P 485 TRANSCENDENTAL DIALECTIC BOOK II CHAPTER III THE IDEAL OF PURE REASON Section I THE IDEAL IN GENERAL WE have seen above that no objects can be represented through pure concepts of understanding, apart from the con- ditions of sensibility. For the conditions of the objective reality of the concepts are then absent, and nothing is to be found in them save the mere form of thought. If, however, they are applied to appearances, they can be exhibited in concreto, because in the appearances they obtain the appro- priate material for concepts of experience -- a concept of ex- perience being nothing but a concept of understanding in concreto. But ideas are even further removed from objective reality than are categories, for no appearance can be found in which they can be represented in concreto. They contain a certain completeness to which no possible empirical know- ledge ever attains. In them reason aims only at a systematic unity, to which it seeks to approximate the unity that is em- pirically possible, without ever completely reaching it. But what I entitle the ideal seems to be further removed from objective reality even than the idea. By the ideal I under- stand the idea, not merely in concreto, but in individuo, that is, as an individual thing, determinable or even determined by the idea alone. Humanity [as an idea] in its complete perfection contains not only all the essential qualities which belong to human nature and constitute our concept of it -- and these so extended P 486 as to be in that complete conformity with their ends which would be our idea of perfect humanity -- but also everything which, in addition to this concept, is required for the complete determination of the idea. For of all contradictory predicates one only [of each pair] can apply to the idea of the perfect man. What to us is an ideal was in Plato's view an idea of the divine understanding, an individual object of its pure intuition, the most perfect of every kind of possible being, and the archetype of all copies in the [field of] appearance. Without soaring so high, we are yet bound to confess that human reason contains not only ideas, but ideals also, which although they do not have, like the Platonic ideas, creative power, yet have practical power (as regulative principles), and form the basis of the possible perfection of certain actions. Moral concepts, as resting on something empirical (pleasure or displeasure), are not completely pure concepts of reason. None the less, in respect of the principle whereby reason sets bounds to a freedom which is in itself without law, these con- cepts (when we attend merely to their form) may well serve as examples of pure concepts of reason. Virtue, and therewith human wisdom in its complete purity, are ideas. The wise man (of the Stoics) is, however, an ideal, that is, a man exist- ing in thought only, but in complete conformity with the idea of wisdom. As the idea gives the rule, so the ideal in such a case serves as the archetype for the complete determination of the copy; and we have no other standard for our actions than the conduct of this divine man within us, with which we compare and judge ourselves, and so reform ourselves, although we can never attain to the perfection thereby pre- scribed. Although we cannot concede to these ideals objective reality (existence), they are not therefore to be regarded as figments of the brain; they supply reason with a standard which is indispensable to it, providing it, as they do, with a concept of that which is entirely complete in its kind, and thereby enabling it to estimate and to measure the degree and the defects of the incomplete. But to attempt to realise the ideal in an example, that is, in the [field of] appearance, as, for instance, to depict the [character of the perfectly] wise man in a romance, is impracticable. There is indeed something absurd, P 487 and far from edifying, in such an attempt, inasmuch as the natural limitations, which are constantly doing violence to the completeness of the idea, make the illusion that is aimed at altogether impossible, and so cast suspicion on the good itself -- the good that has its source in the idea -- by giving it the air of being a mere fiction. Such is the nature of the ideal of reason, which must always rest on determinate concepts and serve as a rule and archetype, alike in our actions and in our critical judgments. The products of the imagination are of an entirely different nature; no one can explain or give an intelligible concept of them; each is a kind of monogram, a mere set of particular qualities, determined by no assignable rule, and forming rather a blurred sketch drawn from diverse experiences than a determinate image -- a representation such as painters and physiognomists profess to carry in their heads, and which they treat as being an incommunicable shadowy image of their creations or even of their critical judgments. Such repre- sentations may be entitled, though improperly, ideals of sensibility, inasmuch as they are viewed as being models (not indeed realisable) of possible empirical intuitions, and yet furnish no rules that allow of being explained and examined. Reason, in its ideal, aims, on the contrary, at complete determination in accordance with a priori rules. Accordingly it thinks for itself an object which it regards as being com- pletely determinable in accordance with principles. The conditions that are required for such determination are not, however, to be found in experience, and the concept itself is therefore transcendent. CHAPTER III Section 2 THE TRANSCENDENTAL IDEAL (Prototypon Transcendentale) Every concept is, in respect of what is not contained in it, undetermined, and is subject to the principle of determin- P 488 ability. According to this principle, of every two contradict- orily opposed predicates only one can belong to a concept. This principle is based on the law of contradiction, and is therefore a purely logical principle. As such, it abstracts from the entire content of knowledge and is concerned solely with its logical form. But every thing, as regards its possibility, is likewise sub- ject to the principle of complete determination, according to which if all the possible predicates of things be taken together with their contradictory opposites, then one of each pair of contradictory opposites must belong to it. This principle does not rest merely on the law of contradiction; for, besides con- sidering each thing in its relation to the two contradictory predicates, it also considers it in its relation to the sum of all possibilities, that is, to the sum-total of all predicates of things. Presupposing this sum as being an a priori condition, it proceeds to represent everything as deriving its own pos- sibility from the share which it possesses in this sum of all possibilities. The principle of complete determination con- cerns, therefore, the content, and not merely the logical form. It is the principle of the synthesis of all predicates which are intended to constitute the complete concept of a thing, and not simply a principle of analytic representation in reference merely to one of two contradictory predicates. It contains a transcend- ental presupposition, namely, that of the material for all possibility, which in turn is regarded as containing a priori the data for the particular possibility of each and every thing. The proposition, everything which exists is completely de- termined, does not mean only that one of every pair of given contradictory predicates, but that one of every [pair of] possible P 489 predicates, must always belong to it. P 488n ++ In accordance with this principle, each and every thing is there- fore related to a common correlate, the sum of all possibilities. If this correlate (that is, the material for all possible predicates) should be found in the idea of some one thing, it would prove an affinity of all possible things, through identity of the ground of their complete determination. Whereas the determinability of every concept is sub- ordinate to the universality (universalitas) of the principle of ex- cluded middle, the determination of a thing is subordinate to the totality (universitas) or sum of all possible predicates. P 489 In terms of this proposi- tion the predicates are not merely compared with one another logically, but the thing itself is compared, in transcendental fashion, with the sum of all possible predicates. What the pro- position therefore asserts is this: that to know a thing com- pletely, we must know every possible [predicate], and must determine it thereby, either affirmatively or negatively. The complete determination is thus a concept, which, in its totality, can never be exhibited in concreto. It is based upon an idea, which has its seat solely in the faculty of reason -- the faculty which prescribes to the understanding the rule of its complete employment. Although this idea of the sum of all possibility, in so far as it serves as the condition of the complete determination of each and every thing, is itself undetermined in respect of the predicates which may constitute it, and is thought by us as being nothing more than the sum of all possible predicates, we yet find, on closer scrutiny, that this idea, as a primordial concept, excludes a number of predicates which as derivative are already given through other predicates or which are in- compatible with others; and that it does, indeed, define itself as a concept that is completely determinate a priori. It thus becomes the concept of an individual object which is com- pletely determined through the mere idea, and must there- fore be entitled an ideal of pure reason. When we consider all possible predicates, not merely logically, but transcendentally, that is, with reference to such content as can be thought a priori as belonging to them, we find that through some of them we represent a being, through others a mere not-being. Logical negation, which is indi- cated simply through the word not, does not properly refer to a concept, but only to its relation to another concept in a judgment, and is therefore quite insufficient to determine a concept in respect of its content. The expression non-mortal does not enable us to declare that we are thereby representing in the object a mere not-being; the expression leaves all con- tent unaffected. A transcendental negation, on the other hand, signifies not-being in itself, and is opposed to transcendental affirmation, which is a something the very concept of which P 490 in itself expresses a being. Transcendental affirmation is there- fore entitled reality, because through it alone, and so far only as it reaches, are objects something (things), whereas its opposite, negation, signifies a mere want, and, so far as it alone is thought, represents the abrogation of all thinghood. Now no one can think a negation determinately, save by basing it upon the opposed affirmation. Those born blind can- not have the least notion of darkness, since they have none of light. The savage knows nothing of poverty, since he has no acquaintance with wealth. The ignorant have no concept of their ignorance, because they have none of knowledge etc. All concepts of negations are thus derivative; it is the realities which contain the data, and, so to speak, the material or transcendental content, for the possibility and complete determination of all things. If, therefore, reason employs in the complete determina- tion of things a transcendental substrate that contains, as it were, the whole store of material from which all possible predicates of things must be taken, this substrate cannot be anything else than the idea of an omnitudo realitatis. All true negations are nothing but limitations -- a title which would be inapplicable, were they not thus based upon the unlimited, that is, upon "the All. " But the concept of what thus possesses all reality is just the concept of a thing in itself as completely determined; and since in all possible [pairs of] contradictory predicates one predi- cate, namely, that which belongs to being absolutely, is to be found in its determination, the concept of an ens realissimum is the concept of an individual being. It is therefore a tran- scendental ideal which serves as basis for the complete P 491 determination that necessarily belongs to all that exists. P 490n ++ The observations and calculations of astronomers have taught us much that is wonderful; but the most important lesson that they have taught us has been by revealing the abyss of our ignorance, which otherwise we could never have conceived to be so great. Reflection upon the ignorance thus disclosed must produce a great change in our estimate of the purposes for which our reason should be employed. P 491 This ideal is the supreme and complete material condition of the possi- bility of all that exists -- the condition to which all thought of objects, so far as their content is concerned, has to be traced back. It is also the only true ideal of which human reason is capable. For only in this one case is a concept of a thing -- a con- cept which is in itself universal -- completely determined in and through itself, and known as the representation of an individual. The logical determination of a concept by reason is based upon a disjunctive syllogism, in which the major premiss contains a logical division (the division of the sphere of a universal concept), the minor premiss limiting this sphere to a certain part, and the conclusion determining the concept by means of this part. The universal concept of a reality in general cannot be divided a priori, because without experience we do not know any determinate kinds of reality which would be con- tained under that genus. The transcendental major premiss which is presupposed in the complete determination of all things is therefore no other than the representation of the sum of all reality; it is not merely a concept which, as regards its transcendental content, comprehends all predicates under itself; it also contains them within itself; and the complete determination of any and every thing rests on the limitation of this total reality, inasmuch as part of it is ascribed to the thing, and the rest is excluded -- a procedure which is in agreement with the 'either-or' of the disjunctive major premiss and with the determination of the object, in the minor premiss, through one of the members of the division. Accordingly, reason, in em- ploying the transcendental ideal as that by reference to which it determines all possible things, is proceeding in a manner analogous with its procedure in disjunctive syllogisms -- this, indeed, is the principle upon which I have based the system- atic division of all transcendental ideas, as parallel with, and corresponding to, the three kinds of syllogism. It is obvious that reason, in achieving its purpose, that, namely, of representing the necessary complete determination of things, does not presuppose the existence of a being that corresponds to this ideal, but only the idea of such a being, and this only for the purpose of deriving from an unconditioned P 492 totality of complete determination the conditioned totality, that is, the totality of the limited. The ideal is, therefore, the archetype (prototypon) of all things, which one and all, as imperfect copies (ectypa), derive from it the material of their possibility, and while approximating to it in varying degrees, yet always fall very far short of actually attaining it. All possibility of things (that is, of the synthesis of the mani- fold, in respect of its content) must therefore be regarded as derivative, with only one exception, namely, the possibility of that which includes in itself all reality. This latter possibility must be regarded as original. For all negations (which are the only predicates through which anything can be distinguished from the ens realissimum) are merely limitations of a greater, and ultimately of the highest, reality; and they therefore pre- suppose this reality, and are, as regards their content, derived from it. All manifoldness of things is only a correspondingly varied mode of limiting the concept of the highest reality which forms their common substratum, just as all figures are only pos- sible as so many different modes of limiting infinite space. The object of the ideal of reason, an object which is present to us only in and through reason, is therefore entitled the primordial being (ens originarium). As it has nothing above it, it is also entitled the highest being (ens summum); and as everything that is con- ditioned is subject to it, the being of all beings (ens entium). These terms are not, however, to be taken as signifying the objective relation of an actual object to other things, but of an idea to concepts. We are left entirely without knowledge as to the existence of a being of such outstanding pre-eminence. We cannot say that a primordial being consists of a number of derivative beings, for since the latter presuppose the former they cannot themselves constitute it. The idea of the prim- ordial being must therefore be thought as simple. Consequently, the derivation of all other possibility from this primordial being cannot, strictly speaking, be regarded as a limitation of its supreme reality, and, as it were, a division of it. For in that case the primordial being would be treated as a mere aggregate of derivative beings; and this, as we have just shown, is impossible, although in our first rough statements we have used such language. On the contrary, the supreme P 493 reality must condition the possibility of all things as their ground, not as their sum; and the manifoldness of things must therefore rest, not on the limitation of the primordial being itself, but on all that follows from it, including therein all our sensibility, and all reality in the [field of] appearance -- existences of a kind which cannot, as ingredients, belong to the idea of the supreme being. If, in following up this idea of ours, we proceed to hypos- tatise it, we shall be able to determine the primordial being through the mere concept of the highest reality, as a being that is one, simple, all-sufficient, eternal, etc. In short, we shall be able to determine it, in its unconditioned completeness, through all predicaments. The concept of such a being is the concept of God, taken in the transcendental sense; and the ideal of pure reason, as above defined, is thus the object of a transcendental theology. In any such use of the transcendental idea we should, how- ever, be overstepping the limits of its purpose and validity. For reason, in employing it as a basis for the complete deter- mination of things, has used it only as the concept of all reality, without requiring that all this reality be objectively given and be itself a thing. Such a thing is a mere fiction in which we combine and realise the manifold of our idea in an ideal, as an individual being. But we have no right to do this, nor even to assume the possibility of such an hypothesis. Nor do any of the consequences which flow from such an ideal have any bearing upon the complete determination of things, or exercise in that regard the least influence; and it is solely as aiding in their determination that the idea has been shown to be necessary. But merely to describe the procedure of our reason and its dialectic does not suffice; we must also endeavour to discover the sources of this dialectic, that we may be able to explain, as a phenomenon of the understanding, the illusion to which it has given rise. For the ideal, of which we are speaking, is based on a natural, not on a merely arbitrary idea. The ques- tion to be raised is therefore this: how does it happen that reason regards all possibility of things as derived from one single fundamental possibility, namely, that of the highest P 494 reality, and thereupon presupposes this to be contained in an individual primordial being? The answer is obvious from the discussions in the Tran- scendental Analytic. The possibility of the objects of the senses is a relation of these objects to our thought, in which some- thing (namely, the empirical form) can be thought a priori, while that which constitutes the matter, reality in the [field of] appearance (that which corresponds to sensation), must be given, since otherwise it could not even be thought, nor its possibility represented. Now an object of the senses can be completely determined only when it is compared with all the predicates that are possible in the [field of] appearance, and by means of them is represented either affirmatively or nega- tively. But since that which constitutes the thing itself, namely, the real in the [field of] appearance, must be given -- other- wise the thing could not be conceived at all -- and since that )wherein the real of all appearances is given is experience, considered as single and all-embracing, the material for the possibility of all objects of the senses must be presupposed as given in one whole; and it is upon the limitation of this whole that all possibility of empirical objects, their distinction from each other and their complete determination, can alone be based. No other objects, besides those of the senses, can, as a matter of fact, be given to us, and nowhere save in the con- text of a possible experience; and consequently nothing is an object for us, unless it presupposes the sum of all empirical reality as the condition of its possibility. Now owing to a natural illusion we regard this principle, which applies only to those things which are given as objects of our senses, as being a principle which must be valid of things in general. Accordingly, omitting this limitation, we treat the empirical principle of our concepts of the possibility of things, viewed as appearances, as being a transcendental principle of the pos- sibility of things in general. If we thereupon proceed to hypostatise this idea of the sum of all reality, that is because we substitute dialectically for the distributive unity of the empirical employment of the understanding, the collective unity of experience as a whole; P 495 and then thinking this whole [realm] of appearance as one single thing that contains all empirical reality in itself; and then again, in turn, by means of the above-mentioned tran- scendental subreption, substituting for it the concept of a thing which stands at the source of the possibility of all things, and supplies the real conditions for their complete determination. CHAPTER III Section 3 THE ARGUMENTS OF SPECULATIVE REASON IN PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF A SUPREME BEING Notwithstanding this pressing need of reason to presup- pose something that may afford the understanding a sufficient foundation for the complete determination of its concepts, it is yet much too easily conscious of the ideal and merely fic- titious character of such a presupposition to allow itself, on this ground alone, to be persuaded that a mere creature of its own thought is a real being -- were it not that it is impelled from another direction to seek a resting-place in the regress from the conditioned, which is given, to the unconditioned. This unconditioned is not, indeed, given as being in itself real, nor as having a reality that follows from its mere concept; it is, however, what alone can complete the series of conditions when we proceed to trace these conditions to their grounds. This is the course which our human reason, by its very nature, leads all of us, even the least reflective, to adopt, though not everyone continues to pursue it. ++ This ideal of the ens realissimum, although it is indeed a mere representation, is first realised, that is, made into an object, then hypostatised, and finally, by the natural progress of reason towards the completion of unity, is, as we shall presently show, personified. For the regulative unity of experience is not based on the appear- ances themselves (on sensibility alone), but on the connection of the manifold through the understanding (in an apperception); and con- sequently the unity of the supreme reality and the complete deter- minability (possibility) of all things seems to lie in a supreme understanding, and therefore in an intelligence. P 495 It begins not with concepts, but with common experience, and thus bases itself on something P 496 actually existing. But if this ground does not rest upon the immovable rock of the absolutely necessary, it yields be- neath our feet. And this latter support is itself in turn without support, if there be any empty space beyond and under it, and if it does not itself so fill all things as to leave no room for any further question -- unless, that is to say, it be infinite in its reality. If we admit something as existing, no matter what