Kant's Critic of Pure Reason-Part III
Brownson's Quarterly Review, October, 1844
ART. I. — Critik der reinen Vernunft; von IMMANUEL KANT. Siebente Auflage. Leipzig. 1828.
KANT'S investigation, as we have several times repeated, lies wholly within the sphere of the cognitive subject. He is investigating, not knowledge, but our means of knowing. His design is, by a thorough analysis of the faculty of intelligence, to ascertain the conditions of knowing, and to obtain a canon of science, by which we may always be able to distinguish genuine knowledge from its counterfeit. This design he does not profess to have fully executed, and his Critic, he tells us, is, therefore, a cathartic for purging the understanding of errors hitherto imbibed, rather than a canon universally applicable.
The first great positive doctrine, which Kant teaches, is, so far as we can comprehend it, that we never attain to a knowledge of things as they may be assumed to exist independently of our cognition of them, that is, as things in themselves; but merely as objects mentally apprehended. Subject and object are correlatives, and one, therefore, cannot be without the other. A tree, for instance, is a certain determinate object which exists in our intuition as the correlative of the subject of the intuition. But does not the tree exist independently of the intuition ? Is it not there before my window all the same when I see it and when I see it not ? On the Kantian philosophy, this question is absurd; for it presupposes that I may conceive of somewhat of which I have no intuition. But conceptions without intuitions are void. Then I cannot ask whether the tree does or does not exist independently of my beholding it; for, independently of my beholding it, that is, of my intuition of it, it is to me no object of conception.
But what! has the universe no existence, save as the object of my intuition? So, in very deed, it would seem, if, as Kant alleges, we can apprehend it only as the correlative of the subject apprehending. Yet Kant does not deny the existence of the object as thing existing apart from the subject; for, apart from the subject, it can be no object of conception, and therefore can neither be denied nor affirmed. It may, for aught we know, exist really independently of us, but not formally; for it exists formally only in the intuition. Hence his second great positive doctrine, that on which he founds his claims to originality, namely, that the form of the thought (intuition and conception), or the form under which the object is cognized, is derived from the subject; never, as metaphysicians had hitherto fancied, from the object. The formal existence of the tree is, therefore, purely subjective. But the tree is cognized only as object, never as thing in itself; consequently, its real existence, practically, if not absolutely, is also purely subjective.
That the formal existence of some objects of knowledge may be said to be subjective, we are not disposed to deny; but then the formal conceptions, to be of any validity, must have a virtual, if not an actual, objective foundation in re. This is the case with the attributes of God, such as wisdom, justice, goodness, &c. In our conceptions, these attributes are formally distinct, but in God they are identical; for the divine essence is simple, and admits of no distinction. The attribute is identical with the subject regarded as pure essence, and pure essence is identical with pure act. God is not Creator in potentia, — for that which exists only in potentia is imperfect, and needs for its perfection to be realized in act, — but Creator in actu. He is not wise, just, and good, when we speak strictly, but wisdom, justice, goodness ; and wisdom, justice, and goodness are in him not distinct attributes, but essentially one and the same. Yet, by reason of his infinity, is there a real foundation in him for what, in our conceptions of him, are distinct attributes. Consequently, our conceptions of distinct attributes are formally subjective, yet virtually objective; for they have their foundation in reality; that is to say, in the infinity of God, which answers to what, owing to our limited faculties, are in us distinct conceptions. There is, then, no objection to admitting that the form of some objects of knowledge is imposed by the subject, in case the object is conceded to exist really, and the forms of the intuition to have a virtual foundation in reality. But Kant assumes that the forms, under which all objects are mentally apprehended, are without any foundation, actual or virtual, in the thing apprehended ; both the forms and the object are then reduced to mere empty conceptions, or mere modes of the subject, from which, formally, they are nevertheless really, indistinguishable.
But Kant goes still further, and demonstrates very conclusively that we can have intuition of ourselves only in the intuition of the diverse ; that is, that the synthetic judgment / think is possible only on condition of the synthetic judgment I think somewhat (aliquid), and somewhat diverse from myself. But this somewhat is merely a mode or afFection of myself, and is only formally, not really, actually or virtually, distinguishable from me. Consequently, I can have only a formal, not a real, intuition of myself. Consequently, again, with the knowledge of the not me falls the knowledge of the me itself; I cease to be able to know any thing, and all science is an illusion. To this conclusion, as we have heretofore proved, we are inevitably driven, if we adopt Kant's premises.
But these premises are false, and the doctrines of the old metaphysicians, which Kant denies and labors to overthrow, are substantially true and worthy of all acceptation. In departing from them, and seeking the foundation of the form of the thought in the subject, instead of the object, Kant has placed science on the wrong track, and caused it to retrograde instead of advancing. This is what we hope to make good in the course of what follows.
Kant, we repeat once more, is investigating the subjective faculty of intelligence. This faculty he regards as complex, and capable of being resolved into, —
1. Sensibility, or the Receptivity ;
2. Understanding, or the power of conceiving ;
3. Reason, or the faculty of Ideas.
Sensibility furnishes us with sensations, and sensations furnish us with intuitions (Anschauungen) and representations ( Vorstellungen) of objects; Understanding is that power by which an object represented or presented by sensibility is thought, and it furnishes us with conceptions (Begrijfen); Reason is the power by which we give unity and ideal completeness to our conceptions, and by it we are furnished with ideas, which are to conceptions, in some respects, what conceptions are to intuitions.
In accordance with this threefold division of the faculty of intelligence, Kant divides his work into three general divisions: 1. Transcendental ^Esthetics, in which he treats of the Intuitions; 2. Transcendental Logic, or Elementary Science, in which he discusses the Conceptions, or the Categories of the pure Understanding ; 3. Transcendental Dialectics, in which he discusses the Ideas, and makes the especial Critic of the pure Reason, as distinguished from Sensibility and Understanding. We shall be obliged to confine our remarks almost exclusively to the first two of these three general divisions.
The great problem which Kant undertakes to solve, we have seen, is, How are synthetic judgments a priori formed ? This question he attempts to answer by a rigid and subtile analysis of the faculty of intelligence. He begins by analyzing the fact of experience. This fact he makes consist of two parts, — the one empirical and a -posteriori, the other a priori, and supplied from the understanding itself. He then eliminates the empirical portion, and proceeds to his analysis of the a priori portion, which he terms cognition a priori. This cognition a priori is assumed to lie already in the understanding prior to any fact of actual cognition, as the ground and condition of the possibility of actual cognition, or, what is the same thing, experience. If we consider this cognition a priori in its application to some particular fact of experience, it is simply cognition a priori ; but if generally, as abstracted from all particular facts of experience, and as the simple possibility of the application of the cognition a priori to the empirical fact, it is Transcendental Cognition, because it can be brought into none of the categories or predicaments, but transcends them all. A complete system of all our transcendental cognitions would be a TRANSCENDENTAL PHILOSOPHY; but Kant here does not attempt a complete system, but merely a critic of pure reason, and therefore, gives us only a TRANSCENDENTAL CRITIC.
