Beliefs, Models, Analogies: Part Five
“On the question of Metaphysics”
Time was, when she (Metaphysics) was the queen of all the sciences; and, if we take the will for the deed, she certainly deserves, so far as regards the high importance of her object-matter, this title of honor. Now, it is the fashion of the time to heap contempt and scorn upon her; and the matron mourns, forlorn and forsaken, …. her empire gradually broke up, and intestine wars introduced the reign of anarchy; while the skeptics, like nomadic tribes, who hate a permanent habitation and settled mode of living, attacked from time to time those who had organized themselves into civil communities. But their number was, very happily, small; and thus they could not entirely put a stop to the exertions of those who persisted in raising new edifices, although on no settled or uniform plan.
This can never become popular, and, indeed, has no occasion to be so; for fine-spun arguments in favour of useful truths make just as little impression on the public mind as the equally subtle objections brought against these truths. On the other hand, since both inevitably force themselves on every man who rises to the height of speculation, it becomes the manifest duty of the schools to enter upon a thorough investigation of the rights of speculative reason, and thus to prevent the scandal which metaphysical controversies are sure, sooner or later, to cause even to the masses.
-Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason,