Karl Popper and the Culture of Science in Africa
sapientia journal vol 18


Scientific culture


Concerned about the inability of African science to match Western or modern science in terms of global recognition, acceptability, and applications, this paper subjects African science culture to reductive analytical examination. Findings reveal two critical viewpoints that undermine African science culture. First, African science conflates, science as a method of studying nature in order to generate theories on its knowledge, and, science as application of nature's knowledge or theories to solve human problems. Second, African science is not amenable to public scrutiny and practice since it is characterized by mystico-religious influence. While some literature in this area of study exert energy on proving and disproving the reality of African science, this paper advocates that the subject matters of African science, irrespective of its conceived scientific status, be made open for public scrutiny, amendment, practice, and application. This scrutiny will either falsify or corroborate these subject matters so that the status question of African science can finally be rested.  Consequently, the paper concludes that African science and its practitioners need to embrace a scientific cultural orientation of openness of ideas. Due to its radical disposition to the Western scientific model that is anchored on induction, we recommend the Popperian scientific cultural orientation of openness and liberated thinking. This orientation is founded on the dynamic nature of Popper's view on science which allows public scrutiny of scientific knowledge that paves the way for the emergence of new ideas and the rejection of obsolete ones.