Assuming the threefold division of the faculty of intelligence stated, Kant arranges all our mental phenomena under three heads : 1. Intuitions ; 2. Conceptions ; 3. Ideas.
The intellectual phenomenon, or actual cognition, in its complete sense, is a complex fact, composed of intuition, conception, and idea. Without these three, no valid cognition. Intuitions without conceptions are blind: conceptions without intuitions are void, and without ideas are incomplete and incoherent; ideas without intuitions and conceptions are merely entia rationis, utterly invalid and worthless.
Ideas are always by their very nature transcendental, corresponding, if we do not blunder in regard to them, in part with the universals of the Schoolmen. But intuitions and conceptions may be both a priori and empirical. Empirical intuition, that is, actual intuition of some determinate object, is possible only on condition of a priori intuition of object in general. This a priori intuition, considered without application to object at all, but as the simple possibility of intuition of object in general, is the Transcendental Intuition ; and the science of our transcendental intuitions is, TRANSCENDENTAL .^ESTHETICS. The conceptions are also susceptible of the same analysis. The conception a priori, that is, of object in general, considered without reference to any intuition in particular, or intuition in general, but as the possibility of its application to intuition in general, is the Transcendental Conception ; and the science of our transcendental conceptions is TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC, or elementary science. Having made these explanations, and definitions, we proceed to consider,
I. TRANSCENDENTAL AESTHETICS.
We remark, in the outset, that we are far from accepting Kant's analysis of the faculty of intelligence. We do not admit his distinction between intuition and conception, nor that which he contends for between conception and idea. The fact of knowing is sui generis; but considered psychologically, it is a simple, indecomposable fact. The human soul, the human me, taken as that which it eminently is, is, as Leibnitz contends, a monad, or simple substance, and, as we proved in our former article on Kant, admits of no division into separate faculties. The distinction of faculties is a distinction merely, not a division, or a separation ; and proceeds not from any defect of strict unity and simplicity of substance or essence, but from limitation of nature, in consequence of which, the soul is not pure act, but in part power, seeking to realize itself in act. In God, who is perfect essence, substance, or being, save so far as concerns our conceptions of him, there is no distinction of attributes; for he is not the power to do, but the doing, —not a merely possible Creator, but an actual Creator. There is in him no distinction, no interval, so to speak, between the power and its realization. We arc created in the image of God, and therefore must needs be essentially active force (vis activa); but we are imperfect forces, because imperfect beings, that is, we are not being in its completeness; for, if we were, we should be God, and not merely created in his image. We exist in part potentially, rather than actually, and are less pure act itself, than the perpetual aspiration to it. If it were not for this fact, the distinction of faculties in human nature would be as inadmissible as the distinction of faculties in the divine nature itself.
The soul is not mere power (potentia nuda), otherwise it would have no substantial existence, and therefore could not be said to be at all; for being (esse) is not the power to act, but force acting (vis activa). So far forth as the soul is, as it is a real entity, it is force acting, or active force, which is the radical conception of entity or substantial being. But as it is a limited being, it is in relation to its limitations only virtual being, or mere potential being. Hence the soul may be defined to be both actual being and virtual being, both active and potential force. Hence it is, and aspires to be more than it is, or to be more completely.
The distinction between the me and its faculties, so far as such distinction is conceivable, is the distinction between actual being and potential being, between vis activa and the potentia nuda of the Schoolmen. But as the power (potentia) is a defect, an imperfection, a negation of being, not something positive superadded to the soul as essence, the distinction between the me and its faculties is, as we have before shown, really inadmissible. Then again, if we shift our point of view, and consider the faculty, not as the negation of being merely, but as the positive ability of the soul to remove its limitations by realizing its essence, as the virtually of the soul, thenit becomes virtually the soul itself, and therefore virtually indistinguishable from it, as we contended in our former article. The soul and its faculty are the soul in its actuality and its virtuality, in its actual essence and its virtual essence. The faculty is not actually the soul, because it is not actual being ; it is virtually the soul, and becomes it really and identically just so far as it becomes real. Essentially, then, the faculty and the soul are one and the same.
But as the realization of the possibility of our nature, to which we tend, is effected by distinct and separate moments, a classification becomes possible- The soul, considered as the power tending to realize itself in one class, is what we term one of its faculties ; considered as tending to realize itself in another class, it is what we term another of its faculties. Psychologists have arranged all the phenomena resulting from the several moments in three classes; namely, Volitions, Sentiments, and Cognitions. Man may therefore be defined, psychologically, a being that acts, feels, and knows. But he is so far forth as real being a monad, or simple substance, and therefore must enter into each class as actor with the simplicity and entireness of his nature. Consequently, he is essentially present in each and all three of the classes, as identically volitive, sensitive, and cognitive. Essentially considered, therefore, the distinction of classes would be inadmissible. But as the soul in no one, nor in all, realizes its entire virtuality, and as this virtuality is realized under distinct phases, a virtual distinction, corresponding to the one named, is unquestionably admissible. But, as the distinction of attributes is virtual, not real, it follows that the distinction between volitions, sentiments, and cognitions is virtual, not real.
At most, then, only a virtual distinction in the soul, of the three faculties of willing, feeling, and knowing, can be admitted. How, then, shall we admit a further distinction, not virtual merely, but real also, in the faculty of intelligence itself? Is to know made up of distinct and separate moments ? Is it not one simple fact, whatever its sphere, degree, or conditions ? What is the evidence on which Kant grounds his division of the virtuality of the soul to know, into sensibility, understanding, and reason ? He speaks of blind intuitions and of void conceptions, and presupposes that the me may act as sensibility, without at the same moment acting as understanding, and that it may act as understanding without acting as sensibility. But this is impossible ; for the soul is one and simple, and admits of no plurality or complexity. In intuition the soul is active, for intuition is the active beholding of the object, not the mere passive reception of the representation. Assume the soul to be purely passive, and the representation would be impossible. Kant himself nowhere regards the receptivity as pure passivity, for it is that by which the object is actively placed before the mind. Then in the intuition the me is active. If active, it is active with what it is essentially. It is essentially voli-tive, sensitive, and cognitive, and therefore must needs be all three in each and every intuition. Consequently, a blind intuition, or an intuition in which the soul is not actively cognoscent, is impossible.
