Is African science true science? Reflections on the methods of African science
The general character of science and the methodology it employs are in specific terms referred to as observation and experimentation. These two methodologies reflect how science differs from other systematic modes of inquiries. This description characterises, strictly, ‘Western science’ and it is contrasted with the indigenous mode of enquiry that has come under the name, ‘African science’. In contemporary scholarship, ‘African science’ is being condemned to the level of the mysticoreligious or supernaturalist worldview. ‘African science’ is said to be purely esoteric, personal, and devoid of elements of objectivity and rigorous theorization. In this paper, I re-examine this recondite issue by further reflecting and strengthening some of the ideas put forward by some African scholars to affirm that there is a distinct method of ‘African science’ that can be termed scientific. In defending a pluralist thesis toward knowledge, scientific inclusive, this paper posits that there exist varieties of inquiry beyond what has been developed in the ‘West’ which can still be justifiably termed scientific. In addition to pluralism, it argues further that the social character of science, which makes it a part of social and cultural traditions, qualifiedly justifies ‘African science’ as a true science. I will employ the newly formulated conversational method endorsed by the Conversational School of Philosophy (CSP) in this inquiry.
Keywords: African science, mystico-religious, rigorous, pluralism, Western science