My Final Essay on Kant’s Critique

My Final Essay on Kant’s Critique


                                    (By Alexander Koudlai)


1) What is meant by Kant’s “Copernican Revolution”?  

While the natural philosophers used to think of space, time, and objects of perception as of reality existing “out there”, Kant claims that those exist but in us. Space and time are forms of pure intuition, and objects are mere appearances (phenomena) of transcendental things (noumena). So Kant made human psyche the center of phenomenal world, when the a priori categories were the rules for all empirical knowledge, pre-determined by those categories and pure (not empirical)  intuitions of space and time.

2) What is the “Transcendental Aesthetic”” about?


     In B36 Kant gives his own definition of the term:


I call a science of all principles of a priori sensibility the transcendental aesthetic. There must therefore be such a science, which constitutes the first part of the transcendental doctrine of elements, in contrast to that which contains the principles of pure thinking and is named transcendental logic.


Transcendental Aesthetic is that part of Kant’s transcendental Philosophy, which deals with an explanation “how are synthetic a priori propositions possible? – namely pure a priori intuitions, space and time, in which, if we want to go beyond the given concept in a priori judgment, we encounter that which is to be discovered a priori and synthetically connected with it, not in the concept but in the intuition that corresponds to it; but on this ground such a judgment never extends beyond the objects of the senses and can hold only for objects of possible experience”(B73).


3. Explain what Kant means by (l) intuition, pure intuition, empirical intuition; (2) concept, pure concept, empirical concept; (3) transcendent; (4) transcendental; (5) a dogmatic procedure of reason; (6) critical.

     (1) “ In whatever way and through whatever means a cognition may relate to objects, that through which it relates immediately to them, and at which all thought as a means is directed as an end, is intuition”. (A19/B33)

The intuition is pure if it is not grounded in experience, but exists a priori. Kant claims that there are only two pure intuitions of space and time. Those are necessary preconditions for all kinds of experience. They are general ways of experiencing all kinds of sensual objects. There are also particular intuitions. “That intuition which is related to the object through sensation is called empirical” (A20).

     (2)Objects are given through intuitions but “thought through understanding, and from it arise concepts” (A19/B33). This is about empirical concepts. But there are also pure concepts of understanding, the categories, the a priori forms for all kinds of possible empirical knowledge without which we could not have any understanding of nature at all.

     (3) transcendent and (4)transcendental

Look first at A296/B352-3, for the meaning of "transcendent" and how it's different from "transcendental". Transcendent principles, or a transcendent employment of principles, go beyond possible experience. Look at A309, A326-327. B427,B448, B487.

      In the Transcendental Logic Kant speaks of transcendent principles of pure understanding as those which “would fly beyond the boundaries of immanent” ones which belong to possible experience. Kant’s concern is about “illusions” of dialectic (“a logic of illusion” A293/B249) He tries to clarify the principles of thinking and to establish the boundaries of different kinds of those.

     In A296 he writes: “We call the principles whose application stays wholly and completely within the limits of possible experience immanent, but those that would fly beyond these boundaries transcendent principles (“that actually incite us to tear down all those boundary posts and to lay claim to a wholly new territory, that recognizes no demarcations anywhere). But by the latter I do not understand the transcendental use or misuse of categories, which is a mere mistake of the faculty of judgment, when it is not properly checked by criticism, and thus does not attend enough to the boundaries of the territory in which alone the pure understanding is allowed  its play”.

So, if I understand it correctly, Kant says that there is a possibility of a transcendental use-misuse of immanent as well as transcendent principles . He wants us to be careful (critical) in our thinking.

     (5) a dogmatic procedure of reason is transcendental thinking of transcendent or immanent without proper verification: that which may create an illusion of knowledge, based on a misuse of abstract logic in the sphere of possible experience, and categories in the sphere of pure ideas. Sophistry without a content.

     (6) critical thinking or dialectical rigorous investigation is opposed to mere sophistry and can be compared to the skeptical method in A424. “This method of watching or even occasioning a contest between assertions, not in order to decide it to the advantage of one party or the other, but to investigate whether the object of the dispute is not perhaps a mere mirage… It is entirely different from skepticism, a principle of artful and scientific ignorance…”


 4. Kant sometimes formulated the central problem of the first Critique this way:  “How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?”
Explain what he means by this question.  Give examples of the kinds of judgments Kant thinks in need of defense?  Explain why he thinks that these examples are neither (i) a posteriori (empirical), nor (ii) analytic.

