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are defined, generally, as "problematic conceptions of the totality of conditions of anything that is given as conditioned”; or, since the unconditioned alone makes a totality of conditions possible, as “conceptions of the unconditioned, in so far as it contains a ground for the synthesis of the conditioned.”] There are three Ideas of Reason, products of its activity in “carrying the fragmentary and detailed results of human experience to their rational issues in a postulated totality. , . . These three ideas are the Soul, as the supersensible substance from which the phenomena of Consciousness are derivative manifestations; the World (Cosmos, Universe), as ultimate totality of external phenomena ; and God, as unity and final spring of all the diversities of existence. The ideas, strictly as ideal, have a legitimate and a necessary place in human thought. They express the unlimited obligation which thought feels laid upon itself to unify the details of observation; they indicate an anticipated and postulated convergence between the various lines indicated by observation, even though observation may show that the convergence will never visibly be reached; or they are standards and model types towards which experience may, and indeed must, if she is true to the cause of truth, conceive herself bound to approxiinate. Such is the function of ideas, as regulative; they govern and direct the action of intellect in the effort to systematise and centralise knowledge. . . . But the ideas naturally sink into another place in human knowledge. Instead of stimulating research, they become, as Kant once puts it, a cushion for the lazy intellect. Instead of being the ever-unattainable goals of investigation, they play a part in founding the edifice of science. Ceasing to be regulative of research, they come to be constitutive of a pretended know
The Ideas of Reason, then, are aims, aspirations, ideals ; but they have no adequate objects in a possible experience. The three Sciences " which venture to define objects for them- Rational Psychology, Rational Cosmology, and Theology—are, according to Kant, sham sciences. The Idea of Soul, the absolute or unconditioned unity of the thinking subject, has no object in possible experience answering to it. We are making an illegitimate transcendental use of a Category when we conceive the subject of all knowledge as an object under the Category of Substance. Similarly, the ultimate totality of external phenomena—the Cosmos as absolute whole is not an object of possible experience; it is not something given in sense, to be brought under Categories or scientific conceptions. Finally, the Idea of God is perverted from its regulative use, when it is made the foundation of a science-Dogmatic Theology—which applies the Categories of Substance, Cause, and the rest, to a Supreme Being, as if He were an object presented in sense experience.
| Kritik, pp. 379, 384 (Prof. Watson's Trausl.).
2 Wallace's Kant, l'p. 182, 183.
To sum up : The Categories of the Understanding are so many conditions of thought which Human Understanding, constituted as it is, expects to find, and does find, fully satisfied in the details of sensible experience. The Ideas of Reason indicate the presence of a condition of thought which is not satisfied in any particular item of experience. They are aspirations or ideals expressing that nisus after fuller and fuller comprehension of conditions, wider and wider correspondence with environment—in short, that nisus after Life, and faith in it as good, without which man would not will to pursue the experience rendered possible in detail by the Categories. But although there can be no speculative science of objects answering to the Ideas of Reason, we should come to naught if we did not act as if there were such objects; and any representation of objects answering to these Ideas which does not invite exposure by pretending to scientifie rank is valuable as helping us to “ act as if.” The objects of these Ideas are objects, not for science, but for faith. When the scientific understanding “proves” that God exists, or that the Soul is immortal, refutation lies near at hand; but the as if” of the moral agent rests on a sure foundation.'
1 “We have three postulates of practical reason which are closely related to the three Ideas of theoretical reason. These Ideas reason in its theoretical use set before itself as problems to be solved ; but it was unable to supply the solution. Thus, the attempt to prove theoretically the permanence of the thinking subject led only to paralogism ; for it involved a confusion of the subject presupposed in all knowledge of objects, and only in that point of view permanent, with an object known under the Category of Substance. But now we find that a faith of reason in the endless existence of the self-conscious subject is bound up with the possibility of his fulfilling the moral law. Again, the attempt speculatively to determine the world as a system complete in itself landed us in an antinomy
To return now from Kant to Plato :-Plato's Myths induce and regulate Transcendental Feeling for the service of conduct and knowledge by setting forth the a priori conditions of conduct and knowledge—that is, (1) by representing certain ideals or presuppositions, in concrete form—the presuppositions of an immortal Soul, of an intelligible Cosmos, and of a wise and good God—all three being natural expressions of the sweet hope in the faith of which man lives and struggles on and on; and (2) by tracing to their origin in the wisdom and goodness of God, and the constitution of the Cosmos, certain habitudes or faculties (categories and virtues), belonging to the make of man's intellectual and moral nature, which prescribe the various modes in which he must order in detail the life which his faith or sweet hope impels him to maintain. Myth, not argumentative conversation, is rightly chosen by Plato as the vehicle of exposition when he deals with a priori conditions of conduct and knowledge, whether they be ideals or faculties. When a man asks himself, as he must, for the reason of the hope in which he struggles on in the ways prescribed by his faculties, he is fain to answer—“Because I am an immortal Soul, created with these faculties by a wise and good God, under whose government I live in a Universe which is His finished work.” This answer, according to Plato, as I read him, is the natural and legitimate expression of the “sweet hope which guides the wayward thought of mortal man"; and the expression reacts on--gives strength and steadiness to—that
It is a
true answer" in the sense that man's life would come to naught if he did not act and think as if it were true. But Soul, Cosmos as completed system of the Good, and God are not particular objects presented, along which we were able to escape only by the distinction of the phenomenal from the intelligible world--a distinction which theoretic reason suggested, but which it could not verify. But now, the moral law forces us to think ourselves as free, and therefore as belonging to an intelligible world which we are further obliged to treat as the reality of which the phenomenal world is the appearance. Lastly, the Absolute Being was to theoretic reason a mere ideal which knowledge could not realise ; but now His existence is certified to us as the necessary condition of the possibility of the object of a Will determined by the moral law. Thus, through practical reason we gain a conviction of the reality of objects corresponding to the three Ideas of Pure Reason. We do not, indeed, acquire what is properly to be called knowledge of these objects. We only change the problematic conception of them into an assertion of their real existence; but, as we are not able to bring any perception under such Ideas, so we are unable to make any synthetic judgment regarding the objects the existence of which we assert.” -Caird's Critical Philosophy of Kant, ii. 297.
