Dr.med. Othmar Mäser, Psychiater Psychotherapie

Kant quotation 3 : boundaries of knowledge

(Norman Kemp Smith translation:)

“Thus pure reason, which at first seemed to promise nothing less than the extension of knowledge beyond all limits of exerience, contains, if properly understood, nothing but regulative principles, which, while indeed prescribing greater unity than the empirical employment of understanding can achieve, yet still, by the very fact that they place the goal of its endeavours at so great a distance, carry its agreement with itself, by means of systematic unity, to the highest possible degree. But if, on the other hand, they be misunderstood, and be treated as constitutive principles of transcendent knowledge, they give rise, by a dazzling and deceptive illusion, to persuasion and a merely fictitious knowledge, and therewith to contradictions and eternal disputes.” (1)

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(J. M. D. Meiklejohn tanslation:)

“Thus, pure reason, which at first seemed to promise us nothing less than the extension of our cognition beyond the limits of experience, is found, when thoroughly examinded, to contain nothing but regulative principles, the virtue and function of which is to introduce into our cognition a higher degree of unity than the understanding could of itself. These principles, by placing the the goal of all our struggles at so great a distance, realize for us the most thorough connection between the different parts of our cognition, and the highest degree of systematic unity. But, on the other hand, if misunderstood and employed as constitutiv principles of transcendent cognition, they become the parents of illusions and contradictions, while pretending to introduce us to new regions of knowledge.” (2)

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(Guyer / Wood translation:)

“Thus pure reason, which initially seemed to promise us nothing less than an extension of our knowledge beyond all the boundaries of experience, if we understand it rightly contains nothing but regulative principles, which certainly command greater unity than the empirical use of the understanding can reach, but just because they put the goal we are approaching so far of, they bring this goal to the highest degreee of agreement with itself through systematic unity; but if one misunderstands them and takes them to be constititive principles of transcendent cognition, then they produce a dazzling but deceptive illusion, persuasion and imaginary knowledge, and thus also eternal contradictions and controversies.” (3)

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(Weigelt (Müller) translation:)

“Thus we find that pure reason, which at first seemed to promise nothing less than expansion of our knowledge beyond all limits of experience, contains, if properly understood, nothing but regulative principles, which do indeed postulate greater unitiy than the empirical use of the understanding can ever achieve; yet, by the very fact that they place the goal which has to be reached at so great a distance, they carry the agreeement of the understanding with itself, by means of systematic unity, to the higest possible degree. But if they are misunderstood and mistaken for constitutive principles of transcendent knolwedge, they produce by a brilliant but deceptive illusion persuasion and imaginary knowledge, but thereby constant contradictions and disputes.” (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 569.

(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 393.

(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 621-622.

(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 568-569.

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Link to Kant quotation 3 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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