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The phrases in their context!


If, however, we wish to employ these conceptions in respect of objects, previous transcendental reflection is necessary.
Without this reflection I should make a very unsafe use of these conceptions, and construct pretended synthetical propositions which critical reason cannot acknowledge and which are based solely upon a transcendental amphiboly, that is, upon a substitution of an object of pure understanding for a phenomenon.
For want of this doctrine of transcendental topic, and consequently deceived by the amphiboly of the conceptions of reflection, the celebrated Leibnitz constructed an intellectual system of the world, or rather, believed himself competent to cognize the internal nature of things, by comparing all objects merely with the understanding and the abstract formal conceptions of thought.
Our table of the conceptions of reflection gives us the unexpected advantage of being able to exhibit the distinctive peculiarities of his system in all its parts, and at the same time of exposing the fundamental principle of this peculiar mode of thought, which rested upon naught but a misconception.
He compared all things with each other merely by means of conceptions, and naturally found no other differences than those by which the understanding distinguishes its pure conceptions one from another.
The conditions of sensuous intuition, which contain in themselves their own means of distinction, he did not look upon as primitive, because sensibility was to him but a confused mode of representation and not any particular source of representations.
A phenomenon was for him the representation of the thing in itself, although distinguished from cognition by the understanding only in respect of the logical form--the former with its usual want of analysis containing, according to him, a certain mixture of collateral representations in its conception of a thing, which it is the duty of the understanding to separate and distinguish.
In one word, Leibnitz intellectualized phenomena, just as Locke, in his system of noogony (if I may be allowed to make use of such expressions), sensualized the conceptions of the understanding, that is to say, declared them to be nothing more than empirical or abstract conceptions of reflection.
Instead of seeking in the understanding and sensibility two different sources of representations, which, however, can present us with objective judgements of things only in conjunction, each of these great men recognized but one of these faculties, which, in their opinion, applied immediately to things in themselves, the other having no duty but that of confusing or arranging the representations of the former.
Accordingly, the objects of sense were compared by Leibnitz as things in general merely in the understanding.
1st .He compares them in regard to their identity or difference- as judged by the understanding.
As, therefore, he considered merely the conceptions of objects, and not their position in intuition, in which alone objects can be given, and left quite out of sight the transcendental locale of these conceptions--whether, that is, their object ought to be classed among phenomena, or among things in themselves, it was to be expected that he should extend the application of the principle of indiscernibles, which is valid solely of conceptions of things in general, to objects of sense (mundus phaenomenon), and that he should believe that he had thereby contributed in no small degree to extend our knowledge of nature.
In truth, if I cognize in all its inner determinations a drop of water as a thing in itself, I cannot look upon one drop as different from another, if the conception of the one is completely identical with that of the other.
But if it is a phenomenon in space, it has a place not merely in the understanding (among conceptions), but also in sensuous external intuition (in space), and in this case, the physical locale is a matter of indifference in regard to the internal determinations of things, and one place, B, may contain a thing which is perfectly similar and equal to another in a place, A, just as well as if the two things were in every respect different from each other.
Difference of place without any other conditions, makes the plurality and distinction of objects as phenomena, not only possible in itself, but even necessary.
Consequently, the above so-called law is not a law of nature.
It is merely an analytical rule for the comparison of things by means of mere conceptions.
2nd. The principle; "Realities (as simple affirmations) never logically contradict each other," is a proposition perfectly true respecting the relation of conceptions, but, whether as regards nature, or things in themselves (of which we have not the slightest conception), is without any the least meaning.
For real opposition, in which A - B is = 0, exists everywhere, an opposition, that is, in which one reality united with another in the same subject annihilates the effects of the other--a fact which is constantly brought before our eyes by the different antagonistic actions and operations in nature, which, nevertheless, as depending on real forces, must be called realitates phaenomena.
General mechanics can even present us with the empirical condition of this opposition in an a priori rule, as it directs its attention to the opposition in the direction of forces--a condition of which the transcendental conception of reality can tell us nothing.
Although M. Leibnitz did not announce this proposition with precisely the pomp of a new principle, he yet employed it for the establishment of new propositions, and his followers introduced it into their Leibnitzio-Wolfian system of philosophy.