The Critique of Pure Reason; Part 28

Ft: Translated by J. M. D. Meiklejohn

PYONG!
0

You pyonged “Immanuel Kant – The Critique of Pur...”

Publish Note No Thanks
Follow Share

SECTION III. The Discipline of Pure Reason in Hypothesis

This critique of reason has now taught us that all its efforts to extend
The bounds of knowledge, by means of pure speculation, are utterly
Fruitless. So much the wider field, it may appear, lies open to
Hypothesis; as, where we cannot know with certainty, we are at liberty
To make guesses and to form suppositions

Imagination may be allowed, under the strict surveillance of reason
To invent suppositions; but, these must be based on something that is
Perfectly certain--and that is the possibility of the object. If we
Are well assured upon this point, it is allowable to have recourse to
Supposition in regard to the reality of the object; but this supposition
Must, unless it is utterly groundless, be connected, as its ground of
Explanation, with that which is really given and absolutely certain
Such a supposition is termed a hypothesis

It is beyond our power to form the least conception a priori of the
Possibility of dynamical connection in phenomena; and the category
Of the pure understanding will not enable us to excogitate any such
Connection, but merely helps us to understand it, when we meet with
It in experience. For this reason we cannot, in accordance with the
Categories, imagine or invent any object or any property of an object
Not given, or that may not be given in experience, and employ it in a
Hypothesis; otherwise, we should be basing our chain of reasoning upon
Mere chimerical fancies, and not upon conceptions of things. Thus, we
Have no right to assume the existence of new powers, not existing in
Nature--for example, an understanding with a non-sensuous intuition
A force of attraction without contact, or some new kind of substances
Occupying space, and yet without the property of impenetrability--and
Consequently, we cannot assume that there is any other kind of community
Among substances than that observable in experience, any kind of
Presence than that in space, or any kind of duration than that in time
In one word, the conditions of possible experience are for reason the
Only conditions of the possibility of things; reason cannot venture
To form, independently of these conditions, any conceptions of things
Because such conceptions, although not self-contradictory, are without
Object and without application

The conceptions of reason are, as we have already shown, mere ideas, and
Do not relate to any object in any kind of experience. At the same time
They do not indicate imaginary or possible objects. They are purely
Problematical in their nature and, as aids to the heuristic exercise
Of the faculties, form the basis of the regulative principles for the
Systematic employment of the understanding in the field of experience
If we leave this ground of experience, they become mere fictions of
Thought, the possibility of which is quite indemonstrable; and they
Cannot, consequently, be employed as hypotheses in the explanation of
Real phenomena. It is quite admissible to cogitate the soul as simple
For the purpose of enabling ourselves to employ the idea of a perfect
And necessary unity of all the faculties of the mind as the principle
Of all our inquiries into its internal phenomena, although we cannot
Cognize this unity in concreto. But to assume that the soul is a simple
Substance (a transcendental conception) would be enouncing a proposition
Which is not only indemonstrable--as many physical hypotheses are--but
A proposition which is purely arbitrary, and in the highest degree rash
The simple is never presented in experience; and, if by substance is
Here meant the permanent object of sensuous intuition, the possibility
Of a simple phenomenon is perfectly inconceivable. Reason affords no
Good grounds for admitting the existence of intelligible beings, or
Of intelligible properties of sensuous things, although--as we have no
Conception either of their possibility or of their impossibility--it
Will always be out of our power to affirm dogmatically that they do not
Exist. In the explanation of given phenomena, no other things and no
Other grounds of explanation can be employed than those which stand
In connection with the given phenomena according to the known laws of
Experience. A transcendental hypothesis, in which a mere idea of reason
Is employed to explain the phenomena of nature, would not give us any
Better insight into a phenomenon, as we should be trying to explain what
We do not sufficiently understand from known empirical principles, by
What we do not understand at all. The principles of such a hypothesis
Might conduce to the satisfaction of reason, but it would not assist
The understanding in its application to objects. Order and conformity to
Aims in the sphere of nature must be themselves explained upon natural
Grounds and according to natural laws; and the wildest hypotheses, if
They are only physical, are here more admissible than a hyperphysical
Hypothesis, such as that of a divine author. For such a hypothesis would
Introduce the principle of ignava ratio, which requires us to give
Up the search for causes that might be discovered in the course of
Experience and to rest satisfied with a mere idea. As regards the
Absolute totality of the grounds of explanation in the series of these
Causes, this can be no hindrance to the understanding in the case of
Phenomena; because, as they are to us nothing more than phenomena, we
Have no right to look for anything like completeness in the synthesis of
The series of their conditions

