Norman Kemp Smith.

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

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their treatment of the Paralogisms. They make not the least
mention of this part of Kant's teaching.

Kant employs a further argument which would seem to
show that at the time when these paragraphs were written the
general tendency of his thought was predominantly subjectivist
in character. There are, he implies, as many different times
as there are selves that represent time. 2 The argument is as
follows. As the "I think" is equivalent to "I am I," we
may say either that all time of which I am conscious is in me,
or that I am conscious of myself as numerically identical in
each and every part of it. In my individual consciousness,
therefore, identity of my person is unfailingly present. But
an observer, viewing me from the outside, 3 represents me
in the time of his own consciousness ; and as the time in
which he thus sets me is not that of my own thinking, the
self-identity of my consciousness, even if he recognises its
existence, does not justify him in inferring the objective
permanence of my self.

The two concluding paragraphs seem to have been
independently composed. 4 They contribute nothing of im-

Fourth Paralogism : of Ideality. 5 The main argument of
this Paralogism, which contains the first edition refutation of
idealism, has already been considered above. 6 We require,
therefore, only to treat of it in its connection with the other
Paralogisms, and to note some few minor points that remain
for consideration. Its argument differs from that of the other
Paralogisms in that^he fallacy involved is traced, in agree-
ment with the requirements of the introductory sections of

1 A 363 n.

2 A 362-3 and A 364. We must also, however, bear in mind that in this
chapter Kant occasionally argues in ad hominem fashion from the point of view of
the position criticised.

3 Cf. A 353-4. 4 Cf. Adickes, K. p. 695 .
5 A 366. 6 P. 301 ff.


the Dialectic, to a failure to distinguish between appearances
and things in themselves. J) Its connection with the table of
categories is extremely artificial. In A 344 = B 402 the
category employed is that of possibility, in A 404 and A 344 n.
that of existence. 1 Kant's attempt to combine the problem
here treated with that of the other Paralogisms can only be
explained as due to the requirements of his architectonic. 2
This Paralogism does not concern itself with the nature of the
soul. It refers exclusively to the mode of existence to be
ascribed to objective appearances. None the less, Kant con-
trives to bring it within the range of rational psychology in
the following manner. He argues 3 that rational psychologists
are one and all adherents of empirical idealism. They con-
found appearances in space with things in themselves, and
therefore assert that our knowledge of their existence is
inferential and consequently uncertain. The errors of em-
pirical idealism are thus bound up with the dogmatic
assumptions of the rationalist position.) They are traceable
to its failure to distinguish between appearances and things
in themselves^- Such dogmatism may take the form of
materialism or of ontological dualism, as well as of
spiritualism. 4 All three, in professing to possess knowledge
of things in themselves, violate Critical principles. If the
chief function of rational psychology consists in securing the
conception of the soul against the onslaughts of materialism, 5
that can be much more effectively attained through tran-
scendental idealism.

" For, on [Critical] teaching, so completely are we freed from the
fear that on the removal of matter all thought, and even the very
existence of thinking beings, would be destroyed, that on the
contrary it is clearly shown that if I remove the thinking subject
the whole corporeal world must at once vanish, since it is nothing
save appearance in the sensibility of our subject and a species of
its representations." 6

We do not, indeed, succeed in proving that the thinking
self is in its existence independent of the " transcendental sub-
strate" 7 of outer appearances. But as both possibilities
remain open, the admission of our ignorance leaves us free to
look to other than speculative sources for proof of the inde-
pendent and abiding existence of the self.

Reflection on the Whole of Pure Psychology. 8 This section
affords Kant the opportunity of discussing certain problems

