Friday, September 28, 2012

Index to pages for Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition

Introduction by D. Atkinson

Ch.1: The Sociocultural Approach to Second Language Acquisition by J.P. Lantolf

Ch.2: A Complexity Approach to Second Language Development/Acquisition by D. Larsen-Freeman

Ch.3: An Identity Approach to Second Language Acquisiton by B. Norton & C. McKinney

Ch.4: Language Socialization Approaches to Second Language Acquisition by P. Duff & S. Talmy

Ch.5: A Conversation-analytic Apporoach to Second Language Acquisition by G. Kasper & J. Wagner

Ch.6: A Sociocognitive Approach to Second Language Acquisition: How mind, body, and world work together in learning addtional languages by D. Atkinson
Related pages:
Atkinson (2010) Extended, Embodied Cognition and Second Language Acquisition
Clark and Chalmers (1998) "The extended mind"

Ch.7: SLA after the Social Turn: Where cognitivism and its alternatives stand by L. Ortega

Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (Paperback)

Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (Kindle)

Dwight Atkinson at Purdue University

See also

Index to pages about Critical Applied Linguistics

David Block (2003) The Social Turn in Second Language Acquisition

Three MLJ articles by Firth and Wagner (1997, 1998, and 2007)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Introduction and Key terms (Summary of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason #1)

Summary of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (Kritik der reinen Vernunft)


Below is my summary of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.  Needless to say, it is not meant to cover the whole argument of the book, but is only a mere attempt to understand some of the arguments in it to clarify the issues of my concern, such as I, identity, or communicative competence as an ability attributed to the individual.

Following the gist that I’ll immediately offer, this article provides sections of  (1) key terms, (2) transcendental ideas, (3) ‘I’ as the transcendental subject of thoughts = X, (4) freedom, and (5) principle of pure reason. 

Some note on terminology: Kant uses non-technical words (eg. intuition, appearance, idea, etc) in his own systematic way.  In order to emphasize his systematic terminology (and to avoid understanding his terms according to our ordinary usage), I capitalize the first letter of such terms or hyphenizes phrases.  I also provide the original German words and texts where I deem it necessary and appropriate to do so.  Numbers presented in the parentheses following the quotation (eg., (49), (B19)) indicates the page number of either Penguin translation or the second edition of the original text (the number with B).

Gist of Critique of Pure Reason

Kant distinguishes three stages in human cognition: Sensibility, Understanding and Reason.  Through these stages of cognition, humans experience the world as Appearance, distinct from Thing-in-itself, which is beyond our cognition (or indeed any cognitions).  Objects are given in Appearance and it is Sensibility that receives them as Intuitions.  Intuitions are united into Concepts in Understanding.  By means of Concepts, humans understand the world of Appearance, and Concepts are to based on the reception of Intuitions from Objects.  Some Concepts are developed into Pure Concept by Reason, though.  Pure Concepts, that are called Ideas, are not based on Intuitions and Objects, and therefore are unconditioned.  These Ideas produce notions such as I, Freedom, or God.  While Ideas are not specific or individualized, Ideals which are also products of Reason are conceived in the embodied image.  Both Ideas and Ideals are produced by Reason, and it is the task of Reason to deal with them properly.  It is this task that Kant explores in Critique of Pure Reason.

1 Key terms

1.1 About Transcendentalism

Knowledge (Erkenntnis):
As Kant tried to integrate British empiricism and continental rationalism, his notion of knowledge is based both on empiricism (in the sense of a posteriori – from experience) and rationalism (in the sense that it calls for the notion of a priori – prior to or independent of any experience).

But although all our knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it arises from experience. (37)

Wenn aber gleich alle unsere Erkenntnis mit der Erfahrung anhebt, so entspringt sie darum doch nicht eben alle aus der Erfahrung. (B1)

Synthetic judgment a priori (synthethische Urteile a priori):
Knowledge or judgment can be a priori without any problem if it is analytic – when the truth is contained in the very words to express it.  Kant argues that judgment apriori can also be synthetic –the opposite notion of analytic— by citing pure mathematics, pure science (eg., permanence of the quantity of matter, inertia, equality of action and reaction, etc (50, B21)) and metaphysics.  Indeed, the problem of pure reason is about this synthetic judgment a priori.

Now the real problem of pure reason is contained in the question: How are synthetic judgements a priori possible?

 Die eigentliche Aufgabe der reinen Vernunft ist nun in der Frage enthalten: Wie sind synthetische Urteile a priori möglich? (B19)

Transcendental philosophy (Transzendental-Philosophie):
   So, Kant’s philosophy is both in and beyond experience.  Unlike some extreme believers of idealism, he acknowledges objects in the world, but he is more interested in understanding how we know objects in a way we take it just for granted (a priori). Kant’s philosophy is transcendental; it explores the conditions of human knowledge that contain a priori elements.

I call all knowledge transcendental which deals not so much with objects as with our manner of knowing objects insofar as this manner is to be possible a priori.  A system of such concepts would be called transcendental philosophy.  (52)

Ich nenne alle Erkenntnis transzendental, die sich nicht sowohl mit Gegenständen, sondern mit unserer Erkenntnisart von Gegenständen, insofern diese a priori möglich sein soll, überhaupt beschäftigt. Ein System solcher Begriffe würde Transzendental-Philosophie heißen.  (B25)

Transcendental in our cognition are Sensibility, Understanding, and Reason, among others.  Let’s further see what they mean below.

1.2 About Sensibility

Sensibility (Sinnlichkeit) and Intuition (Anschauung)
Kant posits Sensibility (Sinnlichkeit) as the first stage of human cognition.  The source of our knowledge is ultimately objects in the world of Appearance (not Things-in-themselves), and objects are received by Sensibility in representations called Intuitions (Anschauung –eine bestimmte Meinung od. Ansicht über etwas; das, was man sich unter einer Sache vorstellt, was man unter ihr verstehtl— can also be translated as Views). 

The capacity (receptivity) to obtain representations through the way in which we are affected is called sensibility.  Objects are therefore given to us by means of our sensibility.  Sensibility alone supplies us with intuitions. (59)

Die Fähigkeit (Rezeptivität), Vorstellungen durch die Art, wie wir von Gegenständen affiziert werden, zu bekommen, heißt Sinnlichkeit. Vermittelst der Sinnlichkeit also werden uns Gegenstände gegeben, und sie allein liefert uns Anschauungen  (B33)

Space (Raum) and time (Zeit) as pure intuitions
Whereas most intuitions are obtained from experience (a posteriori), some are pure and a priori.  They are space and time, which constitute Form (in the Aristotelian sense) in general in which empirical intuitions a posteriori are realized as Matter (the Aristotelian sense, too).

