Critique of Pure Reason - 25

P 267

And since the understanding yields no

concepts additional to the categories, it also supposes that

the object in itself must at least be thought through these

P 268

pure concepts, and so is misled into treating Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the entirely

indeterminate concept of an intelligible entity, namely, of a

something in general outside our sensibility, as being a de-

terminate concept of an entity that allows of being known in

a certain [purely intelligible Critique of Pure Reason - 25] manner by means of the under-


If by 'noumenon' we mean a thing so far as it is not an

object of our sensible intuition, and so abstract from our mode

of intuiting it Critique of Pure Reason - 25, this is a noumenon in the negative sense of the

term. But if we understand by it an object of a non-sensible

intuition, we thereby presuppose a special mode of intuition Critique of Pure Reason - 25,

namely, the intellectual, which is not that which we possess,

and of which we cannot comprehend even the possibility.

This would be 'noumenon' in the positive sense of the term.

The Critique of Pure Reason - 25 doctrine of sensibility is likewise the doctrine of the

noumenon in the negative sense, that is, of things which the

understanding must think without this reference to our mode

of intuition, therefore not merely as appearances Critique of Pure Reason - 25 but as

things in themselves.

++ All our representations are, it is true, referred by the under-

standing to some object; and since appearances are nothing

but representations, the understanding refers them to a some Critique of Pure Reason - 25-

thing, as the object of sensible intuition. But this something,

thus conceived, is only the transcendental object; and by that

is meant a something = X, of which we know, and with the

present constitution Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of our understanding can know, nothing

whatsoever, but which, as a correlate of the unity of apper-

ception, can serve only for the unity of the manifold in sensible

intuition. By means of this unity Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the understanding combines

the manifold into the concept of an object. This transcendental

object cannot be separated from the sense data, for nothing is

then left through which it might be thought. Consequently Critique of Pure Reason - 25 it

is not in itself an object of knowledge, but only the representa-

tion of appearances under the concept of an object in general

-- a concept which is determinable through the manifold of

these appearances.

^ P 268

At Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the same time the understanding is

P 269

well aware that in viewing things in this manner, as thus

apart from our mode of intuition, it cannot make any use of

the categories. For the categories Critique of Pure Reason - 25 have meaning only in rela-

tion to the unity of intuition in space and time; and even this

unity they can determine, by means of general a priori con-

necting concepts, only Critique of Pure Reason - 25 because of the mere ideality of space

and time. In cases where this unity of time is not to be found,

and therefore in the case of the noumenon, all employment,

and indeed the whole Critique of Pure Reason - 25 meaning of the categories, entirely

vanishes; for we have then no means of determining whether

things in harmony with the categories are even possible. On

this point I need only refer the Critique of Pure Reason - 25 reader to what I have said in

the opening sentences of the ^ General Note appended to the

preceding chapter. The possibility of a thing can never be

proved merely from the fact that its concept is not Critique of Pure Reason - 25 self-con-

tradictory, but only through its being supported by some

corresponding intuition.

P 268a

Just for this reason the categories represent no special ob-

ject, given to the understanding alone, but Critique of Pure Reason - 25 only serve to determine

P 269a

the transcendental object, which is the concept of some-

thing in general, through that which is given in sensibility, in

order thereby to know appearances empirically under concepts

of objects.

The cause Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of our not being satisfied with the substrate of

sensibility, and of our therefore adding to the phenomena nou-

mena which only the pure understanding can think, is simply

as follows. The sensibility (and Critique of Pure Reason - 25 its field, that of the appear-

ances) is itself limited by the understanding in such fashion that

it does not have to do with things in themselves but only with

the mode in which, owing Critique of Pure Reason - 25 to our subjective constitution, they

appear. The Transcendental Aesthetic, in all its teaching, has

led to this conclusion; and the same conclusion also, of course,

follows from the concept of an Critique of Pure Reason - 25 appearance in general; namely,

that something which is not in itself appearance must cor-

respond to it. For appearance can be nothing by itself, outside

our mode of representation. Unless, therefore, we are to move

constantly Critique of Pure Reason - 25 in a circle, the word appearance must be recognised

as already indicating a relation to something, the immediate

P 270a

representation of which is, indeed, sensible, but which, even

apart from the constitution of Critique of Pure Reason - 25 our sensibility (upon which the

form of our intuition is grounded), must be something in itself,

that is, an object independent of sensibility.

