Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything

Bride.Ru

Books Menu

Home
Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog

 

- The Critique of Practical Reason - 20/32 -


physical law reside within the subject or without him, or in the former case whether these principles are instinctive or are conceived by reason, if, as is admitted by these men themselves, these determining ideas have the ground of their existence in time and in the antecedent state, and this again in an antecedent, etc. Then it matters not that these are internal; it matters not that they have a psychological and not a mechanical causality, that is, produce actions by means of ideas and not by bodily movements; they are still determining principles of the causality of a being whose existence is determinable in time, and therefore under the necessitation of conditions of past time, which therefore, when the subject has to act, are no longer in his power. This may imply psychological freedom (if we choose to apply this term to a merely internal chain of ideas in the mind), but it involves physical necessity and, therefore, leaves no room for transcendental freedom, which must be conceived as independence on everything empirical, and, consequently, on nature generally, whether it is an object of the internal sense considered in time only, or of the external in time and space. Without this freedom (in the latter and true sense), which alone is practical a priori, no moral law and no moral imputation are possible. just for this reason the necessity of events in time, according to the physical law of causality, may be called the mechanism of nature, although we do not mean by this that things which are subject to it must be really material machines. We look here only to the necessity of the connection of events in a time-series as it is developed according to the physical law, whether the subject in which this development takes place is called automaton materiale when the mechanical being is moved by matter, or with Leibnitz spirituale when it is impelled by ideas; and if the freedom of our will were no other than the latter (say the psychological and comparative, not also transcendental, that is, absolute), then it would at bottom be nothing better than the freedom of a turnspit, which, when once it is wound up, accomplishes its motions of itself.

Now, in order to remove in the supposed case the apparent contradiction between freedom and the mechanism of nature in one and the same action, we must remember what was said in the Critique of Pure Reason, or what follows therefrom; viz., that the necessity of nature, which cannot co-exist with the freedom of the subject, appertains only to the attributes of the thing that is subject to time-conditions, consequently only to those of the acting subject as a phenomenon; that therefore in this respect the determining principles of every action of the same reside in what belongs to past time and is no longer in his power (in which must be included his own past actions and the character that these may determine for him in his own eyes as a phenomenon). But the very same subject, being on the other side conscious of himself as a thing in himself, considers his existence also in so far as it is not subject to time-conditions, and regards himself as only determinable by laws which he gives himself through reason; and in this his existence nothing is antecedent to the determination of his will, but every action, and in general every modification of his existence, varying according to his internal sense, even the whole series of his existence as a sensible being is in the consciousness of his supersensible existence nothing but the result, and never to be regarded as the determining principle, of his causality as a noumenon. In this view now the rational being can justly say of every unlawful action that he performs, that he could very well have left it undone; although as appearance it is sufficiently determined in the past, and in this respect is absolutely necessary; for it, with all the past which determines it, belongs to the one single phenomenon of his character which he makes for himself, in consequence of which he imputes the causality of those appearances to himself as a cause independent of sensibility.