Space and time are its pure forms while sensation in general is its matter.  The forms of space and time alone we can know a priori, that is, prior to all actual perception, and such knowledge is therefore called pure intuition.  (75)

Raum und Zeit sind die reinen Formen derselben, Empfindung überhaupt die Materie. Jene können wir allein a priori, d.i. vor aller wirklichen Wahrnehmung erkennen, und sie heißt darum reine Anschauung (B60)

1.3 About Understanding

Understanding (Verstand) and Concept (Begriff)
From Intuitions in Sensibility, Understanding as the second stage of cognition spontaneously produces Concepts in our thought.

These intuitions are thought through the understanding, and from the understanding there arise concepts. (59)

durch den Verstand aber werden sie [=Anschauunngen] gedacht, und von ihm entspringen Begriffe. (B33)

NB.  This quotation immediately follows the quotation of 59/B33 in the previous section.

Pure Concept of Understanding (reine Verstandesbegriff)
Just like Intuitions have pure ones, Concepts have pure ones (Pure Concept of Understanding) and its function is to produce unity in various representations in an Intuition.  (Note: I do not yet have a good understanding of the role of the term representation (Vorstellung) in Kantian philosophy).

The same function which gives unity to the various representations in a judgement likewise gives unity to the mere synthesis of various representations in an intuition; and this unity may in a general way be called the pure concept of the understanding.  The same understanding - and through the same operations by which it produced, in concepts, the logical form of a judgement by means of analytic unity - also introduces a transcendental content into its representations, by means of the synthetic unity of the manifold in intuition in general.  These representations are therefore pure concepts of the understanding applying a priori to objects - a content which cannot be introduced by general logic.  (104-105)

Dieselbe Funktion, welche den verschiedenen Vorstellungen in einem Urteile Einheit gibt, die gibt auch der bloßen Synthesis verschiedene Vorstellungen in einer Anschauung Einheit, welche, allgemein ausgedrückt, der reine Verstandesbegriff heißt. Derselbe Verstand also, und zwar durch eben dieselben Handlungen, wodurch er in Begriffen, vermittelst der analytischen Einheit, die logische Form eines Urteils zustande brachte, bringt auch, vermittelst der synthetischen Einheit des Mannigfaltigen in der Anschauung überhaupt, in seine Vorstellungen einen transzendentalen Inhalt, weswegen sie reine Verstandesbegriffe heißen, die a priori auf Objekte gehen, welches die allgemeine Logik nicht leisten kann.  (B104-105)

Both Sensibility and Understanding are essential elements of our cognition and either is better or worse than the other.

We call sensibility the receptivity of our mind to receive representations insofar as it is in some wise affected, while the understanding, on the other hand, is our faculty of producing representations by ourselves, or the spontaneity of knowledge.  We are so constituted that our intuition can never be other than sensible; that is, it contains only the mode in which we are affected by objects.  The faculty, on the contrary, which enables us to think the object of sensible intuition is the understanding.  Neither of these properties is to be preferred to the other.  Without sensibility no object would be given to us, without understanding no object would be thought.  Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.  (86)

Wollen wir die Rezeptivität unseres Gemüts, Vorstellungen zu empfangen, sofern es auf irgendeine Weise affiziert wird, Sinnlichkeit nennen, so ist dagegen das Vermögen, Vorstellungen selbst hervorzubringen, oder die Spontaneität des Erkenntnisses, der Verstand. Unsere Natur bringt es so mit sich, daß die Anschauung niemals anders als sinnlich sein kann, d.i. nur die Art enthält, wie wir von Gegenständen affiziert werden. Dagegen ist das Vermögen, den Gegenstand sinnlicher Anschauung zu denken, der Verstand. Keine dieser Eigenschaften ist der anderen vorzuziehen. Ohne Sinnlichkeit würde uns kein Gegenstand gegeben, und ohne Verstand keiner gedacht werden. Gedanken ohne Inhalt sind leer, Anschauungen ohne Begriffe sind blind.  (B76)

Sensibility receives objects and obtains Intuitions, and Understanding spontaneously produces Concepts in our thought.

Concepts are based, therefore, on the spontaneity of thought, sensible intuitions on the receptivity of impressions.  (97, B93)

Begriffe gründen sich also auf der Spontaneität des Denkens, wie sinnliche Anschauungen auf der Rezeptivität der Eindrücke. (B93)

1.4 About Reason (Vernunft)

Reason (Vernunft)
Reason is the third and the last stage of our cognition. Reason produces the highest unity of cognitions in our thought produced by Understanding (just like Understanding produces the unity of Intuitions from Sensibility).

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds thence to the understanding and ends with reason.  There is nothing higher in us than reason for working on the material of intuition and bringing it under the highest unity of thought.  (288)

Alle unsere Erkenntnis hebt von den Sinnen an, geht von da zum Verstande, und endigt bei der Vernunft, über welche nichts Höheres in uns angetroffen wird, den Stoff der Anschauung zu bearbeiten und unter die höchste Einheit des Denkens zu bringen.  (B355)

When Reason produces unity to Concepts in thought, it is not directly connected to Intuitions in Sensibility or objects in the world of Appearance.  It only deals with Concepts in Understanding and brings unity that is kept apart from empirical experience; the unity that Reason brings is a priori.

If the understanding is a faculty for producing unity of appearances according to rules, then reason is the faculty for producing unity of the rules of the understanding under principles.  Reason, therefore, at first never looks directly to experience, nor to any object, but to the understanding in order to impart to its manifold kinds of knowledge an a priori unity of reason and which is very different from the unity which can be produced by understanding.  (291)

Der Verstand mag ein Vermögen der Einheit der Erscheinungen vermittelst der Regeln sein, so ist die Vernunft das Vermögen der Einheit der Verstandesregeln unter Prinzipien. So geht also niemals zunächst auf Erfahrung, oder auf irgendeinen Gegenstand, sondern auf den Verstand, um den mannigfaltigen Erkenntnissen desselben Einheit a priori durch Begriffe zu geben, welche Vernunfteinheit heißen mag, und von ganz anderer Art ist, als sie von dem Verstande geleistet werden kann.  (B359)

Idea (Idee)
Pure concept, also known as notion (Notio), is still in the stage of Understanding along with empirical concepts, although concepts, both empirical and pure, are already beyond the stage of Sensibility.  Pure concepts can, however, go beyond the realm of experience and thus become concepts of reason called Ideas (Ideen).

