draw any distinction between representation
and its object, between inner states of the self and appearances in
space. All representations, he says,[986] all appearances without
exception, are states of inner sense, modifications of the mind. Some
exist only in time, some exist both in space and in time; but all alike
are modes of the identical self, mere representations (_blosse
Vorstellungen_). Though appearances may exist outside one another in
space, space itself exists only as representation, merely “in us.”

Now without seeking to deny that this is a view which we find in the
second edition of the _Critique_ as well as in the first,[987] and that
even in passages which are obviously quite late in date of writing Kant
frequently speaks in terms which conform to it, we must be no less
insistent in maintaining that an alternative view more and more comes
to the front in proportion as Kant gains mastery over the conflicting
tendencies that go to constitute his new Critical teaching. From the
very first he uses language which implies that _some_ kind of
distinction must be drawn between representations and objects
represented, between subjective cognitive states in the proper sense of
the term and existences in space.

     “Time can never be a determination of outer appearances. It belongs
     neither to form nor position, etc. On the other hand it determines
     the relation of representations in our inner state.”[988]

Similarly in those very sentences in which he asserts all appearances to
be _blosse Vorstellungen_, a distinction is none the less implied.

     “Time is the formal _a priori_ condition of all appearances in
     general. Space, as the pure form of all outer intuition, is as _a
     priori_ condition limited exclusively (_bloss_) to outer
     appearances. On the other hand as all representations, _whether
     they have outer things as their object or not_, still in themselves
     belong, as determinations of the mind, to the inner state, and this
     inner state is subject to the formal condition of inner intuition,
     that is of time, time is an _a priori_ condition of all appearance
     whatever. It is, indeed, the immediate condition of the inner
     appearance (of our souls), and thereby mediately likewise of outer

As the words which I have italicised show, Kant, even in the very
sentence in which he asserts outer representations to be inner states,
none the less recognises that appearances in space are not
representations in the same meaning of that term as are subjective
states. They are the _objects_ of representation, not representation
itself. The latter alone is correctly describable as a state of the
mind. The former may be conditioned by representation, and may therefore
be describable as appearances, but are not for that reason to be equated
with representation. But before the grounds and nature of this
distinction can be formulated in the proper Critical terms, we must
consider the reasons which induced Kant to commit himself to this
obscure and difficult doctrine of inner sense. As I shall try to show,
it is no mere excrescence upon his system; on the contrary, it is
inseparably bound up with all his main tenets.

One of the chief influences which constrained Kant to develop this
doctrine is the conclusion, so essential to his position, that knowledge
must always involve an intuitional manifold in addition to _a priori_
forms and concepts. That being so, he was bound to deny to the mind all
power of gaining knowledge by mere reflection. If our mental activities
and states lay open to direct inspection, we should have to recognise in
the mind a non-sensuous intuitional power. Through self-consciousness or
reflection we should acquire knowledge independently of sense. Such
apprehension, though limited to the mind’s own operations and states,
would none the less be _knowledge_, and yet would not conform to the
conditions which, as the transcendental deduction has shown, are
involved in all knowledge. In Kant’s view the belief that we possess
self-consciousness of this type, a power of reflection thus conceived,
is wholly illusory. To assume any such faculty would be to endow the
mind with occult or mystical powers, and would throw us back upon the
Leibnizian rationalism, which traces to such reflection our
consciousness of the categories, and which rears upon this foundation
the entire body of metaphysical science.[990]

The complementary _negative_ conclusion of the transcendental deduction
is a no less fundamental and constraining influence in compelling Kant
to develop a doctrine of inner sense. If all knowledge is knowledge of
appearances, or if, as he states his position in the _Analytic of
Principles_,[991] our knowledge can extend no further than sense
experience and inference from such experience, either knowledge of our
inner states must be mediated, like our knowledge of outer objects, by
sensation, or we can have no knowledge of them whatsoever. On Critical
principles, consistently applied, there can be no middle course between
acceptance of an indirect empirical knowledge of the mind and assertion
of its unknowableness. Mental activities may perhaps be thought in terms
of the pure forms of understanding, but in that case their conception
will remain as purely problematic and as indeterminate as the conception
of the thing in itself. It is impossible for Kant to admit _immediate_
consciousness of the mind’s real activities and states, and at the same
time to deny that we can have knowledge of things in themselves. The
_Aesthetic_, in proving that everything in space and time is appearance,
implicitly assumes the impossibility of direct self-conscious
reflection; and the transcendental deduction in showing that all
knowledge involves as correlative factors both sense and thought, has
reinforced this conclusion, and calls for its more explicit
recognition, in reference to the more inward aspect of experience.

As we have already noted,[992] Kant’s doctrine of inner sense was
probably adopted in the early ’seventies, and though it is not itself
definitely formulated in the first edition, the chief consequence that
follows from it is clearly recognised. Thus in the _Aesthetic_ Kant
draws the conclusion that, as time is the form of inner sense,
everything apprehended in time, and consequently all inner states and
activities, can be known only as appearances. The mind (meaning thereby
the ultimate conditioning grounds of consciousness) is as indirectly
known as is any other mode of noumenal existence. In the _Analytic_,
whenever he is called upon to express himself upon this and kindred
points, he continues to hold to this position; and in the section on the
_Paralogisms_ all the main consequences that follow from its acceptance
are drawn in the most explicit and unambiguous manner. It is argued that
as the inner world, the feelings, volitions and representations of which
we are conscious, is a world constructed out of a given manifold yielded
by inner sense, and is therefore known only as the appearance of a
deeper reality which we have no power of apprehending, it possesses no
superiority either of certainty or of immediacy over the outer world of
objects in space. We have immediate consciousness of both alike, but in
both cases this immediate consciousness rests upon the transcendental
synthetic processes whereby such consciousness is conditioned and
generated. The transcendental activities fall outside the field of
empirical consciousness and therefore of knowledge.

Thus Kant would seem to be maintaining that the radical error committed
by the subjective idealists, and with which all the main defects of
their teaching are inseparably bound up, lies in their ascription to the
mind of a power of direct self-conscious reflection, and consequently in
their confusion of the transcendental activities which condition
consciousness with the inner states and processes which such
consciousness reveals. This has led them to ascribe priority and
independence to our inner states, and to regard outer objects as known
only by an inference from them. The Critical teaching insists on the
distinction between appearance and reality, applies it to the inner
life, and so restores to our consciousness of the outer world the
certainty and immediacy of which subjective idealism would profess to
deprive it. Such are the important conclusions at which Kant arrives in
his various “refutations of idealism”; and it will be advisable to
consider these refutations in full detail before attempting to complete
our statement of his doctrine of inner sense.


Kant has in a number of different passages attempted to define his
Critical standpoint in its distinction from the positions of Descartes
and Berkeley. Consideration of these will enable us to follow Kant in
his gradual recognition of the manifold consequences to which he is
committed by his substitution of inner sense for direct self-conscious
intuition or reflection, or rather of the various congenial tenets which
it gives him the right consistently to defend and maintain. In Kant’s
Critical writings we find no less than seven different statements of his
refutation of idealism: (I.) in the fourth _Paralogism_ of the first
edition of the _Critique_; (II.) in section 13 (_Anm._ ii. and iii.) of
the _Prolegomena_; (III.) in section 49 of the _Prolegomena_; (IV.) in
the second appendix to the _Prolegomena_; (V.) in sections added in the
second edition at the conclusion of the _Aesthetic_ (B 69 ff.); (VI.) in
the “refutation of idealism” (B 274-8), in the supplementary section at
the end of the section on the _Postulates_ (B 291-4), and in the note to
the new preface (B xxxix-xl); (VII.) in the “refutation of problematic
idealism” given in the _Seven Small Papers_ which originated in Kant’s
conversations with Kiesewetter. Consideration of these in the above
order will reveal Kant’s gradual and somewhat vacillating recognition of
the new and revolutionary position which alone genuinely harmonises with
Critical principles. But first we must briefly consider the various
meanings which Kant at different periods assigned to the term idealism.
Even in the _Critique_ itself it is employed in a great variety of
diverse connotations.

In the pre-Critical writings[993] the term idealism is usually employed
in what was its currently accepted meaning, namely, as signifying any
philosophy which denied the existence of an independent world
corresponding to our subjective representations. But even as thus used
the term is ambiguous.[994] It may signify either denial of a
_corporeal_ world independent of our representations or denial of an
immaterial world “corresponding to” the represented material world,
_i.e._ the denial of _Dinge an sich_. For there are traceable in
Leibniz’s writings two very different views as to the reality of the
material world. Sometimes the monads are viewed as purely intelligible
substances without materiality of any kind. The kingdom of the extended
is set into the representing subjects; only the immaterial world of
unextended purely spiritual monads remains as independently real. At
other times the monads, though in themselves immaterial, are viewed as
constituting through their coexistence an independent material world and
a materially occupied space. Every monad has a spatial sphere of
activity. The material world is an objective existence due to external
relations between the monads, not a merely subjective existence internal
to each of them. This alternation of standpoints enabled Leibniz’s
successors to deny that they were idealists; and as the more daring and
speculative aspects of Leibniz’s teaching were slurred over in the
process of its popularisation, it was the second, less consistent view,
which gained the upper hand. Wolff, especially in his later writings,
denounces idealism; and in the current manuals, sections in refutation
of idealism became part of the recognised philosophical teaching.
Idealism still, however, continued to be used ambiguously, as signifying
indifferently either denial of material bodies or denial of things in
themselves. This is the dual meaning which the term presents in Kant’s
pre-Critical writings. In his _Dilucidatio_ (1755)[995] he refutes
idealism by means of the principle that a substance cannot undergo
changes unless it is a substance independent of other substances.
Obviously this argument can at most prove the existence of an
independent world, not that it is spatial or material. And as Vaihinger
adds, it does not even rule out the possibility that changes find their
source in a Divine Being. In the _Dreams of a Visionseer_ (1766)[996]
Swedenborg is described as an idealist, but without further
specification of the exact sense in which the term is employed. In the
inaugural _Dissertation_ (1770)[997] idealism is again rejected, on the
ground that sense-affection points to the presence of an intelligible
object or _noumenon_.

In Kant’s class lectures on metaphysics,[998] which fall, in part at
least, between 1770 and 1781, the term idealism is employed in a very
different sense, which anticipates its use in the _Appendix_ to the
_Prolegomena_.[999] The teaching of the _Dissertation_, that things in
themselves are knowable, is now described as dogmatic, Platonic,
mystical (_schwärmerischer_) idealism. He still rejects the idealism of
Berkeley, and still entitles it simply idealism, without limiting or
descriptive predicates. But now also he employs the phrase “problematic
idealism” as descriptive of his own new position. This is, of course,
contrary to his invariable usage elsewhere, but is interesting as
showing that about this time his repugnance to the term idealism begins
to give way, and that he is willing to recognise that the relation of
the Critical teaching to idealism is not one of simple opposition. He
now begins to regard idealism as a factor, though a radically
transformed factor, in his own philosophy.

Study of the _Critique_ reinforces this conclusion. In the _Aesthetic_
Kant teaches the “transcendental ideality” of space and time; and in the
_Dialectic_ (in the fourth _Paralogism_) describes his position as
idealism, though with the qualifying predicate transcendental.[1000] But
though this involves an extension of the previous connotation of the
term idealism, and might therefore have been expected to increase the
existing confusion, it has the fortunate effect of constraining Kant to
recognise and discriminate the various meanings in which it may be
employed. This is done somewhat clumsily, as if it were a kind of
afterthought. In the introductory syllogism of the fourth _Paralogism_
Descartes’ position and his own are referred to simply as idealism and
dualism respectively. The various possible sub-species of idealism as
presented in the two editions of the _Critique_ and in the _Prolegomena_
may be tabulated as follows:

            {Material {Sceptical {Problematic (the position of Descartes).
            {         {          {Sceptical in the stricter and more usual
  Idealism  {         {          { sense (the position of Hume).
            {         {Dogmatic (the position of Berkeley).
            {Formal or Critical or Transcendental (Kant’s own position).

The distinction between problematic idealism and idealism of the more
strictly sceptical type is not clearly drawn by Kant.[1001] Very
strangely Kant in this connection never mentions Hume: the reference in
B xxxix _n._ is probably not to Hume but to Jacobi. Transcendental
idealism is taken as involving an empirical realism and dualism, and is
set in opposition to transcendental realism which is represented as
involving empirical idealism. In B xxxix _n._ Kant speaks of
“psychological idealism,” meaning, as it would seem, material or
non-Critical idealism.

In the second appendix to the _Prolegomena_ Kant draws a further
distinction, in line with that already noted in his lectures on
metaphysics. Tabulated it is as follows:

          {Mystical, in the sense of belief in and reliance on a supposed
          { human power of intellectual intuition. It is described as
  Idealism{idealism in the strict (_eigentlich_) sense--the position of the
          {Eleatics, of Plato and Berkeley.
          {Formal or Critical--Kant’s own position.

This latter classification can cause nothing but confusion. The
objections that have to be made against it from Kant’s own critical
standpoint are stated below.[1002]

Let us now consider, in the order of their presentation, the various
refutations of idealism which Kant has given in his Critical writings.

=I. Refutation of Idealism as given in First Edition of “Critique”= (A
366-80).--This refutation is mainly directed against Descartes, who is
mentioned by name in A 367. Kant, as Vaihinger suggests, was very
probably led to recognise Descartes’ position as a species of idealism
in the course of a re-study of Descartes before writing the section on
the _Paralogisms_. As already pointed out, this involves the use of the
term idealism in a much wider sense than that which was usually given to
it in Kant’s own day. In the development of his argument Kant also
wavers between two very different definitions of this idealism, as being
denial of _immediate_ certainty and as denial of all certainty.[1003]
The second interpretation, which would make it apply to Hume rather than
to Descartes, is strengthened in the minds of his readers by his further
distinction[1004] between dogmatic and sceptical idealism, and the
identification of the idealism under consideration with the latter. The
title problematic which Kant in the second edition[1005] applies to
Descartes’ position suffers from this same ambiguity. As a matter of
fact, Kant’s refutation applies equally well to either position. The
teaching of Berkeley, which coincides with dogmatic idealism as here
defined by Kant, namely, as consisting in the contention that the
conception of matter is inherently contradictory, is not dwelt upon, and
the appended promise of refutation is not fulfilled.

Descartes’ position is stated as follows: only our own existence and
inner states are immediately apprehended by us; all perceptions are
modifications of inner sense; and the existence of external objects can
therefore be asserted only by an inference from the inner perceptions
viewed as effects. In criticism, Kant points out that since an effect
may result from more than one cause, this inference to a quite
determinate cause, viz. objects as bodies in space, is doubtfully
legitimate. The cause of our inner states may lie within and not without
us, and even if external, need not consist in spatial objects. Further,
leaving aside the question of a possible alternative to the assumption
of independent material bodies, the assertion of the existence of such
objects would, on Descartes’ view, be merely conjectural. It could never
have certainty in any degree equivalent to that possessed by the
experiences of inner sense.

     “By an idealist, therefore, we must not understand one who denies
     the existence of outer objects of the senses, but only one who does
     not admit that their existence is known through immediate
     perception, and who therefore concludes that we can never, by way
     of any possible experience, be completely certain of their

No sooner is the term idealist thus clearly defined than Kant, in
keeping with the confused character of the entire section, proceeds to
the assertion (_a_) that there are idealists of another type, namely,
transcendental idealists,[1007] and (_b_) that the non-transcendental
idealists sometimes also adopt a dogmatic position, not merely
questioning the immediacy of our knowledge of matter, but asserting it
to be inherently contradictory. All this points to the composite origin
of the contents of this section.

Transcendental idealism is opposed to empirical idealism. It maintains
that phenomena are representations merely, not things in themselves.
Space and time are the sensuous forms of our intuitions. Empirical
idealism, on the other hand, goes together with transcendental realism.
It maintains that space and time are given as real in themselves, in
independence of our sensibility. (Transcendental here, as in the phrase
“transcendental ideality,”[1008] is exactly equivalent to transcendent.)
But such a contention is inconsistent with the other main tenet of
empirical idealism. For if our inner representations have to be taken as
entirely distinct from their objects, they cannot yield assurance _even
of the existence_ of these objects. To the transcendental idealist no
such difficulty is presented. His position naturally combines with
empirical realism, or, as it may also be entitled, empirical dualism.
Material bodies in space, being merely subjective representations, are
immediately apprehended. The existence of matter can be established
“without our requiring to issue out beyond our bare self-consciousness
or to assume anything more than the certainty of the representations in
us, _i.e._ of the _cogito ergo sum_.”[1009] Though the objects thus
apprehended are outside one another in space, space itself exists only
in us.

     “Outer objects (bodies) are mere appearances, and are therefore
     nothing but a species of my representations, the objects of which
     are something only through these representations. Apart from them
     they are nothing. Thus outer things exist as well as I myself, and
     both, indeed, upon the immediate witness of my

The only difference is that the representation of the self belongs only
to inner, while extended bodies also belong to outer sense. There is
thus a dualism, but one that falls entirely within the field of
consciousness, and which is therefore empirical, not transcendental.
There is indeed a transcendental object which “in the transcendental
sense may be outside us,”[1011] but it is unknown and is not in
question. It ought not to be confused with our representations of matter
and corporeal things.

