The Critique of Judgement, by Immanuel Kant

Second Division

Dialectic of the Teleological Judgement

§ 69.

What is an antinomy of the Judgement?

The determinant Judgement has for itself no principles which are the foundation of concepts of Objects. It has no autonomy, for it subsumes only under given laws or concepts as principles. Hence it is exposed to no danger of an antinomy of its own or to a conflict of its principles. So [we saw that] the transcendental Judgement which contains the conditions of subsuming under categories was for itself not nomothetic, but that it only indicated the conditions of sensuous intuition, under which reality (application) can be supplied to a given concept, as law of the Understanding, whereby the Judgement could never fall into discord with itself (at least as far as its principles are concerned).

But the reflective Judgement must subsume under a law, which is not yet given, and is therefore in fact only a principle of reflection upon objects, for which we are objectively quite in want of a law or of a concept of an Object that would be adequate as a principle for the cases that occur. Since now no use of the cognitive faculties can be permitted without principles, the reflective Judgement must in such cases serve as a principle for itself. This, because it is not objective and can supply no ground of cognition of the Object adequate for design, must serve as a mere subjective principle, for the purposive employment of our cognitive faculties, i.e. for reflecting upon a class of objects. Therefore in reference to such cases the reflective Judgement has its maxims — necessary maxims — on behalf of the cognition of natural laws in experience, in order to attain by their means to concepts, even concepts of Reason; since it has absolute need of such in order to learn merely to cognise nature according to its empirical laws. — Between these necessary maxims of the reflective Judgement there may be a conflict and consequently an antinomy, upon which a Dialectic bases itself. If each of two conflicting maxims has its ground in the nature of the cognitive faculties, this may be called a natural Dialectic, and an unavoidable illusion which we must expose and resolve in our Critique, to the end that it may not deceive us.

§ 70.

Representation of this antinomy

So far as Reason has to do with nature, as the complex of objects of external sense, it can base itself partly upon laws which the Understanding itself prescribes a priori to nature, partly upon laws which it can extend indefinitely by means of the empirical determinations occurring in experience. To apply the former kind of laws, i.e. the universal laws of material nature in general, the Judgement needs no special principle of reflection, since it is there determinant because an objective principle is given to it through Understanding. But as regards the particular laws that can only be made known to us through experience, there can be under them such great manifoldness and diversity, that the Judgement must serve as its own principle in order to investigate and search into the phenomena of nature in accordance with a law. Such a guiding thread is needed, if we are only to hope for a connected empirical cognition according to a thoroughgoing conformity of nature to law, even its unity according to empirical laws. In this contingent unity of particular laws it may very well happen that the Judgement in its reflection proceeds from two maxims. One of these is suggested to it a priori by the mere Understanding; but the other is prompted by particular experiences, which bring the Reason into play in order to form a judgement upon corporeal nature and its laws in accordance with a particular principle. Hence it comes about that these two kinds of maxims seem to be incapable of existing together, and consequently a Dialectic arises which leads the Judgement into error in the principle of its reflection.

The first maxim of Judgement is the proposition: all production of material things and their forms must be judged to be possible according to merely mechanical laws.

The second maxim is the counter-proposition: some products of material nature cannot be judged to be possible according to merely mechanical laws. (To judge them requires quite a different law of causality, namely, that of final causes.)

If these regulative principles of investigation be converted into constitutive principles of the possibility of Objects, they will run thus:

Proposition: All production of material things is possible according to merely mechanical laws.

Counter-proposition: Some production of material things is not possible according to merely mechanical laws.

In this latter aspect, as objective principles for the determinant Judgement, they would contradict each other; and consequently one of the two propositions must necessarily be false. We shall then, it is true, have an antinomy, but not of Judgement; there will be a conflict in the legislation of Reason. Reason, however, can prove neither the one nor the other of these fundamental propositions, because we can have a priori no determinant principle of the possibility of things according to mere empirical laws of nature.

On the other hand, as regards the first-mentioned maxims of a reflective Judgement, they involve no contradiction in fact. For if I say, I must judge, according to merely mechanical laws, of the possibility of all events in material nature, and consequently of all forms regarded as its products, I do not therefore say: They are possible in this way alone (apart from any other kind of causality). All that is implied is: I must always reflect upon them according to the principle of the mere mechanism of nature, and consequently investigate this as far as I can; because unless this lies at the basis of investigation, there can be no proper knowledge of nature at all. But this does not prevent us, if occasion offers, from following out the second maxim in the case of certain natural forms (and even by occasion of these in the whole of nature), in order to reflect upon them according to the principle of final causes, which is quite a different thing from explaining them according to the mechanism of nature. Reflection in accordance with the first maxim is thus not abrogated; on the contrary, we are told to follow it as far as we can. Nor is it said that these forms would not be possible in accordance with the mechanism of nature. It is only asserted that human Reason in following up this maxim and in this way could never find the least ground for that which constitutes the specific [character] of a natural purpose, although it would increase its knowledge of natural laws. Thus it is left undecided whether or not in the unknown inner ground of nature, physico-mechanical and purposive combination may be united in the same things in one principle. We only say that our Reason is not in a position so to unite them; and that therefore the Judgement (as reflective — from subjective grounds, not as determinant, in consequence of an objective principle of the possibility of things in themselves) is compelled to think a different principle from that of natural mechanism as the ground of the possibility of certain forms in nature.

§ 71.

Preliminary to the solution of the above antinomy

We can in no way prove the impossibility of the production of organised natural products by the mere mechanism of nature, because we cannot see into the first inner ground of the infinite multiplicity of the particular laws of nature, which are contingent for us since they are only empirically known; and so we cannot arrive at the inner all-sufficient principle of the possibility of a nature (a principle which lies in the supersensible). Whether therefore the productive faculty of nature is sufficient for that which we judge to be formed or combined in accordance with the Idea of purposes, as well as for that which we believe to require merely a mechanical system [Maschinenwesen] of nature; or whether there lies at the basis of things which we must necessarily judge as properly natural purposes, a quite different kind of original causality, which cannot be contained in material nature or in its intelligible substrate, viz. an architectonic Understanding — this is a question to which our Reason, very narrowly limited in respect of the concept of causality if it is to be specified a priori, can give no answer whatever. — But it is just as certain and beyond doubt that, in regard to our cognitive faculties, the mere mechanism of nature can furnish no ground of explanation of the production of organised beings. For the reflective Judgement it is therefore a quite correct fundamental proposition, that for that connexion of things according to final causes which is so plain, there must be thought a causality distinct from that of mechanism, viz. that of an (intelligent) cause of the world acting in accordance with purposes; but for the determinant Judgement this would be a hasty and unprovable proposition. In the first case it is a mere maxim of the Judgement, wherein the concept of that causality is a mere Idea, to which we by no means undertake to concede reality, but which we use as a guide to reflection, which remains thereby always open to all mechanical grounds of explanation and does not withdraw out of the world of Sense. In the second case the proposition would be an objective principle prescribed by Reason, to which the determinant Judgement must subject itself, whereby however it withdraws beyond the world of Sense into the transcendent and perhaps is led into error.

