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Kant's Critic of Pure Reason--Part II

Brownson's Quarterly Review July, 1844.

Art. I.  Critik der reinen Vernunft; von Immanuei, Kant.    Siebente Auflage.    Leipzig.    1828.
In our number for April, we have classed the several modern doctrines of Science, sketched their history from Descartes down to Kant, and determined Kant's position and problem. His problem is, as we have seen, the purely scientific problem; that is, Is science possible ? Yet it is not precisely in this form that he himself proposes it. To even a tolerably attentive reader of the Critic of Pure Reason, the real problem will appear to concern the conditions, extent, and bounds of human science, rather than the possibility of human science itself.
By a rigid analysis of the intellectual phenomenon, Kant discovers that every fact of knowledge involves a synthetic judgment, and hence he proceeds to inquire, How are synthetic judgments formed ? What is their
reach ? What their validity ? In asking and answering these questions, he disguises, both from himself and his readers, the real problem with which he is concerned. The science, that is, the knowing, properly so called, is all and entirely in this very synthetic judgment. If this judgment be impossible, if it be invalid, then is science impossible, and human knowledge a mere deslusion. So, after all, Kant is inquiring into the possibility, as well as into the conditions, validity, extent, and bounds of science.
Assuming this, we may say, in the outset, that the whole inquiry into which Kant enters is founded in a capital blunder, and can end in no solid or useful result. To ask if the human mind be capable of science is absurd; for we have only the human mind with which to answer the question. And it needs science to answer this question, as much as it does to answer any other question. Suppose we should undertake to answer this question, and should demonstrate by an invincible logic, as Kant himself professes to have done, that science is impossible, our demonstration would be a complete demonstration of its own unsoundness ; for the demonstration must itself be scientific, or be no demonstration at all. If the demonstration be scientific, it establishes the fact of science in demonstrating to the contrary ; if it be not scientific, then it is of no value, and decides nothing, as to our scientific capacity, one way or the other.
Kant professes to start at a point equally distant from both dogmatism and skepticism. He neither affirms, nor denies; he merely criticises, that is, investigates. But is the critic blind ? To criticise, to investigate,  what is this but to discriminate, to distinguish, to judge ? Can there be an act of discrimination, of judgment, without science ? If you assume, then, your capacity to enter into a critical investigation of the power of the human mind to know, you necessarily begin by assuming the possibility of science, and therefore by what logicians term a pctitio. Kant attempts the investigation, and in so doing assumes his capacity to make it; and, therefore, contrary to his profession, begins in pure dogmatism. He begins by' assuming the possibility of science, as the condition of demonstrating its impossibility,  for the impossibility of science is what he professes to have demonstrated, as the result of all his labors.
We might hesitate a moment before bringing this charge of absurdity against a man of Kant's unquestionable superiority, did we not seem to ourselves not only to perceive the absurdity, but also its cause. Kant's fundamental error, and the source of all his other errors, is in attempting, like most psychologists, to distinguish between the subject and its own inneity, and to find the object in the subject,  the not me in the me. We believe his much wronged and misapprehended disciple, Fichte, was the first to detect and expose this error. If Kant had comprehended, in the outset, the simple fact subsequently stated by Fichte in the postulate, the me is me, he never would, he never could, have Avritten the Critic of Pure Reason ; for he would have seen that if the me is me, the not me is not me, and therefore that the object, or whatever is objective, since distinguished from the subject, is not and cannot be me, nor the inneity of the me. This simple truism, which is nothing but saying, what is, is, completely refutes the whole Critical Philosophy. We would therefore commend to the admirers of the Critik der reinen Vernunft of the master, the careful study of the Wissenschctftlehre of the disciple.
Kant's great and leading doctrine is, that, in the fact of knowledge, the form, under which the object is cognized, is determined not by what it is in itself, but by the laws of the subject cognizing. lie complains that hitherto metaphysicians have supposed, that the form of the cognition depended on the object, and that our cognitions must conform to the intrinsic character of the objects cognized. He himself reverses all this, and contends, that, instead of our knowing being obliged to conform to the manner in which objects exist in themselves, the objects themselves must conform to our manner of knowing. We do not see objects so and so, because such and such is their mode of existence, regarded as existing independent of our cognition of them; but because such and such are the laws of our own understanding, that is to say, such and such is our own inneity. The external world, for instance, is not necessarily in itself what it appears to us, but it appears to us as it does because our inneity, or intuitive power, compels it so to appear. So of every other actual or possible object of cognition. In themselves considered, there is necessarily no difference between fish and flesh ; and the difference, we note, is not determined by them as objects, but by ourselves as subjects, and exists not in them, but in our taste. Change our inneity, and you change all objects of knowledge. This is the great, the leading Kantian doctrine ; and the reason why metaphysical science has made no more advance is, because metaphysicians have overlooked this doctrine, and obstinately persisted in believing that there is really some difference between fish and flesh, wine and water, beside what is inherent in the taste of the eater or drinker!
But if the form of the object is determined by the forms of the subject, then, instead of going into an investigation of the innumerable and diversified objects of knowledge, in order to determine the foundations and conditions of science, we should go into an investigation of the subject itself, of this very inneity which the subject imposes upon all its cognitions. The grounds, conditions, and laws of science, are then to be obtained from the study of the subject instead of the object. We must know ourselves, as the condition of knowing all else. The object of the Critic is, therefore, to investigate the subject, and determine its part in the fact of experience.
In order to place the matter as clearly before our readers as possible, and to enable them to seize, as distinctly and as firmly as the nature of the case admits, the precise problems which Kant undertakes to solve, we extract liberally from his Introduction.
" That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt; for how else should the understanding be brought into exercise, if not through objects which affect the senses, and partly of themselves furnish representations, and partly excite our intellectual activity to compare, to connect, and to separate them, and thus to work up the raw material of sensible impressions into that knowledge of objects which is called experience 1 In respect of time, there is no knowledge prior to experience, with which all begins.
"But if all begins with experience, it does not follow that all springs up out of experience ; for it may happen that even our empirical knowledge is composed of what is received from sensible impressions, and of what our own understanding, merely excited to action by the sensible impressions, supplies from itself; though we may not, indeed, till long practice has made us attentive to it, and skilful in separating it, be able to distinguish the latter element from the former.
