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the antecedent as a predicate. Or real, by which the consequence is not
posited according to the rule of identity and is not identical with the
ground. For instance: whence evil in the world? Response as to the
logical ground: because in the world there are series of finite things,
which are imperfect; if one seeks the real ground, then one seeks the
being that brings about evil in the world.
The connection between logical ground and consequence is clear: but
not that between real ground and consequence, that if something is
posited, something else at the same time must be posited. Example:
God wills! The World came to be. ˜˜Julius Caesar!™™ The name brings us
the thought of the ruler of Rome. What connection?18

One can find almost the same examples in the Attempt to Introduce the
Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy, which dates from the same
period.19


17
Already in the New Elucidation, Kant stressed the necessity of distinguishing between the
ground of truth and the ground of existence, that is to say on the one hand ratio essendi or
fiendi, and on the other hand ratio existendi or cause. But he did not call the former ˜˜logical
ground™™ or the latter ˜˜real ground.™™ True, he did mention the distinction made by Crusius
between ideal ground and real ground. But this distinction is not the same as the one Kant
introduced in the 1760s between logical ground and real ground. Rather, Crusius™ ideal
reason, as Kant himself points out in the Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative
Magnitudes into Philosophy, is what Kant calls, in the New Elucidation, ratio cognoscendi, the
ground of knowing. Cf. Kant, Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into
Philosophy, AAii, p. 203 (trans. in Theoretical Philosophy, 1755“1770). Cf. Crusius, Entwurf,
x34ff.
18
AAxxviii, p. 12.
19
AAii, p. 202.
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
130

In the question, ˜˜what is the connection between two distinct exis-
tences?™™ one can recognize Hume™s problem.20 But, as I have argued
elsewhere, when Kant poses the question, it is in the terms of the
Wolffian school™s logic: how are we to understand that ˜˜if one thing is
posited, another thing is posited at the same time™™? This vocabulary is
that of Wolff™s analysis of syllogisms in modus ponens. In a hypothetical
syllogism, si antecedens ponitur, ponendum quoque est consequens (if the
antecedent is posited, the consequent must also be posited).21
Interestingly, it is in the context of the modus ponens characteristic of
real ground that, it seems, Kant introduced for the first time the distinc-
tion between analytic and synthetic connection:
The relation of positing reason [respectus rationis ponentis] is connection, of
negating reason [tollentis] is opposition. The relation of logical positing or
negating reason is analytic “ rational. The relation of positing or negating
reason is synthetic “ empirical.22

Only with the Critique of Pure Reason does Kant think he has answered
to his satisfaction the question: what is the nature of the synthetic con-
nection between ratio and rationatum, what is the nature of the real
ground? His answer is the following: the relation of real ground, that is
to say, the necessary connection between two distinct existences, is the
connection that must necessarily exist for any order of time to be deter-
minable among the objects of our perceptual experience. But then, the
˜˜principle of succession,™™ which in the New Elucidation was a consequence
of the principle of sufficient reason, becomes the ground of its proof.
This means that the whole proof-structure of the New Elucidation is
reversed: Kant does not proceed from a principle of reason that is
both logical and ontological (every truth must have its reason, every
attribution of a property to a thing must have its reason), to a principle of
reason of existence (every contingent existence must have its reason)
and finally to a principle of succession (every change of state of a sub-
stance must have its reason in the state, or change of state, of another
substance). Instead, he now proceeds from a principle of succession (the


20
˜˜Hume™s problem™™ is Kant™s description for Hume™s skeptical doubt about our idea of
necessary connection: see Prolegomena, AAiv, p. 261. On Kant™s relation to ˜˜Hume™s prob-
lem,™™ see KCJ, p. 357, especially n. 66. And in this volume, ch. 6, pp. 147“57.
21
Christian Wolff, Philosophia rationalis sive Logica (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1740), repr. in
Gesammelte Werke (Hildesheim and New York: Georg Olms, 1962“, ii -1), x407“8. Cf. KCJ,
p. 352. See also in this volume, ch. 6, pp. 150“1.
22
Reflexion 3753 (1764“6), AAxxvii, p. 283.
PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON 131

Second Analogy of Experience: ˜˜everything that happens presupposes
something upon which it follows according to a rule™™) to a redefinition of
the notion of reason or ground and, with it, to the revision of the
principle of reason in all its aspects “ whether it concerns the reason of
existence, the reason of being or of coming to be, or even the reason of
knowing. It is this reversal that I would like now to examine.


