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TJie speculative philosophy, if it ever could claim me, has frightened 
me away with its empty formula? ; 1 have found no living fountain and no 
nourishment on this bleak plain. But the deep and fundamental thoughts 
of the Ideal philosophy remain an everlasting treasure, and for their sake 
alone one must deem himself fortunate to have lived at this time. . . . 
After all, we are loth Idealists, and would be ashamed to allow it to be 
said that things form us and not we things. 

SCHILLER, in his last letter to W. von Humboldt, 
April 2, 1805. 


From the Friedrich Monument by Rauch in Berlin 








Of the Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell University 




Copyright, 1902, 

Published, February, 1902 




THIS work was written by Professor Paulsen for Frommann s 
Klassiker der Philosophic, and forms the seventh volume of 
that series. The series, which corresponds in general with 
Blackwood* s Philosophical Classics, has been as a whole 
cordially welcomed in Germany, and Paulson s Kant in 
particular has met with the warmest reception both from 
critics and from general readers of Kant s philosophy. It 
has been pronounced " the crown of the series." 

The book possesses several characteristics which seem 
to make it especially valuable for English readers. In the 
first place, the author brings together and utilizes the more 
important results of the detailed investigations which have 
been carried on in Germany in recent years. Secondly, he 
has not restricted his account to the critical methodology, 
but has also treated Kant s philosophy as a whole, and has 
emphasized the constructive side of his metaphysics. Thus 
the critical and agnostic elements of Kant s thought are 
subordinated to a positive and idealistic metaphysic. The 
author s power of separating what is permanent and essen 
tial from what is merely external and accidental is well- 
known to English readers through Professor Thilfly s 
excellent translations of his Introduction to Philosophy and 
Ethics. This gift is nowhere more clearly manifested or 
its value more evident than in the present exposition of 
the Kantian system. 

The translators have not attempted to give an extensive 
bibliography of English works on Kant. They have deemed 


it sufficient to refer under the appropriate headings to 
some of the more important English books and articles, 
and to mention the most available English translations. 
The author s chronological list of Kant s writings, ap 
pended at the end of the volume, has been supplemented 
by a complete list of English translations. In this con 
nection the translators have made use of the list of English 
translations of Kant s Works compiled by Professor George 
M. Duncan of Yale University, and published in the Kant- 
Studien (II., 2 and 3). They are also indebted to him for 
calling their attention to omissions in the original list and 
to translations which have appeared since its publication. 

JANUARY, 1902. 


No essential changes have been made in the second edition. 
In a few places slight additions have been made, and here 
and there the expression of the thought has been im 
proved, and the divisions made clear to the eye by means 
of headings. 

The fact that the first edition has been so quickly ex 
hausted I regard with pleasure as new evidence that there 
is a wide circle of readers who are actively interested in 
the Kantian philosophy. The new century that stands 
before the door cannot have any more favorable omen than 
the fact that it devotes earnest attention to such serious 

May the two men shown in the accompanying portrait 
look kindly on the coming century. The one that is just 
passing would have brought them many severe disappoint 
ments. The belief in ideas which they imparted to it has 
gradually given way to belief in the external forces and 
material goods that now dominate our life. Nevertheless, 
as in families the grandson may resemble the grandfather, 
so it may perhaps happen in history; perhaps the twen 
tieth century will be more like the eighteenth than the 



March 18, 1899. 


THE fact that this book belongs to the series of Classical 
Writers of Philosophy marks out the task that it is possi 
ble for it to undertake. It can only give an exposition of 
Kant s thoughts in their broad outlines, and not enter 
upon an exhaustive account of their details. Still less is 
it possible for it to undertake to solve the thousand ques 
tions that have become connected with the system, or to 
try to take account of the endless and ever-increasing 
literature that deals with Kant himself. On the other hand, 
it will have a somewhat different character from the other 
books that have already appeared in this series. Kant 
occupies at present a special place in our philosophical 
literature : he forms the centre of the academic study of 
philosophy, and is the object of a kind of philological 
> activity, as Aristotle was some decades ago. I have, there 
fore, thought that I should not restrict myself to a general 
explanation of the fundamental thoughts of the system, 
but rather make an attempt at the same time to inform 
the reader about the Kantian studies of the present time, 
about the differences of opinion on the chief points, and 
the sources at our command for a knowledge of these ideas 
and their development, so far as this was possible within 
the given limits. I am fully aware that it is a somewhat 
delicate undertaking to write such a book at a time when 
every line that Kant left, either in print or in manuscript, is 
brought under the scrutiny of special investigation. Never- 


theless, I could not and would not refuse the task which 
the editor and the publisher urged upon me with friendly 
persuasions. And, above all, the task itself attracted me. 
I cannot count myself as an unconditional adherent of 
f Kant, but I am firmly convinced that the great funda 
mental thoughts of his philosophy have a mission in 
pointing the way to a philosophy of the world and of life 
at the present time ; and the earnestness and force that 
he has devoted to the solution of the deepest and most 
ultimate problems will render his works for all time both 

an attractive and worthy object of study. 

I have not sought to conceal my conviction that in the 
system as such there is not a little which is not of perma 
nent value. I have indicated, with the candor due to a 
man like Kant, the points where he enters on a path that 
I cannot follow, and which I do not regard as practicable. 
In this criticism I include not merely the external sche 
matic arrangement, but also the inner form of the system, 

which is determined by an a priori dogmatic mode of 
thought, which takes its character from mathematics and 

dominates his epistemology and moral philosophy. It be 
longs in its presuppositions to the eighteenth century. The 
nineteenth century has everywhere abandoned these, and 
adopted in their place the historical and genetic point of 

view. On the side of its content, I feel much more sym 
pathy with Kant s philosophy. The ethico-metaphysical 
Idealism, the conception of the relation of the knowing 
mind to reality, the determination of the significance of 
the value of knowledge and of will for life and for a theory 
of the world, all these have become permanent elements 

of German philosophy. For the very reason that Kant s 

philosophy is a living system, I thought that I should not 
abstain from criticising it. When criticism ceases, it is a 
sign that a system is dead : to become a matter of history 


is called death. This time has not yet corne for Kant; 
he still has important things to say, even at the present 
time. And this is true not merely of his epistemology. I 
wish especially that the spirit of his practical Idealism, his 

lofty ideas of human dignity, right, and freedom might 
again exert an influence in this age of " realism," of belief 
in might and money. The true German people cannot, 
without shame, look back from the end of this century to 
the end of the preceding one, which Schiller celebrated in 
that proud hymn. 

The purpose of the book made it necessary to devote 
more space to Kant s central doctrines, and merely to out 
line the less fundamental disciplines. In particular, I have 
devoted a detailed exposition to the metaphysics, which is 
usually too much overshadowed by the critical doctrine in 
the accounts of Kant s philosophy. Kant one time re- 
marked jokingly that it was his fate to have fallen in love!; 
with metaphysics, though it was only seldom that he couldj 
boast of any favors from her. This is more than a merej 
jest, however, and in spite of the critique of reason he 
always remained true to his old love, and the result shows 
that favors were not entirely wanting on her side. It is 
true that Kant now and again in the Critique adopts the 
standpoint of the Agnostic. But wherever he expresses 
himself directly in his own personal thinking, as in the 
lectures and lecture-notes, we find everywhere the pureV 
Platonist, and he who does not give heed to the Platonist 
will not understand the critical philosopher. The tran-| 
scendental Idealism does not exclude the objective, meta 
physical Idealism. On the contrary, its vocation is to serve 
as a basis, on the one hand, for a rationalistic epistemology, 
and on the other for an idealistic metaphysics. Kant s 

view of the nature of what is " actually real " remained 
unaltered throughout his life. Reality is in itself a sys- 


tern of existing thought-essences brought into a unity by 
teleological relations that are intuitively thought by the 
Divine intellect, and by this very act of thought posited as 
real. The method of establishing this view changes, but 
the view itself undergoes no alteration. In the Critique 
of Pure Reason the negative side, the controverting of a 
false demonstration, is most prominent. Here Kant s 
thought has attained the greatest distance from its centre. 
In the Critique of Pure Reason, the reality of the intelli- 
jgible world continued to be taken for granted as a matter 
of course, and in the later writings, especially in the two 
later Critiques, it again reappears in a most emphatic 
fashion as the dominating central point. If one over 
looks this and makes Kant either a sceptical agnostic who 
teaches the unknowableness of things-in-themselves, or a 
subjective idealist for whom there is no reality in itself 
at all, he will never be able to make anything of his 
philosophy. At least he can never present a systematic 
exposition of it, but only interpret disconnected passages. 

I should be glad if this exposition contributed a little to 
inspire courage in idealistic metaphysics, which in these 
latter days has begun to venture again into the light, by 
showing that Kant is no forbidding or threatening name, 
but a kindly disposed patron. 

The purpose of the book answers the question for whom 
it is written. Above all, it aims to afford guidance to those 
who wish to read and study Kant himself. Our students 
nowadays are referred to Kant on all sides, by means of 
lectures, discussions, and examination requirements. Thus 
it happens that for many the Critique of Pure Reason is 
the first philosophical book that they seriously attempt to 
read. It is obvious that the book is not well suited to 
this purpose. Kant himself would not have recommended 
it. He did not even write the Prolegomena for pupils, but 


for future teachers of philosophy. In fact, not only are 
the problems with which the Critique deals in themselves 
the most difficult, but the manner of treatment greatly 
enhances the difficulty. They presuppose nothing less 
than an acquaintance with the entire state of philosophy 
% at the time, with dogmatism and scepticism, with Leibniz 
t and Hume. And, in truth, these influences are not merely 
external to it, but are contained in it as systems of ideas 
that have been transcended though not yet effaced. That 
is especially true of Leibniz. The Critique of Pure Reason 
not seldom gives the impression of a palimpsest, over an 
original half-effaced manuscript. A new work is written, 
with the effect that its clearness is obscured by the script 
that lies beneath. Nevertheless, we cannot alter these 
things. Kant s philosophy is the door to the philosophy 
of our century, and the door to the Kantian philosophy is 
the Critique of Pure Reason. I have, therefore, taken 
special pains to explain the historical condition of affairs 
out of which Kant s philosophy arose with sufficient fulness 
to render intelligible the problems that he raises. It is 
certain that with this assistance the door will remain nar 
row and the path steep ; but even this may have its advan 
tage. An enthusiast in recommending that Greek should 
be made the beginning of school instruction, advanced the 
following reasons for his plan : If the nine-year-old boy 
masters at first the forms of the Greek language, he will 
proceed smoothly and without difficulty downwards on the 
path of language study. Thus one could comfort and en 
courage the reader of the Critique by telling him that, 
when he has worked through and understood it, all other 
philosophical books would seem easy and afford him no 

So far as possible I refer to Kant s writings according to 
the titles of sections and the paragraphs. The paging is 


given from Hartenstein s second edition (8 vols.). More 
over, I have been sparing of quotations. I do not believe 
that on an average one out of a hundred references is 
looked up. And in the last resort an interpretation of 
Kant must be based upon his whole system. By using 
individual passages one can get out of him almost every 
possible and impossible view. 

The portrait that is here given is a reproduction of the 
Kant-Lessing group from the Friedrich monument by 
\ Rauch. The photograph was taken by Herr Niemeyer 
I (Steglitz) from the cast in the Rauch Museum. The head 
L of Kant was originally taken from the bust in possession 
of the University of Konigsberg, modelled from life in 
1802, by Hagemann, a pupil of Schadow. It was a happy 
thought of Rauch to place Kant and Lessing together. 
Kant himself would scarcely have wished to select any one 
else as the representative of the readers for whom he wrote. 
And with the insight of genius the character of the two 
men is represented : Kant, the teacher, expounding his 
system with steadfast seriousness and zeal ; Lessing, the 
hearer, listening to the word with quiet attention. And 
even the slight smile that plays around the refined mouth 
of the listener, would not have been wanting if he could 
have read, with his characteristic confidence, the works 
in which the en; ical philosopher announced the new doc 
trine. It is as if the sceptically curved lips would say : 
" Have we at last, then, the whole and final truth ?" 

The original of the letter of Kant to his brother which is 
here reproduced is in the Royal Library at Berlin. It 
shows the handwriting, and also affords a not uninteresting 
impression of the man s nature and mode of thought. 









MENT 23 














IOBLEM ... 134 






(1) The Analytic of Concepts and the Transcenden 

tal Deduction 170 

(2) The Analytic of Principles 

(3) Phenomena and Noumena 

(4) The Amphiboly of the Concepts of Reflection . . 201 

(5) The Method of the Critical Philosophy ... 202 

(1) Rational Psychology 212 

(2) Rational Cosmology 213 

(3) Rational Theology 221 


















OPHY .... 296 


(1) The Form of Morality 302 

(2) The Material of the Will 312 


















INDEX 409 






THERE are three attitudes of the mind towards reality which 
lay claim to truth, Keligion, Philosophy, and Science. Al 
though sprung from a single root, they become differentiated 
in the higher stages of mental life, reunite, and again stand 
opposed to one another in a variety of ways, receiving their 
characteristic stamp through the manner in which this 
process takes place. Especially is it true that every 
philosophy is essentially determined through the attitude 
which it adopts towards religion and science. 

In general, philosophy occupies an intermediate place 
between science and religion. If one adopts the figure of 
Bacon which represents the mental w r orld as a ball (globus 
intellectualis), similar to the globus materialis by means of 
which the mediaeval cosmology pictured the external world, 
then one might divide the world into three concentric 
spheres, corresponding to the three spheres of the cosmos. 
The outermost sphere of this ball, corresponding to the 
region of the fixed stars, would represent science ; the inner 
kernel, corresponding to the earth, would represent religion ; 
while philosophy finally would occupy the middle or plane 
tary sphere. 

Science holds the peripheral position in the mental life. 
In this field the thinking and calculating understanding 




gives rise to a system of concepts and formulas by means of 
which it externally comprehends and rules over nature. 
Eeligion forms the inner kernel of our view of the world ; its 
goal is the interpretation of the meaning of things. Science 
makes the world conceivable, but does not render it intelli 
gible. Conformity to law is not its meaning. All religion 
claims certainly to possess the meaning of life and of the 
world, and to reveal this in concrete examples of the good 
and the perfect. Philosophy occupies an intermediate posi 
tion between the two, relating itself on the one hand to 
science, and on the other to religion. It seeks not only to 
conceive the world, but also to understand it. The history of 
philosophy shows that its task consists simply in mediating 
between science and religion. It seeks to unite knowledge 
and faith, and in this way to restore the unity of the mental 
life. It performs this task both for the individual and for 
society. As in the case of the individual, it mediates be 
tween the head and the heart, so in society it prevents 
science and religion from becoming entirely strange and 
indifferent to each other, and hinders also the mental life 
of the people from being split up into a faith-hating science 
and a science-hating faith or superstition. 

It follows from what has been said that the character 
of a philosophy is essentially determined through the man 
ner in which it performs this historical task. From this 
standpoint we may distinguish two fundamental forms of 
philosophy : I shall name them with Kant the dogmatic 
and the critical. The essence of dogmatic philosophy con-i 
sists in the fact that it undertakes to found faith uponj 
knowledge ; it seeks to demonstrate what is to be believed. 
It produces as a variation of itself its own contradictory, 
that is, the sceptical philosophy. For when the latter tests 
the demonstrations and perceives their inadequacy, it comes 
at last to discard faith itself as a delusion, and to maintain 
that knowledge through scientific concepts constitutes the 


only form of truth. The critical philosophy comes forward 
in opposition to this. Its real nature is seen in the fact 
that it makes clear the essential difference between the func 
tions of knowing and of believing, between conceiving things 
through a system of laws, and understanding their signifi 
cance ; and through a strict division of the field it shows 
how an agreement may be reached. Matters of faith can 
not be demonstrated by the understanding, as dogmatism 
undertakes to do, because they are not derived from the 
understanding. But just for this reason they cannot be over 
thrown by the understanding, as scepticism tries to show. 

I shall indicate the way in which this conceptual schema 
is borne out by the historical development. 

The original form of positive dogmatism in the Western 
world is the idealistic philosophy of the Greeks ; the original 
form of negative dogmatism is found in their materialistic 
philosophy. Plato and his successor Aristotle set out from 
the fundamental principle that the world is the realization 
of ideas. The cosmic order manifested through mathemati 
cally formulated laws is objective reason. Every living 
being is the realization of a purposive idea, while man, as 
the highest living creature, as knowing his own end and the 
purpose of the universe, is the self-realization of reason. 
The real function that philosophy has to perform, then, is 
to make known the meaning of the world in the form of a 
scientific system. 

The same view of the nature of the world and of philoso 
phy is dominant in the systems of the middle ages, which 
retained their place as the accepted school-philosophy until 
the beginning of the eighteenth century. It was also an 
assumption of the natural theology that after the time of 
Locke and Leibniz superseded scholasticism. The purpose 
of this natural theology is to furnish scientific demonstra 
tions of the truth of what is held through faith, at least in 
its main principles, or to discover the divine purpose in 


nature and in history. Apart from the dependence of 
Christian philosophy upon external authority, it is distin 
guished from Greek philosophy mainly by the fact that it 
adopts a teleological philosophy of history, while Greek 
speculation limits itself to a teleology of nature. 

Along with positive dogmatism, we have, as the obverse, 
negative dogmatism. In the ancient world, we meet this 
in the Epicurean philosophy, which knows only bodies and 
uniform natural laws, and refuses to recognize ideas and 
purposes in the real world. Although this point of view 
disappears almost completely during the middle ages, it 
emerges again as soon as pure scientific thought, which 
first showed itself in mathematics and the sciences of nature, 
found freer expression. In the second half of the eighteenth 
century, this philosophy was at the same time both the pro 
hibited and the prevailing form of thought. This was espe 
cially the case in France. 

Now, the real purpose of the critical philosophy, the 
philosophy of Kant, is to overcome the opposition which 
has extended through the entire history of human thought. 
Kant undertakes with positive dogmatism to restore the 
agreement between faith and knowledge. In the last resort, 
however, he establishes this agreement by means of a phi 
losophy of morals, not by means of a philosophy of nature. 
In this way, he is able to grant to negative dogmatism its 
right to a free, unprejudiced investigation of the entire world 
of phenomena. 

In his theoretical philosophy, Kant overthrows at one 
blow both positive and negative dogmatism. With mate 
rialism, he asserts that science leads only to a knowledge of 
the uniform connection of things according to law, not to a 
recognition of their meaning; it is mechanical, not teleo 
logical. A teleology of nature and of history is impossible 
from the scientific standpoint, and consequently it is impos 
sible to have a science of natural theology. But a scien- 


tific knowledge of the world, which construes all things, 
from the formation of the cosmos to the origin of life on the 
earth, and the course of human history, as the necessary 
effects of given causes, is possible. On the other hand, Kant 
holds with idealism that there is a meaning in things, and 
that we can become certain of this meaning. Life has a real 
significance. With immediate certainty we affirm moral good 
as the real purpose of life. We do this, not by means of the 
understanding or scientific thinking, but through the will, 
or, as Kant says, the practical reason. In the fact that the 
will, which alone judges things as good or bad, deter 
mines morality as that which has absolute worth, we have 
the point of departure for the interpretation of life. It is 
through the will, not through the understanding, that we 
interpret history ; such persons and events as, e. g., Jesus and 
his life and death, are the historical facts of supreme im 
portance. Thus arise all the historical religions. And in 
the fact that the entire world is referred to this fixed point, 
the religious view of the world has its origin ; nature is 
interpreted as a means for the fulfilment of that purpose. 
Faith is convinced that God has made the world in order 
to realize in it his salvation toward men. All dogmas of 
every religion are the diverse expressions of the conviction 
that the world exists for the sake of the good, and that 
nature and history find their explanation in the purposes of 

But how now is it possible to bring together in a unitary 
view of the world these two independent ways of regarding 
things, the scientific explanation and the religious inter 
pretation ? Kant s answer is, by means of the distinction be 
tween a sensible and a super-sensible world. The world which 
constitutes the object of rnathematico-scientific knowledge is 
not reality as such, but only the appearance of reality to our 
sensibility. The world of religious conviction, on the con 
trary, is the supersensuous reality itself. This can never 


become the object of scientific knowledge, on account of the 
nature of human cognition, which presupposes perception. 
Eegarding it we can know only that it exists ; that is the 
ultimate point to which knowledge attains. In reflecting 
critically on its own nature and limits, the understanding 
recognizes that there is an absolute reality beyond the world 
of sense. And now the spirit (which is something more 
than understanding) claims, as a moral being, to be a mem 
ber of this absolute reality, and defines the nature of this 
reality through its own essence. This is Kant s doctrine of 
the primacy of the practical reason over the theoretical. 

In this way the critical philosophy solves the old problem 
of the relation of knowledge and faith. Kant is convinced 
that by properly fixing the limits of each he has succeeded 
in furnishing a basis for an honorable and enduring peace 
between them. Indeed, the significance and vitality of his 
philosophy will rest principally upon this. Although in the 
details of this philosophy there may be much that is not 
agreeable to us, it is its enduring merit to have drawn for 
the first time, with a firm hand and in clear outline, the 
dividing line between knowledge and faith. This gives to 
knowledge what belongs to it, the entire world of phe 
nomena for free investigation ; it conserves, on the other 
hand, to faith its eternal right to the interpretation of life 
and of the world from the standpoint of value. 

There is indeed no doubt that the great influence which 
Kant exerted upon his age was due just to the fact that he 
appeared as a deliverer from unendurable suspense. The 
old view regarding the claims of the feelings and the 
understanding on reality had been more and more called 
in question during the second half of the eighteenth cen 
tury. Voltaire and Hume had not written in vain. Science 
seemed to demand the renunciation of the old faith. On the 
other hand, the heart still clung to it. Pietism had increased 
the sincerity and earnestness of religion, and given it a new 


and firm root in the affections of the German people. At 
this point Kant showed a way of escape from the dilemma. 
His philosophy made it possible to be at once a candid 
thinker and an honest man of faith. For that, thousands 
of hearts have thanked him with passionate devotion. It I 
was a deliverance similar to that which the Eeformation had 
brought to the German spirit a century or two earlier. In 
deed, one may in a certain sense regard Kant as the finisher 
of what Luther had begun. The original purpose of the 
Eeformation was to make faith independent of knowledge, 
and conscience free from external authority. It was the 
confusion of religion and science in scholastic philosophy 
against which Luther first revolted. That faith had been 
transformed into a philosophical body of doctrines, that fides 
had been changed to credo, seemed to him to be the root of 
all evil. To substitute for belief in a human dogma the 
immediate certainty of the heart in a gracious God recon 
ciled through Christ, to emphasize the importance of the 
inner disposition, as opposed to outer acts, was the soul 
of his work. Kant was the first who definitely destroyed 
the scholastic philosophy. By banishing religion from the 
field of science, and science from the sphere of religion, he 
afforded freedom and independence to both. And at the 
same time he placed morality on a Protestant basis, not 
works, but the disposition of the heart. 

To this interpretation and evaluation of the Kantian phi 
losophy there are opposed two other views. Criticism is 
combated by two forms of dogmatism. Though opposed 
to each other, they agree in their unfavorable opinion of 
Kant. Negative dogmatism accuses him of treachery to 
knowledge ; positive dogmatism, of yielding the rights of 
faith. The latter reproaches him as the destroyer of reli 
gion and of the philosophy which was well disposed towards 
it ; the former despises him for his subservience to tradi 
tional modes of thought and to the pretended necessities of 


the heart, a weakness which at most can be forgiven only 
in view of his other services. 1 

I shall not further discuss negative dogmatism and the 
judgment which it passes on Kant. At the present day it 
plays no great role. Materialism does not nowadays speak 
the final word. The representatives of science for the most 
part occupy the Kantian position. So much the more fre 
quent and vigorous are the attacks from the other side. 
Kevived scholasticism, in particular, directs its attacks at 
Kant as the champion of the hostile philosophy. With 
Thomism, as the fundamental form of constructive ideal 
ism, is contrasted criticism, as the type of subjective, false, 
and destructive idealism. Thus it has been pictured by 
Otto Willmann in his three-volume History of Idealism. 
He represents the history of philosophy according to the 
following schema. First, the ascending branch. From 
Plato to St. Thomas we have the ever richer and fuller un 
folding of pure idealism, which posits the ideas as objective, 
constitutive principles of reality. With Thomas the highest 
point is reached. Then with Nominalism begins the down 
ward course ; the disaster of the Eef ormation followed, and 
this in logical train led to the Illumination and the Revolu 
tion. In Kant s philosophy the spirit of denial has found 
its completest expression. It is at the very opposite pole 
from Thomism. In it false idealism has attained to its 
final consequence the reduction of all ideal principles to 
subjectivism. In this system, the subject, with boundless 

1 H. Heine, iii his essay on " Religion and Philosophy in Germany," has 
characterized, or rather caricatured, Kant s relation to religion as follows : 
After Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, had destroyed deism, or the 
old Jehovah himself, the tragedy was followed by a farce. Behind the 
dreadful critic stands, carrying an umbrella, his old servant Lampe, tears 
and drops of anguish upon his face. " Then Immanuel Kant has compassion 
and shows that he is not only a great philosopher, but also a good man, and, 
half kindly, half ironically, he speaks : Old Lampe must have a God or else 
he cannot be happy, says the practical reason ; for my part, the practical 
reason may, then, guarantee the existence of God/" 


self-conceit, claims to be the bearer of all reality, the creator 
of both the laws of nature and of morals. The autonomy of 
reason is the real nerve of Kant s philosophizing. Kant is 
the absolutely free thinker, "an advocate for the overthrow 
of faith, morals, and science." " The idea that he is a pure 
German philosopher is quite preposterous. Kant is a cos 
mopolite : he follows the English, is an enthusiastic admirer 
of Eousseau, and raves about the French Eevolution. To 
German honesty (Treue) Kant s destructive sophistic is in 
direct opposition." 1 

There can be no doubt that this condemnatory judgment 
regarding Kant is a direct consequence of the Catholic prin 
ciple. The autonomy of reason and the infallibility of the 
dogma are evidently irreconcilably opposed. It is also a 
matter of course that for the adherent of the absolute phi 
losophy, sanctioned by the authority of the Pope, there only 
exist outside his own standpoint various forms of error, over 
whose differences it is scarcely worth while to linger. Phi 
losophia ccelestis has only one opposite, the philosophia ter 
rena, unless one should oppose to it a philosophia infernalis, 
which, moreover, also stands in the same relation. Both are 
sisters born of arrogance and disobedience. 

What attitude would Kant have taken towards such criti 
cism ? I think he would have accepted unconditionally the 
characterization philosophia terrena. He recognizes that 
he is a man placed in this world; his standing-place is 

1 III., pp. 503, 528. In an essay on this book by Commer, the editor of 
the Catholic Jahrbucherfur Philos, und spekul. Theoloyie (1896), we find the fol 
lowing statements : There are two species of philosophy, the true and the 
false philosophia ccelestis and philosophia terrena. These correspond to the 
two kingdoms of reality, as St. Augustine has distinguished them, the ci vi 
tas Dei and the civitas terrena. The one philosophy has its roots in love to 
God ; the other, in self-love. On the one side stands St. Thomas, the repre 
sentative of divine and true philosophy ; and on the other, stand Materialism, 
Anarchism, Pantheism, Atheism, Agnosticism, and in the midst, Criticism, 
as the most dangerous foe of God and of religion. I have made some criti 
cisms of Willmann s book in an essay entitled, " The Most Recent Inquisition 
on Modern Philosophy," in the Deutsche Rundschau, August, 1898. 


the earth. It is not strange, then, that the result of an 
attempt to orient himself in the world should be an earthly 
and not a heavenly philosophy. To be sure, it will not 
escape the man who devotes a more careful scrutiny to 
Kant s thoughts that his standpoint does not at all seek 
absolute satisfaction in the things of this earth ; he rather 
points everywhere beyond the mundus sensibilis to a mundus 
intelligibilis. But his modesty, or rather his critical reflec 
tion upon man s position in the world, prevented him from 
taking this intelligible world as his standpoint and building 
his system upon it. He sees that he does not enjoy the 
privilege of dwelling in that world beyond, or of receiving 
his inspiration from it. So he is compelled to leave the 
heavenly philosophy to those who are more favorably situ 
ated in this respect. There are two considerations which 
enable him more easily to endure the arrogance of such 
people. The first is that the alleged heavenly philosophy 
has as yet accomplished little or nothing for the advance 
ment of human knowledge. It is only since the earthly 
standpoint has been adopted that the sciences have gained 
a sure method of advance. The other is that the lauded 
service of the pretended heavenly philosophy on behalf of 
religion and idealism becomes very questionable on un 
prejudiced historical investigation. It seems rather to Kant 
that the Catholic church and school philosophy, which was 
derived directly from Thomism, is so far from affording 
support to religious faith at the end of the eighteenth cen 
tury that the latter is rather hopelessly compromised, and 
has been brought into suspicion through its connection 
with the dead body of Thomism. It is the critical phi 
losophy which has again restored to life the faith of the 
spirit in itself, and as a result of this has revived faith in 
spirit in general and its creative power in the world. 
Only through it has an idealistic philosophy which believes 
in itself become possible. 


Indeed it is a remarkable coincidence that in the same 
year, 1770, there appeared in Catholic France the Systeme de 
la nature, in Protestant Germany Kant s treatise De mundi 
sensibilis et intelligibilis forma ac principiis an end and a 
beginning : the former work an end, the final and consist 
ent formulation of the materialistic point of view, to which 
French thought had long tended under the impulse of the 
scholastic systems which were protected and fostered in the 
universities ; the latter a beginning, the first outline of an 
idealistic philosophy of a new kind, the point of departure, 
even to our own day, for a long series of idealistic systems. 
On the other hand also an end, namely, the definitive end 
of materialism, if we are to accept the authority of the 
historian F. A. Lange. 

At the same time we will also say what is to be thought 
of the other boast of the Catholic school-philosophy, that it 
is the philosophia perennis. At the end of last century it 
was as dead as out-worn system ever was. If that system 
at present is experiencing a kind of revival in the school 
of Catholicism, this is due not so much to its own inner 
vitality as to its supposed fitness to serve an ecclesias 
tical political system which through the favor of circum 
stances patientia Dei et stultitia hominum, an old Lutheran 
would say has attained again in our time to unexpected 
power. Moreover, there still remains the question whether 
continuance of existence is in general something of which 
a philosophy can boast. Perhaps fruitfulness is a better 
characteristic, and this the Kantian philosophy shows; it 
still gives rise to new systems of thought. Thomism, on 
the contrary, though of course a great achievement for its 
own time, yields to-day nothing except unfruitful repeti 
tions. It does not set free the spirit, it enslaves it, which of 
course is just its intention. 

But, finally, in regard to the doctrine of the autonomy of 
reason, with its groundless subjectivism and its immanent 


tendency to revolution, it is naturally impossible to discuss 
these matters with those who are not open to conviction. 
Whoever is determined to subject his reason to ecclesias 
tical, which now means papist, authority, cannot be hin 
dered. And it would be just as vain to maintain against 
such a one the right of reason to independent judgment. 
He would in all circumstances see in this defence arrogance 
and culpable insubordination. To what purpose has he 
subjected himself if others may venture to make exceptions 
and go their own way ? 

But for those who are not yet so firmly convinced, the 
remark may be added that the grounding of the certainty of 
knowledge of morals and of faith upon the inner certainty of 
the individual is the firmest foundation which is possible in 
human matters. This is the very foundation that Kant has 
laid (at least in intention). He thought that he had proved 
that reason makes explicit its own essence in the laws of 
nature and of morals, and in rational faith ; and that, therefore, 
so soon as it has knowledge of the real circumstances, it 
cannot refrain from recognizing this law. Of course, Kant s 
doctrine is not universally accepted. Nevertheless, in this 
respect no external authority has an advantage over it, not 
even that of the chair of Peter. Indeed, one can say that 
it lies in the nature of reason to react with inner hostility 
against every external authority that demands absolute 
subjection in spiritual and moral things. The history of 
Catholic lands does not permit us to doubt that absolutism 
brings as its opposite intellectual and even moral and polit 
ical anarchism. 


If we wish to describe Kant s position in a single formula 
we may say that he is at once the finisher and conqueror of 
the Illumination. 


Kant s early training falls in the period when the two 
opposing tendencies of pietism and rationalism were influ 
encing the minds of men. The period of his personal activ 
ity is the age of the illumination. The spread of his 
philosophy towards the end of the century coincides with 
the decline of the illumination and the appearance of the 
new humanism. By the turn of the century, which Kant 
as an old man lived to see, the critical philosophy in 
connection with modern classical literature had victoriously 
completed the great spiritual revolution in Germany, which 
ran parallel with the politico-social revolution in France. 
A new view of the world and a new ideal of culture had 
gained predominance. 

I shall attempt to characterize in a few words the general 
tendencies and the leaders in this movement. 

Pietism and rationalism both begin to find their way into 
Protestant Germany from the Netherlands and France in the 
second half of the seventeenth century. Although mutually 
antagonistic, they cooperate in overturning the theologico- 
dogmatic mode of thought that had prevailed since the 
generation in which the reformed doctrines had been fixed. 

Pietism is, in its origin, a popular religious movement. Its 
object is to make Christianity which in the state churches 
had degenerated into a subject of dispute for theological 
scholars, and a tool for obtaining the mastery on the part of 
the scheming politicians what it originally sought to be, 
the great personal concern of the individual. This explains 
the insistence on conversion. Connection with a church is 
of no avail ; everything depends on the personal turning to 
God in Christ. There is in this something of the original 
impulse of the Eeformation. The subjective religious life 
asserts itself against the religion objectified in church doc 
trine and ordinance, Luther rebels against Lutheranism. 

If pietism is the renewing of the original and most funda 
mental tendencies of the Eeformation, rationalism may be 


characterized as the continuance of the Eenaissance. Like 
the latter, it proceeds from a worldly aristocratic impulse 
toward culture ; the soil in which it grows is independent 
investigation that has been emancipated from authority. 
The new sciences, cosmology and physics, united with 
mathematics, and also that critical historical investigation 
which, since the days of Valla and Erasmus, had rent the 
veil which lay over the past, have given to reason confidence 
in itself. In the great philosophical systems of Descartes, 
Hobbes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, it sets itself the task of con 
structing on the basis of all the modern sciences a world- 
system of a purely rational character. Eationalism, in the 
most general sense, is nothing else than the confidence that 
reason must succeed, without any other presuppositions than 
those which scientific investigation and necessary thinking 
afford, in producing an all-embracing system of demonstrable 
truths in which God and nature, life and history, will be in 
cluded with out any unexplained remainder. 

Pietism and rationalism, in spite of their intrinsic oppo 
sition, seem, on their first appearance, to be connected just as 
the Eeformation and the Eenaissance formerly were. They 
have a common foe in the dominant system, and a common 
characteristic in their endeavor after freedom, after the 
realization of the personal life. In the university which 
had just been founded at Halle (1694), they met in the 
persons of two of their most important representatives, 
August Hermann Francke (1662-1727), and Christian 
Thomasius (1665-1727). Both had been expelled from the 
land of pure Lutheranism, the old conservative Saxony, and 
its university at Leipzig, and both found the sphere of their 
permanent and wide-reaching influence in the young univer 
sity of the energetic Prussian State. The theologian and the 
jurist were soon joined by a third, the philosopher, Chris 
tian Wolff (1679-1754). His importance consists in the fact 
that he reduced modern philosophy to an inclusive system 


that could be taught and learned in the universities, and 
by this means banished the Aristotelian school-philosophy 
from the German universities. The modern sciences, 
mathematics and mathematical physics, form the basis 
of his system. Like Leibniz and Descartes, Hobbes and 
Spinoza, Wolff sets out from these sciences, in which he had 
already worked as a teacher and writer. From their point 
of view he writes his logic and metaphysic, his ethics and 
psychology. The motto of his philosophy, " nothing with 
out sufficient reason," denotes its strong rationalistic char 
acter; nothing happens and nothing is true without a 
sufficient reason. 

As the political friendship between the Renaissance 
and the Reformation was broken so soon as the common 
enemy, scholasticism, had been overcome, so the intrinsic 
opposition between pietism and rationalism passed into 
open hostility as soon as the old orthodoxy had lost its 
dominant position. Even in Halle it came to a bitter fight, 
which ended with the well-known disaster, the expulsion of 
Wolff (1723). But the joy of his pietistical opponents was 
too hasty ; the power of the illumination was already too 
strong. Persecution heightened Wolff s fame and increased 
his influence. In the year 1740, immediately after the ac 
cession of Frederick the Great, he was recalled with fullest 
honors and held his triumph as victor in Halle. 

From the year 1740 we may date the undisputed dom 
inance of the illumination in Germany. It lasted until 
about the death of its great representatives on the German 
thrones, Friedrich and Joseph. If we wish to define its 
character in a formula we may say : It was the period of 
the peaceful and universally recognized sway of reason upon 
the earth, attained after long combat and final victory. Con 
fidence in reason was universal and unconditioned, reason 
in things and reason in men. Now, reason undertakes to 
arrange all things according to their principles. The in- 


stitutions and arrangements of life are examined with a 
critical glance, and ordered anew according to rational con 
cepts. In like manner, knowledge is rationalized. Keason 
explains all things as due to reason. God, the world-reason, 
has formed nature in accordance with rational thoughts. 
The task of the philosopher is to discover these rational 
thoughts in things and to re-think them. The historical 
world, too, is explained from rational thoughts and purposes. 
Here is human reason itself, which creates its own world. 
Language and religion, law and the State, are means invented 
by the reason for the attainment of rational ends. And 
alongside this rationalistic philosophy of history stands a 
rationalistic aesthetic that explains art and poetry from 
rational principles, and affords guidance for rational produc 
tion. Gottsched s critical art of poetry is the type of this 
aesthetic. Thus reason has become the all-prevailing prin 
ciple both formal and material of philosophy. All 
things are made by reason and are intelligible through 

In the second half of the eighteenth century there ap 
peared, at first imperceptibly, then more openly, a reaction 
against the universal sovereignty of reason, which finally led 
to the direct opposite of the illumination, to Romanti 
cism. Among the foreign influences which gave rise to this 
movement we may mention in the first place Voltaire, 
Kousseau, and the English philosophers. All these stand 
on the ground of the illumination, but they undermine its 
foundation. Voltaire directs his sarcasm against the per 
fection of the world as the optimistic rationalism of Leibniz 
had represented it. Rousseau champions the cause of the 
heart against the head ; he emphasizes the importance of 
nature, and of the unconscious, as opposed to conscious rea 
son ; he praises innocent simplicity and good will above 
the arrogance of the culture of the understanding. English 
empiricism combats rationalism in epistemology and meta- 


physics. When carried to its extreme form by Hume, it 
denies the possibility of metaphysics or of natural theology 
in general. It asserts that there is no absolute knowledge 
of the world, that reality does not manifest itself to human 
reason. A metaphysical theory of the world, according to 
the view to which Hume s Dialogues on Natural Religion 
leads, is based rather on the disposition of the heart than 
upon reason and demonstration. It possesses the sub 
jective necessity of faith, not the objective necessity of 

Similar transformations in the German world of thought 
are connected with the names of Winckelmann, Lessing, 
Hamann, Herder, Goethe, and Schiller. To this group 
also belongs Kant. These men all grew up in the school 
of the illumination, but they all transcend the concep 
tions of the illumination. For they abandon strict ration 
alism and advance to the historico-genetic standpoint, which 
asserts that things are not fashioned according to fixed 
plans, they develop and grow. Neither the great works of 
art and literature, nor the great historical achievements like 
language and religion, nor even nature and her products 
have been contrived as means for the realization of ends. 
Organic growth became the dominant concept, superseding ft 
the notion of mechanical creation. The view of the world | 
which belongs to this type of thought is evolutionary pan 
theism. This displaced the metaphysic of the illumination, 
anthropomorphic theism. 

A transformation in our attitude towards life, and in our, 
general view of the world always shows itself first in the] 
aesthetic field. We find, therefore, that this is the case here. 
Klopstock, Winckelmann, and Lessing shake men s faith in 
the rationalistic aesthetic, and in the art and poetry whose 
expression it is, or which has been framed according to its 
rules. Klopstock turns from the French to the English, from 
art to nature, and from what is foreign to what is domestic 



and national. Gottsched and the poetry formed after the rules 
of classic verse are despised. Winckelmann proclaimed the 
degradation of the court academy art in the midst of its own 
territory. He accused it of being a product of arbitrary 
choice, and of pandering to the vulgar taste for what is fash 
ionable and exaggerated. In this he contrasts it with the 
simplicity and calm nobility of the art of the Greeks. Their 
works of art are not imitative products, fashioned according 
to the rules of academic art for the satisfaction of vanity or 
for the purpose of entertaining the fashionable world, but 
they have proceeded by uniform development from the 
national life itself. Lessing, the hero who rejoiced in con 
flict, begins his great war against everything which is can 
onical and conventional, against the dogmas of the old 
sesthetics and poetics, as well as against the dogmas of the 
orthodox or new-fashioned rational theology. He is the 
first who sees Spinoza s thoughts shining through Leibniz s 
system, the first who ventured to follow up Spinoza s thought 
of the ev KOI Trav, the doctrine of the All-One. 

When Lessing in the summer of 1780 carried on those 
conversations with F. H. Jacobi about Spinoza in Gleim s 
garden-house, he did not know that the work was already 
thought out which should give the death blow to the meta 
physics of the illumination. This work was the Critique of 
Pure Reason. Kant showed that the world is in no respect 
such a transparent thought-product as the illumination 
assumed; indeed, that reality in general cannot be appre 
hended by our thought, that it necessarily transcends the 
standpoint of knowledge. And from this there followed for 
him the further consequences that religion cannot be derived 
from or demonstrated by reason, as the illumination at 
tempted. Its roots lie deeper, they are to be sought in the 
will. The will, the practical side of our nature, determines 
the fundamental direction of our view of the world, as it 
determines the value of human life. Kant himself did not 


complete the transition from the intellectualistic to the 
voluntaristic metaphysics and psychology. He still pos 
sessed, even to the end, too great confidence in the power 
of reason. But he started the movement which was fully 
carried out by Schopenhauer. - , 

Kant s younger countryman, Hamann, the "magician of 
the North," had many points of contact with him. In 
Hamann, the pietistic sceptic, the reaction against rational 
ism is almost transformed into a hostility towards reason. 
He will allow almost no merit to reason except that 
it leads men to a knowledge of its inevitable shortcomings. 
In so far as Hume and Kant (whom he once called the 
Prussian Hume) effect this, he recognizes in them the true 
philosophy. He was especially concerned with the problem 
of the origin of language and poetry, and finds its source, 
not in the reason, where the philosophers of the illumina 
tion had sought it, but in the dispositions and passions 
through which nature works. Hamann is the prophet of 
those inclined to mysticism among the devout of both con 
fessions who at the beginning of the nineteenth century 
introduced the great revival of the emotional religiosity 
which clings fast to mysteries. 

A pupil of Kant and Hamann is Herder, though both of 
them regard him as influenced by Hume and Eousseau. 
His importance in the development of the German intel 
lectual life consists in the fact that he destroyed rational 
ism in the philosophy of history. Language, poetry, religion, 
are not manufactured products, but natural growths, which 
are produced by the different peoples with the same inner 
necessity with which the various regions produce different 
forms of plant and animal life. With this is connected 
Herder s fondness for the original form of poetry, the popu 
lar ballads. This is genuine poetry, which cannot be said 
of the manufactured verses of the professors of poetics and 
their pupils. And the same is true of religion. Keligion is 


originally poetry, the great world-poem which the spirit of 
the people produces in its struggle with reality, and in 
which are reflected its own nature and destiny. It is said 
that religion is the manifestation of God. That is certainly 
true, but the manifestation of God through human nature, 
in the same sense that Homer is a manifestation of God, or 
the Zeus of Phidias, or the Madonna of Eaphael. This 
point of view overthrows the old doctrine of special inspira 
tion. It also destroys rationalistic theology, which explains 
religion as the invention of priests and religious societies, 
and seeks to purify it, by critical endeavors, of what is false 
and unessential. The final postulate of the new point of 
view is here again pantheistic metaphysics : the entire 
world is the manifestation of God. Herder too found in 
Spinoza his philosopher. 

Goethe s thought, which was enriched by Herder, moved 
in the same path. Pantheism, poetically apprehended through 
feeling, is his faith, Spinoza s philosophy and Eousseau s 
sensibility to nature united. His first great poetical works, 
Werther, Faust, Prometheus, are entirely filled with this 
spirit. He despised the conventional philosophy and science 
of the schools ; he scorned the understanding which works 
designedly and according to rule, encheiresin naturce, so 
chemistry names it ! Feeling and intuition are everything ; 
name and concept are only the external appearance. This 
is the doctrine that he proclaims with youthful vehemence. 
But even in the scientific form of his later thought, there 
remains the opposition to the mechanico-rational view. 
This shows itself in his color theory, as aversion towards 
Newton ; in his geological and biological views as dislike for 
the Plutonian hypothesis, and as belief in the gradual growth 
and development of natural forms. It is the idea of organic 
development which gave direction to his scientific thinking. 
Development, organic increase, is also the form of his per 
sonal life and practical activity. To both is the idea foreign 


of producing according to set plan. In his own person the 
wonderful richness of his nature unfolded itself in unbroken 
continuity throughout his long life without the haste and 
commotion of voluntarily setting about to produce it. And 
in the same way his great poetical works took form in an 
organic way from his own inner experience. Thus Goethe 
is in his own person the living refutation of the old, narrow, 
rationalistic view of the nature of poetry, and of life, and of 
reality in general. Schiller also was impregnated with the 
doctrines of Spinoza and Eousseau before he found his world- 
formula in the Kantian philosophy ; but neither in his 
practical nor in his theoretical philosophy did the influences 
of his early mode of thought disappear. 

To sum up : In the half-century which followed the death 
of Christian Wolff a mighty transformation had occurred. 
The intellectual theology of reason which took the form 
of anthropomorphic theism had been replaced by a poetic, 
naturalistic pantheism as the fundamental form of its view 
of the world. God is the All-One who manifests his nature 
both in the world and in the process of organic development. 
The highest revelation of his nature for us is found in the 
spiritual life of man in society. Dogmatic anthropomor 
phism, such as rational theology tried to construct, is impos 
sible ; but a symbolic anthropomorphism may perhaps be 
allowed. If the nature of the All-One manifests itself in 
man, man may represent God after his own image, not with 
the intention of thereby adequately defining the nature of 
God, but perhaps with the conviction that what is best and 
deepest in human nature is not foreign to the nature of God; 
indeed that it forms the essence of his nature. 

To have cleared the ground and pointed the way to these 
thoughts, which have become dominant in the poetry and 
philosophy of the German people, is the imperishable service 
of Kant. 



LITERATURE : Information regarding Kant s life is meagre. The 
main source is a number of biographical sketches that were published 
immediately after his death by pupils and admirers, and are largely 
filled with descriptions of Kant when an old man, taken from personal 
recollection. Thus Jachmann, Im. Kant in Briefen an einen Freund ; 
Wasianski, Kant in s. letzten Lebensjahren ; Rink, Ansichten aus Kants 
Leben ; Hasse, Letzte Aeusserungen Kants. Something more is contained 
in Borowski s Darstellung des Lebens und Charakters Kants (1804) ; the 
first outline was composed as early as 1792 and revised by Kant him 
self. Then, in addition, there are the letters to and from Kant, the 
number of which is indeed not very great, on account of Kant s dis 
inclination to write letters ; and they give very little information of a 
personal character. (In Hartenstein s edition of the Works the 
letters are found in viii., pp. 649-815. The number has been greatly 
increased by Reicke s collection in the new edition published by the 
Berlin Academy. ) Finally, there is the correspondence of his Konigs- 
berg acquaintances, especially that of Hamanii. From these materials 
F. W. Schubert has written a connected account of Kant s life and 
literary activitv for the edition of the Works edited by Rosenkranz 
and himself (1842, xi., 2 of the edition). This, without any further 
investigation, has generally been made the basis of subsequent exposi 
tions. R. Reicke has made important additions in Kantiana, Beitrdge 
zu I. Kants Leben und Schriften (1860, reprinted mainly from the N". 
Preuss. Prov. Bldttern). E. Arnoldt, in his valuable Studie Kants 
Jugend (1882, reprinted from the Altpreuss. Monatsschrifl), has sub 
jected the tradition to sharper criticism and drawn what could be 
obtained of value from official documents. In his critical Exkursen 
zur Kantforsclmng (1894), he has given a very detailed account of 
Kant s academic activity as a teacher. B. Erdmann, M. Knutzen und 
seine Zeit (1876), is also of importance as giving detailed and full 
information regarding the intellectual life of Konigsberg at the time 
when Kant received his education there, and especially of the two 
men to whom he owed most, F. A. Schultz and M. Knutzen. A book 
in which one breathes the very atmosphere that prevailed in the 
circle to which Kant belonged in his later life is the autobiography 
of Kant s friend and younger contemporary, the war counsellor 
Scheffner (Leipzig, 1823). [The only extensive biography of Kant in 
English is by J. H. W. Stuckenberg, The Life of Immanuel Kant, 
London, 1882. It is compiled from the German sources mentioned 
above. Among the many shorter sketches of Kant s life in English, 
we may refer especially to W. Wallace s Kant, in Blackwood s Philo 
sophical Classics, Edinburgh, 1882, and E. Caird s The Critical Philos 
ophy of Kant, London and New York, 1889. TKS.] 




IMMANUEL KANT was born at Konigsberg in Prussia on the 
22d of April, 1724, and died at the same place on the 
12th of February, 1804. 

His life was passed within a narrow circle. He was a 
German professor of the old style : to work, to teach, to 
write books, was the sum and substance of his life. Impor 
tant external events, exciting crises, other than intellectual, 
in his history there are none. His birthplace, Konigsberg, 
with its university, is the scene of his life and activity. 
He spent only a few years, as tutor in a country family, 
outside its walls, and never passed the boundaries* of his 
native province. Prussia at that time, before the annexa 
tion of the Vistula province in the first division of Poland, 
was a German island in the far East. Its relations with the 
German Baltic countries, with Mitau and Riga, were closer 
and more intimate than with the West, and Courland and 
Livonia at that time supplied a considerable portion of the 
Konigsberg student body. Konigsberg, the chief city of this 
region in the second half of the eighteenth century, had a 
population of about fifty thousand people, living in about 
six hundred houses, and was therefore a quite important 
city for those days. Kant himself (in the Preface to the 
Anthropology) boasts that as the centre of the political and 
intellectual life of the country, as the port and commercial 
centre of a widely extended inland territory, inhabited by 


a variety of Eastern peoples, it was favorably situated for 
obtaining knowledge of the world and of the various races 
of men. 

Like so many of the spiritual leaders of our people, Kant 
also sprang from the poorer class of citizens. His father, 
Johann Georg, was a saddler (harness-maker) of small 
means. Our Immanuel (who owes his name to the Prussian 
Calendar) was the fourth child of his marriage with Anna 
Eegina Reuter. Five other children were born later. Only 
three of Kant s sisters and one brother lived to old age. The 
brother was first a teacher, then a pastor, in Courland. Two 
sisters lived in obscure circumstances in Konigsberg after 
having been servants in their younger days. An uncle 
(Richter), who was in somewhat prosperous circumstances, 
and helped to bear the expense of publishing Kant s first 
work, was a shoemaker. As Kant never married, his sisters 
children became his heirs. 1 

1 In the Baltische Monatsschrift, 1893, pp. 535 ff., Diedrichs gives an account 
of the life of the brother, Johanii Heinrich. He was eleven years younger 
than Immanuel, and was his pupil at the university. He went to Courland 
as family tutor, became rector at Mitau, and finally pastor at Alt-Rahden, 
dying there in 1800. The essay affords us interesting information regarding 
the relation of Kant to his family during their later life. It contains several 
letters of the brother and his wife to Kant, and also a few letters of the latter 
to his brother and the children. The cool, business-like tone of the elder 
brother, who writes only at very long intervals, contrasts strongly with the 
affectionate tone which the younger employs. Kant interested himself in 
his sisters, and in the children of his brother and sister, during his life, by 
rendering them assistance in their poor circumstances, but he maintained 
little personal communication with them. 

I add here a word regarding the alleged immigration of the family from 
Scotland. I say " alleged," although the assertion is usually made with the 
utmost confidence. Indeed, we have Kant s own statements for the fact. In 
a draft of a letter to a Swedish clergyman who had inquired of the famous man 
concerning his origin, Kant says that his grandfather, along with many others, 
" at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century (I know not 
for what cause) emigrated from Scotland to Prussia, and lived as citizens in 
the Prussian-Lithuanian city of Tilsit" (viii., p. 804, Borowski, p. 21). Also 
the name appeared to him to indicate this origin. The old mode of spelling 
Cant is said to have led to the pronunciation Zant/ which he disliked, and 


Kant is the third great scholar among German philoso 
phers who came from the ranks of the tradespeople. Me- 
lanchthon s father was an armorer ; Christian Wolff s father 
was a tanner. These circumstances have not been without 
permanent influence on the character of German philosophy. 
The French and English philosophers of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries are men of the world ; they live in 
society ; their writings are the talk of salons. The German 
philosophers are professors, their sphere of activity the uni 
versity world ; the form of their writings is scholastic. A 
middle-class respectability of thought, and oftentimes a 
somewhat didactic mode of expression, are their most char- 
therefore to have been changed by him to Kant. The evidence of the church 
register at Memel shows that Kant s statements regarding the history of his 
family are not entitled to unconditional confidence. Kant s grandfather, 
Hans Kant (also Kand, not Cant), was a harness-maker at Memel, and had 
three sons, Adam (1678), Johanu Georg (1683), Friedrich (1685), baptized 
there in the Lutheran Church. The middle one is the philosopher s father 
(E. Arnoldt, Kants Jugend, p. 2). I cannot refrain from the conjecture that 
in the story of the Scottish origin we are not dealing with any well-authenti 
cated recollection, but with one of those vague family traditions of foreign 
descent which are found so frequently in Germany, and which one is not 
bound to believe. I think that it is quite possible that Kant s grandfather 
was born at Memel. A search of the parts of the register of the Johannis 
church, which are still in existence back to 1614, which Vicar Gronau kindly 
undertook, has discovered no positive evidence for this. But the baptismal 
records of the years 1645-1661 are lacking, and the name of Hans Kant may 
possibly have appeared in them. Herr P. Lengning, of the Johannis church, 
rightly points out in a letter that if Hans Kant had really come from Scot 
land as a grown man, it would be strange that he did not belong to the 
Reformed Congregation (Dutch and Scottish) at that time iii Memel. Of 
course his marriage with a German might explain the baptism of the children 
in the Lutheran Church. That we can draw no conclusion regarding foreign 
descent from the name Kant (Cant is nowhere to be found, although Kandt, 
Kante, occur in the school certificates of the philosopher) is evident from the 
fact alone that the Berlin city register contains the name no fewer than four 
teen times. What tricks Kant s memory played with him in later years is 
shown by a communication by Hasse, a colleague of Kant s. He says that 
Kant had often thanked him for explaining to him the meaning of his name 
Immanuel (God with us), and told him that since that time he had written 
the name correctly, although before that he had spelled it Emauuel. This 
was certainly not the case at any time (cf. Vaihiuger, Kantstudien, ii., p. 377). 


acteristic marks. With its popular traits is also closely con 
nected its relation to religion, which it treats as a serious 
concern. The philosophers of the world, Voltaire or Hume, 
when they speak of religion, think of something which they 
know as the object of political speculation by statesmen, of 
personal calculation on the part of men of the Church, as a 
subject for witticisms by authors and educated people, a 
something also which is of interest to the reflective philoso 
pher as a natural phenomenon appearing among the masses 
of mankind ; but they have scarcely ever been brought into 
close contact with a man to whom religion was the great 
interest of life. 

Kant, on the other hand, had grown up among such 
people. His parents belonged to the pietistic movement 
which was just at that time passing eastwards, and which 
insisted upon the personal appropriation of religion. To his 
mother more especially, religion appears to have been a 
matter of living faith. And her son showed that he re 
tained throughout his life a strong sense of his own real 
connection with such people. He never lost the lively ap 
preciation of what he owed to his parents. Even when past 
middle life his thinking often springs from the environment 
of his youth. He praises the moral atmosphere in which he 
was reared, the homely discharge of duties, the strict con 
scientiousness, the deep piety of his parents. In reply to 
Kink, he once said : " Even if the religious consciousness of 
that time, and the conceptions of what is called virtue and 
piety were by no means clear and satisfactory, it yet con 
tained the root of the matter. One may say of pietism what 
one will ; it suffices that the people to whom it was a serious 
matter were distinguished in a manner deserving of all re 
spect. They possessed the highest good which man can 
enjoy that repose, that cheerfulness, that inner peace 
which is disturbed by no passions. No want or persecution 
rendered them discontented ; no controversy was able to stir 


them to anger or to enmity. In a word, even the mere on 
looker was involuntarily compelled to respect. I still re 
member how once disputes arose between the harness-mak 
ing and saddler trades regarding their privileges, during 
which my father suffered much. But, nevertheless, this 
quarrel was treated by my parents, even in family conver 
sation, with such forbearance and love towards their oppo 
nents, and with so much trust in Providence, that the 
memory of it, although I was then a boy, has never left me." 

He seems to have stood in specially close relations to his 
mother. He praises her as a woman of great natural ability, 
of noble heart, and of fervent, though by no means senti 
mental, religious feeling. 

It was through her, as it appears, that a way was opened 
for him to pursue his studies. She was a faithful hearer 
and admirer of the preacher and Consistorial Councillor, 
F. A. Schultz (1692-1763). 1 This excellent man, who had 
been a student of Francke and Wolff in Halle, and united 
solid scientific and philosophic attainments with pietistical 
devoutness, was both a professor in the university, and 
director of the Collegium Fridericianum, a high school 
established shortly before this time on the Halle model. 
He was personally acquainted with Kant s parents, and with 
the talents of the boy, whom the mother, perhaps, brought 
with her to the devotional hour in his own house, and he 
advised the son to pursue his studies. And so it happened 
that in the autumn of 1732, the eight-year old boy was 
entered at the Fridericianum. He attended the institution 
until he left it for the university (1740). There, in addition 
to pietistically colored religious instruction, he had an oppor 
tunity to acquire, above all, solid training in the Latin lan 
guage and literature under Heydenreich. In later life Kant 
wrote and spoke good Latin, and oftentimes quotations from 
Latin classical writers flow from his pen. 

1 Regarding him, see Erdmann, Martin Knutzen und seine Zeit, pp. 22 ff. 


In the autumn of 1740 Kant was matriculated in the 
university of his native city. His mother had not lived to 
see the day, having died in 1737 at the age of forty years, 
of a sickness, as is narrated, which was brought on by nurs 
ing a friend. Kant began his studies, after the usual fashion, 
in the philosophical faculty, which then occupied essentially 
the position that had belonged to it since the middle ages, 
that of a preparatory institution for the three higher facul 
ties. Its work was to complete the linguistic and literary 
instruction of the Latin school by means of a course in the 
general or philosophical sciences, and thus to prepare for 
the professional studies of one of the higher faculties. 
Since the Konigsberg University, and more specially the 
philosophical faculty, is the frame in which Kant s entire 
future life is set, a short description of it may not seem un 
desirable to the reader. I take it from the history of the 
Konigsberg University published by Arnoldt in 1746. In 
this the modesty of all the appointments is very manifest. 
Moreover, one needs only to have seen the old university 
buildings on the Pregel to be conscious of the difference be 
tween a university at that time and in our own day ; it is 
not much more than a shed compared with the university 
palaces of the present time. 

The number of ordinary [regular] professors in the 
philosophical faculty was eight. In addition, there was 
an extraordinary professor for each subject. The subjects 
were the following : (1) Hebrew, (2) Mathematics, (3) 
Greek, (4) Logic and Metaphysics, (5) Practical Philoso 
phy, (6) Natural Science, (7) Poetics, (8) Oratory and 
History. 1 According to the ordinance of studies of the 
year 1735, "Every ordinary professor shall treat the sub 
jects which he professes in such a way as to complete in his 
public lectures one science each semester ; for example, logic 
in one and metaphysics in another ; similarly natural law is 

1 II., p. 346. 


to be completed in one, ethics in the other half-year. The 
object of this is that the students, especially those who are 
poor, may have an opportunity to hear all parts of philoso 
phy in public lectures without payment of fees, and in one 
or another half-year may hear treated all the fundamental 
sciences of philosophy." In like manner the Hebrew pro 
fessor is to treat in summer the historical books of the Old 
Testament, and in winter the five books of Moses ; the Greek 
professor is annually to give a survey of the entire New 
Testament, and to conduct his class in such a way that the 
students themselves shall be required to expound the text. 
The professor of mathematics is to lecture each year on 
arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and astronomy. The pro 
fessor of oratory and history had in winter to treat of style 
in the following way : Two hours were given to expounding 
an author, a third to lectures on the principles of oratory, 
and in the fourth the papers prepared by the students were 
publicly criticised, partly in Latin, partly in German. In 
summers he had universal history, lecturing in alternate years 
on the period before Christ and the Christian era. The pro 
fessor of poetics had to do with respect to the Latin language, 
what the professor of oratory did with regard to style, and 
every two years to devote a half-year to German poetry. 
The professor of physics " must teach either experimental 
physics in one half-year and theoretical in the other, or, in 
case he wishes to combine them, conclude his course in 
one year, since then the professor extraordinary can treat 
every half-year some part of pliysica sacra. In general, 
also, professors would do well, after they have completed 
their lectures, to hold examinations upon them, partly to 
learn how well their auditors have understood the various 
points, partly to stimulate their diligence and attention and 
to discover students of ability and perseverance, or even to 
hold special collegia examinatoria." J 

1 I., p. 335. 


It is evident, both from the form and the content of the 
instruction, that the institution was nothing more than a 
school. 1 

Of Kant s student days at the university little is known 
with certainty. Among his teachers the still youthful pro 
fessor extraordinary, Martin Knutzen (1713-51), attracted 
him most. Knutzen s lectures extended over the entire 
field of philosophy and included mathematics and natural 
science. 2 It is reported that Kant also enjoyed personal 
relations with him and was supplied with books out of his 
private library. He was indebted to Knutzen not merely for 
his introduction to the Wolffian philosophy, but also especially 
for introducing him to the study of mathematics and physics, 
and for his acquaintance with Newton. It appears that for 
a long time mathematical, scientific, and cosmological studies 
formed his main interest. It must not be forgotten, how 
ever, that these sciences were then an integral part of the 
unitary science, philosophy. Perhaps, also, a reaction against 
the excess of pietistic and dogmatic religious instruction re 
ceived at school, of which there are other signs too, may have 
had some part in inclining Kant towards the mathematical 

1 That it was not a higher institution of learning appears also from the fol 
lowing : " All funeral orations and addresses, as well as addresses of congratu 
lation, must be prepared in prose, not run into theology, and be submitted to 
the censorship of the professor of eloquence, on penalty of twenty marks. 
Also it is forbidden on the same penalty to use in these any reference to par 
ticular family circumstances, or to name persons and describe events of their 
lives, but all such things shall remain professori eloquentice privative " 
(ii., p. 350). The university professors had thus a monopoly in preparing 
occasional addresses, especially funeral orations with personal references, of 
course for a fee. In the higher schools, conducting funerals with singing 
formed a regular part of the teacher s income. The position of the scholar s 
profession can be readily understood from facts of this kind. The great 
change, the raising of the academic world to the rank of the nobility, has 
begun to take place since the end of the eighteenth century under the influence 
of the great intellectual, political, and social transformation, that affected 
Germany and France in particular. 

2 Erdmann, in Martin Knutzen und seine Zeit, reproduces a syllabus of these 


sciences. In the same way, it was not an accident that among 
the Latin authors he had a special preference for Lucretius. 
In addition it is certain that he heard also theological lec 
tures (Dogmatics) from his old patron Schultz. Whether 
he ever had any thought of entering the clerical profession 
is doubtful, just as is the story that he made a trial of 
preaching in a country church. It is reported also that he 
aided some fellow-students with whom he was friendly 
in their studies, which afforded much relief to him in his 
straitened financial circumstances. How long he heard lec 
tures cannot be determined with certainty. It is known, how 
ever, that in the summer semester of 1746 he handed to the 
dean of the philosophical faculty a work entitled, Thoughts 
on the True Evaluation of Dynamic Forces, which had been 
already printed. This first work, a thorough discussion of 
the point at issue between Descartes and Leibniz regard 
ing the measure of force, even if it cannot be called a contri 
bution to the subject, bears witness to the extensive and 
thorough philosophical and scientific studies and also to the 
independence of judgment of its youthful author. An active 
self-reliance, almost defiant in tone, and an openly expressed 
contempt for those who after the manner of gregarious ani 
mals followed the authority of great names, proclaimed a 
man who felt conscious of strength to go his own way. 

In the same year, on the 24th of March, 1746, his father 
died. The son wrote as an entry in the family chronicle 
which his mother had hitherto kept : " May God, who did not 
permit him to taste many joys in this life, grant to him in 
return to be a partaker of everlasting happiness." The 
church burial register contains as an entry the following 
brief but significant words : " Private " (i. e., without inter 
ment services), " Poor." A similar entry had been made at 
the time of his mother s death, nine years before. 1 

Poverty had been the companion of Kant s youth. For 

1 Arnoldt, p. 51. 


more than a decade it was still to remain his constant at 
tendant. After the university there followed his years as a 
family tutor, at that time the regular course for one who 
was without private means. Of this period we have no cer 
tain information. It is said that he was first a teacher in a 
pastor s house (Judschen, near Gumbinnen), and later in the 
family of a country landholder (Von Hiilsen, near Mohrun- 
gen). Finally, he entered into relations with the Count 
Kayserling s family. It is doubtful, however, whether he 
lived permanently in this house as a tutor. But he stood in 
specially close relations with the countess, an admirable, 
finely educated woman. In her house (she lived after 1772 
in Konigsberg) he continued to be highly regarded. A por 
trait of the youthful Kant by the Countess s hand has lately 
been discovered. 1 

In the year 1755 he began his work as private lecturer at 
the University of Konigsberg. After he qualified (pro- 
moviert) with a treatise entitled De igne, and held a disputa 
tion over the work, Principiorum primorum cognitionis 
metaphysicce nova dilucidatio (with which still another dispu 
tation over the treatise Monadologia physica was connected), 
he began his lectures in the winter semester of 1755-56 as 
magister legens. For fifteen years he remained in this posi 
tion. Twice his applications for a vacant professorship were 
unsuccessful. The second of these applications was ad 
dressed to Catherine II.; for Konigsberg was, from 1757 to 
the time of the peace, under the control of the Russian 
government. The professorship of poetics which became 
vacant in 1764 and which was offered him from Berlin, he 
declined. In 1766 he sought and obtained the vacant posi 
tion of assistant librarian of the castle library, a position 
which yielded an income of sixty -two thalers. 

1 A reproduction of this, the oldest portrait of Kant, appeared in Vaihing- 
er s Kantstudien II., 2, together with an account by E. Fromm of Kant s rela 
tions to the Kayserling family. [This portrait was also reproduced in The 
Philosophical Review, VIII. 3.] 


Nevertheless, it is not necessary to think of Kant s posi 
tion during these years as an entirely undesirable one. The 
position of a privat docent was then, in general, freer and 
more desirable than at present. The professorships were 
much less official in character than in our time, especially 
in the philosophical faculty. The salary was small, and 
there was yet nothing to give to the senior a superior rank, 
even as a teacher. Nor did the instruction in the philo 
sophical faculty lead up to a state examination, as has been 
more and more the rule since 1812, when the examen pro 
facilitate docendi was introduced. Thus, at that time a pro 
fessor was nothing more than a teacher who sat in the 
faculty and received a small salary from the funds of the 
university. Even the professor ordinarius gave, in addition 
to the public lectures which were required of him, and for 
which he received a salary, numerous private lectures in his 
own auditorium, on all the disciplines which belonged to 
his chair. The honorarium from this source, which was 
treated as a purely private affair, usually made up an im 
portant part of his income. There was nothing, therefore, to 
prevent a successful privat docent from having more hearers 
and perhaps a larger income than a professor. Kant s lec 
tures were soon very highly esteemed, and attracted many 
hearers, not only from among the students, but also from 
among men of high rank, and he often lectured before the 
officers of the garrison, even when Kb nigsberg was occupied 
by the Eussian troops. 

At the beginning of his academic career, his philosophico- 
scientific interest, as appears from his lectures and writings, 
was particularly directed toward the external world. Besides 
logic and metaphysics, which from the beginning occupied 
the most prominent position, he treated in his lectures 
especially of mathematics and natural science. Physical 
geography, which Kant was the first to introduce into the 
university courses, soon became a favorite subject. This 


was much appreciated, even outside the circle of students ; 
and since it brought together what was most interesting 
and important from the world of nature and man, it was 
able to offer guidance for the tour for culture which was at 
that time common, or even to become a substitute for it. 1 As 
the literary fruit of his cosmological investigations and stud 
ies of the natural sciences, he published, in addition to some 
small essays on physical geography, in the year 1755, a work 
entitled Universal History of Nature and Theory of the 
Heavens, or an Attempt to Treat of the Formation and Origin 
of the Entire Structure of the World according to Newtonian 
Principles. This work is of great significance, standing as 
it does at the beginning of Kant s activity as an author. It 
was dedicated to Frederick II., but appeared originally with 
out the name of the author. It was not until later that it 
received the recognition which it deserved ; at first, through 
the failure of the publisher, it remained almost unnoticed. 
That Kant attached great importance to it appears from the 
fact that he twice called attention to its main content by 
giving summaries of it (1763, 1791). The problem which 
he set for himself in this work was to explain genetically 
the structure of the cosmos, and especially of our planetary 
system, entirely in accordance with physical principles. 
Newton had regarded the first arrangement of the world 
system as the direct work of God. But Kant begins where_ 
Newton had left off, and shows how through the immanent 
activity ot physical forces, cosmic systems arise and perish 
minever-ending rotatiolT! The direct interposition of God 
is here neither necessary nor applicable. It may indeed be 
rightly questioned whether Kant s attempt is so closely 
related as is often assumed to the theory which Laplace 

1 P. Lehmann, Kants Bedeutung ah akademischer Lehrer der Erdkitnde, 
1886. Arnoldt, Krit. Exkurse, pp. 283 ff. G. H. Schone, "Die Stellung 
Kants innerhalb der geographischen Wissenschaft," Altpreuss. Monatsschrift, 
xxxv. (1896), pp. 217 ff. 


afterwards worked out, that the planetary bodies are broken 
off from a rotating centra] body and are arranged through 
its attraction. 1 Kant stands in close relation to the old 
cosinogonic theories (Lucretius was an author in whom he 
had much confidence), but he stood firmly on the Newtonian 
principle of gravitation and the results of modern astronomy. 
In general we may say that it is his lively and fertile imag 
ination rather than the exactness of his investigation which 
is worthy of mention. It ranges hither and thither, even 
to the fantastic, to discover possible ideas regarding the 
development of the cosmos and the earth. 

What he says in the preface to this work, regarding the 
relation of natural science to religion is worthy of atten 
tion. Religion has no interest in setting limits to the 
mechanical explanation of natural phenomena. It is just 
the possibility of a purely mechanical explanation which 
furnishes the best proof of the original purposive character 
of the nature of all its elements. On the other hand, he 
protests against all explanation of particular phenomena 
from particular purposes of God, a kind of explanation to 
which the " easy philosophy that tries to hide its vain un 
certainty under a pious air " is prone. This method is fatal 
to faith, since a later natural explanation helps the natural 
ist to a trm mph. In this passage we have an indication of 
the view which is systematically worked out by the critical 
philosophy ; natural science and religious faith are com 
pletely indifferent to each other and are therefore to be 
entirely separated. Their intermixture in physico-theology 
is equally injurious for science and for faith. That this 
opinion of his aroused anxiety among strict and narrow- 
minded persons, we may conclude from the behavior of his 
old teacher and patron, Schultz. Before he would recom- 

1 Eberhard, Die Kosmoyonie Kants (Munich Dissertation, 1893). Zollner s 
work, Ueber die Natur der Kometen, pp. 426 ff., gives a panegyric on Kant s 
services to natural science. 


mend Kant for a professorship which the latter desired (it 
was in 1758), he sent for Kant to come to him and received 
him with the solemn question, " Do you fear God from your 
heart ? " Only after having received Kant s frank assurance 
that he did, would he use his influence in his behalf. 

In the sixties a transformation begins to be apparent in 
Kant s thought, which we may call the Socratic tendency. 
The inner world, the realm of man and of his moral nature, 
gains an importance at the cost of the mathematico-scientiiic, 
and even of the scholastico-metaphysical. Kant s personal 
development is connected with the general movement of 
the time. It is the time in which the German spirit, awak 
ening from its long lethargy, raises itself with astonishing 
rapidity and energy to the fulness of new life. Lessing 
had begun the influence. The subtle scholastic disputes 
of theological and metaphysical dogmatists, like the dead 
antiquarian scholarship, fall into disrepute. Philosophy 
endeavors, by throwing aside the rules of scholastic demon 
stration, and by employing the German language, to exert 
an influence upon general culture. The public life of the 
nation begins to take form ; besides the sympathy for the 
modern belles lettres, in the age of Frederick and Joseph, 
a political self-consciousness appears among the better- 
educated classes. I may mention J. J. Moser in the 
South, Schlozer and J. Moser in the North. Moreover, 
new influences from the West begin to be felt. English 
philosophy and literature attract his attention. Shaftes- 
bury was a familiar author, and in addition he became 
acquainted with Hume, especially with his essays in the 
fields of mental and moral sciences. Among French 
authors we may mention, besides Voltaire, Montesquieu and 

To all these influences Kant, who rejoiced in the good 
fortune of a prolonged youth and long years of development, 
yielded himself with an open mind. As his biographers 


show, his personal feeling was most strongly and directly 
touched by Eousseau. He himself, in a passage which has 
often been quoted, has spoken of the change in disposition 
which Kousseau produced in him : " I myself am by inclina 
tion an investigator. I feel an absolute thirst for knowledge, 
and a longing unrest for further information. There was a 
time when I thought that all this constituted the real worth 
of mankind, and I despised the rabble who knew nothing. 
Eousseau has shown me my error. This dazzling advantage 
vanishes, and I should regard myself as of much less use 
than the common laborers if I did not believe that this 
speculation (that of the Socratic-critical philosophy) can 
give a value to everything else to restore the rights of 
humanity." 1 Thus it is a new valuation of knowledge for 
which he here acknowledges his obligations to Rousseau. 
Science and speculation are not of unconditional worth, they 
are not absolute ends in themselves, but means to a higher 
end whose purpose is to serve the moral destiny of mankind. 
The primacy of the moral over the intellectual, in the evalu 
ation of the individual and in the determination of the pur 
poses of the race, remains hereafter a constant feature of 
Kant s thought. And this gives philosophy a new signifi 
cance. For, as practical wisdom ( Weisheitslelire) , its func 
tion is to bring sciences into relation to the highest pur 
pose of humanity, and also to warn the individual against 
the arrogance of mere knowledge. Thus Rousseau, the 
philosopher of the microcosm, had replaced Newton, the 
philosopher of the macrocosm (Kant himself parallels 
the two men in this way). 2 The moral and anthropolog 
ical interest, rather than cosmological and metaphysical 
speculation, assumes the central position. On the basis of 
this anthropocentric direction of thought, the critical phi 
losophy grew up. Its mission is to make an absolute end of 
cosmological speculation, in order to render the moral the 

1 VIII., p. 642. a VIII., p. 630. 


essential element in a philosophy of life and of the world. 
One of the Reflections published by Erdmann (II. 59) clearly 
shows this tendency : " The Critique of Pure Reason is a cure 
for a disease of the reason which has its root in our nature. 
This disease is the opposite of the inclination which binds 
us to our country (Heimweh) ; it is longing to wander beyond 
our proper sphere and establish relations with other worlds." 
With this we may connect the question with which the 
Natural History of the Heavens closes : " Perhaps still other 
members of the planetary system are being transformed 
to prepare new abodes for us in other heavens. Who 
knows but that those satellites revolve about Jupiter in 
order to give us light in the future ? " 

I shall later treat together the writings of the sixties, in 
which this tendency first finds expression. Here I wish to 
place before the reader an excellent picture of the teacher at 
the height of his strength and influence. It is by Herder, 
who sat at Kant s feet during 176264, and who draws this 
sketch from memory : " I have had the good fortune to 
know a philosopher who was my teacher. In the prime of 
life he possessed the joyous courage of youth, and this 
also, as I believe, attended him to extreme old age. His 
open, thoughtful brow was the seat of untroubled cheerful 
ness and joy, his conversation was full of ideas and most 
suggestive. He had at his service jest, witticism, and 
humorous fancy, arid his lectures were at once instructive 
and most entertaining. With the same spirit in whicK,he 
criticised" Leibniz, Wolff, Baumgarten, Crusius, and Hume, 
he investigated the natural laws of Newton, Kepler, and 
the physicists. In the same way he took up the writ 
ings of Kousseau, which were then first appearing, the 
Bmile and the Helolse, as well as any new discovery with 
which he was acquainted in natural science, and estimated 
their value, always returning to speak of the unbiased knowl 
edge of nature, and the moral worth of man. The history of 


men, of peoples, and of nature, mathematics, and experience, 
were the sources from which he enlivened his lectures and 
conversation. Nothing worth knowing was indifferent to 
him. No cabal or sect, no prejudice or reverence for a name 
had the slightest influence with him in opposition to the 
extension and promotion of truth. He encouraged and 
gently compelled his hearers to think for themselves ; despot 
ism was foreign to his disposition. This man, whom I name 
with the greatest thankfulness and reverence, is Immanuel 
Kant; his image stands before me, and is dear to me." ] 

In 1770 Kant received the ordinary professorship in logic 
and metaphysic. Shortly before this, calls had come to him 
from Jena and Erlangen. He had long been happy in the 
high estimate which the government placed upon his ser 
vices. This appears especially from a Eeport of 1767, which 
contains complimentary references to him and a magister 

1 Briefe zur Befdrderung der Humanitdt. Werke, Ausg. Suphan, xvii., p. 404. 
Cf. the original work of the year 1792, xviii., p. 304. Herder s picture of the 
youthful Kant of the sixties has, however, a point. He turns it against the 
Kantiaus and their arrogant, even despotic dogmatism, from which Kant 
himself was free : "Never in the three years in which I heard him daily on 
all the philosophical disciplines have I ever noticed the slightest trace of 
arrogance in him. To found a sect, to give his name to a company of 
disciples, was not the end for which he strove. His philosophy aroused 
independent thought, and I can scarcely imagine anything better adapted and 
more effective for the purpose than his lectures." He was far from being 
satisfied with speculation remote from experience, or encouraging pure think 
ing, but was constantly referring to the necessity of experience, of knowledge 
of the world by means of natural history and the history of peoples, Even 
the Critique of Pure Reason was written with the purpose of rooting out the 
thorn thickets of speculation. It certainly could never have entered Kant s 
head that it would occur to any one " to transplant the thornbush, which he 
had been compelled to use in hedging-in false speculation, into every good field 
as a garden product ; " or, to change the figure, that " the medicine he had 
prescribed as a purge would not merely be recommended as the only and 
everlasting means of nourishment, but that people would have it thrust upon 
them and be bullied with all kinds of good and evil arts." " Still, did not 
this take place in the school of Socrates ? " That Herder did not regard the 
Kant of the System so free from blame as he is here represented appears 
from the Metakritik, published in 1799. The opinions expressed there he had 
held for a long time. 


legens (Reusch). In the previous year the professors had 
been severely censured: they took little pains to perform 
their duties when they were not emphatically enjoined and 
commanded to do so. The king reserved to himself the 
right " to make an entirely new arrangement ; at all events 
to remove the teachers who were of no value to the univer 
sity, and to place the university on the basis of Halle and 
// Frankfort and appoint diligent professors." J Kant was held 
If in especially high esteem by the minister, von Zedlitz, who \ 
* controlled educational matters from 1771 to 1788. This ex- Ji 
cellent man, who was fitted for his post in an unusual degree 
by the refined and thorough nature of his culture, and his 
high appreciation of intellectual and moral excellence, lost no 
opportunity of assuring the Konigsberg philosopher of his 
esteem. When, in 1778, a professorship was vacant in Halle, 
by far the most important of the Prussian universities of that 
time, he repeatedly urged Kant to accept it, with the respect 
able salary of 800 thalers, and the title of counsellor (Jiof- 
raiti) if he wished it. Nevertheless, neither such attractions 
nor the claims of duty which the minister delicately urged 
upon him of not refusing the wider sphere of influence, were 
able to draw Kant from his home and his customary place. 
"All change makes me anxious," he writes to Herz, 2 "even 
when it seems to promise the greatest improvement of 
my condition. I believe I must heed this instinct of my 
nature if I am to draw a little longer the threads which the 
Fates spin very thin and brittle for me." He felt that he 
had still a great work to perform, the reconstruction of 
philosophy. In the Dissertation on the Form and Principles 
of the Sensible and Intelligible Worlds, with which he had 
entered upon his professorship in 1770, he had taken the 
first step toward this restoration. 3 

1 Arnoldt, Krit. Exkurse, p. 547. 2 VIII., p. 703. 

8 E. Fromm (Kant und die preuss. Zensur, 1894, p. 62) has collected the 
following information regarding Kant s salary from the records of the privy 


In 1781 the Critique of Pure Reason, the fulfilment of the 
promise of the Dissertation, finally appeared. It was dedi 
cated to Zedlitz. 

The further history of Kant s life is the history of the 
origin of his works, and of the effect which they exercised 
upon the time. The eighties are the years of greatest liter 
ary activity. In the nineties Kant s strength gradually 
failed, while at the same time his influence and fame were 
extended. In all the German universities, Protestant and 
Catholic alike, the critical philosophy was taught. Adher 
ents from all parts of Germany made their way to the far 
East to salute the bearer of the new light. One of the first 
of these was J. G. Fichte. 1 When the Dane Baggesen 
called him the second Messiah, this did not, to many, 
appear too much to say in that age given to exaggeration. 

From the eighties Kant was by far the most important 
figure in the Konigsberg University. The remote institu 
tion had through him for the first time received a Euro 
pean reputation. To describe his immediate surroundings I 
add here the names of his colleagues in the philosophical 

state archives. The salary of his predecessor, the ordinarius in logic and 
metaphysics, was 166 thlr. 60 gr., probably also the amount that Kant 
at first received. In 1786 he received in all, 417 thlr. 36 gr. 4 pf. (salary, 
255 thlr. 80 gr. 12 pf. ; as senator, 36 thlr. 45 gr. 10 pf. ; and in addition, 
100 thlr. as senior of the faculty, and 35 thlr. as decan). In 1787, after the 
endowment of the university had been increased by Frederick William IV., 
the regular salary had been raised to 342 thlr. 64 gr. 4 pf. In 1789 he received 
in addition an extraordinary personal allowance of 220 thlr., so that he now 
received in all, 725 thlr. 60 gr. 9 pf. Of titles and orders, such as are now 
bestowed on professors as suitable decorations, the biographers of Kant have 
nothing at all to report. Perhaps Kant regarded these things as a lessening 
of his independence rather than as adding to the respect of his rank. Did 
Frederick the Great ever hear anything more of Kant than his name ? This 
cannot be determined. But he regarded the entire world of German scholar 
ship as far beneath him ; and so perhaps even the name of the most cele 
brated of the Prussian professors remained beneath the limen of the royal 

1 See the interesting account of the meeting between the two men, in the 
life of Fichte by his son, I. H. Fichte, II., pp. 129 ff. 


faculty. In the year 1789 there were (according to Baczko s 
History and Description of Kdniysberg, p. 431) only six of 
them : Reusch in Physics, Kraus, Kant s pupil and friend, 
in Practical Philosophy ; Mangelsdorf in Poetry, Oratory, and 
History ; the court-preacher Schulz, Kant s pupil and com 
mentator, in Mathematics ; Hasse in Oriental languages ; and 
Wald in Greek. In addition to these there was a pro 
fessor extraordinarius for oratory, and four readers. 

I may here say something regarding the external condi 
tions of Kant s life. His household arrangements and 
habits were very simple, and entirely subordinated to con 
siderations of bodily and mental hygiene. From his youth 
his bodily strength had been frail. He was small of stature 
and had a hollow chest cramping his lungs and heart. This 
weakness had early drawn his attention to dietetics. By 
care and prudence he managed to live, even at an advanced 
age, without suffering much disturbance from bodily ailments. 
He remained unmarried, but not from principle or from 
any hatred to women. In his reflections on the feelings of 
the beautiful and the sublime, in particular, he speaks with 
regard for women, and draws a pleasing picture of their 
character with a touch of the French gallantry that be 
longed to the time. It is said that he twice thought of 
making proposals of marriage, but reflecting over the matter 
too long he lost the opportunity. Still, a disinclination, 
even in mature age, to assume the responsibilities of family 
life may have given the decision. There was nothing moody 
and solitary about Kant, as about Schopenhauer. He was 
not disinclined to society, and possessed a gift of lively and 
pleasing conversation, and moved easily and lightly in the 
forms of polite society. He did not choose his society espe 
cially from the academic circle, but loved to mingle with 
people of the world, with office-holders, merchants, book- 
dealers, etc. Not until the eighties did he buy himself a 
house, and set up his modest establishment with a man- 


servant and cook. (This house stood on Prinzessinnen Street, 
but gave place in 1893 to a new one.) At dinner he liked 
to have a few guests with him, and regularly had one or two, 
generally chosen from among his younger friends and stu 
dents. Now and again he had a larger company, up to five 
in number. His day was strictly ordered by rule. He rose 
at 5 o clock, worked until his lectures began at 7 or 8, and 
again from 9 or 10 until dinner-time at one o clock. He 


loved to prolong the midday meal the only one which he 
took in later life for two or three hours with pleasant 
conversation. Then he walked for an hour, and the remain 
der of the day was given to reading and meditation. At ten 
o clock he retired to rest. 

Thus one day passed like another. Scarcely any inter 
ruptions came to break the uniform regularity of his life. 
In this age of the illumination, inclined more to work than 
to holiday, the vacations were very short. Journeys were 
not made ; Kant during the last decade of his life did not 
go beyond the nearest environs of Konigsberg. The outer 
world of his own experience remained a very restricted one ; 
he knew of foreign cities and lands only from books. The 
first academic teacher of physical geography never saw a 
mountain with his own eyes. Indeed, I do not know that 
he ever saw the sea, which could be reached in a few hours 
from Konigsberg. 

For all that, reading had to compensate. As an exact 
scholar of the old time, books were his world. And here 
he loved not the abstract, but the concrete. Especially did 
he value descriptions of travel and works of natural science, 
which he had sent unbound from the book shop (for a 
long time he lived with the book-dealer Kanter). His 
pupil and friend Kraus tells that he liked to have a new 
book beside him as he wrote, in order to refresh himself 
by looking into it from time to time when he was weary. 
In the field of Idles lettres he was especially fond of witty 


and satirical writings, like Hudibras, or Don Quixote, while 
Swift, Lichtenberg, and even Montaigne were among his 
favorite authors. 1 He had a strong dislike both for every 
thing weakly sentimental and extravagant, and for senti 
mental novels, moving tragedies, etc., as is well known to 
readers of his ethical and aesthetic works. 