We are aware, that what Kant calls sensibility is supposed to be in some way dependent on the body, and to be in consequence of this distinguishable from understanding, which is held to be purely psychical. Man is unquestionably, as Bossuet says, a being made to live in a body, and is in all his operations served by bodily organs. But man is himself always the operator. In vision the eye does not see, in hearing the ear does not hear, but the soul. The force that sees or hears is not physical, but psychical, or rather spiritual. So in every fact of knowledge, whether of material objects or spiritual, the knower is always the same identical spiritual subject, knowing always, because spiritual, but through bodily organs of knowledge. In this mode of being, independently of the body, man never acts, performs no function at all. But as he himself is not body, but spirit living in body and served by bodily organs, whatever he wills, feels, or knows, must be willed, felt, or known by spirit.
The union of soul and body is unquestionably a mystery which exceeds our ability to explain; yet of the fact of such union we can be as well assured as of any other fact whatever. How the soul can use the body and be itself affected by whatever affects the body is also a mystery, an impenetrable mystery. All we know is, that it does use the body, and is affected by all its accidents. What we call affections of the body are in reality affections of the soul, at least in great part. In pain, it is not my body that suffers the pain, but I myself. So in disease, and the innumerable ills that flesh is heir to. The agent and patient are the psychical man, not the physical man. In sensibility, I use what are called the senses. But in strictness what are called the senses are not senses, but the organs of sense. That which senses is the spiritual force which I call I, myself.
Assuming this, we are unable to perceive any thing in the alleged fact of the dependence of sensibility on material organs, that militates against the simplicity of the cognitive faculty. The dependence on bodily organs is no greater nor otherwise in intuition than in conception, sentiment, or volition. We repeat, therefore, that blind intuitions are impossible. The we is we; the me = me, essentially considered. It is essentially intelligent force ; wherever present, it must be cognos-cent. It is present in intuition. Then the intuition cannot be blind.
Nor are empty conceptions possible. In conception, I am present as the subject of the conception. But no finite being can perform a single act by himself alone. The subject can act only on condition of an object that acts in conjunction with the subject. A void conception is a conception in which nothing is conceived, a conception which has no object, that is to say, an act performed by the subject alone, without the concurrence of any object; an act impossible to any finite and dependent being, and possible only to the Infinite Being himself. Nor is this all. In every conception, as a matter of fact, I do conceive of somewhat. This somewhat, which stands in the conception as object, must be either me or not me. But the me is not and cannot be its own object, for it cannot redouble and fold itself over so as to look into its own eyes; and moreover, because in every conception the me recognizes
itself as the subject of the conception, and Kant himself shows that the me can have intuition of itself only in intuition of the diverse, that is, in intuition of somewhat distinguishable and diverse from itself. But in every conception I have intuition of myself. Then in every conception I have intuition of some object which is not myself. A conception in which there is intuition of object is not a void conception. Consequently, void conceptions are impossible.
It follows from what we have said, that a real divisiou of the cognitive faculty, a division which implies that one part of the faculty can operate, and another part be at rest, is inadmissible ; that there are no intuitions without conceptions, and no conceptions without intuitions ; and furthermore, that intuitions and conceptions are not distinct phenomena, but both are given simultaneously and as one simple, indecomposable fact. All intuition is cognition, and all cognition is intuition, for all knowing is by beholding the object known.
But waiving this, and leaving the analysis in question to stand for what it is worth, we proceed at once to the more direct consideration of the science of the principles of sensibility, which, as we have said, Kant denominates TranscendentalAEsthetics. Our readers must be careful not to confound sensibility as understood by Kant with sensibility as the psychological principle of that class of our mental phenomena termed the sentiments, such as love, joy, grief, hope, fear,
We remark here, that Kant makes the affection of the senses necessary to actual intuition, and he teaches that conceptions without intuitions are void. Therefore there can be valid conceptions only on condition of actual intuition, and actual intuition only on condition of some aifection of sensibility. Hence it follows, that our actual cognition, in case cognition be admitted, must be confined to cognition of sensible objects plus ourselves, which proves what we before asserted, that his system, assuming it to admit science at all, is a system of pure sensualism, and as far removed from a true spiritual philosophy as that of Con-dillac himself; for he nowhere teaches or implies, that any but material objects are capable of affecting the senses. But this by the way.
1 cannot have intuition of object without intuition of its locus, that is, of its space, and this intuition requires in turn intuition of space in general. Intuition of space in general requires the transcendental intuition, or intuition of the possibility of the application of the intuition of space in general to intuition of some determinate portion of space, or space in particular. But whence this transcendental intuition? and what is it ? It is not derivable from experience, for all experience presupposes it; nor from object, because it is not intuition of any object in particular, or some determinate portion of space ; but is the necessary a priori condition of possible determinate intuition. It must, then, lie a priori in the sensibility, and be the form which the sensibility imposes upon all empirical intuitions.
All empirical intuitions are accompanied by intuitions of simultaneousness or succession, that is to say, of TIME. The intuitions of change, of succession, cannot give me the intuition of time, for they all presuppose it. Change, succession, mark or measure time, and are therefore distinguishable from it. The intuition of time must, then, necessarily precede them. An event occurs. I can have intuition of it only by having intuition of a determinate portion of time. This implies intuition a priori of time in general, and this last the transcendental intuition of time, that is, of the possibility of the application of the intuition of time in general to a possible empirical intuition. This transcendental intuition of time, like that of space, lies originally in the sensibility, as the form it necessarily imposes on all its empirical intuitions.
The simple fact, that all our empirical intuitions, taken as they are in Kant's statement, imply or presuppose the intuitions of space and. time, we are not disposed to question. But, in the first place, the restriction of the fact of intuition to intuition of mere sensible objects, as they are called, can be justified only by assuming the subdivision of the cognitive power of the subject, which we have denied. In point of fact, all thinking is intuition, and one class of our mental phenomena are no more or less so than another. In all cases there is intuition, that is, according to the etymology of the word, an actual beholding, looking upon, or apprehension by the mind, of the object of which there is intuition. Even in memory it is the same. In remembering there is always actual intuition of the fact remembered, for the fact of memory is not a creation of the subject at the moment remembered, nor a nonexistent fact, when unremembered. We are capable of intuition of bodies, which is called perceiving in space ; of events, which is perceiving in time ; of ideas, which is perceiving in eternity, though ideas are never perceived as pure ideas, but always in the bodies or the events in which they realize and reveal themselves.