this something may be, we must also admit that there is something which exists necessarily. For the contingent exists only under the condition of some other contingent existence as its cause, and from this again we must infer yet another cause, until we are brought to a cause which is not contingent, and which is therefore unconditionally necessary. This is the argument upon which reason bases its advance to the primordial being. Now reason looks around for a concept that squares with so supreme a mode of existence as that of unconditioned ne- cessity -- not for the purpose of inferring a priori from the con- cept the existence of that for which it stands (for if that were what it claimed to do, it ought to limit its enquiries to mere concepts, and would not then require a given existence as its basis), but solely in order to find among its various concepts that concept which is in no respect incompatible with absolute necessity. For that there must be something that exists with absolute necessity, is regarded as having been established by the first step in the argument. If, then, in removing every- thing which is not compatible with this necessity, only one existence remains, this existence must be the absolutely necessary being, whether or not its necessity be comprehen- sible, that is to say, deducible from its concept alone. Now that which in its concept contains a therefore for every wherefore, that which is in no respect defective, that which is in every way sufficient as a condition, seems to be precisely the being to which absolute necessity can fittingly be ascribed. For while it contains the conditions of all that is possible, it itself does not require and indeed does not allow of any condition, and therefore satisfies, at least in this one feature, the concept of unconditioned necessity. In this respect all other concepts must fall short of it; for since they are deficient and in need of completion, they cannot have as P 497 their characteristic this independence of all further conditions. We are not indeed justified in arguing that what does not con- tain the highest and in all respects complete condition is there- fore itself conditioned in its existence. But we are justified in saying that it does not possess that one feature through which alone reason is in a position, by means of an a priori concept, to know, in regard to any being, that it is unconditioned. The concept of an ens realissimum is therefore, of all con- cepts of possible things, that which best squares with the con- cept of an unconditionally necessary being; and though it may not be completely adequate to it, we have no choice in the matter, but find ourselves constrained to hold to it. For we cannot afford to dispense with the existence of a necessary being; and once its existence is granted, we cannot, in the whole field of possibility, find anything that can make a better grounded claim [than the ens realissimum] to such pre-eminence in the mode of its existence. Such, then, is the natural procedure of human reason. It begins by persuading itself of the existence of some necessary being. This being it apprehends as having an existence that is unconditioned. It then looks around for the concept of that which is independent of any condition, and finds it in that which is itself the sufficient condition of all else, that is, in that which contains all reality. But that which is all-containing and without limits is absolute unity, and involves the concept of a single being that is likewise the supreme being. Accordingly, we conclude that the supreme being, as primordial ground of all things, must exist by absolute necessity. If what we have in view is the coming to a decision -- if, that is to say, the existence of some sort of necessary being is taken as granted, and if it be agreed further that we must come to a decision as to what it is -- then the foregoing way of thinking must be allowed to have a certain cogency. For in that case no better choice can be made, or rather we have no choice at all, but find ourselves compelled to decide in favour of the absolute unity of complete reality, as the ultimate source of possibility. If, however, we are not required to come to any decision, and prefer to leave the issue open until the weight of the evidence is such as to compel assent; if, in other words, what we have to do is merely to estimate how much we really P 498 know in the matter, and how much we merely flatter ourselves that we know, then the foregoing argument is far from ap- pearing in so advantageous a light, and special favour is required to compensate for the defectiveness of its claims. For if we take the issue as being that which is here stated, namely first, that from any given existence (it may be, merely my own existence) we can correctly infer the existence of an unconditionally necessary being; secondly, that we must regard a being which contains all reality, and therefore every condi- tion, as being absolutely unconditioned, and that in this con- cept of an ens realissimum we have therefore found the concept of a thing to which we can also ascribe absolute necessity -- granting all this, it by no means follows that the concept of a limited being which does not have the highest reality is for that reason incompatible with absolute reality. For although I do not find in its concept that unconditioned which is in- volved in the concept of the totality of conditions, we are not justified in concluding that its existence must for this reason be conditioned; just as I cannot say, in the case of a hypo- thetical syllogism, that where a certain condition (in the case under discussion, the condition of completeness in accordance with [pure] concepts) does not hold, the conditioned also does not hold. On the contrary, we are entirely free to hold that any limited beings whatsoever, notwithstanding their being limited, may also be unconditionally necessary, although we cannot infer their necessity from the universal concepts which we have of them. Thus the argument has failed to give us the least concept of the properties of a necessary being, and indeed is utterly ineffective. But this argument continues to have a certain importance and to be endowed with an authority of which we cannot, simply on the ground of this objective insufficiency, at once proceed to divest it. For granting that there are in the idea of reason obligations which are completely valid, but which in their application to ourselves would be lacking in all reality -- that is, obligations to which there would be no motives -- save on the assumption that there exists a supreme being to give effect and confirmation to the practical laws, in such a situa- tion we should be under an obligation to follow those concepts which, though they may not be objectively sufficient, are yet, P 499 according to the standard of our reason, preponderant, and in comparison with which we know of nothing that is better and more convincing. The duty of deciding would thus, by a practi- cal addition, incline the balance so delicately preserved by the indecisiveness of speculation. Reason would indeed stand con- demned in its own judgment -- and there is none more circum- spect -- if, when impelled by such urgent motives, it should fail, however incomplete its insight, to conform its judgment to those pleas which are at least of greater weight than any others known to us. Though this argument, as resting on the inner insuffi- ciency of the contingent, is in actual fact transcendental, it is yet so simple and natural that, immediately it is propounded, it commends itself to the commonest understanding. We see things alter, come into being, and pass away; and these, or at least their state, must therefore have a cause. But the same question can be raised in regard to every cause that can be given in experience. Where, therefore, can we more suitably locate the ultimate causality than where there also exists the highest causality, that is, in that being which contains prim- ordially in itself the sufficient ground of every possible effect, and the concept of which we can also very easily enter- tain by means of the one attribute of an all-embracing per- fection. This supreme cause we then proceed to regard as absolutely necessary, inasmuch as we find it absolutely necessary that we should ascend to it, and find no ground for passing beyond it. And thus, in all peoples, there shine amidst the most benighted polytheism some gleams of monotheism, to which they have been led, not by reflection and profound speculation, but simply by the natural bent of the common understanding, as step by step it has come to apprehend its own requirements. There are only three possible ways of proving the existence of God by means of speculative reason. All the paths leading to this goal begin either from deter- minate experience and the specific constitution of the world of sense as thereby known, and ascend from it, in accordance with laws of causality, to the supreme cause outside the P 500 world; or they start from experience which is purely indeter- minate, that is, from experience of existence in general; or finally they abstract from all experience, and argue completely a priori, from mere concepts, to the existence of a supreme cause. The first proof is the physico-theological, the second the cosmological, the third the ontological. There are, and there can be, no others. I propose to show that reason is as little able to make pro- gress on the one path, the empirical, as on the other path, the transcendental, and that it stretches its wings in vain in thus attempting to soar above the world of sense by the mere power of speculation. As regards the order in which these arguments should be dealt with, it will be exactly the reverse of that which reason takes in the progress of its own development, and therefore of that which we have ourselves followed in the above account. For it will be shown that, although experience is what first gives occasion to this enquiry, it is the transcendental concept which in all such endeavours marks out the goal that reason has set itself to attain, and which is indeed its sole guide in its efforts to achieve that goal. I shall therefore begin with the examination of the transcendental proof, and afterwards enquire what effect the addition of the empirical factor can have in enhancing the force of the argument; CHAPTER III Section 4 THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF AN ONTOLOGICAL PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD It is evident, from what has been said, that the concept of an absolutely necessary being is a concept of pure reason, that is, a mere idea the objective reality of which is very far from being proved by the fact that reason requires it. For the idea instructs us only in regard to a certain unattainable complete- ness, and so serves rather to limit the understanding than to extend it to new objects. But we are here faced by what is indeed strange and perplexing, namely, that while the infer- P 501 ence from a given existence in general to some absolutely necessary being seems to be both imperative and legitimate, all those conditions under which alone the understanding can form a concept of such a necessity are so many obstacles in the way of our doing so. In all ages men have spoken of an absolutely necessary being, and in so doing have endeavoured, not so much to understand whether and how a thing of this kind allows even of being thought, but rather to prove its existence. There is, of course, no difficulty in giving a verbal definition of the con- cept, namely, that it is something the non-existence of which is impossible. But this yields no insight into the conditions which make it necessary to regard the non-existence of a thing as absolutely unthinkable. It is precisely these condi- tions that we desire to know, in order that we may determine whether or not, in resorting to this concept, we are thinking anything at all. The expedient of removing all those condi- tions which the understanding indispensably requires in order to regard something as necessary, simply through the intro- duction of the word unconditioned, is very far from sufficing to show whether I am still thinking anything in the concept of the unconditionally necessary, or perhaps rather nothing at all. Nay more, this concept, at first ventured upon blindly, and now become so completely familiar, has been supposed to have its meaning exhibited in a number of examples; and on this account all further enquiry into its intelligibility has seemed to be quite needless. Thus the fact that every geo- metrical proposition, as, for instance, that a triangle has three angles, is absolutely necessary, has been taken as justifying us in speaking of an object which lies entirely outside the sphere of our understanding as if we understood perfectly what it is that we intend to convey by the concept of that object. All the alleged examples are, without exception, taken from judgments, not from things and their existence. But the unconditioned necessity of judgments is not the same as an absolute necessity of things. The absolute necessity of the judgment is only a conditioned necessity of the thing, or of the predicate in the judgment. The above proposition does not P 502 declare that three angles are absolutely necessary, but that, under the condition that there is a triangle (that is, that a tri- angle is given), three angles will necessarily be found in it. So great, indeed, is the deluding influence exercised by this logi- cal necessity that, by the simple device of forming an a priori concept of a thing in such a manner as to include existence within the scope of its meaning, we have supposed ourselves to have justified the conclusion that because existence neces- sarily belongs to the object of this concept -- always under the condition that we posit the thing as given (as existing) -- we are also of necessity, in accordance with the law of identity, re- quired to posit the existence of its object, and that this being is therefore itself absolutely necessary -- and this, to repeat, for the reason that the existence of this being has already been thought in a concept which is assumed arbitrarily and on con- dition that we posit its object. If, in an identical proposition, I reject the predicate while retaining the subject, contradiction results; and I therefore say that the former belongs necessarily to the latter. But if we reject subject and predicate alike, there is no contradiction; for nothing is then left that can be contradicted. To posit a triangle, and yet to reject its three angles, is self-contradictory; but there is no contradiction in rejecting the triangle together with its three angles. The same holds true of the concept of an absolutely necessary being. If its existence is rejected, we re- ject the thing itself with all its predicates; and no question of contradiction can then arise. There is nothing outside it that would then be contradicted, since the necessity of the thing is not supposed to be derived from anything external; nor is there anything internal that would be contradicted, since in rejecting the thing itself we have at the same time rejected all its internal properties. 'God is omnipotent' is a necessary judgment. The omnipotence cannot be rejected if we posit a Deity, that is, an infinite being; for the two concepts are identical. But if we say, 'There is no God', neither the omni- potence nor any other of its predicates is given; they are one and all rejected together with the subject, and there is there- fore not the least contradiction in such a judgment. We have thus seen that if the predicate of a judgment is rejected together with the subject, no internal contradiction P 503 can result and that this holds no matter what the predicate may be. The only way of evading this conclusion is to argue that there are subjects which cannot be removed, and must always remain. That, however, would only be another way of saying that there are absolutely necessary subjects; and that is the very assumption which I have called in question, and the possibility of which the above argument professes to establish. For I cannot form the least concept of a thing which, should it be rejected with all its predicates, leaves behind a contra- diction; and in the absence of contradiction I have, through pure a priori concepts alone, no criterion of impossibility. Notwithstanding all these general considerations, in which every one must concur, we may be challenged with a case which is brought forward as proof that in actual fact the contrary holds, namely, that there is one concept, and indeed only one, in reference to which the not-being or rejection of its object is in itself contradictory, namely, the concept of the ens realissimum. It is declared that it possesses all reality, and that we are justified in assuming that such a being is possible (the fact that a concept does not contradict itself by no means proves the possibility of its object: but the contrary assertion I am for the moment willing to allow). Now [the argument proceeds] 'all reality' includes existence; existence is therefore contained in the concept of a thing that is possible. If, then, this thing is rejected, the internal possibility of the thing is rejected -- which is self-contradictory. My answer is as follows. There is already a contradiction in introducing the concept of existence -- no matter under what title it may be disguised -- into the concept of a thing which we profess to be thinking solely in reference to its possibility. If that be allowed as legitimate, a seeming victory has been won; ++ A concept is always possible if it is not self-contradictory. This is the logical criterion of possibility, and by it the object of the concept is distinguishable from the nihil negativum. But it may none the less be an empty concept, unless the objective reality of the synthesis through which the concept is generated has been specific- ally proved; and such proof, as we have shown above, rests on prin- ciples of possible experience, and not on the principle of analysis (the law of contradiction). This is a warning against arguing directly from the logical possibility of concepts to the real possibility of things. P 504 but in actual fact nothing at all is said: the assertion is a mere tautology. We must ask: Is the proposition that this or that thing (which, whatever it may be, is allowed as possible) exists, an analytic or a synthetic proposition? If it is analytic, the assertion of the existence of the thing adds nothing to the thought of the thing; but in that case either the thought, which is in us, is the thing itself, or we have pre- supposed an existence as belonging to the realm of the possible, and have then, on that pretext, inferred its existence from its internal possibility -- which is nothing but a miserable tauto- logy. The word 'reality', which in the concept of the thing sounds other than the word 'existence' in the concept of the predicate, is of no avail in meeting this objection. For if all positing (no matter what it may be that is posited) is entitled reality, the thing with all its predicates is already posited in the concept of the subject, and is assumed as actual; and in the predicate this is merely repeated. But if, on the other hand, we admit, as every reasonable person must, that all existential propositions are synthetic, how can we profess to maintain that the predicate of existence cannot be rejected without con- tradiction? This is a feature which is found only in analytic propositions, and is indeed precisely what constitutes their analytic character. I should have hoped to put an end to these idle and fruit- less disputations in a direct manner, by an accurate deter- mination of the concept of existence, had I not found that the illusion which is caused by the confusion of a logical with a real predicate (that is, with a predicate which determines a thing) is almost beyond correction. Anything we please can be made to serve as a logical predicate; the subject can even be predicated of itself; for logic abstracts from all content. But a determining predicate is a predicate which is added to the con- cept of the subject and enlarges it. Consequently, it must not be already contained in the concept. 'Being' is obviously not a real predicate; that is, it is not a concept of something which could be added to the concept of a thing. It is merely the positing of a thing, or of certain deter- minations, as existing in themselves. Logically, it is merely the copula of a judgment. The proposition, 'God is omnipotent', P 505 contains two concepts, each of which has its object -- God and omnipotence. The small word 'is' adds no new predicate, but only serves to posit the predicate in its relation to the subject. If, now, we take the subject (God) with all its predicates (among which is omnipotence), and say 'God is', or 'There is a God', we attach no new predicate to the concept of God, but only posit the subject in itself with all its predicates, and indeed posit it as being an object that stands in relation to my concept. The content of both must be one and the same; nothing can have been added to the concept, which expresses merely what is possible, by my thinking its object (through the expression 'it is') as given absolutely. Otherwise stated, the real contains no more than the merely possible. A hundred real thalers do not contain the least coin more than a hundred possible thalers. For as the latter signify the concept, and the former the object and the positing of the object, should the former contain more than the latter, my concept would not, in that case, express the whole object, and would not therefore be an adequate concept of it. My financial position is, however, affected very differently by a hundred real thalers than it is by the mere concept of them (that is, of their possibility). For the object, as it actually exists, is not analytically contained in my concept, but is added to my concept (which is a determination of my state) synthetically; and yet the conceived hundred thalers are not themselves in the least increased through thus acquiring existence outside my concept. By whatever and by however many predicates we may think a thing -- even if we completely determine it -- we do not make the least addition to the thing when we further declare that this thing is. Otherwise, it would not be exactly the same thing that exists, but something more than we had thought in the concept; and we could not, therefore, say that the exact object of my concept exists. If we think in a thing every feature of reality except one, the missing reality is not added by my saying that this defective thing exists. On the contrary, it exists with the same defect with which I have thought it, since otherwise what exists would be something different from what I thought. When, therefore, I think a being as the supreme reality, without any defect, the question still remains whether P 506 it exists or not. For though, in my concept, nothing may be lacking of the possible real content of a thing in general, some- thing is still lacking in its relation to my whole state of thought, namely, [in so far as I am unable to assert] that knowledge of this object is also possible a posteriori. And here we find the source of our present difficulty. Were we dealing with an ob- ject of the senses, we could not confound the existence of the thing with the mere concept of it. For through the concept the object is thought only as conforming to the universal condi- tions of possible empirical knowledge in general, whereas through its existence it is thought as belonging to the context of experience as a whole. In being thus connected with the content of experience as a whole, the concept of the object is not, however, in the least enlarged; all that has happened is that our thought has thereby obtained an additional possible perception. It is not, therefore, surprising that, if we attempt to think existence through the pure category alone, we cannot specify a single mark distinguishing it from mere possibility. Whatever, therefore, and however much, our concept of an object may contain, we must go outside it, if we are to ascribe existence to the object. In the case of objects of the senses, this takes place through their connection with some one of our per- ceptions, in accordance with empirical laws. But in dealing with objects of pure thought, we have no means whatsoever of knowing their existence, since it would have to be known in a completely a priori manner. Our consciousness of all existence (whether immediately through perception, or medi- ately through inferences which connect something with per- ception) belongs exclusively to the unity of experience; any [alleged] existence outside this field, while not indeed such as we can declare to be absolutely impossible, is of the nature of an assumption which we can never be in a position to justify. The concept of a supreme being is in many respects a very useful idea; but just because it is a mere idea, it is altogether incapable, by itself alone, of enlarging our knowledge in re- gard to what exists. It is not even competent to enlighten us as to the possibility of any existence beyond that which is known in and through experience. The analytic criterion of P 507 possibility, as consisting in the principle that bare positives (realities) give rise to no contradiction, cannot be denied to it. But since the realities are not given to us in their specific char- acters; since even if they were, we should still not be in a posi- tion to pass judgment; since the criterion of the possibility of synthetic knowledge is never to be looked for save in ex- perience, to which the object of an idea cannot belong, the connection of all real properties in a thing is a synthesis, the possibility of which we are unable to determine a priori. And thus the celebrated Leibniz is far from having succeeded in what he plumed himself on achieving -- the comprehension a priori of the possibility of this sublime ideal being. The attempt to establish the existence of a supreme being by means of the famous ontological argument of Descartes is therefore merely so much labour and effort lost; we can no more extend our stock of [theoretical] insight by mere ideas, than a merchant can better his position by adding a few noughts to his cash account. CHAPTER III Section 5 THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF A COSMOLOGICAL PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD To attempt to extract from a purely arbitrary idea the existence of an object corresponding to it is a quite unnatural procedure and a mere innovation of scholastic subtlety. Such an attempt would never have been made if there had not been antecedently, on the part of our reason,the need to assume as a basis of existence in general something necessary (in which our regress may terminate); and if, since this necessity must be unconditioned and certain a priori, reason had not, in con- sequence, been forced to seek a concept which would satisfy, if possible, such a demand, and enable us to know an existence in a completely a priori manner. Such a concept was supposed to have been found in the idea of an ens realissimum; and that P 508 idea was therefore used only for the more definite knowledge of that necessary being, of the necessary existence of which we were already convinced, or persuaded, on other grounds. This natural procedure of reason was, however, concealed from view, and instead of ending with this concept, the attempt was made to begin with it, and so to deduce from it that necessity of existence which it was only fitted to supplement. Thus arose the unfortunate ontological proof, which yields satisfaction neither to the natural and healthy understanding nor to the more academic demands of strict proof. The cosmological proof, which we are now about to ex- amine, retains the connection of absolute necessity with the highest reality, but instead of reasoning, like the former proof, from the highest reality to necessity of existence, it reasons from the previously given unconditioned necessity of some being to the unlimited reality of that being. It thus enters upon a course of reasoning which, whether rational or only pseudo- rational, is at any rate natural, and the most convincing not only for common sense but even for speculative understand- ing. It also sketches the first outline of all the proofs in natural theology, an outline which has always been and always will be followed, however much embellished and disguised by superfluous additions. This proof, termed by Leibniz the proof a contingentia mundi, we shall now proceed to expound and examine. It runs thus: If anything exists, an absolutely necessary being must also exist. Now I, at least, exist. Therefore an absolutely necessary being exists. The minor premiss contains an experience, the major premiss the inference from there being any experience at all to the existence of the necessary. The proof therefore really begins with experience, and is not wholly a priori or ontological. For this reason, and because the object of all possible experience is called the world, it is en- titled the cosmological proof. ++ This inference is too well known to require detailed state- ment. It depends on the supposedly transcendental law of natural causality: that everything contingent has a cause, which, if itself contingent, must likewise have a cause, till the series of subordinate causes ends with an absolutely necessary cause, without which it would have no completeness. P 508 Since, in dealing with the objects P 509 of experience, the proof abstracts from all special properties through which this world may differ from any other possible world, the title also serves to distinguish it from the physico- theological proof, which is based upon observations of the par- ticular properties of the world disclosed to us by our senses. The proof then proceeds as follows: The necessary being can be determined in one way only, that is, by one out of each possible pair of opposed predicates. It must therefore be com- pletely determined through its own concept. Now there is only one possible concept which determines a thing completely a priori, namely, the concept of the ens realissimum. The concept of the ens realissimum is therefore the only concept through which a necessary being can be thought. In other words, a supreme being necessarily exists. In this cosmological argument there are combined so many pseudo-rational principles that speculative reason seems in this case to have brought to bear all the resources of its dia- lectical skill to produce the greatest possible transcendental illusion. The testing of the argument may meantime be post- poned while we detail in order the various devices whereby an old argument is disguised as a new one, and by which appeal is made to the agreement of two witnesses, the one with credentials of pure reason and the other with those of experi- ence. In reality the only witness is that which speaks in the name of pure reason; in the endeavour to pass as a second witness it merely changes its dress and voice. In order to lay a secure foundation for itself, this proof takes its stand on experience, and thereby makes profession of being distinct from the ontological proof, which puts its entire trust in pure a priori concepts. But the cosmological proof uses this experi- ence only for a single step in the argument, namely, to con- clude the existence of a necessary being. What properties this being may have, the empirical premiss cannot tell us. Reason therefore abandons experience altogether, and endeavours to discover from mere concepts what properties an absolutely necessary being must have, that is, which among all possible things contains in itself the conditions (requisita) essential to absolute necessity. Now these, it is supposed, are nowhere to be found save in the concept of an ens realissimum; and the conclusion is therefore drawn, that the ens realissimum is the P 510 absolutely necessary being. But it is evident that we are here presupposing that the concept of the highest reality is com- pletely adequate to the concept of absolute necessity of existence; that is, that the latter can be inferred from the former. Now this is the proposition maintained by the ontological proof; it is here being assumed in the cosmological proof, and indeed made the basis of the proof; and yet it is an assumption with which this latter proof has professed to dispense. For ab- solute necessity is an existence determined from mere con- cepts. If I say, the concept of the ens realissimum is a con- cept, and indeed the only concept, which is appropriate and adequate to necessary existence, I must also admit that neces- sary existence can be inferred from this concept. Thus the so- called cosmological proof really owes any cogency which it may have to the ontological proof from mere concepts. The appeal to experience is quite superfluous; experience may per- haps lead us to the concept of absolute necessity, but is unable to demonstrate this necessity as belonging to any determinate thing. For immediately we endeavour to do so, we must abandon all experience and search among pure concepts to discover whether any one of them contains the condi- tions of the possibility of an absolutely necessary being. If in this way we can determine the possibility of a necessary being, we likewise establish its existence. For what we are then saying is this: that of all possible beings there is one which carries with it absolute necessity, that is, that this being exists with absolute necessity. Fallacious and misleading arguments are most easily detected if set out in correct syllogistic form. This we now proceed to do in the instance under discussion. If the proposition, that every absolutely necessary being is likewise the most real of all beings, is correct (and this is the nervus probandi of the cosmological proof), it must, like all affirmative judgments, be convertible, at least per accidens. It therefore follows that some entia realissima are likewise absolutely necessary beings. But one ens realissimum is in no respect different from another, and what is true of some under this concept is true also of all. In this case, therefore, I can convert the proposition simpliciter, not only per accidens, and say that every ens realissimum is a necessary being. But P 511 since this proposition is determined from its a priori concepts alone, the mere concept of the ens realissimum must carry with it the absolute necessity of that being; and this is precisely what the ontological proof has asserted and what the cosmo- logical proof has refused to admit, although the conclusions of the latter are indeed covertly based on it. Thus the second path upon which speculative reason enters in its attempt to prove the existence of a supreme being is not only as deceptive as the first, but has this additional defect, that it is guilty of an ignoratio elenchi. It professes to lead us by a new path, but after a short circuit brings us back to the very path which we had deserted at its bidding. I have stated that in this cosmological argument there lies hidden a whole nest of dialectical assumptions, which the transcendental critique can easily detect and destroy. These deceptive principles I shall merely enumerate, leaving to the reader, who by this time will be sufficiently expert in these matters, the task of investigating them further, and of re- futing them. We find, for instance, (1) the transcendental principle whereby from the contingent we infer a cause. This principle is applicable only in the sensible world; outside that world it has no meaning whatsoever. For the mere intellectual concept of the contingent cannot give rise to any synthetic proposition, such as that of causality. The principle of causality has no meaning and no criterion for its application save only in the sensible world. But in the cosmological proof it is precisely in order to enable us to advance beyond the sensible world that it is employed. (2) The inference to a first cause, from the im- possibility of an infinite series of causes, given one after the other, in the sensible world. The principles of the employment of reason do not justify this conclusion even within the world of experience; still less beyond this world in a realm into which this series can never be extended. (3) The unjustified self-satisfaction of reason in respect of the completion of this series. The removal of all the conditions without which no concept of necessity is possible is taken by reason to be a com- pletion of the concept of the series, on the ground that we can then conceive nothing further. (4) The confusion between the P 512 logical possibility of a concept of all reality united into one (without inner contradiction) and the transcendental possi- bility of such a reality. In the case of the latter there is needed a principle to establish the practicability of such a synthesis, a principle which itself, however, can apply only to the field of possible experiences -- etc. The procedure of the cosmological proof is artfully designed to enable us to escape having to prove the existence of a neces- sary being a priori through mere concepts. Such proof would require to be carried out in the ontological manner, and that is an enterprise for which we feel ourselves to be altogether in- competent. Accordingly, we take as the starting-point of our inference an actual existence (an experience in general), and ad- vance, in such manner as we can, to some absolutely necessary condition of this existence. We have then no need to show the possibility of this condition. For if it has been proved to exist, the question as to its possibility is entirely superfluous. If now we want to determine more fully the nature of this necessary being, we do not endeavour to do so in the manner that would be really adequate, namely, by discovering from its concept the necessity of its existence. For could we do that, we should be in no need of an empirical starting-point. No, all we seek is the negative condition (conditio sine qua non), without which a being would not be absolutely necessary. And in all other kinds of reasoning from a given consequence to its ground this would be legitimate; but in the present case it unfortunately happens that the condition which is needed for absolute necessity is only to be found in one single being. This being must therefore contain in its concept all that is required for absolute necessity, and consequently it enables me to infer this absolute necessity a priori. I must therefore be able also to reverse the inference, and to say: Anything to which this concept (of supreme reality) applies is absolutely necessary. If I cannot make this inference (as I must concede, if I am to avoid admitting the ontological proof), I have come to grief in the new way that I have been following, and am back again at my starting-point. The con- cept of the supreme being satisfies all questions a priori which can be raised regarding the inner determinations of a thing, and is therefore an ideal that is quite unique, in that the con- cept, while universal, also at the same time designates an P 513 individual as being among the things that are possible. But it does not give satisfaction concerning the question of its own existence -- though this is the real purpose of our enquiries -- and if anyone admitted the existence of a necessary being but wanted to know which among all [existing] things is to be identified with that being, we could not answer: "This, not that. is the necessary being. " We may indeed be allowed to postulate the existence of an all-sufficient being, as the cause of all possible effects, with a view to lightening the task of reason in its search for the unity of the grounds of explanation. But in presuming so far as to say that such a being necessarily exists, we are no longer giving modest expression to an admissible hypothesis, but are confidently laying claim to apodeictic certainty. For the knowledge of what we profess to know as absolutely necessary must itself carry with it absolute necessity. The whole problem of the transcendental ideal amounts to this: either, given absolute necessity, to find a concept which possesses it, or, given the concept of something, to find that something to be absolutely necessary. If either task be possible, so must the other; for reason recognises that only as absolutely necessary which follows of necessity from its concept. But both tasks are quite beyond our utmost efforts to satisfy our under- standing in this matter; and equally unavailing are all attempts to induce it to acquiesce in its incapacity. Unconditioned necessity, which we so indispensably re- quire as the last bearer of all things, is for human reason the veritable abyss. Eternity itself, in all its terrible sublimity, as depicted by a Haller, is far from making the same overwhelm- ing impression on the mind; for it only measures the duration of things, it does not support them. We cannot put aside, and yet also cannot endure the thought, that a being, which we represent to ourselves as supreme amongst all possible beings, should, as it were, say to itself: 'I am from eternity to eternity, and outside me there is nothing save what is through my will, but whence then am I? ' All support here fails us; and the greatest perfection, no less than the least perfection, is unsub- stantial and baseless for the merely speculative reason, which P 514 makes not the least effort to retain either the one or the other, and feels indeed no loss in allowing them to vanish entirely. Many forces in nature, which manifest their existence through certain effects, remain for us inscrutable; for we cannot track them sufficiently far by observation. Also, the transcend- ental object lying at the basis of appearances (and with it the reason why our sensibility is subject to certain supreme con- ditions rather than to others) is and remains for us inscrutable. The thing itself is indeed given, but we can have no insight into its nature. But it is quite otherwise with an ideal of pure reason; it can never be said to be inscrutable. For since it is not required to give any credentials of its reality save only the need on the part of reason to complete all synthetic unity by means of it; and since, therefore, it is in no wise given as thinkable object, it cannot be inscrutable in the manner in which an object is. On the contrary it must, as a mere idea, find its place and its solution in the nature of reason, and must therefore allow of investigation. For it is of the very essence of reason that we should be able to give an account of all our concepts, opinions, and assertions, either upon objective or, in the case of mere illusion, upon subjective grounds. DISCOVERY AND EXPLANATION of the Dialectical Illusion in all Transcendental Proofs of the Existence of a Necessary Being Both the above proofs were transcendental, that is, were attempted independently of empirical principles. For although the cosmological proof presupposes an experience in general, it is not based on any particular property of this experience but on pure principles of reason, as applied to an existence given through empirical consciousness in general. Further, it soon abandons this guidance and relies on pure concepts alone. What, then, in these transcendental proofs is the cause of the dialectical but natural illusion which connects the concepts of necessity and supreme reality, and which realises and hypos- tatises what can be an idea only? Why are we constrained to assume that some one among existing things is in itself P 515 necessary, and yet at the same time to shrink back from the existence of such a being as from an abyss? And how are we to secure that reason may come to an agreement with itself in this matter, and that from the wavering condition of a diffident approval, ever again withdrawn, it may arrive at settled insight? There is something very strange in the fact, that once we assume something to exist we cannot avoid inferring that something exists necessarily. The cosmological argument rests on this quite natural (although not therefore certain) infer- ence. On the other hand, if I take the concept of anything, no matter what, I find that the existence of this thing can never be represented by me as absolutely necessary, and that, what- ever it may be that exists, nothing prevents me from think- ing its non-existence. Thus while I may indeed be obliged to assume something necessary as a condition of the existent in general, I cannot think any particular thing as in itself neces- sary. In other words, I can never complete the regress to the conditions of existence save by assuming a necessary being and yet am never in a position to begin with such a being. If I am constrained to think something necessary as a condition of existing things, but am unable to think any particular thing as in itself necessary, it inevitably follows that necessity and contingency do not concern the things them- selves; otherwise there would be a contradiction. Conse- quently, neither of these two principles can be objective. They may, however, be regarded as subjective principles of reason. The one calls upon us to seek something necessary as a con- dition of all that is given as existent, that is, to stop nowhere until we have arrived at an explanation which is complete a priori; the other forbids us ever to hope for this completion, that is, forbids us to treat anything empirical as uncondi- tioned and to exempt ourselves thereby from the toil of its further derivation. Viewed in this manner, the two principles, as merely heuristic and regulative, and as concerning only the formal interest of reason, can very well stand side by side. The one prescribes that we are to philosophise about nature as if there were a necessary first ground for all that belongs to existence -- solely, however, for the purpose of bringing sys- tematic unity into our knowledge, by always pursuing such P 516 an idea, as an imagined ultimate ground. The other warns us not to regard any determination whatsoever of existing things as such an ultimate ground, that is, as absolutely necessary, but to keep the way always open for further derivation, and so to treat each and every determination as always condi- tioned by something else. But if everything which is perceived in things must necessarily be treated by us as conditioned, nothing that allows of being empirically given can be re- garded as absolutely necessary. Since, therefore, the absolutely necessary is only intended to serve as a principle for obtaining the greatest possible unity among appearances, as being their ultimate ground; and since -- inasmuch as the second rule commands us al- ways to regard all empirical causes of unity as themselves derived -- we can never reach this unity within the world, it follows that we must regard the absolutely necessary as being outside the world. While the philosophers of antiquity regard all form in nature as contingent, they follow the judgment of the common man in their view of matter as original and necessary. But if, instead of regarding matter relatively, as substratum of ap- pearances, they had considered it in itself, and as regards its existence, the idea of absolute necessity would at once have disappeared. For there is nothing which absolutely binds reason to accept such an existence; on the contrary it can al- ways annihilate it in thought, without contradiction; absolute necessity is a necessity that is to be found in thought alone. This belief must therefore have been due to a certain regu- lative principle. In fact extension and impenetrability (which between them make up the concept of matter) constitute the supreme empirical principle of the unity of appearances; and this principle, so far as it is empirically unconditioned, has the character of a regulative principle. Nevertheless, since every determination of the matter which constitutes what is real in appearances, including impenetrability, is an effect (action) which must have its cause and which is therefore always derivative in character, matter is not compatible with the idea of a necessary being as a principle of all derived unity. (For its real properties, being derivative, are one and all only P 517 conditionally necessary, and so allow of being removed -- wherewith the whole existence of matter would be removed. ) If this were not the case, we should have reached the ulti- mate ground of unity by empirical means -- which is for- bidden by the second regulative principle. It therefore follows that matter, and in general whatever belongs to the world, is not compatible with the idea of a necessary original being, even when the latter is regarded simply as a principle of the greatest empirical unity. That being or principle must be set outside the world, leaving us free to derive the appearances of the world and their existence from other appearances, with unfailing confidence, just as if there were no necessary being, while yet we are also free to strive unceasingly towards the completeness of that derivation, just as if such a being were presupposed as an ultimate ground. As follows from these considerations, the ideal of the supreme being is nothing but a regulative principle of reason, which directs us to look upon all connection in the world as if it originated from an