A nice fragment from Kant, no time for real commentary, just came across it again this morning, thought I’d share (this is before the first critique, of course):
5112. 1776–78. M IL.
The mathematician, the beautiful spirit, the natural philosopher: what are they doing when they make arrogant jokes about metaphysics[?] In them lies the voice that always calls them to make an attempt in the field of metaphysics. As human beings who do not seek their final end in the satisfaction of the aims of this life, they cannot do otherwise than
ask: why am I here, why is it all here[?] The astronomer is even more challenged by these questions. He cannot dispense with searching for something that would satisfy him in this regard. With the first judgment that he makes about this he is in the territory of metaphysics.
Now will he here give himself over entirely, without any guidance, to the convictions that may grow upon him, although he has no map of the field through which he is to stride[?] In this darkness the critique of reason lights a torch, although it does not illuminate the regions unknown to us beyond the sensible world, but the dark space of our own understanding.
Metaphysics is as it were the police force of our reason with regard to the public security of morals and religion. [18:93]