4: The Difference Between Analytical and Synthetical Judgements

Simplified by Juan

Simple Kant Version

Affirmative judgements between subject to the predicate is possible in two ways:

  • "Analytical or explicative judgement": The Predicate B belongs to the Subject A, as covertly contained in conception A, or
    • Here, identity connects the subject with the predicate.
    • The predicate adds nothing new to the idea of the subject.
    • It only analyzes the ideas in the suject, but in a confused way.
  • "Synthetic or augmentative judgement": The Predicate B lies completely out of the conception A, although it is still connected with it.
    • This adds to our ideas of the subject a predicate that it did not have and so could not be analyzed.

“All bodies occupy space,” is an analytical judgement.

  • I do not need to go beyond the idea of bodies in order to find their area.
  • I just need to analyze the idea.
  • I just need to be aware of the properties of the idea of that body in order to discover this predicate in it [that is occupies space].

“All bodies are heavy,” has a predicate totally different from the predicate which I think of [ASSUME] when I get the idea of a body.

  • By the addition of such a new predicate [SUBIDEA], it becomes a synthetical judgement.

Judgements of experience are always synthetical.

  • It would be absurd to base an analytical judgement on experience, because in forming an analytical judgement, I do not need to go out of my ideas.
  • This makes experience unnecessary.

“Bodies occupy space" is not an empirical judgement, but a proposition which stands firm à priori.

  • Because before looking into experience, I already have an idea of all the needed conditions for the judgement.
  • I have only to extract the predicate from the idea, according to the principle of contradiction.
  • At the same time, I only have to be conscious of the necessity of the judgement, a necessity which I could never learn from experience.

Initially, I do not at all include the predicate of weight in my idea of body in general.

  • But the idea still shows an object of experience, a part of the totality of experience, to which I can still add other ideas.
  • I do this when I recognize by experience that bodies are heavy.
  • I can know beforehand, by analysis, the idea of body through the characteristics of area, impenetrability, shape, etc.
    • All of these are known in this conception.

Now I extend my knowledge.

  • I look back on the experience from which I had got this idea of body.
  • I find weight at always connected with the above characteristics.
  • Therefore, I synthetically add to my conceptions this as a predicate.
    • I say “All bodies are heavy.”

The synthesis of the idea of "weight" with the idea of "body" relies on experience, even if the idea of the one is not contained in the other.

  • However, those two ideas still belong to one another contingently as parts of a whole experience, which is itself a synthesis of intuitions.

But to synthetical judgements à priori, such aid is entirely lacking.

  • If I go out of and beyond idea A to recognize idea B as connected with it, how do I synthesize both?
  • I cannot rely on experience for that.

For example, “Everything that happens has a cause.”

  • In the idea of “something that happens,” [GENERAL IDEA] I think of an existence within time.
  • I then derive analytical judgements from this.
  • But the idea of a cause lies out of the above conception.
  • It indicates something entirely different from “that which happens.” [SPECIFIC IDEA]
  • It is consequently not contained in that conception.
  • How can I assert on the general idea—“that which happens”—something entirely different from that conception [SPECIFIC]?
  • How can I recognize the conception of cause [SPECIFIC] although not contained in it [SPECIFIC], yet as belonging to it [GENERAL], and even consequentially?
  • What is this X [SPECIFIC] that the mind thinks of when it believes it has found, out of the main idea A [GENERAL] a foreign idea B [SPECIFIC], which it nevertheless considers to be connected with it?
  • It cannot be experience, because:
    • my principle annexes the cause and effect to existence [SPECIFIC], with:
      • universality, and
        • Experience cannot give this [because no one experiences universality]
      • consequence.
        • This is completely à priori and from pure conceptions.
  • Our speculative knowledge à priori depends on such synthetical propositions
  • Analytical judgements are highly important and necessary.
    • They are only needed to arrive at synthesis.

Simple Layman's Version

The factuality of a compound idea made up of two ideas is checked in two ways:

  • "Passive-thinking judgement": Idea B is already related to Idea A inside the mind, or
    • Here, identity connects the two ideas.
    • Idea B adds nothing new to Idea A.
    • The mind only analyzes its relation to Idea A, but in a confused way.
  • "Active-thinking judgement": Idea B is not yet related to Idea A inside the mind.
    • Idea B entering the mind adds a new relation to Idea A that it did not have and so could not be analyzed before.

“All bodies occupy space,” is a passive-thinking judgement.

  • My mind already has the relation between "bodies" and "space" so it does not need to get external ideas or relations.
  • My mind just needs to analyze the idea.
  • My mind just needs to be aware of the properties of the idea of "bodies" in order to discover the idea of "space" in it. [just needs to trace the connection]

“All bodies are heavy,” has a new idea "heavy" totally different from the idea "weight" which my mind has pre-connected to the idea of "body".

  • This new idea makes it an active-thinking judgement.

Kant's Process of Judgement or Deciding-Whether-New-Ideas-Are-Fact

Judgements of experience are always from active-thinking.

  • It would be absurd to base a passive-thinking judgement on external experience, because in checking my memory, I do not need to go out of my ideas.
  • This makes external experience unnecessary.

“Bodies occupy space" is not an empirical judgement, but a proposition which is firmly confined-to-my-mind.

  • Because before looking into new experiences, I know that bodies occupy space from my previous experience.
  • I only need to connect both ideas in my memory, according to the principle of contradiction.
  • At the same time, I only have to be aware of why I am making the judgement, something that I could never learn from experience.

Initially, I do not have the idea of "weight" in my idea of "body" in general in my mind.

  • By my mind analyzing my previous experiences in memory, I know that the idea of "weight", as well as "impenetrability", "shape", etc have some connection to the idea of "body" in my mind.
  • Now I extend my knowledge.
    • I look back on the experience in my memory on bodies.
    • I find "weight" always connected with "impenetrability", "shape", etc.
    • Therefore, I connect "weight" to my idea of "body".
      • I say “All bodies are heavy.”

The connection of the idea of "weight" with the idea of "body" inside my mind relies on experience, even if the idea of the one is not connected in the other.

  • However, those two ideas are still connected to each other as parts of a whole experience, which is itself a connection of thought-processes.

But to active-thinking judgement confined-to-the-mind, such experiential thought-connections are totally lacking.

  • If I go out of and beyond idea A to see its possible connection with idea B, how do I connect both and make it a certainty?
  • I cannot rely on experience for that.

For example, the compound idea “Everything that happens has a cause.”

  • In the general idea of “events”, I think of an existence within time.
  • I then derive passive-thinking judgements from this.
  • But the idea of a general "cause" lies out of scope of my memory of specific events and their specific causes.
  • The compound idea indicates general causes entirely different from “specific events.”
  • “Specific events” is consequently not contained in the compound idea.
  • How can I assert "specific causes" to "events in general"?
  • How can I connect a "specific cause" not connected to "general events", yet belonging to "general causes", and even related to events consequentially?
  • What is this specific X that the mind thinks of when it believes it finds a foreign idea B connected to the main general idea A?
  • It cannot be experience, because:
    • my principle annexes the cause and effect to existence, with:
      • universality, and
        • Experience cannot give this because no one experiences universality
      • consequence.
        • This is completely confined-to-the-mind and from pure conceptions.
  • Our speculative knowledge confined-to-the-mind depends on such active-thinking propositions or our mind going out to explore new connections.
  • Passive-thinking judgements are highly important and necessary.
    • But they are only needed to arrive at creating new ideas via new connections.