Norman Kemp Smith.

A commentary to Kant's 'Critique of pure reason,' online

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when he proceeds in A 62 to remark that the empirical em-
ployment of pure concepts is conditioned by the fact that
objects are given in intuition, no special reference is made to
" the manifold of pure a priori intuition." Now, however,
Kant emphasises, as the fundamental characteristic of tran-
scendental logic, its possession of a pure manifold through
reference to which its pure concepts gain meaning. Thus
not only does transcendental logic not abstract from the pure
a priori concepts, it likewise possesses an a priori material. 6
It is in this twofold manner that it is now regarded as differ-
ing from formal logic.

The accounts given of the metaphysical deduction by

1 i. p. 343 ff. 2 Cf. below, p. 391 ff. 3 A 76-79 = 6 102-5.

4 Cf. above, p. 171. 5 A 55. 6 Cf. also B 160.


Cohen, 1 Caird, 2 Riehl, 3 and Watson 4 are vitiated by failure
to remark that this latter standpoint is a late development,
and is out of keeping with the rest of the deduction. Riehl's
exposition has, however, the merit of comparative consistency.
He explicitly recognises the important consequence which at
once follows from acceptance of this later view, namely, that
it is by their implying space and time that the categories
differ from the notions which determine the forms of judg- ,
ment ; in other words, that the categories are actualized only as I
schemata. The category of substance, for instance, differs
from the merely logical notion of a prepositional subject, in
being the concept of that which is always a subject, and
never a predicate ; and such a conception has specific meaning
for us only as the permanent in time. Logical subjects and
predicates, quantitative relations apart, are interchangeable.
The relation between them is the analytic relation of identity.
The concept of subject, on the other hand, transcendentally
viewed, that is, as a category, is the apprehension of what is
permanent, in synthetic distinction from, and relation to, its
changing attributes. In other words, the transcendental dis-
tinction between substance and accidents is substituted for that
of subject and predicate. Similarly the logical relation of
ground and consequence, conceived as expressive of logical
identity, gives way to the synthetic temporal relation of cause
and effect. And so with all the other pure forms. As cate-
gories, they are schemata. Kant has virtually recognised this
by the names which he gives to the categories of relation.
But the proper recognition of the necessary interdependence
of the intuitional and conceptual forms came too late to
prevent him from distinguishing between categories and
schemata, and so from creating for himself the artificial
difficulties of the section on schematism.

In A 82 Kant states that he intentionally omits definitions
of the categories. He had good reason for so doing. The
attempt would have landed him in manifold difficulties, since
his views were not yet sufficiently ripe to allow of his per-
ceiving the way of escape. In A 241 (omitted in second
edition) Kant makes, however, the directly counter statement
that definition of the categories is not possible, giving as his
reason that, in isolation from the conditions of sensibility, they
are merely logical functions, " without the slightest indication
as to how they can possess meaning and objective validity." 5

1 Kants Theorie der Erfahnmg, 2nd ed. p. 257 ff.

2 The Critical Philosophy of Kant, i. p. 327 ff.

. 3 Philosophischer Kriticismus, 2nd ed. i. p. 484 ff.
4 Kant explained, p. 124 ff. 5 Cf. below, p. 198.


It cannot be too often repeated that the Critique is not
a unitary work, but the patchwork record of twelve years of
continuous development. Certain portions of the transcend-
ental deduction, of which A 76-9 is one, represent the
latest of all the many stages ; and their teaching, when accepted,
calls for a radical recasting of the metaphysical deduction.
The bringing of the entire Critique into line with its maturest
parts would have been an Herculean task ; and it was one
to which Kant, then fifty-seven years of age, was very rightly
unwilling to sacrifice the time urgently needed for the writing
of his other Critiques. The passage before us is one of the
many interpolations by which Kant endeavoured to give an
external unity to what, on close study, is found to be the
plain record of successive and conflicting views. Meantime,
in dealing with this passage, we are concerned only to note
that if this later mode of defining transcendental logic be
accepted, far-reaching modifications in Kant's Critical teaching
have to be made. The other points developed in A 76-9 we
discuss below : in their proper connection.