A concept is either an empirical or a pure concept; and the pure concept, insofar as it has its origin solely in the understanding (not in the pure image of sensibility) is called notion.  A concept formed of notions and transcending the possibility of experience is an idea, or concept of reason.  (302)
Der Begriff ist entweder ein empirischer oder reiner Begriff, und der reine Begriff, sofern er lediglich im Verstande seinen Ursprung hat (nicht im reinen Bilde der Sinnlichkeit) heißt Notio. Ein Begriff aus Notionen, der die Möglichkeit der Erfahrung übersteigt, ist die Idee, oder der Vernunftbegriff.  (B377)

Idea is transcendental and does not refer to any object in the world.
As Ideas work in Reason, which is kept apart from Sensibility in our empirical world, they are not conditioned by any reality, or, to put it the other way, are conditioned by the totality of all possible conditions; They are transcendent (and also transcendental) and refer to no objects in the empirical world.  In this sense, they are used in Pure Reason in its operation, and should not necessarily be degraded as mere fancies.

By idea I understand a necessary concept of reason to which the senses can supply no congruent object.  The concepts of reason, therefore, of which we have been speaking, are transcendental ideas.  They are concepts of pure reason insofar as they consider all empirical knowledge as determined by an absolute totality of conditions.  They are not mere fancies, but are imposed by the very nature of reason itself, and therefore refer by necessity to the whole use of the understanding.  They are, lastly, transcendent and overstep the limits of all experience; no object can ever be given in experience that would be adequate to the transcendental idea.   (306-307)

Ich verstehe unter der Idee einen notwendigen Vernunftbegriff, dem kein kongruierender Gegenstand in den Sinnen gegeben werden kann. Also sind unsere jetzt erwogenen reinen Vernunftbegriffe transzendentale Ideen. Sie sind Begriffe der reinen Vernunft; denn sie betrachten alles Erfahrungserkenntnis als bestimmt durch eine absolute Totalität der Bedingungen. Sie sind nicht willkürlich erdichtet, sondern durch die Natur der Vernunft selbst aufgegeben, und beziehen sich daher notwendigerweise auf den ganzen Verstandesgebrauch. Sie sind endlich transzendent und übersteigen die Grenze aller Erfahrung, in welcher also niemals ein Gegenstand vorkommen kann, der der transzendentalen Idee adäquat wäre.  (B383-384)

Reason “orders” concepts of Understanding to bring the ultimate unity.  In the process of obtaining the ultimate unity (which is not actually obtainable), Reason extends the limits of Concepts of Understanding that is inherited from the empirical world of Sensibility.  It is part of the nature of Reason to try to obtain unconditionally complete, something that can be thought, but not available in our experience.

Reason never refers directly to an object, but only to the understanding, and through the latter to its own empirical use.  It does not, therefore, create concepts (of objects), but only orders them, and imparts to them that unity which they can have in their greatest possible extension, that is, with reference to the totality of different series; while the understanding does not concern itself with this totality, but only with the connection whereby series of conditions everywhere come into being according to concepts.  Reason actually has, therefore, as its object only the understanding and its purposive use; and just as the understanding unites the manifold in the object by means of concepts, so reason unites the manifold of concepts by means of ideas, making a certain collective unity the aim of the acts of the understanding, which otherwise are concerned only with distributive unity.  (532-533)  

Die Vernunft bezieht sich niemals geradezu auf einen Gegenstand, sondern lediglich auf den Verstand, und vermittelst desselben auf ihren eigenen empirischen Gebrauch, schafft also keine Begriffe (von Objekten), sondern ordnet sie nur, und gibt ihnen diejenige Einheit, welche sie in ihrer größtmöglichen Ausbreitung haben können, d.i. in Beziehung auf die Totalität der Reihen, als auf welche der Verstand gar nicht sieht, sondern nur auf diejenige Verknüpfung, dadurch allerwärts Reihen der Bedingungen nach Begriffen zustande kommen. Die Vernunft hat also eigentlich nur den Verstand und dessen zweckmäßige Anstellung zum Gegenstande, und, wie dieser das Mannigfaltige im Objekt durch Begriffe vereinigt, so vereinigt jene ihrerseits das Mannigfaltige der Begriffe durch Ideen, indem sie eine gewisse kollektive Einheit zum Ziele der Verstandeshandlungen setzt, welche sonst nur mit der distributiven Einheit beschäftigt sind.  (B671-672)

Transcendental concepts of reasons are what drive Reason to its ultimate of direction: the absolute totality that unconditioned in any way.

Now, the transcendental concept of reason always aims at the absolute totality in the synthesis of conditions, and does not end until it has reached that which is unconditioned absolutely, that is, in any relation.  (306)
Nun geht der transzendentale Vernunftbegriff jederzeit nur auf die absolute Totalität in der Synthesis der Bedingungen, und endigt niemals, als bei den schlechthin, d.i. in jeder Beziehung, Unbedingten.  (B383)

Ideal (Ideal)
An interesting derivation from Ideas (Ideen) is the Ideal (Ideal), which unlike Ideas has a specific image of the individual.  It is interesting because it looks like a specific object but has no object in the empirical world.

Still further removed from objective reality than the idea would seem to be what I call the ideal, by which I mean the idea, not only in concreto but in individuo, that is, an individual thing determinable or even determined by the idea alone.  (485)

Aber noch weiter, als die Idee, scheint dasjenige von der objektiven Realität entfernt zu sein, was ich das Ideal nenne, und worunter ich die Idee, nicht bloß in concreto, sondern in individuo, d.i. als ein einzelnes, durch die Idee allein bestimmbares, oder gar bestimmtes Ding, verstehe.  (B596)

Ideal is the idea of a divine understanding according to Plato.  We are only a few steps away from God, the topic I have to omit in this article.

What to us is an ideal, was in Plato's language an idea of a divine understanding, an individual object of its pure intuition, the most perfect of every kind of possible being, and the archetype of all copies in appearance.  (486)

Was uns ein Ideal ist, war dem Plato eine Idee des göttlichen Verstandes, ein einzelner Gegenstand in der reinen Anschauung desselben, das Vollkommenste einer jeden Art möglicher Wesen und der Urgrund aller Nachbilder in der Erscheinung.  (B597)

Below is the summary figure of Sensibility, Understanding and Reason.  (For the explanation of Illusion (Schein), please read the following chapter).

Transcendental ideas (Summary of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason #2)

2 Transcendental ideas

2.1 Transcendental Illusions (transzendentale Shein)
As is probably evident with the function of an Ideal in our life, Transcendental Ideas directs our cognition in a certain way.  They may orient us to something better and better, or to endless delusions, or Transcendental Illusions.  In order to avoid to use our Reason in a negative way, we need Critique of Dialectical Illusion (Kritik des dialektischen Scheins) (92, B86).