The critical period: objective unity of self-consciousness
and the principle of sufficient reason
The Analogies of Experience are the principles obtained by applying to
appearances the three categories of relation: substance/accident, cause/
effect, and interaction. The Analogy now under consideration is the
Second Analogy: the causal principle, whose proof Kant takes to be
˜˜the only proof of the principle of sufficient reason.™™
Before considering Kant™s argument in the Second Analogy of
Experience, I should briefly recall three points that Kant takes himself
to have established in earlier parts of the Critique of Pure Reason, before
reaching the Analogies. The three points are the following. (1) Things as
they appear to us are perceived as having temporal determinations
(relations of succession and simultaneity) only if they are related to one
another in one time (Transcendental Aesthetic, A30/B46). (2) Things
as they appear to us are related to one another in one time only if
they appear to a perceiving consciousness aware of the unity and
numerical identity of its own acts of combining the contents of its
perceptions (Transcendental Deduction, A107/B139“40). (3) These
acts are acts of forming judgments (Transcendental Deduction,
B140“1).
By virtue of the second and third points, the reversal I described a
moment ago in Kant™s order of proof (proceeding in the critical period
from reason (or ground) of succession to reason of existence and reason
in general), is inseparable from Kant™s discovery of a new reason or
ground, one that has no precedent in his pre-critical texts (or, for that
matter, in the history of philosophy): what Kant calls the objective unity
of self-consciousness (namely the unity and numerical identity of the
self-conscious act of combining representations), which is now the trans-
cendental ground of there being any grounds, or reasons, at all, and of
the principle of sufficient reason itself.
In what follows, I will first analyze Kant™s principle of succession in the
Critique of Pure Reason, namely the Second Analogy of Experience. I will
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
132

then show how this principle and its proof lead to a redefinition of the
reason or ground in all its aspects “ reason of existence, of coming to be,
of being, and even of knowing. Finally I will show what happens to the
relation between the principle of sufficient reason and Kant™s concept of
freedom.


The proof of the Second Analogy of Experience
I have analyzed this proof elsewhere.23 I will not attempt to repeat that
analysis here, nor will I evaluate Kant™s argument in the Second
Analogy. I will consider only those aspects of it that are necessary for
our understanding of the critical notion of reason or ground, ratio.
The question Kant asks himself is well known: how do we relate the
subjective succession of our perceptions to an objective temporal order,
given that we have no perception of ˜˜time itself™™ that could provide us
with the temporal coordinates in reference to which we might determine
the positions of things or their changes of state? More specifically “ this
is the problem Kant deals with in the Second Analogy “ how do we relate
the subjective succession of our perceptions to an objective succession
of the states of things?
Kant™s response is in two main stages. One, fairly swift, could be
described as phenomenological. It consists in a description of our
experience of an objective temporal order. The other, longer and
more complex, rests on an argument developed earlier (in the
Metaphysical Deduction and the Transcendental Deduction of the
Categories), which concerns the role of the logical forms of our judg-
ments in establishing an intentional relation between our representa-
tions and the objects they are the representations of (or we might say, the
role played by logical forms of judgments in the directing of our repre-
sentations toward objects). I will call this second stage the logical stage of
the argument of the Second Analogy.
First, the phenomenological stage. We relate the subjective succession
of our perceptions to an objective succession of the states of things,
Kant maintains, if, and only if, we hold the subjective succession to be
determined in its temporal order. In other words, if the subjective
succession of perceptions is the perception of an objective succession,
perception A that precedes perception B cannot follow it “ or rather, a
perception A0 , generically identical to perception A that preceded B,
23
See KCJ, pp. 345“75, and ch. 6 in this volume, pp. 157“77.
PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON 133

