Dr.med. Othmar Mäser, Psychiater Psychotherapie

Kant quotation 4 – psychological idea

(Norman Kemp Smith translation)

“Nothing but advantage can result from the psychological idea thus conceived, if only we take heed that it is not viewed as more than a mere idea, and that is therefore taken as valid only relatively to the systematic employment of reason in determining the appearances of our soul. For no empirical laws of bodily appearances, which are of totally different kind, will then intervene in the explanation of what belongs exclusively to inner sense. No windy hypotheses of generation, extinction, and palingenesis of souls will be permitted. The consideration of this object of inner sense will thus be kept completely pure and will not be confused by the introduction of heterogeneous properties. Also, reason`s investigations will be directed to reducing the grounds of explanation in this field, so far as may be possible, to a single principle. All this will be best attained through such a schema, viewed as if it were a real being; indeed it is attainable in no other way. The psychological idea can signify nothing but the schema of a regulative concept.” (1)

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(modified  J. M. D. Meiklejohn translation / O. Maeser and A. M. Simma)

original J. M. D. Meiklejohn translation see below.

“Nothing but good can result from a psychological idea of this kind, if we only take proper care not to consider it as more than a  mere idea; that is, if we regard it as valid merely in relation to the employment of reason, in the sphere of the phenomena of the soul. Under the guidance of this idea, or principle, no empirical laws of corporeal phenomena are called in to explain that which is a phenomenon of the internal sense alone; no windy hypothesis of generation, annihilation, and palingenesis of souls are admitted. Thus the consideration of this object of the internal sense is kept pure, and unmixed with heterogeneous  elements; while the investigation of reason aims at reducing all the grounds of explanation employed in this sphere of knowledge to a single principle. All this is best effected, nay, cannot be effected otherwise than by means of such a schema, which requires us to regard this ideal thing as an actual existence. The psychological idea is therefore meaningless and inapplicable, except as the schema of a regulative term.” (2)

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original J. M. D. Meiklejohn translation:

“Nothing but good can result from a psychological idea of this kind, if we only take proper care not to consider it as more than an idea; that is, if we regard it as valid merely in relation to the employment of reason, in the sphere of the phenomena of the soul. Under the guidance of this idea, or principle, no empirical laws of corporeal phenomena are called in to explain that which is a phenomenon of the internal sense alone; no windy hypothesis of generation, annihilation, and palingenesis of souls are admitted. Thus the consideration of this object of the internal sense is kept pure, and unmixed with heterogeneous  elements; while the investigation of reason aims at reducing all the grounds of explanation employed in this sphere of knowledge to a single principle. All this is best effected, nay, cannot be effected otherwise than by means of such a schema, which requires us to regard this ideal thing as an actual existence. The psychological idea is therefore meaningless and inapplicable, except as the schema of a regulative conception.” (2)

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Guyer / Wood translation:

“”Now nothing but advantage can arise from such a psychological idea, if only one gards against letting it hold as something more than a mere idea, i.e., if one lets it hold merely relative to the systematic use of reason in respect of the apperarances of our soul. For then empirical laws of corporal appearances, which are of an entirely different species, will not be mixed up in the explanation of what belongs merely to inner sense; then no windy hyotheses about the generation, destruction or palingenesis of souls, etc., will be admitted; a consideration of this object of inner sense as a whole will therefore be instituted, and this will no be mixes up with properties of any different kind; moreover, the investigation of reason will be directed to carrying through the grounds of explantion in this subject as far as possible on the basis of a singel principle; all of this is best effected through such a schema just as if it were an actual being – indeed, it can be effected only and solely in this way. The psychologiscal ideas can also signify nothing other than the schema of a regulative concept.” (3)

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Weigel (Müller) translation:

“Nothing but advantage can spring from such a psychological idea, provided we are careful not to take it for more than a mere idea, that is, provided we take it as valid only relatively to the systematic use of reason with regard to the appearances of our soul. For in that case no empirical laws of corporeal appearances, which are of a totally different kind, are mixed up with the explanation of what belongs merely to inner sense; and no windy hypotheses of generation, extinciton and palingenesis of souls, etc., are then admitted. The consideration of this object of the inner sense remains pure and unmixed with hererogeneous properties, while reason in its investigations is the directed towards tracing all the grounds of explanation, as far as possible, to one single principle. And all this can best be achieved, nay, cannot be achieved otherwise but, by a schema viewed as if it were an actual being. The psychological idea cannot signify anything but such a schema of a regultive concept.” (4)

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(1) Kemp Smith: Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason, Translated by Norman Kemp Smith, Blunt Press, 2008, (originally published by Macmillan & Co., London, 1929), page 558.

(2) Meiklejohn: Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason, Dover Philosophical Classics, 2003, (unabridged republication of J. M. D. Meiklejohn’s translation, Colonial Press, London and New York, 1900), pages 383.

(3) Guyer, Wood: Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason, Translated and edited by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood, (The Cambridge edition of the works of Immanuel Kant), Cambridge University Press, 1998, page 612.

(4) Weigelt, (Müller): ant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason, Translated, edited and with an introduction by Marcus Weigelt, Based on the translation by Max Müller, (Penguin Classics), Penguin Books, 2007, page 557-558.

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Link to Kant quotation 4 in German

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Link to all Kant quotations

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Link to page: medical diagnosis – psychiatric diagnosis

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