Transcendental Illusions –I make no distinction between Transcendental Illusions and Dialectical Illusions in this article— are hard to remove, though.  They carry concepts of our Understanding beyond the realm of experience to the world of Reason where nothing is conditioned and concepts of Understanding become Ideas of Reason.  Because Concepts from which Ideas derive are based on Intuitions in the empirical world of Sensibility, we often confuse Ideas of Reason are also related to the empirical world just like Concepts of Understanding are.  We mistakenly regard the claims of Ideas of Reason as valid in our empirical world of Appearance. 

Also, the similarity between the function of Understanding with that of Reason is deceptive.  Just as Understanding unites various Intuitions into a Concept, Reason unites various Concepts into an (transcendental) Idea.  The Concept of Understanding is empirically true as long as it is based on the objects in our empirical world.  Likewise, we’re led to believe that the Idea of Reason must be also empirically true as they are derived from Concepts of Understanding.  But by the time Concepts of Understanding become transcendental Ideas of Reason, they are deprived of specific constraints and conditions by which they’re bound to the empirical world.  Ideas of Reason can have no specific claims about their empirical existence in the world.  They only orient us to a certain direction of thought.  We need a critical understanding of how our Reason works.

Transcendental illusion, on the contrary, does not cease even after it has been uncovered and its worthlessness clearly revealed by transcendental criticism (for instance, the illusion inherent in the proposition, The world must have a beginning in time).  The cause of this is that there exists in our reason (considered subjectively as a faculty of human knowledge) fundamental rules and maxims of its use, which have the appearance of objective principles.  And this leads us to regard the subjective necessity of a certain connection of our concepts for the benefit of the understanding as an objective necessity in the determination of things in themselves.  (287)

Der transzendentale Schein dagegen hört gleichwohl nicht auf, ob man ihn schon aufgedeckt und seine Nichtigkeit durch die transzendentale Kritik deutlich eingesehen hat. (Z.B. der Schein in dem Satze: die Welt muß der Zeit nach einen Anfang haben.) Die Ursache hiervon ist diese, daß in unserer Vernunft (subjektiv als ein menschliches Erkenntnisvermögen betrachtet) Grundregeln und Maximen ihres Gebrauchs liegen, welche gänzlich das Ansehen objektiver Grundsätze haben, und wodurch es geschieht, daß die subjektive Notwendigkeit einer gewissen Verknüpfung unserer Begriffe, zugunsten des Verstandes, für eine objektive Notwendigkeit, der Bestimmung der Dinge an sich selbst, gehalten wird.  (B353)

2.2 Task of Transcendental Dialectic

Critique of Transcendental Illusions, called by Kant Transcendental Dialectic (92, B86), must distinguish immanent principles of Understanding and transcendent principles of Reason (Transcendental critique is about what makes something transcendent).  Understanding and Reason are connected, but their functions and territories must be distinguished.

The principles resulting from this supreme principle of pure reason will, however, be transcendent with regard to all appearances; that is to say, it will be impossible ever to make any adequate empirical use of such a principle.  It will thus be completely different from all principles of the understanding, the use of which is entirely immanent, inasmuch as they are directed only to the possibility of experience.

Die aus diesem obersten Prinzip der reinen Vernunft entspringenden Grundsätze werden aber in Ansehung aller Erscheinungen transzendent sein, d.i. es wird kein ihm adäquater empirischer Gebrauch von demselben jemals gemacht werden können. Er wird sich also von allen Grundsätzen des Verstandes (deren Gebrauch völlig immanent ist, indem sie nur die Möglichkeit der Erfahrung zu ihrem Thema haben,) gänzlich unterscheiden.  (B365)

Now we have the task of Transcendental Dialectic.

The task that is now before us in the Transcendental Dialectic is this: to discover the objective correctness, or otherwise the falsehood, of the principle that the series of conditions (in the synthesis of appearances, or in that of the thinking of things in general) extends up to the unconditioned, and what consequences result therefrom the empirical use of the understanding; to find out whether there really is such an objectively valid principle of reason, or merely, in place of it, a logical precept which requires us, by ascending to ever higher conditions, to approach their completeness and thus to bring to our knowledge the highest unity of reason that is possible to us; to find out, I say, whether, by some misconception, a mere tendency of reason has been mistaken for transcendental principle of pure reason, postulating, without sufficient reflection, unlimited completeness in the series of conditions in the objects themselves; and to find out, in that case, what kind of misconceptions and illusions may also have crept into syllogisms, the major premise of which has been taken from pure reason (and is perhaps a petition rather than a postulate) and ascends from experience to its conditions.  This, then, is our task in the transcendental dialectic, and it has to be developed from sources deeply hidden in human reason.  (295-296)

Ob nun jener Grundsatz: daß sich die Reihe der Bedingungen (in der Synthesis der Erscheinungen, oder auch des Denkens der Dinge überhaupt,) bis zum Unbedingten erstrecke, seine objektive Richtigkeit habe, oder nicht; welche Folgerungen daraus auf den empirischen Verstandesgebrauch fließen, oder ob es vielmehr überall keinen dergleichen objektivgültigen Vernunftsatz gebe, sondern eine bloß logische Vorschrift, sich im Aufsteigen zu immer höheren Bedingungen, der Vollständigkeit derselben zu nähern und dadurch die höchste uns mögliche Vernunfteinheit in unsere Erkenntnis zu bringen; ob, sage ich, dieses Bedürfnis der Vernunft durch einen Mißverstand für einen transzendentalen Grundsatz der reinen Vernunft gehalten worden, der eine solche unbeschränkte Vollständigkeit übereilterweise von der Reihe der Bedingungen in den Gegenständen selbst postuliert; was aber auch in diesem Falle für Mißdeutungen und Verblendungen in die Vernunftschlüsse, deren Obersatz aus reiner Vernunft genommen worden, (und der vielleicht mehr Petition als Postulat ist,) und die von der Erfahrung aufwärts zu ihren Bedingungen steigen, einschleichen mögen: das wird unser Geschäft in der transzendentalen Dialektik sein, welche wir jetzt aus ihren Quellen, die tief in der menschlichen Vernunft verborgen sind, entwickeln wollen.  (B365-366)

A Transcendental Illusion is neither confirmed nor refuted by our experience.  It therefore may claim its truth, when its contradiction also claims its own truth at the same time.

If we apply our reason, not merely to objects of experience, in order to make use of the principles of the understanding, but venture to extend it beyond the limits of experience, then there arise sophistical doctrines, which may neither hope to be confirmed nor fear to be refuted in experience.  Every one of them is not only in itself free from contradiction, but can even point to conditions of its necessity in the nature of reason itself - although, unfortunately, the assertion opposing it can produce equally valid and necessary grounds in its support.  (388)

Wenn wir unsere Vernunft nicht bloß, zum Gebrauch der Verstandesgrundsätze, auf Gegenstände der Erfahrung verwenden, sondern jene über die Grenze der letzteren hinaus auszudehnen wagen, so entspringen vernünftelnde Lehrsätze, die in der Erfahrung weder Bestätigung hoffen, noch Widerlegung fürchten dürfen, und deren jeder nicht allein an sich selbst ohne Widerspruch ist, sondern sogar in der Natur der Vernunft Bedingungen seiner Notwendigkeit antrifft, nur daß unglücklicherweise der Gegensatz ebenso gültige und notwendige Gründe der Behauptung auf seiner Seite hat.  (B448-449)

2.3 Thinking Subject (denkenden Subjekt), Conditions of Appearance (Reihe der Bedingungen der Erscheinung), and Conditions of all Objects of Thought (Bedingung aller Gegenstände des Denkens)

Kant presents three classes of transcendental ideas from which transcendental illusions may derive.  They are unities of The thinking subject, Series of Conditions of Appearance, Conditions of all objects of Thought.

All transcendental ideas, therefore, can be arranged in three classes: the first containing the absolute (unconditioned) unity of the thinking subject; the second the absolute unity of the series of conditions of appearance; the third the absolute unity of the conditions of all objects of thought in general

The thinking subject is the object of psychology; the sum total of all appearances (the world) is the object of cosmology; and the thing which contains the supreme condition of the possibility of all that can be thought (the being of all beings) is the object of theology.  (311)

Folglich werden alle transzendentalen Ideen sich unter drei Klassen bringen lassen, davon die erste die absolute (unbedingte) Einheit des denkenden Subjekts, die zweite die absolute Einheit der Reihe der Bedingungen der Erscheinung, die dritte die absolute Einheit der Bedingung aller Gegenstände des Denkens überhaupt enthält.

Das denkende Subjekt ist der Gegenstand der Psychologie, der Inbegriff aller Erscheinungen (die Welt) der Gegenstand der Kosmologie, und das Ding, welches die oberste Bedingung der Möglichkeit von allem, was gedacht werden kann, enthält, (das Wesen aller Wesen) der Gegenstand der Theologie.  (B391)

Of the three classes above, I examine the thinking subject in the next chapter.

‘I’ as the transcendental subject of thoughts = X (Summary of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason #3)

3 ‘I’ as the transcendental subject of thoughts = X

3.1 Pure Apperception (or self-conscious-perception)

The sense of self, ‘I’, seems to be most certain.  In the western modern orthodoxy, ‘I’ is the basis of cognition and agency (although, as a native speaker of Japanese which does not obligate the use of ‘I’, such certainty was not so much felt before I began to use English as a second language in my college days).  Kant argues that the sense of ‘I’ is something that accompanies with thought, something that is presumed to be exist prior to any experience (a priori), but not a substance that exists on its own.  ‘I’ is found (or demanded) whenever a bunch of intuitions are present.  The logic here seems circular, for it is: ‘I’ must exist because there is ‘my’ perception and thought, and ‘my’ perception and thought are only possible because ‘I’ exist.

It must be possible for the I think to accompany all my representations: for otherwise something would be represented within me that could not be thought at all, in other words, the representation would either be impossible, or at least would be nothing to me.  That representation which can be given prior to all thought is called intuition, and all the manifold of intuition has, therefore, a necessary relation to the I think in the same subject in which this manifold of intuition is found. (124)

Das: Ich denke, muß alle meine Vorstellungen begleiten können; denn sonst würde etwas in mir vorgestellt werden, was garnicht gedacht werden könnte, welches ebensoviel heißt, als die Vorstellung würde entweder unmöglich, oder wenigstens für mich nichts sein.  Diejenige Vorstellung, die vor allem Denken gegeben sein kann, heißt Anschauung. Also hat alles Mannigfaltige der Anschauung eine notwendige Beziehung auf das: Ich denke, in demselben Subjekt, darin dieses Mannigfaltige angetroffen wird.  (B131)

Although ‘I’ is something that accompanies with perception (Intuition, in Kantian terminology), ‘I’ is not given from the outside world but emerges spontaneously.  Kant calls what produces the sense of ‘I’ Pure Apperception (reine Apperzeption).  (I believe Apperzeption may better be translated as “self-conscious-perception”.  Ordinary apperceptions of things are “self-conscious-perception of things”, i.e., perception of things with the sense that it is ‘I’ that perceives them.  Pure apperception (reine Apperzeption) is the sheer sense of ‘I’ that must exist whenever any perception is experienced. 

This representation (the I think ), however, is an act of spontaneity, that is, it cannot be considered as belonging to sensibility.  I call it pure apperception, in order to distinguish it from empirical apperception, or also original apperception, because it is that self-consciousness which, by producing the representation, I think (which must be capable of accompanying all other representations, and which is one and the same in all consciousness), cannot itself be accompanied by any further representations.  (124-125)

Diese Vorstellung aber ist ein Aktus der Spontaneität, d.i. sie kann nicht als zur Sinnlichkeit gehörig angesehen werden. Ich nenne sie die reine Apperzeption, um sie von der empirischen zu unterscheiden, oder auch die ursprüngliche Apperzeption, weil sie dasjenige Selbstbewußtsein ist, was, indem es die Vorstellung Ich denke hervorbringt, die alle anderen muß begleiten können, und in allem Bewußtsein ein und dasselbe ist, von keiner weiter begleitet werden kann.  (B132)

This ‘I’ known to me, hence my knowledge, by pure Apperception (self-conscious-perception), does not require any experience and therefore is transcendental knowledge.  (NB. ‘Knowledge’ here is used as a translation word for “Erkenntnis”).  ‘I’, the transcendental unity of self-consciousness, seems to exist quite whenever perception or thought is experienced in whatever ways possible.

I also call the unity of apperception the transcendental unity of self-consciousness, in order to indicate that a priori knowledge can be obtained from it. For the manifold representations given in an intuition would not one and all be my representations, if they did not all belong to one self-consciousness.  What I mean is that, as my representations (even though I am not conscious of them as that), they must conform to the condition under which alone they can stand together in one universal self-consciousness, because otherwise they would not one and all belong to me.  (125)

Ich nenne auch die Einheit derselben die transzendentale Einheit des Selbstbewußtseins, um die Möglichkeit der Erkenntnis a priori aus ihr zu bezeichnen. Denn die mannigfaltigen Vorstellungen, die in einer gewissen Anschauung gegeben werden, würden nicht insgesamt meine Vorstellungen sein, wenn sie nicht insgesamt zu einem Selbstbewußtsein gehörten, d.i. als meine Vorstellungen (ob ich mich ihrer gleich nicht als solcher bewußt bin) müssen sie doch der Bedingung notwendig gemäß sein, unter der sie allein in einem allgemeinen Selbstbewußtsein zusammenstehen können, weil sie sonst nicht durchgängig mir angehören würden.  (B132)

Intuitions are given in Sensibility and these Intuitions are combined and united in Concepts in Understanding.  ‘I’ is required as the center of combination and unity.

