Kant's Dreams of a Critical Mysticism

by Stephen Palmquist (stevepq@hkbu.edu.hk)

From: http://www.hkbu.edu.hk/~ppp/ksp2/KCR2.html

1. The Traditional Myth of Kant's 'Awakening'

Kant's life is traditionally portrayed as falling into two rather distinct peri­ods. The years prior to 1770 form the 'pre-Critical' period, while those from 1770 onwards form the 'Critical' period. The turning-point is placed in the year 1770 because this is when Kant wrote the Inaugural Dissertation for his newly gained position as Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Königsberg. In this work, entitled On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World [Kt19], he proposed for the first time that space and time should be regarded as 'forms of intuition' that human subjects read into experience, rather than as self-subsisting attributes of nature that we read out from the objects we experience. The typical 'textbook' account of Kant's life usually declares that the 'pre-Critical' Kant was a Leibnizian dogmatist, trained in the school of Wolffian rationalism, and was interested as much in natural science as in philosophy, but that sometime around 1770 Kant was suddenly 'awakened' from his 'dogmatic slumbers' by his reflection on David Hume's philosophy.[1] Some commentators, such as Kuehn [Ku83:191], go so far as to say not only that 'Kant and Hume aim at the very same thing', but that 'all the specific doctrines of Kant's critical enterprise are intimately bound up with Hume's influence on Kant.'

Although it is difficult to determine the exact nature and date of this dra­matic awakening, there is no doubt that Kant was familiar with Hume's ideas by the early 1760s; indeed, so the story goes, in 1766 he published a book that adopts Hume's empiricist standpoint almost completely.[2] This book, entitled Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, Illustrated by Dreams of Metaphysics [Kt18], is typical­ly interpreted as a minor work of an exceedingly skeptical nature, and of rela­tively little importance in understanding Kant's mature thought. This 'strangest and most tortured of Kant's writings' [Wa72:34] is, at best, a stage he passed out of as quickly as he passed into it, and at worst, an embarrassment for Kant and Kant scholars alike. The embar­rass­ment could come not only as a result of the rather unortho­dox subject-matter (visions and other mystical experiences), but because of the flippant attitude Kant adopts from time to time throughout the book [see note II.13]. Indeed, regardless of how we interpret the philo­sophical content of this book, the psychological disposition of its author, who had recently entered his fifth decade, would appear to be that of a man in the midst of what we might nowadays call a mid-life crisis.[3]

The traditional account contains at least as much error as truth. While it is true that Kant never mentions his mature theory of the tran­scendental ideality of space and time before 1770, it is not true that he owes the theory to Hume (whose theory of space and time bears little resemblance to Kant's). Nor is it legitimate to equate this doctrine (expounded in its official form in the Aesthetic of Kt1) with the term 'Critical', as is implied by the dating of the Critical period from 1770. On the contrary, Kant associates his 'new method of thought, namely, that we can know a priori of things only what we ourselves put into them', not with the Critical method, but with the new 'Copernican' insight he believes will enable him to revolutionize philos­ophy [Kt1:xvi-xviii]. His de­scription and use of criticism as a philosoph­ical method is quite distinct from its application to problems in metaphysics by means of the Copernican hypoth­esis. Thus, when Kant instructed the editor of his minor writings to ignore all those written before 1770 [see Se00:x], he was not defining the starting point of his application of the Critical method, but rather that of his application of the Copernican hypothesis to the task of constructing a new philosophical System. If we must divide his life into two periods at 1770, we should there­fore avoid using the term 'pre-Critical' (as others have advised, but with­out giving a vi­able alternative [Be92:36; De94:174]) and refer instead to the 'pre-Copernican' and 'Coper­nican' periods. Adopting this new label will protect us from making inconsis­tent statements such as Gulick's [Gu94:99], implicitly conflating these two forms of revolution: 'Kant's self-designated Copernican revolution ush­ered in his critical period.' Since Kant exhibited 'Critical' tendencies through­out his life, his mature years should be named the 'Copernican' period.

Before we proceed it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of Kant's mature conception of 'criticism' or 'critique' (Kritik), as elaborated in Kt1. In the first edition Preface, Kant describes his era as 'the age of criticism', during which reason accords 'sincere respect ... only to that which has been able to sus­tain the test of free and open examina­tion' [Kt1:Axin]. But this enlightened 'habit of thought' can be trusted only if it submits to its own 'tribunal' of criticism [Axi-xii]. Thus 'the subject-matter of our critical enquiry' (i.e., of the entire Critical philosophy) is reason itself [Axiv], and its 'first task' is 'to discov­er the sources and conditions of the possibility of such criticism' [Axxi]. This means the questions addressed to reason cannot be answered by means of

a dogmatic and visionary insistence upon knowledge ... that can be catered for only through magical devices, in which I am no adept. Such ways of answering them are, indeed, not within the intention of the natural constitution of our reason; and ... it is the duty of philosophy to counteract their deceptive influence, no matter what prized and cherished dreams may have to be disowned.[4]

Instead, only by first examining 'the very nature of knowledge itself' can we answer reason's questions in such a way as to provide solutions to the prob­lems of metaphysics [Axiii-xiv].

In the second edition Preface Kant not only describes more fully the subject-matter of the particular type of critique he plans to engage in, but also ex­plains more clearly the nature of the Critical method. Metaphysics will be 'purified by criticism and established once for all': the purification is 'merely negative, warning us that we must never venture with speculative reason be­yond the limits of experience'; but the establishment is positive inasmuch as it 'removes an obstacle which stands in the way of the employment of practical reason' [Kt1:xxiv-xxv]. In other words, the scope of reason's speculative (i.e., theoretical) standpoint is narrowed by tying it to sensibility, but this frees meta­physics to be established on the firmer foundation of reason's practical stand­point-i.e., on morality [xxv]. The Critical method, therefore, is intended to establish limits, but to do so for both negative and positive purposes. The for­mer can be seen when Kant refers to 'our critical distinction between two modes of representation, the sensible and the intellectual' and immediately adds 'and of the resulting limitation ...';[5] likewise, he argues that noncontradictory doctrines of freedom and morality are 'possible only in so far as criticism ... has limited all that we can theoretically know to mere appearances' [xxix]. The positive benefit of such limitations is that they enable us to avoid 'dogmatism' (defined here as 'the preconception that it is possible to make headway in meta­physics without a previous criticism of pure reason'), which 'is the source of all that [skeptical] unbelief ... which wars against morality' [xxx]. Indeed, Kant goes so far as to say that 'all objections to morality and religion will be for ever silenced' [xxxi], because his critique will 'sever the root of materialism, fatal­ism, atheism, free-thinking, fanaticism, and superstition ... as well as of ideal­ism and scepticism' [xxxiv].