all-sufficient necessary cause. We can base upon the ideal the rule of a systematic and, in accord- ance with universal laws, necessary unity in the explanation of that connection; but the ideal is not an assertion of an existence necessary in itself. At the same time we cannot avoid the transcendental subreption, by which this formal principle is represented as constitutive, and by which this unity is hypos- tatised. We proceed here just as we do in the case of space. Space is only a principle of sensibility, but since it is the primary source and condition of all shapes, which are only so many limitations of itself, it is taken as something absolutely necessary, existing in its own right, and as an object given a - priori in itself. In the same way, since the systematic unity of nature cannot be prescribed as a principle for the empirical employment of our reason, except in so far as we presuppose the idea of an ens realissimum as the supreme cause, it is quite natural that this latter idea should be represented as an actual object, which, in its character of supreme condition, is also necessary -- thus changing a regulative into a constitutive principle. That such a substitution has been made becomes evident, when we consider this supreme being, which relatively P 518 to the world is absolutely (unconditionally) necessary, as a thing in and by itself. For we are then unable to conceive what can be meant by its necessity. The concept of necessity is only to be found in our reason, as a formal condition of thought; it does not allow of being hypostatised as a material condition of existence. CHAPTER III Section 6 THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF THE PHYSICO-THEOLOGICAL PROOF If, then, neither the concept of things in general nor the experience of any existence in general can supply what is re- quired, it remains only to try whether a determinate experience, the experience of the things of the present world, and the con- stitution and order of these, does not provide the basis of a proof which may help us to attain to an assured conviction of a supreme being. Such proof we propose to entitle the physico- theological. Should this attempt also fail, it must follow that no satisfactory proof of the existence of a being corresponding to our transcendental idea can be possible by pure speculative reason. In view of what has already been said, it is evident that we can count upon a quite easy and conclusive answer to this enquiry. For how can any experience ever be adequate to an idea? The peculiar nature of the latter consists just in the fact that no experience can ever be equal to it. The transcendental idea of a necessary and all-sufficient original being is so overwhelmingly great, so high above everything empirical, the latter being always conditioned, that it leaves us at a loss, partly because we can never find in experience material sufficient to satisfy such a concept, and partly because it is always in the sphere of the conditioned that we carry out our search, seeking there ever vainly for the unconditioned -- no law of any empirical synthesis giving us an example of any such unconditioned or providing the least guidance in its pursuit. If the supreme being should itself stand in this chain of P 519 conditions, it would be a member of the series, and like the lower members which it precedes, would call for further en- quiry as to the still higher ground from which it follows. If, on the other hand, we propose to separate it from the chain, and to conceive it as a purely intelligible being, existing apart from the series of natural causes, by what bridge can reason contrive to pass over to it? For all laws governing the transition from effects to causes, all synthesis and extension of our knowledge, refer to nothing but possible experience, and therefore solely to objects of the sensible world, and apart from them can have no meaning whatsoever. This world presents to us so immeasurable a stage of variety, order, purposiveness, and beauty, as displayed alike in its infinite extent and in the unlimited divisibility of its parts, that even with such knowledge as our weak understanding can acquire of it, we are brought face to face with so many marvels immeasurably great, that all speech loses its force, all numbers their power to measure, our thoughts themselves all definiteness, and that our judgment of the whole resolves itself into an amazement which is speechless, and only the more elo- quent on that account. Everywhere we see a chain of effects and causes, of ends and means, a regularity in origination and dissolution. Nothing has of itself come into the condition in which we find it to exist, but always points to something else as its cause, while this in turn commits us to repetition of the same enquiry. The whole universe must thus sink into the abyss of nothingness, unless, over and above this infinite chain of contingencies, we assume something to support it -- something which is original and independently self-subsistent, and which as the cause of the origin of the universe secures also at the same time its continuance. What magnitude are we to ascribe to this supreme cause -- admitting that it is supreme in respect of all things in the world? We are not acquainted with the whole content of the world, still less do we know how to estimate its magnitude by comparison with all that is possible. But since we cannot, as regards causality, dispense with an ultimate and supreme being, what is there to pre- vent us ascribing to it a degree of perfection that sets it above everything else that is possible? This we can easily do -- though P 520 only through the slender outline of an abstract concept -- by representing this being to ourselves as combining in itself all possible perfection, as in a single substance. This concept is in conformity with the demand of our reason for parsimony of principles; it is free from self-contradiction, and is never decisively contradicted by any experience; and it is likewise of such a character that it contributes to the extension of the employment of reason within experience, through the guidance which it yields in the discovery of order and purposiveness. This proof always deserves to be mentioned with respect. It is the oldest, the clearest, and the most accordant with the common reason of mankind. It enlivens the study of nature, just as it itself derives its existence and gains ever new vigour from that source. It suggests ends and purposes, where our observation would not have detected them by itself, and extends our knowledge of nature by means of the guiding-concept of a special unity, the principle of which is outside nature. This knowledge again reacts on its cause, namely, upon the idea which has led to it, and so strengthens the belief in a supreme Author [of nature] that the belief acquires the force of an irre- sistible conviction. It would therefore not only be uncomforting but utterly vain to attempt to diminish in any way the authority of this argument. Reason, constantly upheld by this ever-increasing evidence, which, though empirical, is yet so powerful, can- not be so depressed through doubts suggested by subtle and abstruse speculation, that it is not at once aroused from the indecision of all melancholy reflection, as from a dream, by one glance at the wonders of nature and the majesty of the universe -- ascending from height to height up to the all- highest, from the conditioned to its conditions, up to the supreme and unconditioned Author [of all conditioned being]. But although we have nothing to bring against the ration- ality and utility of this procedure, but have rather to commend and to further it, we still cannot approve the claims, which this mode of argument would fain advance, to apodeictic certainty and to an assent founded on no special favour or support from other quarters. It cannot hurt the good cause, if the dogmatic P 521 language of the overweening sophist be toned down to the more moderate and humble requirements of a belief adequate to quieten our doubts, though not to command unconditional submission. I therefore maintain that the physico-theological proof can never by itself establish the existence of a supreme being, but must always fall back upon the ontological argu- ment to make good its deficiency. It only serves as an intro- duction to the ontological argument; and the latter therefore contains (in so far as a speculative proof is possible at all) the one possible ground of proof with which human reason can never dispense. The chief points of the physico-theological proof are as follows: (1) In the world we everywhere find clear signs of an order in accordance with a determinate purpose, carried out with great wisdom; and this in a universe which is indescrib- ably varied in content and unlimited in extent. (2) This pur- posive order is quite alien to the things of the world, and only belongs to them contingently; that is to say, the diverse things could not of themselves have co-operated, by so great a com- bination of diverse means, to the fulfilment of determinate final purposes, had they not been chosen and designed for these purposes by an ordering rational principle in conformity with underlying ideas. (3) There exists, therefore, a sublime and wise cause (or more than one), which must be the cause of the world not merely as a blindly working all-powerful nature, by fecundity, but as intelligence, through freedom. (4) The unity of this cause may be inferred from the unity of the reciprocal relations existing between the parts of the world, as members of an artfully arranged structure -- inferred with certainty in so far as our observation suffices for its verification and beyond these limits with probability, in accordance with the principles of analogy. We need not here criticise natural reason too strictly in regard to its conclusion from the analogy between certain natural products and what our human art produces when we do violence to nature, and constrain it to proceed not according to its own ends but in conformity with ours -- appealing to the similarity of these particular natural products with houses, ships, watches. Nor need we here question its conclusion that P 522 there lies at the basis of nature a causality similar to that responsible for artificial products, namely, an understand- ing and a will; and that the inner possibility of a self-acting nature (which is what makes all art, and even, it may be, reason itself, possible) is therefore derived from another, though superhuman, art -- a mode of reasoning which could not perhaps withstand a searching transcendental criticism. But at any rate we must admit that, if we are to specify a cause at all, we cannot here proceed more securely than by analogy with those purposive productions of which alone the cause and mode of action are fully known to us. Reason could never be justified in abandoning the causality which it knows for grounds of explanation which are obscure, of which it does not have any knowledge, and which are incapable of proof. On this method of argument, the purposiveness and har- monious adaptation of so much in nature can suffice to prove the contingency of the form merely, not of the matter, that is, not of the substance in the world. To prove the latter we should have to demonstrate that the things in the world would not of themselves be capable of such order and harmony, in accordance with universal laws, if they were not in their substance the product of supreme wisdom. But to prove this we should require quite other grounds of proof than those which are derived from the analogy with human art. The utmost, therefore, that the argument can prove is an architect of the world who is always very much hampered by the adaptability of the material in which he works, not a creator of the world to whose idea everything is subject. This, how- ever, is altogether inadequate to the lofty purpose which we have before our eyes, namely, the proof of an all-sufficient primordial being. To prove the contingency of matter itself, we should have to resort to a transcendental argument, and this is precisely what we have here set out to avoid. The inference, therefore, is that the order and purposive- ness everywhere observable throughout the world may be regarded as a completely contingent arrangement, and that we may argue to the existence of a cause proportioned to it. But the concept of this cause must enable us to know some- P 523 thing quite determinate about it, and can therefore be no other than the concept of a being who possesses all might, wisdom, etc. , in a word, all the perfection which is proper to an all-sufficient being. For the predicates -- 'very great', 'as- tounding', 'immeasurable' in power and excellence -- give no determinate concept at all, and do not really tell us what the thing is in itself. They are only relative representations of the magnitude of the object, which the observer, in contemplat- ing the world, compares with himself and with his capacity of comprehension, and which are equally terms of eulogy whether we be magnifying the object or be depreciating the observing subject in relation to that object. Where we are concerned with the magnitude (of the perfection) of a thing, there is no determinate concept except that which compre- hends all possible perfection; and in that concept only the allness (omnitudo) of the reality is completely determined. Now no one, I trust, will be so bold as to profess that he comprehends the relation of the magnitude of the world as he has observed it (alike as regards both extent and content) to omnipotence, of the world order to supreme wisdom, of the world unity to the absolute unity of its Author, etc. Physico- theology is therefore unable to give any determinate concept of the supreme cause of the world, and cannot therefore serve as the foundation of a theology which is itself in turn to form the basis of religion. To advance to absolute totality by the empirical road is utterly impossible. None the less this is what is attempted in the physico-theological proof. What, then, are the means which have been adopted to bridge this wide abyss? The physico-theological argument can indeed lead us to the point of admiring the greatness, wisdom, power, etc. , of the Author of the world, but can take us no further. Accord- ingly, we then abandon the argument from empirical grounds of proof, and fall back upon the contingency which, in the first steps of the argument, we had inferred from the order and purposiveness of the world. With this contingency as our sole premiss, we then advance, by means of transcendental con- cepts alone, to the existence of an absolutely necessary being, and [as a final step] from the concept of the absolute necessity of the first cause to the completely determinate or determin- P 524 able concept of that necessary being, namely, to the concept of an all-embracing reality. Thus the physico-theological proof, failing in its undertaking, has in face of this difficulty suddenly fallen back upon the cosmological proof; and since the latter is only a disguised ontological proof, it has really achieved its purpose by pure reason alone -- although at the start it disclaimed all kinship with pure reason and professed to establish its conclusions on convincing evidence derived from experience. Those who propound the physico-theological argument have therefore no ground for being so contemptuous in their attitude to the transcendental mode of proof, posing as clear- sighted students of nature, and complacently looking down upon that proof as the artificial product of obscure speculative refinements. For were they willing to scrutinise their own pro- cedure, they would find that, after advancing some considerable way on the solid ground of nature and experience, and finding themselves just as far distant as ever from the object which dis- closes itself to their reason, they suddenly leave this ground, and pass over into the realm of mere possibilities, where they hope upon the wings of ideas to draw near to the object -- the object that has refused itself to all their empirical enquiries. For after this tremendous leap, when they have, as they think, found firm ground, they extend their concept -- the determinate concept, into the possession of which they have now come, they know not how -- over the whole sphere of creation. And the ideal, [which this reasoning thus involves, and] which is entirely a product of pure reason, they then elucidate by reference to experience, though inadequately enough, and in a manner far below the dignity of its object; and throughout they persist in refusing to admit that they have arrived at this knowledge or hypo- thesis by a road quite other than that of experience. Thus the physico-theological proof of the existence of an original or supreme being rests upon the cosmological proof, and the cosmological upon the ontological. And since, besides these three, there is no other path open to speculative reason, the ontological proof from pure concepts of reason is the only possible one, if indeed any proof of a proposition so far exalted above all empirical employment of the understanding is pos- sible at all. P 525 CHAPTER III Section 7 CRITIQUE OF ALL THEOLOGY BASED UPON SPECULATIVE PRINCIPLES OF REASON If I understand by theology knowledge of the original being, it is based either solely upon reason (theologia rationa- lis) or upon revelation (revelata). The former thinks its object either through pure reason, solely by means of transcendental concepts (ens originarium, realissimum, ens entium), in which case it is entitled transcendental theology, or through a con- cept borrowed from nature (from the nature of our soul) -- a concept of the original being as a supreme intelligence -- and it would then have to be called natural theology. Those who accept only a transcendental theology are called deists; those who also admit a natural theology are called theists. The former grant that we can know the existence of an original being solely through reason, but maintain that our concept of it is transcendental only, namely, the concept of a being which possesses all reality, but which we are unable to de- termine in any more specific fashion. The latter assert that reason is capable of determining its object more precisely through analogy with nature, namely, as a being which, through understanding and freedom, contains in itself the ultimate ground of everything else. Thus the deist repre- sents this being merely as a cause of the world (whether by the necessity of its nature or through freedom, remains un- decided), the theist as the Author of the world. Transcendental theology, again, either proposes to deduce the existence of the original being from an experience in general (without determining in any more specific fashion the nature of the world to which the experience belongs), and is then entitled cosmo-theology; or it believes that it can know the existence of such a being through mere concepts, without the help of any experience whatsoever, and is then entitled onto- theology. Natural theology infers the properties and the existence of P 526 an Author of the world from the constitution, the order and unity, exhibited in the world -- a world in which we have to recognise two kinds of causality with their rules, namely, nature and freedom. From this world natural theology ascends to a supreme intelligence, as the principle either of all natural or of all moral order and perfection. In the former case it is entitled physico-theology, in the latter moral theology. Since we are wont to understand by the concept of God not merely an eternal nature that works blindly, as the root-source of all things, but a supreme being who through understanding and freedom is the Author of all things; and since it is in this sense only that the concept interests us, we could, strictly speaking, deny to the deist any belief in God, allowing him only the assertion of an original being or supreme cause. How- ever, since no one ought to be accused of denying what he only does not venture to assert, it is less harsh and more just to say that the deist believes in a God, the theist in a living God (summa intelligentia). We shall now proceed to enquire what are the possible sources of all these endeavours of reason. For the purposes of this enquiry, theoretical knowledge may be defined as knowledge of what is, practical knowledge as the representation of what ought to be. On this definition, the theoretical employment of reason is that by which I know a - priori (as necessary) that something is, and the practical that by which it is known a priori what ought to happen. Now if it is indubitably certain that something is or that something ought to happen, but this certainty is at the same time only conditional, then a certain determinate condition of it can be absolutely necessary, or can be an optional and contingent presupposition. In the former case the condition is postulated (per thesin); in the latter case it is assumed (per hypothesin). ++ Not theological ethics: for this contains moral laws, which pre- suppose the existence of a supreme ruler of the world. Moral theology, on the other hand, is a conviction of the existence of a supreme being -- a conviction which bases itself on moral laws. P 526 Now since there are practical laws which are absolutely neces- sary, that is, moral laws, it must follow that if these neces- sarily presuppose the existence of any being as the condition of P 527 the possibility of their obligatory power, this existence must be postulated; and this for the sufficient reason that the condi- tioned, from which the inference is drawn to this determinate condition, is itself known a priori to be absolutely necessary. At some future time we shall show that the moral laws do not merely presuppose the existence of a supreme being, but also, as themselves in a different connection absolutely neces- sary, justify us in postulating it, though, indeed, only from a practical point of view. For the present, however, we are leaving this mode of argument aside. Where we are dealing merely with what is (not with what ought to be), the conditioned, which is given to us in experi- ence, is always thought as being likewise contingent. That which conditions it is not, therefore, known as absolutely necessary, but serves only as something relatively necessary or rather as needful; in itself and a priori it is an arbitrary presupposition, assumed by us in our attempt to know the conditioned by means of reason. If, therefore in the field of theoretical knowledge, the absolute necessity of a thing were to be known, this could only be from a priori concepts, and never by positing it as a cause relative to an existence given in experience. Theoretical knowledge is speculative if it concerns an ob- ject, or those concepts of an object, which cannot be reached in any experience. It is so named to distinguish it from the knowledge of nature, which concerns only those objects or pre- dicates of objects which can be given in a possible experience. The principle by which, from that which happens (the em- pirically contingent) [viewed] as [an] effect, we infer a cause, is a principle of the knowledge of nature, but not of specula- tive knowledge. For, if we abstract from what it is as a principle that contains the condition of all possible experience, and leav- ing aside all that is empirical attempt to assert it of the con- tingent in general, there remains not the least justification for any synthetic proposition such as might show us how to pass from that which is before us to something quite different (called its cause). In this merely speculative employment any meaning whose objective reality admits of being made intelli- gible in concreto, is taken away not only from the concept of the contingent but from the concept of a cause. P 528 If we infer from the existence of things in the world the existence of their cause, we are employing reason, not in the knowledge of nature, but in speculation. For the former type of knowledge treats as empirically contingent, and refers to a cause, not the things themselves (substances), but only that which happens, that is, their states. That substance (matter) is itself contingent in its existence would have to be known in a purely speculative manner. Again, even if we were speaking only of the form of the world, the way in which things are con- nected and change, and sought to infer from this a cause entirely distinct from the world, this would again be a judg- ment of purely speculative reason, since the object which we are inferring is not an object of a possible experience. So em- ployed, the principle of causality, which is only valid within the field of