The same Function, etc. 2 This passage has already been
sufficiently commented upon. 3 Kant here expresses in quite
inadequate fashion the standpoint of the transcendental deduc-
tion. The implication is that analytic and synthetic thinking
are co-ordinate, one and the same faculty exercising, on these
two levels, the same operations. The true Critical teaching
is that synthetic thinking is alone fundamental, and that only
by a regress upon it can judgments be adequately accounted
for. This passage, like the preceding, may be of later origin
than the main sections of the metaphysical deduction.

Term " Categories " 4 borrowed from Aristotle. Cf. below,
p. 198.

Table of Categories. Quantity. Kant derives the category
of unity from the universal, 5 and that of totality (Allheit)*
from the singular. These derivations are extremely artificial.
In Reflexionen, ii. 563, Kant takes the more natural line of
identifying totality with the universal, and unity with the
singular. Probably 7 the reason of Kant's change of view is
the necessity of obtaining totality by combining unity with
multiplicity. That can only be done if universality is thus
equated with unity. Watson's explanation, 8 that Kant has
reversed the order of the categories, seems to be erroneous.

Quality. Cf. above, p. 192.

Relation. The correlation of the categorical judgment

1 P. 226. 2 A 79 = B 105. 3 Cf. above, p. 177 ff.

4 A 79-80. 5 Cf. above, p. 192. 6 Cf. Bui.

7 Cf. Adickes, Systematik, pp. 42-3. 8 Kant Explained, p. 128.


with the conception of substance and attribute is only possible 1
owing to Kant's neglect of the relational judgment and to the
dominance in his logical teaching of the Aristotelian substance-
attribute view of predication. The correlation is also open
to question in that the relation of subject and predicate terms
in a logical judgment is a reversible one. It is a long step
from the merely grammatical subject to the conception of that
which is always a subject and never a predicate.

Kant's identification of the category of community or
reciprocity with the disjunctive judgment, though at first
sight the most arbitrary of all, is not more so than many of
the others. Its essential correctness has been insisted upon
in recent logic by Sigwart, Bradley, and Bosanquet. In
Kant's own personal view 2 co-ordination in the form of co-
existence is only possible through reciprocal interaction.
The relation of whole and part (the parts in their relations
of reciprocal exclusion exhausting and constituting a genuine
whole) thus becomes, in its application to actual existences,
that of reciprocal causation. The reverse likewise holds ;
interaction is only possible between existences which together
constitute a unity. 3 Kant returns to this point in. Note 3,
added in the second edition. 4 The objection which Kant there
considers has been very pointedly stated by Schopenhauer.

"What real analogy is there between the problematical deter-
mination of a concept by disjunctive predicates and the thought of
reciprocity ? The two are indeed absolutely opposed, for in the dis-
junctive judgment the actual affirmation of one of the two alternative
propositions is also necessarily the negation of the other ; if, on the
other hand, we think of two things in the relation of reciprocity,
the affirmation of one is also necessarily the affirmation of the other,
and vice

The answer to this criticism is on the lines suggested by
Kant. The various judgments which constitute a disjunction
do not, when viewed as parts of the disjunction^ merely negate
one another ; they mutually presuppose one another in the
total complex. Schopenhauer also fails to observe that in
locating the part of a real whole in one part of space, we
exclude it from all the others. 6

Modality. The existence of separate categories of modality

1 Cf. above, p. 37. 2 Cf. Dissertation, 16 to 28, and below, p. 381 ff.

3 Cf. Reflexionen, ii. 795. 4 B 111-13.

5 World as Will and Idea, Werke (Frauenstadt), ii. p. 544 ; Eng. trans.
ii. p. 61.

6 Cf. Stadler, Grundsatze der reinen Erkenntnisstheorie (1876), p. 122. Cf.
also below, pp. 387-9.


seems highly doubtful. The concepts of the possible and of
the probable may be viewed as derivative ; the notion of
existence does not seem to differ from that of reality ; and
necessity seems in ultimate analysis to reduce to the concept
of ground and consequence. These are points which will be
discussed later. 1