We may add here some remarks regarding Kant s relation 
to the public institutions of his time. His relation to the 
state and to political life was determined by the circum 
stances of his time. As a whole he stood as a stranger, out 
side and opposed to the political institutions and events of 
his time. He was too much of a philosopher and a citizen 
of the world to cherish any strong feeling of attachment to 
or dependence on the state as it was something that this 
state, which only recognized subjects, neither expected nor 
demanded. To the great representative of the illumination 
on the Prussian throne he was extremely grateful for main 
taining freedom of thought. He also appreciated and highly 
valued the legality of his rule, and the impartial mainten 
ance of justice. In other respects, he could scarcely be 
said to belong to the unqualified admirers of the king. He 
so often and so emphatically expressed his abhorrence of 
war, this scourge of mankind, this destroyer of all that is 
good, especially of war undertaken without necessity for 
political reasons, that one cannot refrain from including the 
wars of Frederick the Great in this judgment. Kant 
showed none of the enthusiasm which the deeds of the king, 
defending himself against a hostile world, aroused in the 
young Goethe. To be sure, in Frankfort the war was far 
enough distant to appeal to the imagination, while in Prussia 
one felt too keenly the bitter reality. Moreover, the nig 
gardliness of Frederick s government towards schools and 
universities was the result of the expenditure of all the 
country s forces in the war. Kant repeatedly proclaims 

1 Reicke, Kantiana, pp 14 ff. 


with bitterness that the state has money only for the war. 
In addition, it is doubtless true that our good citizen philoso 
pher had a strong dislike for all court personages. And we 
may assume that this dislike was not lessened by the French 
philosophers of the king s court (e. g,, de la Mettrie). It 
cannot be doubted also that Kant s sympathies were not 
with a monarchial and absolute form of government, but 
with a democracy, such as had just been established in 
Xorth America, and as appeared, at the beginning of the 
Revolution, to be the form of government desired in France. 
These were the two political movements of his time for 
which Kant felt the keenest sympathy. Even in the year 
1798, when the enthusiasm in Germany for the French 
Eevolution had pretty well gone by in other quarters, he 
spoke of this event as the hopeful turning-point of the times. 
And he applied this designation to the Revolution, while 
condemning the execution of the king in decided, and even 
in exaggerated terms. In the movement of the states 
towards a republican form of government he saw the spring 
ing up of the seed of everlasting peace. 1 

Even Kant s relation to the church was not a personal 
one, but rested upon an intellectual appreciation. He 
understood the historical necessity of the church, and ap 
preciated what it had accomplished in disciplining and 
moralizing the populace. But he had no personal needs 
that the church could satisfy, and he took no part in 
church services. Perhaps the superfluity of church-going 
which he had been compelled to undergo in his youth may 
have been of some influence. All sentimental piety was 
distasteful to him. The affectation of a personal intimacy 
with the heavenly powers appeared to him as self-praise 
and vanity, and to be akin to the arrogance with which 
the favorites of earthly princes look down upon common 
mortals. For true Christianity he had a strong feeling of 
1 VII., pp. 399 ff. 


respect. He also had a high regard for its author, in whom 
he recognized the ideal of moral perfection. Moreover, he 
preserved throughout his life a high estimate of the value 
of the Bible, with which from his youth he had a close 
acquaintance. On one of the unbound pages (Lose Blatter) 
preserved by the Konigsberg library l stand these words : 
" The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the 
greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. 
Every attempt to belittle it, or to do away with it entirely, 
as the lovers of God and man do, is a crime against 
humanity. And if there are to be miracles, this book, in 
which the accounts of miracles occur only incidentally, as 
historical confirmation of the doctrines of rational religion, 
is itself the greatest miracle. For here we have a system 
of religious doctrines and beliefs, that has been built up 
without the help of Greek philosophy, by unlearned persons, 
and that has, more than any other, exercised an influence 
for good upon the hearts and lives of men." 

The nineties brought to Kant, who was now growing old, 
his first and only conflict. Though externally this was 
soon over, it had a strong influence upon his mind. The 
successor of Frederick the Great had appointed in Zedlitz s 
place a priestly-minded enthusiast, the former preacher 
Wb llner, with whom he was connected by a Kosicrucian 
mysticism and a common hatred of the illumination. With 
the religious edict of July 9, 1788, there began the sys 
tematic uprooting of the illumination in Prussia. By 
means of the censorship and inquisition, by removals and 
punishments, Frederick William II. and Wollner undertook 
to destroy the spirit of their predecessor, a regular regime of 
priestly resentment. It was as if long delayed vengeance must 
be had for all the injuries which the scoffer on the throne 
had done to the " priests " and to the pious in the land. 2 

1 Convolut G. i., ii. 

2 On Wollner, cf. Bailleu in the Allg. Deutschen Biographic. 


The philosophy of Kant was naturally offensive to the 
government. He made no secret of his political atti 
tude, especially with reference to the events in France, 
which then held the attention of the whole world. It was 
his work entitled Religion within the Bounds of Pure 
Reason, however, which first brought him directly into con 
flict with the ruling powers. He intended to publish the 
work in instalments in Biester s Berliner Monatsschrift, 
but the censor condemned the second article. He then had 
the work appear in book form under the censorship of the 
philosophical faculty at Jena. In the same year he re 
ceived a cabinet order dated October 1, 1794, and of the 
following purport: "Our highest person has been greatly 
displeased to observe how you misuse your philosophy to 
undermine and destroy many of the most important and fun 
damental doctrines of the Holy Scriptures and of Christian 
ity. We demand of you immediately an exact account, and 
expect that in the future you will give no such cause of 
offence, but rather that, in accordance with your duty, you 
will employ your talents and authority so that our paternal 
purpose may be more and more attained. If you continue 
to oppose this order, you may certainly expect unpleasant 
consequences to yourself." 

Kant, in replying, first defended himself fully against the 
charges brought against him. He then emphatically main 
tained the right of the scholar (as distinguished from the 
popular teacher) to form independent judgments on re 
ligious matters, and to make his opinions known. But in 
concluding he gave up the exercise of this right for the 
future. In order to avoid the least suspicion, he thought it 
safest " hereby as his Majesty s most faithful servant, to 
declare solemnly that I will entirely refrain in future from 
all public address on religion, both natural and revealed, 
either in lectures or in writings." 

On a scrap of paper among his remains we have the fol- 



lowing reflection on this subject : " Eecantation and denial 
of one s inner convictions is base, but silence in a case like 
the present is a subject s duty. And if all that one says 
must be true, it does not follow that it is one s duty to tell 
publicly everything which is true." The phrase, "as his 
Majesty s most faithful servant," he must have intentionally 
added later, so as to bind himself only during the king s 
lifetime." l 

It cannot be denied that more discretion than courage is 
manifested in this solemnly imposed duty of silence. The 
old man of seventy might have calmly awaited the " unpleas 
ant consequences " threatened by the order. The Berlin 
authorities could scarcely have done more than to prohibit 
his writings and perhaps to withdraw the increase of his 
salary. Nevertheless, Kant was not of the stuff of which 
martyrs are made. And he might comfort himself with the 
thought that he had already said all that was most essential. 
So he chose what was in accord with his nature, silence 
and peace. Of course, if he had declared, like the seventy- 
year-old Socrates in a similar position, that he had a higher 
mission in the world than the professorship which had been 
intrusted to him by the royal Prussian Commission, that to 
this mission of teaching truth and combating error and lies 
he would not and could not become untrue, then a page of 

1 Kant himself published these documents, after the death of the king, in 
the preface to Streit der Fakultdten (vii., p. 323). Frederick William III. dis 
missed Wollner and abolished the censorship. Cf. W. Dilthey, Archiv f. 
Gesch. d. Philos. 1890, pp. 418 ff. ; E. Fromm, Kant und d. Preuss Censur, 
1894; the fullest account by E. Arnoldt, with critical and explanatory 
remarks, Altpreuss. Monatsschrift, vol. 34, pp. 345 ff. From a report of 
the secret state archives at Berlin, sent by E. Fromm to the Kantstudien, 
iii., pp. 142 ff., it appears that the king personally insisted on proceedings 
against Kant. In a letter of March 30, 1794, he wrote to Wollner, who was 
proceeding too slowly and gently for him : " At Frankfort there is Steinbart, 
who must be driven out ; at Konigsberg, Hasse, who is a chief radical ; of 
such things as well as of the disgraceful writings of Kant must there be an 
end. . . . There must be an absolute stop put to this disorder before we are 
good friends again." 


his life history, and a page of the history of German phi 
losophy, would have been more splendidly distinguished than 
is now the case. 1 

However, in passing judgment on Kant one must not 
forget that at the time of the conflict he was long past the 
vigor of his life and strength. From 1789 his letters com 
plain of a decrease of strength. Even before the cabinet 
order, he had himself excused from war in consideration of 
his age. In 1793 he refused a request of the book-dealer 
Spener to reprint, " with some additions referring to present 
conditions," his earlier essay (Idea of a Universal History 
from the Cosmopolitan Standpoint). In his answer he 
refers to his advanced age : " In this remnant of a half -life, 
the old should remember that non defensoribus istis tempus 
eget, and consider their weakness which scarcely leaves any 
thing to be desired except rest and peace." And in a 
preceding passage: "When the strong in the world are in 
a state of drunkenness, whether this proceeds from the 
inspiration of the gods or from a mufette, one should advise 
a pygmy who is anxious to keep a whole skin, not to 
meddle." 2 

A much more pronounced and sudden diminution of men 
tal force occurred in 1799. He was compelled to give up 
his lectures. Gradually, there came upon him that weakness 
of old age in which heJJiad toTstill pass a number of years. 
He had lost the strength to work, but not the inclination. 
He still sat always at his desk, his pen passed over the paper, 
and his thoughts moved weakly and uncertainly in the old 
grooves, as appears from the manuscript which he has left 
on the transition from metaphysics to physics. At the be 
ginning of this period we have his letter to Garve, which one 
cannot read without emotion. Garve, who was suffering with 

1 That his too accommodating conduct gave offence even in his own time 
is shown by Nicolai s opinion. Cf. Hettner, Litter aturgesch. ii., pp. 2, 30. 
* VIJI., pp. 756 ff., 790. 


an incurable and painful disease, shortly before his death 
dedicated his last work to Kant, and asked the latter s 
criticism of it. Kant replied immediately (21st Sept. 1798) i 1 
" I hasten to acknowledge the receipt of your affectionate 
letter and able book. The most affecting description of 
your bodily suffering, together with the resolution to rise 
above it and still to work away cheerfully for the good of 
the world, arouses in me the greatest admiration. Perhaps 
the fate which has befallen me might seem to you even more 
painful. I am incapacitated for intellectual work, though in 
fairly good bodily health. I have undertaken to complete 
iny account of questions which concern the whole of philos 
ophy, but I never am able to get it done, although I am 
conscious that it is quite possible of accomplishment : a most 
tantalizing experience." Nevertheless, he adds, he still has 
hope that the present disorganization, which began with an 
attack of catarrh about a year and a half previously, will 
not be permanent. "The task with which I now busy 
myself has to do with the transition from the metaphysical 
basis of the natural sciences to physics. This problem must 
be solved or otherwise there is a gap in the system of critical 
philosophy. The demands of reason with regard to these 
problems are not abated, nor is the consciousness that the 
thing is possible. But the satisfaction of these demands is 
most painfully postponed either by the complete paralysis, 
or at least constantly disturbing inhibitions of my vital 

On the 12th of February, 1804, a merciful death finally 
took him, after he had tasted the suffering, sorrow, and lone 
liness of old age to its dregs. The last word he spoke was 
in thankfully declining some service : " It is good." 

His native state and university held him in high esteem. 
His memory there and not merely there is more cher 
ished than that of any other German philosopher. 

1 Keprinted in A. Stern s Ueber die Beziehungen Garve s zu Kant, p. 43. 


Over his grave in the Cathedral, on the Stoa Kantiana, 
are the words from the Critique of Practical Reason : 

" The starry heavens above me, 
The moral law within me." 

These words describe truly the two poles of his thought: 
the cosmos, the object most completely known, was that 
towards which his youthful love was directed ; the moral 
law, the source of highest and final certainty, was the object 
of the almost mystical enthusiasm of his old age. 


In an oft-quoted passage from a letter to Mendelssohn, 
of April 8, 1766, Kant makes the following remark re 
garding himself: "However much of a fault it may be 
not to be able to abandon completely one s deepest convic 
tions, still the fickle habit of mind, which is concerned only 
with appearances, is that which never will be natural for 
me, since I have learned during the greatest part of my 
life to avoid and despise that more than all other things 
which corrupt the character. The loss of self-respect, which 
arises from a sincere mind, would be the greatest evil that 
could ever happen to me, but it is quite certain that it 
never will happen." He adds : " It is, indeed, true that I 
think many things with the clearest conviction and to my 
great satisfaction, which I never have the courage to say ; 
but I will never say anything which I do not think." l 

Two characteristics are manifest in this description : 
Kant ascribes to himself a strong will, but no strong 
natural disposition. We have here, indeed, the two funda 
mental traits of his nature. He was not a strong nature, 
rejoicing in conflict, like Lessing or Basedow, Luther or 
Bruno. He was a quiet scholar, resolute in elaborating 
his thoughts, not in realizing external purposes. Noise and 

1 VIII., p. 672, 


contention were unpleasant to him; even the controversy 
of scholars, he hated. What is not agreeable to him he pre 
fers to yield to. A little of the diffidence which belonged to 
the boy retained its hold upon the man. It is not an acci 
dent that we more than once hear from him that he would 
never say what he did not think, but had not the courage 
to say all that he thought. 

On the other hand, Kant is a man of strong and constant 
purpose. He is a man who has made himself what he is 
by his strength of will. He governs his life according to 
principles, in moral as well as in economic and dietetic re 
spects. He is the complete opposite of Eousseau, to whom 
he felt himself so irresistibly drawn. Rousseau is weakly, 
at the mercy of his temperament, a gypsy nature inclined 
to libertinism and vagrancy. Kant is, to the point of pedan 
try, a friend to order. Nothing is left to inclination, to the 
disposition of the moment. Reason is everything, nature 
nothing, nothing but the substratum for the activity of rea 
son. Kant himself evidently sat as the model for his moral 
philosophy : the man of rational will, who acts according to 
principles, is the perfect man. All that takes place through 
natural genius, as well as the worship of the "beautiful 
soul" (schone Seele) (whose discoverer was Rousseau), was 
foreign to him. Perhaps we may say that there is an inner 
relationship between Kant s ethics and the Prussian nature. 
The conception of life as service, a disposition to order 
everything according to rule, a certain disbelief in human 
nature, and a kind of lack of the natural fulness of life, 
are traits common to both. It is a highly estimable type 
of human character which here meets us, but not a lovable 
one. It has something cold and severe about it that mighty 
well degenerate into external performance* of duty, and hard 
doctrinaire morality. The German people njijfr well regard 
themselves as fortunate that there is room as well for an 
other type of character in their nation ; that is, the richer, 


warmer, more joyous type of the South, such as simultane 
ously found its embodiment and expression in the life and 
ideals of Goethe and Schiller. 

Kant has been often compared with Socrates. Herder, 
for example, in the passage already quoted, made this com 
parison, and it is not without justification. There is a real 
kinship of character and thought between the two men. 
In the case of both we may say that independence of 
disposition was the fundamental trait of their character. 
With their attention directed exclusively to what they con 
sidered essential, to the realization of their personal ideals, 
they were indifferent to external consequences. The per 
sonal mission was dominant ; external position and influence 
were of little importance. This was true even of author 
ship: Socrates never attempted it, and Kant was nearly 
sixty years old before he attained influence as an author. 
And this came almost without his seeking ; it is seldom 
that a book has been written with so little thought of the 
reader as the Critique of Pure Reason. 

There is also a close relationship between the two men in 
the mode and direction of their thought, as well as in their 
character. This concerns both what they affirm and what 
they deny. To both is common a peculiarly negative 
characteristic of thought, which turns itself against pompous 
erudition, and arrogant speculation in particular, and also 
loves to assume an ironical tone towards those who boast 
of possessing greater wisdom. How much there is, not 
merely in the market-place at Athens, but in the science of 
the time that is worthless to me ! This is the temper in 
which Socrates attacked the fashionable sciences of the 
Sophists, and the speculation of the physicists. He had 
just enough knowledge of these things to be certain of their 
worthlessness in regard to what is most important: they 
contributed nothing to the worth or happiness of mankind. 
Like Socrates ? Kant, in his youth, earnestly pursued cos- 




mology and metaphysics. Then he followed the example 
of Socrates and " founded a negative philosophy in regard to 
speculation, maintaining especially the worthlessness of many 
of the alleged sciences and the limits of our knowledge." 1 
The true good of life does not consist in knowledge, in 
decorating the mind with everything that is brilliant and 
pleasing, but in the homely virtues, where the humble man 
often surpasses the great and the learned. And Kant does 
not fail to employ the Socratic irony against the great men 
who love to arouse the astonishment of the masses by their 
great wisdom. He directs his attacks both against the 
great metaphysicians, who dwell on the high towers of 
speculation, " where there is usually a great deal of wind," 
and against the "Cyclops of erudition," who are hardened 
with an enormous mass of knowledge, but do not know 
how to use it. Kant believes, with Socrates, that wisdom 
( WeisTieit) is more than knowledge, and that it is possible for 
it to exist with but little knowledge. What the former does 
pre-suppose is insight into the worthlessness of false knowl 
edge. And so Kant concludes that the real task of the 
philosopher is to bring us to a consciousness of the false 
claims of pretended knowledge. Even the value of as 
tronomy, the favorite study of his youth, he is inclined in 
his old age to estimate from this point of view. " The ob 
servations and calculations made by astronomy," he writes 
in a noteworthy passage of the Critique of Pure Reason, 
" have taught us much that is admirable, but perhaps its 
most important service is that it has revealed to us the 
abyss of uncertainty which would never have appeared so 
great to the human reason without this knowledge, and 
when we reflect on this uncertainty it must produce a great 
change in our view of the proper purpose and employment 
of the reason." 2 

In the case of both men, positive convictions form the 

1 Erdmann, Reflexionen, II., 44, 2 III., p. 603. 


obverse of this negative philosophy. Socrates opposed to 
the scepticism of the Sophists logic in the form of defi 
nitions, morality as an exact knowledge of the good, and 
religion as faith in the divine. Kant replied to Hume s 
scepticism with his epistemological rationalism ; he defended 
the traditional morality against the bold libertinism of the 
French Eevolution, and confronted the raillery of the great 
thinkers and atheists with the faith of practical reason. 


For more than forty years Kant served his country with 
great fidelity as a university teacher. In this capacity he 
exercised an important influence on the leaders of the coun 
try. For decades nearly all the office-holders and clergy 
men, the teachers and the physicians, of old Prussia and the 
adjoining German territories in the East had come under his 
instruction. Through his influence, the small and remote 
university rose for a time to the front rank of German in 
stitutions of learning. 

His lectures, like Wolff s, embraced the whole field of 
philosophy in its old sense of the aggregate of the theoretical 
sciences. The historical sciences alone lay beyond his field. 
I give here a summary of his subjects, noting in each case 
the date of the first and last semester when Kant lec 
tured on them: 1 Logic, 54 times (1755-56,1796); Meta 
physics, 49 times (1756, 1795-96) ; Moral Philosophy, 28 
times (1756-57, 1788-89); Natural Law, 12 times (1767, 
1788); Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 11 times (1767-68, 
1787); Natural Theology, once (1785-86); Pedagogics, 

1 In what follows I thankfully adopt the dates which E. Arnoldt, in his 
work, Kritische Exkurse im Gebiet der Kant .for schung, 1894 (reprinted from the 
Altpreuss. Monatsschrift, 1888-1893), has compiled with great diligence and 
care from all available sources, especially from the proceedings of the Senate, 
and the announcements of lectures of the Konigsberg University. The dates, 
:is AraeldMemarka, are not entirely complete. 


4 times (1776-77, 1786-87); Anthropology, 24 times 
(1772-73, 1795-96) ; Physical Geography, 46 times (1756, 
1796); Theoretical Physics, 20 times (1755-56, 1787-88"); 
Mathematics, 16 times (1755-56, 1763) ; Mechanics, twice 
(1759-60, 1761) ; Mineralogy, once (1770-71). In addition, 
there were occasional privatissime, and, after his accession 
to the professorship, regular disputations. 

It will be seen that three subjects logic, metaphysics, 
and physical geography are the chief subjects of Kant s 
lectures throughout his whole life as a teacher. In the first 
years, as privat docent, he lectured on them nearly every 
semester. After 1770 he alternated, treating of logic in 
summer and metaphysics in winter, his lectures now being 
public. To the course of private lectures on physical geog 
raphy there was added anthropology in 1772, the latter 
being given in winter and the former in summer. The lec 
tures on mathematics and natural science fall for the most 
part at the beginning of his career as a teacher: he did 
not deal with mathematics after 1763, though he lectured 
on physics five times after he became professor. Ethics con 
tinues all through ; natural law, anthropology, and pedagogy 
found a place only after the end of the sixties. Pedagogy 
was a subject on which the professors of the philosophical 
faculty were required by a decree from Berlin to give 
lectures in turn. 

The number of subjects at first dealt with in the same 
semester was very large, four, five, or six, four, and 
sometimes more lectures of an hour being given one after 
another. For one semester eight courses of lectures were an 
nounced, among them a disputatorium and a repetitorium, 
though doubtless not all were given. On the other hand, it 
is certain that in the winter of 1766-67 Kant gave five private 
courses, lecturing twenty-six to twenty-eight hours weekly. 
After 1770 he gave three, and after 1789 only two, private 
courses, of four hours weekly, in addition to a 



The number of hearers, which is now and then stated after 
the middle of the sixties, reaches a maximum of about one 
hundred in the public lectures of the eighties ; in the pri 
vate lectures, it falls to twenty or less. 

We turn now to the form of his instruction. And first a 
word regarding its external form. We find that Kant 
employed the two forms of academic instruction, lectures 
and class-drill. The latter appear under different names, 
as, disputatorium,examinatorium, repetitorium,QVQri examina- 
torio-disputatorium, examinatorio-repetitorium. These exer 
cises accompanied, from the time he became professor, the 
public lectures which he gave on logic in summer and on 
metaphysics in winter, and at first occupied two hours, and 
later one hour, weekly. Nothing more definite is known 
regarding the intercourse of the teacher with his students 
in these hours. Evidently what took place was a modified 
form of the traditional academic disputation more in har 
mony with the spirit of the time. The disputation had 
become gradually obsolete in the eighteenth century. This 
was the result of the decline of the old Aristotelian scho 
lastic philosophy, and the introduction of the new systems 
of thought founded upon modern science, of which Wolff s 
system was the first example. In a notice of his lectures of 
the year 1758, Kant describes the purpose of the disputato- 
rium. He proposes " to treat polemically on these days the 
propositions advanced at previous meetings. This he regards 
as the best means for securing a thorough understanding of 
the subject." l 

The lectures, so far as the prescribed disciplines were con 
cerned, regularly followed text-books, as was explicitly re 
quired by the bureau of education. An order of the minis- 

1 II., p. 25. In my Geschichte des gelehrten Unterrichts (II., pp. 128 ff.), I 
give a detailed account of the changes which academic instruction underwent 
in the eighteenth century. For the further modifications of the nineteenth 
century, cf. Ibid., II., pp. 253 ff. 



ter, von Zedlitz, of the year 1788, reads : " The worst com 
pendium is certainly better than none, and the professors 
may, if they are wise enough, improve upon the author 
as much as they can, but lecturing on dictated passages 
must be absolutely stopped. From this, Professor Kant and 
his lectures on physical geography are to be excepted, as it 
is well known that there is yet no suitable text-book in 
this subject." l Among the text-books which Kant used, I 
may mention Maier s Theory of Reason for logic, and Baum- 
garten s Metaphysics for metaphysic. Both of these were 
used by him from the beginning to the end of his career 
as a teacher, and both show the marks of use. In his copy, 
inserted leaves, and even the pages of the book, are written 
over with numerous remarks which refer to the text, but 
also show complete independence of it. 

Thus in using the text he did not merely read it and 
make comments upon it, but he employed it only as a 
starting-point for critical and independent exposition ; so 
that often there remained little or nothing of the thought 
of the author, except perhaps the general scheme of division. 
The author of the text, he says in the report of his lectures, 
" is not to be regarded as fixing the judgment, but only as 
furnishing the occasion of making independent judgments, 
yes, even of opposing him." The lectures on the dogmatic 
metaphysics of Baumgarten, with its demonstrative method, 
afforded the author of the Critique of Pure Reason abundant 
opportunity for criticism, which, however, he did not always 
use to the fullest extent, as published notes show. They 
also make clear that a text-book under such circumstances 
must have done more to hinder than to stimulate thought. 
As Arnoldt has justly remarked, it is difficult to understand 
how the hearers gained any clear ideas from this mixture of 
the dogmatic and critical mode of procedure. 

The internal form of instruction corresponded with the ex- 

1 Arnoldt, p. 578. 


ternal. It was not dogmatic and scholastic, but zetetic and 
critical : it did not seek to lay down and inculcate ready- 
made philosophical doctrine, but to afford direction to inves 
tigation and independent thought. The following points are 
to be noticed. The presupposition of this procedure is that 
philosophy is not a completed system. That was the con 
viction on which the traditional scholastic instruction pro 
ceeded, even in the seventeenth century ; it occupied itself 
with the scholastic tradition of the authorized systems, i. e., 
with the Aristotelian philosophy as harmonized with the 
doctrines of the church. Kant from the very beginning 
opposed this conception with the new view, which he 
announces as follows : " Philosophy cannot be learned, as 
mathematics, physics, and history can be learned ; but one 
can learn only to philosophize. One reason why philosophy 
cannot be learned is that it does not yet exist as a complete 
and universally recognized science. Every philosophical 
thinker builds his system upon the ruins of another ; never, 
however, has any system reached the condition where it has 
become permanent in all its parts. One cannot learn phi 
losophy, then, for the reason that it does not yet exist." But 
even if it did exist, we could not gain possession of it by 
learning. A philosophy which is learned would cease to 
be a philosophy, and would be merely historical knowledge, 
not philosophy. 1 

It is the age of the illumination which speaks to us in 
these words. To lead students from a state of pupilage to 
independent thought was the task that the universities 
began to set before themselves. It is the Hen raisonner 
that the pedagogy of Frederick the Great recommends as 
the goal for all teachers. 

How then shall students learn to philosophize ? " Through 
exercise and independent employment of the reason," Kant 
answers. The material for the necessary exercises are fur- 

1 II., pp. 313 ff., Logik, Introduction, iii. ; Arnoldt, pp. 374 ff. 


nished by the facts of nature and history on the one side, 
and on the other by the attempts which have been already 
made to interpret these facts philosophically. Kant employs 
both of these sources in dealing with his students. He made 
it his business to tell them facts, or to direct them in dis 
covering facts. This is the significance of the two courses of 
lectures to which he attached so much importance, physical 
geography and anthropology. The mistake of previous phi 
losophical instruction, as he tells us in the announcement of 
his lectures (1765), is seen in the fact " that the youth early 
became versed in logical subtleties without having sufficient 
historical knowledge." Before the understanding has been 
matured through discipline they are prematurely instructed 
in general concepts. " From this source spring the perennial 
prejudices of the schools, which are more inflexible and often 
more absurd than those of common life, and also the pre 
cocious loquacity of young thinkers, which is blinder than 
any other form of self-conceit, and more incurable than 
ignorance." To obviate this evil, he used to preface his 
lectures on metaphysics with material taken from empirical 
psychology and physics. In like manner, in ethics he de 
scribed what actually happened before undertaking to show 
what should take place. Finally, there were the lectures, 
njj_p>iyffipqj^eQgraphy. In the first part of these lectures, 
the present condition of the earth was described, the second 
dealt with man as a natural being, while the third treated of 
I the constitution of states and societies. In this way the 
J hearers were furnished with a store of interesting and in- 
\ structive information. In addition, in 1772 a course of 
1 lectures of the same general character on anthropology was 
I offered, and thereafter regularly alternated with the course 
\ on physical geography. In a letter to Herz in 1773, he 
\speaks as follows regarding the purpose of these lectures, 
Which he intends to make a regular part of the academic 
Discipline : " I am trying to furnish by means of these very 


interesting facts of observation, as they appear to me, a train 
ing for the academic youth in address and readiness, and 
even in wisdom. This course and that on physical geography 
are different from all other kinds of instruction, and may be 
called knowledge of the workL" l 

7 Kant also employed the history of philosophy as a means 
in teaching his students to philosophize. He gave historical 
sketches in the introductions to his lectures, and also took 
account of the doctrines of his predecessors when treating 
of particular problems. 2 In the Encyclopaedia and also in the 
Logic, he gave a short summary of the history of philosophy. 

It is evident that Kant pointed out the way which higher 
education has taken since his time. In the greatly broad 
ened gymnasium courses, instruction in the sciences and 
history have taken the place of the former academic instruc 
tion in logic and metaphysics ; and in the universities, 
dogmatic teaching has been perhaps too generally replaced 
by courses on the history of philosophy. 

The aim of Kant s teaching, however, was not to make 
professional philosophers, but by means of philosophy to 
form men of independent thought and upright character. 
Or, as he denned " the chief end of his academic life " in a 
letter to Herz, it is " to promote right opinions, nnrl tn 3 n - 
culcate fixed principles in minds of natural excellence, in 
order to afford the only proper direction to the development of 
talent." Kant s students were drawn from all the differ 
ent departments. Among them were the future pastors, 
teachers, judges, and physicians. The one thing which they 
all required was practical wisdom ; that is, the capacity to 
recognize the true value of all knowledge from its relation 
to human ends. " Science has a real and true value only as 
an instrument of practical wisdom. As such an instrument 
it is indeed indispensable." 4 But without practical wis- 

1 VITI., p. 696. 2 Arnoldt, p. 386. 

3 VITI., p. 703. * Logik, Introduction, iii. 


dom it is a dangerous possession, and has the tendency 
to make one conceited, rude, and inhuman. Now it is 
just the task of the academic teacher of philosophy to 
guard against this: he is called to undertake the Socratic 
process of testing (dgerd&iv). In one of the reflections 
published by Erdmann, 1 there is an excellent statement of 
the matter. As we have already remarked, Kant was fond 
of calling the boorish scholar a Cyclops. He found such 
ryclops in all four faculties. " The cyclops of literature (the 
philologian) is the most insolent, but there are cyclops among 
the theologians, jurists, physicians, and even among the geo 
meters." What constitutes them cyclops is not their strength, 
but the fact that they have only one eye ; they see things 
only from a single standpoint, that of their specialty. The 
task of philosophy is to furnish a second eye to the scientifi 
cally instructed youth, " which shall cause him also to see 
his object from the standpoint of other men. On this de 
pends the humanity of science." " For each one, however, 
the eye must be formed from special material: for the 
physician, from criticism of our knowledge of nature ; for 
the jurist, from criticism of our knowledge of legal and 
moral affairs ; for the theologian, from that of our meta- 
physic ; and for the geometer, from criticism of our rational 
knowledge in general. The second eye is thus the self- 
knowledge of human reason, without which we can have no 
proper estimate of the extent of our knowledge." 

One might say that we have here the idea of academic 
instruction in philosophy correctly outlined for all time. 
And the undertaking imposed is not less necessary to-day 
than it was then, for cyclopism has greatly increased in the 
century which has since elapsed. Doubtless the undertak 
ing is now even much more difficult. The astounding devel 
opment of the sciences during the last century makes it 
impossible for any one person to epitomize their results, as 

* II., p. GO. 


Kant was still able to do. Who would now venture to give 
lectures on the disciplines which were included in the fields 
with which he dealt ? And the unthankfulness of the task 
has perhaps also increased: the spirit of specialization is 
to-day much more opposed to philosophy than it was in 
the eighteenth century. 


The most prominent characteristic of Kant s intelligence 
was undoubtedly an acute understanding, by means of which 
he elaborated his own conceptual system with unusual 
strength and persistence. He rejoiced in definitions, dis 
tinctions, and deductions. His understanding was of the 
juridical type, and he liked to formulate and explain his 
problems as controverted legal questions. But in addition 
to his acuteness of understanding, Kant was not lacking in 
profundity of mind. He had an intelligent sense and a fine 
appreciation of all deep and ultimate questions regarding the 
universe and life. In its final form his thought approached 
the boundaries of mysticism. Man, he taught, possesses a 
double life, a temporal life of sense as a member of nature, 
and a transcendent, timeless life as a member of the intelli 
gible world. Finally, Kant was distinguished by his as 
tounding breadth of view and of scientific interest, as well 
as by his unusual wealth of knowledge from a great variety 
of fields. He was at home in mathematics and the sciences 
of nature, and was not unacquainted in the realm of the 
historical sciences, as is shown by his writings on the phi 
losophy of law and of religion. His exceedingly trustworthy 
memory enabled him to retain without trouble the results 
of his reading, which was especially comprehensive in the 
fields of cosmology and anthropology. 

In considering Kant s activity as an author, it is well to 
remember that this is essentially something which belongs 



to the period when he was already growing old. He was 
fifty-seven years of age when the Critique of Pure Reason 
appeared. There is scarcely another case where a philo 
sophical author was so late in reaching the definitive form 
of his thought, or where a man at such an advanced age 
first became known as a great thinker and influential writer. 
If Kant had died at the same age as Spinoza, Descartes, 
Lessing, or Schiller, his name would scarcely be heard at 
the present time. One may regard this as a favor of for 
tune : he was preserved from outliving his fame, as happened 
to so many of his successors. On the other hand, his works 
have suffered from the fact that they were not written at 
the time of his greatest strength and vigor. They show a 
maturity which approximates to over-ripeness. In more 
than one sense the precritical writings represent his best 
performance as an author. This is especially true of the 
writings of the sixties. 

The form of the later works is thoroughly scholastic. In 
the first place, they are scholastic in the sense of pedantic : 
Kant thought and wrote in the strict style of the dogmatic 
philosophy of the schools. He does this consciously and 
voluntarily. He rejects with scorn the literary popularizing 
form that had become fashionable in philosophy. This was 
especially affected in Berlin and Gottingen, and during the 
last third of the eighteenth century it had gained the upper 
hand and replaced the old doctrinal form of philosophical 
writing. Kant himself approximated to this style of think 
ing and writing during the sixties. After he reached his 
own systematic standpoint he returned to the strict scholas 
tic form. He praises this form in Wolff and Baumgarten. 
In addition, it may have been impressed upon him by his 
prolonged occupation with mathematical studies. It is evi 
dent, moreover, that this form corresponded with the natural 
tendency of his thought. And even the self-consciousness 
of the scholar, which in Kant s case gradually became very 


strongly marked, as opposed to the world of the court and 
of politics, might have had some influence in the same direc 
tion. We may imagine him saying: We are reviled as 
pedants because we do not write like people of the world. 
Well, let us glory in the reproach by employing the greatest 
care with regard to the precision and exactness of our 
thought. 1 

In a still further sense, however, his thinking was scho 
lastic: it was not intuitively contemplative, but logically 
constructive. The energy of logical thought predominates 
over the tendency to resign one s self to the perception of 
things, as we find it, for example, in Schopenhauer. The 
latter, like the poet, is in a sense passive in the presence of 
things, in order that they may reveal their secrets to him. 
Kant brings to his view of things a dominating and imperi 
ous a priori understanding. This understanding does not 
wait upon things : things must conform to its concepts. 
It makes a logical dichotomic or trichotomic division, into 
which things are compelled to fit without much thought 
whether the classification is adapted to them or not, or allows 
the true relations of their members to appear. Thus it may 
happen that thoughts are obscured and darkened. Or, on 
the other hand, thoughts may be built up merely for the 
sake of rounding out the treatment, and thus many parts of 
a system which appear most stately and magnificent may 
be like the artificially inserted branches of the fir trees sold 
at the Christmas fair. 

This imperious character of Kant s understanding makes 
itself evident also in his attitude towards the thoughts of 
others. He had little patience with other people s thoughts, 
but interpreted them directly according to his own theo- 

1 Many of his old friends were greatly disappointed at the scholastic and 
dogmatic mode of thought which prevailed in the Critique. Among these 
were Feder, Mendelssohn, and Herder, whose description of Kant we have 
already quoted (p. 40), and who praises the Kant of the precritical period at 
the expense of the critical philosopher. 


ries, from this standpoint adopting or rejecting them. It 
is said that he was not inclined to discuss philosophical 
matters in private conversation, probably because he was 
conscious that he had not the capacity to listen, but only to 
teach. The same is true of his relation to other authors : he 
was not able to listen. Kant had reflected long and deeply, 
ever turning his thoughts on this side and on that, but in the 
philosophical field he had not read widely, and not with 
proper attention to the texts. He was not lacking in a 
general knowledge of the history of philosophy, both ancient 
and modern, and he understood also how to use this knowl 
edge aptly. But he instantly subordinates the doctrines of 
others to his own purposes, and especially to the purpose of 
refutation. This is true of his treatment of Leibniz and 
Wolff, as well as of Hume and Berkeley. Those among his 
contemporaries who opposed his views, e. g., Feder and Eber- 
hard, had a similar experience. It was vain to expect from 
Kant any real consideration of the doubts and objections 
which they raised. He was not able to listen or understand, 
but felt only the contradiction. Against this he rose with 
a sharp remonstrance, and then proceeded to set forth his 
views again as the truth and the only truth. Indeed, he 
cannot understand why every one does not find these views 
convincing, and is therefore quick to reproach others with 
intentional misunderstanding and misrepresentation. In 
the end, even Kant s disciples, like Fichte and Beck, experi 
enced this kind of treatment. Kant insists strongly on 
subordination and unconditional acceptance of his views. 
So long as his disciples confined themselves to appropriating 
and expounding his system in its original form, as his first 
and only faithful commentator Schultze did, they had 
Kant s approbation. But so soon as they began to handle 
the thoughts more freely and independently, or to transform 
them in accordance with an internal necessity or the spirit 
of the system, he reprimanded them sharply. The Critique 


is to be understood according to its letter, not according 
to a pretended spirit. Indeed, he finally turned away from 
such disciples as from false friends, with suspicion and 
dislike, and announced his position in unrelenting public 
explanations. 1 

In this attitude there is manifest the fixity of thought 
which often shows itself in old age. One can notice the 
beginning of this tendency comparatively early in Kant s 
case. In a letter to Herz of the year 1790, 2 he says apolo 
getically that as he grows older he does not have much suc 
cess in employing the thoughts of other people in a purely 
speculative field. " I must give myself up to the movement 
of my own thoughts, which for some years have followed a 
kind of beaten track." How exclusively he did this is shown 
by the inventories, writings, and letters of the last decade of 
his life. Adickes says of Kant s notes during the nineties : 
"The thoughts have become fixed firmly in his brain, and are 
aroused in a purely mechanical way without any really new 
act of thought taking place. It is just like the case of a 
music-box : it has been wound up, and so it plays its reper 
toire." This condition of things was long foreshadowed. The 
ever renewed confusion of thought with regard to the tran 
scendental deduction and the dialectic, which goes back to 
the sixties, is the beginning of it. (The Reflections and 
the Loose Leaves and even the expositions in the Critique 
give documentary evidence of this process.) Kant s thought 
became fixed ; he ceased to receive any fresh impressions. 
With great energy and persistence he continued to consider 
and treat fixed problems according to unchanging methods. 
But during the last twenty-three years of his life it can 

1 VIII., p. 600. On Kant s relation to Beck, cf. Dilthey, " Aus den Ros- 
tocker Kanthandschriften," Archie fur Gesch.dcr Philos. II., pp.592 ff., where 
eight letters of Kant s to Beck are given. His inability to understand an 
other s views is very clearly shown in these letters. 

2 VIII., p. 720. * 


scarcely be said that any new motives arose to influence his 
thought. 1 

Finally, we have to make some remarks regarding the liter 
ary form of his writings. Kant does not belong to the great 
writers of the German language. He perhaps might have 
attained this rank, and his earlier writings are not lacking in 
artistic merit and attractiveness. In addition to a suggestive 
and emphatic style, and a happy choice of expressions, he 
possessed a pleasant and subtle humor, and had command of 
a store of conceits, often wittily fashioned, and of keen obser 
vations. He knew also how to employ effectively many words 
and phrases which his reading had left in his memory. In 
the prime of life all these things must have made his lectures 
very excellent. Among his writings it is especially those 
of the sixties which show these characteristics, as, e. g., The 
Dreams of a Ghost-Seer. It is true his work is lacking in 
finish, and this is especially true of the construction of his 
sentences. Moreover, he himself says that nearly all his 
works were hastily written. The later writings, especially 
the principal systematic works, give but little evidence of 
the excellence of his earlier style. This, however, is more 
evident in the shorter essays, like the papers in the Berliner 
Monatsschrift, or in minor works like the Prolegomena, where 
the polemic gives a livelier movement to the exposition, or 
in Eeligion within the Bounds of Pure Reason, where often 
times a caustic humor breaks through the logical form of 
the sentences. In the main treatises, on the other hand,, a 
dry style of indefatigable and inexorable didactics every 
where prevails. Only in single passages is the style light- 

1 Characteristic of his old age are odd whimsical scientific and medical 
explanations of certain phenomena, especially of those which he had observed 
to take place in his own body. He also was fond of putting forward on 
every occasion strange etymological explanations which he maintained with 
extreme obstinacy against all contradiction. Compare the accounts by Wasi- 
anski and Jachmann. In general he could not endure any contradiction, even 
in society. 


ened a little by figures drawn from legal procedure or from 
experiences at sea. Here and there at times an appearance 
of secret waggishness marks the pages, or there is in some 
interpellation a pathetic digression from the style of the 
whole, generally dealing with something surprising, while the 
humor of the sixties appears to have entirely disappeared. 

If one is to praise anything in the form of these writings, 
it must be the three things which we here enumerate : 
(1) The great and stern earnestness and plain genuineness, 
which disregards all non-essentials and despises all adorn 
ment, in order to bring conviction only through the weight 
of the thought itself. (2) Great care in systematic com 
pleteness. (3) A certain detailed exactness of speech. 

Every one, however, has the faults which his virtues entail, 
and this is true of Kant as a writer. The stern, plain genu 
ineness becomes wearisome uniformity and dulness. What 
Schopenhauer understood so well, and w^hat Kant himself 
liked to do in his earlier writings to give the reader relief 
from his own thoughts by means of occasional remarks, 
witty or polemical quotations, or ironical and humorous turns 
of expression all this was entirely lacking in the author of 
the Critiques. With his mind directed toward a single pur 
pose, he never relaxed the stern earnestness with which he 
followed the course of his abstract thoughts. Even the 
tendency to systematic completeness had its reverse side : it 
degenerated finally into a mania for a system. The filling 
up of an a priori determined schema became the most 
important concern, and not infrequently the content had to 
be forcibly treated in this process. General reflections of 
a purely logical character were often premised to justify the 
divisions which had been decided upon, e. g., the Introduc 
tions to the Analytic and the Dialectic. All kinds of devices 
and padding were invented to fill out the vacant places 
of the a priori scheme. Even the Critique of Pure Reason 
suffers from this tendency, but it is found to a much greater 


extent in the two later Critiques. It might appear that 
Goethe s lines were made with this reference : 

When you once the wood into a cross have fashioned, 
For a living body t is most well adapted. 

Finally, the " detailed exactitude " not infrequently became 
a cumbersome diffuseness, as, e.g., in "The Methods for dis 
covering all the pure Concepts of the Understanding, first, 
second, and third Sections." Or as we have it in the " Tran 
scendental Deduction," with its repetitions and variations of 
the same thought, and without the aliter to guide the reader 
which scholastic philosophy placed before the various forms 
of demonstration furnished for the same proposition. A new 
start is constantly made in order to settle some point, but 
there always remains something unfinished which seems 
to require a fresh exposition. He who reads through the 
Transcendental Analytic for the first time will perhaps 
feel as if he had wandered the whole day through endless 
sand-hills. He constantly keeps hoping that he has climbed 
the last barrier and will see his goal before him, but ever 
new obstacles appear in his path. Even the construction of 
Kant s sentences adds to the difficulty. They are sometimes 
enough to reduce the most patient reader to despair, espe 
cially in the two later Critiques. If one turns to almost any 
page, one finds sentences of from ten to twenty lines in 
length. One has scarcely begun to read before explanations, 
reservations, in brackets and without brackets, in the text 
and as foot-notes, begin to appear. It seems as if Kant 
felt compelled at every line to recall the entire Critique to 
the reader s mind, so that he should not forget that here 
everything is to be understood from the critical and tran 
scendental point of view. The inversion of the Latin con 
struction in German subordinate clauses, the frequent use of 
the relative pronoun, whose antecedent the reader is left to 
seek among half a dozen substantives, makes it often neces- 


sary for one to read a sentence two or three times in order 
to understand merely the grammatical construction. 

The tendency to detailed exactitude/ on the other hand, 
does not exclude a certain lack of exactness in small mat 
ters. He frequently uses expressions which are contrary to, 
his own definition. For example, after proving that space is 
not a concept, but a perception, he does not refrain for a 
moment from speaking of the concept of space. Or, after 
undertaking to show that objects do not enter the mind 
ready-made from without, but are the products of the syn 
thetic functions of the understanding, he does not hesitate 
to speak constantly of the objects which are given in per 
ception. He makes much use of indefinite, ambiguous, or 
equivocal expressions, like experience, reason, meta- 
physic, synthetic, transcendental, refer to an object, 
etc. Another defect is the great carelessness in external 
details ; paragraphs and headings are found where they do 
not belong, and are lacking where they are really required. 
All these characteristics, greatly increased, appear in the 
manuscript remains which Kant wrote during the latter 
years of his life. 

I do not say all these things to reproach Kant, or to de 
tract from his reputation. I only wish to prepare the reader, 
who becomes acquainted with these works for the first time, 
for their peculiarities, or to deliver him from them. Very 
well I remember that on first reading the Critiques I often 
came to a stand, disheartened and discouraged. My experi 
ence was not unusual. I venture to say that there are not 
a few persons who, when they first attempt to read the 
Critique of Pure Reason, doubt the possibility of under 
standing it, and then go on to doubt their own capacity for 
understanding philosophical books in general. Those who 
are in such a condition I wish to encourage not to stop for 
difficulties of this sort, but rather to go on calmly and gain 
a general view of Kant s work and purpose. If after this one 


turns to the beginning, many difficulties will have vanished, 
though many will still remain. At all events, one will see 
that in spite of such oddities, there is an important meaning 
in these writings that will reward all the earnest attention 
which one bestows on them. 


It will not be possible for me to undertake here a de 
tailed treatment of the difficult, and, as the literature shows, 
the much-discussed problem of the development of Kant s 
thought. This is neither the place nor the time to renew 
the investigation that I undertook in the work cited below, 
and the results of which still appear to me valid with regard 
to the essential points. Such an undertaking will be fitting 
only when the new edition of Kant s works has made avail 
able the entire mass of notes, letters, and copies of lectures. 
On the other hand, it is, of course, not possible to pass over 
the question altogether ; for to understand properly the crit- 

1 LITERATURE. Investigations of the development of Kant s thought 
have multiplied during the last decade. The reason of this is that the con 
ception which one has of the critical philosophy is partly determined by one s 
view of its origin ; or at least one may try to support one s interpretation by 
such an appeal. Kuno Fischer, in his Geschichte der neueren Philosophic, 
undertakes to give a thorough account of the writings of the precritical period. 
I may mention the following investigations : F. Paulsen, Versnch einer 
Entwlckelungsgeschichte der Kantischen Erkenntnistheorie (1875) ; W. Windel- 
band, "Ueber die verschiedenen Phasen der Kantische Lehre vom Ding-an-Sich" 
(Zeitschr. f. wiss. Philos., I., pp. 224 ff., 1877) ; K. Dietrich, Kant u. Newton 
(1876), Kant u. Rousseau (1878) ; G. Thiele, Die Philosophie Kants nach ihrem 
system. Zusammenhang u. ihrer logisch-historischen Entwickelung (1 882-87 ) ; B. 
Erdmann, Reflexionen Kants zur kr it. Philosophie, II., Einleitung (1884) ; E. v. 
Hartmann, Kants Erkenntnistheorie u. Metaphysik in den vier Perioden ihrer 
Entwickelung (1894) ; H.Hoffding, " Die Kontinuitiit im philos. Entwickelungs- 
gange Kants" (Archiv.f. Gesch. d. Philos., 1894, Bd. VII., pp. 173 ff., 376 ff., 
449 ff.) ; E. Adickes, Kant-Studien (1895), and the article in the Kant-Studien 
edited by Vaihinger (Bd. I., 1896) : "Die bewegenden Krafte in Kants phi- 
losophischer Entwickelung und die beiden Pole seines Systems." [E. Caird, 
The Critical Philosophy of Kant, vol. I., chaps, iii.-v. ; J. G. Schurman, "The 
Genesis of the Critical Philosophy," Philos. Review, Nos. 37, 38, 39.] 


ical philosophy, a correct conception of its starting-point is 
of the utmost importance. 

When Kant himself speaks of his philosophical develop 
ment, he recognizes only two periods, the critical and the 
precritical, or the period when he was conscious of possessing t 
the principle of true philosophy, and the antecedent period 
of search and groping. And he uniformly dated the dividing 
line between these two epochs, the beginning of the critical 
era, with the conception of the thoughts which he first out 
lined in the Dissertation of the year 1770. 

A more careful examination of the writings of the pre 
critical time shows that even within that period noteworthy 
transformations had taken place. Two epochs are clearly 
distinguishable. The first has as its literary result the writ 
ings of the second half of the fifties, and the second the 
writings of the first half of the sixties. The first epoch is 
characterized by the fact that while Kant departed from 
the current Leibnizo-Wolffian philosophy in natural philoso 
phy and cosmology, where his main interest w^as manifested 
in his independent work along the lines of Newton, he yet 
remained in the field of epistemology and metaphysics in 
essential accord with the German school philosophy. In the 
second period, in which his interest in the natural sciences 
was somewhat less pronounced, he freed himself more and 
more from the school philosophy, and approximated to the 
empirical and sceptical mode of thought that just at that 
time was exerting an influence from England. The third per 
iod was characterized by a decided opposition to sensualistic 
rationalism both in theoretical and in practical philosophy. 

If we wish a descriptive name for these periods, we may 
call the first the dogmatic-rationalistic ; the second, the 
sceptico-empirical ; and the third, critico-rationalistic. The 
last period, then, in a certain sense represents a return to 
the point of view of the first, while on the other hand, 
with regard to the total tendency of the thought (the turn- 


ing away from transcendent speculation, and emphasis upon 
the practical), it belongs to the second period. 

At this point, however, I wish to make a general remark. 
The changes in Kant s thought, the " transformations " of 
* which he speaks, have to do rather with the form than with 
the content: they concern his epistemology rather than his 
metaphysics. His metaphysics (like the fundamental no 
tions of his physics) remained essentially the same through 
all the other changes of his thought He is an idealist of 
the type of Leibniz and Plato. We can trace this theory 
from the writings of the fifties to the lectures of the nineties. 
He also continued to use throughout his whole life Baum- 
garten s Metaphysics, which is essentially a scholastic form 
of monadism, as a text-book for his lectures. That which 
changes in these transformations of standpoint is chiefly the 
form of the epistemological foundation of his philosophy, 
" the method of metaphysics," as he himself says. I shall 
attempt to show in detail this juxtaposition of the two factors 
the constant and the variable from an examination of 
the writings. 

The works of the first period are entirely devoted to the 
natural sciences, to cosmology and physical geography, and 
to the development of the concepts of mathematical physics. 
The first two more extensive works the Thoughts on the 
True Evaluation of Dynamic Forces (1746), and the Natural 
History of the Heavens (1755) are characterized by decided 
and sometimes bold declarations of the sufficiency and right 
of independent thought as against the authority of the 
schools. This is especially marked in the first work. The 
second rises to bolder cosmological speculations, and ranges 
to the extreme limits of fantastic hypotheses regarding the 
cosmic position and the destiny of man. 

With regard to the world-view which appears in these 
writings, there is, as we have already said, one characteristic 
that is worthy of note. That is the strict application of 


physical and the rejection of all hyper-physical explanations 
in that cosmology, together with the assertion which accom 
panies it that by this means the divine origin of the world 
is best established. If an ordered world could, or rather 
must, have arisen from the movements of given elements 
according to merely natural laws, it is hereby proved that 
the very " nature of things depends upon and is determined 
by a significant rational arrangement." Even the nature of 
" thinking beings " is deduced from the cosmic constitution of 
the planets which they inhabit. The greater the distance 
of the planets from the sun, the lighter and finer the material 
of which they are composed, and also the greater " the ex 
cellence of the thinking beings which inhabit them," the 
swiftness of their ideas, the clearness and liveliness of the 
concepts which they receive through external impressions, 
of the faculty which unites those impressions, and their 
ability to make real use of their ideas ; in short, " the whole 
sphere of their perfection." 1 He brings into connection with 
this speculation, " which is not far from an ascertained cer 
tainty," the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. He 
thinks of the soul as passing through the various planets with 
increasing development of the individual. Perhaps, he con 
cludes, it is permitted to the soul, when freed from this coarse 
earthly matter, " to become acquainted at close quarters with 
those distant spheres of the universe and the excellence of 
their disposition, which even from afar so greatly stimulate 
our curiosity." 

Those essays which were occasioned by the Lisbon earth 
quake of 1755 are more nearly related to natural science. 
The same is true of a number of short papers on geo-physics, 
especially of the treatise on The Theory of the Winds (1756), 
in which he was the first to propound the law of periodical 
winds that was afterwards developed by Dove. The general 
standpoint which all these writings occupy is the assump 
tion of complete unity in the development of the physical 

1 I., p. 337. 


universe, which can and must be explained solely from the 
effect of physical forces. 

The only metaphysico-epistemological work of these years 
New Exposition of the First Principles of Metaphysical 
Knowledge, his habilitation essay (1755) scarcely shows 
so much independence as we find in the cosmic and geo 
physical treatises. It is true that it contains various attacks 
on the Wolffian philosophy, and here and there shows depend 
ence upon the Leipzig theologian, Crusius, the most prominent 
opponent of Wolff in the German universities. In general, 
however, Kant still occupied the standpoint of the Wolffians, 
and, above all, had not broken with their modes of thought. 
This is especially evident in the rationalistic tendency to 
hypostatize things. The " natures of things " are absolutely 
posited essences. With this view there is connected an 
idea which is of great and permanent importance for Kant s 
thought. The final presupposition of the unity of the world 
in space and time by means of the reciprocity of substances 
is that " the natures of things " are posited in the being of 
God with archetypal relations to one another. Eeciprocity 
in nature is the manifestation of this nexus idealis of the 
essences in the divine understanding. When differently 
applied, this consideration affords a proof for the existence 
of God: the commercium substantiarum shows that these 
substances have an archetypal unity in one principle which 
creatively posits their nature. This is the argument of 
Leibniz, which Lotze has in our day renewed and made the 
corner-stone of his system. Kant might have been led to 
this point of view by M. Knutzen s (his teacher s) treatment 
of the problem of causality. The latter revived the doctrine 
of monads in the Leibnizian form, that all simple beings 
are ideating beings, while at the same time he maintained 
reciprocity (though not holding to an influence or inter 
action from accidents). 1 Moreover, this position is implicitly 

1 B. Erdmann, M . Knutzen, pp. 84 ff. 


contained in the notion of God of the school-metaphysic 
(Deus ens perfectissimum seu realissimum), and Kant had it 
before him in this form in Baumgarten s work, which also 
contained in addition the concept of an influxus idealis. It 
is the same notion which forms the basis of Shaftesbury s 
optimistic and teleological view of the world. Nature repre 
sents, in unending gradations of internally harmonious beings, 
the infinite fulness of reality or perfection in individualized 
form that is comprised in absolute unity in the nature of 
God. It is also Spinoza s point of view, the difference being 
that the latter advances it with a strong polemical emphasis 
against anthropomorphic theism, and against anthropocentric 

In the works of the second period (1762-66), Kant turns 
more directly to the problems of metaphysics and episte- 
mology. The first series of these works, which were written 
during the years 1762-63, group themselves around the prin 
cipal treatise, The only Possible Ground of Demonstration for 
the Existence of God (1762). With this there are connected 
the two shorter essays, An Answer to a Prize Question of the 
Berlin Academy : An Investigation of the Clearness of the 
Principles of Natural Theology and Morals (printed 1764), 
and An Attempt to Introduce into Philosophy the Conception 
of Negative Magnitude (1763). These were preceded by 
the short paper on The False Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic 
Figures. At the end of the period we have The Dreams of a 
Ghost-Seer Explained through the Dreams of Metaphysics 
(1766). The work entitled Observations on the Feeling of the 
Beautiful and the Sublime (1764) belongs to a different field 
the moral and anthropological. It is essentially made up 
of remarks on the moral characteristics of different tempera 
ments, sexes, and nations. 1 

1 Regarding the date of composition, cf. B. Erdmann, in the Introduction 
to his edition of Reflexionen Kants, II. pp. xvi. ff. The Beweisgrund appeared 
at Michaelmas 1762. The manuscript of the prize-treatise, according to a 


In the G-round of Demonstration for the Existence of God, 
which is put forward as the result of " long reflection," we 
have a fundamental piece of Kant s metaphysics, the doctrine 
already referred to in the habilitation essay regarding the 
nature of God in his relation to the world. The intention is 
to replace the dominant form of natural theology, especially 
the current physico- theology, by a more profound view. 
One may formulate the main points of this conception as fol 
lows : The ordinary physico-theology, which ranges through 
nature to find there evidences of design, is good for nothing. 
It discourages and disturbs the investigation of nature, since 
it encourages the " slothful reason," through pretended devo 
tion, to content itself with the purposes which it has dis 
covered, and to abandon the search for causes. Finally, this 
method is unable to afford any real demonstration of the 
existence of a highest, all-sufficient being. It can make it 
only highly probable that an architectonic intelligence was 
concerned in the formation of the real world. Just as little 
can the current ontological and cosmological proof demon 
strate the existence of God, as Kant shows in a criticism 
which anticipates all the chief points of his later criticism 
of the proofs for the existence of God in the Critique of Pure 
Reason. Especially the ontological proof in its old form, 
which deduces the real existence from the concept of God, 
is worthless. We find here already the formula " that exist 
ence is never a predicate or mark of a thing." This was also 
familiar to Hume, who tells us that " if one connects the idea 
of existence with the idea of any object whatsoever, one 
does not thereby increase the content of the latter." 

letter of Kant s to Formey now in the royal library at Berlin, and dated 
June 28, 1763, had been handed in to the Academy before the 31st December, 
1762. It could not, therefore, have been written, as Erdmann supposes, during 
the first months of 1763. The Negative Grossen was handed to the philo 
sophical faculty at Konigsberg for censorship June 3, 1763. Erdmann s guess 
that the third work was partly completed when Kant, at the last moment, 
decided to compete for the Berlin prize may accordingly be groundless. 


As a substitute for this argument, Kant brings forward 
his own demonstration of God s existence, a kind of inverted 
form of the ontological proof. He does not argue that from 
the possibility of an ens realissimum, its existence follows ; 
but he reaches existence as the ground of the possibility of 
the conception. The possible thus he proceeds in scholas 
tic style of argument presupposes an existent ; this is the 
necessary being, and this the ens realissimum, which has the 
attributes of consciousness, understanding, and will. The real 
significance of this proof, however, is found in the thought 
which we have already repeatedly met with : the real world, 
with its harmony of many things in a unitary reality, is the 
actualization of a possible world. This world of " possible 
things" is the product of the divine intelligence. In this 
realm the logical and teleological adaptation of the elements 
to one another is already provided for ; and this makes pos 
sible the fact that in the real world the elements, acting 
according to immanent laws, constitute a significant whole. 
There is thus no necessity for constant acts of special adap 
tation by means of supernatural influences. Thus the planet 
ary systems, and the earth with its streams and mountains 
and entire physical constitution, owe their form to the 
mechanical interplay of their parts working according to 
universal natural laws, and without any supernatural inter 
vention. Kant indeed hesitated to extend this view so as 
to apply it to the development of organic forms. Only 
in this way do we obtain an " all-sufficient " God, who 
is the ground not only of the actual, but also of the possi 
ble, and at the same time obtain a real demonstration of 
his existence if, indeed, there can be any demonstration 
at all. 

For it is noteworthy that at this time Kant expresses 
himself somewhat sceptically regarding the value, necessity, 
and possibility of such metaphysical attempts. " It is abso 
lutely necessary," so he concludes his essay, " that one should 


convince himself of the existence of God, but not so essential 
that one should demonstrate it." And at the beginning we 
find for the first time those phrases which afterwards be 
came so common, of "the bottomless abyss of metaphysics." 
Metaphysics is "a dark ocean without shores or light 
houses," where one may be easily carried out of his course 
by unperceived currents. 

The sceptical tone is still more pronounced in the other 
writings of this group. The essay written for the prize 
offered by the Berlin Academy, which received proxime 
accessit, while the prize fell to Mendelssohn, compares the 
method of philosophy with that of mathematics. The issue 
of the comparison is very much to the disadvantage of philo 
sophy. Mathematics possesses really adequate definitions, 
for it produces the object " synthetically " by means of the 
definition, and, at the same time, it can represent its con 
cepts in perception. Philosophy, on the other hand, 
physics, as well as psychology and metaphysics, has to 
determine its concepts through analysis, an undertaking 
which can seldom or never be brought to completion. More 
over, it cannot represent its concepts in a concrete case, but 
is compelled to think them abstractly. It is therefore a 
serious and confusing error to suppose that the meta 
physician has imitated the methods of the mathematician. 
This would be permissible only if he had attained an equal 
clearness and completeness of definition. In the mean 
time, he has operated with easily attained nominal definitions 
of possibility/ reality, body/ and spirit/ and really 
accomplished nothing. " Metaphysics is undoubtedly the 
most difficult of all human sciences; but it has never as 
yet been written." l Can it be written at all ? Kant regards 
it as possible. Can it become a demonstrative science ? He 
believes that this also is possible, only it must have fixed 
definitions. And how are these to be attained ? We get always 

1 II. p. 291. 


the same answer, namely: through the analysis of given, 
but confusedly given, concepts. If Kant had been an em 
piricist, he would have answered that the materials from 
which concepts are formed are not obscurely given concepts, 
but experiences ; and that a demonstrative science of meta 
physics is just as little possible as a demonstrative science 
of facts in general. 

The essay on Negative Magnitude, which appeared as an 
independently deduced corollary to the prize treatise, shows 
how one definite mathematical concept, that of negative 
magnitude, can be employed in philosophy throughout all 
its parts. Here also one sees that Kant has abandoned the 
rationalistic method of equating conceptual and actual reality. 
No contradiction can obtain between realities, Baumgarten 
teaches, ergo omnes realitates sunt in ente compossibiles. Yes, 
says Kant, that holds in the realm of concepts. It is differ 
ent, however, in the world of actual fact. Here it may very 
well happen that two positive determinations exclude each 
other, as when they are related as positive and negative mag 
nitudes in mathematics. At the end of the treatise the 
causal problem is brought forward for the first time. The 
distinction is made between a logical and a real ground, and 
then the question is put as follows : I understand very well 
how a consequence is conditioned by a ground in accordance 
with the law of identity. But, on the other hand, "how 
shall I understand the proposition that because something 
is, something different may be ? Or that because something 
is, something else is destroyed ? " How can the existence and 
particular condition of one element of reality explain why 
another is or is not ? With this question, which is com 
mended to the " thorough-going philosophers who are daily 
increasing in number," and to "metaphysical intellects of 
complete insight," Kant ends the treatise, begging the " great 
minds" to be pleased to aid "the weakness of his insight" 
with their great wisdom. It is Hume s problem, and also the 


problem of the critical philosophy which is here formulated. 
The relation of cause and effect is not a logical relation ; the 
effect cannot be derived from the cause by means of a logical 
process. In what then does this relation consist, and upon 
what does it rest ? Hume answers that it rests upon experi 
ence, and consists in the observed sequence of cause and 
effect which is assumed to be uniform. Kant does not fur 
nish any answer. Did he possess one ? 

The ironical and sceptical tone toward metaphysicians 
and their renowned philosophy which breaks out here reaches 
its height in The Dreams of a Ghost-Seer Explained through 
the Dreams of Metaphysics, metaphysics a vision and 
an interpreter of vision suitable to explain the fantastic 
dreams of one who sees spirits. The work was occasioned 
by the sensational performances of the Swede Swedenborg, 
who not only had the gift of spatial and temporal clairvoy 
ance, but also possessed the privilege of associating with 
departed spirits. Kant had been persuaded, by many in 
quiries from " over-curious and idle friends " to investigate 
these matters. 1 His interest in the subject went so far that 
he had the works of the visionary (Arcana ccelestia, 8 vols. 
quarto) sent over from London; and besides seven pounds 
sterling, they cost him the trouble of reading them. 

This very remarkable work, half jest and half earnest, and 
written with a happy humor, outlines in its first part a meta 
physical pneumatology. The spirits of immaterial beings 
on the one hand stand in relation to bodies, and on the other 
belong to a mundus intelligibilis, in which they are related to 
one another in a hyperphysical way, according to pneumatic 
laws that are not subject to the conditions of space and time. 
This spiritology, which is put forward as if seriously and 
which indeed is not intended to be entirely without serious 
ness evidently foreshadows the later doctrine of the double 

1 Information on this point is given in a letter to Frl. v. Knolbach of the 
year 1763 ; c/. also Kuno Fischer, Gesch. d. n. Philos. I. p. 272. 


world to which man belongs : the mundus sensibilis as an em 
pirical being, and the mundus intelligiMlis as a purely rational 
being. There follows next an amusing exposition, from the 
naturalistic and sceptical standpoint, of spiritistic phenomena, 
the metaphysical possibility of which is explained with equal 
lucidity. They are imaginative products of a diseased brain 
that under abnormal conditions are projected outwards as 
physical phenomena. In the second part, the report of 
Swedenborg s visions of this world and of the other is used to 
confirm or to throw derision on that fantastic metaphysics 
which is so clever at demonstrating its possibility. 1 Then 
follow the concluding words in a serious vein : The lesson 
of all this is that philosophy ought to be on its guard against 
all speculations of this sort which transcend experience. 
Whether there are such powers as Swedenborg believed 
himself to possess, whether spirits can think and act without 
any connection with a body, cannot in the least be deter 
mined by reason. Experience is the only source of our 
knowledge of reality. " The fundamental concepts of things 
as causes which exist as forces and activities are entirely 
arbitrary, and unless they can be derived from experience 
they can neither be proved nor refuted." And in this con 
nection we find an answer to the question thrown out at the 
end of the essay on negative magnitude. " It is impossible," 
we are here told, " to understand through reason how any 
thing can be a cause, or possess a force, but these relations can 
be learned only from experience." For those alleged powers 
of the soul which the spiritism of Swedenborg assumes we 
have not the common consent of experience, but only the im- 

1 In a letter written at this time (VIII., p. 672), to M. Mendelssohn, who was 
surprised at the tone of the work, Kan speaks of " the ahsurd frame of mind " 
in which it was composed. He could not keep from having "a little faith in 
stories of this sort, or from speculating a little on the possibility of their cor 
rectness in spite of the absurdities narrated, and the fantastic and unmeaning 
conceptions which resulted from any attempt to explain them." Tims, in 
order to satirize others, he first satirized himself. 


pressions which individuals claim to have, and which, for that 
very reason, are not capable of serving " as the basis of any 
law of experience whatsoever regarding which the under 
standing could pass judgment." Therefore it is advisable 
not to show that they are impossible but to let them 
alone. The place of metaphysical demonstrations and alleged 
empirical confirmations of the immortality of the soul is filled 
by " moral faith, the simplicity of which can free one from 
many subtleties of reasoning, and which alone is suitable to 
man in every condition, since it directly reveals to him in 
morality the true purpose of his life." 

This was the form of Kant s philosophy at the end of the 
second epoch. He had lost all faith in the demonstra 
tions furnished by current metaphysical systems, whether 
they bore the name of Wolff or of Crusius. Even his faith 
in the possibility of metaphysics, in the old sense of an 
a priori science that interprets reality in terms of logi 
cal concepts, is badly shattered. But he does not renounce 
metaphysics in general; "as the science of the limits of 
human reason " it remains a necessary undertaking. 1 In this 
form it would constitute that to which one can really apply 
the name philosophy (Weisheit), i. e., the capacity "of choos 
ing, among many problems that offer themselves, those which 
man is called upon to solve." 2 

What brought about Kant s estrangement from the old 
dogmatic school metaphysics ? This has been explained by 
pointing to the influence of English thought, particularly to 
that of Hume. There is no doubt that through the promi 
nence of English modes of thought on the continent, espe- 

1 II., p. 375. 

2 Cf. Kant s letters to Lambert and to Mendelssohn (VTIL, pp. 655, 
672). He speaks in these letters of the reform of metaphysics as the prob 
lem that most nearly concerned him. He believes that he is in possession 
of a new method which will free the science from the delusions of knowl 
edge and put it on a sound basis. This discovery will be of the greatest 
importance for the true and permanent well-being of the human race, 


cially under the rising influence of Voltaire, the intellectual 
atmosphere of Germany had been changed since the middle 
of the century, and that this change was not without its 
effect on Kant. That he read and esteemed highly English 
authors, especially the writers on moral philosophy, we know 
both from the characterization that we quoted above from 
Herder, and especially from the program of his lectures of 
the year 1765-66. 1 To this was added the influence of 
Eousseau, who, as we have already mentioned, had great 
weight, especially in putting an end to Kant s over-estima 
tion of things intellectual, and teaching him that wise 
simplicity and a good heart are more than all metaphysics 
and natural theology. On the other hand, one may assume 
that the estrangement from the school metaphysics was 
essentially a development from within. If he shows in the 
Only Possible Ground of Demonstration for the Existence of 
God how far the current proofs of God s existence are from a 
real demonstration, or in The Dreams of a Ghost-Seer the 
absurdities of pneumatology, the science of spirits, he would 
scarcely need any impetus from without to lead him to see 
these things. Baumgarten s Metaphysics, with its demon 
strations carried through exactly a thousand paragraphs, 
must have made a somewhat strange impression on Kant as 
a student of Newton, a mathematician and physicist, as soon 
as he directed his attention carefully to the form of the 
proofs. Propositions regarding God, the world, the soul, 
and everything in general were there deduced from purely 
self-made definitions. Where now do these concepts derive 
their justification ? They are not mathematical concepts 
that create their objects by means of definitions ; they are 
not physical concepts which depend upon experience. 
Whence, then, do they derive their validity ? The problem 
is in truth so obvious that it did not need to be forced upon 
him from any external source. The very fact that he comes 

1 II., pp. 313 ff. 


so near to certain thoughts of Hume, and yet remains at the 
same time so far removed from the latter s general standpoint, 
is evidence that he did not receive the impetus to his work 
from the English writers, and especially from Hume s episte- 
mological investigations. In particular, he holds fast, in 
spite of everything, to the rationalistic assumption that con 
cepts are given, though obscurely, and that by means of 
analysis they can be brought to perfect clearness, and that 
then in this way something like a demonstrative procedure 
in metaphysics is not in itself impossible. 1 

The third and last epoch, that of Criticism, was inaugurated 
by the Dissertation which Kant wrote on assuming the ordi 
nary professorship in 1770, in fulfilment of the academic 
requirement of public disputation. Its content is described 
by the title, Concerning the Form and Principles of the 
Sensible and Intelligible World. In the letter accompanying 
the copy sent to Lambert, he expresses his certainty that in 
this work he has reached his definitive standpoint. " About 
a year ago, I reached a point of view that, as I flatter myself, 
I do not require ever to change, though of course it needs to 
be extended. By means of this, all kinds of metaphysical 
questions can be tested, and, so far as they are answerable, 
can be decided." 2 Eleven years later, in a letter to M. 
Herz, his respondent in the disputation, he connected the 
Critique of Pure Reason, which was just appearing, with 
the Dissertation in the following way : " This book contains 
the issue of the numerous investigations that arose from the 
conceptions which we discussed together under the title of 
Mundi sensibilis et intelligibilis" 3 

1 In an article on " Kant und Hume um 1762," (Arch. f. Gesch d. Philos., 
I. 62 ff.), Erdmann has shown that there is no hint in Herder s description of 
his Konigsberg years of any influence of Hume s empiricism, and that Kant s 
formulation of his problem, however near it often seems to approach to Hume, 
is yet independent of Hume s influence. 

2 VIII., p. 662. 

3 VIII., p. 309. 


It is not easy to over-estimate the importance of the 
Dissertation for a comprehension of the Critique of Pure 
Reason. It shows what the new conception originally had 
in view, and something of the impetus of the discovery 
still attaches to it. In the Critique the thought is in a 
certain sense indirect and weakened. Here, we have the 
new philosophy in its youthful form. It is the long-sought 
new method of metaphysics, the transcendental method. 

Through the entire treatise, the point of departure for the 
great and decided transformation in the mode of thought is 
the distinction between sensible and intellectual knowledge, 
and, corresponding to this, that between a sensible and an 
intelligible, a phenomenal and a real world. From this 
there follows the possibility of an a priori knowledge of 
both worlds by means of formal principles of knowledge that 
are native to the mind. It is, if one wishes, a decisive 
eruption of the Platonism in Kant s thought, the restora 
tion of realistic rationalism. The reality given to sense is 
only phenomenal. Opposed to this, stands the truly real 
world of ideas, the mundus intelligibilis, attained through 
reason. Or, to employ the old expressions, we have the 
world of phenomena and the world of noumena ; the former 
knowable through pure forms of perception, the latter by 
means of pure concepts a priori. 

The sense world is in space and time. These are the uni 
versal forms of the phenomenal world, because, and in so far 
as, they constitute the universal forms of our sense percep 
tion. It is just this that explains why the knowledge of 
spatial and temporal relations, as they are deduced in the 
mathematical sciences by means of pure reason, are at the 
same time valid of all objects in space and time. The 
ideality of space and time is accordingly the condition of 
the objective validity of mathematics, and the latter is thus 
safeguarded from all kinds of sceptical attacks on the part 
of metaphysicians. 


Alongside mathematics as the form of knowledge of the 
sensible world, stands metaphysics as the form of knowledge 
of the intelligible world. Through the complete separation 
of the two worlds, validity in its own domain is secured also 
for the latter. As mathematics rules over the phenomenal 
world by means of the pure forms of perception, so meta 
physics embraces the intelligible world in its pure concepts 
of the understanding. And the latter is now secured against 
the secret attacks of sensuous thought, against the demands 
that its objects should be represented as perceptible objects 
in space and time, through which metaphysics, and espe 
cially natural theology, have hitherto been disturbed and 
polluted. God and the soul stand entirely outside of space 
and time. 

Looked at more closely, the epistemological foundation of 
metaphysics has now the following form : In addition to its 
formal logical application, the understanding has also a usus 
realis (a transcendental use, as Kant afterwards says). By 
means of this latter employment, it creates concepts and 
axioms, and these have absolute validity, because in their 
production they are not polluted in any way by the sub 
jective moment of sensibility. The objective form-principle 
of the intelligible world is the original connection of all 
things in God, the ens realissimum. The intelligible things 
are posited in the unity of the perfectio noumenon, the all 
of reality. It is the old thought which we everywhere met 
in the precritical writings, God the unitary ground of all 
that is possible, and therefore of the real. These inner rela 
tions of all things to their unitary ground (nexus idealis, 
pre-established harmony of essences) are represented in the 
phenomenal world as universal reciprocity. Thus space is 
phenomenal omnipresence, and time phenomenal eternity. 
Moreover, the human understanding has no perceptive 
knowledge of the intelligible world: God alone possesses 
an intuitive understanding; he has a perception of the 


intelligible things. We can know, then, only by means of 
general concepts in abstracto, not by means of individual 
perceptions in concrete. 

These are the outlines of the new system of philosophy in 
its original form. If we wish to reduce it to a formula, we 
may say that it is made up of three parts, one the pre 
supposition, and the other two, logical deductions from this. 
The presupposition is the ideality of space and time. The 
deductions are: (1) the possibility of a priori knowledge of j 
the phenomenal world through the mathematical sciences, 
and (2) the possibility of knowledge of an intelligible world 
which is free from the conditions of sensibility by means of 
pure concepts in their transcendental employment ; i. e., the 
possibility of metaphysics. 

With but one alteration, to be sure, an important one, 
this is the final form of the critical philosophy. The 
Critique of Pure Reason made no alteration in the first two 
doctrines; on the other hand, it deviated in the" third posi 
tion, though here too only on one point. The belief in the 
existence of an intelligible reality which is free from the 
limits of space and time is retained, and also the view that 
man is able to enter into most intimate relations with this 
world through his reason. Only one thing is given up, 
the speculative knowledge of the intelligible world. In the 
Critique of Pure Reason, the pure concepts of the under 
standing have objective validity solely in their application to 
the phenomenal world, just as the mathematical concepts 
have. In place of the transcendent metaphysics, we have 
on the one hand the phenomenal ontology of the Analytic, 
and on the other the faith of practical reason.*. 

As for the other points, Kant was right when he con 
nected closely the Critique of Pure Reason with the Disser 
tation. In a letter to Herz, of the year 1771, he describes 
it as " the text on which something further is to be said in 
the following work," and regrets " that this work must so 


quickly undergo the fate of all human undertakings, viz. 
to be forgotten." As a matter of fact, many misinterpreta 
tions of the critical philosophy would have been impossible 
if this work had been kept in mind, perhaps if it had been 
printed as an introduction by the editors of the Critique of 
Pure Reason. I would recommend this still at the present 
day. And to this should be added the principal passages 
from the other letters to Herz, especially the important letter 
of the 21st February, 1772. This letter shows Kant occu 
pied with the very problem from which the variations of the 
Critique from the Dissertation proceed. This problem asks 
how pure concepts of the understanding can yield knowl 
edge of a world of objects. He finds that the relation to an 
object is intelligible in the case of knowledge from experi 
ence. Here the idea depends upon an affection through the 
object, and is therefore related to this as effect to cause. 
The objective validity of ideas is also intelligible in cases 
where the understanding creates its object, as in mathe 
matics or ethics, or in the case of God s thinking, which 
creatively produces its objects. But where this is not so, 
as in the relation of the human understanding to the real 
world, how can we comprehend the fact " that the under 
standing undertakes to form concepts of things entirely a 
Ipriori, with which the real things are to agree ? How is it 
: able to lay down real principles regarding their possibility, 
which experience must actually prove true, and which never 
theless are independent of experience ? Kant does not here 
give any answer. He simply rejects the answer given by 
the old rationalists, mentioning Plato, Malebranche, and 
Crusius. They all seek to effect the harmony of our rational 
knowledge with absolute reality through the medium of the 
highest metaphysical principle, God. That was also the 
means to which the Dissertation seemed to appeal. 1 But, 
on the other hand, it contained more than one hint of the 

1 9, 22, Schol. 


solution by means of the transcendental method that was 
afterwards employed in the Critique. At any rate, the prob 
lem is prepared in this work, or rather it is implicit, though 
not explicitly present. Caird rightly calls attention to the 
fact that the Dissertation also regards sense knowledge as 
phenomenal, and conceptual knowledge as real. And, on 
the other hand, it too emphasizes the proposition that it is 
only in the intuitive understanding of God that this knowl 
edge is actually realized, while in us it remains abstract and 
therefore unrealized. 1 

The question arises regarding the source from which the 
impetus came that led to the transformation of the views of 

In my work on the development of the Kantian epistem- 
ology, I traced this to the influence of David Hume. I was 
not led to this position through any inclination to seek out 
external influences. I am certainly not of the opinion that 
thoughts flow into the mind of an independent thinker from 
any external source. And Kant was surely an independent 
thinker, not to say an imperious and strong-willed man. 
We may add to this the fact that he was now forty-five 
years of age, a period of life when even ordinary minds 
do not so easily adopt the opinions of others. Moreover, 
I have not held that Hume influenced Kant by giving to 

1 One s estimate of the Dissertation depends directly upon one s conception 
of the critical philosophy. Erdmann and Windelhand do not regard it as 
the beginning of the critical philosophy, which they rather date from the 
appearance of the problems of the Analytic and their rationalistico-phenom- 
enalistic solution (after 1772). It is certainly true that one may say that the 
result of the Analytic leads to a point of view that is so widely different from 
that of the Dissertation that it can no longer be regarded as the exposition of 
the same thoughts. But one must immediately add that the Analytic never 
entirely permeated Kant s thought, not even in the Critique of Pure Reason. 
The Esthetic, with its mundus sensibilis and intelligibilis, and the Dialectic, 
with the ens realissimum and the intelligible character, are likewise there, and 
represent, alongside the epistemology, Kant s metaphysics, which reappears 
in the two later Critiques, in a more independent and emphatic form, as the 
real form of his philosophy. 


him a positive theory, but rather as furnishing an incen 
tive to turn towards his original position. In Hume s 
" scepticism," Kant perceived where empiricism, to which 
he had in a certain sense approximated, logically led. The 
rationalism of the Dissertation is the reaction against the 
" scepticism " of the Dreams. I have attempted this con 
struction, then, not from any general enthusiasm for " influ 
ences," but simply because Kant himself connects causally 
the origin of his philosophy with Hume s scepticism. If 
those passages did not occur in the Prolegomena, and in the 
Critique of Pure Reason, I should no more maintain that it 
is necessary to assume Hume s influence at this time to ren 
der Kant s development intelligible than at the beginning of 
the sixties. One may indeed say that in 1766 only one step 
was necessary to bring Kant to the view of the ideality of 
space and time, and consequently of the physical universe, 
a view that since the days of Plato was not unknown in 
philosophy. Even at this time he had the two worlds, 
the world in space and time, and the non-spatial, timeless 
world, each with its own laws. But for the latter, in 
which he nevertheless believed, he could find no principle 
of construction. It required only the epistemological re 
flection that the spatial and temporal world is a representa 
tion in our sensibility, and the actually real world is thought 
by means of pure concepts of the understanding, to give 
us the Dissertation. To account for this turn in Kant s 
thought, it is certainly not necessary to appeal to external 
influences, neither to Leibniz s New Essays (published in 
1765), to which Windelband refers, nor to Hume s criticism 
of the notion of causality. The little essay on the nature 
of space of the year 1768 shows how Kant s own thought 
was revolving about this problem. 1 Moreover, even in the 
old metaphysic this change of view was foreshadowed. 
The mundus sensibilis and mundus intelligibilis, the former 
1 II., pp. 385 ft 


being in sense as (confused) knowledge, the latter exist 
ing in the absolute knowledge of God ; the extended world 
as the phenomenon substantiatum, the world of monads 
as the true knowledge of reality, all this, one could 
find in Baumgarten s Metaphysics ( 869, 70). Of course, 
there is the difference that the phenomenal character of 
the physical world was not taken with entire seriousness 
in Baumgarten, just as it was not in Kant s precritical 

B. Erdmann has, however, called attention to another 
point from which the impetus to the distinction of the 
sensible and the intelligible world may have proceeded. 
This is the antinomies. 1 He has rendered it certain that 
these were very real influences in Kant s thinking. The 
antithetical and sceptical mode of procedure that is devel 
oped in the Dialectic to a technique had long been employed 
by Kant, and already appears very clearly marked in the 
Dreams. He frequently says that the appearance of the 
conflict of reason with itself in metaphysics was a source 
of wonder and stimulus to him (cf. especially Prolegomena, 
pp. 50 ff.). Now the ideality of space and time, according 
to the Critique, is at once the explanation of that strange 
appearance, and the key to its solution. The contradiction 
always rests on the fact that appearances are taken for 
things-in-themselves ; or, in other words, that phenomena 
are intellectualized. Thus the matter is set forth in the 
Critique, and even in the Dissertation we find the same doc 
trine announced. The contradictions disappear as soon as 
the distinction is made between the phenomenal and the 
intellectual world, and all propositions are assigned to the 
sphere to which they belong. This is especially manifest in 
the case of the antinomy of freedom and necessity. As 

1 Cf. the Introduction to Erdmann s edition of the Prolegomena, pp. 
Ixxxiii ff., and especially the Introduction to Reflexionen Kants zur Kr. 
d. r. V., pp. xxiv. ff. 


phenomena, actions are conditioned ; as manifestations of an 
intelligible nature, they are free. 

Kant himself has repeatedly referred to this point as that 
from which the development of his thought proceeded. 
Thus in his latest reference in a letter to Garve in 1798, he 
says very definitely : " The point from which I set out was 
not the existence of God, or immortality [as Garve had 
assumed], but the antinomies of pure reason : the world 
has a beginning ; it has no beginning up to the fourth 
[third] : man possesses freedom ; he is not free, but every 
thing takes place in him with necessity. It was these things 
which first aroused me from my dogmatic slumber and drove 
me to a criticism of reason in order to take away the reproach 
of an apparent conflict of reason with itself." With this 
a passage from the sketch on The Progress of Metaphysics l 
is in agreement, where the doctrine of the ideality of space 
and time, and the concept of freedom are described as the 
two corner-stones of the system. We also find in a rough 
draft of this work : " The origin of the critical philosophy 
is found in the moral responsibility of actions." 2 For 
purely theoretical philosophy, the Critique, with its distinc 
tion of phenomenon and thing-in-itself would be really of no 
importance. On the other hand, it is the freedom demanded 
by the moral law " that summons reason to metaphysics 
and destroys the entire mechanism of nature." We may 
therefore conclude that the possibility of finding a place for 
freedom alongside nature, which is ruled by causal laws, was 
the search which gave direction to the new development of 
Kant s thought. This was the very doctrine on account of 

1 VIII., p. 573. 

2 Published in the Lose Blatter, I., pp. 223 ff., edited by R. Reicke. The 
whole sketch deserves to be read. Cf. also the preface to the Kr. d. pr. V. 
and the " Critical Explanation of the Analytic : " " The notion of freedom is 
a stumbling-block for all empiricists, but also the key to the highest practical 
principles for all critical moralists, who by its aid gain the insight that they 
must necessarily proceed rationally." 


which Kant s philosophy gained its first adherents : Fichte 
and Schiller were attracted to transcendental idealism by the 
escape which it offered from the oppressive thought of the 
all-dominating sway of the law of mechanical causality. 

With this we might regard the matter as closed if it were 
not for those passages in which Kant himself most expressly 
describes the stimulus to the critical investigation of the 
possibility of knowledge a priori as coming from Hume. It 
was the remembrance of David Hume, he himself says in the 
Prolegomena, at a time also not too remote from the occur 
rences to have a definite recollection of them, and Hume s 
treatment of causality, that furnished the occasion. It is not 
possible to understand by means of pure reason why the 
existence of B necessarily follows from that of A. " It was 
just this that many years ago aroused me from my dogmatic 
slumber, and gave an entirely new direction to my investi 
gations in the field of speculative reason. I was far from 
admitting his results," etc. In like manner, he tells us in 
the Critique of Practical Reason that the critical epistemol- 
ogy had been called out by Hume s empiricism, which leads 
to the most extreme scepticism, not only in metaphysics, but 
also in physics, and even in mathematics, with the object of 
warding off " this terrible overthrow " of all the sciences. 1 

These passages, which leave nothing to be desired in the 
way of clearness, cannot be explained away. One must 
therefore find some place for Hume s influence. Erdmann, 
rightly refusing to recognize the influence of the sixties, and 
not even allowing that of the years 1769-70, places it after 
1772, about 1774. He holds that Kant at this time learned 
from Hume that the pure concepts of the understanding have 
only an immanent use, and do not possess validity with 
reference to things-in-themselves. It seems to me that this 
date is not altogether consistent with Kant s statements. 
For (1) these all have reference to the time of the origin of 

1 V., pp. 54 ff. 


criticism. This, however, falls in the year in which the 
Dissertation was thought out (1769-70). Kant has no 
recollection of a deeper impression in the seventies, from 
which criticism really takes its rise. For him the critical 
philosophy always has its origin about twelve years before 
the appearance of the Critique of Pure Reason. 1 And be 
cause (2) his statements regarding Hume s influence do not 
agree with this interpretation. After 1772, according to this 
interpretation, Kant should have adopted Hume s conclusions, 
in limiting all knowledge to experience. But he everywhere 
says the opposite. Hume gave him an obstacle (Anstoss) in 
the literal sense of the word ; he set him a problem but did 
not furnish its solution. On the contrary, Kant rejects 
Hume s empirical and sceptical solution; the critical phi 
losophy is the only possible refuge from empiricism which 
results in complete scepticism. 

