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but while Kant teaches that the necessity is imposed on nature by our thinking, Dr. Stirling, as an Hegelian, finds the necessity in that absolute thinking of the Eternal to which all right thinking is bound to conform. It is with the Kantian view that we have specially to do in this note, but what we have to say implies a divergence from the Hegelian view likewise. For, as we apprehend it, the quest of the intellect for an adequate cause for events is not satisfied till the mind reaches what is felt to be an original or uncaused cause, a true creative source and ground. Such needful satisfaction is given reither by the Kantian statement that the understanding imposes a necessary nexus upon certain successive phenomena, nor by the Hegelian dogma that we are constrained to regard the universe as a complex of thought-relations held together by logical necessities; but it is given, we think, by the reference of phenomena to a noümenal Will who out of infinite possibilities calls into existence the actual phenomenal world.
Probably most students of the Critique have experienced the difficulty which we have always felt on reaching that part where Kant endeavours to explain and establish what he calls the Schematism of the pure intellect, his contention being that before the understanding can act upon sense impressions, it must prepare certain schemata (or general notions of possible relations among phenomena) out of the idea of Time. We will leave out of consideration here how far the categories of Quantity and Quality admit of being presented in the form of time relations, and confine our attention to that category of Relation called the Law of Causation, the discussion of which plays by far the most important part in connection with this subject; and naturally so, for it was through Hume's sceptical doctrine on this head that Kant was (as he tells us) "roused from his dogmatic slumbers," and it is to the task of showing that the causal idea is an a priori synthetic judgment that our philosopher continually recurs.
Kant's selection of the Axiom of Causality (as he and Hume understood this axiom) for a crucial test of his theory of a priori synthetic judgments has always seemed to us an unfortunate one, for, although Dr. Stirling triumphantly declares over and over again that here, at all events, Kant has made out a genuine case of necessary synthesis, we cannot help thinking all the while that Kant has made out nothing of the kind. It is obvious that the maxim, “Every change must have a cause,” may express either of two very different thoughts. It may mean that the mind, by its constitution, must ascribe every event or phenomenon to the action of a power that is not phenomenal, but, as Kant would say, noümenal; or it may mean, on the other hand, as it appears to have done to Hume and to Kant, that the mind cannot help believing that every phenomenon, regarded as an effect, can appear only in uniform sequence to one or more other phenomena called its cause or causes. Now the former of these two meanings is ignored by Kant in this connection, and he spends his strength in endeavouring to prove that we posit a causal connection between the antecedent and the consequent phenomenon, because necessity is imported into this time-relation. ship by the mind's own act. After reading what Kant has to say on this subject in the new light of Dr. Stirling's comments, we feel more assured than before that the belief in the uniformity of time-relationship among phenomena does not belong to the class of necessary truths at all, and that it is the former of the above meanings of causation which alone has a valid right to rank among a priori synthetics. The special nature of physical phenomena, and the time-relations among them, have all the marks of being contingent matters, which rest on observation simply, and cannot possibly attain an apodictic character.
Dr. Stirling is clearly aware that the so-called necessity which is supposed to link together the antecedent and the sequent phenomenon is of a very different nature from the necessity which attends geometrical and numerical relations, and, apart from the unproved Hegelian dogma that the universe is a necessary process of thinking, which the Thinker (if any such being exist) must think in one determinate way, we believe he would find it a very hard matter to allege any justification for the use of the term “necessity" in this connection. For ourselves, we can only say that reflection utterly fails to make clear to us that phenomena must always have followed, and must always continue to follow, their present order. That it is immensely improbable that
any deviation from the regular course of events should arise we freely admit, on the ground that we have had no sufficient evidence that any such deviation has occurred, and also because there is much reason to expect that the phenomenal universe, having its cause in infinite love and intelligence, should preserve that uniformity of sequence which appears to be indispensable, both for exact science, and for moral discipline. But when we are told that this uniformity cannot be deviated from, for it is a necessary law of our thinking faculty to bind together in indissoluble union the so-called phenomenal cause and the phenomenal effect, we must say that we utterly fail to find any provision in our mental furniture for the production of this assumed insoluble nexus. All that our thought demands is that the aggregate of phenomenal changes in nature should be referred to an adequate cause; and if the Will of the Eternal One be regarded as that cause, the mind's thirst for causal explanation is satisfied, and there appears to be nothing in what either Kant or Dr. Stirling adduces, to exclude from the Divine Will the possibility of changing or reconstructing the order of the physical universe. If phenomena and their mutual relations have their ground and their cause in the Will of the Eternal, physical miracles, however improbable they may be, cannot, we think, be unceremoniously bundled out of the court of reason as being at open variance with a necessary law of thought. We have not space at present to discuss the interesting question how the other idea of causation, as a nexus among phenomena, arises; but we have a strong persuasion that it can be fully explained on psychological grounds without referring it to any category which the mind imposes upon our sense perceptions, or, indeed, to any necessity of thought at all.