1 The note to A 344 has evidently got displaced ; it must, as Adickes points
out, belong to A 404.

2 Cf. above, pp. 320, 455. s A 371-2. 4 A 380-1.
5 Cf. A 383. A 383. ^ A 3 g 3< 8 A 38l


which he desires to deal with, but is unable to introduce under
the recognised rubrics of his logical architectonic. 1 There
are, Kant says, three other dialectical questions, essential to
the purposes of rational psychology, grounded upon the same
transcendental illusion (confusion of appearances with things
in themselves), and soluble in similar fashion: (i) as to' the
possibility of the communion of soul and body, i.e. of the state
of the soul during the life of the body ; (2) as to the beginning
of this association, i.e. of the soul in and before birth ; (3)
as to the termination of this association, i.e. of the soul in
and after the death of the body. Kant treats these three
problems from the extreme subjectivist standpoint, inner and
outer sense being distinguished and related in the manner
peculiar to the first edition. The contrast between mind and r
body is a difference solely between the appearances of inner,
and those of outer sense. Both alike exist only in and
through the thinking subject, though the latter

"... have this deceptive property that, representing objects in
space, they as it were detach themselves from the soul and appear to
hover outside it." 2

The problem, therefore, of the association of soul and
body, properly understood, is not that of the interaction of
the soul with other known substances of an opposite nature,
but only

"... how in a thinking subject outer intuition, namely, that of space,
with its filling in of figure and motion, is possible. And that is a
question which no human being can possibly answer. The gap
in our knowledge . . . can only be indicated through the ascription
of outer appearances to that transcendental object which is the cause
of this species of representations, but of which we can have no
knowledge whatsoever and of which we shall never acquire any
conception." 3

The familiar problem of the association of mind and body
is thus due to a transcendental illusion which leads the mind
to hypostatise representations, viewing them as independent
existences that act upon the senses and generate our sub-
jective states. The motions in space, which are merely the
expression in terms of appearance of the influence of the
transcendental object upon "our senses," 4 are thus wrongly

1 The first four paragraphs are probably a later intercalation (Adickes, K. p.
708 .), since they connect both with the introductory sections of the Dialectic and
with the Introduction to the Critique. Also, the opening words of the fifth para-
graph seem to refer us not to anything antecedent in this section, but directly to
the concluding passages of the fourth Paralogism.

2 A 385. 3 A 393. * A 387.


regarded as the causes of our sensations. They themselves
are mere representations, and, as Kant implies, are for that
reason incapable of acting as causes. In this section, it may
be noted in passing, there is not the least trace of the
phenomenalist teaching, according to which spatial objects are
viewed as acting upon the bodily sense-organs. Kant here
denies all interaction of mind and body, and recognises only
the interaction of their noumenal conditions. Appearances as
such can never have causal efficacy. The position represented
is pure subjectivism, and very significantly goes along with
Kant's earlier doctrine of the transcendental object. 1

The dogmatic character of the interaction theory appears
very clearly, as Kant proceeds to point out, in the objections
which have been made to it, whether by those who substitute
for it the theories of pre-established harmony and occasional-
ism, or by those who adopt a sceptical non-committal attitude.
Their objections rest upon exactly the same presupposition as
the theory which they are attacking. To demonstrate the
impossibility of interaction, they must be able to show that
the transcendental object is not the cause of outer appear-
ances ; and owing to the limitations of our knowledge that is
entirely beyond our powers. Failing, however, to draw a
distinction between appearances and things in themselves,
they have not realised the actual nature of the situation, and
accordingly have directed their objections merely to showing
that mind and body, taken as independent existences, must
not be viewed as capable of interaction.

The Critical standpoint also supplies the proper formula-
tion for the other two problems a formulation which in
itself decides the degree and manner of our possible insight
in regard to them. The view that the thinking subject may
be capable of thought prior to all association with the body
should be stated as asserting

"... that prior to the beginning of that species of sensibility in virtue
of which something appears to us in space, those transcendental
objects, which in our present state appear to us as bodies, could have
been intuited in an entirely different manner." 2

The view that the soul, upon the cessation of all associa-
tion with the corporeal world, may still continue to think,
will similarly consist in the contention

"... that if that species of sensibility, in virtue of which transcendental
objects (which in our present state are entirely unknown) appear to us
as a material world, should cease, all intuition of them would not

1 Cf. above, pp. 215-16. 2 A 393-4.

2 H


for that reason be removed ; but that it would still be possible
that those same unknown objects should continue to be known [sic]
by the thinking subject, though no longer, indeed, in the quality of
bodies." 1

Not the least ground, Kant claims, can be discovered by
means of speculation in support of such assertions. Even their
bare possibility cannot be demonstrated. But it is equally
impossible to establish any valid objection to them. Since
we cannot pretend to knowledge of things in themselves, a
modest acquiescence in the limitations of experience alone
becomes us.

