The Critique of Judgement/Introduction

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I. Division of Philosophy.[edit]

Philosophy may be said to contain the principles of the rational cognition that concepts afford us of things (not merely, as with logic, the principles of the form of thought in general irrespective of the objects), and, thus interpreted, the course, usually adopted, of dividing it into theoretical and practical is perfectly sound. But this makes imperative a specific distinction on the part of the concepts by which the principles of this rational cognition get their object assigned to them, for if the concepts are not distinct they fail to justify a division, which always presupposes that the principles belonging to the rational cognition of the several parts of the science in question are themselves mutually exclusive.

Now there are but two kinds of concepts, and these yield a corresponding number of distinct principles of the possibility of their objects. The concepts referred to are those of nature and that of freedom. By the first of these, a theoretical cognition from a priori principles becomes possible. In respect of such cognition, however, the second, by its very concept, imports no more than a negative principle (that of simple antithesis), while for the determination of the will, on the other hand, it establishes fundamental principles which enlarge the scope of its activity, and which on that account are called practical. Hence the division of philosophy falls properly into two parts, quite distinct in their principles-a theoretical, as philosophy of nature, and a practical, as philosophy of morals (for this is what the practical legislation of reason by the concept of freedom is called). Hitherto, however, in the application of these expressions to the division of the different principles, and with them to the division of philosophy, a gross misuse of the terms has prevailed; for what is practical according to concepts of nature has been taken as identical with what is practical according to the concept of freedom, with the result that a division has been made under these heads of theoretical and practical, by which, in effect, there has been no division at all (seeing that both parts might have similar principles).

The will-for this is what is said-is the faculty of desire and, as such, is just one of the many natural causes in the world, the one, namely, which acts by concepts; and whatever is represented as possible (or necessary) through the efficacy of will is called practically possible (or necessary): the intention being to distinguish its possibility (or necessity) from the physical possibility or necessity of an effect the causality of whose cause is not determined to its production by concepts (but rather, as with lifeless matter, by mechanism, and, as with the lower animals, by instinct). Now, the question in respect of the practical faculty: whether, that is to say, the concept, by which the causality of the will gets its rule, is a concept of nature or of freedom, is here left quite open.

The latter distinction, however, is essential. For, let the concept determining the causality be a concept of nature, and then the principles are technically-practical; but, let it be a concept of freedom, and they are morally-practical. Now, in the division of a rational science the difference between objects that require different principles for their cognition is the difference on which everything turns. Hence technically-practical principles belong to theoretical philosophy (natural science), whereas those morally-practical alone form the second part, that is, practical philosophy (ethical science).

All technically-practical rules (i.e., those of art and skill generally, or even of prudence, as a skill in exercising an influence over men and their wills) must, so far as their principles rest upon concepts, be reckoned only as corollaries to theoretical philosophy. For they only touch the possibility of things according to concepts of nature, and this embraces, not alone the means discoverable in nature for the purpose, but even the will itself (as a faculty of desire, and consequently a natural faculty), so far as it is determinable on these rules by natural motives. Still these practical rules are not called laws (like physical laws), but only precepts. This is due to the fact that the will does not stand simply under the natural concept, but also under the concept of freedom. In the latter connection its principles are called laws, and these principles, with the addition of what follows them, alone constitute the second at practical part of philosophy.

The solution of the problems of pure geometry is not allocated to a special part of that science, nor does the art of land-surveying merit the name of practical, in contradistinction to pure, as a second part of the general science of geometry, and with equally little, or perhaps less, right can the mechanical or chemical art of experiment or of observation be ranked as a practical part of the science of nature, or, in fine, domestic, agricultural, or political economy, the art of social intercourse, the principles of dietetics, or even general instruction as to the attainment of happiness, or as much as the control of the inclinations or the restraining of the affections with a view thereto, be denominated practical philosophy-not to mention forming these latter in a second part of philosophy in general. For, between them all, the above contain nothing more than rules of skill, which are thus only technically practical-the skill being directed to producing an effect which is possible according to natural concepts of causes and effects. As these concepts belong to theoretical philosophy, they are subject to those precepts as mere corollaries of theoretical philosophy (i.e., as corollaries of natural science), and so cannot claim any place in any special philosophy called practical. On the other hand, the morally practical precepts, which are founded entirely on the concept of freedom, to the complete exclusion of grounds taken from nature for the determination of the will, form quite a special kind of precepts. These, too, like the rules obeyed by nature, are, without qualification, called laws-though they do not, like the latter, rest on sensible conditions, but upon a supersensible principle-and they must needs have a separate part of philosophy allotted to them as their own, corresponding to the theoretical part, and termed practical philosophy capable

Hence it is evident that a complex of practical precepts furnished by philosophy does not form a special part of philosophy, co-ordinate with the theoretical, by reason of its precepts being practical-for that they might be, notwithstanding that their principles were derived wholly from the theoretical knowledge of nature (as technically-practical rules). But an adequate reason only exists where their principle, being in no way borrowed from the concept of nature, which is always sensibly conditioned, rests consequently on the supersensible, which the concept of freedom alone makes cognizable by means of its formal laws, and where, therefore, they are morally-practical, i. e., not merely precepts and its and rules in this or that interest, but laws independent of all antecedent reference to ends or aims.

II. The Realm of Philosophy in General.[edit]

The employment of our faculty of cognition from principles, and with it philosophy, is coextensive with the applicability of a priori concepts.

Now a division of the complex of all the objects to which those concepts are referred for the purpose, where possible, of compassing their knowledge, may be made according to the varied competence or incompetence of our faculty in that connection.

Concepts, so far as they are referred to objects apart from the question of whether knowledge of them is possible or not, have their field, which is determined simply by the relation in which their object stands to our faculty of cognition in general. The part of this field in which knowledge is possible for us is a territory (territorium) for these concepts and the requisite cognitive faculty. The part of the territory over which they exercise legislative authority is the realm (ditio) of these concepts, and their appropriate cognitive faculty. Empirical concepts have, therefore, their territory, doubtless, in nature as the complex of all sensible objects, but they have no realm (only a dwelling-place, domicilium), for, although they are formed according to law, they are not themselves legislative, but the rules founded on them are empirical and, consequently, contingent.