In the second place, we deny that space and time are mere forms of our sensibility, which it imposes upon the objects beheld. We readily admit that they are not things, entities, in the language of the Schoolmen. We also admit that they are the forms of all our intuitions, under which we perceive all the objects we do perceive ; but they are forms imposed by the objective world on our perception, not the forms which the perception imposes on the object perceived. Brilliant discoveries often turn out to be brilliant errors, and this will prove to be the case with this famous discovery of Kant, that time and space are nothing but the subjective forms of our sensibility.
Kant himself, in admitting, as he very properly does, that all knowledge begins with experience, has deprived himself of the right to insist on his own doctrine. It is obviously true, chronologically considered, that there is no actual intuition of time and space prior to experience of bodies and events. Prior to this, there lies in the sensibility merely the capacity to perceive bodies and events, that is to say, the possibility of the empirical intuitions of space and time. Now admit that the empirical intuition demands, as its condition, the a priori intuitions, that is, the intuitions of space and time in general, it by no means follows that these last may not be perceived along with the first. Kant establishes three things: 1. That in every empirical intuitioii of determinate space or time, there is always and necessarily the intuition of space or time in general; 2. That this intuitioii of space or time in general is not logically obtainable from empirical intuition in the sense he defines empirical intuition ; 3. Which is only a corollary from the-first, that, in order to be able to have intuitioii of determinate space and time, we must be able to have intuitioii of space and time in general. But in all this he merely proves, that, in order to be able to perceive the determinate, the particular, we must be able to perceive the general, because the particular always presupposes the general. Yet this does not prove his doctrine, hi order to prove that, it is not enough to prove that iu the intuitioii of the particular there is always and necessarily intuition of the general, but that the general lies a priori in the sensibility, and is supplied from it. But this, so far as we have been able to discover, he does not prove. For, from the fact that the particular is never, or even can never, be perceived without the general, we have no right to conclude that the general is supplied from the sensibility, any more than we have, that the particular itself is supplied from the same source.
Furthermore, space and time are pure relations. They mark the order in which bodies and events stand in our intuitions, it is agreed ; but who dares say that they mark only this ? Of course, if we accept Kant's doctrine, that the form under which the object is perceived is derived from the subject, we must say so, but this is the very point in question. Kant asserts it, makes it the foundation on which his whole edifice rests, but he nowhere demonstrates it. To assert a doctrine, and then to assume it, as the basis of particular demonstrations, while it is itself undemonstrated, is not, we believe, the general practice of good logicians, and though it may be authorized by the Kantian logic, is repugned by the Aristotelian. Moreover, his general doctrine is not susceptible of demonstration. It is in fact suicidal. If we cannot attain to cognition of things themselves, if we can cognize them only as objects, and as objects only under the forms imposed by the understanding, we can know nothing at all. We do always seem to ourselves to perceive the forms of the object as objective, and if in this our understanding deceives us, it forfeits our confidence, cannot be trusted at all. And no more, when, by the Kantian processes, it demonstrates the forms to be subjective, than when, in the apprehension of common sense, it affirms them to be objective-Then again, Kant assumes, that whatever is necessary, permanent, universal, in the fact of experience, is merely the subject vitally protended. Whence his proof of this ? What more limited, mutable, and transitory than this very human me ? When we come to treat, in the next division, of the Categories, we trust we shall establish the reverse of Kant's doctrine ; namely, that the forms of the thought, inasmuch as they are objectively conceived, must needs be objectively derived, and therefore that space and time mark the real order and relations of things themselves, and not merely the order in which they stand in our intuitions. Space, properly speaking, is the order in which bodies stand, the relation they bear to one another in the world of reality, and is the order in which we behold them, because we perceive things themselves, and as they exist a parte rei. Time is not merely the order in which events appear to us to succeed one another, but the order iu which they do actually succeed one another. Does the clock keep time for us only when we are awake ? Do events stand still when we are unconscious ? Does the darkness which conceals bodies from my vision affect their mutual relations ? Are there not even animals whose intuitions of space and time coincide with ours ? No. When I perceive bodies in space, I perceive them, saving the imperfection of my vision, in their real order and relation ; when I perceive events in time, whether in time present, in time past, or in time to come, making the same reserve, I perceive them in the real order of their succession, not as they succeed in my intuitions merely,,but as they succeed independently of my intuitions. Any other view than this were fatal to science, by striking at the trustworthiness of our cognitive faculty.
Nor can we accept, without some important qualifications, what Kant and even Cousin say concerning intuitions of space and time, after abstraction is made of their respective contents. They would have us believe that it is possible to conceive of space, even after we have conceived of the absence of all the contents of space, and of time, after having conceived of the absence of all the contents of time. Take away in thought the entire universe, and we may still conceive of space as remaining ; take away the whole order of succession, and time is left. But this we deny. For space and time are neither forms of the sensibility, as Kant maintains, nor are they entities, as Cousin would seem to teach. They are pure relations, and therefore must needs be inconceivable, where there is nothing related. Space is very conceivable within the universe, but not out of it; for it marks the order in which its several parts stand to each other; but without the universe it is inconceivable. What is called imaginary space is imaginary, or rather a mere word, to which there is no conception to respond. We may always ask of some particular thing, Where is it ? for that merely asks its relation of coexistence to something else more or less clearly apprehended. But to ask of the universe, as embracing the totality of things, Where \& it ? is absurd ; for that asks, What is the relation ? where there is nothing related. So of time, we may ask of some particular event, When did it occur ? for that merely asks its relation, in the order of succession, to some other event, to which we more or less distinctly refer. But to ask of the universe itself, When did it begin to exist ? or, When will it cease to exist ? is absurd ; for, beside the universe itself, there is nothing between which and it there is the relation we express by the term whe?i, or by the term where. Beside the universe, there is no existence but God; and the relation of the universe to him is not that of time or space, but of the effect to its cause.
The speculations about infinite time and infinite space, which play so conspicuous a part in some metaphysical systems, are without any foundation in reality. Neither is or can be infinite. They are not real existences, nor are they purely ideal. Our conceptions of them have their foundation in reality. They are not ideal, for they are real relations; they are not entities, because no relation is an entity. Being relations, they are necessarily bounded by the objects between which they are the relations. Leap the bounds of the universe, and you are not out in illimitable space, but out of space, in IMMENSITY, which is the negation of space; or, to speak more strictly, you are in God, whose being and presence are the bounds of the universe. Pass beyond the limits of all change, of all succession of events, and you are not in time endlessly continued, but in ETERNITY, where time is not, —in God, who is the negation of time, as of space. It is no exalted conception of God to say, that he fills all space, and lives through all time.*(footnote: * Vide St. Anseltn. Monologium, c. 22 and 23.) He fills immensity, he inhabiteth eternity, and, as we approach him in our thoughts and affections, we rise above time and space, to the Immense and the Eternal. Doubtless, God is virtually present, present by his efficacy, in all space, and through all time ; but our true way of regarding him is to regard him as bounding all time and space, as embosoming, so to speak, in his own divine consciousness, all worlds and events, as we embosom in our consciousness our own thoughts and volitions.