All appearance of an antinomy between the maxims of the proper physical (mechanical) and the teleological (technical) methods of explanation rests therefore on this; that we confuse a fundamental proposition of the reflective with one of the determinant Judgement, and the autonomy of the first (which has mere subjective validity for our use of Reason in respect of particular empirical laws) with the heteronomy of the second, which must regulate itself according to laws (universal or particular) given to it by the Understanding.

§ 72.

Of the different systems which deal with the purposiveness of nature

No one has ever doubted the correctness of the proposition that judgement must be passed upon certain things of nature (organised beings) and their possibility in accordance with the concept of final causes, even if we only desire a guiding thread to learn how to cognise their constitution through observation, without aspiring to an investigation into their first origin. The question therefore can only be: whether this fundamental proposition is merely subjectively valid, i.e. is a mere maxim of our Judgement; or whether it is an objective principle of nature, in accordance with which, apart from its mechanism (according to the mere laws of motion), quite a different kind of causality attaches to it, viz. that of final causes, under which these laws (of moving forces) stand only as intermediate causes.

We could leave this question or problem quite undecided and unsolved speculatively; because if we content ourselves with speculation within the bounds of mere natural knowledge, we have enough in these maxims for the study of nature and for the tracking out of its hidden secrets, as far as human powers reach. There is then indeed a certain presentiment of our Reason or a hint as it were given us by nature, that, by means of this concept of final causes, we go beyond nature, and could unite it to the highest point in the series of causes, if we were to abandon or at least to lay aside for a time the investigation of nature (although we may not have advanced far in it), and seek thenceforth to find out whither this stranger in natural science, viz. the concept of natural purposes, would lead us.

But here these undisputed maxims pass over into problems opening out a wide field for difficulties. Does purposive connexion in nature prove a particular kind of causality? Or is it not rather, considered in itself and in accordance with objective principles, similar to the mechanism of nature, resting on one and the same ground? Only, as this ground in many natural products is often hidden too deep for our investigation, we make trial of a subjective principle, that of art, i.e. of causality according to Ideas, and we ascribe it to nature by analogy. This expedient succeeds in many cases, but seems in some to mislead, and in no case does it justify us in introducing into natural science a particular kind of operation quite distinct from the causality according to the mere mechanical laws of nature. We give the name of Technic to the procedure (the causality) of nature, on account of the appearance of purpose that we find in its products; and we shall divide this into designed (technica intentionalis) and undesigned (technica naturalis). The first is meant to signify that the productive faculty of nature according to final causes must be taken for a particular kind of causality; the second that it is at bottom quite similar to the mechanism of nature, and that its contingent agreement with our artistic concepts and their rules should be explained as a mere subjective condition of judging it, and not, falsely, as a particular kind of natural production.

If we now speak of systems explanatory of nature in regard of final causes, it must be remarked that they all controvert each other dogmatically, i.e. as to objective principles of the possibility of things, whether there are causes which act designedly or whether they are quite without design. They do not dispute as to the subjective maxims, by which we merely judge of the causes of such purposive products. In this latter case disparate principles could very well be unified; but in the former, contradictorily opposed laws annul each other and cannot subsist together.

There are two sorts of systems as to the Technic of nature, i.e. its productive power in accordance with the rule of purposes; viz. Idealism or Realism of natural purposes. The first maintains that all purposiveness of nature is undesigned; the second that some (in organised beings) is designed. From this latter the hypothetical consequence can be deduced that the Technic of Nature, as concerns all its other products in reference to the whole of nature, is also designed, i.e. is a purpose.

(1) The Idealism of purposiveness (I always understand here by this, objective purposiveness) is either that of the casuality or the fatality of the determination of nature in the purposive form of its products. The former principle treats of the reference of matter to the physical basis of its form, viz. the laws of motion; the second, its reference to the hyperphysical basis of itself and of the whole of nature. The system of casuality that is ascribed to Epicurus or Democritus is, taken literally, so plainly absurd that it need not detain us. Opposed to this is the system of fatality, of which Spinoza is taken as the author, although it is much older according to all appearance. This, as it appeals to something supersensible to which our insight does not extend, is not so easy to controvert; but that is because its concept of the original Being is not possible to understand. But so much is clear, that on this theory the purposive combination in the world must be taken as undesigned; for although derived from an original Being, it is not derived from its Understanding or from any design on its part, but rather from the necessity of its nature and of the world-unity which emanates therefrom. Consequently the Fatalism of purposiveness is at the same time an Idealism.

(2) The Realism of the purposiveness of nature is also either physical or hyperphysical. The former bases the purposes in nature, by the analogy of a faculty acting with design, on the life of matter (either its own or the life of an inner principle in it, a world-soul) and is called Hylozoism. The latter derives them from the original ground of the universe, as from an intelligent Being (originally living), who produces them with design, and is Theism.1

1 We thus see that in most speculative things of pure Reason, as regards dogmatic assertions, the philosophical schools have commonly tried all possible solutions of a given question. To explain the purposiveness of nature men have tried either lifeless matter or a lifeless God, or again, living matter or a living God. It only remains for us, if the need should arise, to abandon all these objective assertions and to examine critically our judgement merely in reference to our cognitive faculties, in order to supply to their principle a validity which, if not dogmatic, shall at least be that of a maxim sufficient for the sure employment of Reason.

§ 73.

None of the above systems give what they pretend

What do all these systems desire? They desire to explain our teleological judgements about nature, and they go so to work therewith that some deny their truth and, consequently, explain them as an Idealism of Nature (represented as Art); others recognise them as true, and promise to establish the possibility of a nature in accordance with the Idea of final causes.

