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for the change of state of the object I recognize is just as important as the
recognition of its permanent characters.
But analyzing our perception of objective succession in this way seems
to take us back to something like the syllogistic model I laid out in the
first section of this chapter.31 For Kant is telling us that we interpret a
subjective succession of perceptions as an objective change of states only
if we can suppose the condition of a rule according to which this change
of states occurs. In other words, he is telling us that our judgment about
the object (˜˜the object has altered, it has passed from state 1 to state 2™™)
can be considered as the conclusion of a hypothetical syllogism whose
premises we do not know. For instance, when I perceive the ship as
having changed position, all I actually perceive is a ship in position p1 at
t1 and a ship in position p2 at t2. But I interpret in this way the succession
of my perceptions because it is coherent with my experience of what it is
to be a ship, to suppose that a ship changes position given the right
circumstances. And this means that I can presuppose a rule, without
being able to specify what this rule is, so that what implicitly goes on in
my mind is something like: ˜˜[(1) A ship, if subjected to conditions XYZ,
alters its position; (2) this ship is subjected to conditions XYZ;] (3)
Therefore this ship has altered its position™™ (only this last proposition
expresses what I actually perceive).
The supposition of a rule in this manner is just what Kant asserts, for
instance, in the following passage:

31
Only ˜˜something like™™ this model because, as we shall see, it is not obvious that here we
have a strictly universal rule, and thus the representation of a necessary connection. I shall
return to this point later.
KANT ON CAUSALITY 167

In the synthesis of the appearances the manifold of representations is
always successive. Now no object at all is hereby represented, since
through this succession, which is common to all apprehensions, nothing
is distinguished from anything else. But as soon as I perceive or presup-
pose [sobald ich aber wahrnehme, oder vorausannehme, my emphasis] that in
this succession there is a relation to the preceding state, from which the
representation follows in conformity with a rule, I represent something
as an event, as something that happens; that is to say, I cognize an object
that I must place in time in a determinate position which, after the
preceding state, cannot be otherwise assigned to it. (A198/B243)32

This gives us the conclusion I stated earlier:
5 Perceiving an objective succession (a change of states in an object) is
presupposing a preceding state upon which it follows according to
a rule.

32
What is all-important here is that we do not know the rule, but only presuppose one, and
this presupposition is necessary for the perception of an objective succession. On this
point, my analysis of Kant™s argument differs from Paul Guyer™s. According to Guyer, with
the example of the ship Kant intends to show that we can confirm that the ship is sailing
downstream only if this interpretation of our perception is in accordance with known
causal laws:
˜˜Kant™s theory is . . . that it is only if we are in possession of causal laws which dictate that
in the relevant circumstances “ that is, not in general, but in the particular circumstances of
wind, tide, setting of the sails, and so forth, which are assumed to obtain “ the ship could
only sail downstream, that we actually have sufficient evidence to interpret our representa-
tions of it to mean that it is sailing downstream™™ (Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Knowledge,
p. 252). An immediate objection is that this would make Kant™s argument circular: to know
the causal laws compatible with the perceived movement of the boat, we would have to
have already confirmed our perception of this movement on many previous occasions, as
well as confirmed the correlations that can be asserted as causal laws. In response to this,
Guyer insists that Kant™s argument should be understood ˜˜not as a psychological model of
the generation of beliefs, but as an epistemological model of the confirmation of beliefs™™
(p. 258). But Kant claims more than this. He does claim to give an account of the genera-
tion of our belief that a succession is objective. Guyer™s mistake, it seems to me, is to think
that for Kant the rule presupposed in every perception of objective succession is a rule (or a
set of rules) we actually know.
Note that Guyer and Wood translate vorausannehme by ˜˜anticipate.™™ I translate it by
˜˜presuppose.™™ This difference may be related to the difference between my interpretation
and Guyer™s. I suppose Guyer understands Kant to be saying, in this passage, that if we
anticipate that we will be able to find an explanation for the succession (and thus justify our
belief in the existence of an objective succession), then we take it to be objective. I under-
stand Kant as saying that we perceive a succession as objective if and only if we can suppose
an antecedent for a rule according to which it occurs. The two interpretations are not
incompatible: see what I say below in the main text. But my interpretation attributes a
more radical view to Kant: to borrow Guyer™s own terms, I take Kant to intend to provide
an account of the generation of our belief in the existence of an objective succession, rather
than just an account of the justification of that belief.
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
168