Aristotle's ten categories 2 are enumerated by Kant in
Reflexionen, ii. 522, 3 as: (i) substantia, accidens, (2) qualitas,
(3) quantitas, (4) relatio, (5) actio, (6) passio, (7) quando,
(8) ubi, (9) situs, (10) habitus ; and the five post-predicaments
as : oppositum, prius, simul, motus, habere. Eliminating quando,
ubi, situs, prius, and simul as being modes of sensibility ;
actio and passio as being complex and derivative ; and also
omitting habitus (condition) and habere, as being too general
and indefinite in meaning to constitute separate categories ;
we are then left with substantia, qualitas, quantitas, relatio,
and oppositum. The most serious defect in this reduced list,
from the Kantian point of view, is its omission of causality.
It is, however, a curious coincidence that when substance is
taken as a form of relatio, and oppositum as a form of quality,
we are left with the three groups, quality, quantity, relation.
Only modality is lacking to complete Kant's own fourfold
grouping. None the less, as the study of Kant's Reflexionen
sufficiently proves, 4 it was by an entirely different route that
Kant travelled to his metaphysical deduction. Watson does
not seem to have any ground for his contention 5 that the
above modified list of Aristotle's categories " gave Kant his
starting-point." It was there indeed, as the reference to
Aristotle in his letter of 1772 to Herz shows, that he first
looked for assistance, only, however, to be disappointed in his

Derivative concepts. 6 Cf. above, pp. 66, 71-2.

I reserve this task for another occasion. 7 Cf. A 204 = B 249 ;
A 13 ; above, p. 66 ff., and below, pp. 379-80.

Definitions of categories omitted. 8 Cf. above, pp. 195-6, and
A 241 there cited ; also below, pp. 339-42, 404-5.

Note I. 9 On this distinction between mathematical and
dynamical categories cf. below, pp. 345-7, 510-11.

Note 2. 10 This remark is inserted to meet a criticism
which had been made by Johann Schulze, 11 and to which Kant
in February 1784 had replied in terms almost identical with
those of the present passage.

1 Cf. below, p. 391 ff. 2 A 81. 3 Cf. Prolegomena, 39.

4 Cf. above, p. 186 ff. 5 Kant Explained, p. 120.

6 A 81. ' A 82. s A 82.

9 B 1 10. 10 B uo-ii. n Cf. below, pp. 199-200.


" The third category certainly springs from the connection of the
first and second, not, indeed, from their mere combination, but from
a connection the possibility of which constitutes a concept that is a
special category. For this reason the third category may not be
applicable in instances in which the other two apply : e.g. one year,
many years of future time, are real concepts, but the totality of future
years, that is, the collective unity of a future eternity, conceived
as entire (so to say, as completed), is something that cannot be
thought. But even in those cases in which the third category is
applicable, it always contains something more than the first and the
second taken separately and together, namely the derivation of the
second from the first, a process which is not always practicable.
Necessity, for example, is nothing else than existence, in so far as it
can be inferred from possibility. Community is the reciprocal
causality of substances in respect of their determinations. But
that determinations of one substance can be produced by another
substance, is something that we may not simply assume ; it is one of
those connections without which there could be no reciprocal
relation of things in space, and therefore no outer experience. In a
word, I find that just as the conclusion of a syllogism indicates, in
addition to the operations of understanding and judgment in the
premisses, a special operation peculiar to reason . . . , so also the third
category is a special, and in part original, concept. For instance,
the concepts, quantum, compositum, totum, come under the categories
unity, plurality, totality, but a quantum thought as compositum would
not yield the concept of totality unless the concept of the quantum
is thought as determinate through the composition, and in certain
quanta, such as infinite space, that cannot be done." !

Kant's assertion that in certain cases the third category is
not applicable is misleading. His proof of the validity of
the category of reciprocity in the third Analogy really
consists in showing that it is necessary to the apprehension
of spatial co-existence ; 2 and if, as Kant maintains, con-
sciousness of space is necessary to consciousness of time,
it is thereby proved to be involved in each and every act of
consciousness. It is presupposed in the apprehension even of
substantial existence and of causal sequence. His proof that
it is a unique category, distinct from the mere combination of
the categories of substance and causality, does not, therefore,
assume what his words in the above letter would seem to
imply, that it is only occasionally employed. The same
remark holds in regard to totality ; it is presupposed even in
the apprehension of a single year. Kant's references, both
here and in other parts of the Critique? to totality in its
bearing upon the conception of infinitude, reveal considerable