(1) The systems which defend the Idealism of final causes in nature grant, it is true, on the one hand to their principle a causality in accordance with the laws of motion (through which [causality] natural things exist purposively); but they deny to it intentionality, i.e. that it designedly determines itself to this its purposive production; in other words, they deny that the cause is a purpose. This is Epicurus’s method of explanation, according to which the distinction between a Technic of nature and mere mechanism is altogether denied. Blind chance is taken as the explanatory ground not only of the agreement of the developed products with our concepts of the purpose, and consequently of [nature’s] Technic; but also of the determination of the causes of this production in accordance with the laws of motion, and consequently of their mechanism. Thus nothing is explained, not even the illusion in our teleological judgements, and consequently, the would-be Idealism of these in no way established.

On the other hand, Spinoza wishes to dispense with all inquiries into the ground of the possibility of purposes of nature, and to take away all reality from this Idea. He allows their validity in general not as products but as accidents inhering in an original Being; and to this Being, as substrate of those natural things, he ascribes not causality in regard to them but mere subsistence. On account of its unconditioned necessity, and also that of all natural things as accidents inhering in it, he secures, it is true, to the forms of nature that unity of ground which is requisite for all purposiveness; but at the same time he tears away their contingence, without which no unity of purpose can be thought, and with it all design, inasmuch as he takes away all intelligence from the original ground of natural things.

But Spinozism does not furnish what it desires. It desires to afford an explanatory ground of the purposive connexion (which it does not deny) of the things of nature, and it merely speaks of the unity of the subject in which they all inhere. But even if we concede to it that the beings of the world exist in this way, such ontological unity is not therefore a unity of purpose, and does not make this in any way comprehensible. For this latter is a quite particular kind of unity which does not follow from the connexion of things (the beings of the world) in a subject (the original Being), but implies in itself reference to a cause which has Understanding; and even if we unite all these things in a simple subject, this never exhibits a purposive reference. For we do not think of them, first, as the inner effects of the substance, as if it were a cause; nor, secondly, of this cause as a cause producing effects by means of its Understanding. Without these formal conditions all unity is mere natural necessity; and, if it is ascribed as well to things which we represent as external to one another, blind necessity. But if we wish to give the name of purposiveness of nature to that which the schoolmen call the transcendental perfection of things (in reference to their proper being), according to which everything has in itself that which is requisite to make it one thing and not another, then we are only like children playing with words instead of concepts. For if all things must be thought as purposes, then to be a thing is the same as to be a purpose, and there is at bottom nothing which specially deserves to be represented as a purpose.

We hence see at once that Spinoza by his reducing our concepts of the purposive in nature to our own consciousness of existing in an all-embracing (though simple) Being, and by his seeking that form merely in the unity of this Being, must have intended to maintain not the realism, but the idealism of its purposiveness. Even this he was not able to accomplish, because the mere representation of the unity of the substrate cannot bring about the Idea of a purposiveness, even that which is only undesigned.

(2) Those who not only maintain the Realism of natural purposes, but also set about explaining it, believe that they can comprehend, at least as regards its possibility, a practical kind of causality, viz. that of causes working designedly; otherwise they could not undertake to supply this explanation. For to authorise even the most daring of hypotheses, at least the possibility of what we assume as basis must be certain, and we must be able to assure objective reality to its concept.

But the possibility of living matter cannot even be thought; its concept involves a contradiction because lifelessness, inertia, constitutes the essential character of matter. The possibility of matter endowed with life, and of collective nature regarded as an animal, can only be used in an inadequate way (in the interests of the hypothesis of purposiveness in the whole of nature), so far as it is manifested by experience in the organisation of nature on a small scale; but in no way can we have insight into its possibility a priori. There must then be a circle in the explanation, if we wish to derive the purposiveness of nature in organised beings from the life of matter, and yet only know this life in organised beings, and can form no concept of its possibility without experience of this kind. Hylozoism, therefore, does not furnish what it promises.

Finally, Theism can just as little establish dogmatically the possibility of natural purposes as a key to Teleology; although it certainly is superior to all other grounds of explanation in that, through the Understanding which it ascribes to the original Being, it rescues in the best way the purposiveness of nature from Idealism, and introduces a causality acting with design for its production.

But we must first prove satisfactorily to the determinant Judgement the impossibility of the unity of purpose in matter resulting from its mere mechanism, before we are justified in placing the ground of this beyond nature in a determinate way. We can, however, advance no further than this. In accordance with the constitution and limits of our cognitive faculties (whilst we do not comprehend even the first inner ground of this mechanism) we must in no wise seek in matter a principle of determinate purposive references; but no other way of judging of the origination of its products as natural purposes remains to us than that by means of a supreme Understanding as cause of the world. But this is only a ground for the reflective, not for the determinant Judgement, and can justify absolutely no objective assertion.

§ 74.

The reason that we cannot treat the concept of a Technic of nature dogmatically is the fact that a natural purpose is inexplicable

We deal with a concept dogmatically (even though it should be empirically conditioned) if we consider it as contained under another concept of the Object which constitutes a principle1 of Reason, and determine it in conformity with this. But we deal with it merely critically, if we consider it only in reference to our cognitive faculties and consequently to the subjective conditions of thinking it, without undertaking to decide anything about its Object. Dogmatic procedure with a concept is then that which is conformable to law for the determinant Judgement, critical procedure for the reflective Judgement.

Now the concept of a thing as a natural purpose is a concept which subsumes nature under a causality only thinkable through Reason, in order to judge in accordance with this principle about that which is given of the Object in experience. But in order to use it dogmatically for the determinant Judgement, we must be assured first of the objective reality of this concept, because otherwise we could subsume no natural thing under it. Again, the concept of a thing as a natural purpose is, no doubt, empirically conditioned, i.e. only possible under certain conditions given in experience, though not to be abstracted therefrom; but it is a concept only possible in accordance with a rational principle in the judgement about the object. Its objective reality, therefore (i.e. that an object in conformity with it is possible), cannot be comprehended and dogmatically established as such a principle; and we do not know whether it is merely a sophistical and objectively empty concept (conceptus ratiocinans), or a rational concept, establishing a cognition and confirmed by Reason (conceptus ratiocinatus).1 Therefore it cannot be dogmatically treated for the determinant Judgement, i.e. it is not only impossible to decide whether or not things of nature considered as natural purposes require for their production a causality of a quite peculiar kind (that acting on design); but the question cannot even be put, because the concept of a natural purpose is simply not susceptible of proof through Reason as regards its objective reality. That is, it is not constitutive for the determinant Judgement, but merely regulative for the reflective.