Now, supposing we accept this line of reasoning, it is still not clear how
it would justify Kant™s move from (5) to (6), namely from the assertion
that ˜˜perceiving something as happening is presupposing something
upon which it follows according to a rule™™ to the assertion of the principle
as Kant formulates it: ˜˜Everything that happens presupposes something
upon which it follows according to a rule.™™
We can say of course that making the presupposition commits us to
strive to confirm our perception by actually determining the rule or set
of rules according to which we can take the perceived happening to have
actually occurred. In this sense, to say that perceiving that something
happens is presupposing something else upon which it follows according
to a rule is also to say that confirming our perception as the perception of
an actual event, or confirming that something has happened, is deter-
mining the rule, or set of rules, which warrants asserting that what
happened is actually the event we perceived.33 And on the contrary,
finding out that such an event is in contradiction with all known rules of
our experience would tend to disconfirm the perception as perception
of the event we think we have identified. If I find a warm stone where
there has been no sun, no spring of hot water, nobody to light a fire, no
other known ˜˜antecedent of a rule,™™ I have to start worrying that per-
haps what I have in front of me is a dangerous, unknown material from
outer space or a particularly weird animal. But the event: ˜˜this stone,
which normally is cold, has become warm™™ is put into question. Still, even
this makes the principle only an epistemic principle, a principle by which
we would confirm or disconfirm our belief that something has hap-
pened, not an ontological principle, universally true of happenings
themselves.
One could perhaps provide a further answer by pointing out that
Kant has restricted the meaning of ˜˜object™™ to ˜˜object of possible experi-
ence,™™ and that ˜˜everything that happens™™ should be understood as
˜˜everything we can possibly experience as happening,™™ that is to say
˜˜everything we can meaningfully call an event or a change of state of
an object.™™ If we identify an event as event X only by supposing possible
rules according to which it happens, then this is just what it takes to be an
event X. Moreover, it is not just by arbitrary whim that we suppose


33
This at least would agree with Guyer™s account (cf. n. 32). But even so, the idea that we
confirm our interpretation of a perceived succession by relating it to a rule constitutes only
a secondary aspect of Kant™s argument, which depends on the first: perceiving objective
succession is presupposing a rule (as yet unknown).
KANT ON CAUSALITY 169

possible rules according to which a given event can occur. We suppose
rules because our sensory given has been such that we could, by associa-
tions guided by our capacity to form hypothetical judgments, generate
the representation of such rules. Thus it is correct to assert that rules
hold of objects themselves, albeit objects as appearances.
Nevertheless, the argument so understood still allows us to say, at most,
that there has to be a reasonable degree of regularity in appearances for
us to be able to identify any event, or change of state of an object. It does
not allow us to assert that for any given event there is a rule, and thus the
antecedent of a rule, and thus a cause. What we have here is, on the one
hand, a rather loose epistemic principle that says that we should look for
rules to confirm our perception of something™s having happened; and on
the other hand, an even looser ontological principle that says that there is
some degree of regularity in nature. We do not have the universal, strictly
necessary, objective principle: ˜˜Everything that happens presupposes
something which it follows in accordance with a rule.™™ Nor do we have
any warrant that the rule is itself strictly necessary. In other words, to the
first question stated at the end of the first section (do we make the
presupposition, for anything that happens, that it presupposes something
which it follows in accordance with a rule?) the answer is: yes, we do make
the presupposition. This is how we generate the representation of ˜˜some-
thing that happens,™™ or an event, in the first place. But this positive answer
is considerably weaker than the one Kant would like to assert, because
˜˜rule™™ here means just this: rule, regular pattern of recognition that the
event instantiates, not strictly necessary rule, or law. To the second
question “ is the presupposition true? “ we have an even weaker positive
answer: yes, there has to be some degree of regularity in nature for any
identification of an event to be possible. But conformity to a determinate
rule is not warranted in every individual case, and there is no clear sense
in which the rule could be said to be necessary, or described as a law. And
finally, to the third question “ does the supposition warrant the transition
from judgment of perception to judgment of experience, that is, from the
statement of mere regularities to that of law-like connections? “ we would
definitely have to say, no, it does not.
But again, it is clear both from the formulation of the principle of the
Second Analogy, especially in the second edition,34 and from the texts of
the Prolegomena cited in the first section, that Kant intends to prove more