P 269

If, therefore, we should attempt to

apply the categories to objects which are Critique of Pure Reason - 25 not viewed as being

appearances, we should have to postulate an intuition other

P 270

than the sensible, and the object would thus be a noumenon

in the positive sense. Since, however, such Critique of Pure Reason - 25 a type of intuition,

intellectual intuition, forms no part whatsoever of our

faculty of knowledge, it follows that the employment of

the categories can never extend further than to the objects

of experience. Doubtless, indeed, there Critique of Pure Reason - 25 are intelligible entities

corresponding to the sensible entities; there may also be in-

telligible entities to which our sensible faculty of intuition

has no relation whatsoever; but our concepts of understand-

ing, being mere Critique of Pure Reason - 25 forms of thought for our sensible intuition,

could not in the least apply to them. That, therefore, which

we entitle 'noumenon' must be understood as being such

only in a negative sense.

If I remove Critique of Pure Reason - 25 from empirical knowledge all thought (through

categories), no knowledge of any object remains. For through

mere intuition nothing at all is thought, and the fact that this

affection of sensibility is in me Critique of Pure Reason - 25 does not [by itself] amount to

a relation of such representation to any object. But if, on the

other хэнд, I leave aside all intuition, the form of thought still remains

++ There thus results Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the concept of a noumenon. It is not

of anything, but signifies only the thought of something in

general, in which I abstract from everything that belongs to

the form of sensible intuition. But in order Critique of Pure Reason - 25 that a noumenon

may signify a true object, distinguishable from all phenomena,

it is not enough that I free my thought from all conditions of

sensible intuition; I must likewise have ground for assuming

another kind Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of intuition, different from the sensible, in which

such an object may be given. For otherwise my thought, while

indeed without contradictions, is none the less empty. We have

not, indeed, been able to prove Critique of Pure Reason - 25 that sensible intuition is the only

possible intuition, but only that it is so for us. But neither have

we been able to prove that another kind of intuition is possible.

P 271

-- that is, the Critique of Pure Reason - 25 mode of determining an object for

the manifold of a possible intuition. The categories accord-

ingly extend further than sensible intuition, since they think

objects in general, without regard to the Critique of Pure Reason - 25 special mode (the

sensibility) in which they may be given. But they do not

thereby determine a greater sphere of objects. For we cannot

assume that such objects can be given, without presupposing

the possibility of Critique of Pure Reason - 25 another kind of intuition than the sensible;

and we are by no means justified in so doing.

If the objective reality of a concept cannot be in any way

known, while yet the Critique of Pure Reason - 25 concept contains no contradiction and also

at the same time is connected with other modes of knowledge

that involve given concepts which it serves to limit, I entitle

that concept problematic. The concept of a Critique of Pure Reason - 25 noumenon -- that is,

of a thing which is not to be thought as object of the senses

but as a thing in itself, solely through a pure understanding --

is not in any way contradictory. For we Critique of Pure Reason - 25 cannot assert of sensi-

bility that it is the sole possible kind of intuition.

^ P 270a

Consequently, although our thought can abstract from all

P 271a

++ sensibility, it is still an open Critique of Pure Reason - 25 question whether the notion of

a noumenon be not a mere form of a concept, and whether,

when this separation has been мейд, any object whatsoever

is left.

The object to which I relate appearance in Critique of Pure Reason - 25 general is

the transcendental object, that is, the completely indeter-

minate thought of something in general. This cannot be

entitled the noumenon; for I know nothing of what it is in

itself, and have no concept Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of it save as merely the object of

a sensible intuition in general, and so as being one and the

same for all appearances. I cannot think it through any cate Critique of Pure Reason - 25-

gory; for a category is valid [only] for empirical intuition, as

bringing it under a concept of object in general. A pure use of

the category is indeed possible [logically], that is, without con-

tradiction Critique of Pure Reason - 25; but it has no objective validity, since the category

is not then being applied to any intuition so as to impart to it

the unity of an object. For the category is a mere function

of thought Critique of Pure Reason - 25, through which no object is given to me, and by

which I merely think that which may be given in intuition.

P 272

Further, the concept of a noumenon is necessary, to prevent Critique of Pure Reason - 25 sensible intuition

from being extended to things in themselves, and thus to limit

the objective validity of sensible knowledge. The remaining

things, to which it does not apply, are entitled noumena, in

order to show Critique of Pure Reason - 25 that this knowledge cannot extend its domain

over everything which the understanding thinks. But none the

less we are unable to comprehend how such noumena can be

possible, and the domain that lies out beyond Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the sphere of

appearances is for us empty. That is to say, we have an

understanding which problematically extends further, but

we have no intuition, indeed not even the concept of a

possible intuition, through which Critique of Pure Reason - 25 objects outside the field

of sensibility can be given, and through which the under-

standing can be employed assertorically beyond that

field. The concept of a noumenon is thus a merely limiting

concept, the Critique of Pure Reason - 25 function of which is to curb the pretensions of

sensibility; and it is therefore only of negative employment.

At the same time it is no arbitrary invention; it is bound up

with the limitation Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of sensibility, though it cannot affirm any-

thing positive beyond the field of sensibility.

The division of objects into phenomena and noumena, and

the world into a world of the senses and a world of Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the under-

standing, is therefore quite inadmissible in the positive sense

although the distinction of concepts as sensible and intellectual

is certainly legitimate. For no object can be determined for the

latter concepts, and consequently they Critique of Pure Reason - 25 cannot be asserted to be

objectively valid. If we abandon the senses, how shall we make

it conceivable that our categories, which would be the sole re-

maining concepts for noumena Critique of Pure Reason - 25, should still continue to signify

something, since for their relation to any object more must be

given than merely the unity of thought -- namely, in addition,

a possible intuition, to which they may be applied Critique of Pure Reason - 25. None the

less, if the concept of a noumenon be taken in a merely prob-

lematic sense, it is not only admissible, but as setting limits

to sensibility is likewise indispensable. But in that case Critique of Pure Reason - 25 a nou-

menon is not for our understanding a special [kind of] object,

namely, an intelligible object; the [sort of] understanding to

which it might belong is itself a problem. For we cannot Critique of Pure Reason - 25 in

P 273

the least represent to ourselves the possibility of an under-

standing which should know its object, not discursively

through categories, but intuitively in a non-sensible intuition.

What our understanding acquires Critique of Pure Reason - 25 through this concept of a

noumenon, is a negative extension; that is to say, under-

standing is not limited through sensibility; on the contrary,

it itself limits sensibility by applying the term Critique of Pure Reason - 25 noumena to

things in themselves (things not regarded as appearances).

But in so doing it at the same time sets limits to itself, recog-

nising that it cannot know these noumena through any Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of the

categories, and that it must therefore think them only under

the title of an unknown something.

In the writings of modern philosophers I find the expres-

sions mundus sensibilis and intelligibilis used with a mean Critique of Pure Reason - 25-

ing altogether different from that of the ancients -- a meaning

which is easily understood, but which results merely in an

empty play upon words. According to this usage, some have

thought good Critique of Pure Reason - 25 to entitle the sum of appearances, in so far as

they are intuited, the world of the senses, and in so far as their

connection is thought in conformity with laws of understand-

ing, the world Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of the understanding. Observational astronomy,

which teaches merely the observation of the starry heavens,

would give an account of the former; theoretical astronomy,

on the other хэнд, as taught according Critique of Pure Reason - 25 to the Copernican

system, or according to Newton's laws of gravitation, would

give an account of the second, namely, of an intelligible

world. But such a twisting of words is a merely sophistical

subterfuge; it seeks Critique of Pure Reason - 25 to avoid a troublesome question by

changing its meaning to suit our own convenience. Under-

standing and reason are, indeed, employed in dealing with


++ We must not, in place of the expression mundus intelligibilis,

use Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the expression 'an intellectual world', as is commonly done

in German exposition. For only modes of knowledge are either

intellectual or sensuous. What can only be an object of the one

or the Critique of Pure Reason - 25 other kind of intuition must be entitled (however harsh-

sounding) intelligible or sensible.

^ P 273

but the question to be answered is whether they

have also yet another employment, when the object is not a

P Critique of Pure Reason - 25 274

phenomenon (that is, is a noumenon); and it is in this latter

sense that the object is taken, when it is thought as merely

intelligible, that is to say, as being given Critique of Pure Reason - 25 to the understanding

alone, and not to the senses. The question, therefore, is whether

in addition to the empirical employment of the understanding

-- to its employment even in the Newtonian account of the

structure of the universe -- there is Critique of Pure Reason - 25 likewise possible a tran-

scendental employment, which has to do with the noumenon

as an object. This question we have answered in the negative.

When, therefore, we say that the senses Critique of Pure Reason - 25 represent objects

as they appear, and the understanding objects as they are, the

latter statement is to be taken, not in the transcendental, but

in the merely empirical meaning of the terms, namely as

meaning Critique of Pure Reason - 25 that the objects must be represented as objects of

experience, that is, as appearances in thoroughgoing inter-

connection with one another, and not as they may be apart

from their relation to possible experience (and consequently

to Critique of Pure Reason - 25 any senses), as objects of the pure understanding. Such

objects of pure understanding will always remain unknown

to us; we can never even know whether such a transcen-

dental or exceptional knowledge Critique of Pure Reason - 25 is possible under any con-

ditions -- at least not if it is to be the same kind of know-

ledge as that which stands under our ordinary categories.

Understanding and sensibility, with us, can Critique of Pure Reason - 25 determine objects

only when they are employed in conjunction. When we separ-

ate them, we have intuitions without concepts, or concepts

without intuitions -- in both cases, representations which we

are not in a position to Critique of Pure Reason - 25 apply to any determinate object.

If, after all these explanations, any one still hesitates to

abandon the merely transcendental employment of the cate-

gories, let him attempt to obtain from them a synthetic Critique of Pure Reason - 25 pro-

position. An analytic proposition carries the understanding no

further; for since it is concerned only with what is already

thought in the concept, it leaves undecided whether this con-

cept has in Critique of Pure Reason - 25 itself any relation to objects, or merely signifies

the unity of thought in general -- complete abstraction being

мейд from the mode in which an object may be given. The

understanding [in its analytic employment] is concerned only

to Critique of Pure Reason - 25 know what lies in the concept; it is indifferent as to the

P 275

object to which the concept may apply. The attempt must

therefore be мейд with a synthetic and professedly tran-

scendental principle Critique of Pure Reason - 25, as, for instance, 'Everything that exists,

exists as substance, or as a determination inherent in it', or

'Everything contingent exists as an effect of some other thing,

namely, of its cause Critique of Pure Reason - 25'. Now whence, I ask, can the understand-

ing obtain these synthetic propositions, when the concepts are

to be applied, not in their relation to possible experience, but

to things in themselves (noumena)? Where is here Critique of Pure Reason - 25 that third

something, which is always required for a synthetic proposi-

tion, in order that, by its mediation, the concepts which have

no logical (analytic) affinity may be brought into connection

with one another? The Critique of Pure Reason - 25 proposition can never be established,

nay, more, even the possibility of any such pure assertion can-

not be shown, without appealing to the empirical employment

of the understanding, and thereby departing Critique of Pure Reason - 25 completely from

the pure and non-sensible judgment. Thus the concept of pure

and merely intelligible objects is completely lacking in all

principles that might make possible its application. For we

cannot think of any way in Critique of Pure Reason - 25 which such intelligible objects

might be given. The problematic thought which leaves open

a place for them serves only, like an empty space, for the

limitation of empirical principles, without itself containing or

revealing any other object of Critique of Pure Reason - 25 knowledge beyond the sphere of

those principles.