     John Locke and many others thought that our knowledge of the real world starts with sense impressions, which are followed by simple ideas and then complex ideas; the analytical knowledge for those was just the matter of words. Hence, any synthetic a priori knowledge would not be possible on that account.

     Kant offered another theory of Transcendental Aesthetic where there were two pure intuitions of space and time, necessary for any experience even to begin, because all possible experiences occur in space and in certain sequences (time). There were also empirical intuitions, “but all our intuition (of the kind) is nothing but the representation of appearance; … the things that we intuit are not in themselves what we intuit them to be, nor are their relations so constituted in themselves as they appear to us: and if we remove our own subject or even only the subjective constitution of the senses in general, then all constitution, all relation of objects in space and time, indeed space and time themselves would disappear, and as appearances they cannot exist in themselves, but only in us” (A42).

     From Kant’s point of view there were problems also with the Leibnizian-Wolffian philosophy which “directed all investigations of the nature and origins of our cognitions to an entirely unjust point of view in considering the distinction between sensibility and the intellectual as merely logical, since it is obviously transcendental, and does not concern merely the form of distinctness or indistinctness, but the origin and content, so that through sensibility we do not cognize the constitution of things in themselves merely indistinctly, but rather not at all…” (B62).

     For all empirical cognitions we need immediate intuitions in space and concepts which are built in the frame of time. And still, all those are about mere appearances, the nature of the latter being objective.

     Now, Kant felt that it was necessary to defend his foundational judgments about space:


1) Space is not an empirical concept. For in order certain sensations to be related to something outside me (… in another place in space from that in which I find myself)… not merely as different but as in different places, the representation of space must already be their ground. Thus, the representation of space cannot be obtained from the relations of outer appearances through experience, but this outer experience is itself possible only through this representation. (B38)

2) Space is a necessary representation, a priori, that is the ground of all outer intuitions. One can never represent that there is no space, though one can very well think that there are no objects to be encountered in it…(A24/B39)

3) Space is not a discursive or as is said, general concept of relations of things in general, but a pure intuition. For first one can only represent a single space, and if one speaks of many spaces, one understands by that only parts of one and the same unique space… the manifold in it, thus…  rests merely on limitations… Thus also all geometrical principles, e. g., that in a triangle two sides together are always greater than a third, are never derived from general concepts of line and triangle, but rather are derived from intuition and indeed derived a priori with apodictic certainty   (A25).

4) Space is represented as an infinite given magnitude. 


And he concluded: ”Therefore the original representation of space is an a priori intuition, not a concept” (B40).


     He also defended his judgments about time:


1) Time is not an empirical concept (B46)

2) Time is a necessary representation that grounds all intuitions (A31)

3) This a priori necessity also grounds the possibility of apodictic principles of relations of time, or axioms of time in general. It has only one dimension: different times are not simultaneous, but successive (just as different spaces are not successive, but simultaneous). (B47)

4) Time is not discursive or, as one calls it, general concept, but a pure form of sensible intuition.(A32)

5) The infinitude of time signifies nothing more that that every determinate magnitude of time is only possible through limitations of a single time grounding it. (B48)


Space is not a posteriori in our cognition, because we need it already in place to have any empirical cognition (which happens in space and never otherwise) at all. Time is also a necessary precondition for any perception of change: first state A then state B. When we judge first-then, already we are using the foundation (time) which allows us to do so. Space and time are not analytic concepts, because we do not deduce them from any other concept, but simply accept axiomatically as a necessary ground for all empirical cognition. 


5. Explain Kant's contention that space and time are (l) intuitions, rather than concepts, (2) a priori, rather than a posteriori. (In what sense, exactly, are they supposed to be "prior" to objects of experience?)

     I believe there is already an answer to this in the above disclosure, but to add: We intuit inner and outer space in our inner and outer experiences, in imagination and contemplation of mental and physical objects. We think (about things) and percept them invariably in space, and their transformations and interactions consequentially (in time). They are prior to objects in the sense that we already need them to perceive objects, which always possess their characteristics and do not take those intuitions away with them when we dismiss objects.  