Our entire faculty of cognition has two realms, that of natural concepts and that of the concept of freedom, for through both it prescribes laws a priori. In accordance with this distinction, then, philosophy is divisible into theoretical and practical. But the territory upon which its realm is established, and over which it exercises its legislative authority, is still always confined to the complex of the objects of all possible experience, taken as no more than mere phenomena, for otherwise legislation by the understanding in respect of them is unthinkable.

The function of prescribing laws by means of concepts of nature is discharged by understanding and is theoretical. That of prescribing laws by means of the concept of freedom is discharged by reason and is merely practical. It is only in the practical sphere that reason can prescribe laws; in respect of theoretical knowledge (of nature) it can only (as by the understanding advised in the law) deduce from given logical consequences, which still always remain restricted to nature. But we cannot reverse this and say that where rules are practical reason is then and there legislative, since the rules might be technically practical.

Understanding and reason, therefore, have two distinct jurisdictions over one and the same territory of experience. But neither can interfere with the other. For the concept of freedom just as little disturbs the legislation of nature, as the concept of nature influences legislation through the concept of freedom. That it is possible for us at least to think without contradiction of both these jurisdictions, and their appropriate faculties, as co-existing in the same subject, was shown by the Critique of Pure Reason, since it disposed of the objections on the other side by detecting their dialectical illusion.

Still, how does it happen that these two different realms do not form one realm, seeing that, while they do not limit each other in their legislation, they continually do so in their effects in the sensible world? The explanation lies in the fact that the concept of nature represents its objects in intuition doubtless, yet not as things in-themselves, but as mere phenomena, whereas the concept of freedom represents in its object what is no doubt a thing-in-itself, but it does not make it intuitable, and further that neither the one nor the other is capable, therefore, of furnishing a theoretical cognition of its object (or even of the thinking subject) as a thing-in-itself, or, as this would be, of the supersensible idea of which has certainly to be introduced as the basis of the possibility of all those objects of experience, although it cannot itself ever be elevated or extended into a cognition.

Our entire cognitive faculty is, therefore, presented with an unbounded, but, also, inaccessible field-the field of the supersensible-in which we seek in vain for a territory, and on which, therefore, we can have no realm for theoretical cognition, be it for concepts of understanding or of reason. This field we must indeed occupy with ideas in the interest as well of the theoretical as the practical employment of reason, but, in connection with the laws arising from the concept of freedom, we cannot procure for these ideas any but practical reality, which, accordingly, fails to advance our theoretical cognition one step towards the supersensible.

Albeit, then, between the realm of the natural concept, as the sensible, and the realm of the concept of freedom, as the supersensible, there is a great gulf fixed, so that it is not possible to pass from the to the latter (by means of the theoretical employment of reason), just as if they were so many separate worlds, the first of which is powerless to exercise influence on the second: still the latter is meant to influence the former-that is to say, the concept of freedom is meant to actualize in the sensible world the end proposed by its laws; and nature must consequently also be capable of being regarded in such a way that in the conformity to law of its form it at least harmonizes with the possibility of the ends to be effectuated in it according to the laws of freedom. There must, therefore, be a ground of the unity of the supersensible that lies at the basis of nature, with what the concept of freedom contains in a practical way, and although the concept of this ground neither theoretically nor practically attains to a knowledge of it, and so has no peculiar realm of its own, still it renders possible the transition from the mode of thought according to the principles of the one to that according to the principles of the other.

III. The Critique of Judgement as a means of connecting the two Parts of Philosophy in a whole.[edit]

The critique which deals with what our cognitive faculties are capable of yielding a priori has properly speaking no realm in respect of objects; for it is not a doctrine, its sole business being to investigate whether, having regard to the general bearings of our faculties, a doctrine is possible by their means, and if so, how. Its field extends to all their pretentions, with a view to confining them within their legitimate bounds. But what is shut out of the division of philosophy may still be admitted as a principal part into the general critique of our faculty of pure cognition, in the event, namely, of its containing principles which are not in themselves available either for theoretical or practical employment.

Concepts of nature contain the ground of all theoretical cognition a priori and rest, as we saw, upon the legislative authority of understanding. The concept of freedom contains the ground of all sensuously unconditioned practical precepts a priori, and rests upon that of reason. Both faculties, therefore, besides their application in point of logical form to principles of whatever origin, have, in addition, their own peculiar jurisdiction in the matter of their content, and so, there being no further (a priori) jurisdiction above them, the division of philosophy into theoretical and practical is justified.

But there is still further in the family of our higher cognitive faculties a middle term between understanding and reason. This is judgement, of which we may reasonably presume by analogy that it may likewise contain, if not a special authority to prescribe laws, still a principle peculiar to itself upon which laws are sought, although one merely subjective a priori. This principle, even if it has no field of objects appropriate to it as its realm, may still have some territory or other with a certain character, for which just this very principle alone may be valid.

But in addition to the above considerations there is yet (to judge by analogy) a further ground, upon which judgement may be brought into line with another arrangement of our powers of representation, and one that appears to be of even greater importance than that of its kinship with the family of cognitive faculties. For all faculties of the soul, or capacities, are reducible to three, which do not admit of any further derivation from a common ground: the faculty of knowledge, the feeling of pleasure or displeasure, and the faculty of desire.* For the faculty of cognition understanding alone is legislative, if (as must be the case where it is considered on its own account free of confusion with the faculty of desire) this faculty, as that of theoretical cognition, is referred to nature, in respect of which alone (as phenomenon) it is possible for us to prescribe laws by means of a priori concepts of nature, which are properly pure concepts of understanding. For the faculty of desire, as a higher faculty operating under the concept of freedom, only reason (in which alone this concept has a place) prescribes laws a priori. Now between the faculties of knowledge and desire stands the feeling of pleasure, just as judgement is intermediate between understanding and reason. Hence we may, provisionally at least, assume that judgement likewise contains an a priori principle of its own, and that, since pleasure or displeasure is necessarily combined with the faculty of desire (be it antecedent to its principle, as with the lower desires, or, as with the higher, only supervening upon its determination by the moral law), it will effect a transition from the faculty of pure knowledge, i.e., from the realm of concepts of nature, to that of the concept of freedom, just as i its logical employment it makes possible the transition from understanding to reason.