There is a palpable and fundamental confusion in one portion of Kant's exposition which of itself goes far towards proving that he was mistaken when he fixed upon necessary sequence among phenomena as the essential feature of the causal axiom. It is evident that in issuing the second edition of the Critique Kant was very anxicus to guard himself against the charge of Idealism, to which charge many passages in the first edition had fairly liad him open. In furtherance of this object he accordingly accentuates the fact that we cannot help referring the material of sensation to a noümenal Ding an sich as its cause, and that in so referring it we are justified by the laws of thought. main object of the treatment of Causality in the Transcendental Analytic was to make good the thesis that the notion of causality is a subjective form of our thinking, and, therefore,
possessed of no validity beyond the sphere of phenoinena. Now, however, strange to say, Kant declares that it is because of this very same law of causation we are justified in assigning our sense-impressions to a noümenal cause. Nor can we explain this glaring inconsistency as simply one of the few cases in which, bonus dormitat Homerus ; it has, we believe, a far deeper root in Kant's inability to escape from the true idea of Cause as something quite different from phenenomenal sequence.
In place, then, of Kant's schemata of the understanding, or the artificial conversion of the twelve logical judgments, through time ideas, into categories, according to which the mind necessarily groups and co-ordinates phenomena, we would venture to suggest that in addition to the a priori ideas of Space and Time, and the necessary mathematical relations which they carry with them, we need only the category of Substance (derived from the mind's consciousness of the relation of the permanent Ego to its fleeting states and activities) and the category of Causality (derived from the mind's consciousness that the Ego is the original cause of its own volitions, and their subsequent results) in order to explain all that is necessary or apodictic in our cognition of the external world. The Ego understands Cause and Substance simply because it is itself both Cause and Substance, and Time and Space would appear to be a priori forms of our sensibility, which provide the needful theatre on which God symbolises for our instruction and discipline some phases of the inexhaustible riches of His eternal thought. Compared with the material of sensation—i.e., the phenomenal world—Time and Space are necessary in relation to us, for we cannot think away these essential conditions of all finite knowledge; but theirs would appear to be only a relative necessity, whereas it seems an absolute necessity that all that is phenomenal, and even Time and Space, the theatre of the phenomenal, should be contingent in relation to Him from whose uncaused casuality all existence arises. Kant, as expounded by Dr. Stirling, truly and grandly says :
A phenomenal world implies a noümenal; and the assumption of such is absolutely necessary in order to subordinate and limit the pretensions of
It does not follow, nevertheless, that its phenomenal nature attaches any character of uselessness and meaninglessness to this the world of time which we, in time, inhabit. Here, as evidence from every side assures us, existence is but probationary. There, beyond, is our true and noümenal
home awaiting us for eternity, with God, when time and the shows of time shall have worked out their function on us.
In these words is revealed the secret of the marvellous influence of the Koenigsberg seer. They manifest that clear spiritual insight in which faith and philosophy ultimately blend, and which makes Kant, notwithstanding the needlessly negative issues of his first Critique, a teacher at whose feet the present leaders of modern thought would do well to sit with humble and teachable minds. But it is not till we reach the Critique of the Practical Reason that we find philosophic justification for the above prophetic words, and the unfortunate want of concurrence in the results of the two critiques is, we think, due partly to Kant's imperfect apprehension, in the first critique, of the true nature and sweep of man's intuitive belief in causality, and partly to his unwillingness to acknowledge that the Ego has an immediate and valid knowledge of its own substantive and causal nature. The “ shows of time,” to which Kant refers above, are surely dependent on Him who is their true noümenal source, and if order prevails in this show, as it undoubtedly does, this is to be ascribed not to the action of our minds upon sensation (as Kant teaches), but to the action of the Eternal; and if we say that He, who is infinite intelligence and eternal love, must (as the Hegelians hold) maintain uniformity in the phenomenal world, we seem to be dogmatising about that which, by its very nature, transcends our cognition. Had Kant admitted this he would not only have brought his two critiques into harmonious relations, but he would also have escaped the paradox into which he falls, when in one passage he speaks of “the empirical in perception as, apart from the action of the understanding, a mere chaos of feeling,” and in another passage says that “there is a certain pre-established harmony between pure form and empirical matter; the one could never be subsumed under the other, were they wholly disparate, wholly incommensurable." It is, indeed, impossible to believe that the sensational experience which constitutes our universe is a primeval chaos into which our mind puts order; rather is it a cosmos in which our mind finds order and beauty, and of which it by slow degrees learns the deep and divine significance.
As we have said, there seems to us very much in Kant's critique, especially in the Transcendental Æsthetic, which should be regarded as a most important and permanent addition to