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Section Twenty: The Second Part, Continued

25 September, 2015 - 14:22

We must therefore dissect experience, in order to see what is contained in this product of sense and understanding, and how the judgment of experience itself is possible. The intuition of which I am conscious, namely, perception, which merely belongs to the senses, lies at its foundation. But secondly, judgment (which pertains solely to the understanding) also belongs to it. This [act of] judgment may be twofold; firstly, I may simply compare the perceptions in a particular state of my own consciousness; or secondly, I may combine them in a consciousness in general. The first judgment is a simple judgment of perception, and has therefore only subjective validity, being the mere connection of perceptions in my mental state, without reference to the object. Hence it is not sufficient for experience, as is commonly imagined, to compare perceptions and to connect them in a consciousness by means of the judgment. No universality and necessity in the judgment can arise therefrom, by means of which alone it can be objectively valid, and experience.

There is another and quite a different judgment presupposed, before perception can become experience. The given intuition must be subsumed under a conception determining the form of the judgment generally in respect of the intu- ition, connecting the empirical consciousness of the last in a consciousness in general, and thereby obtaining universal- ity for the empirical judgment; such a conception is a pure aprioriconception of the understanding, that does nothing but determine for an intuition the general manner in which it can serve for judgment. Should the conception be that of cause, it determines the intuition subsumed under it in respect of judgment generally; for instance, in the case of air, that in respect of expansion, it stands in the relation of antecedent to consequent, in a hypothetical judgment. The conception of cause is then a pure conception of the understanding, entirely distinct from all possible perception, and only serves to determine that presentation contained under it, in respect of judgment generally, in short, to make a uni- versally valid judgment possible.

Now, before a judgment of perception can become a judgment of experience, it is first of all necessary that the perception be subsumed under these conceptions of the understanding. For instance, air belongs to the conception of caus- es, which determines the judgment regarding its extension, as hypothetical. In this way, the extension is represented not merely as belonging to my perception of air in my particular state, or in many of my states, or in a particular state of the perception of others, but as necessarilybelonging thereto; and the judgment, “the air is elastic”, becomes univer- sally valid, and therefore a judgment of experience, preceded by certain judgments, which subsume the intuition of air under the conception of cause and effect, and thereby the perceptions, not merely with respect to one another in my subject, but relatively to the form of judgment generally (here the hypothetical), and thus make the empirical judgment universally valid. …