With this agree perfectly the judicial sentences of that wonderful faculty in us which we call conscience. A man may use as much art as he likes in order to paint to himself an unlawful act, that he remembers, as an unintentional error, a mere oversight, such as one can never altogether avoid, and therefore as something in which he was carried away by the stream of physical necessity, and thus to make himself out innocent, yet he finds that the advocate who speaks in his favour can by no means silence the accuser within, if only he is conscious that at the time when he did this wrong he was in his senses, that is, in possession of his freedom; and, nevertheless, he accounts for his error from some bad habits, which by gradual neglect of attention he has allowed to grow upon him to such a degree that he can regard his error as its natural consequence, although this cannot protect him from the blame and reproach which he casts upon himself. This is also the ground of repentance for a long past action at every recollection of it; a painful feeling produced by the moral sentiment, and which is practically void in so far as it cannot serve to undo what has been done. (Hence Priestley, as a true and consistent fatalist, declares it absurd, and he deserves to be commended for this candour more than those who, while they maintain the mechanism of the will in fact, and its freedom in words only, yet wish it to be thought that they include it in their system of compromise, although they do not explain the possibility of such moral imputation.) But the pain is quite legitimate, because when the law of our intelligible [supersensible] existence (the moral law) is in question, reason recognizes no distinction of time, and only asks whether the event belongs to me, as my act, and then always morally connects the same feeling with it, whether it has happened just now or long ago. For in reference to the supersensible consciousness of its existence (i.e., freedom) the life of sense is but a single phenomenon, which, inasmuch as it contains merely manifestations of the mental disposition with regard to the moral law (i.e., of the character), must be judged not according to the physical necessity that belongs to it as phenomenon, but according to the absolute spontaneity of freedom. It may therefore be admitted that, if it were possible to have so profound an insight into a man's mental character as shown by internal as well as external actions as to know all its motives, even the smallest, and likewise all the external occasions that can influence them, we could calculate a man's conduct for the future with as great certainty as a lunar or solar eclipse; and nevertheless we may maintain that the man is free. In fact, if we were capable of a further glance, namely, an intellectual intuition of the same subject (which indeed is not granted to us, and instead of it we have only the rational concept), then we should perceive that this whole chain of appearances in regard to all that concerns the moral laws depends on the spontaneity of the subject as a thing in itself, of the determination of which no physical explanation can be given. In default of this intuition, the moral law assures us of this distinction between the relation of our actions as appearance to our sensible nature, and the relation of this sensible nature to the supersensible substratum in us. In this view, which is natural to our reason, though inexplicable, we can also justify some judgements which we passed with all conscientiousness, and which yet at first sight seem quite opposed to all equity. There are cases in which men, even with the same education which has been profitable to others, yet show such early depravity, and so continue to progress in it to years of manhood, that they are thought to be born villains, and their character altogether incapable of improvement; and nevertheless they are judged for what they do or leave undone, they are reproached for their faults as guilty; nay, they themselves (the children) regard these reproaches as well founded, exactly as if in spite of the hopeless natural quality of mind ascribed to them, they remained just as responsible as any other man. This could not happen if we did not suppose that whatever springs from a man's choice (as every action intentionally performed undoubtedly does) has as its foundation a free causality, which from early youth expresses its character in its manifestations (i.e., actions). These, on account of the uniformity of conduct, exhibit a natural connection, which however does not make the vicious quality of the will necessary, but on the contrary, is the consequence of the evil principles voluntarily adopted and unchangeable, which only make it so much the more culpable and deserving of punishment. There still remains a difficulty in the combination of freedom with the mechanism of nature in a being belonging to the world of sense; a difficulty which, even after all the foregoing is admitted, threatens freedom with complete destruction. But with this danger there is also a circumstance that offers hope of an issue still favourable to freedom; namely, that the same difficulty presses much more strongly (in fact as we shall presently see, presses only) on the system that holds the existence determinable in time and space to be the existence of things in themselves; it does not therefore oblige us to give up our capital supposition of the ideality of time as a mere form of sensible intuition, and consequently as a mere manner of representation which is proper to the subject as belonging to the world of sense; and therefore it only requires that this view be reconciled with this idea.

The difficulty is as follows: Even if it is admitted that the supersensible subject can be free with respect to a given action, although, as a subject also belonging to the world of sense, he is under mechanical conditions with respect to the same action, still, as soon as we allow that God as universal first cause is also the cause of the existence of substance (a proposition which can never be given up without at the same time giving up the notion of God as the Being of all beings, and therewith giving up his all sufficiency, on which everything in theology depends), it seems as if we must admit that a man's actions have their determining principle in something which is wholly out of his power- namely, in the causality of a Supreme Being distinct from himself and on whom his own existence and the whole determination of his causality are absolutely dependent. In point of fact, if a man's actions as belonging to his modifications in time were not merely modifications of him as appearance, but as a thing in itself, freedom could not be saved. Man would be a marionette or an automaton, like Vaucanson's, prepared and wound up by the Supreme Artist. Self-consciousness would indeed make him a thinking automaton; but the consciousness of his own spontaneity would be mere delusion if this were mistaken for freedom, and it would deserve this name only in a comparative sense, since, although the proximate determining causes of its motion and a long series of their determining causes are internal, yet the last and highest is found in a foreign hand. Therefore I do not see how those who still insist on regarding time and space as attributes belonging to the existence of things in themselves, can avoid admitting the fatality of actions; or if (like the otherwise acute Mendelssohn) they allow them to be conditions necessarily belonging to the existence of finite and derived beings, but not to that of the infinite Supreme Being, I do not see on what ground they can justify such a distinction, or, indeed, how they can avoid the contradiction that meets them, when they hold that existence in time is an attribute necessarily belonging to finite things in themselves, whereas God is the cause of this existence, but cannot be the cause of time (or space) itself (since this must be presupposed as a necessary a priori condition of the existence of things); and consequently as regards the existence of these things. His causality must be subject to conditions and even to the condition of time; and this would inevitably bring in everything contradictory to the notions of His infinity and independence. On the other hand, it is quite easy for us to draw the distinction between the attribute of the divine existence of being independent on all time-conditions, and that of a being of the world of sense, the distinction being that between the existence of a being in itself and that of a thing in appearance. Hence, if this ideality of time and space is not adopted, nothing remains but Spinozism, in which space and time are essential attributes of the Supreme Being Himself, and the things dependent on Him (ourselves, therefore, included) are not substances, but merely accidents inhering


The Critique of Practical Reason - 20/32

Previous Page     Next Page

  1   10   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   30   32 

Schulers Books Home



 Games Menu

Home
Balls
Battleship
Buzzy
Dice Poker
Memory
Mine
Peg
Poker
Tetris
Tic Tac Toe

Google
 
Web schulers.com
 

Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything