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The Prolegomena, Section Fifty: “The Cosmological Idea”

25 September, 2015 - 17:29

This product of pure Reason in its transcendent use is its most remarkable phenomenon, and is moreover the one most powerful in awakening philosophy out of its dogmatic slumber, and in urging it on, to the heavy tasks of the Critiqueof Reason.

I term this idea cosmological, because it always takes its object from the world of sense, and only requires those [con- ceptions] whose object is an object of sense, being therefore native [immanent] and not transcendent, and consequent- ly, thus far, no idea; while, on the other hand, to conceive the soul as a simple substance, is equivalent to conceiving an object (the simple) which cannot be presented to the senses. But notwithstanding this, the cosmological idea extends the connection of the conditioned with its condition (whether mathematical or dynamical) so far, that experience can never reach it, and hence remains, as regards this point, always an idea, the object of which can never be adequately given in any experience whatever.

  1. In what way does the “Cosmological Idea” remain within the bounds of possible experience? In what way does it go beyond these bounds?