Transcendental hypotheses are therefore inadmissible; and we cannot
Use the liberty of employing, in the absence of physical, hyperphysical
Grounds of explanation. And this for two reasons; first, because such
Hypothesis do not advance reason, but rather stop it in its progress;
Secondly, because this licence would render fruitless all its exertions
In its own proper sphere, which is that of experience. For, when the
Explanation of natural phenomena happens to be difficult, we have
Constantly at hand a transcendental ground of explanation, which lifts
Us above the necessity of investigating nature; and our inquiries are
Brought to a close, not because we have obtained all the
Requisite knowledge, but because we abut upon a principle which is
Incomprehensible and which, indeed, is so far back in the track of
Thought as to contain the conception of the absolutely primal being

The next requisite for the admissibility of a hypothesis is its
Sufficiency. That is, it must determine a priori the consequences
Which are given in experience and which are supposed to follow from the
Hypothesis itself. If we require to employ auxiliary hypotheses, the
Suspicion naturally arises that they are mere fictions; because the
Necessity for each of them requires the same justification as in the
Case of the original hypothesis, and thus their testimony is invalid
If we suppose the existence of an infinitely perfect cause, we possess
Sufficient grounds for the explanation of the conformity to aims, the
Order and the greatness which we observe in the universe; but we
Find ourselves obliged, when we observe the evil in the world and the
Exceptions to these laws, to employ new hypothesis in support of the
Original one. We employ the idea of the simple nature of the human soul
As the foundation of all the theories we may form of its phenomena; but
When we meet with difficulties in our way, when we observe in the soul
Phenomena similar to the changes which take place in matter, we require
To call in new auxiliary hypotheses. These may, indeed, not be false
But we do not know them to be true, because the only witness to their
Certitude is the hypothesis which they themselves have been called in to
Explain

We are not discussing the above-mentioned assertions regarding the
Immaterial unity of the soul and the existence of a Supreme Being as
Dogmata, which certain philosophers profess to demonstrate a priori, but
Purely as hypotheses. In the former case, the dogmatist must take care
That his arguments possess the apodeictic certainty of a demonstration
For the assertion that the reality of such ideas is probable is as
Absurd as a proof of the probability of a proposition in geometry. Pure
Abstract reason, apart from all experience, can either cognize nothing
At all; and hence the judgements it enounces are never mere opinions
They are either apodeictic certainties, or declarations that nothing can
Be known on the subject. Opinions and probable judgements on the nature
Of things can only be employed to explain given phenomena, or they may
Relate to the effect, in accordance with empirical laws, of an actually
Existing cause. In other words, we must restrict the sphere of opinion
To the world of experience and nature. Beyond this region opinion is
Mere invention; unless we are groping about for the truth on a path not
Yet fully known, and have some hopes of stumbling upon it by chance