Throughout the rest of Kt1 Kant repeats many of these same claims about the nature of criticism in its special, philosophical form. In most of their occur­rences the words 'critical', 'criticism', and 'critique' are used in close connec­tion with some mention of the limitations of knowledge.[6] The only interesting exception is that on several occasions he adds that criticism serves as a middle way between the opposite extremes of dogmatism and skepticism [Kt1:22-3, A388-9,784-5,789,797]. Indeed, this epitomizes Kant's association of the Critical method with synthesis, which he claims always takes the triadic form of '(1) a condition, (2) a conditioned, (3) the concept arising from the union of the conditioned with its condition' [Kt7:197n]. And of course, the most basic example of his use of this pattern is his exposition of the Critical philosophy in the form of three Critiques.

This brief analysis of Kant's understanding of the Critical method reveals that he never associates it directly with the Copernican hypothesis, but instead, with several key distinctions. The Critical method is, for Kant, the method of striking a middle way between two extremes ('a third step', as he calls it in Kt1:789 [s.a. 177,194,196,264,315,760-1,794]). It operates by trying to locate the boundary between what can be known (and proved) and what can never be known (yet remains possible)-the boundary line being defined in terms of 'the limits of all possible experience' [e.g., 121]. Thus it is closely associated with 'the distinction between the transcendental and the empirical' [81], as well as with that between speculative (theoretical) and practical (moral) 'employments of reason', or standpoints.[7] Although certain apparently skeptical claims have to be made on the way, the ultimate purpose of criticism for Kant is positive: to provide a means of constructing the foundation for metaphysics upon solid (nonspeculative, moral) grounds.

A careful reading of Kant's works reveals that traces of this Critical way of doing philosophy are evident throughout most of his writings, from the earliest essays on metaphysics and natural philosophy to the latest essays on religion, political history, and other subjects.[8] Indeed, the fact that he uses this method to develop and expound the implications of his Copernican hypothesis is what gives lasting value to the theories that arise out of it, and not vice versa. There is no need to provide here a thoroughgoing proof of the ubiquity of the Critical method in Kant's writings [but see KSP1:32,39 and passim]. Instead I shall concentrate on Kt18 because, in proportion to its importance, it is the most neglected and/or misunder­stood book in the corpus of Kant's writings. The next section sketches the contents of this book, after which I shall draw attention in II.3 to its Critical character and discuss its role in Kant's discovery of the Copernican hypothesis. Finally, I shall offer some brief suggestions in II.4 as to the relation between Kt18 and Kant's ma­ture System of Perspectives. This will prepare the way for a proper understand­ing of Kant's views not only on theology and religion (Parts Two and Three), but also on mystical experi­ence itself. In Part Four I shall therefore return to this theme and consider in more detail the possibility of viewing Kant's en­tire System as the elaboration of a 'Critical mysticism', first en­visaged in Kt18 and (nearly) brought to full fruition in Kant's last, un­completed work, Kt9.

2. Kant's Criticism of Swedenborg's Mystical Dreams

In Kt18 Kant examines the nature and possibility of mystical visions, paying special attention to the claims of a Swedish writer and accomplished scientist named Emanuel Swedenborg.[9] Kant examines these visions not only to explore the limits of his own commitment to a belief in the spirit world,[10] but also (and more importantly) in order to draw attention to the dangers of specu­lative metaphysics by comparing it with fanatical mysticism. This anal­ogy, present as it is in the very title of the work, will prove to be of utmost im­portance in understanding how Kt18 relates to the later development of Kant's System. As noted earlier, Kt18 is commonly interpreted as evidence of a radically empiricist stage in Kant's development, where he is supposedly adopting something of a Humean position. But his actual intention, as we shall see, is to encourage a Critical attitude: while he comes down hard on the misuse of reason by spirit-seers and metaphysicians when they regard their respective dreams 'as a source of knowledge' [see Se00:146], he expresses quite clearly his own dream that a properly balanced approach to both mysticism and meta­physics will someday emerge.[11] A detailed examination of Kt18 can there­fore provide some helpful clues as to Kant's motivations for constructing the Critical philosophy itself.

The mystical experiences considered in Kt18 are not experiences of the presence of God (i.e., 'of infinite spirit which is originator and preserver of the universe' [Kt18:321n(44n)]), but experiences of lower spiritual beings, who are supposed to be able to communicate with earthly beings in visions and ap­paritions. Although Kant ridicules those who have such experiences at several points in Kt18, he reveals his private view of such experiences in two im­por­tant letters. In a letter to Charlotte von Knoblock (dated 10 August, prob­a­bly 1763) he admits he 'always considered it to be most in agreement with sound reason to incline to the negative side ..., until the report concerning Sweden­borg came to my notice.'[12] After recounting several impressive stories, Kant tells how Swedenborg was once able to describe in precise detail a fire that 'had just broken out in Stockholm', even though he was fifty miles away in Göte­borg [Se00:158]. He says this 'occurrence appears to me to have the greatest weight of proof, and to place the assertion respecting Swe­denborg's extraordi­nary gift beyond all possibility of doubt.' In a subsequent letter (8 April 1766) to Mendelssohn [q.i. 162] Kant explains that he clothed his thoughts with ridicule in Kt18 in order to avoid being ridiculed by other philosophers for paying attention to mystical visions (hardly taken se­riously by most philoso­phers in the Enlightenment [see Kt18:353-4(91-2)]). He admits:

the attitude of my own mind is inconsistent and, so far as these stories are con­cerned, I cannot help having a slight inclination for things of this kind, and indeed, as regards their reasonableness, I cannot help cherishing an opinion that there is some validity in these experiences in spite of all the absurdities involved in the stories about them ...

Elsewhere in the same letter he draws a Critical conclusion: 'Neither the pos­sibility nor the impossibility of this kind of thing can be proved, and if some­one attacked Swedenborg's dreams as impossible, I should undertake to defend them.'[13] Clearly, Kant believed something significant is happening in such experiences-significant enough to merit a comparison with the tasks of meta­physics, 'the dream science itself' [AA10:67(Zw67:55)], to which he admits to being hopelessly 'in love' [see I.2, above]. The problem this set for him was to describe 'just what kind of a thing that is about which these people think they understand so much' [Kt18: 319(41)].

