Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

2

the basis for a History of nature as opposed to a mere Description of nature which now obtains, though this aim to reach a physical system for the understanding instead of the current school classification must not be carried so far as to ignore the proper genera which according to Kant, have their bases in the original germs." The validity of this principle seemed to be supported both by the assumption that all differences in things consisted in variations of mass and motion, and also through the unity of the assumed prime cause, and so it apparently was treated as objectively valid for a time after its kindred principles of homogeneity had been relegated to the ranks of subjective principles in the Dissertation, to which reference has already been made.

The third principle, that of Specification, is practically implied in the treatise On the Different Races of Men, but does not receive the explicit treatment of the other two until we meet it with them in the Transcendental Dialectic, all three now duly transformed into guiding Ideas, or, to speak more accurately, into regulative principles which reason supplies to direct the understanding and make science possible. Reason is actuated in this by her demand for unity and system. And since the highest formal unity which reason knows, in fact the only one which is drawn from her own concepts is that of purposive unity, reason naturally requires us to regard the world thus systematized in science as if it had sprung from a single all-embracing Being, and as if all order had originated in the design of a supreme wisdom. This procedure of the reason is as innocent as it is natural provided we remember that it is merely regulative. It may even be beneficial, for so long as we believe there is a treasure in the field we shall keep on digging; but the critical philosopher is in the secret, and knows that no other treasure than science can be found in the field of nature.

This is as far as Kant goes with the problem of formal purposiveness at the time of the first Critique. It may be noticed in passing that his statement of the relation of teleology to mechanism is in the main in accord with that of the Sole Proof, provided we substitute the regulative for the objective validity of the final

3

1H. II. 440 f. 2 Ref. No. 1743. 3A. 686; B. 714.

2

3

[ocr errors]

causes. The method of attempting to deduce laws of nature from final causes, favored by Leibniz is again condemned, but the distinction formerly emphasized between a unity due to the choice of the Creator and that not due to his choice is not brought forward. In fact the tendency is much more in favor of regarding all nature both teleologically and mechanically, and might almost pass for that of Leibniz himself in this respect, keeping in mind the warning that the teleological view is only an Idea.?

2. In the particular treatment of the organic world there is little developement in the period under consideration. The allusion to organic life in the Dreams of a Ghost Seer shows only a slight modification of previous views.” Resort to immaterial principles is simply a “refuge of a lazy philosophy,” an explanation which explains nothing; nevertheless, in his opinion, Stahl, who explains animal processes organically, is often nearer the truth than others who hold fast to the mechanical theory and follow a more philosophical method. Here we notice that while he had always urged the use of mechanical explanation, he had also asserted emphatically his belief that there were features of organic life incapable of being explained in that way. Here he is at least silent, but in 1775 he states as emphatically as ever that neither chance nor physico-mechanical causes can produce an organic body," while in the Critique we have only a general allusion to the need of pushing the mechanical explanation as far as possible, at the same time using as a general principle of investigation the maxim that every member of an organic body has some use."

3. In the treatment of the physico-theological argument also there is little development except such as arose from its relation to the general results of criticism, for as we have seen the criticism of the common physico-theology found in the Critique of Pure Reason was given in its essentials in 1762.6 After writing the Sole Proof, Kant seems to have given little further thought to the

4

1A. 694.; B. 722.

2 Cf. the directly opposite way in which the emphasis is placed on the same illustration in H. II. 163, and in the note to A. 687, B. 715.

3H. II., 338 f.
4H. II. 441.
5 A. 686 and 691; B. 716 and 719 f.
6Cf. H. II. 165, with A. 627, B. 655 f.

2

directly teleological aspect of theology until the attitude of criticism gradually extended from the explanation of experience to the limitation of knowledge. In the Dreams of a Ghost Seer the

. difficulty of arguing to a greater degree of perfection in God or the future life than we find in this is again emphasized, and somewhere in this period may well fall the Reflections 1683-1686, which expresses the same thought. With the proof of the existence of a Unity as ground of the unity in space, in the Dissertation is connected no further attempt to characterize that Unity, but in the period of the Metaphysik emerge two thoughts that deserve attention. Here, as in the Sole Proof, physico-theology is not regarded as an independent proof. It is relied upon to supplement the transcendental proof in the former treatise,” by assigning to the original necessary Being the qualities requisite to account for the order and beauty of the world. In the Metaphysik the existence of a unity as the ground of the commercium of substances, and the existence of a First Cause acting through freedom,* are held to be demands of reason, and physico-theology is again called into aid in determining the nature of this Cause. But how far is this possible? Is it legitimate to reason, as was assumed earlier, that the cause of intelligent beings must himself be intelligent? Is there not weight in Hume's doubt as to “whether it be possible for a cause to be known only by its effect” and in his statement, 6 were an effect presented which was entirely singular and could not be presented under any known species, I do not see that we could form any inference at all concerning its cause.