cannot follow perception B. To take up the well-known example Kant
uses in the Critique, perceiving that a ship moves downstream: when I
have such a perceptual experience I am aware that I could not decide
arbitrarily to reverse the order of my perceptions and, for instance,
perceive the ship again at point 1 after perceiving it at point 2. On the
other hand, if the subjective succession is only subjective, that is to say if
there corresponds to it in the object a relationship of temporal simulta-
neity, then I could, if I decided to do so, reverse the order of my
perceptions and have perception A again, or a perception A0 generically
identical to A, after having perception B (for instance “ to take up again
Kant™s example “ perceive the front of the house again after perceiving
the back).
One quick comment on this ˜˜phenomenological™™ stage of the argu-
ment and the examples that illustrate it. I think that the best way to
understand the description Kant proposes is to consider it as a descrip-
tion of the use that we make of our imagination in perception. When we
perceive a subjective succession as the perception of an objective succes-
sion, for instance in the perception of the ship moving downstream, at
the very moment that we perceive the second position of the ship, if we
imagine that our gaze returns to the point where we previously per-
ceived the ship, what we imagine is that we would not perceive the ship
in that place. This is what is meant by saying that the order of percep-
tions is determined. Of course, if the objective state of affairs were to
change (if we had grounds for thinking that the ship had now been
towed upstream), we could imagine that if we returned our gaze toward
the preceding point, we would see the ship again. Therefore the aware-
ness of the determined character of the order of our perception depends
not only on our senses, but also on our imagination. It is precisely
because it depends on the imagination that it can be guided both by
and toward judgment.
And this leads us to the second stage of Kant™s argument. In the first,
Kant replied to the question, how is the subjective succession of our
perceptions also the perception of an objective succession? His answer
was that this is so just in case the subjective succession is represented as
determined in its temporal order (namely, when we do not imagine that
we would perceive the same thing if our gaze were to return to the point
upon which it was focused a moment before). But this calls for answering
a second question: how and why do we hold the subjective succession to
be determined in its temporal order (why do we not imagine that
we could again perceive the same state of things at the point upon
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
134

which we focused our gaze a moment earlier)? Here Kant™s answer
becomes more complex. I suggest that it is summed up by the following
three points. We hold the subjective succession to be determined in
its temporal order if, and only if: (1) we establish an intentional
relation between the representation and the independent object of
which we take it to be the representation; (2) in doing so, we are led to
hold the order of perceptions to be determined in the object, which
means that (3) we presuppose another objective state of things that
precedes the perceived succession and that determines its occurrence,
according to a rule. Now if this is so, we can conclude that all perceptions
of objective successions rest on the presupposition that ˜˜something pre-
cedes, upon which the perceived succession follows, according to a
rule.™™24 This ˜˜something which precedes, upon which the objective
succession follows, according to a rule,™™ is precisely what is called ˜˜a
cause.™™ It is therefore a condition of the experience of objective succes-
sions that every event (every objective succession of states in a thing)
presupposes something upon which it follows according to a rule.
But according to the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, the
conditions of the possibility of experience are also the conditions of the
possibility of the object of experience. Therefore, it is a condition of
the possibility, not only of our experience of an objective succession, but
of that succession itself, that something should precede it, upon which
it follows according to a rule.
It would be a mistake to believe “ as Schopenhauer apparently did25 “
that Kant maintains the absurd position that every objective succession is
itself a causal relation. What Kant maintains is that we perceive “ that is to
say, we identify or recognize under a concept (or, more exactly, under
concepts combined in judgments) “ an objective succession only if we
suppose a state of things preceding it, upon which it follows according
to a rule. For all that, we do not know this antecedent state of things. We
only presuppose it, and strive to identify it. So, for instance, perceiving
that the ship, which was at point 1, has moved to point 2, is implicitly
holding the proposition, ˜˜the ship, which was at p1, has moved to p2,™™ to
be the conclusion of a hypothetical syllogism whose major premise, and
therefore also whose minor premise, we do not know: ˜˜If q, then the


