It is therefore as unalterable, even by God himself, as the truths of mathematics, although its effect may be overruled in any particular case by an express command of God; hence it is cognizable a priori, from the abstract consideration of human nature, though its existence may be known a posteriori also from its universal acceptance in human societies.
Sense had been assumed as furnishing the particular of knowledge, understanding as furnishing the universal; and it had been expressly declared that the particular was cognizable only in and through the universal.
The modes under which it is possible for such given difference to become portion of the conscious experience of the ego, the modes under which the isolated data can be synthetically combined so as to form a cognizable whole, make up the form of cognition, and upon this form rests the possibility of any a priori or rational knowledge.
At the foundation of the judgments which express the types of synthetic combination, through which knowledge is possible, lie the pure general notions, the abstract aspect of the conditions under which objects are cognizable in experience.
The sense-manifold is not to be conceived as having, per se, any of the qualities of objects as actually cognized; its parts are not cognizable per se, nor can it with propriety be said to be received successively or simultaneously.
In strictness, sense, understanding, imagination and reason ought to have had their functions defined in close relation to the elements of knowledge with which they are severally connected, and as these elements have no existence as separate facts, but only as factors in the complex organic whole, it might have been possible to avoid the error of supposing that each subjective process furnished a distinct, separately cognizable portion of a mechanical whole.