Norman Kemp Smith.

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

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jective relation under the pure unity of apperception, and not
merely in subjective relation owing to the play of association
in the individual mind. "Judgment is nothing but the
mode of bringing cognitions to the objective unity of
apperception," i.e. of giving to them a validity which holds
independently of the subjective processes through which
it is apprehended. Objective relations are not, of course,
all necessary or universal ; and a judgment may, therefore,
assert a relation which is empirical and contingent. None
the less the fundamental distinction between it and any
mere relation of association still persists. The empirical
relation is still in the judgment asserted to be objective.
The subject and the predicate are asserted, in the par-
ticular case or cases to which the judgment refers, to be
connected in the object and not merely in the mind of the
subject. Or otherwise stated, though subject and predicate
are not themselves declared to be necessarily and universally
related to one another, their contingent relation has to be
viewed as objectively, and therefore necessarily, grounded.
Judgment always presupposes the existence of necessary
relations even when it is not concerned to assert them.
Judgment is the organ of objective knowledge, and is therefore

1 B 140-2.


bound up, indirectly when not directly, with the universality
and necessity which are the sole criteria of knowledge. The
judgment expressive of contingency is still judgment, and is
therefore no less necessary in its conditions, and no less
objective in its validity, than is a universal judgment of the
scientific type. To use Kant's own terminology, judgment
acquires objective validity through participation in the
necessary unity of apperception. In so doing it is made to
embody those principles of the objective determination of all
representations through which alone cognition is possible.

(8) 1 As judgment is nothing but the mode of bringing
cognitions to the objective unity of apperception, it follows
that the categories, which in the metaphysical deduction
have been proved to be the possible functions in judging, are
the conditions in and through which such pure apperception
becomes possible. Apperception conditions experience, and
the unity which both demand for their possibility is that of
the categories.

Before passing to the remaining sections of the deduction, 2
which are supplementary rather than essential, I may add
comment upon the above points. Only (7) and (8) call for
special consideration. They represent a form of argument
which has no counterpart in the first edition. As we noted, 3
the first edition argument is defective owing to its failure
to demonstrate that the categories constitute the unity which
is necessary to knowledge. By introducing in the second
edition this analysis of judgment, and by showing the in-
separable connection between pure apperception, objective
consciousness and judgment, this defect is in some degree
removed. As the categories correspond to the possible
functions of judgment, their objective validity is thereby
established. By this means also the connection which in
Kant's view exists between the metaphysical and the tran-
scendental deductions receives for the first time proper
recognition. The categories which in the former deduction
are discovered and systematised through logical analysis of
the form of judgment, are in the latter deduction, through
transcendental analysis of the function of judgment, shown to
be just those forms of relation which are necessary to the
possibility of knowledge. It must, however, be noted that
the transcendental argument is brought to completion only
through assumption of the adequacy of the metaphysical
deduction. No independent attempt is made to show that the
particular categories obtained in the metaphysical deduction

1 B 143. 2 21-27. 8 Above, pp. 252-3, 258, 287.


are those which are required, that there are no others, or that
all the twelve are indispensable.

(7) is a development of an argument which first appean
in the Prolegomena. The statement of it there given is,
however, extremely confused, owing to the distinction which
Kant most unfortunately introduces 1 between judgments oi
experience and judgments of perception. That distinction is
entirely worthless and can only serve to mislead the reader.
It cuts at the very root of Kant's Critical teaching. Judgments
of perception involve, Kant says, no category of the under-
standing, but only what he is pleased to call the " logical
connection of perceptions in a thinking subject." What that
may be he nowhere explains, save by adding 2 that in it
perceptions are " compared and conjoined in a consciousness
of my state " (also spoken of by Kant as " empirical conscious-
ness "), and not " in consciousness in general."