  • Where one has reason to suppose that a relation subsists between

concepts that are used as empirical principles and the faculty of pure cognition a priori, it is worth while attempting, in consideration of this connection, to give them a transcendental definition-a definition, that is, by pure categories, so far as these by themselves adequately indicate the distinction of the concept in question from others. This course follows that of the mathematician, who leaves the empirical data of his problem indeterminate, and only brings their relation in pure synthesis under the concepts of pure arithmetic, and thus generalizes his solution.-I have been taken to task for adopting a similar procedure and fault had been found with my definition of the faculty of desire as a faculty which by means of its representations is the cause of the cause of the actuality of the objects of those representations: for mere wishes would still be desires, and yet in their case every one is ready to abandon all claim to being able by means of them alone to call their object into existence. -But this proves no more than the presence of desires in man by which he is in contradiction with himself. For in such a case he seeks the production of the object by means of his representation alone, without any hope of its being effectual, since he is conscious that his mechanical powers (if I may so call those which are not psychological), which would have to be determined by that representation, are either unequal to the task of realizing the object (by the intervention of means, therefore) or else are addressed to what is quite impossible, as, for example, to undo the past (O mihi praeteritos, etc.) or, to be able to annihilate the interval that, with intolerable delay, divides us from the wished for moment. -Now, conscious as we are in such fantastic desires of the inefficiency of our representations (or even of their futility), as causes of their objects, there is still involved in every wish a reference of the same as cause, and therefore the representation of its causality, and this is especially discernible where the wish, as longing, is an affection. For such affections, since they dilate the heart and render it inert and thus exhaust its powers, show that a strain is kept on being exerted and re-exerted on these powers by the representations, but that the mind is allowed continually to relapse and get languid upon recognition of the impossibility before it. Even prayers for the aversion of great, and, so far as we can see, inevitable evils, and many superstitious means for attaining ends impossible of attainment by natural means, prove the causal reference of representations to their objects-a causality which not even the consciousness of inefficiency for producing the effect can deter from straining towards it. But why our nature should be furnished with a propensity to consciously vain desires is a teleological problem of anthropology. It would seem that were we not to be determined to the exertion of our power before we had assured ourselves of the efficiency of our faculty for producing an object, our power would remain to a large extent unused. For as a rule we only first learn to know our powers by making trial of them. This deceit of vain desires is therefore only the result of a beneficent disposition in our nature.

Hence, despite the fact of philosophy being only divisible into two principal parts, the theoretical and the practical, and despite the fact of all that we may have to say of the special principles of judgement having to be assigned to its theoretical part, i.e., to rational cognition according to concepts of nature: still the Critique of Pure Reason, which must settle this whole question before the above system is taken in hand, so as to substantiate its possibility, consists of three parts: the Critique of pure understanding, of pure judgement, and of pure reason, which faculties are called pure on the ground of their being legislative a priori.

IV. Judgement as a Faculty by which Laws are prescribed a priori.[edit]

Judgement in general is the faculty of thinking the particular as contained under the universal. If the universal (the rule, principle, or law) is given, then the judgement which subsumes the particular under it is determinant. This is so even where such a judgement is transcendental and, as such, provides the conditions a priori in conformity with which alone subsumption under that universal can be effected. If, however, only the particular is given and the universal has to be found for it, then the judgement is simply reflective.

The determinant judgement determines under universal transcendental laws furnished by understanding and is subsumptive only; the law is marked out for it a priori, and it has no need to devise a law for its own guidance to enable it to subordinate the particular in nature to the universal. But there are such manifold forms of nature, so many modifications, as it were, of the universal transcendental concepts of nature, left undetermined by the laws furnished by pure understanding a priori as above mentioned, and for the reason that these laws only touch the general possibility of a nature (as an object of sense), that there must needs also be laws in this behalf. These laws, being empirical, may be contingent as far as the light of our understanding goes, but still, if they are to be called laws (as the concept of a nature requires), they must be regarded as necessary on a principle, unknown though it be to us, of the unity of the manifold. The reflective judgement which is compelled to ascend from the particular in nature to the universal stands, therefore, in need of a principle. This principle it cannot borrow from experience, because what it has to do is to establish just the unity of all empirical principles under higher, though likewise empirical, principles, and thence the possibility of the systematic subordination of higher and lower. Such a transcendental principle, therefore, the reflective judgement can only give as a law from and to itself. It cannot derive it from any other quarter (as it would then be a determinant judgement). Nor can it prescribe it to nature, for reflection on the laws of nature adjusts itself to nature, and not nature to the conditions according to which we strive to obtain a concept of it-a concept that is quite contingent in respect of these conditions.

Now the principle sought can only be this: as universal laws of nature have their ground in our understanding, which prescribes them to nature (though only according to the universal concept of it as nature), particular empirical laws must be regarded, in respect of that which is left undetermined in them by these universal laws, according to a unity such as they would have if an understanding (though it be not ours) had supplied them for the benefit of our cognitive faculties, so as to render possible a system of experience according to particular natural laws. This is not to be taken as implying that such an understanding must be actually assumed (for it is only the reflective judgement which avails itself of this idea as a principle for the purpose of reflection and not for determining anything); but this faculty rather gives by this means a law to itself alone and not to nature.

Now the concept of an object, so far as it contains at the same time the ground of the actuality of this object, is called its end, and the agreement of a thing with that constitution of things which is only possible according to ends, is called the finality of its form. Accordingly the principle of judgement, in respect of the form of the things of nature under empirical laws generally, is the finality of nature in its multiplicity. In other words, by this concept nature is represented as if an understanding contained the ground of the unity of the manifold of its empirical laws.