That it is not susceptible of proof is clear because (as concept of a natural product) it embraces in itself natural necessity, and at the same time (as purpose) a contingency of the form of the Object (in reference to the mere laws of nature) in the very same thing. Hence, if there is to be no contradiction here it must contain a ground for the possibility of the thing in nature, and also a ground of the possibility of this nature itself and of its reference to something which, not being empirically cognisable nature (supersensible), is therefore for us not cognisable at all. [This is requisite] if it is to be judged according to a different kind of causality from that of natural mechanism when we wish to establish its possibility. The concept of a thing, then, as a natural purpose, is transcendent for the determinant Judgement, if we consider the Object through Reason (although for the reflective Judgement it certainly may be immanent in respect of the objects of experience). Hence for determinant judgements objective reality cannot be supplied to it; and so it is intelligible how all systems that one may project for the dogmatic treatment of the concept of natural purposes and of nature itself [considered] as a whole connected together by means of final causes, can decide nothing either by objective affirmation or by objective denial. For if things be subsumed under a concept that is merely problematical, its synthetical predicates (e.g. in the question whether the purpose of nature which we conceive for the production of things is designed or undesigned) can furnish only problematical judgements of the Object, whether affirmative or negative; and we do not know whether we are judging about something or about nothing. The concept of a causality through purposes (of art) has at all events objective reality, and also the concept of a causality according to the mechanism of nature. But the concept of a causality of nature according to the rule of purposes — still more of a Being such as cannot be given us in experience, a Being who is the original cause of nature — though it can be thought without contradiction, yet is of no avail for dogmatic determinations. For, since it cannot be derived from experience, and also is not requisite for the possibility thereof, its objective reality can in no way be assured. But even if this could be done, how can I number among the products of nature things which are definitely accounted products of divine art, when it is just the incapacity of nature to produce such things according to its own laws that made it necessary to invoke a cause different from it?

1 [That is, the wider concept serves as a universal, under which the particular may be brought; cognition from principles, in Kant’s phrase, is the process of knowing the particular in the universal by means of concepts.]

1 [This distinction will be familiar to the student of the Critique of Pure Reason. See Dialectic, bk. i., Of the Concepts of Pure Reason.]

§ 75.

The concept of an objective purposiveness of nature is a critical principle of Reason for the reflective Judgement

It is then one thing to say, “the production of certain things of nature or that of collective nature is only possible through a cause which determines itself to action according to design”; and quite another to say, “I can according to the peculiar constitution of my cognitive faculties judge concerning the possibility of these things and their production, in no other fashion than by conceiving for this a cause working according to design, i.e. a Being which is productive in a way analogous to the causality of an intelligence.” In the former case I wish to establish something concerning the Object, and am bound to establish the objective reality of an assumed concept; in the latter, Reason only determines the use of my cognitive faculties, conformably to their peculiarities and to the essential conditions of their range and their limits. Thus the former principle is an objective proposition for the determinant Judgement, the latter merely a subjective proposition for the reflective Judgement, i.e. a maxim which Reason prescribes to it.

We are in fact indispensably obliged to ascribe the concept of design to nature if we wish to investigate it, though only in its organised products, by continuous observation; and this concept is therefore an absolutely necessary maxim for the empirical use of our Reason. It is plain that once such a guiding thread for the study of nature is admitted and verified, we must at least try the said maxim of Judgement in nature as a whole; because thereby many of nature’s laws might discover themselves, which otherwise, on account of the limitation of our insight into its inner mechanism, would remain hidden. But though in regard to this latter employment that maxim of Judgement is certainly useful, it is not indispensable, for nature as a whole is not given as organised (in the narrow sense of the word above indicated). On the other hand, in regard to those natural products, which must be judged of as designed and not formed otherwise (if we are to have empirical knowledge of their inner constitution), this maxim of the reflective Judgement is essentially necessary; because the very thought of them as organised beings is impossible without combining therewith the thought of their designed production.

Now the concept of a thing whose existence or form we represent to ourselves as possible under the condition of a purpose is inseparably bound up with the concept of its contingency (according to natural laws). Hence the natural things that we find possible only as purposes supply the best proof of the contingency of the world-whole; to the common Understanding and to the philosopher alike they are the only valid ground of proof for its dependence on and origin from a Being existing outside the world — a Being who must also be intelligent on account of that purposive form. Teleology then finds the consummation of its investigations only in Theology.

But what now in the end does the most complete Teleology prove? Does it prove that there is such an intelligent Being? No. It only proves that according to the constitution of our cognitive faculties and in the consequent combination of experience with the highest principles of Reason, we can form absolutely no concept of the possibility of such a world [as this] save by thinking a designedly-working supreme cause thereof. Objectively we cannot therefore lay down the proposition, there is an intelligent original Being; but only subjectively, for the use of our Judgement in its reflection upon the purposes in nature, which can be thought according to no other principle than that of a designing causality of a highest cause.

If we wished to establish on teleological grounds the above proposition dogmatically we should be beset with difficulties from which we could not extricate ourselves. For then the proposition must at bottom be reduced to the conclusion, that the organised beings in the world are no otherwise possible than by a designedly-working cause. And we should unavoidably have to assert that, because we can follow up these things in their causal combination only under the Idea of purposes, and cognise them only according to their conformity to law, we are thereby justified in assuming this as a condition necessary for every thinking and cognising being — a condition consequently attaching to the Object and not merely to our subject. But such an assertion we do not succeed in sustaining. For, since we do not, properly speaking, observe the purposes in nature as designed, but only in our reflection upon its products think this concept as a guiding thread for our Judgement, they are not given to us through the Object. It is quite impossible for us a priori to vindicate, as capable of assumption, such a concept according to its objective reality. It remains therefore a proposition absolutely resting upon subjective conditions alone, viz. of the Judgement reflecting in conformity with our cognitive faculties. If we expressed this proposition dogmatically as objectively valid, it would be: “There is a God.” But for us men there is only permissible the limited formula: “We cannot otherwise think and make comprehensible the purposiveness which must lie at the bottom of our cognition of the internal possibility of many natural things, than by representing it and the world in general as a product of an intelligent cause, [a God].”1

Now if this proposition, based on an inevitably necessary maxim of our Judgement, is completely satisfactory from every human point of view for both the speculative and practical use of our Reason, I should like to know what we lose by not being able to prove it as also valid for higher beings, from objective grounds (which unfortunately are beyond our faculties). It is indeed quite certain that we cannot adequately cognise, much less explain, organised beings and their internal possibility, according to mere mechanical principles of nature; and we can say boldly it is alike certain that it is absurd for men to make any such attempt or to hope that another Newton will arise in the future, who shall make comprehensible by us the production of a blade of grass according to natural laws which no design has ordered.1 We must absolutely deny this insight to men. But then how do we know that in nature, if we could penetrate to the principle by which it specifies the universal laws known to us, there cannot lie hidden (in its mere mechanism) a sufficient ground of the possibility of organised beings without supposing any design in their production? would it not be judged by us presumptuous to say this? Probabilities here are of no account when we have to do with judgements of pure Reason. — We cannot therefore judge objectively, either affirmatively or negatively, concerning the proposition: “Does a Being acting according to design lie at the basis of what we rightly call natural purposes, as the cause of the world (and consequently as its author)?” So much only is sure, that if we are to judge according to what is permitted us to see by our own proper nature (the conditions and limitations of our Reason), we can place at the basis of the possibility of these natural purposes nothing else than an intelligent Being. This alone is in conformity with the maxim of our reflective Judgement and therefore with a ground which, though subjective, is inseparably attached to the human race.