" It is therefore, to say the least, a question demanding a closer investigation than it has heretofore received, and also a question not to be answered at a single glance, whether we really have any cognitions which are independent of all experience, and even of all sensible impressions. We may call these cognitions a priori, and distinguish them from the empirical cognitions, which have their origin a posteriori, that is, in experience.
" This expression, cognition a priori, is not sufficiently definite, to designate the complete sense of the proposed inquiry. For we are accustomed to say of many empirical cognitions, that they are possible a priori, because we do not derive them immediately from experience, but from a general rule, which rule, however, is itself borrowed from experience. Thus, we say of a man, who undermines the foundation of his house, that he may know a priori that it will fall, and that he has no occasion, in order to know that it will fall, lo wait for actual experience of its falling. But he cannot know this wholly a priori; for it is only from experience that he can know that bodies are heavy, and therefore must needs fall, if that which upholds them be taken away.
" In our inquiry, we shall understand by cognitions a priori, not such as may be independent of this or that particular fact of experience, but such as are absolutely independent of all experience. To these are opposed empirical cognitions, or such as are possible only through experience. Our cognitions a priori are either pure or mixed. Only those are pure which have no empirical mixture, For example. Every change has a cause. This is a proposition a priori, but not pure ; for the conception of change, which it contains, is derivable only from experience."  pp. 1,2.
From this, Kant proceeds to show that we are, even in our ordinary condition, in possession of cognitions a priori.
"It is necessary here to find a sure mark, or criterion, by which a pure cognition may be distinguished from an empirical cognition.    Experience may, indeed, teach us that something may be made in this or that way, but not that it could have been made in no other way. If, then, in the first place, we find a proposition, which, at the same time that it is conceived, is also conceived as necessary, it is a judgment a priori; and if, moreover, it is uuderivable from any other proposition, which is also conceived as necessary, it is absolutely a priori. In the second place, empirical judgments are never truly and strictly universal, but have, at most, only an assumed and a comparative universality, (through induction,) so that we can only say from experience, So far as we have hitherto observed we have discovered no exception to this or that rule. A judgment, then, which is conceived as strictly universal, that is, as admitting no exception to be possible, cannot be derived from experience, but must be absolutely a priori. Empirical universality is only an arbitrary extension of validity, is merely a conclusion from what is true in most cases to what is true in all, as in this proposition,  All bodies are heavy. On the contrary, when strict universality belongs to a judgment, that universality shows that the judgment has a peculiar origin, namely, in the power of cognition a priori. Necessity and strict universality are, then, the certain marks of a cognition a priori, and they belong inseparably to each other. But since it is sometimes easier to show the empirical limitation than the contingency of the judgment, or since the absolute universality which we attribute to a judgment is frequently more obvious than its necessity, it will be well to use these two criteria separately, of which either is sufficient by itself alone.
" That there are necessary, and, in the strictest sense, universal, and therefore -pure, human cognitions a priori, it is not difficult to show. If we wish for an example from science, we may take the mathematical axioms ; if an example from the common use of the understanding, we may take the proposition, Every change has a cause. In this last example, in point of fact, the conception of cause so obviously involves the conception of its necessary connexion with the effect, and of the strict universality of the rule, that the conception of cause would be wholly lost, if we should undertake, as Hume does, to derive it from the frequent association of that which follows with that which precedes, and from the habit which we thus acquire, (therefore possessing merely a subjective necessity,) of connecting our representations. Moreover, without recurrence to similar examples for proof, we might demonstrate that our cognitions really contain a priori principles, by demonstrating the absolute indispensableness of such principles to the possibility of experience.    For whence could experience deduce its own certainty, if all the rules according to which it proceeds were themselves empirical, and therefore contingent? We could in such case hardly receive them as first principles. But it suffices for our present purpose, to have indicated the pure use of the understanding as a fact, together with its criteria.
" But it is not merely in the judgments, but also in the conceptions, that a certain cognition a priori is evident. Abstract from your empirical conception of body, one by one, color, hardness, softness, weight, impenetrability, all that is empirical in the conception, and there still remains the space, which this body, that has now disappeared, occupied, and the absence of which it is not possible to conceive. In like manner, abstract from your empirical conception of some object, corporeal or incorporeal, all the properties which you have learned from experience, you must still leave it the quality by which you conceive of it as substance, or as pertaining to substance (though this conception of substance is more definite than that of object in general). The necessity, therefore, with which this conception forces itself upon you, obliges you to confess that it has its seat in the understanding."  pp. 2-5.
All actual knowledge begins with experience, and prior to experience there is no actual knowledge ; but every actual cognition, or fact of experience, if we understand Kant, is composed of two parts, one empirical, obtained from the sensible impression, the other a priori, furnished by the understanding itself from its own resources. The marks or criteria of the cognition a priori are universality and necessity. Whatever is conceived of as absolutely universal and necessary is a priori. The cognition a priori makes up one part of every actual cognition. Into every actual cognition or fact of experience, as the absolutely indispensable grounds and conditions of its possibility, enter, then, the conceptions of the universal and the necessary. This means, if we comprehend it, all simply, that we never do, and never can, conceive of the particular and contingent, save through conception of the universal and the necessary. This fact we are not disposed to question; but the further statement which Kant makes is not quite so evident, namely, that the conceptions of the universal and necessary are nnderivable from experience, and must, therefore, be cognitions a priori.   Whence his proof, that, in apprehending the particular and contingent, we do not also apprehend, as real objects, the universal and necessary, instead of supplying them from our own inneity ? But we must let Kant speak yet longer for himself. Having assumed that there are cognitions a priori, he proceeds to show that philosophy needs a science which determines their possibility, principles, and extent.
What is still more important than what precedes is, that there are certain cognitions which leave entirely the field of even possible experience, and, through conceptions to which no objects in experience correspond, seem to extend the boundaries of science itself beyond the limits of experience. And it is precisely in these cognitions which transcend the sensible world, and in reference to which experience can neither guide us nor correct our judgments, that lie the most important investigations of our reason, investigations in our view altogether preferable to any thing the understanding can collect in the field of the understanding, and much sublimer in their aims, and which, therefore, we must needs prosecute at all hazards, even at the risk of error. No considerations of doubt, disregard, or indifference can induce us to abandon them. These unavoidable problems of the Pure Reason itself are, God, Fueedom, Immortality. But the science whose aims and preparations are directed solely to the solution of these problems, and which is called metaphysics, begins its process in dogmatism, and undertakes the solution with full confidence in itself, without having made any previous investigation of the ability or inability of reason to obtain it.