The finality of nature is, therefore, a particular a priori concept, which bas its origin solely in the reflective judgement. For we cannot ascribe to the products of nature anything like a reference of nature in them to ends, but we can only make use of this concept to reflect upon them in respect of the nexus of phenomena in nature-a nexus given according to empirical laws. Furthermore, this concept is entirely different from practical finality (in human art or even morals), though it is doubtless thought after this analogy.

V. The Principle of the formal finality of Nature is a transcendental Principle of Judgement.[edit]

A transcendental principle is one through which we represent a priori the universal condition under which alone things can become objects of our cognition generally. A principle, on the other band, is called metaphysical where it represents a priori the condition under which alone objects whose concept has to be given empirically may become further determined a priori. Thus the principle of the cognition of bodies as substances, and as changeable substances, is transcendental where the statement is that their change must have a cause: but it is metaphysical where it asserts that their change must have an external cause. For, in the first case, bodies need only be thought through ontological predicates (pure concepts of understanding) e.g., as substance, to enable the proposition to be cognized a priori; whereas, in the second case, the empirical concept of a body (as a movable thing in space) must be introduced to support the proposition, although, once this is done, it may be seen quite a priori that the latter predicate (movement only by means of an external cause) applies to body. In this way, as I shall show presently, the principle of the finality of nature (in the multiplicity of its empirical laws) is a transcendental principle. For the concept of objects, regarded as standing under this principle, is only the pure concept of objects of possible empirical cognition generally, and involves nothing empirical. On the other band, the principle of practical finality, implied in the idea of the determination of a free will, would be a metaphysical principle, because the concept of a faculty of desire, as will, has to be given empirically, i.e., is not included among transcendental predicates. But both these principles are, none the less, not empirical, but a priori principles; because no further experience is required for the synthesis of the predicate with the empirical concept of the subject of their judgements, but it may be apprehended quite a priori.

That the concept of a finality of nature belongs to transcendental principles is abundantly evident from the maxims of judgement upon which we rely a priori in the investigation of nature, and which yet have to do with no more than the possibility of experience, and consequently of the knowledge of nature-but of nature not merely in a general way, but as determined by a manifold of particular laws. These maxims crop up frequently enough in the course of this science, though only in a scattered way. They are aphorisms of metaphysical wisdom, making their appearance in a number of rules the necessity of which cannot be demonstrated from concepts. "Nature takes the shortest way (lex parsimoniae); yet it makes no leap, either in the sequence of its changes, or in the juxtaposition of specifically different forms (lex continui in natura); its vast variety in empirical laws is for all that, unity under a few principles (principia praeter necessitatem non sunt multiplicanda)"; and so forth.

If we propose to assign the origin of these elementary rules, and attempt to do so on psychological lines, we go straight in the teeth of their sense. For they tell us, not what happens, i.e., according to what rule our powers of judgement actually discharge their functions, and how we judge, but how we ought to judge; and we cannot get this logical objective necessity where the principles are merely empirical. Hence the finality of nature for our cognitive faculties and their employment, which manifestly radiates from them, is a transcendental principle of judgements, and so needs also a transcendental deduction, by means of which the ground for this mode of judging must be traced to the a priori sources of knowledge.

Now, looking at the grounds of the possibility of an experience, the first thing, of course, that meets us is something necessary-namely, the universal laws apart from which nature in general (as an object of sense) cannot be thought. These rest on the categories, applied to the formal conditions of all intuition possible for us, so far as it is also given a priori. Under these laws, judgement is determinant; for it bas nothing else to do than to subsume under given laws. For instance, understanding says: all change has its cause (universal law of nature); transcendental judgement has nothing further to do than to furnish a priori the condition of subsumption under the concept of understanding placed before it: this we get in the succession of the determinations of one and the same thing. Now for nature in general, as an object of possible experience, that law is cognized as absolutely necessary. But besides this formal time-condition, the objects of empirical cognition are determined, or, so far as we can judge a priori, are determinable, in divers ways, so that specifically differentiated natures, over and above what they have in common as things of nature in general, are further capable of being causes in an infinite variety of ways; and each of these modes must, on the concept of a cause in general, have its rule, which is a law, and, consequently, imports necessity: although owing to the constitution and limitations of our faculties of cognition we may entirely fail to see this necessity. Accordingly, in respect of nature's merely empirical laws, we must think in nature a possibility of an endless multiplicity of empirical laws, which yet are contingent so far as our insight goes, i.e., cannot be cognized a priori. In respect of these we estimate the unity of nature according to empirical laws, and the possibility of the unity of experience, as a system according to empirical laws, to be contingent. But, now, such a unity is one which must be necessarily presupposed and assumed, as otherwise we should not have a thoroughgoing connection of empirical cognition in a whole of experience. For the universal laws of nature, while providing, certainly, for such a connection among things generically, as things of nature in general, do not do so for them specifically as such particular things of nature. Hence judgement is compelled, for its own guidance, to adopt it as an a priori principle, that what is for human insight contingent in the particular (empirical) laws of nature contains nevertheless unity of law in the synthesis of its manifold in an intrinsically possible experience-unfathomable, though still thinkable, as such unity may, no doubt, be for us. Consequently, as the unity of law in a synthesis, which is cognized by us in obedience to a necessary aim (a need of understanding), though recognized at the same time as contingent, is represented as a finality of objects (here of nature), so judgement, which, in respect of things under possible (yet to be discovered) empirical laws, is merely reflective, must regard nature in respect of the latter according to a principle of finality for our cognitive faculty, which then finds expression in the above maxims of judgement. Now this transcendental concept of a finality of nature is neither a concept of nature nor of freedom, since it attributes nothing at all to the object, i.e., to nature, but only represents the unique mode in which we must proceed in our reflection upon the objects of nature with a view to getting a thoroughly interconnected whole of experience, and so is a subjective principle, i.e., maxim, of judgement. For this reason, too, just as if it were a lucky chance that favoured us, we are rejoiced (properly speaking, relieved of a want) where we meet with such systematic unity under merely empirical laws: although we must necessarily assume the presence of such a unity, apart from any ability on our part to apprehend or prove its existence.