which it expresses.
with other particular objects, in sensible experience. This the Scientific Understanding fails to grasp.
When it tries to deal with them—and it is ready enough to make the venture -it must needs envisage them, more suo, as though they were particular objects which could be brought under its Categories in sensible experience. Then the question arises, “Where are
And the answer comes sooner or later, “ They are nowhere to be found." Thus“ science” chills the “sweet hope" in which man lives, by bringing the natural expression of it into discredit.
This, I take it, is Plato's reason for employing Myth, rather than the language and method of "science,” when he wishes to set forth the a priori as it expresses itself in Ideals. In the mise en scène of the Timaeus or Myth of Er, Soul, Cosmos, and God are presented concretely indeed, but in such visionary form that there is little danger of mistaking them for particulars of sense requiring "scientific explanation.” Again, as for the a priori Habitudes or Faculties of man's moral and intellectual structure, whereby he corresponds with his environment in detail—these, too, Plato holds, are to be set forth in Myth; for they are properly set forth when they are “deduced ”—traced to their origin, which is that of the Cosmos-a matter beyond the reach of the Scientific Understanding. It is in a Myth of Reminiscence, therefore, such as that in the Phaedrus, that we must take account of the question of “the origin of knowledge”; in a Myth such as that of the Golden Age in the Laws, of the question of “the origin of society.” 1
These and other ultimate “questions of origin,” carrying us back as they do to the nature of God and the constitution of the Cosmos, are not for “science.” Plato found Myth invested in the minds of his contemporaries with the authority of old tradition and the new charm which Pindar and the tragedians had bestowed upon it; perhaps, too, if my suggestion ? has any value, he found it associated, in his own mind and the minds of other Socratici viri, with the personal influence of the Master where that influence was most im
· The spirit, and much in the detail, of the Cratylus justify the view that Plato approached the question of the "origin of language” too oià avoologías.
Supra, p. 3.
pressive and mysterious—he found Myth thus ready to his hand, and he took it up, and used it in an original way for a philosophical purpose, and transformed it as the Genius of Sculpture transformed the Góava of Daedalus.
Further remarks on the a priori in conduct and knowledge as set forth by means of the mythological deduction of Faculties will be best deferred till we come to the Phaedrus Myth; but some general observations on the a priori as set forth by means of the mythological representation of Ideals “ forms of hope,"
,"? " objects of faith ”—may be helpful at this introductory stage. Let us then consider broadly, first, Plato's handling of the “Idea of God,” and then his handling of the “ Idea of Soul.” Consideration of his handling of the “ Idea of Cosmos may well be deferred till we
come to the Timaeus.
6. PLATO'S TREATMENT OF THE IDEA OF GOD
To the religious consciousness, whether showing itself in the faith which“ non-religious people” sometimes find privately and cling to in time of trouble, or expressed to the world in the creeds and mythologies of the various religions, the Idea of God is the idea of a Personal God, or, it may be, of personal Gods. The God of the religious consciousness, whatever else he may be, is first of all a separate individual--one among other individuals, human and, it may be, superhuman, to whom he stands in relations by which he is determined or limited. He is Maker, King, Judge, Father, Friend. be true that attributes logically inconsistent with his being a finite individual person are ascribed to him in some of the creeds; but the inconsistency, when perceived, is always so dealt with that the all - important idea of his personality is left with undiminished power.
The idea of the separate individuality or personality of the Self is not more essential to the moral consciousness than the idea of the separate individuality or personality of God is to the religious consciousness; and in the religious consciousness, at any rate, both of
1 It never yet did hurt, To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.
Henry IV. (Part ii.), i. 3,