From this point[1012] the argument becomes disjointed and repeats
itself, and there is much to be said in support of the contention of
Adickes that the remainder of the section is made up of a number of
separate interpolations.[1013] First, Kant applies the conclusion
established in the _Postulates of Empirical Thought_, viz. that reality
is revealed only in sensation. As sensation is an element in all outer
perception, perception affords immediate certainty of real existence,
Kant next enters[1014] upon a eulogy of sceptical idealism as “a
benefactor of human reason.” It brings home to us the utter
impossibility of proving the existence of matter on the assumption that
spatial objects are things in themselves, and so constrains us to
justify the assertions which we are at every moment making. And such
justification is, Kant here claims, only possible if we recognise that
outer objects as mere representations are immediately known. In the next
paragraph we find a sentence which, together with the above eulogistic
estimate of the merits of idealism, shows how very far Kant, at the
time of writing, was from feeling the need of differentiating his
position from that of subjectivism. The sentence is this:

     “We cannot be sentient of what is outside ourselves, but only of
     what is in ourselves, and the whole of our self-consciousness
     therefore yields nothing save merely our own determinations.”

It is probable, indeed, that the paragraph in which this occurs is of
very early origin, prior to the development of the main body of the
_Analytic_; for in the same paragraph we also find the assertion,
utterly at variance with the teaching of the _Analytic_ and with that of
the first and third _Paralogisms_, that “the thinking ego” is known
phenomenally as _substance_.[1015] We seem justified in concluding that
the various manuscripts which have gone to form this section on the
fourth _Paralogism_ were written at an early date within the Critical

We may note, in passing, two sentences in which, as in that quoted
above, a distinction between representations and their objects is
recognised in wording if not in fact.

     “All outer perception furnishes immediate proof of something actual
     in space, or rather is the actual itself. To this extent empirical
     realism is beyond question, _i.e._ there corresponds to our outer
     perceptions something actual in space.”[1016]

Again in A 377 the assertion occurs that “our outer senses, as regards
the data from which experience can arise, have their actual
corresponding objects in space.” Certainly these statements, when taken
together with the other passages in this section, form a sufficiently
strange combination of assertion and denial. Either there is a
distinction between representation and its object or there is not; if
the former, then objects in space are not merely representations; if the
latter, then the “correspondence” is merely that of a thing with

       *       *       *       *       *

This refutation of idealism will not itself stand criticism. For two
separate reasons it entirely fails to attain its professed end. In the
first place, it refutes the position of Descartes only by virtually
accepting the still more extreme position of Berkeley. Outer objects,
Kant argues, are immediately known because they are ideas merely. There
is no need for inference, because there is no transcendence of the
domain of our inner consciousness. In other words, Kant refutes the
problematic idealism of Descartes by means of the more subjective
idealism of Berkeley. The “dogmatic” idealism of Berkeley in the form in
which Kant here defines it,[1018] namely, as consisting in the assertion
that the notion of an independent spatial object involves inherent
contradictions, is part of his own position. For that reason he was
bound to fail in his promise[1019] to refute such dogmatic idealism.
Fortunately he never even attempts to do so. In the second place, Kant
ignores the fact that he has himself adopted an “idealist” view of inner
experience. Inner experience is not for him, as it was for Descartes,
the immediate apprehension of genuine reality. As it is only appearance,
the incorporation of outer experience within it, so far from
establishing the reality of the objects of outer sense, must rather
prove the direct contrary. No more is really established than Descartes
himself invariably assumes, namely, the actual existence of mental
representations of a corporeal world in space. Descartes’ further
assertion that the world of things in themselves can be inferred to be
material and spatial, Kant, of course, refuses to accept. On this latter
point Kant is in essential agreement with Berkeley.

It is by no means surprising that Kant’s first critics,[1020] puzzled
and bewildered by the obscurer and more difficult portions of the
_Critique_, should have based their interpretation of Kant’s general
position largely upon the above passages; and that in combining the
extreme subjective idealism which Kant there advocates with his doctrine
that the inner life of ever-changing experiences is itself merely ideal,
should have come to the conclusion that Kant’s position is an extension
of that of Berkeley. Pistorius objected that in making outer appearances
relative to an inner consciousness which is itself appearance, Kant is
reducing everything to mere illusion. Hamann came to the somewhat
similar conclusion, that Kant, notwithstanding his very different
methods of argument, is “a Prussian Hume,” in substantial agreement with
his Scotch predecessor.

II. =“Prolegomena,” Section 13, Notes II and III.=--In the _Prolegomena_
Kant replies to the criticism which the first edition of the _Critique_
had called forth, that his position is an extension of the idealism of
Descartes, and even more thoroughgoing than that of Berkeley. Idealism
he redefines in a much narrower sense, which makes it applicable only to

     “...as consisting in the assertion that there are none but thinking
     beings, and that all other things which we suppose ourselves to
     perceive in intuition are nothing but representations in the
     thinking beings, to which no object external to them corresponds in

In reply Kant affirms his unwavering belief in the reality of _Dinge an

     “...which though quite unknown to us as to what they are in
     themselves, we yet know by the representations which their
     influence on our sensibility procures us.... Can this be termed
     idealism? It is the very contrary.”[1022]

Kant adds that his position is akin to that of Locke, differing only in
his assertion of the subjectivity of the primary as well as of the
secondary qualities.

     “I should be glad to know what my assertions ought to have been in
     order to avoid all idealism. I suppose I ought to have said, not
     only that the representation of space is perfectly conformable to
     the relation which our sensibility has to objects (for that I have
     said), but also that it is completely similar to them--an assertion
     in which I can find as little meaning as if I said that the
     sensation of red has a similarity to the property of cinnabar which
     excites this sensation in me.”[1023]

Kant is here very evidently using the term idealism in the narrowest
possible meaning, as representing only the position of Berkeley, and as
excluding that of Descartes and Leibniz. Such employment of the term is
at variance with his own previous usage. Though idealism here
corresponds to the “dogmatic idealism” of A 377, it is now made to
concern the assertion or denial of things in themselves, not as
previously the problem of the reality of material objects and of space.
Kant is also ignoring the fact, which he more than once points out in
the _Critique_, that his philosophy cannot prove that the cause of our
sensations is without and not within us. His use of “body”[1024] as a
name for the thing in itself is likewise without justification. This
passage is mainly polemical; it is hardly more helpful than the
criticism to which it was designed to reply.

In Section 13, Note iii., Kant meets the still more extreme criticism
(made by Pistorius), that his system turns all the things of the world
into mere illusion (_Schein_). He distinguishes transcendental idealism
from “the mystical and visionary idealism of Berkeley” on the one hand,
and on the other from the Cartesian idealism which would convert mere
representations into things in themselves. To obviate the ambiguities of
the term transcendental, he declares that his own idealism may perhaps
more fitly be entitled Critical. This distinction between mystical and
Critical idealism connects with the contents of the second part of the
Appendix, treated below.

III. =“Prolegomena,” Section 49.=--This is simply a repetition of the
argument of the fourth _Paralogism_. The Cartesian idealism, now (as in
B 274) named material idealism, is alone referred to. The Cartesian
idealism does nothing, Kant says, but distinguish external experience
from dreaming. There is here again the same confusing use of the term

     “That something actual without us not only corresponds but must
     correspond to our external perceptions can likewise be

IV. =“Prolegomena,” Second Part of the Appendix.=--Kant here returns to
the distinction, drawn in Section 13, Note iii., between what he now
calls “idealism proper (_eigentlicher_),”[1026] _i.e._ visionary or
mystical idealism, and his own.

     “The position of all genuine idealists from the Eleatics to Bishop
     Berkeley is contained in this formula: ‘All cognition through the
     senses and experience is nothing but mere illusion, and only in the
     ideas of pure understanding and Reason is there truth.’ The
     fundamental principle ruling all my idealism, on the contrary, is
     this: ‘All cognition of things solely from pure understanding or
     pure Reason is nothing but mere illusion and only in experience is
     there truth.’”[1027]

This mode of defining idealism can, in this connection, cause nothing
but confusion. Its inapplicability to Berkeley would seem to prove that
Kant had no first-hand knowledge of Berkeley’s writings.[1028] As Kant’s
Note to the Appendix to the _Prolegomena_[1029] shows, he also had Plato
in mind. But the definition given of “the fundamental principle” of his
own idealism is almost equally misleading. It omits the all-essential
point, that for Kant experience itself yields truth only by conforming
to _a priori_ concepts. As it is, he proceeds to criticise Berkeley for
failure to supply a sufficient criterion of distinction between truth
and illusion. Such criterion, he insists, is necessarily _a priori_. The
Critical idealism differs from that of Berkeley in maintaining that
space and time, though sensuous, are _a priori_, and that in combination
with the pure concepts of understanding they

     “...prescribe _a priori_ its law to all possible experience: the
     law which at the same time yields the sure criterion for
     distinguishing within experience truth from illusion. My so-called
     idealism--which properly speaking is Critical idealism--is thus
     quite peculiar in that it overthrows ordinary idealism, and that
     through it all _a priori_ cognition, even that of geometry, now
     attains objective reality, a thing which even the keenest realist
     could not assert till I had proved the ideality of space and

V. =Sections added in Second Edition at the Conclusion of the Aesthetic.=
(B 69 ff.)--Kant here again replies to the criticism of Pistorius that
all existence has been reduced to the level of illusion (_Schein_). His
defence is twofold: first, that in naming objects appearances he means
to indicate that they are independently grounded, or, as he states it,
are “something actually given.” If we _mis_interpret them, the result is
indeed illusion, but the fault then lies with ourselves and not with the
appearances as presented. Secondly, he argues that the doctrine of the
ideality of space and time is the only secure safeguard against
scepticism. For otherwise the contradictions which result from regarding
space and time as independently real will likewise hold of their
contents, and everything, including even our own existence, will be
rendered illusory. “The good Berkeley [observing these contradictions]
cannot, indeed, be blamed for reducing bodies to mere illusion.” This
last sentence may perhaps be taken as supporting the view that
notwithstanding the increased popularity of Berkeley in Germany and the
appearance of new translations in these very years, Kant has not been
sufficiently interested to acquire first-hand knowledge of Berkeley’s
writings.[1031] The epithet employed is characteristic of the rather
depreciatory attitude which Kant invariably adopts in speaking of

VI. =“Refutation of Idealism” in Second Edition of the “Critique.”= (B
274-9, supplemented by note to B xxxix.).--The refutation opens by
equating idealism with material idealism (so named in contradistinction
to his own “formal or rather Critical” teaching). Within material
idealism Kant distinguishes between the problematic idealism of
Descartes, and the dogmatic idealism of Berkeley. The latter has, he
says, been overthrown in the _Aesthetic_. The former alone is dealt with
in this refutation. This is the first occurrence in the _Critique_ of
the expression “problematic idealism”: it is nowhere employed in the
first edition.[1032] Problematic idealism consists in the assertion that
we are incapable of having experience of any existence save our own;
only our inner states are immediately apprehended; all other existences
are determined by inference from them. The refutation consists in the
proof that we have experience, and not mere imagination of outer
objects. This is proved by showing that inner experience, unquestioned
by Descartes, is possible only on the assumption of outer experience,
and that this latter is as immediate and direct as is the former.

=Thesis.=--The empirically determined consciousness of my own existence
proves the existence of objects in space outside me.[1033]

=Proof.=--I am conscious of my own existence as determined in time. Time
determination presupposes the perception of something permanent. But
nothing permanent is intuitable in the empirical self. On the cognitive
side (_i.e._ omitting feelings, etc., which in this connection are
irrelevant), it consists solely of representations; and these demand a
permanent, distinct from ourselves, in relation to which their changes,
and so my own existence in the time wherein they change, may be
determined.[1034] Thus perception of this permanent is only possible
through a thing outside, and not through the mere representation of a
thing outside. And the same must hold true of the determination of my
existence in time, since this also depends upon the apprehension of the
permanent. That is to say, the consciousness of my existence is at the
same time an immediate awareness of the existence of other things
outside me.

In the note to the _Preface_ to the second edition[1035] occurs the
following emphatic statement.

     “Representation of something permanent in existence is not the same
     as permanent representation. For though the representation [of the
     permanent] may be very changing and variable like all our other
     representations, not excepting those of matter, it yet refers to
     something permanent. This latter must therefore be an external
     thing distinct from all my representations, and its existence must
     be included in the determination of my own existence, constituting
     with it but a single experience such as would not take place even
     internally if it were not also at the same time, in part, external.
     How this should be possible we are as little capable of explaining
     further as we are of accounting for our being able to think the
     abiding in time, the coexistence of which with the variable
     generates the conception of change.”

The argument of this note varies from that of B 274 ff. only in its use
of an ambiguous expression which is perhaps capable of being taken as
referring to things in themselves, but which does not seem to have that
meaning. “I am just as certainly conscious that there are things outside
me which relate to my sense....”

In B 277-8 Kant refers to the empirical fact that determination of time
can be made only by relation to outer happenings in space, such as the
motion of the sun. This is a point which is further developed in another
passage which Kant added in the second edition.

     “...in order to understand the possibility of things in conformity
     with the categories, and so to demonstrate the objective reality of
     the latter, we need not merely intuitions, but intuitions that are
     in all cases outer intuitions. When, for instance, we take the pure
     concepts of relation, we find firstly that in order to obtain
     something _permanent_ in intuition corresponding to the concept of
     substance, and so to demonstrate the objective reality of this
     concept, we require an intuition in space (of matter). For space
     alone is determined as permanent, while time, and therefore
     everything that is in inner sense, is in constant flux. Secondly,
     in order to exhibit _change_ as the intuition corresponding to the
     concept of _causality_, we must take as our example motion, _i.e._
     change in space. Only in this way can we obtain the intuition of
     changes, the possibility of which can never be comprehended through
     any pure understanding. For change is combination of
     contradictorily opposed determinations in the existence of one and
     the same thing. Now how it is possible that from a given state of a
     thing an opposite state should follow, not only cannot be conceived
     by any reason without an example, but is actually incomprehensible
     to reason without intuition. The intuition required is the
     intuition of the movement of a point in space. The presence of the
     point in different spaces (as a sequence of opposite
     determinations) is what first yields to us an intuition of change.
     For in order that we may afterwards make inner changes likewise
     thinkable, we must represent time (the form of inner sense)
     figuratively as a line, and the inner change through the drawing of
     this line (motion), and so in this manner by means of outer
     intuition make comprehensible the successive existence of
     ourselves in different states. The reason of this is that all
     change, if it is indeed to be perceived as change, presupposes
     something permanent in intuition, and that in inner sense no
     permanent intuition is to be met with. Lastly, the possibility of
     the category of _community_ cannot be comprehended through mere
     reason alone. Its objective reality is not to be understood without
     intuition and indeed outer intuition in space.”[1036]

In this passage Kant is modifying the teaching of the first edition in
two very essential respects. In the first place, he is now asserting
that consciousness of both space and motion is necessary to
consciousness of time;[1037] and in the second place, he is maintaining
that the _categories_ can acquire meaning only by reference to outer
appearances. Had Kant made all the necessary alterations which these new
positions involve, he would, as we shall find,[1038] have had entirely
to recast the chapters on _Schematism_ and on the _Principles of
Understanding_. Kant was not, however, prepared to make such extensive
alterations, and these chapters are therefore left practically
unmodified. This is one of the many important points in which the reader
is compelled to reinterpret passages of earlier date in the light of
Kant’s later utterances. There is also a further difficulty. Does Kant,
in maintaining that the categories can _acquire_ significance only in
reference to outer perception, also mean to assert that their subsequent
employment is limited to the mechanical world of the material sciences?
This is a point in regard to which Kant makes no quite direct statement;
but indirectly he would seem to indicate that that was not his
intention.[1039] He frequently speaks of the states of inner sense as
mechanically conditioned. Sensations,[1040] feelings, and desires,[1041]
are, he would seem to assert, integral parts of the unitary system of
phenomenal existence. Such a view is not, indeed, easily reconcilable
with his equating of the principle of substance with the principle of
the conservation of matter.[1042] There are here two conflicting
positions which Kant has failed to reconcile: the traditional dualistic
attitude of Cartesian physics and the quite opposite implications of his
Critical phenomenalism. When the former is being held to, Kant has to
maintain that psychology can never become a science;[1043] but his
Critical teaching consistently developed seems rather to support the
view that psychology, despite special difficulties peculiar to its
subject matter, can be developed on lines strictly analogous to those of
the material sciences.

We may now return to Kant’s main argument. This new refutation of
idealism in the second edition differs from that given in the fourth
_Paralogism_ of the first edition, not only in method of argument but
also in the nature of the conclusion which it seeks to establish. Indeed
it proves the _direct opposite_ of what is asserted in the first
edition. The earlier proof sought to show that, as regards immediacy of
apprehension and subjectivity of existence, outer appearances stand on
the same level as do our inner experiences. The proof of the second
edition, on the other hand, argues that though outer appearances are
immediately apprehended they must be existences distinct from the
subjective states through which the mind represents them. The two
arguments agree, indeed, in establishing immediacy, but as that which is
taken as immediately known is in the one case a subjective state and in
the other is an independent existence, the immediacy calls in the two
cases for entirely different methods of proof. The first method
consisted in viewing outer experiences as a subdivision within our inner
experiences. The new method views their relation as not that of
including and included, but of conditioning and conditioned; and it is
now to outer experience that the primary position is assigned. So far is
outer experience from being possible only as part of inner experience,
that on the contrary inner experience, consciousness of the flux of
inner states, is only possible in and through experience of independent
material bodies in space. A sentence from each proof will show how
completely their conclusions are opposed.

