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The phrases in their context!


For what is demanded is not only this full and complete intuition, but also a complete synthesis and the consciousness of its absolute totality; and this is not possible by means of any empirical cognition.
It follows that your question--your idea--is by no means necessary for the explanation of any phenomenon; and the idea cannot have been in any sense given by the object itself.
For such an object can never be presented to us, because it cannot be given by any possible experience.
Whatever perceptions you may attain to, you are still surrounded by conditions--in space, or in time--and you cannot discover anything unconditioned; nor can you decide whether this unconditioned is to be placed in an absolute beginning of the synthesis, or in an absolute totality of the series without beginning.
A whole, in the empirical signification of the term, is always merely comparative.
The absolute whole of quantity (the universe), of division, of derivation, of the condition of existence, with the question--whether it is to be produced by finite or infinite synthesis, no possible experience can instruct us concerning.
You will not, for example, be able to explain the phenomena of a body in the least degree better, whether you believe it to consist of simple, or of composite parts; for a simple phenomenon--and just as little an infinite series of composition--can never be presented to your perception.
Phenomena require and admit of explanation, only in so far as the conditions of that explanation are given in perception; but the sum total of that which is given in phenomena, considered as an absolute whole, is itself a perception--and we cannot therefore seek for explanations of this whole beyond itself, in other perceptions.
The explanation of this whole is the proper object of the transcendental problems of pure reason.
Although, therefore, the solution of these problems is unattainable through experience, we must not permit ourselves to say that it is uncertain how the object of our inquiries is constituted.
For the object is in our own mind and cannot be discovered in experience; and we have only to take care that our thoughts are consistent with each other, and to avoid falling into the amphiboly of regarding our idea as a representation of an object empirically given, and therefore to be cognized according to the laws of experience.
A dogmatical solution is therefore not only unsatisfactory but impossible.
The critical solution, which may be a perfectly certain one, does not consider the question objectively, but proceeds by inquiring into the basis of the cognition upon which the question rests.
SECTION V. Sceptical Exposition of the Cosmological Problems presented in the four Transcendental Ideas.
We should be quite willing to desist from the demand of a dogmatical answer to our questions, if we understood beforehand that, be the answer what it may, it would only serve to increase our ignorance, to throw us from one incomprehensibility into another, from one obscurity into another still greater, and perhaps lead us into irreconcilable contradictions.
If a dogmatical affirmative or negative answer is demanded, is it at all prudent to set aside the probable grounds of a solution which lie before us and to take into consideration what advantage we shall gain, if the answer is to favour the one side or the other?
If it happens that in both cases the answer is mere nonsense, we have in this an irresistible summons to institute a critical investigation of the question, for the purpose of discovering whether it is based on a groundless presupposition and relates to an idea, the falsity of which would be more easily exposed in its application and consequences than in the mere representation of its content.
This is the great utility of the sceptical mode of treating the questions addressed by pure reason to itself.
By this method we easily rid ourselves of the confusions of dogmatism, and establish in its place a temperate criticism, which, as a genuine cathartic, will successfully remove the presumptuous notions of philosophy and their consequence--the vain pretension to universal science.
If, then, I could understand the nature of a cosmological idea and perceive, before I entered on the discussion of the subject at all, that, whatever side of the question regarding the unconditioned of the regressive synthesis of phenomena it favoured--it must either be too great or too small for every conception of the understanding--I would be able to comprehend how the idea, which relates to an object of experience--an experience which must be adequate to and in accordance with a possible conception of the understanding--must be completely void and without significance, inasmuch as its object is inadequate, consider it as we may.
And this is actually the case with all cosmological conceptions, which, for the reason above mentioned, involve reason, so long as it remains attached to them, in an unavoidable antinomy.