In the Preface to Kt18 Kant hints at the Critical nature of his inquiry by asking two opposing questions, but offering a 'third way out': he asks (1) 'Shall [the philosopher] wholly deny the truth of all the apparitions [eye-witnesses] tell about?'; or (2) 'Shall he, on the other hand, admit even one of these stories?'; and he answers that (3) the philosopher should 'hold on to the useful'.[14] The treatise itself consists of seven chapters, grouped in two parts: Part One contains four 'dogmatic' chapters and Part Two contains three 'historical' chapters. The correspondence between these two parts and the structure of the System he was soon to begin elaborating is evi­dent by the fact that Part One ends with a chapter on 'Theoretical Conclu­sions' and Part Two ends with a chapter on 'Practical Conclusions' [348(85),368(115)], thus fore­shadowing the division between the first and second Critiques.

The theoretical part begins in Chapter One, under the heading 'A compli­cated metaphysical knot which can be untied or cut according to choice' [Kt18:319(41)], by discussing what a spirit is or might be. Kant con­fesses:

I do not know if there are spirits, yea, what is more, I do not even know what the word 'spirit' signifies. But, as I have often used it myself, and have heard others using it, something must be understood by it, be this something mere fancy or reality. [Kt18:320(42)]

To this rather Wittgensteinian remark he adds that 'the conception of spiritual nature cannot be drawn from experience', though its 'hidden sense' can be drawn 'out of its obscurity through a comparison of sundry cases of applica­tion' [320n(42-3n)]. He then argues that a spirit must be conceived as a simple, immaterial being, possessing reason as an internal quality [320-1(43-5)]. After considering some of the difficulties associated with this concept, he adopts an entirely Critical position: 'The possibility of the existence of immaterial beings can ... be supposed without fear of its being disproved, but also without hope of proving it by reason' [323(46-7), e.a.]. If one assumes 'that the soul of man is a spirit', even though this cannot be proved, then the problem arises as to how it is connected with the body [324-5(48-9)]. Kant rejects the Cartesian focus on a mechanism in the brain in favor of 'common experience':[15]

Nobody ... is conscious of occupying a separate place in his body, but only of that place which he occupies as a man in regard to the world around him. I would, therefore, keep to common experience, and would say, provisionally, where I sense, there I am. I am just as immediately in the tips of my fingers, as in my head. It is myself who suffers in the heel and whose heart beats in affection.[16]

The chapter concludes with the confession 'that I am very much inclined to as­sert the existence of immaterial natures in the world, and to put my soul into that class of beings' [327(52)]. Although he concedes that the various ques­tions concerned with such a belief are 'above my intelligence' [328(54)], he does suggest in Kt18:327n(52-3n) that 'Whatever in the world contains a prin­ciple of life, seems to be of immaterial nature. For all life rests on the inner capacity [cf. freedom in Kt4] to determine one's self by one's own will power.'

After confirming the metaphysical possibility of (and his personal belief in) spirits, Kant presents in Chapter Two 'a fragment of secret philosophy aiming to establish communion with the spirit-world' [Kt18:329(55)]. He begins by positing an 'immaterial world' that is conceived 'as a great whole, an immea­surable but unknown gradation of beings and active natures by which alone the dead matter of the corporeal world is endued with life.'[17] As a member of both the material and the immaterial world, a human being 'forms a personal unit' [332(60)]. Kant conjectures that purely immaterial beings may 'flow into the souls of men as into beings of their own nature, and ... are actually at all times in mutual intercourse with them', though the results of such intercourse cannot ordinarily 'be communicated to the other purely spiritual beings', nor 'be trans­ferred into the consciousness of men' [333(61)]. As evidence for such a com­munion of spirits, Kant examines the nature of morality. Using one of his favorite geometrical metaphors (that of intersecting lines), he says in Kt18: 334-5(63): 'The point to which the lines of direction of our impulses converge is ... not only in ourselves, but ... in the will of others outside of ourselves.' The fact that our actions are motivated not only by selfishness, but also by duty and benevolence, reveals that 'we are dependent upon the rule of the will of all' [335(64)]; and 'the sensation of this dependence'-i.e., our 'sense of morali­ty'-suggests that 'the community of all thinking beings' is governed by 'a moral unity, and a systematic constitution according to purely spiritual laws.' Thus, 'because the morality of an action concerns the inner state of the spirit', its effect can be fully realized not in the empirical world, but 'only in the im­mediate communion of spirits' [336(65)].

In reply to the possible objection that, given this view of the spirit-world, 'the scarcity of apparitions' seems 'extraordinary', Kant stresses that 'the con­ceptions of the one world are not ideas associated with those of the other world'; so even if we have a 'clear and perspicuous' spiritual conception, this cannot be regarded as 'an object of actual [i.e., material] sight and experi­ence.'[18] However, he freely admits that a person, being both material and im­material, can become

conscious of the influences of the spirit-world even in this life. For spiritual ideas ... stir up those pictures which are related to them and awake analogous ideas of our senses. These, it is true, would not be spiritual conceptions themselves, but yet their symbols.... Thus it is not improbable that spiritual sensations can pass over into consciousness if they act upon correlated ideas of the senses. [338-9(69-70)]

Even 'our higher concepts of reason' need to 'clothe themselves' in, 'as it were, a bodily garment to make themselves clear', as when 'the geometrician represents time by a line' [339(69-70)]. An actual apparition, which might 'indicate a disease, because it presupposes an altered balance of the nerves', is unusual because it is based not on a simple analogy, but on 'a delusion of the imagination', in which 'a true spiritual influence' is perceived in imagined 'pictures ... which assume the appearance of sensations' [340(71)]. Kant warns that in an apparition 'delusion is mingled with truth', so it tends to deceive 'in spite of the fact that such chimeras may be based upon a true spiritual influence' [340(71-2), e.a.].

In truly Critical fashion Kant now adopts the opposite perspective in Chapter Three, presenting an 'Antikabala'-that is, 'a fragment of common philosophy aiming to abolish communion with the spirit-world' [Kt18:342 (74)]. Here Kant first states the analogy between metaphysicians ('reason-dreamers') and visionaries ('sensation-dreamers'): in both cases the dreamer imagines a private world 'which no other healthy man sees', yet 'both are self-created pictures which nevertheless deceive the senses as if they were true objects' [342-3(75)]. In order to help such dreamers 'wake up, i.e., open their eyes to such a view as does not exclude conformity with other people's com­mon sense' [342(74)], he proposes an alternative description of what is hap­pening in an apparition. The problem is to explain how visionaries 'place the phantoms of their imagination outside of themselves, and even put them in re­lation to their body, which they sense through their external senses' [343-4 (77)]. He suggests that in external sensation 'our soul locates the perceived object at the point where the different lines, indicating the direction of the impression, meet', whereas in a vision this 'focus imaginarius' is located not outside of the body but 'inside of the brain' [344-5(77-9)]. The difference between the fantasy of a sane person [see 346n(81n)] and the delusions of an in­sane person is that only the latter 'places mere objects of his imagination outside of himself, and considers them to be real and present objects' [346 (80)]. So 'the disease of the visionary concerns not so much the reason, as a decep­tion of the senses' [347(82)]. Kant concludes that this simpler interpre­tation 'renders entirely superfluous the deep conjectures of the preceding chapter ... Indeed, from this perspective, there was no need of going back as far as to metaphysics'.[19]

The fourth and final chapter of Part One presents the 'theoretical conclu­sion from the whole of the consideration of the first part' [Kt18:348(85)]. Kant begins with a penetrating description of his own method of philosophiz­ing (i.e., the Critical method), according to which 'the partiality of the scales of reason' is always checked by letting 'the merchandise and the weights ex­change pans' [348-9(85)]. He uses this metaphor to make two points. First, it suggests the importance of being willing to give up all prejudices [349(85-6)]:

I now have nothing at heart; nothing is venerable to me but what enters by the path of sincerity into a quiet mind open to all reasons ... Whenever I meet with something instructive, I appropriate it.... Formerly, I viewed common sense only from the standpoint of my own; now I put myself into the position of a foreign reason outside myself, and observe my judgments, together with their most secret causes, from the standpoint of others.

Kant's exposition in Kt18 exemplifies this Critical (perspectival) shift by op­posing the merchandise of his own prejudices concerning the spirit-world (Chapter Two) with the dead weight of a reductionist explanation (Chapter Three). The second point of the analogy is, however, the crucial one: we must recognize that 'The scale of reason is not quite impartial' and so move the mer­chandise from the speculative pan to the pan 'bearing the inscription "Hope of the Future"' (i.e., from the standpoint of the first Critique to that of the third [cf. KSP1:37n,307]), where 'even those light reasons ... outweigh the specula­tions of greater weight on the other side' [Kt18:349(86)]. Here at the threshold of his mature philosophical Sys­tem, then, Kant stresses the overriding importance of what I call the 'judicial' standpoint [see note I.17]: 'This is the only inaccuracy [of the scales of reason] which I cannot easily remove, and which, in fact, I never want to remove' [349-50(86)].

On this basis Kant concludes that, even though 'in the scale of speculation they seem to consist of nothing but air', the dreams of spirit-seers (and meta­physi­cians!) 'have appreciable weight only in the scale of hope' [Kt18:350(86-7)]. While admitting 'that I do not understand a single thing about the whole matter' of how the immaterial can interact with the material, he claims 'that this study ... exhausts all philosophical knowledge about [spiritual] beings ... in the negative sense, by fixing with assurance the limits of our knowledge' [349-50 (88-9)]. The assumed spiritual principle of life 'can never be thought of in a positive way, because for this purpose no data can be found in the whole of our sensations'.[20] He is therefore constrained by ignorance to 'deny the truth of the various ghost stories', yet he maintains 'a certain faith in the whole of them taken together.'[21] As I have argued in KSP1:V.1, this subordina­tion of specu­lative knowledge to practical faith is the key to the justification of the Coperni­can Perspective itself. Thus, when Kant concludes Part One by saying 'this whole matter of spirits' will 'not concern me any more', because 'I hope to be able to apply to better advantage my small reasoning pow­ers upon other subjects' [352(90)], he may be hinting that he is already beginning to formulate a plan for constructing a System of Perspectives based on Critical reasoning.

Having promised not to philosophize on spirits any longer, Kant recounts in the first chapter of the second ('historical') part three stories concerning the spiritual powers of Swedenborg, 'the truth of which the reader is recommended to investigate as he likes' [Kt18:353(91)]. He claims 'absolute indifference to the kind or unkind judgment of the reader', admitting that in any case 'stories of this kind will have ... only secret believers, while publicly they are rejected by the prevalent fashion of disbelief' [353-4(92)].

In the second chapter of Part Two Kant provides a summary of Sweden­borg's own explanation of his 'ecstatic journey through the world of spirits' [Kt18:357(98)] and notes its similarity to 'the adventure which, in the fore­going [i.e., in Part One], we have undertaken in the balloon of metaphysics' [360(102)]. The position Swedenborg develops 'resembles so uncommonly the philosophical creation of my own brain', Kant explains, that he feels the need to 'declare ... that in regard to the alleged examples I mean no joke' [359(100)]. To cover up his own interest in Swedenborg's work, Kant ridicules his 'hero' for writing an eight-volume work 'utterly empty of the last drop of reason' [359-60(101)]-a good example of the occasional harsh or frivolous statements that later embarrassed him [see note II.13]. The extract turns out to be so close to the views Kant had expounded in Chapter Two of Part One that he concludes his summary by reassuring the reader that 'I have not substituted my own fancies for those of our author, but have offered his views in a faithful extract to the comfortable and economic reader who does not care to sacrifice seven pounds [closer to seven hundred these days!] for a little curiosity' [366(111)].

The chapter ends with an apology for leading the reader 'by a tiresome round­about way to the same point of ignorance from which he started', but adds that 'I have wasted my time that I might gain it. I have deceived the reader so that I might be of use to him' [Kt18:367-8(112-3)]. After confessing his unre­quited love of metaphysics, Kant insists that metaphysics as a rational inquiry 'into the hidden qualities of things' (i.e., speculative metaphysics) must be clearly distinguished from 'metaphysics [as] the science of the boundaries of human reason' (i.e., Critical metaphysics) [368(114)]:

Before ... we had flown on the butterfly-wings of metaphysics, and there conversed with spiritual beings. Now ... we find ourselves again on the ground of experience and common sense. Happy, if we look at it as the place allotted to us, which we can leave with impunity, and which contains everything to satisfy us as long as we hold fast to the useful.

Far from indicating a temporary conversion from dogmatic rationalism to skep­tical empiricism, as is usually assumed about Kt18, this passage, interpreted in its proper context, reveals that Kant already has a clear conception of the Critical method, and is nurturing the seed that was to grow into his complete philosophical System.