     “Outer objects (bodies) are mere appearances, and are therefore
     nothing but a species of my representations, the objects of which
     are something only through these representations. Apart from them
     they are nothing.”[1044] “Perception of this permanent is possible
     only through a _thing_ outside me, and not through the mere
     _representation_ of a thing outside me.”[1045]

The one sentence asserts that outer objects are representations; the
other argues that they must be existences distinct from their
representations. The one inculcates a subjectivism of a very extreme
type; the other results in a realism, which though ultimately
phenomenalist, is none the less genuinely objective in character. This
difference is paralleled by the nature of the idealisms to which the two
proofs are opposed and which they profess to refute. The argument of the
_Paralogism_ of the first edition is itself Berkeleian, and refutes only
the problematic idealism of Descartes. The argument of the second
edition, though formally directed only against Descartes, constitutes a
no less complete refutation of the position of Berkeley. In its realism
it has kinship with the positions of Arnauld and of Reid, while, in
attempting to combine this realism with due recognition of the force and
validity of Hume’s sceptical philosophy, it breaks through all previous
classifications, formulates a profoundly original substitute for the
previously existing theories, and inaugurates a new era in the theory of

As already pointed out,[1046] Kant restates the distinction between the
subjective and the objective in a manner which places the problem of
knowledge in an entirely new light. The subjective is not to be regarded
as opposite in nature to the objective, but as a subspecies within it.
It does not proceed parallel with the sequence of natural existences,
but is itself part of the natural system which consciousness reveals.
Sensations, in the form in which they are consciously apprehended by us,
do not constitute our consciousness of nature, but are themselves
events which are possible only under the conditions which the natural
world itself supplies.[1047] The Cartesian dualism of the subjective and
the objective is thus subordinated to the Critical distinction between
appearance and reality. Kant’s phenomenalism is a genuine alternative to
the Berkeleian teaching, and not, as Schopenhauer and so many others
have sought to maintain, merely a variant upon it.

The striking contradiction between Kant’s various refutations of
idealism has led some of Kant’s most competent critics to give a
different interpretation of the argument of the second edition from that
given above. These critics take the independent and permanent objects
which are distinguished from our subjective representations to be things
in themselves. That is to say, they interpret this refutation as based
upon Kant’s semi-Critical doctrine of the transcendental object (in the
form in which it is employed for the solution of the _Antinomies_), and
so as agreeing with the refutation given in the _Prolegomena_.[1048]
Kant is taken as rejecting idealism because of his belief in things in
themselves. This is the view adopted by Benno Erdmann,[1049]
Sidgwick,[1050] A. J. Balfour.[1051]

As Vaihinger,[1052] Caird,[1053] and Adamson[1054] have shown, such an
interpretation is at complete variance with the actual text. This is,
indeed, so obvious upon unbiassed examination that the only point which
repays discussion is the question, why Benno Erdmann and those who
follow him should have felt constrained to place so unnatural an
interpretation upon Kant’s words. The explanation seems to lie in
Erdmann’s convinced belief, plainly shown in all his writings upon Kant,
that the _Critique_ expounds a single consistent and uniform
standpoint.[1055] If such belief be justified, there is no alternative
save to interpret Kant’s refutation of idealism in the manner which
Erdmann adopts. For as the subjectivism of much of Kant’s teaching is
beyond question, consistency can be obtained only by sacrifice of all
that conflicts with it. Thus, and thus alone, can Erdmann’s rendering of
the refutation of the second edition be sustained; the actual wording,
taken in and by itself, does not support it. Kant here departs from his
own repeated assertion, in the second hardly less than in the first
edition of the _Critique_, of the subjectivity of outer appearances.
But, as Vaihinger justly contends, Kant was never greater than in this
violation of self-consistency, “never more consistent than in this
inconsistency.” Tendencies, previously active but hitherto inarticulate,
are at last liberated. If the chrysalis stage of the intense brooding of
the twelve years of Critical thinking was completed in the writing of
the first edition of the _Critique_, the philosophy which then emerged
only attains to mature stature in those extensions of the _Critique_,
scattered through it from _Preface_ to _Paralogisms_, which embody this
realistic theory of the independent existence of material nature. For
this theory is no mere external accretion, and no mere reversal of
subordinate tenets, but a ripening of germinal ideas to which, even in
their more embryonic form, the earlier Critical teaching owed much of
its inspiration, and which, when consciously adopted and maturely
formulated, constitute such a deepening of its teaching as almost
amounts to transformation. The individual self is no longer viewed as
being the bearer of nature, but as its offspring and expression, and as
being, like nature, interpretable in its twofold aspect, as appearance
and as noumenally grounded. The bearer of appearance is not the
individual subject, but those transcendental creative agencies upon
which man and nature alike depend. Both man and nature transcend the
forms in which they are apprehended; and nothing in experience justifies
the giving of such priority to the individual mind as must be involved
in any acceptance of subjectivist theory. Though man is cognisant of
space and time, comprehending them within the limits of his
consciousness, and though in all experience unities are involved which
cannot originate within or be explained by experience, it is no less
true that man is himself subject to the conditions of space and time,
and that the synthetic unities which point beyond experience do not
carry us to a merely individual subject. If man is not a part or product
of nature, neither is nature the product of man. Kant’s
transcendentalism, in its maturest form, is genuinely phenomenalist in
character. That is the view which has already been developed above, in
the discussion of Kant’s transcendental deduction. I shall strive to
confirm it by comparison of the teaching of the two editions of the
_Critique_ in regard to the reality of outer appearances.

Schopenhauer, to whom this new development of the Critical teaching was
altogether anathema, the cloven hoof of the Hegelian heresies,
denounced it as a temporary and ill-judged distortion of the true
Critical position, maintaining that it is incapable of combination with
Kant’s central teaching, and that it finds no support in the tenets,
pure and unperverted, of the first edition. Kant, he holds, is here
untrue to himself, and temporarily, under the stress of polemical
discussion, lapses from the heights to which he had successfully made
his way, and upon which he had securely established, in agreement with
Plato and in extension of Berkeley, the doctrine of all genuine
philosophical thinking, the doctrine of the _Welt als Vorstellung_.

We may agree with Schopenhauer in regarding those sections of the first
edition of the _Critique_ which were omitted in the second edition as
being a permanently valuable expression of Kantian thought, and as
containing much that finds no equally adequate expression in the
passages which were substituted for them; and yet may challenge his
interpretation of both editions alike. If, as we have already been
arguing, we must regard Kant’s thinking as in large degree tentative,
that is, as progressing by the experimental following out of divergent
tendencies, we may justly maintain that among the most characteristic
features of his teaching are the readiness with which he makes changes
to meet deeper insight, and the persistency with which he strives to
attain a position in which there will be least sacrifice or blurring of
any helpful distinction, and fullest acknowledgment of the manifold and
diverse considerations that are really essential. Recognising these
features, we shall be prepared to question the legitimacy of
Schopenhauer’s opposition between the teaching of the two editions. We
shall rather expect to find that the two editions agree in the
alternating statement and retraction of conflicting positions, and that
the later edition, however defective in this or that aspect as compared
with the first edition, none the less expresses the maturer insight, and
represents a further stage in the development of ideas that have been
present from the start. It may perhaps for this very reason be more
contradictory in its teaching; it will at least yield clearer and more
adequate formulation of the diverse consequences and conflicting
implications of the earlier tenets. It will be richer in content, more
open-eyed in its adoption of mutually contradictory positions, freer
therefore from unconscious assumptions, and better fitted to supply the
data necessary for judgment upon its own defects. Only those critics who
are blind to the stupendous difficulties of the tasks which Kant here
sets himself, and credulous of their speedy and final completion, can
complain of the result. Philosophical thinkers of the most diverse
schools in Germany, France, and England, have throughout the nineteenth
century received from the _Critique_ much of their inspiration. The
profound influence which Kant has thus exercised upon succeeding thought
must surely be reckoned a greater achievement than any that could have
resulted from the constructing of a system so consistent and unified,
that the alternative would lie only between its acceptance and its
rejection. Ultimately the value of a philosophy consists more in the
richness of its content and the comprehensiveness of its dialectic, than
in the logical perfection of its formal structure. The latter quality is
especially unfitted to a philosophy which inaugurated a new era, and
formulated the older problems in an altogether novel manner. Under such
conditions fertility of suggestion and readiness to modify or even
recast adopted positions, openness to fuller insight acquired through
the very solutions that may at first have seemed to satisfy and close
the issues, are more to be valued than the power to remove
contradictions and attain consistency. This is the point of view which I
shall endeavour to justify in reference to the matters now before us. In
particular there are two points to be settled: first, whether and how
far the argument of the second edition is prefigured in the first
edition; and secondly, whether and to what extent it harmonises with,
and gives expression to, all that is most central and genuinely Critical
in both editions.

In the first place we must observe that the fourth _Paralogism_ occurs
in a section which bears all the signs of having been independently
written and incorporated later into the main text. It is certainly of
earlier origin than those sections which represent the third and fourth
layers of the deduction of the first edition, and very possibly was
composed in the middle ’seventies. Indeed, apart from single paragraphs
which may have been added in the process of adapting it to the main
text, it could quite well, so far as its refutation of idealism is
concerned, be of even earlier date. The question as to the consistency
of the refutation of the second edition with the teaching of the first
edition must therefore chiefly concern those parts of the _Analytic_
which connect with the later forms of the transcendental deduction, that
is to say, with the transcendental deduction itself, with the
_Analogies_ and _Postulates_, and with particular paragraphs that have
been added in other sections. We have already noted how Kant from the
very first uses terms which involve the drawing of a distinction between
representations and their objects. Passages in which this distinction
occurs can be cited from both the _Aesthetic_ and the _Analytic_, and
two such occur in the fourth _Paralogism_ itself.[1056] Objects, he
says, “correspond” to their representations. A variation in expression
is found in such passages as the following:

     “...the objects of outer perception also actually exist (_auch
     wirklich sind_) in that very form in which they are intuited in

Such language is meaningless, and could never have been chosen, if Kant
had not, even in the earlier stages of his thinking, postulated a
difference between the existence of an object and the existence of its
representation. He must at least have distinguished between the
representations and their content. That, however, he could have done
without advancing to the further assertion of their independent
existence. Probably he was not at all clear in his own mind, and was too
preoccupied with the other complexities of his problem, to have thought
out his position to a definite decision. When, however, as in the fourth
_Paralogism_, he made any attempt so to do, he would seem to have felt
constrained to adopt the extreme subjectivist position. Expressions to
that effect are certainly very much more common than those above
mentioned. This is what affords Schopenhauer such justification,
certainly very strong, as he can cite for regarding subjectivism as the
undoubted teaching of the first edition.

When, however, we also take account of the very different teaching which
is contained in the important section on the _Postulates of Empirical
Thought_, the balance of evidence is decisively altered. The
counter-teaching, which is suggested by certain of the conflicting
factors of the transcendental deduction and of the _Analogies_, here
again receives clear and detailed expression. This is the more
significant, as it is in this section that Kant sets himself formally to
define what is to be understood by empirical reality. It thus contains
his, so to speak, official declaration as to the mode of existence
possessed by outer appearances. The passage chiefly relevant is as

     “If the existence of the thing is bound up with some perceptions
     according to the principles of their empirical connection (the
     Analogies), we can determine its existence antecedently to the
     perception of it, and consequently, to that extent, in an _a
     priori_ manner. For as the existence of the thing is bound up with
     our perceptions in a possible experience, we are able in the series
     of possible perceptions, and under the guidance of the Analogies,
     to make the transition from our actual perception to the thing in
     question. Thus we discover the existence of a magnetic matter
     pervading all bodies from the perception of the attracted iron
     filings, although the constitution of our organs cuts us off from
     all immediate perception of that matter. For in accordance with the
     laws of sensibility and the connection of our perceptions in a
     single experience, we should, were our senses more refined,
     actually experience it in an immediate empirical intuition. The
     grossness of our senses does not in any way decide the form of
     possible experience in general.”[1058]

Now it cannot, of course, be argued that the above passage is altogether
unambiguous. We can, if we feel sufficiently constrained thereto, place
upon it an interpretation which would harmonise it with Kant’s more
usual subjectivist teaching, namely as meaning that in the progressive
construction of experience, or in the ideal completion which follows
upon assumption of more refined sense-organs, possible empirical
realities are made to become, or are assumed to become, real, but that
until the possible experiences are thus realised in fact or in ideal
hypothesis, they exist outwardly only in the form of their noumenal
conditions. And as a matter of fact, this is how Kant himself interprets
the teaching of this section in the process of applying it in solution
of the antinomies.

     “Accordingly, if I represent to myself the aggregate of all objects
     of the senses existing in all time and all places, I do not set
     them, antecedently to experience, in space and time. The
     representation is nothing but the thought of a possible experience
     in its absolute completeness. Since the objects are mere
     representations, only in such a possible experience are they given.
     To say that they exist prior to all my experience, can only be
     taken as meaning that they will be met with, if, starting from
     actual perception, I advance to that part of experience to which
     they belong. The cause of the empirical conditions of this advance
     (that which determines what members I shall meet with, or how far I
     can meet with any such in my regress) is transcendental, and is
     therefore necessarily unknown to me. We are not, however, concerned
     with this transcendental cause, but only with the rule of
     progression in that experience in which objects, that is to say,
     appearances, are given. Moreover, in outcome it is a matter of
     indifference whether I say that in the empirical progress in space
     I can meet with stars a hundred times farther removed than the
     outermost now perceptible to me, or whether I say that they are
     perhaps to be met with in cosmical space even though no human being
     has ever perceived or ever will perceive them. For though they
     might be given as things in themselves, without relation to
     possible experience, they are still nothing to me, and therefore
     are not objects, save in so far as they are contained in the series
     of the empirical regress.”[1059]

But though this is a possible interpretation of the teaching of the
_Postulates_, and though further it is Kant’s own interpretation in
another portion of the _Critique_, it is not by any means thereby
decided that this is what the section itself actually teaches. Unbiassed
study of the section, in independence of the use to which it is
elsewhere put, can find within it no such limitation to its assertion of
the actual independent existence of non-perceived bodies. We have to
remember that the doctrine and solution of the _Antinomies_ was
completed prior to the writing of the central portions of the
_Critique_. The section treating of their _solution_ seems, indeed, in
certain parts to be later[1060] than the other main portions of the
chapter on the _Antinomies_, and must have been at least recast after
completion of the _Postulates_. But the subjectivist solution is so much
simpler in statement, so much more fully worked out, and indeed so much
more capable of definite formulation, and also so much more at one with
the teaching developed in the preceding chapter on the _Paralogisms_,
that even granting the doctrine expounded in the section on the
_Postulates_ to be genuinely phenomenalist, it is not surprising that
Kant should have been unwilling to recast his older and simpler solution
of the _Antinomies_. In any case we are not concerned to argue that
Kant, even after formulating the phenomenalist view, yields to it an
unwavering adherence. As I have already insisted, his attitude continues
to the very last to be one of alternation between two opposed

But the most significant feature of Kant’s treatment of the argument of
the _Postulates_ still remains for consideration. It was in immediate
succession to the paragraph above quoted[1061] that Kant, in the second
edition, placed his “_Refutation of Idealism_” with the emphatic
statement that this (not as in the first edition in connection with the
_Paralogisms_) was its “correct location.” It is required, he says, as a
reply to an objection which the teaching of the _Postulates_ must at
once suggest. The argument of the second edition in proof of the
independent reality of material bodies, and in disproof of subjectivism,
is thus given by Kant as a necessary extension and natural supplement of
the teaching of the first edition.

There is therefore reason for concluding that the same preconception
which has led to such radical misinterpretation of Kant’s _Refutation of
Idealism_ has been at work in inducing a false reading of Kant’s
argument in the _Postulates_, namely the belief that Kant’s teaching
proceeds on consistent lines, and that it must at all costs be
harmonised with itself. Finding subjectivism to be emphatically and
unambiguously inculcated in all the main sections of the _Critique_, and
the phenomenalist views, on the other hand, to be stated in a much less
definite and somewhat elusive manner, commentators have impoverished the
Critical teaching by suppression of many of its most subtile and
progressive doctrines. Kant’s experimental, tentative development of
divergent tendencies is surely preferable to this artificial product of
high-handed and unsympathetic emendation.


We are now in position to complete our treatment of inner sense. When
the inner world of feelings, volitions, and representations is placed on
the same empirical level as the outer world of objects in space, when
the two are correlated and yet also at the same time sharply
distinguished, when, further, it is maintained that objects in space
exist independently of their representations, and that in this
independence they are necessary for the possibility of the latter, the
whole aspect of the Critical teaching undergoes a genial and welcome
transformation. Instead of the forbidding doctrine that the world in
space is merely my representation, we have the very different teaching
that only through consciousness of an independent world in space is
consciousness of the inner subjective life possible at all, and that as
each is “external” to the other, neither can be reduced to, or be
absorbed within, the other. The inner representations do not produce or
generate the spatial objects, do not even condition their existence, but
are required only for the individual’s empirical consciousness of them.
Indeed the relations previously holding between them are now reversed.
It is the outer world which renders the subjective representations
possible. The former is prior to the latter; the latter exist in order
to reveal the former. The outer world in space must, indeed, be regarded
as conditioned by, and relative to, the noumenal conditions of its
possibility; but these, on Kant’s doctrine of outer and inner sense, are
distinct from all experienced contents and from all experienced mental
processes. This will at once be recognised as holding of the noumenal
conditions of the given manifold. But it is equally true, Kant
maintains, in regard to the noumenal conditions of our mental life. We
have no immediate knowledge of the transcendental syntheses that
condition all consciousness, and in our complete ignorance of their
specific nature they cannot legitimately be equated with any individual
or personal agent. As the empirical self is only what it is known as,
namely, appearance, it cannot be the bearer of appearance. This function
falls to that which underlies both inner and outer appearances equally,
and which within experience gains twofold expression for itself, in the
conception of the thing in itself = _x_ on the one hand, and in the
correlative conception of a transcendental subject, likewise = _x_, on
the other.