In order to convince ourselves of the correctness of this deduction of the concept before us, and the necessity of assuming it as a transcendental principle of cognition, let us just bethink ourselves of the magnitude of the task. We have to form a connected experience from given perceptions of a nature containing a maybe endless multiplicity of empirical laws, and this problem has its seat a priori in our understanding. This understanding is no doubt a priori in possession of universal laws of nature, apart from which nature would be incapable of being an object of experience at all. But over and above this it needs a certain order of nature in its particular rules which are only capable of being brought to its knowledge empirically, and which, so far as it is concerned are contingent. These rules, without which we would have no means of advance from the universal analogy of a possible experience in general to a particular, must be regarded by understanding as laws, i.e., as necessary-for otherwise they would not form an order of nature-though it be unable to cognize or ever get an insight into their necessity. Albeit, then, it can determine nothing a priori in respect of these (objects), it must, in pursuit of such empirical so-called laws, lay at the basis of all reflection upon them an a priori principle, to the effect, namely, that a cognizable order of nature is possible according to them. A principle of this kind is expressed in the following propositions. There is in nature a subordination of genera and species comprehensible by us: Each of these genera again approximates to the others on a common principle, so that a transition may be possible from one to the other, and thereby to a higher genus: While it seems at outset unavoidable for our understanding to assume for the specific variety of natural operations a like number of various kinds of causality, yet these may all be reduced to a small number of principles, the quest for which is our business; and so forth. This adaptation of nature to our cognitive faculties is presupposed a priori by judgement on behalf of its reflection upon it according to empirical laws. But understanding all the while recognizes it objectively as contingent, and it is merely judgement that attributes it to nature as transcendental finality, i.e., a finality in respect of the subject's faculty of cognition. For, were it not for this presupposition, we should have no order of nature in accordance with empirical laws, and, consequently, no guiding-thread for an experience that has to be brought to bear upon these in all their variety, or for an investigation of them.

For it is quite conceivable that, despite all the uniformity of the things of nature according to universal laws, without which we would not have the form of general empirical knowledge at all, the specific variety of the empirical laws of nature, with their effects, might still be so great as to make it impossible for our understanding to discover in nature an intelligible order, to divide its products into genera and species so as to avail ourselves of the principles of explanation and comprehension of one for explaining and interpreting another, and out of material coming to hand in such confusion (properly speaking only infinitely multiform and ill-adapted to our power-of apprehension) to make a consistent context of experience.

Thus judgement, also, is equipped with an a priori principle for the possibility of nature, but only in a subjective respect. By means of this it prescribes a law, not to nature (as autonomy), but to itself (as heautonomy), to guide its reflection upon nature. This law may be called the law of the specification of nature in respect of its empirical laws. It is not one cognized a priori in nature, but judgement adopts it in the interests of a natural order, cognizable by our understanding, in the division which it makes of nature's universal laws when it seeks to subordinate to them a variety of particular laws. So when it is said that nature specifies its universal laws on a principle of finality for our cognitive faculties, i.e., of suitability for the human understanding and its necessary function of finding the universal for the particular presented to it by perception, and again for varieties (which are, of course, common for each species) connection in the unity of principle, we do not thereby either prescribe a law to nature, or learn one from it by observation-although the principle in question may be confirmed by this means. For it is not a principle of the determinant but merely of the reflective judgement. All that is intended is that, no matter what is the order and disposition of nature in respect of its universal laws, we must investigate its empirical laws throughout on that principle and the maxims founded thereon, because only so far as that principle applies can we make any headway in the employment of our understanding in experience, or gain knowledge.

VI. The Association of the Feeling of Pleasure with the Concept of the Finality of Nature.[edit]

The conceived harmony of nature in the manifold of its particular laws with our need of finding universality of principles for it must, so far as our insight goes, be deemed contingent, but withal indispensable for the requirements of our understanding, and, consequently, a finality by which nature is in accord with our aim, but only so far as this is directed to knowledge. The universal laws of understanding, which are equally laws of nature, are, although arising from spontaneity, just as necessary for nature as the laws of motion applicable to matter. Their origin does not presuppose any regard to our cognitive faculties, seeing that it is only by their means that we first come by any conception of the meaning of a knowledge of things (of nature), and they of necessity apply to nature as object of our cognition in general. But it is contingent, so far as we can see, that the order of nature in its particular laws, with their wealth of at least possible variety and heterogeneity transcending all our powers of comprehension, should still in actual fact be commensurate with these powers. To find out this order is an undertaking on the part of our understanding, which pursues it with a regard to a necessary end of its own, that, namely, of introducing into nature unity of principle. This end must, then, be attributed to nature by judgement, since no law can be here prescribed to it by understanding.

The attainment of every aim is coupled with a feeling of pleasure. Now where such attainment has for its condition a representation a priori-as here a principle for the reflective judgement in general-the feeling of pleasure also is determined by a ground which is a priori and valid for all men: and that, too, merely by virtue of the reference of the object to our faculty of cognition. As the concept of finality here takes no cognizance whatever of the faculty of desire, it differs entirely from all practical finality of nature.

As a matter of fact, we do not, and cannot, find in ourselves the slightest effect on the feeling of pleasure from the coincidence of perceptions with the laws in accordance with the universal concepts of nature (the categories), since in their case understanding necessarily follows the bent of its own nature without ulterior aim. But, while this is so, the discovery, on the other hand, that two or more empirical heterogeneous laws of nature are allied under one principle that embraces them both, is the ground of a very appreciable pleasure, often even of admiration, and such, too, as does not wear off even though we are already familiar enough with its object. It is true that we no longer notice any decided pleasure in the comprehensibility of nature, or in the unity of its divisions into genera and species, without which the empirical concepts, that afford us our knowledge of nature in its particular laws, would not be possible. Still it is certain that the pleasure appeared in due course, and only by reason of the most ordinary experience being impossible without it, bas it become gradually fused with simple cognition, and no longer arrests particular attention. Something, then, that makes us attentive in our estimate of nature to its finality for our understanding-an endeavour to bring, where possible, its heterogeneous laws under higher, though still always empirical, laws-is required, in order that, on meeting with success, pleasure may be felt in this their accord with our cognitive faculty, which accord is regarded by us as purely contingent. As against this, a representation of nature would be altogether displeasing to us, were we to be forewarned by it that, on the least investigation carried beyond the commonest experience, we should come in contact with such a heterogeneity of its laws as would make the union of its particular laws under universal empirical laws impossible for our understanding. For this would conflict with the principle of the subjectively final specification of nature in its genera, and with our own reflective judgement in respect thereof.