" It would, however, seem to be very natural, that, after having left the territory of experience, we should not proceed forthwith to construct a system with cognitions which we have obtained we know not whence, and on the strength of principles with whose origin we are unacquainted, or without having, by previous examination, fully assured ourselves of the solidity of the foundation ; that we should rather ask the question, which should have been asked long ago, namely, How is the understanding able to attain to cognitions a priori, and what are their reach, their legitimacy, and their worth 1 Nothing, in fact, were more natural, if by natural we understand what is proper to be done; but if we understand by natural what usually happens, then nothing can be more natural, or easy to comprehend, than that this inquiry should have remained hitherto unattempted. For a part of this knowledge, namely, the mathematical, has from early times been in possession of certainty, and by that fact created a favorable expectation of a like certainty in regard to the rest, notwithstanding the rest is of quite a different nature.    Moreover, when once out beyond the circle of experience, we are sure of never being contradicted   by  experience.    The  charm   of extending  our cognitions is so great, that we will not, unless stumbling upon an evident contradiction, be restrained  in our progress.    But with proper care we can avoid contradiction in framing our fictions, and without their ceasing on that account to be fictions.
The science of mathematics affords us a striking example of
how far we  may go in  cognition a priori, without the aid of
experience.    This science, indeed, concerns itself with objects
and cognitions, only so  far as they may be intuitively repre
sented ; but this difficulty can be easily surmounted, for the
intuition itself may be given a priori, and therefore be little
else than mere conception.    Captivated by this proof of the
power of reason, the impulse to extension perceives no limits.
The light dove, in her free flight in the air whose resistance
she feels, may fancy that she would succeed all  the better in
airless space.    So Plato left the sensible world because it set
too narrow bounds to the understanding, and ventured forth on the wings of Ideas into the empty space of the pure under
standing.    He did not remark that he made no progress by his efforts, since he had no resisting medium to serve for his support, on which he could rest, and to which he could apply his strength to propel the understanding forward.    But it is the usual fate of human speculation to prepare its edifice as soon as possible, and then, for the first time, to inquire whether its foundation has been well laid.    Then are sought all kinds of excuses to console us for its want of fitness, or to put off so late and so dangerous an investigation.    During the construction of the edifice, we are freed from care and suspicion, and flattered with an apparent solidity, by the fact, that a great part, perhaps the greatest part, of the business of our reason consists in the analysis of conceptions which we already possess of objects.    We are thus supplied with a multitude of cognitions, which, though nothing but elucidations and explanations of what  had   already been  conceived, but in a confused manner, are nevertheless esteemed, at least as to the form, to be new views, notwithstanding they do not extend the matter, or content, of our conceptions, but merely disentangle it.    Now, since this analytic process furnishes us with a real cognition a priori, which has a sure and useful progression, the reason, as
it were unconsciously, smuggles in along with it assertions of
quite a different nature, and adds to given conceptions others,which, though a priori, are wholly foreign to them, without our knowing how it is done, or its even occurring to us to ask. It will be well, then, to begin by pointing out the difference between these two kinds of cognitions, that is to say, the difference between analytic judgments and syntkitic judgments.
" In every judgment in which is conceived the relation of the subject to the predicate, (I notice here only affirmative judgments, for, after these, the application to negative judgments can present no difficulty,) this relation may be of two kinds. Either the predicate B belongs to the subject A, as something contained in it, though in a manner concealed ; or B lies wholly outside of A, with which, however, it stands closely connected. In the first case, the judgment is analytic ; in the second, it is synthetic. Analytic judgments (affirmative) are those, therefore, in which the union of the subject and predicate is that of identity ; whilst those in which this unity is conceived without identity are to be named synthetic. The first may also be called explicative judgments, and the second extending judgments; because the former by means of the predicate add nothing to the conception of the subject, but merely resolve this conception, by analysis, into the several partial conceptions already contained, though confusedly, within it; but the latter add to the conception of the subject a predicate not contained within it, nor by any possible means deducible from it. For instance, when I say, All bodies are extended, I express an analytic judgment, for I have no occasion to go out of the conception of body to find that of extension, which I connect with it. The predicate is contained in the conception of body, is always thought with it, and I have only to analyze the conception of body in order to find it. But when I say, All bodies are heavy, the predicate, heaviness, is by no means included in my conception of the subject, that is, of body in general. It is a conception added to the conception of body. The addi-tion, in this way, of the predicate to the subject is a synthetic judgment.
" All empirical judgments, as such, are synthetic. For it would be absurd to ground an analytic judgment on experience, since I am not obliged to go out of the conception itself in order to form the judgment, and therefore can have no need of the testimony of experience. That a body is extended, is a proposition which stands firm a priori. It is no empirical judgment. For, prior to experience, I have all the conditions of forming it in the conception of body, from which I deduce the predicate, extension, according to the principle of contradiction, by which I at once become conscious of its necessity, which I could not learn from experience. But, on the other hand, I do not include, in the primitive conception of body in general, the predicate, heaviness; yet this conception of body in general indicates, through experience of a part of it, an object of experience, to which I may add from experience other parts which also belong to it. I can attain to the conception of body beforehand, analytically, through its characteristics, extension, impenetrability, form, &c, all of which are included in the primary conception of body. But I now extend my cognition, and, as I recur to experience, from which I have obtained the conception of body in general, I find along with these characteristics the conception of heaviness. I therefore add this, as a predicate, to the conception of body. The possibility of this synthesis rests, therefore, on experience ; for both conceptions, though one contains not the other, yet belong as parts to a whole, that is to say, to experience, which is itself a union of synthetic, though contingent, intuitions.
