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The phrases in their context!


The question here is not whether its own statements may not also be false; it merely regards the fact that reason proves that the opposite cannot be established with demonstrative certainty, nor even asserted with a higher degree of probability.
Reason does not hold her possessions upon sufferance; for, although she cannot show a perfectly satisfactory title to them, no one can prove that she is not the rightful possessor.
It is a melancholy reflection that reason, in its highest exercise, falls into an antithetic; and that the supreme tribunal for the settlement of differences should not be at union with itself.
It is true that we had to discuss the question of an apparent antithetic, but we found that it was based upon a misconception.
In conformity with the common prejudice, phenomena were regarded as things in themselves, and thus an absolute completeness in their synthesis was required in the one mode or in the other (it was shown to be impossible in both); a demand entirely out of place in regard to phenomena.
There was, then, no real self-contradiction of reason in the propositions; The series of phenomena given in themselves has an absolutely first beginning; and; This series is absolutely and in itself without beginning.
The two propositions are perfectly consistent with each other, because phenomena as phenomena are in themselves nothing, and consequently the hypothesis that they are things in themselves must lead to self-contradictory inferences.
But there are cases in which a similar misunderstanding cannot be provided against, and the dispute must remain unsettled.
Take, for example, the theistic proposition; There is a Supreme Being; and on the other hand, the atheistic counter-statement; There exists no Supreme Being; or, in psychology; Everything that thinks possesses the attribute of absolute and permanent unity, which is utterly different from the transitory unity of material phenomena; and the counter-proposition; The soul is not an immaterial unity, and its nature is transitory, like that of phenomena.
The objects of these questions contain no heterogeneous or contradictory elements, for they relate to things in themselves, and not to phenomena.
There would arise, indeed, a real contradiction, if reason came forward with a statement on the negative side of these questions alone.
As regards the criticism to which the grounds of proof on the affirmative side must be subjected, it may be freely admitted, without necessitating the surrender of the affirmative propositions, which have, at least, the interest of reason in their favour--an advantage which the opposite party cannot lay claim to.
I cannot agree with the opinion of several admirable thinkers--Sulzer among the rest--that, in spite of the weakness of the arguments hitherto in use, we may hope, one day, to see sufficient demonstrations of the two cardinal propositions of pure reason--the existence of a Supreme Being, and the immortality of the soul.
I am certain, on the contrary, that this will never be the case.
For on what ground can reason base such synthetical propositions, which do not relate to the objects of experience and their internal possibility?
But it is also demonstratively certain that no one will ever be able to maintain the contrary with the least show of probability.
For, as he can attempt such a proof solely upon the basis of pure reason, he is bound to prove that a Supreme Being, and a thinking subject in the character of a pure intelligence, are impossible.
But where will he find the knowledge which can enable him to enounce synthetical judgements in regard to things which transcend the region of experience?
We may, therefore, rest assured that the opposite never will be demonstrated.
We need not, then, have recourse to scholastic arguments; we may always admit the truth of those propositions which are consistent with the speculative interests of reason in the sphere of experience, and form, moreover, the only means of uniting the speculative with the practical interest.
Our opponent, who must not be considered here as a critic solely, we can be ready to meet with a non liquet which cannot fail to disconcert him; while we cannot deny his right to a similar retort, as we have on our side the advantage of the support of the subjective maxim of reason, and can therefore look upon all his sophistical arguments with calm indifference.