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The phrases in their context!


If, secondly, the question is asked whether this being is substance, whether it is of the greatest reality, whether it is necessary, and so forth?
I answer that this question is utterly without meaning.
For all the categories which aid me in forming a conception of an object cannot be employed except in the world of sense, and are without meaning when not applied to objects of actual or possible experience.
Out of this sphere, they are not properly conceptions, but the mere marks or indices of conceptions, which we may admit, although they cannot, without the help of experience, help us to understand any subject or thing.
If, thirdly, the question is whether we may not cogitate this being, which is distinct from the world, in analogy with the objects of experience?
The answer is; Undoubtedly, but only as an ideal, and not as a real object.
That is, we must cogitate it only as an unknown substratum of the systematic unity, order, and finality of the world--a unity which reason must employ as the regulative principle of its investigation of nature.
Nay, more, we may admit into the idea certain anthropomorphic elements, which are promotive of the interests of this regulative principle.
For it is no more than an idea, which does not relate directly to a being distinct from the world, but to the regulative principle of the systematic unity of the world, by means, however, of a schema of this unity--the schema of a Supreme Intelligence, who is the wisely-designing author of the universe.
What this basis of cosmical unity may be in itself, we know not--we cannot discover from the idea; we merely know how we ought to employ the idea of this unity, in relation to the systematic operation of reason in the sphere of experience.
[*Footnote; After what has been said of the psychological idea of the ego and its proper employment as a regulative principle of the operations of reason, I need not enter into details regarding the transcendental illusion by which the systematic unity of all the various phenomena of the internal sense is hypostatized.
The procedure is in this case very similar to that which has been discussed in our remarks on the theological ideal.]
But, it will be asked again, can we on these grounds, admit the existence of a wise and omnipotent author of the world?
Without doubt; and not only so, but we must assume the existence of such a being.
But do we thus extend the limits of our knowledge beyond the field of possible experience?
By no means.
For we have merely presupposed a something, of which we have no conception, which we do not know as it is in itself; but, in relation to the systematic disposition of the universe, which we must presuppose in all our observation of nature, we have cogitated this unknown being in analogy with an intelligent existence (an empirical conception), that is to say, we have endowed it with those attributes, which, judging from the nature of our own reason, may contain the ground of such a systematic unity.
This idea is therefore valid only relatively to the employment in experience of our reason.
But if we attribute to it absolute and objective validity, we overlook the fact that it is merely an ideal being that we cogitate; and, by setting out from a basis which is not determinable by considerations drawn from experience, we place ourselves in a position which incapacitates us from applying this principle to the empirical employment of reason.
But, it will be asked further, can I make any use of this conception and hypothesis in my investigations into the world and nature?
Yes, for this very purpose was the idea established by reason as a fundamental basis.