" But in the case of synthetic judgments a priori, we have not this assistance. Here we have not the advantage of returning and supporting ourselves on experience. If 1 must go out of the conception A in order to find another conception B, which is to be joined to it, on what am I to rely, and by what means does the synthesis become possible? Take, for an example, the proposition, All that which happens has a cause. In the conception, Something happens, I conceive, indeed, an existence which precedes, and from which analytic judgments may be deduced ; but the conception of cause is absolutely foreign to the conception of precedence, and indicates something altogether different from that which happens, and is therefore not contained in the conception of it. How, then, from that which happens in general, do I attain to something entirely different from it, and come to know that the conception of cause, though not contained in the conception of that which happens, is yet connected, and necessarily connected, with it? What is in this case the unknown  X on which the understanding relies, when it fancies that outside of the conception A it discovers the predicate B wholly foreign to it, and which nevertheless it believes joined to it ? It cannot be experience, for the principle in question unites the conception of effect with that of cause, not only with a great degree of generality, but with the expression of absolute necessity, and therefore wholly a priori, and by means of mere conception. Now it is on such synthetic, that is, extension, principles, that rests all our speculative cognition a priori; for, though the analytic are of the greatest importance, and even indispensable, yet only for the sake of obtaining that clearness and distinctness in our conceptions demanded as a sure ground of an extending synthesis, which alone is to be accounted as a new acquisition." pp, 5-11.
These extracts are sufficient to show us that Kant holds, 1. That we are in possession of cognitions a priori; 2. That these cognitions are the indispensable ground and conditions of all actual cognition; 3. That they stretch away beyond the field of even possible experience ; 4. That among these which extend beyond even possible experience, are those cognitions which lie at the foundation of our loftiest faith and sublimest hopes concerning God, Freedom, and Immortality; 5. That it is precisely of these that philosophy needs a science which shall determine their possibility, principles, and extent; and 6. Till we have such a science, we have no solid foundation for any religious or ethical faith, indeed for any branch of knowledge whatever.
The inquiry into which Kant enters concerns precisely these cognitions a priori, and his aim is to construct the science of their possibility, principles, and extent. His aim is high, and his inquiry one of no mean importance,  if the case stands as he assumes. Are these cognitions a priori, which extend beyond all actual, beyond all possible experience, able to sustain our religious, ethical, and scientific superstructures? Here is the question Kant raises, and which he says should have been raised, and answered, long ago, but which, unhappily, has remained hitherto neglected, and consequently hitherto no progress has been made in metaphysical science.
The assumption of Kant, that thus far no progress has been made in metaphysical science, is in the outset a strong presumptive proof that he himself is in the wrong. A man who comes forward with a pretended discovery in any branch of human science, requiring him to consider all who have hitherto cultivated that branch to have been wholly in the wrong, proves by that fact alone that his discovery is to be looked upon with no little doubt and distrust.   It is reserved for no man, in our day and generation, to take the initiative in any branch of human thought; and he who can discover no merit in his predecessors gives very good evidence that he has no merit of his own. Kant's unqualified condemnation of all the metaphysical labors of humanity, prior to himself, is, for us, a sufficient proof that his own system has no solid foundation, and that his labors have no permanent value.
But we must examine these cognitions a priori a little closer. What are they? They are a constituent part of every actual cognition, and, in addition, its ground and condition. It is only by virtve of these that experience is possible. We pray our readers to remember this. Deny these, you deny the possibility of experience ; deny, then, the validity of these, and you deny the validity of experience. And yet, these cognitions are supplied by the subject, and have no objective validity ! The cognition (Erkenntniss), which stretches beyond even possible experience, has, according to Kant, no objective validity, that is to say, has no value in relation to any reality exterior to the subject. The moment we venture forth with Plato, on the wings of Ideas, beyond the world of the senses, we are in the empty space of the pure reason, and as unable to succeed as would be the light dove, which cleaves the air, to fly in mere airless space. A cognition, extending beyond the sensible world, is a pure conception, and a pure conception is an empty conception, a conception in which nothing is conceived. Of this class are all our judgments a priori, which are again the ground of all our judgments a posteriori!
Our cognitions a priori are of two kinds, analytic and synthetic. The analytic judgments do not extend our knowledge; they only clear up and place distinctly before the mind what was previously conceived, though confusedly; only the synthetic judgments add to the sum of our knowledge. In these there is, at least, a seeming extension of knowledge. Take the proposition, All that which happens has a cause. Now the conception of cause is different from the conception of something happening. In this proposition, then, I add the conception of cause to the conception, Something happens. Now, how am I able to do this ? And what is the real value of this synthesis, or addition ? I cannot obtain this synthesis from experience, for experience can give me only the conception, Something happens ; never, the conception, All that which happens has a cause. This last conception, namely, of causality, without which there would, and could, be no extension of knowledge, must be supplied, Kant tells us, by the understanding itself, in which it lies a priori, ready to be applied to experience of an actual case of causation. Then what is its value ? It is  and this is the great doctrine of the Critik der reinen Vernunft  it is a mere conception, an empty conception in which nothing is conceived. Here, then, we are. The whole fabric of human science rests on cognitions a priori, and these cognitions are but mere empty conceptions. Here, then, we are, following this great modern philosopher, in dem leeren Raum des reinen Verstandes. If there be meaning in language, this is nothing but the Hindoo doctrine of Maya, namely, that all science is a mere illusion. It is hardly worth one's while to master the crabbed style and barbarous terminology of Kant, to be taught this, which after all, like all other teaching, must needs be a delusion.
The full discussion of the facts which Kant has had in view, when asserting cognitions a priori, we reserve, till, in a subsequent article, we come to consider the categories of the pure understanding. Here we can only remark, that, while we admit what Kant calls cognition a priori, we deny it to be cognition a priori. We deny both the reality and the possibility of cognitions a priori. Cognition a priori is a contradiction in terms. Cognition is the act of cognizing. If nothing be cognized, it is hot cognition. Conception in which nothing is conceived is an impossibility. Can there be seeing where there is not somewhat that is seen ? If the cognition be cognition, it must be a posteriori ; for it must needs be preceded both by that which cognizes and by that which is cognized. Only two terms, in the nature of things, can be a priori, namely, the subject cognizing, and the object cognized. If you identify the cognition with the subject, you deny it to be cognition, by defining it to be that which cognizes ; if you identify it with the object, you also deny it to be cognition, by affirming it to be that which is cognized. If you make it a product of the subject or of the object, or of both acting conjointly, you admit it to be cognition indeed, but deny it to be a priori; for it must needs be preceded by the subject or the object, or by both, and therefore a posteriori and empirical. Take which position you will, you must abandon the notion of cognitions a priori.
