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Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy

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Myths and the evolution ot science

Ishaya Samuel Otu

Abstract


The objective of this paper was to appropriately situate the place of myths in the evolution of science. Myths were attempts by the ancients to justify and render their curiosity plausible; it was their own representation of reality either as a means of preserving their history or explaining natural occurrences and transcendental imaginations. The paper posits that myths provide the categories with which a people reflects and builds upon their experiences of the world. This reflection concerns not only the forces of nature but also the abstract categories of causality, being, space, time and reality. On the flip side, science had become the darling of the early and modern philosophers because myths were being subjected to empirical scrutiny; abandoned when not in conformity with empirical reality and upheld if they conforms. The paper used the hermeneutic and analytical methods to x-ray the views of Claude Levi-Straus, Karl Popper, including the extremely complex knowledge of astronomy of the Dogon people of Mali to arrive at the conclusion that myths remain pivotal categories for the development of science especially for developing societies of the world.

Keywords: Myths, Evolution, Science, Dogon People, Superstition




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