But we must pass from the consideration of Transcendental ./Esthetics to the second general division, namely, —
II. TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC
According to Kant, our cognitions spring from two sources, two distinct fundamental faculties ; the first of which, sensibility, as we have seen, furnishes us with intuitions ; the second, the understanding ( Verstand), with conceptions. By sensibility the object is presented ; by understanding it is thought or conceived. The first supplies us with the two transcendental intuitions of space and time, the necessary forms of all our intuitions ; for, in relation to every object we behold, we may ask, Where ? and When ? Of these we have already treated, denying that space and time are mere forms of the sensibility, without a foundation objectively in reality (in re).
The conceptions, or apprehensions (Begriffe), are to the understanding, as we have said, very much what the intuitions are to the sensibility. They are, 1. Empirical, 2. A priori, 3. Pure, 4. Transcendental. They may be defined, the seizing, grasping, apprehending, or taking hold by the mind, of the object presented by intuition. But they seize the object only under certain fixed and definite forms. In other words, in like manner as all our empirical intuitions are subjected to the two forms of space and time, so are all our conceptions subjected to certain invariable laws. No object can be beheld, but under the relations of where and when. So, none can be conceived, save under certain relations, which are denominated the forms of the conceptions. For example, if I conceive of some particular thing, I must conceive of it either as subject or as predicate, as substance or as phenomenon, as a whole or as a part, as one or as many, as simple or as composite, as cause or as effect, &c. These necessary and invariable forms of all our thoughts or conceptions are what Kant, after Aristotle, terms the Categories of the Pure Understanding. They are reducible to four orders, namely, —
1. Quantity; 2. Quality; 3. Relation; 4. Modality.
Each of these orders contains three categories,—in all, twelve. QUANTITY contains, 1. Unity, 2. Multiplicity, 3. Totality; QUALITY contains, 1. Reality, 2. Negation, 3. Limitation ; RELATION contains, 1. Substance and Accident, 2. Cause and Effect, 3. Community, or reciprocal action of cause and effect; MODALITY, finally, contains, 1. Possibility and Impossibility, 2. Real and Unreal, 3. Necessary and Contingent.
We cannot go into any particular exposition of the Categories, Their exactness we are not disposed to question ; but it may be asked, if their number cannot be reduced. From the point of view of logic, it strikes us that they may be reduced to two, namely, subject and predicate ; and from the point of view of ontology, to ideal and actual, general and particular, necessary and contingent, being and phenomenon, or, as M. Cousin contends, substance and cause.*(footnote: M. Cousin's critics seem to have misapprehended his reduction of the Kantian categories, in consequence of having taken the reduction given in his Course of 1828, instead of that given in his (Jonrso of 1818. In the Course of 1828, after his acquaintance with Hehlegel, he reduces all our fundamental ideas to three, the idea of the infinite, the idea of the finite, and that of the relation of infinite anil finite. Hut in the Course of 1818, reported by one of his disciples, and published with his authority in 1830, he reduces the Kantian categories to two, namely, substance and cause, using the term cause not to designate the force that causes, but the simple action of causing, a use of the word to which we find it difficult to reconcile ourselves. " Cause," he says, (; is distinguished from being ; being is not action, but resides at the bottom of all actions. Action [according to him, synonymous with cause] is the phenomenon, the quality, the accident, the manifold, the particular, the individual, the relative, the possible, the probable, the contingent, the diverse, the finite; these are all reducible to the single category of cause. Being, as Kant says, the noumenon, is the subject, the unity, the absolute, the necessary, the universal, the eternal, the identical, the in-iinite. We may, then, reduce all the subdivisions to the two fundamental ideas of SUBSTANCE and CAUSE. If it be objected, that under the category of cause there are the two ideas of cause and effect, and under that of substance the two ideas of being and accident; we reply, that the effect always reacts on the cause, and becomes in turn itself a cause, and causality displaying itself on the theatre of phenomena absorbs the accident in the cause. Beside causality, then, there is only substance."—Cours de Philosophic, 1818, publie par Adolphe Gamier. Paris: 1836. p. 34.
The assertion, that the effect ulvvays reacts on the cause, is not correct. The universe does not react on its Creator ; for creation introduces no change in God, who is immutable. The effect, taken strictly, is never a cause in relation to its cause, but effect merely ; but each effect, however, becomes in turn a cause in relation to its own effects. My acts unquestionably react upon me, but never so far forth as they are purely my acts. But what I call my acts are only partially mine. Other causes beside myself have been engaged in producing them ; and it is as effects of those other causes, which give them a certain independence of me, that they react on me. Moreover, nothing seems to us more certain than that cause and effect are irreducible to one and the same category. In our view, the category of cause is identically the category of substance ; for our radical conception of substance is, not that it is that which has the power to cause, but that which is cause, and it is substance only so far forth as it is cause. Cause is the causer. But that which is not cannot cause; and again, that which does not cause really or virtually is not. Cause, then, is the substance, the being. M. Cousin, then, would have been more correct, and he must pardon us for saying, more faithful to his own philosophy, if, instead of saying the subdivisions of Kant are reducible to the two ideas of substance and cause, lie had said they are reducible to the two ideas of cause and effect, or, as we ourselves prefer to say, being and phenomenon.--end of footnote)
But leaving this question, — by the way, a question which has only a remote connection with our present purpose, — we proceed at once to the principle of the Categories. Whence are they derived ? Aristotle had given us the categories of reason, or the necessary forms of every logical proposition. These are the ten predicaments; namely, Substance, Quantity, Qtialiti/, Relation, Where, When, Situation, Habit, Action, Passion. But Aristotle derives his categories, ontologically, from the object. He holds philosophy to be the science of life, or of things; and his purpose is, to determine what are the forms under which any real being does or can become an object of thought. He therefore derives the categories from the thing, or at least holds them to be founded objectively in re, and makes them the necessary forms of the conception, because they are the necessary forms of the thing conceived. Kant, on the contrary, denying the capacity of the human mind to cognize the noumenon, and conceding only its capacity to cognize the phenomenon, and, therefore, the object only so far forth as object, not as thing, contends that the. categories are derived from the subject, and are the a priori forms of the pure understanding, which it imposes on the object conceived. They are the forms under which the object is cognized, not because they are the necessary forms of the object considered as thing existing objectively in re, but because they are the necessary forms of the human understanding itself. The principle of the Kantian categories is, therefore, directly the reverse of that of the Aristotelian. Aristotle held that the human mind can attain to a knowledge of things, and therefore to the knowledge of the forms of things. This Kant positively denies.