1 [Second Edition.]

1 [This principle, that for our intellect, the conception of an organised body is impossible except by the aid of the Idea of design, is frequently insisted on by Kant. Professor Wallace points out (Kant, p. 110) that as far back as 1755, in his General Physiogony and Theory of the Heavens, Kant classed the origin of animals and plants with the secrets of Providence and the mystical number 666 “as one of the topics on which ingenuity and thought are occasionally wasted.”]

§ 76.


This consideration, which very well deserves to be worked out in detail in Transcendental Philosophy, can come in here only in passing, by way of elucidation (not as a proof of what is here proposed).

Reason is a faculty of principles and proceeds in its extremest advance to the unconditioned; on the other hand, the Understanding stands at its service always only under a certain condition which must be given. But without concepts of Understanding, to which objective reality must be given, the Reason cannot form any objective (synthetical) judgement; and contains in itself, as theoretical Reason, absolutely no constitutive but merely regulative principles. We soon see that where the Understanding cannot follow, the Reason is transcendent, and shows itself in Ideas formerly established (as regulative principles), but not in objectively valid concepts. But the Understanding which cannot keep pace with Reason but yet is requisite for the validity of Objects, limits the validity of these Ideas to the subject, although [extending it] generally to all [subjects] of this kind. That is, the Understanding limits their validity to the condition, that according to the nature of our (human) cognitive faculties, or, generally, according to the concept which we ourselves can make of the faculty of a finite intelligent being, nothing else can or must be thought; though this is not to assert that the ground of such a judgement lies in the Object. We shall adduce some examples which, though they are too important and difficult to impose them on the reader as proved propositions, yet will give him material for thought and may serve to elucidate what we are here specially concerned with.

It is indispensably necessary for the human Understanding to distinguish between the possibility and the actuality of things. The ground for this lies in the subject and in the nature of our cognitive faculties. Such a distinction (between the possible and the actual) would not be given were there not requisite for knowledge two quite different elements, Understanding for concepts and sensible intuition for Objects corresponding to them. If our Understanding were intuitive it would have no objects but those which are actual. Concepts (which merely extend to the possibility of an object) and sensible intuitions (which give us something without allowing us to cognise it thus as an object) would both disappear. But now the whole of our distinction between the merely possible and the actual rests on this, that the former only signifies the positing of the representation of a thing in respect of our concept, and, in general, in respect of the faculty of thought; while the latter signifies the positing of the thing in itself [outside this concept].1 The distinction, then, of possible things from actual is one which has merely subjective validity for the human Understanding, because we can always have a thing in our thoughts although it is [really] nothing, or we can represent a thing as given although we have no concept of it. The propositions therefore — that things can be possible without being actual, and that consequently no conclusion can be drawn as to actuality from mere possibility — are quite valid for human Reason, without thereby proving that this distinction lies in things themselves. That this does not follow, and that consequently these propositions, though valid of Objects (in so far as our cognitive faculty, as sensuously conditioned, busies itself with Objects of sense), do not hold for things in general, appears from the irrepressible demand of Reason to assume something (the original ground) necessarily existing as unconditioned, in which possibility and actuality should no longer be distinguished, and for which Idea our Understanding has absolutely no concept; i.e. it can find no way of representing such a thing and its manner of existence. For if the Understanding thinks such a thing (which it may do at pleasure), the thing is merely represented as possible. If it is conscious of it as given in intuition, then is it actual; but nothing as to its possibility is thus thought. Hence the concept of an absolutely necessary Being is no doubt an indispensable Idea of Reason, but yet it is a problematical concept unattainable by the human Understanding. It is indeed valid for the employment of our cognitive faculties in accordance with their peculiar constitution, but not valid of the Object. Nor is it valid for every knowing being, because I cannot presuppose in every such being thought and intuition as two distinct conditions of the exercise of its cognitive faculties, and consequently as conditions of the possibility and actuality of things. An Understanding into which this distinction did not enter, might say: All Objects that I know are, i.e. exist; and the possibility of some, which yet do not exist (i.e. the contingency or the contrasted necessity of those which do exist), might never come into the representation of such a being at all. But what makes it difficult for our Understanding to treat its concepts here as Reason does, is merely that for it, as human Understanding, that is transcendent (i.e. impossible for the subjective conditions of its cognition) which Reason makes into a principle appertaining to the Object. — Here the maxim always holds, that all Objects whose cognition surpasses the faculty of the Understanding are thought by us according to the subjective conditions of the exercise of that faculty which necessarily attach to our (human) nature. If judgements laid down in this way (and there is no other alternative in regard to transcendent concepts) cannot be constitutive principles determining the Object as it is, they will remain regulative principles adapted to the human point of view, immanent in their exercise and sure.

Just as Reason in the theoretical consideration of nature must assume the Idea of an unconditioned necessity of its original ground, so also it presupposes in the practical [sphere] its own (in respect of nature) unconditioned causality, or freedom, in that it is conscious of its own moral command. Here the objective necessity of the act, as a duty, is opposed to that necessity which it would have as an event, if its ground lay in nature and not in freedom (i.e. in the causality of Reason). The morally absolutely necessary act is regarded as physically quite contingent, since that which ought necessarily to happen often does not happen. It is clear then that it is owing to the subjective constitution of our practical faculty that the moral laws must be represented as commands, and the actions conforming to them as duties; and that Reason expresses this necessity not by an “is” (happens), but by an “ought to be.” This would not be the case were Reason considered as in its causality independent of sensibility (as the subjective condition of its application to objects of nature), and so as cause in an intelligible world entirely in agreement with the moral law. For in such a world there would be no distinction between “ought to do” and “does,” between a practical law of that which is possible through us, and the theoretical law of that which is actual through us. Though, therefore, an intelligible world in which everything would be actual merely because (as something good) it is possible, together with freedom as its formal condition, is for us a transcendent concept, not available as a constitutive principle to determine an Object and its objective reality; yet, because of the constitution of our (in part sensuous) nature and faculty it is, so far as we can represent it in accordance with the constitution of our Reason, for us and for all rational beings that have a connexion with the world of sense, a universal regulative principle. This principle does not objectively determine the constitution of freedom, as a form of causality, but it makes the rule of actions according to that Idea a command for every one, with no less validity than if it did so determine it.