Cognition, again, is the act of cognizing. To contend that it is a priori were to contend that cognition precedes cognizing; that is to say, precedes itself! This were as if one should say, We know before knowing. To assert that we need a science which determines the possibility, the principles, and the extent of our cognitions a priori, then, is simply to assert that we need a science which determines the possibility, the principles, and extent of that portion of our experience which is prior to all experience, and is the indispensable ground and condition of the possibility of experience! Into such absurdities, if we speak of cognitions a priori, we necessarily fall.
But we must not dismiss such a man as Kant in this summary way. We ask, therefore, again, What does he really understand by cognition a priori? Does he mean the cognition of objects in what the Greeks called the intelligible world.  Now, the question we raise concerning the cognition a priori, that is, the pure cognition, and the transcendental cognition, is, whether they are really intelligible objects, or whether they are not. Kant decides, at once, that they are not; for, if they were, they would not be a priori. What, then, are they ? Remember, they precede all actual cognition, and are the grounds and conditions of the possibility of actual cognition. They are not on the side of the object, are not derived from the object, but exist prior to the apprehension of the object, in the understanding, from which they are supplied. What are they, or what can they be, but the power of the subject to cognize ?
We must bear in mind that our inquiry lies wholly within the region of the subjective faculty of intelligence. It does not concern the knowing, but the power or ability to know ; not experience, but the possibility and conditions of experience. This possibility and these conditions are not the object, nor derivable from the object, but, according to Kant, lie already a priori in the understanding ; that is to say, they lie already in the understanding, prior to any actual fact of experience. These pure and transcendental cognitions are not, then, if we understand Kant, produced by the understanding, nor are they the understanding in operation, that is to say, operating on occasion of a fact of experience ; they are not the actual thinking of non-empirical elements, on occasion of  the empirical fact; but they are the poiver or ability of the subject, in a fact of experience, to think and apply to that fact what is not contained in it, nor derived or derivable from it, and yet without thinking which, the fact of experience itself conld not have occurred.   They are not the thinking of that which transcends experience, but the ability to think it.  This, in simple terms, is all that we can understand by the pure and transcendental cognitions.    If we are right in this, and we are confident we are, then these cognitions are nothing more nor less than the constituent elements of the cognitive faculty,  of the understanding,   without which it would not be the power to understand.    They are, then, the understanding itself; that is, the power of the subject to understand; that is, again, all simply, as we say, the inneity of the subject.
Kant calls his work a critic, and of course designedly; he calls it a critic of the pure reason; that is, of reason, when abstraction is made of all experience, of all exercise of reason, and of all that results from its exercise. In other words, pure reason is the faculty itself, as we may say, " inpotentia, non in actu " ; that is, reason as the vis cognitrix, the force that knows, taken entirely independent of the act of knowing, or cognition. Now, it is reason in this sense, reason as the power of reason, that Kant undertakes to criticize. He assumes in this, that the pure reason may be subjected to analysis. He then assumes the pure reason itself, that is, the subjective faculty of reason, of intelligence, to be complex, and therefore susceptible of decomposition. The decomposition of this faculty gives, as its original, fundamental elements, the cognitions in question; which shows us that these cognitions, in Kant's view, are not products of reason, nor reason operating, but its constituent elements, therefore it itself.
This last conclusion, however, is ours, not Kant's. Kant's labor is that of analysis ; his aim is, to decompose the power of thought. He is not, with Oondillac and others, decomposing thought as a fact, but the power, of the exercise of which, thought is the product.   He is decomposing, not the act, but the principle of the act; not the thinking, but, properly speaking, the force that thinks. But here is the precise point where his error commences. The understanding, taken substantively, is the cognitive force ; but Kant does, and does not, so take it.    He fancies a distinction between the force cognizing, and that by virtue of which it is able to cognize.
Reason, therefore, is reason by virtue of a somewhat that is distinguishable from it as intelligent force.    In other words, the power to know is the power to know, by virtue of containing in itself elements which we may distinguish from itself.   Hence, while he would make the pure and transcendental cognitions constituent  elements, so to speak, of the cognitive power, he would still make them rather the instruments it uses, than it itself. In his view, they  are a somewhat   medial between the  cognitive force as substance, and cognition, or the knowing, taken phenomenally.    They are neither the vis nor the actus, but the endowments, attributes, or properties of the force cognizing.    This is Kant's actual doctrine as exactly seized and stated as it is possible for us to seize and state it.
But here is a grand error, the very error we have so frequently pointed out as the source of all the errors of our modern psychologists, the assumption of a distinction between the subject and the inneity of the subject. Kant, through his whole Critic, assumes that the faculty is distinguishable, though not separable, from the subject. But there is no ground for this assumption. The distinction of faculties in man, as of properties in animals and inanimate beings, we of course admit; but this distinction of. faculties, or of properties, is a distinction in not from the subject. This is the great and essential fact, which Kant either overlooks or denies. Thus, he defines the conception of substance to be the conception of the substratum that underlies and upholds the properties or faculties.   Thus, we may abstract from an object, corporeal or incorporeal, all the qualities revealed to us by experience, and still the conception of substance will remain, and the object still be considered as existing. Now, this we deny in toto. Abstract from a given object, corporeal or incorporeal, or, to make the statement as strong as possible in Kant's favor, abstract from your conception of object in general, all conception of qualities and properties, and there will remain the conception of  nothing. Substance defined, as Kant defines it, to be a mere substratum, is nothing but the veriest logical abstraction. Even the definition in the schools, of substance (sub-stans, standing under), as that which supports accidents, is inadmissible, unless we are careful to distinguish between essential properties, qualities, or faculties, and accidents. The property, or quality, is not an accident, and therefore distinguishable from the substance in which it inheres, or upon which it may be supposed to be superinduced. The quality, or property, is not distinguishable from the substance. We may conceive of substances in which we may distinguish qualities, or properties, different from those we distinguish in other substances; but we cannot conceive of one and the same substance with different properties, much less, a substance with no properties. *
* Realism and Nominalism are, after all, more nearly related than is sometimes supposed, and if they could only come to a mutual understanding, they would be, not two, but one. The error of the old Realists was in not distinguishing between logical abstractions and genera und species, properly so called. Man in general is not the notion of man that remains, after all notion of what is peculiar to each individual is abstracted, but the generic power, of which individuals are the products. It is only in the individual that the generic is to be studied; and it can be learned only so far as we learn what in each individual pertains to him as a substantive existence. In each individual we must distinguish both being and phenomenon. The individual, as being, is the force that acts; as phenomenon, the product of the acting. It is the distinction between activity, or the power that acts, and the acting. The first is essential, the other phenomenal. The phenomenal reveals the essential; and the essential in the individual is the medium of attaining to a knowledge of man in general, or the generic man. Instead, then, of abstracting all individuals in order to arrive at the general, we must learn what is essential in each and every individual; for the general is richer than any one individual, indeed than all individuals; for all individuals, taken together, do not exhaust it, since its power to produce new and diverse individuals remains.
