Immanuel Kant – The Critique of Pure Reason; Part 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Possibility of Freedom in Harmony with the Universal Law of Natural
Necessity

That element in a sensuous object which is not itself sensuous, I may be
Allowed to term intelligible. If, accordingly, an object which must be
Regarded as a sensuous phenomenon possesses a faculty which is not an
Object of sensuous intuition, but by means of which it is capable of
Being the cause of phenomena, the causality of an object or existence of
This kind may be regarded from two different points of view. It may be
Considered to be intelligible, as regards its action--the action of
A thing which is a thing in itself, and sensuous, as regards its
Effects--the effects of a phenomenon belonging to the sensuous world. We
Should accordingly, have to form both an empirical and an intellectual
Conception of the causality of such a faculty or power--both, however
Having reference to the same effect. This twofold manner of cogitating
A power residing in a sensuous object does not run counter to any of
The conceptions which we ought to form of the world of phenomena or of
A possible experience. Phenomena--not being things in themselves--must
Have a transcendental object as a foundation, which determines them as
Mere representations; and there seems to be no reason why we should not
Ascribe to this transcendental object, in addition to the property of
Self-phenomenization, a causality whose effects are to be met with in
The world of phenomena, although it is not itself a phenomenon. But
Every effective cause must possess a character, that is to say, a law of
Its causality, without which it would cease to be a cause. In the above
Case, then, every sensuous object would possess an empirical character
Which guaranteed that its actions, as phenomena, stand in complete and
Harmonious connection, conformably to unvarying natural laws, with all
Other phenomena, and can be deduced from these, as conditions, and that
They do thus, in connection with these, constitute a series in the order
Of nature. This sensuous object must, in the second place, possess an
Intelligible character, which guarantees it to be the cause of those
Actions, as phenomena, although it is not itself a phenomenon nor
Subordinate to the conditions of the world of sense. The former may
Be termed the character of the thing as a phenomenon, the latter the
Character of the thing as a thing in itself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In relation to the present problem, therefore, the regulative principle
Of reason is that everything in the sensuous world possesses an
Empirically conditioned existence--that no property of the sensuous
World possesses unconditioned necessity--that we are bound to expect
And, so far as is possible, to seek for the empirical condition of every
Member in the series of conditions--and that there is no sufficient
Reason to justify us in deducing any existence from a condition which
Lies out of and beyond the empirical series, or in regarding any
Existence as independent and self-subsistent; although this should not
Prevent us from recognizing the possibility of the whole series being
Based upon a being which is intelligible, and for this reason free from
All empirical conditions

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

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

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

Concluding Remarks on the Antinomy of Pure Reason

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

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