Dr.med. Othmar Mäser, Psychiater Psychotherapie

Kant quotation 5 : hypothetical exercise of reason

“The hypothetical exercise of reason by the aid of ideas employed as problematical conceptions is properly not constitutive. That is to say, if we consider the subject strictly, the truth of the rule, which has been employed as an hypothesis, does not follow from the use that is made of it by the reason. For how can we know all the possible cases that may arise? – some of which may, however, prove exeptions to the universality of the rule. This employment of reason is merely regulative and its sole aim is the introduction of the unity into the aggregate of our particular cognitions, and thereby the approximating of the rule to universality.

The object of the hypothetical employment of reason is therefore the systematic unity of cognition; and this unity is the criterion of the truth of a rule. On the other hand, this systematic unity – as a mere idea – is in fact merely a unity projected, not to be regarded as given, but only in the light of a problem – a problem which serves, however, as a principle for the various and particular exercise of the understanding in experience, directs it with regard to those cases which are not presented to our observation, and introduces harmony and consistency into all its operations.

All that we can be certain of from the above considerations is, that this systematic unity is a logical principle, whose aim is to assist the understanding, where it cannot of itself attain to rules, by means of ideas, to bring all these various rules under one principle, and thus to insure the most complete consistency and connection that can be attained.”

(end of quotation)

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Dover Philosophical Classics, 2003, unabridged republication of J. M. D. Meiklejohn`s translation as published in 1900 by the Colonial Press, London and New York, page 362-363.

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