Yet this presupposition of judgement is so indeterminate on the question of the extent of the prevalence of that ideal finality of nature for our cognitive faculties, that if we are told that a more searching or enlarged knowledge of nature, derived from observation, must eventually bring us into contact with a multiplicity of laws that no human understanding could reduce to a principle, we can reconcile ourselves to the thought. But still we listen more gladly to others who hold out to us the hope that the more intimately we come to know the secrets of nature, or the better we are able to compare it with external members as yet unknown to us, the more simple shall we find it in its principles, and the further our experience advances the more harmonious shall we find it in the apparent heterogeneity of its empirical laws. For our judgement makes it imperative upon us to proceed on the principle of the conformity of nature to our faculty of cognition, so far as that principle extends, without deciding-for the rule is not given to us by a determinant judgement-whether bounds are anywhere set to it or not. For, while in respect of the rational employment of our cognitive faculty, bounds may be definitely determined, in the empirical field no such determination of bounds is possible.

VII. The Aesthetic Representation of the Finality of Nature.[edit]

That which is purely subjective in the representation of an object, i.e., what constitutes its reference to the subject, not to the object, is its aesthetic quality. On the other hand, that which in such a representation serves, or is available, for the determination of the object (for or purpose of knowledge), is its logical validity. In the cognition of an object of sense, both sides are presented conjointly. In the sense-representation of external things, the quality of space in which we intuite them is the merely subjective side of my representation of them (by which what the things are in themselves as objects is left quite open), and it is on account of that reference that the object in being intuited in space is also thought merely as phenomenon. But despite its purely subjective quality, space is still a constituent of the knowledge of things as phenomena. Sensation (here external) also agrees in expressing a merely subjective side of our representations of external things, but one which is properly their matter (through which we are given something with real existence), just as space is the mere a priori form of the possibility of their intuition; and so sensation is, none the less, also employed in the cognition of external objects.

But that subjective side of a representation which is incapable of becoming an element of cognition, is the pleasure or displeasure connected with it; for through it I cognize nothing in the object of the representation, although it may easily be the result of the operation of some cognition or other. Now the finality of a thing, so far as represented in our perception of it, is in no way a quality of the object itself (for a quality of this kind is not one that can be perceived), although it may be inferred from a cognition of things. In the finality, therefore, which is prior to the cognition of an object, and which, even apart from any desire to make use of the representation of it for the purpose of a cognition, is yet immediately connected with it, we have the subjective quality belonging to it that is incapable of becoming a constituent of knowledge. Hence we only apply the term final to the object on account of its representation being immediately coupled with the feeling of pleasure: and this representation itself is an aesthetic representation of the finality. The only question is whether such a representation of finality exists at all.

If pleasure is connected with the mere apprehension (apprehensio) of the form of an object of intuition, apart from any reference it may have to a concept for the purpose of a definite cognition, this does not make the representation referable to the object, but solely to the subject. In such a case, the pleasure can express nothing but the conformity of the object to the cognitive faculties brought into play in the reflective judgement, and so far as they are in play, and hence merely a subjective formal finality of the object. For that apprehension of forms in the imagination can never take place without the reflective judgement, even when it has no intention of so doing, comparing them at least with its faculty of referring intuitions to concepts. If, now, in this comparison, imagination (as the faculty of intuitions a priori) is undesignedly brought into accord with understanding (as the faculty of concepts), by means of a given representation, and a feeling of pleasure is thereby aroused, then the object must be regarded as final for the reflective judgement. A judgement of this kind is an aesthetic judgement upon the finality of the object, which does not depend upon any present concept of the object, and does not provide one. When the form of an object (as opposed to the matter of its representation, as sensation) is, in the mere act of reflecting upon it, without regard to any concept to be obtained from it, estimated as the ground of a pleasure in the representation of such an object, then this pleasure is also judged to be combined necessarily with the representation of it, and so not merely for the subject apprehending this form, but for all in general who pass judgement. The object is then called beautiful; and the faculty of judging by means of such a pleasure (and so also with universal validity) is called taste. For since the ground of the pleasure is made to reside merely in the form of the object for reflection generally, consequently not in any sensation of the object, and without any reference, either, to any concept that might have something or other in view, it is with the conformity to law in the empirical employment of judgement generally (unity of imagination and understanding) in the subject, and with this alone, that the representation of the object in reflection, the conditions of which are universally valid a priori, accords. And, as this accordance of the object with the faculties of the subject is contingent, it gives rise to a representation of a finality on the part of the object in respect of the cognitive faculties of the subject.

Here, now, is a pleasure which-as is the case with all pleasure or displeasure that is not brought about through the agency of the concept of freedom (i.e., through the antecedent determination of the higher faculty of desire by means of pure reason)-no concepts could ever enable us to regard as necessarily connected with the representation of an object. It must always be only through reflective perception that it is cognized as conjoined with this representation. As with all empirical judgements, it is, consequently, unable to announce objective necessity or lay claim to a priori validity. But, then, the judgement of taste in fact only lays claim, like every other empirical judgement, to be valid for every one, and, despite its inner contingency this is always possible. The only point that is strange or out of the way about it is that it is not an empirical concept, but a feeling of pleasure (and so not a concept at all), that is yet exacted from every one by the judgement of taste, just as if it were a predicate united to the cognition of the object, and that is meant to be conjoined with its representation.