34
Cf. above, n. 20.
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
170

than this. He intends his principle to be asserted as true of every indivi-
dual event; of every individual event he intends to assert that it occurs in
accordance with a strictly universal causal law.
This difficulty has been widely noticed, and is in fact a major reason, as I
suggested earlier, for the lack of agreement among Kant commentators
on the interpretation of the Second Analogy. It seems that Kant™s argu-
ment needs repairing, or at the very least disambiguating. But people do
not agree on how this should be done. On the Buchdahl“Allison line,
Kant™s purpose in the Second Analogy was not at all to prove that empir-
ical objects stand under strictly universal causal laws, even less to provide a
justification for the transition from mere regularities to empirical causal
laws. All he ever intended was to prove that our perception of objective
succession (any perception of particular events) presupposes a general
concept of causal connection which allows us to think the succession as in
some way ˜˜constrained™™ and therefore objective rather than merely sub-
jective and arbitrary. This is sufficient to prove, the view goes on, that the
causal principle is not derived from experience, but is instead a transcen-
dental principle of the possibility of experience and thus also a principle of
the possibility of the objects of experience. But there is no claim on Kant™s
part that we shall find, indeed that there are, any empirical causal laws for
those particular events we are thus enabled to perceive. Causal laws can be
discovered only empirically. That we can and should anticipate them is
prescribed to us not by the understanding and its causal principle,
expounded and proved in the Second Analogy, but by reason and its
regulative idea of a universal order of nature. According to this view, then,
not only does the Second Analogy provide a positive answer only to the
first of the three questions I stated at the end of the first section, but this
answer is seriously weaker than even the formulation I myself reduced it
to. What Kant allegedly proves is not that we assume causal regularities in
nature when we perceive objective succession. Rather, what he proves is
that we are capable of distinguishing objective from subjective succession
only because we have at our disposal a causal concept to ˜˜bind down™™ the
temporal order of our perceptions. This does not involve making any
further assumption about any causal laws or even regularities this succes-
sion itself might instantiate.35
Against the Buchdahl“Allison line, Michael Friedman maintains that
Kant™s intent in the Second Analogy was (1) to defend the universal causal

35
See Buchdahl, Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science, pp. 651“5; Allison, Transcendental
Idealism, pp. 222“32; see also Allison, ˜˜Causality and causal laws.™™
KANT ON CAUSALITY 171

principle as an objective principle, and (2) to provide the ground for the
transition from mere empirical regularities to strictly universal causal laws.
That Kant so intends his Analogy (indeed, all three Analogies taken
together) is shown, Friedman argues, by the use he makes of them in the
Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. Particularly significant in this
regard is Kant™s explanation of the way in which Newton™s law of universal
gravitation is obtained. In ch. 4 of the Metaphysical Foundations, Kant argues
that the law of universal gravitation is obtained by the application to
Kepler™s laws, which express observed regularities of the planetary motions
in the solar system, of the universal laws of motion stated as axioms in
Newton™s Principia. And in ch. 3 of the Metaphysical Foundations, Kant argues
that Newton™s laws of motion are themselves obtained by application of the
Analogies to the empirical concept of matter. Kant™s use of the Analogies, so
construed, shows eloquently that Kant did intend his causal principle as an
objective principle, and that he did intend it as grounding the transition
from mere regularities (in this case, Kepler™s laws) to strictly necessary
causal laws (in this case, Newton™s law of universal gravitation).36
However, showing that Newton™s law of universal gravitation can be
derived from Kepler™s laws only under the presupposition of Newton™s
laws of motion, and that Newton™s laws of motion in turn are obtained as
strictly universal laws only under the supposition of the Analogies of
Experience, is not explaining what makes such application of a priori
concepts possible, or in what sense we can hold the causal concept to be
actually true of empirical objects. Such an argument shows only that the
causal principle is an a priori presupposition of Newtonian science. Kant
acknowledges as much in the Prolegomena when he analyzes the progress
from judgments of perception to judgments of experience, meanwhile
expressly sending us to the Critique for understanding what makes the
concept of cause an objective concept. Clearly, pointing out the use
made of the causal principle in natural science is in Kant™s eyes sufficient
to justify neither this use nor the causal principle itself.
There remains, then, the possibility that Kant was simply mistaken about
his own proof. He wanted his argument in the Second Analogy to prove an
objective principle asserting the existence of strictly necessary causal laws in
nature “ a principle which alone was compatible with his interpretation of
Newtonian science. But all he could actually propound was the proof of a