Any doubt about the Critical character of Kt18 is dispelled by the 'practical conclusion from the whole treatise' given in the final chapter of Part Two [368(115)]. Kant begins by distinguishing between what science can un­der­stand to achieve knowledge and what reason needs to understand to achieve wisdom-a distinction that pervades the entirety of his mature System. By de­termining what is impossible to know, science can establish 'the limits set to human reason by nature', so that 'even metaphysics will become ... the com­panion of wisdom' [368(115-6)]. He then introduces (what I call) the principle of perspective as the guiding principle of this new way of philosophiz­ing: once philosophy 'judges its own proceedings, and ... knows not only ob­jects, but their relation to man's reason', thus establishing the per­spective from which the object is viewed, 'then ... the boundary stones are laid which in fu­ture never allow investigation to wander beyond its proper district' [368-9(116), e.a.]. This is followed by a warning against the failure to distin­guish between philo­sophical relations (i.e., those known by reflection) and 'fundamental relations' (i.e., those that 'must be taken from experience alone')-the distinction that forms the basis for all other Critical distinctions.[22] That Kant is here referring to immediate experience, not to empirical knowl­edge, is evident when he says 'I know that will and under­standing move my body, but I can never reduce by analysis this phenomenon, as a simple [immedi­ate] experience, to another experience, and can, therefore, indeed rec­ognize it, but not understand it' [369 (117)]. He reaffirms that our powers of reflection provide 'good reason to conceive of an incorporeal and constant be­ing'; but because our immediate ex­perience as earthly beings relating to other earthly beings depends on 'corporeal laws', we can never know for certain what 'spiritual' laws would hold if we were 'to think ... without con­nection with a body' [370-1(117-8)]. The possi­bility of establishing 'new fun­damental relations of cause and effect'-i.e., of having an immediate experi­ence not of corporeal nature but of spiritual nature-'can never ... be ascer­tained'; the 'creative genius or ... chimera, whichever you like to call it', which invents such spiritual (later called noumenal) causality cannot establish knowl­edge (much less scientific 'proof') precisely because the 'pretended experiences' are not governed by corporeal (later called a priori) laws, which alone are required for a knowledge-claim to be 'unanimously accepted by men' [371-2(118-9)].

This final chapter of Kt18 ends with a concise (and entirely Critical) explanation of the positive aspect of this otherwise negative conclusion. The fact that 'philosophic knowledge is impossible in the case under consideration' need cause no concern (neither for the metaphysician nor for the mystic) as long as we recognize that 'such knowledge is dispensable and unnecessary', because reason does not need to know such things [372(120)]. 'The vanity of science' fools us into believing that 'a proof from experience of the existence of such things' is required. 'But true wisdom is the companion of simplicity, and as, with the latter, the heart rules the understanding, it generally renders unnec­essary the great preparations of scholars, and its aims do not need such means as can never be at the command of all men.' The true philosophy, which Kant always believed would confirm common sense and therefore would be attain­able for everyone (unlike a speculative dependence on theoretical proofs or mystical apparitions, each available to only a few individuals), should be based on 'immediate moral precepts'-that is, on a 'moral faith' that 'guides [the 'righ­teous soul'] to his true aims' [372-3(120-1)]. Thus he concludes [373 (121)] by defending the position later elaborated in his practical and reli­gious systems, that it is more appropriate 'to base the expectation of a future world upon the sentiment of a good soul, than, conversely, to base the soul's good conduct upon the hope of another world.'

3. Kant's Four Major 'Awakenings'

In the preceding section we have seen that all the main characteristics of Kant's Critical method, together with anticipations of several of his mature doctrines and distinctions, are present in Kt18. The method of choosing the middle path between two extremes is exemplified by Kant's advice in the Pref­ace to 'hold on to the useful'-though this is not exactly how he would later describe his Critical means of steering between the extremes of dogma­tism and skepticism [but cf. note II.14, above]. The Critical distinction between the theo­retical and the practical, whose most obvious application is to the distinction between the first two Cri­tiques, is foreshadowed by the conclusions to the two parts of Kt18, the first being theoretical and the second, practical. The attitude expressed in the first chapter, that 'spirits' are theoretically possible but can never be proved to ex­ist, is reminiscent of the hypothetical perspective adopted in the Dialectic of Kt1, where all 'ideas of reason' are treated similarly.[23]

Even the second chapter, where Kant is letting his metaphysical imagina­tion run wild, contains an interesting parallel: Kant's suggestion that the inner state of spirits is primarily important in its con­nection with morality is entirely consistent with his later decision to regard morality as the proper foundation for metaphysics. (The same point is empha­sized in the last chapter, where the true basis for belief in spirits is said to rest on morality rather than speculation.) And the skepticism Kant adopts in Chapter Three is not unlike the version he sometimes adopts in the Dialectic of Kt1 (in both cases as a temporary measure to guard against unwarranted specu­la­tion).[24] The subor­di­nation of the theo­ret­ical (i.e., speculative) to the practi­cal and the judicial [see note I.13], as hinted by Kant's expressed preference for the 'useful', is forcefully empha­sized by his reference to the 'scales of reason' in the fourth chapter. His use of this analogy to emphasize the philosophical legit­imacy of hope for the future in spite of our theoretical ignorance fore­shadows both Kt7 and Kt8.[25] Throughout Part One, and again in the second chapter of Part Two, Kant describes his new view of the first and foremost task of metaphysics in exactly the same terms as he would use some fifteen years later in Kt1: metaphysics must begin as a negative science concerned with establishing the limits of knowledge. And in the book's final chapter we meet not only the distinction between immediate experience and reflective knowledge, which is so crucial to Kant's System [see note II.22], but also the equally important notion that reason does not need to have a theoretical understanding of mystical experiences (or metaphysical proposi­tions), as long as we take into consideration the common moral awareness of all human beings.

If Kant was in full possession of the Critical method by 1766, why, it might be asked, did he take fifteen more years to write Kt1? This is particularly perplexing in light of the fact that after 1781 Kant published at least one major work nearly every year until 1798. The typical explanation of Kant's develop­ment renders this problem slightly less difficult, because the 'Critical awaken­ing' is re­garded as not happening until the late 1760s or early 1770s. On this view Kant had a great deal of trouble formulating his ideas for Kt1, yet after it was completed he suddenly realized the need for a second Critique, and after that, the need for a third. However, the fact that Kant could apply all the Critical tools in 1766 to write Kt18 makes it very difficult to believe that he would fumble around for fifteen more years, and then suddenly turn into a pro­lific genius. Rather, it suggests Kant may well have wanted to have the basic (architectonic) plan for his entire System more or less complete in his mind be­fore even starting the long task of committing it to paper. The need for a fifteen year gap (including his long 'silent decade') between Kt18 and Kt1 becomes more understandable if we regard Kant as formulating in his mind during this time not just Kt1, but his entire System-though obviously, the details con­cerning the precise form it would take had not en­tirely crystallized by 1781.[26] The traditional view fails to take account of the fact that writers do not always say everything they know about their plans for future undertakings, and also ignores the importance of Kant's emphasis on establishing and maintaining specific architectonic patterns.[27]