A singular empirical judgement, as for example, the judgement of one who perceives a movable drop of water in a rock-crystal, rightly looks to every one finding the fact as stated, since the judgement has been formed according to the universal conditions of the determinant judgement under the laws of a possible experience generally. In the same way, one who feels pleasure in simple reflection on the form of an object, without having any concept in mind, rightly lays claim to the agreement of every one, although this judgement is empirical and a singular judgement. For the ground of this pleasure is found in the universal, though subjective, condition of reflective judgements, namely the final harmony of an object (be it a product of nature or of art) with the mutual relation of the faculties of cognition (imagination and understanding), which are requisite for every empirical cognition. The pleasure in judgements of taste is, therefore, dependent doubtless on an empirical representation, and cannot be united a priori to any concept (one cannot determine a priori what object will be in accordance with taste or not-one must find out the object that is so); but then it is only made the determining ground of this judgement by virtue of our consciousness of its resting simply upon reflection and the universal, though only subjective, conditions of the harmony of that reflection with the knowledge of objects generally, for which the form of the object is final.

This is why judgements of taste are subjected to a critique in respect of their possibility. For their possibility presupposes an a priori principle, although that principle is neither a cognitive principle for understanding nor a practical principle for the will, and is thus in no way determinant a priori.

Susceptibility to pleasure arising from reflection on the forms of things (whether of nature or of art) betokens, however, not only a finality on the part of objects in their relation to the reflective judgement in the subject, in accordance with the concept of nature, but also, conversely, a finality on the part of the subject, answering to the concept of freedom, in respect of the form, or even formlessness of objects. The result is that the aesthetic judgement refers not merely, as a judgement of taste, to the beautiful, but also, as springing from a higher intellectual feeling, to the sublime. Hence the above-mentioned Critique of Aesthetic judgement must be divided on these lines into two main parts.

VIII. The Logical Representation of the Finality of Nature.[edit]

There are two ways in which finality may be represented in an object given in experience. It may be made to turn on what is purely subjective. In this case the object is considered in respect of its form as present in apprehension (apprehensio) prior to any concept; and the harmony of this form with the cognitive faculties, promoting the combination of the intuition with concepts for cognition generally, is represented as a finality of the form of the object. Or, on the other hand, the representation of finality may be made to turn on what is objective, in which case it is represented as the harmony of the form of the object with the possibility of the thing itself according to an antecedent concept of it containing the ground of this form. We have seen that the representation of the former kind of finality rests on the pleasure immediately felt in mere reflection on the form of the object. But that of the latter kind of finality, as it refers the form of the object, not to the subject's cognitive faculties engaged in its apprehension, but to a definite cognition of the object under a given concept, bas nothing to do with a feeling of pleasure in things, but only understanding and its estimate of them. Where the concept of an object is given, the function of judgement, in its employment of that concept for cognition, consists in presentation (exhibitio), i. e., in placing beside the concept an intuition corresponding to it. Here it may be that our own imagination is the agent employed, as in the case of art, where we realize a preconceived concept of an object which we set before ourselves as an end. Or the agent may be nature in its technic (as in the case of organic bodies), when we read into it our own concept of an end to assist our estimate of its product. In this case what is represented is not a mere finality of nature in the form of the thing, but this very product as a natural end. Although our concept that nature, in its empirical laws, is subjectively final in its forms is in no way a concept of the object, but only a principle of judgement for providing itself with concepts in the vast multiplicity of nature, so that it may be able to take its bearings, yet, on the analogy of an end, as it were a regard to our cognitive faculties is here attributed to nature. Natural beauty may, therefore, be looked on as the presentation of the concept of formal, i. e., merely subjective, finality and natural ends as the presentation of the concept of a real, i.e., objective, finality. The former of these we estimate by taste (aesthetically by means of the feeling of pleasure), the latter by understanding and reason (logically according to concepts).

On these considerations is based the division of the Critique of judgement into that of the aesthetic and the teleological judgement. By the first is meant the faculty of estimating formal finality (otherwise called subjective) by the feeling of pleasure or displeasure, by the second, the faculty of estimating the real finality (objective) of nature by understanding and, reason.

In a Critique of judgement the part dealing with aesthetic judgement is essentially relevant, as it alone contains a principle introduced by judgement completely a priori as the basis of its reflection upon nature. This is the principle of nature's formal finality for our cognitive faculties in its particular (empirical) laws-a principle without which understanding could not feel itself at home in nature: whereas no reason is assignable a priori, nor is so much as the possibility of one apparent from the concept of nature as an object of experience, whether in its universal or in its particular aspects, why there should be objective ends of nature, i. e., things only possible as natural ends. But it is only judgement that, without being itself possessed a priori of a principle in that behalf, in actually occurring cases (of certain products) contains the rule for making use of the concept of ends in the interest of reason, after that the above transcendental principle has already prepared understanding to apply to nature the concept of an end (at least in respect of its form).

But the transcendental principle by which a finality of nature in its subjective reference to our cognitive faculties, is represented in the form of a thing as a principle of its estimation, leaves quite undetermined the question of where and in what cases we have to make our estimate of the object as a product according to a principle of finality, instead of simply according to universal laws of nature. It resigns to the aesthetic judgement the task of deciding the conformity of this product (in its form) to our cognitive faculties as a question of taste (a matter which the aesthetic judgement decides, not by any harmony with concepts, but by feeling). On the other hand, judgement as teleologically employed assigns the determinate conditions under which something (e. g., an organized body) is to be estimated after the idea of an end of nature. But it can adduce no principle from the concept of nature, as an object of experience, to give it its authority to ascribe a priori to nature a reference to ends, or even only indeterminately to assume them from actual experience in the case of such products. The reason of this is that, in order to be able merely empirically to cognize objective finality in a certain object, many particular experiences must be collected and reviewed under the unity of their principle. Aesthetic judgement is, therefore, a special faculty of estimating according to a rule, but not according to concepts. The teleological is not a special faculty, but only general reflective judgement proceeding, as it always does in theoretical cognition, according to concepts, but in respect of certain objects of nature, following special principles-those, namely, of a judgement that is merely reflective and does not determine objects. Hence, as regards its application, it belongs to the theoretical part of philosophy, and on account of its special principles, which are not determinant, as principles belonging to doctrine have to be, it must also form a special part of the Critique. On the other hand, the aesthetic judgement contributes nothing to the cognition of its objects. Hence it must only be allocated to the Critique of the judging subject and of its faculties of knowledge so far as these are capable of possessing a priori principles, be their use (theoretical or practical) otherwise what it may-a Critique which is the propaedeutic of all philosophy.