The supreme principle of the possibility of all intuition in relation to sensibility was, according to the Transcendental Aesthetic, that all the manifold in intuitions is subject to the formal conditions of space and time.  The supreme principle of the same possibility in relation to the understanding is that all the manifold in intuition is subject to the conditions of the original synthetic unity of apperception.  All the manifold representations of intuition, as far as they are given to us, are subject to the first principle; as far as they must admit of being combined in one consciousness, to the second.  For without this combination nothing can be thought or known through these representations, because the given representations would not have in common the act of apperception, I think, and thus could not be comprehended in one self-consciousness.  (129-130)

Der oberste Grundsatz der Möglichkeit aller Anschauung in Beziehung auf die Sinnlichkeit war laut der transz. Ästhetik: daß alles Mannigfaltige derselben unter den formalen Bedingungen des Raumes und der Zeit stehen. Der oberste Grundsatz eben derselben in Beziehung auf den Verstand ist: daß alles Mannigfaltige der Anschauung unter Bedingungen der ursprünglich-synthetischen Einheit der Apperzeption stehe*. Unter dem ersteren stehen alle mannigfaltigen Vorstellungen der Anschauung, sofern sie uns gegeben werden, unter dem zweiten sofern sie in einem Bewußtsein müssen verbunden werden können; denn ohne das kann nichts dadurch gedacht oder erkannt werden, weil die gegebenen Vorstellungen den Aktus der Apperzeption, Ich denke, nicht gemein haben, und dadurch nicht in einem Selbstbewußtsein zusammengefaßt sein würden.  (B136-137)

At this center of perception as Apperception, Intuitions are united and synthesized to become my knowledge.  In this sense, if there is to be pure knowledge, it must be Apperception itself that is known to me whatever the content of knowledge may be.

The first pure knowledge of the understanding, therefore, on which all the rest of its use is founded, and which at the same time is entirely independent of all conditions of sensible intuition, is this very original synthetic unity of apperception.  (131).

Das erste reine Verstandeserkenntnis also, worauf sein ganzer übriger Gebrauch sich gründet, welches auch zugleich von allen Bedingungen der sinnlichen Anschauung ganz unabhängig ist, ist nun der Grundsatz der ursprünglichen synthetischen Einheit der Apperzeption.  (B137-138)

However, in this first pure knowledge, pure Apperception, I do not know WHAT I am or HOW I am.  I only know THAT I am, and as this knowledge is not given from the outside world, this sense of That I am is thought in Understanding.

In the transcendental synthesis of the manifold of representations in general, on the contrary, and therefore in the synthetic original unity of apperception, I am not conscious of myself as I appear to myself, nor as I am in myself, but conscious only that I am.  This representation is an act of thought, not of intuition.  (156)

Dagegen bin ich mir meiner selbst in der transzendentalen Synthesis des Mannigfaltigen der Vorstellungen überhaupt, mithin in der synthetischen ursprünglichen Einheit der Apperzeption, bewußt, nicht wie ich mir erscheine, noch wie ich an mir selbst bin, sondern nur daß ich bin. Diese Vorstellung ist ein Denken, nicht ein Anschauen.  (B157)

However, just like some other Concepts in Understanding, this concept of ‘I’ may turn into an Idea of Reason, and it is given features that are not in the empirical world.  Kant believes that the existence of ‘I’ as substance and the notion of ‘I’ as agent are such features, i.e., Transcendental Concepts, or possibly Transcendental Illusions.

For this inner perception is nothing more than the mere apperception, I think, which makes even all transcendental concepts possible, because in them we really say: I think substance, I think cause, etc.  (317)

Denn diese innere Wahrnehmung ist nichts weiter, als die bloße Apperzeption: Ich denke; welche sogar alle transzendentalen Begriffe möglich macht, in welchen es heißt: Ich denke die Substanz, die Ursache usw.  (B401)

If I can afford it, I should probably quote arguments of neuroscience of self-consciousness.  Neuroscience in general are reveling that ‘I’ is not located in a particular spot of the brain and that the agent of my action is not ‘I’ (conscious self) but nonconscious mind/body of mine.  Yet, as I do not have enough time to cite specific arguments and empirical evidence for them, please allow me to continue to summarize Kant.

3.2 Transcendental Subject of Thought = X

Before the sense of ‘I’ is turned into a transcendental concept or illusion, ‘I’ in my perception and thought is only something that accompanies them.  It may not even a concept yet, but only consciousness or thought that accompanies the content of my perception and thought.  The consciousness or thought of ‘I’ is the medium on which perception and thought are experienced.  For its indeterminate nature, it may probably be called Transcendental Subject of Thought = X.

I, of which we cannot even say that it is a concept, but only that it is a mere consciousness that accompanies all concepts.  Through this I, or he, or it (the thing), which thinks, nothing is represented beyond a transcendental subject of thoughts = X.  This subject is known only through the thoughts that are its predicates, and apart from them we can never have the slightest concepts of it; therefore we revolve around it in a perpetual circle, since before we can form any judgement about it we must already use its representation.  And this inconvenience is really inevitable, because consciousness in itself is not so much a representation distinguishing a particular object, but really a form of representation in general, insofar as this representation is to be called knowledge; of such representation alone can I say that I think something through it.  (319)

Ich; von der man nicht einmal sagen kann, daß sie ein Begriff sei, sondern ein bloßes Bewußtsein, das alle Begriffe begleitet. Durch dieses Ich, oder Er, oder Es (das Ding), welches denkt, wird nun nichts weiter, als ein transzendentales Subjekt der Gedanken vorgestellt = x, welches nur durch die Gedanken, die seine Prädikate sind, erkannt wird, und wovon wir, abgesondert, niemals den mindesten Begriff haben können; um welches wir uns daher in einem beständigen Zirkel herumdrehen, indem wir uns seiner Vorstellung jederzeit schon bedienen müssen, um irgend etwas von ihm zu urteilen; eine Unbequemlichkeit, die davon nicht zu trennen ist, weil das Bewußtsein an sich nicht sowohl eine Vorstellung ist, die ein besonderes Objekt unterscheidet, sondern eine Form derselben überhaupt, sofern sie Erkenntnis genannt werden soll; denn von der allein kann ich sagen, daß ich dadurch irgend etwas denke.  (B404)

‘I’ is only a transcendental idea (sometimes even illusion), and it does not correspond to any object in the empirical world.  ‘I’ cannot be known empirically.