P 276





Reflection (reflexio) does not concern Critique of Pure Reason - 25 itself with objects them-

selves with a view to deriving concepts from them directly,

but is that state of mind in which we first set ourselves

to discover the subjective conditions under which Critique of Pure Reason - 25 [alone] we

are able to arrive at concepts. It is the consciousness of the re-

lation of given representations to our different sources of know-

ledge; and only by way of such consciousness can Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the relation

of the sources of knowledge to one another be rightly deter-

mined. Prior to all further treatment of our representations,

this question must first be asked: In which of our cognitive

faculties are Critique of Pure Reason - 25 our representations connected together? Is it the

understanding, or is it the senses, by which they are combined

or compared? Many a judgment is accepted owing to custom

or is grounded in inclination Critique of Pure Reason - 25; but since no reflection precedes

it, or at least none follows critically upon it, it is taken as

having originated in the understanding. An examination

(i.e. the direction of our attention to the grounds of the Critique of Pure Reason - 25 truth

of a judgment) is not indeed required in every case; for if the

judgment is immediately certain (for instance, the judgment

that between two points there can only be one straight Critique of Pure Reason - 25 line),

there can be no better evidence of its truth than the judgment

itself. All judgments, however, and indeed all comparisons,

require reflection, i.e. distinction of the cognitive faculty to

which the given concepts belong Critique of Pure Reason - 25. The act by which I confront

P 277

the comparison of representations with the cognitive faculty

to which it belongs, and by means of which I distinguish

whether it is as belonging to the pure understanding or Critique of Pure Reason - 25 to

sensible intuition that they are to be compared with each

other, I call transcendental reflection. Now the relations in

which concepts in a state of mind can stand to one another are

those of Critique of Pure Reason - 25 identity and difference, of agreement and opposition,

of the inner and the outer, and finally of the determinable and

the determination (matter and form). The right determining

of the relation depends on Critique of Pure Reason - 25 the answer to the question, in which

faculty of knowledge they belong together subjectively -- in the

sensibility or in the understanding. For the difference between

the faculties makes a great difference to the mode in Critique of Pure Reason - 25 which we

have to think the relations.

Before constructing any objective judgment we compare

the concepts to find in them identity (of many representa-

tions under one concept) with a view to universal judgments,

difference with a Critique of Pure Reason - 25 view to particular judgments, agreement

with a view to affirmative judgments, opposition with a view

to negative judgments, etc. For this reason we ought, it seems,

to call the above-mentioned concepts, concepts Critique of Pure Reason - 25 of comparison

(conceptus comparationis). If, however, the question is not

about the logical form, but about the content of the concepts,

i.e. whether things are themselves identical or different, in

agreement or in Critique of Pure Reason - 25 opposition, etc. , then since the things can have

a twofold relation to our faculty of knowledge, namely, to sensi-

bility and to understanding, it is the place to which they belong

in this regard Critique of Pure Reason - 25 that determines the mode in which they belong

to one another. For this reason the interrelations of given re-

presentations can be determined only through transcendental

reflection, that is, through [consciousness of] their relation to

one Critique of Pure Reason - 25 or other of the two kinds of knowledge. Whether things are

identical or different, in agreement or in opposition, etc. , can-

not be established at once from the concepts themselves by

mere comparison (comparatio), but Critique of Pure Reason - 25 solely by means of tran-

scendental consideration (reflexio), through distinction of the

cognitive faculty to which they belong. We may therefore say