IX. Joinder of the Legislations of Understanding and Reason by means of Judgement.[edit]

Understanding prescribes laws a priori for nature as an object of sense, so that we may have a theoretical knowledge of it in a possible experience. Reason prescribes laws a priori for freedom and its peculiar causality as the supersensible in the subject, so that we may have a purely practical knowledge. The realm of the concept of nature under the one legislation, and that of the concept of freedom under the other, are completely cut off from all reciprocal influence, that they might severally (each according to its own principles) exert upon the other, by the broad gulf that divides the supersensible from phenomena. The concept of freedom determines nothing in respect of the theoretical cognition of nature; and the concept of nature likewise nothing in respect of the practical laws of freedom. To that extent, then, it is not possible to throw a bridge from the one realm to the other. Yet although the determining grounds of causality according to the concept of freedom (and the practical rule that this contains) have no place in nature, and the sensible cannot determine the supersensible in the subject; still the converse is possible (not, it is true, in respect of the knowledge of nature, but of the consequences arising from the supersensible and bearing on the sensible). So much indeed is implied in the concept of a causality by freedom, the operation of which, in conformity with the formal laws of freedom, is to take effect in the word. The word cause, however, in its application to the supersensible only signifies the ground that determines the causality of things of nature to an effect in conformity with their appropriate natural laws, but at the same time also in unison with the formal principle of the laws of reason-a ground which, while its possibility is impenetrable, may still be completely cleared of the charge of contradiction that it is alleged to involve.* The effect in accordance with the concept of freedom is the final end which (or the manifestation of which in the sensible world) is to exist, and this presupposes the condition of the possibility of that end in nature (i. e., in the nature of the subject as a being of the sensible world, namely, as man). It is so presupposed a priori, and without regard to the practical, by judgement. This faculty, with its concept of a finality of nature, provides us with the mediating concept between concepts of nature and the concept of freedom-a concept that makes possible the transition from the pure theoretical [legislation of understanding] to the pure practical [legislation of reason] and from conformity to law in accordance with the former to final ends according to the latter. For through that concept we cognize the possibility of the final end that can only be actualized in nature and in harmony with its laws.

  • One of the various supposed contradictions in this complete

distinction of the causality of nature from that through freedom is expressed in the objection that when I speak of hindrances opposed by nature to causality according to laws of freedom (moral laws) or of assistance lent to it by nature, I am all the time admitting an influence of the former upon the latter. But the misinterpretation is easily avoided, if attention is only paid to the meaning of the statement. The resistance or furtherance is not between nature and freedom, but between the former as phenomenon and the effects of the latter as phenomena in the world of sense. Even the causality of freedom (of pure and practical reason) is the causality of a natural cause subordinated to freedom (a causality of the subject regarded as man, and consequently as a phenomenon), and one, the ground of whose determination is contained in the intelligible, that is thought under freedom, in a manner that is not further or otherwise explicable (just as in the case of that intelligible that forms the supersensible substrate of nature.)

Understanding, by the possibility of its supplying a priori laws for nature, furnishes a proof of the fact that nature is cognized by us only as phenomenon, and in so doing points to its having a supersensible substrate; but this substrate it leaves quite undetermined. judgement by the a priori principle of its estimation of nature according to its possible particular laws provides this supersensible substrate (within as well as without us) with determinability through the intellectual faculty. But reason gives determination to the same a priori by its practical law. Thus judgement makes possible the transition from the realm of the concept of nature to that of the concept of freedom.

In respect of the faculties of the soul generally, regarded as higher faculties, i.e., as faculties containing an autonomy, understanding is the one that contains the constitutive a priori principles for the faculty of cognition (the theoretical knowledge of nature). The feeling pleasure and displeasure is provided for by the judgement in its independence from concepts and from sensations that refer to the determination of the faculty of desire and would thus be capable of being immediately practical. For the faculty of desire there is reason, which is practical without mediation of any pleasure of whatsoever origin, and which determines for it, as a higher faculty, the final end that is attended at the same time with pure intellectual delight in the object. judgement's concept of a finality of nature falls, besides, under the head of natural concepts, but only as a regulative principle of the cognitive faculties-although the aesthetic judgement on certain objects (of nature or of art) which occasions that concept, is a constitutive principle in respect of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure. The spontaneity in the play of the cognitive faculties whose harmonious accord contains the ground of this pleasure, makes the concept in question, in its consequences, a suitable mediating link connecting the realm of the concept of nature with that of the concept of freedom, as this accord at the same time promotes the sensibility of the mind for or moral feeling. The following table may facilitate the review of all the above faculties in their systematic unity.*

  • It has been thought somewhat suspicious that my divisions in pure

philosophy should almost always come out threefold. But it is due to the nature of the case. If a division is to be a priori it must be either analytic, according to the law of contradiction-and then it is always twofold (quodlibet ens est aut A aut non A)-Or else it is synthetic. If it is to be derived in the latter case from a priori concepts (not, as in mathematics, from the a priori intuition corresponding to the concept), then, to meet the requirements of synthetic unity in general, namely (1) a condition, (2) a conditioned, (3) the concept arising from the union of the conditioned with its condition, the division must of necessity be trichotomous.

List of Mental Faculties:

  • Cognitive faculties
  • Feeling of pleasure and displeasure
  • Faculty of desire

A priori Principles:

  • Conformity to law
  • Finality
  • Final End


  • Nature
  • Freedom
  • Art

Cognitive Faculties:

  • Understanding
  • Judgment
  • Reason