24
Cf. A189; A193/B238.
¨
25
Cf. Schopenhauer, Uber die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zureichenden Grund (1813); trans.
E. F. G. Payne, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (La Salle, Ill.: Open
Court, 2001), ch. 4, x24.
PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON 135

ship, which was at p1, moves to p2; but q; therefore, the ship, which was at
p1, has moved to p2.™™ If we could not suppose the existence of something
that we could think under the antecedent q of a rule, ˜˜if q, then the ship,
which was at p1, has moved to p2,™™ we would interpret the subjective
succession of our perceptions differently. For example, I perceive a
tower at point p1, and a moment later I perceive a (qualitatively) iden-
tical tower at point p2. It is impossible for me to suppose something that
I could think of as the antecedent s of a rule, ˜˜if s, then the tower, which
was at p1, has moved to p2.™™ So in this case, I need to order the temporal
relation of the objects of my perceptions differently. I conclude that two
towers that are qualitatively identical exist simultaneously at two distinct
points in space.
The conclusion of the argument, therefore, is: every objective succes-
sion of states ˜˜presupposes something upon which it follows according to
a rule,™™26 that is to say, it has a cause (ratio fiendi or existendi “ both terms
are appropriate here: the reason or ground is a ground of a state™s
coming to be [ratio fiendi], but it is also the only possible version of the
ratio existendi, or ground of existence). The only existence for which one
can seek a ratio existendi or cause is the existence of a state of a substance
that did not exist before. As for the substance itself, the permanent
substratum of every change of state, there is no sense in seeking a ratio
existendi, a ground of existence.


Ratio existendi, ratio fiendi, ratio essendi
Does all of this suffice to explain why the causal principle stated and
proved in the Second Analogy of Experience should take over the role of
the principle of sufficient reason stated in the New Elucidation, in all its
aspects? So far I have only explained how a descendant of the principle

26
Admittedly, here Kant seems blithely to move from the epistemic point: ˜˜we presuppose
something, upon which the change of states follows, according to a rule,™™ to the ontological
point ˜˜the change of states presupposes something upon which it follows, according to a rule™™
(see for instance A195/B240:
If, therefore, we experience that something happens, then we always presuppose that
something else precedes it, which it follows according to a rule . . . Therefore I always
make my subjective synthesis (of apprehension) objective with respect to a rule in
accordance with which the appearances in their sequence, i.e. as they occur, are determined
through the preceding state . . .
I say more about this move, and try to explain how Kant thinks he can justify it, in ch. 6,
pp. 168“73.
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
136

of succession from the New Elucidation managed to take over the role of
the principle of reason of existence, as well as that of the principle of
reason of coming to be. But what happens to the other aspects of the
principle of sufficient reason? And what happens to the objection I
formulated earlier, which was that in the pre-critical period, Kant
jumped too quickly from distinguishing between reason that and reason
why to asserting that there is always a reason why? Well, this is perhaps
where the most interesting aspect of Kant™s critical position comes to the
fore: Kant™s view now provides a response to that objection that his pre-
critical view could not provide. Kant can now assert that for every
determination of a thing there is an antecedently determining reason
(a reason determining by the antecedent), a reason why, whether this
reason is contained in the essence of a thing (ratio essendi) or in its relation
to other things (ratio fiendi vel existendi). But this is because the ˜˜essence™™
of empirical things, or what Kant now calls their ˜˜nature,™™ consists in the
marks under which they can be recognized as appearances, not in the
properties they might have as things in themselves. This restriction is
what makes it possible to assert the universal validity of the principle of
sufficient reason understood as a principle of antecedently determining
reason. The reason for a thing™s determinations may lie in the (relatively
or absolutely) permanent characteristics by which a thing can be recog-
nized as the kind of thing it is (this argument was made in the First
Analogy of Experience, which I have not examined here).27 Or it may lie
in ˜˜something that precedes any change of state, upon which this change
of state follows, according to a rule™™ (this is the argument of the second
Analogy of Experience, which I just briefly recounted). Finally, perman-
ent as well as changing characteristics are determined in the context of
the universal interaction of all things coexisting in space (this is the
argument of the Third Analogy of Experience, the descendant of the
principle of coexistence from the New Elucidation).28
For the essence itself (what I called the relatively or absolutely perman-
ent marks under which a thing is recognized as the kind of thing it is),