     6. What does Kant mean by the "transcendental ideality" of space and time? What motivates his claim? What are his arguments in support of the claim?  What problems does he think this theory solves, that other alternatives do not?


     Transcendental ideality of S & T means that those are not objects, not their appearances, but rather conditions (deduced by pure reason) of all appearances (objects of cognition). They are necessary for our understanding of our experiences of objects at all.

     S & T transcend all possible experience being a necessary precondition for those and not the objects of senses themselves. When there are no objects we can think space and time as needed for possible objective experience. “It is nothing as soon as we leave aside the condition of the possibility of all experiences, and take them as something that grounds the things in themselves” (A28).       

     In §3, Transcendental exposition of the concept of space, Kant says: “I understand by a transcendental exposition the explanation of a concept as a principle from which insight into the possibility of other synthetic a priori cognitions can be gained. For this aim it is required 1) that such cognitions actually flow from a given concept, and 2) that these cognitions are only possible under the presupposition of a given way of explaining this concept.” (B40) He thinks that other concepts of space do not satisfy these conditions, and his does. Using the example of Geometry (a science that determines the properties of space synthetically and yet a priori) he argues that it must originally be intuition; for from a mere concept no propositions can be drawn that go beyond the concept, which however happens in geometry. Geometrical propositions are all apodictic. Hence, space must be not an empirical intuition… it has its seat merely in the subject, as its formal constitution for being affected by objects and thereby acquiring immediate representation, i.e., intuition, of them, thus only as the form of outer sense in general. Kant thinks that his “explanation alone makes the possibility of geometry as a synthetic a priori cognition comprehensible…” (B41) So, his theory solves the problem of how geometry is possible, while others (he believes) don’t.


7. Which of Kant's arguments aims to show that space and/or time is knowable a priori? 

# (1) On space and time.

Which one argues that space and/or time is not a concept? # (3)on space and (4) on time 

Which one that they are not the "matter" but the "forms" of perceptions?

# (2) Space and time, p.5&6 in the above text.


8. How does Kant deal with the objection that, for all we know, "things in themselves" might be spatio-temporal?


Kant thinks that the above objection is wrong. In A47 he argues that, if we suppose that space and time are in themselves objective and conditions of the possibility of things in themselves, then there would be a priori apodictic and synthetic propositions about both, but especially about space. Geometrical propositions are cognized synthetically a priori and with apodictic certainty. We may take such necessary and universal truths only through concepts or through intuitions, a priori or posteriori. The latter cannot yield any synthetic proposition, but only empirical, thus it can never contain necessity and universality that is nevertheless characteristic of geometrical propositions. So those are not posteriori.  Considering the first means for attaining such cognitions, however, namely through mere concepts or a priori intuitions, it is clear that from mere concepts only analytical ones can be attained. Now we are forced to take refuge in intuition, as geometry always does. And this is a pure a priory intuition. If space (and time as well) were not a mere form of intuition that contains a priori conditions, then we could not make absolutely nothing synthetic and a priori about outer objects. “It is therefore indubitably certain and not merely possible or even probable that space and time, as the necessary conditions of all (outer and inner) experience, are merely subjective conditions of all our intuition, in relation to which therefore all objects are mere appearances and not things given in themselves in this way; about these appearances, further much may be said a priori that concerns their form but nothing about the things in themselves that may ground them” (A49). I think this is a fair and sufficient response to the above objection.


9. Speaking of causality, Kant writes:  "the very concept of a cause so manifestly contains the concept of a necessity of connection with an effect and of the strict universality of the rule, that the concept would be altogether lost if we attempted to derive it, as Hume has done, from a repeated association of that which happens with that which precedes, and from a custom of connecting representations, a custom originating in this repeated association, and constituting therefore a merely subjective necessity."
[a] Explain what Kant is saying in this passage and exactly what Kant thinks is wrong with Hume's analysis of causality.