" All our judgments are at first mere judgments of perception ;
they hold good merely for us (that is, for the individual subject),
and we do not till afterwards give them a new reference, namely, to
an object. . . . To illustrate the matter : that the room is warm,
sugar sweet, and wormwood bitter these are merely subjectively
valid judgments. I do not at all demand that I myself should at all
times, or that every other person should, find the facts to be what I
now assert ; they only express a reference of two sensations to the
same subject, to myself, and that only in my present state of
perception. Consequently they are not intended to be valid of the
object. Such judgments I have named those of perception.
Judgments of experience are of quite a different nature. What
experience teaches me under certain circumstances, it must teach
me always and teach everybody, and its validity is riot limited to
the subject or to its state at a particular time." 3

The illegitimacy and the thoroughly misleading character
of this distinction hardly require to be pointed out.
Obviously Kant is here confusing assertion of contingency
and contingency of assertion. 4 A judgment of contingency,
in order to be valid, must itself be necessary. Even a
momentary state of the self is referable to an object in
judgment only if that object is causally, and therefore
necessarily, concerned in its production. 5

The distinction is repeated in 22 as follows :

" Thinking is the combining of representations in one conscious-
ness. This combination is either merely relative to the subject, and
is contingent and subjective, or is absolute, and is necessary or

1 Prolegomena, 18. 2 Op. tit. 20.

3 Op. cit. 18-19; Eng. trans, pp. 54-5.
4 Cf. above, pp. 39-40, 286-7. 8 Cf. below, p. 370.


objective. The combination of representations in one consciousness
is judgment. Thinking, therefore, is the same as judging, or the
relating of representations to judgments in general. Judgments,
therefore, are either merely subjective, or they are objective. They
are subjective when representations are related to a conscious-
ness in one subject only, and are combined in it alone. They are
objective when they are united in a consciousness in general, that
is, necessarily." 1

To accept this distinction is to throw the entire argument
into confusion. This Kant seems to have himself recognised
in the interval between the Prolegomena and the second
edition of the Critique. For in the section before us there is
no trace of it. The opposition is no longer between subjective
and objective judgment, but only between association of
ideas and judgment which as such is always objective. The
distinction drawn in the Prolegomena is only, indeed, a more
definite formulation of the distinction which runs through the
first edition of the Critique between the indeterminate and
the determinate object of consciousness. The more definite
formulation of it seems, however, to have had the happy
effect of enabling Kant to realise the illegitimacy of any such

We may now proceed to consider the remaining
sections. 2 In section 21 3 Kant makes a very surprising
statement. The above argument, which he summarises in a
sentence, yields, he declares, " the beginning of a deduction of
the pure concepts of understanding." This can hardly be
taken as representing Kant's real estimate of the significance
of the preceding argument, and would seem to be due to a
temporary preoccupation with the problems that centre in the
doctrine of schematism. So far, Kant adds in explanation,
no account has been taken of the particular manner in which
the manifold of empirical intuition is supplied to us. 4 The
necessary supplement, consisting of a very brief outline
statement of the doctrine of schematism, is given in
section 26. 5 It differs from the teaching of the special
chapter devoted to schematism in emphasising space equally
with time. The doctrine of pure a priori manifolds is
incidentally asserted. 6 Section 26 concludes by consideration
of the question why appearances must conform to the a priori
categories. It is no more surprising, Kant claims, than that

1 Op. cit. 22. Cf. below, p. 311 . 4. a 21-7. 1J 3 B 143.

4 This leads on in the second paragraph of 21 to further statements, already
commented upon above, pp. 186, 257-8. Cf. also 23.

