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Section Forty-nine: “Psychological Idea”, Continued

25 September, 2015 - 17:26

That something real not merely corresponds but must correspond to our external perceptions, can be proved as con- cerns experience, but not as a connection of things in themselves. This is as much as to say, that something of an empir- ical kind, as phenomenon in space, exists outside us, can be proved; for with objects, other than those belonging to a possible experience, we have nothing to do, because, inasmuch as they can be given in no experience, they are to us nothing. That is empirically outside me which can be intuited in space, and as the latter, together with all the phe- nomena it contains, belongs to the presentations, whose connection according to the laws of experience proves their objective reality, just as much as the connection of the phenomena of the internal sense proves the reality of my soul, as an object of the internal sense; so, by means of external experience, I am just as conscious of the reality of bodies as external phenomena in space, as I am of the existence of my soul in time by means of the internal experience, which I also cognise only through phenomena, as an object of the internal sense, [that is, as] constituting an internal condition, of which the essence in itself, lying at the foundation of these phenomena, is unknown to me. The Cartesian idealism only distinguishes external experience from dream; its regularity being the criterion of the truth of the one as against the irregularity and false illusion of the other. It presupposes, in both of them, space and time as conditions of the reality of the objects, and only asks whether the objects of our external sense, which when awake we meet with in space, are really to be found therein, and in the same way whether the object of the internal sense, the soul, really exists in time; in other words, whether experience can afford certain criteria for the distinction between truth and imagination. Now this doubt may be easily decided, and we always do decide it in common life, in that we investigate the connection of the phenomena in both according to universal laws of experience, and we cannot doubt, when the presentation of exter- nal things thoroughly agrees with these, that they constitute reliable experience. Material idealism may accordingly be refuted very easily, inasmuch as phenomena quaphenomena are only considered as to their connection in experience; and it is just as certain an experience that bodies exist outsideourselves(in space), as that I myself according to the pre- sentation of the internal sense exist (in time); for the conception of outside ourselves, denotes simply existence in space. But as the Iin the proposition Iam, signifies not merely the object of internal intuition (in time) but the subject of con- sciousness, so in the same way bodysignifies not merely the external intuition (in space), but also the thing initselfat the basis of this phenomenon, and hence the question as to whether bodies (as phenomena of the external sense) exist apartfrommythoughtsas bodies, may, in the nature of things, be denied without hesitation. But there is no difference as to the question, whether I myself as phenomenon of the internalsense(soul, according to the empirical psychology) exist in time, apart from my power of presentation, for this must be just as much denied. In the same way, everything when reduced to its true meaning is decided and certain. Formal idealism (otherwise called transcendental by me) really refutes the material or Cartesian [idealism]. For if space be nothing but a form of my sensibility, it is just as real as a presentation in me as I am myself, and the question only turns on the empirical truth of phenomena in the same. If this, however, be not the case, but space and the phenomena [contained] therein are something existing outside ourselves, all criteria of experience, apart from our perception, can never prove the reality of the objects external to us.

Kant mounts a different attack on the “Psychological Idea” in the Critique. What follows is an excerpt from the B edition of the “Paralogisms [fallacies] of Pure Reason”.