A, we say, is the cause of B, if A is necessarily connected with B universally. A physical body B is attracted to a physical body A , because when ever anyone observes B in the proximity of A, B is affected by A in a strict accordance with universal gravitation law. It could be described, predicted and precisely calculated anywhere in the known universe. If we like to think about the proximity of A and B arbitrary it does not affect the objective reality of physical law of gravitation (at least in the case of ordinary human beings, which Hume and Kant might have in mind – both would not consider miracles being a part of physical reality). No matter what one thinks stepping out of the window, his body will fall with certain acceleration, attracted by earth. This necessity of physical laws hardly could be explained on the ground of Hume’s Law of association. So Kant thinks that causality is not merely psychological.

     Homosexuals could think that their love relationships are objective necessity and perfectly like those between heterosexuals (we can even grant them their rights to think so and to do what they want to do among themselves) but objectively that kind of relationships, in a strict accordance with biological laws, will not produce the offspring and is useless in terms of procreation and a sense of biological family; that kind of thinking constitutes merely an illusion. The same kind of illusion developed one step further turns into sexual relations between humans and animals, humans and mechanical devices. All of those are causally impotent to procreate - which proves the illusive nature of those arbitrary judgments about reality of sex, its purpose and psychological mechanism installed by nature, in order to insure that purpose. But the laws of physics and biology are not an illusion. So the category of causality must be something more than merely a psychological category.

[b] Explain Kant's argument in the Second Analogy, and how that argument can be construed as an answer to Hume.


Everything that happens presupposes something which it follows in accordance with a rule.




All alterations occur in accordance with the law of the connection of cause and effect.


These two formulations of a causal necessity in observation of alterations in nature and a slight difference which some claim they represent will not be the subject of my attention here. I will rather focus on the proof and how it shows the necessity and the nature of Kant’s causality opposed to Hume’s concept of merely arbitrary one.

     First Kant reminds that “All change (succession) of appearances is only alteration; for the arising or perishing of substance are not alterations of it, since the concept of alteration presupposes one and the same subject as existing with two opposed determinations, and thus as persisting” (B233).

     Then, like Hume, he describes the observation of the process of alteration and grants: ”I am … only conscious that my imagination places one state before and the other after, not that one state precedes the other in the object; or, in other words, through the mere perception the objective relation of the appearances that are succeeding one another remains undetermined”.

     Then he attempts to show what it means to be determined the actual determination of this cognition:

     “Now in order for this to be cognized as determined, the relation between the two states must be thought in such a way that it is thereby necessarily determined which of them must be placed before and which after rather than vice versa. The concept, however, which caries a necessity of synthetic unity with it can only be a pure concept of understanding, which does not lie in the perception, and that is here the concept of the relation of cause and effect, the former of which determines the latter in time, as its consequence, and not as something that could merely precede in the imagination (or not even be perceived at all)”. (Remember, Hume said about two billiard balls, “I don’t perceive the cause betwixt them”?) Therefore it is only because we subject the sequence of the appearances and thus all alterations to the law of causality that experience itself… is possible; consequently they themselves, as objects of experience, are possible only in accordance with this law”(B234).

     Further Kant expands on the subject and gives two contrasting examples of perception with and without causal determination. His perception of the ship’s position downstream invariably follows the perception of its position upstream, and it is impossible that in apprehension of this appearance for the ship to be perceived otherwise. The necessity is present in this case of causal apperception. In the case of observing the house he is not obliged to observe parts of it in a certain predetermined order, because there is no causality involved here. Could Hume’s theory account for such a difference?

     I believe that Kant succeeded in his criticism of Hume’s theory, which was also successfully criticized by Thomas Reid in his Common Sense philosophy.


10. Explain Kant's "Copernican Revolution" in Metaphysics.  Make clear what the problems were that led Kant to think such a "revolution" was required, and how Kant's new "transcendental" metaphysics was supposed to solve those problems.

There were two major problems in metaphysics for Kant: the possibility of knowledge (synthetic and a priori) that transcends the bounds of experience and the problem of antinomies. Kant deals with both problems by reversing the usual way of viewing cognition and instead of thinking of our knowledge as conforming to a realm of objects, we think of objects as conforming to our way of knowing. Kant thinks that our knowledge is limited to phenomena, while noumena are thinkable but not actually knowable. The possibility of synthetic a priori knowledge of objects is explicable, because such objects must necessarily conform to the conditions under which they can become objects for us. The contradiction of antinomies arises from considering the spatio-temporal world as it were as it were the world of things-in-themselves. On Kant’s account, when we reject that consideration, it can be seen that the phenomenal world is neither finite nor infinite and causal determinism (in nature) is reconcilable with the freedom needed for morality (we considered as noumena).