If any one would see the absurdity of distinguishing between the me and the faculties, he need only study Gall, Spurzheim, and George Combe, or any of our phrenological, neurological, or patheti-cal professors. None of these miserable quackeries, there burlesques on all science, could ever for one moment have been entertained by even such men as George Combe and our brave Doctor Buchanan, after whom a silly multitude runs gaping, if it had only been generally taught that the faculties are powers distinguishable, or rather distinctions, in the me, not from it.
*Leibnitz. Opp. ed. Erdmann, P. I., p. 121; ed. Dutens, Tom. II., P. I., p. 18. See also Systeme Nouveau de la Nature etde la Communication des Substances, &c, § 3; Erdmann, P. I., p. 124; Dutens, Tom. II., P. I., p. 49.
The distinction is not between the property and the subject, nor between the quality and the substance ; but a distinction in the subject, of which the property, or quality, is predicated. So, the distinction of faculties in man is a distinction in man, not between man and his faculties. I cannot say I and my faculties. The faculties do not stand below me, or by my side, a somewhat (quidditas) which I make use of in acting, feeling, or knowing ; nor are they agencies distinct from that agency which I call me, and acting, as it were, on their own account. It is not my activity that acts, my sensibility that feels, my understanding that knows, but I myself. It is always / that is the active, sentient, and intelligent force. When I say /, I necessarily affirm all that the personal pronoun /can be used to cover. We must remember here Fichte's postulate. The I is I, and therefore, 1 = 1. If I am always the equivalent of myself, then must I be equal in volition to what I am in feeling, in feeling to what I am in cognition, and in cognition to what I am in either volition or feeling ; and, if always the I is I, then must I be identical in each and in all three. Not my activity acts, nor do I act because I have activity, or the power to act, but because I am it ; not my sensibility feels, but I feel; yet I do not feel because I have sensibility, or the power to feel, but because I am it; not my reason knows, but I know ; and I know, not because I have reason, or the power to know, but because I am it. I being always and everywhere equal to myself, that is to say, being always and everywhere myself, and not another, I must needs act, feel, and know in all and every one of my phenomena. The distinction of faculties is not, then, a distinction between me and my faculties.    In this sense there are no faculties.*
The error has originated in a false and vicious notion of substance. If Kant had meditated profoundly the little tract of Leibnitz, entitled " De primce Philosophies Em-endatione et de Notione Substantial" * he would have saved himself and his readers no little trouble. Kant, as we have seen, held that the primitive conception of substance is that of substratum, or that which underlies and upholds the attributes, qualities, properties, or faculties. In this view of the case, all the diversity admissible in the universe would be merely a diversity of accidents. Substance, so far forth as substance, would be always and everywhere the same. There might be accidental differences among beings, but no substantial differences. As substantive, all beings would be one and identical; and multiple and diverse only in relation to their accidents. Thus, as substance, man and animal are one, and man differs from the animal only in the siiperinduction of a peculiarly human quality upon a substance common to him and the animal world. Thus, it has been contended that there is an ascending scale from the lowest animal up to man, and the ascent consists in adding, in the case of each degree, a quality to those possessed by the degree just below. The superior retains all that belongs to the inferior, and adds a new quality. Thus, man is the resume of the whole animal world, combining in himself all the qualities of all the various orders of existence below him, and adding to them certain qualities which none of them have. Thus man may be defined, for instance, a monkey with additions.

It was this same erroneous notion of substance, that misled Spinoza and involved him in his pantheistic fatalism. Defining substance to be that which stands under (sub-stans) or supports accidents, he must needs reject all existences as substantive, which were dependent on any thing out of themselves for support. Only that which needs nothing beyond itself to sustain it is, in the true and proper sense of the word, substance. In this sense, only the infinite and self-existent Being can be substance. Then God is the only substance, and the only substance is God. Then nothing exists but God and his accidents, that is, his attributes, that is, again, his modes. The mode, or attribute, is simply God under a given aspect, or phase, of his being. Consequently, all is God, and God is all, and there is no creator or creation, no providence, no freedom, no duty, no morality, no rewards, no punishments, but an infinite, eternal, and invincible Necessity.
Leibnitz, who studied all systems profoundly, and had a mind of equal acuteness and comprehensiveness, saw the rock on which Spinoza and so many others had split, and avoided it by correcting the prevailing notion of substance. We may, indeed, define substance, with the Schoolmen, to be that which supports accidents, but only on condition that we keep distinctly in view the difference between accident and attribute, quality and phenomenon. The true definition of substance, as Leibnitz states, and as we shall have occasion to demonstrate when we come to consider specially the category of substance, in connexion with M. Cousin's reduction of Kant's fifteen categories to the two categories of substance and cause, or, more properly, being and phenomenon, is that of active or acting force (vis activa, what the Germans call Kraft). Substance is always, in the language of Aristotle, and involves, as Leibnitz says, effort (conatum involvit), that is, an acting from within outwards. Active force (vis activa) is not the attribute of substance, a something (quiddity) subsidiary to our notion of substance, but is substance, and the being ceases to be, in ceasing to be active force. Analyze your conception of substance, that is to say, of something which is, and abstract all not essential to the conception itself, and there will remain, as the fundamental, simple, indecomposable, ultimate conception of substance, that of simple active or acting force.
