Kant, Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysic

All that such a judgment does is to connect two

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Unformatted text preview: another because they all refer to the same object. Section 19 So something’s being true of an object is equivalent to its having to be the same for everyone: Ÿobjective validity and Ÿnecessary universal validity stand or fall together. When we regard a judgment as universally valid and necessary, we mean by this that it is 30 objectively valid, even though we don’t know the object in itself. We know the object through this judgment - that is, through the judgment that anyone who has perceptions of kind F with respect to the object must also have perceptions of kind G. So judgments of experience get their objective validity not from immediate knowledge of the object but from how perceptions are connected with one another; and these connections come not from anything empirical but from pure concepts of the understanding. ·They cannot have an empirical basis because they involve necessity; the judgments in question say that certain perceptions must be associated with certain others; and experience never tells us what must be the case·. The object in itself always remains unknown; but it gives us perceptions through our sensibility, and these are connected; and when a concept of the understanding settles it that the connection is universally valid, the result is an objective judgment - something that doesn’t merely report on perceptions but says things about an object. Here is an illustration. That the room is warm, sugar is sweet, wormwood is nasty, are merely subjectively valid judgments.2 ·In making such judgments·, I do not expect that I shall find the room to be warm or sugar sweet or wormwood nasty at all times, or that everyone else will find them to be so. All that such a judgment does is to connect two sensations to a single subject (myself) at a particular time; they are not intended to be valid of the object. I call them judgments of perception. Matters are quite different with judgments of experience. What experience teaches me under certain circumstances it must teach me and everybody always; its validity is not limited to one person or one time; so its judgments are objectively valid. For example, when I say that air is elastic, this judgment starts out as a judgment of perception, which merely connects two of my sensations to one another. But if I mean it as a judgment of experience, I require that this connection be universally valid, i.e. that I and everybody must always conjoin the same sensations under the same circumstances. Section 20 So experience is a product of the senses and of the understanding, and we have to discover how these two faculties combine to produce it. One of them is simply intuition of which I am conscious, i.e. perception, which belongs merely to the senses. The second element that goes into experience is judging, which belongs entirely to the understanding. There are two kinds of judging. (a) I may merely compare perceptions and conjoin them in a consciousness of my state. (b) I may conjoin them in consciousness in general. What I have in (a) is merely a judgment of perception, a subjectively valid connecting of perceptions in my mind, without reference to an object. People often think that all you need for experience is to compare perceptions and to connect them in your consciousness by means of judgments about them; but they are wrong. That procedure does not lead to judgments that are universally valid and necessary, and that is what is needed for objective validity and for real experience. -----------------------------------2 Actually, these judgments of perception could never become judgments of experience, even if a concept of the understanding were added. They refer merely to feeling, which is incurably subjective and can never become objective. Still, they serve my immediate purpose of illustrating judgments that are merely subjectively valid, involving no relation to an object. In the next footnote I shall give an example of judgments of perception that can become judgments of experience. 31 To turn perception into experience, therefore, we need (b) a different kind of judging. An intuition (or perception) must be brought under a pure a priori concept of the understanding; this concept settles what kind or form of judgment can be made about this intuition; thus it connects the individual person’s intuition with a frame of mind that Ÿanyone must be in when making judgments about such intuitions; and in this way it provides the empirical judgments with Ÿuniversal validity. Such a concept, I repeat, merely fixes a general way in which judgments can be brought to bear on the intuition. It might be the concept of cause, for instance. To bring this to bear on one’s intuition (or perception) of air, for example, is to be disposed to make hypothetical judgments of the form ‘If air is compressed, then. . .’. Before a judgment of perception can become a judgment of experience, the perception must be brought under such a concept of the understanding - as when air is brought under the concept of cause, yielding judgments of the form ‘If air is...., then....’.3...
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