That we do cognize all objects under the categories which Kant enumerates, or the two to which, after M. Cousin, we may reduce them, is undeniable. That these are the invariable and necessary forms of every cognition, we contend as earnestly as the stanchest Kantian ; but this is not the question. The question we raise is, Do we always cognize under the categories, because they are the a priori forms of the understanding, or because they are the forms of things themselves ?
This is the question, and a question that goes to the truth or falsity, as a system, of the whole Kantian philosophy.
In answer to this question, we begin by remarking that Kant deceives himself, when he supposes that he is really investigating the faculty of intelligence ; for that faculty is not only simple, and therefore not susceptible of analysis, but it is, so far as it is any thing positive, the subject itself, indistinguishable, as we have shown in our former article, from the me. The investigation of this faculty, then, must needs be the investigation of the subject investigating, and therefore not of the object investigated. What is that which investigates ? The intelligent me. What is that which is investigated ? The intelligent one. The me is me, and always equal to itself. The subject and the object are the same, and absolutely indistinguishable. But if so, the one investigating =the one investigated, and hence to investigate = to be investigated. That is to say, it is all the same thing to strike, or to be struck ! But certainly the object investigated is distinguishable from the subject investigating, by this fact, at least, that it is investigated, while the subject investigates. But the me = me, according to our postulate, and therefore can in no sense whatever be distinguished from itself. Consequently, the me can never be its own object. Consequently, again, it is not the living subjective faculty of intelligence, that Kant is really analyzing.
We are aware that this doctrine is controverted. In these days of wonderful discoveries, it has been discovered, if we may believe our modern psychologists, that we may by the interior light called consciousness observe ourselves, all the same as the external world by our senses; and hence the late Professor Jouffroy wrote an elaborate essay, which one of our friends has translated, to establish a parallel between physical science and psychology, and to prove that the principle and method of each are the same. We ourselves gave into the same notion for a time, and talked largely, if not wisely, about the interior light of consciousness. But M. Leroux, notwithstanding his many and fatal errors, and the radical unsoundness of his leading doctrines, has triumphantly refuted M. Jouffroy, in his Refutation d>Eclecticisme; and we think we have ourselves done the same over and over again, and especially in our Essays on Synthetic Philosophy, contributed some time since to the Democratic Review.
The me, doubtless, can study itself; but only in its phenomena, not in itself. Consciousness is not a special faculty, as one would gather from the Scottish school; nor is it an interior light, distinguishable from the light of the senses, as M. Jouffroy teaches, and, we are sorry to say, as M. Cousin himself, though not without some misgivings, also teaches. There is in consciousness no direct intuition of the me. The me finds itself in every conscious act, but only as the subject acting. Thus, I must do somewhat in order to know that I am, and then I know only that I am the doer of that somewhat. Hence, Descartes is obliged to affirm cogito, before he can affirm sum. Cogito, ergo sum; not because he infers sum from cogito, but because, save in the act I think, he could not find the fact I am. If I could have direct, immediate intuition of myself, that is, if I could be my own object, I should not be obliged to have recourse to the phenomenon of thinking in order to affirm myself, for I could affirm myself immediately, without the intervention of the phenomenon. But this is not possible.
Kant says, I am, I think, I judge, accompanies every synthetic judgment, and in this he is right; but as subject, not as object ; for, in order to complete the sense, I must add, I am something (aliquid), for instance, actor, doer, lover, thinker, &c, and that I think, I judge something. The me can affirm itself only as subject, and therefore can never affirm itself by the pronoun without the verb. Thus, lam, I think, I judge, is the subject, the form under which it recognizes itself in the fact of consciousness. Consequently, the object, as the correlative of subject, must be distinguished from it, and therefore be not me. The doctrine we are here insisting upon is by no means so new, so recondite, or so contrary to the general belief, as may at first sight be supposed. Every body, in fact, admits it, though every body may not comprehend it in all its bearings ; for every body believes, that, in order to ascertain what are our powers, we must exercise them. I learn that I can think by thinking, that I am capable of love by loving, and of devotion by worshipping. There is not a single faculty or property of my nature that I can know, till it is brought into exercise. All will admit this. Then all do really, whether they know it or not, admit that the me can study itself only in the phenomenon. Consequently, it is not, and cannot be, the direct object of its own intuition ; and hence Kant very properly teaches that it can have intuition of itself only in the diverse, that is, in the not me.
Assuming this, the categories are not, and cannot be, derived from the subject, for they are confessedly forms of the object, and in the fact of perception are objectively perceived. If they are the a priori forms of the understanding, they are the a priori forms of the subject; for we have before proved that the understanding, as cognitive force, is indistinguishable from the subject itself. If they are the forms of the subject, they arc identically the subject; for we have also proved that there is no distinction admissible between the subject and its inneity. In every fact of perception the subject always distinguishes itself from the object. If, then, they are the subject, they must, in every perception, be distinguished from the object, and be recognized, not as pertaining to the object, but as pertaining to the subject. They could not be perceived as forms of the object, but would be perceived as forms of the subject. They would be included in / am, I think, I judge. But they are objectively perceived, or, if the term be preferred, objectively conceived; for they are the invariable forms under which the object we conceive, whatever it be, is conceived. Therefore they are object, and not subject. For, again, if the me, as Kant himself agrees, cannot observe itself as object, but only indirectly as subject, it follows necessarily, that it cannot observe its forms as object, for its forms are indistinguishable from itself. Just so certain, therefore, as we see objects at all, just so certain is it that the forms under which we see them are object, and not subject.
This is conclusive. But nevertheless some may object to our conclusion what we have already conceded ; namely, that the formal existence of some objects of knowledge is subjective ; for this concedes that the forms of the object may be imposed by the subject. But we must distinguish between negative forms and positive forms. In the cases we alleged, the conceptions all had their foundation in reality, and were formally subjective, but virtually objective. The conception differs as to form from the object, not through the addition of something to the object as existing in re, but through inadequacy, owing to the limited nature of our faculties, which is insufficient to take in the whole reality. Thus, we are compelled to regard the divine wisdom and goodness as separate attributes, because our faculties are too limited to grasp them in their identity. In this case, we add nothing to the thing conceived, but fail to conceive all that is in it. This affects the adequacy of our conceptions, but not their validity. This same inadequacy, in a degree, probably, attends all our conceptions of all objects whatever; for the reality is always greater than we conceive. Negatively, then, all conceptions may be formally subjective.