In the same way we may concede thus much as regards the case in hand. Between natural mechanism and the Technic of nature, i.e. its purposive connexion, we should find no distinction, were it not that our Understanding is of the kind that must proceed from the universal to the particular. The Judgement then in respect of the particular can cognise no purposiveness and, consequently, can form no determinant judgements, without having a universal law under which to subsume that particular. Now the particular, as such, contains something contingent in respect of the universal, while yet Reason requires unity and conformity to law in the combination of particular laws of nature. This conformity of the contingent to law is called purposiveness; and the derivation of particular laws from the universal, as regards their contingent element, is impossible a priori through a determination of the concept of the Object. Hence, the concept of the purposiveness of nature in its products is necessary for human Judgement in respect of nature, but has not to do with the determination of Objects. It is, therefore, a subjective principle of Reason for the Judgement, which as regulative (not constitutive) is just as necessarily valid for our human Judgement as if it were an objective principle.

1 [Second Edition.]

§ 77.

Of the peculiarity of the human Understanding, by means of which the concept of a natural purpose is possible

We have brought forward in the Remark peculiarities of our cognitive faculties (even the higher ones) which we are easily led to transfer as objective predicates to the things themselves. But they concern Ideas, no object adequate to which can be given in experience, and they could only serve as regulative principles in the pursuit of experience. This is the case with the concept of a natural purpose, which concerns the cause of the possibility of such a predicate, which cause can only lie in the Idea. But the result corresponding to it (i.e. the product) is given in nature; and the concept of a causality of nature as of a being acting according to purposes seems to make the Idea of a natural purpose into a constitutive principle, which Idea has thus something different from all other Ideas.

This difference consists, however, in the fact that the Idea in question is not a rational principle for the Understanding but for the Judgement. It is, therefore, merely the application of an Understanding in general to possible objects of experience, in cases where the judgement can only be reflective, not determinant, and where, consequently, the object, although given in experience, cannot be determinately judged in conformity with the Idea (not to say with complete adequacy), but can only be reflected on.

There emerges, therefore, a peculiarity of our (human) Understanding in respect of the Judgement in its reflection upon things of nature. But if this be so, the Idea of a possible Understanding different from the human must be fundamental here. (Just so in the Critique of Pure Reason we must have in our thoughts another possible [kind of] intuition, if ours is to be regarded as a particular species for which objects are only valid as phenomena.) And so we are able to say: Certain natural products, from the special constitution of our Understanding, must be considered by us, in regard to their possibility, as if produced designedly and as purposes. But we do not, therefore, demand that there should be actually given a particular cause which has the representation of a purpose as its determining ground; and we do not deny that an Understanding, different from (i.e. higher than) the human, might find the ground of the possibility of such products of nature in the mechanism of nature, i.e. in a causal combination for which an Understanding is not explicitly assumed as cause.

We have now to do with the relation of our Understanding to the Judgement; viz. we seek for a certain contingency in the constitution of our Understanding, to which we may point as a peculiarity distinguishing it from other possible Understandings.

This contingency is found, naturally enough, in the particular, which the Judgement is to bring under the universal of the concepts of Understanding. For the universal of our (human) Understanding does not determine the particular, and it is contingent in how many ways different things which agree in a common characteristic may come before our perception. Our Understanding is a faculty of concepts, i.e. a discursive Understanding, for which it obviously must be contingent of what kind and how very different the particular may be that can be given to it in nature and brought under its concepts. But now intuition also belongs to knowledge, and a faculty of a complete spontaneity of intuition would be a cognitive faculty distinct from sensibility, and quite independent of it, in other words, an Understanding in the most general sense. Thus we can think an intuitive Understanding [negatively, merely as not discursive1 ], which does not proceed from the universal to the particular, and so to the individual (through concepts). For it that contingency of the accordance of nature in its products according to particular laws with the Understanding would not be met with; and it is this contingency that makes it so hard for our Understanding to reduce the manifold of nature to the unity of knowledge. This reduction our Understanding can only accomplish by bringing natural characteristics into a very contingent correspondence with our faculty of concepts, of which an intuitive Understanding would have no need.

Our Understanding has then this peculiarity as concerns the Judgement, that in cognition by it the particular is not determined by the universal and cannot therefore be derived from it; but at the same time this particular in the manifold of nature must accord with the universal (by means of concepts and laws) so that it may be capable of being subsumed under it. This accordance under such circumstances must be very contingent and without definite principle as concerns the Judgement.

In order now to be able at least to think the possibility of such an accordance of things of nature with our Judgement (which accordance we represent as contingent and consequently as only possible by means of a purpose directed thereto), we must at the same time think of another Understanding, by reference to which and apart from any purpose ascribed to it, we may represent as necessary that accordance of natural laws with our Judgement, which for our Understanding is only thinkable through the medium of purposes.