Kant considers this question of the divine attributes and reaches the conclusion given in the Metaphysiki and in several Reflections, that

4

[ocr errors]

8

5

1H. II. 344 f.
2 H. II. 132.
3 Met. 112 ff.
4 Met. 265.

5 Hume, Enquiry, Sec. XI., last par. It of course not certain that the above quotation was in Kant's mind when he wrote Reflexión, 1722, in which Hume is named as holding that the ens originarium is not exactly Intellect, although the cause of intellectual beings, but the quotation seems to be in harmony with the substance of the objection.

6 Reflexion No. 1567. ?p. 310 f. 81565 f, 1568, 1690, 1718 f, 1725 ff.

as

an

[ocr errors]

2

since we know the original Being only in relation to the world we cannot know its absolute predicates but only predicates relative to the world. Since then this Being is related to the world as cause we can only say by analogy, as a (a work of art) is to b (the intelligent artist), so is c (the world) to x (that which I call Intellect in God). This same mediating idea is presented later in the Prolegomena'

answer to the fuller criticism of anthropomorphism in Hyme's Dialogues on Natural Religion.

4. The other point to be noticed is that the proof of God's existence drawn from moral theology and the connected thoughts of the summum bonum and the End-zweck make their appearance in the Metaphysik. In the Sole Proof moral theology is not named among the four possible arguments, and in the Prize Essay On the Evidence of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morals the problem of obligation is still regarded as unsolved, though it is pointed out that duty means not the necessity of means to an end but of the end itself. The incomplete harmony between morality and its consequences in this world offers a problem at the time of the Dreams of a Ghost Seer, and the resort to an extraordinary divine Will to avoid the difficulty is no satisfactory solution, but in the general uncertainty of this time one principle at least is firm. Does not the heart of man contain immediate ethical prescriptions?” Virtue from the hope of a future life or from fear of punishment is no true virtue, but on the other hand no righteous soul has ever lived that could endure the thought that death ends all. 6. Hence it appears more accordant with human nature and the purity of morals to ground the expectation of a future world on the feelings of a well-disposed mind than to base good conduct on the hope of another world.” 5 Here we find the germ of the later moral theology, and between 1766 and the Metaphysik it had so far developed that to think a Being who proceeds according to ends and purposes is affirmed to be a need of the practical reason, and the final purpose (Endzweck) of God is declared to be, that

[ocr errors]

4

6

1H. IV. 1076, Pr. 176. 2H. II. 198 ff. 8H. II. 306 f. 4H. II. 344 f. 6II. 380 f, Caird's tr. 6 Met. 265.

66

a

reasonable beings should receive so much happiness as they make themselves worthy of.'

5. Turning now to the Critique to see what progress has been made since the Metaphysik in physico-theology, we notice that while physico-theology in the narrower sense of the term falls, ethico-theology and the teleology implied in it, rise in importance. The criticisms of the Sole Proof are repeated, and while the "reasonableness and utility” of this “oldest and clearest proof” are recognized, and any attempt to weaken its authority is declared not only "extremely sad but utterly vain,” it is yet maintained that the argument, in its common form, at least, is dependent upon the cosmological, and so upon the ontological, and that it is therefore involved in the common fallacies of all speculative theology. We may represent to ourselves the cause of the world as a Being endowed with understanding, desire and will, but in admitting this Idea of a supreme author we do not admit the existence and knowledge of such a being. We may look upon the arrangements in nature which are apparently purposive arrangements as real designs, in that we derive them from the divine will, but only on condition that we say indifferently, God wisely willed it so, or, nature wisely ordered it so.3

If the mind in the legitimate use of physico-theology is confined to the exercise of framing an Idea of a supreme Author, but has no grounds to admit the existence of any such Being, it is indeed a rather unsatisfactory task which our reason sets itself; but in proportion as the warnings are multiplied against trusting Ideas which tempt the speculative reason to leave its island of truth, by so much does the conviction become firmer that there are other Ideas which are not fog banks or ice, to melt away as we approach. The moral nature of man has by this time become the most certain of all realities to Kant, a foundation on which he can build with confidence. Leibniz's conception of a kingdom of grace

which was an interesting dream in 1766 is now “a practically necessary Idea of reason. The demand of practical reason that perfect happiness shall be united with perfect desert, postulates a

4

1 Met. 343. 2 A. 535 8: B. 652 . 3 A. 628 f; B. 726 f. 4A. 812; B. 840.

« AnteriorContinuar »