But, although hypotheses are inadmissible in answers to the questions
Of pure speculative reason, they may be employed in the defence of these
Answers. That is to say, hypotheses are admissible in polemic, but
Not in the sphere of dogmatism. By the defence of statements of this
Character, I do not mean an attempt at discovering new grounds for their
Support, but merely the refutation of the arguments of opponents. All a
Priori synthetical propositions possess the peculiarity that, although
The philosopher who maintains the reality of the ideas contained in the
Proposition is not in possession of sufficient knowledge to establish
The certainty of his statements, his opponent is as little able to prove
The truth of the opposite. This equality of fortune does not allow
The one party to be superior to the other in the sphere of speculative
Cognition; and it is this sphere, accordingly, that is the proper arena
Of these endless speculative conflicts. But we shall afterwards show
That, in relation to its practical exercise, Reason has the right of
Admitting what, in the field of pure speculation, she would not be
Justified in supposing, except upon perfectly sufficient grounds;
Because all such suppositions destroy the necessary completeness of
Speculation--a condition which the practical reason, however, does not
Consider to be requisite. In this sphere, therefore, Reason is
Mistress of a possession, her title to which she does not require to
Prove--which, in fact, she could not do. The burden of proof accordingly
Rests upon the opponent. But as he has just as little knowledge
Regarding the subject discussed, and is as little able to prove the
Non-existence of the object of an idea, as the philosopher on the other
Side is to demonstrate its reality, it is evident that there is an
Advantage on the side of the philosopher who maintains his proposition
As a practically necessary supposition (melior est conditio
Possidentis). For he is at liberty to employ, in self-defence, the same
Weapons as his opponent makes use of in attacking him; that is, he has a
Right to use hypotheses not for the purpose of supporting the arguments
In favour of his own propositions, but to show that his opponent knows
No more than himself regarding the subject under 'discussion and cannot
Boast of any speculative advantage

Hypotheses are, therefore, admissible in the sphere of pure reason
Only as weapons for self-defence, and not as supports to dogmatical
Assertions. But the opposing party we must always seek for in ourselves
For speculative reason is, in the sphere of transcendentalism
Dialectical in its own nature. The difficulties and objections we have
To fear lie in ourselves. They are like old but never superannuated
Claims; and we must seek them out, and settle them once and for ever, if
We are to expect a permanent peace. External tranquility is hollow and
Unreal. The root of these contradictions, which lies in the nature of
Human reason, must be destroyed; and this can only be done by giving it
In the first instance, freedom to grow, nay, by nourishing it, that it
May send out shoots, and thus betray its own existence. It is our duty
Therefore, to try to discover new objections, to put weapons in the
Bands of our opponent, and to grant him the most favourable position
In the arena that he can wish. We have nothing to fear from these
Concessions; on the contrary, we may rather hope that we shall thus
Make ourselves master of a possession which no one will ever venture to
Dispute

The thinker requires, to be fully equipped, the hypotheses of pure
Reason, which, although but leaden weapons (for they have not been
Steeled in the armoury of experience), are as useful as any that can
Be employed by his opponents. If, accordingly, we have assumed, from a
Non-speculative point of view, the immaterial nature of the soul, and
Are met by the objection that experience seems to prove that the growth
And decay of our mental faculties are mere modifications of the sensuous
Organism--we can weaken the force of this objection by the assumption
That the body is nothing but the fundamental phenomenon, to which, as
A necessary condition, all sensibility, and consequently all thought
Relates in the present state of our existence; and that the separation
Of soul and body forms the conclusion of the sensuous exercise of our
Power of cognition and the beginning of the intellectual. The body
Would, in this view of the question, be regarded, not as the cause of
Thought, but merely as its restrictive condition, as promotive of the
Sensuous and animal, but as a hindrance to the pure and spiritual life;
And the dependence of the animal life on the constitution of the body
Would not prove that the whole life of man was also dependent on the
State of the organism. We might go still farther, and discover new
Objections, or carry out to their extreme consequences those which have
Already been adduced

Generation, in the human race as well as among the irrational animals
Depends on so many accidents--of occasion, of proper sustenance, of the
Laws enacted by the government of a country of vice even, that it is
Difficult to believe in the eternal existence of a being whose life has
Begun under circumstances so mean and trivial, and so entirely dependent
Upon our own control. As regards the continuance of the existence of the
Whole race, we need have no difficulties, for accident in single cases
Is subject to general laws; but, in the case of each individual, it
Would seem as if we could hardly expect so wonderful an effect from
Causes so insignificant. But, in answer to these objections, we
May adduce the transcendental hypothesis that all life is properly
Intelligible, and not subject to changes of time, and that it neither
Began in birth, nor will end in death. We may assume that this life is
Nothing more than a sensuous representation of pure spiritual life; that
The whole world of sense is but an image, hovering before the faculty of
Cognition which we exercise in this sphere, and with no more objective
Reality than a dream; and that if we could intuite ourselves and
Other things as they really are, we should see ourselves in a world of
Spiritual natures, our connection with which did not begin at our birth
And will not cease with the destruction of the body. And so on