1 W. x. p. 344-5. 2 Cf. below, p, 382 ff.

3 Cf. below, pp. 433-4, 451, 480, 529, 559-60.


lack of clearness as to the relation in which it stands to the
Idea of the unconditioned. Sometimes, as in this letter, he
would seem to be identifying them ; elsewhere this confusion
is avoided. In B in totality is defined as multiplicity
regarded as unity, and in A 142-3 = B 182 its schema is defined
as number. (The identification of totality with number has
led Kant to say in B 1 1 1 that number is not applicable in the
representation of the infinite, a much more questionable
assertion than that of the letter above quoted.) The state-
ment that necessity is existence in so far as it can be inferred
from possibility, or that it is existence given through
possibility, is similarly misleading. Kant's true position is
that all three are necessary to the conception of any one of
the three.

Thus Kant's reply to Schulze, alike in his letter and in
Note 2, fails to indicate with any real adequacy the true bear-
ing of Critical teaching in this matter ; and consequently
fails to reveal the full force of his position. Only in terms
of totality can unity and plurality be apprehended ; only
through the reciprocal relations which determine co-existence
can we acquire consciousness of either permanence or sequence;
only in terms of necessity can either existence or possibility
be defined. The third category is not derived from a prior
knowledge of the subordinate categories. It represents in
each case a higher complex within which alone the simpler
relations defined by the simpler concepts can exist or have

B 113-16, 12. This section, of no intrinsic importance, is
an example of Kant's loving devotion to this " architectonic."
His reasoning is extremely artificial, especially in its attempt
to connect " unity, truth, and perfection " with the three cate-
gories of quantity. The Reflexionen show how greatly Kant
was preoccupied with these three concepts, seeking either to
base a table of categories upon them (B. Erdmann's inter-
pretation), or to reduce them to categories (Adickes* inter-
pretation). For some time Kant himself ranked with those
who 1 "incautiously made these criteria of thought to be
properties of the things in themselves." In Reflexionen, ii. 9O3, 2
we find the following statement : " Unity (connection, agree-
ment), truth (quality), completeness (quantity)." In ii. 916 3
Kant makes trial to connect them, as conceptions of possi-
bility, with the categories of relation. In ii. 911 and 912
the later view, that they are logical in character and function,
appears, but leads to their being set in relation to the three
faculties of understanding, judgment, and reason. This is
1 B 114. 2 Cf. 904-5. Cf. 907-10.


conjectured by B. Erdmann to have been Kant's view at the
time of the first edition, ii. 915, 919, 920 present the view
expounded in the section before us. 1 Erdmann 2 remarks that
in this section Kant " is settling accounts with certain thoughts
which in the 'seventies had yielded suggestions for the
transformation of ontology into the transcendental analytic."

1 Cf. B. Erdmann, Mittheihmgen in Phil. Monatshefte, 1884, p. 80, and
Adickes, Systematik, pp. 55-9.

2 Reflexionen, ii. p. 252 n.



First edition Subjective and Objective Deductions. In dealing
with the transcendental deduction, as given in the first edition,
we can make use of the masterly and convincing analysis
which Vaihinger l (building upon Adickes* previous results,
but developing an independent and quite original interpreta-
tion) has given of its inconsecutive and strangely bewildering
argumentation. Vaihinger's analysis is an excellent example
of detective genius in the field of scholarship. From internal
evidence, circumstantially supported by the Reflexionen and
Lose Blatter, he is able to prove that the deduction is
composed of manuscripts, externally pieced together, and
representing no less than four distinct stages in the slow
and gradual development of Kant's views. Like geological
deposits, they remain to record the processes by which the
final result has come to be. Though they do not in their
present setting represent the correct chronological order,
that may be determined once the proper clues to their
disentanglement have been duly discovered. That discovery
is itself, however, no easy task ; for the unexpected, while
lending colour and incident to the commentator's enterprise,
baffles his natural expectations at every turn. The first stage
is one in which Kant dispenses with the categories, and in
which, when they are referred to, they are taken as applying
to things in themselves. The last stage, worked out, as
there is ground for believing, in the haste and excitement of
the final revision, is not represented in the Prolegomena or
in the second edition of the Critique, the author retracing
his steps and resuming the standpoint of the stage which
preceded it. The fortunate accident of Kant's having
jotted down upon the back of a dated paper the record of

1 " Die transcendentale Deduktion der Kategorien " in the Gedenkschrift fur
Rudolf Hay m. Published separately in 1902.



his passing thought (one of the few Lose Blatter that are
thus datable) is the culminating incident in this philosophical
drama. It felicitously serves as a keystone in the body of
evidence supported by general reasoning.