The remaining paragraphs (A 396-405) contain nothing
that is new. They merely repeat points already more
adequately stated. A 401-2, which deals with the nature of
apperception and its relation to the categories, has been
considered above. 2 The argument that, as the self must pre-
suppose the thought of itself in knowing anything, it cannot
know itself as object, is also commented upon above. 3

The statement 4 that the determining self (the thinking,
das Denkeri) is to be distinguished from the determinable self
(the thinking subject) as knowledge from its object, should be
interpreted in the light of Kant's argument in the second and
third Paralogisms, that the simplicity and self-identity of the
representation of an object must not be taken as knowledge of
simplicity or numerical identity in the object represented.

The analysis given in A 402-3 of the fallacy involved in
the Paralogisms is, as Adickes has pointed out, 5 confused and
misleading. Kant here declares that in the major premiss of
each syllogism the assertion is intended in the merely logical
sense, and therefore as applicable only to the subject in repre-
sentation, but in the minor premiss and conclusion is asserted
of the subject as bearer of consciousness, i.e. in itself. But
were that so, the minor premiss would be a false assertion,
and the false conclusion would not be traceable to logical
fallacy. Kant gives the correct statement of his position in
B 410-1 1. 6 The attempted justification of the fourfold arrange-
ment of the Paralogisms with which the section concludes
suffers from the artificiality of Kant's logical architectonic.


Except for the introductory paragraphs, which remain
unaltered, the chapter is completely recast in the second
edition. The treatment of the four Paralogisms which in the

1 A 394. 2 Pp. 326-7. 3 Pp. 327-8. 4 A 402. Cf. 407.

6 A", p. 717 n. 6 Cf. below, p. 470. 7 B 406 ff.


first edition occupied thirty-three pages is reduced to five.
The problems of the mutual interaction of mind and body,
of its prenatal character and of its immortality, the dis-
cussion of which in the first edition required some ten pages,
are now disposed of in a single paragraph (B 426-7). The
remaining twenty-two pages of the new chapter are almost
entirely devoted to more or less polemical discussion of
criticisms which had been passed upon the first edition.
These had been in great part directed against Kant's doctrine
of apperception and of inner sense, and so could fittingly
be dealt with in connection with the problems of rational
psychology. As Benno Erdmann has suggested, 1 B 409-14
and 419-21 would seem to be directed against Ulrichs' 2
Leibnizian position and especially against his metaphysical
interpretation of apperception. B 428-30 treats of the
difficulties raised by Pistorius 3 in regard to the existence of
the self. B 414-15 is similarly polemical, but in this case
Kant cites his opponent, Mendelssohn, by name. Through-
out, as in the alterations made in the chapter on Phenomena
and Noumena, Kant insists more strongly than in the first
edition upon the unknowableness of the self, and on the
difference between thought and knowledge. The pure forms
of thought are not, Kant now declares, concepts of objects,
that is, are not categories, 4 but " merely logical functions."
Though this involves no essential doctrinal change, it indicates
the altered standpoint from which Kant now regards his
problem. Its significance has already been dwelt upon. 5

In formulating the several arguments of the four Para-
logisms, Kant develops and places in the forefront a statement
which receives only passing mention in A 352-3, 362, 366-7,
381-2, namely, 'that the truths contained in the judgments of
rational psychology find expression in merely identical (i.e. /'
analytic) propositions.) This enables Kant to formulate
both the Paralogisms and his criticisms thereof in much
briefer and more pointed fashion. In each case the Para-
logism, as he shows, substitutes a synthetic a priori judgment,
involving an extension of our knowledge and a reference to
the noumenal self, for the given judgment which, in so far as
it is valid, is always a merely analytic restatement of the

1 Kriticismus, p. 227, cf. p. 106 ff.

2 A. H. Ulrichs, Institutiones logicae et mttaphysicae (1785).

:! In his review of Kant's Prolegomena in the Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek


4 Obviously by categories Kant here really means schemata. Cf. A 348,
where Kant states that " pure categories . . . have in themselves no objective
meaning. . . . Apart from intuition they are merely functions of a judgment,
without content." 5 Above, pp. 404 ff., 413 ff.


purely formal " I think." From the very start also, Kant
introduces the distinctions of his own Critical teaching,
especially that between thinking and intuiting, and that
between the determining and the determinable self.