The unity of consciousness, on which the categories are founded, is mistaken for an intuition of the subject as object, and the category of substance is applied to it.  But this unity is only the unity in thought, by which alone no object is given, and to which, therefore, the category of substance, which always presupposes a given intuition, cannot be applied.  And therefore the subject cannot be known at all.  (355)

Die Einheit des Bewußtseins, welche den Kategorien zum Grunde liegt, wird hier für Anschauung des Subjekts als Objekts genommen, und darauf die Kategorie der Substanz angewandt. Sie ist aber nur die Einheit im Denken, wodurch allein kein Objekt gegeben wird, worauf also die Kategorie der Substanz, als die jederzeit gegebene Anschauung voraussetzt, nicht angewandt, mithin dieses Subjekt gar nicht erkannt werden kann. (B422)

Although ‘I’ as a Transcendental Idea in Reason has no object in the empirical world, ‘I’ as a Concept in Understanding, connected to the empirical world through Intuitions in Sensibility designates for it one pure concept (‘notion) and one object: soul and body.

I, as thinking, am an object of inner sense, and am called soul; that which is an object of the outer senses is called body.  (316)

Ich, als denkend, bin ein Gegenstand des inneren Sinnes, und heiße Seele. Dasjenige, was ein Gegenstand äußerer Sinne ist, heißt Körper.  (B400)

Soul is much more mysterious than body.  Because it is a pure concept, it does not have empirical content.  And yet, Reason explores this concept and gives it transcendental features such as a simple substance, unchangeable identity, and the fundamental power (Grundkraft) for everything.  What happens in the empirical world of Appearance is now regarded as different from what happens within soul.

Reason, therefore, instead of taking from experience this concept (of what the soul is in reality), which would not leads us very far, prefers the concept of the empirical unity of all thought; and by thinking this unity as unconditioned and original, reason changes this concept into a concept of reason (idea) of a simple substance - a substance which is in itself unchangeable (personally identical), and stands in communication with other actual things outside it; in a word, into a concept of reason of a simple self-subsistent intelligence.  In doing this, reason has before its eyes only principles of systematic unity for the explanation of appearances of the soul.  Through these principles, all determinations may be regarded as exisiting in one subject, all powers, as much as possible, as derived from one fundamental power, and all changes as belonging to the states of one and the same permanent being, while all appearances in space are represented as totally different from the actions of thought.  (557)

Statt des Erfahrungsbegriffs also (von dem, was die Seele wirklich ist), der uns nicht weit führen kann, nimmt die Vernunft den Begriff der empirischen Einheit alles Denkens, und macht dadurch, daß sie diese Einheit unbedingt und ursprünglich denkt, aus demselben einen Vernunftbegriff (Idee) von einer einfachen Substanz, die an sich selbst unwandelbar (persönlich identisch), mit anderen wirklichen Dingen außer ihr in Gemeinschaft stehe; mit einem Worte: von einer einfachen selbständigen Intelligenz. Hierbei aber hat sie nichts anderes vor Augen, als Prinzipien der systematischen Einheit in Erklärung der Erscheinungen der Seele, nämlich: alle Bestimmungen, als in einem einigen Subjekte, alle Kräfte, so viel möglich, als abgeleitet von einer einigen Grundkraft, allen Wechsel, als gehörig zu den Zuständen eines und desselben beharrlichen Wesens zu betrachten, und alle Erscheinungen im Raume, als von den Handlungen des Denkens ganz unterschieden vorzustellen.  (B710)

Below is a summary figure about ‘I’.

Freedom (Summary of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason #4)

4 Freedom

4.1 Freedom as a Transcendental Idea

Just like ‘I’, ‘freedom’ can either be a Concept of Understanding which is connected to the empirical world through Sensibility or a Transcendental Idea of Reason.  Most people, including contemporary neuroscientists, use the term in the first meaning; Freedom, or ‘free will’, is the faculty of beginning something spontaneously.  Most modern people believe that they have their freedom and that all (or at least most) actions of theirs are initiated by their freedom. 

Many contemporary neuroscientists oppose this popular belief, offering for example evidence that relevant neural activities are initiated before they make a decision (or become aware of their free will in their consciousness).  I believe that neuroscientists are right when they question our ‘freedom’ as understood as a Concept of Understanding.  In the world of natural science there is no or little room for our free will. 

However, it does not necessarily follow that ‘freedom’ or ‘free will’ as a Transcendental Idea should also be denied.  Kant defines ‘freedom’ as a Transcendental Idea as follows.

By freedom, on the contrary, in its cosmological meaning, I understand the faculty of beginning a state spontaneously.  Its causality, therefore, does not depend, according to the law of nature, on another cause, by which it is determined in time.  In this sense, freedom is a pure transcendental idea, which, firstly, contains nothing derived from experience; and, secondly, the object of this idea cannot be given determinately in any experience, because there is a universal law of the very possibility of all experience, according to which everything that happens must have a cause, and according to which, therefore, the causality of the cause, which itself has happened or arisen, must also in turn have a cause.  In this manner, the whole field of experience, however far it may extend, has been changed into the sum total of mere nature.  As, however, it is impossible in this way to arrive at an absolute totality of the conditions in causal relations, reason creates for itself the idea of spontaneity which can begin to act of itself, without an antecedent cause determining it to action, according to the law of causal connection.  (463)

Dagegen verstehe ich unter Freiheit, im kosmologischen Verstande, das Vermögen, einen Zustand von selbst anzufangen, deren Kausalität also nicht nach dem Naturgesetze wiederum unter einer anderen Ursache steht, welche sie der Zeit nach bestimmte. Die Freiheit ist in dieser Bedeutung eine reine transzendentale Idee, die erstlich nichts von der Erfahrung Entlehntes enthält, zweitens deren Gegenstand auch in keiner Erfahrung bestimmt gegeben werden kann, weil es ein allgemeines Gesetz, selbst der Möglichkeit aller Erfahrung, ist, daß alles, was geschieht, eine Ursache, mithin auch die Kausalität der Ursache, die selbst geschehen, oder entstanden, wiederum eine Ursache haben müsse; wodurch denn das ganze Feld der Erfahrung, so weit es sich erstrecken mag, in einen Inbegriff bloßer Natur verwandelt wird. Da aber auf solche Weise keine absolute Totalität der Bedingungen im Kausalverhältnisse herauszubekommen ist, so schafft sich die Vernunft die Idee von einer Spontaneität, die von selbst anheben könne zu handeln, ohne daß eine andere Ursache vorangeschickt werden dürfe, sie wiederum nach dem Gesetze der Kausalverknüpfung zur Handlung zu bestimmen.  (B561)

Freedom as defined as independent of the law of nature and as unconditioned by any experience is truly a Transcendental Idea.  This idea may be a sheer nonsense in natural science, but it produces in Reason another Transcendental Idea of “ought”, which, as we experience often, orient our thought (and may affect, in the long run, our actions).  You may argure that the imperative of “ought” may be a Transcendental Illusion rather than a Transcendental Idea as it sometimes torments you, but if it is used properly by Reason it has a certain role in our life as we understand and live it.