We cannot be said to know what has been above asserted, nor do we
Seriously maintain the truth of these assertions; and the notions
Therein indicated are not even ideas of reason, they are purely
Fictitious conceptions. But this hypothetical procedure is in perfect
Conformity with the laws of reason. Our opponent mistakes the absence
Of empirical conditions for a proof of the complete impossibility of all
That we have asserted; and we have to show him that he has not exhausted
The whole sphere of possibility and that he can as little compass that
Sphere by the laws of experience and nature, as we can lay a secure
Foundation for the operations of reason beyond the region of experience
Such hypothetical defences against the pretensions of an opponent must
Not be regarded as declarations of opinion. The philosopher abandons
Them, so soon as the opposite party renounces its dogmatical conceit
To maintain a simply negative position in relation to propositions which
Rest on an insecure foundation, well befits the moderation of a true
Philosopher; but to uphold the objections urged against an opponent as
Proofs of the opposite statement is a proceeding just as unwarrantable
And arrogant as it is to attack the position of a philosopher who
Advances affirmative propositions regarding such a subject

It is evident, therefore, that hypotheses, in the speculative sphere
Are valid, not as independent propositions, but only relatively to
Opposite transcendent assumptions. For, to make the principles of
Possible experience conditions of the possibility of things in general
Is just as transcendent a procedure as to maintain the objective reality
Of ideas which can be applied to no objects except such as lie without
The limits of possible experience. The judgements enounced by pure
Reason must be necessary, or they must not be enounced at all. Reason
Cannot trouble herself with opinions. But the hypotheses we have been
Discussing are merely problematical judgements, which can neither be
Confuted nor proved; while, therefore, they are not personal opinions
They are indispensable as answers to objections which are liable to
Be raised. But we must take care to confine them to this function
And guard against any assumption on their part of absolute validity, a
Proceeding which would involve reason in inextricable difficulties and
Contradictions

SECTION IV. The Discipline of Pure Reason in Relation to Proofs

It is a peculiarity, which distinguishes the proofs of transcendental
Synthetical propositions from those of all other a priori synthetical
Cognitions, that reason, in the case of the former, does not apply its
Conceptions directly to an object, but is first obliged to prove, a
Priori, the objective validity of these conceptions and the possibility
Of their syntheses. This is not merely a prudential rule, it is
Essential to the very possibility of the proof of a transcendental
Proposition. If I am required to pass, a priori, beyond the conception
Of an object, I find that it is utterly impossible without the guidance
Of something which is not contained in the conception. In mathematics
It is a priori intuition that guides my synthesis; and, in this case
All our conclusions may be drawn immediately from pure intuition
In transcendental cognition, so long as we are dealing only with
Conceptions of the understanding, we are guided by possible experience
That is to say, a proof in the sphere of transcendental cognition does
Not show that the given conception (that of an event, for example) leads
Directly to another conception (that of a cause)--for this would be a
Saltus which nothing can justify; but it shows that experience itself
And consequently the object of experience, is impossible without the
Connection indicated by these conceptions. It follows that such a
Proof must demonstrate the possibility of arriving, synthetically and a
Priori, at a certain knowledge of things, which was not contained in our
Conceptions of these things. Unless we pay particular attention to this
Requirement, our proofs, instead of pursuing the straight path indicated
By reason, follow the tortuous road of mere subjective association. The
Illusory conviction, which rests upon subjective causes of association
And which is considered as resulting from the perception of a real and
Objective natural affinity, is always open to doubt and suspicion
For this reason, all the attempts which have been made to prove the
Principle of sufficient reason, have, according to the universal
Admission of philosophers, been quite unsuccessful; and, before the
Appearance of transcendental criticism, it was considered better, as
This principle could not be abandoned, to appeal boldly to the common
Sense of mankind (a proceeding which always proves that the problem
Which reason ought to solve, is one in which philosophers find great
Difficulties), rather than attempt to discover new dogmatical proofs