First Paralogism. That the I which thinks must always in
thought be viewed as subject and not as mere predicate, is an
identical proposition. It must not be taken as meaning that
the subject which underlies thought is an abiding substance.
This latter proposition is of much wider scope, and would
involve such data (in this case entirely lacking) as are required
for the establishment of a synthetic a priori judgment.

Second Paralogism. That the I of apperception and so of
all thought is single and cannot be resolved into a multiplicity
of subjects, is involved in the very conception of thought, and
is therefore an analytic proposition. It must not be interpreted
as signifying that the self is a simple substance. For the
latter assertion is again a synthetic proposition, and presup-
poses for its possibility an intuition by the self of its own
essential nature. As all our intuitions are merely sensuous,
that cannot be looked for in the " I think."

" It would, indeed, be surprising if what in other cases requires
so much labour to discover namely, what it is, of all that is pre-
sented by intuition, that is substance, and further, whether this
substance is simple (e.g. in the parts of matter) should be thus
directly given me, as if by revelation, in the poorest of all repre-
sentations." 1

We may here observe how the practice, adopted by Caird,
of translating Anschauung by 'perception' has misled him
into serious misunderstanding of Kant's teaching. It has
caused him 2 to interpret Kant as arguing that we have no
knowledge of the self because we can have no sensuous per-
ception of it. Kant's argument rather is that as all human
"intuition" is sensuous, we are cut off from all possibility of
determining our noumenal nature. We are thrown back
upon mere concepts which, as yielding only analytic proposi-
tions, cannot extend our insight beyond the limits of sense-
experience. The term 'intuition' is much broader in meaning
than the term ' perception ' ; it can also be employed as
equivalent to the phrase 'immediate apprehension.' 3 The
grounds for Kant's contention that we have no intuition or
immediate knowledge of the self are embodied in, and inspire,

1 B 408.

2 Critical Philosophy, ii. p. 34. So also in Watson's Kant Explained, p. 244.

3 Caird (pp. cit. p. 35) takes account of Kant's conception of a possible
intuitive understanding, but illegitimately assumes that by it he must mean a
creative understanding.


his doctrine of inner sense. 1 It may also be noted that in
6412 Kant, speaking of the necessity of intuition for know-
ledge of the self, uses the unusual phrase 'a permanent
intuition' a phrase which, so far as I have observed, he
nowhere employs in dealing with the intuition that conditions
the sense perception of material bodies. 2 Its employment
here may perhaps be due to the fact that its implied reference
is not to a given sensuous manifold but to some form of
immediate apprehension, capable of revealing the permanent
nature of the noumenal self.

Third Paralogism. That I am identical with myself
throughout the consciousness of my manifold experiences, is
likewise an analytic proposition obtainable by mere analysis
of the " I think." And since that form of consciousness,
as stated in the criticism of the preceding Paralogism, is
purely conceptual, containing no element of intuition, no
judgment based solely upon it can ever be taken as equivalent
to the synthetic proposition that the self, as thinking being,
is an identical substance.

Fourth Paralogism. This Paralogism is somewhat altered.
As noted above, 3 the problem dealt with in the first edition
concerns the outer world, and only quite indirectly the nature
of the self. In the second edition that argument is restated, 4
and is more properly located within the Analytic. The
argument which now takes its place runs parallel with that
of the three preceding Paralogisms. The assertion that I
distinguish my own existence as a thinking being from other
things outside me, including thereunder my own body, is an
analytic proposition, since by other things is meant things
which I think as different from myself.

"But I do not thereby learn whether this consciousness of
myself would be at all possible apart from things outside me
through which representations are given to me, and whether,
therefore, I can exist merely as thinking being (i.e. without existing
in human form)."