experience, and outside this field has no applica- tion, nay, is indeed meaningless, would be altogether diverted from its proper use. Now I maintain that all attempts to employ reason in theo- logy in any merely speculative manner are altogether fruit- less and by their very nature null and void, and that the prin- ciples of its employment in the study of nature do not lead to any theology whatsoever. Consequently, the only theology of reason which is possible is that which is based upon moral laws or seeks guidance from them. All synthetic principles of reason allow only of an immanent employment; and in order to have knowledge of a supreme being we should have to put them to a transcendent use, for which our understanding is in no way fitted. If the empirically valid law of causality is to lead to the original being, the latter must belong to the chain of objects of experience, and in that case it would, like all appearances, be itself again conditioned. But even if the leap beyond the limits of experience, by means of the dynamical law of the relation of effects to their causes, be regarded as permissible, what sort of a concept could we obtain by this procedure? It is far from pro- viding the concept of a supreme being, since experience never gives us the greatest of all possible effects, such as would be re- quired to provide the evidence for a cause of that kind. Should we seek to make good this lack of determination in our concept, by means of a mere idea of [a being that possesses] the highest perfection and original necessity, this may indeed be granted P 529 as a favour; it cannot be demanded as a right on the strength of an incontrovertible proof. The physico-theological proof, as combining speculation and intuition, might therefore perhaps give additional weight to other proofs (if such there be); but taken alone, it serves only to prepare the understanding for theological knowledge, and to give it a natural leaning in this direction, not to complete the work in and by itself. All this clearly points to the conclusion that transcendental questions allow only of transcendental answers, that is, an- swers exclusively based on concepts that are a priori, without the least empirical admixture. But the question under con- sideration is obviously synthetic, calling for an extension of our knowledge beyond all limits of experience, namely, to the existence of a being that is to correspond to a mere idea of ours, an idea that cannot be paralleled in any experience. Now as we have already proved, synthetic a priori knowledge is possible only in so far as it expresses the formal conditions of a possible experience; and all principles are therefore only of immanent validity, that is, they are applicable only to ob- jects of empirical knowledge, to appearances. Thus all attempts to construct a theology through purely speculative reason, by means of a transcendental procedure, are without result. But even if anyone prefers to call in question all those proofs which have been given in the Analytic, rather than allow himself to be robbed of his conviction of the conclusive- ness of the arguments upon which he has so long relied, he still cannot refuse to meet my demand that he should at least give a satisfactory account how, and by what kind of inner illumination, he believes himself capable of soaring so far above all possible experience, on the wings of mere ideas. New proofs, or attempts to improve upon the old ones, I would ask to be spared. There is not indeed, in this field, much room for choice, since all merely speculative proofs in the end bring us always back to one and the same proof, namely, the ontological; and I have therefore no real ground to fear the fertile ingenuity of the dogmatic champions of super- sensible reason. I shall not, however, decline the challenge to discover the fallacy in any attempt of this kind, and so to nullify its claims; and this I can indeed do without P 530 considering myself a particularly combative person. But by such means I should never succeed in eradicating the hope of better fortune in those who have once become accustomed to dogmatic modes of persuasion; and I therefore confine myself to the moderate demand, that they give, in terms which are universal and which are based on the nature of the human understanding and of all our other sources of know- ledge, a satisfactory answer to this one question: how we can so much as make a beginning in the proposed task of ex- tending our knowledge entirely a priori, and of carrying it into a realm where no experience is possible to us, and in which there is therefore no means of establishing the object- ive reality of any concept that we have ourselves invented. In whatever manner the understanding may have arrived at a concept, the existence of its object is never, by any process of analysis, discoverable within it; for the knowledge of the existence of the object consists precisely in the fact that the object is posited in itself, beyond the [mere] thought of it. Through concepts alone, it is quite impossible to advance to the discovery of new objects and supernatural beings; and it is useless to appeal to experience, which in all cases yields only appearances. But although reason, in its merely speculative employ- ment, is very far from being equal to so great an undertak- ing, namely, to demonstrate the existence of a supreme being, it is yet of very great utility in correcting any knowledge of this being which may be derived from other sources, in making it consistent with itself and with every point of view from which intelligible objects may be regarded, and in freeing it from everything incompatible with the concept of an original being and from all admixture of empirical limitations. Transcendental theology is still, therefore, in spite of all its disabilities, of great importance in its negative employ- ment, and serves as a permanent censor of our reason, in so far as the latter deals merely with pure ideas which, as such, allow of no criterion that is not transcendental. For if, in some other relation, perhaps on practical grounds, the presupposi- tion of a supreme and all-sufficient being, as highest intelli- P 531 gence, established its validity beyond all question, it would be of the greatest importance accurately to determine this con- cept on its transcendental side, as the concept of a necessary and supremely real being, to free it from whatever, as be- longing to mere appearance (anthropomorphism in its wider sense), is out of keeping with the supreme reality, and at the same time to dispose of all counter-assertions, whether atheistic, deistic, or anthropomorphic. Such critical treatment is, indeed, far from being difficult, inasmuch as the same grounds which have enabled us to demonstrate the inability of human reason to maintain the existence of such a being must also suffice to prove the invalidity of all counter-assertions. For from what source could we, through a purely speculative employment of reason, derive the knowledge that there is no supreme being as ultimate ground of all things, or that it has none of the attributes which, arguing from their consequences, we represent to ourselves as analogical with the dynamical realities of a thinking being, or (as the anthropomorphists contend) that it must be subject to all the limitations which sensibility inevitably imposes on those intelligences which are known to us through experience. Thus, while for the merely speculative employment of reason the supreme being remains a mere ideal, it is yet an ideal without a flaw, a concept which completes and crowns the whole of human knowledge. Its objective reality cannot indeed be proved, but also cannot be disproved, by merely speculative reason. If, then, there should be a moral theology that can make good this deficiency, transcendental theology, which before was problematic only, will prove itself indis- pensable in determining the concept of this supreme being and in constantly testing reason, which is so often deceived by sensibility, and which is frequently out of harmony with its own ideas. Necessity, infinity, unity, existence outside the world (and not as world-soul), eternity as free from conditions of time, omnipresence as free from conditions of space, omni- potence, etc. are purely transcendental predicates, and for this reason the purified concepts of them, which every theology finds so indispensable, are only to be obtained from tran- scendental theology. P 532 APPENDIX TO THE TRANSCENDENTAL DIALECTIC THE REGULATIVE EMPLOYMENT OF THE IDEAS OF PURE REASON The outcome of all dialectical attempts of pure reason does not merely confirm what we have already proved in the Transcendental Analytic, namely, that all those conclusions of ours which profess to lead us beyond the field of possible ex- perience are deceptive and without foundation; it likewise teaches us this further lesson, that human reason has a natural tendency to transgress these limits, and that transcendental ideas are just as natural to it as the categories are to under- standing -- though with this difference, that while the categories lead to truth, that is, to the conformity of our concepts with the object, the ideas produce what, though a mere illusion, is none the less irresistible, and the harmful influence of which we can barely succeed in neutralising even by means of the severest criticism. Everything that has its basis in the nature of our powers must be appropriate to, and consistent with, their right em- ployment -- if only we can guard against a certain misunder- standing and so can discover the proper direction of these powers. We are entitled, therefore, to suppose that tran- scendental ideas have their own good, proper, and therefore immanent use, although, when their meaning is misunder- stood, and they are taken for concepts of real things, they become transcendent in their application and for that very reason can be delusive. For it is not the idea in itself, but its use only, that can be either transcendent or immanent (that is, either range beyond all possible experience or find em- ployment within its limits), according as it is applied to an object which is supposed to correspond to it, or is directed solely to the use of understanding in general, in respect of those objects that fall to be dealt with by the understand- ing. All errors of subreption are to be ascribed to a defect of judgment, never to understanding or to reason. Reason is never in immediate relation to an object, but P 533 only to the understanding; and it is only through the under- standing that it has its own [specific] empirical employment. It does not, therefore, create concepts (of objects) but only orders them, and gives them that unity which they can have only if they be employed in their widest possible application, that is, with a view to obtaining totality in the various series. The understanding does not concern itself with this totality, but only with that connection through which, in accordance with concepts, such series of conditions come into being. Reason has, therefore, as its sole object, the understanding and its effective application. Just as the understanding unifies the manifold in the object by means of concepts, so reason unifies the manifold of concepts by means of ideas, positing a certain collective unity as the goal of the activities of the understanding, which otherwise are concerned solely with distributive unity. I accordingly maintain that transcendental ideas never allow of any constitutive employment. When regarded in that mistaken manner, and therefore as supplying concepts of certain objects, they are but pseudo-rational, merely dia- lectical concepts. On the other hand, they have an excellent, and indeed indispensably necessary, regulative employment, namely, that of directing the understanding towards a certain goal upon which the routes marked out by all its rules con- verge, as upon their point of intersection. This point is indeed a mere idea, a focus imaginarius, from which, since it lies quite outside the bounds of possible experience, the concepts of the understanding do not in reality proceed; none the less it serves to give to these concepts the greatest [possible] unity combined with the greatest [possible] extension. Hence arises the illusion that the lines have their source in a real object lying outside the field of empirically possible knowledge -- just as objects reflected in a mirror are seen as behind it. Never- theless this illusion (which need not, however, be allowed to deceive us) is indispensably necessary if we are to direct the understanding beyond every given experience (as part of the sum of possible experience), and thereby to secure its greatest possible extension, just as, in the case of mirror- vision, the illusion involved is indispensably necessary if, P 534 besides the objects which lie before our eyes, we are also to see those which lie at a distance behind our back. If we consider in its whole range the knowledge obtained for us by the understanding, we find that what is peculiarly distinctive of reason in its attitude to this body of knowledge, is that it prescribes and seeks to achieve its systematisation, that is, to exhibit the connection of its parts in conformity with a single principle. This unity of reason always presup- poses an idea, namely, that of the form of a whole of know- ledge -- a whole which is prior to the determinate knowledge of the parts and which contains the conditions that deter- mine a priori for every part its position and relation to the other parts. This idea accordingly postulates a complete unity in the knowledge obtained by the understanding, by which this knowledge is to be not a mere contingent aggregate, but a system connected according to necessary laws. We may not say that this idea is a concept of the object, but only of the thoroughgoing unity of such concepts, in so far as that unity serves as a rule for the understanding. These concepts of reason are not derived from nature; on the contrary, we in- terrogate nature in accordance with these ideas, and consider our knowledge as defective so long as it is not adequate to them. By general admission, pure earth, pure water, pure air, etc. , are not to be found. We require, however, the concepts of them (though, in so far as their complete purity is concerned, they have their origin solely in reason) in order properly to determine the share which each of these natural causes has in producing appearances. Thus in order to explain the chemical interactions of bodies in accordance with the idea of a mechan- ism, every kind of matter is reduced to earths (qua mere weight), to salts and inflammable substances (qua force), and to water and air as vehicles (machines, as it were, by which the first two produce their effects). The modes of expression usually employed are, indeed, somewhat different; but the influence of reason on the classifications of the natural scientist is still easily detected. If reason is a faculty of deducing the particular from the universal, and if the universal is already certain in itself and given, only judgment is required to execute the process of P 535 subsumption, and the particular is thereby determined in a necessary manner. This I shall entitle the apodeictic use of reason. If, however, the universal is admitted as problem- atic only, and is a mere idea, the particular is certain, but the universality of the rule of which it is a consequence is still a problem. Several particular instances, which are one and all certain, are scrutinised in view of the rule, to see whether they follow from it. If it then appears that all particular instances which can be cited follow from the rule, we argue to its universality, and from this again to all particu- lar instances, even to those which are not themselves given. This I shall entitle the hypothetical employment of reason. The hypothetical employment of reason, based upon ideas viewed as problematic concepts, is not, properly speaking, constitutive, that is, it is not of such a character that, judging in all strictness, we can regard it as proving the truth of the universal rule which we have adopted as hypothesis. For how are we to know all the possible consequences which, as actually following from the adopted principle, prove its universality? The hypothetical employment of reason is regulative only; its sole aim is, so far as may be possible, to bring unity into the body of our detailed knowledge, and thereby to approximate the rule to universality. The hypothetical employment of reason has, therefore, as its aim the systematic unity of the knowledge of understand- ing, and this unity is the criterion of the truth of its rules. The systematic unity (as a mere idea) is, however, only a projected unity, to be regarded not as given in itself, but as a problem only. This unity aids us in discovering a principle for the understanding in its manifold and special modes of employ- ment, directing its attention to cases which are not given, and thus rendering it more coherent. But the only conclusion which we are justified in drawing from these considerations is that the systematic unity of the manifold knowledge of understanding, as prescribed by reason, is a logical principle. Its function is to assist the understanding by means of ideas, in those cases in which the understanding cannot by itself establish rules, and at the same time to give P 536 to the numerous and diverse rules of the understanding unity or system under a single principle, and thus to secure co- herence in every possible way. But to say that the constitu- tion of the objects or the nature of the understanding which knows them as such, is in itself determined to systematic unity, and that we can in a certain measure postulate this unity a priori, without reference to any such special interest of reason, and that we are therefore in a position to maintain that knowledge of the understanding in all its possible modes (including empirical knowledge) has the unity required by reason, and stands under common principles from which all its various modes can, in spite of their diversity, be deduced -- that would be to assert a transcendental principle of reason, and would make the systematic unity necessary, not only subjectively and logically, as method, but objectively also. We may illustrate this by an instance of the employment of reason. Among the various kinds of unity which conform to the concepts of the understanding, is that of the causality of a substance, which is called power. The various appear- ances of one and the same substance show at first sight so great a diversity, that at the start we have to assume just as many different powers as there are different effects. For in- stance in the human mind we have sensation, conscious- ness, imagination, memory, wit, power of discrimination, pleasure, desire, etc. Now there is a logical maxim which requires that we should reduce, so far as may be possible, this seeming diversity, by comparing these with one another and detecting their hidden identity. We have to enquire whether imagination combined with consciousness may not be the same thing as memory, wit, power of discrimination, and perhaps even identical with understanding and reason. Though logic is not capable of deciding whether a fundamental power actually exists, the idea of such a power is the problem in- volved in a systematic representation of the multiplicity of powers. The logical principle of reason calls upon us to bring about such unity as completely as possible; and the more the appearances of this and that power are found to be identical with one another, the more probable it becomes that they are simply different manifestations of one and the same power, P 537 which may be entitled, relatively to the more specific powers, the fundamental power. The same is done with the other powers. The relatively fundamental powers must in turn be com- pared with one another, with a view to discovering their har- mony, and so to bring them nearer to a single radical, that is, absolutely fundamental, power. But this unity of reason is purely hypothetical. We do not assert that such a power must necessarily be met with, but that we must seek it in the interests of reason, that is, of establishing certain principles for the manifold rules which experience may supply to us. We must endeavour, wherever possible, to bring in this way systematic unity into our knowledge. On passing, however, to the transcendental employment of understanding, we find that this idea of a fundamental power is not treated merely as a problem for the hypothetical use of reason, but claims to have objective reality, as postulat- ing the systematic unity of the various powers of a substance, and as giving expression to an apodeictic principle of reason. For without having made any attempt to show the harmony of these various powers, nay, even after all attempts to do so have failed, we yet presuppose that such a unity does actually exist, and this not only, as in the case cited, on account of the unity of the substance, but also in those cases in which, as with matter in general, we encounter powers which, though to a certain extent homogeneous, are likewise diverse. In all such cases reason presupposes the systematic unity of the various powers, on the ground that special natural laws fall under more general laws, and that parsimony in principles is not only an economical requirement of reason, but is one of nature's own laws. It is, indeed, difficult to understand how there can be a logical principle by which reason prescribes the unity of rules, unless we also presuppose a transcendental principle whereby such a systematic unity is a priori assumed to be necessarily inherent in the objects. For with what right can reason, in its logical employment, call upon us to treat the multiplicity of powers exhibited in nature as simply a disguised unity and to derive this unity, so far as may be possible, from a funda- mental power -- how can reason do this, if it be free to admit P 538 as likewise possible that all powers may be heterogeneous, and that such systematic unity of derivation may not be in con- formity with nature? Reason would then run counter to its own vocation, proposing as its aim an idea quite inconsistent with the constitution of nature. Nor can we say that reason, while proceeding in accordance with its own principles, has arrived at knowledge of this unity through observation of the accidental constitution of nature. The law of reason which requires us to seek for this unity, is a necessary law, since without it we should have no reason at all, and without reason no coherent em- ployment of the understanding, and in the absence of this no sufficient criterion of empirical truth. In order, therefore, to secure an empirical criterion we have no option save to pre- suppose the systematic unity of nature as objectively valid and necessary. Although philosophers have not always acknowledged this transcendental principle, even to themselves, or indeed been conscious of employing it, we none the less find it covertly im- plied, in remarkable fashion, in the principles upon which they proceed. That the manifold respects in which individual things differ do not exclude identity of species, that the various species must be regarded merely as different determinations of a few genera, and these, in turn, of still higher genera, and so on; in short, that we must seek for a certain systematic unity of all possible empirical concepts, in so far as they can be deduced from higher and more general concepts -- this is a logical principle, a rule of the Schools, without which there could be no employment of reason. For we can conclude from the universal to the particular, only in so far as universal pro- perties are ascribed to things as being the foundation upon which the particular properties rest. That such unity is to be found in nature, is presupposed by philosophers in the well-known scholastic maxim, that rudi- ments or principles must not be unnecessarily multiplied (entia praeter necessitatem non esse multiplicanda). This maxim de- clares that things by their very nature supply material for the unity of reason, and that the seemingly infinite variety need not hinder us from assuming that behind this variety there is a unity of fundamental properties -- properties from which the P 539 diversity can be derived through repeated determination. This unity, although it is a mere idea, has been at all times so eagerly sought, that there has been need to moderate the desire for it, not to encourage it. A great advance was made when chemists succeeded in reducing all salts to two main genera, acids and alkalies; and they endeavour to show