But with mention of the transcendental subject we are brought to a
problem which in the second edition invariably accompanies Kant’s
discussion of inner sense. The ‘I think’ of apperception can find
expression only in an empirical judgment, and yet, so far from being the
outcome of inner sense, preconditions its possibility. What then is its
relation to inner sense? Does not its recognition conflict with Kant’s
denial of the possibility of self-conscious reflection, of direct
intuitive apprehension by the self of itself? The pure apperception, ‘I
think,’ is equivalent, Kant declares, to the judgment ‘I am,’ and
therefore involves the assertion of the subject’s existence.[1062] Does
not this conflict on the one hand with the Critical doctrine that
knowledge of existence is only possible in terms of sense, and on the
other with the Critical limitation of the categories to the realm of
appearance? How are such assertions as that the ‘I think’ of pure
apperception refers to a non-empirical reality, and that it predicates
its existence, to be reconciled with the doctrine of inner sense as
above stated?

As we have already observed,[1063] Kant’s early doctrine of the
transcendental object was developed in a more or less close parallelism
with that of the transcendental unity of apperception. They were
regarded as correlative opposites, the dual centres of noumenal
reference for our merely subjective representations. Kant’s further
examination of the nature of apperception, as embodied in alterations in
the second edition, was certainly, as we shall find, inspired by the
criticisms which the first edition had called forth. His replies,
however, are merely more explicit statements of the distinction which he
had already developed in the first edition between the transcendental
and the empirical self, and that distinction in turn was doubtless
itself largely determined by his own independent recognition of the
untenability of his early view of the transcendental object. Though it
is much more difficult to differentiate between the empirical and the
transcendental self than to distinguish between the empirical object and
the thing in itself, both distinctions are from a genuinely Critical
standpoint equally imperative, and rest upon considerations that are
somewhat similar in the two cases.

One of the chief and most telling criticisms directed against the
teaching of the first edition was that Kant’s doctrine of a
transcendental consciousness of the self’s existence, _i.e._ of the
existence of a noumenal being, “this I or he or it (the thing) which
thinks,”[1064] is inconsistent with the teaching of the _Postulates of
Empirical Thought_. In that section, as also later in the section on the
theological _Ideal_, Kant had declared most emphatically that existence
is never discoverable in the content of any mere concept. It is revealed
in perception, and in perception alone, in virtue of the element of
sensation contained in the latter.

     “...to know the _actuality_ of things demands _perception_, and
     therefore sensation.... For that the concept precedes perception,
     signifies the concept’s mere possibility; the perception which
     supplies the content [_Stoff_] to the concept, is the sole
     criterion [_Charakter_] of actuality.”[1065]

Yet Kant had also maintained that the ‘I think’ is equivalent to ‘I
am,’[1066] and that in this form, as an intellectual consciousness of
the self’s existence, it precedes all experience. The teaching of the
_Postulates_ is, however, the teaching of the _Critique_ as a whole, and
such critics as Pistorius seemed therefore to be justified in
maintaining that Kant, in reducing the experiences of inner sense to
mere appearance, destroys the possibility of establishing reality in any
form. Appearance, in order to be appearance, presupposes the reality not
only of that which appears, but also of the mental process whereby it is
apprehended. But if reality is given only in sensation, and yet all
experience that involves sensation is merely appearance, there is no
self by which appearance can be conditioned; and only illusion
(_Schein_), not appearance (_Erscheinung_), is left. To quote Pistorius’
exact words:

     ”[If our inner representations are not things in themselves but
     only appearances] there will be nothing but illusion (_Schein_),
     for nothing remains to which anything can appear.”[1067]

Kant evidently felt the force of this criticism, for in the second
edition he replies to it on no less than seven different
occasions.[1068] In three of these passages[1069] the term _Schein_ is
employed, and in the note to B xxxix the term _Erdichtung_ appears. This
shows very conclusively that it is such criticism as the above that Kant
has in mind. The most explicit passage is B 428:

     “The proposition, ‘I think,’ or ‘I exist thinking,’ is an empirical
     proposition. Such a judgment, however, is conditioned by empirical
     intuition, and the object that is thought therefore underlies it as
     appearance. It would consequently seem that on our theory the soul
     is completely transformed, even in thinking [_selbst im Denken_],
     into appearance, and that in this way our consciousness itself, as
     being a mere illusion [_Schein_], must refer in fact to nothing.”

Kant, in his reply, is unyielding in the contention that the ‘I think,’
even though it involves an empirical judgment, is itself intellectual.
“This representation is a thinking, not an intuiting,”[1070] or as he
adds, “The ‘I think’ expresses the _actus_ whereby I determine my
existence.” Existence is therefore already given thereby.[1071] Kant
also still maintains that the self thus revealed is not “appearance and
still less illusion.”

     “I am conscious of myself ..., not as I appear to myself, nor as I
     am in myself, but only that I am.”[1072] “I thereby represent
     myself to myself neither as I am nor as I appear to myself. I think
     myself only as I do any object in general from whose mode of
     intuition I abstract.”[1073]

Kant’s method of meeting the criticism, while still holding to these
positions, is twofold. It consists in the first place in maintaining
that the ‘I think,’ though intellectual, can find expression only in
empirical judgments--in other words, that it is in and by itself formal
only, and presupposes as the occasion of its employment a given manifold
of inner sense; and secondly, by the statement that the ‘existence’
which is involved in the ‘I think’ is not the category of existence. Let
us take in order each of these two points.

Kant’s first method of reply itself appears in two forms, a stronger and
a milder. The milder mode of statement[1074] is to the effect that
though the representation ‘I am’ already immediately involves the
_thought_ of the existence of the subject, it yields no knowledge of it.
Knowledge would involve intuition, namely, consciousness of inner
determinations in time, which in turn would itself presuppose
consciousness of outer objects. As a merely intellectual

     “...this ‘I’ has not the least predicate of intuition which, in its
     character of permanence, could, somewhat after the manner of
     impenetrability in the empirical intuition of matter, serve as
     correlate of time determination in inner sense.”[1075]

The stronger and more definite mode of statement is that the ‘I think’
is an empirical proposition.[1076] Though it involves as one factor the
intellectual representation, ‘I think,’ it is none the less empirical.

     “Without some empirical representation supplying the material for
     thought, the _actus_, ‘I think,’ would not take place....”[1077]

The empirical is indeed “only the condition of the application or
employment of the pure intellectual faculty,” but as such is
indispensable. This is repeated in even clearer terms in B 429.

     “The proposition, ‘I think,’ in so far as it amounts to the
     assertion, ‘I exist thinking,’ is no mere logical function but
     determines the subject (which is then at the same time object) in
     respect of existence, and cannot take place without inner

This admission is the more significant in that it follows immediately
upon a passage in which Kant has been arguing that thinking, taken in
and by itself, is a merely logical function.

The real crux lies in the question as to the legitimacy of Kant’s
application of the predicate existence to the transcendental subject.
Its employment in reference to the empirical self in time is part of the
problem of the _Refutation of Idealism_ in the second edition; and the
answer there given is clear and definite. Consciousness of the empirical
self as existing in time involves consciousness of outer objects in
space. But as Kant recognises that a transcendental ego, not in time, is
presupposed in all consciousness of the empirical self, the question
whether the predicate of existence is also applicable to the
transcendental self cannot be altogether avoided, and is indeed referred
to in B 277. The attitude to be taken to this latter question is not,
however, defined in that section.

In the first edition Kant has insisted that the categories as pure forms
of the understanding, in isolation from space and time, are merely
logical functions “without content.” Interpreted literally, this would
signify that they are devoid of meaning, and therefore are incapable of
yielding the thought of any independent object or existence. As merely
logical forms of relation, they presuppose a material, and that is
supplied only through outer and inner sense. Such is not, however, the
way in which Kant interprets his own statement. It is qualified so as to
signify only that they are without _specific_ or _determinate_ content.
They are taken as yielding the conception of object in general. Passages
in plenty can be cited from the first edition[1078]--passages allowed to
remain in the second edition--in which Kant teaches that the pure forms
of understanding, as distinct from the schematised categories, yield the
conception of things in themselves. This view is, indeed, a survival
from his earlier doctrine of the transcendental object.[1079] In all
passages added in the second edition the consequences of his argument
are more rigorously drawn, and the doctrine of the transcendental object
is entirely eliminated. It is now unambiguously asserted that the pure
forms of understanding, the “_modes_ of self-consciousness in
thinking,”[1080] are not intellectual concepts of _objects_. They “yield
no object whatsoever.” The only object is that given through sense. And
since in thinking the transcendental subject we do, by Kant’s own
account, think an “object,” he is led to the conclusion, also explicitly
avowed, that the notion of existence involved in the ‘I think’ is not
the category of the same name.[1081] So also of the categories of
substance and causality.

     “If I represent myself as _subject_ of thoughts or as _ground_ of
     thinking, these modes of representation do not signify the
     categories of substance or of cause....”[1082]

The notion of the self, like the notion of things in themselves, is a
concept distinct from all the categories.[1083]

This conclusion is reinforced by means of an argument which is employed
in the section of the first edition on _Paralogisms_. Apperception is
the ground of the possibility of the categories, and these latter on
their side represent only the synthetic unity which that apperception
demands. Self-consciousness is therefore the representation of that
which is the condition of all unity, and which yet is itself

     “...it does not represent itself through the categories, but knows
     the categories and through them all objects in the absolute unity
     of apperception, and so through itself. Now it is, indeed, very
     evident that I cannot know as an object that which I must
     presuppose in order to know any object....”[1084]

This argument recurs in B 422.

     “The subject of the categories cannot by thinking the categories
     acquire a conception of itself as an object of the categories. For,
     in order to think them, its pure self-consciousness, which is what
     was to be accounted for, must itself be presupposed.”

It is extremely difficult to estimate the value and cogency of this
argument.[1085] Many objections or rather qualifications must be made
before it can be either accepted or rejected. If it be taken only as
asserting that the unity of self-consciousness is not _adequately_
expressible through any of the categories, it is undoubtedly valid. If,
further, the categories be identified with the schemata, it is also true
that they are not applicable in any degree or manner. The schemata are
applicable only to natural existences in space and time.
Self-consciousness can never be reduced to a natural existence of that
type. On the other hand, if it is not self-consciousness as such, but
the self-conscious _subject_, which on Kant’s view is always
noumenal--“this I or he or it (the thing) which thinks”[1086]--that is
referred to, and if we distinguish between the categories strictly so
called, that is, the pure forms of understanding, and the schemata, it
is not at all evident that the self-conscious subject may not be
described as being an existence that is always a subject and never a
predicate, and as being related to experience as a ground or condition.
These indefinite assertions leave open alternative possibilities. They
do not even decide whether the self is “I or he or it.”[1087] In so far
as they advance beyond the mere assertion that the self rests upon
noumenal conditions they are, indeed, incapable of proof, but by no
Critical principle can they be shown to be inapplicable. When,
therefore, Kant may seem to extract a more definite conclusion from the
above argument,[1088] he advances beyond what it can be made to

Kant is here influenced by the results of the ethical enquiries with
which in the period subsequent to 1781 he was chiefly preoccupied. He
believed himself to have proved that the self, as a self-conscious
being, is a genuinely noumenal existence. That being so, he was bound to
hold that the categories, even as pure logical forms, are inadequate to
express its real determinate nature. But he confounds this position with
the assertion that they are not only inadequate, but in and by
themselves are likewise inapplicable. That is not a legitimate
conclusion, for even if the self is more than mere subject or mere
ground, it will at least be so much. When ethical considerations are
left out of account, the only proper conclusion is that the
applicability of the categories to the self-conscious subject is capable
neither of proof nor of disproof, but that when the distinction between
appearance and reality (which as we shall find is ultimately based upon
the Ideas of Reason) has been drawn, the categories can be employed to
define the possible difference between self-conscious experience and its
unknown noumenal conditions. Any other conclusion conflicts with the
teaching of the section on the _Paralogisms_.

It is important to observe--a point ignored by such critics as Caird and
Watson--that in the sections under consideration[1089] Kant most
explicitly declares self-consciousness to be merely “the
_representation_ of that which is the condition of all unity.” He
maintains that this representation, as standing for “the determining
self (the thinking), is to be distinguished from the self which we are
seeking to determine (the subject which thinks) as knowledge from its
object,”[1090] or in other words, that, without special proof,
unattainable on theoretical grounds, “the unity of thought” may not be
taken as equivalent to the unity of the thinking subject.[1091] They may
be as diverse as unity of representation and unity of object represented
are frequently found to be. We may never argue from simplicity in a
representation to simplicity in its object.

But to return to the main thesis, it may be observed that these
arguments, with the exception of that which we have just been
considering from the nature of self-consciousness, lead to the
conclusion that the categories are as little applicable to the thing in
itself as to the transcendental subject. Even the argument from the
necessary and invariable presence of self-consciousness in each and
every act of judgment is itself valid only from a point of view which
regards self-consciousness in the manner of Kant’s early semi-Critical
view of the transcendental subject[1092] as an ultimate. But if, as is
maintained in the section in which this argument occurs, viz. that on
the _Paralogisms_, self-consciousness may be complexly conditioned, and
may indeed have conditions similar in nature to those which underlie
outer experience, the categories may be just as applicable, or as
inapplicable, to its noumenal nature as to the nature of the thing in
itself. It is noticeable that in the second edition, doubtless under the
influence of preoccupation with ethical problems, some of Kant’s
utterances betray a tendency to relax the rigour of his thinking, and to
bring his theoretical teaching into closer agreement with his ethical
results than the theoretical analysis in and by itself at all justifies.
This tendency was, of course, reinforced by the persisting influence of
that view of the transcendental subject which he had held in the middle
’seventies, and from which he never completely emancipated either his
language or his thinking.[1093] Indeed in several of the passages added
in the second edition[1094] Kant even goes so far as to adopt language
which if taken quite literally would mean that the ‘I think’ is an
immediate consciousness of the mind’s purely intellectual activity--a
view which, as we have seen,[1095] is altogether alien to the Critical
position. It would, as he argues so forcibly elsewhere, involve a kind
of experience which does not conform to Critical requirements, and which
would lie open to the attacks of sceptics such as Hume.

In B 157-8 the difficulties of Kant’s position are again manifest.
Speaking of the representation of the self, he declares that “I am
conscious of myself ..., not as I appear to myself, nor as I am in
myself, but only that I am.” This may seem to imply that existence is
predicable of the transcendental self. He adds that though the
determination, _i.e._ specification in empirical form, of my existence
(_mein eigenes Dasein_) is possible only in inner sensuous intuition, it
is “not appearance and still less mere illusion.” But in the appended
note it is urged that my existence (_Dasein_) as self-active being is
represented in purely indeterminate fashion. Only my existence _as
sensuous_, and therefore as appearance, can be known, _i.e._ can be made

The problem is more directly and candidly faced in the note to B 422.
That note is interesting for quite a number of reasons. It reveals Kant
in the very act of recasting his position, and in the process of
searching around for a mode of formulation which will enable him to hold
to a transcendental consciousness of the self’s existence and at the
same time not to violate the definition of existence given in the
_Postulates_, _i.e._ both to posit the transcendental self as actual and
yet to deny the applicability to it of any of the categories. After
stating that the ‘I think’ is an empirical proposition in which my
existence is immediately involved, he proceeds further to describe it as
expressing “an undetermined empirical intuition, _i.e._ perception,” and
so as showing that sensation underlies its assertion of existence. Kant
does not, however, mean by these words that the existence asserted is
merely that of the empirical self; for he proceeds:

     “...existence is here not a category, which as such does not apply
     to an indeterminately-given object.... An indeterminate perception
     here signifies only something real that is given, given indeed to
     thought in general, and so not as appearance, nor as thing in
     itself (_Noumenon_), but as something which actually [_in der
     That_] exists, and which in the proposition, I think, is denoted
     [_bezeichnet_] as such.”

The phrases here employed are open to criticism on every side. Kant
completely departs from his usual terminology when he asserts that
through an “indeterminate perception” the self is given, and “given to
thought in general” as “something real.” The contention, that the
existence asserted is not a category, is also difficult to accept.[1096]
It is equally surprising to read that its reality is given “neither as
appearance nor as thing [_Sache_] in itself (_Noumenon_)”; for hitherto
no such alternative form of real existence has been recognised.