But, if the proposition to be proved is a proposition of pure reason
And if I aim at passing beyond my empirical conceptions by the aid of
Mere ideas, it is necessary that the proof should first show that such
A step in synthesis is possible (which it is not), before it proceeds
To prove the truth of the proposition itself. The so-called proof of
The simple nature of the soul from the unity of apperception, is a very
Plausible one. But it contains no answer to the objection, that, as
The notion of absolute simplicity is not a conception which is directly
Applicable to a perception, but is an idea which must be inferred--if
At all--from observation, it is by no means evident how the mere fact of
Consciousness, which is contained in all thought, although in so far a
Simple representation, can conduct me to the consciousness and cognition
Of a thing which is purely a thinking substance. When I represent to my
Mind the power of my body as in motion, my body in this thought is so
Far absolute unity, and my representation of it is a simple one; and
Hence I can indicate this representation by the motion of a point
Because I have made abstraction of the size or volume of the body. But
I cannot hence infer that, given merely the moving power of a body
The body may be cogitated as simple substance, merely because the
Representation in my mind takes no account of its content in space, and
Is consequently simple. The simple, in abstraction, is very different
From the objectively simple; and hence the Ego, which is simple in the
First sense, may, in the second sense, as indicating the soul itself
Be a very complex conception, with a very various content. Thus it is
Evident that in all such arguments there lurks a paralogism. We guess
(for without some such surmise our suspicion would not be excited
In reference to a proof of this character) at the presence of the
Paralogism, by keeping ever before us a criterion of the possibility of
Those synthetical propositions which aim at proving more than experience
Can teach us. This criterion is obtained from the observation that such
Proofs do not lead us directly from the subject of the proposition to
Be proved to the required predicate, but find it necessary to presuppose
The possibility of extending our cognition a priori by means of ideas
We must, accordingly, always use the greatest caution; we require
Before attempting any proof, to consider how it is possible to extend
The sphere of cognition by the operations of pure reason, and from
What source we are to derive knowledge, which is not obtained from
The analysis of conceptions, nor relates, by anticipation, to possible
Experience. We shall thus spare ourselves much severe and fruitless
Labour, by not expecting from reason what is beyond its power, or rather
By subjecting it to discipline, and teaching it to moderate its vehement
Desires for the extension of the sphere of cognition

The first rule for our guidance is, therefore, not to attempt a
Transcendental proof, before we have considered from what source we are
To derive the principles upon which the proof is to be based, and what
Right we have to expect that our conclusions from these principles will
Be veracious. If they are principles of the understanding, it is vain to
Expect that we should attain by their means to ideas of pure reason;
For these principles are valid only in regard to objects of possible
Experience. If they are principles of pure reason, our labour is alike
In vain. For the principles of reason, if employed as objective, are
Without exception dialectical and possess no validity or truth, except
As regulative principles of the systematic employment of reason in
Experience. But when such delusive proof are presented to us, it is
Our duty to meet them with the non liquet of a matured judgement; and
Although we are unable to expose the particular sophism upon which the
Proof is based, we have a right to demand a deduction of the principles
Employed in it; and, if these principles have their origin in pure
Reason alone, such a deduction is absolutely impossible. And thus it
Is unnecessary that we should trouble ourselves with the exposure and
Confutation of every sophistical illusion; we may, at once, bring all
Dialectic, which is inexhaustible in the production of fallacies, before
The bar of critical reason, which tests the principles upon which all
Dialectical procedure is based. The second peculiarity of transcendental
Proof is that a transcendental proposition cannot rest upon more than
A single proof. If I am drawing conclusions, not from conceptions, but
From intuition corresponding to a conception, be it pure intuition, as
In mathematics, or empirical, as in natural science, the intuition which
Forms the basis of my inferences presents me with materials for many
Synthetical propositions, which I can connect in various modes, while
As it is allowable to proceed from different points in the intention, I
Can arrive by different paths at the same proposition