There remains, then, the task of uniting both of Kant s ex 
pressions regarding the point of departure in the development 
of his thought. It seems to me that this is not at all impossi 
ble. We cannot indeed always speak of progress in a straight 
line in the development of Kant s thought. A great multi 
tude of metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical problems 
had occupied him for a long time, and each year his lectures 

1 I should like to take this opportunity to utter a warning against con 
structing too numerous " stages of development." Vaihinger gives six of these. 
All that we are concerned with is to describe the main alterations in Kant s 
thought, not to specify the yearly and daily variations, that doubtless also 
occurred. Kant himself recognized no essential change of standpoint after 
1770, although not inconsiderable changes in his combination of elements 
occurred up to the nineties. But they bring no alteration with regard to the 
fundamental principle : with the distinction between the sensible and intelli 
gible world we have the key to the main entrance of the critical philosophy. 
Perhaps it might be possible to construe our three stages of development as 
a priori necessary according to the Kantio-Hegelian formula of thesis, anti 
thesis, and synthesis. For every one, the point of departure is the tradition 
of the school. The thinker who is seeking an independent position moves in 
the opposite direction from this. After he has attained the extreme point of 
opposition, there is a tendency to feel again more strongly the truth of the 
tradition and to seek for a reconciliation of the new and the old. 


gave him new occasion to reconsider them all. If we sup 
pose that in reflecting on the " antinomies " the thought first 
came to him that the ideality of space and time was the key 
to their solution, the answer to Hume s scepticism connects 
itself with this, it appears to me, without difficulty. We 
may assume that Kant knew of Hume s theory of causality 
before 1769. He would scarcely have left unread the volume 
of essays by the Scottish author whom he esteemed so 
highly, that appeared in a German translation as early as 
1756. If any one wishes he may suppose that he had again 
taken up the work at this time. At all events, it was at this 
time that the full significance of Hume s problem and the 
possibility of solving it first came home to him. He saw 
that it was just this that Hume declared impossible which 
he had himself so long sought the possibility of a firmly 
grounded metaphysic. And this was the very thing that he 
now had at hand in "the method of metaphysics." Pure 
knowledge of the phenomenal world as given in the mathe 
matical sciences was guaranteed against sceptical attacks by 
means of the assumption of the pure forms of sensibility. 
And, in like manner, a pure knowledge of the intelligible 
world is made possible by means of the a priori concepts 
of the understanding. Mathematics and metaphysics, the 
two sciences that Hume attacked, are both placed in security 
by means of the same hypothesis that solves the puzzle of 
the antinomies. 

That was the great discovery of 1770, which made neces 
sary a new review of all the philosophical sciences. It 
is true that it soon appeared that the position of meta 
physics was not so simple as that of mathematics. Knowl 
edge of the intelligible world through pure concepts of the 
understanding was rather a postulate than an epistemologi- 
cally established solution of the problem. Hume s problem 
might have continued subsequently to influence Kant to 
look for such a justification, until at length, in the tran- 


scendental deduction of the categories, which was already 
foreshadowed in the deduction of mathematics in the Disser 
tation, he became convinced that he was in possession of 
a satisfactory solution. In his remembrance, however, the 
two moments are so closely associated that sometimes the 
one and sometimes the other element is most prominent, 
according to the nature of the occasion. The elements of 
the new development of thought had been all present ; the 
new doctrine of the ideality of space and time had proved 
itself the key to all the difficulties with which he had 
hitherto struggled. 

I hasten on now to the end of the sketch of Kant s liter 
ary activity. 

After the silent decade of incubation, as one may call the 
seventies, there followed in the eighties his most zealous and 
fruitful decade of authorship. The principal works of the 
new philosophy appeared in close succession. After the Cri 
tique of Pure Reason, the basal work, which appeared in 
1781, there soon followed the Prolegomena, also written 
under the influence of the first conception. In 1785 and 
1786 there appeared the first applications to the two main 
fields of philosophy, moral philosophy and philosophy of 
nature. The title of the first was the Fundamental Prin 
ciples of the Metaphysic of Morals (1785) ; that of the latter, 
Metaphysical Elements of Natural Science (1786). Then 
followed two works founded on the model of the Critique of 
Pure Reason. These are the Critique of Practical Reason 
(1788), containing the principles of mofaT "philosophy and 
moral theology, and the Critique of Judgment (1790)," con 
taining the principles of aesthetics, and, along with certain 
somewhat arbitrary conceptions, a part of a philosophy of 
nature, a natural teleology. With these works a complete 
exposition is given of the principles of the new philosophy. 

Between these principal works, of which we shall later 
treat in detail, a number of smaller treatises was written, 


some of which are not without significance. In the Berliner 
Monatsschrift, the organ of free thought edited by Biester, 
the secretary of the minister, von Zedlitz, there appeared 
two short papers on the philosophy of history. The first, a 
very interesting study entitled Idea of a Universal History 
from the Cosmopolitan Standpoint (1784), assumes as the 
goal of historical development the common recognition of 
an international law that will do away with war and the 
use of force, and interprets historical development as an 
approximation toward this goal. The second, The Pre 
sumptive Beginning of Human History (1786), is a finely 
conceived attempt at a philosophical interpretation of the 
biblical account of the original history of man. In both 
these works, the way is prepared for Fichte s a priori con 
struction of history. Between these falls the " Review of 
Herder s Ideas toward a History of Humanity" (in the 
Jena Litteratur Zeitung), which aroused the author s anger. 
Two other short essays are : " What is Illumination ? " and 
" What does it Signify to Orient oneself in Thought ? " 
(Berliner Monatsschrift, 1784-86). These contain a vigor 
ous appreciation and defence of the right of free thought 
and free investigation, the former with praise of Fred 
erick the Great; the latter with a warning against the 
tendency to sentimentalism (Schwdrmerei) then becoming 
prevalent. We may also mention the little tract On Senti 
mentalism and its Remedy (1790), and recommend it to 
those who try to make Kant a spiritist. 

Then follows in the nineties the decade of declining 
strength. In the first place, we may mention two treatises, 
called out by special occasions in the early nineties, that are 
not without importance for the proper understanding of the 
critical philosophy. In reply to Professor Eberhard, of 
Halle, who edited a philosophical journal devoted to com 
bating the Kantian philosophy from the standpoint of the 
Leibnizo-Wolffian school, Kant wrote the treatise, On a Dis- 


covery, by means of which all New Critiques of Pure Reason 
are to be Replaced by an Older One (1790). A second essay, 
first published from the remains, treats the prize subject for 
1791 set by the Berlin Academy (though the time was ex 
tended until 1795) : " What real Progress has Metaphysics 
made in Germany since the days of Leibniz and Wolff?" 
This is made up of sketches that for the most part ap 
parently belong to the year 1793. Reicke s Loose Leaves 
also contains much that belongs in the same connection, 
which makes it possible to fix a date for it. 

In their main content the works of the nineties belong to 
the philosophy of religion, and of law and conduct. Re 
ligion within the Bounds of Pure Reason (1793) was pre 
ceded by On the Failure of all Philosophical Attempts at a 
Theodicy (1791). This shows how futile and presumptuous 
it is to attempt a philosophical theodicy, and to profess to 
be able to demonstrate from rational grounds that the lot of 
individuals, and of humanity as a whole, is good and benefi 
cent. The faith of pious and wise simplicity is more modest 
in acknowledging that God s ways are unsearchable. He 
quotes the Book of Job with a fine discrimination. A short 
essay, " On the End of All Things " (Berliner Monatsschrift, 
1794), forms the epilogue to this. The treatise " On the 
Common Saying, That may be Correct in Theory, but does 
not hold in Practice " (T>e,rl. Monatsschr., 1793), introduces 
the works on the philosophy of law arid conduct. The essay 
On Everlasting Peace (1795) was followed by The Meta 
physical Principles of the Philosophy of Right, and the 
Doctrine of Virtue (1797), which in the second edition were 
combined into The Metaphysic of Morals. With this are 
connected two short essays, On the Alleged Right to Lie 
from Altruistic Motives (1797), and On Bookmaking. Two 
Letters to Fr. Nicolai (1798). 

The conclusion is made by a collection of essays that ap 
peared under the title, The Controversy of Faculties (1798). 


The works also embrace editions of some of his lectures : 
Anthropology, from a Pragmatical Point of View (1798) ; 
Logic (1800, edited by Jasche) ; Physical Geography (1802, 
ed. by Kink) ; Pedagogy (1803, ed. by Kink). 1 

Among the lectures subsequently published from notes, 
the Metaphysics, edited by Politz (1821), is important, and 
has long been under-estimated. 

Of importance are also the recent publications from Kant s 
remains. They afford noteworthy information both regard 
ing the history of the development of his thought and also 
regarding his mode of work. These are : The Reflections of 
Kant on The Critical Philosophy, which we have already 
frequently quoted, taken by B. Erdmann from Kant s copy 
of Baumgarten s Metaphysics (" On Anthropology," 1882 ; 
" On the Critique of Pure Reason," 1884) ; and the Loose 
Leaves from Kant s Remains, published by R. Reicke, in 
the Altpreussische Monatsschrift, and later separately (2 
vols., 1889-95). 

1 On the circumstance of the publication of the lectures, and the lack of 
discrimination shown in their editing, cf. B. Erdmann, in the Preface to the 
Reflexionen zur Anthropologie. 




The very wisdom and order ivhich man discovers in risible nature are 
rather imposed upon nature by man than derived from it by him. For he 
could not become aware of them, if he were not able to relate them to some 
thing that he has in himself. Without a standard there can be no measure 
ment. Heaven and earth are for man merely a confirmation of a form of 
knowledge, of which he is conscious, and from which he gains the skill and 
courage to master, and of himself to judge, everything. And amid the 
grandeur of creation he is and feels himself greater than all that environs 
him ; and he yearns after something other. 


LITERATURE : Obviously, mention cannot be made here of the end 
less multitude of large and small treatises on the philosophical system 
of Kant. For this purpose I may refer to Ueberweg-Heinze, Grund- 
riss der Geschichte der Philosophic (III. 8th edition, 1896), where nearly 
all the modern literature is mentioned. For the older Kantian litera 
ture, E. Adickes has published an extremely careful bibliography in 
The Philosophical Review, edited by J. G. Schurman and J. E. 
Creighton, 1893-96. The editions of Kant s works are first given, 
and then the writings which deal with Kant, up to the year 1804, are 
treated and characterized in over three thousand numbers. We thus 
have the written exposition of the whole Kantian movement up to 
the time of his death. In connection with the editions of Kant s 
works, I may mention that there is an edition in preparation which 
is to contain everything that Kant has left us both in print and 
in manuscript ; it is being edited under the auspices of the Berlin 
Academy. The most available edition at present is Hartenstein s sec 
ond edition in eight volumes, which is careful and complete (Leipzig, 
1867) ; the references in the present volume are to it. Besides that, 
the edition by Rosenkranz and Schubert (twelve volumes, Leipzig, 
1838) is still much used. The main works are also to be found in 
careful editions by K. Kehrbach in Reclames Universalbibliotek. The 
Kr. d. r. V., the Prolegomena, and the Kr. d. Urt. are well edited by 
B. Erdmann, and the Kr. d. r. V. by Adickes. [English Transla 
tions : Critique of Pure Reason, by F. Max Miiller, New York and 
London, 2d edition, 1896 ; trans, also by J. M. D. Meiklejohn (Bohn s 
Library), London, 1855. The ^Esthetic and the Analytic were trans 
lated from the 2d edition by J. II. Stirling: Text- Book to Kant, Edin 
burgh, 1881. Critique of Judgment, by J. H. Bernard, London and 
New York, 1892. Prolegomena, by J. P. Mahaffy and J. II. Bernard, 
London and New York, 1889; trans, also by E. B. Bax (Bohn s 
Library. This volume includes a trans, of the Metaphysical Elements 
of Natural Science}, London, 1883. The Dissertation by W. J. Eckoff, 
New York, 1899.] 

Expositions of the Kantian system are to be found in all histo 
ries of philosophy ; the most exhaustive is in two volumes of Kuno 
Fischer s Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, 4th edition, 1898. [Kuno 
Fischer s small volume entitled A Critique of Kant has been trans 
lated by W. S. Hough (London, 1888).] I call attention also to the 
expositions contained in Falckenberg s [trans, by A. C. Armstrong, 
Jr., New York, 1893], Windelband s [trans, by J. H. Tufts, New 

York and London, 1901], and Hoff ding s [trans, by B. E. Meyer, 
London and New York, 1900] histories of modern philosophy; and, 
further, to Riehl s Geschichte und Methode des philosophischen Kriti- 
zismus, and to Lange s Geschichte des JIaterialismiis [trans, by E. C. 
Thomas, London, 1892]. Of special works on Kant, I may mention : 
E. Caird, The Critical Philosophy of Kant, 2d edition, 2 vols., 1889; 
H. Cohen, Kants Theorie der Erfahrung, 2d edition, 1885; Kants 
Begriindung der Ethik, 1877, and Kants Begriindung der JEsthetik, 
1889 ; J. Volkelt, Immanuel Kants Erkenntnistheorie, nach ihren Grund- 
prinzipien analysiert, 1879; B. Erdmann, Kants Kritizismus in the 1st 
and 2d editions of the Kr. d. r. V., 1878; E. Laas, Kants Analogien 
der Erfahrung, 1876; E. v. Hartmann, Kants Erkenntnistheorie und 
Metaphysik, 1894. Of the expositions intended for a larger circle of 
readers, I may name : K. Lasswitz, Die Lehre Kants von der Idealitat 
von Raum und Zeit im Zusammenhang mit seiner Kritik des Erkennens, 
1883 ; M. Kronenberg, Kant, sein Leben und seine Lehre, 1897. Other 
works will be mentioned later as occasion arises. It may be added, 
simply by way of observation, that, after articles on Kant for the 
last thirty years have filled all philosophical journals, we have now in 
Vaihinger s Kantstudien (since 1896) a periodical devoted exclusively 
to Kantian philology. [Among English works on Kant s system, the 
reader may be referred to the following in addition to Caird s exposi 
tion mentioned above : Watson, J., Kant and his English Critics, New 
York, 1881; Adamson, R., On the Philosophy of Kant, Edinburgh, 
1879; Seth, A., The Development from Kant to Hegel, London, 1882; 
Mahaffy and Bernard, Kant s Critical Philosophy for English Readers 
(Vol. I., The Critique of Pure Reason explained and defended; Vol. II., 
The Prolegomena translated with notes and appendices), London, 
1889; also to the following articles in The Philosophical Review: 
Schurman, J. G., "Kant s Critical Problem," Vol. II., pp. 129 ff; 
" Kant s Theory of the A Priori Forms of Sense," Vol. VIII., pp. 1 ft ., 
113 ff. ; "Kant s Theory of the A Priori Elements of Understanding 
as Conditions of Experience," Vol. VIII., pp. 225 ff., 337 ff., 449 ff. ; 
Fullerton, G. S., "The Kantian Doctrine of Space," Vol. X., pp. 
113 ff., 229 ff.] 




WHEN we collect and compare Kant s scattered and not 
altogether consistent utterances upon this problem, we get 
the following schema. 1 

There are three great fields of scientific knowledge : Phi 
losophy, Mathematics, and the Empirical Sciences. They are 
distinguished by their methods : Philosophy is pure rational 
knowledge arising out of concepts ; mathematics is pure 
rational knowledge arising out of the construction of concepts. 
In contradistinction from these two rationalistic sciences, 
stand the empirical sciences, which derive their concepts 
from experience, and establish their propositions by induc 
tive proofs, as, for example, chemistry or empirical anthro 
pology. In this connection, however, it is to be remarked 
that, in accordance with Kant s view of the essence of science, 
to which he always adheres, only that whose certainty 
is apodictic can properly be called science. "Knowledge, 
which can attain mere empirical certainty, is only science 
improperly so-called." 2 Accordingly, philosophy and science, 
in the proper sense of the latter term, coincide. 

Philosophy, further, has two chief divisions : Transcen 
dental philosophy and metaphysics. Transcendental phi- 

1 The chief passages relating to this point are : Kr. d. r. V., Doctrine of 
Method, chapters 1 and 3, and also the 6th section of the Introduction ; 
the Prefaces to the Grund/egung zur Metaph. der Sitten and to the Metaph. 
Anfangsgriinde der Naturwissenschaft ; Kr. d. U., Introduction ; Logik, Intro 
duction III. Cf. also Erdrnann, Reflexionen, II., pp. 20 ff. 

a Metaph. Anfangsgr., Preface. 


losophy is the discipline which investigates the possibility, 
sources, and limits of pure rational knowledge. Its problem 
is that of a propaedeutic for the system of pure rational 
knowledge, or, in other words, for metaphysics. It coincides 
in a measure with the science which is now called episte- 
inology ; with this limitation, however, that its subject-matter 
is not the theory of knowledge in general, but only the 
investigation of a priori knowledge. The Critique of Pure 
Eeason carries out this investigation, although it does not 
deal with all the details, but only with the principles. 

In contrast with the formal discipline of transcendental 
philosophy, metaphysics is the sum-total of the rational 
knowledge of objects. It also falls into two branches : The 
metaphysic of nature, and the metaphysic of morals, or 
natural philosophy and moral philosophy. This corresponds 
with the great division of the objective world into the spheres 
of nature and of freedom. The physical and the moral 
world constitute as it were the two hemispheres of the 
glolus intellectualis. This is a classification, which, more 
over, is closely related to another distinction, namely, that 
between the mundus sensibilis and the mundus intelligibilis. 
In the former realm, natural laws are dealt with by means 
of which the phenomenal world is constructed a priori ; in 
the latter, there is involved a practical legislation according 
to ideas of freedom for rational beings ; but these ideas of 
freedom, nevertheless, can be regarded also as natural laws 
of the moral world. 

We should thus have a classification of philosophy which 
is related to the traditional Greek division of the subject into 
logic, physics, arid ethics. Logic is the theory of the form 
of knowing. And here also, two separate disciplines 
emerge : common logic, and transcendental logic. Physics, 
or rational physiology (the theory of nature), is the pure 
rational science of the phenomenal world. It embraces two 
chief disciplines: the rational theory of bodies, and rational 


psychology. Ethics, finally, is the pure rational science of 
the moral world. It is subdivided into the doctrine of Eight 
or Law, and the doctrine of Virtue. 

The elaboration of the system fell short of this schema. 
For the theoretical philosophy, the Critique of Pure Reason, 
which was originally intended only as a propaedeutic for 
metaphysics, remained the chief work. The system of 
metaphysics was never written. Kant completed only the 
Metaphysical Elements of Natural Science, and labored while 
his strength was failing upon a further work, Transition 
from the Metaphysical Elements of Natural Science to Physics. 
On the other hand, the rational psychology remained alto 
gether untouched, as well as the ontology, cosmology, and 
theology, a serious omission, the cause of which, however, 
it is not difficult to understand. Some things that ought 
to have had their place in the omitted treatises are taken up 
in the second part of the Critique of Judgment. As far as 
form goes, the system of the practical philosophy is more 
complete. The Critique of Practical Reason is a kind of 
preliminary investigation in this field, but it is brought to a 
point in the Metaphysic of Morals as the accomplishment of 
the system. As far as content, however, is concerned, the 
latter is of trivial importance. So that in this sphere also, 
the Critique, together with the Fundamental Principles, is, as 
a matter of fact, the main work. Thus in all respects the 
doctrinal construction fell far short of the critical 
foundation. Nevertheless, the sole reason for this was not 
simply that the strength necessary for the completion of 
the task failed the rapidly aging philosopher. 

Besides the determination of the scientific problem of 
philosophy, Kant defines also its general problem for 
humanity. This distinction comes to expression in the dif 
ferentiation between the " cosmical conception " of philos 
ophy and its " scholastic conception." From this point of 
view, he defines philosophy as the " science of the relation 


of all cognition to the essential aims of human reason 
(teleologia rationis humance)" In this sense, the philos 
opher is "not a theorist who occupies himself with con 
ceptions, but a law-giver, legislating for human reason ; " 
his completed manifestation is the ideal of the sage. The 
proper task of the sage is the knowledge of the highest 
ends, or of the true nature of mankind, and at the same time 
the manifestation of this in his own person. It was in 
accordance with this that the ancients formed their notion 
of the philosopher. And, therefore, philosophy was for 
them "the theory of the highest good, so far as reason 
endeavors to reduce it to a science ; " and Kant adds, it would 
be well for us to leave the term with its ancient significance. 
It is on this account that the organization of scientific work 
arises as a special task for philosophers. The mathema 
tician, the physicist, the logician, are mere theorists or tech 
nical investigators. A philosopher, in the above sense, as well 
as the ideal teacher, would be one "who presupposes all 
these, and uses them as instruments, in order to advance the 
essential aims of human reason." 

Obviously, this consideration carries with it a lessening of 
the respect felt for the philosopher as a theorist of reason. 
The philosopher was recognized heretofore as a "cosmic 
sage," who by means of speculation brings to light all secrets 
of God and of the world. The critical philosophy deprives 
him of this position. It destroys the hope of a speculative 
solution of the riddle of the world. In place of this, it gives 
to him the position of a legislator in the kingdom of ends, 
and thereby renders subordinate for him all scientific in 
vestigation, which has the task of ministering to humanity 
under the guidance of philosophy in the realization of its 
destiny. 1 

1 Cf. : Kr. d. r. V., section on " The Architectonic of Pure Reason," and 
the Kr. d. pr. V., hk. ii. chap. i. ; also the Reflexionen, II., pp. 29 ff. Kant is 
fond of having the critical philosopher play the role of law-giver and also 


that of police (No. 128), or of governor (No. 161). In the last passage, he 
says : " That reason stands in need of training ; that, if in its natural state it 
is allowed to spread out its branches, it brings forth leaves without fruits. 
That hence a master of training (not a training-master) is necessary to govern 
it. That without such training it does not harmonize with religion and 
morality, but gives its own decisions as supreme, and, since it has not knowl 
edge of its own nature, it leads astray the healthy and experienced under 
standing." See above, " Kant as an Academic Teacher" (pp. 63 ff). 



A FEW years after the appearance of the Critique of Pure 
Reason, K. L. Eeinhold made the following remark in his 
Letters upon the Kantian Philosophy : 1 " The Critique of 
Pure Reason has been proclaimed by the dogmatists as the 
attempt of a sceptic who undermines the certainty of all 
knowledge ; by the sceptics, as a piece of arrogant pre 
sumption that undertakes to erect a new form of dogmatism 
upon the ruins of previous systems ; by the supernatural- 
ists, as a subtly plotted artifice to displace the historical 
foundations of religion, and to establish naturalism without 
polemic ; by the naturalists, as a new prop for the dying 
philosophy of faith ; by the materialists, as an idealistic 
contradiction of the reality of matter ; by the spiritualists, 
as an unjustifiable limitation of all reality to the corporeal 
world, concealed under the name of the domain of experi 
ence ; by the eclectics, as the establishment of a new sect, 
that for self-sufficiency and intolerance never had its equal, 
and that threatened to force the slavish yoke of a system 
upon the neck of German philosophy, which had shortly 
before become free ; by the popular philosophers, finally, 
it has been sometimes called a laughable endeavor, in the 
midst of our illumined and cultured period, to displace 
healthy human understanding by means of scholastic ter 
minologies and subtleties derived from the philosophical 
world. At other times, however, they have regarded it as 
a peculiar stumbling-block, which had made impassable the 
path to popular philosophy, lately become smooth through 

1 Page 105. 


so many easily intelligible writings ; and as a rock upon 
which not only the understanding of hopeful youths, but 
also the philosophical reputation of celebrated men, had 
been already shattered." 

In a measure, this characterization of the reception which 
the critical philosophy experienced on its first appearance 
is applicable also to that which it still meets with even at 
present. In spite of the zealous efforts of the last decades, 
the interpreters even to-day have by no means come to an 
agreement in regard to the fundamental character of the 
critical philosophy. The cause of this obviously lies in 
the manifold aspects which it presents, resulting from the 
different importance that may be attributed to each indi 
vidual factor, and, further, the various ways in which these 
factors may be combined. In order to aid the orientation 
of the reader, I will here at the outset sketch its charac 
teristic features, and briefly indicate the main forms of in 

Kant s theoretical philosophy contains five moments which 
emerge as so many standpoints from which it may be viewed. 
They are as follows : 

(1) The epistemological idealism (phenomenalism): the 
objects of our knowledge are phenomena, not things-in- 
themselves. Antithesis : the naive realism which views 
the objects of our representation as things-in-themselves. 

(2) The formal rationalism : there is knowledge a priori, 
knowledge of objects through pure reason, and this alone is 
scientific knowledge in the proper sense. Antithesis : the 
sensualistic empiricism, or scepticism, which rejects all 
knowledge except that which comes from experience ; i. e., 
from a mere summation of perceptions. 

(3) Positivism, or the critical limitation : the concepts 
of our understanding have objective validity in application 
to phenomena^ or for the sphere of possible experience ; not, 
however, beyond the bounds of experience. Antithesis : the 


metaphysical dogmatism which makes the supersensuous 
the proper object of rational knowledge. 

(4) Metaphysical idealism: things-in-themselves are in 
telligible essences (monads), which are embraced in the 
unity of the most real being: they form an ideal reality, 
the natural law of which is the teleological reference to the 
highest good. Antithesis : the atheistic materialism which 
regards the corporeal world as the absolute reality, and mech 
anism as its absolute law. 

(5) The primacy of the practical reason : our philosoph 
ical view is not brought to a close by the theoretical, but 
by the practical reason, resting in a pure, practical, rational 
faith. Antithesis : the intellectualistic doctrine which re 
gards nothing as true and real except that which the under 
standing can theoretically demonstrate and construe. 

There is no doubt whatever that all of these five moments 
or aspects are to be found in the theoretical philosophy of 
Kant. Doubt arises only in regard to the question how 
their relation to each other and their significance for the 
system as a whole are to be determined. Especially do the 
first three cause difficulties in this connection. We have 
here three conceptions, three methods of interpretation of 
the critical philosophy, standing opposed to each other. 
Each assumes that the particular demonstrandum is con 
tained in only one of the three aspects, while the other 
two are viewed as related to it merely as logical grounds or 

The first places the goal of the demonstration in the ideal 
istic or phenomenalistic element. According to it, the thesis 
of the critical philosophy lies in the proposition that our 
knowledge can never be applicable to reality itself. This 
\ view corresponds with the impression which the Critique of 
Pure Reason made on its first appearance, and it is one which 
may even now easily be obtained from a first reading. Its 
first effect is the destruction of naive realism. The first 


reviews of the work by Garve-Feder and Mendelssohn, who 
called Kant the complete iconoclast, 1 proceeded from this 
impression. Schopenhauer, too (in his Criticism of the 
Kantian Philosophy," appended to the first volume of the 
World as Will and Idea), closely approximates this notion. 
It leads to the classification of Kant with Berkeley. The 
rationalistic moment is either overlooked, or is regarded as 
the a priori ground of demonstration for the idealism. We 
cannot know things-in-themselves, because the subjective 
forms of intelligence, space, time, and the categories, are not 
applicable to things-in-themselves. The critical limitation 
appears as a self-evident consequence ; the fact that we can 
not know things through pure reason, through pure logical 
speculation, scarcely needs any proof. 

Eelated to this interpretation is the one which transfers the 
chief purpose of the Critique to the third moment, namely, 
the critical limitation. This makes Hume Kant s precursor 
and nearest kinsman. In accordance with this view, the 
peculiar dogma of the Critique would be the proposition 
that empirical knowledge alone is possible, and that tran 
scendent metaphysic is impossible. The chief represent 
ative of this interpretation is at present Benno Erdmann. 
He has attempted in numerous writings to establish the 
contention that the main purpose of the Critique is to 
demonstrate that the objective validity of the categories 
does not transcend the limits of possible experience. 

A third view sees the goal of the argumentation of the 
Critique in the second moment, namely, the formal ra 
tionalism. This places Kant in direct opposition to em 
piricism, and particularly to Hume, without, of course, 
failing to recognize that there is a real relation between 
the two. According to this, the primary aim of the criti 
cal philosophy is to establish the possibility of universally 
valid and necessary knowledge in the sciences, particularly 

1 Den alien Zermalmenden. Preface to the Morrjenstunden, 1786. 


in the mathematical sciences of nature. To this is added 
a second purpose, which, regarded from an absolute point of 
view, is of still greater importance : namely, the establish 
ment of the possibility of metaphysical idealism as a 
system of philosophy. Consequently, the phenomenalistic 
element appears as a logical ground for the two other 
aspects. The critical limitation, however, follows as a neces 
sary consequence, since scientific knowledge goes only so far 
as we can create the objects themselves. We can, however, 
/fof course, create only phenomena, not things themselves. 
The subjective forms of perception and thought accordingly, 
so far from being a hindrance to objective knowledge, are 
the condition of its possibility. 

This last view I regard as the correct one. It was the 
view which I maintained in my History of the Development 
of the Kantian Epistemology , and I arn still convinced of 
its truth. Among the younger investigators, E. Adickes 
especially presents this theory in a very clear and forc 
ible manner. I should like to say a few words more in 
denning the standpoint, and to set it forth in opposition 
to the twx) rival interpretations. It seems to me that to 
understand the Critique it is of the utmost importance 
to become acquainted at the very outset with these dif 
ferent possible ways of interpreting it. In this connection 
emphasis should be laid on the fact that it is not at all nec 
essary to discuss either what may be for us the most 
important element of the Kantian philosophy, or in what 
way it has historically had the most important influence. 
Nor need we enter into the question upon what aspect Kant 
himself finally laid the greatest stress. We are concerned 
only with the problem: What according to unbiased philo 
logical investigation appears as the actual goal of the 
argumentation of the critical philosophy, especially of the 
Critique of Pure Reason ? 

According to the phenomenalistic and positivistic view, 


this goal is the proposition that knowledge of things-in- 
themselves (transcendent metaphysic) is for us impossible. 
" Kant s greatest service," Schopenhauer begins by saying, 
" is the differentiation of phenomenon from thing-in-itself, 
upon the basis of the consideration that the intellect stands 
between us and things, and that therefore what they are in 
themselves cannot be known by it." The demonstration of 
the " dream-like creation of the entire world " is the soul 
of the Kantian philosophy. According to Erdmann, Kant s 
real purpose is to " fix the limits of our knowledge in opposi 
tion to dogmatism, and in conjunction with the empirical 
scepticism of Hume." Erdmann characterizes it as a mis 
understanding of the chief aim of the Critique, if one sup 
poses that it does not deal with the proof " that transcendent 
knowledge is for us impossible, but with the demonstration 
how a priori knowledge, and therefore metaphysics as science, 
is possible." l 

In opposition to this, I am of the opinion that the funda 
mental character, not only of the system as a whole, but also 
of the Critique of Pure Reason, is positive : Kant s effort is to 
construct, not to tear down, or at most to tear down only for 
the purpose of making room for the necessary reconstruction. 
What he wants to construct is twofold: (1) a positive epis- / 
temology, namely, a rationalistic theory of the sciences; (2) 
a positive metaphysic, namely, an idealistic philosophical 
view. In regard to the former, he wants to show that 
physics as a real science, i. e., as a system of universal and 
necessary propositions, is possible : he wishes to make the 
mathematical sciences of nature secure against all attacks 
of empirical and sceptical subtleties (like Hume s) by 
basing them upon the sure foundations of the original pos 
session of the intelligence in its immanent forms and func 
tions. He proposes to attain this end by showing how 
we first create the objects of knowledge through our 

1 See especially Kants Kritizismus, pp. 13 ff., 177 ff., 245 ff. 


intellectual functions. As mathematics creates its objects 
by means of construction, so physics likewise in a certain 
manner creates its object, nature, by means of the function 
of the understanding, and in so far as it does this, it can yield 
a priori knowledge of nature. In regard to the second pur 
pose, he wishes to render idealistic metaphysic definitely 
secure against all doubt. But this purpose can by no means 
be carried out without destructive criticism, inasmuch as 
he found already in existence a bad and unstable struc 
ture, to wit, the old dogmatic metaphysics. The purpose, 
however, of the demolition of this metaphysics is not the 
annihilation of the supersensuous world, but, on the con 
trary, the definite establishment of belief in it and of the 
fact that we belong to it. What Kant says in the Preface 
to the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason is 
really his final and deepest conviction : " I had to destroy 
(sham) knowledge to make room for (rational) faith." As 
long as this field continues to be occupied by sophistical 
reasonings, doubt also continues, and faith cannot come to 
fruition. If attempts to prove the existence of God and 
the immortality of the soul cease, the moral certainty of 
the truth and reality of these things will be absolutely 

I am well aware that passages which lend themselves 
to the idealistic, positivistic interpretation are not wanting 
in Kant s writings. In this field, however, conclusions can 
not be drawn on the basis of citations; the verdict must 
be determined from the whole character and tendency of 
Kant s work. And, on this account, I maintain that it is 
not at all possible to construe the Critique of Pure Reason 
as a demonstration of the contention that we do not know 
things as they are in themselves, although this is certainly 
contained in it, or on the other hand, that beyond the limits 
of possible experience knowledge is not possible ; but that 
it is possible to construe it as a demonstration for the 


proposition that there is rational knowledge of reality, 
knowledge in the proper sense, though, to be sure, only of 
objects of possible experience. The three main divisions of 
the work, the ^Esthetic, Analytic, and Dialectic, are based 
upon this argumentation. The ^Esthetic shows that there 
is rational knowledge, in that phenomena, through their in 
clusion in space and time, are subjected to geometry and 
arithmetic. The Analytic shows that there is rational 
knowledge, in that phenomena, through arrangement in the 
orderly coherence of nature, are subjected to the laws of the 
understanding which the formal and transcendental logic 
sets forth. The Dialectic shows that there are necessary 
ideas of reason, which contain regulative principles for the 
use of the understanding, and finally lead us to view reality 
as a whole connected by ideas of purpose. These ideas do 
not indeed furnish knowledge in the proper sense, but only 
principles through which we with subjective necessity deter 
mine reality in its relation to us. And the moral philosophy 
also is projected according to the same schema. Just as 
understanding and reason prescribe a priori laws for nature, 
the practical reason likewise prescribes laws for the will in 
the realm of freedom. 

To show this in detail will be the task of the following 
exposition. I merely remark in this connection that an 
agreement with Erdmann s view would be easier if he did 
not conceive the " critical limitation " in such a negative 
way. Certainly it is essentially such, but it is not peculiarly 
concerned with the erection of a barrier, but with the marking 
out of a field for reason, where fruitful positive work is pos 
sible. This delineation will serve at the same time as a 
protecting boundary against trespassing on the domain of 
the Dialectic, which Kant loves to describe as the vast 
plains of the ocean, where there are only banks of cloud and 
ice, but no land on which to alight. A limitation, from its 
very nature, cannot be a chief end, but only a means for 


the security of a threatened territory. One who refuses to 
concede this must be prepared also to defend the position 
that for a builder, who tears down an old building (the dog- ^ 
rnatic metaphysics) and erects two new ones in its place 
(" pure natural science," and the realm of practical rational 
faith) the demolition of the old structure is nevertheless his 
chief purpose. 

My view has repeatedly been charged with being one 
sided, for example, by Volkelt and Vaihinger. I think, 
however, with injustice. It never entered my mind to 
characterize Kant s system simply and solely by its formal 
rationalism. I see very clearly the other side too, not only 
the rationalistic and idealistic aspect which is related to 
Leibniz and Plato, but also the positivistic (although not 
empirical) side, which approaches the position of Hume. I 
see, too, that Kant strives to maintain a kind of balance 
between them, or rather to maintain a judicial position 
with regard to the two, both of which, under the titles of 
dogmatism and scepticism, he looks upon as the two hereto 
fore prevailing but false tendencies of philosophical thought. 
But this does not keep me from seeing that the Critique 
of Pure Reason is primarily planned as an investigation^ 
designed to establish, in opposition to Hume s scepticism, the 
objective validity of the mathematico-physical sciences and 
the possibility of metaphysics, as a means of rising to the 
mundus intelligibilis. And further, I hold that Kant in his 
epistemology and philosophical point of view stands nearer to 
Leibniz than to Locke, a statement which is not, of course, 
inconsistent with the fact that his polemic against Leibniz 
and Wolff comes out more strongly than that against Locke 
and Hume. He lived in Germany and lectured every year on 
Baumgarten s metaphysics. Every polemic, from the nature 
of the case, is aimed more directly against opponents with 
whom one has more in common than against those who stand 
further off, in order to emphasize the difference. Had Kant 


lived among genuine empiricists and materialists, he would 
have left absolutely no doubt but that he ranked himself 
with the rationalists and idealists. Besides, he himself 
remarks that the Critique of Pure Reason may well serve as 
" the proper apology for Leibniz," in the noteworthy con 
cluding section of the article against Eberhard, where he 
interprets Leibniz s main principles in the spirit of the 
critical philosophy. 1 

1 VI., pp. 65 ff. 



KANT is the founder of epistemology in Germany. Of course 
not in the sense that investigations of this sort were not in 
existence before his time. Keflections about the nature and 
possibility of knowledge have everywhere accompanied philo 
sophical speculation. But Kant was the first among the 
German philosophers to separate these reflections- from meta 
physics, and to make of them an independent discipline, 
not indeed under the name of epistemology (which first 
came into use in the second half of our century), but under 
the title transcendental philosophy. The concept tran 
scendental was coined by him to indicate an investigation 
devoted, not to objects themselves, but to the form of our 
knowledge, particularly to the form and possibility of pure 
rational knowledge. 

Unfortunately, Kant did not make the form of empirical 
knowledge the object of his investigation ; otherwise new and 
more definite problems would have arisen for his transcen 
dental theory. 

On the other hand, the transcendental philosophy has 
retained a very essential relation to metaphysics. Indeed, 
it may be said that in a certain sense it has absorbed the old 
metaphysics. Previously, at least in the dogmatic philoso 
phy, the reverse relation existed ; metaphysics contained in 
itself the theory of knowledge, while with Kant all the chief 
problems of metaphysics appear in the Critique, the on- 
tological as well as the psychological, cosmological, and 
theological. Unfortunately, again, metaphysical problems 
demand an independent treatment, not merely an episte- 


mological one. With Kant their rights are not fully recog 
nized ; they are not considered from the standpoint of their 
own nature, but settled from the transcendental point of 
view. The metaphysical problems, in regard to the soul 
especially, have suffered from this treatment. Moreover, 
Kant in this matter follows the procedure of the English 
philosophers, and this fact has lent support to the view that 
the critical denial of the old metaphysic is the chief purpose 
of the Critique of Pure Reason, particularly as the promised 
positive development of the metaphysic was never fulfilled. 

I shall attempt now, in the first place, briefly to set forth 
Kant s position in epistemology. Epistemology has two 
essential problems, the question in^regard to the nature of 
knowledge, and the question in regard to its origin. Hack 
affords an opportunity for the rise of great differences in 
point of view. In answer to the question about the nature 
of knowledge and of its relation to reality, realism and phe 
nomenalism (epistemological idealism) give contradictory 
replies. Realism sees in knowledge the adequate represen 
tation of a reality which exists independently of it; phe 
nomenalism regards this relation as impossible, and holds 
that thought and existence are distinct and utterly incom 
parable. In answer to the question about the origin of 
knowledge, empiricism and rationalism give contradictory 
replies. The former maintains that all knowledge arises from 
experience, ultimately from perception ; the latter contends 
that true knowledge arises from the understanding or from 
reason, which contain original principles of knowledge, and 
that out of these science and philosophy are spontaneously 
created by means of thinking. 

The point of departure of all reflection about knowledge, 
the standpoint of the common understanding, is naive real 
ism. Phenomenalism arises as critical reflection about the 
nature of sense-perception ; sensations of sight, hearing, 
smell, and tastecannot possibly represent absolute qualities 


of things. Hence, if our knowledge of things comes from 
perception, we have only phenomenal knowledge. This 
view is, however, further opposed by a reflective realism, 
which frees true knowledge from sense-perception and 
derives it from reason. Rationalism thus becomes the 
basis for reflective, philosophical realism, and it is wont 
at the same time to form a union with metaphysical 
idealism, or the theory that reality, in and for itself is 
ideal, and capable of being comprehended in thought; that 
it is of the same intrinsic nature as thought, and therefore 
penetrable by it. 

This development of thought is clearly marked in the 
history of Greek philosophy. The path leads from naive 
realism, through the sensationalism and phenomenalism of 
the Sophists, to Plato s epistemological rationalism and real 
ism, which is bound up with metaphysical idealism. In 
modern philosophy, which has Greek thought before it, the 
two tendencies have from the beginning run parallel. Real 
istic rationalism, which was originally predominant, found 
its home in France, the Netherlands, and Germany, with 
Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz as its chief representatives. 
Phenomenalistic empiricism had its home in England, with 
Locke and Hume as its leaders. Rationalism tends towards 
a dogmatic and idealistic metaphysic ; empiricism tends 
towards agnosticism, and indeed (as in the case of the 
French philosophy of the eighteenth century) enters also 
into relation with materialism, although this union is, prop 
erly speaking, impossible. 

We are now able to define exactly Kant s position in epis- 
temology. He unites for the first time phenomenalism and 
rationalism. Previously, rationalism had regularly been used 
as a means to support epistemological realism. Kant, in 
stead of this, uses phenomenalism (transcendental idealism) 
as a logical ground for a formal rationalism (knowledge of 
objects from pure reason). Without doubt it is this union, 


conflicting with the traditional view, which has greatly ob 
scured the way to a correct understanding of his philosophy. 
And, in addition, the relation to metaphysics further com 
plicates the difficulty ; for rationalism, elsewhere employed 
as a substructure for a dogmatic metaphysic, is here united 
with Humian positivism. 


THE Critique of Pure Reason, although originally intended 
only as a propaedeutic for the new system, is of such prime 
importance that it must always form the centre of every 
exposition. By its form and content, it dominates all suc 
ceeding writings. Since every study of the Kantian phi 
losophy must proceed from it, I have thought it appropriate 
to follow here, too, the external procedure of the treatise and 
to pay some attention to the systematic form, chiefly for the 
purpose of aiding the beginner to free himself from this 
very form. 1 

1 The Critique of Pure Reason is so far the only work in modern philosophy 
to which a philological commentary, in the strict sense, has been devoted : 
H. Vaihinger, Kommentar zur Kr, d. r. V. Up to this time two volumes have 
appeared (1881-92); they cover the Introduction and the ^Esthetic. With 
out doubt it is a work of the most self-sacrificing industry, the most con 
scientious labor, and great acuteness, and it is indispensable for those who 
intend making investigations in this field. Whether or not the collection 
and critical examination of every opinion that has ever been passed on 
Kant was necessary and serviceable for the end in view, I pass over 
without discussion. One thing at least is thereby accomplished ; one receives 
a downright overpowering impression of the extent to which this work 
has occupied the minds of later thinkers, as well as of the prodigious 
burden of problems that have attached themselves to it, for which Kant 
himself is not without blame. After Garve read the Critique for the first 
time, he is said to have remarked : " If I had written the book, I should 
have gone crazy over it." What would he have said if he had read this 
commentary in addition ? 

E. Adickes s edition (1889) is to be recommended for the beginner who 
desires a first rapid acquaintance; it facilitates by means of marginal and 
foot notes the survey of content and connection. 



The title indicates a judicial investigation and decision 
regarding the legitimacy of the claims to objective validity 
made by pure reason and by the concepts to which it gives 
rise. It is associated with the expression "Critique of 
Taste," in connection with which the phrase " Critique of 
Eeason " is to be found for the first time in Kant in an 
announcement of his lectures for 1765, 1 where it is used as 
a description of the direction which Kant intends to give to 
his lectures upon Logic. 2 

The name "Critique of Pure Eeason" first appears in the 
letter to M. Herz of February 21st., 1772, 3 as a characteriza 
tion of the work that he hoped soon to publish. In a letter of 
the year 1771, the title for a similarly planned work is given 
as "The Limits of Sense and Eeason." And the plan of 
such a work, of a " propaedeutic science," which "teaches 
the distinction between sense and intellectual knowledge," 
appears even in the Dissertation of 1770. 4 Perhaps there 
is also in the name a play upon the meaning of " an analytic 
science," as indeed in the Greek word the two meanings 
" to analyze " and " to judicially arbitrate " shade off into one 
another. There is no doubt but that the Critique is essen 
tially a conscious attempt to survey and arbitrate boundaries. 5 

1 II., p. 319. 

2 Cf. Baumgarten s Metaphysik (p. 607), where the word " critique " is used 
also in a double meaning : cesthetica critica as ars formandi gustum, and 
" critique " in the general sense as scientia regularum de perfectione vel imperfec- 
tione distincte judicandi. Asa general thing the prototypes for many of Kant s 
termini are to be found in Baumgarten; even his propensity for definitions 
(as it appears, for example, in the Anthropology, together Avith a fondness for 
adding Latin terms), is to be referred to the influence of Baumgarten. 

8 VIII., p. 691. 

4 8. 

5 [The German text here plays upon the words : scheidekunst (which is 
usually an equivalent for " chemistry," but seems in this context to denote 


Fischer, and Vaihinger following him, properly call atten 
tion to the fact that Kant always manifests a propensity to 
appear as an arbitrator in philosophical quarrels. And that 
is just the role he imposes upon himself in the Critique, 
arbiter in the great suit between rationalism and empiricism, 
dogmatism and scepticism. And the decree which is to 
put an end to the old feud is a demarcation of boundaries. 
Both are right in a certain domain : rationalism, in its deter 
mination of scientific method and in its metaphysical stand 
point; empiricism, in limiting scientific knowledge to the 
sphere of possible experience. 

Concerning the origin and composition of the work, it is 
obvious that Kant s remark in a letter to Mendelssohn can 
not mean that he composed the book as a whole in the 
brief time mentioned. In that letter he says that " the re 
sult of at least twelve years of reflection was put in shape 
within about four or five months, as it were on the wing ; 
while the greatest attention was bestowed upon the content, 
little care was expended on the style, or on making it 
easy for the reader." l Undoubtedly extensive preliminary 
sketches and detailed elaborations lay before him, which 
were made use of when the text assumed definite shape, 
whether they were embodied in their previous form or 
revised before insertion. This supposition is confirmed not 
only by the mechanical impossibility of completing a work 
of such content and size in a few months (especially if the 
time occupied by his lectures is taken into account), but also 
by the numerous references to his work in his letters during 

any " analytic science "), scheiden (to " separate," " analyze," or " take apart "), 
and entscheiden (to "arbitrate," "pass sentence on," or "take a part") while 
the Critique is called a Grenzscheiderin (" inspector " or " surveyor " of the 
"frontiers" or "boundaries"), and Kant himself is represented as a 
Schiedsrichter ("arbitrator" or "referee"). The Greek verb Kpivca also 
means to "separate," "choose," " decide " a contest or dispute, "judge of," 
" estimate," etc. TRS.] 
l VIII, p. 681. 



the seventies, l and also by the character of the completed 
work. The manifold incongruities, the great independence, 
to say nothing of the marked contrariety of the main divi 
sions, and the numerous repetitions, are intelligible only if 
one assumes that, when Kant came to write his copy for 
the printer, he had at hand a number of sketches, more or 
less worked out, the composition of which may have been 
occasioned by his annual lectures on metaphysics ; and he 
either used these without making any changes, or, as the 
case may be, adapted them to the context with more or less 
thorough editorial revision. 2 

The most important point that can be made out about the 
composition seems to me to be this. The fundamental ideas 
of all the chief divisions arose independently of the system 
atic dress with which the Critique of Pure Reason is now 
invested. The main ideas which now form the content 
of the transcendental ^Esthetic, Analytic, and Dialectic 
were fixed before the schema of a " transcendental logic " 
was discovered. 

1 There is even a sketch of a dedication to Lambert, who had died as early 
as 1777. See Erdmann, Reflexionen, No. 1. 

2 Adickes has attempted in his edition to trace the chronology of the ori 
gin of the individual sections. Much will remain doubtful, for revision 
necessarily makes the seams as invisible as possible. In many cases correct 
guesses will be made. But clearly the task as a whole cannot be completely 
carried out. Kant himself could not have done it even with the manuscript 
for the Critique of Pure Reason in his hand. Cf. Adickes, Kants Systematik 
als systembildender Faktor (1887) ; Kantstudien (1895) ; also the works of Ar- 
noldt and Vaihinger. The Reflexionen zur Kr. d. r. V. and the Lose Blat 
ter furnish much interesting material for the history of the development of 
the ideas, but the attempt at a reconstruction of the history of the origin of 
the Critique from this material will always leave considerable scope for 
individual opinion. I am almost inclined to say that the chief worth of 
such labors consists in the fact that they show in a forcible manner how 
accidental, arbitrary, and variable the structure of the system really is, 
although it is apparently so fixed. All of the ideas that appear in the 
Architectonic of the Critique of Pure Reason as fixed supports of the 
system are exhibited here in endless variations of content and of connection 
with the whole. 


The objects of the investigation were determined by the 
customary content of the traditional metaphysics, as it used 
to be treated under the heads, ontology, psychology, cosmol 
ogy, and theology. The most important concepts and prob 
lems were: space, time, matter, motion, unity, plurality, 
substance, inherence, causality, reciprocity, reality, possi 
bility, necessity, the soul, immortality, the world, infinity, 
eternity, creation, God. 

All of these things, which had been previously treated 
from the dogmatic standpoint, are dealt with in the Critique 
of Pure Reason from the transcendental point of view, i. e., 
from the point of view of the question : How far is knowl 
edge a priori, which possesses objective validity, possible by 
means of these concepts ? That they all have their roots in 
the mind itself and are created a priori, Kant never doubted ; 
he never shared Locke s doctrine of the " white paper." The 
new question that he raises is : How far can such a priori 
concepts possess, in spite of their a priori character, objective 
validity ? And for this question he discovers the strange 
and " contradictory " answer that it is due simply to their 
a priori nature. Thus space and time concepts with their 
derivatives are objectively valid in as much as space and 
time outside of us are identical with space and time in us, or 
in as much as the objects of perception are created by the 
act of perceiving. The ontological concepts (later called 
categories) possess objective validity, since the objects them 
selves are created by the active understanding. On the other 
hand, the cosmological and theological concepts in general 
have no objective validity, just because their objects are not 
posited by thought, but are supposed to exist independently 
of it. 

At first, this new mode of treatment is applied to the 
space and time concepts. The transcendental basing of 
mathematics upon the apriority and ideality of the forms 
of perception already appears in the Dissertation of 1770 


as a fully developed doctrine. It is transferred without 
essential alterations to the ^Esthetic of 1781. But also 
the subject-matter of the Analytic and Dialectic is here at 
least remotely suggested. In particular, there is an antici 
pation of the discussion contained in the fourth section of 
the Analytic, in which the possibility of metaphysics in 
general is based upon the concepts of pure reason, and also 
of that contained in the fifth section of the Dialectic, in 
which the distinction between a sensible and an intelligible 
world is presented as the solution for metaphysical prob 
lems. In the seventies, then, Kant had come to see clearly 
that there is an essential difference between the " ontolog- 
ical " and the " cosmological and theological " concepts ; the 
former are " objectively " valid, that is, valid for all possible 
objects of thought, the latter are dialectical. 

For this last group of ideas, then, the form of a system 
of transcendental Logic with an Analytic and Dialectic is 
adopted. Then to this system the doctrine of the space and 
time concepts is adapted as a "transcendental ^Esthetic." 
The motive for using the name " transcendental logic " was 
obviously the discovery, which was made late and carried out 
with difficulty, that the ontological concepts could be de 
rived from the classification of judgments of formal logic. 
And hence the ideas which were in all essential respects 
already established were forced into the form of the Analytic 
and Dialectic. The long introductory sections in the Ana 
lytic and Dialectic have the task of showing that we are here 
really and truly concerned with a system of logic, although 
& transcendental instead of a formal logic. The traditional 
division of logic into a doctrine of concepts, judgments, and 
syllogisms, as well as the division into a doctrine of elements 
and a doctrine of method, is adopted in its entirety. Cate 
gories, ideas, and all, are dressed up according to this schema, 
which is added to and subtracted from in order to carry out 
this plan. At times it may seem as if Kant is inclined to see 



in this arduous labor the chief significance of his work. His 
feeling of its importance, however, did not prevent his fail 
ing to sustain the schema consistently. In particular, the 
actual working out does not correspond with the Dialectic 
as the doctrine of the Syllogistic. 1 

1 If the schema were carried out strictly, something like the following 
headings of the divisions would be reached : 


Transcendental Doctrine of Ele 

A. Transcendental Theory of Per 


I. Transcendental Theory of 

1. Metaphysical Deduction. 

2. Transcendental Deduction. 
II. Transcendental Theory of 


1. Metaphysical Deduction. 

2. Transcendental Deduction. 
General Remarks. 

B. Transcendental Logic, or Theory 

of Pure Thinking. 
[I. Transcendental Analytic, or 
Theory of the Constitu 
tive or Objectively Valid 
Forms of Thought.] 

1. Transcendental Doctrine of 


a) Metaphysical Deduction 

of the Pure Concepts of 
the Understanding. 

b) Transcendental Deduc 

tion of the Pure Con 
cepts of the Under 

2. Transcendental Doctrine of 


a) On the Sensualization of 

the Pure Concepts of 
the Understanding. 

b) Systematic Exposition and 

Transcendental Deduc- 



Transcendental Doctrine of Ele 

A. Transcendental ^Esthetic. 

I. Of Space. 

1. Metaphysical Exposition. 

2. Transcendental Exposition. 
II. Of Time. 

1. Metaphysical Exposition. 

2. Transcendental Exposition. 
Explications, Remarks. 

B. Transcendental Logic. 

I. Transcendental Analytic. 

1. Analytic of Concepts. 

a) Guides for the Discovery 

of all Pure Concepts of 
the Understanding. 

b) Transcendental Deduc 

tion of the Pure Con 
cepts of the Under 

2. Analytic of Principles. 

a) On the Schematization of 

the Pure Concepts of 
the Understanding. 

b) System of all Principles 

of the Pure Concepts 




At the beginning of his work, Kant formulates the prob 
lem in the form of the question : How are synthetic judgments 

-tion of the Objectively 
Valid, Pure Judgments 
of the Understanding. 
Remark : Caution against the Tran 
scendent Employment of the Cate 
Appendix : Critique of the Leibnizian 


[II. Transcendental Dialectic, or 
Theory of the Dialectical 
Forms of Thought.] 
3. Transcendental Doctrine of 
the Syllogism. 

a) On Reason as the Faculty 

of Drawing Conclusions. 

b) On Ideas as Concepts of 

Pure Reason. 

o) Metaphysical Deduction 
of the Ideas from the 
Forms of the Syllo 

0) Systematic Exposition 
of the Ideas and Con 
clusions of Pure Rea 
son, and Proofs of 
their Objective Inva 

1. Categorical Syllo 

gism, Idea of the 

2. Hypothetical Syllo 

gism, Idea of the 

3. Disjunctive Syllo 

gism, Idea of God. 
7) Transcendental Deduc 
tion of the Ideas as 
Regulative Principles. 
Transcendental Doctrine of Meth 
ods ; or, General Remarks Ser 
viceable for the Doctrine of the 
Knowledge of Pure Reason. 

of the Understand 

c) On the Ground of the 
Differentiation of Ob 
jects into Phenomena 
and Noumena. 
Appendix : On the Amphiboly of 

the Concepts of Reflection. 
II. Transcendental Dialectic. 

a) On Reason in General, etc. 

b) On the Concepts of Pure 


c) On the Dialectical Conclu 

sions of Pure Reason. 

1. On the Paralogisms of 

Pure Reason. 

2. The Antinomies of Pure 


3. The Ideal of Pure Rea 


Appendix to the Transcendental Dia 

Transcendental Doctrine of Method. 


a priori possible ? In later expositions, 1 he is fond of em 
phasizing this formula and its exceptional value. In the 
Critique of Pure Reason it does not play any important 
role. From this fact one may perhaps conclude that it 
never was of supreme importance, and that the Introduction 
may well have been added as an afterthought. I agree 
with Adickes in holding that the investigation was begun 
and carried on without the formula. 2 In my opinion, 
it would have been no misfortune if Kant had never 
discovered it at all. The distinction between synthetic 
and analytic judgments, which was afterwards so much 
extolled by him that it deserves to be classic so far as 
the Critique of Pure Reason is concerned, has contributed, 
by a kind of false clearness, rather to obscure than to eluci 
date the problem. The formula that would have described 
the real problem more clearly and adequately is this : By 
what means and how far is it possible through pure reason 
(a priori) to attain to knowledge of objects? In reality 
the Kantian formula reduces itself to this : Synthetic judg 
ments, in distinction from analytic judgments, which have 
only logical validity, are judgments with objective validity. 
The proposition in the Dialectic, "all existential propositions 
are synthetic," can be converted also into "all synthetic 
propositions are existential propositions." " The relation 
which arises per analysin is logical ; that which arises per 
synthesin is real." This formula is taken by Erdmann out of 
a lecture of Kant s on metaphysics. 3 

1 Proleg., Controversy against Eberhard. 

2 From Kant s own marginal notes to the first edition (published by B. 
Erdmann, Nachtrdqe zur Kr. d, r. V.), relating to the projected revision that 
we now have as the second edition, it is evident that Kant once intended at 
the end of the Analytic to render the whole discussion more pointed by refer 
ence to the question : How are synthetic judgments a priori possibly, either 
(1) by means of concepts, or (2) by means of construction of concepts 
(p. 37) ? a sign that he himself felt that the problem of the Introduction 
was really isolated from the treatment given in the text. 

3 Philos. Monalshefte, 1884, p. 74. 


Formally, indeed, Kant defines the distinction otherwise. 
We shall later see the reason for this. At the beginning 
of the Critique and of the Prolegomena he explains it by 
pointing out that in all judgments a twofold relation is pos 
sible between predicate and subject. " Either the predicate 
B belongs to the subject A, as somewhat which is contained 
(implicitly) in the concept A, or B lies completely outside 
of the concept A, although it stands in connection with it. 
In the former case I call the judgment analytic/ in the 
other, synthetic. " The former may also be termed " expli 
cative," the latter, "augmentative" judgments. For ex 
ample, the judgment, " all bodies are extended " is analytic, 
and is a priori established; the judgment "a body is heavy" 
is synthetic. 

It is easy to see, and it has been often remarked, that this 
distinction is an accidental and passing one. Analytic judg 
ments always go back to synthetic judgments the synthe 
sis, namely, through which the concept is fashioned. The 
judgment, " Gold is a yellow metal," is oftentimes cited as an 
example of an analytic judgment. Evidently this judgment 
presupposes two others that are not analytic : a judgment of 
experience that there is a body which has all the properties 
I include under the name " metal," and which in addition is 
yellow; and secondly, a lexicographic statement that this 
body is called " gold " in the English language. The judgment 
is " analytic " only so far as the word together with its mean 
ing is posited as given, and its particular elements are expli 
cated by reflection. In this state of affairs, the individual is 
originally over against the language, the word is given to 
him, and he discovers through analysis the elements of its 
meaning. But, as a matter of fact, the meaning of the word 
is not originally given, and it is further not something abso 
lutely fixed. " Gold is yellow " is an analytic judgment only 
so long as no body is discovered which possesses all the prop 
erties of gold except that it is white or red. We then should 


presumably augment the concept " gold " by omitting the 
mark " yellow," as we should omit the mark " black " from the 
concept (meaning of the word) " crow " as soon as we came 
across a " white crow." On the other hand, the mark 
" black " could by no means be taken away from the concept 
of a " black-horse " without destroying the concept itself. Its 
only meaning is " a horse which is black." l It is evident 
how inadequate these distinctions are to afford the basis for 
an epistemological treatise. Analytic judgments are really 
judgments about the content of word-meanings. Thus the 
judgment, " a dragon is a winged, fire-spitting animal with a 
snake-like body," is an analytic, and therefore an a priori, 
certain, universal, and necessary judgment. 

The case is no better with the synthetic judgment. Be 
sides judgments of experience, mathematical judgments are 
said to be synthetic. Take Kant s favorite example : 7 and 
5 are 12 ; that is a synthetic judgment, for it is in no way 
possible to discover through analysis the concept of twelve 
from the combination of 7 and 5. But how is it with the 
judgment : 3 and 10 are 13 ? Is it not after all in this case 
possible to find from the union of 3 and 10 the concept 
thirteen, and likewise from 3 times 100,000 the concept 
three-hundred-thousand ? Or, on the other hand, from 
the concept twenty-five to find through analysis that it 
is the sum of 5 and 20 ? As a matter of course we could 
not find in the first instance that the name of the sum of 7 
and 5 was twelve ; and if thirteen were called twelve, the 
judgment, otherwise analytic or tautological, that 3 and 10 
are thirteen would be also a synthetic judgment. That which 
really occurs in all arithmetical judgments is merely the re 
arrangement of the units and their sums according to the 
schema of the decimal system. The sums of units up to 10 
are designated by special names, and so are the 10 X 10, and 

1 [As the author observes in the text, the German word Rappe ( black- 
horse) is etymologically identical with Rabe (raven). Tus.] 


10 X 100 (hundred, thousand) ; the other numbers are ex 
pressed derivatively in the form of addition and multiplication. 
And arithmetical operations are nothing but transpositions, 
for more convenient comprehension, of groups of units thus 
formed : 176 and 149 are 325, i. e., one and one hundred are 
two hundred ; seven and four tens are eleven tens, or one 
hundred (ten-tens) and one ten, or thus, three hundred and 
one ten ; nine and six are = ten and five ; hence, three hun 
dred and twenty (two tens) and five. And the universal 
axiom that lies at the basis of all arithmetic is that the sum 
of units is not altered by their transposition in the decimal 

The real and essential distinction that lies concealed 
behind this separation of synthetic and analytic judgments 
is, as has been already said, something else. It is the dis 
tinction between two kinds of knowledge which was vaguely 
before Locke s mind, but was clearly defined by Hume. This 
is the distinction between pure conceptual (mathematical) 
knowledge and knowledge of matters of fact. The difference 
may be stated in this way : In the former case, the under 
standing is absolutely productive. It itself creates the objects 
with which it deals. The point, the straight line, parallel 
lines, the triangle, the circle, the cone, are to be found no 
where in the world except in imaginative representations fash 
ioned in accordance with the constructive principle of the 
definition. And thus in arithmetic the understanding itself 
furnishes the concepts of sums, products, powers, roots. And 
hence it is able to see what kind of relations occur in these 
constructions that have been called into existence solely by 
the concept. Hence there is obviously no necessity for the 
understanding to go beyond the sphere of what it has itself 
posited. The understanding does not in geometry have to 
appeal to experience in order to prove its propositions. On 
the contrary, it demonstrates them from the constructive 
principle furnished by the definition. And it is just on this 


account that geometrical propositions are universal and nec 
essary. They hold good for the concept or for the system, 
which is determined in a purely conceptual fashion. On 
the other hand, simply for this reason, they are not valid 
for objects, i. e., for objects which exist independently of 
the understanding. 

The knowledge of matters of fact, on the contrary, as in 
the natural sciences, astronomy and physics, or in the men 
tal sciences, history, and the science of language, has an es 
sentially different form. The objects in this case are not 
produced by the understanding, but are found by it. Its 
task is to reach concepts and formulae by means of which 
the object and their relations, as they exist, can be compre 
hended. Therefore definition and demonstration are not 
possible here in the same sense as in mathematics. The 
concepts of objects are formed by comparing the facts given 
in perception ; and, by observing their behavior, laws are 
discovered and proved true. Consequently, no strict univer 
sality and necessity is here attainable. For necessity exists 
only where logical deduction occurs, and universality in the 
proper sense is attributed only to judgments about concepts, 
or to pure representations conceptually constructed ; whereas 
judgments about objects given in experience attain only to 
relative universality, i. e., as far as previous experience shows ; 
and they always remain subject to modification by further 
experience. There is no physical law that cannot be changed 
and transformed by new experience. 

That is the essential distinction between forms of knowl 
edge as Hume defined it. There are sciences of the concept 
ual world produced by the understanding, and sciences that 
undertake to inform us about given matters of fact. 

From the standpoint we have now reached, Kant s problem 
may be developed as follows : He finds that hitherto men 
had always attempted to determine the nature and con 
stitution of reality by means of the pure activity of the 


understanding, independently of experience. This was the 
attitude of metaphysics, which in distinction from physics 
pretends to be pure knowledge. Philosophers have always 
endeavored to determine by mere thinking such propositions 
as that matter neither comeg into nor goes out of existence, 
that everything in the world has a cause, or that the world 
must have a beginning in time, a first unconditional cause 
of its being and its motion, etc. These are, therefore, 
nothing but mere propositions. Yet doubtless they claim 
objective validity, and it has been supposed that they are 
capable of being proved by means of pure reason. Indeed, it 
is obvious that they can in no way be proved from experience. 
The question which at this point arises, then, is this : How is 
it thinkable that that which pure thought establishes as 
truth which is evident to it, is binding also for objective 
reality that exists independently of the understanding ? 
Whence the objective (not merely logical) validity of such 
propositions of the pure understanding ? 1 

This is just the Kantian problem. That logical proposi 
tions possess logical validity validity in the conceptual 
world is evident, and it is likewise evident that experien 
tial propositions possess objective validity. _But the great 
problem is how propositions that are not based on experience. 
butT on pure thought, can T nevertheless, possess validity for 
the_world^of objects. Or is Hume right in saying that all 
such propositions are impossible ? 

In this latter case, indeed, metaphysics, and not only meta 
physics, but ultimately science in general, would be impos 
sible. Kant insists that there must be a positive solution of 
the problem. And Kant discovers the solution. He finds the 
clue to the solution in mathematics^the guiding star of all 
rationalistic epistemology. Geometrical propositions are, 

1 o/. the original conception of the problem contained in the oft-mentioued 
letter to Herz of the year 1772 with the Reftexionen zur transsc. JDeduktion, 
particularly No. 925. 


without doubt, pure truths of the understanding, not empiri 
cal generalizations. At the same time they possess objective 
validity. What the mathematician discovers by means of 
construction and calculation holds good for the corporeal 
world, and is verified by measurement. How does this anti 
cipation of reality on the part of the understanding come 
about ? How is the objective validity of mathematical judg 
ments to be construed ? Kant answers that it is because the 
space in which geometry projects its a priori constructions, 
that is to say, the space in our representation, is precisely the 
same space as that in which bodies are. Space is not an em 
pirical datum, but an original construction, a rnere form of our 
perception and therewith of our perceptual world. Bodies 
in space are nothing but objectified perceptions, and there 
fore they are subjected to the laws of perception; conse 
quently, everything that geometry establishes for space and 
spatial representations in general holds good also for filled 
space or the corporeal world. Now the same principle, 
Kant discovers, is true of the laws of the understanding in 
general. The corporeal world is merely the construction of 
the understanding ; therefore the laws of the understanding 
are to ipso laws of nature. Obviously, the same thing does 
not hold true for the reality which is not a construction of 
the understanding. For it, the laws of the understanding 
have no validity, any more than our geometry has for a 
world of things that is not in space. 

That is the formula under which Kant s critical investiga 
tion is really carried on, and the form in which the problem 
is solved by him. This appears with especial clearness from 
the Preface to the second edition of the Critique. How 
does it happen that, in place of this definite formula which 
Kant employs in the treatise (" How can the understanding 
know objects a priori ? "), he in the Introduction makes use 
of the indefinite and transient formula : " How are syntnetic 
judgments a priori possible ? " When we attempt to explain 


this we seem to be led to the following considerations : 
First, Kant starts out from the position that all knowledge 
a priori is to be comprehended under the same formula as 
mathematics. As mathematics is the most certain and 
indubitable of sciences, he wants, as it is put in the Prolego 
mena, to bring metaphysics into the good company of mathe 
matics. But unquestionably only pure mathematics is 
meant, which remains within the conceptual world and the 
representations of its own construction, not, however, 
mathematics applied to reality; it was the necessity and 
universality of the latter, rather than of the former, that 
Hume had attacked. Hence mathematics cannot without 
further modification be brought under the formula, " a priori 
knowledge of objects." Kant, therefore, sought for some 
notion that for the time being leaves the question of objec 
tivity in suspenso. And at this point he hit upon the con 
ception of the synthetic proposition, ill contradistinction to 
the analytic, which is developed from the pure logical analy 
sis of a given concept. The twofold concept analytic- 
synthetic had long been familiar to him. As far back as 
in the essay on Clearness (1763), mathematical definiiions as 
synthetic (gemaclite) were contrasted with metaphysical defi 
nitions as analytic (developed from given concepts). After 
much vacillation in the determination and application of the 
concepts, 1 he finally comes to define the concepts of meta 
physics, too, as synthetic. For this advance the critique of 
the ontological argument (God s existence cannot be shown 
from an analysis of the idea of God), and the recognition of 
the activity of the understanding as a synthesis of percep 
tions, may have furnished the impetus. And thus he 
constructs the universal formula : " How can a priori propo 
sitions acquire objective validity?" Under this formula 
metaphysics and mathematics are both included. This is a 
favorable omen. The most contested science is placed to- 

1 Erdmann, Reflexionen, II., pp. 49 ff., 153ff. 


gether with the one that is most certain and unimpugned 
for similar treatment before the bar of reason. 

The second point to be noticed is that Kant always at 
bottom adhered to the rationalistic view of the nature of 
the concept. The very notion of analytic judgments 
presupposes that concepts are fixed entities which the under 
standing discovers and clarifies by means of analysis. That 
is the view that realistic rationalism in all its forms has 
maintained. True concepts as such have reality; every 
thinkabfe essence has at least an implicit claim to reality, 
a kind of half-reality. This is implied in its inner possi 
bility. When this claim is realized we have reality in the 
the full sense. Wolff expresses this in the proposition : 
"Existence is the fulfilment of possibility (complementum 
possibilitatis) ; " a proposition which is based on the Leibniz- 
ian theory of creation, that among the numberless possible 
things that are in God s intellect, he selects and gives formal 
reality to those which in their totality set forth the highest 
degree of possible reality or perfection. 1 With Spinoza, 
however, the spheres of possibility and of reality coincide ; 
reality for him is nothing but conceivability, necessary logi 
cal connection in the world of concepts. Kant began in the 
sixties to cut loose from this rationalistic position which he 
had at first occupied, but he never entirely abandoned it. 
Concepts remained for him ready-made entities that can be 
taken apart and reduced to their elements. This procedure 
yields analytic judgments which are necessary a priori. 
One can, however, also add predicates to them that cannot 
be deduced from their essential marks. The result of this 
is synthetic judgments. 2 

1 Baumgarten, Metaphysik, 810: Existentia est realitas cum essentta et 
reltquis realitatibus compossibilis. 

2 Cf. the long explanation in the polemic directed against Eberhard (VI., 
pp. 46 if.). A concept contains two kinds of marks: (1) those that pertain 
ad essentiam s. ad internam possibilitatem ; (2) those that are unessential, 
extra-essentialia, which can be separated from the concept without affecting 


In this connection the fact that the predicate being or 
real can never be contained as a mark in the nature of a 
concept is of prime importance. The judgment in which 
it is attributed to an essence, is always synthetic. The 
statement of the problem determines the whole essential 
structure of the Critique. There are fixed concepts, whose 
objective reality the ^Esthetic establishes. The objective 
reality likewise of the ontological concepts, causality and 
substantiality, is guaranteed in the Analytic by means of 
the transcendental deduction. Finally, the objective valid 
ity of the ideas of the soul as a simple immaterial substance, 
and of God as the ens realissimum, is investigated in the 
Dialectic and found to be indemonstrable, because they can 
not be represented in perception. But Kant does not dis 
card these ideas. As ideas, though as problematic ones, 
they remain a necessary condition of our conceptual world. 

In all the detailed discussion of Hume s position, the 
same rationalistic tendency of Kant s thought, his belief in 
a kind of pre-existence of concepts, comes out very clearly. 
Hume asks : How must I conceive of the notion of causality 
for it to be capable of formulating the actual consequence, 
as it appears in the empirical sciences which employ the 
idea ? Kant starts out from a well-established conception : 
Cause expresses a necessary relation between one moment 
of reality, A, and another, B ; and he asks how objective 

its nature. The former are essentialia constitutiva ; the latter, derivatives 
(rationata). The former determine the real nature, and they are in analytic 
judgments attributed to the concept ; on the other hand, the latter, also 
called attributa, are likewise ascribed to the concept in a priori judgments, 
but either in analytic or in synthetic judgments. " A body is divisible," is 
an analytic judgment, which follows from the essential mark of extension. 
" A substance is permanent," is a synthetic judgment, which must be estab 
lished by something outside of the concept. The lengthy explanation that 
follows is a sample of the fruitless way in which Kant struggles, first one way 
and then another, over these concepts of analytic and synthetic. Cf. also 
the chapter on Definition in the Logick (VIII., pp. 134 ff.) and the Reflexionen, 
II., Nos. 434 ff., 942, 1351 ff. 


validity can be ascribed to this concept. Hume s recon 
struction of the concept, making the relation of cause and 
effect nothing but the perceptually given relation of regular 
sequence of events in time, is for Kant the destruction of 
the whole idea of causality. Hume, he declares, destroyed, 
proscribed, and banished it. In like manner, the notion of 
philosophy, metaphysics, and science in general is for Kant 
a priori certain, as all genuine science consists in necessary 
and universally valid propositions. This is the old rational 
istic view. When Hume reconstructs this notion by attrib 
uting universality and necessity only to mathematical 
knowledge, but not to knowledge of matters of fact, Kant 
calls this position scepticism and looks upon it as the 
destruction of the possibility of all science. 

Moreover, the same rationalism is ultimately involved in 
his metaphysical position. Things are in themselves con 
ceptual entities (intelligibilia, vov/jueva), to which intelligible 
reality, but not empirical actuality, is attributed. 1 

1 An exceedingly thorough explanation of the statement of the question, 
and particularly of the formula "synthetic judgments a priori" is to be found 
in Vaihinger s Kommcntar, I., pp. 253 ff. I agree with the interpretation 
of the problem, as it is presented there on p. 317. The question about the 
possibility of synthetic judgments a priori has in Kant an ambiguous meaning. 
It may refer (1) to the psychological possibility, and (2) to the objective 
validity of mathematical, ontological, and metaphysical concepts and judg 
ments that reason forms from its own powers. In my opinion, however, 
the second question is so much more important for his epistemology, and also 
for the significance of his critical investigation, that Kant did not do well to 
obscure it under that more general and equivocal formulation. The fact 
that the formula is not adapted to a clear and unequivocal comprehension of 
the epistemological problem, is indeed most strikingly shown by Vaihinger s 
own Commentary, which devotes a couple of hundred large octavo pages to 
its explanation and to an account of the expositions of others. 

I want, however, to devote a word or two to Vaihinger s very searching 
discussion, written with polemical reference to my position. Do synthetic 
judgments a priori as a matter of fact occur in mathematics and pure natural 
science ? Does that mean their mere existence as psychological processes, or 
also their objective validity ? And how, accordingly, is the problem to be re 
garded ? Is it concerned with explaining their previously established validity, 
or rather with demonstrating their still problematical validity ? I may phrase 



The point has been raised that along with the inquiry 
into the possibility of synthetic judgments a priori, Kant 
should have examined also synthetic judgments a posteriori. 
And certainly it would have been a great advantage to his 
epistemology if he had done so. The fact that he did not do 
this is to be traced to the rationalistic tendency of his thought. 
What he is in search of is not a theory of knowledge in gen- 
j eral, but a method of metaphysics, i. e., of the pure rational 
science of reality. Originally (1770) he thought he was in 
possession of the method for a transcendent metaphysic : 
but it later turned out to be only the method for a phe- 
nomenalistic metaphysic, but nevertheless for a purely ra- 

my answer to these questions iu the following manner : It is certain that Kant 
was never really in doubt about the objective validity of mathematics and the 
physical axioms, as far as their universality and necessity are concerned. It 
is just as certain, moreover, that Hume had doubted them, and that this very 
doubt was the point of departure for his examination, the groundless charac 
ter of which Kant undertakes to set forth. Kant must have regarded this as 
a doubt to be taken seriously, since he went to such pains to refute it as the 
transcendental deduction of the pure ideas of the understanding, according to 
his own utterances, cost him. Hence it follows that the Critique had to treat 
the validity of the contested propositions as problematic until the Deduction 
had justified their claim. On the whole it does this too ; nevertheless, Kant s 
firm conviction of their validity is apparent everywhere, and in the Prolego 
mena he simply takes them for granted. Inasmuch as he then embodied 
these propositions iu the second edition of the Critique, the exposition becomes 
rather unpleasantly ambiguous, as Vaihinger too finds it. The same vacilla 
tion is shown in Kant s replies to the question whether the task consists in 
explaining or in demonstrating the validity. He says both things, first the 
one, then the other. But in accordance with the whole character of his 
treatise, he must ultimately say the second. The validity has been called 
in question by Hume ; I will demonstrate it, will deduce the right of the 
pure concepts of the understanding, and will render secure the objective 
validity of mathematical propositions and physical axioms. He says that 
too ; but at the same time he says the other thing still more frequently, 
namely, that he is concerned merely with explaining how indubitable validity 
can exist. Hence it is to be noted that in this sphere demonstration and 
explanation are very closely allied. If the truth of an a priori proposition is 
demonstrated, it is thereby explained and its ratio cur set forth ; and con 
versely, if a proposition cannot be explained, it is a groundless supposition. 
Cf. Adickes s statement of the problem in his admirable essay in Vaihinger s 
Kantstudien, I., pp. 31 ff. 


tional science, a pure natural science. He might indeed 
have made the pure natural science and its method more 
clear by an examination of empirical natural science, but 
that lay outside the line of march of his thought. How 
synthetic judgments a posteriori can have actual validity 
seemed to him to be no problem at all. If he had really 
raised the question, it would have shattered the whole 
structure of the Critique. He would have been forced to 
reply that there can be no such judgments ; synthetic judg 
ments a posteriori are a contradictio in adjecto. Or, he might 
have asked: If there are synthetic judgments arising from 
experience, if there is synthesis arising from sense percep 
tion, where, then, is the limit ? And are, then, pure a priori 
judgments possible at all ? It is the unconscious instinct of 
self-preservation in the system that causes the Kantian 
thought to glide over this as well as over other critical 
problems, e. g., the question regarding the form of our 
knowledge of the a priori. 


Before entering into the details of Kant s solution of the 
problem, I desire briefly to explicate a few notions which he 
constantly employs. In the first place, I propose to consider 
the concepts Perception, Phenomenon, Thing-in-itself. 

I shall begin with phenomenon. What is it ? It can be 
answered first of all that it is exactly what in ordinary speech 
is called a thing, the perdurable object, with its activities 
and relations, which exists independent of the subject. The 
moon in the heavens is, in ordinary talk, a thing which is 
for itself, but for epistemological reflection it is an appear 
ance, a something that exists for a perceiving subject, but 
does not have an absolute existence independent of it. 

The matter may be more closely defined in this way: 
Phenomenon is a mean between pure subjective individual 
sense-perception and the thing-in-itself. Sense-perception 


(sensatio) is a transitory process in an empirical, individual, 
consciousness. A phenomenon is more : it is not the sensatio, 
but the sensibile ; it is the durable object of possible sensation. 
The moon is a permanently existing cosmic body of such 
and such size, mass, and motion. It really exists, even if no 
eye sees it, even when it is not visible. Its real existence 
is therefore not dependent upon its now being perceived by 
this or that empirical consciousness. But, on the other 
hand, the moon does not exist without relation to a perceiv 
ing subject in general ; it is not a thing-in-itself. All that 
I mean when I speak of the moon is finally, as far as its 
content is concerned, given through sense-perception the 
appearance of light of a certain intensity, nature, and motion 
in the heavens, and, I add in thought, of a certain mass, at 
a certain distance, and of a certain configuration of surfaces, 
etc. All of this is contained in the sense-perception. We are 
convinced that, if it were possible for us to steer a definite 
course in a definite direction through cosmic space, we should 
come into contact with a body of a determined nature and 
extension, which would appear to the senses as impenetrable, 
light-reflecting, etc. The reality which we predicate of the 
moon rests altogether upon actual and possible sense-per 
ceptions. Were it not for these definite perceptions of 
light and these possible perceptions of resistance, we should 
not call the moon real. And if there were no subject 
whatever to perceive light and experience resistance, we 
should never talk about the moon as such an object. The 
thing-in-itself, or that which manifests itself as the moon to 
a subject thus organized, might indeed exist, but the moon 
about which we talk is really only for such a subject ; it 
is phenomenal. 

We may now assert that a phenomenon is an aggregate of 
possible perceptions for a subject of a certain intellectual 
constitution, or, in Kant s language, for " consciousness in 
general." An actual perception of it is not needed, for a 


phenomenon can be real and recognized as real without its 
ever having been given in immediate perception, as, e. g., 
the farther side of the moon, or the interior of the earth. 
All that is necessary is that it must, upon the basis of given 
perceptions, be discovered as possible according to the results 
of natural laws, as was the case with the planet Neptune be 
fore it was actually observed. J. S. Mill developed this idea 
with the greatest clearness ; the empirical reality of a thing 
(appearance) signifies a permanent possibility of such and 
such co-existing perceptions of sense. Kant s view is just 
the same. He developed it most clearly in the sixth section 
of the doctrine of Antinomies : " There is for us nothing act 
ually given, except the perception and the empirical progres 
sion from this to other possible perceptions. For in them 
selves phenomena, as mere representations, are real only in 
perception. To call a phenomenon [it ought to read " some 
what "] a real thing prior to perception, means that we must 
meet with such a perception in the course of .experience." 1 

We can now present the Kantian view/ iri the following 
schematic form. Three things are to be distinguished : (1) 
The content of subjective consciousness, or the actual sense- 
perceptions and ideas in a particular individual conscious 
ness (sensatio). (2) The objective world of appearance, or 
the aggregate of all possible sense-perceptions for an all- 
embracing consciousness, or consciousness in general (mun- 
dussensibilis). (3) The reality which exists in itself without 
any relation to a perceiving subject (mundus intelligibilis). 
The first, the content of subjective consciousness, is imme 
diate only for the individual subject that has these percep 
tions; the relations between the constituent elements are 

1 In this definition of the concept of phenomenon, which is of essential 
importance for understanding Kant, I am glad to concur with Falckenberg s 
exposition in his admirable Geschirhte der neueren Philosophic (3d edition, 
1898, pp. 290 ff. [Eng. trans., pp. 346 ff.] Cf. L. Busse, " Zur Kauts Lehre vom 
Ding an sich " (Zcitschr. fur Philos., vol. 102, 1893), which shows the difficulty 
involved in the application of the concept of phenomenon to psvchic processes. 


accidental sequences in time, conditioned either empirically 
or through association. The second, the world of appearance, 
is the same for all subjects of like organization ; the relations 
between the elements are natural laws, universally valid 
rules for the connection of objects in space and time. The 
third, the intelligible world, lies outside of the forms of 
sense-perception ; it is only comprehensible in thought 
as a necessary concept, and therefore unattainable for 
human knowledge, which is bound down to sense-per 
ception. The content of subjective consciousness is the 
object of psychological investigation ; the world of appear 
ance is the proper object of scientific investigation, particu 
larly of natural science ; the intelligible world would be the 
object of an absolute knowledge. In human knowledge, how 
ever, it really appears only as the necessary regulative idea 
for the critical determination of the nature of our knowledge. 
If it is made the object of speculative reasoning, there arise 
the pseudo-sciences of the old metaphysics. 

These three stages or forms of reality, the subjective, the 
objective, and the absolute reality, can be appropriately 
illustrated by the three stages or forms of intelligence : (1) 
the animal, (2) the human, and (3) the divine intelligence. 
The forms of reality are the correlates of the forms of intelli 
gence. This distinction too is important for a comprehension 
of Kant s thought, as doubtless it was for him also an 
important point of orientation. 

Animal intelligence possesses only subjective sensations 
and sense-perceptions connected in a merely accidental way 
by associations. It does not form the idea of an objective 
world of phenomena, interrelated according to natural laws. 
The animal does not place himself over against a world of 
existing things, positing himself as a member of it, and deter 
mining for himself his spatial and temporal place in the 
cosmos. His perceptions (and ideas) remain mere modifica 
tions of subjective consciousness. 


Human intelligence resembles animal intelligence in that 
its sensations and perceptions are primarily given as mere 
subjective modifications. It, however, passes beyond this 
stage by forming, on the basis of these constituent elements, 
the idea of objects, and of a great, all-embracing, universally 
valid, and uniform system of all objects. With this objec 
tive world of objective laws, it contrasts the content of sub 
jective consciousness and the sequence of ideas as accidental, 
as something dependent upon the objective course of events. 
This distinction between human and animal intelligence 
depends upon the greater activity of the former. The 
animal undergoes passive impressions ; man actively elabo 
rates, analyzes, and combines impressions, and thereby be 
comes capable of separating them from himself and positing 
them for himself. And, on the other hand, he has the 
power of positing himself as an Ego over against them, and 
it is this act that constitutes the basis of personality. The 
faculty of thus spontaneously acting upon phenomena is 
called understanding. 

The divine intelligence for Kant, although an unrealizable 
ideal, is nevertheless an indispensable concept for the com 
prehension of the nature of the human understanding. He 
designates it by the name of an "intuitive understanding." 
For it, the distinction between being and thinking, which is 
constitutive for human understanding, no longer holds. 
God has no existence outside of himself; he is the all- 
embracing being. His knowledge is absolute knowledge, 
because he determines reality by his thought. It is math 
ematical reasoning which enables us to make clear to 
ourselves this idea of an absolute understanding. In math 
ematics, the human understanding also by its own self- 
activity creates the objects of its knowledge ; hence, in this 
case, there is no unknowable element left over, no distinction 
between appearance and thing-in-itself. Towards reality, 
however, the human understanding does not bear the 


relation of a creator ; reality must be presented to it in the 
form of perceptions. Hence, the disparity between thought 
and being. The divine intellect, on the contrary, bears the 
same relation to things that the human does to geometrical 
triangles and circles. It follows, that for God thought and 
existence are absolutely coincident. That is the ideal of 
absolute knowledge, and it is an idea of reason necessary for 
showing the limitation and relativity of our knowledge. 

These three stages of intelligence may also be called 
sense-perception, understanding, reason. In man, the being 
intermediate between the animal and God, all three are to 
be found; while the animal possesses sense-perception alone, 
God reason alone. Sense-perception is the capacity of 
receiving sensations, the receptivity for affections. Sensation 
is not a conscious content impressed from outside upon the 
subject. That is impossible ; for the mind has no windows 
through which something may enter from the outside ; a 
sensation is actively produced, but only in response to an ex 
ternal stimulus. The forms of receptivity are space and time ; 
the product of sense-perception, a plurality of perceptions in 
space and time. The understanding is the faculty of thinking 
by means of concepts, of subsuming under rules, and of deter 
mining the particular by means of the universal, i. e., of 
judging. Its modes of functioning are given in the forms 
of logical judgment, and the concepts corresponding to these 
are called categories. The understanding as spontaneity 
stands in contrast with the receptivity of sense. It intro 
duces law and systematic connection among the individual 
perceptions. The product of sense-perception and under 
standing together is the system of nature, arranged in space 
and time in conformity with law as science presents it to us. 
Eeason is the faculty of passing beyond the empirical world 
to the supersensuous ; its product is the ideal world, the 
mundus intelligibilis. It is, properly speaking, the form of 
I the divine thought that is employed in the intuition of 


existence in the form of ideas immanent in it. Human 
reason is only a feeble reflection of the absolute reason. In 
man, reason is primarily employed in the creation of practical 
ideas, thoughts about something that ought to be . real, 
although it does not exist in the empirical world, and that can 
and ought to be actualized by reason s own activity, as, e. g., 
the perfect state. In the theoretical sphere, reason acts as 
the principle which limits and regulates the employment 
of the understanding. It accomplishes this, in the first place, 
as a critic of reason, by employing the idea of an absolute 
knowledge (coincidence of thought and reality) to bring the 
understanding to the consciousness of its necessary limita 
tion to the world of appearance. Secondly, it evaluates all 
theoretical knowledge from its relation to the final purposes 
of mankind (wisdom). And thirdly, it directs the immanent 
employment of the understanding in accordance with specu 
lative ideas, ultimately in accordance with the idea of the 
unity of reality as a system of realized ideas of purpose. 

We may now appreciate the final meaning of the notion 
of the mundus sensibilis and intelligibilis. The world is 
intelligible for the divine understanding, the intellectus 
archetypus, and it is completely included in God s thought. 
It is therefore in itself an ideal unity ; the mundus noumenon 
is, as its name implies, an existing system of ideas. The 
reality presented to the human intellect is, on the other 
hand, sensible and phenomenal ; the world of divine ideas 
manifests itself to it as a sensuous, changing, corporeal world 
in motion, which it laboriously and imperfectly strives to 
master, not by means of pure thought, but by experience. 

I wish still to make a remark or two about the thing-in- 
itself, that crux interpretum. It is true that Kant s utter 
ances upon this subject are exceedingly diverse, ambiguous, 
and indeed even contradictory. This arises from the fact 
that the thing -in-itself is not the central principle of his 
system; it is a self-evident presupposition. The object of 


his investigation, however, is the possibility of rational 
knowledge. Consequently, the notion of thing-in-itself is 
really only touched upon as occasion offers. The following 
points seem to ine essential in Kant s conception of the 

That he never for a moment doubted the existence of a 
trans-subjective reality will be regarded as certain by every 
unbiased reader, even without Kant s own strongly empha 
sized assurance. It was the primary and self-evident pre 
supposition of his thought at all periods ; the Critique did 
not make any change at all in this respect. The notion of the 
world of appearance, of the mundus sensibilis, with which 
the critical period starts out, implies as a necessary correlate 
the notion of a real world that appears. Without this, the 
idea of the phenomenal would be meaningless ; the idea, if 
that were the only reality, would be also the absolute reality. 
Only upon the presupposition of another sphere to which it 
is related can it be called phenomenal. An absolute illu- 
sionism in no wise differs from an absolute realism. 