5 Cf. also 24. 6 Cf. above, pp. 90 ff., 171, 226-9, 267-70; below, ^337.



they should agree with the a priori forms of intuition. The
categories and the intuitional forms are relative to the same
subject to which the appearances are relative ; and the
appearances " as mere representations are subject to no law
of connection save that which the combining faculty

The summary of the deduction given in section 27
discusses the three possible theories regarding the origin of
pure concepts, viz. those of generatio aequivoca (out of
experience), epigenesis, and preformation. The first is dis-
proved by the deduction. The second is the doctrine of the
deduction and fulfils all the requirements of demonstration.
The proof that the categories are at once independent of
experience and yet also universally valid for all experience is
of the strongest possible kind, namely, that they make
experience itself possible. The third theory, that the
categories, while subjective and self-discovered, originate in
faculties which are implanted in us by our Creator and which
are so formed as to yield concepts in harmony with the laws
of nature, lies open to two main objections. In the first place,
this is an hypothesis capable of accounting equally well for
any kind of a priori whatsoever ; the predetermined powers
of judgment can be multiplied without limit. But a second
objection is decisive, namely, that on such a theory the
categories would lack the particular kind of necessity
which is required. They would express only the necessities
imposed upon our thinking by the constitution of our minds,
and would not justify any assertion of necessary connection in
the object. Kant might also have added, 1 that this hypothesis
is metaphysical, and therefore offers in explanation of the
empirical validity of a priori concepts a theory which rests
upon and involves their unconditioned employment. That is
a criticism which is reinforced by the teaching of the Dialectic.

To return now to the omitted sections 22 to 25. Section
22 makes no fresh contribution to the argument of the first
edition. Its teaching in regard to pure intuition and mathe-
matical knowledge has already been commented upon. In
section 23 Kant dwells upon an interesting consequence of the
argument of the deduction. The categories have a wider scope
than the pure forms of sense. Since the argument of the de-
duction has shown that judgment is the indispensable instru-
ment both for reducing a manifold to the unity of apperception
and also for conferring upon representations a relation to an
object, it follows that the categories which are simply the
possible functions of unity in judgment are valid for any and
1 Cf. above, pp. 28, 47, 114, 141-2.



ery consciousness that is sensuously conditioned and whose
knowledge is therefore acquired through synthesis of a given
manifold. Though such consciousness may not intuit in
terms of space and time, it must none the less apprehend
objects in terms of the categories. The categories thus extend
to objects of sensuous intuition in general. They are not,
however, valid of objects as such, that is, of things in them-
selves. As empty relational forms they have meaning only
in reference to a given matter ; and as instruments for the
reduction of variety to the unity of apperception their validity
has been proved only for conscious and sensuous experience.
Even if the possibility of a non-sensuous intuitive understand-
ing, capable of apprehending things in themselves, be granted,
we have no sufficient ground for asserting that the forms
which such understanding will employ must coincide with the
categories. 1 These are points which will come up for
discussion in connection with Kant's more detailed argument
in the chapter on the distinction between phenomena and
noumena. 2

The heading to section 24 is decidedly misleading. The
phrase " objects of the senses in general " might be synonymous
with " objects of intuition in general " of the preceding
section. To interpret it, however, by the contents of the
section, it means " objects of our senses." This section ought,
therefore, to form part of section 26, which in its opening
sentences supplies its proper introduction. (It may also be
noted that the opening sentences of section 24 are a needless
repetition of section 23. This would seem to show that it
was not written in immediate continuation of it.) The first
three paragraphs of section 24 expound the same doctrine of
schematism as that outlined in section 26, save that time
alone is referred to. The remaining paragraphs of section 24
deal with the connected doctrine of inner sense. Section 25
deals with certain consequences which follow from that doctrine
of inner sense. 3


We have still to consider a doctrine of great importance
in Kant's thinking, that of inner sense. The significance
of this doctrine is almost inversely proportionate to the
scantiness and obscurity of the passages in which it is
expounded and developed. Much of the indefiniteness and
illusiveness of the current interpretations of Kant would seem

1 Cf. 21, second paragraph.

<<! Cf. above, pp. 160, 186, 257, and below, pp. 325-6, 330-1, 390-1, 404 ff.