27
The ordinary objects of our perceptual experience, Descartes™ piece of wax, Kant™s planets
in the Third Analogy, and Kant™s ship in the Second Analogy, are only relatively perman-
ent; matter, characterized by extension, figure, and impenetrability, insofar as we take it to
be the ultimate substrate of all spatiotemporal appearances, is absolutely permanent. The
argument that all changes of state of a thing presuppose something permanent was made
in the First Analogy (see A182/B224“A189/B232). On this point, see KCJ, pp. 325“45, and
ch. 2 in this volume, pp. 53“4.
28
On this principle, see KCJ, pp. 375“93, and ch. 7 in this volume.
PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON 137

there is no reason. It is just a fact about the relation between our
cognitive capacities and the state of things that we recognize bodies in
general under the marks of extension, figure, and impenetrability. It is a
fact about the present use of our recognitional capacities that we recog-
nize beeswax as the kind of thing that is hard, yellowish, and fragrant
under normal conditions of temperature but becomes soft, sticky,
browner, and so on, when heated up. As for the changes of states, for
which the Second Analogy provides a principle of sufficient reason, no
ultimate determining reason, or ground, can be found. For any event,
the search for ˜˜something that precedes, upon which it follows, accord-
ing to a rule,™™ can go on indefinitely. So, Kant™s critical proof of the
principle of sufficient reason is also a severe restriction of its scope and
force. Nevertheless, because he has thus proved a principle of sufficient
reason that is understood as a principle of antecedently determining
reason, reinterpreted in the terms of his critical philosophy and itself
having its ground or reason in the unity of self-consciousness, Kant can
affirm, in the preface to the Critique of Pure Reason and then again in the
introduction to the Transcendental Dialectic, that it is an unavoidable
destiny of reason (this time as a faculty, Vernunft) always to look for a
further reason, or ground (Grund) of the objective determinations of
things, while at the same time it can never claim to have found the
ultimate ground.
Finally, it is clear that we must now distinguish between the principle
of reason of propositions and the principle of reason of things and their
determinations. It is a logical principle that every proposition (assertoric
judgment) must have a reason, without which it would, at best, remain a
merely problematic judgment whose negation could equally be
admitted as problematic (possible). This principle, as Kant points out
in the introduction to the Logic collated by his student Jasche, can be
¨
specified in two ways: an assertoric proposition must (1) have reasons or
grounds (Grunde haben) and (2) not have false consequences (nicht falsche
¨
Folgen haben).29 In the first requisite, we may recognize the mere form of
the modus ponens proper to the antecedently determining reason from
the pre-critical New Elucidation, while in the second, we see that of the
modus tollens proper to the consequently determining reason. But
neither of these two versions of the logical principle of sufficient reason
gives us any access to the reason, or ground, of the determinations of


29
Cf. Logic, Einl. vii, AAix, p. 51.
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
138

things. That there has to be a reason or ground for the determination
of things was proven not from a logical principle of reason for the
truth of propositions but from an elucidation of the conditions under
which we can apprehend a temporal order among the objects of our
perceptions.30
This restriction of the principle of reason of things and their determi-
nations to a principle of the determination of an objective temporal
order, and the foundation of reasons, in the plural (whether empirical
or logical), in one transcendental reason or ground, ˜˜transcendental
unity of self-consciousness,™™ allow Kant to present an unprecedented
solution to the problem of the relation between the principle of sufficient
reason and human freedom.


The principle of reason and human freedom: the ground beyond grounds
(the reason beyond reasons)

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