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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 laws of freedom or of free will are hence termed practical laws.

 We shall study freedom under the teleological unity which accords with principles of reason; we shall look upon ourselves as acting in conformity with the divine will only in so far as we hold sacred the moral law which reason teaches us from the nature of actions themselves, and we shall believe that we can obey that will only by promoting the weal of the universe in ourselves and in others. The case is here the same as in that law of nature concerning the stability of possession. It is only the principles of reason which can give to concordant phenomena the validity of laws, and it is only when experiment is directed by these rational principles that it can have any real utility. But no power of nature can of itself deviate from its own laws. For it was these very laws, the internal practical necessity of which led us to the hypothesis of an independent cause, or of a wise ruler of the universe, who should give them effect. This principle unfolds to the view of reason in the sphere of experience new and enlarged prospects, and invites it to connect the phenomena of the world according to teleological laws, and in this way to attain to the highest possible degree of systematic unity. That is to say, there must exist an absolute spontaneity of cause, which of itself originates a series of phenomena which proceeds according to natural laws--consequently transcendental freedom, without which even in the course of nature the succession of phenomena on the side of causes is never complete.