The one aspect of Kant's transcendental philosophy that is conspicu­ously absent in Kt18 is the cornerstone of the whole System, the Copernican hypoth­esis (i.e., the assumption that a posteriori objectivity is based on a priori subjectiv­ity, rather than vice versa [see KSP1:III.1]). And this had begun to dawn on him by 1770, when he wrote Kt19, where he regards time and space as 'forms of intuition' not inherent in the object it­self. Thus the crucial question is: if 'criticism' was the original distinguishing character of Kant's life-long philosophical method, what was the source of the sudden insight he later called his 'Copernican' hypothesis? Copleston conjec­tures that the new insight might have come as a result of his reading of the Clarke-Leibniz Correspon­dence, newly published in 1768 [Co60:196]. Others would cite Hume as responsible for all such major changes in Kant's position [see e.g., note II.2]. What has long been ignored in English Kant-scholar­ship is the significant extent to which some of the details of the Critical philos­ophy, not the least being the Coperni­can hy­pothesis itself, actually corre­spond to the ideas developed by Sweden­borg. Kant himself acknowledges this correspon­dence to some extent in Kt18, but repeatedly emphasizes that the ideas he presents as his own were developed independently of his acquaintance with Swedenborg's writings [Kt18:359 (100),360(102),366(111)]. However, the extent of the parallels be­tween his subsequent theo­ries (especially those in Kt19) and Swedenborg's is sufficient to merit the as­sumption that, in spite of his ridicule in Kt18, Kant actually adopted much of Swedenborg's 'nonsense' [360(101)] into his own thinking [357-8(98-9); cf. Se00: 24-7,31-3]!

A good example of the similarity between Kant's mature views and Swe­denborg's ideas is brought out in Kant's summary of Swedenborg's position, highlighting the distinction between a thing's true or 'inner' meaning and its outer manifestation. How closely this coincides with the position Kant eventu­ally defends in his writings on religion becomes quite clear in Kt18:364(108) when he says: 'This inner meaning ... is the origin of all the new in­terpretations which [Swedenborg] would make of the Scripture. For this inner meaning, the internal sense, i.e., the symbolic relation of all things told there to the spirit-world, is, as he fancies, the kernel of its value, the rest only the shell.' As we shall see in VI.2, Kant uses precisely the same analogy in his own investigation of 'pure religion' in Kt8, except that the 'inner meaning' is derived from practical reflection (the Critical mode of dreaming?) rather than from visionary 'dreams' about the spirit-world.

A more detailed examination of Swedenborg's epistemological distinctions would reveal numerous other corresponding theories. For example, the Coper­ni­can assumption itself, which marks the main difference between Kt18 and Kt19, has its roots at least partially in Sweden­borg. For, as Vaihinger puts it, the relationship of Kant's 'transcendental sub­ject ... to the Spiritual Ego of Swedenborg is unmistakable' [q.i. Se00:25]; indeed Kant may well have taken his 'doctrine of two worlds from Swe­denborg direct' [24; s.a. 12-4]. Thus there are good grounds for regarding Swedenborg's 'spiritual' perspective as the mystical equivalent of Kant's transcendental perspective in metaphysics. Such a perspectival relation­ship is hinted at by Sewall in Se00:22-3: 'Neither of the two great system builders asks the support of the other.... As Kant was necessarily critical, this being the office [or Perspective] of the pure reason itself, so was Sweden­borg dogmatical, this being the office [or Perspective] of experience.'

Sewall appends to the 1900 translation of Kt18 various extracts from Swe­denborg's writings,[28] revealing that Swedenborg's ideas often anticipate (from his own mystical perspective), and therefore may have influenced, many of the key ideas Kant develops in his transcendental philosophy. The roots of Kant's transcendental idealism can be seen in Swedenborg's spiritual idealism: 'spaces and times ... are in the spiritual world appearances' [Se00:124]; 'in heaven ob­jects similar to those which exist in our [empirical] world ... are ap­pearances' [125]; 'appearances are the first things out of which the human mind forms its understanding' [126]. The roots of Kant's view of the intelligible substratum of nature are also evident: 'nothing in nature exists or subsists, but from a spiritual origin, or by means of it' [131]; 'nature serves as a covering for that which is spiritual' [132]; 'there exists a spiritual world, which is ... in­terior ... to the nat­ural world, therefore all that belongs to the spiritual world is cause, and all that belongs to the natural world is effect' [132]; 'causes are things prior, and ef­fects are things posterior; and things prior cannot be seen from things posterior, but things posterior can be seen from things prior. This is order' [133].

Even views similar to Kant's 'analogies of experience' in Kt1 are devel­oped by Swedenborg: 'Material things ... are fixed, because, however the states of men change, they continue permanent' [Se00:125]; 'The reason that nothing in na­ture exists but from a spiritual origin or principle is, that no effect is pro­duced without a cause' [132]. The parallels extend beyond the theo­retical to the practi­cal and judicial standpoints as well: 'the will is the very na­ture itself or disposi­tion of the man' [138]; 'heaven is ... within man' [135]. Moreover, Kant's criticism of mystical visionaries as wrongly taking imagined symbols to be real sensations cannot be charged against Swedenborg, who warns: 'So long as man lives in the world he knows nothing of the opening of these degrees within him, because he is then in the natural degree ...; and the spiritual degree ... communicates with the natural degree, not by continuity but by correspon­dences and communication by correspondences is not sensibly felt' [135; s.a. 141].

Of course, Kant's use of such ideas often differs in important respects from Swedenborg's, as when Kant argues for the importance of phenomenal causality as being the only significant causality from the standpoint of knowl­edge. Nevertheless, given the fact that before reading Swedenborg he did not write about such matters, whereas afterwards such 'Copernican' ideas occupied a central place in his writings, it is hardly possible to doubt that Swedenborg had a significant influence on Kant's mature thinking. I am not claiming that Kant owes his recognition of the importance of the Copernican hypothesis to Swedenborg alone, but only that his influence has been much neglected, and merits further exploration.[29]

If Swedenborg did exercise an important influence on Kant, then why does Kant seem to give Hume all the credit, for instance, in the oft-quoted pas­sage from the Introduction to Kt2 [see note II.1]? Swedenborg was far from being a philosopher, so perhaps Kant did not feel constrained to acknowl­edge his influence-indeed, 'felt embarrassed' might be a more appropriate expres­sion, since Swe­denborg's reputation was hardly respectable among Enlighten­ment philoso­phers. Kant's request that his writings prior to 1770 not be in­clud­ed in his collected minor writings [see note II.13] would therefore reflect his desire to protect his reputation from too close an association with the likes of Sweden­borg. In any case, Kant's claim that the ideas he expresses in Kt18 predate his reading of Swedenborg leaves open the possibility that Swedenborg stimulated him to think through his own ideas more carefully, and in the process to adopt some of Swedenborg's ideas, or at least to use them as a stimulus to focus and clarify his own.