36
See Friedman™s illuminating analysis in ˜˜Kant and the twentieth century,™™ particularly
pp. 33“6. See also his ˜˜Causal laws and the foundations of natural science,™™ esp.
pp. 175“86.
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
172

principle asserting the existence of some degree of objective regularity in
nature as a condition of possibility of our experiencing events. Such a
conclusion would be close to the one Strawson reaches, in The Bounds of
Sense, after offering what he takes to be the only acceptable version of an
argument for the Second Analogy, as opposed to what he has denounced as
Kant™s ˜˜non-sequitur of numbing grossness.™™
I shall consider again Strawson™s view and compare it with mine in the
concluding section of this chapter. But first I want to stress that in fact,
Kant does offer an answer to the difficulties I raised. The reason this
answer has been absent from my account so far is that, to establish it, the
discursive model I laid out at the beginning of this chapter and then used
in my reconstruction of Kant™s proof, is not sufficient. The discursive
model has to be completed by appealing to what Kant calls our ˜˜pure™™
intuition of space and time. This is what I now want to consider.


Causality, necessity, and time
All three Analogies have one common premise, which I did not state in the
argument outlined and analyzed above, although it in fact plays an import-
ant role in the argument of all three: ˜˜Time itself is not perceived™™ (cf. B219,
B225, B233, B257). What Kant means by this is that we have no unified
temporal frame of reference within which to coordinate states of affairs and
events, except through our correlating the latter according to rules.
According to the Transcendental Aesthetic, we have an a priori intui-
tion of time. This intuition consists, very roughly, in our representing
time (1) as one time in which all particular temporal relations are deter-
mined; (2) as continuous (or what in contemporary terms we would call
˜˜dense™™: between two points in time there is always a third point whose
position is determined as being ˜˜before™™ the one and ˜˜after™™ the other);
and finally, (3) as a (unified and continuous) time within which every
state of affairs and event is completely determined, namely uniquely
individuated as to its position (all of these features hold for space too).
Now, I want to suggest that these characteristics of time as the intentional
correlate of our a priori intuition are precisely what provides Kant with
the missing link for transforming the potentially weak version of his
answers to the first and second questions we needed the Critique to
answer (see above, p. 157) into a strong version of these answers. Let
me very briefly outline how this is so.
As we saw in the previous section, the argument of the Second Analogy
in its first four steps is meant to prove that we perceive an objective
KANT ON CAUSALITY 173

succession just in case we presuppose an antecedent objective state of
affairs upon which the succession follows according to a rule. Thus when-
ever we perceive such an objective succession we are driven to look for
something that precedes, that can be thought under the antecedent of a
hypothetical rule. Whenever we find that something C regularly precedes
the event: A, then B (say, the sun™s shining on the stone regularly precedes
the stone™s being cold, then warm; warm, then warmer) we take C to be
the cause of the succession, A, then B. More precisely, as Kant makes clear
in the final developments of the Second Analogy, the cause precedes the
full realization of the effect, but is simultaneous with the first initiation of
the effect (cf. A203/B248). Thus the correlation between cause and effect
exists at the very first initiation of the cause, and is continuously preserved
through time as long as the cause (what is thought under the antecedent
of the rule) obtains. And this preservation through time of any correlation
that actually obtains is what makes possible the empirical individuation of
states of affairs and events in time. Now, ˜˜existence at all times™™ is what
Kant describes as the schema of necessity, that is, the sensible feature by
which one may recognize an empirical object as necessary (see A145/B184).
I suggest that the only possible candidates for being something that
possesses necessity in this sense (˜˜existence at all times™™), are the law-
like correlations between states of affairs and events preserved through
time. These law-like correlations are the empirical realization of our a
priori intuition of time as one, continuous time which is the locus of the
complete determination (individuation) of events and states of affairs.
Because it has to be thought as thus preserved through time (for the
unity of time to be empirically realized), the connection between an
event and ˜˜what precedes it, according to a rule™™ should be thought as
a necessary connection.37