But every transcendental proposition sets out from a conception
And posits the synthetical condition of the possibility of an object
According to this conception. There must, therefore, be but one ground
Of proof, because it is the conception alone which determines the
Object; and thus the proof cannot contain anything more than the
Determination of the object according to the conception. In our
Transcendental Analytic, for example, we inferred the principle: Every
Event has a cause, from the only condition of the objective possibility
Of our conception of an event. This is that an event cannot be
Determined in time, and consequently cannot form a part of experience
Unless it stands under this dynamical law. This is the only possible
Ground of proof; for our conception of an event possesses objective
Validity, that is, is a true conception, only because the law of
Causality determines an object to which it can refer. Other arguments
In support of this principle have been attempted--such as that from the
Contingent nature of a phenomenon; but when this argument is considered
We can discover no criterion of contingency, except the fact of an
Event--of something happening, that is to say, the existence which is
Preceded by the non-existence of an object, and thus we fall back on the
Very thing to be proved. If the proposition: "Every thinking being is
Simple," is to be proved, we keep to the conception of the ego, which
Is simple, and to which all thought has a relation. The same is the
Case with the transcendental proof of the existence of a Deity, which is
Based solely upon the harmony and reciprocal fitness of the conceptions
Of an ens realissimum and a necessary being, and cannot be attempted in
Any other manner

This caution serves to simplify very much the criticism of all
Propositions of reason. When reason employs conceptions alone, only one
Proof of its thesis is possible, if any. When, therefore, the dogmatist
Advances with ten arguments in favour of a proposition, we may be sure
That not one of them is conclusive. For if he possessed one which proved
The proposition he brings forward to demonstration--as must always be
The case with the propositions of pure reason--what need is there for
Any more? His intention can only be similar to that of the advocate who
Had different arguments for different judges; this availing himself of
The weakness of those who examine his arguments, who, without going into
Any profound investigation, adopt the view of the case which seems most
Probable at first sight and decide according to it

The third rule for the guidance of pure reason in the conduct of a proof
Is that all transcendental proofs must never be apagogic or indirect
But always ostensive or direct. The direct or ostensive proof not only
Establishes the truth of the proposition to be proved, but exposes the
Grounds of its truth; the apagogic, on the other hand, may assure us of
The truth of the proposition, but it cannot enable us to comprehend
The grounds of its possibility. The latter is, accordingly, rather an
Auxiliary to an argument, than a strictly philosophical and rational
Mode of procedure. In one respect, however, they have an advantage over
Direct proofs, from the fact that the mode of arguing by contradiction
Which they employ, renders our understanding of the question more
Clear, and approximates the proof to the certainty of an intuitional
Demonstration

The true reason why indirect proofs are employed in different sciences
Is this. When the grounds upon which we seek to base a cognition are too
Various or too profound, we try whether or not we may not discover
The truth of our cognition from its consequences. The modus ponens of
Reasoning from the truth of its inferences to the truth of a proposition
Would be admissible if all the inferences that can be drawn from it are
Known to be true; for in this case there can be only one possible ground
For these inferences, and that is the true one. But this is a quite
Impracticable procedure, as it surpasses all our powers to discover all
The possible inferences that can be drawn from a proposition. But this
Mode of reasoning is employed, under favour, when we wish to prove
The truth of an hypothesis; in which case we admit the truth of the
Conclusion--which is supported by analogy--that, if all the inferences
We have drawn and examined agree with the proposition assumed, all
Other possible inferences will also agree with it. But, in this way, an
Hypothesis can never be established as a demonstrated truth. The modus
Tollens of reasoning from known inferences to the unknown proposition
Is not only a rigorous, but a very easy mode of proof. For, if it can
Be shown that but one inference from a proposition is false, then the
Proposition must itself be false. Instead, then, of examining, in an
Ostensive argument, the whole series of the grounds on which the
Truth of a proposition rests, we need only take the opposite of this
Proposition, and if one inference from it be false, then must the
Opposite be itself false; and, consequently, the proposition which we
Wished to prove must be true

