Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC, SECOND DIVISION:
APPENDIX TO THE TRANSCENDENTAL DIALECTIC
The Final Purpose of the Natural Dialectic of Human Reason (p. 549)
Back to Regulative Employment of the Ideas of Pure Reason
- There is a great difference between something given to reason as an object absolutely, or merely as an object in the idea.
- Object Absolutely: our concepts are employed to determine the object.
- Object in the Idea: there is only a schema for which no object, not even a hypothetical one, is directly given.
- Only enables us to represent to ourselves objects indirectly, namely in their systematic unity, by means of their relation to this idea.
- If it can be shown that the three transcendental ideas (the psychological, cosmological and theological), as rules of the empirical employment of reason, lead us to systematic unity, under the presupposition of such an object in the idea, and that they thus contribute to the extension of empirical knowledge, we may conclude that it is a necessary maxim of reason to proceed always in accordance with such ideas.
- This is the transcendental deduction of all ideas of speculative reason as regulative principles of the systematic unity of the manifold of empirical knowledge in general.
- There is nothing to hinder us from assuming these ideas to be objective (hypostatising them) except in the case of the cosmological which leads to antinomy.
- They ought to be assumed as having the reality of a schema, not as existing as in themselves.
- They ought to be regarded as analoga of real things.
- If we assume a divine being, we are in a position to give a satisfactory answer to all those questions which relate to the contingent, and to afford reason the most complete satisfaction in respect to that highest unity which it is seeking in its empirical employment.
- It is the speculative interest of reason only which justifies it in starting from a point so far above its sphere, not any insight.
- I may have sufficient ground to assume something is a relative sense and yet have no right to assume it absolutely.
- This is an important distinction in the case of regulative principles.
- We recognize the necessity of the principle but have no knowledge of the source of its necessity.
- We assume it solely in order to think its universality more determinately.
- The concepts of reality, substance, causality and necessity of existence have no meaning such as might serve to determine an object.
- They make possible the empirical knowledge of an object and explain the possibility of things in the world of sense.
- They cannot explain the possibility of the universe itself.
- Pure reason is occupied with nothing but itself.
- The unity of reason is the unity of system. It serves subjectively as a maxim that extends its application to all possible knowledge of objects.
- It is also objective but in an indeterminate manner since it:
- Furthers the extension of the empirical employment of the understanding, and,
- Guarantees its correctness.
- It is not a constitutive principle, it is merely regulative to further and strengthen in infinitum the empirical employment of reason.
- Reason cannot think this systematic unity otherwise than by giving to the idea of this unity an object.
- This object is a mere idea, postulated problematically in order that we may view all connection of the things in the world as if they had their ground in a necessary being.
- This idea is posited only as being a point of view from which alone the unity can be further extended.
- The first regulative idea is that of the 'I' itself, viewed simply as thinking nature or soul.
- Instead of the empirical concept (of what the soul actually is) which cannot carry us far, reason takes the concept of the empirical unity of all thought.
- By thinking this unity as unconditioned and original, it forms from it a concept of reason, that is, the idea of simple substance which, unchangeable in itself (personally identical), stands in association with other real things outside it.
- This is the idea of simple self-subsisting intelligence.
- Reason does this in order to represent all determinations as existing in a single subject.
- The simplicity of substance is intended to be only the schema of this regulative principle and is not presupposed as being the actual ground of the properties of the soul.
- Nothing but advantage can result from the psychological idea thus conceived.
- Were I to ask whether the soul itself is of spiritual nature, the question would have no meaning, only as related to an object can a concept be said to have meaning.
- The second regulative idea is the concept of the world in general.
- Nature is the only given object in regard to which reason requires regulative principles.
- Nature is twofold:
- Corporeal: we need no idea; we are guided by sensible intuition to determine the use of the categories.
- Thinking: i.e. nature in general. In explaining appearances, we ought to treat the series of conditions in nature as if it were in itself infinite, that is, as if it proceeded in indefinitum.
- When reason itself is regarded as the determining cause as in freedom (the case of practical principles), the conditions are no longer in the series of appearances, so the series should be regarded as if it had an absolute beginning.
- The third regulative idea is the idea of God.
- The idea of such a being seeks only to formulate the command of reason, that all connection in the world be viewed as if all such connection had its source in a single all-embracing being.
- Reason prescribes its own formal rule for the extension of its empirical employment, but not any extension beyond all limits of empirical employment.
- The first error that arises from using these ideas as constitutive is ignava ratio which is when we regard our investigation into nature as absolutely complete.
- Instead of looking for causes of material mechanism we appeal directly to supreme wisdom.
- The second error that arises from misapprehension of the principle of systematic unity is perversa ratio which is when we determine the concept of supreme intelligence in an anthropomorphic manner and impose ends upon nature instead of pursuing them through physical investigation.
- If I begin with the supreme being as the ground of all things, the unity of nature is surrendered as being foreign and accidental to the nature of things, and as not capable of being known from universal laws. We are assuming the very point which is in dispute.
- If, in connection with a transcendental theology, we ask:
- Is anything distinct from the world which contains the ground of the order of the world and of its connection in accordance with universal laws? There undoubtedly is.
- Is this being substance, of greatest reality, necessary, etc.? This question is without meaning.
- May we not at least think this being in analogy with objects of experience? Certainly, but only as object in idea, not in reality.
- Can we assume a wise and omnipotent Author of the world? Yes, in fact we must.
- Do we then extend our knowledge beyond the field of possible experience? No, this idea is valid only in respect of the employment of our reason in reference to the world.
- Can I make any use of the concept of a supreme being in the rational consideration of the world? Yes, that is why reason has resorted to this idea.
- However it must be a matter of complete indifference to us, when we perceive such unity, whether we say God has willed it, or that nature has arranged it thus.
- What has justified us in adopting the idea was to find the greatest possible unity. Actually finding such unity does not show the idea is objective, it just shows it is useful.
Forward to Introduction to the Transcendental Doctrine of Method
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