37
In the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, the argument for the objective validity
of the categories is completed only when Kant states that space and time themselves, as
formal intuitions, stand under the unity of apperception, and thus under the categories.
Thus anything given in space and time is by that alone already susceptible to being thought
under the categories (see x26 in the B Deduction, and chs. 1 and 3 in this volume, esp.
pp. 32“5 and 67“9). Earlier in this chapter I suggested that appealing to the role of our
time-intuition in individuating objects and events in order to complete the argument of the
Second Analogy, repeats an earlier move in the argument of the Transcendental
Deduction: a move from conditions of possibility for thinking an object to conditions of
possibility for the object itself. This is, I suggest, what we see happening here: (5) in my
outline of the argument of the Second Analogy said only that we experience objective
succession only if we presuppose something, upon which it follows according to a rule; (6)
said that objective succession itself presupposes something upon which it follows, etc. The
TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC
174

The argument just outlined provides an interesting view of the differ-
ence between the necessity of the analytic connection of concepts (˜˜If
there is perfect justice, the obstinately wicked are punished™™), and the
necessity of the synthetic connection of events in time (˜˜If the sun shines
on the stone, the stone gets warm™™). What I am suggesting is that for
Kant, in the latter case, the a priori intuition of time makes up for the
lack of an analytic connection of concepts. If we go back to the discursive
model expounded in the first section of this chapter, we can thus say the
following. On the one hand, the modus ponens based on a synthetic and
empirical hypothetical premise is distinct from a modus ponens based on
an analytic premise: we have and can have no complete concept of the
state of the world at any instant t1 when the sun is shining on a stone,
which could yield the complete concept of the state of the world at an
instant t2 such that the stone™s heating up would be contained in it. But
on the other hand, no state of an object would be individuated in time
(have a completely determinate position in time) unless rules of correla-
tion of events in time were true ˜˜at all times.™™ This is no mere epistemic
condition for our knowing objects and events, but a condition for any
object™s being an object for us in the first place: a thing endowed with
recognizable properties, and individuated in space and time. In other
words, according to Kant the preservation at all times of the empirically
attested rules of correlation of events and states of affairs (and thus their
strict necessity) is a transcendental condition for the representation of
objects, i.e. for objects themselves as appearances. For only through such
preservation of empirical correlations through time can the unity, con-
tinuity, and ordering of our pure temporal intuition be realized in
empirical objects of knowledge (appearances).
That the causal principle is a principle of ordering by way of which the
order of our temporal intuition is realized in appearances is just what
Kant says in the course of the third exposition of his proof:
Understanding belongs to all experience and to its possibility, and the
first thing that it does for this is not to make the representation of the
objects distinct, but rather to make the representation of an object
possible at all. Now this happens through conferring temporal order
on the appearances and their existence . . . [Thus] arises a series of
appearances, in which by means of the understanding, the very same

move is justified, according to Kant, by the fact that there would be no formal intuition of
time as that in which any object at all is individuated, unless the conditions for thinking the
objects were realized as conditions for these objects themselves, individuated by their
position in space and in time. I say more on this point in what follows in the main text.
KANT ON CAUSALITY 175

order and continuous [stetigen] connection in the series of possible perceptions is
produced and made necessary as is encountered a priori in the form of inner
intuition “ time “ wherein all perceptions must have their place [my emphasis].
(A199“200/B244“5)

Where does this now leave us with respect to the three questions we
needed the Critique to answer? (1) Do we presuppose the truth of the
proposition ˜˜everything that happens follows upon something else
according to a rule™™? Kant™s response: yes, we do. We would not perceive
any succession as an objective succession unless we did make this presup-
position. (2) Is the principle true, according to which ˜˜everything that
happens presupposes something which it follows in accordance with a
rule™™? Kant™s response: yes, the principle is true. For the complete
determination of the spatiotemporal position of objects and their states
is achieved only by the universal correlation of appearances determining
each other™s state, according to rules. But that they necessarily are
completely determined as to their position in space and time is a priori
warranted by their belonging to one space and one time, the ˜˜pure
intuitions™™ expounded in the Transcendental Aesthetic and the ˜˜formal
intuitions™™ standing under the unity of apperception, according to the
Transcendental Deduction of the Categories. (3) How does admitting

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