11. Kant asserts that "concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind."  [A51=B75] What does he mean by this?  Give some examples of "empty" concepts and how they have been illegitimately employed by other philosophers.  Are there possible legitimate uses for any empty concepts?


Our cognition for Kant arises from two fundamental sources in the mind, the reception of representations (the receptivity of impressions) and the faculty for cognizing the object by means of these representations (spontaneity of concepts): through the former the object is given to us, through the latter it is thought in relation of that representation (receptivity-sensibility and spontaneity-of- cognition-understanding). Intuition is the way by which we are affected by objects. Understanding is the faculty for thinking of objects. Without sensibility we have no object, and without understanding none is thought. That is why thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind. The understanding is not capable of intuiting anything and the senses are not capable of thinking anything.

     The concept of a walking fish is empty (unless we actually see something like this), like a concept of an angel (if we did not see him/her ourselves or dismiss the testimonies of others, who would be witnesses). The concept of God, even manifested in human forms of alternative forms described in thousands of books of many nations (if not all of them) is an empty concept, because Kant did not see those manifestations himself, and all miraculous reports are labeled as simpleminded people’s delusions, or those of perpetrators, and cannot be considered as sensible. The possibility of totality representing itself in a limited form to conform with the limitations of human understanding is not considered by Kant as a philosophical issue. The regular empirical criterion is too strong. Hume’s future can easily be under no obligation to mimic the past, but God should be definitely under obligation to manifest Himself to everybody and anytime, to have the right even to be considered as also an empirical reality. The soul too is not the object of intuition if it is considered only as transcendentally thinkable. The pure intuition of self without sense perception of any kind as well as thinking of any kind cannot be legitimate, because Kant does not experience anything of the kind and neither his colleagues do. I think that creates a problem (of illusory and legitimate concepts) which has to be dealt with in future. May be the concepts Kant considered as paralogisms are not really that. May be human intuition can reach farther than Kant expected. May be the Greek word empireia (observation) can be legitimately used not just in the realm of physical senses. But the detailed discussion on that is not the subject of this paper and should be treated separately, in a book with a name like Transcending the Ordinary Limitations of Observable ( including the possibility and logic of pure intuition of truth).


12. "The rainbow in a sunny shower may be called a mere appearance..." (A45=B63,).  Explain very carefully what Kant is saying here, and what he means by "mere appearance".  Does Kant think that "Roses are red, violets are blue" is false?


To answer this question we have to consider a preceding § (B62), because in (A45/B63) Kant attempts to illustrate his objection to the Leibnizian-Wolfian philosophy concerning the nature and origin of our cognitions. He thinks that the distinction between sensibility and the intellect is not merely logical, but transcendental, does not concern merely the form of distinctness or indistinctness, but the origin and content. Through sensibility we do not cognize things in themselves merely indistinctly, but rather not at all. Without our subjective constitution, the represented object can not be encountered, for it is just this subjective constitution that determines its form as appearance.

     In the beginning of A45 Kant describes the origin of the illusion occurring when we try to apply our ordinary distinction between sense in general and contingent appearances of this sense to the essentially transcendent sphere of noumena and to the immanent phenomena. That is how our transcendental distinction gets “lost, and we believe ourselves to cognize things in themselves, though we have nothing to do with anything except appearances (in the world of sense), even in the deepest research into its objects”. So it is by mistake “we would certainly call a rainbow a mere appearance in a sun-shower, but would call this rain the thing in itself”. It would be correct only if we understood “the latter concept in a merely physical sense”.

     About roses and violets and their colors the judgment is not false as long as we understand that all we actually know of those belong to the sphere of phenomena and not noumena, but if we think of them as noumena, it is false to claim that we know anything more about them that they exist somehow affecting our sensibility, which we construe as flowers and their colors.


14. Explain what Kant's Transcendental Deduction of the Categories tries to prove, and, at least roughly, how the argument goes.  Make clear, in passing, what Kant means by "deduction", "synthesis", and by "transcendental unity of apperception".    