In fact our Understanding has the property of proceeding in its cognition, e.g. of the cause of a product, from the analytical-universal (concepts) to the particular (the given empirical intuition). Thus as regards the manifold of the latter it determines nothing, but must await this determination by the Judgement, which subsumes the empirical intuition (if the object is a natural product) under the concept. We can however think an Understanding which, being, not like ours, discursive, but intuitive, proceeds from the synthetical-universal (the intuition of a whole as such) to the particular, i.e. from the whole to the parts. The contingency of the combination of the parts, in order that a definite form of the whole shall be possible, is not implied by such an Understanding and its representation of the whole. Our Understanding requires this because it must proceed from the parts as universally conceived grounds to different forms possible to be subsumed under them, as consequences. According to the constitution of our Understanding a real whole of nature is regarded only as the effect of the concurrent motive powers of the parts. Suppose then that we wish not to represent the possibility of the whole as dependent on that of the parts (after the manner of our discursive Understanding), but according to the standard of the intuitive (original) Understanding to represent the possibility of the parts (according to their constitution and combination) as dependent on that of the whole. In accordance with the above peculiarity of our Understanding it cannot happen that the whole shall contain the ground of the possibility of the connexion of the parts (which would be a contradiction in discursive cognition), but only that the representation of a whole may contain the ground of the possibility of its form and the connexion of the parts belonging to it. Now such a whole would be an effect (product) the representation of which is regarded as the cause of its possibility; but the product of a cause whose determining ground is merely the representation of its effect is called a purpose. Hence it is merely a consequence of the particular constitution of our Understanding, that it represents products of nature as possible, according to a different kind of causality from that of the natural laws of matter, namely, that of purposes and final causes. Hence also this principle has not to do with the possibility of such things themselves (even when considered as phenomena) according to the manner of their production, but merely with the judgement upon them which is possible to our Understanding. Here we see at once why it is that in natural science we are not long contented with an explanation of the products of nature by a causality according to purposes. For there we desire to judge of natural production merely in a manner conformable to our faculty of judging, i.e. to the reflective Judgement, and not in reference to things themselves on behalf of the determinant Judgement. It is here not at all requisite to prove that such an intellectus archetypus is possible, but only that we are led to the Idea of it — which contains no contradiction — in contrast to our discursive Understanding which has need of images (intellectus ectypus) and to the contingency of its constitution.

If we consider a material whole, according to its form, as a product of the parts with their powers and faculties of combining with one another (as well as of bringing in foreign materials), we represent to ourselves a mechanical mode of producing it. But in this way no concept emerges of a whole as purpose, whose internal possibility presupposes throughout the Idea of a whole on which depend the constitution and mode of action of the parts, as we must represent to ourselves an organised body. It does not follow indeed, as has been shown, that the mechanical production of such a body is impossible; for to say so would be to say that it would be impossible (contradictory) for any Understanding to represent to itself such a unity in the connexion of the manifold, without the Idea of the unity being at the same time its producing cause, i.e. without designed production. This, however, would follow in fact if we were justified in regarding material beings as things in themselves. For then the unity that constitutes the ground of the possibility of natural formations would be simply the unity of space. But space is no real ground of the products, but only their formal condition, although it has this similarity to the real ground which we seek that in it no part can be determined except in relation to the whole (the representation of which therefore lies at the ground of the possibility of the parts). But now it is at least possible to consider the material world as mere phenomenon, and to think as its substrate something like a thing in itself (which is not phenomenon), and to attach to this a corresponding intellectual intuition (even though it is not ours). Thus there would be, although incognisable by us, a supersensible real ground for nature, to which we ourselves belong. In this we consider according to mechanical laws what is necessary in nature regarded as an object of Sense; but we consider according to teleological laws the agreement and unity of its particular laws and its forms — which in regard to mechanism we must judge contingent — regarded as objects of Reason (in fact the whole of nature as a system). Thus we should judge nature according to two different kinds of principles without the mechanical way of explanation being shut out by the teleological, as if they contradicted one another.

From this we are enabled to see what otherwise, though we could easily surmise it, could with difficulty be maintained with certainty and proved, viz. that the principle of a mechanical derivation of purposive natural products is consistent with the teleological, but in no way enables us to dispense with it. In a thing that we must judge as a natural purpose (an organised being) we can no doubt try all the known and yet to be discovered laws of mechanical production, and even hope to make good progress therewith; but we can never get rid of the call for a quite different ground of production for the possibility of such a product, viz. causality by means of purposes. Absolutely no human Reason (in fact no finite Reason like ours in quality, however much it may surpass it in degree) can hope to understand the production of even a blade of grass by mere mechanical causes. As regards the possibility of such an object, the teleological connexion of causes and effects is quite indispensable for the Judgement, even for studying it by the clue of experience. For external objects as phenomena an adequate ground related to purposes cannot be met with; this, although it lies in nature, must only be sought in the supersensible substrate of nature, from all possible insight into which we are cut off. Hence it is absolutely impossible for us to produce from nature itself grounds of explanation for purposive combinations; and it is necessary by the constitution of the human cognitive faculties to seek the supreme ground of these purposive combinations in an original Understanding as the cause of the world.

1 [Second Edition.]

§ 78.

Of the union of the principle of the universal mechanism of matter with the teleological principle in the Technic of nature.

It is infinitely important for Reason not to let slip the mechanism of nature in its products, and in their explanation not to pass it by, because without it no insight into the nature of things can be attained. Suppose it admitted that a supreme Architect immediately created the forms of nature as they have been from the beginning, or that He predetermined those which in the course of nature continually form themselves on the same model. Our knowledge of nature is not thus in the least furthered, because we cannot know the mode of action of that Being and the Ideas which are to contain the principles of the possibility of natural beings, and we cannot by them explain nature as from above downwards (a priori). And if, starting from the forms of the objects of experience, from below upwards (a posteriori), we wish to explain the purposiveness, which we believe is met with in experience, by appealing to a cause working in accordance with purposes, then is our explanation quite tautological and we are only mocking Reason with words. Indeed when we lose ourselves with this way of explanation in the transcendent, whither natural knowledge cannot follow, Reason is seduced into poetical extravagance, which it is its peculiar destination to avoid.

On the other hand, it is just as necessary a maxim of Reason not to pass by the principle of purposes in the products of nature. For, although it does not make their mode of origination any more comprehensible, yet it is a heuristic principle for investigating the particular laws of nature; supposing even that we wish to make no use of it for explaining nature itself — in which we still always speak only of natural purposes, although it apparently exhibits a designed unity of purpose — i.e. without seeking beyond nature the ground of the possibility of these particular laws. But since we must come in the end to this latter question, it is just as necessary to think for nature a particular kind of causality which does not present itself in it, as the mechanism of natural causes which does. To the receptivity of several forms, different from those of which matter is susceptible by mechanism, must be added a spontaneity of a cause (which therefore cannot be matter), without which no ground can be assigned for those forms. No doubt Reason, before it takes this step, must proceed with caution, and not try to explain teleologically every Technic of nature, i.e. every productive faculty of nature which displays in itself (as in regular bodies) purposiveness of figure to our mere apprehension; but must always regard such as so far mechanically possible. But on that account to wish entirely to exclude the teleological principle, and to follow simple mechanism only — in cases where, in the rational investigation of the possibility of natural forms through their causes, purposiveness shows itself quite undeniably as the reference to a different kind of causality — to do this must make Reason fantastic, and send it wandering among chimeras of unthinkable natural faculties; just as a mere teleological mode of explanation which takes no account of natural mechanism makes it visionary.