But in regard to the categories, the case is different. They are not the negation of our faculties, nor the limitation of our intellectual activity. They are not the terminus of our conceptions of objects, but are assumed to be something positively added by the subject to the object, without which the object could not be conceived. They make up an integral part of the conception, and are conceived, in conceiving the object, as objectively as the object itself. Now the difference between a conception objectively valid, that is, a conception of something which exists objectively in re, but formally limited by the inadequacy of our power to take in the whole thing, and a conception formally augmented by the addition of a positive element from the resources of the subject, it strikes us is very great and very obvious. Because a negative form is subjective, that is to say, a form which is merely privative, we are not at liberty to say a positive form, in which there is that not in the object, is also subjective. Consequently, the concession as to negative forms, or inadequate conceptions, does not invalidate the argument.
We resume ; the vie being always itself, and always equal to itself, and being also always the subject thinking, it can never be the object thought. This establishes at once, saving the inadequacy of the conceptions, the reality of every object of conception, and proves that the object must be, as thing, at least, all that it is as the correlative of subject. Here is the complete refutation of Idealism, or of what we, in our classification of doctrines of science, have termed Intellectualism, — a refutation of both Kant and Berkeley.
Moreover, Kant's proofs of his own doctrine make against him, rather than for him. What is it, in fact, that he establishes? Simply, that every cognition of the particular involves cognition of the general, that every cognition of the phenomenon involves cognition of the nouvienon, that every cognition of effect involves cognition of cause. But he himself admits that all cognition begins with experience. Whence, then, his proof, or whence, then, any possible proof, that the general, the nonme7ion, the cause, is not itself as much empirically given as the particular, the phenomenon, the effect ? By what principle of logic am I to infer, from the fact that in every cognition of the particular there is also cognition of the general, that the general is not empirically given, but furnished a priori by the subject ?
Kant sustains this inference, apparently so illogical, and really so in our estimation, by an arbitrary and incomplete definition of experience. He restricts experience to the effect, the phenomenon, the particular, the contingent; and then, because the cause, the noumenon, the general, the necessary, is found in every empirical synthetic judgment, concludes that it is not derived or derivable from experience, but must necessarily lie a priori in the understanding. I3ut by what right is experience so restricted ? My sole knowledge of my ability, and of the extent of my ability, to know, is derived from knowing; so is my sole knowledge of the reach of experience derived from experience. I can measure my ability to experience only by what I find in experience. If, on analyzing experience, I find it to contain universally certain given elements, the legitimate induction is, that these elements are given by experience, and that any definition of experience which excludes them is prima facie defective.
Kant, we have already proved, is, as to doctrines of science, a SENSUALIST ; and as to doctrines of life, so far as he is any thing, he must, therefore, be a MATERIALIST. He restricts all our knowledge to sensible intuitions, and sensible intuitions to objects which do or may affect the senses. We are aware that this is not the common opinion. His admirers would have us believe that he has triumphantly refuted the sensualism of Locke and Oondillac, and that he is a stanch spiritualist; but we are unable to conceive how any man can read his Critic with the least understanding, and not perceive that he restricts all experience, minus the subject experiencing, to objects of sensible intuition ; that is, to such objects as are capable of furnishing us with sensations, which is all that Locke or even Condillac does. If this does not make a man a sensualist and a materialist, in case he admit the objective reality of the intuitions, words have lost their meaning, and the sooner we get a new dictionary the better. Taking experience in this restricted sense, Kant's conclusion is of course undeniable ; but he has no right to take it in this restricted sense, because in this sense, as he himself shows, it does not contain all that we find in experience.
Kant's great problem, How are synthetic judgments a priori formed ? becomes important, nay, a problem at all, only in consequence of this arbitrary and unwarrantable definition of experience, and the false view which it compels him to take of reality. In every synthetic judgment a prio?-i, he contends, there is an element added not contained in the objects of experience. In any given fact of experience, the noumenon is joined to the phenomenon, the general to the particular, the cause to the effect. But experience attains only to the effect. How, then, do I, in my judgment, become able to add to it the conception of cause, and especially of necessary cause ? Experience attains only to the phenomenon ; but, in my judgment, I add to the phenomenon the conception of the noumenon. How is this done ? Whence do I obtain this noximenon, which lies wholly out of the range of all possible experience, and become able to join to the empirical subject a predicate not contained in it ? This is the problem. But in all this it is assumed that experience attains only to the effect, the phenomenon, and that the element joined in the synthesis to the empirical object is not contained in the object; that is, that the cause is not in the effect, the noumenon in the phenomenon, the general in the particular.
This assumption is also made by Hume, for Kant and Hume both agree as to the nature and reach of experience. With both, empiricism and sensualism are synonymous. Neither admits the capacity of the soul to have experience of intelligible objects (voijj.imu'), but both confine it strictly to sensible objects (aladr^uiu and (pavtaafiurn). And why ? Because they make a prior assumption, that, ontologically considered, the intelligible world lies wholly out of the region of the sensible world, that the noumenon, as Kant terms it, that is, the being (esse), is not in the phenomenon, the cause is disjoined from the effect. For, if the noumenon, ontologically considered, were in the phenomenon, the cause in the effect, inseparably united, there would be no more difficulty in conceiving that the former should be really experienced than there is that the latter should be. The two being ontologically inseparable, we ought, in case we have intuition of things as they exist in reality, to perceive them, and to conceive them, always as inseparably united, precisely as we do.
But Hume, assuming the two categories, the category of cause and that of effect, to be disjoined objectively, was extremely puzzled to ascertain how it happens that they are always strictly united in the conception, that is, subjectively. He finally resolved the problem by recourse to habit or association, contracted from having frequently observed that certain things uniformly accompany certain other things, in the order of antecedence and consequence. Kant detects and shows the inadequacy of this solution, and attempts a new one ; namely, that the conception of the category of cause is purely subjective, lying a priori in the understanding, and is by it added in the synthetic judgment to the category of effect. But this removes no real difficulty ; for the real difficulty was not so much how this synthesis is formed, as what is its validity when formed. On Kant's hypothesis, it has no validity, because there is nothing in reality to correspond to it ; it is a conception without an object, and therefore void. Hence, as to the reality of science, it leaves us precisely where we were left by Hume. It refutes Hume's solution of the problem, but it confirms Hume's skepticism.