Cf. below, pp. 324, 329.


to be directly traceable to the commentator's failure to
appreciate the position which it occupies in Kant's system.
Several of Kant's chief results are given as deductions from it,
while it itself, in turn, is largely inspired by the need for a
secure basis upon which these positions may be made to rest.
The relation of the doctrine to its consequences is thus twofold.
Kant formulates it in order to safeguard or rather to justify
certain conclusions ; and yet these conclusions have themselves
in part been arrived at owing to his readiness to accept such
a doctrine, and to what would seem to have been his almost
instinctive feeling of its kinship (notwithstanding the very
crude form in which alone he was able to formulate it) with
Critical teaching. It was probably one of the earliest of the
many new tenets which Kant adopted in the years im-
mediately subsequent to the publication of the inaugural
Dissertation, but it first received adequate statement in the
second edition of the Critique. Kant took advantage of
the second edition to reply to certain criticisms to which his
view of time had given rise, and in so doing was compelled
to formulate the doctrine of inner sense in a much more
explicit manner. Hitherto he had assumed its truth, but had
not, as it would seem, sufficiently reflected upon the various
connected conclusions to which he was thereby committed.
This is one of the many instances which show how what is
most fundamental in Kant's thinking is frequently that of
which he was himself least definitely aware. Like other
thinkers, he was most apt to discuss what he himself was
inclined to question and feel doubt over. The sources of his
insight as well as the causes of his failure often lay beyond
the purview of his explicitly developed tenets ; and only
under the stimulus of criticism was he constrained and enabled
to bring them within the circle of reasoned conviction. We
may venture the prophecy that if Kant had been able to
devote several years more to the maturing of the problems
which in the face of so many difficulties he had brought thus
far, the doctrine of inner sense, or rather the doctrines to
which it gives expression, would have been placed in the
forefront of his teaching, and their systematic interconnection,
both in the way of ground and of consequence, with all his
chief tenets would have been traced and securely established.
This would have involved, however, two very important
changes. In the first place, Kant would have had to recognise
the unsatisfactory character of the supposed analogy between
inner and outer sense. As already remarked, 1 no great thinker,
except Locke, has attempted to interpret inner consciousness

1 Above, p. 148.


on the analogy of the senses ; and the obscurities of -Kant's
argument are not, therefore, to be excused on the ground
that " the difficulty, how a subject can have an internal
intuition of itself, is common to every theory." Secondly,
Kant would have had to define the relation in which he con-
ceived this part of his teaching to stand to his theory of
consciousness. But both these changes could have been
made without requiring that he should give up the doctrines
which are mainly responsible for his theory of inner sense,
namely, that there can be no awareness of awareness, but
only of existences which are objective, and that there is
consequently no consciousness of the generative, synthetic
processes 1 which constitute consciousness on its subjective
side. It is largely in virtue of these conclusions that Kant's
phenomenalism differs from the subjective idealism of his
predecessors. If we ignore or reject them, merely because
of the obviously unsatisfactory manner in which alone Kant
has been able to formulate them, we rule ourselves out from
understanding the intention and purpose of much that is
most characteristic of Critical teaching.

The doctrine of inner sense, as expounded by Locke,
suffers from an ambiguity which seems almost inseparable
from it, namely, the confusion between inner sense, on the
one hand as a sense in some degree analogous in nature to
what may be called outer sense, and on the other as consisting
in self-conscious reflection. This same confusion is traceable
throughout the Critique, and is, as we shall find, in large part
responsible for Kant's failure to recognise, independently of
outside criticism, the central and indispensable part which
this doctrine is called upon to play in his system.

The doctrine is stated by Kant as follows. Just as
outer sense is affected by noumenal agencies, and so yields a
manifold arranged in terms of a form peculiar to it, namely,
space, so inner sense is affected by the mind itself and its
inner, state. 2 The manifold thereby caused is arranged in
terms of a form peculiar to inner sense, namely, time. The
content thus arranged falls into two main divisions. On the
one hand we have feelings, desires, volitions, that is, states of
the mind in the strict sense, subjective non-spatial existences.
On the other hand we have sensations, perceptions, images,
concepts, in a word, representations (Vorstellungeri} of every
possible type. These latter all refer to the external world in
space, and yet, according to Kant, speaking from the limited
point of view of a critique of knowledge, form the proper