that even this difference is merely a variety, or diverse manifestation, of one and the same fundamental material. Chemists have sought, step by step, to reduce the different kinds of earths (the material of stones and even of metals) to three, and at last to two; but, not content with this, they are unable to banish the thought that behind these varieties there is but one genus, nay, that there may even be a common principle for the earths and the salts. It might be supposed that this is merely an economical con- trivance whereby reason seeks to save itself all possible trouble, a hypothetical attempt, which, if it succeeds, will, through the unity thus attained, impart probability to the presumed prin- ciple of explanation. But such a selfish purpose can very easily be distinguished from the idea. For in conformity with the idea everyone presupposes that this unity of reason accords with nature itself, and that reason -- although indeed unable to determine the limits of this unity -- does not here beg but command. If among the appearances which present themselves to us, there were so great a variety -- I do not say in form, for in that respect the appearances might resemble one another; but in content, that is, in the manifoldness of the existing entities -- that even the acutest human understanding could never by comparison of them detect the slightest similarity (a possi- bility which is quite conceivable), the logical law of genera would have no sort of standing; we should not even have the concept of a genus, or indeed any other universal concept; and the understanding itself, which has to do solely with such con- cepts, would be non-existent. If, therefore, the logical prin- ciple of genera is to be applied to nature (by which I here under- stand those objects only which are given to us), it presupposes a transcendental principle. And in accordance with this latter principle, homogeneity is necessarily presupposed in the mani- fold of possible experience (although we are not in a position to determine in a priori fashion its degree); for in the absence P 540 of homogeneity, no empirical concepts, and therefore no ex- perience, would be possible. The logical principle of genera, which postulates identity, is balanced by another principle, namely, that of species, which calls for manifoldness and diversity in things, notwith- standing their agreement as coming under the same genus, and which prescribes to the understanding that it attend to the diversity no less than to the identity. This principle (of discrimi- native observation, that is, of the faculty of distinction) sets a limit to possible indiscretion in the former principle (of the faculty of wit); and reason thus exhibits a twofold, self-con- flicting interest, on the one hand interest in extent (universal- ity) in respect of genera, and on the other hand in content (de- terminateness) in respect of the multiplicity of the species. In the one case the understanding thinks more under its concepts, in the other more in them. This twofold interest manifests it- self also among students of nature in the diversity of their ways of thinking. Those who are more especially speculative are, we may almost say, hostile to heterogeneity, and are always on the watch for the unity of the genus; those, on the other hand, who are more especially empirical, are constantly endeavour- ing to differentiate nature in such manifold fashion as almost to extinguish the hope of ever being able to determine its ap- pearances in accordance with universal principles. This latter mode of thought is evidently based upon a logi- cal principle which aims at the systematic completeness of all knowledge -- prescribing that, in beginning with the genus, we descend to the manifold which may be contained thereunder, in such fashion as to secure extension for the system, just as in the alternative procedure, that of ascending to the genus, we endeavour to secure the unity of the system. For if we limit our attention to the sphere of the concept which marks out a genus, we can no more determine how far it is possible to pro- ceed in the [logical] division of it, than we can judge merely from the space which a body occupies how far it is possible to proceed in the [physical] division of its parts. Consequently, P 541 every genus requires diversity of species, and these in turn diversity of subspecies; and since no one of these subspecies is ever itself without a sphere (extent as conceptus communis), reason, in being carried to completion, demands that no species be regarded as being in itself the lowest. For since the species is always a concept, containing only what is common to different things, it is not completely determined. It cannot, therefore, be directly related to an individual, and other con- cepts, that is, subspecies, must always be contained under it. This law of specification can be formulated as being the prin- ciple: entium varietates non temere esse minuendas. But it is easily seen that this logical law would be without meaning and application if it did not rest upon a transcendental law of specification, which does not indeed demand an actual infinity of differences in the things which can be objects to us -- the logical principle, as affirming only the indeterminateness of the logical sphere in respect of possible division, gives no occasion for any such assertion -- but which none the less im- poses upon the understanding the obligation of seeking under every discoverable species for subspecies, and under every dif- ference for yet smaller differences. For if there were no lower concepts, there could not be higher concepts. Now the under- standing can have knowledge only through concepts, and therefore, however far it carries the process of division, never through mere intuition, but always again through lower concepts. The knowledge of appearances in their complete determination, which is possible only through the under- standing, demands an endless progress in the specification of our concepts, and an advance to yet other remaining differ- ences, from which we have made abstraction in the concept of the species, and still more so in that of the genus. This law of specification cannot be derived from experi- ence, which can never open to our view any such extensive prospects. Empirical specification soon comes to a stop in the distinction of the manifold, if it be not guided by the ante- cedent transcendental law of specification, which, as a prin- ciple of reason, leads us to seek always for further differences, and to suspect their existence even when the senses are unable to disclose them. That absorbent earths are of different kinds (chalk and muriatic earths), is a discovery that was possible P 542 only under the guidance of an antecedent rule of reason -- reason proceeding on the assumption that nature is so richly diversi- fied that we may presume the presence of such differences, and therefore prescribing to the understanding the task of searching for them. Indeed it is only on the assumption of differences in nature, just as it is also only under the condition that its objects exhibit homogeneity, that we can have any faculty of understanding whatsoever. For the diversity of that which is comprehended under a concept is precisely what gives occasion for the employment of the concept and the exercise of the understanding. Reason thus prepares the field for the understanding: (1) through a principle of the homogeneity of the manifold under higher genera; (2) through a principle of the variety of the homogeneous under lower species; and (3) in order to complete the systematic unity, a further law, that of the affinity of all concepts -- a law which prescribes that we proceed from each species to every other by gradual increase of the diversity. These we may entitle the principles of homogeneity, specifica- tion, and continuity of forms. The last named arises from union of the other two, inasmuch as only through the pro- cesses of ascending to the higher genera and of descending to the lower species do we obtain the idea of systematic connec- tion in its completeness. For all the manifold differences are then related to one another, inasmuch as they one and all spring from one highest genus, through all degrees of a more and more widely extended determination. The systematic unity, prescribed by the three logical principles, can be illustrated in the following manner. Every concept may be regarded as a point which, as the station for an observer, has its own horizon, that is, a variety of things which can be represented, and, as it were, surveyed from that standpoint. This horizon must be capable of containing an infinite number of points, each of which has its own narrower horizon; that is, every species contains subspecies, according to the principle of specification, and the logical horizon con- sists exclusively of smaller horizons (subspecies), never of points which possess no extent (individuals). But for different horizons, that is, genera, each of which is determined by its own concept, there can be a common horizon, in reference to P 543 which, as from a common centre, they can all be surveyed; and from this higher genus we can proceed until we arrive at the highest of all genera, and so at the universal and true horizon, which is determined from the standpoint of the highest con- cept, and which comprehends under itself all manifoldness -- genera, species, and subspecies. We are carried to this highest standpoint by the law of homogeneity, and to all lower standpoints, and their greatest possible variety, by the law of specification. And since there is thus no void in the whole sphere of all possible concepts, and since nothing can be met with outside this sphere, there arises from the presupposition of this universal horizon and of its complete division, the principle: non datur vacuum formarum, that is, that there are not different, original, first genera, which are isolated from one another, separated, as it were, by an empty intervening space; but that all the manifold genera are simply divisions of one single highest and universal genus. From this principle there follows, as its immediate con- sequence: datur continuum formarum, that is, that all differ- ences of species border upon one another, admitting of no transition from one to another per saltum, but only through all the smaller degrees of difference that mediate between them. In short, there are no species or subspecies which (in the view of reason) are the nearest possible to each other; still other intermediate species are always possible, the difference of which from each of the former is always smaller than the difference between these. The first law thus keeps us from resting satisfied with an excessive number of different original genera, and bids us pay due regard to homogeneity; the second, in turn, imposes a check upon this tendency towards unity, and insists that be- fore we proceed to apply a universal concept to individuals we distinguish subspecies within it. The third law combines these two laws by prescribing that even amidst the utmost mani- foldness we observe homogeneity in the gradual transition from one species to another, and thus recognise a relationship of the different branches, as all springing from the same stem. This logical law of the continuum specierum (formarum logicarum) presupposes, however, a transcendental law (lex P 544 continui in natura), without which the former law would only lead the understanding astray, causing it to follow a path which is perhaps quite contrary to that prescribed by nature itself. This law must therefore rest upon pure transcendental, not on empirical, grounds. For if it rested on empirical grounds, it would come later than the systems, whereas in actual fact it has itself given rise to all that is systematic in our knowledge of nature. The formulation of these laws is not due to any secret design of making an experiment, by putting them forward as merely tentative suggestions. Such anticipations, when confirmed, yield strong evidence in sup- port of the view that the hypothetically conceived unity is well-grounded; and such evidence has therefore in this re- spect a certain utility. But it is evident that the laws contem- plate the parsimony of fundamental causes, the manifoldness of effects, and the consequent affinity of the parts of nature as being in themselves in accordance both with reason and with nature. Hence these principles carry their recommend- ation directly in themselves, and not merely as methodo- logical devices. But it is easily seen that this continuity of forms is a mere idea, to which no congruent object can be discovered in ex- perience. For in the first place, the species in nature are actually divided, and must therefore constitute a quantum discretum. Were the advance in the tracing of their affinity continuous, there would be a true infinity of intermediate members be- tween any two given species, which is impossible. And further, in the second place, we could not make any determinate em- pirical use of this law, since it instructs us only in quite general terms that we are to seek for grades of affinity, and yields no criterion whatsoever as to how far, and in what manner, we are to prosecute the search for them. If we place these principles of systematic unity in the order appropriate to their empirical employment, they will stand thus: manifoldness, affinity, unity, each being taken, as an idea, in the highest degree of its completeness. Reason pre- supposes the knowledge which is obtained by the understand- ing and which stands in immediate relation to experience, and P 545 seeks for the unity of this knowledge in accordance with ideas which go far beyond all possible experience. The affinity of the manifold (as, notwithstanding its diversity, coming under a principle of unity) refers indeed to things, but still more to their properties and powers. Thus, for instance, if at first our im- perfect experience leads us to regard the orbits of the planets as circular, and if we subsequently detect deviations therefrom, we trace the deviations to that which can change the circle, in accordance with a fixed law, through all the infinite inter- mediate degrees, into one of these divergent orbits. That is to say, we assume that the movements of the planets which are not circular will more or less approximate to the properties of a circle; and thus we come upon the idea of an ellipse. Since the comets do not, so far as observation reaches, return in any such courses, their paths exhibit still greater deviations. What we then do is to suppose that they proceed in a parabolic course, which is akin to the ellipse, and which in all our observation is indistinguishable from an ellipse that has its major axis in- definitely extended. Thus, under the guidance of these prin- ciples, we discover a unity in the generic forms of the orbits, and thereby a unity in the cause of all the laws of planetary motion, namely, gravitation. And we then extend our con- quests still further, endeavouring to explain by the same prin- ciple all variations and seeming departures from these rules; finally, we even go on to make additions such as experience can never confirm, namely, to conceive, in accordance with the rules of affinity, hyperbolic paths of comets, in the course of which these bodies entirely leave our solar system, and passing from sun to sun, unite the most distant parts of the universe -- a universe which, though for us unlimited, is throughout held together by one and the same moving force. The remarkable feature of these principles, and what in them alone concerns us, is that they seem to be transcendental, and that although they contain mere ideas for the guidance of the empirical employment of reason -- ideas which reason follows only as it were asymptotically, i.e. ever more closely without ever reaching them -- they yet possess, as synthetic a priori propositions, objective but indeterminate validity, and serve as rules for possible experience. They can also be em- ployed with great advantage in the elaboration of experience, P 546 as heuristic principles. A transcendental deduction of them cannot, however, be effected; in the case of ideas, as we have shown above, such a deduction is never possible. In the Transcendental Analytic we have distinguished the dynamical principles of the understanding, as merely regula- tive principles of intuition, from the mathematical, which, as regards intuition, are constitutive. None the less these dyna- mical laws are constitutive in respect of experience, since they render the concepts, without which there can be no experi- ence, possible a priori. But principles of pure reason can never be constitutive in respect of empirical concepts; for since no schema of sensibility corresponding to them can ever be given, they can never have an object in concreto. If, then, we disallow such empirical employment of them, as constitutive principles, how are we to secure for them a regulative em- ployment, and therewith some sort of objective validity, and what can we mean by such regulative employment? The understanding is an object for reason, just as sensi- bility is for the understanding. It is the business of reason to render the unity of all possible empirical acts of the under- standing systematic; just as it is of the understanding to con- nect the manifold of the appearances by means of concepts, and to bring it under empirical laws. But the acts of the under- standing are, without the schemata of sensibility, undeter- mined; just as the unity of reason is in itself undetermined, as regards the conditions under which, and the extent to which, the understanding ought to combine its concepts in systematic fashion. But although we are unable to find in intuition a schema for the complete systematic unity of all concepts of the understanding, an analogon of such a schema must necessarily allow of being given. This analogon is the idea of the maxi- mum in the division and unification of the knowledge of the understanding under one principle. For what is greatest and absolutely complete can be determinately thought, all re- stricting conditions, which give rise to an indeterminate manifoldness, being left aside. Thus the idea of reason is an analogon of a schema of sensibility; but with this differ- ence, that the application of the concepts of the understanding to the schema of reason does not yield knowledge of the object itself (as is the case in the application of categories to their P 547 sensible schemata) but only a rule or principle for the system- atic unity of all employment of the understanding. Now since every principle which prescribes a priori to the under- standing thoroughgoing unity in its employment, also holds, although only indirectly, of the object of experience, the principles of pure reason must also have objective reality in respect of that object, not, however, in order to determine anything in it, but only in order to indicate the procedure whereby the empirical and determinate employment of the understanding can be brought into complete harmony with itself. This is acheived by bringing its employment, so far as may be possible, into connection with the principle of thorough- going unity, and by determining its procedure in the light of this principle. I entitle all subjective principles which are derived, not from the constitution of an object but from the interest of reason in respect of a certain possible perfection of the knowledge of the object, maxims of reason. There are there- fore maxims of speculative reason, which rest entirely on its speculative interest, although they may seem to be objective principles. When merely regulative principles are treated as constitu- tive, and are therefore employed as objective principles, they may come into conflict with one another. But when they are treated merely as maxims, there is no real conflict, but merely those differences in the interest of reason that give rise to differing modes of thought. In actual fact, reason has only one single interest, and the conflict of its maxims is only a difference in, and a mutual limitation of, the methods where- by this interest endeavours to obtain satisfaction. Thus one thinker may be more particularly interested in manifoldness (in accordance with the principle of specifica- tion), another thinker in unity (in accordance with the prin- ciple of aggregation). Each believes that his judgment has been arrived at through insight into the object, whereas it really rests entirely on the greater or lesser attachment to one of the two principles. And since neither of these principles is based on objective grounds, but solely on the interest of reason, the P 548 title 'principles' is not strictly applicable; they may more fit- tingly be entitled 'maxims'. When we observe intelligent people disputing in regard to the characteristic properties of men, animals, or plants -- even of bodies in the mineral realm -- some assuming, for instance, that there are certain special heredit- ary characteristics in each nation, certain well-defined inherited differences in families, races, etc. , whereas others are bent upon maintaining that in all such cases nature has made precisely the same provision for all, and that it is solely to external accidental conditions that the differences are due, we have only to consider what sort of an object it is about which they are making these assertions, to realise that it lies too deeply hidden to allow of their speaking from insight into its nature. The dispute is due simply to the twofold interest of reason, the one party setting its heart upon, or at least adopting, the one interest, and the other party the other. The differences between the maxims of manifoldness and of unity in nature thus easily allow of reconciliation. So long, however, as the maxims are taken as yielding objective insight, and until a way has been discovered of adjusting their conflicting claims, and of satisfying reason in that regard, they will not only give rise to disputes but will be a positive hindrance, and cause long delays in the discovery of truth. Similar observations are relevant in regard to the assertion or denial of the widely discussed law of the continuous grada- tion of created beings, which was propounded by Leibniz, and admirably supported by Bonnet. It is simply the following out of that principle of affinity which rests on the interest of reason. For observation and insight into the constitution of nature could never justify us in the objective assertion of the law. The steps of this ladder, as they are presented to us in experience, stand much too far apart; and what may seem to us small differences are usually in nature itself such wide gaps, that from any such observations we can come to no decision in regard to nature's ultimate design -- especially if we bear in mind that in so great a multiplicity of things there can never be much difficulty in finding similarities and approximations. On the other hand, the method of looking for order in nature P 549 in accordance with such a principle, and the maxim which prescribes that we regard such order -- leaving, however, un- determined where and how far -- as grounded in nature as such, is certainly a legitimate and excellent regulative prin- ciple of reason. In this regulative capacity it goes far beyond what experience or observation can verify; and though not itself determining anything, yet serves to mark out the path towards systematic unity. THE FINAL PURPOSE OF THE NATURAL DIALECTIC OF HUMAN REASON The ideas of pure reason can never be dialectical in them- selves; any deceptive illusion to which they give occasion must be due solely to their misemployment. For they arise from the very nature of our reason; and it is impossible that this highest tribunal of all the rights and claims of speculation should itself be the source of deceptions and illusions. Pre- sumably, therefore, the ideas have their own good and ap- propriate vocation as determined by the natural disposition of our reason. The mob of sophists, however, raise against reason the usual cry of absurdities and contradictions, and though unable to penetrate to its innermost designs, they none the less inveigh against its prescriptions. Yet it is to the beneficent in- fluences exercised by reason that they owe the possibility of their own self-assertiveness, and indeed that very culture which enables them to blame and to condemn what reason requires of them. We cannot employ an a priori concept with any certainty without having first given a transcendental deduction of it. The ideas of pure reason do not, indeed, admit of the kind of deduction that is possible in the case of the categories. But if they