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The phrases in their context!


On the contrary, the empirical synthesis and the series of conditions in the phenomenal world--subsumed in the minor--are necessarily successive and given in time alone.
It follows that I cannot presuppose in the minor, as I did in the major, the absolute totality of the synthesis and of the series therein represented; for in the major all the members of the series are given as things in themselves--without any limitations or conditions of time, while in the minor they are possible only in and through a successive regress, which cannot exist, except it be actually carried into execution in the world of phenomena.
After this proof of the viciousness of the argument commonly employed in maintaining cosmological assertions, both parties may now be justly dismissed, as advancing claims without grounds or title.
But the process has not been ended by convincing them that one or both were in the wrong and had maintained an assertion which was without valid grounds of proof.
Nothing seems to be clearer than that, if one maintains; "The world has a beginning," and another; "The world has no beginning," one of the two must be right.
But it is likewise clear that, if the evidence on both sides is equal, it is impossible to discover on what side the truth lies; and the controversy continues, although the parties have been recommended to peace before the tribunal of reason.
There remains, then, no other means of settling the question than to convince the parties, who refute each other with such conclusiveness and ability, that they are disputing about nothing, and that a transcendental illusion has been mocking them with visions of reality where there is none.
The mode of adjusting a dispute which cannot be decided upon its own merits, we shall now proceed to lay before our readers.
Zeno of Elea, a subtle dialectician, was severely reprimanded by Plato as a sophist, who, merely from the base motive of exhibiting his skill in discussion, maintained and subverted the same proposition by arguments as powerful and convincing on the one side as on the other.
He maintained, for example, that God (who was probably nothing more, in his view, than the world) is neither finite nor infinite, neither in motion nor in rest, neither similar nor dissimilar to any other thing.
It seemed to those philosophers who criticized his mode of discussion that his purpose was to deny completely both of two self-contradictory propositions--which is absurd.
But I cannot believe that there is any justice in this accusation.
The first of these propositions I shall presently consider in a more detailed manner.
With regard to the others, if by the word of God he understood merely the Universe, his meaning must have been--that it cannot be permanently present in one place--that is, at rest--nor be capable of changing its place--that is, of moving- because all places are in the universe, and the universe itself is, therefore, in no place.
Again, if the universe contains in itself everything that exists, it cannot be similar or dissimilar to any other thing, because there is, in fact, no other thing with which it can be compared.
If two opposite judgements presuppose a contingent impossible, or arbitrary condition, both--in spite of their opposition (which is, however, not properly or really a contradiction)--fall away; because the condition, which ensured the validity of both, has itself disappeared.
If we say; "Everybody has either a good or a bad smell," we have omitted a third possible judgement--it has no smell at all; and thus both conflicting statements may be false.
If we say; "It is either good-smelling or not good-smelling (vel suaveolens vel non-suaveolens)," both judgements are contradictorily opposed; and the contradictory opposite of the former judgement--some bodies are not good-smelling--embraces also those bodies which have no smell at all.
In the preceding pair of opposed judgements (per disparata), the contingent condition of the conception of body (smell) attached to both conflicting statements, instead of having been omitted in the latter, which is consequently not the contradictory opposite of the former.
If, accordingly, we say; "The world is either infinite in extension, or it is not infinite (non est infinitus)"; and if the former proposition is false, its contradictory opposite--the world is not infinite--must be true.
And thus I should deny the existence of an infinite, without, however affirming the existence of a finite world.