(Incidentally, Wittgenstein said in 6.52 of Tractatus, “We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problem of life have still not been touched at all.  Of course there is then no question left, and just this is the answer.”  Do Kant and Wittgenstein mean almost the same point?  -- A nonscientific idea of “ought” is an orientation that guides or anguishes us—)

That our reason possesses causality, or that we at least conceive such a causality in it, is clear from the imperative which, in all practical matters, we impose as rules on our executive powers.  The ought expresses a kind of necessity and connection with grounds that we do not find elsewhere in the whole of nature.  The understanding can know in nature only what is, what has been or what will be.  It is impossible that anything in nature ought to be different from what in fact it is in all these relations of time; nay, if we only look at the course of nature, the ought has no meaning whatever.  We cannot ask what ought to happen in nature, as little as we can ask what qualities a circle ought to possess.  We can only ask what happens in nature, and what properties the circle has.  (472)

Daß diese Vernunft nun Kausalität habe, wenigstens wir uns eine dergleichen an ihr vorstellen, ist aus den Imperativen klar, welche wir in allem Praktischen den ausübenden Kräften als Regeln aufgeben. Das Sollen drückt eine Art von Notwendigkeit und Verknüpfung mit Gründen aus, die in der ganzen Natur sonst nicht vorkommt. Der Verstand kann von dieser nur erkennen, was da ist, oder gewesen ist, oder sein wird. Es ist unmöglich, daß etwas darin anders sein soll, als es in allen diesen Zeitverhältnissen in der Tat ist, ja das Sollen, wenn man bloß den Lauf der Natur vor Augen hat, hat ganz und gar keine Bedeutung. Wir können gar nicht fragen: was in der Natur geschehen soll; ebensowenig, als: was für Eigenschaften ein Zirkel haben soll, sondern, was darin geschieht, oder welche Eigenschaften der letztere hat.  (B575)

4.2 Antinomy of freedom

It is important to realize that Kant never means to substantiate or hypostatize the Transcendental Idea of freedom.  There is no way to make an unconditioned idea an entity in the conditioned world.

It should be clearly understood that, in what we have said, we had no intention of establishing the reality of freedom, as one of the faculties which contain the cause of the appearances of our world of sense.  For not only would this have been no transcendental consideration at all, which is concerned only with concepts, but it could never have succeeded, because from experience we can never infer something that need not be thought according to the laws of experience.  It was not even our intention to prove the possibility of freedom; for in this, too, we should not have succeeded, because from mere a priori concepts we cannot know the possibility of any real ground or any causality.  We have here treated freedom only as a transcendental idea, which makes reason imagine that it can absolutely begin the series of conditions in appearances through the sensibly unconditioned; but here reason becomes involved in an antimony with its own laws, the laws which it prescribes to the empirical use of the understanding.  That this antinomy rests on a mere illusion, and that nature does not conflict with the causality of freedom, this was the only thing which we were able to show, and cared to show.  (478-479)

Man muß wohl bemerken: daß wir hierdurch nicht die Wirklichkeit der Freiheit, als eines der Vermögen, welche die Ursache von den Erscheinungen unserer Sinnenwelt enthalten, haben dartun wollen Denn, außer daß dieses gar keine transzendentale Betrachtung, die bloß mit Begriffen zu tun hat, gewesen sein würde, so könnte es auch nicht gelingen, indem wir aus der Erfahrung niemals auf etwas, was gar nicht nach Erfahrungsgesetzen gedacht werden muß, schließen können. Ferner haben wir auch gar nicht einmal die Möglichkeit der Freiheit beweisen wollen; denn dieses wäre auch nicht gelungen, weil wir überhaupt von keinem Realgrunde und keiner Kausalität, aus bloßen Begriffen a priori, die Möglichkeit erkennen können. Die Freiheit wird hier nur als transzendentale Idee behandelt, wodurch die Vernunft die Reihe der Bedingungen in der Erscheinung durch das Sinnlichunbedingte schlechthin anzuheben denkt, dabei sich aber in eine Antinomie mit ihren eigenen Gesetzen, welche sie dem empirischen Gebrauche des Verstandes vorschreibt, verwickelt. Daß nun diese Antinomie auf einem bloßen Scheine beruhe, und, daß Natur der Kausalität aus Freiheit wenigstens nicht widerstreite, das war das einzige, was wir leisten konnten, und woran es uns auch einzig und allein gelegen war. (B587)

The antinomy Kant referred above is this:

Thesis: Causality according to the laws of nature is not the only causality from which all the appearances of the world can be derived.  In order to account for these appearances, it is necessary also to admit another causality, that of freedom.  (405)

Die Kausalität nach Gesetzen der Natur ist nicht die einzige, aus welcher die Erscheinungen der Welt insgesamt abgeleitet werden können. Es ist noch eine Kausalität durch Freiheit zur Erklärung derselben anzunehmen notwendig. (B472)

Antithesis: There is no freedom, but everything in the world takes place solely according to laws of nature.  (405)

Es ist keine Freiheit, sondern alles in der Welt geschieht lediglich nach Gesetzen der Natur.  (B473)

This is indeed an antinomy as we can successfully argue either way.  This contradiction is from our confusion between the conditioned and the unconditioned.  Natural science, for example, examines issues in the conditioned world as such, whereas metaphysics deals with issues in the unconditioned world of ideas.  Natural science and metaphysics cannot conflict with each other as their domains and methods are different, although metaphysics tacitly orients natural science, and natural science occasionally demands some changes in metaphisics.

We may be completely determined by the law of nature.  Yet, functions of Reason that we possess almost necessarily produce Transcendental Ideas such as ‘I’ or ‘freedom’ (free will) and we may use them wisely to guide us for a ‘good’ life – here we see another Transcendental Idea—, or play with them delusively.  We certainly need a principle of Reason.