are to have the least objective validity, no matter how indeterminate that validity may be, and are not to be mere empty thought-entities (entia rationis ratiocinantis), a deduc- tion of them must be possible, however greatly (as we admit) it may differ from that which we have been able to give of the categories. This will complete the critical work of pure reason, and is what we now propose to undertake. P 550 There is a great difference between something being given to my reason as an object absolutely, or merely as an object in the idea. In the former case our concepts are employed to deter- mine the object; in the latter case there is in fact only a schema which no object, not even a hypothetical one, is directly given, and which only enables us to represent to ourselves other objects in an indirect manner, namely in their systematic unity, by means of their relation to this idea. Thus I say that the concept of a highest intelligence is a mere idea, that is to say, its objective reality is not to be taken as consisting in its referring directly to an object (for in that sense we should not be able to justify its objective validity). It is only a schema constructed in accordance with the conditions of the greatest possible unity of reason -- the schema of the concept of a thing in general, which serves only to secure the greatest possible sys- tematic unity in the empirical employment of our reason. We then, as it were, derive the object of experience from the sup- posed object of this idea, viewed as the ground or cause of the object of experience. We declare, for instance, that the things of the world must be viewed as if they received their existence from a highest intelligence. The idea is thus really only a heur- istic, not an ostensive concept. It does not show us how an object is constituted, but how, under its guidance, we should seek to determine the constitution and connection of the objects of experience. If, then, it can be shown that the three transcen- dental ideas (the psychological, the cosmological, and the theo- logical), although they do not directly relate to, or determine, any object corresponding to them, none the less, 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 know- ledge, without ever being in a position to run counter to it, we may conclude that it is a necessary maxim of reason to proceed always in accordance with such ideas. This, indeed, is the transcendental deduction of all ideas of speculative reason, not as constitutive principles for the extension of our knowledge to more objects than experience can give, but as regulative principles of the systematic unity of the manifold of empirical knowledge in general, whereby this empirical P 551 knowledge is more adequately secured within its own Limits and more effectively improved than would be possible, in the absence of such ideas, through the employment merely of the principles of the understanding. I shall endeavour to make this clearer. In conformity with these ideas as principles we shall, first, in psychology, under the guidance of inner experience, connect all the appearances, all the actions and receptivity of our mind, as if the mind were a simple substance which persists with personal identity (in this life at least), while its states, to which those of the body belong only as outer conditions, are in continual change. Secondly, in cosmology, we must follow up the conditions of both inner and outer natural appearances, in an enquiry which is to be regarded as never allowing of completion, just as if the series of appearances were in itself endless, without any first or supreme member. We need not, in so doing, deny that, outside all appearances, there are purely intelligible grounds of the appearances; but as we have no knowledge of these whatsoever, we must never attempt to make use of them in our explanations of nature. Thirdly, and finally, in the domain of theology, we must view everything that can belong to the context of possible experience as if this experience formed an absolute but at the same time completely dependent and sensibly conditioned unity, and yet also at the same time as if the sum of all appearances (the sensible world itself) had a single, highest and all-sufficient ground beyond itself, namely, a self-subsistent, original, creative reason. For it is in the light of this idea of a creative reason that we so guide the empirical employment of our reason as to secure its greatest possible extension -- that is, by viewing all objects as if they drew their origin from such an archetype. In other words, we ought not to derive the inner appearances of the soul from a simple thinking substance but from one another, in accordance with the idea of a simple being; we ought not to derive the order and systematic unity of the world from a supreme intelligence, but to obtain from the idea of a supremely wise cause the rule according to which reason in connecting empirical causes and effects in the world may be employed to best advantage, and in such manner as to secure satisfaction of its own demands. Now there is nothing whatsoever to hinder us from as- P 552 suming these ideas to be also objective, that is, from hyposta- tising them -- except in the case of the cosmological ideas, where reason, in so proceeding, falls into antinomy. The psychological and theological ideas contain no antinomy, and involve no contradiction. How, then, can anyone dispute their [possible] objective reality? He who denies their possi- bility must do so with just as little knowledge [of this possi- bility] as we can have in affirming it. It is not, however, a sufficient ground for assuming anything, that there is no positive hindrance to our so doing; we are not justified in introducing thought-entities which transcend all our con- cepts, though without contradicting them, as being real and determinate objects, merely on the authority of a speculative reason that is bent upon completing the tasks which it has set itself. They ought not to be assumed as existing in themselves, but only as having the reality of a schema -- the schema of the regulative principle of the systematic unity of all knowledge of nature. They should be regarded only as analoga of real things, not as in themselves real things. We remove from the object of the idea the conditions which limit the concept provided by our understanding, but which also alone make it possible for us to have a determinate con- cept of anything. What we then think is a something of which, as it is in itself, we have no concept whatsoever, but which we none the less represent to ourselves as standing to the sum of appearances in a relation analogous to that in which appearances stand to one another. If, in this manner, we assume such ideal beings, we do not really extend our knowledge beyond the objects of possible experience; we extend only the empirical unity of such experi- ence, by means of the systematic unity for which the schema is provided by the idea -- an idea which has therefore no claim to be a constitutive, but only a regulative principle. For to allow that we posit a thing, a something, a real being, corresponding to the idea, is not to say that we profess to extend our knowledge of things by means of transcen- dental concepts. For this being is posited only in the idea and not in itself; and therefore only as expressing the systematic P 553 unity which is to serve as a rule for the empirical employ- ment of reason. It decides nothing in regard to the ground of this unity or as to what may be the inner character of the being on which as cause the unity depends. Thus the transcendental, and the only determinate, con- cept which the purely speculative reason gives us of God is, in the strictest sense, deistic; that is, reason does not determine the objective validity of such a concept, but yields only the idea of something which is the ground of the highest and necessary unity of all empirical reality. This something we cannot think otherwise than on the analogy of a real sub- stance that, in conformity with laws of reason, is the cause of all things. This, indeed, is how we must think it, in so far as we venture to think it as a special object, and do not rather remain satisfied with the mere idea of the regu- lative principle of reason, leaving aside the completion of all conditions of thought as being too surpassingly great for the human understanding. The latter procedure is, how- ever, inconsistent with the pursuit of that complete system- atic unity in our knowledge to which reason at least sets no limits. This, then, is how matters stand: if we assume a divine being, we have indeed no concept whatsoever either of the inner possibility of its supreme perfection or of the necessity of its existence; but, on the other hand, 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 com- plete satisfaction in respect to that highest unity after which it is seeking in its empirical employment. The fact, however, that we are unable to satisfy reason in respect to the assump- tion itself, shows that it is the speculative interest of reason, not any insight, which justifies it in thus starting from a point that lies so far above its sphere; and in endeavouring, by this device, to survey its objects as constituting a complete whole. We here come upon a distinction bearing on the procedure of thought in dealing with one and the same assumption, a distinction which is somewhat subtle, but of great importance in transcendental philosophy. I may have sufficient ground to assume something, in a relative sense (suppositio relativa), and yet have no right to assume it absolutely (suppositio absoluta). P 554 This distinction has to be reckoned with in the case of a merely regulative principle. We recognise the necessity of the principle, but have no knowledge of the source of its neces- sity; and in assuming that it has a supreme ground, we do so solely in order to think its universality more determinately. Thus, for instance, when I think as existing a being that corresponds to a mere idea, indeed to a transcendental idea, I have no right to assume any such thing as in itself exist- ing, since no concepts through which I am able to think any object as determined suffice for such a purpose -- the condi- tions which are required for the objective validity of my con- cepts being excluded by the idea itself. The concepts of reality, substance, causality, even that of necessity in existence, apart from their use in making possible the empirical knowledge of an object, have no meaning whatsoever, such as might serve to determine any object. They can be employed, therefore, to explain the possibility of things in the world of sense, but not to explain the possibility of the universe itself. Such a ground of explanation would have to be outside the world, and could not therefore be an object of a possible experience. None the less, though I cannot assume such an inconceivable being [as existing] in itself, I may yet assume it as the object of a mere idea, relatively to the world of sense. For if the greatest possible empirical employment of my reason rests upon an idea (that of systematically complete unity, which I shall presently be defining more precisely), an idea which, al- though it can never itself be adequately exhibited in experi- ence, is yet indispensably necessary in order that we may approximate to the highest possible degree of empirical unity, I shall not only be entitled, but shall also be constrained, to realise this idea, that is, to posit for it a real object. But I may posit it only as a something which I do not at all know in itself, and to which, as a ground of that systematic unity, I ascribe, in relation to this unity, such properties as are ana- logous to the concepts employed by the understanding in the empirical sphere. Accordingly, in analogy with realities in the world, that is, with substances, with causality and with necessity, I think a being which possesses all this in the highest perfection; and since this idea depends merely on my reason, I can think this being as self-subsistent reason, P 555 which through ideas of the greatest harmony and unity is the cause of the universe. I thus omit all conditions which might limit the idea, solely in order, under countenance of such an original ground, to make possible systematic unity of the manifold in the universe, and thereby the greatest possible empirical employment of reason. This I do by repre- senting all connections as if they were the ordinances of a supreme reason, of which our reason is but a faint copy. I then proceed to think this supreme being exclusively through con- cepts which, properly, are applicable only in the world of sense. But since I make none but a relative use of the trans- cendental assumption, namely, as giving the substratum of the greatest possible unity of experience, I am quite in order in thinking a being which I distinguish from the world of sense, through properties which belong solely to that world. For I do not seek, nor am I justified in seeking, to know this object of my idea according to what it may be in itself. There are no concepts available for any such purpose; even the concepts of reality, substance, causality, nay, even that of necessity in existence, lose all meaning, and are empty titles for [possible] concepts, themselves entirely without content, when we thus venture with them outside the field of the senses. I think to myself merely the relation of a being, in itself completely un- known to me, to the greatest possible systematic unity of the universe, solely for the purpose of using it as a schema of the regulative principle of the greatest possible empirical employ- ment of my reason. If it be the transcendental object of our idea that we have in view, it is obvious that we cannot thus, in terms of the concepts of reality, substance, causality, etc. , presuppose its reality in itself, since these concepts have not the least applica- tion to anything that is entirely distinct from the world of sense. The supposition which reason makes of a supreme being, as the highest cause, is, therefore relative only; it is devised solely for the sake of systematic unity in the world of sense, and is a mere something in idea, of which, as it may be in itself, we have no concept. This explains why, in relation to what is given to the senses as existing, we require the idea of a prim- ordial being necessary in itself, and yet can never form the slightest concept of it or of its absolute necessity. P 556 We are now in a position to have a clear view of the outcome of the whole Transcendental Dialectic, and accurately to define the final purpose of the ideas of pure reason, which become dialectical only through heedlessness and misapprehension. Pure reason is in fact occupied with nothing but itself. It can have no other vocation. For what is given to it does not consist in objects that have to be brought to the unity of the empirical concept, but in those modes of knowledge supplied by the understanding that require to be brought to the unity of the concept of reason -- that is, to unity of connection in conform- ity with a principle. The unity of reason is the unity of system; and this systematic unity does not serve objectively as a prin- ciple that extends the application of reason to objects, but sub- jectively as a maxim that extends its application to all possible empirical knowledge of objects. Nevertheless, since the system- atic connection which reason can give to the empirical em- ployment of the understanding not only furthers its extension, but also guarantees its correctness, the principle of such system- atic unity is so far also objective, but in an indeterminate manner (principium vagum). It is not a constitutive principle that enables us to determine anything in respect of its direct object, but only a merely regulative principle and maxim, to further and strengthen in infinitum (indeterminately) the empirical employment of reason -- never in any way proceed- ing counter to the laws of its empirical employment, and yet at the same time opening out new paths which are not within the cognisance of the understanding. But reason cannot think this systematic unity otherwise than by giving to the idea of this unity an object; and since experience can never give an example of complete systematic unity, the object which we have to assign to the idea is not such as experience can ever supply. This object, as thus enter- tained by reason (ens rationis ratiocinatae), is a mere idea; it is not assumed as a something that is real absolutely and in itself, but is postulated only problematically (since we cannot reach it through any of the concepts of the under- standing) in order that we may view all connection of the things of the world of sense as if they had their ground in such a being. In thus proceeding, our sole purpose is to secure that systematic unity which is indispensable to reason, and P 557 which while furthering in every way the empirical knowledge obtainable by the understanding can never interfere to hinder or obstruct it. We misapprehend the meaning of this idea if we regard it as the assertion or even as the assumption of a real thing, to which we may proceed to ascribe the ground of the sys- tematic order of the world. On the contrary, what this ground which eludes our concepts may be in its own inherent con- stitution is left entirely undetermined; the idea is posited only as being the point of view from which alone that unity, which is so essential to reason and so beneficial to the understand- ing, can be further extended. In short, this transcendental thing is only the schema of the regulative principle by which reason, so far as lies in its power, extends systematic unity over the whole field of experience. The first object of such an idea is the 'I' itself, viewed simply as thinking nature or soul. If I am to investigate the properties with which a thinking being is in itself endowed, I must interrogate experience. For I cannot even apply any one of the categories to this object, except in so far as the schema of the category is given in sensible intuition. But I never there- by attain to a systematic unity of all appearances of inner sense. Instead, then, of the empirical concept (of that which the soul actually is), which cannot carry us far, reason takes the concept of the empirical unity of all thought; and by thinking this unity as unconditioned and original, it forms from it a concept of reason, that is, the idea of a simple substance, which, unchange- able in itself (personally identical), stands in association with other real things outside it; in a word, the idea of a simple self- subsisting intelligence. Yet in so doing it has nothing in view save principles of systematic unity in the explanation of the appearances of the soul. It is endeavouring to represent all determinations as existing in a single subject, all powers, so far as possible, as derived from a single fundamental power, all change as belonging to the states of one and the same per- manent being, and all appearances in space as completely dif- ferent from the actions of thought. The simplicity and other properties of substance are intended to be only the schema of this regulative principle, and are not presupposed as being the actual ground of the properties of the soul. For these may rest P 558 on altogether different grounds, of which we can know nothing. The soul in itself could not be known through these assumed predicates, not even if we regarded them as absolutely valid in respect of it. For they constitute a mere idea which cannot be represented in concreto. Nothing but advantage can result from the psychological idea thus conceived, if only we take heed that it is not viewed as more than a mere idea, and that it is therefore taken as valid only relatively to the systematic employment of reason in determining the appearances of our soul. For no empirical laws of bodily appearance, which are of a totally different kind, will then intervene in the explana- tion of what belongs exclusively to inner sense. No windy hypotheses of generation, extinction, and palingenesis of souls will be permitted. The consideration of this object of inner sense will thus be kept completely pure and will not be con- fused by the introduction of heterogeneous properties. Also, reason's investigations will be directed to reducing the grounds of explanation in this field, so far as may be possible, to a single principle. All this will be best attained through such a schema, viewed as if it were a real being; indeed it is attain- able in no other way. The psychological idea can signify nothing but the schema of a regulative concept. For were I to enquire whether the soul in itself is of spiritual nature, the question would have no meaning. In employing such a concept I not only abstract from corporeal nature, but from nature in general, that is, from all predicates of any possible experience, and therefore from all conditions requisite for thinking an object for such a concept; yet only as related to an object can the concept be said to have a meaning. The second regulative idea of merely speculative reason is the concept of the world in general. For nature is properly the only given object in regard to which reason requires regu- lative principles. This nature is twofold, either thinking or corporeal. To think the latter, so far as regards its inner possibility, that is, to determine the application of the cate- gories to it, we need no idea, that is, no representation which transcends experience. Nor, indeed, is any idea possible in this connection, since in dealing with corporeal nature we are guided solely by sensible intuition. The case is different from that of the fundamental psychological concept ('I'), which P 559 contains a priori a certain form of thought, namely, the unity of thought. There therefore remains for pure reason nothing but nature in general, and the completeness of the conditions in nature in accordance with some principle. The absolute totality of the series of these conditions, in the derivation of their members, is an idea which can never be completely realised in the empirical employment of reason, but which yet serves as a rule that prescribes how we ought to proceed in dealing with such series, namely, that in explaining appear- ances, whether in their regressive or in their ascending order, we ought to treat the series as if it were in itself infinite, that is, as if it proceeded in indefinitum. When, on the other hand, reason is itself regarded as the determining cause, as in [the sphere of] freedom, that is to say, in the case of practical prin- ciples, we have to proceed as if we had before us an object, not of the senses, but of the pure understanding. In this practical sphere the conditions are no longer in the series of appear- ances; they can be posited outside the series, and the series of states can therefore be regarded as if it had an absolute be- ginning, through an intelligible cause. All this shows that the cosmological ideas are nothing but simply regulative prin- ciples, and are very far from positing, in the manner of con- stitutive principles, an actual totality of such series. The fuller treatment of this subject will be found in the chapter on the antinomy of pure reason. The third idea of pure reason, which contains a merely relative supposition of a being that is the sole and sufficient cause of all cosmological series, is the idea of God. We have not the slightest ground to assume in an absolute manner (to suppose in itself) the object of this idea; for what can enable us to believe in or assert a being of the highest perfection and one absolutely necessary by its very nature, merely on the basis of its concept, or if we did how could we justify our procedure? It is only by way of its relation to the world that we can attempt to establish the necessity of this supposition; and it then becomes evident that the idea of such a being, like all speculative ideas, seeks only to formulate the command of reason, that all con- nection in the world be viewed in accordance with the prin- ciples of a systematic unity -- as if all such connection had its source in one single all-embracing being, as the supreme and P 560 all-sufficient cause. It is thus evident that reason has here no other purpose than to prescribe its own formal rule for the extension of its empirical employment, and not any extension beyond all limits of empirical employment. Consequently it is evident that this idea does not, in any concealed fashion, in- volve any principle that claims, in its application to possible experience, to be constitutive in character. This highest formal unity, which rests solely on concepts of reason, is the