But to press such criticisms is to ignore the spirit for the sake of the
letter. Kant here breaks free from all his habitual modes of expression
for the very good and sufficient reason that he is striving to develop a
position more catholic and comprehensive than any previously adopted. He
is seeking to formulate a position which, without in any way justifying
or encouraging the transcendent employment of the categories, will yet
retain for thought the capacity of self-limitation, that is, of forming
concepts which will reveal the existence of things in themselves and so
will enable the mind to apprehend the radical distinction between things
in themselves and things experienced. But he has not yet discovered that
in so doing he is committing himself to the thesis that the distinction
is mediated, not by the understanding, but by Reason, not by categories,
but by Ideas.[1097] As I have already indicated, this tendency is
crossed by another derived from his preoccupation with moral problems,
namely, the desire to defend, in a manner which his Critical teaching
does not justify, the noumenal existence of the self as a _thinking_


Book II


The distinction which Kant here introduces for the first time between
understanding (now viewed as the faculty only of concepts) and the
faculty of judgment (_Urtheilskraft_) is artificial and extremely
arbitrary.[1098] As we have seen,[1099] his own real position involves a
complete departure from the traditional distinction between conceiving,
judging, and reasoning, as separate processes. All thinking without
exception finds expression in judgment. Judgment is the fundamental
activity of the understanding. It is “an act which contains all its
other acts.” Kant is bent, however, upon forcing the contents of the
_Critique_ into the external framework supplied by the traditional
logic, viewed as an architectonic; and we have therefore no option save
to take account of his exposition in the actual form which he has chosen
to give to it. Since general logic develops its teaching under three
separate headings, as the logic of conception, the logic of judgment,
and the logic of reasoning, the _Critique_ has to be made to conform to
this tripartite division. The preceding book is accordingly described as
dealing with concepts, and this second book as dealing with judgments or
principles; while understanding and the faculty of judgment, now viewed
as independent, are redefined to meet the exigencies of this new
arrangement, the former as being “the faculty of rules,” and the latter
as being “the faculty of subsuming under rules, _i.e._ of distinguishing
whether something does or does not stand under a given rule (_casus
datae legis_).”

The reader need not strive to discover any deep-lying ground or
justification for these definitions.[1100] Architectonic, that ‘open
sesame’ for so many of the secrets of the _Critique_, is the
all-sufficient spell to resolve the mystery. As a matter of fact, Kant
is here taking advantage of the popular meaning of the term judgment in
the sense in which we speak of a man of good judgment; and in order that
judgment and understanding may be distinguished he then imposes an
artificial limitation upon the meaning in which the latter term is to be

As formal logic abstracts from all content, it cannot, Kant maintains,
supply rules for the exercise of “judgment.” It is otherwise with
transcendental logic, which in the pure forms of sensibility possesses a
content enabling it to define in an _a priori_ manner the specific cases
to which concepts must be applicable. The _Analytic of Principles_ is
thus able to supply “a canon for the faculty of judgment, instructing it
how to apply to appearances the concepts of understanding which contain
the condition of _a priori_ rules.”[1101] This will involve (1) the
defining of the sensuous conditions under which the _a priori_ rules may
be applied--the problem of the chapter on schematism; and (2) the
formulating of the rules in their sensuous, though _a priori_,
concreteness--the problem of the chapter on “the system of all
principles of pure understanding.”

Such is Kant’s own very misleading account of the purposes of these two
chapters. There are other and sounder reasons why they should be
introduced. In the _Analytic of Concepts_, as we have seen,[1102] the
transcendental deduction only succeeds in proving that _a priori_ forms
of unity are required for the possibility of experience. No proof is
given that the various categories are just the particular forms
required, and that they are one and all indispensable. This omission can
be made good only by a series of proofs, directed to showing, in
reference to each separate category, its validity within experience and
its indispensableness for the possibility of experience. These proofs
are given in the second of the two chapters. The chapter on schematism
is preparatory in character; it draws attention to the importance of the
temporal aspect of human experience, and defines the categories in the
form in which they present themselves in an experience thus conditioned
by _a priori_ intuition.



The more artificial aspect of Kant’s argument again appears in the
reason which he assigns for the existence of a problem of schematism,
namely, that pure concepts, and the sensuous intuitions which have to be
subsumed under them, are completely opposite in nature. No such
explanation can be accepted. For if category and sensuous intuition are
really heterogeneous, no subsumption is possible; and if they are not
really heterogeneous, no such problem as Kant here refers to will exist.
The heterogeneity which Kant here asserts is merely that difference of
nature which follows from the diversity of their functions. The category
is formal and determines structure; intuition yields the content which
is thereby organised. Accordingly, the “third thing,” which Kant
postulates as required to bring category and intuition together, is not
properly so describable; it is simply the two co-operating in the manner
required for the possibility of experience. Kant’s method of stating the
problem of schematism is, however, so completely misleading, that before
we can profitably proceed, the various strands in his highly artificial
argument must be further disentangled. This is an ungrateful task, but
has at least the compensating interest of admirably illustrating the
kind of influence which Kant’s logical architectonic is constantly
exercising upon his statement of Critical principles.

The architectonic has in this connection two very unfortunate
consequences. It leads Kant to describe schematism as a process of
_subsumption_, and to speak of the transcendental schema as “a _third
thing_.” Neither assertion is legitimate. Schematism, properly
understood, is not a process of subsumption, but, as Kant has already
recognised in A 124, of synthetic interpretation. Creative synthesis,
whereby contents are apprehended in terms of functional relations, not
subsumption of particulars under universals that are homogeneous with
them, is what Kant must ultimately mean by the schematism of the pure
forms of understanding. A category, that is to say, may not be viewed as
_a predicate_ of a possible judgment, and as being applied to a subject
independently apprehended; its function is to articulate the judgment as
a whole. The category of substance and attribute, for instance, is the
_form_ of the categorical judgment, and may not be equated with any one
of its single parts.

Thus the criticisms which we have already passed upon Kant’s mode of
formulating the distinction between formal and transcendental
logic,[1104] are no less applicable to the sections now before us. The
terminology which Kant is here employing is borrowed from the
traditional logic, and is out of harmony with his Critical principles.

Kant’s description of the schema as a third thing, additional to
category and intuition, and intermediate between them, is also a result
of his misleading mode of formulating his problem. What Kant professes
to do is to interpret the relation of the categories to the intuitional
material as analogous to that holding between a class concept and the
particulars which can be subsumed under it. This is implied in his use
of the plate and circle illustration.[1105] But as the relation holding
between categories and the material of sense is that of form and matter,
structure and content, the analogy is thoroughly misleading. As _all_
content, strictly so called, falls on the side of the intuitional
material, there is no content, _i.e._ no quality or attribute, which is
common to both. And thus it happens that the _inappropriateness_ of the
analogy which Kant is seeking to enforce is ultimately the sole ground
which he is able to offer in support of his description of the schema as
“a third thing.”

     “Now it is clear [!] that there must be a third thing, which is
     homogeneous on the one hand with the category and on the other with
     the appearance, and which thus makes the application of the one to
     the other possible.”[1106]

On the contrary, the true Critical teaching is that category and
intuition, that is to say, form and content, mutually condition one
another, and that the so-called schema is simply a name for the latter
as apprehended in terms of the former.

But there is a further complication. Kant, as we have already
observed,[1107] defines judgment as being

     “...the faculty of subsuming under _rules_, _i.e._ of
     distinguishing whether something does or does not stand under a
     given rule (_casus datae legis_).”

Now this view of judgment really connects with the syllogism, not with
the proposition.[1108] As Kant states in his _Logic_, there are

     “...three essential elements in all inference: (1) a universal rule
     which is entitled the major premiss; (2) the proposition which
     subsumes a cognition under the condition of the universal rule, and
     which is entitled the minor premiss; and lastly, (3) the
     conclusion, the proposition which asserts or denies of the subsumed
     cognition the predicate of the rule.”[1109]

Regarded in this way, as the application of a _rule_, subsumption is
more broadly viewed and becomes a more appropriate analogy for the
relation of category to content. And obviously it is this comparison
that Kant has chiefly in mind in these introductory sections. For only
when the subsumption is that of a particular instance under a universal
_rule_, can the necessity of a _mediating_ condition be allowed.

Such, then, are the straits to which Kant is reduced in the endeavour to
hold loyally to his architectonic. He has to identify the two very
different kinds of subsumption which find expression in the proposition
and in the syllogism respectively; and when his analogy between logical
subsumption, thus loosely interpreted, and synthetic interpretation,
proves inapplicable, he uses the failure of the analogy as an argument
to prove the necessity of “a third thing.” On his own Critical teaching,
as elsewhere expounded, no such third thing need be postulated. Even the
definitions which he proceeds to give of the various schemata do not
really support this description of them.

But though Kant’s method of introducing and expounding the argument of
this chapter is thus misleading, the contents themselves are of
intrinsic value, and have a threefold bearing: (_a_) on the doctrine of
productive imagination; (_b_) on the relation holding between image and
concept; and (_c_) on the nature of the categories in their distinction
from the pure forms of understanding.

(_a_) Kant gives definite and precise expression to the two chief
characteristics of the productive imagination, namely, that it deals
with an _a priori_ manifold of pure intuition[1110] and that it
exercises a “hidden art in the depths of the human soul.”[1111] Kant’s
description of the schema as “a third thing,” _at once intellectual and
sensuous_, seems to be in large part due to the transference to it of
predicates already applied to the faculty which is supposed to be its
source. The distinction between the transcendental schema and the
particularised image is also given as analogous to that between the pure
and the empirical faculties of imagination. In A 141-2 = B 180-1, Kant
speaks of the _empirical_ faculty of _productive_ imagination, and so is
led, to the great confusion of his exposition, though also to the
enrichment of his teaching, to allow of empirical as well as of
transcendental schemata, and thus contrary to his own real position to
recognise schemata of such empirical objects as dog or horse--a view
which empirical psychology has since adopted in its doctrine of the
schematic image. This passage was doubtless written at the time when he
was inclining to the view that the empirical processes run parallel with
the transcendental.[1112] Kant’s final view is that empirical
imagination is always reproductive. This brings us, however, to our
second main point.

(_b_) Kant makes a statement which serves as a valuable corrective of
his looser assertions in other parts of the _Critique_.[1113] Five
points set after one another, thus,....., form an image of the number
five. The schema of the number five is, however, of very different
nature, and must not be identified with any such image. It is

     “...rather _the representation of a method_ whereby a multiplicity
     [in this case five] may be represented in an image in accordance
     with a certain concept, than this image itself....”[1114]

This becomes more evident in the case of large numbers, such as a
thousand. The thought or schema of the number remains just as clear and
definite as in the case of smaller numbers, but cannot be so adequately
embodied and surveyed in a concrete image.

     “This representation of a general procedure of imagination in
     providing its image for a concept, I name the schema to this

But even in the simplest cases an image can never be completely adequate
to the concept. The image of a triangle, for instance, is always some
particular triangle, and therefore represents only a part of the total
connotation. As the schema represents a universal rule of production in
accordance with a concept, it resembles the concept in its incapacity to
subsist in an objective form. Images become possible only through and in
accordance with schemata, but can never themselves be identified with
them. Schemata, therefore, and not images--such is the implied
conclusion--form the true subject-matter of the mathematical sciences.
Images are always particular; schemata are always universal. Images
represent existences; schemata represent methods of construction.

There are three criticisms which must be passed upon this position. In
the first place, the selection of the triangle as an illustration tends
to obscure the main point of Kant’s argument. As there are three very
different species of triangle, the concept triangle is a class concept
in a degree and manner which is not to be found in the concepts, say, of
the circle or of the number five. So that while Kant may seem to be
chiefly insisting upon the _inadequacy_[1116] of the image to represent
more than a part of the connotation of the corresponding concept, his
real intention is to emphasise that the schema expresses the conceptual
rule whereby, even in images that cover the whole connotation, the true
meaning of the image can alone be determined.

Secondly, the above definition of the schema as being “the
representation of a general procedure of imagination in providing an
image for a concept” is obviously bound up with Kant’s view of it as “a
third thing,” additional to the concept, and as intermediate between it
and the image.[1117] But as we have already found occasion to note, in
discussing Kant’s doctrine of the “construction” of mathematical
concepts,[1118] this threefold distinction is out of harmony with his
Critical principles. It results from his retention of the traditional
view of the concept as in all cases a mere concept, _i.e._ an abstracted
or class concept. In defining the schema Kant is defining the true
nature of the concept as against the false interpretation of it in the
traditional class-theory; he misrepresents the logic of his own
standpoint when he interpolates a third kind of representation
intermediate between the concept and the image. The concept ‘triangle,’
_as a concept_, is (to employ Kant’s own not very satisfactory terms)
the representation of the method of constructing a certain type of
object; and the only other mode of representing this kind of object is
the image. There may, indeed, as Kant has himself suggested, be a
species of image that may be entitled schematic; but if that be
identified with a blurred or indeterminate or merely symbolic form of
representation, it can have nothing in common with the _transcendental_
or _conceptual_ schema, save the name.

Thirdly, the entire discussion of the nature of the schemata of
“sensuous concepts” and of their relation to the sense image, is out of
order in this chapter; and however valuable in itself, bewilders the
reader who very properly assumes for it a relevancy which it does not
possess. The pure concepts of the understanding, whose schemata Kant is
endeavouring to define, are altogether different in nature from sensuous
representations, and can never be reduced in any form or degree to an
image. They are wholly transcendental, representing pure syntheses
unified through categories in accordance with the form of inner sense.
This, however, brings us to our last main point.

(_c_) Kant’s manner of employing the term category is a typical example
of his characteristic carelessness in the use of his technical terms.
Sometimes it signifies the pure forms of understanding. But more
frequently it stands for what he now, for the first time, entitles
schemata, namely, the pure conceptual forms as modified through relation
to time. To take as examples the two chief categories of relation. The
first category of relation, viewed as a form of the pure understanding,
is the merely logical conception of that which is always a subject and
never a predicate. The corresponding schema is the conception of that
which has permanent existence in time; it is not the logical notion of
_subject_, but the transcendental conception of _substance_. The pure
logical conception of ground and consequence is similarly distinguished
from the transcendental schema of cause and effect.

This contrast is of supreme importance in the Critical philosophy, and
ought therefore to have been marked by a careful distinction of terms.
Had Kant restricted the term category to denote the pure forms, and
invariably employed the term schemata to signify their more concrete
counterparts, many ambiguities and confusions would have been prevented.
The table of categories, in its distinction from the table of logical
forms, would then have been named the table of schemata, and the
definitions given in this chapter would have been appended to it, as the
proper supplement to the metaphysical deduction, completing it by a
careful definition of each separate schema. For what Kant usually means
when he speaks of the categories _are_ the schemata; and the chapter
before us therefore contains their delayed definitions.[1119] As Kant
has constantly been insisting, and as he again so emphatically teaches
in this chapter, the pure forms of understanding, taken in and by
themselves, apart from the forms of intuition, have no relation to any
object, and are mere logical functions without content or determinate

From this point of view the misleading influence of Kant’s architectonic
may again be noted. It forces him to preface his argument by
introductory remarks which run entirely counter to the very point which
he is chiefly concerned to illustrate and enforce, namely, the
inseparability of conception and intuition in all experience and
knowledge. He does, indeed, draw attention to the fact that the
conditions which serve to realise the pure concepts of understanding
also at the same time restrict them, but it is with their empirical
employment that he is here chiefly concerned.

Caird’s[1120] mode of expounding Kant’s doctrine of schematism may serve
as an example of the misleading influence of Kant’s artificial method of
introducing his argument. As Caird accepts Kant’s initial statements at
their face value, he is led to read the entire chapter in accordance
with them, and so to interpret it as being a virtual recantation of the
assumptions which underlie the statement of its problem. The truer view
would rather seem to be that the introduction is demanded by the
exigencies of Kant’s architectonic, and therefore yields no true account
either of the essential purpose of the chapter or of its actual
contents. Cohen not unjustly remarks that

     “...recent writers are guilty of a very strange misreading of Kant
     when they maintain, as if in opposition to him, a thought to which
     his doctrine of schematism gives profound expression, namely, that
     intuition and conception do not function independently, and that
     thought, and still more knowledge, is and must always be

Cohen fails, however, to draw attention to the cause of the
misunderstanding for which Kant must certainly share the blame.
Riehl,[1122] while adopting a somewhat similar view to that here given,
traces Kant’s misleading mode of stating the problem to his holding a
false view of the universality of the concept. Such criticism of Kant,
like that passed by Caird, is in many respects justified, but the
occasion upon which the admonition is made to follow would none the less
seem to be ill-chosen.

It may be asked why Kant in this chapter so completely ignores space. No
really satisfactory answer seems to present itself. It is true that time
is the one universal form of all intuition, of outer as well as of inner
experience. It is also true that, as Kant elsewhere shows, consciousness
of time presupposes consciousness of space for its own possibility, and
so to that extent may be regarded as including the latter form of
consciousness within itself. Nevertheless Kant’s concentration on the
temporal aspect of experience is exceedingly arbitrary, and results in
certain unfortunate consequences. Owing to the manner in which Kant
envisages his problem[1123] he is bound, indeed, to lay the greater
emphasis upon time, but that need not have involved so exclusive a
recognition of its field and function. Possibly Kant’s very natural
preoccupation with his new and revolutionary doctrines of inner sense
and productive imagination has something to do with the matter.

