Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC, SECOND DIVISION:
BOOK II: THE DIALECTICAL INFERENCES OF PURE REASON
Chapter II: THE ANTINOMY OF PURE REASON
Section 9: The Empirical Employment Of The Regulative Principle Of
Reason, In Respect Of All Cosmological Ideas
III. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of Totality in the Derivation of
Cosmical Events from their Causes
Explanation of the Cosmological Idea of Freedom in its Connection with Universal Natural Necessity (p. 469)
IV. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the Dependence of Appearances as Regards Their Existence in General (p. 479)
- The question is: Is it possible to regard one and the same event as being in one aspect merely an effect of nature and in another aspect an effect due to freedom; or is there between these two kinds of causality a direct contradiction?
- All events are empirically determined in an order of nature,
and only in virtue of this law can appearances constitute a nature and become
objects of experience.
- Man is, on the one hand phenomenon, and on the other hand, in respect of the faculties of understanding and reason, the action of which cannot be ascribed to receptivity of sensibility, a purely intelligible object.
- That our reason has causality, or that we at least represent it to ourselves as having causality, is evident from the imperatives through which we impose rules upon our active powers in all manners of conduct.
- 'Ought' expresses a kind of necessity and connection with grounds which are found nowhere else in the whole of nature.
- This 'ought' expresses a possible action, the ground of which is a mere concept.
- The action to which 'ought' applies must be possible under natural
- Reason does not here follow the order of things as they present themselves in appearance, but frames for itself with perfect spontaneity an order of its own according to ideas, to which it adapts the empirical conditions.
- Reason also presupposes that it can have causality in regard to
- Reason must exhibit an empirical character.
- The will of every man has an empirical character.
- Thus all the actions of men in the field of appearance are determined in conformity with the order of nature.
- So far as regards this empirical character there is no freedom.
- When we consider actions in their relation to reason in so far as it is itself the cause of producing them (i.e. reason in its practical bearing), sometimes we find, or at least we believe that we find, that the ideas of reason have in actual fact proved their causality in respect of the actions of men, as appearances.
- The action, in so far as it can be ascribed to a mode of thought as its cause, does not follow therefrom in accordance with empirical laws.
- Pure reason, as a purely intelligible faculty, is not subject to the form of time.
- The causality of reason in its intelligible character does not, in producing an effect, arise or begin to be at a certain time.
- Therefore, if reason can have causality in respect of appearances, it is a faculty through which the sensible condition of an empirical series of effects first begins.
- However, the same cause, in another relation, belongs to
the series of appearances.
- Reason can be said to act freely.
- It has no before or after.
- It has the power of originating a series of events.
- Its effect has a beginning in the series of appearances but never in this series an absolutely first beginning.
- In reason itself nothing begins.
- Reason is present in all actions of men at all times and under all circumstances, and is always the same; but it is not itself in time and does not fall into any new state in which it was not before.
- In respect to new states it is determining not
- Thus in our judgments in regard to the causality of free actions, we can get as far as the intelligible cause, but not beyond it.
- We have not attempted to establish the reality of freedom.
- We have not even attempted to prove the possibility of freedom.
- Freedom is here being treated only as a transcendental idea whereby reason is led to
think it can begin a series of conditions in the field of appearance by means
of the sensibly unconditioned.
- All we have been able to show is that the antinomy rests on sheer illusion. Causality through freedom is at least not incompatible with nature.
Concluding Note on the Whole Antinomy of Pure Reason (p. 483)
- We are concerned here with the unconditioned existence of substance.
- The series we have in view is a series of concepts.
- Since everything of appearance is alterable and therefore conditioned, there cannot be any unconditioned member of the series.
- Thus if appearances were things in themselves, there could be
no necessary being.
- In a dynamical regress it is not necessary that the unconditioned be part of the empirical series.
- This non-empirical condition would be the unconditionally
- This necessary being, as the intelligible cause of the series, would not belong to it as a member, nor would it render any member of the series empirically unconditioned.
- The necessary being must be thought as entirely outside the
series of the sensible world and as purely intelligible, so that it can be
secured against the law which renders all appearances contingent.
- The regulative principle of reason here is that everything in the sensible world has an empirically conditioned existence and that in no one of its qualities can it be unconditionally necessary.
- This principle does not debar us from recognizing that the
whole series may rest upon some intelligible being that is free from all
empirical conditions and may contain the ground of the possibility of all
- We have no intention of proving the unconditionally necessary existence of such a being or even of establishing the possibility.
- All we have shown is that empirical contingency is consistent with the optional assumption of a necessary being.
- Both assertions may be true.
Back to III. Solution of the Cosmological Idea of Totality in the Derivation of Cosmical Events from their Causes
- So long as reason has in view simply the totality of conditions in the sensible world our ideas are both transcendental and cosmological.
- Immediately, however, the unconditioned in posited in that
which lies entirely outside the sensible world and the ideas become
- The first step we take beyond the sensible world obliges us to begin an enquiry into an absolutely necessary being.
- Because, the contingency of the existence of all appearances requires us to look for something different from appearance in which this contingency may terminate.
- This is what the next chapter addresses.
Forward to Chapter III: The Ideal of Pure Reason
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