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The phrases in their context!


The difficulties and objections we have to fear lie in ourselves.
They are like old but never superannuated claims; and we must seek them out, and settle them once and for ever, if we are to expect a permanent peace.
External tranquility is hollow and unreal.
The root of these contradictions, which lies in the nature of human reason, must be destroyed; and this can only be done by giving it, in the first instance, freedom to grow, nay, by nourishing it, that it may send out shoots, and thus betray its own existence.
It is our duty, therefore, to try to discover new objections, to put weapons in the bands of our opponent, and to grant him the most favourable position in the arena that he can wish.
We have nothing to fear from these concessions; on the contrary, we may rather hope that we shall thus make ourselves master of a possession which no one will ever venture to dispute.
The thinker requires, to be fully equipped, the hypotheses of pure reason, which, although but leaden weapons (for they have not been steeled in the armoury of experience), are as useful as any that can be employed by his opponents.
If, accordingly, we have assumed, from a non-speculative point of view, the immaterial nature of the soul, and are met by the objection that experience seems to prove that the growth and decay of our mental faculties are mere modifications of the sensuous organism--we can weaken the force of this objection by the assumption that the body is nothing but the fundamental phenomenon, to which, as a necessary condition, all sensibility, and consequently all thought, relates in the present state of our existence; and that the separation of soul and body forms the conclusion of the sensuous exercise of our power of cognition and the beginning of the intellectual.
The body would, in this view of the question, be regarded, not as the cause of thought, but merely as its restrictive condition, as promotive of the sensuous and animal, but as a hindrance to the pure and spiritual life; and the dependence of the animal life on the constitution of the body, would not prove that the whole life of man was also dependent on the state of the organism.
We might go still farther, and discover new objections, or carry out to their extreme consequences those which have already been adduced.
Generation, in the human race as well as among the irrational animals, depends on so many accidents--of occasion, of proper sustenance, of the laws enacted by the government of a country of vice even, that it is difficult to believe in the eternal existence of a being whose life has begun under circumstances so mean and trivial, and so entirely dependent upon our own control.
As regards the continuance of the existence of the whole race, we need have no difficulties, for accident in single cases is subject to general laws; but, in the case of each individual, it would seem as if we could hardly expect so wonderful an effect from causes so insignificant.
But, in answer to these objections, we may adduce the transcendental hypothesis that all life is properly intelligible, and not subject to changes of time, and that it neither began in birth, nor will end in death.
We may assume that this life is nothing more than a sensuous representation of pure spiritual life; that the whole world of sense is but an image, hovering before the faculty of cognition which we exercise in this sphere, and with no more objective reality than a dream; and that if we could intuite ourselves and other things as they really are, we should see ourselves in a world of spiritual natures, our connection with which did not begin at our birth and will not cease with the destruction of the body.
And so on.
We cannot be said to know what has been above asserted, nor do we seriously maintain the truth of these assertions; and the notions therein indicated are not even ideas of reason, they are purely fictitious conceptions.
But this hypothetical procedure is in perfect conformity with the laws of reason.
Our opponent mistakes the absence of empirical conditions for a proof of the complete impossibility of all that we have asserted; and we have to show him that be has not exhausted the whole sphere of possibility and that he can as little compass that sphere by the laws of experience and nature, as we can lay a secure foundation for the operations of reason beyond the region of experience.
Such hypothetical defences against the pretensions of an opponent must not be regarded as declarations of opinion.
The philosopher abandons them, so soon as the opposite party renounces its dogmatical conceit.
To maintain a simply negative position in relation to propositions which rest on an insecure foundation, well befits the moderation of a true philosopher; but to uphold the objections urged against an opponent as proofs of the opposite statement is a proceeding just as unwarrantable and arrogant as it is to attack the position of a philosopher who advances affirmative propositions regarding such a subject.