Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 1 [a-laws]
Baldwin, James Mark
gardecl as transcending in generality even 
the Aristotelian categories themselves. These 
transcendentals were unity, truth, and good¬ 
ness, together with thing and something. But 
the term transcendentals referred solely to the 
high degree of generality of these predicates, 
and had no relation to the possibility of our 
knowing them, or to the conditions of our 
knowledge of them. In Baumgarten’s Meta- 
physica (§§ 72-123), while these same pre¬ 
dicates, unum, verum, bonum, are treated 
upon the basis of the scholastic tradition, 
stress is laid upon the fact that, in every 
being, these predicates are in some sense 
present of necessity ; and unum transcenden- 
taliter is translated, in Baumgarten’s note 
(§ 73)) by the German phrase wesentlich eins, 
while veritas transcendentalis (§ 89) is trans¬ 
lated in the note by nothwendige metaphysische 
Wahrheit. The tioofold character of the 
epithet transcendental, as thus known to Kant 
in former usage, appeared to him to warrant 
an analogous, but novel usage. For transcen¬ 
dental had thus been (a) no direct predicate 
of any object, but a predicate technically 
applied to certain predicates, viz., as we have 
seen, to the predicates unum, verum, bonum. 
(b) It had also (in Baumgarten’s usage) come 
to imply a certain necessity and universality 
aboutthese predicates themselves. Havingonce 
proposed to himself the problem of a theory of 
necessary knowledge, or of knowledge valid in 
advance of all experience, Kant needed a pre¬ 
dicate to characterize the type of knowledge 
which should constitute this new theory. He 
chose transcendental, and declared (Krit. d. 
reinen Vernunft, 2nd ed., 25) that by transcen- 
dentale Erkenntniss he intended (a) to mean 
not any kind of knowledge of objects, but a 
knowledge concerned with a particular type 
of knowledge {fErkenntnissart), viz. of that type 
of knowledge which (13) his new theory of the 
necessary principles of the understanding was 
to embody. This new usage thus imitated, for 
the purposes of Kant’s theory, both of the 
aspects of Baumgarten’s former usage. 
(13) But the meaning of transcendental as 
theoretical knowledge about the necessary prin¬ 
ciples of all knowledge about objects never 
remains steadfast in Kant’s usage, just because 
he had so long lectured upon Baumgarten’s 
text, and because the old usage entered into 
all sorts of curious psychological complications, 
in his own mind, with the ideas associated 
with his new enterprise. The term is otherwise 
explained in the Krit. d.reinenVernunft, 352-3. 
It is otherwise used in a fashion which 
Adickes calls weitherzig (see his note to p. 25 
of the 2nd ed. of the Krit. d. reinen Vernunft), 
and which Vaihinger declares to constitute 
the ‘ most difficult terminological problem ’ in 
Kant, and even in ‘all modern philosophy’ 
(Commentar, i. 467). The term is often 
confused with transcendent, and then means 
going beyond, or transcending, the limits of 
human knowledge. Of the other meanings, 
no complete account has yet been published 
by any student. They must be made out 
from the context, each time afresh. 
(14) Our necessary knowledge about the 
world of experience is founded upon a priori 
principles. The term here used has its origin 
in the well-known Aristotelian distinction 
between what is prior in nature and what is 
prior for us. In modern thought, ever since 
the scholastic period, the Aristotelian dis¬ 
tinction had been familiar ; and the special 
expressions a priori and a posteriori, used as 
adjective phrases qualifying especially the 
noun demonstration, had been employed since 
the later scholasticism. To know or demon¬ 
strate a priori is, in this sense, to know 
through causes or principles, as opposed to a 
knowledge gained wholly through the parti¬ 
cular facts of experience. Kant gives the 
term a new and more special meaning. Know¬ 
ledge a priori is for him knowledge in advance 
of all experience, and hence is a knowledge of 
the content of any of the necessary concepts 
or principles of thought. These necessary 
principles are themselves a priori, because 
they are independent of experience. 
(15) But by virtue of this knowledge, which 
we get through the a priori principles, we 
become acquainted with phenomena, and not 
with Noumena, with Erscheinungen, and not 
with Dinge an sich. The terms here used have 
become extremely familiar in recent literature. 
Their Kantian usage still suggests, however, 
many topics of controversy. The phrase an 
sich goes back to the well-known Greek usage, 
in both Plato and Aristotle, according to which 
anything that truly exists, or that truly is 
known, exists or is known kad’ avr6, i. e. per 
se or in se (cf. Aristotle, Met., VII. 4. 1029 b). 
Kant’s relative novelty in usage lies in the 
fact that in speaking of the Ding an sich he 
emphasizes the thing in itself, not in an 
abstract contrast to other things in general, 
or to its relations to such other things, but 
in a contrast with knowledge only. This con¬ 
trast of the thing in itself with the thing’s 
seeming or appearance was indeed not new ; 
but Kant expressly emphasizes it as against 
Q q 2 


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