In the same natural thing both principles cannot be connected as fundamental propositions of explanation (deduction) of one by the other, i.e. they do not unite for the determinant Judgement as dogmatical and constitutive principles of insight into nature. If I choose, e.g. to regard a maggot as the product of the mere mechanism of nature (of the new formation that it produces of itself, when its elements are set free by corruption), I cannot derive the same product from the same matter as from a causality that acts according to purposes. Conversely, if I regard the same product as a natural purpose, I cannot count on any mechanical mode of its production and regard this as the constitutive principle of my judgement upon its possibility, and so unite both principles. One method of explanation excludes the other; even supposing that objectively both grounds of the possibility of such a product rested on a single ground, to which we did not pay attention. The principle which should render possible the compatibility of both in judging of nature must be placed in that which lies outside both (and consequently outside the possible empirical representation of nature), but yet contains their ground, i.e. in the supersensible; and each of the two methods of explanation must be referred thereto. Now of this we can have no concept but the indeterminate concept of a ground, which makes the judging of nature by empirical laws possible, but which we cannot determine more nearly by any predicate. Hence the union of both principles cannot rest upon a ground of explanation of the possibility of a product according to given laws, for the determinant Judgement, but only upon a ground of its exposition for the reflective Judgement. — To explain is to derive from a principle, which therefore we must clearly know and of which we can give an account. No doubt the principle of the mechanism of nature and that of its causality in one and the same natural product must coalesce in a single higher principle, which is their common source, because otherwise they could not subsist side by side in the observation of nature. But if this principle, objectively common to the two, which therefore warrants the association of the maxims of natural investigation depending on both, be such that, though it can be pointed to, it cannot be determinately known nor clearly put forward for use in cases which arise, then from such a principle we can draw no explanation, i.e. no clear and determinate derivation of the possibility of a natural product in accordance with those two heterogeneous principles. But now the principle common to the mechanical and teleological derivations is the supersensible, which we must place at the basis of nature, regarded as phenomenon. And of this, in a theoretical point of view, we cannot form the smallest positive determinate concept. It cannot, therefore, in any way be explained how, according to it as principle, nature (in its particular laws) constitutes for us one system, which can be cognised as possible either by the principle of physical development or by that of final causes. If it happens that objects of nature present themselves which cannot be thought by us, as regards their possibility, according to the principle of mechanism (which always has a claim on a natural being), without relying on teleological propositions, we can only make an hypothesis. Namely, we suppose that we may hopefully investigate natural laws with reference to both (according as the possibility of its product is cognisable by our Understanding by one or the other principle), without stumbling at the apparent contradiction which comes into view between the principles by which they are judged. For at least the possibility is assured that both may be united objectively in one principle, since they concern phenomena that presuppose a supersensible ground.

Mechanism, then, and the teleological (designed) Technic of nature, in respect of the same product and its possibility, may stand under a common supreme principle of nature in particular laws. But since this principle is transcendent we cannot, because of the limitation of our Understanding, unite both principles in the explanation of the same production of nature even if the inner possibility of this product is only intelligible [verständlich] through a causality according to purposes (as is the case with organised matter). We revert then to the above fundamental proposition of Teleology. According to the constitution of the human Understanding, no other than designedly working causes can be assumed for the possibility of organised beings in nature; and the mere mechanism of nature cannot be adequate to the explanation of these its products. But we do not attempt to decide anything by this fundamental proposition as to the possibility of such things themselves.

This is only a maxim of the reflective, not of the determinant Judgement; consequently only subjectively valid for us, not objectively for the possibility of things themselves of this kind (in which both kinds of production may well cohere in one and the same ground). Further, without any concept — besides the teleologically conceived method of production — of a simultaneously presented mechanism of nature, no judgement can be passed on this kind of production as a natural product. Hence the above maxim leads to the necessity of an unification of both principles in judging of things as natural purposes in themselves, but does not lead us to substitute one for the other either altogether or in certain parts. For in the place of what is thought (at least by us) as possible only by design we cannot set mechanism, and in the place of what is cognised as mechanically necessary we cannot set contingency, which would need a purpose as its determining ground; but we can only subordinate the one (Mechanism) to the other (designed Technic), which may quite well be the case according to the transcendental principle of the purposiveness of nature.

For where purposes are thought as grounds of the possibility of certain things, we must assume also means, whose law of working requires for itself nothing presupposing a purpose — a mechanical law — and yet can be a subordinate cause of designed effects. Thus — in the organic products of nature, and specially when prompted by their infinite number, we assume (at least as a permissible hypothesis) design in the combination of natural causes by particular laws as a universal principle of the reflective Judgement for the whole of nature (the world) — we can think a great and indeed universal combination of mechanical with teleological laws in the productions of nature, without interchanging the principles by which they are judged or putting one in the place of the other. For, in a teleological judgement, the matter, even if the form that it assumes be judged possible only by design, can also, conformably to the mechanical laws of its nature, be subordinated as a means to the represented purpose. But, since the ground of this compatibility lies in that which is neither one nor the other (neither mechanism nor purposive combination), but is the supersensible substrate of nature of which we know nothing, the two ways of representing the possibility of such Objects are not to be blended together by our (human) Reason. However, we cannot judge of their possibility otherwise than by judging them as ultimately resting on a supreme Understanding by the connexion of final causes; and thus the teleological method of explanation is not eliminated.

Now it is quite indeterminate, and for our Understanding always indeterminable, how much the mechanism of nature does as a means towards each final design in nature. However, on account of the above-mentioned intelligible principle of the possibility of a nature in general, it may be assumed that it is possible throughout according to the two kinds of universally accordant laws (the physical and those of final causes), although we cannot see into the way how this takes place. Hence we do not know how far the mechanical method of explanation which is possible for us may extend. So much only is certain that, so far as we can go in this direction, it must always be inadequate for things that we once recognise as natural purposes; and therefore we must, by the constitution of our Understanding, subordinate these grounds collectively to a teleological principle.

Hereon is based a privilege, and on account of the importance which the study of nature by the principle of mechanism has for the theoretical use of our Reason, also an appeal. We should explain all products and occurrences in nature, even the most purposive, by mechanism as far as is in our power (the limits of which we cannot specify in this kind of investigation). But at the same time we are not to lose sight of the fact that those things which we cannot even state for investigation except under the concept of a purpose of Reason, must, in conformity with the essential constitution of our Reason, mechanical causes notwithstanding, be subordinated by us finally to causality in accordance with purposes.

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