     Kant calls “the explanation of the way in which concepts can relate to objects a priori their transcendental deduction” (A85). So he wants to prove that it is possible and to explain how it is possible for non-empirical concepts to relate to empirical objects.

     He distinguishes it from “the empirical deduction, which shows how the concept is acquired through experience and reflection on it” (A85).

     There are two kinds of a priori concepts: categories are a priori concepts of understanding of all possible experiences, while the pure intuitions of space and time are a priori forms of sensibility (B118). As it was shown before, to have any experience at all we need sensibility and concepts (without which the sensibility would be blind). But why the pure ones? Because we could not have understood anything particular without general rules for all experiences already presupposed, as we could not have any particular sensible intuition without general pure intuitions of space and time already presupposed.

     In B127-128 Kant criticizes Locke and especially Hume for that “their empirical derivation . . . cannot be reconciled with the reality of the scientific cognition a priori that we possess, that namely of pure mathematics and general natural science, and is therefore refuted by the fact”. Kant now attempts to “steer human reason between Lock’s enthusiasm and Hume’s skepticism”. He further explains the categories as “concepts of an object in general, by means of which its intuition is . . . determined with regard to one of the logical functions for judgments”.

     Speaking of the latter he is concerned with the relationship of the subject to the predicate, saying that object’s “empirical intuition in experience must always be considered as subject, never as mere predicate” (B129) with all categories.

     “Pure a priori concepts can certainly contain nothing empirical . . . must nevertheless be strictly a priori conditions for a possible experience, as that alone on which its objective reality can rest” (A95)

     “Now these concepts, which contain a priori the pure thinking in every experience, we find in the categories, and it is already a sufficient deduction of them and justification of their objective validity if we can prove that by means of them alone the object can be thought. . .  we must first assess the transcendental constitution of the subjective sources that comprise the a priori foundations for the possibility of experience” (A97).

     Kant further describes the faculties which make cognition possible. Receptivity here must be combined with spontaneity. “This is now the ground of threefold synthesis, which is necessarily found in all cognition: that, namely, of the apprehension of the representations, as modifications of the mind in intuition; of the reproduction of them in the imagination; and of their recognition in the concept” (A98).

     Synthesis here means a combination of intuition an thinking. A merely analytical cognition is applicable only to the words, but not to the objects. It obviously could not be used for the deduction of categories for empirical knowledge. We have to remember that even the knowledge of pure mathematics is a synthetic one for Kant.

     “Every intuition contains a manifold in itself, which however would not be represented as such if the mind did not distinguish the time in the succession of impressions on one another; for as contained in one moment no representation can ever be anything other than absolute unity. Now in order for unity of intuition to come from this manifold (as, say in the representation of space), it is necessary first to run through and then to take together this manifoldness, which action I call the synthesis of apprehension” (A99).

     It must be exercised a priori. For without it we could not have a priori representations of space and time (generated only through the synthesis of the manifold that original sensibility provides. We therefore have a pure synthesis of apprehension (A100).

     Further Kant explains why the synthesis of apprehension is combined with the synthesis of reproduction and how the later belongs among the transcendental actions of the mind (transcendental imagination).

     In § 3 Kant says that one consciousness unifies the manifold that has been successfully intuited, and then also reproduced into one representation.

     We compose geometrical figures in accordance with the rule according to which such intuitions can be always exhibited. This unity of the rule determines every manifold and limits it to conditions that make the unity of apperception possible. (A105)

     Every necessity has a transcendental condition as its ground. “Now I call this original and transcendental condition . . . the transcendental apperception. . . The consciousness of oneself in accordance with the determinations of our state in internal perception is merely empirical . . . and is called inner sense or empirical apperception. That which should necessarily be represented as numerically identical cannot be thought of as such through empirical data. There must be a condition that precedes all experience and makes the latter itself possible, which should make such a transcendental presupposition valid.

     Now no cognitions can occur in us, no connection an unity among them, without of that unity of consciousness that precedes all data of the intuitions, and in relation to which all representation of objects is alone possible. This pure original, unchanging consciousness I will now name transcendental apperception. That it deserves its name is obvious from this, that even the purest objective unity, namely that of the a priori concepts (space and time) is possible only through the relation of the intuitions to it. The numerical unity of this apperception therefore grounds all concepts a priori, just as the manifoldness of space and time grounds the intuitions of sensibility” (A107).

     If I simplify this argument:

(1)The unity of apperception is a necessary condition of experience. (2)Necessity makes it transcendental. (3)Still it is applicable to experience. Hence the product of such apperception the categories can be pure and applicable to the experience. At this point the task of the argument Kant endeavored is pretty much accomplished. It is strong convincing and revealing. The rest is merely a detailed presentation of the categories.


15. Explain Kant's distinction between the "constitutive" and "regulative" employment of concepts.  Give examples of concepts that Kant believes to have a legitimate "constitutive" use and concepts that have only a "regulative" use.


The principles are called constitutive if using them we “would be able to compose and determine a priori, i.e., construct the degree of the sensation of sunlight out of about 200000 illuminations from the moon” (A179) They have to bring the existence of appearances under rules.

The regulative “principles can concern only the relation of existence of appearances  under rules a priori. Here therefore neither axioms no intuitions can be thought ofUnder those the “existence cannot be construed” (B222).

Mathematical principles are constitutive,  while philosophical ones (categories) regulative.


16. Explain Kant's Third Antinomy and his resolution of it.  What did he mean by saying that a human being is a citizen of two worlds? [You may find Kant's Groundwork, 107-109, helpful here.] How does the distinguishing our regarding things as "phenomena" from our regarding things as "noumena" come into this story?  


Kant points out that there are two contradicting ideas of reason on the possibility of freedom, and there are seemingly consistent proofs for each of them.

    One states that another causality through freedom is also necessary in order to explain the derivation of the appearances of the world.

The other: There is no freedom, but everything in the world happens in accordance with laws of nature.

    The first is proved by looking at the natural causality in the world as needed causal explanation itself. Here we are offered to look at natural causality as one of the appearances, which are under that law.

    The second is proved by pointing out that freedom as a special kind of causality could be looked up on as requiring a cause itself in accordance with that assumed law of nature.

    Kant’s solution is that freedom does not belong to the phenomenal world of appearances, but rather to the world of noumena, about constitution of which we have no real idea, because our lack of intuition of the kind. The causal determination on the other hand belongs to the world of phenomena, which is grounded in our own psychological structure. The former is given to our sensibility and understanding, while the latter is deduced by pure reason. Reason still has its limits and no insight into noumena.

Without noumena we could not give any account for objectivity of the phenomenal world.

Man is a citizen of two worlds means that he is physically determined to the extent of his physical nature and free in his noumenal sense. Freedom is transcendental, natural causality (determinism) immanent. Freedom is real determination is just an appearance, which is determined by our structure the foundation of which is unknown to us.


17. Explain and discuss Kant's attempted refutation of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God.


     Kant begins his attempt on the presupposition that (1) God is a thing; (2)we have just empirical intuitions of things, and if we don’t it is impossible to think a thing into existence, or logic is always abstract from existence or reality. The predicate of being is illegitimate. The contradiction may arises only if the thing with its predicates is given, but if we cancel the existence of a thing all its predicates are automatically cancelled. God does possess the predicate of the greatest, but this predicate exists only as far the concept of God is posited. It the latter is cancelled, the former is cancelled too without a contradiction. Hence, the ontological argument is a tautological one, because it proves what was already presupposed…

     We can doubt (1), saying God is not a thing, not anything like we encounter in sensual experience. It is the greatest in transcendental sense. Also we can doubt (2), and say: we possibly can have non-empirical intuitions, which are transcendent to our regular ones. Still, those transcendent intuitions deal with different kind of reality, or existence, beyond the realm of physical senses.

In this case Kant’s noumena becomes Knowable to us when ever we have those transcendental intuitions, which are usually inaccessible for the majority of us, and that is why we need proofs of logic.

     We can also say: “God being transcendental sometimes projects Himself as a phenomenon, in order for those without developed transcendental intuition to perceive His at least in this reduced fashion”. At those times He is given even in empirical intuition and is not just an empty concept.

     But can we (on the condition of these) prove the possibility of the ontological argument and save it from Kant’s critique? I think it is worth a try. I already wrote on the subject before, and believe, can do more and better, but it will be in some other essay, because the limits of this one are already overstretched.