Whatever can be conceived of as existing at all, or in any sense be a subject of human investigation, must be included, as M. Cousin has demonstrated, either in the category of substance or in that of cause ; or, more accurately, in the category of the doer or in that of the doing; or again, as we ourselves say, either in the category of being, or in that of phenomenon. The phenomena of any given being may be manifold and diverse, but the being itself must be a monad, a unity; for, if the conception of being be that of active force, the introduction of more than one active force into the bosom of a given being would be to dissolve its unity, and to declare it to be, not one being, but as many distinct beings as you assume distinct forces. Every being is, therefore, necessarily a monad, whether we choose to accept the monadology of Leibnitz or not.
Now, man must exist either as being or as phenomenon. Oondillac, in resolving the me into sensation, allowed him only a phenomenal existence ; Leroux, in defining the individual man to be " sensation-sentimenl-con-naissance," indivisibly united, makes the individual purely phenomenal, and allows him an essential or onto-logical existence only in the race. I, as an individual man, am the sensation-sentiment-cognition of humanity; and the me, le moi, is not me as an individual existence, but is humanity. Humanity is the activity, the sensibility, the reason, of which I am the action, the feeling, and the knowing. Humanity is the doer, I am the doing, and my life is the done. But humanity, again, is to God what I am to humanity. God is the activity, the sensibility, the reason, of which humanity is the respective phenomena. Thus, the force that acts, feels, and knows in humanity is God ; and the force that acts, feels, and knows in me is humanity, the identical force that acts, feels, and knows in all men. But, as the force which acts, feels, and knows in me is that of humanity, and as that of humanity is God, it follows that the force which acts, feels, and knows in me is God, which is a reversal of the doctrine of St. Paul,  In Deo vivimus et movemur et sumus. That is to say, God lives, moves, and has his being in us, instead of our living, moving, and having our being in him !
Rejecting this view, and assuming man to exist as a being, to have a substantial existence, then he exists as a simple acting force, and must be in his primitive essence a monad, or a unity. Now, bearing this in mind, we may easily perceive that the faculties must needs be distinctions in the bosom of this monad or simple force which I call I myself; not qualities, properties, attributes, or accidents, to be distinguished from it. There are but three possible views which we can take, for instance, of the faculty of intelligence, the faculty which is commonly termed understanding, or reason. 1. It is the force that knows; 2. It is the instrument, or means, by which another force knows ; or 3. It is the product of the exercise of a cognitive force. This last it cannot be, because it would still leave the whole question open as to the force that knows. If it is the second, that is to say, a somewhat distinguished from me, but which I use, and by virtue of which I am able to know, then, it is in itself separate and distinct from me, and I in myself am unintelligent, that is to say, incapable of intelligence, which involves a contradiction ; for my power to know is affirmed, in the affirmation of my ability to use this somewhat {quiddity) which you denominate the faculty of intelligence; which again involves another contradiction, that of affirming the faculty of intelligence to be at once me and not me, contrary to our postulate, What is, is,  the me is me, and therefore is not and cannot be not me.
Nothing remains now but the first view, namely, that understanding, or reason, that is to say. the cognitive faculty, is the force that knows, or cognizes. In cognition, there must needs be an agent that cognizes. Now, this agent is the understanding, taken ontologically, as force, not as the product or the instrument of force. The understanding, then, is force knowing, or intelligen-cing. This force must be identically and integrally me ; or it must be distinct from me.    If distinct from me, it is a separate, and, so far as I am concerned, an independent being, and is not me, but another me, and, therefore, in no sense a predicate of me. But here is still another difficulty. The moment you affirm the faculty of intelligence to be a cognitive force, and distinct from me, you declare intelligence cannot be a predicate of me. I am, then, in myself, incapable of intelligence. Now, how am I, essentially, that is to say, in my essence (esse), unintelligent, incapable of intelligence, ever to know ? The hnoioer would not be me, but a faculty of intelligence proved to be not me. How am I, essentially unintelligent, to be placed in such a relation with intelligence as to believe, and to have the right to affirm, that its acts, which are cognitions, are not its, but mine ?
In activity there is a force that acts, which makes the effort; in sensibility there is a force that acts, for it demands an effort on the part of the subject to receive a sensation, as much as it does to perform an act in any other sense. Assume a being wholly passive, incapable of the least motion on its part, that is to say, a being absolutely dead, could it feel ? could it receive an impression ? could it experience a sentiment ? Of course not. Then in sensibility there is a force that feels. In understanding there is a force that knows. Now, is the force that acts, me or not me ? the force that feels, me or not me ? the force that knows, me or not me ? Of course it is in each case me, I, myself. Then activity is simply myself acting; sensibility myself feeling ; understanding myself knowing. I am myself each and all three, for each is only myself under a given aspect.
This granted, the distinction between the subject and the faculty, that is, between the subject and its inneity, must be abandoned. The faculty is the subject, that is, the subject under a given aspect. Now, since we have already identified the pure and transcendental cognitions with the faculty of intelligence, it follows that they are the subject, and nothing else. They are the understanding, and the understanding is the subject as cognitive.    We can now easily grasp the essential features of Kant's doctrine of science.
The actual cognition, we have seen, consists of two parts, the cognition a priori, and the cognition a posteriori, the portion derived from experience, and the portion supplied by the subject experiencing. The empirical portion is merely the sensation, consequently, the actual cognition is sensation plus the subject,  the old doctrine attributed to Aristotle, with the famous reserve suggested by Leibnitz : Nihil in intellectv, quod nonfuerit in sensu,  nisi ipse intellectus : Nothing can be in the mind but what is first in the senses,  except the mind itself. Here is the germ of the Critik der reincn Vernunft, and all that Kant has done has been to develope and systematize the doctrine contained in this celebrated maxim.
We commend this fact to those zealous Kantians among us who are loud in condemning Locke for his alleged sensualism. The charge of sensualism agaiust Locke comes with an ill grace from a follower of Kant; for, so far as it concerns the objects of knowledge, the Englishman is much less liable to it than the German. Locke, indeed, recognized only sensation as a source of primary ideas, yet he held, that logic, or what he calls Reflection, is capable of extending our knowledge, and of attaining, by way of deduction, of inference, from sensible data, to realities transcending the limits of sensation itself,  which Kant denies, and labors at length to refute, in his " Transcendental Dialectics."