Assuming Kant's hypothesis, it does not advance our science at all. For to say, that in synthetic judgments we add the category of cause, is only saying, in other words, that in every cognition we always couple the conception of cause with that of effect, which was the fact to be explained. All admit the fact. The question is, The reason of the fact, and its value ? The truth is, the fact itself is inexplicable from the purely psychological point of view, and nothing better proves it than the abortive attempts of Hume and Kant, both men of the highest order of metaphysical genius, and either of whom would have explained it, had it been explicable by the method adopted. We have said more than once, that science, or knowing, is inexplicable psychologically. Every psychologist inevitably, if he push his principles to their last conclusions, ends in skepticism. This lies in the nature of things, because science is not a purely psychological fact. There is no seeing where nothing is seen, no knowing where nothing is known. To explain the fact of science, what Kant calls a synthetic judgment a priori, we must have a doctrine of life ; for we see things so and so, because they exist so and so a parte rei. Thus the two categories are connected in the thought, because they are so connected ontologically, and because we see things, so far as we see them at all, as they really exist.
A true doctrine of life, or ontology, will show us that the noumenon is in the phenomenon, the cause in the effect, the general in the particular, the necessary in the contingent; and therefore we see or detect, more or less obscurely, no doubt, the first category in the second. God is the Creator, the Cause, of the world; but is present with it, for he is declared to be present with all his works, for it is only in him that they are, and are sustained. And hence it is that we may find him in his works, as says St. Paul, " Invisihilia Dei, per ea quce facia stint, intellecta, conspiciuntnr ; sempiterna qnoque ejus virtus, et divinitas." — Rom. i. 20. Were it not so, the argument a posteriori could in no case be valid, and the cause would in no sense be revealed by the effect. Nay, the cause would never be worth seeking for, for it would be to us nothing but an empty name.
We must, however, in asserting that each category is an object of experience, that is to say, objectively and empirically derived, beware of the error of the mystics and exclusive spiritualists, who will have it that we can attain to the intelligible world immediately, that we can rise to cognition of cause without the medium of the effect. Humanity, in relation to individuals, belongs to the first of the two categories to which we have reduced the subdivisions of Kant. But humanity, abstracted from individual men and women, who participate of it and reveal it, is incognizable, is no object of knowledge. God is cognosciblc, but, in the present life, only as revealed in his works, that is, his works of creation, providence, and grace. The beatified will see God face to face as he is, as says St. Paul, "Videmus nunc per speculum in amigmate ; tune auteni facie ad facieni" ; for " we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like to him, because we shall see him as he is," as says St. John. But, at present, it is only darkly we see him, only in part that we know him, through the medium of the effect; not till we are glorified, shall we be able to have the beatific vision of cause in itself, and then only by a supernatural light.
The doctrine of the reality of ideas, of the true, the beautiful, and the good, is a true doctrine ; and that we have real experience of ideas, objectively, as much so as of sensible objects, is, we hold, an unquestionable fact; but it is only in the category of the phenomenon, of the effect, the particular, the contingent, that we cognize them. But as the ideal is always in the actual, so in the intuition of the actual we have intuition of the ideal. Hence it is, that, in the cognition of effect, I have always the conception of cause. Consequently, the element which Kant assumes to lie out of the fact of experience, and to be added a priori in the synthesis, does not lie out of the fact of experience, and is, in fact, not a synthetic judgment, but an analytic judgment, or, if synthetic, it is synthetic a posteriori. Consequently, there are no synthetic judgments a priori ; and Kant's problem, How are synthetic judgments a priori formed ? ceases to be a problem. The question he raises, he raises in consequence of a misapprehension ; and he never could have asked it, if he had had a doctrine of life, for it has no foundation in ontology.
We have said, that, admitting Kant's doctrine, no progress is made in explaining the fact of science. What, after all, is disclosed by his labors, that gives us either a more or a less solid ground of certainty ? We know by the representation of objects plus what we ourselves add to it. We add the forms of the intuition, the forms of the conception, and the synthetic judgment 'a priori, by which we unite the intuition and conception into a cognition, and this cognition to I am, so that it is not only cognition, but my cognition. What says all this beyond simply saying, / know ? And when it is said, I am capable, by means of sensibility and understanding, of intuitions and conceptions a priori and transcendental, and, by means of these, of cognition a posteriori, what is said beyond the simple fact, that I am intelligent ? Who says, / know, says, to say the least, all that Kant has said ; and who says, / am intelligent, says all that can be said in explanation of the fact of intelligence from the point of view of psychology. No analysis can reduce / knoio to a lower denomination, or resolve it into separate elements. They, who explain or undertake to explain vision by talking of the rays of light falling on the retina and painting thereon the image or picture of the object, add nothing to our knowledge of the visual faculty itself, and aid us not at all in solving the real mystery of vision. They merely explain, granting them all they allege,—much of which we hold to be very questionable, — some of the external conditions under which the fact of vision usually takes place. No anatomizing of the eye brings us in the least nearer to the visual force. It is just as difficult to explain how the mind sees the image reflected on the retina, as it would be to explain how it could see the object itself without the intervention of the image. The insertion of the species, or the representation, between the object and the understanding explains nothing. How is the representation itself cognized? If the intuition be not cognition, how will you make it cognition ? In all our investigations we assume that we know. This, to say the least, is an inevitable necessity. The only questions for us, then, are, What do we know ? and, How can we know more than we do ?
If we would go further, and ask, How do we know ? or, Why do we know under this or that form ? we must go to ontology, to things themselves. I see things because they are ; and under this or that form, because they so exist objectively in re. If I perceive the particular only in the general, and the general only in the particular, it is because, though distinct, they are inseparable, in the constitution of things. Rise to the comprehension of the Platonic ontology, especially to Christian theology, and the whole matter becomes plain enough. Below that elevation it is necessarily inexplicable.
More we intended to add, more we shall add, when we come to treat of the doctrines of life, or philosophy properly so called; but we have reached our limits, and are tired of the task of laboring to refute an author who is always able, always profound, but always wrong in his fundamental principles. We have labored in review of Kant till we are tired of him, and we have no doubt that our readers will readily allow us to dismiss him. We have aimed to comprehend his doctrine, aimed to set it forth correctly, and to meet it fairly. If we have done him any injustice, it has been unintentional. We took up his work with a profound reverence for it. We had been accustomed, by those whose opinions we most valued, to look upon Kant as the great metaphysician of modern times ; we expected much ; we have found — nothing. There may be depths in the Critic we have not sounded, diamonds that we have not discovered; but we have sounded to the length of our line, and we have searched diligently for the gems which might be concealed at the bottom ; but, alas! we have found nothing but bald atheism, and cold and heartless skepticism, erected into a system bearing all the imposing forms of science. We have labored to refute its fundamental principles, because we believe them adopted by large numbers who have never read Kant himself, and because we would do what we can to atone for our own former philosophical and theological errors, and aid as we can in recalling the age to a religious philosophy, in consonance with the profound mysteries of the Christian faith. We hope we have not labored in vain.