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The phrases in their context!


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.
For suppose:
First, that the world has no beginning--in this case it is too large for our conception; for this conception, which consists in a successive regress, cannot overtake the whole eternity that has elapsed.
Grant that it has a beginning, it is then too small for the conception of the understanding.
For, as a beginning presupposes a time preceding, it cannot be unconditioned; and the law of the empirical employment of the understanding imposes the necessity of looking for a higher condition of time; and the world is, therefore, evidently too small for this law.
The same is the case with the double answer to the question regarding the extent, in space, of the world.
For, if it is infinite and unlimited, it must be too large for every possible empirical conception.
If it is finite and limited, we have a right to ask; "What determines these limits?" Void space is not a self-subsistent correlate of things, and cannot be a final condition--and still less an empirical condition, forming a part of a possible experience.
For how can we have any experience or perception of an absolute void?
But the absolute totality of the empirical synthesis requires that the unconditioned be an empirical conception.