18. Critics of Kant say that while Hume awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers, the moral argument for God and immortality [in either the second Critique or in the Canon of Pure Reason in the first Critique, culminating in A815/B843] shows him returning comfortably to that sleep. Is that fair? Does Kant’s distinction between an “immanent” and a “transcendent” moral theology [Cf. A819/B847] provide an answer to such a critic?


It is not a precise question, because it does not state what kind of critics are those and what are their favorite conception of Hume. Also, it presupposes that Hume himself was not dogmatic, which is at least not obvious. We could also question Kant’s possible dogmatism even before that chapter on the Cannon of Pure Reason. But anyway, we could speculate in general and give an answer as good or bad as the question itself is.

     Hume was an empiricist which with his skepticism brought the empiricism itself to a ridicules position, but his reasoning looked consistent, powerful and impressive to many and Kant himself. It was also offensive toward contemporary dogmatic philosophy and theology. But the point is that before and after Hume was a believer “in the name of Fact” as C. Dickens put it:

Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. .  .  . Stick to Facts, sir!” (Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Chapter I)

Baconian method impressed so many, that Hume and others started to apply it to all human knowledge and understanding. Kant was also excited, but could not remain blind to the ridicules paradoxes of that kind of philosophy, its incapability to answer certain questions, particularly, how it is that contingent world of experience allows apodictic laws of science and pure mathematical certainty, how experience itself can be possible without presupposing the unity of apperception, etc.

     Kant surely appreciated empirical knowledge and even set the limitations for pure reason, which made him awake for empiricists. But they could not forgive Kant serious speculation on any possible valid knowledge about “the freedom of the will, the immortality of the soul, and the existence of God” (A798). They loved Kant’s confession that “it is humiliating for human reason that it accomplishes nothing in its pure use…” (A795), but hated his “final aim to which in the end the speculation of reason in its transcendental use is directed…”(A798). So they went ad hominem and claimed that Kant was “returning comfortably to that sleep”.

    Kant’s argument for God’s existence is based on the validity for reason of the ideas of happiness, worthiness, freedom, and purpose. All those are applicable to the sensual world in a certain sense, but form moral laws which transcend its causality. The moral laws command us to freely choose certain actions in the world which would make us worthy of happiness desired by us. ”Do that through which you will become worthy to be happy” (A809).

      Appealing “to the moral judgment of every human being” Kant says: “Pure reason thus contains – not in its speculative use, to be sure, but yet in a certain practical use, namely the moral use – principles of a possibility of experience, namely of those actions in conformity with moral precepts… since they command that those actions ought to happen, they must also be able to happen” (A807) He points to the history full of facts of moral behavior making his assertion stronger. “The idea of moral world thus has objective reality, not if it pertained to an object of an intelligible intuition, but as pertaining to the sensible world, although as an object of pure reason in its practical use and a corpus mysticum of the rational beings in it, insofar as their free choice under moral laws has thoroughgoing systematic unity in itself as well as with the freedom of everyone else” (A808.)

     The very existence of such presented morality “cannot be cognized through reason if it is grounded merely in nature, but may be hoped for only if it is at the same time grounded on a highest reason, which commands in accordance with moral laws, as at the same time the cause of nature”(A810). Kant calls that idea of such intelligence the ideal of the highest good. Only in this can pure reason find the ground for the practically necessary connection of both elements of the highest derived good, i.e., moral world. Thus God and the future life are two presuppositions that pure reason imposes on us in accordance with its principles.

     I think that Kant fairly produces his argument for the existence of God and immortality from the observed morality. If this is dogmatic what isn’t? Hence the critique of his opponents is unfair. In addition he says in A819: “So fat as practical reason has the right to lead us, we will not hold actions to be obligatory because they are God’s commands, but will rather regard them as divine commands because we are internally obligated to them”. For Kant “moral theology is only of immanent use, namely for fulfilling our vocation here in the world by fitting into the system of all ends, nor for fanatically . . . abandoning the guidance of a morally legislative reason . . . . a transcendental use, like the use of mere speculation, must pervert and frustrate the ultimate ends of reason”. So reason is still the judge and its laws are valuable and should not be ignored.     


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