The apagogic method of proof is admissible only in those sciences where
It is impossible to mistake a subjective representation for an objective
Cognition. Where this is possible, it is plain that the opposite of a
Given proposition may contradict merely the subjective conditions of
Thought, and not the objective cognition; or it may happen that both
Propositions contradict each other only under a subjective condition
Which is incorrectly considered to be objective, and, as the condition
Is itself false, both propositions may be false, and it will
Consequently, be impossible to conclude the truth of the one from the
Falseness of the other

In mathematics such subreptions are impossible; and it is in this
Science, accordingly, that the indirect mode of proof has its true
Place. In the science of nature, where all assertion is based upon
Empirical intuition, such subreptions may be guarded against by the
Repeated comparison of observations; but this mode of proof is of little
Value in this sphere of knowledge. But the transcendental efforts of
Pure reason are all made in the sphere of the subjective, which is the
Real medium of all dialectical illusion; and thus reason endeavours
In its premisses, to impose upon us subjective representations for
Objective cognitions. In the transcendental sphere of pure reason
Then, and in the case of synthetical propositions, it is inadmissible
To support a statement by disproving the counter-statement. For only
Two cases are possible; either, the counter-statement is nothing but
The enouncement of the inconsistency of the opposite opinion with the
Subjective conditions of reason, which does not affect the real case
(for example, we cannot comprehend the unconditioned necessity of the
Existence of a being, and hence every speculative proof of the existence
Of such a being must be opposed on subjective grounds, while the
Possibility of this being in itself cannot with justice be denied); or
Both propositions, being dialectical in their nature, are based upon an
Impossible conception. In this latter case the rule applies: non entis
Nulla sunt predicata; that is to say, what we affirm and what we deny
Respecting such an object, are equally untrue, and the apagogic mode of
Arriving at the truth is in this case impossible. If, for example, we
Presuppose that the world of sense is given in itself in its totality
It is false, either that it is infinite, or that it is finite and
Limited in space. Both are false, because the hypothesis is false. For
The notion of phenomena (as mere representations) which are given in
Themselves (as objects) is self-contradictory; and the infinitude of
This imaginary whole would, indeed, be unconditioned, but would be
Inconsistent (as everything in the phenomenal world is conditioned)
With the unconditioned determination and finitude of quantities which is
Presupposed in our conception

The apagogic mode of proof is the true source of those illusions which
Have always had so strong an attraction for the admirers of dogmatical
Philosophy. It may be compared to a champion who maintains the honour
And claims of the party he has adopted by offering battle to all who
Doubt the validity of these claims and the purity of that honour; while
Nothing can be proved in this way, except the respective strength of the
Combatants, and the advantage, in this respect, is always on the side
Of the attacking party. Spectators, observing that each party is
Alternately conqueror and conquered, are led to regard the subject of
Dispute as beyond the power of man to decide upon. But such an opinion
Cannot be justified; and it is sufficient to apply to these reasoners
The remark:

Non defensoribus istis
Tempus eget

Each must try to establish his assertions by a transcendental deduction
Of the grounds of proof employed in his argument, and thus enable us to
See in what way the claims of reason may be supported. If an opponent
Bases his assertions upon subjective grounds, he may be refuted with
Ease; not, however to the advantage of the dogmatist, who likewise
Depends upon subjective sources of cognition and is in like manner
Driven into a corner by his opponent. But, if parties employ the direct
Method of procedure, they will soon discover the difficulty, nay, the
Impossibility of proving their assertions, and will be forced to appeal
To prescription and precedence; or they will, by the help of criticism
Discover with ease the dogmatical illusions by which they had been
Mocked, and compel reason to renounce its exaggerated pretensions to
Speculative insight and to confine itself within the limits of its
Proper sphere--that of practical principles

This text has been changed by someone else. Copy your work to your clipboard and click here to reload.