In B 417-18 Kant points out that rational psychology, in
asserting that the self can be conscious apart from all
consciousness of outer things, commits itself to the accept-
ance of problematic idealism. If consciousness of outer
objects is not necessary to consciousness of self, there can

1 Cf. above, p. 295 ff.

2 Cf. B 415 n. In B xxxix. u (at the end), quoted above pp. 309-10, Kant
is careful to point out that the representation of something permanent is by no
means identical with permanent representation. 3 P. 463.

4 Namely, as Refutation of Idealism , B 274 ff. Cf. above, p. 308 ff.


be no valid method of proving their existence. In the fourth
Paralogism of the first edition, the inter-dependence of rational
psychology and empirical idealism is also dwelt upon, but
is there traced to a confusion of appearances with things in
themselves. 1

B 410-11. The correct formulation is here given of what
in the first edition 2 is quite incorrectly stated. 3 A paralogism
is a syllogism which errs in logical form (as contrasted with
a syllogism erring in matter, i.e. the premisses of which are
false). In the paralogisms of Rational Psychology, the
logical fallacy committed is that of ambiguous middle, or as
Kant names it, the sophisma figurae dictionis. In the major
premiss the middle term is used as referring to real existence,
in the minor only as expressive of the unity of consciousness.

Refutation of Mendelssohn's Proof of the Permanence of the
Soul. 4 Mendelssohn's argument is that the soul, as it does
not consist of parts, 5 cannot disappear gradually by dis-
integration into its constituent elements. If, therefore, it
perishes, it must pass out of existence suddenly ; at one
moment it will exist, at the next moment it will be non-
existent. But, Mendelssohn maintains, for three closely con-
nected reasons this would seem to be impossible. In the
first place, the immediate juxtaposition of directly opposed
states is never to be met with in the material world. Com-
plete opposites, such as day and night, waking and sleeping,
never follow upon one another abruptly, but only through a
series of intermediate states. 6 Secondly, among the opposites
which material processes thus bridge over, the opposition of
being and not-being is never to be found. Only by a miracle
can a material existence be annihilated. 7 If, therefore, em-
pirical evidence is to be allowed as relevant, we must not
assert of the invisible soul what is never known to befall the
material existences of the visible world. Thirdly the only
part of Mendelssohn's argument which Kant mentions the
sudden cessation of the soul's existence would also violate
the law of the continuity of time. 8 Between any two
moments there is always an intermediate time in which the
one moment passes continuously into the other.

Kant's reply to this third part of Mendelssohn's argument
is that though the soul must not be conceived as perishing
suddenly, it may pass out of existence by a continuous
diminution through an infinite number of smaller degrees of

1 Cf. above, pp. 457, 462-3. 2 A 402. 3 Cf. above, p. 466.

4 B 413-15. 5 Gesammelte Schriften, ii. p. 151 ff.

6 Op. cit. p. 121 ff. 7 Op. dt. pp. 128 ff., 1 68.

8 Op. cit. p. 125 ff.


intensive reality ; and in support of this view he maintains the
very doubtful position that clearness and obscurity of repre-
sentation are not features of the contents apprehended, but
only of the intensity of the consciousness directed upon them. 1

B 417-22. Kant here points out that rational psychology,
as above expounded, proceeds synthetically, starting from
the assertion of the substantiality of the soul and proceeding
to the proof that its existence is independent of outer things.
But it may proceed in the reverse fashion, analytically de-
veloping the implications supposed to be involved in the " I
think," viewed as an existential judgment, i.e. as signifying
" I exist thinking." Kant restates the argument in this ana-
lytic form in order, as it would seem, to secure the opportunity
of replying to those criticisms of his teaching in the first
edition which concern his doctrine of apperception and his
employment of the categories, especially of the category of
existence, in relation to the self. What is new and im-
portant in these pages, and also in the connected passages
in B 428-30, has been discussed above. 2

B 419-20. After remarking that simplicity or unity is in-
volved in the very possibility of apperception, Kant proceeds

Online LibraryNorman Kemp SmithA commentary to Kant's 'Critique of pure reason,' → online text (page 56 of 72)