Before becoming acquainted with Vaihinger's analysis I
had observed Kant's ascription to empirical concepts of the
functions elsewhere allotted to the categories, but had been
hopelessly puzzled as to how such teaching could be fitted
into his general system. Vaihinger's view of it as a pre-
Critical survival would seem to be the only possible satisfactory
solution. For the view which I have taken of Kant's doctrine
of the transcendental object as also pre-Critical, and for its
employment as a clue to the dating of passages, I am myself
alone responsible.

The order of my exposition will be as follows : 1

I. Enumeration, in chronological order, of the four stages
which compose the deduction of the first edition, and citation
of the passages which represent each separate stage.

II. Detailed analysis, again in chronological order, of
each successive stage, with exposition of the views which it

III. Examination of the evidence yielded by the Re-
flexionen and Lose Blatter in support of the above analysis.

IV. Connected statement and discussion of the total
argument of the deduction.

I. Enumeration of the Four Stages

This stage is represented by 2 : (a) II. 3 (from beginning of
the third paragraph to end of 3) = A 104-10 ; (b) I. 13 (the
entire section) = A 84-92 (retained in second edition as B 116-
24). a discusses the problem of the reference of sensations
to an object, b that of the objective validity of the categories.
b is therefore transitional to the second stage.

This stage is represented by : (a) I. [ 14] (with the exception
of its concluding paragraph) = A 92-4 (retained in second
edition as B 124-7) ; () H. (the first four paragraphs) = A 95-7 ;
(c) II. 4 (the entire section) = A 110-14.

1 Readers who are not immediately interested in the analysis of the text or in
the history of Kant's earlier semi-Critical views may omit pp. 203-34, with
exception of pp. 204-19, on Kant's doctrine of the transcendental object, which
should be read.

2 The reader is recommended to mark off the passages in a copy of the Critique.


ENTAL SYNTHESIS. This stage is represented by (a)
(from beginning of seventh paragraph to end of twelfth)
= A 119-23; () III. a (from beginning of third paragraph
to end of sixth) = A 116-19; (c)l. 14 (Concluding paragraph)
= A 94-5 ; (d) III. 8 (from beginning of sixteenth paragraph
to end of section preceding summary) = A 126-8 ; (e)
S(ummary) (in conclusion to III.) = A 128-30; (/) Ill.y
(from beginning of thirteenth paragraph to end of fifteenth)
= A 123-6; (g) I(ntroduction) (from beginning of section to
end of second paragraph) = A 115-16; (Ji) 10 T(ransitional
to the fourth stage) = A 76-9 (retained as B 102-4).

SCENDENTAL SYNTHESIS. This stage is represented by : (a)
II. 1-3 (from opening of I to end of second paragraph in 3)
= A 98-104 ; (fr) II. (the two paragraphs immediately pre-
ceding a] = A 97-8.

II. Detailed Analysis of the Four Stages

First Stage. A 104-10; A 84-92 (B 116-24).

A 104-10; II. 3. This is the one passage in the Critique
in which Kant explicitly defines his doctrine of the " transcend-
ental object " ; and careful examination of the text shows
that by it he means the thing in itself, conceived as being the
object of our representations. Such teaching is, of course,
thoroughly un-Critical ; and as I shall try to show, this was
very early realised by Kant himself. The passages in which
the phrase " transcendental object " occurs are, like the section
before us, in every instance of early origin. It is significant
that the transcendental object is not again referred to in the
deduction of the first edition. 1 Though it reappears in the
chapter on phenomena and noumena, it does so in a passage
which Kant excised in the second edition. The paragraphs
which he then substituted make'no mention of it. The doctrine
is of frequent occurrence in the Dialectic, and combines with
other independent evidence to show that the larger part of
the Dialectic is of early origin. That the doctrine of the
transcendental object is thus a pre-Critical or semi-Critical
survival has, so far as I am aware, not hitherto been observed
by any writer upon Kant. It has invariably been interpreted

Online LibraryNorman Kemp SmithA commentary to Kant's 'Critique of pure reason,' → online text (page 27 of 72)