The great and important fact, which Kant seems to us to have recognized, is that contained in the reserve of Leibnitz already quoted,  nisi ipse intellectus ;  namely, that, in every fact of experience, the subject enters for a part, and must count for something; and that, prior to experience, the understanding is not, as Locke alleged, a mere blank sheet void of all characters and of all ideas. It is the assertion of this fact, that has deceived so many in regard to the true character and worth of the Critical Philosophy, and made them ;ook upon the Critik der reinen Vermin ft as a successful refutation of the Essay on the Human Understanding. Yet even here the difference between the two is more apparent than real, and, so far as real at all, is to the advantage of Locke.
Kant's doctrine concerning cognition a priori, pure cognition, and transcendental cognition, translated into the language of mortals, is, all simply, that a being, in order to know, must, prior to knowing, be able to know,  a doctrine which, so far as we recollect, Locke does not call in question. Locke, it is true, represents the mind, that is to say, the intelligent subject, prior to experience, to be a mere blank sheet, or piece of white paper, but obviously only in reference to actual objective knowledge, and he really means no more than Kant himself means by his assertion, that all our knowledge begins with experience. Kant asserts nothing as being prior to experience, but the subject inherently capable of experience; for this is the sum and substance of his whole doctrine concerning the pure and transcendental cognitions; but Locke asserts all this, for he does not resolve, as his pretended disciple, Condillac, does, the me into sensation, but asserts it as a substantive existence, and as an active and intelligent force, which he treats under the twofold aspect of sensation and reflection. He distinctly and expressly recognizes the me as a force capable of receiving sensations, and of working these sensations up "into that knowledge of objects which is called experience." If Kant asserts any thing more, we have not discovered it.
The simple truth is, that, touching objective knowledge, the only matter which Locke termed knowledge, Kant has made no advance on Locke, but virtually adopts Locke's general doctrine. He leaves, in the beginning, Locke where he is, and attempts to get behind experience, and make a critic of the experience-power; not the cognition, but the cognitive power (Erkenntniss-vermb'gen); that is to say, to determine whether the sensation and reflection of Locke, or the knowledge, so called, obtained by them, or rather through them, could claim any validity, or be worthy of any reliance. At best, he would only have left us the power of communicating with what lies outside of us, which Locke asserted; but, in reality, he has not left us even so much. For he has attempted to show that no experience is or can be valid without both synthetic judgments and synthetic conceptions, a priori, and that these judgments and conceptions are of no value, being nothing but pure, that is, empty conceptions. So that, with him we are worse off than we were with Locke; for if Locke was defective in not recognizing the subject in its completeness, Kant is still more defective, in that he, with Hume, recognizes in man no power of intelligence at all. Kant himself believed, many have since believed, that his Critic is a refutation of Hume; we regard it as the most masterly defence of Hume that man may be expected to produce. If Kant is right, man is incapable of demonstrating the reality of any existence outside of the subject, and the subject, for the want of a resisting medium, finally loses all apperception of itself, for Kant contends that the me can have intuition of itself only in the intuition of the diverse, that is, of the not me; and so all science vanishes, all certainty disappears, the sun goes out, the bright stars are extinguished, and we are afloat in the darkness, on the wild and tempest-roused ocean of universal Doubt and Nescience. Alas ! we do not misrepresent the philosopher of Konigsberg, for he himself, in the preface to his second edition, tells us, that the result of his whole investigation is, to rebuke dogmatism, " to demolish science to make way for faith."
The Critic of Pure Reason, we all know, is confessedly atheistic ; it leaves no space for faith in God, and Kant was obliged to write his Critic of the Practical Reason in order to restore the faith it had overthrown. That is to say, the Critik der rsinen Vernwnft destroys all evidence of the existence of God, leaving us only a dim and flickering faith in our own me; but the reason always aspires to unity, to completeness, to the whole, which aspiration can be satisfied only by admitting the notion of a God. In other words, the soul is conscious of a want ; only God can meet this want; ergo, God is ! The reasoning, by which Kant gets from the atheism of the Critilc der reinen Vc-rnunft to the ^uast-theism of the Critik dtr practischen Fernunft, is admirably hit off by the following passage from that able, but not over and above saintly, Heinrich Heine, in his D'Allemagne, with which we conclude the present article.
" After the tragedy comes the farce. Kant had hitherto taken the terrible tone of an inexorable philosopher, carried heaven by assault, and put the whole garrison to the sword. You saw, extended lifeless on the ground, the old ontological, cosmological, and physico-theological body-guards of God, and God himself, deprived of demonstration, lay swimming in his own blood ; henceforth no more divine mercy, no more paternal goodness, no more future rewards for present sufferings; immortality of the soul is in agony Nothing is heard
but the death-rattle and lamentations Arnold Lampe,
an afflicted spectator of this catastrophe, drops his umbrella ; an agonizing sweat and great tears flow down his cheeks. Then Immanuel Kant is touched, and shows that he is not merely a great philosopher, but a brave man. He reflects, and, with a half gracious, half malicious air, says :
'"Yes, Old Lampe must have a God, without which no happiness for the poor man.    Now, man ought to be happy in this world,  this is what the Practical Reason says I
mean, yes, I myself mean,  that the practical reason, therefore, guaranties the existence of God.' In consequence of this reasoning, Kant distinguishes between theoretic reason and practical reason. And by the aid of this, as with a magic wand, he resuscitates the God which the theoretic reason had slain.
" Perhaps Kant undertook this resurrection not merely through friendship for poor Old Lampe, but through fear of the police. Did he act from conviction ? Has he, in destroying all the proofs of the existence of God, wished to show us how deplorable it is to know nothing of God ? He in this appears to do very much Jike my Westphalian friend, who broke all the lamps of the Rue Grohnd of Gottingen, and in the darkness made a long oration on the practical necessity of lamps, which he had stoned in a theoretic manner in order to show what we should be without their beneficent light."*
Footnote* D'Allemagne, Tome I., pp. 170-172.