Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics [176-178]

synthesis as such is thus not arbitrary. And if in particular Kant still describes the discussion of synthesis as a "preliminary remark,247a we should not therefore think of it as a casual and at bottom superfluous observation. Instead, what was treated therein must be kept in view from the start for the Transcendental Deduction and the Transcendental Schematism. The Transcendental Deduction, however, as the third stage of the ground-laying, has as its task to show the inner possibility for the essential unity of ontological synthesis.

The three elements of pure knowledge are: pure intuition, pure power of imagination, and pure understanding. Their possible unity, i.e., the essence of their original unification (synthesis), is the problem. Hence, an elucidation of the synthesis with a view toward these three elements of pure knowledge is required.

Accordingly, Kant divides his "Preliminary Remark" into three sections:

" 1. On the SyntheSis of ApprehenSion in Intuition.

  2. On the Synthesis of Reproduction in Imagination.

  3. On the Synthesis of Recognition in Concepts."

Now are these modes of synthesis three in number because there are three elements belonging to the essential unity of pure knowledge? Or does this triplicity of modes of synthesis have a more original ground, one which at the same time elucidates why, especially as ways of pure synthesis, they are unified in order to "form" the essential unity of the three elements of pure knowledge on the grounds of their more original unity?

Are there three modes of synthesis because time appears in them and because they express the threefold unity of time as present, having-been, and future? And if the original unification of the essential unity of ontological knowledge occurs through time, but if the ground for the possibility of pure knowledge is the transcendental power of imagination, then is this not revealed as original time?

And yet, by naming the second of the three modes of synthesis "Synthesis of Reproduction in Imagination," Kant already says that the power of imagination is just one element among others and that it is in no way the root of intuition and concept. That turns out to be the case.

But just as indisputably, the Transcendental Deduction, which through this analysis of the threefold synthesis is to have provided the fundament, shows that the power of imagination represents not just one faculty among others, but rather their mediating center. That the transcendental power of imagination is the root of sensibility and understanding was admittedly first shown in the more original interpretation. No use can be made of this result here. Instead, the working-out of the inner temporal character of the three modes of synthesis should produce the ultimate, decisive proof for the fact that the

247a. A 98.