Though the definitions given of the various schemata, especially of
those of reality and existence, raise many difficulties, consideration
of them must be deferred.[1124] They can be properly discussed only in
connection with the principles which Kant bases upon them. Only one
further point calls for present remark. Kant does not give a schema for
each of the categories. In the first two groups of pure conceptual
forms, those of quantity and of quality, he gives a schema only for the
third category in each case. Number is strictly not the schema of
quantity as such, but of _totality_. The schema of quality is a
definition only of _limitation_.[1125] This departure from the demands
of strict architectonic is made without comment or explanation of any
kind. Kant delights to insist upon the confirmation given to his
teaching by the fulfilment of architectonic requirements; he is for the
most part silent when they fail to correspond. This architectonic was a
hobby sufficiently serious to yield him keen pleasure in its
elaboration, but was not so vital to his main purposes as to call for
stronger measures when shortcomings occurred.

In concluding this chapter Kant draws attention to the fact that the
sensuous conditions which serve to realise the pure concepts also at the
same time restrict their meaning. Their wider meaning is, however, of
merely logical character.[1126] Their function, as pure concepts, lies
solely in establishing unity of representation; they do not therefore
suffice to yield knowledge of any object. Objective application “comes
to them solely from sensibility.” In these statements Kant expounds one
of his fundamental doctrines, but in a manner which does less than
justice to the independent value of pure thought. As he elsewhere
teaches,[1127] it is not sense that sets limits to understanding; it is
the pure forms of thought that enable the mind to appreciate the limited
and merely phenomenal character of the world experienced.



The introductory remarks to this important chapter are again dictated by
Kant’s architectonic, and set its actual contents in an extremely false
light. Kant would seem to imply that as the _Analytic of Concepts_ has
determined all the various conceptual elements constitutive of
experience, and has proved that they serve as predicates of possible
judgments, it now remains to show in an _Analytic of Principles_ what _a
priori_ synthetic judgments, or in other words what principles, can
actually be based upon them. Though this is a quite misleading account
of the relation holding between the two books of the _Analytic_, it has
been accepted by many commentators.[1128] For several reasons it must be
rejected. The pure forms of understanding are not predicates for
possible judgments. They underlie judgment as a whole, expressing the
relation through which its total contents are organised. Thus in the
proposition “cinnabar is heavy” the category of substance and attribute
is not in any sense the predicate; it articulates the entire judgment,
interpreting the experienced contents in terms of the dual relation of
substance and attribute. Judgment, its nature and conditions, is the
real problem of the misnamed _Analytic of Concepts_. As already
indicated,[1129] the two main divisions of the _Analytic_ deal with one
and the same problem. But while doing so, they differ in two respects.
In the first place, as above noted, the _Analytic of Concepts_ supplies
no proof of the validity of particular categories, but only a quite
general demonstration that forms of unity, such as are involved in all
judgment, are demanded for the possibility of apperception. The proofs
of the indispensableness of _specific_ categories are first given in the
_Analytic of Principles_. Secondly, in the _Analytic of Concepts_ the
temporal aspect of experience falls somewhat into the background,
whereas in the _Analytic of Principles_ it is emphasised.

From these two fundamental points of difference there arises a third
distinguishing feature. When the categories, or rather schemata, are
explicitly defined, and receive individual proof, they are found to be
just those principles that are demanded for the possibility of the
positive sciences. This is, from Kant’s point of view, no mere
coincidence. Scientific knowledge is possible only in so far as
experience is grounded on _a priori_ conditions; and the conditions of
_sense_-experience are also the conditions of its conceptual
interpretation. But while the _Analytic of Concepts_ deals almost
exclusively with ordinary experience, in the _Analytic of Principles_
the physical sciences receive their due share of consideration.

=First and Second Sections. The Highest Principles of Analytic and
Synthetic Judgments.=--These two sections contain nothing not already
developed earlier in the _Critique_. Though the principle of
non-contradiction is a merely negative test of truth, it can serve as a
universal and completely adequate criterion in the case of all judgments
that are analytic of given concepts. The principle of synthetic
judgments, on the other hand, is the principle whereby we are enabled to
advance beyond a given concept so as to attach a predicate which does
not stand to it in the relation either of identity or of contradiction.
This principle is the principle of the possibility of experience. Though
_a priori_ synthetic judgments cannot be _logically_ demonstrated as
following from higher and more universal propositions,[1130] they are
capable of a _transcendental_ proof, that is, as being conditions of

     “The possibility of experience is what gives objective reality to
     all our _a priori_ knowledge.”[1131] “Although we know _a priori_
     in synthetic judgments a great deal regarding space in general and
     the figures which productive imagination describes in it, and can
     obtain such judgments without actually requiring any experience;
     yet even this knowledge would be nothing but a playing with a mere
     figment of the brain, were it not that space has to be regarded as
     a condition of the appearances which constitute the material for
     outer experience....”[1132]

In the first part of the last sentence, as in the page which precedes
it, Kant would seem to be inculcating his doctrine of a pure _a priori_
manifold, but the latter part of the statement would not be affected by
the admission that space is not an independent intuition but only the
form of outer sense.

=Third Section. Systematic Representation of all the Synthetic Principles
of Understanding.=--Kant is not concerned in this section with the
fundamental propositions of mathematical science, since, on his view,
they rest upon the evidence of intuition. He claims, however, that their
objective validity depends upon two principles, which, though not
themselves mathematical in the strict sense, may conveniently be so
described from the transcendental standpoint--the principle of the
“axioms of intuition,” and the principle of the “anticipations of
experience.” The physicist, who takes the legitimacy of applied
mathematics for granted, has no occasion to formulate these principles.
That he none the less presupposes them is shown, however, by his
unquestioning assumption that nature conforms to the strict requirements
of pure mathematics. And since the principles involve pure concepts, the
one embodying the schema of number, and the other the schema of quality,
they fall outside the scope of the _Transcendental Aesthetic_, and call
for a deduction similar to that of the other categories.

As already indicated, Kant’s procedure is extremely arbitrary, and is
due to the perverting influence of his architectonic. Proof of the
validity of applied mathematics has already been given in the
_Aesthetic_[1133] of the first edition--a proof which is further
developed in the _Prolegomena_,[1134] and recast in the second edition
so as to constitute a separate “transcendental exposition.”[1135] As
Kant teaches in these passages, the objective validity of applied
mathematics rests upon proof that space and time are the _a priori_
forms of outer and inner sense. The new deductions of the schemata of
number and quality, which he now proceeds to formulate, are quite
unnecessary, and also are by no means conclusive in the manner of their
proof. This, however, is more than compensated by the extremely valuable
proofs of the schematised categories of relation which he gives in the
section on the _Analogies of Experience_. The section on the _Postulates
of Empirical Experience_, which deals with the principles of modality,
also contains matter of very real importance.

The principles with which this chapter has to deal can thus be arranged
according to the fourfold division of the table of categories: (1)
_Axioms of Intuition_, (2) _Anticipations of Perception_, (3) _Analogies
of Experience_, (4) _Postulates of Empirical Thought_. And following the
distinction already drawn in the _Analytic of Concepts_,[1136] Kant
distinguishes between the Axioms and Anticipations on the one hand, and
the Analogies and Postulates on the other. The former determine the
conditions of intuition in space and time, and may therefore be called
mathematical and constitutive. They express what is necessarily involved
in every intuition as such. The latter are dynamical. They are
principles according to which we must think the existence of an object
as determined in its relation to others. While, therefore, the first set
of principles can be intuitively verified, the second set have only an
indirect relation to the objects experienced. Whereas a relation of
causality can never be intuited as holding between two events, but only
thought into them, spatial and temporal relations are direct objects of
the mind. Similarly, the relation of substance and attribute cannot be
intuited; it can only be thought into what is intuited. The mathematical
principles thus acquire an immediate (though, be it remembered, merely
_de facto_) evidence; the _a priori_ certainty, equally complete, of the
dynamical principles can be verified only through the circuitous channel
of transcendental proof.

The composite constitution of these sections finds striking illustration
in the duplicated account of this distinction which precedes and follows
the table of principles. The two accounts can hardly have been written
in immediate succession to one another. The earlier in location[1137] is
probably the later in date. It would seem to rest upon some such
uncritical distinction as that drawn in the _Prolegomena_ between
judgments of perception and judgments of experience.[1138] The second
and briefer account[1139] is not open to this objection.

In A 178-80 = B 220-3 Kant develops a further point of difference
between the mathematical and the dynamical principles, or rather
explains what he means by his all too brief and consequently ambiguous
reference in the first of the above accounts to “existence” (_Dasein_).
The mathematical principles are _constitutive_; the dynamical are
_regulative_. That is to say, the mathematical principles lay down the
conditions for the generation or construction of appearances. The
dynamical only specify rules whereby we can define the relation in which
existences contingently given are connected. As existence can never be
constructed _a priori_, we are limited to the determination of the
interrelations between existences all of which must be given. Thus the
principle of causality enables us to predict _a priori_ that for every
event there must exist some antecedent cause; but only through empirical
investigation can we determine which of the particular given antecedents
may be so described. That is to say, the principle defines conditions to
which experience must conform, but does not enable us to construct it
in advance. This distinction is inspired by the contrast between
mathematical and physical science, and is valuable as defining the
empirically regulative function of the _a priori_ dynamical principles;
but its somewhat forced character[1140] becomes apparent when we bear in
mind Kant’s previous distinction between the principles of pure
mathematical science and the transcendental principles which justify
their application to experience. Those latter principles concern
existence as apprehended through schematised categories, and are
consequently, as regards certainty and method of proof, in exactly the
same position as the dynamical principles. This is sufficiently evident
from his own illustration of sunlight.[1141] There is as little
possibility of “constructing” its intensity as of determining _a priori_
the cause of an effect.


_All appearances are in their intuition extensive magnitudes._ Or as in
the second edition: _All intuitions are extensive magnitudes._

‘Extensive’ is here used in a very wide sense to include temporal as
well as spatial magnitude. Kant bases this principle upon the schema of
number, and the proof which he propounds in its support is therefore
designed to show that apprehension of an object of perception, whether
spatial or temporal, is only possible in so far as we bring that schema
into play. But though this is the professed purpose of the argument,
number is itself never even mentioned; and the reason for the omission
is doubtless Kant’s consciousness of the obvious objections to any such
position. That aspect of the argument is therefore, no doubt without
explicit intention, kept in the background. But even as thus given, the
argument must have left Kant with some feeling of dissatisfaction.
Loyalty to his architectonic scheme prevents such doubt and disquietude
from finding further expression.

The argument, in its first-edition statement, starts from the
formulation of a view of space and time directly opposed to that of the

     “I entitle a magnitude extensive when the representation of the
     parts makes possible, and therefore necessarily precedes, the
     representation of the whole. I cannot represent to myself a line,
     however small, without drawing it in thought, _i.e._ generating
     from a point all its parts one after another, and thus for the
     first time recording this intuition.”

Similarly with even the smallest time. And as all appearances are
intuited in space or time, every appearance, so far as intuited, is an
extensive magnitude, that is to say, can be apprehended only through
successive generation of its parts. All appearances are “aggregates,
_i.e._ manifolds of antecedently given parts.”

This definition of extensive magnitude involves an assumption which Kant
also employs elsewhere in the _Critique_,[1143] but which he nowhere
attempts to establish by argument; namely, that it is impossible to
apprehend a manifold save in succession. This assumption is, of course,
entirely false (at least as applied to our empirical consciousness), as
has since been amply demonstrated by experimental investigation. Kant
adopted it in the earlier subjectivist stage of his teaching, before he
had come to recognise that consciousness of space is involved in
consciousness of time. But even after he had done so, the earlier view
still tended to gain the upper hand whenever the doctrines of inner
sense and of productive imagination were under consideration. For in
regard to the transcendental activities of productive imagination, which
are essentially synthetic, Kant continued to treat time as more
fundamental than space. But, as already noted,[1144] a directly opposite
view of the interrelations of space and time is expounded in passages
added in the second edition.

The two central paragraphs are very externally connected with the main
argument, and are probably later interpolations.[1145] In the first of
these two paragraphs Kant ascribes the synthetic activity involved in
the “generation of figures” to the productive imagination, and maintains
that geometry is rendered possible by this faculty. In the other
paragraph Kant deals with arithmetic, but makes no reference to the
productive imagination. Its argument is limited to the contention that
propositions expressive of numerical relation, though synthetic, are not
universal. They are not axioms, but numerical formulae. This distinction
has no very obvious bearing on the present argument, and serves only to
indicate Kant’s recognition that no rigid parallelism can be established
between geometry and arithmetic. There are, it would seem, no
arithmetical axioms corresponding to the axioms of Euclid.[1146]

The concluding paragraph is a restatement of the argument of the
_Aesthetic_ and of § 13, _Note_ i. of the _Prolegomena_. Appearances are
not things in themselves. They are conditioned by the pure intuitional
forms, and are therefore subject to pure mathematics “in all its
precision.” Were we compelled to regard the objects of the senses as
things in themselves, an applied science of geometry (again taken, in
Kant’s habitual manner, as typically representing the mathematical
disciplines) would not be possible. The only new element in the argument
is the reference to synthesis as presupposed in all apprehension.

The additional proof with which in the second edition Kant prefaces the
entire argument calls for no special comment. It may, however, be noted
that though in the argument of the first edition the need of synthesis
in all apprehension is clearly taught, the term synthesis is not itself
employed except in the central and final paragraphs. In the proof given
in the second edition both the term and what it stands for are allowed
due prominence.


_In all appearances sensation and the real which corresponds to it in
the object (realitas phaenomenon) has an intensive magnitude or degree._
Or as in the second edition: _In all appearances the real, which is an
object of sensation, has intensive magnitude or degree._

We may first analyse the total section. The first paragraph[1147]
explains the term anticipation. The second and third paragraphs give a
first proof of the principle. Paragraphs four to ten treat of continuity
in space, time and change, and of the impossibility of empty space, and
also afford Kant the opportunity to develop his dynamical theory of
matter, and so to indicate the contribution which transcendental
philosophy is able to make towards a more adequate understanding of the
principles of physical science. The eleventh and twelfth paragraphs,
evidently later interpolations, give a second proof of the principle
which in one important respect varies from the first proof. In the
second edition a third proof akin to this second proof, but carrying it
a stage further, is added in the form of a new first paragraph.

Kant’s reason for changing the formulation of the principle in the
second edition is evidently the unsatisfactoriness of the phrase
“sensation _and_ the real.”[1148] The principle, properly interpreted,
applies not, as the first edition title and also the second proof would
lead us to expect, to sensation itself, but to its object, _realitas
phaenomenon_. It is phenomenalist in its teaching. The emphatic term
“anticipation” is adopted by Kant to mark that in this principle we are
able in _a priori_ fashion to determine something in regard to what in
itself is purely empirical. Sensation as such, being the matter of
experience, can never be known _a priori_. Its quality, as being a
colour or a taste, depends upon factors which are for us, owing to the
limitations of our knowledge, wholly contingent. None the less in one
particular respect we can predetermine the object of all sensation, and
so can _anticipate_ experience, even in its material aspect.

The first proof is as follows. Apprehension, so far as it takes place
through a sensation, occupies only a single moment; it does not involve
any successive synthesis proceeding from parts to the complete
representation. That which is apprehended cannot, therefore, possess
extensive magnitude. But, as already stated in the chapter on
_Schematism_, reality is that in appearance which corresponds to a
sensation. It is _realitas phaenomenon_. The absence of it is negation =
0. Now every sensation is capable of diminution; between reality in the
appearance and negation there is a continuous series of many possible
intermediate sensations, the difference between any two of which is
always smaller than the difference between the given sensation and zero.
That is to say, the real in appearance has intensive magnitude or
degree. The argument is from capability of variation in the intensity of
sensation to existence of degree in its object or cause. For the most
part this reality is spoken of as that which is apprehended in
sensation, but Kant adds that if it be

     “...viewed as cause either of sensation or of other reality in
     appearance, such as change, the degree of its reality ... is then
     entitled a moment, as for instance the moment of gravity.”

The obscurity of what in itself is a very simple and direct argument
would seem to be traceable to the lack of clearness in Kant’s own mind
as to what is to be signified by reality. The implied distinction
between sensation and its object has not been clearly formulated.
Definitions have, indeed, been given of reality in the chapter on
_Schematism_;[1149] but they are extremely difficult to decipher. Kant
never varies from the assertion that reality is “that which corresponds
to sensation in general.” Our difficulty is with the additional
qualifications. This reality, he further declares, is

     “...that, the concept of which in itself points to an existence
     [_Sein_] in time.”[1150]

The words ‘in time’ would seem to show that what is referred to is
reality _in the realm of appearance_, the _realitas phaenomenon_ of the
_Anticipations_. But immediately below we find the following sentence:

     “As time is only the form of intuition, and consequently of objects
     as appearances, what corresponds in them to sensation is the
     transcendental matter of all objects _as things in themselves_,
     thinghood [_Sachheit_], reality.”[1151]

The teaching of the first sentence is phenomenalist; that of the other
is subjectivist.

Now in the section on _Anticipations of Perception_ the phenomenalist
tendencies of Kant’s thought are decidedly the more prominent. The
implied distinction is threefold, between sensation as subjective state
possessing intensive magnitude, spatial realities that possess both
intensive and extensive magnitude, and the thing in itself. Objects as
appearances are regarded as causes of sensation and as producing changes
in one another.