1 Cf. above, pp. xliii-v, 1-ii, 238, 261-2, 263 ff., 273 ff. ; below, pp. 295 ff.,
322 ff. 2 Cf. B 67-8 ; A 33 = B 49.


content of inner sense. " . . . the representations of the outer
senses constitute the actual material with which we occupy
our minds," l " the whole material of knowledge even for our
inner sense." 2 (These statements, it may be observed, are
first made in the second edition.) As Kant explains himself
in B 67-8, he would seem to mean that the mind in the
process of " setting " representations of outer sense in space
affects itself, and is therefore constrained to arrange the given
representations likewise in time. No new content, additional
to that of outer sense, is thereby generated, but what previ-
ously as object of outer sense existed merely in space is now
also subjected to conditions of time. The representations of
outer sense are all by their very nature likewise representa-
tions of inner sense. To outer sense is due both their content
and their spatial form ; to inner sense they owe only the
additional form of time ; their content remains unaffected in
the process of being taken over by a second sense. This
yields such explanation as is possible of Kant's assertion in
A 33 that " time can never be a determination of outer
appearances." He may be taken as meaning that time is
never a determination of outer sense as such, but only of its
contents as always likewise subject to the form of inner sense. 3

This is how Kant formulates his position from the ex-
treme subjectivist point of view which omits to draw any
distinction between representation and its object, between
inner states of the self and appearances in space. All repre-
sentations, he says, 4 all appearances without exception, are
states of inner sense, modifications of the mind. Some exist
only in time, some exist both in space and in time ; but all
alike are modes of the identical self, mere representations
(blosse Vorstellungen). Though appearances may exist out-
side one another in space, space itself exists only as repre-
sentation, merely " in us."

Now without seeking to deny that this is a view which
we find in the second edition of the Critique as well as in the
first, 5 and that even in passages which are obviously quite
late in date of writing Kant frequently speaks in terms which
conform to it, we must be no less insistent in maintaining that
1 B 67. 2 B xxxix ^

3 Kant very probably arrived at this view of inner sense under the influence
of Tetens who teaches a similar doctrine in his Philosophise he Versuche iiber die
menschliche Natur und ihre Eritwickelung. Cf. Bd. i. ; Venuch \. 7, 8. The first
volume of Tetens' work was published in 1777 (re-issued by the Kantgesellschaft in
1913), and had been carefully read by Kant prior to the final preparation of the
Critique. Cf. B. Erdmann, Kriticismus, p. 51.

4 Cf. A 128-9.

5 As just noted, it is in the second edition that the above view of the content
of inner sense is first definitely formulated.



an alternative view more and more comes to the front in
proportion as Kant gains mastery over the conflicting
tendencies that go to constitute his new Critical teaching.
From the very first he uses language which implies that
some kind of distinction must be drawn between representa-
tions and objects represented, between subjective cognitive
states in the proper sense of the term and existences in space.

" Time can never be a determination of outer appearances. It
belongs neither to form nor position, etc. On the other hand it
determines the relation of representations in our inner state." 1

Similarly in those very sentences in which he asserts all
appearances to be blosse Vorstelhmgen, a distinction is none
the less implied.

"Time is the formal a priori condition of all appearances in
general. Space, as the pure form of all outer intuition, is as
a priori condition limited exclusively (bloss) to outer appearances.
On the other hand as all representations, whether they have outer
things as their object or not, still in themselves belong, as determina-
tions of the mind, to the inner state, and this inner state is subject
to tte formal condition of inner intuition, that is of time, time is an
a priori condition of all appearance whatever. It is, indeed,
the immediate condition of the inner appearance (of our souls), and
thereby mediately likewise of outer appearances." *

As the words which I have italicised show, Kant, even in
the very sentence in which he asserts outer representations

Online LibraryNorman Kemp SmithA commentary to Kant's 'Critique of pure reason,' → online text (page 37 of 72)