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Click on the phrases to see them in context. The original texts by Immanuel Kant and David Hume are available from the Gutenberg Projet.


But as they could not find in this series any primal beginning or any highest member, they passed suddenly from the empirical conception of contingency to the pure category, which presents us with a series--not sensuous, but intellectual--whose completeness does certainly rest upon the existence of an absolutely necessary cause.

 On the other hand, as chance is nothing real in itself, and, properly speaking, is merely the negation of a cause, its influence on the mind is contrary to that of causation; and it is essential to it, to leave the imagination perfectly indifferent, either to consider the existence or non-existence of that object, which is regarded as contingent. 
  • If, accordingly, an object which must be regarded as a sensuous phenomenon possesses a faculty which is not an object of sensuous intuition, but by means of which it is capable of being the cause of phenomena, the causality of an object or existence of this kind may be regarded from two different points of view.
 The answer is that the non-existence of which is possible. For reason placed it, as the conception of all reality, at the basis of the complete determination of things, without requiring that this conception be regarded as the conception of an objective existence. My memory, indeed, informs me of the existence of many objects; but then this information extends not beyond their past existence, nor do either my senses or memory give any testimony to the continuance of their being. We cannot bear, nor can we rid ourselves of the thought that a being, which we regard as the greatest of all possible existences, should say to himself; I am from eternity to eternity; beside me there is nothing, except that which exists by my will; whence then am I? Taking then penetration in this sense, for the annihilation of one body upon its approach to another, I ask any one, if he sees a necessity, that a coloured or tangible point should be annihilated upon the approach of another coloured or tangible point? On the contrary, does he not evidently perceive, that from the union of these points there results an object, which is compounded and divisible, and may be distinguished into two parts, of which each preserves its existence distinct and separate, notwithstanding its contiguity to the other? Let him aid his fancy by conceiving these points to be of different colours, the better to prevent their coalition and confusion. For to say, that the non-existence of a thing is not self-contradictory is a lame appeal to a logical condition, which is no doubt a necessary condition of the existence of the conception, but is far from being sufficient for the real objective possibility of non-existence. For he cannot pretend to any certainty of the non-existence of God and of a future life, unless- since it could only be proved by mere reason, and therefore apodeictically--he is prepared to establish the impossibility of both, which certainly no reasonable man would undertake to do.