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Click on the phrases to see them in context. The original texts by Immanuel Kant and David Hume are available from the Gutenberg Projet.


The causality of the necessary cause of changes, and consequently the cause itself, must for these reasons belong to time--and to phenomena, time being possible only as the form of phenomena.

 Causality according to the laws of nature, is not the only causality operating to originate the phenomena of the world. But every beginning of action presupposes in the acting cause a state of inaction; and a dynamically primal beginning of action presupposes a state, which has no connection--as regards causality--with the preceding state of the cause--which does not, that is, in any wise result from it. Our endeavour to reach, not the unconditioned causality, but the unconditioned existence, of substance. Such a causality would be considered, in reference to phenomena, as the primal action of a cause, which is in so far, therefore, not phenomenal, but, by reason of this faculty or power, intelligible; although it must, at the same time, as a link in the chain of nature, be regarded as belonging to the sensuous world. The latter, on the contrary, holds out to the understanding the promise of a point of rest in the chain of causes, by conducting it to an unconditioned causality, which professes to have the power of spontaneous origination, but which, in its own utter blindness, deprives it of the guidance of rules, by which alone a completely connected experience is possible. Let it be supposed, that there is no other kind of causality than that according to the laws of nature. For the latter presupposes that although a certain thing has not happened, it ought to have happened, and that, consequently, its phenomenal cause was not so powerful and determinative as to exclude the causality of our will--a causality capable of producing effects independently of and even in opposition to the power of natural causes, and capable, consequently, of spontaneously originating a series of events.