The explanation of the phenomenalist character of this section is not
far to seek. Kant’s chief purpose in it, as we shall find, is to develop
the dynamical theory of matter to which he had long held, and which, as
he was convinced, would ultimately be substituted for the mechanistic
view to which almost all physicists then adhered. We can easily
understand how in this endeavour the realist tendencies of his thinking
should at once come to the surface, and why he should have been
constrained to develop a position more precise and less ambiguous than
that expressed in the definitions of reality and degree given in the
chapter on _Schematism_. With these preliminary explanations we may pass
to Kant’s second proof of his principle.

A link of connection between the two proofs may be found in the reason
which Kant in the first proof gives for his assertion that sensation
cannot possess extensive magnitude--the reason, namely, that as its
apprehension takes place in a single moment, it involves no element of
synthesis. In his second proof Kant modifies this contention, and
maintains that we can abstract from the extensive magnitude of the
appearance, and yet can recognise a synthesis as being involved.

     “The real which corresponds to sensations in general, as opposed to
     negation = 0, represents only something the very conception of
     which contains an existence [_ein Sein_], and signifies nothing but
     the synthesis in an empirical consciousness in general.”[1152]

Kant adds that in a single moment we can represent to ourselves as
involved in the bare sensation

     “...a synthesis of the uniform progression from zero to the given
     empirical consciousness.”

These statements are far from clear; but it is hardly necessary to
criticise them in detail. Since Kant is endeavouring to prove that a
schema, that of reality or limitation, is involved in the apprehension
of sensation, he is bound in consistency to maintain, in accordance with
the teaching of his deduction of the categories, that the application of
the schema demands some species of synthesis.

The third proof, added in the second edition,[1153] is somewhat more
explicit, and represents a further and last stage in Kant’s vain
endeavour to harmonise the teaching of this section with his general
principles. In the empirical consciousness of sensation there is

     “...a synthesis of the different quantities involved in the
     generation of a sensation from its beginning in pure intuition = 0
     to its particular required magnitude.”

Or again, apprehension of magnitude is apprehension

     “...in which the empirical consciousness can in a certain time
     increase from zero up to its given measure.”

Here, again, what Kant asserts as occurring in our awareness of
sensation calls for much more rigorous demonstration. Like the argument
of the second proof, it is not independently established; it is a mere
corollary to the general principles of his deduction of the categories.

Thus Kant’s thesis, that the apprehension of sense qualities as
intensive magnitudes presupposes a synthesis according to an _a priori_
schema, is both obscure in statement, and unconvincing in argument; and
some of the assertions made, especially in reference to the occurrence
of synthesis, would seem to be hardly less arbitrary than the connection
which Kant professes to trace between logical “quality,” as affirmation
or negation, and the dynamical intensity of sensuous qualities. For, as
already indicated,[1154] logical “quality” and intensive magnitude have
nothing in common save the name.

Kant next proceeds to a discussion of the general problem of continuity.
The connection is somewhat forced. But if we overlook the artificial
ordering of the argument and are content to regard what is given as in
the nature of parenthetical comment, we find in the middle paragraph of
this section an excellent statement of his view of the nature of
continuity and a very clear statement of his dynamical theory of matter.

Kant develops the conception of continuity (_a_) in reference to space
and time, and (_b_) in its application to the intensity of sensations
and of their causes.

(_a_) Kant’s own words require no comment:

     “Space and time are _quanta continua_ because no part of them can
     be given, save as enclosed between limits (points or moments), and
     therefore as being itself a space or a time. Space therefore
     consists only of spaces, time only of times. Points and moments are
     only limits, i.e. mere positions that limit space and time. But
     positions always presuppose the intuitions which they limit or are
     intended to limit; and out of mere positions, viewed as
     constituents capable of being given prior to space and time,
     neither space nor time can be constructed. Such magnitudes may also
     be called _flowing_, since the synthesis of productive imagination
     involved in their production is a progression in time, and the
     continuity of time is ordinarily denoted by the expression

(_b_) When Kant proceeds to apply the principle of continuity to
intensive magnitude, his conclusion rests upon a somewhat different
basis. He argues that appearances must be continuous owing to the fact
that they are apprehended in space and time.[1156] So far as they are
extended in space and enduring in time that may perhaps be true; but
Kant’s assertion has a wider sweep. It implies that sensations and the
physical conditions of sensation, as for instance the sensation of red
or the force of gravity, are capable of existing in every possible
degree between zero and any given intensity. This affords the key to his
method of formulating his second and third proofs of the principle of
_Anticipations of Perception_, which, in the form in which he interprets
it, contains this further implication of continuity. These proofs are
inspired by the desire to make all apprehension, even that of simple
sensation, a temporal process, and by that indirect means to establish
for sensuous intensity and its objective conditions a continuity similar
to that of space and time. The proof is, however, as we have seen,
inconclusive. This application of continuity must be regarded as more in
the nature of a mere hypothesis than Kant is willing to recognise. As
regards sensations, it would seem to have been positively disproved by
the results of experimental psychology.

From his supposed proof of the continuity of all intensive magnitudes
Kant draws two further conclusions: first, that experience can never be
made to yield proof of the void in either space or time. For if all
reality can exist in innumerable degrees, and if each sense has a
determinate degree of receptivity, the complete absence of reality can
never be itself experienced. Inference to such absence is also
impossible for a second reason, namely, that one and the same extensive
magnitude may be completely occupied by an infinite number of different
intensive degrees, indefinitely approximating to, and yet also
indefinitely differing from, zero. Kant is here referring to the
dynamical theory of matter which he had long held,[1157] and which he
expounds in opposition to the current mechanistic view.[1158] The
mechanistic theory rests, he contends, upon an assumption purely
metaphysical and therefore wholly dogmatic, that the real in space has
no internal differences, but is uniform like the empty space in which it
exists.[1159] In accordance with this assumption physicists infer that
all qualitative differences in our sensations must be due to merely
quantitative differences in their material causes, and ultimately to
differences in the number and distribution of the constituent parts of
material bodies. If two bodies of the same volume differ in weight or
in inertia, the variation must be traced to differences in the amount of
matter, or, otherwise stated, to differences in the amount of unoccupied
space, in the two bodies. To this view Kant opposes his own
hypothesis--for it is in this more modest form that it is presented in
these paragraphs--namely, that matter occupies space by intensity and
not by mere bulk, and that it may therefore be diminished indefinitely
in degree without for that reason ceasing completely to fill the same
extensive area. Thus an expanded force such as heat, filling space
without leaving the smallest part of it empty, may be indefinitely
diminished in degree, and yet may still with these lesser degrees
continue to occupy that space as completely as before. This may not,
Kant admits, be the true explanation of physical differences, but it at
least has the merit of freeing the understanding from metaphysical
preconceptions, and of demonstrating the possibility of an alternative
to the current view. If matter has intensity as well as extensity, and
so can vary in quality as well as in quantity, physical science may
perhaps be fruitfully developed on dynamical lines.


The principle of the _Analogies_ is: _Experience is possible only
through the representation of a necessary connection of

Kant introduces the three analogies with the statement of an underlying
principle, which corresponds to the central thesis of the transcendental
deduction. In the second edition this general principle is reformulated,
and a new proof is added. These alterations do not seem, however, to be
of any special significance. The two proofs repeat the main argument of
the transcendental deduction, but with special emphasis upon the
temporal aspect of experience. The categories of relation, as
schematised, yield the _Analogies_, which acquire objective validity in
so far as they render experience possible. The first proof (given in the
second paragraph of the first edition) maintains that they are
indispensable for apperception, and the second proof (that of the second
edition) that they are indispensable for knowledge of objects. The
references to time in the second proof are too condensed to be
intelligible save in the light of the more explicit arguments given in
support of the three _Analogies_.

The first paragraph in the first edition must be a later interpolation,
as its assertion that simultaneity is a mode of time conflicts with the
proof given of the first _Analogy_, but agrees with what must be
regarded as a later interpolated passage introductory to that
proof.[1161] This paragraph is also peculiar in another respect.
Hitherto Kant has traced the existence of the three analogies to the
three categories of relation, each of which conditions a separate
schema. But in this paragraph he bases their threefold form on the fact
that time has three modes, duration, sequence,[1162] and coexistence,
and that there is therefore a threefold problem: first, what is involved
in consciousness of duration; secondly, what is involved in
consciousness of succession; and thirdly, what is involved in
consciousness of coexistence. This is not, however, a satisfactory mode
of stating the matter, for it might seem to imply that the three aspects
of time can be separately apprehended, and that each has its own
independent conditions. What Kant really proves is that all three
involve one another. We can only be conscious of duration in contrast to
succession, and of succession in contrast to the permanent, while both
involve consciousness of coexistence. The three analogies thus treat of
three aspects of the same problem, the first connecting with the
category of substance, the second with that of causality, and the third
with that of reciprocity.

The only point that calls for further comment[1163] concerns Kant’s
adoption of the term _Analogy_ as a title for the three principles of
“relation.” The term is employed in contra-distinction to constitutive
principle or axiom; and Kant points out that this usage of the term must
be carefully distinguished from the other or mathematical. “In
philosophy analogy is not the likeness of two quantitative but of two
qualitative relations.” In mathematical analogy a fourth term can be
discovered from three given terms; but in an ‘analogy of experience’ we
possess a rule that suffices only for the determination of the
_relation_ to a term not given, never for knowledge of this term itself.
Thus if we are informed that 15 is to _x_ as 5 is to 10, the value of
_x_ can be determined as 30. But if it be stated that a given event
stands to an antecedent event as effect to cause, only the relation
holding between the events can be specified, not the actual cause
itself. The principle of causality thus serves only as a regulative
principle, directing us to search for the cause of an event among its

Riehl has suggested a very different explanation of the term, namely, as
signifying that the categories of relation are employed only on the
analogy of the corresponding, pure logical forms.

     “In so far as I know matter in terms of its empirical properties as
     the substance of outer experiences, I do not gain knowledge of the
     nature of matter but only of its relation to my thinking. In all
     judgments upon outer things I employ matter as the _subject_. That
     knowledge is therefore nothing but an _analogy_ to the conceptual
     relation of a subject to its predicates. Matter is related to its
     properties and effects in the realm of appearance as the subject of
     a categorical judgment is related to its predicates. In so far as
     an antecedent is entitled the cause of an event, we do not gain
     knowledge of its nature but only of the analogy of the relation of
     cause and effect with that of antecedent and consequent in a
     hypothetical proposition; the connection of the changes is
     analogous to the conceptual relation of ground and consequence; the
     principle of the sufficient ground of changes is an _analogy of

This explanation may at first sight seem to be supported by Kant’s own
statement in the concluding paragraph of the section before us.

     “Through these principles we are justified in combining appearances
     only according to an analogy with the logical and general unity of
     concepts ...”[1165]

This assertion is, however, incidental to Kant’s explanation that the
analogies are not principles of “transcendental” (_i.e._ transcendent),
but only of empirical application--an explanation itself in turn
occasioned by his desire to connect his present argument with the
chapter on _Schematism_. This interpretation of the term analogy is
probably, therefore, of the nature of an afterthought. Having adopted
the term on the grounds above stated in A 179-80 = B 222, he finds in it
an opportunity to reinforce his previous assertion of the restricting
character of the time condition through which categories are transformed
into schemata. The entire paragraph is probably, as Adickes remarks, a
later interpolation. But there are further reasons why we cannot accept
this passage as representing the real origin of the term analogy. It
would involve adoption of the subjectivist standpoint from which Riehl,
despite his otherwise realistic reading of Kant, interprets Kant’s
phenomenalist doctrines. For it implies that it is only in the noumenal,
and not also in the phenomenal sphere, that substantial existences and
genuinely dynamical activities are to be found.[1166] It would also seem
to imply, what is by no means Kant’s invariable position, the absolute
validity of the logical forms. And lastly, it would involve the priority
of the logical to the real use of the categories, a violation of
Critical principles of which Kant is himself occasionally guilty, but
never, as it would seem, in this exaggerated form.

A. =First Analogy.=--_All appearances contain the permanent (substance) as
the object itself, and the changeable as its mere determination, i.e. as
a mode in which the object exists._ Or as in the second edition: _In all
change of appearances substance is permanent; its quantum in Nature
neither increases nor diminishes._

The second paragraph[1167] is of composite character. Its first part
(consisting of the first three sentences) and its second part give
separate proofs, involving assertions directly contradictory of one
another. The one asserts change and simultaneity to be modes of time;
the other denies this. They cannot, therefore, be of the same date. The
first would seem to be the later; it connects with the first paragraph
of the preceding section.

In the first edition the principle is defined as expressing the schema
of the dual category of substance and attribute. In the second edition
it is reformulated in much less satisfactory form, as being the
scientific principle of the conservation (_i.e._ indestructibility) of
matter. This second formulation emphasises the weaker side of the
argument of the first edition, and is largely due to the perverting
influence of Kant’s method of distinguishing between the _Analytic of
Concepts_ and the _Analytic of Judgments_. It reveals Kant’s growing
tendency to contrast the two divisions of the _Analytic_, as dealing,
the one with ordinary experience, and the other with its scientific

The first proof in the first edition gives explicit expression to a
presupposition underlying this entire section, namely, that all
apprehension is necessarily successive, or in other words that it is
impossible to apprehend a manifold save in succession.[1169] From this
assumption it follows that if such succession is not only to occur but
is to be apprehended as occurring, and if we are to be able to
distinguish between the successive order of all our apprehensions and
the order of coexisting independent existences, a permanent must be
thought into the succession, that is to say, the successive experiences
must be interpreted into an objective order in terms of the category of
abiding substance and changing attributes. Kant neither here nor
elsewhere makes any attempt to explain how this position is to be
reconciled with his doctrine that space can be intuited as well as time;
and there is equal difficulty in reconciling it with the doctrine
developed in his second proof (in the second division of this same
paragraph) that time itself does not change but only the appearances in

As above shown,[1170] there are two tendencies in Kant’s treatment of
time, each of which carries with it its own set of connected
consequences. There is the view that consciousness of time _as a whole_
preconditions consciousness of any part of it. This tends to recognition
of simultaneity as a mode of time and of the simultaneous as apprehended
in a single non-successive act of apprehension. On the other hand, there
is the counter-view that consciousness of time is only possible through
the successive combination of its parts. This leads to the assertion
that simultaneity is not a mode of time, and that time itself cannot be
apprehended save as the result of synthesis in accordance with unifying
categories. Through the categories there arises consciousness of
objectivity, and so for the first time consciousness of a distinction
between the subjective which exists invariably and exclusively in
succession, and the objective which may exist either as successive or as
permanent, and in whose existence both elements are, indeed, inseparably

To turn now to Kant’s second[1171] proof of the principle;[1172] it is
as follows. All our perceptions are in time, and in time are represented
as either coexistent or successive. Time itself cannot change,[1173] for
only as in it can change be represented. Time, however, cannot by
itself be apprehended. As such, it is the mere empty form of our
perceptions. There must be found in the objects of perception some
abiding substrate or substance which will represent the permanence of
time in consciousness, and through relation to which coexistence and
succession of events may be perceived. And since only in relation to
this substrate can time relations be apprehended, it must be altogether
unchangeable, and may therefore[1174] be called substance. And being
unchangeable it can neither increase nor diminish in quantity. Kant,
without further argument, at once identifies this substance with matter.

This proof may be restated in briefer fashion.[1175] The consciousness
of events in time involves the dating of them in time. But that is only
possible in so far as we have a representation of the time in which they
are to be dated. Time, however, not being by itself experienced, must be
represented in consciousness by an abiding substrate in which all change
takes place, and since, as the substrate of _all_ change, it will
necessarily be unchangeable, it may be called substance.

The argument, in both proofs, is needlessly abstract, and as already
remarked,[1176] the reason of this abstractness is that Kant here, as in
the chapter on _Schematism_, unduly ignores space, limiting his analysis
to inner sense. He defines the schema of substance as the permanence of
the real in time, _i.e._ as the representation of the real which
persists while all else changes. As the second edition of the _Critique_
shows,[1177] Kant himself came to recognise the inadequacy of this
definition, and therefore of the proof of the first _Analogy_.
Consciousness is only possible through the representation of objects in
_space_. Only in outer sense is a permanent given in contrast to which
change may be perceived. The proof ought therefore to have proceeded in
the following manner. Time can be conceived only as motion, and motion
is perceivable only against a permanent background in space.
Consciousness of time therefore involves consciousness of a permanent in
space. He might have added that consciousness of relative time involves
consciousness of change in relation to something relatively permanent,
and that the scientific conception of all changes as taking place in a
single absolute time involves the determining of change through relation
to something absolutely permanent, this ultimate standard being found in
the heavenly bodies. By the permanent is not meant the immovable, but
only that which is uniform and unchanging in its motions. The uniform
motions of the heavenly bodies constitute our ultimate standard of time.
The degree of their uniformity is the measure of our approximation to an
absolute standard. A marginal note upon this _Analogy_ in Kant’s private
copy of the _Critique_ reveals Kant’s late awakened recognition of the
necessity of this mode of restating the argument.

     “Here the proof must be so developed as to apply only to substances
     as phenomena of outer sense, and must therefore be drawn from
     space, which with its determinations exists at all times. In space
     all change is motion....”[1178]

That the new argument of the second edition still proceeds on the same
lines as the second argument of the first edition is probably due, as
Erdmann remarks,[1179] to Kant’s unwillingness to make the extensive
alterations which would have been called for in the chapter on
_Schematism_ as well as in the statement of this _Analogy_.