Does the Kt2 passage therefore represent a false 'confession'? By no means. But in order to understand that passage properly, and so to give an accurate answer to the question of the relative influence of Hume and Sweden­borg on Kant, it will be necessary to distinguish between four aspects of Kant's development that are often conflated:

(1)The general Critical method of finding the limits that define the 'middle way' between unthinking acceptance of the status quo (dogmatism) and unbelieving doubt as to the validity of the entire tradition (skepticism).

(2)The general Copernican insight that the most fundamental aspects of human knowledge (the ones making it objective) have their source in the human subject as a priori forms, not vice versa. (That is, time, space, etc., are not absolute realities rooted in the object, as philosophers had previously assumed.) This, of course, was the seed that (when fertilized by the Critical method) gave rise to the entire System of 'transcendental philosophy'.[30]

(3)The particular application of (1) to itself (i.e., reason's criticism of reason itself).

(4)The particular application of (2) to the problem of the necessary connection between a cause and its effect.

As stated above in II.1, we can see (1) operating in varying degrees in almost all of Kant's writings [see note II.8]. Indeed, his lifelong acceptance of (1) is clearly the intellectual background against which alone his great philosophical achievements could have been made (and as such, is the source of his genius). Al­though his ability to make conscious use of this method certainly developed gradually during his career, receiving its first full-fledged application in Kt18, neither Swedenborg (the dogmatist) nor Hume (the skeptic) can be given the credit for this. The Critical method is not something Kant learned from these (or any other) philosophers, but is rather the natural Tao through which Kant read, and in reading, transformed, their ideas.[31] If anyone is to be thanked, it should be his parents, and in particular, his mother.[32]

Kant's recognition of (4) as one of the crucial questions to be answered by his new philosophical System, is, by contrast, clearly traceable to Hume's in­fluence. In fact, his discussion of Hume's impact on his development in Kt2: 260(8) undoubtedly refers primarily (if not solely) to this narrow sense of 'awak­ening': Kant is probably telling us nothing more than that his 'rec­ol­lec­tion' of Hume helped him recognize that causality cannot be treated as a purely intellectual principle (as he had done in Kt19), but must be justified (if at all) in some other way (viz., as a transcendental form of knowing, just as were space and time in Kt19). The fact that Kant uses the term 'recollection' indicates a fairly late date (probably 1772 [see note II.2]) for this dramatic event. For Kant is suggesting that (4) came to him as a result of re­membering the skepticism of Hume ('the first spark of light') that had begun influencing his thinking about ten years before. However, if Kant's famous 'awakening' is only a dramatized account of his discovery of (4), then such references to Hume do not answer the more fundamental question, the answer to which we have been seeking here: Where did Kant get the idea of using (2) as the basic insight for solving all such philosophical problems?

Kant's discovery of (2) came in several fairly well-defined steps, mostly from 1768 to 1772. Prior to 1768 there is little (if any) trace of such an idea. Between 1768 and 1772 he applied the insight to intuitions but not to concepts. In 1772 he realized that concepts too must be regarded from this Copernican (Transcendental) Perspective. As a result of this somewhat unsettling discovery (unsettling because in early 1772 he believed he was within a few months of completing Kt1), he spent nine more years (from 1772 to 1781) working out in his mind the thoroughgoing implications of this insight for his entire philosophical System. It is plain enough to see how Hume's ideas could have caused the final (and crucial) change in the extent of Kant's application of (2) in 1772, because Hume employs some of his most powerful arguments to support his skepticism regarding the a priori basis of the idea of necessary con­nection. Kant's real­ization in 1772 of the full force of these arguments awak­ened him to an awareness of the incomplete nature of his application of (2) in Kt19, and gave him the idea of applying (2) to concepts as well as to intuitions.

But where did (2) come from in the first place? It could not have come from Hume, inasmuch as nothing like it appears in Hume's doctrines of space and time (or anywhere else in Hume's works). Hume's explanation for our belief in all such 'objective facts' is always to reduce them to logic and/or an em­pirical kind of subjectivity (as he does in the final paragraph of his Inquiry); he never so much as hints at the possibility of any third way, such as is given by Kant's theory of transcendental subjectivity. There are, to my knowledge, only two likely explanations, both of which probably worked together to awaken Kant to his Copernican insight sometime between 1766 and 1768. The first is his reading of Swedenborg's writings, especially his massive work, Arcana Coelestia, which he read in 1766, just before writing Kt18 [see Kt18: 318(39) and Se00:14n]; and the second is his reading of the Clarke-Leibniz Corre­spondence,[33] together with his consequent discovery of the antinomies of reason [see below]. If this account of Kant's development during these porten­tous years is correct, then Kant's description of (4) as an awak­ening from dogmatic slum­ber is a somewhat over-dramatized account, whose purpose is not to empha­size a sudden break from lifelong dogmatism [cf. note II.31], but only to ex­plain how Hume saved him from settling for the half-baked form of (2) that he had originally distilled from the ideas of two thinkers whom he re­garded as dogmatists (Leibniz and Swedenborg). Thus, if we look at the overall picture, we see that Hume's influence has, in fact, been overrated; it fulfills only one specific role in Kant's long process of development.

This interpretation of Kant's development gives rise to two further ques­tions regarding Kant's use of his sleeping/dreaming/awakening metaphor. For he uses it not only in relation to Hume's influence, but also in many other con­texts. In a letter to Garve (21 September 1798), for instance, he confides that his discovery (c.1768) of 'the antinomy of pure reason ... is what first aroused me from my dogmatic slumber and drove me to the critique of reason itself'.[34] How can this account of Kant's 'awakening' be made compatible with his (better known) references to Hume? Although interpreters have often struggled with this question, the answer seems obvious once we distinguish between the four aspects of Kant's development listed above. Kant's comments must refer to different experiences of awakening: the awakening by Hume refers to (4), while that for which the antimony is responsible refers to (3). Ac­cordingly, Kant says the antinomy showed him the need for a critique of rea­son, whereas he says Hume's stimulus gave a 'new direction' [Kt2:260(8)] to his speculative research (thus implying he had already begun working on that critique). The tendency to regard these as referring to the same experience arises only because he uses the same metaphor to describe both developments.

The second question arises once we recognize the obviously close connec­tion between Kant's metaphor of being awoken from sleep and the metaphor of dreaming that permeates the entirety of Kt18 (even its title). Whether Kant's awaken­ing really happened only in 1768 (via the antinomies) or only in 1772 (via Hume's skepticism)-or even at both times-Kant's comments would seem to imply that Kt18 itself dates from the period of 'dogmatic slumber' from which he only later awoke. Yet even those who do not fully appreciate the Critical elements in Kt18 agree that it is not the work of a sleeping dogmatist! So how could Kant's metaphor apply to anything that happened after he wrote this book? Without presuming to give the final answer to this difficult question, I shall venture to offer a plausible suggestion, based on the account of Kant's development given above.