What can we now, in agreement with Kant, assert regard 
ing the thing-in-itself? If we keep strictly to the stand 
point of the Critique, we may say : (1) It is not the object 
of sense-perception ; this statement is a mere analytic judg 
ment; (2) it is the object of thought, and, indeed, of a 
necessary thought. The understanding, inasmuch as it 
recognizes through critical reflection sense-knowledge as 
such (i. e. y its accidental character and subjectively condi 
tioned nature), frames the correlative concepts of appearance 
and thing-in-itself. In consideration of this fact, the latter 
may be called an intelligible entity {ens intelligibile nou- 
menon). The concept really does not at first have a posi 
tive significance ; it is not a thing that is known in its real 
nature by the understanding, but a somewhat that is opposed 
by the understanding to the phenomenal as being of a 
different nature. Since, then, human thought gains a con- 


tent solely through sense-perception, the notion of the\ 
thing-in-itself is really without content; it is an empty " 
form of an ens, a mere X, which as a transcendental object 
is opposed by the understanding to the empirical object 
(the phenomenon). (3) A noumenon in a positive sense 
can exist for an intuitive understanding, i. e., one that 
does not have to depend upon sense-perception for its 
material. Hence for the divine intellect things are intuited 
concepts (ideas). For our understanding, this notion, like 
that of the divine intellect itself, remains a problematic 
concept, a concept that is thinkable and possible, but 
one which, however, we cannot make real by means of 
perceptual filling. (4) To this empty problematic concept 
we can, nevertheless, in a certain respect, attribute a con 
tent, and that, too, by means of the theoretical reason. It 
is to us, and not to phenomena, that pure thought belongs 
(the understanding or reason itself). This pure thought is 
the presupposition of the phenomenal. In other words, the 
phenomenal presupposes the ego in itself, which is certainly 
not given in perception as an object, but only in the abso 
lute spontaneous function of thought itself. If from this 
point of view we denned the nature of things-in-themselves 
in general, we could say that things-in-themselves are in 
telligible entities/ and that their unity is a mundus intel- 
ligibilis in the positive sense. Of course that would be a 
mere hypothetical use of the understanding, which we ought 
not to employ in a pure rational science like metaphysics 
unless, at most, for polemical purposes. Meantime another 
consideration arises. The practical reason ascribes certainty 
and validity to the concept of an absolute and real spiritual 
world, although this assurance cannot be employed for theo- 
retical purposes. 

So far the matter is clear. The peculiar difficulty, the 
moot question for the Kantian philosophy, arises from the 
application of the schema of the Analytic. Do the cate- 


gories apply to things-in-theraselves ? Kant gives a definitely 
negative reply. They apply only to phenomena ; the cate 
gories are nothing but functions for constructing the per 
ceptual world ; without material data, they have no meaning 
whatever. But, on the other hand, he constantly does apply 
the categories to things-in-themselves ; he imputes reality, 
causality, and plurality to them ; they affect the subject, 
and, conversely, the ego, as a thing-in-itself is affected. 
Things-in-themselves accordingly constitute a world of non- 
sensuous things which throughout correspond to the things 
of sense as they exist in uniform relations, etc. Here, con 
sequently, there seems to be a formal contradiction. Since 
the time of Jacobi, Fichte, and ^nesidemus-Schulze, this 
charge has been again and again brought against Kant. 
Without things-in-themselves, without their reality and 
activity, one may not enter into the system ; with them, one 
cannot stay in it. 

A solution of this contradiction is, so far as I see, pos 
sible in only one way. A double meaning of the categories 
must be distinguished, a pure logical transcendent, and a 
transcendental physical. From this standpoint Kant could 
make some such reply as the following to the objection : 
I certainly do attribute existence to things-in-themselves, 
but this is not the same concept as the category of reality ; 
the latter, as I say with sufficient clearness, designates 
nothing but an existence given in perception, external or 
internal, or at least in possible perception. Reality, in this 
sense of empirical reality, is, as a matter of course, not attrib 
uted to things-in-theraselves, but a super-sensuous or tran 
scendent reality is ascribed to them. And the same holds 
true for causality. I employ this concept, too, in a double 
sense, as indeed the reader of the Dialectic and the Critique 
of Practical Reason is well aware, causality according to 
natural laws, and causality according to ideas of freedom. 
In the former sense, that of the category, cause connotes 


nothing at all but the regular temporal precedence of a phe 
nomenon. That can, of course, be ascribed only to things 
that are themselves in time ; that is to say, to phenomena ; 
e.g.y to bodies with which our senses come into contact. The 
external stimulus and the physiological excitation, and, fur 
ther, these two and the resulting sensation, are related as 
cause and effect in the empirical sense. On the other hand, 
among things-in-themselves there is, of course, no connec 
tion of empirical causality, but a transcendent relation which 
is not perceptually represented, but can be comprehended 
only by pure thought ; it is a relation of inner condition 
such as exists between ground and consequence in logical 
thought. When I thus explain the matter, I have amply 
shown that between things-in-themselves the members of 
the mundus intelligibilis, which has its unity in God, the 
ens realissimurn there exists a relation of inner correspon 
dence, a mutual logico-teleological relation to the unity of 
the absolute end. All things as existing in God form a 
unity, and are related to one another as necessary determi 
nations of parts for the realization of the absolute perfec 
tion, just as each part of a work of art or of a poem is bound 
up with all the others, not by extrinsic, temporal reciprocity, 
but by an intrinsic teleological relation. To be sure, this 
remains a problematic idea ; reality is presented to us as a 
world of appearance, and as a world of ideas it can only be 
thought by us, but not perceived. In God s understanding, 
we may suppose it is intuitively represented. 

If, however, the objection is still urged that all of these 
are nevertheless forms of thought, which cannot apply to 
the trans-subjective, I bring forward the following consider 
ation. It is true that I, as a matter of course, can think my 
thoughts only through my thoughts and forms of thought ; 
to pass beyond this proscribed circle is impossible. Even 
the thought of the thing-in-itself and its reality is an idea, 
and as such subjective. I can think the idea of the trans- 


subjective, but I cannot think it in a trans-subjective fash 
ion. And hence transcendent reality naturally remains 
something which I assert and attribute. But I know what 
I mean when I assert it, and I think you do too. If not, 
then miracles cannot help you. And a book wherein phe 
nomenon and thing-in-itself are spoken of was not written 
for you ; and your gainsaying, since you do not know what 
I mean, was not written for me. 1 

The ./Esthetic is the doctrine of sensible .knowledge, so 
far as the latter contains elements thqt.makfi df f prinri knnwl- 
^edge_j.QSsil4e. It is not the doctrine of sense-perception 
in general, for that belongs to empirical anthropology ; nor 
is it even the doctrine of all the subjective elements 
in sensation, for that embraces also the sense-qualities, 
light, color, tone, etc. But it is jhe doctr>p nf thnsp ele^j 

^jnents of perception by means of which knowledge^ griorij\ 
is rendered possible. Then* are two such elements, space 
andjime. ;,and Kant s task is to prove : V(lj) that space and 
time originally belong to the subject as forms of its sense- 
perception, and that they are not introduced from without 

__ by means of experience^; ((2^)that by means of them knowl 
edge a priori is possible. The first is accomplished in the 
metaphysical, the second in the transcendental proof. In 
the exposition the first point stands out so prominently that 
the other may be overlooked. At least, it was not until the 
second edition that special paragraphs (Nos. 3 and 4) were 
devoted to the transcendental deduction, whereas in the first 
edition they were inserted (as No. 3) in the proof for the 
.ideality of space and time. 2 It is doubtless this that pro- 

1 I shall return to this point about the twofold significance of the cate 
gories, the logical and the real, when I come to treat of the doctrine of the 
" Schematism of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding." 

2 It is noteworthy in this connection that, although in the case of time Kant 
"claims this independence for the transcendental exposition, and arranges for a 


motes the usual misunderstanding that the establishment of 
idealism is the chief purpose of the work. A strong im 
pression that the reader gets from the first pages deter 
mines his notion of all that follows. Such is the case with 
Locke too, for many readers carry away the impression from 
the first pages of the Essay that his sole purpose is con 
tained in the thesis that there are no innate ideas. 

The emergence of the " metaphysical exposition" in the 
^Esthetic is, however, explicable from the history of its 
genesis. The decision to assume the ideality of space and 
time was the starting-point of the new philosophy as a 
whole ; it introduced the turning-point of 1770. In the Dis 
sertation, however, the chief significance that the ideality of 
space and time had was found in the fact that it afforded a 
basis for the possibility of speculative and idealistic meta- 
physic. Space and time are merely forms of our sense-per 
ception, and as such belong to the mundus sensibilis. Hence 
the real world is free from them. The properties of matter 
and change, together with space and time, belong merely to 
phenomena, while thought, which constructs the ideas of 
God and of immortality, is protected against the " insinua 
tions of sense-perception." The intention of establishing an 
a priori knowledge of the intelligible world by divesting 
things-in-theinselves of space and time, was certainly aban 
doned in the seventies. There remained only the purpose 
of discovering the a priori knowledge of the sensible world. 
The transcendental point of view, therefore, should have 
become more prominent. But, as a matter of fact, this is 

paragraph with that heading, he, however, grows weary, as it were, of carry 
ing out the reconstruction, and merely refers to No. 3 of the metaphysical 
deduction, which was left standing, a literary curio, to which there is hardly 
an analogy in all philosophical literature. Did Kant wish to give the reader 
a hint at the very beginning not to take the matter too seriously and consider 
himself in duty bound to follow the schematism, which was in other respects 
so painfully and often pedantically sustained ? At any rate, Kant gave good 
cause to think so. 


not the case. Kant transferred his ideas to the ^Esthetic 
in the same form in which he had first fixed them in 1770, 
without making any change at all. Arid it was quite natural 
that he should do this, since he still regarded the deliverance 
of things-in-themselves from space and time as an essential 
advance in speculation. This may be seen from the fact 
that at the conclusion of the ^Esthetic he calls special at 
tention to the advantage natural theology may reap from 
transcendental idealism. He destroys, as it is later put, in 
solent materialism and fatalism, together with their perni 
cious consequences for morals and philosophy, by rendering 
the conceivability of the objects of theology and pneumato- 
logy secure against the demand for their constructibility in 
space and time. 

, We turn now to the execution of the work. The meta 
physical deduction takes the form of a proof for the thesis 
that space and time are not concepts derived from experi 
ence, but a priori perceptions. The demonstration reduces 
itself in the main to the three following points : (1) Space 
and time are not got from experience by means of abstrac 
tion from given space and time relations, but they are the 
original presupposition of the apprehension of things as 
spatial and temporal. To express it otherwise, without the 
original activity of the subject in arranging the manifold 
sensations in juxtaposition and succession, there would be 
no space and time relations. (2) Space and time are irre 
ducible moments of our consciousness ; they cannot be 
thought away, whereas every space and time content given 
by experience can be thought away. It follows that space 
and time belong to the subject as a possession that is a 
priori engendered, and not a posteriori given. (This argu 
ment can perhaps be made more convincing by a slight 
alteration : Every body can be thought away out of space, 
and likewise every event from time, but the space itself 
which the body occupied cannot be thought away, for one 


cannot think of any gaps in space and time, though, even 
according to Kant, it is not impossible to think that there is 
no space or time at all.) (3) Space and time are not general 
concepts, but perceptions. If they were general concepts 
formed by abstraction, they would have to have a certain 
extension. There are not, however, many spaces or times 
as several examples of the concept, but only one infinite 
space and time, in which all spaces and times are regarded 
as limitations. A fourth point in the treatment of space is 
omitted in the case of time because meaningless, but then, 
in order to maintain the external parallelism, point three 
is divided into two points. 

After these arguments for apriority, there follow meta 
physical reflections upon the nature of space and time, from 
which their ideality appears. The idea of their absolute 
reality cannot by any means be maintained. If space is 
viewed as absolutely existing, then of course empty space, 
after all bodies are taken away, must, nevertheless, be 
thought of as existing. But what is this ? Is it an infinite 
empty receptacle, a receptacle without sides ? And what is 
time ? -Is it the real empty receptacle in which all move 
ments and changes take place? As a receptacle without 
sides and without extension, then, does its being consist of 
what is neither present nor future being ? Anything more 
absurd could not well be thought. Hence space and time 
cannot be thought of as actual forms of a reality which is con 
tained in them ; for then they would be real nothings. The 
only alternative is to think them as the forms in which our 
sense representation of reality is ; they have reality as forms 
-of perception in the subject. Whence it follows that they 
are not to be thought of as empty, passive forms which like 
receptacles would be ready to hold things, but as functions 
Jx)r_the ordering of the manifold sensations, which have roal- 
dtv_onl^_in the function itself. The Dissertation of 1770 
expressly emphasizes this point : " Neither concept is innate ; 



both are undoubtedly acquired. But they are not abstracted 
from the sensation of objects, but from the activity of the 
mind co-ordinating all its sense-perceptions according to 
fixed laws, and thus there undoubtedly arises a kind of 
immutable and hence perceptually cognizable type. Sensa 
tions do indeed call out this act of the mind, but they do 
not determine the nature of perception. There is nothing 
here innate except the law of the mind according to which 
it connects in a fixed way its sensations with the presence 
of an object." 1 

* v As we have just remarked, the transcendental deduction 
in Kant s exposition, even in the second edition, was not made 
completely independent, or given a prominence correspond 
ing with its importance. It has, however, the task of showing 
that under the presupposition of the apriority and ideality 
of space and time, knowledge of objects is a priori possible. 
The Dissertation also had developed this point of view, and 
that, too, more definitely and clearly than the Critique. 
Geometrical, mechanical, and arithmetical propositions, that 
is to say, demonstrated and a priori truths, receive objective 
validity under this presupposition, and only under this. 
All objects, then, that are presented to our sense-perception 
necessarily assume the forms of time and space. And every- 
/ thing, therefore, that can be made out about the nature of 
I time and space as such, holds true for them also, as, e. </., the 
law of the continuity of all changes, or the law that in the 
material world there can be nothing simple ; for the simple 
.can exist in space only as a totality, not, however, as a part. 
And the Dissertation shows, too, very clearly that this 
theory alone will do justice to all the requirements. 2 There 
are besides it two possible points of view. The one looks 
upon space and time as absolute Teal_receptacula of^reality. 
This is the standpoint that Newton assumes, and to which 
most mathematicians give their adherence. The other re- 
1 15- 2 H, 15. 


gards space and time as j^latioasjbetween existing things 
and processes, and holds that they would vanish along with 
the actual things. This is the view which most German 
philosophers after -Xe^iniz represent. The first theory is 
adequate for the purposes of the mathematician, but it is 
metaphysically inconceivable to think of time as an actual, 
continuous stream it remains a nonsensical fiction. And 
thus the notion of space as a system of real infinite rela 
tions, without tjiings to be related, belongs to the realm 
of fable. Moreover, this view makes natural theology 
impossible, for if space actually is the universal receptacle 
of reality, then both God and souls must be in space. The 
other view, the Leibnizian, might be tenable from a meta 
physical standpoint, but it is impossible for the mathemati 
cian. " It ,takes,away its exactitude from mathematics, and 
places it in the number of those sciences whose principles 
are empirical. For if all determinations of space (and of 
time) are gained by experience, only from external relations, 
geometrical (and mechanical) axioms possess nothing but 
arbitrary precision, and only comparative universality, such 
as is acquired by induction, i. e., valid for the sphere of 
previous observation ; then there may be expectation, as is 
the case in empirical matters, of sometime discovering a 
space possessing .other original determinations, and perhaps 
even a rectangle with two sides." 1 

1 The two views here rejected are the very cues through which Kant him 
self passed. See Vaihinger, II., pp. 422 ff . He originally shared the point of 
view of German metaphysics, that space is an empirical concept, abstracted 
from the relations of external things. He then adopted the second view 
(Newton and Clarke), that space is the pre-existent form of the corporeal 
world. From this view, which he defended as late as 1768, he freed himself 
with sudden reversal, evidently on account of its metaphysical insupport- 
ability, and adopted the new standpoint that space and time are a priori forms 
of the corporeal world (as Newton contends), but consisting together with the 
corporeal world merely in sense-perception (which was really Leibniz s view 
too, as Kant himself remarks in the Metaph. Anfangsgrunden der Naturwiss., 
IV., p. 399.) 


Hence there remains only our view. It is in itself con 
ceivable, and it satisfies the demands of the metaphysician, 
who wants a reality free from the conditions of space and 
time. It satisfies also the demands of the mathematician, 
and gives him. what he needs, namely, an infinite, absolutely 
homogeneous space (and time), whose determinations are ab 
solutely valid for all objects (of sense). " Since nothing can 
be given to the senses unless conformable with the primitive 
axioms of space and the propositions derived therefrom by 
geometry, everything must necessarily agree with these, 
although their principle is only subjective, and the laws of 
sense become at the same time laws of nature. For nature 
is in minutest detail subjected to the rules of geometry." 
" Unless the perception of space were originally given by the 
nature of the mind, the use of geometry in physics would 
be unsafe. For it could always be doubted whether this 
notion borrowed from experience would be in precise agree 
ment with reality, since perchance necessary determinations 
may have been omitted in the process of abstraction, 1 a sus 
picion which actually has entered the minds of some people." 

I have here quoted these passages from the Dissertation 
because they very definitely set forth the meaning and ten 
dency of the new mode of thought. In the Critique, the 
idea and aim of the transcendental deduction, the demonstra 
tion of the objective validity of mathematical propositions, are 
not clearly brought out. One reason is that the real deduc 
tion has been obscured by transferring the^ schematisni of 
the system from the ^Esthetic to the Analytic (under the 
title " Axioms_of Perception "). Another reason is that the 
exposition is hampered by the insertion of the new formula, 
" synthetic a priori." Accordingly, the objectivity of geo- 

1 Negatis forsitan [rerum], a guibus abstraction erat, deter minationibus. The 
emendation of the passage by means of the insertion of rerum has been very 
kindly furnished by Professor Falckenberg. It seems to me to be thoroughly 
successful. In my first edition I regarded the passage as corrupt, but it 
did not seem to me capable of emendation. 


metrical judgments seems to be given in pure perception 
by the mere construction of the concept, and the application 
to the corporeal world appears as accidental and accessory so 
far as the validity is concerned. It is due to this that the con 
troversy arises whether the ^Esthetic deals with pure or ap 
plied mathematics. If the Dissertation were taken as the 
starting-point, a doubt could never have arisen that the new 
conception was originally and chiefly concerned with the 
proof that mathematical principles, without loss of their 
necessity and universality, hold good also for empirically 
given magnitudes. The Critique too has essentially the 
same concern, as the deduction of the Axioms of Perception 
and also the exposition in the Metaphysical Elements dis 
tinctly show. 1 In the Prolegomena for the first time the 
ideas become more confused: In pure mathematics, syn 
thetic judgments a priori are possible because we can repre 
sent their object in pure perception. Now, however, the 
relation between the logical premises arid conclusion is 
very nearly reversed , the ideality of space and time is no 
longer the ground of the possibility of the objectivity of 
mathematical knowledge, but the certainty and reality of 
mathematics become the logical ground for the ideality 
of space and time. At least it is maintained that the former 
become intelligible only under this presupposition. 

If we take the ^Esthetic as a whole, we can formulate its 
argument in the following manner : In our sensible knowl 
edge there emerge two distinct elements, a necessary and i 
constant, and an accidental and variable one ; the former 
as though it were the lasting form, the latter the changing 
content. The permanent form is space and time; their 
changing content, bodies with their endless differences, mo 
tions, and changes. Space and time appear as altogether 
constant and intrinsically homogeneous ; all spaces and 
times are entirely one and the same in kind; and they 

1 IV., p. 397. 


appear also as unities in the strictest sense. There is only 
one space and one time, while the many spaces and times 
are only accidental divisions of a unitary and self-identical 
space. The same is true of time. And these facts are neces 
sary thought determinations ; we cannot think several 
spaces or times that do not form a necessary whole. Nor 
can we think space and time otherwise than as completely 
homogeneous in their own nature. We are certain that all 
differences in the relation and the movements of bodies are 
explicable, not through the special nature of the spaces and 
times in which they are, but merely through the difference 
of the things. 

How is this fact of the necessary unity and homogeneity 
of space and time to be explained ? Kant says by assum 
ing that space and time are constructed by the mind by 
means of its own original and uniform functions. If time 
and space were given by experience and abstracted from it, 
There is no reason why there should not be several spaces 
and times intrinsically different, as well as many bodies with 
different qualities. The particular affections are, as such, 
accidental and detached, and from them, therefore, the 
necessary unity and uniformity cannot arise. Moreover, 
there are three gains from the assumption of this view : (1) 
We attain herewith the epistemological possibility of view 
ing all things in space and time as subjected to the universal 
laws which result from the nature of space and time ; or a 
necessary basis for mathematical physics as a system of 
universal and necessary propositions with objective validity. 
(2) We escape the absurd questions into which a system of 
metaphysics falls that views space and time as absolutely 
existing reality. Some of these questions ask: Are space 
. and time limited or unlimited ? Are there empty spaces and 
.times, and of what does the nature of these consist ? What 
.constitutes the difference between nothing and empty time or 
^empty space ? (3) We gain also the possibility of an ideal- 


istic metaphysic. Reason acquires the liberty of interpreting 
reality as an ideal world, free from the bounds of space and 
time ; the mundus sensibilis sinks to the level of an acci 
dental, though for us human beings necessary, view of reality. 
Space and time are like Plato s cave, wherein is enclosed the 
intelligence of sentient man. By the knowledge of the ideality 
or subjectivity of space and time, reason does not, to be sure, 
gain the possibility of coming out from the cave, but it does 
nevertheless reach a clear consciousness of the situation. 
It surveys the state of affairs, and may sometime discover a 
means of emerging into the daylight of the intelligible world, 
guided by practical ideas, if speculative concepts are not to 
be trusted. 

The adoption of a critical attitude towards the doctrines 
developed in the transcendental aesthetic must in my opinion 
be circumscribed by the following points : 

1. Kant is right in assuming that space and time are 
functions of apprehension created by the subject, and not 
externally derived from experience. 

2. He is right also in maintaining that the supposition 
that space and time have an absolute existence outside of the 
subject and its sense-perception, is groundless and untenable. 

3. On the other hand, we cannot free ourselves from the 
idea that these functions of apprehension on the part of the 
subject are fashioned with reference to a trans-subjective 

4. And hence the absolute validity of the properties of 
mathematical space and time for all possible phenomena is 
not necessary for thought ; it is conceivable that the subject 
in another environment would give rise to other forms of 


The doctrine of sensibility is followed by the doctrine of 
the understanding in the second main division of the 


Critique. This division contains the theory of scientific 
knowledge so far as the latter rests upon the functions of the 
understanding that make knowledge a priori possible. In 
its plan, the Analytic corresponds with the ^Esthetic with the 
exception that in the Analytic the real aim of the investiga 
tion, the transcendental deduction, comes out much more 
clearly. The problem can be thus formulated. In our 
knowledge of the objective world there appear, in addition 
to the space and time relations, other formal elements also, 
which amid all the difference of content remain ever the 
same ; as, e. g. the form af a thing possessing qualities and 
activities, and likewise tlite universal uniformity in the rela 
tions of things, causality, and reciprocity. The task in this 
case, as in the ^Esthetic, is : (1) to set these elements forth 
and to establish their a priori nature (or " ideality " in the 
sense in which it is used in the ^Esthetic) ; (2) to show 
that by means of them, objective knowledge a priori is 
possible. Thus in this field also we have a metaphysical 
and a transcendental deduction. 

Before passing to the exposition of these two aspects, I 
shall make a general preliminary remark. The Analytic 
is undoubtedly the most difficult and obscure part of the 
Critique. In contrast with it, the Esthetic and Dialectic 
are clear and easy. Kant himself is aware of this, and he 
tries to find the reason in the difficulty of the problem. 
Undoubtedly we have here to grapple with ultimate and 
most difficult questions. But the chief cause of the 
obscurity seems to me to be due to another source, namely, 
to a certain indecision in Kant s thought. 

Schopenhauer, in his "Critique of the Kantian Philosophy," 
finds the real cause of the difficulty to be a lack of clearness 
in conceiving the relation of the understanding to perception. 
And, in fact, the reason can be found in that obscurity. How 
is the understanding related to the arrangement of phe 
nomena in space and time ? In particular, does it find the 


order in the time series as a datum, or does it by means of 
its synthetic functions introduce the order into sensations, 
which are presented to sense-perception merely as a chaotic 
throng ? In other words, are the empirical objects of per 
ception given, or do they require to be produced by the 
activity of the understanding ? 

To these questions Kant gives no clear and distinct reply, 
or rather he both affirms anddj^s. The Analytic is based 
upon a demonstration tft^l [fcfcoses the answer that 
objects are not given, buJB l^o form, are made by 

the synthetic functions tS Branding, and for that 

very reason are a priori kIB Hthat would be a purely 
rationalistic solution of the YroDleni. Inasmuch as the 
understanding with its immanent laws supervenes on the 
chaos of sensations, it creates the world of experience or 
nature. This is a unitary world, consisting in a plurality of 
permanently existing objects in space, whose activities in 
time are uniformly related to one another. The ^Esthetic 
does not contradict this, if we conceive space and time, not 
as passive forms, but as active functions of arrangement (as 
Kant certainly intends), and then add the thesis of the 
Analytic that the understanding, in accordance with its own 
laws, determines the exercise of these functions. Hence all 
unity in the empirical world proceeds from the highest prin 
ciple of unity, namely, the transcendental unity of apper 
ception. The understanding is the faculty of reducing all 
given multiplicity to the unity of the orderly world of 
appearance, which has its ultimate point of union in the 
necessary unity of consciousness. 

This view, although self-consistent, is, however, inconsist 
ent with another view which it encounters everywhere. 
The contradictory view may perhaps be termed empiricism. 
It maintains that objects and forces, temporal sequence and 
spatial order, are given ; they are not produced by the 
spontaneous activity of the subject, but must be given 


through experience. It is the same difficulty that con 
fronted us above in the conception of synthetic judgments 
a posteriori* and one that will come up again in the 
transcendental deduction. What helps Kant over this 
difficulty is mainly the dogmatic form of his investigation, 
which proceeds under the guidance of the schematism. 
After he had made the great discovery of 1770, which was 
later embodied in the CLjjjjjte without alteration, that 
* pure perceptions caflH Hhjective validity, he raises 
the question whether |jfcure oncepts of the understanding 
also possess objective fl ^Bul the possibility of an 

affirmative answer to trfs quesilpFis furnished by the same 
schema ; the latter are corrclrwbns under which alone objects 
can be thought, as the former are the only ones under which 
they can be perceived. Kant remains content with this 
schematic solution and makes no genetic examination. In 
the first edition, he does indeed make an attempt at such an 
investigation in the psychological deduction, but he dis 
cards it in the second. We have here to do only with a 
transcendental, and not with a psychological investigation. 
The magic word transcendental excuses one from a concrete 
examination of facts. 

(1) The Analytic of Concepts and the Transcendental 

In accordance with the schema of the formal logic de 
scribed above, the Analytic is divided into two books. The 
first treats of concepts, the second of principles (which ought 
to be called judgments), while the Dialectic follows as the doc 
trine of syllogisms. No one will assert that the Analytic 
Jias gained in clearness by this division. The real subject with 
which it deals is the a priori and objective validity of judg 
ments, especially of certain of the more universal principles 

1 See p. 146. 


of natural science. The introduction of the pure concepts of 
the understanding under the title of categories is calculated 
to divert attention from the real problem, and to render the 
deduction more difficult to understand. Obviously, the 
introduction of this schematization is due to Kant s attach 
ment to the old rationalistic ontology with its fixed and ready- 
made concepts substance and inherence, cause and effect, 
possibility, reality, and necessity. His lectures upon the 
metaphysics of the "excellent analyst," Baumgarten, lead 
to the analysis of these concepts, and upon these analyses 
the Analytic in its new meaning fell back, leaving to a future 
system of pure reason the completion of the analysis. We 
turn now to the two parts of the problem, or in other words 
to the two deductions. 

The metaphysical deduction of the pure concepts of the 
understanding is not introduced under this technical name 
as a heading (this is incidentally used later on in the 
beginning of 26), but under the frightful title "Of the 
Transcendental Clue to the Discovery of all Pure Concepts 
of the Understanding First, Second, and Third Sections," 
almost as if the author had set himself to confuse the reader. 
The substance of the matter is as follows. When, first, all 
empirical content is separated from objects, and, secondly, 
the pure forms of perception, space and time, are left out of 
consideration, there still remains a residue, the schema, as 
it were, of their thinkability, thing and property, force 
and effect, reality and possibility, etc. The point involved 
is to make sure of an exhaustive and systematic list of these 
elements (an inquiry that was of course just as necessary in 
the case of the forms of perception, but one which, however, 
was not instituted at all in that instance, for space and time 
were assumed without more ado as the sole two possible 
forms). Kant attains this aim by following the track of 
formal logic. Formal logic seeks to ascertain all formal 
differences in judgments. Judgment is the peculiar func- 


tion of the understanding. Hence the fundamental forms 
of the activity of the understanding can be fully gathered 
from formal logic. In this way, by somewhat supplement 
ing and adapting the schema of formal differences in judg 
ments which logic establishes, he reaches the celebrated 
table of twelve categories ; and afterwards he never grows 
tired of following this a priori arrangement for every pos- 
x sible and impossible scientific investigation. 

There is no interest in following out in detail the minute 
artifices by means of which the table of the four classes, 
quantity, quality, relation, and modality, is provided in each 
case with three categories. Adickes has made the attempt 
to show the discussions and variations in the text-books on 
logic that Kant had in mind in this undertaking. 1 Scho 
penhauer is of the opinion that the twelve categories are all 
blind windows, with the exception of one, the category of 
causality. I would make an exception of still another one, 
the category of substantiality. As a matter of fact, it is 
these two which Kant regularly cites when he gives in 
stances of the categories. In the systematic representa 
tion of principles we shall again meet with the attempt 
to put some meaning into the others. Moreover, the ques 
tion also could be raised whether Kant, on the other hand, 
may not have omitted logical forms that do lay claim to 
real ontological validity. Laas raises the question with 
regard to the principle of contradiction, which is also reg 
ularly stated as an ontologically valid principle. 2 And 
where are identity, difference, and similarity ? It is also 
worthy of note that no use whatever is made of the real 
form of conceptual thought, systematic superordination and 
subordination. That is employed for the first time in the 
doctrine of method. In general, it can be said that in 
Kant s theory of knowledge conceptual thought with its 
form, classification, does not receive its due ; he looks only 

1 Kant s Systematik, pp. 32 if. 2 Analogien, pp. 34 ff. 


at the arrangement of things in the perceptual connection 
in space and time, and not at their arrangement in the 
conceptual system. 1 

We turn now to the transcendental deduction, the most 
difficult thing, according to Kant s own statement, that has 
ever been undertaken in behalf of metaphysics. 

The point to be demonstrated is that the pure concepts of 
the understanding have objective validity on account of the 
fact that they are the determinants of all objects of possible 
experience. Or, in another formula, the laws of the activity 
of the understanding are at the same time laws of nature. 
It can be said also that the logical categories are at the 
same time ontological categories ; and this suggests Hegel s 
identification of logic and metaphysics, which grew out 
of this thought. 2 

The demonstration rests upon two points : (1) All syn 
thesis of the manifold in sensation proceeds from the 
spontaneous activity of the subject; the faculty of this 
spontaneous synthetizing is called understanding. (2) Ob 
jective reality, or nature as a unity of objects, first arises 
when the understanding reduces the manifold to the unity of 
experience. And the conclusion is that the functions of the 
understanding are constitutive for objective reality, or that 
the formulae which express the activity of the understand 
ing are at the same time objectively valid laws of nature. 

Kant repeatedly takes a disjunctive proposition as the 
starting-point in the demonstration. For objective valid 
ity to be confidently attributed to concepts, either the 

1 Many attempts to sketch the schema of categories are to be found in 
Erdmann, Reflexionen, II., pp. 149 ff. Here the logical principle of subordina 
tion is also employed (No. 483). 

2 The formula does not appear in the Kr. d. r. V., but Kant is not unfa 
miliar with it; see Erdmann, Reflexionen, II., Nos. 159, 1170; Fortschritte der 
Met. VIII., p. 520. In the lectures on metaphysics likewise the doctrine of 
categories was treated under the title of ontology ; see Politz, Kants Vorle- 
sungen iiber Met., pp. 20 ff. 


concepts must depend upon the objects, or conversely th< 
objects upon the concepts. A third possibility, the acci 
dental concurrence of a conceptual system that the under 
standing spontaneously creates, with the inner uniformity 
of reality itself, in other words, the preformation system, 
or system of the pre-established harmony of thought and 
being, is ruled out as an arbitrary supposition. But the 
first possibility also cannot hold. If all objective validity 
of concepts proceeded from the fact that concepts depended 
upon objects, there would be nothing but empirical rules. 
Such rules, however, could never furnish universality and 
necessity ; and all natural laws, even the most universal, 
as the law of causality, would then be merely presump 
tively universal valid rules. Nor would there be any fixed 
point whatever in the sciences that deal with reality. Em 
piricism logically carried out is scepticism. Since the latter 
is impossible, there remains only the second alternative. 
That is, objects^deperid uponjboncepts ; or the understand 
ing does not come to know natural laws from experience, 
but prescribes them to nature. 

^ The matter may be conceived in this way : If there were 
no understanding, there would be for us no nature either, 
but only a " throng of jsensations," a multiplicity of unre 
lated and isolated impressions of sense. The fact that we 
perceive reality as a unitary plurality of permanent things, 
as a cosmic whole, subject to uniform laws, is not a conse 
quence of the constitution of reality in itself, which may or 

I may not be unitary and regular (for reality in itself, with 
its conformity to law, does not pass over into our ideas) ; 
neither is it a consequence of our sensibility, which rather 
conveys to us genuinely separate elements in all sorts of 
order or disorder. It is rather the act of the understanding, 
which imposes its unity and regularity upon the given ele- 

* ments of sense-perception, and thereby creates the unitary 
world of experience. 



I shall not enter further into the many variations with 
which Kant, with wearisome repetitions, presents this idea. 
I only add the remark that the idea itself, in its universality, 
is thoroughly justified. Undoubtedly nature, as we perceive 
and think it, as a system of unitary, permanent things bear 
ing a reciprocal relation to one another, is not 1T1 to 
ur consciousness through the senses, but is < u 
activity of the understanding . The eyes and ears cdfrvv 
us separate fragments of perceptions, as they do to animals 
also, ^ub of these, the understanding, by reflecting and in 
quiring, ordering and supplementing, makes the totality of 
related things that we call nature. We hasten to add that 
this is, of course, not to be taken ai? meaning the under 
standing of the single individual, but the intellectual ac 
tivity of the generations that are united in the unity of the 
historical life. It is this which first creates a primitive 
system of concepts in the words of a language,, and later 
produces in philosophy and science an ever more complete 
system of reality. If the world, as we now represent it, is 
in extent and form other than the world of the ancient and 
mediaeval philosophers, this is without doubt the conse 
quence of all the intellectual labor that has in the meantime 
been expended. The mathematicians and astronomers, the 
physicists and chemists, have constructed our world ; the 
manner in which it is at present manifested to the senses in 
no wise differs from that of two thousand years ago. 

I return now to say a word further about two points, both 
of which were touched upon at the beginning. The first is, 
as it was designated by Kant himself, the psychological or 
subjective deduction, in distinction from the metaphysical 
and transcendental. It is the attempt to describe the course 
by which the understanding determines sense-perception, or 
to exhibit the " subjective sources " which render the under 
standing and its activity possible. The first edition fur 
nishes a thorough treatment of this point. It constitutes 


the main part of the second st.ctfcn on " the doctrine of the 
threefold synthesis, the synthesis of apprehension in per 
ception, of reproduction in imagination, and of recognition 
in the concept." The unific^n of the manifold in percep 
tion, which constitutes the essence of empirical knowledge, 
presupposes: (1) The comprehension of many sensational 
elements in a unitary perception in space and time. This .^ 
is possible only by means of spontaneity ; that is to say, by 
means of the a priori function of positing the elements in 
serial form in space and time. (2) This function further 
presupposes the reproductive synthesis of the imagination; 
i. e., the capacity of holding fast the elements and their con 
nections, and of recognizing them again as the same ; without 
t\\! s capacity \\ comprehension of the manifold in lasting 
unities would be possible. (3) The final presupposition is the 
conception of this union of the manifold as determinations * 
of a unitary object. Only when this has taken place, do we 
have real or objective knowledge ; for this requires us to con 
ceive the many elements as aspects or activities of one and 
the same object. This unitary object, the bearer of the mul 
tiplicity, is not something of definite content ; it is a mere 
X, the counterpart of the formal unity of consciousness in 
the synthesis of the manifold. And hence this unity of 
self-consciousness is the prime and absolute condition of all 
objective knowledge. Where there is no real self-conscious 
ness, no consciousness of an Ego, there is no unitary world, 
no objective idea of the worlcTpbssible. Self-consciousness 
and consciousness of a world, ego and non-ego, are correlates. 
The animal lacks both the consciousness of self and the 
consciousness of an objective world. It does not oppose it 
self as subject to the world as a unity of things ; it does not 
distinguish the self and objects from the sensational and 
perceptual process, or by hypostatization transform its sen 
sations into phenomena: it remains at the standpoint of 
the mere sensation. 


An example may help to elucidate the matter. The eye 
receives sensations of light from a luminous point in the 
evening sky. The animal experiences the sensation of light 
as well as man, but in its c ase that is all. Man transcends 
the given sensation and interprets this shimmer as the light 
of a cosmic body, say of the planet Venus, for example. He 
first apprehends repeated sensations as the same light. Then, 
by the reproductive power of the imagination, he unites 
the present light in one place with the previous light in 
another place, and interprets them as the motion of the same 
luminous body in space and time. He finally relates the 
light to a permanent object, and defines the latter con 
ceptually as a cosmic body of a certain magnitude, nature, 
and motion. All that rests upon the spontaneous activity 
of intelligence ; not upon passive receptivity. If it is ex 
perience, then experience is essentially the work of the 
understanding, not of the senses, as sensualistic empiricism 

In the deduction of the second edition, this exposition, 
as Kant himself remarks in the Preface, is omitted, because 
it is not indispensable and the book would otherwise become 
too voluminous. Since this anxiety does not weigh upon 
him in other matters (many repetitions and many long 
schematic observations could be left out without detriment), 
it is permissible to conjecture that still another cause was 
at work. I think it was the desire to get rid of the some 
what delicate and equivocal explanation of the nature of 
the transcendental object. This might appear to him now 
as an insidious approximation to the " good Berkeley," 
with whom he had been classified, much to his vexation 
(in the first review of the Critique by Garve-Feder). His 
own indecision regarding the limits of the activity of the 
understanding in determining sense-perception may also 
have been a motive. So he leaves that treatment entirely 
aside, and comprises the psychological deduction in 24 and 



25 in the treatment of the " productive power of the imagi 
nation." This undertakes to mediate between understand 
ing and sense, which in the first edition was done by the 
threefold synthesis. It asserts that every perception is 
produced by constructive activity. I cannot represent any 
line without drawing it in pure perception ; I cannot repre 
sent a circle or cube except by constructing it ; I am like 
wise unable also to represent any course of time, unless I 
construct it under the schema of a moving point. Now all 
spontaneity comes from the understanding ; we may there 
fore say that the understanding manifests itself as every 
where active in perception itself, and that all perception 
contains an intellectual in addition to the sensational factor. 
And this constitutes the very moment by which it is quali 
fied to take its place in a uniform system of nature. The 
presupposition of the possibility of bringing phenomena 
under rules is called by Kant the " affinity of phenomena." 
We are able to bring or think phenomena under the laws of 
the understanding only because the understanding is an 
active formative power in sense-perception itself. 1 

1 Although there is no Ariadne to furnish a thread, still, in order to proffer 
consolation to the reader who finds himself entangled in the labyrinth of 
Kant s presentations of the relation of spontaneity, or, of the understanding, 
to receptivity or sense, I transcribe here a passage from a letter of Kant s to 
Beck, of July 1, 1794. (It is among the Kant manuscripts in the Royal 
Library at Berlin. Beck s interpretation of his theory was submitted to 
Kant, and this letter is the answer to it. See Dilthey, " Die Rostocker.Kant- 
handschriften," Archiv fur Gesch. der Philos., II., pp. 638 ff.) " We cannot 
perceive the connection as given, but we must ourselves make it;, we must 
do the relating, if we are to represent to ourselves something as related (even 
space and time themselves). It is solely in respect to this connection that we 
are able to communicate with each other. The apprehension (apprehensio) of 
the manifold given, and the act of taking it up into the unity of consciousness 
(apperceptio) is the same as the idea of a related whole (i.e., possible only 
through the act of relating), if the synthesis of my representation in appre 
hension, and the analysis of it, so far as it is conceptual, give one and the 
same idea (that is, mutually produce each other). And since this agree 
ment lies neither in the representation alone nor in consciousness alone, 
but is notwithstanding valid (communicabel) for every one, it is attributed to 


The second point, in regard to which I wish to say a word 
further, is connected with this. It is the break, already 
mentioned, in the transcendental deduction, which must be 
apparent to every attentive reader. It occurs in both ex 
positions. In the second edition, we are told at the close of 
the deduction l that the " pure faculty of the understanding 
is not competent by means of mere categories to prescribe 
any a priori laws to phenomena, except those which form 
the foundation of nature in general, as a uniform system of 
phenomena in space and time. Special laws, inasmuch as 
they relate to empirically determined phenomena, cannot 
be fully deduced from pure laws, although they all stand in 
a body under them." And a similar statement occurs at 
the conclusion of the deduction in the first edition : " Em 
pirical laws, as such, can indeed in no wise derive their 
origin from the pure understanding," but they are only 
particular determinations of the pure laws of the understand 
ing. And the same thing recurs in the deductions of the 
particular categories or principles. The principle of the per 
manence of substance is a priori, ^ut in order to be able to 
apply the concept " one must base it upon the permanence 
of an empirically given object." The law of causality is a 
priori, but the occasion of its application must be given by 
observing regular empirical succession of time. 

But with this the entire demonstration breaks in two. It 
rests upon the presupposition, with which 15 began, that 
" every synthesis, whether it be a synthesis of the manifold 
content of perception or of conception, and, in the former 

some thing binding on every one, but different from the subject, t. e., to an 

" I may say, as I am writing this, that I do not at all adequately understand 
myself, and I shall wish you joy if you are able to display these simple and 
slender threads of our faculty of knowledge in a sufficiently clear light. Such 
superfine splitting of hairs is no longer for me, for I cannot make even Pro 
fessor Reinhold as clear as I should desire to myself." 

i 26, end. 


case, whether of sensible or non-sensible perception, is 
act of the understanding." "Synthesis does not lie in 
objects, and cannot be derived from them by means of 
ception, but it is solely a function of the understanding." 
Whence, then, the need all at once of empirically deter 
mined phenomena, for a knowledge of the laws of which 
experience must be superadded ? Can laws be drawn from 
experience, which do not have their source in the under 
standing? If such is the case, there would be syntheses 
of phenomena according to principles that originate in 
the receptivity of sense. If, however, that is the case, if 
synthesis in general can come from sense-perception, if 
the law of gravitation can be learned from experience 
and only from experience, why cannot the law of causality 
also ? 

In fact, it is impossible to rest here. One must either 
go further and adopt pure rationalism, which regards all 
physics as logically construable and demonstrable, as Spinoza 
does, or a priori deduces nature itself, as Hegel does. Or 
one must carry out pure empiricism, as Hume does, in inten 
tion at least, and say that all natural laws, all truths about 
matters of fact (in distinction from mathematical truths), 
even the most universal, are empirical laws. Of course we 
do not mean by this that nature impresses them upon the 
senses from without, but that the understanding forms them 
on the basis of the perceptually given connections in space 
and time, and tests their truth by reference to these. As 
the understanding in the case of Galileo and Newton con 
structed a formula by means of which the endless multipli 
city of falling bodies given in space and time could be 
comprehended, it has likewise given rise to the law of 
causality. This, however, is not an absolutely pure and 
rigid law of the understanding, but has been framed with 
respect to the events that are perceptually given in space 
and time. And like the law of falling bodies, the law of 


causality also has been gradually developed by slow and 
arduous progression on the part of the understanding, until 
it has finally discovered its adequate formula for the physical 
world in the law of the conservation of energy. With the 
surrender of the absolute purity/ indeed, the absolute uni 
versality and necessity of the law of causality is also given 
up, and there is then no point whatever at which changes in 
the construction of phenomena might not be made necessary 
by continued work on the part of the understanding. Even 
the law of causality itself would then, as an empirically 
grounded law, be no more absolutely impervious to improve 
ment through better and wider experience than the law 
of gravitation. But as the latter does not lose any of its 
value on account of such a mere possibility, neither does 
the former. It is the presupposition with which we ap 
proach all experience, and the mere conceivability that 
phenomena are possible which do not correspond with it, we 
can endure, without suffering any loss of confidence in our 

If Kant could have been convinced of the untenability of 
his standpoint, it is hard to say in favor of which side he 
would have decided. He certainly did not believe in the 
possibility of a pure logical and demonstrative physics ; and 
the supposition that he might have formed a higher opinion 
of the value of the speculative and dialectic method than 
he expressed about it on the first trials which he made, 
seems entirely excluded by his view of the nature of scientific 
knowledge. On the other hand, the overthrow of Hume s 
doubt of the absolute universality and necessity of the law of 
causality is a chief factor of his whole critical undertaking. 
To let that go would mean the surrender of his judicial point 
of view with regard to empiricism and rationalism. And 
hence the conclusion that Kant could never have convinced 
himself of the untenability of his mediating position, that 
the most universal laws of nature arise purely from the 


understanding, while special laws of nature come from 
experience, and with this equivocal conception the gap must 
be covered up. 

(2) The Analytic of Principles 

The general exposition and establishment of the conten 
tion that the forms of thought are constitutive for the 
phenomenal world, is followed in the second chief division 
by the exposition and establishment of the principles of the 
pure understanding in detail. The clearness of the connec 
tion is not aided by the fact that this section is introduced 
as the transcendental gV)otiTi" p - f fodg^.q"^ and that judg 
ment, as a faculty of subsuming under rules, is distinguished 
from the understanding as the faculty which supplies rules. 

The chapter on the Schematism of the Pure Concepts of 
Understanding prefaces the exposition of principles. Its 
real purpose is to exhibit the logical modes of thought in 
the form that they assume as real or ontological categories 
of the phenomenal world. In a certain sense they can be 
designated as the belated definitions of the pure concepts of 
the understanding, but, in the form that they assume, they 
are regarded as determining factors of perceptual reality. 
The matter is clearest in the case of the so-called categories 
of Eelation, Substantiality, Causality, and Keciprocity. 
The pure logical content of the category of substantiality is 
the inherence of the mark in the concept; this relation appears 
grammatically as the relation of subject and predicate. The 
subject is the pure logical substance, to which the predicate 
is related as something inherent. Now this same category 
appears in the real phenomenal world as the relation of the 
changing quality or activity to the permanent thing. The 
logical relation of subsisting and inhering is here reduced to 
terms of sense in the temporal relation that exists between 
what changes and what is permanent. The logical content of 
the category of causality is the relation of ground and conse- 


quence ; it manifests itself in thought as a relation of logical 
dependence. If A is, B also is, or if the judgment A is valid, 
the judgment B also is valid. This same category manifests 
itself in the real world as the regular succession of phenom 
ena in time. Always, when c (the cause) or a combination 
of c, c v c 2 , is present, e (the effect) is also present. Finally, 
the logical content of the category of reciprocity is the rela 
tion of the members of a logical division to one another. 
The species mutually determine themselves, in that they 
complete and divide among themselves the extent of the 
genus. In the real world this category assumes the form of 
the reciprocity existing between all parts of a totality, ulti 
mately the form of the reciprocity of all space-filling bodies. 
The schematization, or reduction to terms of sense, is less 
successful in the case of the remaining categories. This is 
due to the nature of these concepts, which were included 
only by force in the table of categories. I shall not enter 
into this, but simply add the Latin schema for all these 
determinations, which Kant inserted towards the close of 
the section, without, however, entirely carrying it through ; 
I mean the words which in the old editions ran as follows : 
Numerus est quantitas phenomenon, sensatio realitas phe 
nomenon, constans et perdurabile rerum substantia phenome 
non, eternatis, necessitous, phenomena. By correcting the 
mistakes and filling in the gaps, we should have the follow 
ing schema for the definitions of the categories when reduced 
to sensuous terms or realized: Numerus est quantitas phe 
nomenon, sensatio est realitas phenomenon, constans et per 
durabile rerum est substantia phenomenon, successio regularis 
est causal itas phenomenon, commercium physicum universale 
est influxus idealis universalis s. unio logica essentiarum 
phenomenon, existentia aliquo temporeest possibilitas phe 
nomenon, existentia certo ac determinato tempore est re 
alitas phenomenon, eternitas s. sempiternitas est necessitas 


We should have, according to this, really two tables of 
categories, a pure conceptual one, and one reduced to sen 
suous terms ; a purely logical, and a table of real categories. 
The categories of the latter table have objective validity for 
the phenomenal world. But how is it with the validity of the 
others ? According to the actual argument of the Analytic, 
they receive real significance only through the fact that they 
enter into the form of the schemata, and thus determine 
phenomena. Outside the world of experience they have no 
significance whatever. *y 

In connection with this, however, another thought pre 
sents itself. The pure forms of thought are not limited by 
sense-perception, but, on the contrary, limit sense-perception. 
They have in themselves validity for all things that can 
become objects of thought, and hence also even for things- 
in-themselves. And that is the older, and at bottom the 
prevailing mode of thought. It is dominant in the Disserta 
tion of 1770. For there we are told that the understanding, 
through its pure logical concepts, thinks things as they are 
in themselves. The forms of our sensible perception have 
no significance for reality itself, since the latter is not in 
space and time ; but our logical forms of thought do have 
transcendent significance ; the real can be only such as it 
is conceivable for it to be, and what is not possible or con 
ceivable cannot be real. Kant always adhered to this 
position in principle. The Critique of Pure Reason, to be 
sure, insists that the categories have the significance of 
real knowledge only in the field of experience, and that they 
are completely empty without the filling given by perception 
(and, it is to be remembered, sense-perception alone is pos 
sible for us). But, as a matter of fact, even in the Analytic 
the categories retain the position of transcendent thought 
entities. Thought extends further than phenomenal reality. 
And in the ^Esthetic and Dialectic the pure logical cate 
gories of substance and causality are unhesitatingly applied 


to things-in-themselves, in the former instance to explain 
causally the affection of the ego; in the latter, for the 
purpose of attributing to the ego causality according to 

Kant s adherence to this is also obviously connected with 
his metaphysical doctrine of the Ego. The logical nature, 
understanding and reason, is really the ego-in-itself, while, 
on the other hand, time and space belong merely to sentiency, 
to the sense representation of the ego, which as phenomenal 
can pass away (at death). But there remains the ego as a 
pure thinking essence, free from space and time, a spaceless 
and timeless pure thinking spirit. And this is a thought, 
which, although not realizable in perception, remains nev 
ertheless, a true and necessary idea. 

The systematic exposition of synthetic principles follows 
the schema of the .categories, but not without many forced 
steps. It shows a very varied content of a, priori elements of 
knowledge under the four titles : Axioms of Pure Perception, 
Anticipations of Sense Perception, Analogies of Experience, 
and Postulates of Empirical Thought in General. If the sub 
ject-matter is freed from its connection with the table of 
categories, one can give to the first section (Axioms of 
Pure Perception) the heading "Transcendental deduction 
of mathematics ; " to the two following sections (Antici 
pation and Analogies), the heading "Transcendental deduc 
tion of pure natural science ; " to which the fourth section 
(Postulates) is attached as a general remark directed against 
realistic rationalism and its product, dogmatic spiritual 
ism. That is the schema which Kant himself planned as 
the basis for the presentation of the Prolegomena in the 
three questions : (1) How is pure mathematics possible ? 
(2) How is pure natural science possible ? and (3) How is 
metaphysics possible ? This really justifiable and obvious 
arrangement is here suppressed for the sake of the table 
of categori^- 


! The first section (Axioms) contains the deduction of 
applied mathematics. Its principle is the proposition that 
all phenomena are extensive magnitudes. All phenomena 
are in space and time, and have, therefore, like them, ex- 
tensity attaching to their nature, and along with extensity 
the derived determinations that they are measurable, divis 
ible, and numerable. Hence they are subjected to the arts 
of measurement and computation ; i. e., geometry and arith 
metic are applicable to phenomena. What these sciences 
find true for that which is in itself measurable and numer 
able, the pure space and time determinations, holds good 
also for all things so far as they are in space and time. 

The proper place for developing this argument was the tran 
scendental ^Esthetic, and it is indeed indicated there under 
the title of the "transcendental exposition of space and 
time ; " and the " general remarks on the Esthetic " contrib 
ute much to its elaboration. I venture to specify a cause, 
rather than a logical reason, why its systematic develop 
ment is deferred to the Analytic. The cause may have 
been the difficulty about finding a suitable content for the 
title of quantity in the table of categories. This, to be 
sure, is also an arbitrary requirement. The quantity, which 
is equivalent to extension of perceptions, has scarcely any 
thing but the name in common with the logical quantity of 
judgments (extension of the sphere of the concept). * 

The second section (Anticipations) contains the first 
factor of Kant s pure science of nature, namely, the tran 
scendental basis of the dynamic theory of matter. The 
prevailing science of nature is mechanical. It begins by 
supposing that matter has no intrinsic differences, but is 
absolutely homogeneous, like the empty space in which it 
is contained. Consequently, all differences of bodies are 
referred to quantitative distinctions ; e. g., the different 
specific weight of bodies is accounted for by the different 
quantity of ultimate parts that are contained in equal 


volumes. A cubic centimeter of quicksilver contains thir 
teen times as much filled space as an equal volume of water. 
In opposition to this view, Kant contends that the proposi 
tion " that the real in space is everywhere the same in kind, 
and that it can be distinguished only on the basis of exten 
sive magnitude, i. e., of mass," is a pure metaphysical assump 
tion. In opposition to it, one can with fully equal right set 
up another point of view, namely, that matter fills space 
without any gaps, but with different intensity. There is no 
empty space, but "the real has in the case of the same 
quantity 1 its degree (of resistance or of weight), which, 
without diminution of the extensive size or mass, can 
become less and less ad inftnitum, before it 2 passes into 
the void and disappears." 

To establish this contention, he refers to the fact that the 
real in space is that which corresponds with the sensation. 
Now, all sensation has, in addition to its extensity, also a 
definite intensity, or a degree ; it passes through a continu 
ous gradation from zero to the definite intensity. Hence 
also the real itself, or matter, may have, not only extension 
(in space), but intensity also, and indeed a different degree 
in different spaces, though these are all continuously filled. 
The case is here stated only as a possibility ; the transcen 
dental point of view liberates the understanding from the 
dogmatism of the mechanical and materialistic physicists, 
who are metaphysicians in spite of themselves. We shall 
see later how Kant makes use of this freedom in his natural 

It is evident enough, moreover, that here too it is only 
with difficulty that the content receives any relation to the 
schema of logical categories. The logical function of affirma 
tion and negation has only a loose relation to the concepts 
of reality and unreality. But the difference between a 

1 Head Quantitdt, instead of Qualitdt. 

2 Read es, instead of sic. 


mechanical and dynamical interpretation is connected with 
that starting-point only by means of the loosest threads of 
association, reality sensation matter. The idea of 
the dynamic theory of matter had Kant s adherence, as we 
shall see further on, long before he had even the remotest 
notion of a transcendental deduction from the category of 
quality. And the place of quality in the schema of cate 
gories was likewise given before he knew what kind of a 
content he was to assign to it. 

The thirji section (Analogies) is the most important. It 
contains the exposition of the fundamental laws of the pure 
science of nature, namely, the laws of substantiality, caus 
ality, and reciprocity. 

The primary and basal law of physics is the proposition 
that " amid all change of phenomena substance is permanent, 
and the quantity of it is in nature neither increased nor 
diminished." The physicists, and ordinary common-sense 
also, have always assumed this proposition as a certain 
truth. But the question upon what its truth depends has 
not been raised. Is it based upon experience ? Obviously 
not, for no one has balanced the quantity of all the matter 
that exists in the world at different times, and established 
its equality. Does it rest upon logical certainty ? Just as 
little, for the proposition that matter neither comes into nor 
goes out of existence is not analytic, but synthetic. The 
judgment that a quantity of matter that existed yesterday 
exists no longer to-day, contains no logical contradiction. 
Hence the proposition, if it is to be proved at all, must be 
proved in a different way. Kant furnishes such a proof, 
namely, a transcendental one. Except on the assumption 
of the validity of this proposition, no experience is possible. 
The proof runs as follows : Experience is an aggregate of 
phenomena which are regularly conjoined in time. Now, 
the determination of a phenomenon in time is possible only 
if there is a permanent upon which all change is recorded, 


as upon a fixed background. If everything were in a pro 
cess of absolute change, it would not be possible to deter 
mine change itself. Without the permanent there would 
be no fixed temporal relation of simultaneity and succession. 
Now, time itself is not such a permanent ; neither can it be 
perceived. The absolute permanent is rather matter, and 
hence the unchangeableness of the quantity of matter, as 
the necessary condition of the possibility of experience, is 

proved in the only way in which it can be proved. ^/ 

A critical exposition of this proof would direct attention 
to some such points as the following : Undoubtedly all tem 
poral determination presupposes a permanent. The moving 
hand does not accomplish anything without a fixed dial- 
plate over which it moves. What is it that functions as a 
permanent for our real determinations of time ? Is it per 
haps the constant mass of matter? It appears not, but 
rather the uniform motions of the heavenly bodies. They 
constitute a dial-plate upon which we register all time deter 
minations. Hence it is not necessary for these movements 
to be absolutely constant. If the movements of the planet 
ary system, measured by those of the fixed stars, are not 
found to be absolutely constant, they are not on that account 
unsuited for the time determination of earthly processes. A 
relative permanence is sufficient for this purpose. The ulti 
mate permanent, according to which we determine changes 
in time, will, from the nature of the case, never be any 
thing more than an absolute permanent for us. A hand of 
a watch, the point of which took a hundred thousand years 
to advance the hundred thousandth part of a millimeter 
would be at a standstill for us. As far as the permanence 
of matter is concerned, however, at which we should never 
arrive in this way, the physicists would probably give us 
the following information about it : What is meant by the 
assertion is undoubtedly the observation that amid all 
changes of place, form, and total condition of bodies, the 


weight remains constant. If water apparently disappears 
by evaporation, more exact observation reveals the fact that 
it exists in the form of vapor with undiminished weight. 
All experiences of this sort are included in the one formula 
that the mass of matter remains constant. In truth, this 
is not a principle whose universality and necessity are 
proved, or really can be proved, either logically or by expe 
rience. For, if there were no other reason, in order to prove 
the constancy of the weight, the constancy of the weight of 
the weights employed must always be previously proved, 
and so on ad infinitum. The formula is consequently a 
presumption, a kind of a priori presupposition, framed on 
the basis of all previous experiences, and with which we 
approach all future experience. If any one wishes to con 
tend that it does not correspond with the truth, that, on 
the contrary, matter does come into being and pass away, 
in some particular instance or even continually, the im 
possibility cannot be demonstrated to him. However, that 
would not seem to be a cogent consideration ; the weight of 
the presumption is great enough to counterbalance every 
contention that in a particular case matter has been lost, 
and to warrant us in asserting with a priori confidence that 
the alleged experience rests upon incomplete observation. 
And the inadmissibility of this confidence can never be 
shown. A proof that matter which has once existed can 
be nowhere found again in the universe, is absolutely 

The second fundamental law of physics is the law of 
causality. Kant s formula is: "Everything that happens 
(begins to be) presupposes something upon which it follows 
according to a rule." The tortuous and wearisome demon 
stration, which is repeated in several forms, runs of course 
in the groove of the transcendental schema. The proposi 
tion can be proved neither logically (from concepts), nor 
empirically (by induction). Hence there remains only 


the transcendental proof that its universal validity is a 
necessary presupposition for the possibility of experience, 
i. e., of the conception of nature as a systematic unity of 

The demonstration contains two moments : (1) The tem 
poral sequence of perceptions in consciousness can be de 
termined only by the objective order of phenomena in time. 
In other words, the sequence in the apprehension of inner 
processes is dependent on the regular sequence of natural 
processes. Hence the law of causality, or the constancy of 
the course of nature, cannot be deduced from the sequence 
of perceptions in the subjective stream of ideas (as Hume 
maintains), but is, on the contrary, the presupposition of its 
possibility. Or, in the language of the Prolegomena, judg 
ments of experience cannot be derived from judgments of 
sense-perception, but, on the contrary, judgments of percep 
tion presuppose judgments of experience. (2) Moments of 
time stand in a necessary relation of succession. At every 
point in time the path goes through an a priori established 
time sequence ; I can pass from the year 1800 to the year 
2000 only by running back and forth through the inter 
vening years of the series. What is true of empty time 
is true also of filled time, i. e., of phenomena. Phenomena, 
therefore, also stand in necessary relations of temporal 

The important idea, which is here brought out distinctly 
/ for the first time, is the differentiation of the subjective train 
N^pf ideas from the objective course of phenomena. In my 
subjective consciousness, a given perception may be followed 
by any other whatever. I perceive how some one shoots a 
ball on a billiard-table ; I see then the movement of his arms 
and legs, hear his exclamation, or the remark of a third 
person, etc. But any other succession of perceptions what 
ever can arise in my consciousness. In the objective world, 
on the other hand, in the world of phenomena, a stroke of 


a definite force and direction is always followed by a move 
ment of a definite size and direction. We have, then, in this 
case strict uniformity ; from what does it come ? Evidently 
it c annot be derived, says Kant, from the irregular and con 
tingent sequence of perceptions in consciousness. Neither 
can it arise from a transcendent arrangement of things-in- 
themselves, which might supposedly be given to us. The 
only thing that ever is given to us, however, is a percep 
tion. Hence the only alternative is that the regularity is 
imposed upon the phenomenal world by the understanding. 
The understanding is the principle of all uniformity. As in 
the logical necessity of conceptual thought it recognizes 
the uniformity of its own functioning, it likewise intro 
duces the same uniformity into the world of phenomena, 
and that constitutes the uniformity of nature. The subject 
then finds that the uniform connection of nature is the pre 
supposition also of the sequence of perceptions in conscious 
ness. Every sensation is construed as the effect of a 
stimulus according to natural laws, and its place in the 
temporal course of the contents of consciousness is deter 
mined by relating it to corporeal movements in space (of 
the hand of a watch, or the motion of the sun). 

In all of this, Kant is undoubtedly altogether right in 
opposition to sensationalistic empiricism and idealism, 
which tend towards pure subjectivism. The distinction 
between the subjective content of consciousness and the 
objective world of appearance is necessary and important. 
And it is undoubtedly true that every one regards the 
temporal succession in subjective consciousness as contin 
gent and conditioned, and the temporal succession of phe 
nomena in nature, on the contrary, as uniform and as the 
conditioning factor. Natural science is concerned solely 
with the objective connection of phenomena. 

On the other hand, if a criticism is in place here, the 
question is not settled whether ultimately the objective 


sequence of phenomena is not, nevertheless, derived frc 
the sequence of perceptions in consciousness. The laws 
of mechanics express an objective succession of phenomena, 
but the sequence of perceptions in consciousness is the pre 
supposition of this order. We see, or we are convinced that 
we could always see, that when two elastic balls collide, 
a definite change in their motion occurs, corresponding with 
the mass, velocity, and direction of the balls. Of course, it 
is the understanding which formulates the laws, not, how 
ever, upon the basis of logical inference, but upon the 
basis of the observed sequence. Prior to any sense-per 
ception whatever, even the most perfect understanding 
could not foresee the relation of the balls. Adam, even if 
he were endowed with the keenest understanding, could 
no more have foretold, when he was first created, that a 
ball in rest would be set in motion on being struck by 
a moving ball, than he could have foretold that it would 
fall if he opened his hand. The observation of the se 
quence of given perceptions first furnishes the understand 
ing with the material for the construction of those formulae 
which we call natural laws. Now, Hume argues, there is no 
exception in the case of the law of causality, the first and 
most general of all natural laws. The observation that 
when we trace the succession of given perceptions, the 
same events always occur after the same events, and under 
the same conditions, forms the basis upon which the un 
derstanding constructs the general formula that the same 
phenomena are regularly followed by the same phenom 
ena. The truth of this formula rests upon the same 
foundation as the truth of the laws of mechanics or of 
gravitation, namely, upon their fitness to formulate the 
given connections of phenomena in space and time. If 
the law of causality were found to be unfit for this pur 
pose, if upon the most exact observation it were found that 
a certain impetus under altogether similar conditions gave 



rise to different movements at different times, we should be 
come suspicious of it and finally abandon it. That indeed 
would be a hard resolution to adopt. For the assumed uni 
formity of the course of nature is the only basis upon which 
it can be calculated ; but for our thought this calculability is 
a " happy accident." It is logically conceivable that there 
may be a connection of phenomena in space and time 
which do not manifest any uniformity, or whose uniform 
ity is so complex that our understanding is unable to 
grasp it. It is conceivable that there may be a cosmic 
system, the regularity of whose movements can never be 
discovered by us, although it could be understood by a 
more comprehensive perception and understanding. In 
like manner, a constitution of the perceptual world is con- 
-ceivable whose uniformity our understanding never grasped. 
Then experience in itself would be possible, but impossible 
for us. Hence the axiom for the "possibility of experi 
ence " does not serve the purpose. The causal law must 
have another foundation, jmd^ that is its factual adequacy 
for^the comprehension^ of given phenomena and jbheir con- 
nection in time. 

It is thus, indeed, not an absolutely necessary and uni 
versal law, but, like all natural laws, a principle whose uni 
versality is merely presumptive. Kant would here retort 
that by this statement we are plunging into the bottomless 
abyss of scepticism, which destroys all the certainty of knowl 
edge, and in the last analysis leaves only associations, such as 
those which animals possess. The physicist, however, would 
not, I think, let himself become disquieted by this, but would 
reply that the proof of the causal law as an axiomatic pre 
sumption, constructed by the understanding upon the basis 
of all previous experience, is entirely adequate for his pur 
poses. He may pass over the assertion that the causal law 
has been deviated from in a particular case, with precisely 
the same confidence with which Kant passes over the pos- 


sibility that more exact observation may contradict the 
universal uniformity. Indeed, he will not let himself be 
diverted by fruitless anxieties from that well-established and 
indispensable axiom, and be induced to assume a " miracle." 
The impossibility of an explanation in accordance with nat 
ural laws can never be demonstrated. Moreover, another 
thing must be added. The pure a priori establishment of 
the causal law in its merely universal form is no advantage 
whatever for the purposes of the physicist. Since Kant, 
nevertheless, appeals to experience for the particular laws, 
to the observation of the given time sequence ("temporal 
succession is the sole empirical criterion of causal relation ; " 
" knowledge of actual forces can be only empirically given," 
etc.), all physical laws, with the sole exception of this 
"fundamental principle," remain mere empirical proposi 
tions. Hence they lack strict universality and necessity. 
One can say only that if this law is a causal law, it is 
universal and necessary; but one can never, absolutely estab 
lish that proposition, since perception of temporal succession 
is the only criterion. Every observation can, indeed, be 
corrected by succeeding observation. 

In conj3h^iiQii r -i-iga^^ 

late certain most universal principles from their connection 
with naturaHaws, and to base them solely upon the nature 
.of thought The law of the conservation of energy has been, 
in the same sense as all the other laws of physics, con 
structed by the understanding with reference to the given 
connections of phenomena in space and time. And its 
validity, from an epistemological point of view, is not dif 
ferent in kind from that of all other propositions about 
matters of fact. It is not associated with the principles of 
pure mathematics, but belongs to the sphere of natural laws, 
whose validity rests upon their adequacy to explain given 

I shall merely mention the third Analogy. It is the prin- 


ciple that all substances, in so far as they are coexistent, 
exist in a state of reciprocity ; or, in other words, that the 
universe is a unitary system. This is a presupposition with 
which physics does, as a matter of fact, approach the inves 
tigation of reality. It assumes that there is no absolutely 
isolated or inert reality. That which is not active does not 
exist. The form of the proof is analogous to the two pre 
vious demonstrations. As permanence of matter is necessary 
for the perception of the duration of time, and the validity 
of the causal law for that of succession in time, the validity 
of this principle, likewise, is necessary for coexistence to be 
an object of possible perception. It seems to me that the 
proof could have been more obviously drawn from the na 
ture of space, as the proof in the case of the second analogy 
was drawn from the nature of time. All spaces are recipro 
cally determined, hence also filled spaces or phenomenal 

I may add here a remark about Kant s view of the con 
tent of the causal relation. He has not developed this in a 
connected way. His view does not diverge far from Hume 
on the one hand, and from Leibniz on the other. Causality 
in the phenomenal world signifies for Kant, as for Hume, 
nothing but regularity in the sequence of phenomena. Real 
causal efficiency cannot of course occur here, for phenomena 
are ideational products. As such they can no more produce 
an effect than concepts can. But, as concepts logically de 
termine one another, phenomena likewise can mutually deter 
mine their place in space and time. Or, more precisely, the 
place of each one in space and time is determined with rela 
tion to that of all the others. On the other side, Kant con 
ceives of the intelligible causality of things-in-themselves, 
which indeed can produce a real effect, after the pattern of 
the Leibnizian pre-established harmony. The noumena stand 
in the divine understanding in a relation which one can 
designate as an influxus idealis. They determine one an- 


other, like the parts of a work of art, with logical and teleo- 
logical necessity. 

The fourth section, the Postulates of Empirical Thought 
in General, furnishes a content for the fourth class of the 
table of categories, but this, like the former cases, is effected 
only at the cost of great trouble. It does not contain new 
natural laws, but a criticism of realistic rationalism con 
cerning the use of the expressions, "possible," "real," and 
" necessary." The old rationalism gave to what was merely 
conceivable the predicates "possible" and even "real." Thus 
Descartes based the " reality " of his spiritualistic concept of 
the soul as an ens mere cogitans solely on the conceivability 
of such a being. I can form a clear and distinct idea of it. 
And likewise the reality of the concept of body as res ex- 
tensa, and of God as the ens realissimum, is founded on their 
conceivability. The case is the same with Spinoza. An idea 
is true, not on account of its agreement with an object, but 
because it possesses denominationes intrinsecas of a true idea ; 
that is, inner possibility or conceivability. And likewise 
Leibniz assigns to what is conceivable, if not complete real 
ity, nevertheless a kind of semi-reality, namely, that of pos 
sibility. And he holds that the possible may become real ; 
that is, if its reality does not conflict with another possibile. 
In the language of his metaphysics, everything possible or 
conceivable becomes actual, in so far as it possesses, in addi 
tion to its inner possibility, compossibility also with all 
other realities. 

Kant by his Postulates puts an end to these attempts 
at a magical production of reality out of a pre-existing 
conceptual world. That which may claim the predicate 
"real" must be given in perception, or be inferred from 
previous perception under the guidance of natural laws. 
That which may claim the predicate "possible" must 
be capable of being given in possible experience. With 
out reference to perception, therefore, pure thought as such 


is in no condition whatever to treat of the real and the 

The point of the discussion is directed against spiritualism, 
which subscribes to the doctrine of soul-substances that 
occupy no space. Such a thing can never be an object of 
experience. And therefore it is neither a real nor even a 
merely possible being, but a pure creation of thought. It 
remains to be noted that we are here, of course, concerned 
with empirical reality, not with a transcendental or intelli 
gible reality, which may, nevertheless, belong to such crea 
tions of thought. 

In the second edition, Kant included in this discussion 
the Eefutation of Idealism, which may also be positively 
described as the proof of a formal materialism. For our 
experience, there are no substances except space-filling mat 
ter. The corporeal world is the real world, and the only 
way in which I can interpret psychical processes or connect 
them with reality is by relating them to the corporeal world. 
For our scientific knowledge, therefore, they are a posterius, 
not the prius, as Berkeley held. But this, of course, does 
not exclude the view that the entire corporeal world exists 
only for the subject, which interprets it by means of its 
functions of perception and thought. Material material 
ism, which fails to remember this, is just as false as the 
material idealism of Berkeley. This observation would 
have been quite natural at any rate, but Kant was very 
sensitive on this point, ever since he had been included 
with Berkeleian idealists. He did not want to have any 
thing at all in common with Berkeley. 

(3) Phenomena and Noumena 

With the systematic presentation of the synthetic prin 
ciples, the exposition of the new positive epistemology is 
brought to an end. It has been shown how the form of the 


objective world is created by the synthetic functions of 
intelligence, and how an a priori knowledge of it is thereby 
rendered possible. The introduction to the following sec 
tion clearly marks this termination : " We have now not 
only traversed the domain of the pure understanding and 
carefully examined every part of it, but we have also meas 
ured its extent, and assigned to everything therein its proper 
place." But, Kant continues, the geographer or describer of 
this land cannot yet regard his task as finished ; for it is an 
island, "surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, where 
many a fog-bank and many an iceberg that soon melts 
away seems to the mariner, on his voyage of discovery, a 
new country, and, while constantly deluding him with vain 
hopes, engages him in dangerous adventures, from which he 
can never desist, but which he can never bring to a ter 
mination." Hence the geographer of this land of truth is 
obliged, for the sake of the future voyager in these regions 
of ideas, to make a chart also of the oceanic surround 
ings with their illusive countries. This is the task of the 

Two small sections are inserted between the Analytic and 
the Dialectic. They settle accounts between critical or 
phenomenalistic idealism and realistic idealism. They may 
be described as the introduction to the Dialectic. 

The first section, on the "Division of all Objects into 
Phenomena and Noumena," contains Kant s critical discus 
sion of Plato, the first founder of idealism. Beyond the 
corporeal world, which the common understanding takes as 
the truly real world, Plato posits another world as the really 
real, namely, the world of ideas. Corporeal things, he found, 
these particular trees and men, cannot be the truly real. 
They are constantly involved in a process of becoming and 
passing away. Therefore they are not. On the other hand, 
amid the change of individuals, the universal form, the 
type, remains. Therefore it really is. Individuals are 


apprehended by sense ; the universal form is conceived by 
the understanding. Therefore one can say also that the 
real world is the world as it is for the understanding. The 
world as it is represented by the senses is mere appearance, 
a fleeting shadow-image of the pure essence. Thus we have 
the division of things into alad^rd and vorjrd, into a mun- 
dus sensibilis and a mundus intelligibilis, 

In this distinction, Kant says, Plato is quite right. It is 
the beginning of all sound philosophy to recognize that 
bodies are not the absolutely real, but only mere appear 
ances. But he is wrong in holding that the mundus intelli 
gibilis is the real object of the knowledge of the understanding. 
On the contrary, it is the mundus sensibilis to which the 
human understanding is adapted. Its concepts have value 
for knowledge only as functions for the construction of 
phenomena. If there were no phenomena, concepts would 
be just as meaningless as eyes would be if there were 
nothing to see, or ears if there were nothing to hear. 
Accordingly, the concept of a noumenon cannot be used in 
the positive sense, as Plato employs it, of the real as it is 
known by means of the understanding. It has merely a 
negative significance : non-phenomenon. Nevertheless it is 
a necessary concept, necessary, that is, " in order to limit 
the pretensions of sense-perception." Sense-perception has 
the tendency to posit its knowledge as absolute. The com 
mon understanding also does so, since it regards its perceptions 
as absolutely real things. And the materialistic philosopher 
with systematic dogmatism likewise does so when he main 
tains that corporeal substances are in themselves real, and 
more, the only thing that is in itself real. As opposed to 
this point of view, it is necessary to remember that reality 
which is given in perception is only phenomenal. And of 
this we are reminded by the concept of the mundus 


inner, anthropological experience, than upon sense observa 
tion. The ultimate bases must be rational truths. Since the 
bases of the system of metaphysics are the a priori forms of 
sense-perception and of thought (upon which the possibility 
of a system of rational knowledge depends), the principles 
which express the a priori, metempiric, and transcendental 
character of space, time, and the categories, must themselves 
possess certainty of some other kind than empirical certainty. 
They must be rational truths. 

It is obvious that this is what Kant intends. The point 
is raised, however, that as a matter of fact he has reached 
these a priori elements by empirical means ; namely, by 
means of reflection over actual perception and thought. The 
process of the long search and the final discovery of the cate 
gories is carried out before our eyes (in the Reflections). And 
there can be just as little doubt that the proposition that 
human perception has the form of spatiality and temporality 
is an anthropological generalization. 

What attitude would Kant adopt towards this problem ? 
I think one might from his standpoint make the following 
statement : It is true that we become conscious of the func 
tions of thought and perception on the occasion of their 
exercise. We can also say that they themselves do not 
exist as innate and fixed forms, but are constructed along 
with the sensation itself. And, further, the human mind 
attains distinct notions of them only at a high stage of de 
velopment. Complete clearness in regard to them is reached, 
however, only by means of critical reflection, the result of 
which is given in the ^Esthetic and Analytic. The fact that 
this insight is gained by reflection does not at all deprive 
them of their rational character. Even the principle of 
contradiction has been discovered by reflection upon the 
nature of thought, but it does not on that account become 
an empirical truth. As soon as the understanding thinks 
it, it thinks also its necessity, and sees in the principle the 


nature of conceptual thought, or its own nature. Now, the 
case is similar with the categories or with the synthetic 
principles. In them too the understanding comprehends 
its own nature. By reflection upon its activity, which exists 
for it in its product, the sciences, it recognizes in the prin 
ciples the form of its activity, which is the constructive 
principle of objective knowledge. In the axioms of geom 
etry, it formulates its constructive principles of space, and, 
since it formulates them, it becomes sure of their univer 
sality and necessity. In the principles of the pure science 
of nature, we have just such axiomatic principles, which the 
understanding, since it formulates them, immediately recog 
nizes as the principles of its constructive activity in the 
sciences, and thereby perceives their universality and neces 
sity. Hence they as well as the mathematical principles 
are rational truths. Mathematical propositions are also dis 
covered in time on accidental occasions. But their mathe 
matical existence does not rest upon that fact, but on the 
fact that they are conceived and demonstrated. Hence they 
are rational truths. Likewise the rationality of the a priori 
is also entirely consistent with its discovery by reflection. 

One may admit the validity of this observation. Eational 
-/truths do not lose their character because they arise some 
way or other in empirical consciousness. Otherwise there 
would be no such truths at all. But the question remains 
whether Kant is right in maintaining that the principles of 
" pure natural science " have a rational character in the same 
sense as the propositions of pure mathematics, or those of 
formal logic. It is this point that in my opinion is rightly 
contested. If with Kant we start from reflection upon the 
form of the sciences, there arises an essential difference 
between the form of pure mathematics or logic on the one 
side, and of physics on the other. In the former case, it is 
by pure thought that the truth of the propositions is estab 
lished; they are deduced as logical consequences. In the 


latter case, on the contrary, we have to reckon with an irra 
tional factor, which renders it impossible to decide upon the 
truth of propositions by means of mere immanent reflection ; 
we must consult sense-observation. And this irrational 
factor does not disappear even in the ultimate principles. 
It is attached to the laws of biology and chemistry, and 
likewise to the laws of mechanics, and even to the principle 
of the conservation of matter and of energy. It is a presup 
position, of the highest degree of probability and trust 
worthiness, which we make about the course of nature, but 
it is not of a purely rational character, like the principle of 
contradiction. We cannot think that concepts and judg 
ments have a relation other than the one we formulate in 
the law of contradiction, or that the conclusion is not valid 
if the premises are valid. In this case, the understanding is 
entirely in its own sphere. But we can think, in abstracto, 
that a change may occur without following upon another 
according to a rule. Kant would say that it certainly may 
be thought from the standpoint of pure logic, since there is 
no formal contradiction, and since the law of causality is a 
synthetic principle. But, he would urge, the understanding 
cannot think it without destroying itself, and without allow 
ing the sciences to become a prey to scepticism. But it 
may be replied to this, that that is just the question. Hume 
maintains, and many physicists will believe him, that the 
sciences extend just as far with the presumptively valid 
principle as with the a priori and absolutely valid principle. 
AVhat they need is a working maxim for their investigation, 
and they have that in the law of causality or the principle 
of the uniformity of nature, even if it is not a law of the 
pure understanding, but merely a principle constructed by 
the understanding on the basis of the datum, and found to 
be useful. 

Kant shows in regard to this point a fatal tendency to 
think in a circle. What Hume doubted was the strict (not 


the presumptive) universality or necessity of all judgments 
of fact, and hence also that of the propositions of physics or 
of applied mathematics. Kant undertakes to demonstrate 
this universality and necessity in opposition to Hume, but 
really he keeps continually presupposing them. In the 
concept of science as such, according to him, the apodictic 
character, the universality and necessity, is contained as an 
essential mark. Whoever denies that scientific principles 
possess this character is maintaining that there can be no real 
science : he is a sceptic. But scepticism is contradicted by 
the existence of the sciences, i. e. y the mathematical sciences 
of nature. Therefore the necessary presuppositions of the 
possibility of science are proved to be valid, i. e., the a priori 
and transcendental nature of the categories, or the pure ra 
tional character of the most universal and fundamental 
principles is established. And then, conversely, the a priori 
principles guarantee the universality and necessity of the 

If one places himself at the standpoint of evolutionary 
biology, the question about the general character of the a 
priori assumes a different aspect. One will then probably 
reach the following view : The perception of space and time, 
which can now be regarded as an a priori endowment of the 
individual, has been developed, along with the brain and the 
sense organs, in the life of the species. And the same holds 
true of the functions of thought, which in their fundamental 
features are now perhaps inherited with the brain organiza 
tion, and developed by the categories of language. And 
association would then be regarded as the primitive form of 
the connection of phenomena, out of which active thought 
had gradually arisen, as it still arises from it in the develop 
ment of the individual. And it would further follow that a 
future metamorphosis of the forms of perception and thought 
would not be beyond the range of what is conceivable and 



Analytic and Dialectic are respectively opposed to each 
other as the proof of scientific and the critique of pseudo- 
scientific metaphysics. The former is the "pure natural 
science," the latter the traditional school metaphysics with 
its speculations about God, the world, and pure spirits. The 
task of the Dialectic is to show the impossibility of this 
metaphysics as a dogmatic science. 

In this we have the announcement of a significant turning- 
point in the history of philosophy. The old school philosophy 
took its character from theology. The philosophical faculty 
and its instruction served as a general preparatory school of 
theology. The old phrase philosopkia ancilla iheologice 
still had its meaning for the Wolffian philosophy, although 
the handmaid liked to appear rather independent, some 
times even domineering, and thereby caused much trouble for 
her old mistress. Nevertheless, the final aim of the Leibnizio- 
Wolffian metaphysics was to lay the basis for religion and 
theology. The metaphysics developed by Kant in the An 
alytic could be better described as ancilla pliysicce. It is 
based on Newton s mathematical science of nature. Kant 
utterly rejects on principle a speculative metaphysic as a 
substructure for theology. His philosophy really under 
takes to secure the foundation of religious belief solely by 
means of ultimate reflections upon the nature of knowledge. 

In the Dialectic, then, he undertakes to show the impossi 
bility of theologizing metaphysics. And at the same time 
he seeks to establish the conviction that the destruction of 
the old metaphysical substructure for theological dogmatics 
is not a loss, but a gain, for religious belief. An unstable 
foundation does not support, but endangers the structure 
erected upon it. Theologizing dogmatism always produced 
scepticism as its counterpart, which made it a business to 
undermine the fundaments of faith that were laid by the 


philosophy of right intentions. And as this effort, from 
the nature of the case, must necessarily be successful, the real 
effect was that religion too was drawn into the ruin of the 
dogmatic philosophy. Or, without metaphor, the proofs of 
religion by well-meaning philosophy called forth the criticism 
of the understanding, whose freedom had been threatened. 
And the ever victorious criticism of the proofs shattered also 
belief in the conclusion. Fallacious proofs are always a 
danger even for a good subject. 

In place of the old unreliable fundaments, Kant even here 
refers to another, and in his conviction an absolutely trust 
worthy support for religious faith. It is the incontrover 
tible facts of the moral self-consciousness. The consciousness 
of duty, of vocation, of the worth of spiritual and moral 
goods, does not arise from the understanding, neither does it 
depend upon proofs of metaphysics and natural philosophy. 
But it is the expression of the inner nature of man himself. 
Therefore it is not assailable by sceptical reflection. If the 
continuance of religious belief is hereby secured, it rests 
upon a foundation which cannot be shaken. 

As a preliminary to the treatment of the particular parts 
of the transcendent metaphysics, there is also here, in the 
Introduction and the first book, a general discussion of the 
origin, position, and meaning of the notions it employs. 
Under the name of Ideas, they, as the products of reason, 
are contrasted with the categories as the products of the 
understanding. For the sake of the parallelismus membro- 
rum, one might assign to these sections the heading : Meta 
physical Deduction of the Ideas. And this would then be 
followed in the second book by the transcendental deduction 
and the systematic presentation of the Ideas, the conclusion 
of which is that a transcendental deduction is in this sphere 

When the deduction of the Ideas as necessary products of 
the intellect is taken out of the logical schematism, which 

THE ~_ 209 

contrasts them as the elements of the syllogism with the 
categories as the elements of judgment, it may be expounded, 
in the following manner. -\ 

Knowledge conformable with the understanding, as it is 
systematized in the sciences, everywhere refers beyond itself. 
It always deals only with elements that are dependent upon 
others. Every space-image is limited and determined by 
other space-images, and these are in their turn limited and 
determined by others, and so on without end. The same is 
true of every period and every determination of time. But 
it is no less true of everything that fills time and space. 
Every motion, every action is caused by other motions and 
actions, and these in their turn by others, and so on ad in- 
finitum. Consequently, every element of reality in the given 
phenomenal world is dependent upon others outside of it, 
which again are dependent upon others. The understanding 
can never get a firm footing : it sees itself ever driven from 
the conditioned to the conditioning elements, which are 
themselves in turn again conditioned. 

To escape this unrest, the mind creates the concepts of 
the Infinite, Eternal, Unconditioned, and Absolute. Kant 
gives the intelligence in the exercise of this function the 
name of reason/ in distinction from the understanding, 
which always goes back to the antecedent conditioning fac 
tor. And the concepts which thus arise, he calls " Ideas." 
Reason, therefore, transcending the particular and relative, 
is by the necessity of its own nature forced to form the con 
cept of the absolute. The relative cannot ultimately be 
without an absolute, the limited and finite without the en 
compassing infinite, the conditioned without an uncon 
ditioned. And hence reason puts itself at the standpoint 
of the absolute, and undertakes from that point of view to 
deduce the conditioned. 1 

1 Erdtnann, Reflexionen, II., 352 : " An Idea is the representation of the 
whole, in so far as it necessarily precedes the determination of the parts. It 



Only with the attainment of this view-point, does knowl 
edge reach its final goal. It can attain rest only in the 
absolute system, which proceeds from the absolute and 
develops from it all that is relative and conditioned. 
Perfect knowledge would be a philosophy which deduced 
the whole of reality from a unitary principle, a first being, 
which fashioned the world in accordance with Ideas. To 
deduce and comprehend the whole of reality from these 
creative Ideas would be knowledge in the absolute sense. 
As we do not know a book, a poem, or a work of art until 
we can develop all the particulars from the idea of the 
whole, we should likewise have complete knowledge of the 
world if we could develop the nature and order of all 
the parts from the idea of the whole. The philosophy of 
Plato, or Hegel, or Leibniz, is in truth the idea of perfect 

In this respect Kant is in thorough accord with realistic 
idealism. The idea of absolute knowledge is quite correctly 
defined by those philosophers. Their mistake is to think 
that they can produce, or indeed, like Hegel, that they have 
produced, a system corresponding with this idea. The 
human intellect can grasp the idea of perfect and absolute 
knowledge, but cannot carry it out. It is an idea, a concept, 
with which no corresponding object can be given in experi 
ence. The understanding assigns to itself the task of fur 
nishing a system of world-science. But it is a task that 
never can be completed ; for the infinite is and can never be 
given to the human understanding. It can, progressing fur 
ther in indefinitum, conjoin phenomena in time and space, 
but it will never attain to the whole. Beyond every cosmic 
system, there remains a wider and more comprehensive sys- 

can never be represented empirically, because in experience one passes from 
the parts through successive syntheses to the whole. It is the archetype of 
things, since certain objects are possible only through an idea. Transcen 
dental ideas are those in which the absolute whole as such determines the 
parts in the aggregate or series." 


tern. Beyond every period of evolution there remains an 
infinity of more comprehensive periods. And the case is 
exactly similar with regard to the task that speculative rea 
son undertakes : to furnish a system of world philosophy, to 
explain reality from an idea of the whole, or the chief end 
of the creator. We are not as successful with our system 
of world-philosophy as with our system of world-science. 
The only indication for such an interpretation of the world 
is the moral world within us, which manifests itself for us 
as an absolute end. But we go wrong at every step, if from 
that standpoint we venture upon a teleological interpreta 
tion of history or nature. 