A second serious objection to Kant’s treatment of the first _Analogy_
follows at once from the above. Kant identifies the permanent which
represents time in consciousness with matter, and seeks to prove by
means of this identification the principle of the conservation of
matter.[1180] That principle is not really capable of transcendental
proof. It is not a presupposition of possible experience, but merely a
generalisation empirically grounded. Kant is here confounding a
particular theory as to the manner in which the element of permanence,
necessary to possible experience, is realised, with the much more
general conclusion which alone can be established by transcendental
methods. His argument also conflicts with his own repeated assertion
that the notion of change, in so far as it is distinct from that of
temporal succession or of motion in space, is empirical, and
consequently falls outside the scope of transcendental enquiry. By the
conservation of matter we mean the constancy of the weight of matter
throughout all changes. But the only permanent which can be postulated
as necessary to render our actual consciousness of time possible,
consists of spatial objects sufficiently constant to act as a standard
by comparison with which motions may be measured against one another.
And as this first _Analogy_, properly understood, thus deals solely with
spatial changes of bodies, the principle of the conservation of matter
has no real connection with it.

Then thirdly, and lastly, Kant takes this first _Analogy_ as showing the
indispensable function performed in experience by the category of
substance and attribute. Substance, he argues, corresponds to the time
in which events happen, and its attributes correspond to the changing
events. Just as all events are only to be conceived as happening in
time, so too all changes are only to be conceived as changes in an
abiding substance. These, he would seem to hold, are simply two ways of
making one and the same assertion. Now Kant may perhaps be right in
insisting that all change is change in, and not of, time. Unity of
consciousness would seem to demand consciousness of a single time in
which all events happen. But this relation of time to its events does
not justify the same assertion being made of substance. Substance may be
what corresponds to time in general, and may represent it in
consciousness, but we cannot for that reason say that changes are also
only in and not of it. To regard the changes in this way as attributes
inhering in substance directly contradicts the view developed in the
second _Analogy_. For the notion of substance is there treated as an
implication of the principle of causality. Substance, Kant there
insists, is not a bare static existence in which changes take place, but
a dynamic energy which from its very nature is in perpetual necessitated
change. Change is not change in, but change of, substance.

Even in the passage in which Kant identifies the notion of the permanent
in change with that of substance and attribute, he shows consciousness
of this difficulty. We must not, he says, separate the substance from
its accidents, treating it as a separate existence. The accidents are
merely the special forms of its existence. But all the same, he adds,
withdrawing the words which he has just uttered, such a separation of
the changing accidents from the abiding substance is “_unavoidable,
owing to the conditions of the logical employment of our
understanding_.”[1181] Kant is here so hard pressed to account for the
use of the category of substance and attribute in experience, and to
explain the contradictions to which it gives rise, that the only way he
sees out of the difficulty is to refer the contradictions involved in
the category to the constitution of our understanding in its _logical_
employment. Yet as such employment of understanding is, according to his
own showing, secondary to, and dependent upon, its “real” employment,
the category of substance and attribute can hardly have originated in
this way.

We must, then, conclude that Kant offers no sufficient deduction or
explanation of the category of substance and attribute, and as he does
so nowhere else, we are driven to the further conclusion that he is
unable to account for its use in experience, or at least to reconcile it
in any adequate fashion with the principle of causality.

B. =Second Analogy.=--_Everything that happens, i.e. begins to be,
presupposes something on which it follows according to a rule._ Or as in
the second edition: _All changes take place in conformity with the law
of the connection of cause and effect._

This section, as Kant very rightly felt, contains one of the most
important and fundamental arguments of the entire _Critique_; and this
would seem to be the reason why he has so multiplied the proofs which he
gives of the _Analogy_. Within the limits of the section no less than
five distinct proofs are to be found, and still another was added in the
second edition. As Adickes[1182] argues, it is extremely unlikely that
Kant should have written five very similar proofs in immediate
succession. The probability is that they are of independent origin and
were later combined to constitute this section; or, if we hold with
Adickes that Kant first composed a “brief outline,” we may conclude that
he combined the one or more proofs, which that outline contained, with
others of earlier or of later origin. The first to the fourth paragraphs
of the first edition contain a first proof; the fifth to the seventh a
second proof (a repetition of the first proof but in indirect form); the
eighth to the tenth a third proof (almost identical with the first); the
eleventh to the thirteenth a fourth proof (different in character from
all the others); the fourteenth a fifth proof (probably the latest in
time of writing; an anticipation of the argument in the second edition).
The paragraph added in the second edition (the second paragraph in the
text of the second edition) gives a sixth and last proof.

We may first state the central argument, deferring treatment of such
additional points as arise in connection with Kant’s varying
formulations of it in his successive proofs. The second _Analogy_,
though crabbedly, diffusely, and even confusedly stated, is one of the
finest and most far-reaching pieces of argument in the whole _Critique_.
It is of special historical importance as being Kant’s answer to Hume’s
denial of the validity of the causal principle. Hume had maintained that
we can never be conscious of anything but mere succession. Kant in reply
seeks to prove that consciousness of succession is only possible through
consciousness of a necessity that determines the order of the successive

Kant, we must bear in mind, accepts much of Hume’s criticism of the
category of causality. The general principle that every event must have
an antecedent cause is, Kant recognises, neither intuitively certain nor
demonstrable by general reasoning from more ultimate truths. It is not
to be accounted for by analytic thought, but like all synthetic
judgments _a priori_ can only be proved by reference to the contingent
fact of actual experience. Secondly, Kant makes no attempt, either in
this _Analogy_ or elsewhere in the _Critique_, to explain the nature and
possibility of causal connection, that is, to show how one event, the
cause, is able to give rise to another and different event, the effect.
We can never by analysis of an effect discover any reason why it must
necessarily be preceded by a cause.[1183] Thirdly, the principle of
causality, as deduced by Kant and shown to be necessarily involved in
all consciousness of time, is the quite general principle that every
event must have _some_ cause in what immediately precedes it. What in
each special case the cause may be, can only be empirically discovered;
and that any selected event is really the cause can never be absolutely
certain. The particular causal laws are discovered from experience, not
by means of the general principle but only in accordance with it, and
are therefore neither purely empirical nor wholly _a priori_. As even J.
S. Mill teaches, the general principle is assumed in every inference to
a causal law, and save by thus assuming the general principle the
particular inference to causal connection cannot be proved. But at the
same time, since the proof of causal connection depends upon
satisfaction of those empirical tests which Mill formulates in his
inductive methods, such special causal laws can be gathered only from

The starting-point of Kant’s analysis is our consciousness of an
_objective_ order in time. This is for Kant a legitimate starting-point
since he has proved in the _Transcendental Deduction_ that only through
consciousness of the objective is consciousness of the subjective in any
form possible. The independent argument by which it is here supported is
merely a particular application of the general principle of that
deduction. When we apprehend any very large object, such as a house,
though we do so by successively perceiving the different parts of it, we
never think of regarding these successive perceptions as representing
anything successive in the house. On the other hand, when we apprehend
successive events in time, such as the successive positions of a ship
sailing down stream, we do regard the succession of our experiences as
representing objective succession in what is apprehended. Kant therefore
feels justified in taking as fact, that we have the power of
distinguishing between subjective and objective succession, _i.e._
between sequences which are determined by the order of our attentive
experience and sequences which are given as such. It is this fact which
affords Kant a precise method of formulating the problem of the second
_Analogy_, viz. _how consciousness of objective change, as distinguished
from subjective succession, is possible_?

Schopenhauer, owing to the prominence in his system of the principle of
sufficient reason, has commented upon this second _Analogy_ in
considerable detail;[1184] and we may here employ one of his chief
criticisms to define more precisely the general intention of Kant’s
argument. The succession in our experiences of the parts of a house and
of the positions of a ship is, Schopenhauer maintains, in both cases of
genuinely objective character. In both instances the changes are due to
the position of two bodies relatively to one another. In the first
example one of these bodies is the body of the observer, or rather one
of his bodily organs, namely the eye, and the other is the house, in
relation to the parts of which the position of the eye is successively
altered. In the second example the ship changes its position relatively
to the stream. The motion of the eye from roof to cellar is one event;
its motion from cellar to roof is a second event; and both are events of
the same nature as the sailing of the ship. Had we the same power of
dragging the ship upstream that we have of moving the eye in a direction
opposite to that of its first movement, the positions of the ship could
be reversed in a manner exactly analogous to our reversal of the
perceptions of the house.

This criticism is a typical illustration of Schopenhauer’s entire
failure to comprehend the central thesis of Kant’s Critical
idealism.[1185] The _Analytic_, so far as the main argument of its
objective deduction is concerned, was to him a closed book; and as this
second analogy is little else than a special application of the results
of the deduction, he was equally at a loss in its interpretation. Kant
was himself, of course, in large part responsible for the
misunderstanding. The distinction which would seem to be implied by
Kant’s language between sequence that is objective and sequence that is
_merely_ subjective is completely inconsistent with Critical
principles,[1186] and is as thoroughly misleading as that other
distinction which he so frequently employs between the _a priori_ and
the merely empirical. Schopenhauer, however, regarded these distinctions
as valid, and accordingly applies them in the interpretation of Kant’s
method of argument. If inner and outer experience are to be contrasted
as two kinds of experience, there is, as Schopenhauer rightly insists,
no sufficient ground for regarding changes due to movements of the eye
as being subjective and those that are due to movements of a ship as
being objective. That is not, however, Kant’s intention in the
employment of these illustrations. He uses them only to make clear the
fairly obvious fact that while in certain cases the order of our
perceptions is subjectively initiated, in other cases we apprehend the
subjective order of our experiences as corresponding to, and explicable
only through, the objective sequence of events. In holding to this
distinction Kant is not concerned to deny that even in the order which
is determined by the subject’s purposes or caprice objective factors are
likewise involved. The fact that the foundations of a house support its
roof, and will therefore determine what it is that we shall apprehend
when we turn the eye upwards, does not render the order of our
apprehensions any the less subjective in character. But that this order
is _purely_ subjective, Kant could never have asserted. His Critical
principles definitely commit him to the view that even sensations and
desires are integral parts of the unitary system of natural law. Kant,
as we shall find, is maintaining that some such distinction between
subjective and objective sequence as is illustrated in the above
contrasted instances must be present from the very start of our
experience--must, indeed, be constitutive of experience as such. Out of
a consciousness of the purely subjective the notion of the objective can
never arise.[1187] Or otherwise stated, consciousness of a time order,
even though subjective, must ultimately involve the application of some
non-subjective standard.

     “I shall be obliged ... to derive the subjective sequence of
     apprehension from the objective sequence of appearances, because
     otherwise the former is entirely undetermined, and does not
     distinguish any one appearance from any other.”[1188]

We interpret the subjective order in terms of an objective system;
consciousness of the latter is the necessary presupposition of all
awareness. It is as necessary to the interpretation of what is
apprehended through the rotating eyeballs as to the apprehension of a
moving ship. So far from refusing to recognise that the subjective order
of our experiences is objectively conditioned, Kant is prepared to
advance to the further assertion that it is only apprehensible when so

In the third _Analogy_ Kant proceeds to the connected problem, how we
can apprehend the parts of a house as simultaneous notwithstanding the
sequent relation of our perceptions of them, and what justification we
have for thus interpreting the subjectively sequent experiences as
representing objective coexistence. Just as Kant in this second
_Analogy_ does not argue that irreversibility is by itself proof of
causal relation, but only that the consciousness of such irreversibility
demands the employment of the conception of causality, so in the third
_Analogy_ he does not attempt to reduce the consciousness of coexistence
to the consciousness of reversibility, but to prove that only through
the application of the conception of reciprocity can the reversibility
be properly interpreted. In each case the category conditions the
empirical consciousness; the latter is an apprehension of determinate
order only in so far as it presupposes the category. Though Kant’s
treatment of the third _Analogy_ has less historical importance, and
perhaps less intrinsic interest, than the proof of the second _Analogy_,
it is even more significant of the kind of position which he is
endeavouring to establish, and I may therefore forewarn the reader that
he must not spare himself the labour of mastering its difficult, and
somewhat illusive, argument. The doctrines which it expounds at once
reinforce and extend the results of the second _Analogy_, while the
further difficulties which it brings to view, but which it is not itself
capable of meeting, indicate that the problems of the _Analytic_ call
for reconsideration in the light of certain wider issues first broached
in the _Dialectic_.

We may now return to Kant’s main argument. His problem, as we have
found, is how consciousness of objective change, as distinguished from
subjective succession, is possible. The problem, being formulated in
this particular way, demands, Kant felt, careful definition of what is
meant by the term ‘objective,’ upon which so much depends. To apply the
illustration above used, the house as apprehended is not a thing in
itself but only an appearance to the mind. What, then, do we mean by the
house, as distinguished from our subjective representations of it, when
that house is nothing but a complex (_Inbegriff_) of
representations?[1189] The question and Kant’s answer to it are stated
in subjectivist fashion, in terms of his earlier doctrine of the
transcendental object. To contrast an object with the representations
through which we apprehend it, is only possible if these representations
stand under a rule which renders necessary their combination in some one
particular way, and so distinguishes this one particular mode of
representation as the only true mode from all others. The origin,
therefore, of our distinction between the subjectively successive and
the succession which is also objective must be due in the one case to
the presence of a rule compelling us to combine the events in some
particular successive order, and in the other to the absence of such a
rule. Our apprehension of the house, for instance, may proceed in any
order, from the roof downwards or _vice versa_, and as the order may
always be reversed there is no compulsion upon the mind to regard the
order of its apprehension as representing objective sequence. But since
in our apprehension of an event B in time, the apprehension of B follows
upon the apprehension of a previous event A, and we cannot reverse the
order, the mind is compelled to view the order of succession, in terms
of the category of causality, as necessitated, and therefore as
objective. The order is a necessary order not in the sense that A must
always precede B, that A is the cause of B, but that the order, if we
are to apprehend it correctly, must in this particular case be conceived
as necessary. The succession, that is, need not be conceived as a causal
one, but in order to be conceived as objective succession it must be
conceived as rendered necessary by connections that are causal.

Having, in this general fashion, shown the bearing of his previous
analysis of objective experience upon the problem in hand, Kant proceeds
to develop from it his proof of the special principle of causality. The
schema of causality is necessary succession in time, and it is through
this, its time aspect, that Kant approaches the principle. It has to do
with the special case of _change_. To be conscious of change we must be
conscious of an _event_, that is, of something as happening at a
particular point in time. The change, in other words, requires to be
dated, and as we are not conscious of time in general, it must be dated
by reference to other events, and obviously in this case in relation to
the preceding events, in contrast to which it is apprehended _as
change_. But according to the results of our analysis of what
constitutes objective experience, it can be fixed in its position in
objective time only if it be conceived as related to the preceding
events according to a necessary law; and the law of necessary connection
in time is the law of causality. In order, then, that something which
has taken place may be apprehended as having occurred, that is, as being
an objective change, it must be apprehended as necessarily following
upon that which immediately precedes it in time, _i.e._ as causally

The principle of causality thus conditions consciousness of objective
succession, and Hume, in asserting that we are conscious of the
succession of _events_, therefore admits all that need be assumed in
order to prove the principle. The reason why Hume failed to recognise
this, is that he ignored the distinction between consciousness of the
subjective order of our apprehensions and consciousness of the objective
sequence of events. Yet that is a distinction upon which his own
position rested. For he teaches that determination of causal laws,
sufficiently certain to serve the purposes alike of practical life and
of natural science, can be obtained through observation of those
sequences which remain constant. Such is also the position of all
empiricists. They hold that causal relation is discovered by comparison
of _given_ sequences. Kant’s contention is that the apprehension of
change as change, and therefore ultimately the apprehension even of an
arbitrarily determined order of subjective succession,[1190]
presupposes, and is only possible through, an application of the
category of causality. The primary function of the understanding does
not consist in the clarification of our representation of an event, but
in making such representation possible at all.[1191] The primary field
of exercise for the understanding lies not in the realm of reflective
comparison, but in the more fundamental sphere of creative
synthesis.[1192] In determining the nature of the given it predetermines
the principles to which all reflection upon the given must conform. The
discursive activities of scientific reflection are secondary to, and
conditioned by, the transcendental processes which generate the
experience of ordinary consciousness. Only an experience which conforms
to the causal principle can serve as foundation either for the empirical
judgments of sense experience, or for that ever-increasing body of
scientific knowledge into which their content is progressively
translated. The principle of causality is applicable to everything
experienced, for the sufficient reason that experience is itself
possible only in terms of it. This conclusion finds its most emphatic
and adequate statement in the _Methodology_.

     “...through concepts of understanding pure reason establishes
     secure principles, not however directly from concepts, but always
     only indirectly through relation of these concepts to something
     altogether contingent, namely, _possible experience_. For when such
     experience (_i.e._ something as object of possible experience) is
     presupposed, the principles are apodictically certain, though by
     themselves (directly) _a priori_ they cannot even be recognised at
     all. Thus no one can acquire insight into the proposition that
     everything which happens has its cause, merely from the concepts
     involved. It is not, therefore, a dogma, although from another
     point of view, namely, from that of the sole field of its possible
     employment, _i.e._ experience, it can be proved with complete
     apodictic certainty. But though it needs proof, it should be
     entitled a _principle_, not a _theorem_, because _it has the
     peculiar character that it makes possible the very expe