Criticism is the middle path between dogmatism and skepticism. It is the tool Kant believed he could use to preserve the truth and value of both methods and yet do away with the errors into which each inevitably falls. The Critical mind will therefore always allow itself to be 'tempted', as it were, by the two extremes it ultimately seeks to overcome; but in the process of becom­ing more and more refined, it will appear at one moment to be more dogmatic and at another to be more skeptical (just as we observed Kant's mind to be in the text of Kt18). In other words, the Critical method does not do away with skep­tic­ism and dogmatism, so much as use them as opposing forces to guide its insight further along the spiral path towards the central point of pure critique. Now, in order to stay healthy a human being needs both sleep and wak­ing; and in the same way, we could develop Kant's analogy one step fur­ther by saying the healthy (Critical) philosopher needs regular doses of both dog­matism and skepticism. Skepticism functions like an alarm clock to remind philosophers when it is time to stop their dogmatic dreaming and return to the normal waking life of criticism. The Critical philosopher will naturally have many experiences of this type, just as a normal person is often sur­prised to wake up in the middle of a dream, yet will dream again the next night. Thus, the confusion caused by Kant's various references to his awakening from dogmatic slumbers may be best explained by regarding each as equally legiti­mate and equally important milestones in his development.

We have seen that Hume's influence was never such as to convert Kant to skepticism, but served only as 'the first spark of light' [Kt2:260(8)] to kindle his awareness of the need to reflect on the rationality of his cherished beliefs. This limited view of the influence of Hume on Kant comes out quite clearly in almost all Kant's references to Hume or skepticism. In Kt1:785, for example, Kant again uses his favorite metaphor to describe the relation between dogma­tism, skepticism, and criticism: 'At best [skepticism] is merely a means of awakening [reason] from its dogmatic dreams, and of inducing it to enter upon a more careful examination of its own position.' Kant's attempt in Kt18 to ex­amine mysticism and metaphysics with a Critical eye should therefore be re­garded as resulting from one of his first major awakenings (perhaps largely as a result of his initial reading of Hume, probably in the early 1760s). Ironically, although he disagreed with the dogmatic use to which Swedenborg put his ideas, Kant seems to have recog­nized in them some valuable hypotheses that could be purified in the refining fire of criticism. The antinomies awoke him (in 1768) to the realization that rea­son's Critical method must be applied not only to objects of possible knowl­edge (such as mystical experiences and metaphysi­cal theories), but also to rea­son itself. And just when he thought he was on the verge of perfecting this self-criticism of reason (in 1772), Hume awoke him once again to the realization that his Copernican insight must be used to limit not only intuition but also the concepts arising out of human understanding. We can conclude, therefore, that although Hume was instru­men­tal in awakening Kant to the limits of dogma­tism, Swedenborg's speculations were responsible in a more direct way for the initial formation of his Copernican hypothesis.

4. The Dream of a System of Critical Philosophy

A clear understanding of the influence of Swedenborg on Kant, and of the function of Kt18 as a Critical prolegomenon to Kant's mature Sys­tem of tran­scendental critique, makes it not so surprising to hear Sewall say mystics 'from Jung-Stilling to Du Prel' have always 'claimed Kant as be­ing of their number' [Se00:16-7,32]. Indeed, Du Prel stresses Kant's positive attitude to­wards Swedenborg [Du89:2.195-8,243,290], and argues that in Kt18 'Kant ... declared Mysticism possible, supposing man to be "a member at once of the visible and of the invisible world"' [2.302]. He even suggests that 'Kant would confess to-day [i.e., in the 1880s] that hundreds of such facts [based on mysti­cal experience and extra-sensory powers] are proved' [2.198]. This is probably going too far, but so is Vaihinger's conclusion [q.i. Se00:19] that 'Kant's world of experience ... excludes all invasion of the regu­lar system of nature by uncontrollable "spirits"; and the whole system of mod­ern mysticism, so far as he holds fast to his fundamental principles, Kant is "bound to forcibly reject."' Kant is forced to reject mysticism only as a compo­nent of his theoretical system (i.e., Kt1); the other systems nevertheless remain open to nontheoretical inter­pretations of mystical experiences. Sewall reflects Kant's purposes more accu­rately in Se00:20-1:

The great mission of Kant was to establish ... [that reason] can neither create a knowledge of the spiritual world, nor can it deny the possibility of such a world. It can affirm indeed the rationality of such a conception, but the reality of it does not come within its domain as pure reason.

As Vaihinger himself admits elsewhere, Kant's apparent rejection of mysticism therefore 'refers only to the practices (of spiritism), and to the Mysticism of the Feelings; it does not apply to the rational belief of Kant in the "corpus mys­ticum of the intelligible world."'[35]

Kant therefore has two distinct, though closely related, purposes in Kt18. The first is to reject uncritical (speculative or fanatical) forms of mys­ticism, not in order to overthrow all mysticism, but in order to replace it with a refined, Critical version, directed towards our experience of this world and our reflection on it from various perspectives. This perspectival element in Kant's mysticism is hinted at by Vaihinger [q.i. Se00:15,18] when he says Kant believes:

The other world is ... not another place, but only another view of even this world.... [It] is not a world of other things, but of the same things seen differ­ently by us.... But the wildly fermenting must of the Swedenborgian Mysticism becomes with Kant clarified and settled into the noble, mild, and yet strong wine of criticism.

Unfortunately, the general mystical thrust of Kant's Sys­tem of Perspectives has been grossly neglected by almost all English-speaking Kant-scholars.[36] In Part Four of this volume I shall attempt to set right this neglect by examining the extent to which Kant's critique of mysticism in Kt18 paves the way for a full-blooded 'Critical mysticism'.

Kant's second purpose in clearing from the path of metaphysics the ob­structions created by the speculative claims of mystical experiences is to prepare the way for his own attempt to provide a metaphysical System that could do for metaphysics what Kt18 does for mystical visions.[37] For the Critical dream envis­aged in Kt18 was to serve as a seed planted in his reason, which eventually matured into the tree of Critical philosophy; and only when this tree finally bears fruit does the mystical seed that gave birth to the System appear once again (i.e., in Kt9). Accordingly, Kant's Critical labors can be regarded as an attempt to build a rational System that pre­serves the true mystical dream, thus putting mysticism in its proper place, at the center of metaphysics. In this sense, at least, Kant would agree with Du Prel [Du89:1.70] when he says: 'It is ... dream, not waking, which is the door of metaphysic, so far as the latter deals with man.'