The Ideas, however, retain their significance and necessity. 
They are problems, or demands, which serve as regulative 
principles to determine the employment of the understand 
ing. The concept of the world-science, or the idea of reality 
as a unitary whole, determined in accordance with all-pre 
vailing laws, instigates investigation, and leads to an ever- 
increasing extension and unification of experience. The 
concept of world-philosophy impels us to estimate rightly 
the value of our knowledge, and forces us to recognize the 
limitation of our knowledge, not only from the standpoint 
of its extension, but also from the standpoint of its signifi 
cance. By comparing such knowledge as is possible for us 
with the idea of an absolute knowledge, we recognize the 
fact that science is not the final goal of human existence. 
Were it possible by means of science to realize that end, 
and to think the thoughts of the Creator, science would 
then appear as the most distinctive task of life. If it suf 
fices merely to give us a slight acquaintance with the phe 
nomena of our spatial and temporal environment, its 
importance declines in comparison with the practical and 
moral interests. The understanding and science become 
merely an instrument for higher purposes of life. 

In the second book we have the systematic presentation 


of the Ideas, together with a criticism, instead of the deduc 
tion. The subject matter is furnished by the schema of the 
disciplines of the old metaphysics, rational psychology, cos 
mology, and theology. The fourth discipline, the ontology, 
the true as well as the false ontology, was treated in the 
Analytic. (The latter was discussed in the two concluding 
sections.) Subsequently, the attempt was made to sub 
ordinate this given matter to the schema of the transcen 
dental logic. As the Dialectic is construed as the doctrine 
of the syllogism, these disciplines, likewise, must submit to 
being brought by all kinds of artifices under the view-point 
of the categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive syllogism. 
That this is all the idle play of a capricious scholastic 
subtlety, needs no elaboration. And it is just as little 
necessary to dwell upon the fact that the introductory 
remarks upon the nature and origin of the ideas, have mean 
ing only for the theological and cosmological ideas. I shall 
proceed now to make a brief survey of the dialectical Ideas. 

(1) The Rational Psychology 

The critique of this discipline depends essentially upon 
the following points. People argue from the unity of the 
self-conscious subject to the simplicity of the soul substance. 
The soul cannot be a compound ; hence it cannot be an ex 
tended thing ; therefore it cannot be a material thing ; con 
sequently, it is a spiritual substance. As such it cannot be 
destroyed. A substance cannot be destroyed by division as 
far as its substantiality is concerned, but only in its form 
and connection. The soul substance cannot be divided into 
parts, hence it is imperishable, and, in the case of the iden 
tity of self-consciousness, immortal. Kant, on the other 
hand, maintains that the soul is not given to us in percep 
tion, like the body, as a permanent object. The unity of 
self-consciousness is given solely in the act of relating the 
manifold of inner experience. Without perception of a, per- 


manent, the application of the category of substance has no 

This view is in its entirety completely established. The 
concept of substance is constructed for the perception of 
the material world. In this field, the principle of the 
permanence of substance has its definite meaning. The 
mass of matter remains the same amid all changes of 
place, motion, and form. The sphere of inner psychic 
processes in no way affords an occasion for the establish 
ment of a similar principle. The proposition that the 
substance of soul-entities is unchangeable in quantity, 
is a proposition without any meaning. The unity of self- 
consciousness is solely functional. This destroys at the 
same time the metaphysical proof for immortality. Kant is 
right also when he contends that religious belief sustains no 
loss on that account; for it never rested upon cunning 
arguments, but upon the need of the heart. 

(2) The Rational Cosmology 

The critique of rational cosmology occupies the second 
main division, entitled "The Antinomy of Pure Reason." 
The discussion in this chapter is somewhat prolix, but it 
contains an important and early established element of the 
critical philosophy. The appearance of an intrinsic self- 
contradiction within reason itself, as Erdmann shows, 1 
attracted Kant s attention as early as the sixties, and 
essentially influenced the development of the system of 
transcendental idealism. Only on the supposition that the 
world in space and time is merely phenomenal does the 
contradiction disappear. Thus, in the exposition of the Dia 
lectic, the doctrine of the antinomies appears also as a sup 
plementary confirmation of transcendental idealism. On 
the presupposition of realism, the contradictions are abso 
lutely insoluble. Moreover, the critical philosophy ex- 

1 Reflexionen, II., p. xxxv. 


hibits itself here most advantageously in the role of 
referee and arbitrator, which it assumes towards all pre 
ceding philosophy. 

Unfortunately, in this case too the ideas are distorted by 
an -irrelevant schematization, and sometimes are disfigured 
beyond the point of recognition. 

The problems of infinity are the real point of departure 
for the discussion. Progressive synthesis of phenomena in 
space and time leads to the problem of the infinite, just as 
progressive analysis also does. Does analysis ever reach 
a point beyond which it cannot go ? Finally, tracing out 
causal connections, whether the procedure is progressive 
or regressive, leads to the problem of an infinite series. 
Rational cosmology had attempted to solve the problems by 
pure thought. But the result of these attempts was that 
reason became entangled in insoluble contradictions. It 
discovered, instead of one solution, two contradictory ones, 
and each seemed capable of being demonstrated with equal 
force. (1) The world is necessarily finite in space and 
time. Its finitude is unthinkable. (2) The world is com 
posed of ultimate simple parts. The simple is unthinkable, 
and it is impossible to construct from the simple (unex- 
tended) the extended world. (3) The chain of the causal 
series must have a final link, upon which it depends. There 
can be no link in the causal series that the understanding can 
regard as final, that it must not necessarily view as due to an 
antecedent cause. Thus reason itself is cleft in two, and nec 
essarily affirms and denies the same thing. If it seeks to 
rest in the finite, thought contradicts ifc by reaching out 
beyond every arbitrary limit. If it strives to place itself 
at the standpoint of the infinite, thought proves ineffectual 
and perception contradicts it. 

Instead of taking up these real and genuine problems as 
such, and for their own sake, and following them out to 
their logical conclusions, the exposition, in its present form, 


goes off on a side line after another " System of Cosmologi- 
cal Ideas." There are four cosmological ideas that are 
dialectic : (1) The idea of the creation of the world ; (2) 
the idea of the simple (the simplicity, spirituality, and 
immortality of the soul) ; (3) the idea of freedom ; (4) the 
idea of a necessary being. They are the same ideas, as 
one may see, that Kant elsewhere brings forward as the 
real object of all metaphysics : God (here treated separately 
in (1) and (4)), Immortality, and Freedom. The doctrine 
of the Antinomies, accordingly, contains all the dialectic 
concepts of pure reason. It might have included the whole 
Dialectic, even the critique of rational psychology (under 
(2)), and theology. Nevertheless, these four ideas are here 
patterned after the cosmological idea, and yoked to the 
schema of categories. And thus Kant gets the following 
four pairs of antithetical propositions, which are to progress 
according to the categories of quantity, quality, relation, and 
modality : (1) The world has a beginning in time, and is 
limited in regard to space. It has no beginning and no 
limits. (2) It consists of simple parts. There is no 
simple substance in the world. (3) There is freedom, i. e., 
there are phenomena which cannot be accounted for by the 
law of causality. There is no freedom, but everything 
happens in accordance with natural laws. (4) There is a 
necessary being. There is no necessary being. 

And now it appears that in these four contrary theses, two 
great tendencies of thought are opposed to each other, which 
throughout the entire history of human thought have car 
ried on a never ceasing struggle. They are the rationalistic 
and dogmatic on the one hand, and the empiristic and 
sceptical tendency on the other. One can also name them 
ther idealistic and the materialistic tendency. They are 
pitted against each other in Greek philosophy, in Plato 
and Epicurus. In modern times we have the same opposi 
tion in the theological philosophy of the Church, on the one 


side, and, on the other, in the tendency that proceeds from 
the natural sciences, and is employed in this service ; or, in 
the language of traditional censure, the philosophy of good 
intent and the philosophy of evil intent. The well-meaning 
philosophy, working in the interests of theology, demon 
strated the necessity of the beginning of the world in time 
(creation), of simple essences (monadology, immortality), of 
the freedom of the will, and of a necessary being (God). 
The empiristic and materialistic mode of thought, which 
was based on the natural sciences, contested all of these 
things. It found that a beginning of the world in time, 
the spirituality and immortality of the soul, causeless events 
(of free will), and a necessary being, are simply things that 
are not given in experience. Hence they are unreal and 
chimerical. Hume, or the Systeme de la nature, here comes 
into conflict with Leibniz. 1 

1 The composition of the doctrine of antinomies is a difficult problem that 
scarcely admits of a complete solution. It seems that the exposition is based 
upon a sketch which was early drawn up and originally worked out as an in 
dependent treatise. This, according to the original conception, was de 
signed to include the whole dialectic, that is, Kant s entire critical discussion 
of the old metaphysics, in both its forms of dogmatic affirmation and dog 
matic negation. The discussion was to embrace the following four heads : 
(1) The creation or infinity of the world ; (2) Immortality; (3) Freedom; 
(4) God. The third and fourth sections of the doctrine of antinomies espe 
cially refer back to this earlier sketch. They clearly presuppose that the doc 
trine of the antinomies was intended to set forth the whole dialectic controversy 
of previous metaphysical speculation, and to bring it to a judicial decision. 
Then, however, the schema of the transcendental logic was discovered, and the 
Dialectic was assigned the position of the doctrine of the syllogism. Conse 
quently, the doctrine of the antinomies had to be forced into the schema. It 
received its place under the title of the hypothetical syllogism, and had to 
surrender a part of its content for the equipment of the categorical and dis 
junctive syllogisms. The critique of rational psychology, schematized as the 
doctrine of the categorical syllogism, deprived it of an essential part of its 
content, namely, the critical discussion of the theory of monads as a support 
for psychology and metaphysics, particularly for the proofs of immortality. 
The only thing left for it was the discussion of the atomistic theory, which is 
replaced by the dynamic theory of matter. On the other hand, the rational 
theology, framed as the doctrine of the disjunctive syllogism, deprived the 
fourth cosmological idea of its real content (the cosmological proof for the 



The solution of the antinomies may be described as sub 
stituting for the aut aut, a nee nee, or an et et. The 
former is used to solve the first two antitheses. Sound 
human understanding has the feeling that it must be possi 
ble to give a simple affirmative or negative answer to the 
question whether or not the world is finite in time and 
space; and likewise to the question whether the ultimate 
parts of which the world consists are simple (unextended) 
or extended. Indeed, as soon as the metaphysician attempts 
an answer, the contradiction appears. If he says that the 

existence of a necessary being). Thus the first and third ideas were the only 
ones really left for the rational cosmology. The third idea, the idea of free 
dom (which does not really belong at all among the cosmological ideas), was 
made into a long-drawn-out chapter. Cf. Adickes, Kants Systematik, 60 ff., 
and the numerous passages in Erdmann s Reflexionen, in which Kant turns 
these notions around, first one way and then another. Kant s dexterity in 
schematizing, as well as the kaleidoscopic character of all of these schemati- 
zations, is brought out with extraordinary clearness. Cf. also an interesting 
sketch of the doctrine of antinomies in Reicke, Lose Blatter, I., pp. 105 ff. 
The propositions of the antinomies are here contrasted as principles of 
empirical employment in the world of appearances and of rational employ 
ment in the world of things-in-themselves. 

Relating to Phenomena. 

The principles of the exposition of 
phenomena posit them collectively as 
conditioned, hence not as absolutely 
posited : 

1. No absolute totality (totality se- 
cnndum quid) of composition, hence 
the infinite progressus; 

2. No absolute totality of decom 
position, hence no unconditioned 

3. No absolute totality of the se 
ries of procreation, hence no uncondi 
tioned spontaneity ; 

4. No unconditioned necessity (all 
things can be taken out of time and 

All these propositions are objec 
tively certain as principles for em 
pirical employment, but contrary to 

Relating to Things-in-Themselves. 

Principles of the rationality or 
comprehension of the same. From 
the universal to the particular abso 
lute synthesis : 

1. Unconditional All of the de 
pendent whole. Origin of the world 
(in mundo noumeno datur universitas). 

2. Unconditioned simple (monas). 

3. Unconditioned spontaneity of ac 
tion (libertas transsc.). 

4. Unconditionally necessary ex 
istence (necessltas absoluta, originaria). 

These propositions are subjectively 
necessary as principles for rational 
employment in the whole of knowl 
edge. Unity of the manifold of the 
knowledge of the understanding. 
They are practically necessary in re 
spect to the . . . (Breaks off.). 


world is finite, the question is raised about what exists 
beyond the limit. Is it empty space and empty time ? 
What are they, and of what do they consist ? And why 
should not a filling be possible ? In fact, are they con 
ceivable at all without a filling ? Or are space and time 
themselves limited ? As soon as one attempts to grasp 
these thoughts, one is conscious of their impossibility. If 
one adopts the opposite view, and says that the world has 
no beginning in time and no limits in space, this conception 
will not bear analysis. If it has no beginning, an infinity 
must have elapsed before the present point could be reached. 
Can an infinite time have elapsed before a definite terminus ? 
The case is similiar with space. Does the world exist as an 
infinite in space ? If I stood upon the farthest visible fixed 
star, would a new world of fixed stars lie before me ? And 
if I repeated this a thousand times, and a thousand times a 
thousand times, would I then be no nearer the boundary ? 
If I could multiply this by itself as often as I pleased, 
would all that be infinitely small in comparison with the 
infinity of actual extension ? The understanding becomes 
dizzy and it clings again to the finite, saying that " infi 
nite " and " real " are mutually exclusive predicates. 

The process of division leads to a similar result. The 
understanding in this instance is at first inclined to assume 
ultimate parts. Are these extended ? If so, then they are 
not ultimate. Why could not that which is extended be 
further divided, at least in thought ? On this supposition, 
we never reach a termination. We do not come to an end 
until we posit the ultimate parts as simple (unextended). 
But what is the result of that ? Is it not just as impossible 
to compound extended bodies out of unextended parts as to 
make a line out of points ? How many points make an inch 
and how many monads a body ? Hence this position also 
is untenable, and the understanding once more seizes upon 
extended atoms. 


Lastly, is the causal series finite or infinite ? Obviously 
it cannot be infinite. There must be a final member in the 
series that does not depend upon any other, a something 
that exists through itself, a necessary being. If there be no 
necessary being, there could be no contingent being either, 
that is, nothing that exists merely through something else. 
Dependence on something else cannot proceed ad infinitum, 
neither can a suspended chain be infinite. It must have a 
final link, by which it may hang upon a peg. But, in fact, 
as soon as one attempts to designate such an ultimate, un 
conditioned, and necessary thing, the contradiction emerges. 
There can never be any such ultimate. The understanding 
cannot refrain from inquiring after the cause. And hence 
the understanding is driven ceaselessly hither and thither 
between the two contrary principles, impelled and again 
repelled, and can never find rest. 

The solution which Kant offers runs as follows : Space 
and time, as well as bodies and motions of bodies, and there 
fore the causal series also, are not something absolutely 
existent. They are only phenomena, which the subject 
fashions by means of productive synthesis. They are only 
in and through the function of synthesis. This function is 
by nature neither a finite, nor an actual infinite, but a 
potential infinite. It can always be carried out further. 
Take the numerical series, for illustration. It is not finite, 
for I can by addition always pass beyond any particular 
number whatever. But neither is it infinite. It does not 
exist anywhere as a ready existent, infinite series. It has 
only potential infinity in the notion of the possibility of 
further synthesis. Now precisely the same thing holds true 
in the case of space and time. They have potential in 
finity in the synthetical function. I can prolong every line 
in indefinitum, and likewise every lapse of time. But in the 
corporeal world that fills space, and in the stream of events 
that fills time, I can never arrive at a point, on the other 


side of which empty space or empty time begins. And the 
same is true of division. As every number is divisible in 
indefinitum, so are every space and every space-content. 
And likewise in the causal series regressus and progressus 
in indcfinitum are proposed as a solution ; there can be no 
final member in the series. 

In fact, that is the only possible solution of these prob 
lems. If one regards space and time as things existing in 
themselves, the dilemma as to whether they are either finite 
or infinite cannot be avoided. If they are real only in the 
functions of synthesis, the question loses its meaning for 
the understanding, although not for perceptive thought. 
But Kant does not maintain the latter. The appearance 
remains, but it no longer deceives one who knows what it 

The solution of the third antinomy, to which the idea of 
freedom gives rise, is different. In this case, the aut aut 
(there is freedom of the will there is no freedom) is re 
placed by an et et. The same act, on the one hand, must 
be regarded as causally conditioned, and, on the other, can be 
viewed as free. The former view applies to it as a member 
of the phenomenal series, the latter as a manifestation of the 
intelligible ego. We shall later return to this point. More 
over, as was previously noted, the idea of freedom does not 
really belong among the cosmological ideas. It has a place 
in the original conception, which, under the title of " Anti 
nomies," was to furnish a solution for all the old dogmatic and 
sceptical systems of metaphysics. In the exposition of the 
antinomy, Kant has enveloped it in a cosmological cloak. 
It is introduced under the title of the first uncaused cause. 
The solution of the antinomy discards this cloak altogether. 

The fourth idea is the idea of the necessary being. This, 
it is clear, cannot be separated from the idea of the first, 
unconditioned cause, and really belongs to the cosmologi 
cal ideas. It cannot, however, be freely developed in this 


connection, because it really belongs to the critique of 
rational theology, which was cut off from the antinomies. 
In the doctrine of the antinomies, it is disposed of in the 
same way as the previous problem. The aut aut gives 
way to an et et. The proposition that everything has 
accidental and conditioned existence, and that there is no 
necessary being, is valid for the world of appearance. But 
this does not interfere with the proposition that " there is 
also a non-empirical condition of the whole series, i. e., an 
unconditioned, necessary being," or that " the whole series is 
grounded in an intelligible being, which is therefore free 
from all empirical conditions, and rather contains the ground 
of the possibility of all these phenomena. " 

(3) The Rational Theology 

The critique of rational theology has seven sections. The 
first two contain what may be called the metaphys 
ical deduction of the concept of God, which is derived 
from the disjunctive syllogism. The succeeding sections 
contain the transcendental critique (in place of the deduc 
tion) in the form of a negative answer to the question 
whether the objective validity of this concept can be theo 
retically demonstrated. 

The concept of God is the same as that already developed 
by Kant in The only Possible Ground of Demonstration of 
the Existence of God (1763). God is the sum total of reality, 
i. e., the unity of all thinkable reality (omnitudo realitatis). 
God is the ens realissimum, who unites in his nature all 
possible positive determinations, so that every positive pred 
icate without limitation is attributed to him. God, there 
fore, is the primeval cause of the possibility of all being, out 
of which that of every entity must be regarded as derived 
by limitation ; so that there is no entity which would not 
be posited in God s being. 


The critique has then to decide whether objective validity 
can be procured for this concept in the same way as for the 
pure concepts of the understanding. A critique that con 
fined itself exclusively to the limits of the Analytic would 
content itself with a mere reminder that reality, in the sense 
of the category, signified an object of possible experience, or 
one that can be given in perception, and that such reality 
could be attributed of course only to particular things, and 
not to the sum-total of all that is conceivable. God, as the 
absolutely transcendent being, could naturally have only 
intelligible reality, the reality of a thought entity or an idea, 
and hence absolute reality in the sense of the Platonic, or 
Spinozistic, or Hegelian system, according to which conceiv- 
ability is just the criterion of absolute reality. Neverthe 
less, since discussions about the reality of the idea of God 
have played such an important role in the history of philos 
ophy, Kant thinks it advisable "to draw up in detail the 
records of this process and deposit them in the archives of the 
human reason, for the prevention of future errors of a similar 
kind." And so he presented at length the possible forms of 
argument for the purpose of showing their fallacious nature. 

There are three modes of proving the existence of God by 
means of speculative reason : the ontological, the cosmo- 
logical, and the physico- theological. 

The ontological proof infers the existence from the idea of 
God itself. The unreality of the ens realissimum cannot be 
thought, or, with Spinoza, Dei essentia involvit existentiam. 
Kant s criticism amounts to the following : Existence is 
no mark of a concept. " Being is no real predicate," i. e., no 
ideal content, that could constitute an element of a concept. 
A hundred real dollars contain no more ideal content than a 
hundred possible (thought) dollars. Hence the existence of 
a thing can never be inferred by means of a logically neces 
sary (analytic) judgment from the concept of it. It can be 
demonstrated only by means of its direct presentation in 


perception, or by proving that it is connected with given 
perceptions in accordance with empirical laws. All existen 
tial propositions are synthetic, or everything real is contin 
gent. Necessity, that is, conditioned necessity, is attributable, 
not to things, but only to judgments, assuming that they are 
inferred from valid premises. Or Kant holds, with Hume, 
that " the contrary of every matter of fact is possible." 

It is easy to see that this criticism is valid only from the 
empirical standpoint. A representative of rationalism, 
Spinoza for example, would reply that the criticism does not 
touch his conceptions. My ontological argument, he would 
assert, does not refer to the existence of God in the world of 
sense-perception. I remain in the intelligible world, and 
am not concerned with the empirical, but solely with the 
transcendent, reality of God. A critique of the ontological 
proof would consequently have to be planned along en 
tirely different lines. It would have to show that the con 
cept of a unity of all ideal reality is intrinsically impossible, 
that it does not have in itself the denominationes intrinsecas 
of a true concept. If one puts God in a line with dollars, it 
is indeed easy to show the absurdity of the ontological proof. 
Kant in the criticism substitutes for the true and genuine idea 
of God, which he rightly develops in the exposition, the 
spurious and vulgar representation of God as a particular 
being, a method of representation that can scarcely with 
justice be attributed even to Descartes, against whom the 
conclusion of the criticism is directed. What, however, pre 
vented Kant from criticising the ontological proof in the 
only form in which it was intended or had meaning, seems 
to be the circumstance that his own thoughts move in pre 
cisely the same direction and make God the unity of the 
intelligible world. Whoever ascribes absolute intelligible 
reality and unity to the intelligible world, naturally cannot 
deny the ontological proof of God, except in the meaningless 
form to which I have referred. 


The cosmological proof according to Kant runs as follows : 
If the contingent and conditioned is, the necessary and un 
conditioned also must be. Now, the contingent is real. 
Hence the necessary also is. The proof of the major pre 
mise is that the contingent and conditioned has its exist 
ence through something other. Now there cannot be only 
dependent existence ; the regressus cannot proceed in in- 
finitum. There must be an existence which is through 
itself, i. c., a necessary being ; and this necessary being is 
the most real being, God. 

The criticism of the proof rests upon many points, but 1 
call special attention to the following: (1) The necessary 
being is not necessarily the most real being. Any limited 
being whatever can just as well be unconditionally neces 
sary. Therefore, from the concept of a necessary being, 
even if it were a valid concept, the existence of God as the 
most real being could not be proved (section 3). (2) The 
proposition that the necessary being is the most real being 
is really nothing but the converse of the proposition ad 
vanced by the ontological proof, that the most real being 
necessarily exists, and therefore these propositions are dis 
proved together. (3) The concept of a necessary being is not 
a valid concept. The existence of a thing can never be rep 
resented as absolutely necessary : its non-being can always 
be thought. Or, in other words, necessity and contingency 
are not applicable to things, but merely to thought. We are 
given the task of finding a conditioning factor for every con 
ditioned element. In reality, in the world of possible experi 
ence, we can never discover a conditioning factor that is 
unconditioned. Again we must remark that the criticism 
affects only those who posit God in the series of empirical 
conditions, and hence as a particular being with empirical 
reality and causality. 

The physico-theological proof, since it starts out from em 
pirical data, does not properly belong in a critique of the 


attempts of pure reason to construe reality a priori. And 
it is really only touched upon by Kant in this place. The 
proof is that we meet with such order, purpose, and beauty 
in the world <4 that language in the presence of wonders so 
numerous and inconceivable has missed (? lost) its force, and 
number its power to reckon, and even our thought all 
bounds, and our conception of the whole dissolves into a 
speechless astonishment the more eloquent that it is 
dumb." This purposive order is not a necessary result of 
the nature of the elements. The latter behave, as far as we 
see, with indifference towards every arrangement. There 
fore the order must be referred back to an ordering intelli 
gence, and, further, to a cosmic intelligence, for the world 
manifests itself, so far as our experience reaches, as a unitary 

Kant lets the presuppositions of the proof pass, but at 
tacks the conclusion that God, the ens realissimum, exists. 
The proof, at most, points to a world architect for the domain 
of experience, but not to a creator with the predicates of an 
ens realissimum, infinite, eternal, almighty, omniscient, etc. 
Consequently, it does not at all serve the purposes of specu 
lative theology, which is thrown back upon the a priori 
proofs, ultimately upon the ontological argument. 

Kant does not enter into the question how far the argu 
ment from empirical analogy goes towards establishing be 
lief in the existence of a world-constructing intelligence. 
He remarks only that the proof, as the oldest, clearest, and 
best suited for the common human reason, deserves to be 
mentioned always with respect. He observes too that rea 
son cannot be oppressed by any subtile speculation to suck 
a degree that a glance at the wonder of nature and the 
majesty of the structure of the world would not arouse it 
immediately from brooding indecision as from a dream. 
Still, he intimates, on the other hand, that the conclusion 
cannot bear the strictest transcendental criticism. Perhaps 



freely acting nature, " which is the source of all power and 
perhaps also of human reason itself," is the ultimate prin 
ciple of the construction of the world, and not to be derived 
from any other, an observation which recalls Hume s Dia 
logue on Natural Religion. What right have we to take 
this petty brain excitation, called reason, for a model of the 
constructive principle of the world ? That would be no less 
audacious anthropomorphism than it would be groundless 
arachnomorphism if spiders, dwelling upon a planet inhab 
ited by them alone, were to derive the order of the world 
from a cosmic spinning power. Kant could on this point 
have referred to Hume s treatment as a complement to 
his critique of the proofs of God. Hume gives, what Kant 
does not give, the criticism of natural theology from the 
standpoint of empirical reflection. In accordance with the 
purely rationalistic design of the Critique of Pure Reason, 
Kant really has space only for the purely a priori meta 
physics and a critical discussion of it. His critical inquiry, 
in regard to how far reason can a priori know reality, 
excludes on principle from the outset every discussion 
that enters upon the concrete nature of reality. It must, 
indeed, be admitted that it is thoroughly rational to inquire 
whether metaphysics a posteriori is not possible, whether 
the question regarding the nature and constitution of reality 
does not permit of an answer based upon the whole of em 
pirical knowledge, although not in the form of apodictic 
propositions, nevertheless in the form of well-grounded 
opinions. That is the course which the metaphysics of 
Schopenhauer and Fechner follows. 

The concluding section of the Dialectic, entitled " Appen 
dix," is not unimportant. From another standpoint, it 
might even be regarded as a main division. It contains the 
positive treatment, or, if one chooses, the "transcendental 
deduction " of the Ideas of reason, a limited and con 
ditioned, but nevertheless a real deduction. The ideas of 


reason are not, indeed, like the fundamental principles of 
the understanding, real constructive principles of nature, 
but they are, nevertheless, necessary principles for the em 
ployment of the understanding. They are regulative, but 
not constitutive principles, Kant says with his everlasting 
art of drawing distinctions. Eeason from its nature aims 
at an absolutely unitary and complete system of knowledge. 
It takes as its ideal the logical system and aims at a complete 
and thorough-going organization of reality in accordance with 
the schema of a conceptual hierarchy of forms and rules. 
And it necessarily carries this ideal over to its conception 
of reality ; with the result that reality manifests itself as a 
conceptual system. The law of logical classification, namely, 
generalization and conceptual division carried out to their 
uttermost, is accordingly a synthetic proposition a priori, 
which as an heuristic principle possesses objective validity. 
The highest ideal of rational knowledge is, however, unity 
in accordance with ideas of purpose. Absolute knowledge 
would be a synthesis of all things in accordance with teleo- 
logical laws. And it would follow from this, that reason, in 
order to attain the highest degree of speculative content 
ment, cannot forbear applying this assumption to reality. 
Hence it must make the presupposition of this assumption, 
namely, that the first ground of the world is to be conceived 
after the analogy of an intelligence that creates in accord 
ance with ideas. And this will put us on our guard against 
thinking that we can determine the original cause of the 
world and of the unity of the world in itself, and according 
to its essence. " We have merely presupposed a something, 
of which we have no conception at all, which we do not 
know as it is in itself. But, in relation to the systematic 
and purposive order of the universe, which we must presup 
pose in all our study of nature, we have thought this un 
known being by analogy with an intelligent existence, i. e., 
in respect to aims and perfection to which it gives rise ; we 


have endowed it with those attributes that, judging from the 
nature of our own reason, may contain the ground of such a 
systematic unity." Or, if we separate the thought from 
these somewhat painfully qualified sentences, human reason 
cannot refrain from imposing upon things its teleological 
conception, as well as its logical nature. Keason may claim 
that it is derived from the same original source from which 
things also arise; that consequently a conception conform 
able with its nature cannot be altogether unsuited to the 
nature of things and their source, even if it should not be in 
a position adequately and exhaustively to reflect the nature 
of things and their ultimate ground. In the second half of 
the Critique of Judgment, these ideas are further spun out. 


Under the title of the Doctrine of Method, there follow 
a series of reflections about the theme of the Critique, chiefly 
about the subject matter of the Dialectic. These are placed 
under some titles (Discipline, Canon) taken from the 
schema of a logical doctrine of method. The second and 
third sections of the Discipline of Pure Keason form, together 
with the Canon of Pure Keason, a kind of epilogue similar 
to the last two sections of Hume s Enquiry Concerning the 
Human Understanding. They show that these investigations 
are not only not dangerous or injurious for morals and religion, 
but are, on the contrary, necessary and useful. They eman 
cipate reason from negative as well as from positive forms of 
dogmatism. And reason, when thus liberated, cannot refrain 
from taking sides with the positive view regarding God and a 
future life. The practical interest is altogether upon this 
side. Hence, let us calmly permit the light of day to be shed 
upon all doubts. " External peace is a mere illusion. The 
seeds of distrust which are in the nature of the human heart 
must be exterminated. But how can we exterminate them 


if we do not give them freedom, aye, even nourishment to 
bring forth leaves, in order that they may make themselves 
known and be thereafter utterly extirpated ? " 

If one brings together the expositions of the Dialectic 
(including the Doctrine of Method), and follows out the spirit 
of the third and fourth sections of the Doctrine of Antino 
mies, which perhaps are the clearest reflection of the original 
conception, one can state the problem in the following 
manner : The question involved takes the form of a critical 
discussion betweeiPthe riew~~fiiBtaphysics "and the previous 
metaphysics. All previous metaphysics was dialectical, i. e., 
it had not, like the other sciences, a fixed stock of recognized 
truths. It contained only contested propositions and alle- 
gationSj which were always opposed by a contradictory con 
tention possessing an equal claim to logical necessity. All 
previous philosophy exhibits nothing but a perpetual war 
between two opposing tendencies. The one tendency, the 
rationalistic and idealistic, aims at furnishing an absolutely 
fixed theoretical basis for practical and religious truths. It 
teaches us to view the world as the creation of a rational 
being. It conceives the logical and ontological ideas in such 
a manner that the spirituality and immortality of the soul, 
and the freedom of the will can be grounded upon them. 
In opposition to this, stands the empirical, or the dogmatic and 
materialistic tendency. By means of sceptical reflection it 
destroys these conceptual constructions and demonstrations. 
The view of reality that cosmology and physics, biology and 
history evidently present to us, does not at all compel the 
understanding to regard nature as the work of an extra- 
mundane intelligence. Its inferences lead neither to a first 
cause (an act of creation), nor to the possibility of a teleo- 
logical explanation of the world. And the same is true of 
immortality and freedom. Unbiased theoretical considera 
tion shows that the psychical life runs parallel with the 
physical, and hence that they both come into and go out of 


existence together; that likewise all the processes of the 
inner life, volitional processes not excepted, manifest regu 
larity and causal connection in the same sense as the physio 
logical. The exemption of certain phenomena from the 
domain of natural explanation is altogether inadmissible. 

Thus the two stand in direct opposition. The one empha 
sizes the practical interest of reason. It is ready to sacrifice 
the theoretical to it. Philosophical speculation must neces 
sarily lead to a result that can be consistent with morals, 
religion, and the maintenance of the laws of society. The 
other lays stress upon the scientific interest, and is ready to 
sacrifice the practical to it. Its motto is : The truth above 
all ! The understanding must see things as they are. It 
must without scruple form the ultimate hypotheses and 
draw the final conclusions, untroubled as to whether the 
world or the philosophy which it constructs may contradict 
the demands of the heart. And these consequences are 
either that science knows nothing of God, freedom, and 
immortality (Hume), or, it denies them altogether and 
regards God, freedom, and immortality as creations of the 
imagination (Systeme de la nature). 

That is the state of the controversy. Kant s adjudication 
results in declaring that both are right, and both are wrong, 
i They are right in what they assert, but wrong in what they 
deny. The sceptical and materialistic philosophy is right in 
its demand that nothing must be withheld from free scien 
tific investigation. The understanding has the right of 
investigating everything and calling everything in question. 
It is also right in its contention that all theoretical proofs 
for the objective reality of the ideas of God, freedom, and 
immortality are fruitless. But that philosophy is wrong if 
it then discards these ideas altogether as meaningless prod 
ucts of fancy. The rationalistic and idealistic philosophy 
is entirely right when it insists upon the validity of these 
ideas. But it puts itself in the wrong if it undertakes to 


establish this validity by objective proofs. The certainty of 
these propositions depends, on the contrary, upon the sub 
jective need of reason, in which, of course, a speculative as 
well as a practical necessity expresses itself. Hence, faith 
must not encroach upon the domain of science, any more 
than science must do violence to faith. Both are equally 
indispensable for the spiritual life of man. Both have 
their place side by side ; for the understanding is the seat 
of knowledge, and the heart the seat of faith. 

Such is Kant s position. As far as the heart and the 
speculative impulse (of reason) are concerned, he takes sides 
with idealistic philosophy. But in the position that things 
must be made intelligible according to the laws of the 
understanding, he adopts the point of view of materialistic 
philosophy. Transcendental idealism, however, is the 
bridge over the apparent contradiction. The understanding 
pertains to the mundus sensibilis, and reason, particularly 
practical reason, pertains to the mundus intelligibilis. More 
over, the understanding cannot refrain from granting the 
reality of the latter, although only as a "limiting idea," 
towards which it strives, without being able to give it 
positive content. 



I shall conclude the exposition of the contents of the 
Critique of Pure Reason with a remark upon the two suc 
ceeding revisions of the subject. 

The Prolegomena to Every Future Metaphysic which can 
Appear as Science, published two years after the Critique, 
is, as far as its subject-matter is essentially concerned, an 
epitome of the main work, to which it frequently refers. 
It lays stress upon the chief points, and puts them in a 
different setting without any essential change in meaning. 


As Kant himself describes the difference, the Prolegomena 
follows the analytic, instead of the synthetic method. 
While Kant was composing it, the first reviews of the 
Critique of Pure Eeason came to his notice, notably the 
criticism in the Gottingische Gelehrten Anzeigen (Jan. 19, 
1782), which was written by Garve and revised by Feder. 
This led Kant to incorporate in the Prolegomena a number 
of exasperated replies. 1 There was one point that particu 
larly irritated him, and that was, being classified with 
Berkeley. The Critique was described by Feder as a work 
that contained a "system of higher idealism." Kant saw in 
this an application to his system of the favorite method of 
attack of those " whose philosophy, is the history of philos 
ophy," namely, of giving old party names to new ideas, a 
procedure which in Catholic polemics has been elaborated 
into a system. In that literature, the history of philosophy 
is nothing but a catalogus errorum. The various -isms 
stand ready like so many coffins for the reception of all new, 
non-approved ideas. Kant protests against the method in 
the most spirited way. With the tone of strong self-con 
sciousness, he declares that there are really new and very 
serious ideas in his book, which concern the very existence of 
all previous systems of metaphysics. He solemnly suspends 

1 Erdmann has separated even typographically these later insertions 
from the original composition. But such a strict separation cannot be carried 
out. In the introduction to his edition of the Prolegomena, and in his essay, 
entitled Kants Kritizismus in der 1. und 2. Aufl. der. Kr. d. r. V., which 
appeared as an introduction to his edition of Kr. d. r. V., Erdmann deals 
with the progress of Kant s thought in connection with the reception it met 
with from his contemporaries, and traces the development up to the appear 
ance of the second edition. The main idea is directed towards the establish 
ment of the interpretation that the chief purpose of the Critique is the proof 
of the impossibility of transcendent knowledge, and that this negative 
aim again reasserted itself, although it is obscured here and there by the 
emergence of the positive aspect (the proof of the possibility of rational 
knowledge within the domain of experience). The determination of the 
deviations of the later writings from the first edition, like the interpretation of 
the chief purpose, seems to me untenable. 


all metaphysicians from their labors until they have satis 
factorily answered his question about the possibility of 
synthetic knowledge a priori. In particular, he protests 
against the assertion that he follows the same road as the 
" good Berkeley." His idealism has nothing to do with the 
idealism of that man, who opens the door for the extrava 
gance of the imagination. On the contrary, he concludes 
that " imaginative extravagance cannot arise in an age of 
enlightenment, unless it conceals itself behind a system of 
scholastic metaphysics, under the protection of which it may 
venture to rage against reason. But it is driven from this 
its last retreat by the critical philosophy." In a series of 
remarks upon his historical relation to his predecessors, 
Kant connects his investigation, not with Berkeley, but 
with Hume, who, he says, was the first really to state the 
problem of the critical philosophy, although he did not solve 
it. He emphasizes the empirical and agnostic moments 
which are common to both him and Hume. With Hume he 
teaches that all our knowledge is confined to possible ex 
perience, and he points out that the Critique first proved 
by principles the impossibility of transcendent speculation. 
In opposition to Berkeley, he lays stress upon the realistic 
elements, and shows that he not only assumed as self-evident 
the reality of things-in-themselves, but also distinctly held 
to the empirical reality of bodies. 1 

1 I shall only remark further that the Gottingen review, although it is not 
always relevant, is not so foolish as it has been represented, either in the 
form given it by Feder or in the original composition of Garve. Indeed, I 
should say that it is not bad for the first notice of such a difficult and strange 
work. And it really gives, for a German review, little cause for complaint on 
the score of immoderateness. This is especially true of Garve s work, as it 
was afterwards printed in the Allg. Deutschen Bibl. (Appendix to Vol. 37-52, 
Part 2). Moreover, the charge against Feder of arrogance or malicious mis 
representation is also entirely unfounded. For the whole subject and the 
correspondence between Kant and Garve, which arose regarding the matter, 
cf. A. Stern, Ueber die Beziehungen Garves zu A ant (1884). Furthermore, 
Feder has shown that he was capable of understanding Kant, in his " Versuch 


In the parts which are intended as an abstract of the 
Critique, another moment is prominent, namely, the ration 
alistic. He there lays stress upon the claim that the criti 
cal philosophy alone can account for the form and validity 
of the rational sciences of mathematics and pure natural 
science. Since these disciplines exist as recognized sciences, 
the correctness of the critical epistemology is thereby based, 
as it were, upon a fact. If it is the only possible explana 
tion of the possibility of those rational sciences of objects, 
its truth is thereby demonstrated. On the other hand, this 
system of philosophy supplies the mathematical knowledge 
of nature with a trustworthy epistemological basis, that 
secures it " against all chicaneries of shallow metaphysics, 
because of the indubitable objective reality of its proposi 
tions." Lastly, the critical philosophy assists metaphysics 
to obtain the sure method of a science, by closing up the 
false way of transcendent speculation, and by pointing out to 
metaphysics its necessary and possible task. That task con 
sists in forming a system of philosophy according to rational 
principles. In this undertaking, both the theoretical prin 
ciples of the systematic unity of the employment of the 
understanding, and of the practical principles of a reason 
that is guided by the idea of a final purpose must find place. 

einer moglichst kurzen Darstellung des Kantischen Systems" (Philos. Bibl. 
von Feder und Meiners, III., pp. 1-13, 1790). In twelve pages, he has here 
written for his pupils a summary of the Critique of Pure Reason, formulated 
both concisely and intelligibly in twenty-five propositions. For Feder s 
further experiences with the Kantian philosophy, and the "amputation of his 
celebrity as instructor and author," see his Autobiography (pp. 115 ff.), which 
is worth reading in other respects. He was a candid man, who is not, indeed, 
to be ranked as an independent thinker, but neither is he by any means to be 
regarded as a conceited numskull. It is a pity that Kant had such a mean 
opinion of him but of what one of his opponents did he not have a low 
opinion? If he had permitted himself to come to terms with the empirical 
tendency, as Feder and more particularly TEnesidemus represented it, his 
philosophy would necessarily have had a light cast upon it that would have 
prevented many a misunderstanding. Furthermore, it is worthy of note that 
he repeatedly suggested to Beck to make a comparison of the Humian and 
Kantian philosophy (Archiv fur Gesch. der Phil. II., pp. 617, 619). 


"Idealism," however, appears here, as in the earlier work, 
a mere means, " the only means of solving the problem upon 
whose solution the fate of metaphysics entirely depends," 
and towards which the whole Critique is exclusively aimed, 
the problem, namely, of establishing the possibility of 
synthetic knowledge a priori. Transcendental and episte- 
mological idealism, which teaches the conception of space 
and time as forms of perception, and of things in space 
and time as phenomena, renders knowledge of the phenome 
nal world a priori possible, by means of the a priori con 
struction of phenomena in space and time. And it also 
renders the existence of a supersensuous world certain, 
as the necessary correlate of the world of phenomena, 
and thereby guarantees our philosophical view of the 
world against the "impudent contentions of materialism, 
naturalism, and fatalism, that seek to restrict the field of 

These points are characteristic also of the changes made 
in the second edition, which appeared six years after the 
first. The realistic and agnostic aspects are here and there 
somewhat more strongly emphasized by means of omissions 
and additions. A few observations on the " Object of our 
Ideas," which seemed to be capable of misinterpretation in 
the sense of an absolute idealism, are left out. A " Refuta 
tion of Idealism " is inserted. The transcendental deduc 
tion is confined more strictly to its epistemological purpose 
by separating it from the psychological exposition. Further, 
the limitation of the pure employment of the understanding 
solely to the domain of possible experience is emphasized 
thus early in the deduction. On the other hand, the view 
of the Prolegomena, that mathematics and pure natural 
science are recognized sciences of a purely rational character, 
is brought into the introduction of the Critique, not to the 
advantage of its clearness. The significance of the tran 
scendental deduction of the pure concepts of the understand- 


ing is in this way made less important, Kant remarks 
incidentally that it was not all necessary for those sciences, 
and at the same time and for the same reason the posi 
tive construction is given less prominence in comparison 
with the critical limitation. Nevertheless, Kant is right 
when he says in the Preface that the changes do not affect 
the propositions and the grounds by which they are demon 
strated, but only the form of exposition. It is certain that 
Kant himself entertained the conviction that his thought 
had not undergone any changes since he definitely adopted 
the critical standpoint. 

This is particularly true of two points, his attitude 
towards rationalism and towards idealism. In regard to 
rationalism, the character of the epistemological system 
is the same in the second as in the first edition. This 
is brought out with particular clearness in the new Pre 
face. If in the course of the elaboration it is occasionally 
somewhat obscured by the element of realism and the 
critical limitation, there is, nevertheless, not a moment s 
doubt but that the chief interest is to establish the possi 
bility of rational knowledge, although only of objects as 
phenomena. It must be admitted that there are occasional 
utterances, which emphasize the refutation of transcendent 
metaphysics to such an extent that, if we had only a few 
fragments of this character from Kant s writings, we should 
have to classify him with Hume. The most radical remark 
of the sorb is the one he introduced in the Preface of the 
Metaphysical Elements of Natural Science (1786). There 
the basis of the system of the Critique is said to be the 
proposition " that the entire speculative reason can never 
transcend objects of possible experience." "If it can be 
shown that the categories can have no other use except 
merely in relation to objects of experience, the answer to the 
question how they make experience possible is indeed 
sufficiently important to lead to the completion of this 


deduction, wherever possible. But in regard to the chief 
aim of the system, namely, the limitation of pure reason, it 
is nowise necessary, but merely serviceable." 

Such passages are worthy of note, inasmuch as they show 
how the consciousness of the design of his own work became 
temporarily obscured in the ardor of polemical or concilia 
tory efforts. But, notwithstanding, there can be no reason 
able doubt that the ^Esthetic and Analytic, in their entire 
plan, are conceived as proofs for the positive assertion that 
there is rational knowledge of objects (as phenomena), and 
not for the negative contention that there is no knowledge 
beyond the limits of possible experience. And, in the last 
analysis, the same holds true of the Dialectic also. It does 
undertake to overthrow the old dogmatic metaphysics, but 
only for the purpose of demolishing at the same time 
sceptical and materialistic metaphysics, and of laying the 
foundation for a new system, namely, the metaphysic that 
employs the Ideas as regulative and practical principles. 

How strictly Kant adheres to his formal rationalism is 
apparent from the very context in which the above cited 
passage occurs. In the Preface itself to the Metaphysical 
Elements, he develops his rationalistic conception of philos 
ophy in the most definite way : " The name of real science 
can be given only to that whose certainty is apodictic. 
Knowledge, which can attain only empirical certainty is only 
science improperly so-called." "A rational doctrine of 
nature, therefore, deserves the name of a science of nature 
only when the natural laws which lie at its basis are known 
a priori, and are not merely empirical laws." " Since in 
every doctrine of nature only so much real science is con 
tained as there is knowledge a priori, every doctrine of 
nature will constitute a real science only in so far as mathe 
matics can be applied to it." It is on this account that 
Kant refuses to regard chemistry and psychology as real 
sciences. Furthermore, he himself later took an opportunity 


to expressly correct the passage first quoted, 1 in which con 
nection there occurs also a noteworthy remark upon the 
" discovery of alleged contradictions " in his work. " They 
disappear of themselves entirely, if one views them in con 
nection with the whole." He might have said, in the lan 
guage of Protestant dogmatics, if one views them ex analogia 
fidei, or from the standpoint of the general rationalistic 
character of the system. 

Kant s attitude towards idealism also is equally unchanged 
in its main features, although the heat with which he pro 
tests against a kinship with Berkeleian idealism has produced 
here and there a magical transformation in the exposition. 
One can bring the problem of idealism under three heads : 
(1) Do bodies exist as real things outside (extra) of us in 
space? (2) Have bodies absolute reality independent of all 
ideas ? (3) Is there something absolutely existent beyond 
(prceter) our ideas (things-in-themselves) ? Kant since 1770 
never really vacillated for a moment in his answers to these 
questions. We can formulate them as follows : (1) Un 
doubtedly, bodies exist outside of us as real things. To be 
a real thing is nothing else than being given in external 
perception in space as an object. (2) These things, bodies, 
are not things-in-themselves. They are real as phenomena 
only for a perceiving subject. Without any subject at all, 
without the content of its sensations and the forms of its 
perception, we should never talk at all about bodies and their 
reality. These two points are developed with particular 
clearness in the critique of the fourth Paralogism in the 
first edition. Its place was taken in the second edition by 
the equivocal Eefutation of Idealism (in the Postulates of 
Empirical Thought), but that section says nothing to the 
contrary. (3) There are things-in-themselves, which exist 
in complete independence of our representation and thought. 
They are not, indeed, given in perception, and consequently 

1 Tekol. Prinzipien, IV., p. 496. 


empirical reality is not attributable to them, like bodies. 
To these three propositions Kant always adhered. Bodies 
have empirical reality, along with their transcendental 
ideality ; while things-in-themselves, on the contrary, do 
not have empirical, but transcendental reality. This is of 
course not capable of realization in perception, but is a 
necessary idea for thought. 

Kant s strong opposition to Berkeley, at times carried out 
at the risk of being misunderstood, and pushed so far that 
he can find nothing whatever in common between Berkeley 
and himself, is due to his decided aversion to dogmatic ideal 
ism, which denies reality to the corporeal world, and does so 
for the purpose of claiming it solely for the facts of inner 
sense. In opposition to this, Kant maintains that the facts 
of external perception possess reality in precisely the same 
sense as those of inner perception. Or, in other words, the 
really objective world is the world of things in space. It 
alone is an object of real objective perception and real ob 
jective or scientific knowledge. The facts which are only 
in inner sense possess a subjective and contingent character, 
while the perceptual world constructed in space is the world 
that is common to all, and that is determined by recognized 
natural laws. The psychic life becomes an object of objec 
tive knowledge for others only through its manifestations in 
bodily phenomena and movements. Indeed, the subject it 
self connects its inner experiences with bodily processes, 
and constructs them in time by relating them to movements. 
It localizes them in the objective world by means of their 
relation to the bodily life. 


LITERATURE : Kant did not carry out his intention of elaborating 
the metaphysics (if one leaves out of consideration the Metaphysical 
Elements of Natural Science). [Eng. trans, by Bax, Bonn s Library, 
London, 1883. A volume entitled, Kant s Cosmogony, by W. Hastie 
(Glasgow 1900), contains translations of Kant s Examination of the 
question whether the earth has undergone an alteration of its Axial Rota 
tion, and of his Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens.] 
Jasche s contemplated edition of the lectures, which was even an 
nounced by the publishers (1802), never made its appearance. Thus 
we have chiefly to rely upon the treatment of the subject in the 
critical writings. Besides this source, there are the later publica 
tions from the remains: The Reflexionen, edited by Erdmann, con 
taining Kant s memoranda in Banmgarten s text-book on metaphysics ; 
also the copies of Lectures on Metaphysics (1821) and on the Phil 
osophy of Religion (1817), both edited by Politz. The lectures on 
religion probably date from the winter semester 1785-86. On 
Pblitz s metaphysics, as well as on a few existent manuscript remains, 
there are two very minute investigations : E. Arnoldt, Krit. Exkurse 
(pp. 370 if.), and M. Heinze, Abh. der sacks. Ges. d. Wiss., philos. 
hist. KL, 1894. The latter contains supplements from the manu 
scripts. In addition, there are two essays by Erdmann in the Philos. 
Monatsheften, 1883-84. The significance of these sources consists in 
the fact that they furnish a positive presentation of Kant s thoughts, 
which in the Dialectic are put in a negative form. The lack of 
fixed dates, however, renders it difficult to utilize them. Still, 
they all belong to the period when the critical philosophy was estab 
lished in its fundamental outlines. (The notes for the psychology, 
cosmology, and theology in Politz, which are the earliest, Heinze 
places in the years 1775-80 ; Arnoldt, 1778-84. No objection seems 
to me to stand in the way of the latter date.) In addition, there are 
imperfect ideas and notes of Kant s hearers. Still, one gets the im 
pression that especially the later sections of the metaphysics and the 
philosophy of religion reproduce, rather faithfully on the whole, the 


content of the lectures, although deficient in particular respects. To 
be sure, if our knowledge of Kant were gathered solely from these 
fragments, we should never obtain a clear idea of his type of thought, 
and we probably should not regard it as worth the trouble. Dogmatic 
metaphysics and critical reflection are here interwoven in a strange 
way. One can hardly understand how pupils who were not already 
conversant with the Critique could follow these lectures. One thing, 
however, comes out very clearly, namely, that the old metaphysics 
had much more influence upon the lectures, and hence also upon 
Kant s thought, than any one would suppose whose knowledge of 
Kant was derived solely from the Critique of Pure Reason. This may 
have been simply adaptation to tradition, that existed in the form of 
Baumgarten s compendium, which, by the way, on account of its wide 
range, compactness, and precision, was very suitable for a text-book. 
Or it may have been due to the concurrence of the old with his own 
metaphysics, the content of which was determined long before the 
critical reflection upon its method was definitely conceived. It may 
also have been done for pedagogical purposes, which for Kant had 
ultimately a moral, and, in a certain sense, a culture significance. In 
any case, one sees that these notions had for him permanent impor 
tance and truth, although truth in a different sense from the truths of 
physics. It can perhaps be said that Kant did not entirely abandon 
a single one of his fundamental views on theology, psychology, and 
physics, as they were formulated in the precritical writings. Most 
of them recur, only with altered significance, in the critical writings. 

Hegel, in the Preface to his Logic (1812), writes that in 
consequence of the Kantian movement the rare spectacle of 
a cultivated people without a metaphysics is now witnessed 
in Germany ; science is, in other respects, a richly adorned 
temple, but without a holy of holies. 

It surprises us to hear that Germany at that time was 
without metaphysics. We are rather accustomed to speak 
of a superabundance of metaphysics at the time of the 
speculative philosophy. And it would have surprised Kant 
also to hear that he had destroyed metaphysics. Certainly 
nothing was further from his intention than that. On the 
contrary, he everywhere emphasizes that he is interested 
in the definite establishment of metaphysics, and that he 



intends to raise it from its previous condition of insecurity 
to the rank of a science. The Critique was originally in 
tended to be nothing but the epistemological substructure 
for the metaphysics, as is especially apparent from the series 
of letters to M. Herz, written in the seventies. For the first 
time, in the long letter of February 21, 1772, 1 the Critique 
of Pure Reason is described as a work which " contains the 
sources of metaphysics, its methods and limits." In 1773 
it is called " Transcendental philosophy," which must pre 
cede the inetaphysic of nature and of morals. And that is 
its permanent position in the Critique itself, as is shown in 
the Introduction and the concluding section (Architectonic 
of Pure Reason). 

The same standpoint is maintained also in the writings 
that follow the Critique of Pure Reason, viz., the Prolego 
mena, the Metaphysical Elements of Natural Science, and the 
Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals. It is, 
however, brought out with very especial distinctness in the 
retrospective survey which Kant makes in connection with 
the prize-subject of the Academy, Upon the Progress of Meta 
physics since Leibniz and Wolff. Here his philosophy is set 
forth as the first and only great advance in metaphysics 
since those days. " The transcendental philosophy," Kant 
says, "has for its object the founding of a inetaphysic 
whose purpose, as the chief end of pure reason, is intended 
to lead reason beyond the limits of the sensible world to 
the field of the supersensible." 2 And he repeatedly defines 
metaphysics as a science " of advancing from knowledge of 
the sensible to that of the supersensible," as is suggested 
also by the old name, yw-era ra <f>vo-iicd, trans physicam? The 
critical philosophy is the first to show how this advance 
may be accomplished with safety. 

One sees that Kant took his official title of Professor of 
Metaphysics with entire seriousness. His task is not to 

1 VIII., p. 693. 2 Ibid., p. 533. 3 Ibid., p. 576. 


destroy metaphysics, but to upbuild it. He regards all 
his undertakings in the sphere of philosophy as prepara 
tory for that purpose. When sending to Mendelssohn his 
Dreams of a Ghost- Seer, he wrote to him, on the 8th of 
April, 1766, as follows: "I am so far from regarding meta 
physics itself, objectively considered, as trivial and dispens 
able, that I am convinced that even the true and lasting 
well-being of the human race depends upon it." This re 
mained his permanent and fundamental point of view. In 
an age that is on the point of losing faith in metaphys 
ics, " when people seem to regard it an honor to speak con 
temptuously of metaphysical speculations as mere subtleties," 
he undertakes to intervene in its behalf. "Metaphysics 
is the real and true philosophy." l Metaphysics, " the fav 
orite child of reason," " is, perhaps more than any other 
science whatever, by its very nature rooted in us, as far as 
its fundamental features are concerned. And it can by 
no means be regarded as the product of an arbitrary choice, 
or as an accidental expansion in the progress of experience, 
from which it altogether separates itself." 2 

Indeed, the trans physicam gives the direction to Kant s 
whole thought ; the mundus intelligibilis is its goal. The first 
step towards it is the transcendental idealism. By means of 
the principle of the ideality of space and time, it establishes 
the ideality of matter. The corporeal world is nothing but 
phenomenal, and sense-perceptions are the material out of 
which it is upbuilt. The ^Esthetic and Analytic show how 
the intellect makes the corporeal world from that material. 
Thereby the great obstacle is forever removed that stands 
in the way of an idealistic metaphysic. That obstacle is 
materialism, which takes corporeal objects for things-in- 
themselves, aye, for the only things, and thus exalts phys 
ics to the rank of the absolute science, which leaves room for 
no other science. The second step is the removal of pre- 

1 Logik, Introduction, IV. 2 Prolegomena, 57. 


vious mistaken attempts to erect an idealistic metaphysics 
the refutation of the pseudo-sciences of rational psy 
chology, cosmology, and theology. These false sciences were 
also hindrances towards the attainment of the supersensible, 
inasmuch as they led reason along a false path, and brought 
it into conflict with itself (in the antinomies), and thus 
robbed it of its self-confidence and delivered it bound into 
the hands of scepticism (like Hume s). The Dialectic, 
that makes known this result, is in so far accounted as a 
" negative advance. " Its procedure is like that of a wan 
derer, " who has turned off the right road and goes back 
to the place from which he started, in order to discover 
his bearings." l The third and final step is the knowledge 
of the true relationship of the human reason to the mundus 
intelligibilis. This is based upon two factors. The first is 
that, by means of the practical reason, which is a priori 
legislative for the will, we transcend the sensible world, 
and belong immediately to the intelligible world, the king 
dom of ends. There is, therefore, nothing more certain than 
that reality in itself is an order in conformity with ends, a 
realization of ideas. The second factor is that the specula 
tive reason cannot help interpreting the world as a unitary 
system. The ultimate and supreme systematic unity, how 
ever, is unity in accordance with ideas of purpose. Conse 
quently, this is the necessary and final presupposition of the 
theoretical reason in regard to the nature of reality. It 
cannot, indeed, realize this idea ; it cannot demonstrate 
that nature is a system of realized ideas of purpose, in the 
way a machinist can do with a machine, or an art critic 
with a drama. In this instance, human reason itself has 
imposed the idea of purpose upon reality, a thing which 
it did not do in the case of the world. The teleological 
interpretation of the world is applied only to the intellectus 
archetypus. Meanwhile, human reason can gain an insight 

l VIII., p. 522. 


into one other thing, and that is the purposive necessity 
of its own limitation. The morality of freedom for man 
depends precisely on the fact that, although his knowledge 
is confined to the sensible world, he can freely determine 
himself by means of his will in the supersensuous world 
which would not be the case if he possessed a theoretical 
knowledge of the supersensuous. 1 

These are the three steps in the transition from the sensible 
to the supersensible world. In the outline of the Prize 
Essay, they are designated as follows : " The doctrine of 
science as a safe advance ; the doctrine of doubt as a 
halting place ; the doctrine of practical wisdom as a tran- i 
sition to the final goal of metaphysics. The result is that 
the first contains a theoretical and dogmatic doctrine, the 
second a sceptical discipline, and the third a practical and 
dogmatic discipline." 

Metaphysics arises everywhere from the insufficiencies of 
physics. The inadequacy of common knowledge to attain the 
idea of knowledge, and the inadequacy of common reality to 
reach the idea of perfection, engender the impulse towards 
transcendence. This was the case with Plato, the first 
in whom the impulse towards transcendence led to the 
creation of a system of metaphysics. It is the same with 
Kant, in whom the two motives, the insufficiency of em 
pirical science, and the worthlessness of empirical reality, 
were no less active. The desire for transcendence is the soul _ 
of his philosophy. What he calls reason, the faculty of 
Ideas, is really nothing else than the desire for transcendence, 
which has its roots in the feeling of the unsatisfactory na 
ture of the given. The understanding belongs to the sphere 
of phenomena ; it limits itself to construction in this field. 
But the mind is more than mere understanding. As reason, 
which transcends and limits the understanding, it soars 
above nature to a higher order of things. 

1 Kr. d. pr. V., Dialectic, ix. 


I shall now attempt to sketch briefly Kant s metaphysical 
views, by indicating their relation to the main problems and 
tendencies of his thought. But I shall first make two 
preliminary remarks. 

The epistemology and the metaphysics, the critical phe 
nomenalism in the former case, and the objective idealism in 
the latter, are not completely in harmony. The epistemology 
requires that we should on principle remain within the world 
of appearance, while the metaphysics leads us to the mun- 
i dus intelligibilis. Kant the epistemologist says that the 
I thing-in-itself is for us an undetermined x, merely a limiting 
I concept. " The transcendental object, which may be the 
ground of this appearance that we call matter, is a mere 
somewhat, and we would not understand what it is, even if 
somebody could tell us." a Kant the metaphysician is quite 
conversant with the thing-in-itself. " In the world of the 
understanding, the substrate is intelligence ; the act and 
cause, freedom ; the common interest, blessedness arising 
from freedom ; the first principle, an intelligence in accord 
ance with an idea ; the form, morality ; the nexus, a nexus 
of ends. This world of the understanding even now lies at 
the basis of the world of sense, and is the true self-depen 
dant." Or, " mundus intelligibilis est monadum, non secun- 
dum formam intuitus externi, sed interni reprecsentaMlis" 
Or, " the mundus intelligibilis, as an object of perception, is a 
mere undetermined idea, but as an object of the practical 
relations of our intelligence to intelligences of the world in 
general, and to God as the practical first principle, it is a 
true concept and definite idea: civitas Dei." 2 

These notes are not dated, but they probably belong to 
the seventies. However, the view expressed in them, Kant 
the metaphysician never abandoned. And Kant the epis 
temologist contents himself with saying that everything 

1 Amphiboly, III., p. 235. 

2 Erdmann, Rejlexionen, II., 1159, 1151, 1162. 


which is not for the understanding but for reason, although 
not perceptually knowable, is nevertheless thinkable and 
really true. The moral certainty is the final guarantee for 
this. Some one may say that the critical epistemology, when 
it was given its final form after the year 1772, was no longer 
strong enough completely to fill in all the parts; the ideal 
istic metaphysics maintains its position alongside of the 
official system, but it has the value only of a private opinion 
of Kant s, with which he did not care to dispense. But one 
must then add that this private opinion was older than the 
epistemological system, and it was so deeply rooted in his 
thought that he would sooner have given up the Analytic 
than the mundus intelligibilis. The epistemology was origi 
nally conceived simply as a foundation for the idealistic 
metaphysics. The Kantian metaphysics has, certainly, a 
somewhat peculiar variability, a kind of shifting between 
knowing and not knowing. Every statement that a thing 
is so, is followed by the qualification that properly speaking 
it is not so, upon which there ensues a final assertion that it 
is so nevertheless. 

The second remark to be made is that Kant s metaphysics 
has restricted itself to the sphere of pure knowledge a priori. 
It rejects on principle every consideration of experience. It 
undertakes to give philosophy the dignity of a science de 
rived from concepts. By clinging to this notion of philos 
ophy, Kanfc was prevented from following the path which 
Schopenhauer later adopted that is, from making phe 
nomena the starting-point for philosophy. In truth, meta 
physics is possible only by means of observation and 
interpretation of perceptually given reality. The actual form 
of all metaphysics is an interpretation of the sense-given 
corporeal world from the personal inner life. From Plato to 
Hegel, and Schopenhauer, and Fechner, all metaphysicians 
have thus regarded it. They all interpret the world either 
from thought or from the will, that is to say, from inner 


experience. Even Kant, as a matter of fact, follows the same 
course, but he does not want it called by that name. His 
metaphysics spurns borrowing from experience, and thus it 
always retains something, as if it existed only per nefas. 

The metaphysics has two main problems, the ontolog- 
ical and psychological, and the cosmological and theological. 
I shall proceed now to indicate Kant s solution of both 


This is the question in regard to the nature of reality in 
general. It has evoked three types of solution : Materialism, 
Spiritualistic Dualism, and Idealism (in the metaphysical 

Kant, as has been often said already, ranges himself on 
the side of idealism. The real itself is an ideal nature. The 
intelligible world is a system of concrete ideas. It is thus 
thought with intuitive knowledge by the absolute under 
standing. It is thus thought in abstract knowledge by the 
human understanding, to which the perception of the ideal 
world is permanently denied, since it possesses only sense- 
perception. The ideal world, accordingly, for the human 
understanding has not empirical reality, that is, it is not a 
datum of sense-perception, but it possesses intelligible real 
ity, that is, existence for thought. 

Such is the solution of theoretical philosophy. Ma 
terialism is utterly impossible, i. e. , for metaphysics. But 
for physics, on the contrary, it is an adequate, and indeed 
indispensable presupposition that everything that is real 
manifests itself in space as a body or a function of a body. 
But epistemological reflection adds that bodies are mere 
appearances ; that they are real only for a perceiving and 
thinking subject. Precisely for that reason, the subject and 
its activity cannot be interpreted as a function of a body. 


The thinking ego is, on the contrary, a presupposition of 
the possibility of the corporeal world, which is a product 
of its activity. One must of course guard against falling 
into the error of spiritualism, which supposes that the ego 
is known as an object or a permanent substance. The ego 
is given only in its function, as subject, not, however, as 
object. We have no perceptual knowledge of it, as we 
have of bodies, but only a concept (in Berkeley s language, 
a " notion," not an " idea," or perceptual representation). 
It is the concept of a perceiving and thinking subject, whose 
functional forms are space and time, categories and ideas. 

That is the one aspect. The same subject has, however, 
still another side, namely, the one which it applies to practi 
cal philosophy. It is a rational faculty of desire, practical 
reason ; and the moral law is the form of its functioning. 
The intelligible character takes rank with the transcendental 
unity of apperception as a description of the nature of the 
ego. And here we have reality itself as it is in itself, that is, 
as purposive reason, positing itself as its own end. What 
human nature is in miniature, the divine nature is in its 
fulness : Reason, positing and realizing ideas. 

I shall now touch on a few problems that suggest them 
selves in this connection. First, how is the pure ego related 
to the empirical ego ? The subject of the pure volition, the 
intelligible character, and the subject of pure perception 
and thought, do not belong to phenomena. On the other 
hand, every act of the will and of intelligence, so far as it 
manifests itself in the empirical consciousness in time, does 
belong to phenomena. What remains, then, to determine 
the subject ? And conversely how far can one say that a 
thought, a volition, or a feeling is a mere appearance of a 
self-existent being? To the former question, Kant, it seems, 
must answer that only the form of the ego in general 
remains as a principle of determination. In this case, the 
ego as individual would belong to the phenomenal sphere. 


And for this very reason the categories, and consequently 
unity and plurality also, cannot be employed to define 
things-in-themselves. Obviously, however, this is contrary 
to Kant s real view. In particular, he maintains that the 
ego as an intelligible character is an individual. 

The answer to the second question is also difficult. 
Evidently the opposition of phenomenon and thing-in-itself 
was originally thought of as the opposition between the 
corporeal world and the ideal world in God (mundus sensi- 

bilis intelligibilis). And the phenomenal world, or the 

objective world of perception, a potiori always remains for 
Kant the corporeal world. On the other hand, the episte- 
mological system reduces the facts of the world of conscious 
ness also to phenomena, if for no other reason, on account 
of treating time on a parallel with space. And then Kant 
constructs also an " inner sense," which is to bear the same 
relation to the processes of consciousness as the external 
senses bear to the corporeal world. It will, however, it 
seems to me, always remain inexplicable what use there is 
for this inner sense, if we disregard the formal necessity in 
the system. It likewise remains inexplicable how a thought 
or a feeling as a phenomenon can be brought into opposi 
tion to a thing-in-itself. A motion, a facial expression, a 
word written or spoken can be interpreted as an appearance 
of an inner process. But in the case of a thought or a feel 
ing, to be thought and felt are absolutely identical with their 
existence. They are precisely that which appears, i. e., that 
which manifest themselves in the sensible world as per 
ceptual physical processes. Finally, it also remains inexpli 
cable what use there is for the ego as a thing-in-itself, or a 
transcendental object. It is solely a function and nothing 
else. In the ego as a thing-in-itself, Kant is still adhering 
to something like the old soul-substance. 

I may here touch upon a related question. How are 
body and soul, the physical and psychical phenomena, 


related to each other ? It is the old moot-question concern 
ing the commercium animce et corporis. Kant does not 
enter into it in detail ; in the second edition it is only 
mentioned. He maintains that the Critique has obviated 
the whole difficulty. One may designate the solution it 
gives as phenornenalistic parallelism. The very same thing 
which manifests itself to the inner sense as a thinking and 
willing being, appears to the external sense as a body ; or, 
in other words, there is a parallelism between psychical and 
physical phenomena in the sense that the same thing which 
arises in my consciousness as sensation, idea, or feeling, 
would manifest itself in the perception of the external 
senses as a physical process in my body. The question 
regarding the possibility of interaction between body and 
soul reduces itself to the question, how both external arid 
internal sense-perception can take place in a being at the 
same time. Or, if we turn our eyes from the world of 
appearance to the world of things-in-themselves, the ques 
tion would arise how there could be interaction between 
the intelligible substrate which lies at the basis of the 
phenomena of the inner sense, and the intelligible substrate 
of the corporeal world. These are questions neither of 
which we can answer, but which contain nothing at all 
contradictory. Why could not two things the nature of 
which is unknown, stand in a reciprocal relation to each 
other? They may be thoroughly homogeneous. In this 
connection the view that appears distinctly in the critique of 
the second paralogism in the first edition, keeps suggesting 
itself, that the psychical side is the genuine reality, and the 
physical is mere appearance. This is precisely the view 
of Schopenhauer and Fechner, who clearly develop this 

Kant does not enter upon a more detailed exposition of 
the parallelistic theory. The Critique is too much occupied 
with the refutation of the old spiritualistic psychology and 


its doctrine of immortality for Kant to undertake the con 
struction of his own doctrine in a coherent system of psy 
chology. Nevertheless, he reserved a place for it in his 
system alongside of the rational physics. Thus we receive 
no answer to problems like the following, that meet us from 
any epistemological point of view : Do psychical processes 
correspond with the functioning of all parts of the body, or 
only with the functioning of certain parts, e.g., the brain, or 
even only with a definite point in the brain ? It is the old 
question in regard to the seat of the soul that keeps thus 
recurring. It is the question which Lotze and Fechner 
answer in opposite ways. Kant thinks to do away with it 
by the reminder that the soul is not in space, but space is 
in our perception. 1 Neither did he discuss in any greater 
detail the question concerning the extension of mental life. 
This is disposed of by a reference to the universal parallelism 
between phenomena and things-in-themselves. A more 
detailed discussion would have led to the problem of the 
gradations of mental life (as with Leibniz), and of the nature 
of psychical life itself, e. g., whether it is at bottom will or 
idea. These are questions, moreover, which were not alto 
gether strange to Kant, as is shown in Politz s Metaphysics 
and the Reflections? 


The problem of immortality, which constitutes the ulti 
mate goal in Kant s critical philosophy, as it does in the 
old metaphysics, is treated almost exclusively in a negative 

1 In a short essay, Zu Sommering, iiber das Organ der Seek (1796, VI., 
pp. 457 ff.), he agrees with Sommering in holding that the soul has virtual, 
although not local, presence in the fluid contained in the cavity of the brain, 
a view which is related to that developed by Lotze in his Medizinische 

* A unique gradation may be mentioned from Politz (pp. 214 ff.) : The 
animal soul has only an external sense ; the human soul has both external 
and internal sense ; pure spirits (merely a problematic concept) have only an 
internal sense. 


manner in the Critique of Pure Reason. Speculative reason 
can give neither an affirmative nor a negative answer to the 
question of a future life. It belongs to the tribunal of the 
practical reason, and this decides in favor of the affirmative. 
In regard to the form of the future life, as we have to think 
it in Kant s sense, we receive but scant information. He 
treated the subject in much greater detail in the lectures, as 
is shown by Politz s Metaphysics and Erdmann s Reflections. 
We have in those works Kant s original presentation and 
the later development side by side. According to the origi 
nal conception, which may be gathered also from the Dreams 
of a Ghost-Seer, although it is there presented with an air 
of scepticism, the soul is a simple, unextended, spiritual 
substance. At birth this substance enters into commercium 
with a body, with which it stands throughout life in a rela 
tion of reciprocity. Furthermore, this relation is a restric 
tion upon its spiritual activity. The soul is in the body, 
as in a prison or a cave. At death it withdraws from this 
commercium, and it lives on as pure spirit. Such is at least 
the philosopher s favorite presentation. However, he adds 
proofs for its continued existence. He gives a Platonic 
ontological proof from the nature of the soul as vital force ; 
then the moral proof from the demand for recompense; and, 
lastly, a cosmological proof from the " analogy of nature." 
The soul develops capacities, such as the speculative im 
pulse and the moral will, for the full employment of which 
the earthly life does not afford opportunity. Accordingly, 
from the principle that nature produces nothing without a 
purpose, it follows that there are organs fashioned for a 
future condition, as is the case with the organs of foetal life. 
The condition that ensues is a life of pure spirit. "The 
sciences are the luxuries of the understanding, which give us 
a foretaste of that which we shall be in the future life." l 
This treatment, which rests upon the basis of spiritualistic 

1 Pulitz, Met., p. 249. 


dualism, is, without any explanation, placed alongside of a 
view that presupposes phenomenalism. " The separation of 
the soul from the body consists in the metamorphosis of 
sense perception into spiritual perception, and that is the 
other world." Then the commercium with the mundus in- 
telligibilis in which the spirit, " according to Swedenborg s 
lofty thoughts," exists even at present, without, however, 
being conscious of it, on account of its sense-perception 
takes the form of the intuition of the spirit. The com 
munion with all good spirits, in which the spirit then sees 
itself, is heaven, and the communion with the evil, hell. 1 

We have here the notion of the future life, to which Kant 
adhered also in the critical period. It is indicated in the 
"Discipline of Pure Eeason in Kelation to Hypotheses." 2 
Against dogmatic denials of immortality, one may bring up 
the " Hypotheses of Pure Eeason " : " The body is nothing but 
the fundamental phenomenon, to which, as a necessary con 
dition, all sensibility, and consequently all thought, relates 
in the present state of our existence. The separation of soul 
and body forms the termination of the sensible exercise of 
our faculty of knowledge, and the beginning of the intellec 
tual. The body would thus be regarded, not as the cause of 
thought, but merely as its restrictive condition, and at the 
same time as promotive of the sensuous and animal, but 
therefore the greater hindrance to the pure and spiritual 
life." Or, " this life is nothing more than a mere appear 
ance, i. e., a sensible representation of the pure spiritual life. 
The whole world of sense is but an image, hovering before 
our present mode of knowledge, like a dream." These are, 
he concludes, merely problematical judgments, but never 
theless they cannot be confuted ; they " cannot properly be 
dispensed with (even for our own satisfaction) as answers 
to misgivings that may arise/ It is noteworthy, too, that 

1 Politz, pp. 255 ff. 

2 Til., p. 516; cf. critique of the 4th Paral. in the 1st edition, III., p. 612. 


the Critique also further permits the use of the old proofs 
for immortality, with the exception of the ontological proof 
that is based upon the notion of the soul-substance. " The 
proofs that may be serviceable for the world preserve their 
value undiminished ; nay, they rather gain in clearness and 
unsophisticated conviction by the rejection of dogmatical 
assumptions. For reason is thus confined within her own 
proper province, namely, the arrangement of ends, which 
nevertheless is at the same time an arrangement of nature." 
After this follows the proof from the analogy of nature, 
referred to above. 1 


The third concept, which Kant regularly names together 
with God and Immortality as the great concern of meta 
physics, is Freedom. In the practical philosophy, it be 
comes the real support in the ascent to the intelligible 
world. Following the order of Kant in the Dialectic, I 
shall here briefly indicate the nature of the concept. 

Kant distinguishes two meanings of the word : practical 
and transcendental freedom. The former belongs to the 
phenomenal, the latter to the intelligible world. 

Practical freedom signifies the power of a being to deter 
mine its act by means of the rational will independent of 
sense impulses. Such a capacity is possessed by man, whose 
volition is indeed affected by sensibility, but not necessitated 
as in the case of animals. 3 It is more closely defined as a 
power which, " by means of representing what is remotely 

1 Critique of the Paralogisms, 2d edition, III., p. 288. 

2 The main references are : Kr. d. r. V., third cosmological Idea and 
Canon (III., pp. 371 ff., 530) ; Proleg., 53 ; Grundlegung zur Met. d. Sitten, 
3d section ; Kr. d. pr. V., Critical Exposition of the Analytic, V., pp. 98 ff. 
In addition, see Reftexionen, II., pp. 426 ff. and Vorlesungen iiber Metaph , 
pp. 180 ff., 204 ff. 

* III., p. 371. 


useful or hurtful, overcomes the impressions of our sensible 
faculty of desire. But these considerations of what is desir 
able in relation to our whole state are based upon reason." 1 

Perhaps it would have been possible " for reason in its 
practical employment" to have stopped with this notion 
of freedom, and Kant in the passage last quoted shows a 
tendency to this procedure. It is adequate, and the only 
view that is of use in the explanation of the processes of 
the moral life, especially of responsibility. But, notwith 
standing, that is not Kant s meaning. On the contrary, 
he maintains that practical freedom necessarily presupposes 
transcendental freedom. 2 Without it, the former would be 
no better than the freedom of a turnspit. An automaton 
spirituale is just as much an automaton as an automaton 

Transcendental freedom, which is valid as it were beyond 
the domain of possible experience, has first of all the nega 
tive significance that the law of empirical causality is not 
valid for things-in-them selves. Obviously, the causal law, 
which determines the temporal sequence of phenomena in 
accordance with a rule, has no application to things that are 
not in time. But beyond this it has a positive meaning. It 
is a second form of causality, in addition to the empirical. 
It is explained as "the power of inaugurating a state of 
things by itself," as " a spontaneity, which can of itself 
begin to act, without the necessity of premising another 
cause." 4 The concept becomes more closely defined 
through its sphere of application. It is the intelligibilia, 
the pure entities of the understanding, to which this power 
pertains. And there are two orders of beings to whom it 
applies: God, the primordial Being, and man as practical 
reason, man-in-himself Qwmo noumenori). 

Freedom belongs primarily to God. This is an implica- 

1 III., p. 530. 2 ni., p. 372. 

8 V., p. 102. * III., p. 371. 


tion of the concept of God. The first and most real being 
(ens originarium realissimum) cannot be determined by 
something outside of itself. Its action is absolute spon 
taneity. The notion of creation expresses this as an absolute 
positing of the being of things. 

In a narrower but real sense, freedom belongs to man, 
i. e., to the homo noumenon. In the first place, it is attribut 
able to him in the negative sense of the analytical judg 
ment that man, as an intelligible being, is not subject to 
the causal law of the empirical world. It has, however, 
also a positive significance, since man as a pure intelligible 
being (homo noumenon) has the power " of initiating, inde 
pendently of natural causes^and entirely of himself, a series 
of events." The effects of human causality according to 
freedom are thus phenomena in time. " The idea of free 
dom occurs solely in the relation of the intellectual as cause 
to the phenomenal as effect." Wherefore Kant refuses to 
ascribe real freedom to God, since the effects of his causality 
are things-in-themselves, not phenomena. 1 And in the case 
of man, the same act is, on the one hand, " in respect to its 
intelligible cause, to be regarded as free, and still at the 
same time, in respect to phenomena, and as a consequence 
of them, to be regarded in accordance with the necessity of 
nature." 2 

The exposition of this strange view of the twofold causa- \ 
tion of certain phenomena, first, by means of things-in-them- 
selves, and, secondly, by means of phenomena, is followed 
by the doctrine of the intelligible and the empirical char 
acter. This harmonizes somewhat better with the system 
of transcendental idealism. Actions are conditioned by 
means of the empirical character and the solicitating cir 
cumstances. The result is that actions, precisely like other 
natural phenomena, can in the case of perfect knowledge be 
foreseen with utter certainty. The empirical character, 

1 Prolegomena, 53. 2 III., p. 373. 



however, is the manifestation of the intelligible character in 
time. The intelligible character, finally, is to be viewed as 
free intelligible activity. And thus one can rightly say of 
every action contrary to law, " that, although as a phenom 
enon in the past, it is completely determined, and in so far 
inevitably necessary, yet the agent need not have done it, 
since it, together with all his previous actions that deter 
mine it, belongs to one single manifestation of his char 
acter, which he himself fashions." " The sentient life 
possesses, in virtue of the intelligible consciousness of its 
existence (in the eyes of conscience), the absolute unity of 
a phenomenon." 1 

Kant regards freedom in this sense as the absolute pre 
supposition of moral responsibility. The processes of the 
moral self-consciousness, the consciousness of guilt and of 
repentance, cannot be explained, except on the presupposi 
tion " that everything which arises from human volition 
has for its source a free causality. This, from youth on, ex 
presses its character in its actions, which on account of the 
uniformity of their procedure render a natural connection 
knowable. The natural connection, however, does not 
make the disposition of the will necessary, but, on the 
contrary, it is the consequence of the immutable principle 
voluntarily adopted." 2 The justification of this presupposi 
tion cannot be demonstrated to the understanding. We 
cannot exhibit the reality of causality according to freedom, 
and neither can the how of its possibility be theoretically 
explained. The sole ground for its assumption is that it is 
the necessary presupposition of the possibility of the moral 
life. The denial of it leads to an absurdum morale, which 
it is impossible to admit. The speculative reason can 
accomplish only one thing, that is, it can by differentiating 
the sensible and the intelligible world disclose the possibility 
.of conceiving freedom. If we fail to draw this distinction, 

i IV., pp. 102 f. 2 v., p. 104. 


and if we take phenomena for things-in-themselves, there 
remains absolutely no place for freedom. 

In Kant s actual use of the concept of freedom, the two 
meanings, the practical and the transcendental, often merge 
into each other. This is especially obvious in the Reflections. 
The relation between the two meanings is mediated by 
means of the concept of rational causality. The latter 
can pass as the concrete definition of practical, and also of 
transcendental freedom. The understanding or reason is 
just homo noumenon. It is defined in the epistemology as 
pure spontaneity, in contradistinction to sensibility, or recep 
tivity. Its causality is causality in accordance with con 
cepts or ideas. Precisely the same is characteristic also of 
causality according to freedom, pure spontaneity and de 
termination of the will by means of a concept or a law. 
" Ought expresses a possible act the ground of which is 
nothing else than a mere concept." Thus the indefinite 
notion of the intelligible and its effect receives perceptual 
filling and at the same time practical signification. 

It is obvious, furthermore, that this whole conceptual 
structure is attended by numerous and serious difficulties. 
Kant suggests a theoretical one, which arises from the 
relation of man as ens derivativum to God. If one assumes 
that " God, as the universal and original being, is the cause 
also of the existence of substance (of the intelligible subject), 
it seems that one must also concede that the actions of man 
have their ground in the causality of the highest being." 1 
His solution is that God is creator only of noumena, but not 
of phenomena, whereas actions are phenomenal. Kant 
himself finds this solution " brief and illuminating." I am 
afraid, however, it will satisfy no one except himself. The* 
intelligible character ought really to be intelligible activity. 
Besides, there are practical difficulties. If reason is the 
intelligible essence of man, what is the source of evil ? Is 
1 TV., p. 104. 


it sensibility ? That is not and cannot be Kant s meaning. 
What, then, becomes of the imputation contained in the 
question, for what purpose was the causality of reason in 
accordance with freedom devised ? If the source of evil is 
not sensibility, it must be reason. But can reason be untrue 
to itself ? And if it were, if all evil actions were " the 
result of immutable principles of evil voluntarily adopted," 
whence the disapproval with which conscience, which after 
all is nothing but the practical reason, pronounces judgment 
upon its own act ? And how does this affect the possibility 
of a change of life, if the intelligible character has posited 
itself through an intelligible act ? Is not the necessary 
consequence the intolerable doctrine of the immutability of 
the will, which is absolutely irreconcilable with the facts of 
the moral life ? 

But enough of criticism. So far as I see, the doctrine of 
transcendental freedom has been no gain in any way. As 
Kant holds it, the concept of the liomo noumenon as a cause 
of phenomena, and thus too of the same phenomena that are 
also caused by natural conditions, is neither thinkable nor 
even consistent with his own fundamental notions. He 
would have to say that the intelligible nature produces by 
means of intelligible causality intelligible effects, which 
manifest themselves in the phenomenal world as a system 
of diverse processes in time. And it is further impossible 
to define the facts of the moral life in accordance with that 
principle. My conviction is that the notion of practical 
freedom alone is both adequate and sufficient for these 


The second great problem of metaphysics is the question 
concerning the existence of God and his relation to the 

1 For Kant s " natural theology," in addition to the Lectures, which show 
very definitely the real tendency of the Kantian thought on this subject, the 


f world. There are in this field also three opposing views : 
Atheistic Atomism, Theism, and Pantheism. Kant takes 
I sides with theism, or at least with a form of theism that 
diverges decidedly from anthropomorphism, and approxi 
mates to pantheism. A very suitable designation of his 
view would be the later expression of pantheism that " God 
is a supramundane being, in whom reality is immanent." 

If we start from the point of view of the cosmological 

problem, the question is : Has the world original unity, 

or is it a merely accidental aggregate of many independent 

essences (atoms) ? Kant holds to the unity in a double 

sense. All things in space are in a relation of reciprocity, 

and all things-in-themselves constitute an original unity 

of the mundus intelligibilis in God. The phenomenal reci- 

j procity in space is the manifestation of the ideal nexus 

of things in the intelligible world. 

* This view is one of the most permanent factors in Kant s 
thought. It meets us as early as in the New Explication 
(Prop. XIII.) and the Natural History of the Heavens (Pref 
ace). It forms the basis of the Only Possible Demonstration, 
and lies at the foundation of the Dreams and the Dissertation 
of 1770. It recurs in the treatment of the concept of God 
in the Critique of Pure Eeason, as well as in numerous 
metaphysical Reflections of the remains, and the Lectures. 

* All reality is embraced in unity in the ens realissimum. 
In other words, God is the omnitudo realitatis, in whom 
the reality of all beings is posited, and from whom it is 
derived by processes of limitation, in a way similar to that 
in which all spaces arise through limitations in the one 
space and are enclosed in it. 1 In every respect, this 

following are to be especially noted : Kr. d. r. V., The Dialectic, chiefly the 
Appendix; the Prolego me tin, especially 57, 58; the essay on Was heisst 
sick im Denken orientiren? (IV., pp. 342 ff.) ; Kr. d. pr. V., the last sections of 
the Dialectic; Kr. d. Urt., especially the concluding section ( 85 ff.) ; cf. 
the Reflexionen, II., pp. 452 ff . 

1 "Every world presupposes a primary source, since no commerciiim (reci- 



view has a twofold purpose. On one side it is directed 
against atomistic pluralism. The world, as it is, cannot 
be conceived of as arising from an original plurality of 
absolutely independent substances, but only from a funda 
mental unity. Thus it is a proof of God. The other aim is 
directed against anthropomorphic theism. The unity is an 
essential, not an artificial and accidental one, like that 
which a builder gives to his material. Things are in God, 
not outside of him. Hence his efficacy is not incidental 
or miraculous, but is everywhere active. Mundi non est 
architcctus, qui non sit simul creator^ 

These ideas seem to lead to a pantheistic view. But that 
is not Kant s meaning. He would say it is true that things 
are in God and God is in things, but God is not the sum- 
total of things. God is the unitaryjmnciple that, fashions 
things, but is not merge oT in things. The relation of God 
to things is perhaps intelligible through the relation of the 
understanding to concepts. Concepts are in the under 
standing and the understanding is in the concepts, but 
it is not identified with them. It is net the sum-total 
of them, but their presupposition, the principle by means 
of which they are posited. Thus God is the supramun- 
dane principle, by means of which the " natures of things," 
existing ideas or things-in-themselves, are posited. Obvi 
ously, this does not include bodies, which are nothing but the 
representation of things in our sense-perception. That which 
God creates is the intelligible world, the world of noumena. 