purposive unity of things. The speculative interest of reason makes it necessary to regard all order in the world as if it had originated in the purpose of a supreme reason. Such a principle opens out to our reason, as applied in the field of experience, altogether new views as to how the things of the world may be connected according to teleological laws, and so enables it to arrive at their greatest systematic unity. The assumption of a supreme intelligence, as the one and only cause of the universe, though in the idea alone, can therefore always benefit reason and can never injure it. Thus if, in studying the shape of the earth (which is round, but some- what flattened), of the mountains, seas, etc. , we assume it to be the outcome of wise purposes on the part of an Author of the world, we are enabled to make in this way a number of dis- coveries. And provided we restrict ourselves to a merely regu- lative use of this principle, even error cannot do us any serious harm. For the worst that can happen would be that where we expected a teleological connection (nexus finalis), we find only a mechanical or physical connection (nexus effectivus). In such a case, we merely fail to find the additional unity; we do not destroy the unity upon which reason insists in its empirical employment. ++ The advantage arising from the spherical shape of the earth is well known. But few are aware that its spheroidal flattening alone prevents the continental elevations, or even the smaller hills, thrown up perhaps by earthquakes, from continuously, and indeed quite appreciably in a comparatively short time, altering the position of the axis of the earth. The protuberance of the earth at the equator forms so vast a mountain that the impetus of all the other moun- tains can never produce any observable effect in changing the posi- tion of the earth's axis. And yet, wise as this arrangement is, we feel no scruples in explaining it from the equilibrium of the formerly fluid mass of the earth. P 561 But even a disappointment of this sort cannot affect the teleological law itself, in its general bearing. For although an anatomist can be convicted of error when he assigns to some member of an animal body an end which it can be clearly shown not to subserve, it is yet quite im- possible to prove in any given case that an arrangement of nature, be it what it may, subserves no end whatsoever. Accordingly, medical physiology extends its very limited em- pirical knowledge of the ends served by the articulation of an organic body, by resorting to a principle for which pure reason has alone been responsible; and it carries this principle so far as to assume confidently, and with general approval, that every- thing in an animal has its use, and subserves some good pur- pose. If this assumption be treated as constitutive it goes much further than observation has thus far been able to justify; and we must therefore conclude that it is nothing more than a regulative principle of reason, to aid us in securing the highest possible systematic unity, by means of the idea of the pur- posive causality of the supreme cause of the world -- as if this being, as supreme intelligence, acting in accordance with a supremely wise purpose, were the cause of all things. If, however, we overlook this restriction of the idea to a merely regulative use, reason is led away into mistaken paths. For it then leaves the ground of experience, which alone can contain the signs that mark out its proper course, and ventures out beyond it to the incomprehensible and unsearchable, rising to dizzy heights where it finds itself entirely cut off from all possible action in conformity with experience. The first error which arises from our using the idea of a supreme being in a manner contrary to the nature of an idea, that is, constitutively, and not regulatively only, is the error of ignava ratio. ++ This was the title given by the ancient dialecticians to a sophistical argument, which ran thus: If it is your fate to recover from this illness, you will recover, whether you employ a physician or not. Cicero states that this mode of argument has been so named, because, if we conformed to it, reason would be left without any use in life. On the same ground I apply the name also to the sophistical argument of pure reason. P 561 We may so entitle every principle which makes P 562 us regard our investigation into nature, on any subject, as absolutely complete, disposing reason to cease from further enquiry, as if it had entirely succeeded in the task which it had set itself. Thus the psychological idea, when it is employed as a constitutive principle to explain the appearances of our soul, and thereby to extend our knowledge of the self beyond the limits of experience (its state after death), does indeed simplify the task of reason; but it interferes with, and entirely ruins, our use of reason in dealing with nature under the guidance of our experiences. The dogmatic spiritualist explains the abiding and unchanging unity of a person throughout all change of state, by the unity of the thinking substance, of which, as he believes, he has immediate perception in the 'I'; or he explains the interest which we take in what can happen only after our death, by means of our consciousness of the im- material nature of the thinking subject; and so forth. He thus dispenses with all empirical investigation of the cause of these inner appearances, so far as that cause is to be found in physi- cal grounds of explanation; and to his own great convenience, though at the sacrifice of all real insight, he professes, in re- liance upon the assumed authority of a transcendent reason, to have the right to ignore those sources of knowledge which are immanent in experience. These detrimental consequences are even more obvious in the dogmatic treatment of our idea of a supreme intelligence, and in the theological system of nature (physico-theology) which is falsely based upon it. For in this field of enquiry, if instead of looking for causes in the universal laws of material mechanism, we appeal directly to the unsearchable decree of supreme wisdom, all those ends which are exhibited in nature, together with the many ends which are only ascribed by us to nature, make our investi- gation of the causes a very easy task, and so enable us to regard the labour of reason as completed, when, as a matter of fact, we have merely dispensed with its employment -- an employment which is wholly dependent for guidance upon the order of nature and the series of its alterations, in accordance with the universal laws which they are found to exhibit. This error can be avoided, if we consider from the teleological point of view not merely certain parts of nature, such as the distribu- P 563 tion of land, its structure, the constitution and location of the mountains, or only the organisation of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, but make this systematic unity of nature completely universal, in relation to the idea of a supreme in- telligence. For we then treat nature as resting upon a purpos- iveness, in accordance with universal laws, from which no special arrangement is exempt, however difficult it may be to establish this in any given case. We then have a regulative principle of the systematic unity of teleological connection -- a connection which we do not, however, predetermine. What we may presume to do is to follow out the physico-mechanical connection in accordance with universal laws in the hope of discovering what the teleological connection actually is. In this way alone can the principle of purposive unity aid always in extending the employment of reason in reference to experience without being in any instance prejudicial to it. The second error arising from the misapprehension of the above principle of systematic unity is that of perversa ratio (husteron proteron). The idea of systematic unity should be used only as a regulative principle to guide us in seeking for such unity in the connection of things, according to universal laws of nature; and we ought, therefore, to believe that we have approximated to completeness in the employment of the principle only in proportion as we are in a position to verify such unity in empirical fashion -- a completeness which is never, of course, attainable. Instead of this the reverse pro- cedure is adopted. The reality of a principle of purposive unity is not only presupposed but hypostatised; and since the concept of a supreme intelligence is in itself completely be- yond our powers of comprehension, we proceed to determine it in an anthropomorphic manner, and so to impose ends upon nature, forcibly and dictatorially, instead of pursuing the more reasonable course of searching for them by the path of physical investigation. And thus teleology, which is in- tended to aid us merely in completing the unity of nature in accordance with universal laws, not only tends to abrogate such unity, but also prevents reason from carrying out its own professed purpose, that of proving from nature, in conformity with these laws, the existence of a supreme intelligent cause. P 564 For if the most complete purposiveness cannot be presupposed a priori in nature, that is, as belonging to its essence, how can we be required to search for it, and through all its gradations to approximate to the supreme perfection of an Author of all things, a perfection that, as absolutely necessary, must be knowable a priori? The regulative principle prescribes that systematic unity as a unity in nature, which is not known merely empirically but is presupposed a priori (although in an indeterminate manner), be presupposed absolutely, and consequently as following from the essence of things. If, however, I begin with a supreme purposive being as the ground of all things, the unity of nature is really surrendered, as being quite foreign and accidental to the nature of things, and as not capable of being known from its own universal laws. There then arises a vicious circle; we are assuming just that very point which is mainly in dispute. To take the regulative principle of the systematic unity of nature as being a constitutive principle, and to hypostatise, and presuppose as a cause, that which serves, merely in idea, as the ground of the consistent employment of reason, is simply to confound reason. The investigation of nature takes its own independent course, keeping to the chain of natural causes in conformity with their universal laws. It does indeed, in so doing, proceed in accordance with the idea of an Author of the universe, but not in order to deduce therefrom the purposive- ness for which it is ever on the watch, but in order to obtain knowledge of the existence of such an Author from this pur- posiveness. And by seeking this purposiveness in the essence of the things of nature, and so far as may be possible in the essence of things in general, it seeks to know the existence of this supreme being as absolutely necessary. Whether this latter enterprise succeed or not, the idea remains always true in itself, and justified in its use, provided it be restricted to the condi- tions of a merely regulative principle. Complete purposive unity constitutes what is, in the ab- solute sense, perfection. If we do not find this unity in the essence of the things which go to constitute the entire object of experience, that is, of all our objectively valid knowledge, and therefore do not find it in the universal and necessary laws of nature, how can we profess to infer directly from this unity the P 565 idea of a supreme and absolutely necessary perfection of an original being, as the source of all causality? The greatest pos- sible systematic unity, and consequently also purposive unity, is the training school for the use of reason, and is indeed the very foundation of the possibility of its greatest possible employ- ment. The idea of such unity is, therefore, inseparably bound up with the very nature of our reason. This same idea is on that account legislative for us; and it is therefore very natural that we should assume a corresponding legislative reason (intellectus archetypus), from which, as the object of our reason, all systematic unity of nature is to be derived. In discussing the antinomy of pure reason we have stated that the questions propounded by pure reason must in every case admit of an answer, and that in their regard it is not per- missible to plead the limits of our knowledge (a plea which in many questions that concern nature is as unavoidable as it is relevant). For we are not here asking questions in regard to the nature of things, but only such questions as arise from the very nature of reason, and which concern solely its own inner constitution. We are now in a position to confirm this assertion -- which at first sight may have appeared rash -- so far as regards the two questions in which pure reason is most of all interested; and thus finally to complete our discussion of the dialectic of pure reason. If, in connection with a transcendental theology, we ask, first, whether there is anything distinct from the world, which contains the ground of the order of the world and of its con- nection in accordance with universal laws, the answer is that there undoubtedly is. For the world is a sum of appearances; and there must therefore be some transcendental ground of the appearances, that is, a ground which is thinkable only by the pure understanding. If, secondly, the question be, whether this being is substance, of the greatest reality, necessary, etc. , ++ After what I have already said regarding the psychological idea and its proper vocation, as a principle for the merely regulative employment of reason, I need not dwell at any length upon the transcendental illusion by which the systematic unity of all the mani- foldness of inner sense is hypostatised. The procedure is very similar to that which is under discussion in our criticism of the theological ideal. P 566 we reply that this question is entirely without meaning. For all categories through which we can attempt to form a concept of such an object allow only of empirical employment, and have no meaning whatsoever when not applied to objects of possible experience, that is, to the world of sense. Outside this field they are merely titles of concepts, which we may admit, but through which [in and by themselves] we can understand nothing. If, thirdly, the question be, whether we may not at least think this being, which is distinct from the world, in analogy with the objects of experience, the answer is: cer- tainly, but only as object in idea and not in reality, namely, only as being a substratum, to us unknown, of the systematic unity, order, and purposiveness of the arrangement of the world -- an idea which reason is constrained to form as the regulative principle of its investigation of nature. Nay, more, we may freely, without laying ourselves open to censure, admit into this idea certain anthropomorphisms which are helpful to the principle in its regulative capacity. For it is always an idea only, which does not relate directly to a being distinct from the world, but to the regulative principle of the systematic unity of the world, and only by means of a schema of this unity, namely, through the schema of a supreme intelligence which, in originating the world, acts in accordance with wise purposes. What this primordial ground of the unity of the world may be in itself, we should not profess to have thereby decided, but only how we should use it, or rather its idea, in relation to the systematic employment of reason in respect of the things of the world. But the question may still be pressed: Can we, on such grounds, assume a wise and omnipotent Author of the world? Undoubtedly we may; and we not only may, but must, do so. But do we then extend our knowledge beyond the field of pos- sible experience? By no means. All that we have done is merely to presuppose a something, a merely transcendental object, of which, as it is in itself, we have no concept whatsoever. It is only in relation to the systematic and purposive ordering of the world, which, if we are to study nature, we are constrained to presuppose, that we have thought this unknown being by analogy with an intelligence (an empirical concept); that is, have endowed it, in respect of the ends and perfection P 567 which are to be grounded upon it, with just those properties which, in conformity with the conditions of our reason, can be regarded as containing the ground of such systematic unity. This idea is thus valid only in respect of the employment of our reason in reference to the world. If we ascribed to it a validity that is absolute and objective, we should be forgetting that what we are thinking is a being in idea only; and in thus taking our start from a ground which is not determinable through observation of the world, we should no longer be in a position to apply the principle in a manner suited to the empirical employment of reason. But, it will still be asked, can I make any such use of the concept and of the presupposition of a supreme being in the rational consideration of the world? Yes, it is precisely for this purpose that reason has resorted to this idea. But may I then proceed to regard seemingly purposive arrangements as purposes, and so derive them from the divine will, though, of course, mediately through certain special natural means, themselves established in furtherance of that divine will? Yes, we can indeed do so; but only on condition that we regard it as a matter of indifference whether it be asserted that divine wisdom has disposed all things in accordance with its supreme ends, or that the idea of supreme wisdom is a regu- lative principle in the investigation of nature and a principle of its systematic and purposive unity, in accordance with universal laws, even in those cases in which we are unable to detect that unity. In other words, it must be a matter of complete indifference to us, when we perceive such unity, whether we say that God in his wisdom has willed it to be so, or that nature has wisely arranged it thus. For what has justified us in adopting the idea of a supreme intelligence as a schema of the regulative principle is precisely this greatest possible systematic and purposive unity -- a unity which our reason has required as a regulative principle that must under- lie all investigation of nature. The more, therefore, we dis- cover purposiveness in the world, the more fully is the legiti- macy of our idea confirmed. But since the sole aim of that principle was to guide us in seeking a necessary unity of nature, and that in the greatest possible degree, while we do indeed, P 568 in so far as we attain that unity, owe it to the idea of a supreme being, we cannot, without contradicting ourselves, ignore the universal laws of nature -- with a view to discovering which the idea was alone adopted -- and look upon this purposiveness of nature as contingent and hyperphysical in its origin. For we were not justified in assuming above nature a being with those qualities, but only in adopting the idea of such a being in order to view the appearances as systematically connected with one another in accordance with the principle of a causal deter- mination. For the same reasons, in thinking the cause of the world, we are justified in representing it in our idea not only in terms of a certain subtle anthropomorphism (without which we could not think anything whatsoever in regard to it), namely, as a being that has understanding, feelings of pleasure and displeasure, and desires and volitions corresponding to these, but also in ascribing to it a perfection which, as infinite, far transcends any perfection that our empirical knowledge of the order of the world can justify us in attributing to it. For the regulative law of systematic unity prescribes that we should study nature as if systematic and purposive unity, combined with the greatest possible manifoldness, were everywhere to be met with, in infinitum. For although we may succeed in dis- covering but little of this perfection of the world, it is never- theless required by the legislation of our reason that we must always search for and surmise it; and it must always be bene- ficial, and can never be harmful, to direct our investigations into nature in accordance with this principle. But it is evident that in this way of representing the principle as involving the idea of a supreme Author, I do not base the principle upon the existence and upon the knowledge of such a being, but upon its idea only, and that I do not really derive anything from this being, but only from the idea of it -- that is, from the nature of the things of the world, in accordance with such an idea. A certain, unformulated consciousness of the true use of this concept of reason seems indeed to have inspired the modest and reasonable language of the philosophers of all times, since they speak of the wisdom and providence of nature and of divine wisdom, just as if nature and divine wisdom were P 569 equivalent expressions -- indeed, so long as they are dealing solely with speculative reason, giving preference to the former mode of expression, on the ground that it enables us to avoid making profession of more than we are justified in asserting, and that it likewise directs reason to its own proper field, namely, nature. Thus pure reason, which at first seemed to promise nothing less than the extension of knowledge beyond all limits of ex- perience, contains, if properly understood, nothing but regu- lative principles, which, while indeed prescribing greater unity than the empirical employment of understanding can achieve, yet still, by the very fact that they place the goal of its endeavours at so great a distance, carry its agreement with itself, by means of systematic unity, to the highest possible degree. But if, on the other hand, they be misunderstood, and be treated as constitutive principles of transcendent knowledge, they give rise, by a dazzling and deceptive illusion, to persuasion and a merely fictitious knowledge, and therewith to contradictions and eternal disputes. *** Thus all human knowledge begins with intuitions, pro- ceeds from thence to concepts, and ends with ideas. Although in respect of all three elements it possesses a priori sources of knowledge, which on first consideration seem to scorn the limits of all experience, a thoroughgoing critique convinces us that reason, in its speculative employment, can never with these elements transcend the field of possible experience, and that the proper vocation of this supreme faculty of knowledge is to use all methods, and the principles of these methods, solely for the purpose of penetrating to the innermost secrets of nature, in accordance with every possible principle of unity -- that of ends being the most important -- but never to soar beyond its limits, outside which there is for us nothing but empty space. The critical examination, as carried out in the Transcendental Analytic, of all propositions which may seem to extend our knowledge beyond actual experience, has doubt- less sufficed to convince us that they can never lead to any- thing more than a possible experience. Were it not that we are suspicious of abstract and general doctrines, however clear, P 570 and were it not that specious and alluring prospects tempt us to escape from the compulsion which these doctrines impose, we might have been able to spare ourselves the laborious in- terrogation of all those dialectical witnesses that a transcen- dent reason brings forward in support of its pretensions. For we should from the start have known with complete certainty that all such pretensions, while perhaps honestly meant, must be absolutely groundless, inasmuch as they relate to a kind of knowledge to which man can never attain. But there is no end to such discussions, unless we can penetrate to the true cause of the illusion by which even the wisest are deceived. Moreover, the resolution of all our transcendent knowledge into its elements (as a study of our inner nature) is in itself of no slight value, and to the philosopher is indeed a matter of duty. Accordingly, fruitless as are all these endeavours of speculative reason, we have none the less found it necessary to follow them up to their primary sources. And since the dialectical illusion does not merely deceive us in our judg- ments, but also, because of the interest which we take in these judgments, has a certain natural attraction which it will always continue to possess, we have thought it advisable, with a view to the prevention of such errors in the future, to draw up in full detail what we may describe as being the records of this lawsuit, and to deposit them in the archives of human reason.