This differentiation of God from the world not from 

procity) is possible except in so far as they all exist through one being. 
This is the sole way of gaming an insight into the connection of substances 
by means of the understanding, so far as we perceive them, as they exist as 
universals in the Godhead. When we form a sensible representation of this 
connection, it is brought about by means of space. Thus we can say that 
space is the phenomenon of the divine omnipresence." Pblitz, Metaphysik, 
p. 113; Dissertation, 22. Reftexionen, pp. 219 ff. 
1 Diss., 20. 


% the corporeal world of phenomena, which does not exist 
at all for him, but from the intelligible world is 
merely touched upon in the Critique of Pure Reason, 
but is often discussed in the Lectures. God, as the pri 
mordial being, stands above the world, not in the world. 
That which is in the world is the totality of things 
in reciprocity. Between God and things, however, there 
is no reciprocity. The relation is only one-sided. God 
has an effect upon things, or rather he effects things, 
* but things do not act upon him. All reciprocity of things 
is possible through him alone, but he himself is not within 
* this commercium. This follows immediately from the con- 
cept of him as ens originarium. If he were in commercio 
with others, he would be determined by them, and would 
depend upon them. Hence, he would not be ens origina 
rium, for such a being can be thought only as independent. 1 

The foregoing sketch gives in outline the permanent form 
of Kant s philosophical view of God and the world: God 
is the original being, which as intellectus archetypus posits 
ideal reality. And our intellect sees this ideal reality 
shining through the phenomenal world, as the real world 
that is the ground of the latter. 

The critical period brought with it no change in the 
content of this view. It affected only the method of meta 
physics. In reply to the question whether we can de 
monstrate the truth or objective validity of this view from 
pure reason, the critical philosophy, after the vacillation 
of the earlier writings, answers with a completely deci 
sive "no!" But it gives a no less decided affirmative 
answer to the question whether we have ground to as- 

1 Politz, Vorlesungen, pp. 109, 302, 332. Cf. the exposition of the rational 
theology from a later lecture as given in Heinze s work. There Kant argues 
against pantheism as follows : Pantheism is either the doctrine of inherence 
that is, Spinozism or that of the aggregate. Both are impossihle. God 
is an essential unity (monas) , not an aggregate, and God is the ground of the 
world, not its substance. 


sume its truth. The existence of God is the most certain 
element of our metaphysic ; an irresistible need of our 
reason forces it upon us. The establishment of this need 
is, on the basis of the Critique, the proof of the existence 
of God. From a consideration of the introduction to the 
rational theology in the Lectures} we may distinguish three 
modes, or even stages, of this demonstration : the tran 
scendental, the physico-theological, and the moral proof. 

The transcendental demonstration is the same as appears 
in a negative light in the criticism of the ontological and 
cosmological proof. In its positive form, it has the fol 
lowing character : Speculative reason cannot relinquish 
the concept of an original being in whom the unity of real 
ity is posited, and in whom things are bound so together 
as to give rise to the possibility of reciprocity. The task 
that is imposed upon it by its own nature is to exhibit re 
ality as a unitary system in a system of logically connected 
concepts. The presupposition of the possibility of such a 
completion of knowledge is that the nature of things con 
forms with this ; i. e., that reality in itself is a logical system, 
an omnitudo realitatis noumenon. This is the content, too 
often overlooked, of the Appendix to the Dialectic, with its 
" transcendental deduction of all ideas of speculative rea 
son." 2 The psychological and theological ideas, especially 
the latter, are really necessary factors of our thought. They 
cannot, indeed, be realized in perception, simply because our 
perception is sensuous. But that does not in the least pre 
vent their " being assumed as objective and hypostatic." If 
the idea of a logical omnitudo realitatis lies at the basis of 
the greatest possible empirical employment of my reason, 
" I am not only justified, but also forced, to realize this idea, 
i. e., to posit a real object for it. Therefore, after the analogy 
of the realities in the world, of substances, causality, and 
necessity, I may think a being that possesses all these in the 

1 Politz, pp. 268 ff. 2 HI., p. 452. 


highest degree of perfection, and may conceive this being as 
an independent reason, which by means of ideas of the 
greatest harmony and unity is the cause of the universe." 
That is to say, God or the intelligible ens realissimum is a 1 
necessary presupposition for the perfect employment of my / 
reason, and therefore a necessary conception for me. 

That is the first element of the Kantian, or transcen 
dental theology. It leads to deism, or the notion of 
God that is determined merely by means of pure concepts 
of reason, as a necessary, supreme, and original being, in 
whom all reality has its unity. The physico-theology ad 
vances a step further. It establishes theism, which defines 
the supreme being as intelligence and free will. Its start 
ing-point is the order and purposiveness that we meet with 
in nature, especially in living nature, and which we can in 
no way conceive except by presupposing a being that fash 
ions things in accordance with ideas. We do not, indeed, 
reach in this way any extension of our scientific knowl 
edge; for we cannot perceptually realize such a creative 
intelligence and its activity. But, nevertheless, reason does 
not find ultimate contentment until it attains to this idea. 
For " the highest formal unity is for it the purposive unity 
of things, and the speculative interest of reason is thereby 
rendered necessary, namely, its interest in regarding all the 
harmony of the world as if it sprang from the intention of a 
supreme reason." And as an heuristic principle the inquiry 
after the final end renders an indispensable service also to 
the empirical investigation of the structure of life. 1 This is 
more fully elaborated in the Critique of Judgment, and we * 
shall return to it later. 

The crowning-stone is furnished by the moral theology. 
It is not until we arrive at this point that we gain a concept 
of God that is serviceable for religion. The physico-theology 
as such leads no further than to a technical intelligence of 

1 III., p. 461. 


* great perfection. 1 The moral theology is the first to define 
the primordial being by means of the moral predicates, 
"justice," "goodness," "wisdom," and "holiness." Thus for 
the first time it becomes the object of religious belief. God 
is the supremely good and all-powerful will that guarantees 

* the realization of the highest good. The ens realissimum 
now becomes the summum lonum, its nature and will are 
determined by the moral law, which for that very reason is 
referred to it as law-giver and judge. The demonstration 
of this, which is elaborated in the Critique of Practical 
Reason, is suggested also in the Critique of Pure Reason (in 
the section on the Ideal of the Highest Good) : 2 "It is only 
in the ideal of the supreme original good that reason can 
find the ground of the practically necessary connection of 
the two elements of the highest derivative good (morality 
and its corresponding blessedness)." Without God and the 
future life, " the glorious ideas of morality, although objects 
of approbation and of admiration, cannot be springs of pur 
pose and action. For they do not fulfil the whole aim which 
is natural to every rational being, and which is a priori 
defined and necessitated by pure reason itself." Or, as it is 
stated in the Lectures, without God and a future life one 
arrives at an absurdum morale that is just as weighty as an 
absurdum logicum. Consequently, a being that is both the 
supreme ruler in the moral world and the creator of nature, 
is a necessary assumption for our reason. The moral the 
ology, however, at the same time renders the service of free 
ing us from superstition and necromancy, which are easily 

* connected with demonology. If God s will is determined 
solely by the moral law, every attejnpt to seek his good-will 
and favor by any other service than that of a moral life is 
vain and useless. 

1 This is brought out excellently in the concluding section of the Kr. d- 
Urt., 84 ff. 

2 ILL, pp. 534 ff. 


Such is Kant s natural theology. I desire to further elu 
cidate it by comparing it with two opposite doctrines, 
namely, with anthropomorphism on the one hand, and with 
Spinozism on the other. 

We have defined God s nature by ascribing to him reason 
and freedom. Do we not thus fall into anthropomorphism? 
Certainly, Kant says, if we suppose that we can dogmatically 
define God s nature by means of the forms of the human 
reason and the human will. But that obviously cannot be 
our intention. No such discursive understanding as the 
human understanding is attributable to God, since he has no 
sense-perception to which objects are given, but only an 
" intuitive understanding," which posits things by means of 
its thinking, in some such way as the mathematician does 
his objects. We cannot, indeed, form any sensible repre 
sentation of the nature and possibility of such an under 
standing. And the same holds true of God s will. Obviously 
a pathologically incited will, like the human, which presup 
poses sensible wants, cannot be ascribed to the all-sufficient 
being. Hence a dogmatic anthropomorphism is far from our 
view. But that which we regard as possible and indispen 
sable is a symbolic anthropomorphism. As art represents 
God in human form, not in the sense that he really actually 
exists in this form, but for the purpose of rendering him 
pictorially conceivable, theology likewise ascribes to him 
the spiritual attributes of man in their highest perfection, for 
the purpose of representing to ourselves in this symbol his 
absolute perfection and holiness, and of holding it as an ideal 
before our eyes. And thus speculative philosophy also may 
employ the concept, not as an objective determination of his 
nature, but as "analogical knowledge." "If I say we are 
forced to view the world as if it were the work of a supreme 
understanding and will, I am really saying nothing more 
than that the world is related to the unknown as a watch, 
a ship, and a regiment are related to the artist, builder, and 


commander. Hence in this experience I know this unknown, 
not indeed as it is in itself, but still as it is for me, namely, 
in respect to the world of which I am a part." Or " as the 
furtherance of the happiness of children (a) is related to 
the love of parents (I), so the welfare of the human race 
(c) is related to the unknown in God (V), which we call 
love." 1 

It follows from this that the concept of God is one that 
appertains not to physics, but to morals. In physics, we 
are interested in an objective determination of things and 
their causal connection. For that purpose, the concept of 
God is thoroughly inadequate ; " if a physicist takes refuge 
in God as the author of things, it is a confession that he has 
come to an end with his philosophy." 2 On the other hand, 
a proper concept of God is, from a practical point of view, of 
very great significance. It furnishes the moral law with a 
dynamic, which it does not have in sentiency considered by 
itself. It lends to the heart peace and security against fate ; 
it wards off the ruinous influences of irreligion and pseudo- 

As Kant refuses to accept dogmatic anthropomorphism, 
he also rejects Spinozism. A remark of Jacobi s, that the 
Critique of Pure Reason is an " aid for Spinozism," he dis 
claims as " a scarcely intelligible insinuation." 3 In fact, Kant 
had no adequate first-hand knowledge of Spinoza s system, 
and looked at him entirely too much through the spectacles 
of the prevailing expositions. Atheism and fatalism are for 
Kant the fundamental features of his system : atheism, 
which makes God a sum-total of things in space and time, 
and even asserts that he has space and time as essential 
determinations in himself ; 4 and fatalism, which regards 
mechanism as the universal form of all that exists and 

i Proleff., 57 f. 2 Kr. d. pr. V., Dial., VII. 

3 Was heisst sick im Denken orientiren ? IV., p. 349. 
* V., p. 106. 



happens, with a denial of freedom and purposes. Never 
theless, he could have agreed with a good deal in the 
actual system of Spinoza. This agreement is not confined 
to the polemic against the anthropomorphic representation 
of God, and the assertion that God is not an individual that 
evinces himself in miracles. But Kant might even have 
sympathized with much in the positive construction of 
Spinoza s system. His explanation that God = omnitudo 
realitatis = the totality of everything possible or thinkable, 
is not far from Spinoza s substantial constans infinitis attributis. 
And likewise his definition that reality is in God and God in 
reality, is not far from Spinoza s Deus rerum omnium causa 
immanens. But there are essential differences also. Kant . 
makes the moial predicates of prime importance in the con- I 
cept of God, whereas Spinoza confines himself to the transcen 
dental determinations. Accordingly, Kant, as was shown 
above, seeks to establish the supra-mundane nature of God. 
God is not merged in the world, and his relation to the world 
has not the form of logical necessity of thought (efficere in 
Spinoza), but the form of a free creative act. Theology de 
signates God s efficacy by the word creation. Kant accepts 
the word and the concept. God s efficacy is an absolute pos- 
iting of the being of things, creatio est actuatio substantial, in 
distinction from human production, which applies only to the 
manifestation or combination of things, not to the existence 
of substance. If we represent this notion of creation with 
permissible symbolic anthropomorphism, artistic production 
v perhaps affords the most suitable image, more suitable than 
the mathematical method that Spinoza employs, in order to 
dogmatically determine the efficacy of the substance. God 
as creative understanding thinks in intuitive ideas, in some 
such way as the creative genius thinks in images. 



In connection with the cosmological and theological views 
arises the question regarding a mechanical or teleological 
explanation of nature. Kant discusses the problem in the 
Critique of Judgment. It did not correspond with his 
purposes to include this in the Critique of Pure Reason, the 
criticism of pure a priori metaphysics. Even the brief treat 
ment of the physico-theological proof is out of place. 
Accordingly he combined it with the criticism of taste, to 
form a third Critique. 

The problem is treated according to the fixed schema. 
The reader is guided through the Analytic, Dialectic, and the 
Doctrine of Method, and is led to and fro to the point of 
exhaustion between understanding and reason, reason and 
judgment, and determining and reflective judgment. It 
would be difficult to convince one s self that all this cere- 
moniousness was necessary to exhibit these fundamentally 
simple ideas. The following is the outcome. The question, 
formulated as an antinomy, whether all natural phenomena 
are to be explained mechanically, or whether certain natural 
products render a teleological explanation necessary, is not 
to be solved by a simple yes, or no. The natural products 
that give rise to the problem are organic beings. The 
understanding does not succeed if it undertakes to explain 
them, like all other natural phenomena, as mere effects of 
natural mechanism. Their peculiarity consists in the fact 
that in them the whole cannot exist without the parts, while 
also, conversely, the parts are only possible through the 
whole, in that it produces and preserves them. The eye 
serves the body as an instrument, but it itself arises only in 
and through the whole. And the idea is absolutely incom 
prehensible that somewhere and at some time an eye could 
arise for itself through an accidental combination of parts, 
like a mechanical product, a stone, or a clod of earth. 


Every attempt to carry out such an idea is frustrated. The 
same is true of the whole. The understanding cannot be 
satisfied by attempts to explain mechanically plants and 
animals by means of a mere collision of atoms in motion, as 
the old atomic view undertook to do. The more the attempt 
is carried out in detail, as in Lucretius, the more apparent 
does its absurdity become. The understanding accordingly 
sees itself forced to assume for this sphere a different form 
of origination, namely, a form that explains the existence of 
the part from the existence of the whole, that is, to adopt 
the teleological view. It regards the whole as pre-existent 
in the idea or the concept (as purpose), and then explains 
how the thing becomes real by means of causality in accord 
ance with concepts (purposive activity). We have empiri 
cal knowledge of this kind of causality in the experience of 
our own activity in the production of works of art. On the 
other hand, the concept of a natural force which acts pur- 
posively but yet without purpose and aim, as a concept of a 
species of force of which experience affords no example, is 
utterly fanciful and empty. 1 

One cannot escape from this assumption by assuming a 
gradual development of the higher forms of life from lower 
and more simple ones. Even the first and simplest organ 
isms already possess the character of the organic ; that is, 
the whole renders the part possible. If one wants to ex 
plain the first forms of life as springing directly from the 
womb of mother earth, one must therefore " ascribe to this 
universal mother an organization purposively adapted to all 
these creatures. But then one has only pushed the ground 
of explanation further back, and cannot lay claim to have 
made the generation of plants and animals independent of 
the conditioning final cause." 2 

1 Ueber den Gebrauch teleoL Prinzipien, VI. , p. 493. 

2 Critique of Judgment, 80. Kant evidently shows an inclination towards 
the evolutionary view in biology, which is closely connected with his evolution- 


But now for the other side of the case. If we assume 
that an intelligent being originates plants and animals by 
means of purposive causality, the conception is absolutely 
useless for an explanation of things. In the first place, we 
have no kind of knowledge at all of the nature and mode of 
acting of such a being. We can offer a teleological explana 
tion of human products of art, for we have a knowledge of 
man, his ends, and his mode of activity ; but the cosmic 
intelligence, of which organic beings are to be viewed as 
artistic productions, and its mode of activity, are never 
given in any perceptual form. It is, therefore, merely a 
problematic concept, whose objective reality cannot be estab 
lished. Hence this concept is of no service in any way to 
the physicist. It accomplishes nothing in its attempts to 
explain natural phenomena. We could offer such an expla 
nation only if the cosmic intelligence were a known force of 
a known and regular form of activity. 

But there is still another consideration. We can frame 
no sensible representation of the final purpose of nature. 

ary cosmology. The emergence of new forms through a gradual transforma 
tion of existent conditions of life, under the influence of different conditions, 
is a familiar notion to him. Only the original emergence of organic beings by 
generatio ceguivoca that is, "the generation of an organic being by means of 
the mechanism of raw, unorganized matter " is to him a preposterous idea ; 
an idea which, nevertheless, he attempted to think, as is seen, among other 
places, from a fragment in Reicke (Lose Blatter, I., p. 137) : " I also have at times 
steered into the gulf, assuming here blind natural mechanics as the ground of 
explanation, and believed I could discover a passage to the simple and natural 
conception. But I constantly made a shipwreck of reason, and I have there 
fore preferred to venture upon the boundless ocean of Ideas." "The prin 
ciple of teleology in the structure of organic, especially of living, creatures is 
as closely connected with reason as the principle of active causes in the per 
ception of all changes in the world. To suppose that any part of a creature 
which bears a constant relation to a genus is purposeless, is just as bad as to 
suppose that an event in the world occurs without a cause." But evolu 
tionary biology is to him a rash venture of human reason, which finds no 
encouragement in experience, according to which all production is generatio 
homonyma. Still it is " not precisely absurd, and there may be but few even of 
the most acute natural scientists to whom it has not sometimes occurred." 


We cannot regard the particular species of animals and 
plants as absolute ends in themselves. The truth is 
that the existence of many, regarded in themselves, seem 
to us completely worthless, however artful and formally 
purposive their structure may be. Neither can we form a 
representative idea of the final purpose of the whole cosmos, 
for which the existence of all these beings would be a neces 
sary means. One reason for this is that we do not look 
upon nature as a unitary system. The only being that we 
recognize as an end in itself is man, as a rational being. 
But if we posit him as the ultimate goal of the universe, not 
only is the objection valid that the employment of means for 
this purpose is utterly inconsistent with our ideas, but also in 
the narrower sphere the facts cannot be made to tally with 
this supposition. Nature seems to deal with man in pre 
cisely the same way as it does with its other products, and 
human generation and decay is part of the general course of 

Hence the understanding remains in this field, as it were, 
in a state of suspense. It cannot carry out the mechanical 
explanation at this point, although, on the other hand, it 
cannot be demonstrated that such an explanation is impos 
sible. It cannot divest itself of a teleological conception, 
but, on the other hand, it cannot really carry it out. Ac 
cordingly, it will employ the two principles alongside of each 
other. On the one side, it will cling to the general maxim 
to look upon all natural phenomena in accordance with a 
mechanical explanation. Scientific explanation is explana 
tion from physical causes. On the other side, it will look 
upon organic things as if they were products of an intelli 
gence that works in accordance with purposes, a procedure 
which, as an heuristic principle, is indispensable in the bio 
logical sciences, and which in part has shown itself to be 
fruitful. No one could understand the construction of the 
eye, for example, who knew nothing of the purpose of the 



organ, namely, vision. One will remain conscious, however, 
that this is only a subjective principle of reflection, not an ob 
jective principle of explanation, like mechanical causality. 

The final reach, however, to which the understanding may 
attain is to recognize herein its own subjective condition. 
It is due to the very nature of our discursive understanding 
that the mechanical and teleological conceptions cannot be 
reduced to a unity. For an understanding to which things 
that it thinks by means of concepts must be given in sense- 
perception, the contingency of the matter is in permanent 
contrast with the necessity of the form. For an intuitive 
understanding, which posits things by means of its concepts, 
the teleological and causal points of view may be coincident. 
Or, objectively expressed, in the intelligible substrate of 
nature, there may occur a union of the manifold, in which 
mechanical and teleological conjunction are one and the 
same. We may represent this unity to ourselves after the 
analogy of the unity that exists between the parts of a work 
of art or a^poem. And thus we may symbolically represent 
the efficacy of the creative principle by means of the creative 
activity of the artist, which also transcends the opposition 
of mechanism and teleojogy. A poem is not produced, like 
a boulder, by means of external addition of parts, nor like a 
product of handicraft, by means of methodical contrivance, 
with reference to the subsequent realization. But the genius 
produces together both the form and material of his work 
of art, as in organic development form and material grow 
together. 1 

Kant did not further pursue this discussion. Its evident 
presupposition is the objective idealism in his metaphysics, 
which views reality in itself as a system of existent Ideas. 
The subsequent speculative philosophy, which was fond of 
emphasizing its connection with the Critique of Judgment, 
carries out the idea that reality is an ideal composition, 

1 77, 78. 


which we, by means of the dialectic method, interpret or 
imitate. This philosophy overcomes the opposition between 
teleology and mechanism, like that between thought and 

The critical philosophy does not trust the human under 
standing to take this step, for it is not an intuitive under 
standing. Kant stops exactly where scientific investigation 
stops. One can say that he gives really nothing but an 
exact description of the procedure of our biological investi 
gation. This seeks the physical causes of the process of 
life, and presupposes that such are everywhere existent. It 
discards hyperphysical causes as explanations, since they 
furnish the natural investigator with no explanation. On 
the other hand, biology presupposes that all parts and func 
tions of the organism have a purpose (or- at least originally 
had). The explanation of the structure is not completed 
until we recognize the relation to the purpose, namely, the 
preservation of life. Where this is the case, as for example 
with the eye, the natural scientist says, "Now I under 
stand." Where it is not the case, as with the brain or the 
process of generation, he says, "The matter is a riddle to 
me." And even if we could describe in minutest detail the 
physical process involved in generation, the union of germ- 
cells and their nucleus or what-not, we should not under 
stand the matter until we gained a clear insight" into the 
significance that parental generation has for the preservation 
and development of life. 

Above all, it is to be noted that Kant has really a tran 
scendent metaphysic. He gives his complete adherence to 
it as the rational view of the world. But it is not possible 
as a priori demonstrable knowledge of the understanding, 
as scholastic philosophy tried to be. From such a stand 
point, only mathematical physics is possible, which is con 
cerned solely with phenomena and their necessary relations 
in space and time. Reason, on the other hand, necessarily 



passes beyond the phenomenal world to the intellectual 
world, which is a world of existing ideas that are conjoined 
by logical and teleological relations, and are intuitively 
present in the divine intellect. In the world of appearance, 
especially in organic life, there are gleams now and again of 
the ideal world. In the moral world, however, we com 
prehend it in its absolute reality ; the entities of practical 
reason are as such members of the intelligible world. 

It is clear that this is the Platonic-Leibnizian philosophy. 
Kant had it constantly before his eyes in Baumgarten s text 
book. Eeality, as the understanding thinks it in contra 
distinction to sensibility, is a system of monads, which are 
joined in a unity by means of pre-established harmony, or 
an influxus idealis, like that which exists between the parts 
of a construction of thought or a poem. The ultimate 
ground of the unity of things is their radical unity in God s 
being, while bodies, on the contrary, are merely phenomena 
substantiata. Kant never discarded any of these ideas. 
He only gave them another interpretation. They are not 
truths demonstrable to the understanding, like mathematics 
and physics, but necessary ideas with which reason can 
.never dispense. The only point at which reason went 
lastray was in attempting to include these ideas among 
fhose that are capable of manifestation in sense-perception. 
The Critique has shown the impossibility of such a pro 
cedure. The illusion which led to it has been discovered 
and exposed, if not destroyed, and thus it can no longer de 
ceive. He who has understood the Critique of Pure Reason 
will no longer expect to find God and the soul as objects in 
nature among other objects. In other respects, however, the 
critical philosophy does not at all impugn the truth of these 
ideas. They constitute absolutely essential elements of our 
knowledge. In the new philosophy, in the ideas of specu 
lative and practical reason, they find a new and better 
support than they possessed in the old proofs of the under- 


standing. As the Eef ormation discarded " good works " only 
in order immediately to require them again in a new form 
as fruits of faith, Kant likewise discarded the notions of 
the old idealistic metaphysics, on the ground that they were 
barren as pure knowledge of the understanding, only for 
the purpose of immediately reinstating them again as neces 
sary ideas of reason. The distinction is suggested also in 
the Analytic when it says that "to think an object and to 
know an object are not the same." For us sense-perception 
is essential to knowledge, and it is merely the phenomenal 
that is given in perception. The truly real, accordingly, 
can only be thought by us, but never perceived. It can 
never, therefore, possess empirical reality for us, but intelli 
gible, transcendental reality alone. 


This little work is described by Kant (in a letter to 
Schiitz, September 13, 1785) as a chapter containing the 
concrete application of the Metaphysics of Nature that 
he intended to write. This preliminary work is given out 
in advance because the metaphysic must retain its character 
as entirely pure, whereas here an empirical concept is pre 
supposed. He does this also for the purpose of having 
ready at hand something that he may later employ as con 
crete illustrations, and thus make the presentation compre 
hensible. But the pure metaphysic of nature did not 
appear, any more than the metaphysical elements of psy 
chology, which in this same letter he promises as an appen 
dix to the Doctrine of Bodies. 

1 See A. Stadler, Kants Theorie der Materie (1883) ; and A. Drews, Kants 
Naturphihsophie ah Grundlage seines Systems (1894). The former gives a 
systematic and complete exposition of Kant s treatment, the latter deals with 
his whole natural philosophy, and criticises it from the standpoint of Hart- 
mannian realism. 


The present work does not of course organize its material 
in accordance with the demands of the subject-matter, but 
in accordance with the schema of categories. It is closely 
connected with the system of fundamental principles in the 
Critique of Pure Reason. The second part, the Dynamics, 
is the most important. It is the further elaboration of the 
" Anticipations of Sense-perception." Its object is to estab 
lish a dynamic theory of matter, and by means of it a 
dynamic explanation of natural phenomena in place of the 
mechanical. The essential ideas, however, are much older 
than the Critique. They are in their main features already 
contained in two small treatises that date from the fifties : in 
the Physical Monadology (1756), and in the New Doctrine 
of Motion and Rest (1758). In the later writing they 
are easily remodelled according to the principles of the Cri 
tique, although it seems to be very questionable whether it 
is always an advantage to the clearness and logical result. 

The form of natural philosophy with which Kant took 
issue from the beginning of his scientific career was the 
atomistic-mechanical view. There were two elements in 
this conception, that most extensively dominated the opinions 
of physicists, which were chiefly objectionable to him. The 
first was its opposition to Newton s natural philosophy, and 
to the attractive force that matter possesses, which is pre 
supposed by the Newtonian theory. The second was that the 
atomic view tends to approach the doctrine of empty space 
in its explanation of natural phenomena. 1 In regard to the 
former, as we have already seen, the application of the 
power of attraction to the explanation of cosmic structures 
belongs to Kant s oldest scientific undertakings. Its de 
rivation is for him, therefore, a chief requisite of every theory 

1 Upon the development of the atomic theory of matter and the opposition 
that Newton displays towards this conception, see the thorough and instruc 
tive work by Kurd Lasswitz, Geschichte der Atomistik vom Mittelalter bis auf 
Newton. 2 vols., 1890. 


of matter. But the atomistic and mechanical theory does 
not and cannot do justice to this requirement, inasmuch as it 
admits to matter only one form of action, namely, the trans 
ference of motion through impact and impulsion in a state 
of rest. This fact at once shows the inadequacy of the view. 
If it takes refuge in the position that this form of activity 
alone is immediately given and evident, Kant retorts that 
attraction and its effect at a distance " is not in the slightest 
any more unintelligible than the original power of repul 
sion." 1 The sole advantage that action caused by impact 
has over that caused by attraction, is that in a certain sense 
it is given in sense-perception. But that is no advantage 
for the understanding, to which, by means of his dynamic 
theory, Kant wishes to give once more its natural freedom 
against the restrictions of sense representation. 

The same thing holds true in regard to the second element, 
namely, empty space and the corollary of an absolute space 
filling by means of mere extension, with which the atomistic 
and mechanical physics operates. Kant finds that the 
absolute void as well as the absolute plenum, or absolute 
impenetrability, are wholly arbitrary suppositions, which 
commend themselves because they may be in a certain way 
perceptually represented. But the understanding is by no 
means forced to suppose them. Indeed, in the last analysis, 
they are nothing but occult qualities, " bolsters for lazy 
reason." Neither the concept of absolutely empty space 
nor that of absolute impenetrability is given in experience. 
Experience shows only a greater or less degree of resistance. 
The plenum and void are, therefore, entia rationis, in which 
reason, in its desire for the absolute, delights, but from 
which the understanding, with its attention fixed upon phe 
nomena, must turn aside. " The absolute void and the 
absolute plenum are in the science of nature pretty much the 
same thing as blind chance and blind fate are in metaphysi- 

1 IV, p. 405. 


cal cosmology, namely, a bar to inquiring reason." And 
therefore " everything that relieves us of the need of tak 
ing refuge in empty spaces is a real gain for natural 
science." 1 

Now the dynamic concept of matter that Kant opposes 
to the mathematico-mechanical view is as follows. Matter is 
defined as the movable which fills space and possesses motive 
power. Two primary powers constitute its nature : the 
powers of repulsion and of attraction. The repulsive power 
is the first, without which space-filling cannot be made in 
telligible at all. Atomism, indeed, bases this upon mere 
existence in space ; the mere fact that a body is in one place 
prevents it from penetrating another body. Kant main 
tains that the exclusion of a body that is seeking to enter 
the space that another body occupies presupposes a repul 
sive power ; otherwise it is nothing but a consequence of 
an occult quality. This power is the original power of 
expansion; thereby matter fills space and repels other 
bodies from it. But a second fundamental power is neces 
sary. If matter had merely a power of expansion, it would 
completely dissipate and thus destroy itself. Consequently, 
the activity of this power must be limited by a power that 
acts in the opposite direction, that is, the power of attrac 
tion. If this alone were operative, it would likewise annihi 
late matter, inasmuch as it would contract the matter 
into a point and thus destroy the space-filling. Space 
filling is possible only through the opposition of the two 
forces. And from this point of view one can at the same 
time deduce an original difference in the character of the 
space-filling, dependent upon the difference of the propor 
tion of the powers. In this way the " chief of all problems 
of natural science," namely, the explanation "of an ad 
infinitum possible specific difference of matter," would be 
solved, without the supposition of an absolute impenetra- 

1 IV., p. 427. 


bility and absolute empty space, a supposition that re 
stricts the understanding. 1 

In the Physical Monadology these concepts are formed on 
the presupposition of monadic centres of force that merely, to 
gether with their activity, fill space. On the other hand, in 
the Metaphysical Elements the view of scholastic metaphysics 
is abandoned, that makes matter consist of ultimate and 
simple parts whose aggregate appears to the senses as an 
extended body. That view may satisfy metaphysical needs, 
but it cannot be reconciled with the requirements of the 
mathematical science of nature, which cannot do without 
the demand for infinite divisibility both of space and of 
matter also. The critical philosophy, which interprets 
matter as mere phenomenon in space, finds no difficulty in 
regarding matter itself as that which is extended through 
space, and which for that very reason fully shares in the 
spatial quality of absolute divisibility. 

Thus the new theory, inasmuch as it attributes both 
extensity and intensity to matter, seems to be the refutation 
of the atomistic and mechanical philosophy of nature, which 
regards matter solely as an extensivum, and of the monad- 
ology, which undertakes to reduce it to pure intensiva. 

I shall not enter into the use that Kant makes of this 
notion for the interpretation of the other qualities of matter 
and also of the laws of motion. Neither shall I take up 
the question whether the new notion of matter as continu 
ously extended, but endowed with different degrees of power, 
and therefore filling space with different intensity, is alto 
gether consistent with the presuppositions of the critical 
epistemology. It may be seen at this point how strenuously 
Kant s old stock of metaphysical notions resisted reconstruc 
tion at the hands of the critical epistemology. 2 

1 IV., p. 428. 

2 There is no reason for taking up Kant s last work on natural philosophy, 
the Uebergang von den metaphysischen Anfangsgrunden zur Physik. Neither 



The goal of all Kant s efforts is the ^establishment of a 
gp.iATit.ifip.fl.ny t^najjl^ Tnp fQ p v> y c ^ *M to a new method, 
AmTin this he is concerned with a metaphysics that will 
lead beyond the physical world to the world of true being, 
the mundus intelligibilis. From his first work to the last 
line that he wrote this is everywhere present as the funda 
mental tendency of his thought. The means vary, but the 
end remains the same. 

Kant early became convinced that the means employed 
by the traditional metaphysics were useless for its purpose. 
It attempted to rise to the world of ideas by means of the 
teleological explanation of natural phenomena (physico- 
theology). Kant saw clearly, as is shown as early as the 
writings of the year 1756, that natural science is necessarily 
immanent ; it never leads beyond physical causes to hyper- 
physical or ideal causes. He accordingly sought for a new 
procedure for metaphysics, and at first he thought that 
he had found it in a new form of pure conceptual spec 
ulation. According to this, God is not the cause of things, 
in the sense of being the mechanician or efficient cause 
in time, of the physical world and its various forms. But 
God is the logically necessary presupposition of their con 
ceptual existence in the form of their true nature or es 
sence. This was his view as early as the fifties, and 
it was elaborated in the Ground of Demonstration of 1763, 

has physics, the a priori concept of which ought here be given, suffered any loss 
because Kant could not more fully complete the work, nor has the knowledge 
of his philosophy been enriched by the parts so far published (Altpreuss. 
Monatsschr., XIX-XXI, edited by Reicke with his customary care). One 
can here see all the blemishes of the Kantian thought exaggerated as in a con 
cave mirror. The constant manipulation of given thought-elements to make 
them fit in with a fixed schema seems to be carried out to such an extent in 
his last manuscript that it cannot be viewed without pain. 


though there a sceptical hesitation was already exhibited 
towards his own thoughts. 

A new attempt to discover the true method of metaphysics 
appears in the Dissertation of 1770. One may already de 
scribe it as the transcendental method. By means of pure 
concepts of the understanding, it is possible to reach a pure 
intelligible reality that is free from the conditions of sensi 
bility. As a priori knowledge of the sensible world is . 
possible by means of the forms of sensibility, so through / 
the pure forms of thinking, a priori knowledge of the I 
intelligible world is possible. Of course, this is nothing 
more than symbolical knowledge, since we have not an 
intuitive understanding. 

With some modifications of this standpoint we reach the 
final and definitive form of the method of metaphysics in the 
critical philosophy. First of all, the view is retained that 
the understanding creates metaphysics a priori through pure 
activity, but it is metaphysics in a new signification, viz., as 
pure science of nature. The Critique, of Pure Reason shows 
the possibility of a phenomenalistic metaphysics as sci 
ence. But, on the other hand, the understanding, according 
to the new view, does not lead trans physicam, into the 
land of the truly real. Its concepts have the significance 
only of concepts of the constructional forms of phe 
nomena. But now another faculty comes into play. What 
understanding cannot do is accomplished by reason, which 
leads to the ideal world that exists in and for itself. And 
it does this in two ways. First, as theoretical reason, in 
virtue of the striving towards the unconditioned that is 
implicit in its nature, it leads beyond the world of the 
conditioned and relative. Nature, the reality in space 
and time, cannot by any means be thought of as existing 
in the absolute sense. The contradiction involved in the 
fact that it can neither be thought as finite nor as infinite, 
shows its inner impossibility, or its unreality in the absolute 


understanding. The human spirit can find satisfaction only 
in the thought of reality as an existing world of ideas, as a 
complete system of eternal essences whose unity is consti 
tuted by inner teleological relations. And this conclusion 
is suggested in an especial degree by the presence of those 
peculiar forms, organic beings, whose possibility cannot be 
explained from merely mechanical causes. Secondly, the 
practical reason, by virtue of its unconditional command 
to realize ideas in the world of sense, leads necessarily 
to the assumption that an ideal world forms the basis 
of nature. How on any other supposition could ideas 
enter as formative principles into nature ? The rational 
being that posits itself as absolute end for itself, posits 
itself necessarily as a member of a kingdom of ends, and 
further posits this kingdom as the absolute reality itself. 
Thus the reason, which thinks and realizes ideas, leads 
beyond the spatial and temporal world of phenomena to an 
ideal eternal reality. This reality, it is true, cannot be given in 
our (sense) perception. For man as a rational being, its real 
ity is not less certain, though this is of course not reality 
in the sense of reality as a pure concept of the understand 
ing (which only signifies given in sense-perception ), but 
transcendent intelligible reality. The concepts of the un 
derstanding are realized by means of perception ; while the 
objective validity of ideas cannot, from the nature of the 
case, be attained in this way. But that is not required 
for a proof of their validity. Kant continued to hold 
fast to the position of the Dissertation of 1770. Eeason 
possesses a transcendent significance, and limits sensibil 
ity, while sensibility does not limit reason. Sensibility 
restricts understanding, which is valid only in so far as 
its concepts are realized. But in respect to reason it has 
no authority, and it transcends its sphere when in the 
form of dogmatic materialism it rises against the theo 
retical reason and its ideas of God, freedom, and immortal- 


ity, and will admit nothing as real except that which is an 
object of sense-perception in space and time. This is 
a restriction that has validity only for the investigations 
of natural science. Still less has sensibility any author 
ity against reason in its practical application. In this 
field, subservience to the arrogance of sensibility becomes 
an offence against human dignity. Indeed, from an ulti 
mate religious point of view, sensibility in general is what 
is accidental, false, and to be shunned. When the rational 
being puts off his corporeal existence, he will be finally 
free from sensibility and its limits. Metaphysics will 
attain its complete truth after the great metamorphosis, 
in the eternal life. 



Between the exposition of the theoretical and the practical 
philosophy I introduce a sketch of the psychology and an 
thropology, including also the philosophy of history that is 
connected with the latter. These disciplines stand in nu 
merous relations to both the fundamental parts of the system. 
The psychology is closely connected with the epistemology 
and metaphysics, the philosophy of history with the moral 
philosophy and politics. Unfortunately, these subjects were 
not completely developed. Since they are not sciences that 
can be derived from rational concepts, they remain outside 
the boundaries of a proper system of philosophy as Kant 
denned it. 

1 LITERATURE : It is a permanent source of regret that the Anthropology, 
which was a favorite subject of lectures with Kant, was not prepared for the 
press by him while he was still mentally vigorous. We should then have had a 
work rich in facts and in important ideas ; and perhaps the revision of the em 
pirical science might have exerted a favorable influence even upon the elabora 
tion of the pure philosophy. The Anthropologie in pragmatiscker Hinsicht, which 
was first prepared for the press in 1798, shows many traces of old age. This 
was supplemented by the publication of manuscript lectures of Kant, belonging 
perhaps to the first half of the eighties : /. Kants Menschenkunde oder philo- 
sophische Anthropologie, edited from manuscript lectures by F. Ch. Starke, 
1831. Menzer assigns these lectures to the year 1784, or at any rate between 
1778 and 1788 (Kantstudien, III., p. 68). In addition to these, there is the psy 
chology in Politz s Metaphysik (pp. 124 ff.), and the Reflexionen Kant s zur 
Anthropologie, edited with an introduction by B. Erdmann. Finally, in this 
field belongs a whole series of short essays, among the earlier of which we 
may mention especially the Beobachtungen iiber das Schone und Erhabene, and 
among the later those concerned with the philosophy of history. Also the 
Critique of Judgment and the works on moral philosophy contain some material 
pertaining to these subjects. Cf. also J. B. Meyer, Kants Psychologie 
(1870) ; A. Hegler, Die Psychologie in Kants Ethik (1891). [E. F. Buchner, 
A Study in Kant s Psychology with Reference to the Critical Philosophy. (Psych. 
Rev. Monograph Supplement No. 4) 1897.] 


In the first place, psychology according to Kant is an 
experiential science, and as such, therefore, does not belong 
to philosophy in the proper sense of the word. Indeed, it 
cannot even be called a science in the proper sense, like 
physics, which is based on mathematical principles. Psy 
chology is only a collection of purely empirical facts, some 
thing like chemistry, only it is in a still worse position than 
the latter in that it is restricted to observation, and cannot 
employ experiment. " It can therefore never become more 
than an historical, and so far as possible a systematic account 
of the internal sense, i. e. t a natural description, but not a 
science of the mind, not even an experimental doctrine of 
psychology." 1 Why, since the phenomena of the inner 
sense are in time, it is not possible to employ arithmetic, 
Kant does not tell us. Nor does he explain to us how he 
conceives empirical and rational psychology to be related, 
all of which is in keeping with the failure of his " Theory 
of Experience" to give any real explanation of concrete 

Nevertheless, this discipline, which is rated so poorly in re 
gard to its scientific form, is not without importance for the 
construction of the critical philosophy. Indeed, one may 
say that the latter has borrowed its entire outline from psy 
chology. The doctrine of the mental faculties must have 
afforded the form and the division for the critical procedure. 
The schema that lies at the basis of all of Kant s thought is 
the old division of the mental faculties, first into those of 
knowledge and desire, and further into a higher and a lower, 
or an ideal and a sensuous faculty of knowing and desiring. 
This obvious principle of division, that had come down to 
modern times through the scholastic philosophy, and had 
been retained by Leibniz and Wolff, Kant found in his 
text-book of psychology, Baumgarten s MetapJiysic (vis 
cognoscitiva et appetitiva, inferior et superior). He adopted 

1 Metaphysische Anfangsgriinde der Naturwissensschafl, IV., p. 361. 



this schema and made it the basis of his investigation. The 
Critique of Pure Reason examines the faculty of knowledge, 
and the Critique of Practical Reason the faculty of desire. 
In both these we find the intention of separating sharply the 
higher faculty from the lower, and securing for it indepen 
dence as against the latter. With this purpose the Disserta 
tion of 1770 begins, and the critical philosophy has always 
held fast to it. In the philosophy of Leibniz and Wolff, 
sensible knowledge is defined merely as knowledge of the 
lower rank, as confused rational knowledge. But the differ 
ence is rather one of kind, or of the source from which it 
is derived. Sense knowledge is founded on receptivity, 
knowledge of understanding upon spontaneity. And the 
same is true in the practical sphere. According to Wolffs 
doctrine, the sensuous impulses are " confused " strivings 
towards happiness that are clarified, purified, and systematized 
by means of reason. In this field, also, Kant sets up an 
absolute difference in kind : the sensuous impulses aim at 
pleasure, while reason has for its goal the moral law. 

Kant s anatomical impulse then carried him on to further 
divisions. Within the faculty of sense it is necessary to 
distinguish external and internal sense, sense-perception 
and imagination. In the intellectual faculty, reason and 
judgment are to be separated from understanding. More 
over, he brought into connection with judgment a third 
fundamental faculty of the mind lately called into promi 
nence by Mendelssohn and Tetens. This was the faculty of 
feeling pleasure and pain. By distinguishing in this field 
also a lower and a higher side pleasure and pain con 
nected with sensations (pleasantness and unpleasantness), 
and with the imagination (beauty and ugliness) he 
obtained a schema for the third Critique, the Critique of 

We cannot here undertake an exposition of the details of 
the empirical psychology. But I shall still say a few words 


regarding the Anthropology and Philosophy of History. 
The Anthropology considers man as a species in relation to 
other living beings. It passes over into Philosophy of 
History, since the nature of man can come to complete 
development only in the course of ages, and in connection 
with a political state. 

The nature of man can be defined in the general formula, 
Man is a living being endowed with the capacity of reason 
{animal rationabile). His vocation, like that of all living 
beings, is to develop all his natural powers to the highest 
stage of perfection. This general formula, however, embraces 
two special characteristics. In the first place, in the case of 
man it is only in the life of the species, not in that of the 
individual, as with animals, that all the natural powers 
attain complete development. Secondly, among animals 
these powers develop spontaneously, by means of instincts ; 
man, on the contrary, must develop and form his natural 
powers by the help of reason. The goal of this process of 
culture, which constitutes the real content of the historical 
life, is man as a completely rational being (animal rationale), 
a being that determines his life and actions entirely by 
reason. It was the Stoic type of human perfection that 
Kant had before his mind. The complete sovereignty of 
reason, and complete freedom from the passions, constitute 
the status perfectionis. Emotions like scorn, sympathy, 
repentance, shame, have no power over the perfect man ; he 
acts in accordance with principles, not according to feelings. 
Emotions are only provisional springs of action with which 
the wisdom of nature endowed man, as it endowed animals, 
until reason is sufficiently developed to assume the guidance 
of life. When regarded from the standpoint of perfection, 
emotions and passions are to be viewed as disturbances, 
the latter comparable with drunkenness, and the former 
with chronic illness. 1 

1 Antkropologie, 72 f. 


The way to complete culture is shown by history. The 
Philosophy of History is the attempt to interpret the facts 
of history from this point of view. In the Idea of a I ~n i- 
versal History, Kant furnished an outline for such an inter 
pretation. 1 He distinguishes three sides in the development 
of human nature : the cultivation of the powers in the 
various accomplishments, arts, and sciences ; civilization 
f through the limitation of the individual s own will by social 
control; finally, moralizing by means of religion, custom, 
and education. In this way the moral nature will become 
gradually free from the natural sway of impulse, and moral 
ity, as the free determination of the will through the moral 
law, will become possible. 2 

The means that nature employs to urge men to set out in 
this course of development are the three great passions, 
desire for gain, desire for power, and desire for glory. They 
belong to man as animal socialc. He desires not merely to 
exist, but to live with others in order to become conscious 
of his own superiority in comparison with them. The will 
to live becomes in man the will for power, and this is the 
fundamental impulse of man as animal sociale. It con 
stantly urges him on to develop his own powers of body and 
mind, in order to maintain and further his position in 
society. And, on the other hand, it becomes a motive which 
leads the individual to establish a judicial and political order, 
in order, by the limitation of this impulse, to ward off the 

1 It is noteworthy that in the Philosophy of History also Kant is the fore 
runner of the speculative systems. He himself describes his Idta as an 
" a priori clue." We find that he even made an attempt at an a priori history 
of philosophy. In Reicke s Lose Blatter (II, pp. 2S5 ff.) there is the follow 
ing passage : " Can a history of philosophy be written mathematically (this 
must mean dogmatically, or from concepts)? Can we show how dogmatism 
must have arisen, and from it scepticism, and that this necessarily leads to 
criticism ? Yes, if the idea of a metaphysic inevitably presses on human 
reason, and the latter feels a necessity to develop it ; but this science lies 
entirely in the mind although only outlined there in embryonic form." 

2 Antkropologie, Conclusion. 


destruction that threatens him from the attacks of others. 
Thus antagonism in society is the contrivance by means 
of which nature brings man unwittingly nearer his goal. 
Kant here follows entirely in the track of Hobbes. Desire 
of gain and desire of power are the great basal impulses, 
that, in the case of man alone of all animals, render " the 
war of all against all " the natural condition of society. 
But just because of the evils that war brings in its train, the 
creation of a state becomes necessary. And in this way an 
artificial condition of peace and of security is attained, in 
which, however, antagonism and competition are not entirely 
destroyed, but only limited, and prevented from passing into 
violence and deception. 1 

In this way, however, the happiness of the individual 
is not secured. Indeed, one may say that the increase in 
culture is purchased at the cost of happiness, if by happiness 
one understands the natural feelings of comfort. Those 
powerful impulses of human nature, desire for gain, desire 
for glory, and desire for power, never permit man to attain 
satisfaction. The animal is at peace as soon as his physical 
wants are satisfied In the case of man, there is added to 
the physical wants the necessity that springs from the idea 
of acquiring more, and of attaining superiority. If one 
judges the matter from the standpoint of the individual s 
happiness, one could with Epicurus call these things im 
agined necessities and insane impulses. One might even 
say that from them arise all the evils and all the vices of 
culture. On this point Rousseau was right. Culture as 
such does not render men either happier or more virtuous. 
Folly, hypocrisy, maliciousness, are specific qualities of man 
which are entirely wanting in the irrational animal. More 
over, they increase with culture. Nevertheless, nature or 
Providence is justified by the course of human history. .It 

1 Anthropologie 82, 83. Idee zu einer ally. Gesch. in Weltburgerlicher 
Ab&, IV., pp. 146 ff. 


brings man constantly nearer to the goal to which his 
view was originally directed, though of course not by the 
smoothest and shortest road. This goal is the complete 
development of all his natural powers, especially of his 
powers of reason. The final goal, which of course lies at an 
indefinite distance, is a community of peoples, living entirely 
in accordance with the moral law, and employing in friendly 
rivalry all the powers of reason. The everlasting peace is 
represented as the final result. 

Thus we reach the idea of history as the education of the 
human race. Kant, in giving a natural history of the human 
species, developed the ideas that Lessing at the same time 
was treating from the point of view of religious develop 
ment. In this account he entirely divests himself of anthro 
pomorphic ideas. Nature has so mingled egoistic and social 
impulses in man that the struggle for existence in its high 
est form, as struggle for social superiority, must necessarily 
result. But, on the other hand, there arise the motives that 
lead to the establishment of political and judicial govern 
ment, through the agency of which the injurious effects of 
the egoistic impulses are obviated without affecting their 
force as influences in behalf of higher culture. 

This point of view overcomes the opposition between the 
optimistic and pessimistic estimate of human nature and 
history. Kant does not share the optimism of Shaftesbury 
and Eousseau regarding the essential goodness and amia 
bility of our race. His judgment of the character of man 
as shown by experience approaches the harsh estimates of 
Hobbes and Schopenhauer. But while he cherishes no illu 
sions regarding actual conditions, he has a lofty faith regard 
ing the destiny of man and his future. He believes in the 
continuous progress of the race, and in the final and defin 
itive victory of the good. The kingdom of reason and of 
right, the kingdom of complete culture and morality, it will 
come, no matter how hard the struggles may be by which it 


is attained. "The education of the human race," thus we 
read at the end of the Anthropology, "is wholesome, but 
harsh and severe. It requires many efforts and transforma 
tions of nature, which extend almost to the destruction of 
the whole race, to produce from the disunited and self- 
contradictory evil a good that man did not intend, but 
which, once being present, preserves and maintains itself." l 
Thus Kant opposes Eousseau s sentimental demand for a 
return to nature with the manly and courageous motto, " On 
to humanity." 

1 E. v. Hartmann, in a treatise entitled Zur Gesckichte und Begrundung 
des Pessimismus, has tried to represent Kant as the father of pessimism. 
With what justification appears from what has been said. Nietzsche perhaps 
could have quoted Kant the anthropologist with more reason. It is likewise 
Kant s view that the development of the species, the progress of the human 
type in the course of history, is effected by means of great and powerful 
egoistic impulses, by the will to live, only that Nietzsche s distortions and 
exaggerations are lacking. And one must remember that this is not Kant s 
only idea. 


THE central principle of Kant s practical philosophy is the 
idea of freedom, not in the technical sense of the system, 
but in the general acceptation of spontaneous self -activity . 
In epistemology, Kant opposes sensationalism by making 
knowledge the product of the mind s activity. And in the 
same way, he combats hedonism by basing ethics entirely on 
spontaneous activity. The value of man s life depends 
solely on what he does, not on what happens to him. And 
the same notion forms the leading principle of the subordi 
nate disciplines. In the philosophy of the State and of Law, 
the constitution and laws of a state have value only when 
they are based upon the freedom and spontaneous activity 
of citizens who are regarded as the end. An autocratic form 
of government may, under certain circumstances, be very 
conducive to the peace and well-being of its subjects ; but 
it is as much inferior to a republican, or representative form 
of government as a machine is to an organism. The same 
principle runs through the philosophy of Eeligion. Eeligion 
is believing in God and fulfilling his commands the moral 
law freely. Thus the church is nothing but the voluntary 
association, formed to fight against evil, of all the righteous 
I and true believers. With the true church there is con 
trasted the priestly church, which degrades the people into 
passive laity, for whom the priest makes the creed and per 
forms divine service. Finally, in the pedagogical works 
true education is distinguished from mere training by the 
fact that it has in view the self -activity and the freely acting 
good-will of the pupil. 


LITERATURE : Among the precritical writings, the Beobachtungen 
vler das Gefuhl des Schonen und Erhabenen (1764) is of special impor 
tance for Kant s ethical views, and contains contributions for a moral 
characterology. After hints of a change in his theory of morals in 
the Dissertation and the Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Kant published the 
Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (1785), the first systematic 
exposition of his ethical views. It contains preliminary sketches that 
were subsequently omitted, and, above all, the important notion of a 
kingdom of ends. The Kritik der practischen Vernunft adds, in par 
ticular, the moral theology, and the Kritik der Urteilskraft [Eng. 
trans, by J. II. Bernard, 1892] contributes to the same subject. The 
systematic exposition of the ethics, according to the principles laid 
down in these writings, is contained in a work that belongs to his 
old age, Anfangsgrunde der Tugendlehre. In the Anthropology there 
is much that concerns moral dietetics. Interesting fragments of 
earlier attempts at construction are contained in Reicke s Lose Blatter. 
[J. G. Schurman, Kantian Ethics and the Ethics of Evolution, 1881 ; 
Noah Porter, KanCs Ethics (Griggs Philos. Classics), 1886.] For the 
development of Kant s ethical views, cf. F. W. Fb rster, Der Entwicke- 
lungsgang der Kantischen Ethik bis 1781 (1893), and P. Menzer, in 
Vaihinger s Kantstudien, II., pp. 290 if., III., pp. 41 ff. Also, A. Hegler, 
Die Psychologic in Kants Ethik (1891); A. Cresson, La morale de Kant 
(1897). [T. K. Abbott s volume, entitled Kant s Theory of Ethics 
(1883), contains English translations of the Grundlegung zur Meta 
physik der Sitten (Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals}, 
the Kritik der pract. Vernunft (Critique of Practical Reason}, the gen 
eral Introduction to the Metaphysiche Anfangsgrunde der Sittenlehre 
(Metaphysical Principles of the Science of Morals), and the preface and 
Introduction to the Metaphysische Anfangsgrunde der Tugendlehre 
(Metaphysical Principles of the Doctrine of Virtue}. ] 



The character and position of moral philosophy in Kant s 
system is described by the name which he gives it, " meta- 
physic of morals." By means of this title, it is paralleled 
with the " metaphysic of nature." Like the latter, it is a 
system of pure rational laws, valid a priori, applying, not to 
the realm of nature, but to that of freedom. But, on the 
other hand, the name implies a contrast with the " physics 
of morals." It is not to be a theoretical science of the origin, 
importance, and effect of subjective and objective morality 
in the life of human experience, but a system of pure__a 
priori valid formulae, without any relation to the guidance 
of life according to the teachings of experience. The pure 
concepts of the understanding are absolutely indifferent to 
any particular content of experience, but are valid a priori 
for every possible experience. And, in the same way, the 
moral law is completely unconcerned with life and particular 
circumstances. It is valid a priori for every rational being, 
quite irrespective of what the conditions of life may be. The 
concepts of the understanding do indeed require for their 
objective validity confirmation through experience ; for other 
wise they are only empty thought-forms. But, for the moral 
law, it is not essential that it shall be obeyed anywhere in 
the real world. It does not determine what is, but what 
ought to be, what abides, even if what is actual everywhere 
follows a different course. In truth, there is no way of 
demonstrating that the moral law anywhere determines the 
nature of the real. Morality, as an act of freedom, can never 
be found as a fact in the empirical world. The metaphysic 
of morals has nothing at all to do with actual occurrences, 
with life and history as empirical facts. These things belong 
to the " physics of morals." 


As this point is of great importance in understanding and 
estimating the value of Kant s moral philosophy, it will be 
well to consider it at somewhat greater length. 

One may give the title of " physics of morals " to the the 
oretical consideration of morality as empirical facts of ordi 
nary life. As an empirical living being, man belongs to 
nature, and all theoretical knowledge of his character and 
development forms a part of natural science in its broader 
sense. That is as true of psychical anthropology, including 
the philosophy of history, as of physical. All these disciplines 
consider man purely as a natural product, just in the same 
way as the zoologist considers any other species of animal. 
Investigation into the history of his development may show 
how the species man has differentiated itself into various 
races in adapting itself to different conditions of life in dif 
ferent quarters of the globe. In the brief essays On the 
Various Races of Mankind (1775), and Determination of the 
Concept of a Race of Men (1785), Kant pointed out the way 
to this mode of treatment. If this procedure were ever able 
to show how mankind originally had evolved from an earlier 
form of life, Kant would have nothing to object. Then, too, 
sociology and philosophy of history consider man as a social 
being. The former may show how in a common life certain 
uniform relations necessarily grow up, and how these become, 
through the specific character of man, who differs from other 
gregarious animals in possessing higher intelligence and 
more strongly marked individuality, rational usages, con 
sciously adopted and maintained, in distinction from the 
social instincts of animals. Again, it may go on to show 
how these usages assume different forms among different 
peoples, corresponding to the various conditions and ends of 
life, but how they everywhere have the tendency to promote 
life in the sense of preserving and raising the historical 
type. Finally, the philosophy of history may attempt to 
gain an insight into the unity of all the data presented by 


empirical history, and to discover in them progress towards 
a final purpose, perhaps the complete development of all the 
natural powers of humanity. In doing this it may represent 
the moral and legal usages as essential conditions of progress 
toward this goal. All these would be purely theoretical 
sciences, investigating the uniform connection of given facts 
according to the law of causality. 

And to the same sphere belong also disciplines like poli 
tics or pedagogy that deal with the problems of some special 
department of life, and even those that profess to furnish 
guidance for life in general, like morality in the popular 
sense of the word. These are all technical disciplines that 
really belong, as far as content is concerned, to the theoret 
ical sciences. They convert into a rule that which theory 
expresses as a law. Medicine is nothing but the sum of the 
applications of the knowledge that physical anthropology 
possesses. It may be connected with the latter as a mere 
corollary. In like manner, the ordinary laws of morality, 
as a set of practical or technical precepts, might be added or 
annexed to general anthropology, as "pragmatic" anthro 
pology. Kant has himself furnished an example of this in 
his Anthropology with a Pragmatic Purpose. All this be 
longs to the " physics of morals." 

Now, a " metaphysic of morals " is entirely different from 
all this. It is not at all concerned with what happens, but 
only with that which should happen, whether it now is tak 
ing place anywhere or not. It sets up a law for the realm 
of Freedom. This is something that lies entirely outside 
the realm of nature, that is, outside of the real world in so 
far as the latter is known as an object. It lies in the in 
telligible world. Since obedience to the moral law is an 
intelligible act of free will, it does not belong at all to 
the observable facts of empirical reality. Eeal occurrences, 
which are objects of knowledge, belong entirely to the phe 
nomenal world, and are to be explained according to the 


law .of .causality. The only thing that is evident as a 
fact is the consciousness of the unconditional obligation of 
a law that commands categorically. The effects and pur 
poses of the action do not enter at all into this conscious 
ness. In like manner, it is altogether free from inclinations 
and conditions of the possibility of the action. It contains 
only the form of a universal law by means of which all 
action is to be determined. Now, this law is the sole object 
of practical philosophy in the true sense, as opposed to prag 
matic and technical disciplines that have wrongly assumed 
the name of practical, when really they are only offshoots of 
the theoretical sciences. 1 

Thus Kant s practical philosophy, or the " metaphysic of 
morals," is in principle completely divorced from empirical 
reality, from the life of the individual, and from the histor 
ical life of humanity. It is not at home on the earth among 
men, but in the transcendental world of purely rational 
beings. It is the natural law of the mundus intelligibilis. 
The moral law is suspended over life merely as a norm for 
passing judgments upon the will. It does not have its 
origin in life, and from the very nature of the case no knowl 
edge of its effectiveness in life is possible. It is another 
question whether Kant always remained true to this fun 
damental conception in elaborating it in detail. Probably 
such a purely transcendent morality cannot always be car 
ried through. So soon as we attempt to deal with concrete 
norms, over and above the mere demands of formal accord 
ance with the law, the special empirically given content of 
life will necessarily claim recognition. "Thou shalt not 
lie," is not a rule for purely rational beings as such, but for 
those who communicate their thoughts by speech and other 
symbols. " Thou shalt not mutilate, destroy, or defile thy 
body," is a rule only for those rational beings who have a 

1 Cf. especially the first preface to the Critique of Judgment (VII., pp. 
377 ff.). 


body with the organs in question. In a pure " metaphysic 
of morals " there should really be no mention of any of 
these things. Of course the content of such a science* 
would be very scant. 


The system of the " metaphysics of morals " was long 
delayed, although Kant had intended, as early as 1785, to 
undertake at once its complete elaboration. 1 First there 
appeared as a prolegomenon the Fundamental Principles 
(Grundlegung), which, according to the preface, 2 was in 
tended to represent the Critique. Then followed still 
another " Critique " of Practical Reason, in reality quite 
an unsuitable title, as Kant himself recognized : the practical 
reason requires no critique. The theoretical reason, or 
the understanding, requires criticism because it has a ten 
dency to over-step its limits. But the practical reason 
is not subject to any criticism, to a judicial sentence 
before any other court as to its claims. It is itself the 
final court of appeal regarding all human affairs. Instead 
of a " Critique " we might have expected an " apology," 
or rather an " apotheosis " of the practical reason. But 
after the Critique of Pure Reason, it seemed to Kant that 
this doctrine, too, must have a critique as a prolegomenon. 
And when the critique was written, in this case also 
the doctrine was long in following. Not until 1797 did it 
appear, and then not as a " system," but under the apparently 
stereotyped titles, Metaphysical Principles of Doctrine of 
Virtue, and Metaphysical Principles of Right. It was 
not until the second edition (1798) that the two works 
received the common title, Metaphysic of Morals. These 
works exhibit Kant s tendency to undertake all sorts of 
preliminary discussions, which developed into a kind of dis- 

i Cf. the letter to Schutz, of Sept. 13, 1785. 2 jy., p . 239. 


like to give a final exposition of the real question itself. 
They also show his ever-increasing tendency towards sche 
matic uniformity in the construction of his system, the 
pernicious effects of which Adickes has traced through 
out Kant s entire period of authorship in his acute inves 
tigation, entitled Kant s Schematic Tendency as a Factor in 
the Construction of his System. To this latter tendency 
in particular is to be ascribed the fact that the working 
out of the system (the doctrinal part, as Kant says) is 
lacking, or remains in the form of " Critiques." The elab 
oration of the Critique of Pure Reason had left such deep 
traces on Kant s mind that his thought always fell again 
into this groove. This is the limitation of the human 
understanding that we so often meet with. If one has 
once happily solved a problem by means of a certain 
method, one tries to solve all the problems of the world 
in the same way. 

The Critique of Practical Reason, which therefore re 
mained the chief work on moral philosophy, follows the 
Critique of Pure Reason step by step, not only in its intrin 
sic method, as the Fundamental Principles does, but also in 
its external divisions. We have the same statement of the 
problem regarding the possibility of synthetic judgments 
a priori; the same divisions into a Doctrine of Elements 
and a Doctrine of Method, into Analytic and Dialectic, with 
a table of categories and antinomies. If the schema was 
not adapted to the episternological investigation, it is 
here still more ill-fitting. Kant s thought had become 
enslaved by the schema : it looks more at the fixed form 
of the system than at the facts. He is not troubled by 
the fact that his ideas suffer from this fixed arrangement, 
that necessary investigations are lacking, and empty, formal 
notions find place. He rejoices in the thorough-going 
analogy, and finds in this an important confirmation of 
the truth of his system. In what follows, I propose to 


treat merely the fundamental conceptions, without follow 
ing in detail the schematic execution. 

(1) The Form of Morality 

The form of morality is determined by the essential 
Character of the critical philosophy, formal rationalism. 
This element comes out so clearly just at this point that 
no one can mistake it and find the main purpose in some 
thing else, e. g., in phenomenalism or the determination 
of limits. The undertaking is to show that the practical 
reason, like the theoretical, is a priori legislative. Moral 
philosophy, as metaphysics in the Critique of Pure Reason, 
is traced back to a transcendental logic : the moral law 
is a purely logical law of action. 

The point of departure for the investigation is here, as in 
his theoretical work, the division of human nature into two 
sides, sensibility and reaspn. which are related to each other 
q.g Triflf-.for and f^rm In the Critique of Pure Eeason, we 
have the understanding as spontaneity opposed to sensibil 
ity as the receptivity for impressions. It is the function 
of the understanding to bring the manifold of sensation 
to a unity subject to laws. In the Critique of Practical 
Reason, sensibility has the form of a plurality of impulses 
that by means of objects are stimulated into a variety QJ 
desires. Impulses aim at satisfaction. The satisfaction 
6f all the impulses, posited as the common goal of sensi 
bility, is called happiness. Also here we ha ye reason -as 
the__formal principle opposed to sensibility. As in the 
theoretical sphere reaso^Js^he_^rigin_of_the laws of nature, 
so here it assigns a law to the realm of voluntary action. 
Thi^Jj_tlie_^oraHaw. The moral laws correspond in the 
sphere of the will to the pure concepts of the understanding 
in the realm of intellect. Like the latter they possess uni- 
^versality and necessity, and in a twofold sense. That is, 
they are valid for all rational beings, and they admit of abso- 



no exceptions. Here as in the theoretical field their 
a priori character is established by means of these marks. 

Of course the difference that we already described, that 
in the theoretical field the universality refers to what is, 
and in the practical to what ought to be, shows itself 
here. Natural phenomena correspond without exception 
to natural laws ; but, on the contrary, action is not inva- , 
riably controlled by the moral law. It should be so [/ 
controlled, but it is not. But that the universality of 
obligation is not merely an empty and arbitrary demand, 
perhaps on th<T*part of the moral philosophers, but rests 
upon a real law of reason, is shown by the fact that all " 
men know^aiij^recognize it. if not in act, at least in pass 
ing moral judgments. In estimating the worth of our own 
actions and those of others, there is always presupposed 
an underlying standard. This is the moral law, and^ just 


It is noteworthy, as a further parallel, that the charac 
teristic position of man, both in a theoretical and practical 
regard, rests upon this union of sensibility and reason. The 
nature of human knowledge is determined by the fact that 
there must enter into it both perception and understanding. 
Understanding without sensibility is a description of the 
divine intelligence, while sensibility without understand 
ing is the condition of the brutes. In like manner, the 
human will is characterized by the fact that reason and 
sensibility are always united in action, the former deter 
mining the form of the will, and the latter furnishing the 
object of desire. Eeason without sensibility characterizes 
the divine will, whose nature is expressed in thp moral law, 
which alone determines if.g pp.fivjt.y SHjsi&le_jmp_u!ses 
without_reason result in the animal will, made u_of^ lawless 
and accidental desires, subject to the natural course of events. 

Now, just on this point rests the characteristic nature of 
morality, which is action out of respect for a lain. Among 


beings above and below the human race there is no obligation 
and no morality, but only the act of will. The divine will 
corresponds completely with the divine reason : it is holy, 
not moral. The will of the lower animal is made up of 
passive excitations of impulse : it does not act, but is passive 
as a part of nature, and consequently is entirely without 
moral quality. In the case of man, morality rests upon t.Lp 
contmLuaLJvhe sense impulses by t-he reason. ThroughJ^he 
f act_that_rn.aa. J*s_a . radon^lJbeirig-prescribes a law to himseKL 
as a sensible being._ obligation jjrst arises. Here we have 
a volition that contains a moment of negation, even of 

The point of departure and the basis for moral philosophy 
i are found in the analysis of the moral consciousness. This 
reveals just that consciousness of the opposition of duty and 
inclination, the consciousness of obligation, as the original 
phenomenon in the field of morality in general. The inter 
pretation of these facts is the first problem of moral philos 
ophy. Kant solves it, as we have indicated, by tracing it 
back to the opposition of reason and sensibility. The in 
clinations are all derived ultimately froio_sp.n.cip. impulse, 

wJn Ifi fog. p.nngp.inusnfiSS of (^uty procggjg_jrni7i TpflRQT^ a,p iff 

evident from the fact that obligation pr 

la.w fl L g_rmj;m Every system of moral philosophy that does 
not recognize the absolute nature of this opposition, that 
attempts, like eudaemonism, to explain obligation by some in 
direct derivation from the inclinations, destroys, according to 
Kant, the very essence of morality. For this reason he 
constantly treats eudaemonism not only as a false theory, 
but as a moral perversity. He sympathizes, however, with 
the morality of the common man, who finds as uncondition 
ally given in his conscience the opposition of duty and 
inclination. One_ can__at^ once say that Kant s systern of 
injiraliiiY__is__the restoration of the common morality of con.- 
science with its absolute imperative, as opposed to phijp- 


sophical theories of morality, which all undertake, 
explanation of that imperative. 

The second point that results from an analysis of the 
moral consciousness is the fundamental form of moral judg 

ments Of Value. A Will ^ "morally gnnrl whfH jf. i s deter 
miner! softly hy rjnty or thp. moral law In SO far as 

the will is determined by inclinations, whether these are 
bodily or mental, coarse or refined, its actions can have no 
moral value. They may in such cases correspond with the 
moral law. BaL-iegality-is not morality. The latter rests 
softly upon thp. fnrrnjijMJTftjto^ It is 

only when duty is done out of respect for the law, without 
any reference to the results of the act for the inclinations, 
that we have the habit of will that alone possesses moral 
value. The ordinary reason always makes these distinctions 
with complete certainty. It distinguishes whnt in morally 
googUrom what is useful and agree f fl f Klp., .nd n.lcso from whl^ 
is merelvJD L accgrdance with law and duty. 

The content of the general moral consciousness may con 
sequently be expressed as follows, in the form of a demand : 
Let the moral law be the sole determining ground of thy will, u v 
It _ha,s the form of a categorical imperative: Thou shalt do 
what the law prescribes, unconditionally, whatever conse 
quences may result. Impulses that seek happiness, and the 
dictates of prudence speak in hypothetical imperatives : If 
you would obtain this or that, if you wish to consult your 
advantage, you must do this or that, or leave them undone. 
You must not be intemperate if you would not injure your 
health or your good name, and so act contrary to your hap 
piness. The pure practical reason may command the same 
line of action. But by means of its form as^uuconditional 
imperative it can unmistakably be distinguished from all 
such prudential rules. Even if no injury could ever result 
to one from lying, or from a dishonorable act, the imperative 
retains its force. This is the mandate of the reason, the 



expression of its nature. Universality p"d ppnnqnjty no t 
comparative and conditional, but absolute and unconditional, 
r constitute the essence of all rationality. 

For this very reason, universality is the touchstone 
through which the rational origin of the will s motives may 
be infallibly recognized. Tf f.Vtp. mayim of j^Vm will nan not. h^ 
,fi a ""iw-ysfl-1 1-a.w, it is not derived from reason, 

but from sensibility, and the resulting act is without moral 
value, or non-moral. One may accordingly express the 
categorical imperative also in the formula : Act so that thy 
maxim may be capable of becoming the universal natural 
law of all rational beings. If it is from its very nature 
incapable of this extension, then it proceeds from the arbi 
trariness of sensibility, and jaot from reason. For example, 
the question may arise whether it is right for me to tell a 
lie to rescue myself or some one else from a difficulty. The 
maxim of the decision of the will might be : If by a lie or 
by a promise that I do not intend to keep I can obtain an 
advantage that is greater than any disadvantage for myself 
or others that may result, then I regard it as allowable, and 
will act accordingly. Now attempt to represent this maxim 
as a universal natural law of willing and acting. One sees 
at once that it is impossible : it would destroy itself. If 
every one constantly acted in accordance with this maxim, 
no one would ever believe the statements or promises of 
another, and accordingly there would be an end to state 
ments and promises themselves. Lies and dishonesty are 
self-contradictory : they are possible only on the condition 
that they do not become universal natural laws of speech 
and conduct. The liar and deceiver wills at the same time 
that there shall not be lying and deceit; for he does not 
wish others to deceive him. The reason in him, therefore, 
is opposed to the sensible nature, which regards merely its 
momentary advantage. 

And just in this fact lies the real ground for rejecting such 


a condition. Keason and sensibility are related as higher 
and lower. If one lies, he follows the lower faculty of 
desire ; he permits the animal in him to rule, following his 
desires and fears. He divorces himself from his character 
as a rational being and renounces his humanity. The worth 
of man rests on the fact that reason rules in his life and is 
not subordinated to the impulses of sense. In virtue of his 
reason, man belongs to a higher order of things, an intelli 
gible and divine world. As a sensible being he is a product 
of nature. How shameful and degrading it would be to sub 
ject his divine part to the animal nature, to renounce his 
citizenship in the kingdom of rational beings, and content 
himself with merely an animal existence. It is an absolute 
inversion of things to subject the reason, which from its very 
nature is its own absolute purpose, to the sensibility that it 
is naturally intended to serve. Justice (Si/ccuoavvrj), to use 
Plato s phraseology to express Kant s thought, consists for 
man in every part of his soul performing its proper function. 
It is necessary that reason, the part that is divine in nature 
and in origin, shall rule, and that the will shall obey its 
commands and make them the law of its action, and that 
the system of sensory and animal impulses shall provide 
for the preservation of the bodily life in strict subjection 
to reason, and without causing the mind disquiet and 

We here touch upon the deepest side of the Kantian 
theory of morals, where it passes over at once into religious 
feeling. To this we shall return immediately. But first I 
wish to consider another of the fundamental notions of the 
system, that of freedom. 

Freedom is the postulate of morality as something inter 
nally consistent. 4- being without freedom, a bing_j^hpse 
activities are determined by causes either outside him or in 
him, is never the subject of a moral judgment. And it 
makes no difference whether this causality is mechanical or 


mediated through ideas. An automaton spirituale is not 
less an automaton than a bodily one. Freedom therefore 
signifies absolute spontaneity, the ability to act uncondition 
ally, and not as determined by causes. The possibility of 
this notion was shown in the Critique of Pure Reason. 
There it was proved that empirical causality is valid in the 
world of phenomena, not in the intelligible world. It is 
therefore thinkable that the same being stands under the 
law of causality as a member of the phenomenal world, but 
as a noumenon, possesses causality according to the concept 
of freedom. This notion, which remains problematical 
from the speculative standpoint, is rendered certain by 
means of the practical reason. The moral law commands 

Unconditionally. Its fulfil rrmit muni-. -hp.rp f forp. hp. pnasihlp. 

In other jvvprds, there must be ajjljjkliatjg not determined 
by__s^nje__solicitation, but that determines itself merely 
through the idea of the law. That is a. free wilL Freedom, 
or _the capacity to^ake_jhLe^noralJj L wJhe_ab&olute ground 
of determination of the will, without regard to all the 
solicitations of inclination or to the influence of fixed 
habits, education, natural disposition and temperament, is 
/directly posited in the recognition of the moral law itself. 
Although the understanding may not be able to explain it, 
the absolute validity of the notion is not less certain. Thou 
canst, for thou oughtst common-sense recognizes at once 
the necessity of the connection. 

With the concept of freedom that of autonomy is closely 
connected. The moral is not a 1n.w in^-mggrl by sprnp. ex 
tern al authority, but the essential expression of reason itself. 
The theological theory of morality, that derives the law 
from the arbitrary will of God, and finds its sanction in the 
power of the Almighty to punish and reward, is refuted by 
the notion of autonomy. There is no being except I myself 
that can say " thou shalt," to me. Another will can say 
"thou must," but that is a hypothetical imperative that always 


has some external sanction if you would avoid or obtain 
this or that. That is heteronomy, and a will that is deter 
mined in this way never has any moral value. It is true 
the moral law is God s will ; but God s will and the will of 
the rational being harmonize spontaneously, as being both 
expressions of the nature of reason itself. It is not binding 
as an arbitrarily imposed command that might even have 
been different. 

AurUlQw T Tftt.nrn to the point already mentioned : the 
moral law jsjbhft law or natural ordpvr_nj^ tji 

wjidd. The intelligible world is the kingdom of rational 
beings, of which God is the sovereign. In this world every 
rational being has full citizen rights and is a constituent 
member, furnishing from his own will the law tkat here 
obj&ms. In Rousseau s republic every citizen is subject 
php.rHprice only to laws that he assents to as a, 
the legislativaJaody. In__the republic of spirits a 
There, no one is determined by 

means of causes external to himself, as takes place in nature 
where external conditioning is the rule, but there is nothing 
except free self-determination, which is at the same time in 
harmonious agreement with the reason of others. 

In this_ way^ the moral law receives at Kant s hands a 
metaphysical and cosmical character. It is the natural 
order of what is actually real, of the intelligible world, while 
the law of causality is merely the natural order of the 
phenomenal world. It is for this reason that he so earnestly 
tries to show that the moral law is not merely the law for 
all men, but for all rational beings in general. It is a law of 
transcendent import, the most intimate law of the universe 
itself. In jso far as man realizes this law in his life, he 
belongs directly to a different order of things from that of 
nature. During the earthly life this relation is concealed. 
Our faculty of ideas is limited by sensibility, and can con 
ceive only what takes place in space and time. It cannot 


conceive freedom and eternity. Nevertheless, as moral 
beings, we are immediately certain that we are not merely 
natural beings belonging to the phenomenal world, but that 
as rational beings we belong to a truly real, a spiritual and 
divine universe. Is the earthly and temporal life merely 
one phase of our existence ? If so we may suppose that 
when we put off the body we shall be free from the obscuring 
of consciousness by sensibility, and that the mind will then 
completely and with full consciousness recognize itself as a 
member of that real world, which it already knows through 
action and faith, though not through sight. Eternal life 
would be life as a purely rational being, without the trouble 
and limitation of the life of sense. 

It is Kant s Platonism that is here evident as the funda 
mental form of his ontology. The Critique of Pure Reason 
and the Critique of Practical Reason unite for the purpose 
of establishing an ethical and religious view of the world on 
the basis of objective idealism, a mode of thought that in 
its essential features is older than the critical philosophy. 
We found it already in the Dreams of a Ghost-Seer as the 
serious background to the humorous representation of 
Swederiborgianism. Criticism, looked at as a whole, 
appears even from the beginning as the new method of 
establishing a Platonic system of metaphysics. 

These are the fundamental concepts of Kant s moral 
philosophy. They form, as we have already said, the most 
complete contrast to the empirical and eudsemonistic point 
of view. This latter appeared to Kant not merely false and 
superficial, but also perverse and profane. It reduces 
lorality to self-love. Enlightened self-interest demands 
irtuous conduct, though in moderation, and as a means 
rhich best conduces to happiness. It makes reason sub 
servient to the sensuous desires, and denies the possibility 
)f a disinterested action, and thereby of any genuine morality 
whatever. In so far as it has any influence on action, it 


poisons morality at the root. Moreover, it is nothing but 
weak sophistry that "can exist only in the confusing 
speculations of schools which are bold enough to close their 
ears against the heavenly voice (of reason) in order to 
maintain a theory which does not cost much racking of 
the brain." The ordinary man of unsophisticated under 
standing, with the " wise simplicity " of Rousseau, dismisses 
at once these shallow arguments. He holds fast to the 
/clear distinction between actions performed from a sense 
f of duty and from inclination, and maintains its absolute 
significance for moral judgments of value. 

Not only eudsemonism, the morality of enlightened self- 
interest, but the morality of feeling is abhorrent to Kant. 
He especially condemns the sentimental and rhetorical form 
that seeks to furnish moral stimulus by dressing up moral 
heroes, and by representations of actions that lie beyond the 
limits of duty. The morality of reason alone, with its fixed 
principles, affords a permanent basis for the moral will. 
The sentimental procedure produces merely momentary 
emotions that soon evaporate, and in doing so render the 
heart dry and dead. 

It is worthy of note that also in these points the critical 
philosophy represents a reaction against Kant s past. The 
writings of the sixties show everywhere traces of the mode 
of thought that he now so decidedly rejects the euda3- 
monistic morality of perfection, 1 and the English ethics of 
feeling. And also in this field the change dates from the 
revolution of 1769. In 1785 (in the announcement of his 
lectures), 2 he spoke of Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, and Hume as 
his predecessors whom he followed in investigations in the 
field of moral philosophy. But, in a remark in the Disserta 
tion of 1770 3 , he dismisses Shaftesbury and his followers 
with contempt. Pure reason alone is to be considered. As 
contrasted with it all empirical principles are " impure." 

l Cf. II., p. 307. 2 II., p. 319. a 9. 


(2) The Material of The Will 

Up to this point Kant s thought is on the whole simple 
and clear. The difficulties arid vacillations begin with the 
problem of finding an object and end of action for the will 
that is only formally determined. Two ends are possible, 
happiness and perfection. The adoption of the one or the 
other of these constitutes the difference between the systems 
of moral philosophy to which one can apply the names 
Hedonism and Energism. 

The former finds the ultimate end in pleasure, the latter 
in complete development of character and activity. Even 
Kant takes account of these two ends. He hesitated long, 
however, in deciding regarding their relation to morality 
proper, even after the critical point of view had been dis 
covered. I shall deal first with happiness and its relation 
to morality. 

The analogy of the practical with the theoretical seems 
to demand that the matter of the will should be furnished 
by sensibility. The impulses of sense all aim at satisfaction ; 
in the last resort they may together be said to seek happi 
ness. This accordingly would be the goal of natural volition 
and action. The moral law, according to the same analogy, 
would have to be represented as a condition of the possi 
bility of this end, perhaps because it would harmonize the 
various desires and bring unity into the actions of the 
many persons whose actions have influence on one another s 
happiness. From this standpoint, happiness would be the 
effect, but not the motive of the will. This is determined 
a priori by reason, not a posteriori by the results to be 
expected, just as the pure concepts find their application 
and illustration in experience, although they do not originate 
in experience, but are necessary to its possibility. 1 

1 Po litz, Kants Vorlesungen liber Metaphysik, p. 321 : " Worthiness for 
happiness consists in the practical agreement of our actions with the idea of 


Another mode of establishing a necessary relation between 
virtue and happiness is by making the consciousness of 
virtue the source of happiness. This was the position of 
the Stoics, for whom the wise man as such is happy, what 
ever his external conditions of life. Internal happiness 
(evSaipovia) is not dependent upon external fortune (eurv^ia), 
but is derived entirely from the individual s own will and 
the consciousness of his personal power and worth. Spinoza 
is a representative of the same standpoint. 

This combination, too, is not unknown to Kant. A long and 
interesting sketch, published by Eeicke in the Loose Leaves} 
contains, among other things, the following thoughts : 2 " The 
material of happiness is sensible, but the form is intellectual. 
Now, this is not possible except as freedom under a priori 
laws of its agreement with itself, and this not to make hap 
piness actual, but to render its idea possible. For happiness 
consists just in well-being in so far as this is not exter 
nally accidental, or even empirically dependent, but as based 
upon our volition. This must be active, and not dependent 
upon the determination of nature. ... It is true that 
virtue has the advantage that it carries with it the greatest 
happiness in the use of natural endowments. But its higher 
value does not consist in the fact that it serves as it were as 
a means. Its real value consists in the fact that it is we 
who creatively produce it, irrespective of its empirical con 
ditions, which can furnish only particular rules of life, and 
that it brings with it self-sufficiency. . . . There is a cer- 

universal happiness. When we act in such a way that there would result, if 
every one acted in the same way, the greatest amount of happiness, then our 
conduct has rendered us worthy of happiness. Good conduct is the condi 
tion of universal happiness." 

1 I., pp. 9 ff. 

2 Forster and Hoffding (Archiv f. Gesch. der Philoa., VII., p. 461, Vai- 
hinger s Kantstudien, II., pp. 11 ff.) place this sketch, perhaps rightly, in the 
seventies. Reicke, from external evidence, is inclined to fix the date in the 
eighties. Even this does not appear to me impossible. It is only certain that 
it is to be placed before the Grundlcgung. 


tain stock of contentment necessary and indispensable, and 
without which no happiness is possible ; what is over and 
above this is non-essential. This is self-sufficiency, as it 
were, apperceptio jucunda primitiva" 1 

This in essence was the Stoic solution of the relation be 
tween virtue and happiness. Kant found it nearer home in 
Shaftesbury and Pope. It is at bottom the view of Aristotle 
and Plato. Not pleasure, but virtue, is the highest good and 
; final purpose. Or the exercise of the specifically human 

[powers and capacities is what gives an absolute meaning and 
value to life. Since, however, the possession of this good is 
directly connected with the consciousness of one s own worth, 
one can say: Virtue insures at the same time happiness. 
But this name does not, of course, imply the satisfaction of 
all the desires of sense, but just the consciousness of pos 
sessing that which alone has absolute worth. 

In the later expositions these positions are abandoned. 
In the Fundamental Principles the notion of happiness plays 
no part whatever. The concept of a kingdom of ends is 

1 I add a few more sentences : " Happiness is not really the greatest sum 
of enjoyment, but pleasure arising from the consciousness of one s own ability 
to he contented, at least this is the essential and formal condition of happi 
ness, though still other material conditions are necessary." " Morality (as 
freedom under universal laws) renders happiness as such possible. Though it 
does not depend upon it as its purpose, it is the original form of happiness, 
which, when one possesses, one can dispense entirely with pleasures, and bear 
many evils of life without any loss of contentment, indeed even with a 
heightening of it." " Morality is the idea of freedom as a principle of hap 
piness (a regulative principle of happiness a priori). Accordingly, the laws 
of freedom must contain a priori the formal conditions of our own happiness 
without any direct reference to it." "Freedom is in itself a power indepen 
dent of empirical grounds for acting or refraining to act. I am free, but 
only from the compelling forces of sense, not also from the limiting laws Of 
reason. That freedom of indifference by means of which I can will what 
is contrary to my will, and which allows me no certain ground for counting on 
myself, would necessarily be in the highest degree unsatisfactory to me. It 
is essential, then, to recognize as a priori necessary a law according to which 
freedom may be limited to conditions that render the will self-consistent. To 
this law I can bring no objection, for it alone can establish, according to 
principles, the practical unity of the will." 


introduced, but even this finds no further extension and 
application. The formal determination of the will by the 
law is here the only dominating conception. On this de 
pends the worth of man. As a rational being, he belongs 
to the higher order of things. In the second half (Dialectic) 
of the Critique of Practical Reason, on the other hand, 
after the first part has repeated the formal determinations 
of the Fundamental Principles, pleasure appears prominently 
as a necessary element of practical philosophy. It is here 
combined with virtue (as the worthiness of happiness) into 
the concept of the highest good, and in this form serves as 
basis or moving principle of moral theology. The "postulates " 
God and immortality, together with the complete adjust 
ment of happiness and worthiness are founded on this 
notion. In the...end, all natural connection between virtue 
and happiness is rejected. Kant now emphatically denies 
the view of the ancient philosophers that there is any nat 
ural connection between the two. For him the connection 
is now " synthetic," not " analytic." Entirely reprehensible 
is the position of the Epicureans that makes virtue an 
external "means to happiness. But the Stoic view is also 
untenable, that the consciousness of virtue is itself at once 
happiness. Obedience to the law, he explains here, is mo 
tived by "reverence," a feeling that has absolutely no 
kinship with the pathological feeling of pleasure. The truth 
is rather that man, as a sensible being, feels oppressed by the 
moral law which restrains his self-love and lowers his self- 
conceit by the demand for obedience that it makes. Obe 
dience to the law also brings with it, indeed, a feeling of 
exaltation and self-respect, but neither have these the char 
acter of pleasurer; " VvntQitim^^^mmtfriedenheit) 
really signifies only a negative pleasure in its existence. 1 

Nevertheless, happiness is an essential object of the 
rational will. Virtue is indeed the highest good (lonum 

1 V., p. 123. 


supremum)_ ; but it is not therefore the complete and per 
fected good (bonum consummation), as an object of desire for 
finite, rational beings. For that purpose happiness is an 
essential condition. And this is true not only from the par 
tial standpoint of the man who makes himself his own end, 
but even in the judgment of impartial reason, which regards 
happiness in general as itself an end in the universe. For 
to desire happiness, and also to be worthy of it, and yet not 
to share in it, is a condition of things that cannot at all 
accord with the perfect volition of a rational being. 1 Since, 
now, the connection of the two elements is not analytic, 
" in accordance with the rule of identity," but synthetic, the 
question how the highest good is practically possible requires 
a transcendental solution. 

The key to this transcendental solution is again naturally 
found in the distinction between the sensible and the intel 
ligible world. In the sense-world, happiness is not propor 
tionate to worthiness, and so the adjustment is postponed to 
the future life. The practical reason ensures the possibility 
of the highest good by means of the two postulates, immor 
tality of the soul and the existence of God. Immortality, or 
rather life beyond the grave, makes possible an indefinitely 
prolonged advance towards moral perfection, consequently 
towards worthiness for happiness. The existence of God, as 
an all-powerful and holy will, and at the same time the 
author of nature, guarantees the second element of the high 
est good, happiness in proportion to worthiness. Further, 
since to bring the highest good into existence through free 
volition is a requirement that is a priori necessary, the pos 
sibility of doing this must be a necessary postulate of prac 
tical reason.. _ Or, in other words, the truth of the existence 
of God and of the life beyond the grave is apprehended by a 
necessary act of rational faith. It is not the object of theo 
retical knowledge. For this, perception would be necessary, 

i V., p. lie. 


and this is impossible for us who are limited to sense per 
ception in space.aud time. Moreover, it is not the object of 
a command, imposed either internally or externally ; for that 
is impossible. But it is guaranteed by an inextinguishable 
conviction that is posited along with my rational nature 
itself. The rightly constituted person can say : " I will 
God s existence, and that my existence in this world shall 
include, over and above the life of nature, membership in 
an intelligible world. Finally, I will my own immortality. 
I hold fast to these beliefs, and do not allow them to be 
taken from me. This is the single case where it is inevi 
table that my interest should determine my judgment, since 
I am not permitted to renounce any of its demands." 

Moral theology is thus based on the lack of natural con 
nection between virtue and happiness. The desire of the 
human will, which is unable to unite in this world the two 
indispensable elements, morality and happiness, by means 
of necessary concepts, becomes an imperative demand to 
pass to the region of the intelligible for what is necessary to 
complete our theory. Without God and immortality, without 
a transcendental world-order, the realization of the highest 
good, which is enjoined by the moral law, would not be 

In the form in which these thoughts are presented in the 
Critique of Practical Reason, there are many sides open to 
criticism. It reminds one somewhat too much of the police 
argument for God s existence : if one does not receive reward 
or punishment here, he will find it laid up for him in the 
next world. And Schopenhauer s gibe is not entirely un 
justified, that Kant s virtue, which at first bore itself so 
bravely towards happiness, afterwards holds out its hand to 
receive a tip. Even formally the combination of the two 
factors is open to criticism. Happiness for Kant is the sat 
isfaction of the inclinations of sense. Now, are there still in 
clinations of this kind in the other world ? We are supposed 


to be in an intelligible world where sensibility is entirely 
lacking. And how does the matter stand with regard to the 
infinite progress towards moral perfection ? In the other 
world is there still time in which change and progress can 
take place ? And how is moral progress itself possible for 
a being without sensibility ? The noumenon is " a purely 
rational being," " an intelligible character." In what, then, 
can its progress consist ? It appears as if Kant would have 
to postulate indefinite continuance in time in the form of 
sensible existence in order to render progress and compen 
sation possible. It would be necessary for him to adopt 
something like the East Indian notion of rebirth and trans 
migration of souls. 

Nevertheless, if one disregards the somewhat wooden form 
of exposition, and holds fast what is essential in Kant s 
thought, one will estimate the doctrine differently. We 
may say that Kant here really touches upon a strong, if not 
the strongest, motive of religious faith. The unsatisfactory 
nature of the present world, the conflict of the natural order 
of events with the irrelinquishable demands of the spirit, is 
the strongest motive to transcend the visible order and to 
seek an invisible one. The fact that in the natural course 
of events, as observation shows, the good and great are often 
oppressed and perish, while the vulgar and the wicked 
triumph, is the goad that drives us to deny the absolute 
reality of nature. It is and remains the final and indestruct 
ible axiom of the will that reality cannot be absolutely 
indifferent to good and evil. If, then, nature is indifferent, 
it cannot be the true reality. Then only behind or above 
nature, as mere phenomenon, can the true world be discovered, 
and in it the good is absolutely real ; i. e., in God who is the 
absolutely real and the absolutely good. It was Plato who first 
united the notions of the absolutely real and the absolutely 
good in the concept of God. And since that time philosophy 
has never abandoned this thought, and it is this that consti- 


tutes the essential element in Kant s thought. This point 
of view would have been attainable without using happiness 
as the vehicle of the postulate. Kant really does happiness 
too much honor in making it, or the lack of correspondence 
between it and virtue in the empirical world, the coping- 
stone of his entire system. If he had set out from the notion 
of a kingdom of ends, his road would have been shorter 
and smoother. He who wills the kingdom of ends believes 
in the possibility of its realization. He who lives for the 
kingdom of God, and is ready to die for it, believes in God. 

At this point we return to the second definition of the 
object of volition perfection as the end of the will. If Kant 
had given, as he intended, an exposition of his system about 
the middle of the eighties, this notion might perhaps have 
played an important role. As it is, it occupies an unimpor 
tant place in the Metaphysical Principles of the Doctrine of 
Virtue, as an end of the will that is necessary in addition 
to happiness. As the two ends which duty prescribes, 
although they must not be motives of will, Kant here names 
our own perfection, and the happiness of others. Under the 
head_of.pur own perfection, the cultivation of all our powers 
and talents, bodily, mental, and moral, is enjoined. To pro- 
mote_jthese with all our strength is a duty. On the other 
hand, itJsjQ.ever one s duty to promote one s own happiness, 
" since every one inevitably does that spontaneously^" Never 
theless, it may even become a duty to promote one s own 
happiness as a means, although not as an end, since disap 
pointment, pains, and want furnish great temptations to 
transgression of duty. On the other hand, it is not a duty 
to promote the perfection of others that is their own busi 
ness but to work for their happiness. In doing this, one 
performs a grateful service if one simply makes concessions 
to their inclinations, but undertakes a thankless task if one 
regards their real advantage, although they themselves do 
not recognize it as such. 


Here, just as little as in the Critique of Practical Reason, 
is any attempt made to unite in an organic way the " neces 
sary purposes " and the formal law. In the former work, 
happiness, both for ourselves and others, is without any 
mediation declared to be a necessary object of desire for the 
practical reason. Here Kant takes the same position with 
regard to perfection. If Kant had not been so hardened in 
formal rationalism, if he had not so blindly maintained in 
the sphere of the will the absolute separation of form and 
matter that in the Critique of Pare Reason determined the 
form of his critical philosophy, if he had been able for a 
moment to lay aside the axiom that the good will is that which 
is determined solely by the form of the law, and that all de 
termination of the will by the matter of volition proceeds from 
sensibility and renders it "impure," he would necessarily 
have arrived at a different system of ideas from the concept 
of perfection as the end of the will. He would have seen 
that man as a rational being aims at the establishment and 
enlargement of a kingdom of reason, of a kingdom of 
humanity, of a kingdom of God upon the earth. The moral 
law is the natural law of this kingdom in the sense that its 
enlargement depends upon obedience to the law. Trans 
gression against the law, on the other hand, has, as a natural 
effect, disorder and destruction. 

This line of thought is not entirely foreign to Kant. He 
employed it in the concept of " end in itself," which he 
ascribed to rational beings as a distinguishing characteristic, 
in the related notion of a " kingdom of ends " or a " king 
dom of God " in contrast with the kingdom of nature, as he 
speaks of it in the Critique of Pure Reason in Leibniz s 
phrase. The notion is also the foundation of his philosophy 
of history (in the Idea of a Universal History). It recurs 
in the Fundamental Principles in the following passage : 
" The kingdom of ends would actually come into existence 
by means of maxims whose rule the categorical imperative 


prescribes to all rational beings if these maxims were 
universally followed." 1 But it is not employed seriously. 
The horror of rendering the determination of the will 
" impure " by any matter of volition prevented Kant from 
following up this thought. In the Critique of Practical 
Reason it no longer played any part. Here nothing but 
formalism prevails. This work begins at once with the 
propositions : 2 " All practical principles which presuppose 
an object (matter) of the faculty of desire as the ground 
of determination of the will are empirical and can fur 
nish no practical laws." " All material practical principles 
are as such of one and the same kind, and come under the 
general principle of self-love or personal happiness." With 
these " propositions " the notion of purpose is a priori de 
barred from entrance into the practical philosophy, at least 
from any influence on its main problem. At a later point, 
in the Dialectic, we have not the concept of " perfection " or 
of a "kingdom of rational beings," but that of happiness 
suddenly reappearing from some unknown quarter, and pre 
senting itself, after having been previously rejected as derived 
from sensibility, as an a priori necessary element of the 
complete good, and one that reason has to recognize in ad 
dition to virtue. 

One must say that anything so internally inconsistent as 
the Critique of Practical Reason, with its two parts, the 
Analytic and the Dialectic, with the form and the matter 
of the will, the law and happiness, is perhaps not to be met 
with again in the history of philosophical thought. Kant, 
however, is so certain of his a priori procedure that he un 
hesitatingly rejects, as forming a single massa perditionis y 
all previous forms of moral philosophy, Epicurus and the 
Stoics, Shaftesbury, Wolff, and Crusius, since they all have 
started with material grounds of determination. The crit- 

1 IV., p. 286. 2, 3. 



ical metaphysic of morals is the first and only true system 
of moral philosophy. 

If Kant had taken the concept of a kingdom of ends as 
his starting-point, and if, instead of forming his ethics after 
the pattern of his epistemology, he had elaborated it as a 
practical discipline, establishing or maintaining its natural 
connection with anthropology and philosophy of history, his 
thought might have attained something like the following 
form, which seems to me more felicitous. 

The vocation of man, the purpose that God or nature has 
prescribed to him, and whose accomplishment is the business 
of the historical life, is the development from animality to 
humanity through the employment of his own reason. Ed 
ucation, civilization, and moralization, are the three parts of 
the process of humanizing. The final goal of the process of 
development is to form a united and harmonious kingdom 
of rational beings in which the moral law, as a natural law, 
shall determine volition and action, or in religious language 
to build up the kingdom of God upon the earth. 

Man stands in a twofold relation in regard to this 
vocation. The sensuous impulses that he shares with the 
animals (the lower desiderative faculty) resist it, because in 
the process they suffer loss. The sense impulses are re 
strained by the advance of culture. On this point Kant 
shares Kousseau s conviction. But man has also a " higher 
desiderative faculty," practical reason, and this has as its 
end nothing else than the enforcement of its own demands. 
From this view-point the explanation of the essential con 
cepts of moral philosophy would be as follows : 

Morality is the constant resolution of the will of a being 
who is at once sensuous and rational to follow reason as op 
posed to the impulses of sense. It gives to action the form 
of universal conformity to law, instead of the accidental and 
arbitrary character that belongs to sensible impulses. Moral 
laws are universal laws of conduct, that, in so far as they 


determine the will, direct its activity towards the ultimate 
end. Duty in the objective sense is the obligation to deter 
mine action by reference to the moral law. Freedom is the 
corresponding capacity to determine conduct in indepen 
dence of the incitations of sense, and in accordance with the 
moral law. The moral worth of the individual depends 
upon his disposition. Conscientious performance of duty 
carries with it moral worth and dignity, irrespective of the 
amount and extent of what is accomplished. For the latter 
is not dependent on the will alone, but also upon fortune. 

Happiness is used in a double sense, and corresponding to 
this its relation to sensibility is different. In so far as the 
word denotes the satisfaction of the sense impulses, virtue 
is not a means of promoting one s own happiness. But in 
so far as the realization of the higher desiderative faculty 
(the practical reason) is accompanied by the feeling of satis 
faction, one may even say, if one likes to name this feeling 
happiness, that virtue is the only means of attaining the 
true happiness, which, in the case of a rational being, depends 
before everything else upon self-respect, and is inseparable 
from morality and the maintenance of the dignity proper 
to man. Complete humanizing and moralizing, together 
with the happiness that is their result, constitute the highest 
good. This is a mere idea to which there can be no cor 
responding object in the sense-world. The significance of 
the idea consists in the fact that it sets a goal for empirical 
reality as manifested in the historical life, to which the 
human race is required to approximate through constant 
stages of progress. 

Belief in God is the moral certainty that the highest good 
is the ground and goal of all things. Perfect divine service 
is a life spent for the honor of God, and in the service of the 
highest good. 

In this way we might have all of Kant s essential thoughts 
without the formalism. 



In what has been said we have already indicated the 
standpoint from which Kant s moral philosophy is to be 
criticised. According to my opinion, it is just that which 
Kant regarded as his special service that constitutes his 
fundamental error. This is the expulsion of teleolo^ical/ 
considerations from ethics. I shall attempt to show this in 
describing the place of teleology in the historical develop 
ment of philosophy. In undertaking this, I emphasize the 
fact that the criticism has reference only to Kant s moral 
theory, not to his moral views. These are better than his 
theory, and I shall return to them in the next section. 

All philosophical reflection upon the nature of morality 
sets out from two points : (1) from the fact of moral judg 
ment, (2) from the fact that the will is directed towards some 
end. From the first point of view, one reaches the problem 
regarding the final standard in passing judgments of value 
upon human actions. From the second standpoint, the 
question regarding the ultimate end or the highest good 
presents itself. In this way, arise the 

philosophy^ the ethics of duty, and the ethic^_of_th_goiid. 
The original form of the ethics of duty is to be found in 
religious theories of morals : the law of God is the final stand 
ard of judgment and of value. Theological ethics, Christian 
and Jewish alike, declare that an action is morally good 
when it agrees with the command of God, and that a rnan 
is morally good when he makes the Divine command the 
law of his own will. 

Philosophical ethics is inclined to the form of the ethics of 
the good. Greek ethics is entirely dominated by the ques 
tion regarding the final end of all volition and action. Two 
tendencies manifest themselves at this point : that toward 
hedonism, and that toward energism. The former places 
the highest good in a state of feeling, pleasure ; the latter, in 


an objective condition of character and realization of pur 
poses : the complete development of all the human powers 
and capacities, and their complete realization is the highest 
good. Aristippus and Epicurus belong to the first side, 
Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics to the second. The two 
tendencies approach each other in so far as the first asserts 
that a happy life can be attained only by virtue and ability, 
and the other concedes that virtue and ability has happiness 
as its necessary though not intentional result. 

Modern ethics begins in the seventeenth century with the 
abandonment of the theological form of the ethics of duty 
prevailing in the school philosophy. An immanent basis for 
ethics was sought, instead of the transcendent foundation in 
the will of God as expressed in the ten commandments. 
This is gained in the same way as in Greek ethics. For the 
distinctions of value in what is good and what is evil are 
based on the recognition of a highest good, and on the rela 
tion of will and conduct to it. This highest good was 
defined as self-preservation, realization of the complete char 
acter, human perfection, complete development of humanity 
(in the systems of Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz and Wolff, and 
Shaftesbury). Then a volition or action whose natural 
result is in harmony with this end is declared to be good. 
At the same time, egoistic hedonism, which makes the indi 
vidual s own advantage the absolute ground for the deter 
mination of the will, made its appearance. The distinction 
between good and evil is then reduced to the difference 
between greater or less certainty and cleverness in attain 
ing this end. On the other hand, the theological form of 
moral philosophy also perpetuated itself. Kant takes 
Crusius as its representative. 

The fundamental distinction between the chief types is 
that the theological ethics of duty is formal, the philosophical 
ethics of the good, teleologioal. The latter derives the dis 
tinctions of value in human conduct and relations in a last 


resort from the effects in relation to an ultimate end. The 
former has regard merely to the formal agreement of the 
will with the law, or to the formal character of the will s 
determination by means of the law : the moral good is abso 
lutely good, not good for something. 

Now, Kant s position was determined in this way. Origi 
nally he occupied the standpoint of the Wolffian morality of 
perfection. To this was added in the sixties, by way of a 
basis and complement, the English morality of feeling with 
its anthropological tendencies. The critical philosophy 
brought a complete reversal : Kant went over to the side of 
formal moral philosophy ; only, the pure reason takes the 
place of God as the autonomous source of the law. Hence 
forth he rejects the teleological conception, not merely as 
false, but as dangerous for morality itself. A will is good] 
solely on account of its formal determination by the law,! 
not on account of what it wills or what is effected through it./ 

I am unable to convince myself either of the dangerous 
character of teleological ethics, or of the tenability of this 
purely formalistic theory of morals. The latter sees only 
what stands nearest, and leaves entirely unsolved the prob 
lem of a general theory of life and of conduct. 1 

If one attempts, as is reasonable, to find a reconciliation, 
one may take as a basis the distinction between two kinds 
of judgments regarding the value of human volition and 
conduct, the subjective-formal and the objective-material. 
The first refers entirely to the disposition, to the relation of 
the will to the moral judgment of the person acting. And 
since we name an action good in so far as it results from a 
consciousness of its moral necessity, the content may be 
what it will. The Arab, as an avenger of blood, the fanatic 
who persecutes the enemies of his God, acting, not from 

1 A detailed account of the controversy between teleological and formalistic 
moral philosophy is given in my System der Ethik (4th ed. 1896), I., pp. 201 
ff., 314 ff. [English translation by F. Thilly, pp. 222 ff., 340 ff.]. 


personal hatred, but perhaps overcoming personal inclination 
or universal sympathy for his kind, and following the " cate 
gorical imperative " in his breast, acts morally. And his 
moral maxim would perhaps stand the test that Kant de 
mands act in such a way that thou canst will that thy 
maxim should become a universal law of conduct. " Cer 
tainly I will this," he might say, and even Kant could not 
prove the logical impossibility of this maxim prevailing as a 
law of nature. 

But, we should now add, this is not the end of the matter. 
A second and quite independent question is whether aveng 
ing blood, and persecuting those of a different faith, are good 
when considered objectively. Our moral sense condemns 
both. Why ? Evidently because they are in contradiction 
with our idea of a peaceful and equitable common life, with 
our conception of the value of freedom in our intellectual 
life, and of the worthlessness of forced convictions, and with 
our experience regarding the injurious influence of repression 
and protection in the spiritual life. Or, in a word, because 
the objective results of such ways of acting do not tend to 
promote, but to disturb and destroy the highest good, quite 
irrespective of what are the subjective motives of the person 
acting, whether he kills or persecutes from inclination or 
from a sense of duty. 

And now we would go on to assert that the real problem 
of moral philosophy does not consist in discovering the 
subjective moral value of the actions of the individual. 
It has done all that it can do in this connection when 
it has established the principle that one acts morally, from 
a subjective point of view, when one acts from a feeling 
of duty, out of reverence for the absolute command. But 
the problem is rather to determine the objective value 
of actions and relations, or to explain the different moral 
evaluation placed upon them (varying among different peo 
ples and at different times). Ethics will seek to determine 


why lying, stealing, killing, adultery, etc., are condemned, 
and truth, honesty, friendliness, and faithfulness in the 
marriage relation are good. In this investigation, it will 
find that actions of the sort first mentioned tend to dis 
turb and to destroy man s social life, and thereby to under 
mine the foundations upon which all healthy human life 
must rest. Lying is not evil because it cannot be posited 
as universal without destroying itself^ but because, so far 
as in it lies, it destroys an essential good, namely, the 
confidence that is the fundamental condition of all social 
life among men. And in like manner, thieving, and adul 
tery, and impurity, are reprehensible because they destroy 
goods, like property, the material basis of all human cul 
ture, and the family life, the medium in which the spirit 
ual life of man is maintained and handed down. In 
general, vices are objectively bad because they are destruc 
tive forces ; virtues are objectively valuable because they 
act as forces to preserve and promote the kingdom of 
reason and of humanity. The capacity for logical uni- 
versalization, however, is a useful means of discovering the 
result of any kind of action. It is difficult to say how a 
single action may result in any particular case. But it 
becomes clear what its nature is, what general tendency 
it possesses, as soon as one asks what the result would 
be if every man always acted in this way. 

Finally, teleological ethics is able to derive from its own 
principle what is valuable in the purely subjective mo 
rality. It shows that the habit of determining one s actions 
from a sense of duty, which we call conscientiousness, has 
the tendency to preserve the content of human life. What 
actually determines the will in this case is uniformly the 
objective morality of the community and the time. Cus 
tom and law, however, usually tend to preserve this com 
munity life : a people whose custom and law tended 
towards disintegration would be incapable of living, and 


would perish. In so far, then, as conscience has objec 
tive morality as its content, it has the tendency to deter 
mine the conduct of the individual in the direction of 
the preservation of the community, and also to influence 
his actions as a member of the community. 

Thus the teleological moral philosophy attains a unitary 
view of the moral world. It is able to derive both the form 
and the matter of the will, to speak in Kant s phrase, from 
a single principle. The will that is directed towards the 
highest good, wills at the same time its own determination 
by the moral law, as the norm upon whose maintenance the 
possibility of its realization depends. In this it may, of 
course, happen that this or that particular impulse some 
times determines the volition in a direction opposite to 
the norm. We have in this all the valuable elements 
of the Kantian ethics. We have the autonomy of the 
will in a twofold sense. As independent of external au 
thority, the moral rational will wills the highest good, and 
in doing so gives itself the law. And, as independent 
of sensibility, the rational will, not the lawless impulses 
of sense, furnishes the motives of life. In like manner, 
we have freedom from hedonism and egoism. The ra 
tional will does not will pleasure as the absolute good, 
but an objective state of things. And the object of its 
will is not merely itself, or its own existence and advan 
tage, but the preservation and development of the spirit 
ual and moral life of the community, and of itself as a 
member of the community. And so we say with Kant 
that the worth and significance of a life depends entirely 
upon the good that man does, not upon the good or evil 
that he suffers. 

On all these points, the Kantian morality is significant of 
an exceedingly healthy reaction against sensualistic and 
egoistic eudgemonism, which was then to some extent in 
vogue, especially in the polite world. Think, for example, 


of La Mettrie and Helve*tius. It is the reaction of the 
sound morality of the people against the sophistical view 
of the court and the gentry. On the other hand, as a 
philosophical theory of morality, it is just as untenable as 
the old theological view. Above all, it is unable to dis 
cover the unity of form and matter of the formal and real 
motives of the will. As in the old theological moral phi 
losophy, so also in Kant, the content of what is morally 
good is in the last resort given by command of God, and 
the end of the will, eternal blessedness, is only accidentally 
connected with morality by means of the will of God. More 
over, he brings in, as matter of the will, happiness or even 
perfection in addition; but he cannot find the natural connec 
tion of these with the moral law and so takes refuge in a 
supernatural connection. He had really before him all the 
elements for a teleological interpretation, the concept of 
a kingdom of ends, the unity of rational beings, perfection 
and happiness as necessary objects of volition, the moral 
law as the natural law in the domain of freedom, but 
as if by some fatality they were held apart. More than 
once, it seems as if he must reach a proper synthesis, especi 
ally in the second section of the Fundamental Principles, 
as, e. g., in the remark : l " Teleology considers nature as 
a kingdom of ends, morality views a possible kingdom 
of ends as a kingdom of nature." But he does not draw 
the conclusion that the moral law is the natural law of 
the kingdom of ends, in the sense that on its realization de 
pends the maintenance and actualization of that kingdom. 
He had the analogy that the laws of the state are the 
natural laws of civic society, in the sense that the pres 
ervation of the state as a social unit depends on the 
maintenance of the legal order. Nevertheless, he does not 
discover the formula of solution. He is so intent on the 
pure law of reason and its logical universality, so much 

1 IV., p. 284. Footnote. 


in love with the purity of the pure will that is determined 
solely by means of the law, that he turned away in horror 
from the derivation of its validity from the matter of 
volition as from a sacrilegious defilement of morality. 

Instead of this, he toiled over the absolutely vain attempt 
to squeeze a "matter" of volition out of the "pure" law of 
the logical universality of the motive of the will ex aqua 
pumicem, one might say, inverting his quotation. Lying and 
suicide are morally impossible actions, for when made uni 
versal, they destroy their own possibility. Suicide would 
destroy life, and in this negate itself, and so with lying. 
These things, therefore, can occur only as irregular exceptions, 
and are thus contrary to reason and its logic. If in the 
case of these negative commands there is still a certain 
significance in this rule of universality the same which 
belongs to the universal validity of legal commands the 
positive duties resist most decidedly every attempt at an 
investigation of this kind. Consider the attempts to derive 
the duty of cultivating our own talents, and the duty of 
charity : " As a rational being man necessarily wills that all 
his powers should be developed because they are useful and 
given to him for all kinds of possible purposes." And : Even 
if absolute egoism could exist as a natural law, yet no one 
could will it, " since many cases might occur when he would 
require the love and sympathy of others." It is evident 
that Kant here drops his formula and falls back on the 
matter of volition, even appealing to egoistic motives. Thus 
the facts of the case emphatically reject his theory. Never 
theless he does not abandon it, but clings to it on principle : 
all derivation of duties from ends is empirical, false, and 

The cause of all this difficulty lies in the mysterious 
prominence that epistemology had won in his thought. It 
hindered the free, spontaneous development of Kant s 
ethics, as it did also of his metaphysics. It determined both 


the problems and the form of their solution. Above all, it is 
responsible for the unfortunate theory that makes the 
human will a union of practical reason which merely 
sets up a law, and sensible impulses that merely clamor 
for egoistic satisfaction. Thus arises the empty concept 
of a pure will as the complement to " pure " perception and 
thought. And the mysterious over-estimation of "pure" 
thinking then led to the clearly untenable assumption that 
the "pure" will is the good will. And from this there 
resulted, as a further consequence, the denial of any moral 
difference whatsoever between the material grounds that 
determine the will. In principle, it is quite indifferent for 
the moral value of the action whether the satisfaction of 
sense desires, the love of fame, the good of a people, the 
salvation of a people from the bonds of injustice and false 
hood, is the end that determines the will, in so far as they 
are all material principles of determination. At least, 
between the moral theories that adopt material principles, 
between egoistic hedonism and the Aristotelian arid Stoic 
ethics of perfection, there is said to be no difference. Ac 
cording to Kant, they all reduce in the last resort to 
Epicureanism. Epicurus alone had the courage of his con 
victions. One may well say that the consequences of a 
false principle cannot be carried further. 

And with this unfortunate theory of the will is connected 
the tendency of Kant s moral philosophy that from the first 
does violence to feeling. It is commonly called rigorism, 
but I should rather name it negativism. To act morally is 
to do what one does not want to do. Of course, according 
to Kant the natural and sensuous will always aims at the 
satisfaction of its desires. Duty, however, commands un 
conditionally that we shall allow nothing but the law to 
determine our will. Even the virtuous man might really 
always prefer to follow his sensuous inclinations to luxury, 
ease, etc. But the " idea of the law," with its " thou shalt 


not," or " thou shalt " interposes. And so, practising the 
hard virtue of repression, he does what he does not want to 
do. Greek moral philosophy, on the other hand, with its 
sound theory of the will, regards virtue as a joyous, positive 
mode of action, as the attraction of the will by a noble and 
beautiful purpose. In " perfection of character " and " com 
pletion of will," the human being attains that which his 
deepest nature seeks. To be sure, Kant at bottom holds to 
this also ; he defends himself against Schiller s reproach, he 
struggles with his own negativism, but vainly. For he held 
fast to the principle that a will is only good when it is 
determined solely by the "idea of the law," and that all 
material determinations are reducible to happiness. And, 
as a consequence, duty remains that which one does not 
want to do, and virtue abstinence from that which one 
really desires. 

I refrain from showing how this fanaticism for " purity," 
or fixed formalism, is connected with the inability of Kant s 
moral philosophy to account for important facts of the 
moral life as they exist, as, e. g., the conflict of duties, a 
doubtful or erring conscience, the moral necessity of a white 
lie, etc. Kant made shift as one usually does in such cases : 
he denied the possibility of that which could not be derived 
from his theory, or did not agree with it, and in this way he 
was led to deny the reality of the most evident facts. 

However, let this suffice for criticism. We propose now 
to consider Kant s philosophy from another and a more 
pleasing side. 


The moral perceptions of a man are not the result of his 
moral theory, but arise from his personal character. The 
theory is an attempt at their explanation, and is also 


partially determined by other influence of all sorts. Thus, 
in Kant s case, his moral perceptions have their root in his 
personality, while their exposition in his moral philosophy 
is very greatly influenced and perverted by his epistemology. 
I shall attempt to give an account of these perceptions 
themselves. It is to them that the Kantian morality owes 
the influence which it has exercised, and still continues to 

Into Kant s moral personality, or personal character, two 
moments, as we have already intimated, entered as deter 
mining factors. 1 He had a strong will, but not a vigorous or 
even an amiable nature. He had formed his character 
through his will, and was a self-made man in the moral 
sense. And it was his pride that his moral quality was not 
a natural endowment, but the work of his own will. From 
the Essay, On the Power of the Spirit to Control its Morbid 
Feelings by mere Resolution, which he added as the third essay 
to that collection of essays called The Controversy of the 
Faculties, we learn how he brought his weak body into sub 
jection by means of discipline that was continued even until 
his old age. The universal principle of his Dietetics reads : 
" Dietetics must not tend towards luxurious ease, for in 
dulgence of one s powers and feelings is coddling, and 
results in weakness." His inner life was regulated accord 
ing to similar principles. In the same passage he reports 
how by discipline of his ideas and feelings he had gained 
the mastery over the tendency to hypochondria, and had 
attained peace and cheerfulness, though in earlier life it had 
rendered his life almost unbearable. This self-control " also 
enabled him to express himself deliberately and naturally 
in society, and not according to the mood of the moment." 
Thus from a character naturally weak and retiring he 
developed the bold self-sufficiency that lies in the blood of 
bolder and more self-assertive natures. In like manner, the 

i p. 54. 


active sympathy that he showed for those about him ap 
pears to have been grounded in the moral consciousness of 
duty rather than to spring from a warm heart. It seems not 
improbable that he was thinking of himself when speaking 
of a man " in whose heart nature has placed little sympathy, 
who is naturally cold and indifferent to the sufferings of 
others ; perhaps, being endowed with great patience and 
endurance, he makes little of his own pains, and presupposes 
or even demands that every other person should do the 
same." When such a person does good to others merely from 
a sense of duty, and without any promptings of inclination, 
his act has a much higher value than if it were the result 
of a " kind-hearted disposition." 1 At least, one gets the im 
pression from his biography that he did not possess a heart 
that was naturally very sensitive to what happened to 
others. Thus his interest in his sisters and their families, 
for whom he did much, had not the directness and heartiness 
of a lovable nature. One might almost say that there was 
an excess of rationality about it. He puts a low estimate 
on enjoyment it is only activity that is valuable and 
gives worth to man and likewise condemns the soft, 
tender, " moving " feelings. Only the " vigorous " emotions 
(animus strenuus) find favor in his eyes. Stoic apathy, in 
dependence of things and mastery over them is his personal 
ideal. It is obvious how strong an influence this exercised 
upon his moral theory. 

A second point where his ethics was in close touch with 
his personality is found in his democratic feeling for the 
people, which always made him sympathize with the common 
man against the social pretensions of the aristocracy. 
This feeling is not unconnected with his own descent. 
Rousseau, his favorite author, even at that time a famous 
writer, and much affected in the polite world, knew how to 
understand and sympathize with the artisans, peasants, and 

* IV., p. 246 ; V., p. 284. 


shepherds, with whom he had shared bed and board in his 
youth. And in the same way Kant always remained faith 
ful in his moral feelings to the circle of humble people from 
whom he had sprung. He is not at all inclined to grant 
that the advantage which the rich and polite claim to have in 
culture and manners is a real advantage. Their advantage 
consists more in what they enjoy than in what they do. 
He does not even recognize any merit in their charities. 
" The ability to give to charity," he says, not without a cer 
tain harshness, " is usually the result of the advantage given 
to various men by the injustice of the government. This 
brings about an inequality of fortune that renders charity to 
others necessary. Under these circumstances does the help 
that the rich may vouchsafe to those suffering from want 
deserve the name of charity, which one is so ready to apply 
to it in priding one s self on it as a virtue ? " 1 

Not to the rich and the noble do we owe thanks, but to the 
laboring and productive masses. He called them once " the 
people most worthy of respect," 2 who have borne the pains 
and cost of our culture, without enjoying the fruit that 
usually belong to endurance and self-denial, in order that 
the few might have freedom and abundance. 

These sentiments show that Kant belongs to the great 
movement which took place about the middle of the century, 
in which sympathy for the life of the people burst through 
the aristocratic ideas of rank that had hitherto prevailed in 
society. He thus belongs to the group of great writers who 
not merely created a new literary epoch, but founded a new 
epoch in the life of the German people. It is the period 
when the people, the long unnoticed masses, and their spir 
itual life were again discovered. Moser, Hamann, Herder, 
Goethe, and Pestalozzi had a share in bringing it about. 
Goethe, for example, in a letter to Frau von Stein (Dec. 4, 

1 Tugendlehre, 31 ; cf. Kr. d. r. V., Doctine of Method, p. 161. 

2 Preface to the 2d edition of the Kritik der pract. Vernunft. 


1777) says: " How much that dark journey (to the Harz in 
winter) taught me in the way of love for those who are 
called the lower classes, but who certainly are the highest 
in God s estimation. There we find all the virtues united : 
limitation, contentment, straightforwardness, fidelity, joy in 
the most moderate fortune, innocence, patience, patience 
endurance in the face of privation." 

One can say at once that Kant s morality is that of 
humble folk, the morality that he had learned in his parents 
home. Conscientious and faithful performance of moral 
demands without thought of reward, with hard work and 
often severe self-denial, was the mode of life and of thought 
in which he grew up. With this corresponded a mood, not 
gloomy but somewhat austere, that was only slightly modi 
fied by the consciousness that they were living as God had 
willed it, and by the hope of a better life beyond the grave, 
in which the powers and natural talents that here lie under 
the pressure of necessity, will have opened up to them a 
freer field for their activity. That is essentially the mode 
of life and the attitude towards it that Kant has before him 
as a moral philosopher. His morality is not that of the 
ruling classes, or not that of the artist or poet, but the plain 
morality of the common man. The morality of the ruling 
classes (Herrenmoral), of which one hears so much talk 
nowadays in Germany, is individualistic and egoistic. Its 
philosophy is to live the life of the impulses, giving them 
free vent without any thought of a law, and without reference 
to others, or even at the cost of others, of the herd of 
humanity who are produced wholesale by nature for the 
service and enjoyment of the ruling class. The " artistic " 
morality is equally individualistic and egoistic. It also 
claims for itself a special standard, a morality of its own, 
which leaves room for the free development of the natural 
talents, and the elevation of the imagination above the com 
mon things of every-day reality. As opposed to a morality 



of this kind that claims to be for distinguished persons, the 
morality that flourished at the court at Versailles and per 
haps also at Potsdam, and again at every seat of a petty 
grand-seigneur in Prussia, where sophists and court philoso 
phers retailed " enlightenment " in the form of egoistic eudse- 
monism, in opposition to morality with exemptions for the 
privileged classes, Kant sets up his account of morality, the 
simple morality of the common people. It has no exemp 
tions for the gods or demigods of this earth, but its laws 
possess strict universality. It did not address itself to 
" volunteers " of morality, but preached simple obedience ; it 
knew nothing of meritorious conduct, but only of obligation. 
In opposition to the tendency of the upper classes to esti 
mate the worth of life from its accidental filling, to make 
the social judgment of a man s importance the final stand 
ard of evaluation, he took as the foundation of his morality 
the principle : " It is not possible to think of anything any 
where in the world, or even outside it, that can be regarded 
as good without any limitation except only a good will." 
The will, however, is not good through what it achieves, but 
good in and for itself, because it is determined only through 
the feeling of duty, and not through inclination. Whether 
you rule states and win battles, whether you render human 
ity richer by miracles of art or science, whether with 
weary feet you tread the furrows as a ploughboy, or on the 
remotest outskirts of the city you make harness or patch 
shoes, none of these things have any significance at all for 
your moral worth. For this standard it matters not what 
external fortune or natural gifts you may possess, but all 
depends upon the disposition and faithfulness with which 
you perform your duty. If you do not follow your own incli 
nations and moods, but obey the moral law within, you will 
rise to a plane of grandeur and dignity that will always re 
main far from those who follow after happiness, or guide 
their actions merely according to maxims of prudence. You 


belong then, whatever your place in this earthly existence, 
to the kingdom of freedom ; you are a citizen of the intelli 
gible world, citizen of the kingdom of God. 

Kant here stands in close connection with the Christian 
view of life and attitude toward it. I do not mean with the 
worldly, courtier Christianity of fashionable people, of the 
cavalier type, who rejoice in duels, but with the original 
spirit of true Christianity. Its depreciation of the world 
and its pomps and glories, its indifference to all external 
distinctions of culture and education, the absolute value that 
it places upon the good will, the fidelity with which one 
serves God and his neighbor, its insistence on the equality of 
all men before God, these are all characteristic of Kant s 
view of life. He stood quite outside Christianity in its 
ecclesiastical form, where under the protection of the state 
it forces on people its doctrines and creeds; but to the 
Christianity of the heart and the will, as it was and still is 
practised among the common people, his relation was close 
and intimate. Indeed, one may say that his morality is 
nothing but the translation of this Christianity from the 
religious language to the language of reflection : in place of 
God we have pure reason, instead of the ten command 
ments the moral law, and in place of heaven the intelligible 

It is only when we take this standpoint, then, that we 
gain a real understanding of Kant s moral philosophy. But 
it seems to me that here lies also the secret of the influence 
that it has exerted. This has not been due to the form of 
conceptual construction that it employs, but to the percep 
tions upon which this construction is based. These moral 
views corresponded to the temper of the period, which 
in Germany enthusiastically honored Kousseau as the true 
pioneer and guide. The thoughts through which Kant ex 
presses the strongest sentiments of his time are contained in 
propositions like these: "Every man is to be respected as an 


absolute end in himself, and it is a crime against the dignity 
that belongs to him as a human being to use him as a mere 
means for some external purpose " (think, e. g. t of bond 
service and traffic in soldiers), and : " In the moral world the 
worth and dignity of each man has nothing at all to do with 
his position in society." The truth of these ideas is limited 
to no particular period, and they possess a very real signifi 
cance for our time that has perhaps grown somewhat insen 
sible to their force. 

Even the first point, the emphasis on the power of the 
will as opposed to natural disposition, has its permanent 
value. It is the fashion to say that Kant aroused the gen 
eration of the illumination who were sunken in weak and 
selfish sentimentalism. His doctrine of the categorical im 
perative is supposed to have tempered the race of freedom s 
warriors. I do not know whether or not the voice of a 
philosopher is able to accomplish so much. In that great 
conflict there were perhaps stronger influences at work than 
the feeling of duty. I do riot know either whether the age 
of the illumination deserves all the hard names that have 
been provided for it by a later time. We can at any rate 
say that on the whole it was a time of unusually hearty 
and vigorous effort in the cause of trutli and right, for free 
dom and education and all that makes for the progress of 
humanity, and also especially for the elevation of the back 
ward and oppressed classes. The present age has scarcely 
cause to pride itself as contrasted with that generation. But 
there is no doubt that the appeal to the will to assert itself 
in the face of natural impulses has its justification and its 
necessity in every age. The fundamental form of all moral 
teaching is as follows : You do not really will when you are 
moved by the impulses of sense ; your real self, your true 
will, is directed toward a higher goal. And your proper 
moral dignity rests upon the fact that you are ruler of 
nature, not merely of what is external to yourself, but of 


what is in you, and that you fashion your life according to 
your own volition. An animal is a natural product, and 
just for this reason it has no real moral value, however 
beautiful and admirable it may be. This highest and abso 
lute value you can bestow on yourself, even if you have 
received little from nature or from society. You cannot 
attain happiness by the unaided efforts of your will ; that 
depends also on the natural course of events. But some 
thing that is higher than happiness, you and you alone can 
gain for yourself, i. e., personal dignity, which includes worthi 
ness to be happy. It is indeed possible that you may be 
unfortunate, but you can never be miserable : the conscious 
ness of personal worth will provide you with strength to 
bear the hardships of fate. 

In conclusion, I may add a word regarding the coping- 
stone of the Kantian philosophy, the doctrine of the primacy 
of the practical reason. This also is closely connected with 
Kant s personal feelings. It is a protest against attaching 
too much importance to science, and estimating too highly its 
importance for life, as had been the fashion since the days 
of the revival of learning. For three hundred years the 
maxim of the Renaissance that education is the presupposi 
tion of morality, had been accepted. Then Eousseau entered 
his emphatic protest. This came closely home to Kant ; he 
felt the truth to which the prevailing opinion had hitherto 
rendered him blind. And his entire system of philosophy 
became for him a means for the confirmation of this truth. 
The critical philosophy degrades scientific knowledge to a 
technical means of orientation in the world of phenomena. 
It follows, of course, that the possession of such a technique, 
however valuable it may be as a means for all purposes of 
culture, cannot decide regarding the personal worth of a 
man. So long as one believed that through science and 
philosophy it was possible to obtain absolute insight into 
the nature of things, arid the being of God, these things 


appeared to have some part in constituting the dignity of 
man. Now Kant declares that knowledge of this kind is 
absolutely impossible, and in its place he set practical faith, 
which rests solely on the good will, not on knowledge and 
demonstration. And this faith is the only way of approach 
to the super-sensible world, which through it stands open to 
all alike, to all, that is, of good will. Learning of the schools, 
theology, and metaphysics are of no advantage here. 

This point also was doubtless of essential importance in 
helping the Kantian philosophy to find an entrance. Belief 
in metaphysics and dogmas was in process of vanishing, and 
natural theology was losing its credit. To many it seemed 
that science had perhaps spoken its last word in the Systeme 
de la nature. Then Kant brought faith back to a place of 
honor. Science can afford us no final philosophy. Its cer 
tainty always rests upon the faith that has its deepest roots 
in the will. 

It is my deepest conviction that in this doctrine Kant 
teaches us definitive truth. 



LITERATURE : The works that are here of main importance are the 
short essays: (1) Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltburgerlicher 
Absicht (1784) ; [Eng. trans, by W. Hastie in Kant s Principles of 
Politics 1891] ; (2) Ueber den Gemelnspruch : Das mag in der Theorie 
richtig sein, laugt aber nicht fur die Praxis (1793) ; (3) Zum ewigen 
Frieden (1795) ; [Eng. trans, by W. Hastie in KanCs Principles of 
Politics 1891]. The systematic presentation in the Metaphysische 
Anfangsgriinde der Rechtslehre (1797) ; [Eng. trans, by W. Hastie in 
Kant s Philosophy of Law, 1888]; this belongs to the period of extreme 
old age, and contains scarcely anything regarding the theory of law and 
the state that is not better expressed in the treatises mentioned above. 
We shall therefore follow these entirely in our exposition. The same 
is true of the second essay (Streit mit der juristischen Fakultat) of the 
collection called Der Streit der Fakultaten (1798). There are long re 
flections of an unsystematic sort on philosophy of law in the second 
volume of the Lose Blatter edited by Reicke. Cf. also an essay by 
Schubert, " I. Kant und seine Stellung zur Politik," in Reimer s 
Histor. Taschenbuch (1838) ; and Friedliinder in the Deutsche Rund 
schau (1877) 


In giving an exposition of Kant s theory of the state and 
of law, we may best set out from his views on the philosophy 
of history which we have already touched on in connection 
with his anthropology (p. 290). History is to be regarded 
as the natural movement of the human race towards com 
plete culture as its goal, i. e., of a complete development of 
all the capacities with which nature has endowed mankind. 
In the Idea of a Universal History, the ideal was formulated 
as " the complete culture of the human race by means of its 


own reason." The animals have the perfections of their 
species by endowment of nature, but man must himself at 
tain his perfection in the long warfare called history. The 
means to this end, it is further explained, is antagonism 
within society. Man is_a^Qcial_.being in that he can -de 
velop his capacities and find recognition for them only in 
society. And for this reason he seeks for society. But he 
is not a social being like a good-natured, peaceful, gregarious 
animal. He is rather the most unsocial of all creatures. 
Three strong natural impulses, the three great passions, love 
of glory, love of power, and love of gain, render eadrone the 
enemy of his fellows. It is just these impulses, however, 
that overcome natural indolence, the tendency to ease and 
animal comfort, and goad him on to a constant struggle for 

From this arises the most important and most difficult 
problem that the human race has to face : to find a form 
which will permit a common social life on the one hand, and 
which will afford at the same time the greatest possible play 
to the antagonism that is essential to progress. The solu 
tion of this problem is found in the state. In the state, or 
in civic society, the absolute freedom of the state of nature 
is limited by laws that the individual is compelled by force 
to obey. Thus a peaceful common life and harmonious co 
operation become possible. Nevertheless, in this organiza 
tion there is no cessation of the struggle for property, glory, 
and power : privileges and property even here are prizes that 
call out men s powers. Thus is gained the most favorable 
condition imaginable for the development of all man s nat 
ural capacities. The motive, however, to pass from the 
status naturalis to the status civilis is found in the evils 
attendant on a state of nature, which is a condition of war 
and violence where no man is free from constant danger. 

As soon as this undertaking has been completed, a final 
and most important problem meets us. This is to regulate 


the relations of the states to each other according to prin 
ciples of right, or, in other words, to bring into existence a 
cosmopolitan unity of states founded on laws of justice that 
shall bring war among the states to an end. An ever 
lasting peace, accompanied by unceasing rivalry between 
peoples and individuals, is the condition that will make pos 
sible the completion of the process of human education and 
moralization, or, in other words, the realization of the high 
est good. With the achievement of this end, the historical 
development will have reached its goal. The motive that 
urges men towards an international community of law and 
right proceeds again from the suffering of the people which 
accompanies the status naturalis among the states. This 
condition of unlimited freedom is a condition of open or 
latent war of all against all. The more oppressive this con 
dition becomes, the stronger the motive to establish the 
universal rule of justice. 

So much regarding the connection of Kant s theory of 
law and of the state with his philosophy of history. Before 
entering into details in the exposition of his ideas, it seems 
to me useful to describe the political and social conditions 
under which Kant grew up, and which he saw around him 
when a man. These conditions form the background with 
which his ideas stand in strong contrast. 

The actual state in which Kant lived was an absolute 
monarchy, a form of government that might lead to the 
highest development of the power of the state, or to the 
most insane and worthless despotic government, according 
to the personality of the ruler. As examples of the latter 
we may mention the Maitressenwirtschaft and the exports 
of soldiers practised by many German princes of last cen 
tury. The traffic in soldiers, active or passive, was a com 
mon practice ; Kant often refers to it. In the eyes of the 
princes men formed one product of their country among 
others. " Many rulers regard their people as if they were 


only a part of the kingdom of nature." l A war for dynas 
tic ends, or merely to satisfy their irrational personal tem 
per, seemed to them to afford the chief use for this natural 

Society, as Kant saw it in his time, had strict distinctions 
of rank. An hereditary nobility was sharply separated from 
the common people. The latter were divided again into two 
classes. There were first the humble citizens, a somewhat 
destitute and oppressed people. Of these the only persons 
who gained any prominence were a few of the larger mer 
chants distinguished for their wealth, and the scholars and 
academically trained officials who were held in somewhat 
greater respect. And, secondly, there was the peasant class 
who were held in servitude. These, as bond-servants, cul 
tivated the lands of their lord, and oftentimes they were 
not considered as much more than useful household cattle. 
Indeed, at that time the law was that servants were inher 
ited or transferred along with the soil. 

Public discussion of political and social questions was 
practically debarred. There was no press that had any real 
importance. The newspapers were under regular police 
control, and printed only things that were perfectly harm 
less. The magazine treated affairs of private life and liter 
ature. Books were written only by scholars for scholars. 
That was true at least of the first half of the century, in 
which Kant s views were formed. During the second half 
the intellectual life began to have freer scope, and literature 
gradually became a power. Nevertheless its legal position 
remained the same : freedom, where this was enjoyed, rested 
upon favor and not on legal right. Any moment an offen 
sive expression might lead to the suppression of an author s 
work, or even to the most brutal ill-treatment of the offend 
ing author himself, as the fate of Mb ser and Schubart and 
other outspoken men showed. 

1 Paday. YIIL, p. 464- 


Kant s political views were formed in opposition to the 
actual condition of things just described. Over against the 
prevailing state of affairs in which men were debased and 
humanity dishonored, he set his ideas of the dignity of man/ 
freedom, equality, anil justice. The central point of his 
thought is the notion of freedom. This has its origin in 
ethics. As a rational being, man is an autonomous law 
giver, and an absolute end in himself. On this fact rests 
the dignity that belongs to him. Both these points recur 
in the politics ; every citizen is ideally an autonomous co- 
worker with the law, and an independent centre of ends and 
claimant of rights. A system of law (Eine Rechtsordung) 
that would make it possible for one to be used as a mere 
means for the purposes of another, would be contrary to the 
idea of right (des RecTits). Right essentially presupposes the 
equality of all persons as having rights due to them ; that 
there are no prerogatives or privileges. To employ the 
power of the state to maintain privileges, or to oppress the 
poor, would be a reversal to the opposite of the very idea of 
the state. The task that pertains to the state as such is to 
maintain a universal system of law that shall be the same 
for all. It is required merely to adjust matters so that the 
freedom of each one can exist along with the equally limited 
freedom of every other. It is obvious that Kant s idea of 
the state conflicts strongly both with the aristocratic arrange 
ment of society and the absolute state of the eighteenth cen 
tury, where everything is ruled through the police and for 
the public interest. 

Let us turn our attention now to details, and first cast a 
glance at Kant s views of the origin of the state. 


Kant follows here rn_.the main nnt.1inp.a.-iha JJiAiwht. of 

llobbi s, although the treatise on polities that is inserted in 


the collection, On the Common Saying} has the title, " Against 
Hobbes." The origin of the state is really derived from the 
egoistic and anti-social impulses of human nature. If the 
phrase helium omnium contra omnes does not occur here, 
the mode of thought is the same ; for another time he ex 
pressly says that Hobbes s proposition, status hominum est 
lellum omnium in omnes, is wrong only in that it should 
read, est status "belli? Egoistic beings whose treatment of 
others is determined by love of glory, love of power, and 
love of gain, as the strongest motives, are constantly in a 
condition of at least potential war with each other. The 
impossibility of enduring this state of things forces them to 
form a state, and not sympathy and a brotherly disposition ; 
for from these would never arise a state whose very essence 
is law and compelling power. On the other hand, a "popu 
lation of devils " would adopt a system of law with com 
pelling force if they only had intelligence to recognize what 
was necessary for their own good. 3 The essence of the state 
is made up of nothing but a supreme authority having the 
right and the power of legitimate compelling force against 
illegal violence. In the state all give up their unlimited 
freedom, which just because it is unlimited is insecure (the 
jus in omnia), in return for a freedom that is limited by 
universal laws and protected by the power of the state. The 
peace and security afforded in a sphere that is limited and 
guaranteed by law is better for every one than the unlimited 
freedom and insecurity of the state of nature. And thus we 
can even say that the establishment and maintenance of the 
state is for every one s interest. And from this standpoint 
one may regard the state as resting upon contract, i. e., upon 
the free will of all. Only omonust^^ujader 
contract an historical fact, but a rational idea.^ This was 
also at bottom Hobbes s opinion. What he really wished to 

1 VI., pp. 321 ff. 2 vi, p. 194. 

3 VI., p. 433. 


denote by that term was not the history of the state s origin, 
but the explanation of its continuance. 


In the general principles laid down, the influence of the 
dominant ideas of the eighteenth century, the theories of 
Locke, Montesquieu, and Eousseau, is unmistakable. The 
outlines of a constitutional state, as opposed to a state 
founded merely on arbitrary power, are marked out by three 
notions, freedom, equality, and political independence. 
Freedom denotes that it is not allowable to employ force 
against a member of the political body except in defence of 
the law, but not in behalf of his own best interest. The 
latter corresponds to the paternal government exercised over 
those under tutelage, and not to the form of constitution 
demanded by free citizens. Equality means that all are 
subject to the law alone, and that all are subject to this in 
the same sense. There are to be no private rights founded 
en social distinctions, no class privileges^ no prerogatives of 
birth, but all positions are to be open to every one according 
to the measure of his capacity. Hereditary lordship and 
servitude are inconsistent with the principles of a constitu 
tional state ; they cannot be regarded as proceeding from the 
general will of the people in the original contract. We can 
only suppose that a privileged class of nobles arose by the 
use of violence, and not by the consent of all, as did the 
general authority of the state. The limitation of freedom, 
which was originally universal and the same for all, through 
the compulsion of law, on the assumption of the rational 
notion of contract, is something that must apply equally 
to all. 1 And as for servitude, " no one can by a legal act 
cease to be master of himself and come to the same level as 
cattle." 2 The third point was the independence of the 

i VI., p. 329. 2 VI., p. 325. 


citizens as sharing in the legislative power. The political 
counterpart of moral autonomy is to obey only those laws 
that one has decreed as a member of the legislative power. 
Nevertheless this right does not belong to all who live under 
the laws. Besides women and children, who are natur 
ally dependents, those persons also are to be excepted 
who have no political independence, but are in the service 
of others. This is an exception that it might be difficult 
to justify for an individualistic and rationalistic theory of 
the state, which recognizes men only as. abstract rational 
beings. Kant discusses only the difficulty of distinguish 
ing between the dependent and the independent and ac 
tive citizens. 

Kant s ideal of the form of a political constitution was 
one in which the legislative power should be in the hands 
of a popular assembly, while the administration of the laws 
should be left to a relatively independent executive power. 
The value of a political state depends essentially for him 
upon the guarantee that it provides for lawful government, 
and the protection it affords against the lawless misuse of 
power, which is the internal disruption of the state. To 
construct the constitution of such a state is the most 
difficult of all problems ; for from the notion of the govern 
ment as the highest authority, it follows that as such it can 
not be subjected to any controlling power, or that no legal 
judgment can be passed upon it. The highest authority 
cannot be controlled or brought under compulsion ; that is 
an analytic proposition. The problem therefore is to find a 
form in which an absolute power of this kind can be em 
bodied that will exclude the possibility of its arbitrary mis 
use. A democratic form of government, in which all the 
authority, legislative, executive, and judicial, is in the hands 
of the people or their chosen representatives, affords no 
security on this point. On the contrary, it tends towards 
despotism and arbitrary rule, and is especially unfavorable 


to intellectual freedom. 1 A strong monarchy is much more 
easily able to allow this free play, as the government of 
Frederick the Great showed. If the irresponsible ruler 
regards himself as the highest servant of the state, and acts 
on this theory, that is, as the protector of the independence 
of the country from without, and the preserver of justice 
and freedom from within, an absolute monarchy may be a 
good and legitimate government. Of course, there is no 
guarantee in this form of government against misuse of its 

From the very nature of the case there is no completely 
trustworthy security. " From such a crooked stick as man, 
nothing exactly straight can be formed." 2 A relative secur 
ity against the abuse of the highest authority is, however, 
attained by dividing its powers or functions. In this Kant 
followed the doctrine of Locke and Eousseau. It is of chief 
importance that the legislative and administrative powers 
should not be united in one person. That results at once in 
the form of a despotic government. In a constitutional state 
the legislative power must necessarily be in the hands of the 
people. Kant deduces this in the following way in the 
Theory of Law? Since the law can do no wrong (an analytic 
proposition), the making of the law must be in the hands of 
all, so that every one shares in its decree, and therefore in 
the law really obeys his own will. Volenti non fit injuria. 
In subjection to the legislative power stands the govern 
ment, as the vehicle of a relatively independent executive 
authority. This may be either a physical person (a prince), 
or be intrusted to a body of men. The executive " stands 
under the laws and owes obedience to them as to another 
person or sovereign." Consequently, it may be called to 
account by this sovereign and deposed, but cannot be pun 
ished, for that would be an act of the executive power to 
which alone it pertains to compel one by force to act accord- 

1 IV., p. 167; VI., p. 418. 2 IV., p. 149. 40. 


ing to law. 1 Finally, the judicial power is separated from 
both the other two. It lies in the hands of judges and 
juries. This would be the form of constitution through 
which a legitimate use of the highest authority is to the 
greatest degree secured. Kant names it the republican 
constitution. 2 

We may here refer briefly to the question of the right of 
revolution, which was then a burning one. Kant shows 
clearly the logical impossibility of this notion. A right 
to oppose with violence the legally constituted govern 
ment, which is in actual existence and in possession of the 
legislative, executive, and judicial powers, perhaps on ac 
count of the abuse of its powers, is a clear contradiction. 
If this right were incorporated in a paragraph of a consti 
tution (there was such a paragraph in the French constitu 
tion of 1793), it would mean " the demand for "a publicly 
constituted opposing authority that should protect the right 
of the people against the government, and so on ad infini- 
tum." 3 

Instead of any such impossible arrangement, Kant advo 
cates the free and public criticism of the government. This 
is the only instrument of control that is possible or necessary 
for the protection of the rights of the people : " the freedom 
of the press is the only palladium of popular rights." Then 

1 49. 

2 Among the political constitutions of his time, Kant may have regarded 
that of the United States of North America, the foundation of which he fol 
lowed with warm sympathy, as approximating most closely to his ideal. Not 
that of England ; for he regarded this as only a slightly concealed form of des 
potism not, however, a parliamentary despotism, as has been thought, but 
a monarchical despotism. By bribing the parliament and press, the king has 
really absolute power, as is shown above all by the fact that he has waged 
many wars without and contrary to the will of the people. Kant had in 

general a very unfavorable opinion of the English state. In one of the frag 
ments published by Reicke (Lose Blatter, I., p. 129) we read: "The English 
nation (gens) regarded as a people (populus) is the best totality of men con 
sidered in their relation to one another. But as a state among other states it 
is the most pernicious, violent, dominating, and quarrelsome of them all." 
8 VI., p. 335 ; Rechtslehre, 49, Remark A. 


it is contemptible to rouse prejudice against this. " To inspire 
the ruler with anxiety that disturbance might be excited in 
the state by means of private and public discussion, is equiva 
lent to arousing mistrust in him against his own power, or 
even hatred against his people." * 

The question remains whether or not, when even this last 
means of protecting themselves against abuses has been 
taken from the people, a breach of formal right, although 
legally impossible, may not nevertheless be necessary when 
regarded from a moral and historical point of view. Kant 
would deny this by asking if it is allowable to do evil that 
good may come. His philosophy of law excludes on principle < 
teleological considerations, just as his moral philosophy does. / 
Along with .all his love of freedom, Kant has in general still 
a strong inclination to posit absolutely the duty of obedience 
to the legally constituted government. Doubtless this is 
connected on the one hand with the formalistic positing of 
all duties as absolute, and also with his pessimistic view of 
human nature. Only by absolute subjection to an absolute 
power is it possible to unite such egoistic and unruly animals, 
and to keep peace between them. All pessimists are abso 
lutists, as witness Hobbes and Schopenhauer; while a 
breach of the existing law (Eeclit) in behalf of the higher 
right of the idea affords but slight hesitation to the optimis 
tic idealists. An account has already been given of Kant s 
practical decision when the question met him whether he 
would obey the inner call to criticism (in the field of reli 
gion), or the declared will of the government (the express 
command of the king to refrain from criticism and subject 
himself to the religious dogma). In this case he regarded 
silence as the duty of a subject. Even if old age and natural 
timidity of temperament urged him in the same direction, 
his conduct was yet in accordance with his principles. 

1 VI., p. 336. 



The real function of the state Kant finds in the establish 
ment and preservation of a system of laws. The essence of 
law consists in the legitimate limitation of the freedom of 
each individual, to correspond with the equally limited free 
dom of all others. The perfection of a system of laws is 
shown by its capacity to make possible the greatest attain 
able amount of freedom on the part of individuals, together 
with a full guarantee of justice. One might say, that as in 
Leibniz s metaphysics, the best possible world is defined by 
the fact that in it the maximum of compossible reality is 
realized, so the best system of laws is that which allows the 
realization of the largest amount of compossible freedom. 

In this statement the limits of the functions of the state 
are also implied. The state is not justified in limiting the 
freedom of the individual further than regard for the main 
tenance of right demands ; to protect against injustice and 
violence from within and from without is the whole duty of 
the state. Positive provision for the well-being of the indi 
vidual lies outside its province. Least of all is it called upon 
to provide for spiritual well-being, or to exercise an influence 
upon thoughts and beliefs. If the executive power should 
attempt at all to fix limits to what shall be investigated and 
promulgated in the scientific, philosophical, or religious 
sphere, by absolutely forbidding criticism of certain dogmas, 
and thus absolutely fixing them, the result would be injuri 
ous to intellectual progress, and that would be "a crime 
against human nature whose real vocation consists in mak 
ing progress." 1 These are the thoughts that W. v. Hum- 
boldt elaborated in his Attempt to Determine the Limits of the 
State s Influence. J. S. Mill, in his essay On Liberty, repre 
sents a similar standpoint. 

i IV., p. 165. 


Into the details of the theory of law I will not enter. 
They would be on the whole of little importance, and in many 
points astonishing and unpleasant, the treatment of mar 
riage is notorious. 1 Its fundamental character is the strict 
formalism that completely excludes teleological considera 
tions. The formalistic treatment of punishment adopted 
by Hegel has long dominated the development of the theory 
of punishment. The constant neglect of the causes of crime 
on the one hand, and of the effects of punishment on the 
other, as is demanded by pure formalism, has perhaps even 
extended its evil effects to practical penal legislation and 
administration. Only in most recent times has the causal 
and teleological point of view begun to gain ground in 
criminology. It is to be hoped that in the coming century 
this view will lead to a crusade against crime that shall be 
richer in results than the efforts of the nineteenth century 
that were founded on the Kantian and Hegelian theory of 


Everlasting peace was the favorite idea of Kant when he 
was growing old. The condition of its possibility lies in a 
universal union of states under just laws. To promote this 
is a duty, just as it was declared to be a duty to promote the 
formation of the national constitution. Kant hated war, 
although he did not fail to recognize its " culture mission," 
its influence upon the development of political life and 
power, and even upon that of personality. 2 Nevertheless 
war is contrary to reason and right, it subjects all the 
affairs of men to chance and violence, it develops the 

1 For Kant s true views on marriage one must go back to the exposition 
in his Beobachtungen iiber das Gefuhl des Schonen und Erhabenen (II., p. 251). 
In the Rechtsphilosophie we have only the really " deplorable " ( Schopenhauer 
applied this name to the whole work) fancies of an old man, for which one 
cannot hold the real Kant responsible. 

a Kr. d. Urb. p. 270. 


worst impulses of human nature, since it breaks through 
the bounds of law and morality. Thus war is " the de 
stroyer of all that is good," "the origin of all evil and all 
wickedness." Kant has many bitter things to say about the 
" gods of the earth " who wage war as sport, who sacrifice 
nothing and " do not in the least suffer the loss of their hunts, 
country-houses, gala-days, etc., who decide upon war from 
trivial reasons as if it were a pleasure party, and to preserve 
respectability calmly leave its justification to the diplomatic 
corps, who are always on hand for this purpose." 1 But he 
also condemns emphatically even wars prosecuted from 
serious reasons, e. g. wars undertaken to gain for a country a 
boundary or addition necessary to its safety. 2 The patriotic 
oratory that one hears at the present time, with its glorifica 
tion of war, and of the warlike and victorious king, Kant 
would have felt to be a sign of lamentable moral regression. 
In the "illuminated" eighteenth century, reason may not 
have been able to suppress war, but at all events it did not 
so far forget itself as to praise it. 

Nor would the aged Kant lend a willing ear to the lauda 
tion of clever and unscrupulous politicians. His impressions 
of the politicians have great similarity with the views ex 
pressed by Plato. He describes them as persons who make 
possible everything impossible, except the dominance of 
right upon the earth, which they rather regard as some 
thing absolutely impossible. He regards them as empir 
icists lacking in ideas, who see no further than the 
advantage of the day, but are not able to estimate things 
in their large relations. In distinction from this, it will 
remain the permanent task of philosophy to view things 
from the standpoint of ideas, or as Spinoza would say, sub 
quadam ceternitatis specie. And philosophy will be right 
in refusing to listen at all to the wretched and disgraceful 
objection of un practicality. This reproach is often raised 

1 VI., p. 418; VII., pp. 163, 403. 2 V L, p. 451. 


against Plato s Republic : but ideas are not refuted by vul 
gar appeal to alleged contradictory experience. Eather 
experience has to be measured by ideas and formed after 
their pattern. The philosopher should set up an archetype, 
and the task of the politician should be "to bring, in ac 
cordance with this, the existing constitutions ever nearer 
to the highest possible degree of perfection. For no one 
is able or has the right to determine what is the highest 
plane that humanity is able to reach, and how great the 
gulf must remain between the idea and its fulfilment, just 
because freedom is able to transcend every limit that may 
be assigned." l 

Like the idea of a perfect system of laws in a state, the 
idea of an international union of states, united by law, and 
the consequent substitution of a legal process for violence 
and war, is a necessary idea of reason, and as such perfectly 
legitimate. It is the duty of the politician to work for its 
realization ; the " thou canst for thou oughtst " holds not 
merely in private morality, but also in public matters 
concerning the laws. 

However, Kant discusses also the influences that, even 
without the good will of the politician, on whom one cannot 
finally count, are at work for the realization of that idea. 
He refers especially to two points. (1) The evils that 
war entails are constantly becoming greater and more 
oppressive to the people. To the evils of present war 
are added the intolerable burdens of preparing for the 
future war, and of paying the debts of the last one. 
Further, along with increasing intercourse between peoples, 
the circle of those who suffer indirectly from the effects of 
a war will constantly be enlarged. The increase of these 
evils will continue to strengthen the impulse to get rid of 
them. As they have been strong enough to induce savages 
to submit to the rule of a political constitution, they will 

i Kr. d.r.r.,%1 of Dialectic. 


also be effective in compelling the states to give up their 
savage freedom. (2) The growth of republicanism, or the 
increasing influence of the people in the government. Kant 
was convinced that the people, who had to bear the bur 
dens, would not decide on war so lightly as the princes did, 
who regarded it as a kind of glorious sport. He had in 
mind the dynastic wars of his century, the wars of Louis 
XIV., Charles XII., and Frederick II. He saw in the 
events of his time symptoms full of promise for the 
increasing influence of republican ideas, the establish 
ment of the great republic beyond the ocean, and the 
transformation of France from a dynastic to a republican 
form of government. 1 Even nearer home he saw traces 
of the same tendency. In Prussia and Austria powerful 
and enlightened princes were beginning to promote the 
enlightenment of their subjects. It is true that there 
might even have been at work here a kind of craft of 
idea ; the increase that the princes sought in the sinews 
of war necessitated the development of all the intellect 
ual and economic resources of their people. It seemed 
even here that the outcome must be a change from a dynastic 
state with its subjects to a popular state with its independ 
ent citizens. Thus even philosophy has its millennium. 2 

When we look at the matter from the end of the nine 
teenth century, it seems that the course of development 
since Kant s time can scarcely be regarded as the fulfil 
ment of his prophecy. In this sphere also " a strange and 
unexpected movement of human affairs has taken place, 
just as in other respects too, if one looks at it in the large, 
nearly everything in it is paradoxical." 3 The growth of re 
publicanism has not only failed to abolish war, but it has 
changed very greatly the sentiments of the people with 
regard to it. Since the duty of defence has become uni- 

1 Streit der Fakultaten, 2 Section, 6 ff., VII., pp. 399 ff. 

2 IV., p. 143. 8 IV., p. 167. 


versal, a condition of affairs produced by the revolution, war 
has become something in which the people really share, and 
consequently become popular in a certain way that was never 
possible in a dynastic war carried on by professional soldiers. 
The assumption that the people would not desire war on 
account of the burdens that it entails is a mistake in one 
respect It is true that the people love peace, but there is 
something that they love more, and that is victory and the 
glory of war. 

In order to become conscious of the interval that separates 
the views of the nineteenth century from that of the 
eighteenth, one may read a discussion of war in H. v. 
Treitschkes s treatise on constitutional monarchy. 1 Here 
we find war called "a necessity of political logic," that 
is implicit in the very concept of a state. " A state that 
renounces war, that subjects itself at the outset to a tribu 
nal of nations, yields up its own sovereign power, i. e. its 
own existence. He who dreams of everlasting peace de 
mands not only something that is unattainable, but also 
something nonsensical, and commits a schoolboy fallacy." 
And not only with logic, but also with ethics is the demand 
for an everlasting peace in irreconcilable conflict. " The hope 
of banishing war from the world is not only senseless, but 
deeply immoral. If it were realized it would transform the 
earth into a great temple of egoism." 

Would Kant have given up his idea of everlasting peace 
as a mistake in the face of such objections, or before such 
fiery rhetoric ? Perhaps he would not. Perhaps he might 
have said that he had not, at any rate, anticipated the indirect 
course that history had taken ; but nevertheless, that he 
could not see in this anything more than a slight and per 
haps necessary deviation, which did not lead away from the 
real goal. It is certainly obvious that purely dynastic wars 
are no longer possible. And, he might continue, there can 

1 Historische und politische Aufsdtze, III., pp. 533 ff. 


scarcely be any doubt that the dread of going to war has 
increased among European peoples with the universal duty 
of defence. Look, for example, at France. How prudent 
this people, formerly most warlike and most devoted to 
military glory, have become since military service was 
made universal. Perhaps it requires only a great and 
general European war, long prolonged and inconclusive in 
result, with the dreadful sacrifices of property and blood 
that it would entail, to cause the love of peace among the 
nations, which is now obscured by thoughts of glory and 
revenge, to manifest itself with lively force. 

With regard to the " schoolboy fallacy," or even the 
moral questionableness of the idea of everlasting peace, he 
might propose the following considerations. The subordina 
tion of a state to a foreign power would certainly destroy 
its sovereignty and its essence. But in this connection 
we are dealing with the free recognition of a universal 
court of the nations with power of arbitrating all dis 
puted questions. It is undoubtedly true that a nation 
would prefer to appeal to arms rather than submit to an 
unfavorable decision where their vital interests were at 
stake, or might even anticipate such a decision in this way. 
Nevertheless, arbitration may gradually and without any 
compulsion gain such a degree of favor that the use of force 
would constantly become more rare, and arbitration more 
highly prized by those states that had adopted it. Perhaps also 
the opposition to foreign powers in the east and west may 
make it necessary for the European states to form a closer 
union in one political alliance and to suppress all internal 
quarrels. As for " the temple of egoism " into which it is 
said peace would transform the world, it is at least going 
somewhat too far to say that war alone gives rise to sacrifice 
and heroic courage, and also that it produces nothing but 
these virtues. The lower brutal impulses perhaps find in 
war as favorable conditions for their development as the 


higher ones, and the stock exchange, if that is what is meant 
by the temple of egoism, has always known how to make 
profit in time of war. Further, the author wishes to defend 
only the just war. Does he not see that he is hereby 
assuming that the same war as carried on by the other 
party will be unjust ? Indeed, is it not true that merely 
by introducing the idea of what is just and unjust into the 
relations between peoples, he admits that there is right and 
wrong in this field, and that therefore a judicial decision is 
not in principle impossible, and is perhaps even demanded by 
reason, or even, as he has said, " a necessary idea of reason," 
whose realization, it is true, may be long delayed ? More 
over, Kant might add, he had an example in the man who 
regarded the peacemakers as blessed, not from any selfish 
or cowardly desire of peace for himself he could have had 
peace, but chose rather conflict and the cross but from 
desire for God s kingdom of love and of peace upon the 
earth ; and that therefore even in a panegyric on war a 
little more care and attention in the choice of expressions 
would appear to him to be in place. 


LITERATURE : The chief work is Religion innerkalb der Grenzen der 
blossen Vernunft (1793). With this are connected a few short treatises: 
Ueber das Misslingen aller philos. Versuche in der Theodicee (1791); Das 
Ende aller Dinge (1794) ; and finally the first section of Der Streit der Falcultdten 
(1798). Cf. E. Arnoldt, Krit. Exkurse, pp. 193 ff. ("Kant s Verhaltnis 
zu Lessing "), and " Beitrage zur Geschichte von Kants Leben und Schrif t- 
stellerthatigkeit in Bezug auf seine Religionslehre und seine Konfiikt mit der 
Regierung" (Altpreuss. Monatsschrift, XXXV., Heft 1 and 2). 

Kant s philosophical theory of religion attempts, on the 
one hand, to furnish a philosophical exposition of the doc 
trines of the Christian church. On the other side it under 
takes to limit these doctrines in harmony with the demands 
of a purely rational faith, or to sift out what is no longer 
tolerable to the enlightened philosophical and moral con 

In general, the discussion follows the lines of theological 
rationalism, which since the middle of the century had been 
increasingly victorious over the old orthodoxy. The theolo 
gians of the illumination, folio wing the example of the great 
philosophical rationalists, differed in important respects 
from the traditional doctrines, and found it necessary to omit 
and to transform certain things to bring the Scriptures and 
the dogma into harmony with their own beliefs. In doing 
this, they were only illustrating what inevitably takes place 
whenever absolute authority is claimed for a written docu 
ment. Intelligence can preserve the freedom that is its 
essence only by interpreting and construing. It is the form 
in which progress and the continuity of historical faith are 
brought into harmony. The fact that the illumination 
period had but slight reverence for the historical induced a 


freer use of the right of interpretation and transformation 
than would otherwise have been the case. Kant shared 
with his time the contempt for the historical and the 
factual, as opposed to the doctrinal and rational. 

The peculiar characteristic of Kant s rationalism is the 
decided emphasis on morality. This corresponds to the 
tendency on the part of the critical philosophy to turn from 
the speculative to the practical. The practical reason, the 
moral standard, is for Kant the touchstone of what is true and 
of value in all religions. Keligion rests on revelation : the 
Bible as God s revelation is authoritative. Kant maintains 
unconditionally that the truth of every external revelation 
is to be tested and measured by the divine in us, by its 
harmony with the moral law. The Bible must be inter 
preted according to the standard of morality, not morality 
according to the standard of the Bible. We cannot even 
know the Jon of God to be such, except through the fact 
that||e corresponds to an idea of the divine that we have in 
us. External verifications, e. g. miracles or prophecy, can 
not in the last resort be recognized as affording proof ; for 
one reason because we know of them only through fallible 
tradition. But another reason is that the power to work 
miracles in itself confers no moral authority. Can not, 
according to the church doctrine, the devils also work 
miracles ? 

The value as well as the truth of religion is to be estimated 
according to a moral standard. Churches and church 
doctrines have value only because, and in so far as, they are 
serviceable for the moral education of the human race. If 
their influence is in the opposite direction, they are injurious 
and objectionable. And herein lies the great danger of all 
ecclesiastical institutions: they tend to attribute an impor 
tance that does not belong to them to all kinds of external 
things, acts of worship, good works, or even mere faith in 
church dogmas or historical facts, to the exclusion of 


morality. And, on the other hand, men have an inclination 
to excuse themselves from the only true divine service, 
leading a good life, by the performance of such external 
statutory divine services. In opposition to this, Kant says 
that whatever has no significance for the moral life is super 
fluous or dangerous. That is true both of religious actions 
and doctrines. All doctrines in which it is not possible to 
find a moral meaning, like the dogma of the trinity, the 
resurrection of the body, and others of the same kind, lie 
beyond rational faith. 

I cannot enter upon a detailed exposition, but will indi 
cate in a general way the contents of the four parts of the 
chief work. The first discusses the doctrine of sin, or of hu 
man depravity. The radical evil in human nature (original 
sin in theological language) is not sensibility, but a tendency 
toward impurity of disposition, as showing itself in a failure 
to make the law the only determining ground of tli will, and 
therefore in allowing one s self occasional lapses fro^ its 
demands. This tendency is thus to be regarded as a free 
intelligible act, and not as a natural endowment. The subject 
of the second treatise is the doctrine of justification. The be 
lief in Jesus as the son of God is explained philosophically to 
mean that the son of God is the ideal of humanity which God 
approves, and which corresponds completely with the will of 
God. In the practical faith in this ideal, and in actively 
striving to realize it, the individual gains the approval of God, 
an approval that likewise partakes of the nature of grace, in 
that human effort is never able to attain to perfection. In 
historical religion, the sonship of the God-man is figured by 
means of the virgin birth, to indicate the exemption of the 
ideal man from the debasing effects of sensibility. 

The third and fourth essays treat of the church, in its 
true nature or " idea," in its historical form, and in its degen 
eration from the true " idea." The church in its " idea " is 
an ethical community of men under merely moral laws, as 


opposed to the political community which is ruled by legal 
enactments. Such an ethical community would represent a 
kingdom of God upon the earth, whose members, living 
together in fraternal agreement, had entirely adopted the 
will of God as their will. In the historical form, this 
ethical community appears as the visible church, with holy 
books and laws fixing the nature of the creed and mode of 
worship. This is a necessary form ; for the people are still 
incapable of apprehending and maintaining rational faith 
in its pure form ; and therefore the beneficent doctrine 
is given to them in the form of a divine revelation handed 
down in canonical books, and expounded by professional 
teachers who enjoy public esteem and respect, and is im 
pressed upon the senses through symbolical acts. The pur 
pose to be attained in all this is " that pure religion shall by 
degrees be finally freed from all empirical motives, and 
from all ordinances which have merely a historical basis, and 
which provisionally unite men for the promotion of the good 
by means of an ecclesiastical form of belief, so that at last the 
pure religion of reason may prevail universally." " The veil 
under which the embryo first develops into man must be 
laid aside, if he is to come to the light of day. The leading- 
strings of the holy tradition, together with its annexed 
provisos, the statutes and observances, which did good 
service in their time, become gradually unnecessary, or even 
hindrances, when he attains to manhood s estate/ 1 

Finally, in its degenerate form, the church appears as an 
institution for compelling the maintenance of the statutory 
requirements in creed, worship, and church government. 
Here the statutory demands take precedence over the moral. 
The essential part of divine service is not an upright life, 
but the fulfilment of certain ecclesiastical duties. The first 
commandment, and the first condition of divine approval 
and of happiness, is subjection to the rules of the church. 

i VI., p. 219. 


For fulfilling this requirement the " believers " are promised 
divine favor in this world and the next, although living 
immorally and obeying the demands of their sensual desires. 
To the " unbelievers," on the other hand, punishments here 
after are held out in prospect. Thus we have a complete 
perversion of true religion ; all kinds of " pious nonsense " are 
commanded as a sort of heavenly court service by means of 
which one may win by flattery the favor of the ruler of 
heaven. On the other hand, the true and the upright, those 
who are conscientious and truly pious, who do not think 
this emulation to win the favor of the heavenly court is 
worthy either of themselves or of God, are threatened with 
divine wrath, and sometimes, at least, are made sensible 
of the wrath of the church. Thus the degenerate church 
enters directly into the service of the devil. 

The history of the church shows itself to be a continual 
struggle of the true church and religion with the priestly 
church. It begins with the great conflict of the founder 
of Christianity against Judaism, which had become perverted 
through superstitions and trivial compulsory requirements. 
What Jesus really accomplished was to found the invisible 
church as an ethical community of all God s true children 
upon the earth. The spirit of original Christianity is found 
in a purely moral and rational faith, instead of in belief in 
creeds and in popular superstitions, in a pure life devoted to 
God and one s neighbor as the only divine service, instead 
of in the performance of lifeless and exacting ceremonies. 
It is true that when Christianity became organized into a 
church, as an institution with worldly interests and worldly 
power, it degenerated in the direction of a priestly church 
having compulsory services and creeds ; nevertheless, the 
motives that gave it birth still remained effective in it. 
The Eef ormation was an earnest attempt to free the church 
from perversions. But this great struggle for freedom of 
conscience was soon followed, even inside the reformed 


church, by the re-establishment of a new ecclesiastical serf 
dom in a compulsory creed. The demand that one should 
believe certain dogmatic formulas and historical facts, took 
the place of the good works required previously, and oppressed 
the consciences of sincere men more heavily than the old 
burden of external performances. It was not until our 
period of illumination, that there appeared to be a hopeful 
prospect of a final deliverance of reason from ecclesiastical 
authority, and of the restoration of the pure faith of practical 
reason and the purely moral divine service. 

Religion within the Bounds of Pure Reason is the last of 
Kant s great works written in the full vigor of his intellect. 
It is a most energetic attack, carried out with extraordinary 
power of feeling and thought, on all churches and religions 
based on statutory requirements, which establish a tyranny 
over the soul by means of fear and superstition. It is also a 
strong protest against all external piety that attempts by court 
service and homage to gain divine favor through flattery. 

Lessing would have been delighted with this work. The 
Lutheran orthodoxy, which makes correct belief the only 
act that is well-pleasing to God, is rebuked in especially 
keen and cutting fashion. The fides mercenaries is worse 
than any other ecclesiastical servitude. An upright man 
would sooner agree to do anything else, " because in the case 
of all other forced service he would at all events only be 
doing something superfluous, but in this case something 
opposed to his conscience." 1 Kant often returns to this 
point, evidently referring, though not in express words, to 
the new condition of affairs created in Protestant Prussia by 
Wollner s religious edict. In general, the entire work is an 
emphatic protest against the new priestly government. He 
emphatically demands freedom to investigate and to teach 
for the teachers of rational religion and for the scholars who 
expound the Scriptures (the philosophers and theologians). 

i VI., p. 270. 


They ought " to be left absolutely free by the secular power 
in employing their results and discoveries ; for otherwise 
the laity, who derive their religious instruction entirely from 
the clergy, would be compelling the latter to adopt their 
views." l To him the fixing of the creed forever, with the 
apology that the people are not yet ready for freedom, ap 
peared as insupportable arrogance, as an interference with 
the government of God, who has given reason the duty of 
guiding us into an increasingly perfect knowledge of the 
truth. The bigotry that was then in favor in high places 
was dealt with most unsparingly. Prayer, churchgoing, 
sacraments, if these things are practised to gain the Divine 
approval, or to make one s self a favorite with God, are dis 
graceful fetiches. The Shaman priests of Tungus and Euro 
pean prelates, the prayer mills of Thibet and ceremonial 
devotional exercises, are placed side by side, with the sar 
castic remark added that there is no distinction between 
them in principle, though there is in external form. 2 

The end and aim of all priestly government, according to 
Kant, is political power. To obtain this, the priests attempt 
to gain an influence over the minds of the ruling powers, and 
in particular to represent to them the advantage that " the 
state might derive from the unconditional submission to 
which spiritual discipline has accustomed even the thought 
of the people. But in this way the people become accus 
tomed to hypocrisy, their honesty and fidelity are destroyed, 
and they grow cunning in avoiding the true performance 
even of their political duties." 3 

The government in which Wollner was a minister took 
offence at these views, as was to be expected. The order in 
council, of which we have already spoken, 4 was its answer 
to them. It is not too much to say that the hate that ex 
presses itself in this order was not without cause. If the 

1 VI., p. 214. 2 VI., p. 275. 

3 VI., p. 280. * Page 49. 


illumination was to be overcome, if a compulsory form of 
religious faith was to be re-established and supported by 
every means in the power of the secular government, Kant s 
philosophy of religion could not be tolerated, indeed, 
Kant s whole philosophy should not have been permitted 
to continue in existence. If the ecclesiastical and political 
reaction in Prussia had had time to establish itself, it doubt 
less would have been forced to suppress the critical phi 
losophy as a whole. The death of Frederick William II. 
preserved the Prussian state from this disgrace. However, 
we have a subsequent proscription of the spirit of Kant s 
philosophy. This belongs to the time of the Holy Alliance. 
In an order regarding religious instruction in the gymna 
sium, of the year 1826, we read: Above all things, the 
teacher must remember "that the state is concerned to 
make true Christians of the members of its schools, and 
that therefore they must not be instructed in mere so-called 
morality, which hangs in the air and has been deprived of all 
real support, but there must be inspired in them a God 
fearing disposition, which has its roots in a well-grounded 
knowledge of the Christian truths of salvation." This is 
directly contrary to Kant. It is the inversion of his 
demand that religious faith should have its basis in 
morality. 1 

Besides the political tendency, there was in addition an 
other sentiment that helped to bring about this change ; 
for the romantic generation, with its enthusiasm for the 
historical, the Kantian religion was too thin, abstract, and 
rational. This age had lost its faith in reason, and demanded 
a stronger support for life and faith than rational proposi 
tions could afford. In particular, it sought to base religion 
again upon tradition, on historical facts and supernatural 
revelations. However greatly Kant may have aided in over 
throwing the old rationalism, through his personal feelings 

1 Cf. my Geschichte des gelehrten Unterrichts, II., p. 323. 


and sentiments, he belonged entirely to the Illumination. 
For him religion is nothing more than the general meta 
physical background for his rational thought and action. 
He did not feel the need of a really positive religion, still 
less the necessity for direct intercourse with the supernatural. 
Every such attempt to gain this kind of intercourse (prayer, 
means of grace) he personally rejected. He sees in these 
things only sentimentalism, and a presumption that, along 
with all its boasted humility, leads easily to the assumption 
of special intimacy with the heavenly powers, and a con 
tempt for any one less highly favored. Kant s religion, 
which is based merely on the general relation of the finite 
to the infinite, and on the natural revelation of God in reason 
and conscience, is a cool and matter-of-fact form of the re 
ligious life. This generally happens where a strong and in 
dependent intellectual life, united with strict conscientious 
ness in thinking and acting, is the fundamental form of 
mentality. It is also the religion of Lessing and Spinoza. 
If this form of religious experience is inferior to more con 
crete and robust forms in the strength of its immediate 
effects upon the mind, it is not exposed to the numerous 
perversions to which the latter incline, magic and sorcery, 
superstition and fanaticism, priestly intolerance, and con 
tempt for healthy reason and common morality. 

It is true that it has little advantage for political pur 
poses. Kant would not regard that as a defect. The em 
phatic passage with which he closes his little essay, On 
the End of all Things, shows clearly his opinion regarding 
the employment of religion, and of Christianity in particular, 
in support of the various purposes of the secular govern 
ment : " If there ever should come a time when Christianity 
ceased to be lovely and of good report (which could easily 
happen if it should put on, instead of the humble spirit, the 
weapons of arbitrary authority), then, since there can be no 
neutrality on moral questions, the dominant tone of men s 


thought must be unfavorable and antagonistic to Christian 
ity. And the antichrist, who is held to be the forerunner 
of the last days, would begin his government, although 
it would be of short duration, founded perhaps upon fear 
and selfish advantage. Then, however, since Christianity 
was intended to be a universal world-religion, but was not 
afforded by fate conditions favorable to becoming so, the 
(perverted) end of all things in a moral sense will appear." 
Arnoldt assumes that this essay increased to the utmost the 
anger of the Berlin authorities against the source of these 
courageous warnings and admonitions, and furnished the last 
motive for the Cabinet order of Oct. 1, 1794. Although, as 
we have seen (p. 50), the movement against Kant had been 
already recommended and decided upon, this passage may 
nevertheless have rendered its execution more easy for the 
government. The history of the nineteenth century reveals 
with striking clearness to him who has eyes to see that 
Kant s gift of prophecy did not deceive him here. The 
hatred of ecclesiastical and political Christianity, first on 
the part of educated people, then on the part of the masses, 
was the direct result of the attempts to employ religion to 
gain worldly power. The fact that Christianity has always 
been able in these circumstances to restore itself, is striking 
proof of the inner vitality of the religion of the cross and 
of worldly renunciation. 

As embraced in formal propositions, the following points 
sum up Kant s doctrine of religion : 

1. The essence of religion is not belief in supernatural 
beings (demons, demiurges) that occasionally influence the 
course of nature and man s destiny, but a belief in God, in 
a will that directs everything for good, and that realizes 
itself in nature and in history. 

2. The proof of religion is not afforded by historical facts 
(miracles, revelation), but by the moral law, the will in our 
selves that is directed towards the highest good. 


3. The function of religion is not to subject the will or 
the understanding to any powers of this world or the other, 
but only to strengthen it as the power to will the good. 

I believe that these formulae might still to-day be taken 
as a basis for a philosophy of religion. 


Of Kant s thoughts on education I shall discuss only two 
points, both of which are closely connected with his ethical 
and political views. 

His belief in the effectiveness of a moral instruction that 
shall take as its function the mere representation of the 
moral law in its purity, is associated with his concept of 
freedom and the autonomy of the moral law. He returns 
repeatedly to this point, as, e. g., in the " Doctrine of 
Method" in the Critique of Practical Reason, in the frag 
ment of a moral catechism in the Metaphysic of Morals, and 
also in the Religion within the Bounds of Pure Reason. By 
leading children to reflect upon concrete cases laid before 
them, and directing them in applying the moral law 
to these cases, they become themselves conscious of the 
law, and cannot help acknowledging its authority and 
making it a principle of the will. On the other hand, 
Kant emphatically rejects the process of making morality 
attractive by holding up the advantages and rewards that 
will result, either in this world or the next, from its 
performance. In like manner, he is desirous that the 
disgraceful nature of vice, rather than its harmful conse- 

1 Kant s pedagogy is found only in the notes that he made for the public 
lectures that the members of the philosophical faculty were required by the 
government to give in turn. These notes were prepared for publication by 
Kink. They are loose sheets written at various times and without any sys 
tematic form : as printed the same thoughts are repeated two or three times. 
The lectures treat of bodily habits and training, and especially of the educa 
tion of the will. The subject of school instruction is only touched upon, and 
no discussion at all is given of the particular disciplines. There is a good 
edition by O. Willmann. In addition to this work, the writings on moral phi 
losophy contain remarks on the form of moral education. 


quences, should be emphasized. He condemns with equal 
vigor the excitement of the feelings and emotions by the 
representation of unusually noble characters and actions, 
such e. g. as takes place in novels. The character must be 
based upon principles. He emphasizes very strongly the 
necessity of early training the will by means of discipline. 
The purpose is to restrain natural wildness by accustoming 
the child to law and actions based on uniform principles. 
This negative influence is the prerequisite of the positive 
training of the will, which uses, as its essential means, the 
mere representation of the moral law in its purity. 

The second point is his dgiigL^ 

system of education. Tnia was the logical consequence of 
Kant s cosmopolitan and humanistic mode of thought. The 
end of education has to do with men, not with citizens. Or, 
in a last resort, we may say that it is concerned with 
humanity : the complete development of the powers of man 
is its absolute end. For this reason " the basis of a plan of 
education must be made cosmopolitan." l This must not 
proceed from the state or from the prince. For these have 
in mind only the immediate purposes of the state or the 
dynasty. They would at best direct education to develop 
skill, " merely in order to be able the better to employ the 
subjects as tools for realizing their own purposes." There 
fore the establishment and direction of the schools should 
be left entirely to the judgment of the most enlightened 
scholars. " All culture begins with a private individual, 
and radiates out from this centre. Only through the exer 
tions of people of broad sympathies, who appreciate what is 
best in the world, and are capable of forming an idea of a 
better condition in the future, is it possible for nature grad 
ually to approximate to the realization of its ends." 

With this in view, we can understand the lively interest 
that Kant took in Basedow and in his philanthropic under- 

1 VIII.,p.463. 


takings in Dessau. With the latter s aims he was in 
essential agreement, and he welcomed the undertaking 
chiefly as an attempt at an experimental school, which would 
be followed by future " normal " schools. To a still greater 
extent would Kant have sympathized with Pestalozzi s efforts ; 
for these were based entirely upon the idea of freedom and 
self-activity. The object on which Pestalozzi set his heart, 
and which aroused Fichte s enthusiasm, was to deliver men 
from the indolent, stupid passivity in which the lower 
classes especially were forced to live by the influence of the 
secular and ecclesiastical government, and of the schools 
that were open to them. It is exactly the same end that 
Kant has in view. Freedom, independence, personal re 
sponsibility, are the conditions of human dignity, and there 
fore the necessary ends to be attained in education. 

Would Kant approve of the course that education has 
taken in the nineteenth century ? He would certainly 
recognize gladly the improvements in the external equip 
ment of the schools, the large expenditures for all educa 
tional institutions from the common school to the university. 
Also in methods of instruction he would find great and salu 
tary changes, among other things, the exercise of the under 
standing and the judgment instead of the mere mechanical 
learning by rote. On the other hand, he would perhaps see 
many things that would cause him serious doubt. Thus he 
would scarcely approve the fact that the schools have passed 
almost entirely into the hands of the state government, that 
instruction and education are regulated, down to the minutest 
details, by ordinances (instruction and examination regula 
tions), and burdened by constant control. Certainly he 
would have wished to see a highly developed private school 
system alongside of the system of public schools. And 
probably he would not abandon as unfounded his fear 
that the state might aim too exclusively at practical 
capacity for its particular purposes, and not at the absolute 


ends of humanity. In particular, he would perhaps find in 
the " patriotism " that is now dominant in many places 
something directly opposed to the final end of humanity. 
The glorification of nationality and the state would appear 
to be almost a second religion, and in some places in Europe, 
e.g. in the French state school, it has become the first and 
onlj religion, since the old religion has been banished from 
the schools. And would Kant withdraw his opinion regard 
ing instruction in religion after a visit to our schools ? In 
a remark added to the fourth part of Religion within the 
Bounds of Reason, 1 he complains of the lack of sincerity, and 
demands that education should especially concern itself to 
cultivate this virtue from the earliest years. He then pro 
ceeds : " Now, if one compares our mode of education, espe 
cially in religious matters, or better in the doctrines of belief, 
where it is regarded as sufficient to make a pupil a believer, 
to have him remember accurately the answers to the ques 
tions involved, without paying any attention to the truth of 
the creed, or understanding at all what he asserts, one will 
no longer wonder at the lack of sincerity which makes pure 
hypocrites at heart." 


The sesthetics of the critical philosophy is found in the 
Critique of Judgment, where it is connected by a slender 
association of concepts with the critique of natural tele 
ology. 2 Kant s reason for taking the judgments of taste 
from the field of empirical psychology, and placing them in 

1 VI., p. 289. 

2 B. Erdmann s edition has an introduction that gives an account of the 
origin of the work and the history of the text, together with information re 
garding Kant s relation to the printed text of his works in general. Cf. K. 
Th. Michaelis, Zur Entstehimy von Kants Kr. d. Urt., Berlin, 1892; Gold- 
friedrich, Kants Aesthetik (1893) ; Victor Basch, Essai critique sur I e stetique de 
Kant (1896), a thorough and penetrating work. 


the series of the Critiques, is that he discovered in them a 
certain universality and necessity that refer to transcendental 
principles, and therefore require criticism. Their insertion 
in the schema is the result of the following construction. In 
the Critique of Pure Reason we have understanding, judg 
ment, and reason. This series was combined with the classi 
fication of the new psychology, faculty of knowledge, 
faculty of feeling, and faculty of desire. The third Critique, 
for which a place had been found in this way, assumed 
the precise form of its predecessors, and thus in the investi 
gation regarding beauty and art the entire machinery of the 
Critique of Pure Reason is reproduced. We have the 
Analytic and the Dialectic, the table of categories and the 
Deduction, and even the Doctrine of Method makes its 
appearance at the end, though only as an empty title, as 
indeed the others are too. Think, for example, of the 
motley content that is united under the title of "Deduc 
tion." First, there is a deduction that deduces nothing, 
dragged out for some pages, then the doctrine of natural and 
artificial beauty, the theory of art, the conditions of its 
production, and the classification of the fine arts. Or notice 
how the schema of the categories is employed to divide up 
the exposition of the characteristics of the beautiful and the 
sublime. Never has a ready-made schema, that was designed 
for a wholly different purpose, been more wrongly imposed 
upon a content. It is an evident consequence that the 
subject matter suffers severely in clearness of arrangement 
as well as in essential quality. I shall explain very briefly 
the fundamental concepts employed in Kant s treatment. 

The predicate " beauty" is ascribed to any thing when it is 
the object of disinterested pleasure, i. e. pleasure that does 
not proceed from either the lower or the higher faculty of 
desire, but arises out of pure contemplation. ^Esthetic 
pleasure is based on the fact that the object sets the faculty 
of knowledge in free play. It is not, however, logical thought 


that is here aroused, or even reflection on the suitableness of 
the perception for a concept, but sense-perception and imagi 
nation. The purely formal adaptation of the object for the 
faculty of knowledge is recognized with a kind of thankful 
joy, and to the thing is ascribed the predicate " beautiful " in 
distinction from the predicates "pleasant," "useful," " perfect," 
or " good." The complete separation of pure beauty from 
judgments of this kind is the essential business of the criti 
cal aesthetic. 

The sublime is another variety of aesthetic pleasure. Al 
though it conflicts with the interests of sensibility, and to 
this extent gives rise to unpleasantness, it nevertheless at the 
same time arouses in man the consciousness that in virtue 
of his reason he is raised above the finite world of sense, and 
thus affords pleasure. Sublimity is therefore, just as little 
as beauty, a quality that belongs to the object. It exists 
only in the feeling that it arouses in the subject. Kant 
distinguishes two forms, the mathematically and the dynam 
ically sublime. The former is aroused by magnitude in 
space and time, which, defeating the efforts of the imagina 
tion to comprehend it, calls out at the same time the rational 
idea of the infinite as completed totality. The latter has its 
source in what is powerful, overwhelming, fearful. As 
merely sensible beings, the idea of these things depresses us ; 
but, as moral beings, they at the same time inspire us by 
bringing before our minds our independence of all natural 

The critical aesthetic is distinguished from dogmatic 
theories in this way. The latter suppose that beauty is an ob 
jective property of the thing that is confusedly represented 
through sense. Kant, holding fast here also to his idealistic 
standpoint, makes it depend solely upon the subject and its 
modes of functioning. 

The connection of the aesthetical with the moral is some 
thing that Kant stoutly maintains. In the case of the sub- 


lime, this connection is directly given. The idea of a moral 
law, and of a will that remains steadfastly true to the law of 
its own nature in the face of all the attractions and menaces 
that come to us through sense, is in itself sublime. Thus 
poetry that represents the sublime in a perceptive form, as 
tragedy does, exerts directly a moral influence upon the 
mind. But even the sublime in nature has the same effect, 
since it leads beyond the finite to the infinite, and to the 
faculty of ideas. In like manner, the love of beauty " has as 
result as well as presupposition a certain liberality in the 
mental attitude, i. e. the independence of pleasantness from 
mere sense enjoyment. An interest in the beauty of nature 
for its own sake is always a mark of goodness." 1 " Beauty 
is the symbol of what is morally good ; " and thus sensibility 
for beauty is akin to interest in the good. 2 It is the artes in- 
genuce and liberates that lead us from the desire for enjoy 
ment to the desire for perception, and that free men from the 
slavery of the senses. 3 

The relation of aesthetics to the philosophy of nature is 
another point of importance. This is based on Kant s view 
of the nature of artistic talent and artistic production. The 
former is a kind of natural force, and to the latter belongs the 
form of a product of natural laws, not that of something made 
according to design. Artistic genius as an inborn productive 
faculty creates, as does nature, purposively, and yet without 
design, and without employing concepts. The artisan works 
according to rules that he has learned, and produces some 
thing in accordance with his notion or purpose. Artistic 
genius is "the native power of mind by means of which 
nature gives rules to art." " How it produces its results it 
cannot itself describe or define by scientific rules ; and, accord 
ingly, it is not in its power to create such things at will or 

1 Kr. d. Urt., 29, Remark 32. 

2 Ibid., 59. 

8 Melaphysik (Politz), p. 188. 


according to a plan, or to give another person such directions 
as would enable him to produce similar results." * We see 
that Kant rebelled against the theory current in his time. 
He rejected the old classical theory of imitation, of which 
Gottsched was the representative. Works of art are crea 
tions of genius, not the products of technical skill that me 
chanically puts together given materials according to fixed 

It is this very fact that forms a basis for uniting in one 
whole the two parts of the Critique of Judgment, the critical 
aesthetics and the critical teleology of nature. Genius, as 
has been said, is a natural force, and this natural force acts 
in accordance with aesthetic ideas in man, the microcosm. 
In this fact, then, we have a suggestion that nature may also 
act in a similar way in the macrocosm. And, in like manner, 
natural beauty, which is so closely related to the beauty of 
art, suggests also that there is manifested in nature a force 
that works purposively according to ideas, though without 
intention. If we now add the fact that beauty is also a 
symbol of morality, 2 the circle is complete. Natural beauty 
and the beauty of art, the product of artistic genius, are both 
intimations of the nature of the original ground of all reality, 
which is expressed from another side in the moral nature of 
man. Kant might have united with his ethico-theology, 
these reflections as aasthetico-theology. 

It is a permanent source of regret that such fruitful 
thoughts were prevented from developing themselves freely 
by the hindrances imposed by a useless schematism. If 
these had been swept away, it is certainly true that the 
notion of "pure" beauty and also of the "purely formal" 
aesthetic, with which Kant set out, could not have main 
tained themselves. But this would have been no loss ex 
cept to the framework of the pure a priori philosophy. On 
the other hand, the essential nature of Kant s system, its 

l Kr. d. Urt., 46. 2 Ibid., 59. 


connection with objective idealism, would have been made 
more evident. It is well known that it was the Critique 
of Judgment that afforded a starting point for the subse 
quent speculative philosophy. This was also regarded by 
Goethe and Schiller as the work in which Kant approached 
most nearly to their own way of thinking. That nature and 
art are one in their deepest nature, nature creating accord 
ing to aesthetical laws, and the imagination of the artist 
working in accordance with natural laws, is precisely 
Goethe s view of the world. 



The immediate effects of the Critique were like those of 
an earthquake. Everything that had hitherto stood fast 
tottered or fell in ruins. For the first moment the dwellers 
in the old structures stood helpless and gazed at the ruin 
brought about by him who had so ruthlessly undermined 
their foundations. Then followed a period of feverish ac 
tivity. Some endeavored to repair the ruins, to close up 
the gaps in the walls and cover them with a temporary 
roof. Eberhard and Feder belonged to this class. Others, 
like Jacobi and Aeriesidemus-Schulze, busied themselves in 
investigating the foundations of the provisional new struc 
ture that Kant had himself erected. Then came younger 
men, Eeinhold and Fichte, who began to construct new 
systems in the Kantian style. And soon the impulse 
toward construction was stronger than ever before. One 
magic castle after another arose on the ruins of the old 
metaphysics. Ever bolder, richer, and more fantastic be 
came the systems. Kant s new system, incomplete both 
internally and externally, seemed poor and bare at that 
time. At the time of Kant s death, the critical philosophy 
was regarded by the majority as a standpoint that had 
been superseded. A decade or two later Hegel s influence 
was universal, and the Critique noteworthy only as the start 
ing-point of the entire revolution. 

I cannot here enter into details regarding the remark 
ably great and sudden influence of the Critique, and the 
quick victory, equally astonishing, that the speculative phi- 


losophy gained over it. How fiercely the force of this 
philosophical revolution swept against existing opinions 
is shown more clearly perhaps than anywhere else in the 
autobiography, which we have already mentioned, of the 
Gb ttingen professor, Feder. 1 While still a reputable author 
and an esteemed teacher, he found himself forsaken by his 
students as one who had opposed Kant, or, what was the 
same to the enthusiastic youth, one who had not under 
stood him. His colleagues treated him contemptuously, 
so that he voluntarily resigned his professorship, though 
still vigorous, and left Gottingen. Even the universities 
that had hitherto been most prominent, Gottingen and 
Halle, the new secular and political seats of learning of the 
eighteenth century, felt the force of the storm. Jena, the 
popular and democratic university of little Thuringia, took 
front rank. Here the exponents of the new doctrine were 
collected Eeinhold its first apostle, Schiller its practical 
interpreter. Here Fichte found favorable soil for his im 
passioned radicalism, and continued to exert an impor 
tant influence until finally he was driven out by the 
conservatives in the controversy regarding atheism (1799). 
Schelling and Hegel, the Schwabian hot-heads, came also 
to Jena and lived there during their productive years. In 
the political world of that time some new phenomenon 
showed itself to old Europe every year. And, similarly, 
in the philosophical world a new system of thought made 
its appearance. To turn the world upside down at that 
time seemed to require nothing more than a strong and 
decided will. 

The political constitutions that grew out of the French 
Revolution show a family resemblance, and so do also 
the philosophical systems that owe their origin to the 
critical philosophy. I mention here the marks that are 
characteristic. (1) Kant s transcendental idealism is the 

1 Page 234. 


presupposition common to them all. The physical world 
is appearance. On the one hand, it is conditioned by the 
subject that constructs it by means of the synthetic forms 
of its perception and thought; on the other, it points to 
an absolute reality, the intelligible world. (2) They all 
are seeking to attain the same goal to reach this in 
telligible world by means of thought. If the world is intel 
ligible, as Kant says, it must lie open to thought. All 
that is necessary is the courage to pass on from episte- 
mological to metaphysical idealism, which is after all really 
Kant s view. (3) Common to them all is the method, the 
a priori construction of reality in thought. If the world is 
an objective thought content, then one must be able, 
through the immanent development of thought determi 
nations, to outline the entire basal plan of reality. (4) 
They all alike make the claim that in their philosophy 
knowledge has reached its final goal, that in it is to be 
found at once both absolute reality and the meaning of 
things. A philosophy of nature that explains the ideas in 
nature, or a philosophy of history that traces the logos in 
history, affords complete and absolute knowledge. The 
positive sciences do not give us knowledge of this kind. 
The natural sciences present us with formulae according to 
which we calculate the appearance of phenomena ; his 
torical investigation yields particular facts, with here and 
there something of causal connection. And just for these 
reasons they do not afford real knowledge. Speculative phi 
losophy alone is knowledge in the real sense, the compre 
hension of the reason that is in things. 

In Hegel s system speculative philosophy attains its com 
plete development. This philosophy aims at nothing less 
than the re-creation of the world in thought. In very truth 
the process of creation itself here first reaches its goal. Up 
to this time the world was a merely blind, though poten 
tially rational, fact. In the speculative philosophy, an 

/i V 


understanding of its own nature at last breaks over it. It 
comes to know itself as it really is, a unitary existing sys 
tem of thoughts. In this self-comprehension of the idea in 
the form of a concept, the entire evolution of the world has 
reached its goal. God or the intelligible world thinks itself 
in the complete philosophy. 

With this position the development of the movement has 
reached its end. The philosophy that started from Kant, 
going further and further in the path of the a priori specula 
tion to which he had shown the way, finally came to deny its 
own starting point. The gulf between thought and being, 
subject and object, is completely transcended, thought and 
reality, logic and metaphysics, are identical. In the place 
of the critical philosophy, with its injunctions to modesty, 
with its recognition of the independence both of science and 
of faith, there has come the logical autocracy in the name 
of which Hegel demands that science and religion shall sub 
mit themselves to the dialectical formula. Never did philoso 
phy assume such a lofty tone, and never were its royal honors 
so fully recognized and secured as about the year 1830. 

But with a kind of rare irony, Hegel s philosophy is 
forced to see in its own fate a confirmation of its doctrine of 
the dialectical transformation into the opposite. The gener 
ation of absolute philosophy in the first third of the century, 
was followed in the second third by a generation of absolute 
non-philosophy. Excessive faith in thought was followed 
by an excess of mistrust and dislike. Science and religion, 
the two spiritual forces that felt themselves humbled by the 
absolute philosophy, again raised their heads and brought its 
sovereignty to an end. 

Eeligion could not endure the sympathetic condescension 
with which absolute rationalism conceded that it possessed 
truth, but of course only in the lower form of the pictorial 
image, not in the form of the concept. Faith, for which it 
is just the concrete that is essential, and religious feeling, 



which attaches itself to the symbol, rebelled against the 
arrogance of the logical formula that declares its identity 
with the reality itself. This feeling was strong in Frederick 
William IV. ; and with his accession to the throne the atti 
tude of the government towards the Hegelian philosophy 
changed to that of opposition. This philosophy was stigma 
tized as an empty, hollow, logical abstraction that promoted 
discursive reasoning, but was destructive of respect for what 
is positive, and ruined the youth by means of sophistical arts. 

In the same way, scientific investigation also rebelled 
against the yoke of a philosophy that assumed to be able to 
derive all essential truths by means of a priori deduction, 
and to determine their nature entirely by its own powers. 
A new generation of young men repaid to speculative phil 
osophy the scorn that it formerly bestowed upon experi 
ence. A real craving for facts, for mere blind facts, sprang 
up. This was the reaction against the extravagance of log 
ical reasoning which had so long prevailed. The generation 
of dialectic was followed by that of exact knowledge. This 
was characterized by an aversion to the ideas of the recent 
philosophical systems, indeed, by a dislike of universal ideas 
in general. This tendency was equally dominant in the 
natural and the historical sciences. There was to be no 
philosophy of nature and no philosophy of history, but in 
both fields exact investigation of the particular facts. 

In the domain of philosophical literature, this period is 
marked by a tendency towards the philological investigation 
of the past systems of philosophy. In the same way, 
instruction in the universities confined itself to the history 
of philosophy. For the great public, a popularized natural 
science with a materialistic dress took the place of philoso 
phy. The strong opposition to the new-fashioned orthodoxy, 
to the old superstitions and the political reaction, and the 
open conflict with speculative philosophy gained for this at 
the time a widespread influence. Men became accustomed 


to regard philosophy as secretly allied with reactionary 
theology, and as an enemy to free science. 

In the last third of the century, philosophy has experienced 
a gradual restoration. Its relation to science has improved ; 
the conviction has again grown up that there are questions 
beyond the domain of the special sciences that can and 
must be answered. From scientific work itself epistemo- 
logical, metaphysical, psychological, and ethical problems 
have arisen, and demanded an answer from the natural 
scientists and the historians. And, at the present time, we 
everywhere see these investigators busied with their solu 
tion. The new biology brings the investigator to the ulti 
mate problems of life and being, and its influence upon the 
historical sciences forces problems of methodology and of the 
philosophy of history upon the historian and the anthropol 
ogist. Even political science and jurisprudence are touched 
by this influence, and the pressing practical problems that 
are embraced under the term " the social question " drive 
one on to investigations in ethics and the philosophy of law. 
Even theology shows unmistakably an inclination to give 
up its dogmatic isolation, and to secure its foundations by 
means of philosophical and epistemological investigations. 

Now with this movement the revival of the Kantian 
philosophy is connected. Since the sixties there has every 
where been manifest in philosophical literature an effort to 
return to Kant. A new Kant literature, something like a 
new Kant philology, has arisen. F. A. Lange s History of 
Materialism marks the turning point. Its point of view 
depends wholly upon Kant s philosophy, and it has con 
tributed not a little to bringing philosophical study back 
to Kant. Schopenhauer s philosophy, which has come into 
great prominence since 1860, the year of his death, has ex 
erted an influence in the same direction ; for it too constantly 
points back to Kant as the necessary starting point of all 
true philosophy. 


Even scientific investigation seeks to connect itself with 
Kant s philosophy. Mathematics and physics find useful 
ideas regarding their own presuppositions foreshadowed in 
his works. Psychology is attracted by his phenomenalistic 
interpretation of the concepts of body and soul, without 
any soul substance. And, on the other hand, theological 
dogmatics and the philosophy of religion find in Kant 
indispensable epistemological support for their notions. 
Every one, too, finds in him sincere respect for all honest 
work and all honest conviction. Not as an imperious 
mistress, but as a modest helper and an open-minded arbiter 
does the critical philosophy offer them its good services. 

Thus to-day there is a widespread tendency to regard 
Kant s thoughts as the permanent basis of philosophy. I, 
too, am convinced that they can afford such a basis. In the 
system there appears to me not a little that is accidental 
and erroneous. But the great fundamental thoughts have 
a permanent value. In conclusion, I shall bring these 
together in summary. 1 

1. Kant s philosophy has rightly interpreted the nature 
of knowledge and of faith. It is therefore in harmony with 
the two great interests of the spiritual life, and is able to 
establish peace between them. It has thus solved the 
central problem of modern philosophy, which was set for it 
in the seventeenth century by the great conflict between 
religion and science, more particularly between religion and 
the modern mechanical sciences of nature. 

Kant lived in peace with science, of which he himself 
had an intimate knowledge. He encouraged investigations 
which have the purpose of subjecting, as far as possible, the 
phenomenal world to laws. He was always ready to recog 
nize any certain result. It is right for the understanding 
to seek to explain all natural phenomena, even the processes 

1 In my article, " Was uns Kant sein kann " ( Vierteljahresschr. fur wiss. 
Philos., 1881), the reader will find some of these points further elaborated. 


of life, according to the principles of mechanical connection. 
He is of the opinion that there is always a remainder that 
is not and cannot be exhausted in this way. But he is ready 
to recognize every result as a desirable step in advance. He 
does not, as Schopenhauer perhaps does, make exceptions in 
favor of a vital force which his metaphysics finds necessary. 
He certainly would have been pleased to welcome Darwin s 
discoveries. In the same way, the understanding has com 
plete freedom critically to investigate all facts of a psychical 
and historical nature, and to explain them causally on the 
assumption of strict determinism. To set limits to the inves 
tigation of historical facts by means of a statutory ecclesiasti 
cal creed, seemed to him as presumptuous as foolish. Truth 
is the only goal, and scientific investigation is the only means 
of attaining this in questions of historical fact. Only in the 
evaluation of facts, and in the interpretation of their meaning 
which is dependent upon this, does faith play a prominent 

On the other hand, Kant s view is in harmony with reli 
gious faith, so far as the latter seeks to be nothing more than 
is possible for it to be. And this is a moral certainty that 
the highest good is possible in the real world ; or, in religious 
phrase, nothing but practical faith in God and in God s 
kingdom. For such a faith science leaves a place, and to it 
philosophy is brought by its own presuppositions. Our 
scientific knowledge is limited in a double sense both em 
pirically and transcendentally. From an empirical point 
of view, the known world is an island in the ocean of the 
unknown. We know a little about the earth, but of that 
which lies beyond the earth we see only rough outlines. 
And even on the earth, the unknown lies close to the sur 
face the explanation of natural forces, the beginning of 
organism and life. Indeed, one may say that scientific in 
vestigation has made the riddle of the world more wonder 
ful, rather than solved it. The deeper cosmology, biology, 


and physics penetrate, the greater the secrets which they 
still see beyond them. Everywhere we stand before the 
unknown. But even if science included and explained 
everything in heaven and earth, should we then have an ab 
solute knowledge of reality? No, Kant answers. We 
should then reach the transcendental and absolutely impas 
sable limits of our scientific knowledge. The world as we 
know it is only an accidental aspect of reality itself, a pro 
jection of things upon our sensibility. Only an understand 
ing that creates things, an intellectus arclietypus, knows 
them as that which they are in themselves ; an understand 
ing to which they are given through sensibility does not get 
beyond a knowledge of their external side. 

When one makes this distinction between the sensible 
and the intelligible world, one has at the same time secured 
a place for faith. If the physical world that appears to the 
senses were reality itself, our view of the world would be 
defined by physics. But since this world is mere phenom 
ena, there is room for a metaphysical explanation of phe 
nomena through an intelligible world, nature being regarded 
as an intimation of an ideal world. This is Plato s view : 
the world of ideas is the real world. This theory gives 
expression to a belief that is essentially identical with what 
the human spirit everywhere seeks. The essence of all re 
ligion is the explanation of the world from the ideas of the 
good and the perfect, which express in them a holy and 
righteous will. 

Kant insists that these thoughts do not lie within the field 
of scientific knowledge in the strict sense. They are matters 
of thought, and above all of faith. For this very reason they 
do not belong to the critique of the understanding, since 
they are not matters of scientific demonstration. Faith has 
its origin in practical reason, in the volitional side of our 
nature ; and therefore as such it is secure against any 
attacks of the understanding. 


In this way, Kant has provided a basis for the harmony 
of religion and science. The first condition of this harmony 
he finds in an absolute demarcation of boundaries. It is true 
that, according to Kant, incursions have not been wanting 
on either side. In the name of religion, science has been 
called upon to retrace its steps, and in the name of science, 
faith has been declared abolished, and this takes place 
even to-day. Nevertheless, for him who has eyes to see, the 
limits are permanently marked out, as an injunction and a 
warning to attend to one s own business and respect that of 
other people. Eeligion is not a science, and for that very 
reason it is not possible to establish its truths by means of 
demonstration. But just because it is not an error, it is not 
possible to disprove it by demonstration. Dogmas one may 
destroy by means of criticism, but religion is in its very 
nature indestructible. It has its permanent roots in the 
human spirit, and springs up ever anew from that soil. 

2. Kant assigned to will the position in the world that 
properly belongs to it. He put an end to the one-sided in- 
tellectualism of the eighteenth century. The over-emphasis 
of the importance of intellectual culture was common to 
the whole modern period from the time of the Renaissance. 
The worth of man was supposed to depend upon his culture ; 
moral development rests upon knowledge. Kant adopted 
Rousseau s objection to this assumption, and carried it fur 
ther. The new point of view may be described by means of 
two propositions : first, the worth of a man does not depend 
upon his intellect, but solely upon his will ; and, second, 
one s ultimate metaphysics does not rest upon the under 
standing, but primarily upon the will. 

These two propositions also may be accepted as definitive 
truths. The first yields a standard for properly estimating 
the value of human personality. This standard, it is true, 
social and aristocratic blindness seeks constantly to replace. 
The second proposition furnishes the basis of correct judgment 


regarding the value and certainty of what we regard as true. 
The final and highest truths the truths by which, and for 
which, a man lives and dies do not rest upon scientific 
knowledge, but have their origin in the heart, in the essential 
principle of will. The sciences, especially mathematics and 
physics, have technical truths ; they subject nature to con 
cepts and rules of art. But no man is satisfied with merely 
technical truths. He makes assumptions and cherishes con 
victions of an entirely different nature. He believes in his 
fellow-men, in himself, and his vocation, in the future and 
in progress ; he believes in the final victory of truth and 
right and goodness upon the earth. All these are things 
that cannot be demonstrated ; they possess moral, not logi 
cal, certainty; without them I could not accomplish anything 
or live. Of the same nature is the certainty that belongs to 
religious truth. Keligion, conceived generally, consists in 
the confidence that that purpose with which I identify my 
self through my deepest will and character will be realized ; 
that God is for me and my cause. This confidence is not 
the result of proofs, but precedes all processes of proof. 
Thus the old proposition, fides prcecedit intellectum, comes 
again into honor. In the last resort, men always live by 
faith, not by knowledge. Even the scientific fanatics, who 
would admit no faith except that in logically demonstrated 
truths, live themselves by an immediate faith, faith in the 
possibility and absolute value of pure knowledge. If they 
claim to define the highest good and its possibility in this 
way by means of their beliefs, it would be reasonable to 
grant others the same right, and not to complain if these 
know another highest good, more complete than scientific 
knowledge and methodological discretion, and make other 
assumptions regarding reality in accordance therewith. 1 

1 This point is excellently worked out by W. James in The Will to Be 
lieve (1897), German translation by Th. Lorenz (Fromauns Verlag, Stutt 
gart, 1899). Cf. my Einleitunfj in die Philosophic, 5th edition, pp. 323 ff. 
[English translation by F. Thilly, pp. 313 ff.]. 


3. Kant__gives a correct account of the nature of mind, 
and assigns _ to it its proper _position in the__world.^ He 
brought into prominence the creative power of mind: the 
nature of the mind is freedom, spontaneous activity. It is 
not a passive receptacle or a dead product, as French sen 
sationalism and materialism taught. In all fields, Kant 
emphasized the activity and spontaneity of mind. In the 
sphere of knowledge, he teaches that knowledge is not a 
collection of impressions upon a sheet of white paper, but a 
spontaneous activity. Its stages are : The apprehension of 
sensations, that are themselves the product of the mind, in 
a unitary simultaneity and succession in space and time ; 
apperception, by means of the activities of the understand 
ing, whose forms are the categories ; and, finally, the unifying 
of the knowledge of the understanding, by means of the 
speculative ideas, in a unitary world system that is held 
together by a single principle of reason. In the sphere of 
the will, likewise, we find that the will is not an aggregate 
of reflex responses to external stimuli, but a free, self-positing 
activity. By means of the practical reason, or the rational 
will, man forms his own character according to innate ideas 
that he possesses of the good and the perfect. He raises 
himself above mere nature, and creates freely his inner 
moral life in independence of foreign or external authority. 
With the perception of the activity of mind corresponds the 
concept of its nature. It is pure activity, a self-positing 
subject, not a given object. The actualistic theory of the 
soul is given a new basis by Kant. The soul is not a dead 
substrate, not an unchanging substance, like an atom, but 
pure energy, spontaneous energy of knowing and willing. 
These thoughts, too, may be described as permanent acquisi 
tions of philosophy. This actualistic theory of the soul, 
after being temporarily obscured, has quite recently again 
become prominent. 

These were the great fundamental thoughts of the Kantian 


philosophy in which the philosophy of the present day is 
again beginning to centre. 

In conclusion, I return once more to that side of Kant s 
philosophy that is most foreign to our thought, the fixed 
formalistic rationalism of the system. This dominates the 
form of his episteniology, and through the epistemology his 
entire mode of thought and exposition. 

The aim of the critical epistemology is to demonstrate the 
possibility of absolute, eternal truths. It affirms, in opposi 
tion to Hume s doctrine of relativity, that there are laws of 
nature and of morality of absolute universality and neces 
sity. I believe that the scientific thought of the present 
time is more nearly in agreement with Hume than with 
Kant on this point. The nineteenth century has turned 
away from the rationalistic mode of thought of the seven 
teenth and eighteenth centuries, which took mathematics as 
its model, and has adopted the historico-genetic, and there 
fore relative, point of view. The Hegelian philosophy set 
the example in this procedure ; the developmental theory, 
which has become dominant not less in biology and cosmology 
than in the historical sciences, completed the revolution. I 
shall attempt to show this by drawing out the discussion a 
little further. 

In modern times three modes of thought have been suc 
cessively dominant: (1) the theologico-dogmatic ; (2) the 
rationalistico-dogmatic ; (3) the genetic and relativist. One 
may accordingly distinguish the three periods as the sceculum 
theologicum, sceculum pliilosophicum, and sceculum historicum. 

1. The dogmatic theological mode of thought was con 
tinued in the modern period from the middle ages, and on 
the whole remained uninterrupted until about the end of 
the seventeenth century. It was characterized by a belief 
in the existence of absolute truths that rest upon revelation, 
and are formulated in the propositions of the creed. The 
function of science (of theology, the chief science of the 


time) was to demonstrate the truth of these propositions, 
which are already recognized as true. Philosophy and phijol- 
ogy, as subsidiary sciences, stand in the service of theology. 
In addition to theology, there exist ethics and the theory of 
law. These, too, form systems of absolute truths that in 
the last resort stand upon the same basis ; the ten com 
mandments is their absolute and immovable foundation. 

2. Dogmatic rationalism began in the seventeenth century 
to make headway against theology ; and in the eighteenth 
century, the sceculum philosophicum, it became the dominant 
mode of thought. Its characteristic mark is belief in abso 
lute truths of reason : all essential truths can be deduced 
from reason as a system of necessary demonstrable proposi 
tions. This is true above all of metaphysical truths, for 
they have their origin in primary and absolutely certain 
principles of reason. These form the standard by which 
theological dogmas are to be tried, and according to which 
they are to be justified. Thus arises rational religion, 
which is also known as natural religion. Alongside it we have 
also " natural law," a system of absolute truths developed 
from reason, which constitute the propositions of a science of 
" natural rights," and are principles for conduct and for the 
regulation of social and political institutions. 

The point of departure for this way of thinking was math 
ematics and mathematical physics. Mathematics contains 
a system of absolutely valid and absolutely certain truths 
that have been deduced from rational principles. It affords 
the standard according to which all the sciences are to be 
judged with regard to form. The mathematical demon 
strative method is the method of science. This was the 
model that Spinoza followed, even in external details, in 
his attempt to deduce all real science, or a complete phi 
losophy, from rational principles. But it is clear that par 
ticular facts cannot be deduced in this way, and just for 
this reason there is no real science of particular facts. 


It is obvious that we have here a way of thinking that 
is not less dogmatic than theology, only that the dogmas are 
not imposed by an external authority, but are the products 
of the human reason. Their binding force for philosophy 
is, however, equally absolute. The way for this subjective 
rationalistic dogmatism was prepared by the Eeformation. 
Protestant, like Catholic theology, claimed to be absolute 
revealed truth. But since it recognized no final earthly 
authority, and the Scriptures were not in the form of a sys 
tem of dogmas, it necessarily became subjective, even to 
the point of absolute caprice, and therefore incapable of 
compelling the assent of reason, as the old dogma had the 
power to do. 

3. The historical and genetic fashion of thought has 
given up absolute truths. Outside of logic and mathematics 
there are only relative, not eternal truths. Eeality is in con 
stant flux, and knowledge follows reality. To the eternal 
and unchangeable character of God there corresponds theo 
logical dogmatism ; to the fixed substances with which 
mathematical physics calculates, rational dogmatism is 
parallel ; while the genetic and relativistic mode of think 
ing corresponds to a world in process of development. 

The first presuppositions of this latter mode of thought 
were contained in the English empiricism that has influ 
enced German thought since the middle of the eighteenth 
century. This philosophy recognized no absolutely valid 
truths. Not in science ; for the propositions of science 
rest upon experience, and are valid until they are tested by 
further experience. Not in moral philosophy ; for the 
propositions of moral philosophy are formulae that de 
scribe the condition of the development of human nature 
under given circumstances. 

Under the influence of these thoughts as they had been 
finally formulated by Hume, there came about in Germany 
that great revolution in the humanistic sciences of which 


Herder was the leader. In the sceculum historicum this 
revolution made itself felt in every field of historical in 
vestigation. Language, religion, and morals and right are 
not absolutely fixed essences that are reduced to unchang 
ing formulae by grammar, dogmatics, ethics, and natural 
right, as the un historical dogmatic view of the eighteenth 
century supposed. They exist only as vital functions of the 
life of the people, growing up and undergoing constant trans 
formation along with this life. Thus the science of lan 
guage teaches us to regard language and its forms as vital 
functions that change with the life of the people, and all 
its categories as historical and evanescent. In the same 
way, the historical view of law considers law and the state 
as forms of life that have grown up spontaneously, not as 
means purposively designed for the attainment of ends. 
And, like language and law, ethics and religion have lost 
their fixed absolute character under the influence of his 
torical and anthropological considerations. 

This mode of thought first received its philosophical ex 
pression in Hegel s system. The logical evolution of the 
dialectic made all truths relative. In this respect Hegel s 
exposition and criticism of the history of philosophy is 
perhaps most characteristic: every system is in its place 
the truth, of course, not an absolute, but only a relative 

The second half of the nineteenth century has carried 
over the evolutionary point of view to the investigation of 
nature, or it has transformed the logical evolutionism of the 
dialectic into that of natural science. Nature, in all its 
aspects, has been brought under the historical point of view. 
The history of man s life has been assigned a place in a more 
comprehensive historical development of organic life in 
general. The latter, in turn, forms but one section of the 
history of the earth s development. The history of the 
planets is again united with the development of suns, and this 


with the process of cosmic evolution itself that transcends our 
knowledge, and even surpasses the powers of our imagi 
nation. And in this movement it is seen that, like all forms 
of life and existence, even the forms of thought themselves 
are not absolute but only " historical categories." 

In trying to describe Kant s relation to this movement, we 
may say that although his thought contained strong ten 
dencies toward the historical and genetic view of things, 
yet he never succeeded in freeing himself from the ration 
alistic and dogmatic point of view. In the middle period of 
his life, perhaps influenced in part by his developmental cos 
mology, he seemed to be about to go over to the empirico- 
genetic point of view. The writings of the sixties show that 
in epistemology and in moral philosophy he was following 
the path of the English philosophers. At that time he gave 
to Herder the influence that determined the direction of the 
latter s thought. Then, however (in the Dissertation of 
1770), he suddenly reverted to the rationalistic and dogmatic 
point of view that he had never entirely renounced, finding 
in it the only security for philosophy and science. Thus 
the critical philosophy stands decidedly on the side of the 
eternal truths. It undertakes to set up, in opposition to 
relativistic empiricism, a system of eternal truths. These it 
finds in the theoretical sphere in the pure principles of the 
understanding, and the moral law affords for the practical 
sphere a similar system of necessary truths. 

On the other side, though belonging so decidedly to the 
sceculum philosophicum, it nevertheless extends a hand to 
the coming sceculum liistoricum. It is not an accident that 
the speculative evolutionism of Hegel developed from the 
critical philosophy. By means of the dynamic theory of 
matter, Kant destroyed the fixed atom, and by his actualistic 
theory of the soul he put an end to the doctrine of the un 
changing soul substance. With this change reality became, 
as it were, fluid, and speculative philosophy urged the fluid 


mass into the movement of the logical and historical process 
of development. Thus history has done justice to the youth 
ful Kant, whose work was continued in Herder, as opposed 
to the dogmatic Kant of the system. Although his conflict 
with Kant was most unfortunate, and the spread of the new 
dogmatism embittered the end of his life, Herder would not, 
from the standpoint of the present time, look back on the 
century that has just elapsed with dissatisfaction. He 
would see that even he had not lived in vain. 

In this respect Kant represents to us the great turning 
point of thought, and he mediates in many important 
respects between the two last great periods of modern 


1724 Immanuel Kant, born April 22. 

1728 Lambert born. 

1729 Lessing born. 

1729 Mendelssohn born. 

1730 Hamann born. 
1732 Kant enters the Fridericianum. 

1 735 His Brother, Job. Heinrich, born. 

1737 His Mother died. 
1 740 Kant matriculates at the University of Kbnigsberg. 

1 740 Accession of Frederick H. 

1740 Feder born. 

1742 Gar ve born. 

1 744 Herder born. 

1746 Kant s first Writing : Gedanken von der wahren Schdtzung der 
lebendigen Krdfte (" Thoughts on the True Evaluation of 
Dynamic Forces "). 

1746 Kant s Father died. 

1749 Goethe born. 

1751 M. Knutzen died. 

1754 Chr. Wolff died. 

1 754 Untersuchung der Frage : ob die Erde in ihrer UmdreJiung um 
die Axe einige Veranderungen erlitten liabe? ("Examination of 
the Question whether the Earth has undergone an Alteration 
of its Axial Rotation.") [Trans, by W. Hastie in KanCs Cos 
mogony, Glasgow, 1900.] 

Die Frage: ob die Erde veraltef physicalisch erwogen ("The 
Question : Whether the Earth grows old ? physically con 
sidered "). Both this and the above were published in the 
Konigsberger Nachrichten. 

1755 Allegemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels ("Univer 
sal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens"). [Trans, 
by W. Hastie in KanCs Cosmogony.] 



1 755 Kant qualifies with the Treatise De Igne, and becomes habilitated 
with the Essay Principiorum primorum cognitionis metaphysicce 
nova dilucidatio. 

1756-1763 The Seven Years War. The Russians in 

1756 Disputation uber die Abhandlung " Monadologia Physica" (" Dis 
putation on the Treatise Monadologia Physica"). 

Three short Essays in the Konigsberger Nachrichten on Earth 
quakes (on the occasion of the Lisbon Earthquake of 1775). 
[One of these, "Upon the Causes of Earthquakes from which 
the Western Parts of Europe suffered toward the End of the 
Preceding Year," has been translated by A. F. M. Willich, in 
Kanfs Essays and Treatises, 2 Vols., London, 1798.] 
Neue Anmerkungen zur Erlduterung der Theorie der Winde 
(" New Remarks in Explanation of the Theory of the Winds "). 

1757 Entwurf und Ankiindigimg eines Collegii der physischen Geo- 
graphie, nebst dem Anhange einer kurzen Betrachtung uber die 
Frage : ob die Westwinde in unseren Gegenden darum feucht seien, 
weil sie uber ein grosses Meer streichen ? (" Outline and Announce 
ment of a Course of Lectures on Physical Geography, together 
with a Brief Consideration of the Question : Whether the Mois 
ture of the West-Wind in this Region is due to its Passage over 
a great Sea "). 

1758 Neuer Lehrbegriff der Bewegung und Rulie ("New Doctrine of 
Motion and Rest"). 

1759 Versuch einiger Belrachtungen uber den Optimismus (" Some 
Observations on Optimism"). 

1759 Schiller born. 

1762 Fichte born. 

1762 Rousseau s Emile and Contrat social appeared. 

1762 Die falsche Spitzfindigkeit der vier syllogistischen Figuren erwiesen 
(" The False Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic Figures "). [Trans. : 
By A. F. M. Willich in Kant s Essays and Treatises, 2 Vols., 
London, 1798; by T. K. Abbott in Kanfs Introduction to Logic, 
and His Essay on the Mistaken Subtilty of the Four Figures, 
London, 1885.] 

1763 Der einzig mogliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration rom 
Dasein Gottes (" The only Possible Ground for a Demonstration 
of the Existence of God "). [Trans. : By Willich in Kant s 
Essays and Treatises, 1798; by J. Richardson (partial trans, 
only) in The Metaphysical Works of Kant, London, 1836.] 


1763 Untersuchungen ilber die Deutlichkeit der Grundsdtze der natiir- 
lichen Theologie und Moral. (Prize Essay of the Berlin Academy, 
published in 1764.) ("Inquiry into the Clearness of the Princi 
ples of Natural Theology and Morals.") [Trans, by Willich, 
Op. ciL] 

Versuch den Begriff der negativen Grossen in die Weltweisheit 
einzufuhren ( An Attempt to Introduce into Philosophy the 
Conception of Negative Magnitudes "). 
1763 F. A. Schultz died. 

1764 Versuch ilber die Krankheiten des Kopfes. Published in the K6- 
nigsberger Zeitungen. (" Essay on the Diseases of the Head.") 
Beobachtungen iiber das Gefuhl des Schb nen und Erhabenen 
(" Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime"). 
[Trans, by Willich, Op. cit.] 

1765 Nachricht von der Einrichtung seiner Vorlesungen (** Announce 
ment of Lectures "). 

1766 Traume eines Geistersehers, erldutert durch Trdume der Meta- 
physik ("The Dreams of a Ghost-Seer Explained through the 
Dreams of Metaphysics "). [Trans, by E. F. Goerwitz, London 
and New York, 1900.] 

1766 Gottsched died. 

1768 Von dem ersten Grunde des Unterschieds der Gegenden im 
Raum. Published in the Konigsberger Nacltrichten. (" On the 
Primary Ground of Distinguishing Spatial Positions.") 

1770 Kant appointed Ordinary Professor of Logic and Metaphysics. 

Disputatio de mundi sensibilis atque intelligibilis forma et principiis 
(" Dissertation Concerning the Form and Principles of the Sen 
sible and Intelligible Worlds"). [Trans, by W. J. Eckoff in 
KanCs Inaugural- Dissertation of 1770, New York, 1894.] 
1770 Holbach s Systeme de la nature. 

1775 Von den verschiedenen Racen des MenscJien ("On the Various 
Races of Mankind "). Announcement of Lectures on Physical 

1776 Ueber das Dessauer Pliilanthropin. Published in the Konigsberger 
Zeitungen. ("On the Dessau Experiment in Philanthropy.") 

1776 The North American Declaration of Independence. 

1776 Hume died. 

1778 Voltaire died. 

1778 Rousseau died. 

1780 The Accession of Joseph II. 

1781 Lessing died. 


1 781 Die Kritik der reinen Vernunft (" The Critique of Pure Reason "). 
[Trans. : By J. Haywood, London, 1838 and 1848; by M. D. 
Meiklejohn, London, 1855; by Max Miiller, London, 1881, 
revised edition, London and New York, 1896 ; by J. P. Mahaffy 
(not literally) in Kant s Critical Philosophy for English Readers, 
new edition, London, 1889. Partial trans. : By J. H. Stirling in 
Text-Book to Kant, Edinburgh, 1881; by J. Watson in The 
Philosophy of Kant in Extracts, New York, 1892, new edition, 
Glasgow, 1895.] 

Prolegomena zu einer jeden kilnftigen Metaphysik, die als Wissen- 
schaft wird auflreten konnen ("Prolegomena to Every Future 
Metaphysic that can Appear as Science"). [Trans. : By J. 
Richardson in The Metaphysical Works of Kant, first edition, 
London, 1818, last edition, London, 1836; by J. P. Mahaffy in 
Kant s Critical Philosophy for English Readers, London, 1872, 
revised edition by Mahaffy and J. H. Bernard, London, 1889; 
by E. B. Bax in Kant s Prolegomena and Metaphysical Founda 
tions of Natural Science, London, 1883 ; by T. Wirgman, free 
reproduction in the article " Metaphysic" in the "Encyclopaedia 
Londinensis ; " also by Willich in the " Enc. Metrop."] 

1784 Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbilrgerlicher Absicht 
("Idea of a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Stand 
point"). [Trans. : By Willich, Op. cit. ; by De Quincey, Vol. 
XIII. of his Collective Works ; * by W. Hastie in Kant s Prin 
ciples of Politics, Edinburgh, 1891.] 

Beautwortung der Frage : Was ist A ufklarung ? Both this and the 
above appeared in the Berliner Monatsschrift. (" Answer to the 
Question : What is Illumination ? ") [Trans, by Willich, Op. cit.} 

1785 Rezensionen von Herders Ideen zur Philosophic der Geschichte. 
Published in the Jenaische Litter atur-Zeitung. (" Review of 
Herder s Ideas toward a Philosophy of History.") 

Ueber die Vulkane im Mond ("On Volcanoes in the Moon"). 
[Trans, by Willich, Op. cit.] 

Von der Unrechtmassigkeit des Biichernachdrucks (" Upon the 
Injustice of Publishers Piracies"). [Trans, by Willich, Op. cit.) 
Bestimmung des Begrijfs einer Menschenrace (" Determination of 
the Concept of a Race of Men"). The last three essays ap 
peared in the Berliner Monatsschrift. 
Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (" Fundamental Princi- 

1 Among De Quincey s Miscellaneous Essays also are found some translated 
extracts from several of Kant s minor writings. 


pies of the Meta physic of Morals "). [Trans. : By Willioh, 
Op. cit. ; by J. W. Semple in Kanfs Metaphysic of Ethics, 
Edinburgh, 1836, last edition by Calderwood, 4th edition 1886; 
by T. K. Abbott in KanCs Critique of Practical Reason, etc., 
4th edition, London, 1889 (also separately, 1895). Partial trans, 
by J. Watson, Op. cit.] 

1 786 Mutmassliclier Anfang der Menschengeschichte. Published in the 
Berliner Monatsschrift (" The Presumptive Beginning o f Human 
History "). [Trans. : By Willich, Op. cit. ; by J. E. Cabot in 
Hedge s Prose Writers of Germany, Boston, 1856.] 
Was heisst sicJi im Denken orientieren ? Published in the -Berliner 
Monatsschrift. (" What does it Signify to Orient oneself in 
Thought ? ") [Trans, by Willich, Op. cit.] 

Mdaphysische Anfangsgriinde der Naturwissenschaften ("Meta 
physical Elements of Natural Science "). [Trans, by E. B. I^ax 
in Kant s Prolegomena and Metaphysical Foundations of Nature 1 
Science, London, 1883.] 

1786 Frederick the Great died, Frederick William II. suc 

1788 Wollner s Religious Edict. 

1 788 Ueber den Gebrauch teleologischer Prinzipien in der Philosophic* 
Appeared in the Deutsche Merkur. (" On the Use of Teleologi- 
cal Principles in Philosophy.) 

Kritik der praktischen Vernunft (" The Critique of Practical 
Reason"). [Trans.: (Partial) by J. W. Semple in Kanfs 
Metaphysic of Ethics, Edinburgh, 1836, later editions by Calder- 
wood; by J. Watson, Op. cit. . . . Complete trans, by T. K. 
Abbott, 4th edition, London, 1889.] 

1789 The French Revolution. 

1 790 Kritik der Urtheilskraft (" The Critique of Judgment ") . [Trans, 
by J. H. Bernard, London, 1892. Partial trans. : a short extract 
in Hedge s and Cabot s Prose Writers of Germany, pp. 63-71, 
Boston, 1856 ; more copious extracts by J. Watson, Op. cit.] 
Ueber Philosophic uberhaupt. First Introduction to the Critique 
of Judgment. (" On Philosophy in General.") 
Ueber eine Entdeckung, nach der alle neue Kritik der reinen Ver 
nunft durch eine dltere entbehrlich gemacht werden soil. Directed 
against Eberhard. (" On a Discovery by means of which all 
New Critiques are to be Replaced by an Older One.") 
Ueler Schwdrmerei und die Mittel dagegen (" On Sentimentality 
and its Remedy "). 


1791 Ueber das Milling en aller philosopliischen VersucJie in der Tlieo- 
dicee. Published in the Berliner Monatsschrift. ("On the Fail 
ure of all Philosophical Attempts at a Theodicy.") [Trans, by 
Willich, Op- cit.] 

1792 Vom radikalen Bb sen in der Menschennatur . Published in the 
Berliner Monatsschrift. (" On the Radical Evil in Human 
Nature.") [Trans. : By Willich, Op. cit. ; by J. W. Semple in 
Kant s Theory of Religion, London, 1838, 2d edition, 1848; by 
T. K. Abbott (Part I. only), Op. cit.} 

Prohibition of the continuation of these articles by the Berlin 

1793 Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft ("Religion 
within the Bounds of Pure Reason "). [Trans.: By Willich, Op. 
cit.; by Semple, Op. cit.; by Abbott (Part I.), Op. cit.] 

Ueber den Gemeinsprucli : Das mag in der Theorie richtig sein, 
taugt aber nicht fur die Praxis. Published in the Berliner 
Monatsschrift. ("On the Common Saying: That may be cor 
rect in Theory, but does not hold in Practice.") [Trans. : By 
Willich, Op. cit. : Parts II. and III. by W. Hastie in Kant s 
Principles of Politics, Edinburgh, 1891.] 

1794 Etwas uber den Einfluss des Mondes auf die Witterung. (Ber 
liner Monatsschrift.) ("Remarks on the Influence of the Moon 
on the Weather.") [Trans, by Willich, Op. cit.] 

Das Ende oiler Dinge, (Berliner Monatsschrift.) (" On the 
End of All Things.") [Trans, by Willich, Op. cit.] 
1794 Cabinet Order of the King and Kant s promise not to 
write any more on Religion. 

1795 The Peace of Basle. 

1795 Zum ewigen Frieden ("On Everlasting Peace"). [Trans.: By 
Willich, Op. cit.; by W. Hastie in Kant s Principles of Politics ; 
by B. F. Trueblood, Boston, The American Peace Society, 1897. 
Some Extracts by J. E. Cabot, Op. cit., pp. 71-74.] 

1796 Kant discontinues his lectures. 

Von einem neuerdings erhobenen, vornehmen Ton in der Pldloso- 
phie. (Berliner Monatsschrift.) (" Upon a certain Genteel 
Tone which has recently appeared in Philosophy.") [Trans, by 
Willich, Op. cit.] 

Verkiindigung des nahen Abschlusses eines Traktats zum ewigen 
Frieden in der Philosophic. (Berliner Monatsschrift.) (" An 
nouncement of the near Conclusion of a Tractate on Everlasting 
Peace in Philosophy.") 


1797 Metaphysische Anfangsgriinde der Rechtslehre (" Metaphysical 
Principles of Law "). [Trans, by W. Hastie, in Kant s Philoso 
phy of Law, Edinburgh, 1887.] 

Metaphysische Anfangsgriinde der Tugendlelire (" Metaphysical 
Principles of the Doctrine of Virtue ") [Trans, by Semple in 
Kant s Metaphysic of Ethics. The Preface and Introduction are 
translated also by Abbott, Op. cit.~\ 

[The above two works form respectively Part I. and II. of 

Die Metaphysik der Sitten (" The Metaphysic of Morals "). 

The General Introduction to the Entire Work is translated 

by Abbott and by Semple, Op. cit.] 

Ueber ein vermeintes Recht aus Menschenliebe zu lilgen (" On an 
Alleged Right to Lie from Altruistic Motives "). [Trans. : By 
A. E. Kroeger in Am. Jour, of Speculative Phil., Vol. VII., St. 
Louis, 1873; by Abbott, Op. cit.] 

1797 Frederick William II. died, Frederick William III. 
succeeds. Wollner dismissed. 

1798 Ueber die Buchmacherei. Zwei Brief e an Herrn Fr. Nicolai 
(" On Bookmaking. Two letters to Herr F. Nicolai "). 

Der Streit des Fakultdten (" The Controversy of Faculties"). 
Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht (" Anthropology from a 
Pragmatical Point of View"). [Trans, of Book I. by A. E. 
Kroeger in the Am. Jour, of Speculative Phil., Vols. 9 f., St. 
Louis, 1875 f.] 

1800 Logik (" Logic "). Edited by Jasche. [Trans. : By J. Richard 
son in Kant s Metaphysical Works, London, 1836 and 1848; the 
Introduction by Abbott in Kant s Introduction to Logic, etc.] 

1802 Physische Geographie ("Physical Geography"). Edited by 

1803 Padagogik ("Pedagogy"). Edited by Rink. [Trans, by An 
nette Clmrton in Kant on Education, Boston, 1900.] 

1804 Ueber die Preisfrage der Berliner Akademie : Welches sind die 
wirklichen Fortschritte, die die Metaphysik seit Leibniz s und Wolf s 
Zeiten in Deulschland gemacht hat ? (" On the Prize Question of 
the Berlin Academy: What Real Progress has Metaphysics 
Made in Germany since the Days of Leibniz and Wolff?") 
Edited by Rink. 

1804 Kant died on the 12th of February. 



ADICKES, E., quoted, 69 ; his view of 
the chief aim of the Critique of 
Pure Reason, 118; his edition 
of the Critique of Pure Reason, 
127 note; on the chronology of 
the individual sections of the Cri 
tique of Pure Reason, 130 note; 
referred to, 172, 217 note, 301. 

^Esthetic, view of life, 18ff. ; the 
Transcendental, 158-167 ; the argu 
ment of the Transcendental, 165 
ff . ; criticism of the Transcendental, 

.^Esthetics, and morality, 376 f. ; and 
philosophy of nature, 379 f. 

Amphiboly of the Concepts of Re 
flection, 201 f. 
^Analogies of Experience, 188 ff. 

Analogy, the argument from, to prove 
the existence of God, 225 f. 

Analytic, and synthetic judgments, 
136 ff.; the Transcendental, 167- 
207; obscurity of the, 168ff. ; the, 
of concepts, 170ff. ; the, of prin 
ciples, 1 82 ff . 

Anthropology, and morals, Kant s in 
terest in, 38 ff . ; Kant s views on, 

Anthropomorphism, Kant s attitude 
towards, 267 f. 

Anticipations of Sense Perception, 


V Antinomies, the influence of the, on 
Kant s philosophical development, 
95 f. ; composition of the doctrine 
of, 216 f. ; solution of the, 217 ff. 

Antinomy, the, of pure reason, 213 f. 

A priori, knowledge and sense per 
ception, 158ff. ; knowledge of the, 

202 ff. ; restriction of metaphysics 

to, knowledge, 247. 
Aristippus, 325. 
Aristotle, 3, 325, 332. 
Arnoldt, E., 30, 57, 60 note, 130 note, 

Art, Kant s theory of beauty and, 

376 ff. 
Atomistic-mechanical view, Kant s 

objection to, 278 f. 
Attraction of matter, 280 f. 
Augustine, 9 note. 
Autonomy, of reason, 9 ; the concept 

of, 308 f. 
Axioms of Pure Perception, 186. 

BACON, 1. 

Baczko, his history of Kb nigsberg, 

Baggesen, 43. 

Basch, V., 374 note. 

Basedow, 53, 374 f. 

Baumgarten, 40, 60, 66, 76, 79, 83, 
87, 95, 143 note, 287; his influence 
on Kant s terminology, 128 note; 
his influence on Kant s metaphys 
ics, 241. 

Beauty, Kant s theory of art and, 
376 ff. ; and aesthetic pleasure, 377 f. 

Beck, 68, 69 note, 178f. note. 

Berkeley, 68, 117, 177, 198; Kant s 
protest against being identified 
with, 232 f., 239. 

Bible, Kant s reverence for the, 48. 

Bibliography, for Kant s life, 24 ; for 
Kant s philosophical development, 
74 ; for the philosophical system, 
107 f. ; for the metaphysics, 240 f. ; 
for the psychology and authro- 



pology, 286; for the moral phi 
losophy, 295 ; for the theory of 
law and the state, 343 ; for the 
theory of religion and the church, 
362; for the theory of education, 

Biester, 101. 

Body and Soul, 250 f ., 253 ff . 

Bookmaking, essay on, 102. 

Bruno, 53. 

Busse, L., 149 note. 

CAIRD, 93. 

Categorical Imperative, nature of the, 
305 f. 

Categories, the twelve, 1 72 ff . ; logi 
cal and real, 182 ff. ; and sense per 
ception, 184. 

Causality, the problem of, 83 f. ; 
Hume s and Kaut s notions of, 144 
f. ; the category of, 172; the law 
of, 190 ff. ; criticism of Kant s 
treatment of, 192ff. ; the intelligi 
ble character as, 257 ff. 

Causation, natural, 77. 

Censorship, Kant s conflict with the, 
48 f. 

Character, the empirical and intel 
ligible, 257 f. 

Christianity, Kant and the spirit of, 
339 f. 

Church, Kant s relation to the, 47 ff. ; 
the, and religion, 363 ff . 

Clarke, 163 note. 

Claudius, Matthias, quoted, 106. 

Cohen, 202. 

Commer, quoted, 9 note. 

Compossibility and Reality, 83, 143. 

Concepts, validity of, 87 f.; Kant s 
view of, 143 ; schematism of the 
pure, 182ff. ; amphiboly of the, of 
reflection, 201 f. 

Constitutive and Regulative Prin 
ciples, 227 f. 

Cosmological, the four, ideas, 215; 
proof of God, 224 ; the, problem, 
260 ff. 

Cosmology, Kant s early interest in, 
35 ff.; rational, 213 ff. 

Critical Philosophy, in relation to 
knowledge and faith, 6 ; general 
character of the, 109 f . ; the role 
of the, 112 note ; the method of the, 
202 ff. 

Criticism, 3, 5 f. 

Critique of Judgment, 100, 228, 288 ; 
the schematism of the, 376 f . ; 
the fundamental concepts of the, 
377 ff. 

Critique of Practical Reason, its 
relation to Kant s other ethical 
works, 111; its title, 300 ; its 
schematism, 301 ; its internal in 
consistency, 321 f. 

Critique of Pure Reason, 127-228; 
18, 40, 43, 55, 56; its relation to 
the Dissertation, 89 ff; as Kant s 
chief metaphysical work, 111 ; re 
ception of the, 114 ; its main pur 
pose, 119 ff.; its name, 128 f.; its 
origin and composition, 129 ff. ; 
the schema of the, 131 ff . ; the 
problem of the, 134 ff . ; the omis 
sion of the psychological deduction 
in the second edition of the, 177 f . ; 
its relation to the second edition 
and to the Prolegomena, 231 ff. ; as 
propaedeutic for the metaphysics, 
242 ; its historical effects, 382 f. 

Crusius, 40, 78, 86, 92, 321, 325. 

Culture and Happiness, 291. 

DEISM, Kant s attitude towards, 265. 

Democracy, Kant s sympathy with, 
335 f. 

Descartes, 14, 15, 33, 126, 223. 

Dessau, Basedow s Philanthropic Ex 
periment at, 53, 374 f. 

Development, Kant s philosophical, 
74 ff. ; the causes of Kant s phil 
osophical, 86 ff. 93 ff. ; the anti 
nomies and Kant s philosophical, 
95 ff. 

Dialectic, the Transcendental, 207- 
228 ; its significance for theology 
and religion, 207 f. ; its problem 
as a whole, 229 ff. 

Dissertation, Kant s, 42, 75, 131 f., 



161 ff., 283 f.; the standpoint of, 
88 ; its relation to the Critique, 
89 ff. ; its treatment of Space and 
Time, 161 ff. 

Dogmatism, Kant s relation to, 4 ff., 
116 f. ; theological, 392 f. ; ra 
tionalistic, 395 f . 

Don Quixote, 46. 

Dove, 47. 

Dreams of a Ghost-Seer, 84 ff., 87, 

Duty, and Inclination, 304; and 
Happiness, 319. 

Dynamic, forces, Thoughts on the 
True Evaluation of, 33, 76 ; theory 
of matter, Kant s, 280 f. 

EBERHARD, 68, 101, 143 f. note, 382. 

Education, and history, 292 ; Kant s 
theory of, 271 ff. ; its relation to 
morality and citizenship, 373 f. ; 
Kant s disapproval of state, 374. 

Ego, the, as presupposition of ob 
jective knowledge, 176; the meta 
physical doctrine of the, 185 ; 
relation of the pure to the empiri 
cal, 249 f . ; the, as thing-in-itself, 

Empirical, thought, postulates of, 
197 f . ; character, Kaut s notion of 
the, 257 f. 

Empiricism, sensualistic, 115, 117 ff . ; 
and rationalism, 229 ff. ; in ethics, 
Kant s opposition to, 310 f. 

Ends, the kingdom of, contrasted 
with the kingdom of Nature, 
320 ff. 

Energism and Hedonism, 312 ff. 

Epicurus, 321, 325, 332. 

Epistemology, its problems, 125 f . ; 
Kant s position in, 126 f. ; the, and 
metaphysics of Kant, 246 f. ; its 
influence on Kant s ethics, 331 f. 

Erdmann, 88 note ; his view of the 
Dissertation, 93 note; 95, 97, 103; 
his view of the chief aim of the 
Critique, 119, 121; 135, 217 note, 
232 note, 376 note. 

Ethics, Kant s personality and theory 

of, 54; divisions of, 111 ; teleologi- 
cal, 324 ff . ; influence of epistemol- 
ogy on Kant s, 331 f . ; negativism 
in Kant s, 332 f. 

Eudamonism, Kant s opposition to, 
310 f. 

Evil, the source of, 260; the radical, 

Evolution and Teleology, 271 ff. 

FACULTIES, the controversy of the, 
102 ; the doctrine of psychic, 287 f. 

Faith, the critical philosophy in re 
lation to knowledge and, 6; of 
practical reason, 91 ; motive for 
religious, 318 f.; Kant s treatment 
of knowledge and, 388 ff. 

Falckenberg, 129 note, 164 note. 

Fechner, 226, 251, 252. 

Feder, 67 note, 68, 117, 177; his re 
view of the Critique, 232 ff. ; re 
ferred to, 38, 383. 

Fichte, J. G., his meeting with Kant, 
43; 68, 97, 101, 382, 383. 

Fichte, I. H., 43. 

Fischer, K., 129, 202. 

Forces, Thoughts on the True Evalu 
ation of Dynamic, 33, 76. 

Formalism in ethics, 325 ff. 

Forster, referred to, 313 note. 

Francke, A. H., referred to, 14, 29. 

Freedom, 96 ; practical, 255 ff. ; and 
God, 256 f. ; transcendental, 256 ff . ; 
and responsibility, 258 ; difficulties 
in Kant s treatment of, 259 f. ; as 
self-activity, 294. 

Fridericianum, 29. 

Fries, J. F., referred to, 202. 

GALILEO, 180. 

Garve, 51 f . ; quoted, 127 note; 96, 

118, 177; his review of the Critique, 

232 ff. 

Geography, physical, 103. 
Ghost-Seer, the Dreams of a, 84 ff., 

87, 253. 
God, the only possible ground of the 

demonstration of, 80 ff., 87 ; as 

unitary ground of reality, 90 ff . ; 



the concept of, 221 ; the proofs of 
His existence, 222 ; and freedom, 
256 f. ; His relation to man, 259 ; 
as unity of reality, 261 ff . ; Kant s 
demonstrations of, 264 ff. ; and 
practical reason, 268; belief in, 

Goethe, 17, 20, 46,55; quoted, 337 ; 

Goldfriedrich, 374 note. 

Gottsched, 16, 18. 

Government, Kant s relation to the, 
41 f. ; Kant s view of the function 
of, 354 f. 

HAMANN, 17, 19, 336. 

Happiness, and culture, 291, 302; 
and morality, 312 ff . ; and the 
practical reason, 316; and duty, 

Hartmann, 293 note. 

Hasse, 44. 

Heavens, theory of the, 36, 40, 76. 

Hedonism and Energism, 312 ff. 

Hegel, 173, 180, 210, 222; quoted, 
241 ; 354, 355, 382 ff., 397, 398. 

Heine, H., quoted, 8 note ; 263 note. 

Helvetius, 330. 

Herder, 17, 19 f. ; his characterization 
of Kant quoted, 40 f. ; 55, 57 note, 
87, 88 note, 101, 336, 397, 398, 399. 

Herz, letters of Kant s to, quoted, 
42, 62 f., 69, 88, f., 128, 242. 

History, the presumptive beginning 
of human, 101 ; the philosophy of, 
290 ; and education, 292 ; Kant s 
views on the philosophy of, 343 f. 

Hobbes, 14, 15, 291, 292, 325; his 
theory of the State compared with 
Kant s, 347 f. 

Hoffding, referred to, 313, note. 

Holbach, his Systeme de la nature, 
11, 216, 230. 

Hudibras, 46. 

Humanism, 13. 

Humanity, the problem of philos 
ophy for, 111 f. 

Humboldt, 354. 

Hume, 6, 17, 19, 28, 40, 57, 68, 83, 

84, 86, 88, 88 note ; his influence on 
Kant, 93 ff., 97 ff.; 117 ff., 122, 
126, 138, 139, 142; his view of 
causality, 144 f. ; 180, 181, 196, 205, 
206, 216, 223; on natural reli 
gion, 226 ; 228, 230, 233, 236, 244, 
311,394, 396. 
Hutcheson, 311. 

IDEALISM, Kant s epistemological, 
115ff. ; metaphysical, 116, 226; 
refutation of, in the second edition, 
198 ; Kant s attitude towards, 
238 f . ; ontological, 248 ff . ; objec 
tive, 276 f. 

Ideas, of pure reason, deduction and 
function of the, 208 ff . ; as regula 
tive principles, 21 If.; system of 
cosmological, 215; of pure reason, 
transcendental deduction of, 226 ff .; 
of reason as necessary principles, 

Illumination, Kant and the, 12ff., 
340 f.; defined, 15 f.; 17, 18, 61; 
essay on What is, 101. 

Immortality, Kant s treatment of, 
253 ff. 

Inclination and duty, 304. 

Intellectualism, 116. 

Intelligence, the three stages of, 
150 ff. 

Intelligible, and sensible knowledge, 
89 ff., 110, 149 ff., 200; character 
as causality, 257 f. ; world, moral 
law as natural law of, 309 f. 

Introduction, the, to the Critique of 
Pure Reason, 133 ff. 

JACOBI, 18, 268, 382. 

James, W., 392 note. 

Judgment, vid. Critique of. 

Judgments, synthetic and analytic, 
136 ff.; synthetic, 145 f.; univer 
sality and necessity of, 203 ff . 

Justice, 307. 

KANT, his significance in the history 
of thought, 1-12; his relation to 
positive and negative dogmatism, 



4 ff. ; the cause of his influence on 
his own age, 6 ff . ; and the reforma 
tion, 7 ; and the new Thomism, 
8 ff . ; his position in the thought of 
his own time, 12-23 ; and the illu 
mination, 12ff. ; his life, 25-53; 
family and descent, 26, 28 f. ; his 
student days at the university, 32 ; 
as tutor, 34; his relation to the 
Kayserling family, 34 ; his early 
interest in cosmology, 35 ff . ; his 
development in relation to the 
spirit of his time, 38 ff. ; and Rous 
seau, 39 f. ; as ordinarius, 41 ; his 
early relation to the government, 
41 f. ; his salary, 42 f . ; his col 
leagues, 44 ; external conditions of 
his life, 44 f . ; his relation to polit 
ical life and events, 46 f . ; his re 
lation to the church, 47 f . ; his 
conflict with the censorship, 48 ; 
his reply to the cabinet order of 
1794, 49; the epitaph on his 
grave, 53 ; his life and character, 
53-57 ; his ethics and personality, 
54 ; and Socrates, 55 ff . ; his lecture 
subjects, 57 ff . ; the form of his in 
struction, 59 ff. ; as thinker and 
author, 65-74; his scholasticism, 
66 f. ; his attitude towards the 
thoughts of others, 67 f. ; the fixity 
of his thought, 69 ; his literary 
style, 70 ff . ; his philosophical de- 
" velopmerit, 74-105 ; the three 
periods of his philosophical de 
velopment, 75 ff. ; the writings of 
his first period, 76 ff. ; the writings 
of his second period, 79 ff. ; Kant 
and Swedeuborg, 84 ff .; the writings 
of his last period, 88 ff. ; Hume s in 
fluence on, 93 ff. ; the antinomies 
and his philosophical development, 
95 f. ; his writings during the 
eighties, 100 f. ; his writings during 
the nineties, 101 f. ; publications 
from his remains, 103; his prob- 
v lem, 139 f. ; his view of concepts/ 
K, 143 ; his view of causality, 144 f . ; 
his attitude towards scepticism 

N and rationalism, 230 f. ; his atti 
tude towards rationalism and ideal 
ism, 236 ff. ; his conception of meta 
physics, 242 ff. ; his moral person 
ality, 334 ff . ; his democratic sym 
pathies, 335 f. ; and Christianity, 
339 f. 

Kantianism, its chief aspects, 115ff. ; 
different interpretations of, 116 ff. ; 
revival of, 387 f. ; its permanent 
value, 388 ff. 

Kayserling, 34. 

Kepler, 40. 

Klopstock, 17 f. 

Knowledge, and Faith, 6, 388 ff . ; New 
Exposition of the First Principles 
of Metaphysical, 78 ; sensible and 
intelligible, 89 ff. ; possibility and 
validity of a priori, 131 ; the forms 
of, 138 f. ; objective, 176. Vid. A 

Knutzen, Martin, 32, 78. 

Konigsberg, the city of, 25 f. ; the 
university of, 30 ff.; Kant s student 
days at, 32. 

Kraus, 44, 45. 

LAAS, 172. 

Lambert, 86 note, 88, 130 note. 

La Mettrie, 330. 

Lange, 11, 387. 

Law, the moral, 299, 305 ff ., 309 f . ; 

^.the theory of, 343-361. 

Leibniz, 3, 14, 15,16, 18, 33, 40, 68, 
76, 78, 94, 102, 122, 123, 126, 163, 
\ 196, 197, 201, 207, 210, 216, 252, 
1 287, 288, 320, 325. 

basing, 17, 18, 53, 292, 367, 370. 

Lichtenberg, 46. 

Lie, On the Alleged Right to, 102. 

Lisbon earthquake, Kant s writings 
on the, 77. 

Locke, 3, 122, 126, 131, 138, 159, 349, 

Logic, Jasche s edition, 103; divi 
sions of, 110 f.; Transcendental, 

Lorenz, 390 note. 

Lose Blatter, Reicke s edition, 103. 



Lotze, 78, 252, 252 note. 
Lucretius, 33, 37. 
Luther, 7, 13, 53. 

MAGNITUDE, Essay on Negative, 83 f . 

Maier, his text-book of logic, 60. 

Malebranche, 92. 

Man, the nature of, 289 ; as a social 
being, 290 f. 

Mangelsdorf, 44. 

Marriage, Kant s views on, 355. 

Materialism, defined, 116; and em 
piricism, 126 ; its relation to meta 
physics and physics, 248 ff . 

Mathematics and Philosophy, 82 f. 

Matter, Kant s dynamic theory of, 
280 f. 

Mechanism, and teleology, 270-277 ; 
atomistic, 278 f. 

Mendelssohn, 53, 67 note, 82, 85 note, 
86 note, 117, 129, 243, 288. 

Metaphysic, of morals, 100, 102, 110, 
295 f., 298 ff. ; of nature, 110, 277. 

Metaphysical, deduction of space and 
time, 160 ff. ; deduction of the pure 
concepts of the understanding, 
171 f.; Elements of Natural Sci 
ence, 277 ff. 

Metaphysics, the unchanging charac 
ter of Kant s, 76 ; the possibility of, 
82, 86 ; essay on the progress of, 
96, 102 ; Politz s edition of Kant s, 
103; divisions of, 110; Kant s 
failure to elaborate his, 111 ; and 
the transcendental philosophy, 124 
f . ; Kant s system of, 240-286 ; the 
constructive aspect of Kant s, 242 
ff. ; and physics, 243 ff . ; and Kant s 
epistemology, 246 f. ; its restriction 
to knowledge a priori, 247 ; the 
impossibility of materialism as, 
248 f. ; the transcendent character 
of Kant s, 275 f . ; method and goal 
of, 282 ff. 

Method, of the critical philosophy, 
202 ff. ; doctrine of, 228-231 ; of 
metaphysics, 282 ff . 

Meyer, J. B., 202 note. 

Michaelis, K. Th., 376 note. 

Mill, J. S., 149, 354. 

Mind, its spontaneity, 393. 

Monadology, physical, 278. 

Montaigne, 46. 

Montesquieu, 38, 349. 

Moral, responsibility and freedom, 
258 ; Kant s, philosophy, 295-342 ; 
general character of Kant s, phi 
losophy, 296 ff. ; law, The, 299, 305 ; 
elaboration of Kant s system of, 
philosophy, 300 ff . ; obligation, 304 ; 
law, as natural law of the intel 
ligible world, 309 f. ; criticism of 
Kant s, philosophy, 324 ff . ; percep 
tions and personality of Kant, 333- 

Morality, the primacy of, 39; tran 
scendent nature of, 299 ; the form 
of, 302 ff. ; and happiness, 312 ff. ; 
and religion, 362 f. ; its relation to 
education, 373 f. ; and aesthetics, 
378 f. 

Morals, and anthropology, Kant s in 
terest in, 38 ff . ; an investigation of 
the clearness of the principles of 
natural theology and, 79 ; the Meta 
physic of, 100, 102, 110, 295 ff., 
300 ff . ; physics of, 296 ff . 

Moser, 38, 336. 

Moser, 38. 

Motion, new doctrine of rest and, 278. 

NATURE, Universal History of, 36, 40, 
76 ; metaphysic of, 110, 277. 

Necessity of judgments, 203 ff. 

Negative magnitude, vid. Magni 

Negativism in Kant s ethics, 332 f. 

Newton, 20, 32, 36, 39, 40, 87, 162, 
163 note, 180, 207, 278. 

Nietzsche, 293 note. 

Nominalism, 8. 

Noumenal world, 89 ff., 153 f., 200. 

Noumenon. 155 f . ; and phenomenon, 
198 ff. 

OBLIGATION, moral, 304. Vid. Law. 
Ontology, its proof of God, 222 f. ; 
Kant s treatment of, 248 ff. 



PANTHEISM, Kant s attitude towards, 
261 f. 

Parallelism, Kant s view of, 251 f. 

Passions, social, 290. 

Peace, the Idea of Everlasting, 102, 
355 ff. 

Pedagogy, Rink s edition of Kant s, 
103. Vid. Education. 

Perception, Kant s treatment of, 
148 ff. 

Perfection as the end of the Will, 319. 

Personality, Kant s ethics and, 54 ; 
Kant s moral, 334 ff. 

Pestalozzi, 336, 375. 

Phenomenal world, 89 ff. 

Phenomenalism, 115 ff., 125 f. 

Phenomenon, concept of, 147 ff. ; and 
noumenon, 198 ff. ; and thing-in- 
itself, 250. 

Philanthropy, Kant s interest in, 
374 f. 

Philosophy, its relation to science 
and religion, 1 ff. ; its various 
forms, 2 ff. ; ccdestis et terrena, 
9 ff. ; and mathematics, 82 f. ; con 
ception and division of, 109 ff.; 
transcendental, 110; its problem 
for humanity, 111 f . ; Kant s theo 
retical, 114-124; relation of the 
transcendental, to metaphysics, 
124 f.; Greek, 126; method of 
the critical, 202 ff. ; theology, and 
physics, 207 ff . ; as a world- 
science, 210 f. ; aim of the tran 
scendental, 242 f. ; the practical, 
294-373 ; the moral, 295-342 ; of 
nature and aesthetics, 379 f.; in 
fluence of the Kantian, 382 ff. ; the 
speculative, 384 ff. ; reaction against 
the speculative, 387 ; the funda 
mental features of the Kantian, 
388 ff. ; relation of Kant s, to 
science and religion, 391 ff. ; will 
as ground of, 392 f. 

Physical geography, Rink s edition, 

Physico-theological proof of God, 
2*24 f. 

Physics, divisions of, HOf. ; and 

philosophy, 207 ff . ; and metaphys 
ics, 243 ff . ; and materialism, 248 f.; 
transition from the metaphysical 
elements to, 281 note ; of morals, 
296 f. 

Pietism and rationalism, 13ff. 

Plato, 3, 8, 76, 92, 122, 126, 210, 222, 
307,318,325,356,357,390; Kant s 
discussion of, 199ff. ; his influence 
on Kant, 29, 310. 

Pluralism, atomistic, 262. 

Pneumatology, 84 ff., 87. 

Politz, 252, 253. 

Poetry and religion, 19 f. 

Political conditions during Kant s 
life, 346 f. 

Positivism, 115, 117. 

Postulates of Empirical Thought, 
197 f. 

Practical reason, 91, 249 ; primacy of, 
112, 116, 211, 284 f., 322, 341 f . ; 
and immortality, 253 ; and God, 
268; and teleology, 275 f. ; and 
sensibility, 302 ff.; and happiness, 
316. Vid. Critique of. 

Priestcraft, Kant s attitude towards, 

Prolegomena, 100, 185; its relation 
to the Critique of Pure Reason, 
231 ff. 

Psychological, deduction, I75ff. ; and 
ontological problem, 248 ff. 

Psychology, rational, 212 f . ; Kant s 
view of, 287. 

Punishment, Kant s theory of, 35 5. 

RATIONAL, psychology, 212 f. ; cos 
mology, 213 ff. ; theology, 221 ff. 

Rationalism, and pietism, 13 ff. ; 
Kant s, 78, 89 ff . ; formal, 115, 
117ff., 122, 126; metaphysical, 145; 
and empiricism, 229 ff . ; Kant s 
attitude towards, 230 f., 236 ff. ; 
in Kant s ethics, 302 ; in Kant s 
philosophy of religion, 362 ; Kant s 
formalistic, 394 ff. 

Realism, naive, 115 ff., 125 f. 

Reality, and compossibility, 83 ; and 
possibility, 143 ; and reason, 284 f. 




Reason, its function, 152 f. ; and un 
derstanding, 209 ; its practical and 
theoretical interests, 230; and 
reality, 284 f. ; religion and, 367 ff . 

Reflections, the, quoted, 40, 64 ; Erd- 
mann s edition, 103. 

Reformation, the, 7, 13, 15, 277. 

Regulative principles, 211 f., 227 f. 

Reicke, 103, 282, 313 note. 

Reinhold, K. L., quoted, 114 f . ; 179 
note, 380, 381. 

Relativity, genetic, 394 f. ; Kant s 
treatment of, 398. 

Religion, its relation to science 
and philosophy, 1 ff., 37 ; and 
poetry, 19 f. ; Within the Bounds of 
Pure Reason, 49, 102,367; Hume on 
natural, 226 ; Kant s philosophy of, 
362 f. ; and morality, 363 f. ; and 
the church, 364 ff . ; Kant s doctrine 
of the essence, proof, and function 
of, 371 f . ; relation of Kant s philos 
ophy to science and, 391 ff. 

Renaissance, 14, 15. 

Repulsive power of matter, 280 ff. 

Respect for the moral law, 303 f. 

Responsibility and freedom, 258. 

Reusch, 44. 

Reverence, 315. 

Revolution, Kant s view of the right 
of, 352 f. 

Right, the metaphysical principles of 
the philosophy of, 102. 

Rigorism in Kant s ethics, 332 f. 

Romanticism, its rise, 16 f. 

Rousseau, 9, 16, 19, 20, 21, 38, 39, 40, 
54, 87, 291, 292, 293, 322, 335, 349, 
351, 391. 

SAGE, Kant s ideal of the, 112. 
Scepticism, 2 ; in Kant s writings of 

the second period, 82, 115, 117 ff. ; 

Kant s attitude towards, 230 f . 
Schelling, 383. 
Schematism of the pure concepts of 

the understanding, 182 ff. 
Schematization, Kaut s mania for, 

71 f. 
Schiller, 17, 21, 55, 97, 381, 383. 

Schlozer, 38. 

Scholasticism in Kant s thought, 66 f. 

Schopenhauer, 19, 44, 67, 71, 172; 

quoted, 119; on the obscurity of 

the Analytic, 168; 226, 251, 292, 

317,355 note, 387,389. 
Schiitz, 277. 

Schultz, F. A., 29, 33, 37. 
Schultze, 68. 
Schulz, 44. 
Schulze, 382. 
Science, its relation to philosophy 

and religion, 1 ff. ; and religion, 37 ; 

Metaphysical Elements of Natural, 

100, 277 ff . ; relation of Kant s 

philosophy to religion and, 391 ff . ; 
Sensationalism, 126. 
Sense-perception, 148 f. ; and knowl 
edge a priori, 158 ff. ; and the 

categories, 184. 
Sensibility and practical reason, 

302 ff . 
Sensible, and intelligible knowledge, 

89 ff. ; world, 110, 149 ff. ; 153 f. , 


Sentimentalism, Essay on, 101. 
Shaftesbury, 38, 79, 292, 311, 321, 

Social, impulses, 344 ; conditions 

during Kant s time, 345 f. 
Socrates and Kant, 38, 55 ff . 
Sommering, 252 note. 
Sophists, 126. 
Soul, Kant s treatment of the, 212 ff. ; 

immortality of the, 252 ff . ; and 

body, 253 ff. 
Space, the ideality of, 89 ff., 94 ff., 

131; Kant s treatment of, 158 ff.; 

the apriority of, 160, f . ; empty, 

279 f. 

"oza, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 79, 126, 

143, 180, 222, 325, 356, 370, 395. 
Spinozism, 263 note, 268, 269. 
State, Kant s relation to the, 46 ; 

theory of the, 343-361 ; origin of 

the, 347 f . ; constitution of, 349 ff . 
Stern, A., 233 note. 
Stoicism, 289, 313 f. 
Stoics, 321, 325, 332, 335. 



Style, Kant s literary, 70 ff. 

Sublimity and aesthetic pleasure, 378. 

Substantiality, the category of, 172. 

Swedenborg and Kant, 84 ff., 254. 

Swift, 46. 

Synthetic judgments, their a priori 
possibility, 135 ff. ; and analytic 
judgments, 136 ff., 145 f . ; prin 
ciples, Kant s exposition of, 185 ff. 

TELEOLOGY, and mechanism, 270 ff. ; 
in ethics, 324 ff. 

Tetens, 288. 

Theism, Kant s attitude towards, 
261 f. 

Theodicy, on the failures of all 
attempts at a, 102. 

Theological problem, 260 ff. 

Theology, natural, 3 f . ; morals and 
natural, 79 ; philosophy, and physics, 
207 ff. ; rational, 221 ff. ; natural, 
261 ff . ; transcendental and moral, 
265 ff. ; moral, 317 f. 

Thing-in-itself, the concept of, 149 
ff., 153 ff. ; the categories and the, 
156 ff. ; and phenomenon, 250. 

Thomas, 8. 

Thomasius, 14. 

Thomism, Kant and the new, 8 ff. 

Thought, Essay on Orientation in, 

Time, vid. space. 

Treitschkes, quoted, 359. 

Transcendental deduction, of space 
and time, 162ff. ; of the pure con 
cepts of the understanding, 173 ff. ; 
the break in the, of the pure con 
cepts of the understanding, 179 ff. ; 
of ideas of reason, 226 ff. 

UNDERSTANDING, logical and tran 
scendental use of the, 90 ff. ; God s 
intuitive, 90 ff., 151; human, 152; 
metaphysical deduction of the pure 

concepts of the, 171 f. ; and reason, 
209 ; and teleology, 273 ff . 
Universality, of judgments, 203 ff. ; 
of the moral law, 308 f. 

VAIHINGER, on the stages of Kant s 
development, 98 note, 122; his 
Commentary on the Critique of 
Pure Reason, 127 note; 129, 130 
note ; on synthetic judgments a 
priori, 145 f. note ; on Kant s views 
of space and time, 163 note. 

Validity, the problem of objective, 
87 f., 89 ff., 131, 140, 173 ff. 

Virtue, the doctrine of, 102; and 
happiness, 314 ff. 

Volkelt, 122. 

Voltaire, 6, 16, 28, 38, 87. 

WALD, 44. 

War and republicanism, 358 f. 

Will, 1 8 f . ; its freedom, 255 ff. ; and 
legality, 303; material of the, 
312ff. ; and perfection, 319; pri 
macy of the, 391 ff . ; as ground of 
the world view, 392 f. 

Willmann, Otto, his treatment of 
Kant, 8 f. 

Winckelmann, 17, 18. 

Windelband.his view of the Disserta 
tion, 93 note. 

Winds, Theory of the, 77. 

Wisdom, practical, 39, 56, 63 f ., 86, 
112, 211. 

Wolff, 14, 15, 27, 29, 40, 57, 66, 68, 
78, 86, 102, 122, 143, 207, 287, 288, 

Wolluer, 48, 49, 50 note, 367, 368. 

World, God s relation to, 80 ff. ; phe 
nomenal and noumenal, 89 ff. ; 
sensible and intelligible, 110, 149 ff., 
200 ; its unity, 261. 

ZEDLITZ, 42, 43, 60, 101. 




Paulsen, Friedrich 
Immanuel Kant